Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 28, 2008
A new biomarker for early cancer detection? Research reveals that 'microRNA' may fit the bill
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that microRNAs -- molecular workhorses that regulate gene expression -- are released by cancer cells and circulate in the blood, which gives them the potential to become a new class of biomarkers to detect cancer at its earliest stages.

Women with gestational diabetes at risk of type 2 diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with almost 20 percent of women developing the condition within 9 years of pregnancy, found a large, population-based study of 659,000 women published in CMAJ.

Study examines prevalence of hearing loss in the US
Hearing loss may be more prevalent in American adults than previously reported, according to a study in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Statins may protect against memory loss
Commonly used cholesterol-fighting drugs called statins may protect against dementia and memory loss, according to a study published in the July 29, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Novel study finds proton channels inhibit the release of histamine during allergic reactions
Inhibiting the proton currents in basophils, a rare type of white blood cell, can stop the release of histamine and could provide a new target for allergy and asthma drugs according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore.

Newly discovered monkey is threatened with extinction
Just three years after it was discovered, a new species of monkey is threatened with extinction according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which recently published the first-ever census of the endangered primate.

A new species of predatory bagworm from Panama's tropical forest
University of Panama and Smithsonian researchers report the discovery of a new bagworm moth species, in the Annals of the Entomology Society of America.

Study provides clues to preventing and treating cancer spread
Researchers from the University of North carolina at Chapel Hill demonstrated for the first time that normal cells, possibly fibrocytes, may travel to distant organs to create pre-metastic niches for the spread of cancer.

Hospital ClĂ­nic participates in ICREL project about European legislation on clinical trials
This project comes from the need to adapt current European legislation in clinical trials.

Protein plays Jekyll and Hyde role in Lou Gehrig's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by the death of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movements from walking and swallowing to breathing.

W.M. Keck Foundation grant funds reproductive science research
Northwestern University has received a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the W.M.

Piecing together an extinct lemur, large as a big baboon
Researchers have used computed tomography technology to virtually glue newly-discovered skull fragments of a rare extinct lemur back into its partial skull, discovered over a century ago.

Accelerated bone turnover remains after weight loss
When a person is losing a significant amount of weight, they expect to notice changes in their body.

Is it too late to save the great migrations?
Long gone are the days when hundreds of thousands of bison grazed the Great Plains, millions of passenger pigeons darkened the skies while migrating to and from their breeding grounds, and some 12.5 trillion Rocky Mountain locusts crowded an area exceeding the size of California.

Hip bone density helps predict breast cancer risk
Measuring a woman's bone mineral density can provide additional information that may help more accurately determine a woman's risk of developing breast cancer

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- July 23, 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.

DHS-funded research center to study homegrown radicalization
A team of more than 50 social scientists, armed with $12 million in new DHS funding, will extend its research into radicalization and the formation of terrorist groups in the United States and abroad.

Study links soft drinks and fruit drinks with risk for diabetes in African-American women
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes in African-American women.

South African epidemic of schoolboy sexual abuse
By the age of 18 years, two in every five South African schoolboys report being forced to have sex, mostly by female perpetrators.

Hypnosis shown to reduce symptoms of dementia
A scientist at the University of Liverpool has found that hypnosis can slow down the impacts of dementia and improve quality of life for those living with the condition.

Fungus foot baths could save bees
One of the biggest world wide threats to honey bees, the varroa mite, could soon be about to meet its nemesis.

Snapshot of past climate reveals no ice in Antarctica millions of years ago
A snapshot of New Zealand's climate 40 million years ago reveals a greenhouse Earth, with warmer seas and little or no ice in Antarctica.

Artificial Gravity receives 2008 Life Science Book Award
The Springer book

Japanese diet rich in fish may hold secret to healthy heart
If you're fishing for ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, you might start with the seafood-rich diet typically served up in Japan.

Inheritance of hormonal disorder marked by excessive insulin in daughters
Elevated levels of insulin could be an early sign that girls whose mothers suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome -- or PCOS -- may also be susceptible to the disease, according to gynecologists who have found evidence of insulin resistance in young children.

Statins may protect against memory loss
People at high risk for dementia who took cholesterol-lowering statins are half as likely to develop dementia as those who do not take statins, a new study shows.

Long-lasting effects of the Seveso disaster on thyroid function in babies
Three decades after an accident at a chemical factory in Seveso, Italy in 1976, which resulted in exposure of a residential population to the most dangerous type of dioxin, newborn babies born to mothers living in the contaminated area at the time of the accident are over six times more likely to have altered thyroid function than those born to mothers in a non-contaminated area.

Revolutionary green technology bus has DOE roots
Insight from ORNL, commitment from two Michigan companies and funding from DOE have led to the commercialization of a lightweight urban transit bus with double the fuel efficiency of conventional hybrid buses.

Sensitive testing reveals drug-resistant HIV with possible consequences for treatment
Drug-resistant HIV at levels too low to be detected by standard tests is not unusual and may contribute to treatment failure, according to research published in PLoS Medicine.

