Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 17, 2008
New proteomics project to develop technology to detect liver disease via blood test
Washington State's Life Sciences Discovery Fund Board of Trustees announced today that the collaboration between scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington Liver Transplantation Program in Seattle will receive $4.8 million over the next three years to develop a new proteomics technology and apply it in search of biomarkers for liver disease.

Scientists discover how nanocluster contaminants increase risk of spreading
For almost half a century, scientists have struggled with plutonium nanoclusters spreading further in groundwater than expected, increasing the risk of sickness in humans and animals.

Standard chemo works better against metastatic BRCA1/2 breast cancer than against sporadic tumors
The first study to investigate the effects of chemotherapy on metastatic breast cancer in women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has shown that standard chemotherapy works better in these patients than in women without the BRCA1/2 mutation.

Children with migraine at increased risk of sleep disturbances
Children with migraine are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and lack of sleep, than children without migraine, according to research on the effects of headaches on children's sleep patterns that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Graphene used to create world's smallest transistor
Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create the world's smallest transistor, one atom thick and ten atoms wide.

Palliative care and legal euthanasia can be mutually beneficial
Supporters of legalizing euthanasia and those who wish to develop better palliative care services can help each other, according to a study published today on

Better integration between agencies could save lives in custody
It is now widely accepted that referral to prison may not be appropriate for some people, and risk factors associated with suicide are well known, so why are policy makers still not doing enough to prevent increasing numbers of deaths in custody, asks Alison Frater from the University of Southampton.

Wanted: 40,000 more health IT professionals
If the US healthcare system moves toward wider adoption of advanced information technology systems to control health care costs, reduce medical errors and improve patient care, it will need at least 40,000 additional health IT professionals -- or almost 40 percent more than US hospitals now are estimated to employ.

UVA Health System part of Armed Forces multi-million dollar effort to help soldiers
Dr. Adam Katz, plastic surgeon and researcher at the University of Virginia Health System, will conduct research on fat grafting, a surgery that may help wound healing and limb function for injured soldiers, under the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

APIC Conference to address new CMS regulations
The new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regulations that will eliminate or reduce payments for three hospital-acquired infections will be the subject of a two-day conference for health care executives and professionals sponsored by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Ovarian cancer stem cells identified, characterized
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have identified, characterized and cloned ovarian cancer stem cells and have shown that these stem cells may be the source of ovarian cancer's recurrence and its resistance to chemotherapy.

Will screening for aortic aneurysm be effective?
Pilot screening programs for abdominal aortic aneurysms in men aged 65 are due to be launched in England this year, but is this move too hasty?

Aerodynamic trailer cuts fuel and emissions by up to 15 percent
Creating an improved aerodynamic shape for truck trailers by mounting sideskirts can lead to a cut in fuel consumption and emissions of up to as much as 15 percent.

Rutgers-led team pursues innovative healing for war wounded
A consortium spearheaded by Rutgers has been awarded $42.5 million over five years to create one of two academic groups that will form the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

The Alliance for Lupus Research announces 2008 grantees
The Alliance for Lupus Research recently announced its 2008 award recipients.

Using anti-cholinergic drugs may increase cognitive decline in older people
Anticholinergic drugs, such as medicines for stomach cramps, ulcers, motion sickness and urinary incontinence, may cause older people to experience greater decline in their thinking skills than people not taking the drugs, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Researchers evaluating food allergy treatment
Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center are conducting trials to evaluate a method to prevent allergic reactions to food.

Study finds no link between malpractice insurance premiums, tort reform and OB/GYN supply
Research published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies reveals that most obstetrician-gynecologists do not relocate or discontinue their practice in response to this liability risk.

Researchers uncover details about how dietary restriction slows down aging
University of Washington scientists have uncovered details about the mechanisms through which dietary restriction slows the aging process.

MU researchers find clue to cataract formation
Cataracts, which can have devastating effects on the eye, affect 42 percent of the population between the ages of 70 and 80, and 68 percent of the population over the age of 80, according to the National Eye Institute.

MU researchers reveal communication tactics used by sexual predators to entrap children
A child's innocence and vulnerability presents a target for a sexual predator's abusive behavior.

Birds announce their sentry duty to help comrades get a good meal
Soldiers on sentry duty in hostile territory keep in regular radio contact with their colleagues to assure them that all is well and that they are safe to carry on their maneuvers.

New strategies against bird flu
Multiple lethal pathogens such as H5N1 avian flu trigger acute lung injury with a high death rate.

