Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 08, 2008
Breast asymmetry after cancer treatment affects quality of life, U-M study finds
Nearly one-third of women reported pronounced asymmetry between their breasts after breast cancer surgery, and that perceived disfigurement greatly affects a woman's quality of life after treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Alcoholism-associated molecular adaptations in brain neurocognitive circuits
Professor Georgy Bakalkin from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences of the Uppsala University, Sweden, will present a novel mechanism and understanding of cognitive deficit in human alcoholics.

Index used to predict atherosclerosis may improve accuracy of cardiovascular risk prediction
The ankle brachial index, a ratio of blood pressure measurements used to indicate the risk of peripheral artery disease and atherosclerosis, may be useful to improve the accuracy of cardiovascular risk prediction, according to a meta-analysis of previous studies, reported in the July 9 issue of JAMA.

Members of consumer-driven health plans choosing less care
Consumer-driven health plans -- hailed since their inception in 2000 as a tool to help control costs -- are resulting in members forgoing care and discontinuing drugs to treat chronic medical problems, according to two newly published studies.

Antihypertensive treatment on cognitive functions in Alzheimer's disease
Prof. Ingmar Skoog, a renowned Swedish researcher in neuroscience from Göteborg University, will present at the 21st ECNP Congress the latest findings about the effect of antihypertensive treatment on cognitive function and dementia and highlight a controversially discussed topic with broad impact on public health in all European countries: is there hope for the prevention of dementia?

Experts say slowing aging is way to fight diseases in 21st century
A group of aging experts report on that the best strategy for preventing and fighting a multitude of diseases is to focus on slowing the biological processes of aging.

Hematology-related training programs receive increased support
The American Society of Hematology is proud to announce the inaugural recipients of its Alternative Training Pathway Grant.

From foe to friend: Researchers use salmonella as a way to administer vaccines in the body
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have made a major step forward in their work to develop a biologically engineered organism that can effectively deliver an antigen in the body.

Orange County research program aims to improve severe trauma survival rates
A method of resuscitation for victims of severe traumatic injury will be the subject of a clinical trial to be undertaken by a team of Orange County emergency care providers.

Study finds that significant proportion of men told wife's cancer was incurable late or not at all
A study conducted in Sweden found that more than 40 percent of widowers in that country whose wives died from cancer four or five years earlier reported they were either never told that their spouse's cancer was incurable, or they heard this information during the last week of her life.

Duckweed genome sequencing has global implications
Three plant biologists at Rutgers' Waksman Institute of Microbiology are obsessed with duckweed, a tiny aquatic plant with an unassuming name.

IVF does not increase risk of developmental disorders in children
Couples who need IVF in order to become pregnant can be reassured that this will not lead to developmental problems in early infancy, a Dutch researcher, Dr.

Fish oil and red yeast rice studied for lowering blood cholesterol
In the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a group of researchers from Pennsylvania examine whether an alternative approach to treating high blood cholesterol may provide an effective treatment option for patients who are unable or unwilling to take statins.

UNC study ties ending moderate drinking to depression
Scientific evidence has long suggested that moderate drinking offers some protection against heart disease, certain types of stroke and some forms of cancer.

Recovery of long-term climate measurements
Geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites provide information for both weather prediction and long-term climate records.

Biofuels and biodiversity don't mix, ecologists warn
Rising demand for palm oil will decimate biodiversity unless producers and politicians can work together to preserve as much remaining natural forest as possible, ecologists have warned.

Viral complementation allows HIV-1 replication without integration, NYU Dental research shows
Weak HIV viruses piggyback onto stronger ones, raising the possibility that the human body may harbor many more HIV viruses capable of replicating and contributing to the development of AIDS than previously thought, a New York University College of Dentistry AIDS research team has found.

