Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 03, 2008
Trichoplax genome sequenced -- 'rosetta stone' for understanding evolution
Yale molecular and evolutionary biologists in collaboration with Department of Energy scientists produced the full genome sequence of Trichoplax, one of nature's most primitive multicellular organisms, providing a new insight into the evolution of all higher animals.

DNA editing tool flips its target
DNA methylation -- a chemical process cells use to tag genes -- is important for keeping certain genes silent.

Study shows pine bark naturally reduces knee osteoarthritis
According to the Center for Disease Control, osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is on the rise.

A home early warning system for cardiac patients
The Heart Guard system is a lightweight, simple to use, matchbox-size device with five electrodes that are placed on the wearer's chest.

Loneliness undermines health as well as mental well-being
Feeling connected to others is vital to a person's mental well-being, as well as physical health.

1 in 2 adults at risk for painful knee arthritis
A landmark government study suggests nearly one in two people (46 percent) will develop painful knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime, with the highest risk among those who are obese.

College freshmen: pain killers and stimulants less risky than cocaine; more risky than marijuana
A new study in the peer-reviewed journal, Prevention Science, finds that college freshmen believe that nonmedical use of prescription drugs like pain killers and stimulants is less risky than cocaine, but more risky than marijuana.

Natural childbirth makes mothers more responsive to own baby-cry
A new study has found that mothers who delivered vaginally compared to caesarean section delivery were significantly more responsive to the cry of their own baby, identified through MRI brain scans two to four weeks after delivery.

Biocontrol insect exacerbates invasive weed
Biocontrol agents, such as insects, are often released outside of their native ranges to control invasive plants.

What a sleep study can reveal about fibromyalgia
Research engineers and sleep medicine specialists from two Michigan universities have joined technical and clinical hands to put innovative technologies to work in the sleep lab.

NIH EUREKA award funds research at WPI aimed at turning adult skin cells into stem-like cells
A team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has received a three-year, $900,000 award from the National Institutes of Health (one of only 38 awarded through the new EUREKA program) for a project aimed at developing a novel way of transforming adult skin cells into stem-like cells.

Arteries from distinct regions of the body have unique immune functions
Arteries play an active role in the immune system by sensing infection and injury.

Bad sign for global warming: thawing permafrost holds vast carbon pool
Permafrost blanketing the northern hemisphere contains more than twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, making it a potentially mammoth contributor to global climate change depending on how quickly it thaws.

News from CA: Cancer Quality Alliance, blueprint for a better cancer care system
In this issue: Cancer Quality Alliance: blueprint for a better cancer care system; Decision making in oncology: A review of patient decision aids to support patient participation; and Aiming at a curative strategy for follicular lymphoma.

C. Erec Stebbins awarded prestigious EUREKA grant
C. Erec Stebbins, associate professor at the Rockefeller University, has been awarded an inaugural EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project aimed at exploiting a bacteria-based

Warmer seas linked to strengthening hurricanes: FSU study fuels global warming debate
The theory that global warming may be contributing to stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic over the past 30 years is bolstered by a new study led by a Florida State University researcher.

New $1.1M grant: Restoring basic needs after hurricanes, disasters
A new six-year, $1.1 million grant from the US Department of Homeland Security will allow researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to investigate how different civil infrastructures within a city or county -- such as roadways, water and power utilities, hospitals, banks, or law enforcement -- interact with each other and with the natural environment after a disaster.

Scientists uncover Ebola cell-invasion strategy
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have discovered a key biochemical link in the process by which the Ebola Zaire virus infects cells -- a critical step to finding a way to treat the deadly disease produced by the virus.

NSF-funded Rice study will trace path of nanomaterials
The impact of nanomaterials in the environment is the subject of a new study at Rice University funded by the National Science Foundation.

Mayo Clinic develops improved tool to rank sickest patients waiting for liver transplants
Mayo Clinic researchers have developed an improved statistical model that could help ensure that the sickest patients receive liver transplants first.

Hospitalized patients with CKD are at increased risk of being harmed by medical errors
Hospitalized patients with chronic kidney disease are at higher risk for adverse consequences of medical care compared with those without the disease, according to a study appearing in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Spending time in the intensive care unit can traumatize kids
Dr. Janet Rennick from the Research Institute of the Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Center and her colleagues have developed the Children's Critical Illness Impact Scale to measure psychological distress in children following hospital discharge.

Substance found in fruits and vegetables reduces likelihood of the flu
Mice given quercetin, a naturally occurring substance found in fruits and vegetables, were less likely to contract the flu.

Hurricane Katrina increased mental and physical health problems in New Orleans by up to 3 times
As the Gustav clear-up continues, research just published reveals the full extent of the mental and physical health problems suffered by New Orleans' residents caught up in Hurricane Katrina.

ASTRO honors Boston brain cancer survivor with Survivor Circle Award
The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology has selected Debra DeMella as the recipient of the 2008 Survivor Circle Award.

Hearing restoration may be possible with cochlear repair after transplant of human cord blood cells
Hearing loss due to cochlear damage may be repaired by transplanting human umbilical cord hematopoietic stem cells.

UT Knoxville wins $16M NSF mathematics and biology center
Mathematicians and biologists from around the world will converge on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to take part in a new institute dedicated to finding creative solutions to pressing problems from animal disease to wildfire control.

Young voters challenge presidential candidates to address science issues
After receiving more than 1,500 entries from young people highlighting the importance of science and technology in this year's elections, Student Pugwash USA today announced the winners of its 2008 Election Multimedia Contest for Cash.

