Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 09, 2008
Hox genes control the path of neurons responsible for development of the nervous system
In a new paper published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, authors Filippo Rijli and colleagues demonstrate that pontine neuron migration in mice is controlled by specific Hox genes.

Climate change hastens extinction in Madagascar's reptiles and amphibians
New research provides the first detailed study showing that global warming forces species to move up tropical mountains as their habitats shift upward.

Poor sleep quality and insomnia associated with suicidal symptoms among college students
Poor sleep quality and insomnia are significantly associated with suicidal symptoms among college undergraduates.

Children with high risk for a sleep-related breathing disorder are more likely to have anxiety
Children with high risk for a sleep-related breathing disorder are more likely to have anxiety.

Tell me by the way I walk
Biometrics is commonly associated retinal scans, iris recognition and DNA databases, but researchers in India are working on another form of biometrics that could allow law enforcement agencies and airport security to recognize suspects based on the way they were, their characteristic gait.

Eating fish and foods with omega-3 fatty acids linked to lower risk of age-related eye disease
Eating fish and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced risk of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration, according to a meta-analysis of nine previously published studies in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

USC study established weight gain as main factor in falling beta cell function in Hispanic women
A study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that weight gain was the strongest factor associated with falling beta cell function in Hispanic women, a condition that often leads to diabetes.

MicroRNA controls expression of oncogenes
A new study demonstrates that microRNAs can modulate the expression of well known tumor-specific oncogenic translocation proteins and may play a significant role in some human cancers.

More marital happiness = less sleep complaints
Marital happiness may lower the risk of sleep problems in Caucasian women, while marital strife may heighten the risk.

High-dose immunosuppressant drug may reduce disability in MS patients
Treatment with high doses of the immunosuppressant drug cyclophosphamide appears to reduce disease activity and disability in individuals with aggressive multiple sclerosis, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the August 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Potential biomarkers for pancreatic cancer identified
In a new study in PLoS Medicine, Samir Hanash and colleagues from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle report the identification of proteins that appear in increased numbers at an early stage of pancreatic tumor development in a mouse model and may be a useful tool in detecting early tumors in humans.

'Report cards' don't reflect preventable bypass deaths
The study assessed quality of care at the hospital level by analyzing in-hospital deaths after coronary artery bypass surgery to determine the proportion that were potentially preventable.

OSA patients heavily weigh psychological factors before deciding whether to adhere to CPAP
Psychological factors, rather than disease severity and objective physiological indices, are most important in a patient's decision to adhere to continuous positive airway pressure therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

African-American veterans are less likely to adhere to CPAP than caucasian or Asian veterans
African-American war veterans are significantly less likely to adhere to continuous positive airway pressure than Caucasian or Asian veterans.

War vets with insomnia prefer a combination of pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments
A combination of pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment for insomnia may be preferred among Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom war veterans.

Managing noncommunicable diseases in Africa: What can we learn from TB control?
Noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, epilepsy and mental illness, are becoming a major burden in sub-Saharan Africa but are often poorly managed in routine health care settings, say Anthony Harries from the Malawi Ministry of Health and colleagues in this week's PLoS Medicine.

USC physician Anne L. Peters receives American Diabetes Association's Distinguished Clinician Award
The American Diabetes Association, the nation's leading voluntary health organization in the fight against diabetes, announced today that Anne L.

Stem cell discovery sheds light on placenta development
By manipulating a specific gene in a mouse blastocyst -- the structure that develops from a fertilized egg but is not yet an actual embryo -- scientists with the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute caused cells destined to build an embryo to instead change direction and build the cell mass that leads to the placenta.

ATV study to improve fit, safety among kids
The University of Kentucky is conducting a first-ever study of its kind to analyze all-terrain vehicle safety, particularly in children.

Prevent a bone break, drink milk to boost calcium
Boosting calcium intake by drinking milk could reduce healthy adults' chances of a debilitating bone break.

Students with a delayed school start time sleep longer, report less daytime sleepiness
High school students with a delayed school start time are more likely to take advantage of the extra time in bed, and less likely to report daytime sleepiness.

Lost in translation
Many people struggle to understand the complexities of genetic problems in pregnancy and find medical language difficult to understand, particularly when faced with major decisions such as whether to terminate a pregnancy.