Senate resolution shines spotlight on the importance of soils
The Soil Science Society of America applauds the visionary action taken by Senator Sherrod Brown and his colleagues in the Senate who helped usher in legislation to recognize soils as an

Insect warning colors aid cancer and tropical disease drug discovery
Brightly colored beetles or butterfly larvae nibbling on a plant may signal the presence of chemical compounds active against cancer cell lines and tropical parasitic diseases, according to researchers at Smithsonian's Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Will our future brains be smaller?
New research from the University of Bristol, UK, has shown that the evolutionary pressures arising from the older, faster, but less accurate, part of the brain may have shaped the more recent development of the slower-acting but more precise cortex, found in humans and higher animals.

How the malaria parasite hijacks human red blood cells
A new study -- done on a scale an order of magnitude greater than anything previously attempted in the field of malaria -- has uncovered an arsenal of proteins produced by the malaria parasite that allows it to hijack and remodel human red blood cells, leaving the oxygen-carrying cells stiff and sticky.

Iowa State researchers study ground cover to reduce impact of biomass harvest
Iowa State University researchers are looking at ways to use ground cover, a living grass planted between the rows of corn, in production farming.

Iowa State researchers win R&D 100 Award for ethanol project
A research team led by Hans van Leeuwen, an Iowa State University professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, has been awarded a 2008 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine.

Protein marker for schizophrenia risk
A protein found in immune cells may be a reliable marker for schizophrenia risk, report researchers in a new proteomics study.

Improving swine waste fertilizer
Swine production generates large amounts of waste. While this waste contains nutrients that may serve as fertilizer when applied to agricultural fields, the ratio of nutrients in the waste is different than what a crop requires.

Children born from frozen embryos weigh more and do better than those born after fresh transfer
Children born after a frozen, thawed embryo has been replaced in the womb have higher birth weight than those born where fresh embryos were used, Danish scientists reported to the 24th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology on Tuesday.

Access to cancer care not affected by changes in doctors' reimbursement
The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which reduced the amount of money doctors are reimbursed for the delivery of chemotherapy treatments, has not harmed patients' access to care in the way critics feared it might, according to a new study, led by investigators from the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

A scientific study confirms the usefulness of art therapy to treat mental disease
Art therapy or therapy through art, a current started in the middle of the 20th century, uses visual arts with therapeutic purposes.

$1.85M US Army contract continues biologically-inspired system security research
The idea of detecting system damage stems from danger theory which describes the response of a vertebrate immune system when danger, an invader such as a virus, is detected.

USC School of Dentistry researchers uncover benefits of aspirin for treating osteoporosis
Researchers at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry have uncovered the health benefits of aspirin in the fight against osteoporosis.

Argyrin: Natural substance raises hope for new cancer therapies
The effective treatment of many forms of cancer continues to pose a major problem for medicine.

The ECNP consensus statement on bipolar depression
The renowned British researcher Guy M. Goodwin from the University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford will present at the 21st ECNP congress the recently published ECNP consensus statement on bipolar depression that provides an expert summary of state-of-the-art knowledge concerning all aspects of bipolar depression, and broader issues of bipolarity.

Trans-fatty acids and insulin sensitivity
Dietary research in rats suggests that trans-fats do not increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, which may ease at least one area of health concern for these compounds.

Protein on 'speed' linked to ADHD
A genetic change in the dopamine transporter, discovered in two brothers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, makes it behave as if amphetamine is present and

Superfast muscles in songbirds
Certain songbirds can contract their vocal muscles 100 times faster than humans can blink an eye -- placing the birds with a handful of animals that have evolved superfast muscles, University of Utah researchers found.

Kaiser Permanente study finds keeping a food diary doubles diet weight loss
Study of nearly 1,700 participants shows that keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss.

Can tomatoes carry the cure for Alzheimer's?
The humble tomato could be a suitable carrier for an oral vaccine against Alzheimer's disease, according to HyunSoon Kim from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology in Korea and colleagues from Digital Biotech Inc. and Wonkwang University.

Androgen deprivation therapy for localized prostate cancer not associated with improved survival
A therapy that involves depriving the prostate gland the male hormone androgen is not associated with improved survival for elderly men with localized prostate cancer, compared to conservative management of the disease, according to a study in the July 9 issue of JAMA.

