Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 26, 2008
New organic molecule in space
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn have detected for the first time a molecule closely related to an amino acid: amino acetonitrile.

Study shows lifetime effects of pediatric liver transplants
Parents of pediatric liver transplant recipients report lower health-related quality of life for their children two years after the surgery, compared to reports from the parents of healthy children.

Umbilical cord blood cell therapy may reduce signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
Targeted immune suppression using human umbilical cord blood cells significantly improved Alzheimer's-like brain damage in a mouse model of the neurodegenerative disease, a new study reports.

Increasing access to antiretroviral drugs would drastically cut AIDS deaths in South Africa
More that 1.2 million deaths could be prevented in South Africa over the next five years by accelerating efforts to provide access to antiretroviral therapy, according to a study released online today by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Study shows the upside of anger
Here's a maxim from the

Umbilical cord blood cell therapy in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease
A novel strategy based on targeted immune suppression using human umbilical cord blood cells may improve the pathology and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, based on the results of a study in a mouse model of this currently untreatable neurodegenerative condition, as described in a groundbreaking report in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

NSAIDs: Painkillers, inflammation inhibitors, anti-cancer drugs and new de-methylating agents
Researchers at the National Sun Yat-Sen University and Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan have revealed a new mechanism by which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs attenuate tumor invasion and metastasis.

Growth hormone found to have new role in development of brain's smell center
Insulin-like growth factor has to date been shown to stimulate the growth and proliferation of cells, and recently was found to affect the shape and growth rate of nerve axons.

Chassapis and team awarded $3 million GK-12 grant from NSF for multiscale research
Through its GK-12 program, the graduate education division of the National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $3,000,000 to a multidisciplinary research team at Stevens Institute of Technology, under the leadership of Professor Constantin Chassapis, director of the mechanical engineering department.

Study validates Pittsburgh Compound-B in identifying Alzheimer's disease brain toxins
A groundbreaking study conducted by University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's disease researchers reported in the journal Brain (currently online) confirms that Pittsburgh Compound-B binds to the telltale beta-amyloid deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Folate scores a win in animal studies: Brief, high doses of B vitamin blunt damage from heart attack
Long known for its role in preventing anemia in expectant mothers and spinal birth defects in newborns, the B vitamin folate, found in leafy green vegetables, beans and nuts has now been shown to blunt the damaging effects of heart attack when given in short-term, high doses to test animals.

New brain cells implicated in machinery of cannabinoid signaling
The brain cells called astrocytes, and not just neurons, are sensitive to the substances called cannabinoids -- the active chemicals in marijuana.

Basis created for directing and filming blood vessels
A new method of filming blood-vessel cells that move in accordance with targeted signals has been developed by researchers at Uppsala University in collaboration with researchers at the University of California.

PET confirmed as valuable cancer diagnostic and disease-staging tool
The recent release of data by the National Oncologic PET Registry showing that positron emission tomography produced scans revealing disease at a molecular level, which then caused physicians to change treatment plans for more than one-third of participating patients, has corroborated decades of nuclear medicine research.

Brain scientist shedding light on learning, memory
Neurons spoke to Dr. Joe Z. Tsien when he was a sophomore college student searching for some meaningful extracurricular activity.

Scientists uncover the source of an almost 2 billion year delay in animal evolution
A deficiency of oxygen and the heavy metal molybdenum in the ancient deep ocean may have delayed the evolution of animal life on Earth for nearly two billion years, scientists report in Nature.

Brain's 'sixth sense' for calories discovered
The brain can sense the calories in food, independent of the taste mechanism, researchers have found in studies with mice.

Military action to influence oil-producing nations ineffective, expert says
There is another inconvenient truth about finite resources and human behavior on Planet Earth, an expert on international security and energy says.

Faster koa tree growth without adverse ecosystem effects
US Forest Service scientists with the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry have completed a study on ways to make high-value koa trees grow faster, while increasing biodiversity, carbon sequestration, scenic beauty and recreation opportunities in native HawaiĆ­an forests.

