Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2008
New approach to limiting organ damage in sickle cell disease
The abnormal shape of the red blood cells of individuals with sickle cell disease prevents them passing easily through blood vessels, which can become obstructed, restricting blood flow to an organ and causing organ damage.

New research on how season of birth may affect nearsightedness and on cornea donor sources
Does season of birth play a role in the development of nearsightedness?

Tirofiban significantly reduced residual ST-segment deviation after primary PCI in STEMI patients
Tirofiban significantly reduced residual ST-segment deviation after primary PCI in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction in ongoing tirofiban in myocardial infarction evaluation 2 trial.

Prednisone tablets less variable than marketed drugs
The US Pharmacopeial Convention today announced results of a study comparing the dissolution variability of USP Prednisone Lot P Reference Standard tablets to two marketed drugs.

The lean gene
Tel Aviv University scientists find predisposition for skinny jeans is in the genes.

Researchers to develop ocean sanctuary 'noise budget' to evaluate potential impact on marine mammals
Buoys equipped with underwater microphones and other sensors will be on duty in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Massachusetts for the next 30 months, recording sounds from whales, fish, ships and other sources around the clock to help NOAA researchers develop a global monitoring network for ocean noise.

Want docs to treat the underserved? Make sure they train at community health centers
University of Washington researchers have found that community health center-trained family physicians were more likely to work in underserved settings than their non-community health center-trained counterparts, based on a study published in the April issue of Family Medicine.

PBGH endorses agreement on principles to guide physician performance reporting
The Pacific Business Group on Health today announced its endorsement of the

Restrictive drug policies often cause schizophrenic patients to discontinue medication
Schizophrenic patients in Maine's Medicaid program experienced more frequent interruptions in treatment when the state began requiring physicians to seek prior authorization for medications not on the programs' preferred drug list.

Patient charter ensures that reports on physicians are meaningful, reliable and fair
The ACP has joined other leading medical, consumer, labor and employer organizations to endorse the Patient Charter for Physician Performance Measurement, Reporting and Tiering Programs.

Women's health leader says 'patient charter' is critical to improve quality of care for patients
Today's announcement that leading consumer and employer groups have forged an agreement with physician organizations and health insurers on principles to guide measurement and reporting on physician performance is a significant step toward improving the quality of care for patients in this country, according to one of the nation's leading consumer health advocates, National Partnership for Women & Families president Debra L.

Iso-osmolar X-ray dye falters in PCI study
A new study has found that an X-ray dye intended to reduce stress on the kidneys did not prevent renal injury during percutaneous coronary intervention in patients who already had compromised kidney function.

Louisiana Tech ROTC commander wins national award
Lt. Col. Dan Simonsen, Air Force ROTC commander and professor of aerospace studies, has been named the recipient of the 2007 Air Force Association's ROTC Curriculum Development Award for his original curriculum program

Mixed results for weight loss drug on slowing progression of coronary disease
The anti-obesity medication rimonabant showed mixed results in slowing progression of coronary artery disease in patients with abdominal obesity and pre-existing coronary disease, according to a new study in the April 2 issue of JAMA.

Amateur singers, singing teachers less likely to identify serious vocal problems
New research, published in the April 2008 issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, cautions that amateur singers and singing instructors are less sensitive than their professional peers to the subtle changes to their voices that could have a serious negative impact on their vocal health.

Drug does not appear to reduce risk of heart attack or death following CABG surgery
Use of MC-1 (a naturally occurring metabolite of vitamin B6) before and for 30 days after coronary artery bypass graft surgery did not reduce the risk of heart attack or cardiovascular death, according to a JAMA study being released early online April 1 to coincide with its presentation at the annual conference of the American College of Cardiology.

A reduced arousal threshold in Drosophila mutants prevents them from staying asleep
Most short-sleeping mutant phenotypes in Drosophila (a genus of small flies) are characterized by an inability to stay asleep, most likely because of a reduced arousal threshold.

Kalahari Desert soils and climate change
The sands of the desert are an important and forgotten storehouse of carbon dioxide taken from the world's atmosphere, scientists heard Wednesday April 2, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

Unraveling how a drug helps patients with multiple sclerosis
Although the drug IFN-beta is commonly used to treat individuals with the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis, little is known about the mechanism(s) by which it acts.

Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it's a bridge!
A government lab in Teddington has taken on its biggest sample for analysis to date -- a 14-ton footbridge.