Patients unaware of link between smoking and bladder cancer
Even though cigarette smoking accounts for up to half of all bladder cancer cases, few people are aware of the connection -- including more than three-quarters of patients who have bladder cancer, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The first autism disease genes
Professor Marion Leboyer of the Psychiatry Genetic Team INSERM and director of the specialized French research foundation for psychiatric disorders, Fondation FondaMental, Paris, will present at the 21st ECNP Congress the compelling neurobiological story of discovering the first autism genes.

Wake Forest researchers say popular fish contains potentially dangerous fatty acid combination
Farm-raised tilapia, one of the most highly consumed fish in America, has very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and, perhaps worse, very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Myostatin inhibitors may improve recovery of wartime limb injuries
Inhibiting a growth factor that keeps muscles from getting too big may optimize recovery of injured soldiers, researchers say.

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms do not substantially improve risk prediction for breast cancer
Recently identified genetic markers, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, that are associated with a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of breast cancer do not appear to substantially improve the accuracy of existing models that use clinical factors to predict an individual's risk, according to a study in the July 8 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Brain chemical shown to induce both desire and dread
The chemical dopamine induces both desire and dread, according to new animal research in the July 9 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Do we think that machines can think?
When our PC goes on strike again we tend to curse it as if it was a human.

New research reveals ultraviolet light therapy is as beneficial for darker skin as lighter skin
An analysis of more than 100 patients has confirmed for the first time that darker-skinned patients benefit as those with lighter skin when given light therapy for morphea and related diseases, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers show.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on novel hit-to-lead drug discovery
Biotech and pharmaceutical firms are developing a host of new technologies designed to streamline the complicated drug discovery process, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

Intervention needed for Asian mothers, babies
A major international study involving the University of Adelaide, Australia, has shown that intervention is needed in Southeast Asia to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies and prevent child and mother mortality.

Fossil feathers preserve evidence of color, say Yale scientists
The traces of organic material found in fossil feathers are remnants of pigments that once gave birds their color, according to Yale scientists whose paper in Biology Letters opens up the potential to depict the original coloration of fossilized birds and their ancestors, the dinosaurs.

Study points to cocktail therapy for Alzheimer's
A dietary cocktail that includes a type of omega-3 fatty acid can improve memory and learning in gerbils, according to the latest study from MIT researchers that points to a possible beverage-based treatment for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.

New study finds that some plants can adapt to widespread climate change
While many plant species move to a new location or go extinct as a result of climate change, grasslands clinging to a steep, rocky dale-side in Northern England seem to defy the odds and adapt to long-term changes in temperature and rainfall, according to a new study by scientists from Syracuse University and the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) published online in the July 7 issue of the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The way to a virus' 'heart' is through its enzymes
The arrival of bluetongue virus in the UK last year posed a major threat to the economy and the increasing temperatures of our changing climate mean it is here to stay.

Young women's breast cancers have more aggressive genes, worse prognosis
Young women's breast cancers tend to be more aggressive and less responsive to treatment than the cancers that arise in older women, and researchers at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy may have discovered part of the reason why: young women's breast cancers share unique genomic traits that the cancers in older women do not exhibit.

Higher education associated with greater gains in mortality reduction from common cancers
Deaths due to the four most common cancers have dropped substantially in the US from 1993 to 2001 in working-aged individuals.

Self-moisturizing contact lenses, naturally
Chemical engineering researchers at McMaster University have shown that a common fluid found in our bodies can be used as a natural moisturizing agent in contact lenses.

Deep sequencing study reveals new insights into human transcriptome
Deep sequencing of transcripts from two human cell lines revealed so far unrecognized complexity and variability of the human transcriptome.

Why musicians make us weep and computers don't
Music can soothe the savage breast much better if played by musicians rather than clever computers, according to a new University of Sussex-led study published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Slowing down the aging process -- the future of disease prevention?
Slowing the aging process would have a much greater benefit for people's health than traditional medical approaches that target individual disease, say experts on today.

