Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 14, 2008
Gene-environment interaction in yeast gene expression
We show that gene-environment interaction is a common phenomenon in the regulation of gene expression, we describe how different classes of genetic variants affect the nature of the interactions, and we provide detailed molecular examples of interactions.

Too many choices -- good or bad -- can be mentally exhausting
Each day, we are bombarded with options -- at the local coffee shop, at work, in stores or on the TV at home.

Georgetown researchers find stem cell marker controls 2 key cancer pathways
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that a gene associated with human breast stem cells can stimulate development of mammary cells by activating two critical cancer pathways.

Abstracts online for 2008 Joint Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale
Rev up our online search engines to find the most exciting research to be presented at AGU's 2008 Joint Assembly in Fort Lauderdale next month.

Study shows decline in work disability due to rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the joints and, in severe cases, vital organs.

Location spoofing possible with WiFi devices
Apple iPhone and iPod (touch) support a new self-localization feature that uses known locations of wireless access points as well as the device's own ability to detect access points.

How smoking encourages infection
Smokers are often more prone to bacterial infections and inflammatory diseases than the rest of us, thanks to hundreds of toxic components in their cigarettes.

First functional insulin-binding protein in invertebrates
Insulin-like growth factor signaling that helps to regulate mammals' growth, metabolism, reproduction and longevity is well documented.

Good nutrition starts early!
You are what you eat, as the old saying goes.

Excess pneumonia deaths linked to engine exhaust
Engine exhaust fumes are linked to excess deaths from pneumonia across England, suggests research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Sunitinib may slow growth and spread of liver cancer
Treatment with sunitinib slows tumor growth and reduces the risk of metastasis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, an aggressive cancer of the liver, researchers report.

Queen's researcher named astronomer of the year
A researcher at Queen's University Belfast has won the Young Astronomer Award 2008 from the Astronomical Society of Japan.

Early vision screening associated with better eyesight in children with amblyopia
Children who screen positive for amblyopia, reduced vision in one eye, before age 2 appear to have better visual outcomes than those whose vision problems are detected during screenings between ages 2 and 4, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Celebrex-Lipitor combo may halt prostate cancer
Researchers at Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy have shown that administering a combination of the widely used drugs Celebrex (celecoxib, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and Lipitor (atorvastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug) stops the transition of early prostate cancer to its more aggressive and potentially fatal stage.

Scientists create first successful libraries of avian flu virus antibodies
An international group of American and Turkish research scientists, led by Sea Lane Biotechnologies, has created the first comprehensive monoclonal antibody libraries against avian influenza using samples from survivors of the 2005/2006

Elevated urate levels may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease
Naturally elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in men.

Forests' long-term potential for carbon offsetting
As well as cutting our fossil fuel emissions, planting new forests, or managing existing forests or agricultural land more effectively can capitalise on nature's ability to act as a carbon sink.

Unconscious decisions in the brain
A team of scientists has unraveled how the brain unconsciously prepares our decisions.

Discovery of differences in heart's precursor cells may advance treatment options
Scientists have long thought that the cells that ultimately give rise to the heart all respond to the same cue before turning into the muscle tissue of this vital organ.

Conducting research during humanitarian emergencies
In 1987 the international medical and humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) created its own research center, called Epicentre, to help address critical health research questions that arise during humanitarian emergencies.

Quicker, faster, better calibration and machine calibration in the workplace from NPL
The National Physical Laboratory is launching a revolutionary new measurement system that will bring laboratory level standards to the shop floor.

Researchers mimic bacteria to produce magnetic nanoparticles
Ames Lab researchers are mimicking bacteria to produce high quality magnetic nanoparticles at room temperature.

Journal of Women's Health named official journal of American Medical Women's Association
The American Medical Women's Association, an organization devoted to the advancement of women in medicine and the improvement of women's health, has named Journal of Women's Health as its official journal.

Study shows increase of hip and knee replacements in the US
With the graying of America's Baby Boomer generation, arthritis is a growing health concern.

Blood urate levels associated with the progression of Parkinson's disease
Higher blood levels of the compound urate, a salt derived from uric acid that is associated with gout, may be associated with a slower progression of Parkinson's disease, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the June 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Cancer prevention: stopping cancer before it can start
Tapping into a growing body of knowledge about the origins and progression of cancer, researchers are now developing and testing new preventive therapies to stop it in its tracks.

Laser triggers electrical activity in thunderstorm for the first time
A team of European scientists has deliberately triggered electrical activity in thunderclouds for the first time, according to a new paper in the latest issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society's open-access journal.

Statins shown to lower blood pressure
A large, randomized drug trial has shown for the first time that statin drugs result in a modest, but significant, reduction in blood pressure.

