Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 08, 2008
'Connecting the dots' in path that leads to fat
Researchers report the discovery of a critical early player in the path that turns cells to fat.

Study: Treating post-traumatic stress first helps children overcome grief
Post traumatic stress disorder is commonly thought to effect victims of major trauma and those who witness violence, but a new University of Georgia study finds that it also can affect children who have lost a parent expectedly to diseases such as cancer.

Medical errors cost US $8.8B, result in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths: HealthGrades study
Patient safety incidents cost the federal Medicare program $8.8 billion and resulted in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths during 2004 through 2006, according to HealthGrades' fifth annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study.

Small molecule miRNAs regulate female mouse fertility
Small molecules known as miRNAs, which are generated naturally by the body, regulate the conversion of genetic information into proteins.

14-year-old CEO makes chemistry a game with 'Elementeo'
Age seems to be no obstacle when it comes to starting a business.

Evidence now suggests eating soy foods in puberty protects against breast cancer
Evidence is growing from animal and human studies that genistein, a potent chemical found in soy, protects against development of breast cancer -- but only if consumed during puberty, says a Georgetown University Medical Center researcher in the British Journal of Cancer published online today.

Too many gene copies stimulate tumor cell growth
New data, to be published in the May print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, have characterized a molecular pathway underlying low-grade forms of a type of brain tumor known as an astrocytoma.

Stevens professor voted N.J. 'Educator of the Year'
The board of directors of the New Jersey Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers voted on behalf of their 4,000 members to name a Stevens Institute of Technology faculty member their organization's 2008

Fungus fight: Researchers battle against dangerous corn toxin
The spiraling use of corn for food and fuel is creating heightened concerns about contamination of this staple crop with deadly aflatoxin.

Extracts from reishi mushroom and green tea shows synergistic effect to slow sarcoma
Reishi mushroom and green tea scientific studies have found that combining the active ingredients in the mushroom and the tea creates synergetic effects that inhibited the growth of tumors and delayed the time of death in mice with sarcomas.

Lower target levels for blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol may provide cardiovascular benefits
Patients with diabetes who reduced their blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol to below standard target levels had a greater decrease in carotid artery wall thickness, but did not have a significant difference in cardiovascular disease events than patients who had recommended blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol levels, according to a study in the April 9 issue of JAMA.

Estrogen therapy increases benign breast disease risk
Women who took conjugated equine estrogen, a commonly prescribed form of estrogen, had more than twice the risk of developing specific types of benign breast disease as women who took a placebo, according to a randomized controlled trial published online April 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Adults who eat apples, drink apple juice have lower risk for metabolic syndrome
Adults who eat apples, apple juice and applesauce have a significantly reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems that are linked to numerous chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Solving the Z ring's mysteries may lead to new antibiotics
A team has solved important puzzles concerning how certain proteins guide the reproduction of bacteria, discoveries that could lead to a new type of antibiotics.

Food biotechnology: real world challenges
Professors work to enhance students' critical thinking skills using the globally controversial issue of genetically modified crops.

At home on a crab, with new evolutionary neighbors
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, have rediscovered Drosophila endobranchia, a fly living in the mouth of land crabs.

Ancient DNA: reconstruction of the biological history of Aldaieta necropolis
A research team from the Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology & Animal Physiology in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Leioa campus of the University of the Basque Country, and led by Ms.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the April 9 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Stopping a cancer trial early: is it for the benefit of patients or industry?
New research has identified a growing trend for trials of new cancer treatments to be stopped prematurely before the therapies' risks and benefits have been properly evaluated.

Combination therapy improves survival time for patients with more advanced liver cancer
Combining a type of chemotherapy with radiothermal therapy resulted in longer survival time for patients with advanced liver cancer, compared to receiving the therapies alone, according to a study in the April 9 issue of JAMA.

U of Minnesota study finds you get what you pay for with online Q & A sites
A new study by University of Minnesota computer science and engineering researchers revealed that the answer quality provided by online question-and-answer Web sites, such as Yahoo!