Sleepy driving highly prevalent among college students
A high prevalence of sleepy driving is reported among college students.

Combining radiation and surgery significantly improves survival for head and neck cancer patients
Adding radiation therapy to surgery significantly improves overall survival in patients diagnosed with node-positive head and neck cancer when compared to treating with surgery alone, according to a study in the June issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Mercury contamination found in stranded Victorian dolphins
Research by honors student Alissa Monk has revealed high mercury levels may be a contributing factor to dolphin deaths in Victorian waterways.

Who shalt not kill? Brain power leads to level-headedness when faced with moral dilemmas
Should a sergeant sacrifice a wounded private on the battlefield in order to save the rest of his troops?

EPA scientists recognized with prestigious honor
The US Environmental Protection Agency presented 55 prestigious Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards to more than 300 scientists in EPA's research centers, laboratories, and program offices.

Promising advances in islet cell transplants for diabetes
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have modified the procedure for islet cell transplantation and achieved insulin independence in diabetes patients with fewer but better-functioning pancreatic islet cells.

Interfering with the Global Positioning System
Recent research reveals new aspects of how upper-atmospheric electrical activity disrupts GPS signals.

2collab survey reveals that scientists and researchers are 'all business' with social applications
2collab surveyed science, medical and technical information professionals working in academia and government institutions to establish exactly what influence new Web applications are having on the way scientific research is conducted.

Racial disparities in diabetes outcomes widespread across individual physicians
Primary care physicians caring for patients with diabetes have worse outcomes among their black patients than their white patients, reports a study conducted by Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and published in the June 9, 2008, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Excessive drinking and relapse rapidly cut in new approach
Boosting the level of a specific brain protein quickly cut excessive drinking of alcohol in a new animal study at UCSF, and also prevented relapse -- the common tendency found in sober alcoholics to easily return to heavy drinking after just one glass.

MIT: Stripes key to nanoparticle drug delivery
In work that could at the same time impact the delivery of drugs and explain a biological mystery, MIT engineers have created the first synthetic nanoparticles that can penetrate a cell without poking a hole in its protective membrane and killing it.

Men with vitamin D deficiency may have increased risk of heart attack
Low levels of vitamin D appear to be associated with higher risk of myocardial infarction in men, according to a report in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Solid tumor cells not killed by radiation and chemotherapy become stronger
Because of the way solid tumors adapt the body's machinery to bring themselves more oxygen, chemotherapy and radiation may actually make these tumors stronger.

USC study finds fat mass and obesity assoicated genes increased risk of disease in Mexican-Americans
A study from the University of Southern California suggests people of Mexican-American descent who have genetic variants of fat gene FTO and Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) had higher triglyceride and lower HDL levels.

Missing protein in Fragile X Syndrome is key to transporting signals within neurons
A team of scientists has discovered new information about how Fragile X Syndrome interferes with signaling between the nucleus of neurons and the synapse, the outer reaches of the neuron where two neurons communicate via chemical and electrical signals.

For hurricanes, storms, raindrop size makes all the difference
When Tropical Storm Gaston hit Richmond, Va., in August 2004, its notable abundance of small and mid-sized raindrops created torrential rains that led to unexpected flash flooding throughout the city and its suburbs.

Potential dangers faced by narcoleptics who use nicotine outlined in new abstract
This research abstract provides the first description of nicotine use by narcolepsy patients.

Women worrying about cancer are more likely to experience sleep disturbances
A significant number of women worrying about cancer may be experiencing sleep disturbances, even without a breast cancer diagnosis.

Mixing and matching genes to keep nerve cells straight
With fewer than 30,000 human genes with which to work, Nature has to mix and match to generate the myriad types of neurons or nerve cells needed to assemble the brain and nervous system.

Sleep variables affecting school performance are different with each educational level
While disordered sleep has a negative effect on a student academically, the sleep variables affecting school performance are different by educational level.

ACP pledges support for Medicare improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008
The 125,000-member American College of Physicians today pledged its support for enactment of S.

Novel therapeutic strategy for colon cancer treatment
Genetic and epigenetic defects in signaling of protein called Wnt/β-catenin, which is often found to be abnormally activated in human malignance, play important roles in colorectal cancer development.