Kaiser Permanente study shows that a larger abdomen in midlife increases risk of dementia
A Kaiser Permanente study shows that people in their 40s with larger stomachs have a higher risk for dementia when they reach their 70s.

UC Irvine researchers present latest findings at emergency medicine forum
The UC Irvine Department of Emergency Medicine is hosting the 11th annual Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Research Forum March 28-29 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Compulsive gamblers always down on their luck
Gambling addicts don't learn from their mistakes, according to a study published today in the open access journal Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health.

Who's bad? Chimps figure it out by observation
Chimpanzees make judgments about the actions and dispositions of strangers by observing others' behavior and interactions in different situations.

Conservation of freshwater fish biodiversity: a challenge for the countries of the South
Work recently published by an international team, including research scientists from the IRD and the CNRS, yielded the first global-scale appreciation of the processes leading to freshwater fish invasion in river basins.

A planet in progress?
Scientists are one step closer to understanding how new planets form, thanks to research funded by the National Science Foundation and carried out by a team of astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dental chair a possible source of neurotoxic mercury waste
Researchers have found evidence suggesting that bacteria that methylate mercury and make the metal a potent neurotoxin thrive in waste water downstream from dental clinics and offices.

New study suggests that specially formulated foods may support cardiovascular health
Daily consumption of chocolate bars made with a patented combination of plant sterols and cocoa flavanols may affect cardiovascular risk by lowering elevated cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Statistics are insufficient for study of proteins' signal system
Ten years ago great attention was attracted by the discovery that it was possible to demonstrate signal transfer in proteins using statistical methods.

Despite awareness of global warming Americans concerned more about local environment
Results from a recent survey conducted by a University of Missouri professor reveal that the US public, while aware of the deteriorating global environment, is concerned predominantly with local and national environmental issues.

A ton of bitter melon produces sweet results for diabetes
Scientists have uncovered the therapeutic properties of bitter melon, a vegetable and traditional Chinese medicine, that make it a powerful treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Improving recruitment to clinical trials for cancer in childhood
More teenagers and young adults need to be recruited into clinical trials of new treatments for cancer to improve drug development for these vulnerable groups.

International team of scientists discover clue to delay of life on Earth
Scientists from around the world have reconstructed changes in Earth's ancient ocean chemistry during a broad sweep of geological time, from about 2.5 to 0.5 billion years ago.

New Alzheimer's disease survey reveals children of sandwich caregivers assist with loved ones' care
Results from the third annual Alzheimer's Foundation of America ICAN: Investigating Caregivers' Attitudes and Needs Survey suggest that Alzheimer's disease care is a family affair.

Would you like a large shake with that little Mac?
What began as a way to prevent damage to the hard drive from a dropped laptop has led to an innovative project that lets seismology and engineering students or researchers study, store and share data to better understand the science of structural dynamics -- be it a gentle tap or a full blown temblor.

A product for the detection and characterization of brucellosis launched at University of Navarra
Researchers of the department of microbiology and parasitology of the University of Navarra, have launched a new product for the detection and characterization of the Brucella bacteria, which is the causative agent for brucellosis, also known as Mediterranean fever.

Larger belly in mid-life increases risk of dementia
People with larger stomachs in their 40s are more likely to have dementia when they reach their 70s, according to a study published in the March 26, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Coming together to help grow the next generation of computing leaders
Javier Rosa is a on a mission. As an undergraduate at Rutgers University double-majoring in computer science and mathematics, he hopes to one day pursue an advanced degree in computer science with a focus on computational biology or bioinformatics and work to fight cancer.

Why don't kids walk to school anymore?
Maybe when we were their age, we walked five miles to school, rain or shine.

Climate change threatens Amazonian small farmers
A six-year study of Amazonian small farmers and their responses to climate change shows the farmers are vulnerable to natural catastrophes and risky land use practices, say Indiana University Bloomington anthropologists Eduardo Brondizio and Emilio Moran.