Launching a global alliance for pharmacogenomics
Scientists from the US and Japan have created the Global Alliance for Pharmacogenomics.

Molecule prompts blood stem cells to help repair heart damage in animal model
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have for the first time used drug-treated blood stem cells to repair heart damage in an animal model, results that might point to methods for healing injuries from heart attacks or disease.

Statins may help reduce blood pressure
The medications known as statins, typically prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels, may also modestly reduce blood pressure, according to a report in the April 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

ScienceDirect upgrade to boost researcher productivity and efficiency
Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, today announced that new intuitive reference and navigational features have been added to its online STM platform, ScienceDirect.

Scientists debate the accuracy of Al Gore's documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth'
There is no question that Al Gore's 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth is a powerful example of how scientific knowledge can be communicated to a lay audience.

Clues to ancestral origin of placenta emerge in Stanford study
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have uncovered the first clues about the ancient origins of a mother's intricate lifeline to her unborn baby, the placenta, which delivers oxygen and nutrients critical to the baby's health.

NovoCure presents results from breast cancer pilot study
NovoCure announced today that it presented the results from a single-arm pilot trial evaluating the Novo-TTF, a noninvasive portable medical device, combined with neo-adjuvant chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with locally advanced breast cancer.

Study details cost-effectiveness of rheumatoid arthritis treatments for Medicare recipients
For elderly and disabled rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act brought the promise of better disease management with

Chronopolis Project launched to preserve at-risk digital information
The Chronopolis Digital Preservation Demonstration Project, one of the Library of Congress' latest efforts to collect and preserve at-risk digital information, has been officially launched as a multimember partnership to meet the archival needs of a wide range of cultural and social domains.

European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology 24th annual meeting
ESHRE's annual meeting is the forum where more than 5,000 of the world's leading experts in reproductive medicine gather to give the first public presentation of their latest research findings and to discuss issues that are presenting law-makers and ethicists with some of the most challenging problems and difficult decisions currently facing society.

Blood pressure-lowering diet also may be associated with lower risk for heart disease, stroke
Women who eat diets similar to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet -- which is low in animal protein, moderate in low-fat dairy products and high in plant proteins, fruits and vegetables -- appear to have a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, according to a report in the April 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study sheds light on deadly lung disease
Systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma, is characterized by the formation of fibrosis, or scar tissue, on internal organs as well as the skin.

Learning and the brain
This conference theme is

Testosterone levels predict city traders' profitability
When city traders have high morning testosterone levels they make more than average profits for the rest of that day, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered.

Antidepressants account for only 10 percent of fall in suicide rates among older people
The use of antidepressants is likely to account for only 10 percent of the fall in suicide rates among middle aged and older people, suggests a large study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

7 months on a drifting ice floe
For the first time, a German has taken part in a Russian drift expedition.

Calorie restriction inhibits, obesity fuels development of epithelial cancers
A restricted-calorie diet inhibited the development of precancerous growths in a two-step model of skin cancer, reducing the activation of two signaling pathways known to contribute to cancer growth and development, researchers at the University of Texas M.

Contract signed for ESA's Sentinel-3 Earth observation satellite
The European Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space today signed a €305 million contract to provide the first Sentinel-3 earth observation satellite, devoted to oceanography and land-vegetation monitoring, as part of the European GMES program.

Regulating hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis and leukemogenesis
In the April 15 issue of G&D, Dr. Richard Flavell and colleagues identify the c-Cbl protein as a critical repressor of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal.

Hormone use related to lower risk of macular degeneration in postmenopausal women
Women who take postmenopausal hormones appear to have a lower risk of developing advanced stages of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration, especially if they had also taken oral contraceptives in the past, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Colon cancer risk perception associated with screening behavior
Women's perception of their cancer risk appears to vary by race and may affect how likely they are to undergo screenings, particularly for colon cancer, according to a report in the April 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Delta II rocket coming together for NASA's GLAST satellite launch
The Delta II 7920-H, or

Novel living system recreates predator-prey interaction
The hunter-versus-hunted phenomenon exemplified by a pack of lionesses chasing down a lonely gazelle has been recreated in a Petri dish with lowly bacteria.

Tip sheet for the Annals of Internal Medicine, April 15, 2008, issue
The April 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine contains these articles of note:

Missions to Mars
The European Space Agency has chosen the GSI accelerator facility to assess radiation risks that astronauts will be exposed to on a Mars mission.

Potential blood test for chronic sinusitis identified
A protein profile has been identified in the blood of chronic sinusitis sufferers that may enable physicians to objectively diagnosis and treat the disease, researchers say.

Human vascular system in mice
Tumors use the body's blood system for their own purposes: They stimulate the growth of blood vessels that supply the tumor.