Study finds Chinese food good for your heart
A clinical study on patients who have suffered a heart attack found that a partially purified extract of Chinese red yeast rice, Xuezhikang, reduced the risk of repeat heart attacks by 45 percent, revascularization (bypass surgery/angioplasty), cardiovascular mortality and total mortality by one-third and cancer mortality by two-thirds.

Poor sleep a problem in long-term breast cancer survivors
A research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, finds that poor sleep is a problem in long-term breast cancer survivors.

Morther's obesity a factor in newborn deaths for blacks, not whites, new study reports
While maternal obesity appears to have no impact on the early survival of infants born to white women, the situation is different for black women, researchers report in the June 2008 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Sun goes longer than normal without producing sunspots
The sun has been laying low for the past couple of years, producing no sunspots and giving a break to satellites.

WPI to host international workshop on location technology for wireless communications
Leaders in wireless location technology from industry and academia will gather at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on June 16-17, 2008, for the inaugural International Workshop on Opportunistic RF Localization for Next Generation Wireless Devices.

Good dental hygiene may help prevent heart infection
Avoiding dental disease is important for patients at risk of infective endocarditis.

Diabetes medication associated with slower progression of retina disease
Patients with diabetes who take the medication rosiglitazone may be less likely to develop the eye disease proliferative diabetic retinopathy or to experience reductions in visual acuity, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

TB treatment for the elderly likely requires a boost to immune response
Manipulating the immune system in elderly people appears to be the most likely way to help older patients wage an effective battle against tuberculosis, a new study suggests.

Elsevier launches Bioscience Hypotheses
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce the publication of Bioscience Hypotheses.

Insomnia significantly affects the school performance of college students
Insomnia complaints among college students are significantly associated with a decline in school performance based on self-reported grade-point average.

Ethical implications of modifying lethal injection protocols
A team of medical, ethical and legal scholars argues in this week's PLoS Medicine that in some US states the modification of lethal injection protocols is tantamount to experimentation upon prisoners without the prisoners' consent and without any ethical safeguards.

Racial disparities exist among diabetes patients treated by the same physician
Black patients with diabetes are less likely than white patients to achieve long-term control of their blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, even when they are treated by the same physician, according to a report in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

World's oldest woman had normal brain
A 115-year-old woman who remained mentally alert throughout her life had an essentially normal brain, with little or no evidence of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the August issue of Neurobiology of Aging.

Cancer incidence and mortality in young people decreases with increasing deprivation
Results of research into the associations between cancer and socio-economic deprivation and affluence have shown that, in contrast to cancers in older people, the numbers of new cases and deaths from the disease in teenagers and young adults decrease with increasing deprivation.

Postpartum mothers of twins have significant sleep restriction, depressive symptoms
Postpartum mothers of twins have significant sleep restriction and depressive symptoms.

Watson-inspired innovation in research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
In a new book,

Nurses with adverse work schedules have poor sleep, which can affect their work performance
Sleep quality and quantity among nurses is negatively influenced by adverse work schedules and additional home demands.

Ongoing study continues to show that extra sleep improves athletic performance
Extending their sleep to 10 hours per day enabled Stanford swimmers to improve their 15-meter sprint times, reaction times, turn times and kick strokes.

Reduced sleep on school nights begins in early adolescence
The trend for delays and reductions of school-night sleep begins early in adolescence, even with delayed school start times.

Video game technology may help surgeons operate on beating hearts
To do complex cardiac repairs while the heart is still beating, surgeons need images that show depth -- especially when navigating inside the hearts of children and newborns.

RNA induction of an epigenetic hereditary pathology
A new study shows that microinjection of RNA molecules into mouse embryos induces a hereditary form of cardiac hypertrophy that is similar to human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

A 'field guide' to the landscape of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
A new book,

Morningness a predictor of better grades in college
Morningness is a predictor of better grades in college.

Persistent man-made chemical pollutants found in deep-sea octopods and squids
New evidence that chemical contaminants are finding their way into the deep-sea food web has been found in deep-sea squids and octopods, including the strange-looking

Microenvironment a main driver of aggressive multi-lineage leukemia disease type
Research led by scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has revealed new clues into what causes different types of a particularly aggressive group of blood cancers known as mixed lineage leukemias (MLL) and how the disease might be treated, according to a study in the June 9 issue of Cancer Cell.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- June 4, 2008
The American Chemical Society's News Service Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Study shows how cocaine impairs fetal brain development
Exposure of the developing brain to cocaine can cause neurological and behavioral abnormalities in babies born to mothers who use the drug during pregnancy.