International symposium explores fire suppression economics
The U.S. Forest Service is hosting an international symposium in Carolina, Puerto Rico, in conjunction with the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Planning on April 29-May 2 so natural resource managers from around the world can discuss the escalating costs of suppressing wildland fires.

Europe develops new technologies to boost health of livestock
A range of new technologies including genetic modification and RNA Interference are being deployed to improve the health of farm animals in a series of European and global initiatives.

Protein data bank archives 50,000th molecule structure
The Protein Data Bank, based at Rutgers University and the University of California-San Diego this month reached a significant milestone in its 37-year history.

Humor plays an important role in healthcare even when patients are terminally ill
Canadian researchers spent nearly 300 hours observing and carrying out interviews with staff, patients and families in an intensive care unit and a palliative care unit for people with terminal illnesses.

High-intensity chemotherapy does not improve survival in small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy did not have better survival rates than those treated with standard doses, according to a randomized controlled trial published online April 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Double binding sites on tumor target may provide future combination therapy
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues at Merck Serono Research in Germany have found that two drugs bind to receptor sites on some tumors in different places at the same time, suggesting the possibility of a new combination therapy for certain types of cancer.

Why the dating game is taken at face value
Suitors can tell a young person's attitude to sexual relationships by the look on their face, according to new research which gives deeper insight into mate attractiveness.

Manufactured Buckyballs don't harm microbes that clean the environment
Even large amounts of manufactured nanoparticles, also known as Buckyballs, don't faze microscopic organisms that are charged with cleaning up the environment, according to Purdue University researchers.

Scientists find a fingerprint of evolution across the human genome
The Human Genome Project revealed that only a small fraction of the 3 billion

Marijuana increases alcohol toxicity in young rats
A new study using rats found that THC combined with mildly intoxicating doses of alcohol induced widespread nerve cell death in the brain.

Ready to go: mobile terahertz devices
Terahertz waves, which until now have barely found their way out of the laboratory, could soon be in use as a versatile tool.

Precise cut for sparkling jewels
Rubies, emeralds and tourmalines can only sparkle with the right cut.

AACR annual meeting showcases developments in understanding and targeting cancers
Cutting-edge breakthroughs in molecular targeting, translational cancer research and cancer prevention will take center stage when more than 17,000 scientists from around the world gather at the San Diego Convention Center, April 12-16, for the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Award-winning study says back pain may be in your genes
What do you learn by looking at the spines of hundreds of Finnish twins?

Plan brokered by UCLA, USC archaeologists would remove roadblock to Mideast peace
Two professors, one from USC and another at UCLA, led a group of Israeli and Palestinian archaeologists over the course of five years to draft a plan that covers the fate of the antiquities, and the sacred places, in the event of a two-state solution.

Study supports theory that rise in autism is related to changes in diagnosis
Research funded by the Wellcome Trust suggests that many children diagnosed with severe language disorders in the 1980s and 1990s would today be diagnosed as having autism.

Queen's develops safe 'green' decontamination method
Research by two Queen's scientists has resulted in an exciting new method for rapidly and safely destroying toxic agents such as chemical weapons and pesticides.

Low-carbon living takes off in the US
Co-housing offers a low-carbon lifestyle, and developers are poised for a market that could soon burgeon in the US, according to a new study.

Microwave treatments for enlarged prostate cause blood pressure surges
Many men who receive microwave therapy for enlarged prostates experience significant surges in blood pressure that could raise their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Sea salt worsens coastal air pollution: study
Air pollution in the world's busiest ports and shipping regions may be markedly worse than previously suspected, according to a new study showing that industrial and shipping pollution is exacerbated when it combines with sunshine and salty sea air.

RIT team simulates first merger of 3 black holes on a supercomputer
The same team of astrophysicists that cracked the computer code simulating two black holes crashing and merging together has now, for the first time, caused a three-black-hole collision.

