Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 24, 2008
Region hit hard by 1993 floods showed economic resiliency, study indicates
With the first wave of clean-up efforts behind them, residents of communities affected by this year's Midwest floods may find hope in a University of Illinois study on the economic impact of the 1993 flood that devastated much of the same region.

NIAID announces revised priorities for HIV vaccine research
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, is reshaping its research enterprise to broaden HIV vaccine discovery activities.

Make your own microfluidic device with new kit from U-M
A type of device called a

Early cessation of breastfeeding by HIV+ women in poor countries and child survival
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health find that abrupt cessation of breastfeeding by HIV+ mothers after the first four months of life did not result in any statistically significant benefit to infants in terms of HIV-free survival at 24 months, compared to those infants who were weaned at an average of 16 months of age.

The quiet explosion
Astronomers are providing hints that a recent supernova may not be as normal as initially thought.

Consortium develops new method to manipulate genetic material
A multi-institutional team of researchers, including scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School, have developed a powerful tool for genomic research and medicine.

Novel structure proteins could play a role in apoptosis
Isoforms from a new family of genes called novel structure proteins could be involved in apoptosis or programmed cell death.

Why play a losing game? Study uncovers why low-income people buy lottery tickets
Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them -- especially low-income people, who spend a greater percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than the wealthier segments of society.

Prevailing theory of aging challenged in Stanford worm study
Age may not be rust after all. Specific genetic instructions drive aging in worms, report researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Extended-dose nevirapine could protect infants of HIV-infected mothers from contracting the virus
A regimen of extended-dose nevirapine could reduce the risk of infants of HIV-infected mothers contracting the virus, and a long course of such treatment could be effective where access to affordable and safe replacement feeding is not yet available.

If Swiss non-infectiousness statement led to condom use stopping, HIV infections could quadruple
A recent statement from the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV/AIDS stated that people with HIV receiving effective antiretroviral treatment cannot transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partner through sexual contact.

Research says fat friends and poor education helps people think thin
Research by economists finds that people are subconsciously influenced by the weight of those around them.

New study of gene evolution could lead to better understanding of neurodegenerative disease
Genetic evolution is strongly shaped by genes' efforts to prevent or tolerate errors in the production of proteins, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have found.

UC Santa Barbara chemist goes nano with CoQ10
If Bruce Lipshutz has his way, you may soon be buying bottles of water brimming with the life-sustaining coenzyme CoQ10 at your local Costco.

Adult stem cells activated in mammalian brain
Adult stem cells originate in a different part of the brain than is commonly believed, and with proper stimulation they can produce new brain cells to replace those lost to disease or injury, a study by UC Irvine scientists has shown.

Population policy needed for the UK in order to combat climate change
The biggest contribution UK couples can make to combating climate change would be to have only two children or at least have one less than they first intended, argues an editorial published on BMJ.com today.

Cow power could generate electricity for millions
Converting livestock manure into a domestic renewable fuel source could generate enough electricity to meet up to three percent of North America's entire consumption needs and lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to US research published today, Thursday, July 24, in the Institute of Physics' Environmental Research Letters.

Circadian rhythm-metabolism link discovered
UC Irvine researchers have found a molecular link between circadian rhythms -- our own body clock -- and metabolism.

Material may help autos turn heat into electricity
Researchers have invented a new material that will make cars even more efficient, by converting heat wasted through engine exhaust into electricity.

Limiting fructose may boost weight loss, UT Southwestern researcher reports
One of the reasons people on low-carbohydrate diets may lose weight is that they reduce their intake of fructose, a type of sugar that can be made into body fat quickly, according to a researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Researchers identify gene responsible for rare childhood disease
The chromosomal abnormality that causes a rare, but often fatal, disorder that affects infants has been identified by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who happened to treat two young children with the disease in San Diego -- two of perhaps a dozen children in the entire country diagnosed with the disorder.

Studies conclude impurity in Roche's Viracept did not increase patients' risk of cancer
Studies assessed by European health authority conclude that impurity in Roche's Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate) did not increase patients' risk of cancer.