Researchers block transmission of malaria in animal tests
By disrupting the potassium channel of the malaria parasite, a team of researchers has been able to prevent new malaria parasites from forming in mosquitoes and has thereby broken the cycle of infection during recent animal tests.

Poor sleep can affect a student's grades, increase emotional, behavioral disturbance
Insufficient sleep among adolescents may not only contribute to lower grades and a lack of motivation, but may also increase the odds of serious levels of emotional and behavioral disturbances, including ADHD.

How the brain separates audio signals from noise
How are we able to follow a single conversation in the midst of a crowded and noisy room?

Livermore researchers use carbon nanotubes for molecular transport
Molecular transport across cellular membranes is essential to many of life's processes, for example electrical signaling in nerves, muscles and synapses.

Maternal depression, breastfeeding and a lower socioeconomic status can affect infants' sleep
Maternal depression during pregnancy, breastfeeding and a lower socioeconomic status are all associated with less infant sleep duration in the first six months of life.

More sensitive radiology monitoring in the Basque Country
Networks for radiological monitoring are designed to monitor radioactivity levels in the environment and detect possible incidents.

Children with depressive, anxiety disorders have more sleep problems
For some children, sleep problems may result purely from poor sleep habits and inadequate sleep hygiene.

Nurses working overnight support the need for a restorative nap during the night shift
A research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, identifies a number of personal health, safety, and patient care issues that support the need for a restorative nap during the night shift among nurses.

Socioeconomic factors predict CPAP adherence
Higher neighborhood socioeconomic factors and social support are independently related to improved continuous positive airway pressure adherence.

IEEE-USA Innovation Forum designed for high-tech professionals
The IEEE-USA Innovation Institute, created to help high-tech professionals improve their innovation skills, will host its second Innovation Forum at the Westin Waltham Boston in Waltham, Mass., on June 10-12.

New research refutes myth of pure Scandinavian race
A team of forensic scientists at the University of Copenhagen has studied human remains found in two ancient Danish burial grounds dating back to the iron age, and discovered a man who appears to be of Arabian origin.

Internet, tolerance spark change in urban gay communities
Gay communities -- such as clubs, bars, events and neighborhoods -- appear to be changing worldwide in light of several key factors, including Internet dating and achievement of civil rights, according to new University of Minnesota research.

College students involved in extracurricular activities are more likely to have sleep deprivation
College students involved in extracurricular activities are more likely to have sleep deprivation and be sleepy during the daytime, which can negatively affect their academic performance.

Arsenic and new rice
Amid recent reports of dangerous levels of arsenic being found in some baby rice products, scientists have found a protein in plants that could help to reduce the toxic content of crops grown in environments with high levels of this poisonous metal.

Outing the outliers: Strategy matches oncogene with subtype of prostate cancer
A new study reveals a previously unidentified candidate oncogene that appears to play a significant role in a subset of prostate cancers.

Antibiotics can prevent wound complications of childbirth, Stanford/Packard study finds
A single dose of antibiotics can significantly aid healing of the severe tearing that occurs in vaginal tissues during many births, according to researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, the Stanford University School of Medicine and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

UVA researchers make pivotal breakthrough in alcohol addiction treatment
Remarkably, and for the first time, addiction experts led by a University of Virginia Health System team report the results of a clinical trial whereby an effective therapeutic medication, topiramate, not only decreases heavy drinking but also diminishes the physical and psychosocial harm caused by alcohol dependence.

USC study shows belly fat may affect liver function
A study by the University of Southern California suggests the release of lipids from abdominal fat, which drains directly to the liver, increases overnight, providing additional insight as to how abdominal fat is associated with type 2 diabetes risk.

Organizers of cancer clinical trials are neglecting teenagers and young adults
Teenagers and young adults with cancer are being failed by medical researchers who are not designing clinical trials with the 13-24 age group in mind and who are not recruiting sufficient numbers of young people to those trials that do exist, according to new figures announced on Monday.