Nutrition research unveiled this week shows pistachios are smart for the heart
According to new data unveiled this week at the Experimental Biology Conference, snacking on pistachios has proved once again to have a positive impact on improving cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation in the body, a prominent cardiovascular disease risk factor.

'Death protein' research secures funding for UCF scientists
The combination of computer modeling, biophysics and immunology has landed a University of Central Florida scientist more than $1 million in funding for her work on the

Most powerful laser in the world fires up
The Texas Petawatt laser reached greater than one petawatt of laser power on Monday morning, March 31, making it the highest powered laser in the world, Todd Ditmire, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, said.

Needle-size device created to track tumors, radiation dose
Engineers at Purdue University are creating a wireless device designed to be injected into tumors to tell doctors the precise dose of radiation received and locate the exact position of tumors during treatment.

Use of omega-3 free fatty acids does not appear effective for preventing relapse of Crohn disease
Patients with Crohn disease who took omega-3 free fatty acids supplements did not have a significantly different rate of relapse compared to patients who took placebo, according to a study in the April 9 issue of JAMA.

Cow stomach holds key to turning corn into biofuel
An enzyme from a microbe that lives inside a cow's stomach is the key to turning corn plants into fuel, according to Michigan State University scientists.

Looping genes may hold a key to understanding breast cancer
Another piece of the puzzle that is breast cancer has been found by University of Queensland researchers.

Technique traces origins of disease genes in mixed human populations
A team from Washington University in St. Louis and the Israeli Institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa has developed a technique to detect the ancestry of disease genes in mixed human populations.

Playing dead is no game for ant survival
Pretending to be dead is an effective self-defense strategy adopted by young fire ant workers under attack from neighboring colonies.

Hubble maps the changing constellation of Internet 'black holes'
A surprisingly large fraction of Web traffic gets sucked into temporary black holes, in which information between two computers disappears en route.

Using street theater to channel the lessons of molecules
Molecules, any chemist will tell you, have lots to teach us.

New York infection prevention expert named recipient of Carole DeMille Award
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology today announced that Rachel L.

Diabetes drug may hold potential as treatment for epilepsy
Metformine, a widely used diabetic drug, might also be an effective and safe therapy for epilepsy, researchers report.

Negligent, attentive mouse mothers show biological differences
In mice, child neglect is a product of both nature and nurture, according to a new study.

American Chemical Society's PressPac -- April 2, 2008
This issue of the American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package is a special edition with selections from scientific presentations scheduled for the ACS' 235th national meeting in New Orleans.

Omega-3's no help for Crohn's sufferers
An international study led by Dr. Brian Feagan of Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario has found that omega-3 fatty acids are ineffective for managing Crohn's disease.

Blocking the effect of inflammation-causing cells lowered prostate cancer cells invasion
Recent studies have suggested an association between chronic inflammation and cancers of the prostate, colon, stomach and liver.

2004 long-term care act raised costs and worsened care, study shows
The California Long-Term Care Reimbursement Act of 2004 increased nursing home costs, but failed to improve quality or access to care, according to a UCSF evaluation on the legislation's impact.

Symposium on energy research highlights future challenges, opportunities
Escalating oil and gas prices along with the global challenge of climate change has in the past few years spurred a generation of scientists to pursue alternative energy sources while redirecting the focus away from fossil fuels.

Gene oppositely controlled by dietary protein, sugar
Researchers have discovered a gene in flies whose activity rises and falls depending upon the amount of protein and sugar in the insects' diets.

Increasing positive experiences decreases depression symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis
Depression is prevalent among people living with chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Hepatitis B virus triggers cell 'suicide' in patients with chronic infection
Scientists from UCL (University College London) have identified a key difference between people who can fight the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) off successfully and those who fail to do so -- that a group of cells important in controlling the disease are triggered to

Argonne scientists, collaborators create first superinsulator
Superinsulation may sound like a marketing gimmick for a drafty attic or winter coat.