Scientists discover 356 animal inclusions trapped in 100-million-years-old opaque amber
Paleontologists from the University of Rennes and the ESRF have found the presence of 356 animal inclusions in completely opaque amber from mid-Cretaceous sites of Charentes.

Smear campaign: Faster detection of multidrug-resistant TB for public health
There is a new tool in the arsenal to fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: a rapid diagnostic test that can function in high-burden settings such as public health clinics.

Darwin told us so: UBC researcher shows natural selection speeds up speciation
In the first experiment of its kind conducted in nature, a University of British Columbia evolutionary biologist has come up with strong evidence for one of Charles Darwin's cornerstone ideas -- adaptation to the environment accelerates the creation of new species.

RFID engineers and researchers to convene in Las Vegas for 2nd IEEE International RFID Conference
The second IEEE International Conference on RFID will address the technical and policy challenges of RFID technologies and examine job opportunities at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, April 16-17.

Drug use increasingly glamorized in rap music, according to new study of 2-decade trends
Rap music has gone from an art form that largely warned against the dangers of substance abuse to one that often glorifies illegal drug use, according to the first systematic social science study of the genre covering nearly two decades.

Leading pediatrician addresses the future of children's health
What does the 21st century hold for the health of american children?

ExoSeal vascular plug gets good reviews in ECLIPSE study
A new bioabsorbable plug that seals the arterial puncture site used for threading catheters into the body during diagnostic angiography and interventional procedures significantly shortens bleeding time and enables patients to get up and walk around far sooner than when manual compression is applied to the groin.

Yale study suggests evolutionary source of alcoholism's accidental enemy
Changes in the environment in the last few thousand years may have protected some East Asians against alcoholism.

DOE grant funds solar energy project
Competitively priced electricity from easily manufactured solar cells is the aim of a Penn State researcher's project funded for up to $1,231,000 over three years by the US Department of Energy.

Clinical trial that may help patients breathe easier begins at Central DuPage Hospital
Researchers at Suburban Lung Associates and the Chicago Chest Center recently announced the start of the EASE (Exhale Airway Stents for Emphysema) Trial to explore an investigational treatment for advanced widespread emphysema.

Feed that cold!
Researchers studying deer mice have discovered evidence to support what mothers everywhere have long suspected: the immune system needs food to function properly.

New approach to radiation dose reduction during coronary CT angiography
Daniel S. Berman M.D., F.A.C.C., chief of Cardiac Imaging and Nuclear Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's S.

New study shows children benefit from drinking chocolate/flavored milk
A new study released today in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that children who drink flavored or plain milk consume more nutrients and have a lower or comparable body mass index than children who don't drink milk.

Abel Prize 2008 goes to Springer author and editor Jacques Tits
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2008 to Springer editor and author Jacques Tits of the Coll├Ęge de France, Paris.

NYP/WC physician-scientists present latest cardiology findings at AAC meeting
Leading cardiologists at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center are presenting new basic and clinical research findings at the 57th Annual American College of Cardiology Meeting in Chicago, March 29 to April 1.

Journal Sleep: Insomnia may perpetuate depression in some elderly patients
In addition to being a risk factor for a depressive episode, persistent insomnia may perpetuate the illness in some elderly patients, and especially in those receiving standard care for depression in primary care settings.

Why we don't always learn from our mistakes
Researchers find that practice doesn't always make perfect; sometimes the effort instills a pattern that dooms us to failure.

Researchers perform multi-century high-resolution climate simulations
Using state-of-the-art supercomputers, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientists have performed a 400-year high-resolution global ocean-atmosphere simulation with results that are more similar to actual observations of surface winds and sea surface temperatures.

Young patients with knee disorder get active after new Stanford surgical procedure
Thanks to a new surgical technique used on Vasser's left knee called

Michigan Tech researchers link 11 genetic variations to type 2 diabetes
Mathematicians at Michigan Tech have published two new statistical methodologies to identify the underlying genetic causes of chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes.

New species of infectious disease found in Amazon
While investigating the tropical disease leptospirosis in the Peruvian Amazon, an infectious disease specialist from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has uncovered new, emerging bacteria that may be responsible for up to 40 percent of cases of the disease.