Lenses galore -- Hubble finds large sample of very distant galaxies
New Hubble Space Telescope observations of six spectacular galaxy clusters acting as gravitational lenses have given significant insights into the early stages of the Universe.

Scientists break record by finding northernmost hydrothermal vent field
Inside the Arctic Circle, scientists have found black smoker vents farther north than anyone has ever seen before.

Fully updated climate change book by Scripps researcher now available from AMS
A comprehensive and up-to-date account of climate change science by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego climate scientist Richard Somerville is now available from the American Meteorological Society.

How cigarette smoke negatively impacts the consequences of viral infections
A new study in mice has provided mechanistic insight into why viral infections have more severe consequences in individuals exposed to cigarette smoke than in those not exposed to cigarette smoke (e.g., influenza-infected smokers have increased mortality that influenza-infected nonsmokers).

Polarized sunglasses see black hole disks
For the first time astronomers have found a way to get a clean view of the elusive disks of matter surrounding supermassive black holes.

Imiquimod, an immune response modifier, is dependent on the OGF-OGFr signaling pathway
Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania have discovered that the efficacy of imiquimod, a clinically important immune response modifier with potent antiviral and anti-tumor activity, is dependent on the opioid growth factor receptor axis for its action.

A new cellular pathway linked to cancer is identified by NYU researchers
In the life of a cell, the response to DNA damage determines whether the cell is fated to pause and repair itself, commit suicide, or grow uncontrollably, a route leading to cancer.

Hyperactive immune resistance brings blindness in old age
Opthalmologists at the University Clinic in Bonn, working in cooperation with researchers from Göttingen, Regensburg and Great Britain, have now, for the first time, demonstrated that in cases of senile blindness the patient's immune resistance is hyperactive throughout his entire body.

Mindfulness meditation slows progression of HIV, study shows
Researchers at UCLA report that engaging in the practice of mindfulness meditation stopped the decline of CD4 T immune cells in stressed HIV-positive patients, thus slowing the progression of the disease.

£28.5M investment for groundbreaking new research facility
A groundbreaking new research facility is planned to enable unprecedented understanding of how economic, social and biological factors combine to shape human behavior.

Energy drinks linked to risk-taking behaviors among college students
Over the last decade, energy drinks -- such as Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar -- have become nearly ubiquitous on college campuses.

Shielding for ambitious neutron experiment
In order to track down the origin of material and antimaterial in the universe, a European research group is measuring the power of the electrical dipole moment of neutrons, which represents a measure for the different physical properties of material and antimaterial.

Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association accepted for coverage in MEDLINE
Elsevier and the Alzheimer's Association announced that Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association has been selected for inclusion in MEDLINE.

Various species' genes evolve to minimize protein production errors
Scientists at Harvard University and the University of Texas at Austin have found that genetic evolution is strongly shaped by genes' efforts to prevent or tolerate errors in protein production.

Older people may need less sleep, study finds
Along with all the other changes that come with age, healthy older people also lose some capacity for sleep, according to a new report published online on July 24 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Researchers unravel key mechanism of cellular damage in aging and disease
Researchers have taken a first snapshot of how a class of highly reactive molecules inflicts cellular damage as part of aging, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and Alzheimer's disease to name a few.

Plant steroids offer new paradigm for how hormones work
Steroids bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development in plant cells is far more complicated than in human and animal cells.

Gummy bears that fight plaque
The tooth-protecting sugar substitute xylitol has been incorporated into gummy bears to produce a sweet snack that may prevent dental problems.

Diversity in primary schools promotes harmony
For the first time, children as young as 5 have been shown to understand issues regarding integration and separation.

Electron microscopy enters the picometer scale
Juelich scientists have succeeded in precisely measuring atomic spacings down to a few picometers using new methods in ultrahigh-resolution electron microscopy.

Giving an additional early vaccination may reduce measles outbreaks
Outbreaks of measles in developing countries may be reduced by vaccinating infants at 4.5 months of age as well as at the World Health Organization's recommended routine vaccination at 9 months, according to a study published on BMJ.com today.