Recent developments at the Burnham Institute
Recent developments at the Burnham Institute include

National Science Board to honor Norm Augustine with prestigious Vannevar Bush Award
The National Science Board today announced that Norman R. Augustine will receive its 2008 Vannevar Bush Award for his distinguished public service leadership in science, engineering and technology; for his longstanding commitment to the ethical conduct of business and the engineering profession; and for his extraordinary contributions to the welfare of the nation through his advocacy of science, technology and engineering education as national priorities.

Minnesota partnership advances potential MS therapy
A production laboratory founded by the Minnesota Partnership has transferred its first potential therapy -- a medication for multiple sclerosis -- to a processing plant in Minnesota.

Breakthrough in nanotechnology by uncovering conductive property of carbon-based molecules
University of Pittsburgh researchers have discovered that certain organic -- or carbon-based -- molecules exhibit the properties of atoms under certain circumstances and, in turn, conduct electricity as well as metal.

While stability far from assured, Greenland perhaps not headed down too slippery a slope
Lubricating meltwater that makes its way from the surface down to where a glacier meets bedrock turns out to be only a minor reason why Greenland's outlet glaciers accelerated their race to the sea 50 to 100 percent in the 1990s and early 2000s, scientists say.

Growth hormone is used to treat twice as many short boys than girls in the US and Asia
Boys are twice as likely as girls in the US and Asia to receive recombinant human growth hormone for growth hormone deficiency, illnesses that affect height, and short stature of a nonmedical nature.

Penn researchers find potential in yeast for selecting Lou Gehrig's disease drugs
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are developing a novel approach to screen for drugs to combat neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, using yeast cells.

Inaugural Kirkham Gold Medal presented to expert on soil physics
The first Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Gold Medal was awarded to Donald R.

Riley Hospital for Children & Capital Institute of Pediatrics become international sister hospitals
As international sister hospitals, Indianapolis' Riley Hospital for Children and Beijing's Capital Institute of Pediatrics will take a decade of experience with exchange of faculty members to new levels, benefiting medical care for children in both nations.

100M pounds a year spent on self-monitoring in diabetes that may increase anxiety and depression
The National Health Service in the UK is spending 100 million pounds a year to help people with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes monitor their own blood sugar levels, but the process is more likely to make them depressed than provide any long-term health benefits, according to a series of articles published ahead of print on today.

What happens when you pop a quantum balloon?
When a tiny, quantum-scale, hypothetical balloon is popped in a vacuum, do the particles inside spread out all over the place as predicted by classical mechanics?

New type of drug shrinks primary breast cancer tumors significantly in just 6 weeks
A drug that targets the cell surface receptors that play an important role in many types of cancer can bring about significant tumor regression in breast cancer after only six weeks of use, a scientist told the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference on Thursday.

New vaccine may give long-term defense against deadly bird flu and its variant forms
A new vaccine under development may provide protection against highly pathogenic bird flu and its evolving forms, according to researchers at Purdue University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who discovered the new preventative drug and have tested it in mice.

Many captive tigers are of purebred ancestry; finding raises their conservation value
Tigers held in captivity around the world -- including those in zoos, circuses and private homes -- may hold considerable conservation value for the rapidly dwindling wild populations around the world.

Ezra Susser, M.D., Dr.P.H., receives Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD
Ezra Susser, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and professor of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD, the world's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to mental health research.

Researchers discover critical detail of cellular defense against genetic mistakes
Researchers are closing in on a completed diagram of how human cells protect themselves against constant genetic mistakes that contribute to most diseases, according to a study to be published in the April 18 edition of the journal Cell.

New research shows slight of hand is not so slight
Typing on a keyboard or scribbling on paper may be similar activities, but there is a significant difference in how the body moves, according to new motor development research.

Tracking stroke
To improve the understanding of the processes in the brain during a stroke, researchers from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt are working on experiments in neurovascular coupling: They are researching the temporal correlation between the oxygen requirement of the nerve cells and the oxygen supply through the blood.

Dam removal increases property values
Two new studies appearing in Contemporary Economic Policy explore the impact of dam removal.

Inherited cancer mutation is widespread in America
A gene mutation responsible for a form of inherited colon cancer is older than formerly believed.

Tiny tremors can track extreme storms in a warming planet
Data from faint earth tremors caused by wind-driven ocean waves -- often dismissed as

Overuse of codeine, oxycodone and barbiturates increases risk of chronic migraine
People who overuse barbiturates and opioids, such as codeine, butalbital, and oxycodone, to treat migraine are at an increased risk of developing chronic migraine, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Parents stricter with older kids to set example: game theory study
Parents are more likely to punish their teen's risky sex activity when there are younger kids in the family, driven by a desire to set a strict example for these siblings, says new game theory research from the University of Maryland, Duke University and the Johns Hopkins University.