UF McKnight Brain Institute director honored by Italian scientists
Officials from the Catholic University in Rome and the Gemelli University Polyclinic recognized the achievements of three international neuroscientists, including Dennis Steindler, executive director of the University of Florida's Evelyn F. and William L.

Sex really does get better with age
An increasing number of 70 year olds are having good sex and more often, and women in this age group are particularly satisfied with their sex lives, according to a study published today online.

Leading worldwide cause of cardiovascular disease may be modified by diet
A new article indicates that an increased intake in minerals such as potassium, and possibly magnesium and calcium by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Is paying people to look after their health money well spent?
Many countries increasingly use cash incentives to encourage disadvantaged people to look after their health, but is this money well spent, or just a temporary fix?

Failure of the 1st attempt at assisted reproduction justifies at least 1 additional cycle
Research into the effect of age and the number of times women undergo assisted reproduction technology (ART) shows that for younger women, the overwhelming majority achieve a pregnancy within the first two attempts, whereas women over the age of 40 had a more consistent, but lower, pregnancy rate of about 20 percent throughout their first four attempts.

Neurogenesis in the adult brain: The association with stress and depression
Professor Fuchs from the Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory, German Primate Center in Goettingen, will present at the 21st ECNP Congress the latest findings on how brain cells can be adversely affected by stress and depression.

UIC in NIH-funded islet transplantation study for type 1 diabetes
The University of Illinois at Chicago is one of 11 centers in the United States, Canada, Sweden and Norway to participate in the Clinical Islet Transplant Consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Research helps understand factors that influence efficiency of organic-based devices
Organic-based devices, such as organic light-emitting diodes, require a transparent conductive layer with a high work function, meaning it promotes injection of electron holes into an organic layer to produce more light.

Stepping up to the challenge: A tall order
Scientists have recently become interested in the biomechanics of a very unusual activity: skyscraper run-ups.

How intense will storms get? New model helps answer question
A new mathematical model indicates that dust devils, water spouts, tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones are all born of the same mechanism and will intensify as climate change warms the Earth's surface.

Leading worldwide cause of cardiovascular disease may be modified by diet
A new article indicates that an increased intake in minerals such as potassium, and possibly magnesium and calcium by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Pitt-led research provides insight into development of congenital circulatory defects
University of Pittsburgh-led researchers could provide new insight into how two common congenital circulatory problems -- aortic arch deformity and arteriovenous malformations -- develop in humans, as reported in the June 15 edition of Developmental Biology.

Scientists discover new reefs teeming with marine life in Brazil
New coral reef system discovered in Brazil doubles the size of Southern Atlantic Ocean's largest and most diverse reef system.

New grant encourages protected research time for medical fellows
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is proud to announce the first recipients of the ASH Research Training Award for Fellows, a new program that encourages junior researchers to pursue careers in academic hematology by supporting protected time to conduct research during their fellowship training.

Awareness of epidemiology's limitations could reduce impact of false-positive cancer results
False-positive results are an inherent risk in cancer research, particularly in observational studies.

Also in the July 8 JNCI
Also in the July 8 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are a randomized controlled trial looking at the rate of cancer in veterans with peripheral arterial disease who undergo regular blood drawing to lower iron levels; a study examining the rate of disenrollment from Medicare managed care following cancer diagnosis; and a study of the mechanisms by which cyclin A1 influences prostate cancer invasion and metastases.

Embryo biopsy does not affect early growth and risk of congenital malformations in PGD/PGS babies
A study of 70 singleton babies born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening has shown that the procedure does not adversely affect their early growth and risk of congenital malformations, according to research presented at the 24th annual meeting ot the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology on Tuesday.

21st Congress of the College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 2008, Spain
The 21st ECNP Congress, held from Aug. 30 to Sept.