Prebiotics -- the key to fewer food poisoning stomach upsets -- and healthy farm animals
Natural sugars found in breast milk that are now included in prebiotic foods may help in the fight against Salmonella and other food poisoning bacteria, scientists heard Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

Fear of messing up may undermine interracial contact
A new study from Northwestern University suggests that whites who are particularly worried about appearing racist seem to suffer from anxiety that instinctively may cause them to avoid interaction with blacks in the first place.

Mouse calls help search for emotion-controlling genes
A new report by Wang et al., to be published in PLoS ONE on April 2 found that male mice make high-frequency vocalizations during sexual interactions with female mice.

Study finds that damaged land can restore itself
There is widespread interest in restoring land damaged by gravel-sand mining, but the high costs of such projects can be off-putting.

Desert power: A solar renaissance
What does the future hold for solar power? Geotimes magazine looks into more efficient ways of turning the sun's power into electricity in its April cover story,

Geologist decries floodplain development
Midwesterners have to be wondering: Will April be the cruelest month?

Individual intervention with low-income and minority patients increases colonoscopy rates
Patient interventions are necessary to achieve higher rates of colorectal cancer screening in low-income and minority patients, according to two studies in the current issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

New mineralogical techniques contribute to prevent national heritage damage
Churches, palaces, monasteries, paintings, sculptures ... national heritage is threatened by stone decay.

JCI online early table of contents: April 1, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 1, 2008, in the JCI, including: Unraveling how a drug helps patients with multiple sclerosis; New approach to limiting organ damage in sickle cell disease; Controlling your appetite requires PI3K signaling; Too much bone destruction in mice lacking the protein CYLD; New model of fragile skin disorder; and others.

Highlights from the April 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The April 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Dallas area cornea shortages could benefit from national study
Surgeons and patients from UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Southwestern Transplant Services Center joined in a landmark study showing that corneas from older donors are as successful for transplants after five years as is tissue from younger donors, allowing possible expansion of the donor pool.

Journal Sleep: Short, long sleep duration is associated with future weight gain in adults
Both short and long sleeping times predict an increased risk of future body weight and fat gain in adults.

SPOC pain-locator device, featured recently on 'Today,' receives FDA 510(k)
A hand-held biomedical device by SPOC, developed jointly by students at Stevens Institute of Technology and pain-management expert Dr.

New study in the journal Sleep finds a link between insomnia and depression in young adults
A study published in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep confirms the persistent nature of insomnia and the increased risk of subsequent depression among individuals with insomnia.

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute experts present wide range of topics at ACC Scientific Sessions
Heart specialists and scientists from the divisions of Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Imaging at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute will be involved in more than two dozen presentations at the 2008 scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

Business of drug development on verge of great change
Researchers move from industry to academic centers to discover treatments for diseases outside

Renal artery stenting falls short in large randomized trial
The largest-ever randomized study to evaluate the effectiveness of catheter-based interventions in patients with narrowing of the renal artery has shown that angioplasty and stenting offer no benefit over medical therapy.

Giant panda genome to be sequenced
Cardiff University is contributing to the first genome project to assist conservation efforts for an endangered species.

Can a laser scanner drive a car?
A car that navigates city streets without a driver -- steered only by a computer?

Music file compressed 1,000 times smaller than mp3
Researchers at the University of Rochester have digitally reproduced music in a file nearly 1,000 times smaller than a regular mp3 file.

New star systems first of their kind
Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation announced today in Astrophysical Journal Letters that they have discovered a faraway binary star system that could be the progenitor of a rare type of supernova.

Scientists discover 10 new planets outside solar system
An international team of astronomers called

Families of children with cancer support human tissue research, study finds
Research counters reports of crisis in confidence in tissue-based research.

SEISMIC study issues glum report on cell therapy
A study in which interventional cardiologists injected muscle cells into scarred areas of the heart using a needle-tipped catheter has reported mixed results in patients with congestive heart failure.

Coral reefs and climate change: microbes could be the key to coral death
Coral reefs could be dying out because of changes to the microbes that live in them just as much as from the direct rise in temperature caused by global warming, according to scientists speaking Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

Early-onset obesity in father linked to increased potential for liver disease in child
A history of early-onset paternal obesity increases the odds of elevated liver enzyme levels in offspring and points to the potential for a genetic link between obesity and liver disease, according to a study in Gastroenterology.