Multislice CT scans can detect pulmonary embolisms without ultrasonography of the leg
Using D-dimer measurement combined with multislice CT scan to detect pulmonary embolism is as effective as using D-dimer, venous ultrasonography of the leg and MSCT.

Down in the dumps: Less-educated men more prone to stigma
Research published in BMC Psychiatry shows that less educated, older men are more likely to view people with depression negatively.

Advanced MRI studies provide new insight on early Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain affecting movement, speech, mood, behavior, thinking and sensation for which there is no known cause or cure.

Life Sciences Fund grants awards to launch health research
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund has today awarded $22 million in grant funding to 5 Washington State-based life sciences organizations and their partners.

Infantile esotropia linked to developmental delays
Babies with an eye-alignment disorder called infantile esotropia have delays in motor development milestones, but development

Lakes of meltwater can crack Greenland's ice and contribute to faster ice sheet flow
Researchers have for the first time documented the sudden and complete drainage of a lake of meltwater from the top of the Greenland ice sheet to its base.

GMES Sentinel-2 satellite contract signed
The European Space Agency and Astrium today signed a €195 million contract to provide the first Sentinel-2 earth observation satellite, devoted to monitoring the land environment, as part of the European GMES program.

UC San Diego study finds mice can sense oxygen through skin
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that the skin of mice can sense low levels of oxygen and regulate the production of erythropoietin, or EPO, the hormone that stimulates our bodies to produce red blood cells and allows us to adapt to high-altitude, low-oxygen environments.

Belief that chronic cough is only connected to other conditions hinders new treatment development
A two-part series in this week's Lancet explores the extremely common chronic cough.

Paranal receives new mirror
A 4.1-meter diameter primary mirror, a vital part of the world's newest and fastest survey telescope, VISTA has been delivered to its new mountaintop home at Cerro Paranal, Chile.

Antidepressants enhance neuronal plasticity in the visual system
In the April 18 issue of Science, scientists from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy and the Neuroscience Centre at the University of Helsinki, Finland, provide new information about the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs.

U-M study: Work hassles hamper sleep
Common hassles at work are more likely than long hours, night shifts or job insecurity to follow workers home and interfere with their sleep.

Report describes first targeted therapy to produce remission of metastatic melanoma
Researchers at Dana-Farber report the first instance in which metastatic melanoma has been driven into remission by a targeted therapy.

Scientists discover new arenavirus associated with hemorrhagic fever
A team of Bolivian health authorities, US Navy health experts based in Lima, Peru, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized

Annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences
From April 26-29, the US National Academy of Sciences will hold its 145th annual meeting, at which new Academy members will be elected.

Duke scientists deconstruct process of bacterial division
Duke University researchers have made a major advance in understanding how bacteria divide.

The new shape of music
Three music professors -- Clifton Callender at Florida State University, Ian Quinn at Yale University and Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University -- have devised a new way of analyzing and categorizing music that takes advantage of the deep, complex mathematics they see enmeshed in its very fabric.

Plastic surgeons play pivotal role in war injury research
Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons will play a pivotal role over the next five years developing groundbreaking therapies to better treat US soldiers critically injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

RIT study: Sign language interpreters at high ergonomic risk
Sign language interpreting is one of the highest-risk professions for ergonomic injury, according to a new study conducted by Rochester Institute of Technology.

Tip sheet for International Seismology Research Conference
Excavating for clues to past earthquakes, tracking extreme ocean storms, glimpsing past Soviet nuclear testing, and more discussed as seismologists gather in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Study finds 1 in 5 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD or major depression
Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan -- 300,000 in all -- report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, yet only slight more than half have sought treatment.

Mice sense oxygen through their skin
Mice can sense oxygen through their skin. In fact, the study shows that the skin plays a major role in sensing oxygen levels in the environment and in stimulating the kidney's production of erythropoietin when oxygen concentrations drop.

Drug compound leads to death of ovarian cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy
In a discovery that may be useful for maintaining remission in chemo-resistant ovarian cancer, Yale scientists report that pre-clinical studies have shown the drug compound NV-128 can induce the death of ovarian cancer cells by halting the activation of a protein pathway called mTOR.