Domoic acid from toxic algal blooms may cause seizures in California sea lions
Scientists, reporting in the current issue of the online journal Marine Drugs, state that an increase of epileptic seizures and behavioral abnormalities in California sea lions can result from low-dose exposure to domoic acid as a fetus.

Researchers identify biomarkers of early-stage pancreatic cancer in mice and man
A multi-center team of researchers has identified a panel of proteins linked to early development of pancreatic cancer in mice that applies also to early stages of the disease in humans -- a breakthrough that brings scientists a significant step closer to developing a blood test to detect the disease early, when cure rates are highest.

Rutgers researchers show how the brain can protect against cancer
Researchers at Rutgers hypothesized that beta-endorphin peptide producing neurons do not just make us feel good, but also play roles in regulating the stress response and immune functions to control tumor growth and progression.

Gene variation linked to earlier onset of Alzheimer's symptoms
Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a genetic variation associated with an earlier age of onset in Alzheimer's disease.

News tips from ACS Nano
Highlights from the American Chemical Society journal, ACS Nano, are now available on EurekAlert!.

Bright light therapy may improve nocturnal sleep in mothers
Bright light therapy may improve a mother's nocturnal sleep, decrease daytime sleepiness and be beneficial to her well-being.

Mechanism may explain aspects of brain impairment seen in Fragile X Syndrome
Scientists report that a protein associated with a common form of mental retardation plays an important role in intracellular trafficking within neurons.

Prejudice or perception? New U of T research
Expecting to be treated with prejudice may be part of a self-fulfilling prophecy, according to new research led by a University of Toronto psychologist.

U-M researchers discover traits of aggressive form of prostate cancer
Researchers led by a team at the University of Michigan Health System have identified traits of an aggressive type of prostate cancer that occurs in about 10 percent of men who have the disease.

Argonne-University of Chicago joint venture bolsters genomic sequencing capabilities
The Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology, a joint venture of the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, has acquired two new instruments that provide an enhanced ability to sequence genomes more quickly and broadly.

Family history and screening for colorectal cancer
A new study indicates that African-Americans with a family history of colorectal cancer are less likely to be screened than African-Americans at average risk for the disease.

ADHD an advantage for nomadic tribesmen?
A propensity for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might be beneficial to a group of Kenyan nomads, according to new research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Report confirms drilling, not earthquake, caused Java mud volcano
A two-year-old mud volcano which is still spewing huge volumes of mud, has displaced more than 30,000 people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage was caused by the drilling of a gas exploration well, an international team of scientists has concluded.

Sleep extension improves alertness and performance during and following subsequent sleep restriction
One week of sleep extension improves resilience during subsequent sleep restriction, and facilitated recovery thereafter, showing that nightly sleep duration exerts long-term effects.

Specialist nurses can play a key role in supporting patients having radiotherapy
Nurse specialists can play a key role in supporting cancer patients having radiotherapy and ease pressure on consultants without reducing the level of care provided.

Midlife smokers may have worse memory than non-smokers
Smoking appears to be associated with increased risk of poor memory among middle-age adults, according to a report in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New catfish species named for museum mail supervisor
He's not well known like President Bush and musician Neil Young, but Philadelphian Frank Gallagher now has something in common with them: He has a new species named after him.

Excessive mobile phone use affects sleep in teens
Teenagers who excessively use their cell phone are more prone to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress and fatigue.

An Australian-led diabetes study shows intensive glucose control reduces serious complications
An Australian-led global study, the largest of its kind, has found that the risk of developing serious kidney disease and other complications amongst our 1.2 million people living with diabetes can be significantly reduced by intensively lowering blood glucose levels beyond what is currently standard practice.

Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy
Children of mothers who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight at age seven, say researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Parents spending any part of the night with their infants report poor sleep
Parental adaptation to infant sleep was poorer when infants spent any part of the night with their parents, even when parents endorsed bedsharing.

Phase 3 results for alogliptin
Results from five pivotal phase 3 studies of alogliptin, which has been shown to be a highly selective inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), were announced at the ADA 68th Scientific Sessions.

Beyond Traditional Borders sends more Rice U. undergrads to Africa
Rice University's global health initiative Beyond Traditional Borders is sending 17 students to Africa, the Caribbean and Central America this summer to combat health problems like HIV/AIDS. 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