GOCE prepares for shipment to Russia
Launching in just two months' time, GOCE -- now fully reconfigured for launch in September, is currently being prepared for shipment on July 29, 2008, from ESA's test facilities in the Netherlands to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

JCI table of contents: July 24, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published July 24, 2008, in the JCI:

HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean
An editorial in this week's HIV Special Issue of the Lancet showcases the forthcoming International AIDS conference in Mexico.

Neurotherapeutics presents special issue on new treatments for Alzheimer's disease
The editors of Neurotherapeutics are pleased and proud to announce their July issue, devoted to

Study: No gender differences in math performance
We've all heard it. Many of us in fact believe it.

Study shows residents may benefit most from time in the clinic
A new approach to internal medicine residency training could improve patient care and physician-patient relationships, according to a University of Cincinnati study.

Life expectancy of HIV patients has increased by 13 years in era of combination antiretroviral drugs
Improvements in and long-term effectiveness of combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected patients in high income countries have seen life expectancy increase by some 13 years from 1996-99 to 2003-05, and an accompanying drop in mortality of nearly 40 percent in the same period.

UI and ISU establish shared DNA sequencing instrumentation
UI and ISU establish shared DNA sequencing instrumentation.

Missing link found between circadian clock and metabolism
Two new research studies have discovered a long sought molecular link between our metabolism and components of the internal clock that drives circadian rhythms, keeping us to a roughly 24-hour schedule.

Consortium develops new method enabling routine targeted gene modification
A multi-institutional team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has developed a powerful new tool for genomic research and medicine -- a robust method for generating synthetic enzymes that can target particular DNA sequences for inactivation or repair.

Mate or hibernate? That's the question worm pheromones answer
Scientists from the University of Florida, Cornell University, the California Institute of Technology and the US Department of Agriculture have discovered the first mating pheromone in one of science's most well-studied research subjects, the tiny worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

Watching a 'new star' make the Universe dusty
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, and its remarkable acuity, astronomers were able for the first time to witness the appearance of a shell of dusty gas around a star that had just erupted, and follow its evolution for more than 100 days.

Effect of microstructure on the coercivity of HDDR Nd-Fe-B permanent magnetic alloy
The School of Physics, Shandong University, has shown that the coercivity mechanism of HDDR Nd-Fe-B permanent magnetic alloy is greatly related to its microstructure defect at the grain boundary.

Telescope embedded in glasses lens promises to make driving easier for visually impaired
Glasses embedded with a telescope promise to make it easier for people with impaired vision to drive and do other activities requiring sharper distance vision.

USP headquarters named Best Biotech
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention today announces that its new headquarters has been honored by the Maryland/DC Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties as the Best BioTech Building in the region.

Yale study shows why cigarette smoke makes flu, other viral infections worse
A new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine could explain why the cold and flu virus symptoms that are often mild and transient in non-smokers can seriously sicken smokers.

Scientists solve 30-year-old aurora borealis mystery
UCLA space scientists have identified the mechanism that triggers substorms in space; wreaks havoc on satellites, power grids and communications systems; and leads to the explosive release of energy that causes the spectacular brightening of the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.

Joy Luck Club: The health benefits of daughters-in-law
In a new twist on the Confucian ideal of filial piety, a study finds that the assistance of daughters-in-law -- but not their own children -- helps mitigate depression among older people in China.

CMV infections affect more than just patients with compromised immune systems, researchers find
An infection due to a virus called cytomegalovirus, which most commonly affects people with compromised immune systems, can also affect hospital intensive-care patients who have no immune-system problems, University of Washington researchers have found.

Study shows emergency physicians have good first instincts in diagnosing heart attacks
A study out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center demonstrates emergency room doctors are correctly identifying patients who are having a heart attack, even when laboratory tests haven't yet confirmed it.

Accretion discs show their true colors
Quasars are the brilliant cores of remote galaxies, at the hearts of which lie supermassive black holes that can generate enough power to outshine the Sun a trillion times.

Genetic mutation identified for eye complaint
Researchers at the Peninsula Medical School, the Children's Hospital in Boston and King's College London have identified a gene that, when modified, causes the eye disease Duane syndrome.
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