Fuzzy logic water quality
A fuzzy logic approach to analyzing water quality could help reduce the number of people in the developing world forced to drink polluted and diseased water for survival, according to a report in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management from Inderscience publishers.

Charting the epigenome
Until recently, the chemical marks littering the DNA inside our cells like trees dotting a landscape could only be studied one gene at a time.

Classical medical terminology can endanger patients
The limited and recycled vocabulary of dead languages used in medical terminology is confusing and has the potential to cause serious consequences for patients.

Inbred males' scent gives them away
Female mice can steer clear of inbred males on the basis of their scent alone.

Study in flies points to unisex brain
While males and females might sometimes act as though they come from different planets, a new study in flies suggests they are both equipped with a largely unisex brain.

New research shows no link between aromatase inhibitors and cardiovascular problems
New evidence has emerged that, contrary to some current fears, aromatase inhibitors are not associated with an increased risk of heart problems in women who take them to prevent their breast cancer recurring.

Migraine frequency linked with women's risk of cardiovascular disease
New research shows women who have weekly migraine are significantly more likely to have a stroke than those with fewer migraines or no migraine at all, but those with lower migraine frequency may face increased risk of heart attacks.

Self-repairing materials
When a person suffers a minor wound, the human body reacts to close the opening, sending the blood platelets needed to the affected area -- and with no need in many cases for any external coagulant substance to be employed.

Readily available treatment could help prevent heart disease in kidney patients
The estimated 19 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease face a high risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Mature B cells reprogrammed to stem-cell-like state
Fully differentiated mouse cells, such as mature B cells, can be reprogrammed to embryonic-stem-cell-like induced pluripotent stem cells, without the use of an egg.

Tiny magnets offer breakthrough in gene therapy for cancer
A revolutionary cancer treatment using microscopic magnets to enable 'armed' human cells to target tumours has been developed by researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Cutting through the stigma
Training community members such as barbers as peer educators can be an effective way of spreading information on HIV/AIDS throughout low-literacy, rural communities, say findings published this week in the open access journal Human Resources for Health.

Supermarkets' power desertifies our diets
A report published in the International Journal of Health Geographics shows that contrary to recent findings, food deserts can be found in cities.

New treatment for psoriasis is safe and effective
A new treatment for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis has proven safe and effective in a phase III trial.

Resolving international copyright
Publishers commonly profit from the creative works of their freelance contributors not only in the traditional print format, but increasingly digitally through websites, databases, and multimedia output and through syndication and sales to third parties publishers.

Massive regenerative medicine project aimed at battlefield injuries
A consortium spearheaded by the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been awarded $42.5 million over five years to co-lead one of two academic groups that will form the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

Baby boomer health care crisis looms; GSA bolsters call for stronger workforce
America's aging citizens are facing a health care workforce too small and unprepared to meet their needs, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine titled

Historic Soviet nuclear test site offers insights for today's nuclear monitoring
Newly published data from the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, the Soviet Union's primary nuclear weapons testing ground during the Cold War, can help today's atomic detectives fine-tune their monitoring of nuclear explosions around the world, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

Science takes aim at battlefield injury in massive project grant
The University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have been selected as co-leaders of a national $85 million program to use the science of regenerative medicine to develop new treatments for wounded soldiers.

Scientists obtain anti-cancer medicines from the elecampe, a wild plant growing in the Mediterranean
Researchers from the Department of Organic Chemistry of the University of Granada state that the plant can also be used for antimigraine drugs.

Rice and UT-Houston join DOD push for regenerative medicine
The Department of Defense today announced that Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston will spearhead the search for innovative ways to quickly grow large volumes of bone tissue for craniofacial reconstruction for soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Concentrating on different aspects of pain leads to breakthrough in migraine genetics
In a new study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers were able for the first time to convincingly demonstrate a genomic locus to be linked to migraine susceptibility in two diverse populations.

New chemotherapy combo produces side effects, but no extra efficacy, in early breast cancer patients
Adding capecitabine, a drug that inhibits DNA synthesis and slows the growth of tumor tissue, to docetaxel, in patients with early breast cancer, leads to more toxicities and does not improve the efficacy of treatment, a German scientist told the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference on Thursday.

Breastfeeding while taking seizure medicine does not appear to harm children
A first of its kind study finds breastfeeding while taking certain seizure medications does not appear to harm a child's cognitive development.

Depression stigma in the eye of the older beholder
Less-educated, older men are more likely to view depression negatively, while almost one in five Australians say they wouldn't work with someone suffering depression, according to researchers from The Australian National University. 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