Low-dose DFMO reduces colon cancer risk without toxicity
A combination of the targeted agent difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) at a low dose and sulindac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, reduces the risk of recurrent colorectal adenomas, an early sign of colon cancer, by up to 95 percent with less toxicity than with chemotherapy, researchers report.

Ethnic identity expressed in clothing is good for adolescents' mental health
Young people who dress according to the customs of their own ethnic group are less likely to have subsequent mental health problems than those who don't, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

High blood pressure may protect against migraine
People with high blood pressure appear to be less likely to have migraine than those with low blood pressure.

Health care workers should be more aggressively screened
Health care workers should be more aggressively screened in combination with eradication treatments and other infection control measures to help bring down rates of MRSA infection in hospitals and other health care facilities with endemic MRSA.

American Cancer Society awards research grants to 133 investigators at 84 institutions nationwide
The American Cancer Society, the largest nongovernment, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 133 national research and training grants totaling more than $54 million in the second of two grant cycles for 2008.

New insights into the genetic basis of resistance to chemotherapy in children with acute leukemia
In a new study published in PLoS Medicine, William Evans of St.

Decrease in mortality after severe injuries in accidents
Fewer and fewer people are dying after being severely injured in an accident.

UCI study finds effective colon cancer prevention treatment
Using a combination of a targeted cancer-fighting agent called DFMO and a low dose of an anti-inflammatory drug, UC Irvine researchers have reduced the risk of reoccurring colorectal polyps, an early sign of colon cancer, by as much as 95 percent with fewer toxic side effects.

Brain study may lead to improved epilepsy treatments
Using a rodent model of epilepsy, researchers found one of the body's own neurotransmitters released during seizures, glutamate, turns on a signaling pathway in the brain that increases production of a protein that could reduce medication entry into the brain.

Diuretics associated with bone loss in older men
Older men who take loop diuretics, commonly prescribed drugs for heart failure and hypertension, appear to have increased rates of hip bone loss than men who are not taking this medication, according to a report in the April 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Berkeley Lab examines state-level renewables portfolio standards policies
Renewable electricity is being supported by a growing number of states through the creation of renewables portfolio standards.

Molecular basis for neurodegeneration in Ataxia telangiectasia
An upcoming paper from Dr. David Wassarman (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health) in the May 1 issue of G&D lends new insight into the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in Ataxia telangiectasia.

Tomato pathogen genome may offer clues about bacterial evolution
The availability of new genome sequencing technology has prompted a Virginia Tech plant scientist to test an intriguing hypothesis about how agriculture's early beginnings may have impacted the evolution of plant pathogens.

Getting wired for terahertz computing
University of Utah engineers took an early step toward building superfast computers that run on far-infrared light instead of electricity: They made waveguides -- the equivalent of wires -- that carried and bent this form of light, also known as terahertz radiation, which is the last unexploited portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

ASEE Best Paper Award recognizes Stevens' promotion of systems concepts
A group of faculty from Stevens Institute of Technology has won first-place recognition for

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2008
The following contains story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Best use for popular CAD assessment procedure is misunderstood
An increasing number of doctors are encouraging patients -- especially those deemed to be at high-risk for developing CAD -- to undergo a noninvasive imaging procedure called coronary computed tomography angiography, or coronary CTA, to see if plaque deposits are accumulating in their arteries.

Michael J. Fox Foundation awards $5.6M for Phase 2 clinical trial on inosine
The Michael J. Fox Foundation announced a $5.6-million award to drive a Phase 2 clinical trial to investigate the potential of inosine -- a naturally occurring chemical that gives rise to urate in the body -- to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease.

St. Jude discovery offers new avenues to understanding an aggressive form of leukemia
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered evidence that a series of genetic mutations work together to initiate most cases of an aggressive and often-fatal form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Blood pressure drugs halt pancreatic cancer cell growth, Jefferson researchers find
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson are inching closer to understanding how common blood pressure medications might help prevent the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer.

Sleeping sickness finding could lead to earlier diagnosis
Sleeping sickness creates a metabolic 'fingerprint' in the blood and urine, which could enable a new test to be developed to diagnose the disease, according to new research.

University of Iowa Mathematics Department receives award
The Mathematics Department at the University of Iowa is the 2008 recipient of the AMS Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department.

Girls in sports at record high, yet many not active enough, U of Minnesota report says
A report released to be released on April 14 by the University of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport shows that girls are participating in sports in record numbers, but their participation in physical activity outside of organized sports is declining, especially as they move from childhood into adolescence.

Marijuana use on the rise among Ontario adults, CAMH reports
CAMH Monitor eReport reveals both promising substance use trends and public health flags. 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