JCI online early table of contents: April 8, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 8, 2008, in the JCI: Small molecule miRNAs regulate female mouse fertility; Too many gene copies stimulate tumor cell growth; Too much of a good thing: high levels of factor VIIa cause problems in mice; A pox on TLR9: the immune molecule TLR9 is crucial to prevent lethal poxvirus infection in mice; and others.

Use of information technology is minimal in nursing homes
In short-term health care settings, sophisticated information technology systems assist in the diagnosis of patients, support care management and enhance adherence to clinical guidelines.

Making sure the wonder materials don't become the wonder pollutant
As useful as nanotubes may be, the process of making them may have unintentional and potentially harmful impacts on the environment.

Diabetes drug may hold potential as treatment for epilepsy, using same mechanism as ketogenic diet
Researchers describe a next step in this research that may mean a drug already widely used by people with diabetes could also be an effective and safe therapy for epilepsy, especially for that one third of patients who have recurrent seizures despite therapy with the best available antiepileptic drugs.

American Society for Microbiology 108th General Meeting
The American Society for Microbiology will hold its 108th General Meeting June 1-5, 2008, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Cholesterol, blood pressure control may reverse atherosclerosis in adults with diabetes
Aggressively lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels below current targets in adults with type 2 diabetes may help to prevent -- and possibly reverse -- hardening of the arteries.

Protecting a life-saving blood product from human form of mad cow disease
Amid concern that recipients of certain blood transfusions may risk infection with a deadly protein responsible for the human form of mad cow disease, researchers in Canada now report development of a special filter that quickly and effectively removes the protein from blood.

Physical activity is natural pain reliever for arthritis
It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when suffering with joint pain, but physical activity is actually a natural pain reliever for most people suffering from arthritis.

Distance learning course in radiation oncology for cancer treatment
A shortage of medical specialists for cancer treatment in developing countries is a driving force behind a new web-based educational course that could help change the health-care picture over time.

Nokia to open research lab with 2 Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology
Nokia and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich (EPFL and ETH Zurich) announced today the establishment of a joint long-term research program.

Electricity and gas consumption at a glance
People who want to save energy should always keep an eye on their consumption.

Researchers take step toward creating quantum computers using entangled photons in optical fibers
Prem Kumar and his research group at Northwestern University are one step closer to realizing distributed quantum computing.

Carbon nanotubes made into conductive, flexible 'stained glass'
Carbon nanotubes are promising materials for many high-technology applications due to their exceptional mechanical, thermal, chemical, optical and electrical properties.

Video doc helps HIV-positive patients reduce risky behaviors
Positive Choice uses the video doctor to simulate the ideal doctor-patient risk counseling conversation.

Other highlights in the April 8 JNCI
Also in the April 8 JNCI are two randomized trials testing chemotherapy in early breast cancer, a study examining the impact of blood donation on cancer risk, and a mechanism for boosting the activity of a new targeted therapy.

In emerging tech markets, 'get real' by talking about the competition
Innovators trying to establish new markets would be wise to try to attract attention by publicizing not only themselves, but also the competition, according to a new study in the American Sociological Review authored by a faculty member at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.

Carnegie Mellon develops computer model to study cell membrane dynamics
A cell constantly remodels its fluid membranes to carry out critical tasks, such as recognizing other cells, getting nutrients or sorting proteins.

Misery, not miserly
Off to buy a new handbag and fabulous red shoes, or how about overalls and a riding lawnmower?

Forgotten diseases key to lifting developing world from poverty, destitution and despair
One of the main obstacles towards progress in the developing world is the litany of tropical diseases affecting residents that have not been seriously addressed by the public health community.

DVDs and CD-ROMs that thwart global warming
Chemists report that carbon dioxide removed from smokestack emissions in order to slow global warming could become a valuable raw material for the production of DVDs, beverage bottles and other products made from polycarbonate plastics.

JAMA article looks at data-sharing in clinical trials for heart disease
How and when to share clinical trial data for heart studies -- including when to suspend a study -- is vitally important to physician-scientists and regulators as an increasing number of clinical trials evaluate new 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