Viruses, oxygen and our green oceans
Some of the oxygen we breathe today is being produced because of viruses infecting micro-organisms in the world's oceans, scientists heard Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Brain DNA 'remodeled' in alcoholism
Reshaping of the DNA scaffolding that supports and controls the expression of genes in the brain may play a major role in alcohol withdrawal symptoms, particularly anxiety, that makes it so difficult to stop using alcohol by alcoholics, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center report in a study in the April 2 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

MU researcher links hormone replacement therapy to breast cancer
In a recent University of Missouri study, researchers found that one of the hormones used in HRT could be a major factor in promoting breast cancer.

Obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome symposium 'takes stock'
The 8th Plymouth Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome will take place at the Plymouth Postgraduate Medical Center at the Peninsula Medical School on Thursday, May 8, and this year its team of experts will address whether or not progress has been made since targets for the prevention of obesity were introduced 10 years ago.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on cancer biomarkers
Biotechnology companies are focusing on the development of novel biomarkers to overcome the limitations of current diagnostic tests for cancer, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

New study finds glamorization of drugs in rap music jumped dramatically over 2 decades
A new study finds that references to illegal drug use in rap music jumped sixfold in the two decades since 1979, the year when rap made its way from inner-city urban areas to a mainstream audience.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the April 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience: Targeting of calcium channels to active zones; Could botulinum toxin be bad foryYou?; The mystery of REM atonia; and Somatostatin receptors that regulate epileptiform activity.

Humans have more distinctive hearing than animals, Hebrew U study shows
Do humans hear better than animals? It is known that various species of land and water-based living creatures are capable of hearing some lower and higher frequencies than humans are capable of detecting.

China's economic boom sparks biological invasions
The increase in imports and visitors to China in recent years has spurred an influx of economically damaging plants and animals.

Study suggests antiretroviral HIV drug linked to increased risk of heart attack
Doubts over the long-term safety of the HIV nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor abacavir are raised in a research article published online and in an upcoming issue of the Lancet.

Algae could one day be major hydrogen fuel source
As gas prices continue to soar to record highs, motorists are crying out for an alternative that won't cramp their pocketbooks.

NASA launches airborne study of arctic atmosphere, air pollution
This month, NASA begins the most extensive field campaign ever to investigate the chemistry of the Arctic's lower atmosphere.

Soccer robots compete for the title
Robot soccer is an ambitious high-tech competition for universities, research institutes and industry.

Scientists reshape Y chromosome haplogroup tree gaining new insights into human ancestry
The Y chromosome retains a remarkable record of human ancestry, passed directly from father to son.

Negative stereotypes towards your place? Laugh about it
Tourism promoters around the world attempt to use the media to alter negative images that result from both sudden crises -- 9/11, epidemics, the Indian Ocean tsunami -- and prolonged deterioration.

Some migratory birds can't find success in urban areas, study finds
New research finds fresh evidence that urbanization in the United States threatens the populations of some species of migratory birds.

Smart aircraft wings and new lightweight construction materials
At the JEC Composites Show 2008 to be held in Paris from April 1-3, Fraunhofer researchers will be exhibiting an aircraft wing that immediately detects any material damage.

Nanosoftball made of DNA
A team led by Guenter von Kiedrowski at the Ruhr University in Bochum has made a dodecahedron from DNA building blocks.

AEDs and CPR are equally helpful for sudden cardiac arrest in the home
The first study to explore the use of automated external defibrillator in the home has found that although the devices are effective for certain types of cardiac arrest, they were underused.

Smokers with lung disease need more than 'brief' intervention
Smokers with lung disease require more than brief smoking cessation interventions to successfully quit, researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University Smoking Cessation Center report.

NASA scientists identify smallest known black hole
Using a new technique, two NASA scientists have identified the lightest known black hole.

The choice is ours
In a collaborative effort between the University of Amsterdam and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Birte Forstmann and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine what happens in the brain when people are presented with the option either to determine their own course of action or to let someone else make the decision.

Mechanical engineer probing complexities of climate, other chaotic systems
Understanding the dynamics of large, chaotic systems, such as weather and climate, is the goal of Virginia Tech researcher Mark Paul, who has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award.

Genomic profiling of breast tumors might determine prognosis, treatment
Combining a breast cancer patient's clinical characteristics with a genomic profile of her tumor may provide important information for predicting an individual patient's prognosis and accurately guiding treatment options, according to a new study led by researchers in the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.

Clopidogrel reloading worthwhile in acute coronary syndromes
Many patients who come to the cardiac catheterization laboratory for percutaneous coronary intervention are already taking 75mg of clopidogrel daily to prevent unwanted blood clotting.