U-M 'ballast-free ship' could cut costs while blocking aquatic invaders
University of Michigan researchers are investigating a radical new design for cargo ships that would eliminate ballast tanks, the water-filled compartments that enable non-native creatures to sneak into the Great Lakes from overseas.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Rich terrorist, poor terrorist
New research suggests political freedom and geographic factors contribute significantly to causes of terrorism, challenging the common view that terrorism is rooted in poverty.

Apple pectin, apple juice extracts shown to have anticarcinogenic effects on colon
The apples and apple juice you consume may have positive effects in in the colon.

FDA deadlines may compromise drug safety by rushing approval
According to new research from Harvard University, many drugs are approved on the brink of FDA deadlines, and these drugs are more likely to later face regulatory intervention for safety reasons.

FSU receives $2.5M grant to develop forecasts for farmers
The US Department of Agriculture has awarded Florida State University $2.5 million to provide climate forecasting for the agricultural community in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Researchers urge ethics guidelines for human-genome research
A global team of legal, scientific and ethics experts have put forward eight key recommendations to establish much needed guidelines for conducting human-genome sequencing research.

Experts prove the geochemical origin of part of the CO2 emissions in semiarid climates
Key findings show that the CO2 level is not only connected with vegetation in these ecosystems, but also with the humidity rate and emissions of geochemical origin which become more pronounced in dry seasons.

Peace paradox and air terror
Peace agreements, stability and regional prosperity, in an interesting paradox, increase the risk of air terror in Israel, say researchers at the University of Haifa.

Scientists launch first comprehensive database of human oral microbiome
Scientists have launched the first comprehensive database of the oral microbiome, or the approximately 600 distinct microorganisms currently known to live in the mouth.

Low oxygen and molybdenum in ancient oceans delayed evolution of life by 2 billion years
A study led by biogeochemists at the University of California, Riverside, has found that a deficiency of oxygen and the heavy metal molybdenum in the ancient deep ocean may have delayed the evolution of animal life on Earth by nearly two billion years.

Large multicenter study suggests new genetic markers for Crohn's disease
What is believed to be the largest study of its kind for the genetic roots of inflammatory bowel diseases has suggested new links to Crohn's disease as well as further evidence that some people of Jewish descent are more likely to develop it.

WRAIR investigators pioneering work on an exciting new class of antimalarial compounds
Three renowned WRAIR scientists detail the historical development and testing of a new class of antimalarial compounds collectively known as artemisinins.

Key factor in brain development revealed, offers insight into disorder
In the earliest days of brain development, the brain's first cells -- neuroepithelial stem cells -- divide continuously, producing a population of cells that eventually evolves into the various cells of the fully formed brain.

Long-term use of mechanical ventilation contributes to the deterioration of human diaphragm muscle
A new study by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows, for the first time in humans, that ventilators combined with diaphragm disuse contributes to muscle atrophy in the diaphragm in as little as eighteen hours.

UK physician revolutionizes gene research
A groundbreaking discovery about how molecules work sheds new light on a Nobel-Prize winning theory from a decade ago.

Study shows compassion meditation changes the brain
Can we train ourselves to be compassionate? A new study suggests the answer is yes.

Does an official government apology really make amends?
The Australian government recently made an official apology to the Aboriginal population for the country's past assimilation policies and some American states have officially apologized for slavery.

MSU professor earns Bowditch Award for work on hypertension
The American Physiological Society has awarded Michigan State University Professor Stephanie W.

Coronary calcium testing predicts future heart ailments
Calcium deposits in coronary arteries provide a strong predictor for possible future heart attacks and cardiac diseases, and detecting such deposits can be valuable for promoting overall cardiac health, according to a study led by the University of California, Irvine, and appearing in the March 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Additional evidence of wolverine found in the Tahoe National Forest
During ongoing investigations by an Oregon State University graduate student, the Forest Service and California Department of Fish and Game, two additional wolverine photographs were captured this past week.

Infant formula must contain DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6, say international experts
New recommendations published by international experts in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine state that infant formula should include DHA omega-3 and AA omega-6 to guarantee a correct eye and brain development.

UD astronomers coordinating international observatories in white-dwarf watch
Judi Provencal is star-struck, but not so much by the glitz and glam of Hollywood.
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