Newly discovered proteins in seminal fluid may affect odds of producing offspring
More than 80 new proteins, thought to play a role in reproductive success, have been discovered in the seminal fluid of fruit flies.

Gallbladder removed without external incisions
In April of last year, surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center made headlines by removing a women's gallbladder through her uterus using a flexible endoscope, aided by several external incisions for added visibility.

Current exercise recommendations may not be sufficient for overweight women to sustain weight loss
In addition to limiting calories, overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day for five days per week to sustain a weight loss of 10 percent over two years, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New treatment for advanced prostate cancer
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a novel approach to treating advanced prostate cancer that could be more effective with fewer side effects.

LabBits: A media tip sheet from the MBL in Woods Hole
Here are three of the many interesting puzzles being worked out this summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory's Whitman Center for Visiting Research.

A dangerous precedent in HIV
Infection with HIV could quadruple in certain populations if people with HIV follow potentially misleading advice contained in a statement from the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV/AIDS, University of New South Wales research warns.

Argonne scientists discover new class of glassy material
Scientists at US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are dealing with an entirely new type of frustration, but it's not stressing them out.

Symbiotic microbes induce profound genetic changes in their hosts
Though bacteria are everywhere -- from the air we breathe and the food we eat to our guts and skin -- the vast majority are innocuous or even beneficial, and only a handful pose any threat to us.

Hip bone density helps predict breast cancer risk
Bone density provides information that may help more accurately determine the risk of developing breast cancer.

Eating fish may explain very low levels of heart disease in Japan
Consuming large quantities of fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids may explain low levels of heart disease in Japan, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology led by the University of Pittsburgh.

Alleviating the fear of falling
Ritalin could prevent fatal falls, a Tel Aviv University study finds.

Caltech bioengineers develop 'microscope on a chip'
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have turned science fiction into reality with their development of a super-compact high-resolution microscope, small enough to fit on a finger tip.

No-tillage plus
Tropical soils often behave differently than temperate soils when being farmed.

New UGA biomass technology dramatically increases ethanol yield from grasses and yard waste
University of Georgia researchers have developed a new technology that promises to dramatically increase the yield of ethanol from readily available nonfood crops, such as Bermudagrass, switchgrass, Napiergrass -- and even yard waste.

UC San Diego's GreenLight Project to improve energy efficiency of computing
The information technology industry consumes as much energy and has roughly the same carbon

Local officials move toward monitoring nanotechnologies
State and local officials have taken steps to begin monitoring the manufacture and storage of nanomaterials, a major step for a cutting-edge technology that has yet to be regulated by the federal government.

Foods high in conjugated linoleic acids can enrich breast milk
Eating special cookies enriched with conjugated linoleic acid can increase the level of these potentially healthful fatty acids in breast milk, reports a recent study in the journal Nutrition Research.

UCSF study shows sharp national rise in skin infections, MRSA suspected
At UCSF, a national analysis of physician office and emergency department records shows that the types of skin infections caused by community-acquired MRSA doubled in the eight-year study period, with the highest rates seen among children and in urban emergency rooms.

Survey of Hispanics and alcohol dependence
A large survey conducted by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, which examined alcohol abuse and dependence among Hispanic male populations in the United States, will be expanded to Mexican males living along the US-Mexico border.

California, Connecticut, Missouri and New Jersey students win at Chemistry Olympiad
The US Chemistry Olympiad team won one silver medal and three bronze in the just-concluded the 40th annual International Chemistry Olympiad in Budapest, Hungary, July 12-21.

Thyrotropin levels associated with Alzheimer's disease risk in women
Women with low or high levels of the hormone thyrotropin, which affects thyroid gland function and thyroid hormone levels, appear to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

University of Minnesota researchers map out America's deadliest roads
If you want to avoid the most dangerous routes on the road the next time you start your daily commute or the family vacation, the information you need is now available.

ACS National Meeting Aug. 17-21 offers bounty of news and features
Mark your calendars for one of this year's biggest and most comprehensive scientific events -- the 236th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, which will be held Aug.

Researchers analyze how new anti-MRSA abtibiotics function
A new paper by Shahriar Mobashery of the University of Notre Dame and colleagues provides important insights into promising new antibiotics aimed at combating MRSA.

OSU study shows exposure to bad air raises blood pressure
The air people breathe while walking in the park, working in the garden or shopping downtown may be unhealthy enough to seriously spike their blood pressure, a new study suggests.

UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants' diversity
New research may help explain the amazing diversity in the world's flowering plants, a question that has puzzled scientists from the time of Darwin to today.

Compound that helps rice grow reduces nerve, vascular damage from diabetes
Researchers have found that a compound that helps rice seed grow, springs back into action when brown rice is placed in water overnight before cooking, significantly reducing the nerve and vascular damage that often result from diabetes.