Molecular evolution of influenza A viruses circulated in Fujian Province, China
Studied the genetic and epidemic characteristics of influenza A viruses circulated in humans in Fujian Province, south of China from 1996 to 2004.

The untrained eye: Confusing sexual interest with friendliness
New research from Indiana University and Yale suggests that college-age men confuse friendly nonverbal cues with cues for sexual interest because the men have a less discerning eye than women -- but their female peers aren't far behind.

USGS April 2008 science picks
Discover recent dramatic developments at Kilauea Volcano, who is groovin' to the tunes of nature, and how the USGS helps forecast and notify emergency managers of potential floods, which is especially important since April showers are on their way.

Continents loss to oceans boosts staying power
New research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finds that the geological staying power of continents comes partly from their losing battle with the Earth's oceans over magnesium.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings examines link between bacteria in the digestive system and obesity
According to John DiBaise, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Arizona gastroenterologist and lead author of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings article, several animal studies suggest that gut microbiota are involved in regulating weight, and that modifying these bacteria could one day be a treatment option for obesity.

Fueling ethanol production while protecting water quality
Grain-based ethanol production has increased dramatically in recent years and with this expansion comes unintended negative water quality impacts.

Researchers discover new species of disease-causing Leptospira
An international team of researchers has isolated a new species of Leptospira, the bacterial spirochete that causes the disease leptospirosis, in the highly biodiverse Peruvian Amazon region.

NASA's GLAST satellite gets twin solar panels in prep for launch
Preparations for launching NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope satellite are underway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods to screen genomes and analyze evolution
Identifying genes that are important in specific tissues or processes in the mouse used to be a monumental task.

Catheter repair of mitral valve improves heart size, symptoms
A catheter-mounted device that acts like a clothespin to clip together the flaps of a leaky heart valve is not only reducing the abnormal backflow of blood from the left ventricle to the left atrium, it is helping to shrink the enlarged, overworked heart and relieving symptoms of fluid overload -- all without open-chest surgery.

USC researchers find new clues to risk of Hodgkin lymphoma
A long-term study of twins has led University of Southern California researchers to find potential links between Hodgkin lymphoma and levels of an immune response protein (interleukin-12).

Vive the vole!
A new animal research method allows for nonlethal and noninvasive study, and opens new lines of inquiry.

Newly awarded Autism Centers of Excellence to further autism research
The National Institutes of Health announced on April 1, 2008, the latest recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence program.

Chemotherapy-induced anemia increases risk of local breast cancer recurrence
Patients with breast cancer who developed anemia during chemotherapy had nearly three times the risk of local recurrence as those who did not, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Researchers confirm dead zone off Texas coast since 1985
Researchers at Texas A&M University have confirmed for the first time that a

Climate and cholera
Cholera outbreaks may soon be predicted using satellite sensors, paving the way for preemptive medicine in countries that suffer epidemics, says Distinguished University Professor Rita Colwell, speaking Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

In-home AEDs don't improve sudden cardiac arrest survival
David Callans, M.D., a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will be available to comment on the New England Journal of Medicine study on the use of automated external defibrillators for sudden cardiac arrests that occur in the home.

Scientists solve mystery of polyketide drug formation
Many top-selling drugs used to treat cancer and lower cholesterol are made from organic compounds called polyketides, which are found in nature but historically difficult for chemists to alter and reproduce in large quantities.

Heavy metals in the Peak District -- evidence from bugs in blanket bogs
Bacteria that consume heavy metals have been found in some of the most contaminated parts of the Peak District in the Southern Pennines and may be changing the pollutants into more toxic forms that could leak out into reservoirs, scientists will hear Monday, March 31, 2008, at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting being held at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

Researchers develop new method to test for lung cancer
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have developed a new

Integrating genetic information with breast cancer risk factors may help refine prognosis
Incorporating genetic information known as gene expression signatures with clinical and other risk factors for breast cancer may help refine estimates of relapse-free survival and predicted response to chemotherapy, according to a study in the April 2 issue of JAMA.

Better and faster: Distinguishing non-TB pulmonary disease from TB
A diagnostic kit shows new promise for distinguishing between tuberculosis and its infections from disease caused by related mycobacteria family, which mimic TB and other lung disease in symptoms but require distinctly different clinical treatments. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to