Who dares sings and who sings wins: Bold birds get the girl
In a study published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE on July 9, László Garamszegiand colleagues at the University of Antwerp and at Eötvös University, Budapest used bird song as a model to investigate whether behavioral traits involved in sexual advertisement can serve as good indicators of personality in wild animals.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the July 9 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience: Dopamine transporter efflux in ADHD; Learning-induced gray-matter plasticity; Preventing programmed cell death in vivo; and Neurological effects of folate deficiency.

Elevated level of certain protein associated with increased risk for diabetes
Having a higher than normal level of fetuin-A, a protein produced in the liver and secreted into the blood stream, is associated with an increased risk of the development of diabetes, according to a study in the July 9 issue of JAMA.

Crop management: How small do we go?
The use of on-the-go crop and soil sensors has greatly increased the precision with which farmers can manage their crops.

Normal-looking sperm may have serious damage; scientists urge more care in selection
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where a single sperm is injected into an egg to fertilize it, is increasingly used to help infertile men father children.

Medicare Modernization Act not associated with major changes in access to chemotherapy
Despite concerns that reductions in physician reimbursements for outpatient chemotherapy related drugs as a result of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 would have a detrimental effect on patients requiring chemotherapy, new research indicates that there have not been major changes in travel distance and patient wait times for chemotherapy in the Medicare population since 2003, according to a study in the July 9 issue of JAMA.

Male cyclists risk sexual problems if they don't choose the right bike
Cycling may seem like a healthy and environmentally friendly pastime, but men who choose the wrong bike could be heading for a range of sexual and health problems, including erection difficulties.

Does a gene variant make women more prone to alcoholism?
A particular gene variant might make women more susceptible to alcoholism.

Size of a woman's uterus can predict whether she is at risk of having very premature twins after IVF
Using ultrasound to measure the height of a woman's uterus is a good way to predict whether or not she is at risk of having babies born prematurely if she becomes pregnant with twins after IVF, according to new research presented at the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Pocket-sized magnetic resonance imaging
The term MRI scan brings to mind the gigantic, expensive machines that are installed in hospitals.

Improving computer memory, solar cells goal of UH chemist
A high-tech breakthrough in solar cells and flash drives may just come down to good old-fashioned pencil and paper calculations, says an award-winning young chemist at the University of Houston.

Liver protein associated with type 2 diabetes in older adults
The presence of a protein expressed by the liver which inhibits insulin action may identify individuals more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a new study led by a researcher from the UCSD School of Medicine, to be published July 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

US EPA, UVM's Gund Institute team up to develop new ways to understand ecosystem services
A new partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development and the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont will help decision makers more accurately determine the costs and benefits of actions that alter ecosystem services -- the goods and services of nature such as clean air and water, erosion and flood control, soil enrichment, and food and fiber.

MIT reports finer lines for microchips
MIT researchers have achieved a significant advance in nanoscale lithographic technology, used in the manufacture of computer chips and other electronic devices, to make finer patterns of lines over larger areas than have been possible with other methods.

Older workforce requires variety of recruitment strategies
Employers globally are facing challenges and needs posed by baby-boom generation employees.

Pandemic mutations in bird flu revealed
Scientists have discovered how bird flu adapts in patients, offering a new way to monitor the disease and prevent a pandemic, according to research published in the August issue of the Journal of General Virology.

Bake, bake, bake a bone
Individual bone implants whose structure resembles that of the natural bone can now be produced quite easily.

UAB joins elite brain cancer research group
The Ivy Genomics-Based Medicine Project is designed to improve treatment for malignant brain tumors by striving to unravel the genetic differences between gliomas.

Super-fast vocal muscles control song production in songbirds
Songbirds use complex song to communicate with one another. Many species are able to modulate sound faster than ordinary vertebrate muscles are able to contract.

Antidepressants in suicide prevention
Professor Erkki Isometsä, a renowned expert in psychiatric suicide research from the University of Helsinki, Finland, will present the state of evidence and critically comment on the current discussion concerning this topic with regard to the role of antidepressive treatment in real-life clinical practice. 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