A hormone that enhances one's memory of happy faces
A new study scheduled for publication in the Aug. 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry now shows that one way oxytocin promotes social affiliation in humans is by enhancing the encoding of positive social memories.

Testosterone predominance increases prevalence of metabolic syndrome during menopause
As testosterone progressively dominates the hormonal milieu during the menopausal transition, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome increases according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

Researchers tap into a new and potentially better source of platelets for transfusion
Japanese researchers may be one step closer to improving treatments for bleeding disorders.

Being a control freak aids dividing cells
A dividing cell tags more than 14,000 different sites on its proteins with phosphate, a molecule that typically serves as a signal for a variety of biological processes.

W.M. Keck Foundation announces 2008 class of Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research
The W.M. Keck Foundation, a leading supporter of pioneering medical research, science and engineering, today announced its 2008 class of Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research and Research Excellence Awardees.

Golden scales
There's a new

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia leads research into robotic surgery for kidney cancer
Clinical research at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center is helping bring the advantages of robotic surgery, including reduced pain and quicker recovery, to kidney cancer patients.

Prostate cancer patients undergoing hormone therapy may experience cognitive effects
Hormone deprivation therapy, a used for prostate cancer, may have subtle adverse effects on cognition in patients.

New therapy for HIV treatment
Millions of people world-wide who have contracted a highly resistant strain of the HIV virus could benefit from a new drug to treat the infection.

Soil's carbon storage capacity investigated
Three studies published in the July-August 2008 issue of Soil Science Society of America Journal explore the potential roles of soils as a C sink in different regions in the Western Hemisphere.

Erectile dysfunction drugs allowed more chemotherapy to reach brain tumors in laboratory study
In a study using laboratory animals, researchers found that medications commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction opened a mechanism called the blood-brain tumor barrier and increased delivery of cancer-fighting drugs to malignant brain tumors.

Predicting patient survival from protein stability and aggregation propensity
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease.

A bee's future as queen or worker may rest with parasitic fly
Strange things are happening in the lowland tropical forests of Panama and Costa Rica.

Dietary factors appear to be associated with diabetes risk
Drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages or eating fewer fruits and vegetables both may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas eating a low-fat diet does not appear to be associated with any change in diabetes risk, according to three reports in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The kids most likely to go armed
A new analysis of a 2005 survey of American schoolchildren has identified factors that may be used to help improve school safety.

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease achieves significant impact factor increase
International publisher IOS Press and the editors-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease are pleased to announce a significant increase in the journal's impact factor, from 3.058 to 4.081 for 2007.

VCU awarded Wellcome Trust Foundation grant to study molecular genetics of depression
Virginia Commonwealth University is part of an international research team that received a Wellcome Trust Foundation grant totaling more than $2.8 million to identify the genetic variants that have an impact on the risk for recurrent major depression.

Survival of pediatric cancer is still poor in low-income and mid-income countries: first report
Survival of patients with aediatric cancer is still extremely poor in low-income and mid-income countries, with wide variances in pediatric-cancer care and available resources noted between countries, according to the first report from the International Union Against Cancer,

'Chicken and chips' theory of Pacific migration
A new study of DNA from ancient and modern chickens has shed light on the controversy about the extent of prehistoric Polynesian contact with the Americas.

Prostate cancer patients undergoing hormone therapy may experience cognitive effects
A recent review of the literature has found that hormone deprivation therapy, a commonly used treatment for prostate cancer, may have subtle adverse effects on cognition in patients -- such as in the ability to recall and concentrate.

Birdsong not just for the birds
Computer scientists from the University of Bonn have developed a new type of voice detector for birds.

How molecules out of balance lead to human multiple myeloma and other cancers
An international team of scientists has identified processes that are heavily implicated in human multiple myeloma and other B cell cancers, moving us closer to developing quick tests and readouts that could help in the tailored treatment of patients.

Seminal fluid secrets revealed -- new method identifies male proteins in female fruit fly
For male fruit flies, sperm is not enough in the battle to reproduce -- at each mating a cocktail of proteins is transferred to the female, many directly influence female behaviors in ways benefiting the male.

Study suggests 86 percent of Americans could be overweight or obese by 2030
Most adults in the US will be overweight or obese by 2030, with related health care spending projected to be as much as $956.9 billion, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Eating disorder symptoms more common among female athletes and exercisers
A recent study published by the International Journal of Eating Disorders reveals that university undergraduate women who actively participate in sports and exercise-related activities tend to have higher rates of attitudes and behaviors related to eating disorders compared to those who do not regularly exercise.

Deaths from combining Rx drugs, street drugs and/or alcohol skyrocket by more than 3,000 percent
Asking patients to monitor their own medications can be fatal, as exemplified by the recent death of actor Heath Ledger.

Hey fever! The surprise benefit of allergies
Long-suffering victims of allergies such as asthma and hay fever might enjoy a surprise benefit, according to research led by the University of New South Wales. 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