'Superbug' breast infections controllable in nursing mothers, UT Southwestern researchers find
Many nursing mothers who have been hospitalized for breast abscesses are afflicted with the

Compiling multiple CT scans simplifies repositioning during radiofrequency ablation
Merging multiple CT images aids probe repositioning during radiofrequency ablation treatments of various lesions, according to a recent study performed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

M. D. Anderson study finds change in HER2 status after treatment with Herceptin
Researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that when treated with Herceptin prior to surgery, 50 percent of HER2 positive, breast cancer patients showed no signs of disease at the time of surgery.

Stem cell research puts interstate rivalry on hold
Scientists from the Monash Institute of Medical Research will compare two different methods of creating patient-specific stem cells: somatic cell nuclear transfer and induced pluripotent stem cells.

Smoke smudges Mexico City's air, chemists identify sources
Mexico City once topped lists of places with the worst air pollution in the world.

Probably wireless
Wireless sensor networks used to detect and report events including hurricanes, earthquakes, and forest fires and for military surveillance and anti-terrorist activities are prone to subterfuge.

USP's 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting to convene scientific experts from around the world
The US Pharmacopeial Convention's 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in Kansas City, Mo., Sept.

Fatal protein interactions may explain neurological diseases
In a collaborative study at UCSD, investigators from neurosciences, chemistry and medicine, as well as the San Diego Supercomputer Center have investigated how proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease interact to form unique complexes.

Montel Williams MS Foundation announces recipients of 2008 research grants
The Montel Williams MS Foundation announces eight medical and scientific organizations to be recipients of its 2008 research grants.

New methods identify and manipulate 'newborn' cells in animal model of Parkinson's disease
A research team from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Lund University in Sweden used an engineered virus to deliver a protein that glows green when exposed to blue light (green fluorescent protein) into newborn cells of the striatum in an animal model of Parkinson's disease.

Structure of key epigenetics component identified
Scientists from the Structural Genomics Consortium have determined the 3-D structure of a key protein component involved in enabling

ISCAR, world-wide conference on role of culture in human development, convenes at UCSD
The Second Congress ofthe International Society for Cultural and Activity Research will take place at the University of California, San Diego, Sept.

Fermilab physicists discover 'doubly strange' particle
Physicists of the DZero experiment at the US Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered a new particle made of three quarks, the Omega-sub-b.

African-Americans twice as likely as Caucasians to die following a liver operation
New research published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows African-Americans are more than twice as likely as Caucasians to die in the hospital after surgical removal of part of the liver -- an increasingly used procedure for the treatment of liver cancer.

NC State first university in nation to offer canine bone marrow transplants
Dogs suffering from lymphoma will be able to receive the same type of medical treatment as their human counterparts, as North Carolina State University becomes the first university in the nation to offer canine bone marrow transplants in a clinical setting.

New study reveals higher protein breakfast may help dieters stay on track
A new study published online this week in the British Journal of Nutrition found that timing of dietary protein intake affects feelings of fullness throughout the day.

AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 3, 2008
Articles on the following topics are featured in this release:

Oxidative stress: Mechanism of cell death clarified
Dr. Marcus Conrad of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and Tumor Genetics at the Helmholtz Zentrum München has decrypted the molecular mechanism through which the death of cells is caused by oxidative stress.

Singapore to hold international 'pow-wow'
Over 20 world experts on building sustainable cities will converge in Singapore on Oct.

Gene associated with pair-bonding in animals has similar effects in human males
Variation in the gene for one of the receptors for the hormone vasopressin appears to be associated with how human males bond with their partners, according to an international team of researchers.

White House announces 2007 National Medal of Science laureates
President George W. Bush has named the recipients of the 2007 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for science and engineering.

Acupuncture may hold promise for women with hormone disorder
Getting pregnant with her first child was difficult, but when Rebecca Killmeyer of Charlottesville, Va., experienced a miscarriage during her second pregnancy, she wasn't sure if she would ever have another baby.

Carnegie Mellon to host micromanufacturing conference
More than 100 researchers from many countries will share ideas on manufacturing techniques for newly developed miniature devices for a variety of industry sectors at the third International Conference On MicroManufacturing, Sept.

Putting the squeeze on nitrogen for high energy materials
Researchers from the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory report changes in the melting temperature of solid nitrogen at pressures up to 120 gigapascals and temperatures reaching 2,500° Kelvin.

Invisibility undone
Harry Potter beware! A team of Chinese scientists has developed a way to unmask your invisibility cloak.

Experts establish baseline for civic engagement among retirees
The rise of retired people seeking active participation in their communities has led researchers to define this new aspect of American life.

Yerkes researchers create animal model of chronic stress
In an effort to better understand how chronic stress affects the human body, researchers have created an animal model that shows how chronic stress affects behavior, physiology and reproduction.

NYU, American Museum of Natural History receive $1.6 million NSF grant
New York University and the American Museum of Natural History have received a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore plant evolution and to create a public database that provides information about the structure and inferred function of proteins found in two plant genomes.

Closest look ever at the edge of a black hole
Astronomers have taken the closest look ever at the giant black hole in the center of the Milky Way.

Safer skies for the flying public
University of Texas and MIT researchers are developing an air traffic control system that can track multiple flight locations and changing weather conditions and help controllers optimize traffic flow and air safety.

Too much calcium in blood may increase risk of fatal prostate cancer
Men who have too much calcium in their bloodstreams may have an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer, according to a new analysis from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin.

New nano device detects immune system cell signaling
Scientists have detected previously unnoticed chemical signals that individual cells in the immune system use to communicate with each other over short distances.

MSU technology that converts plant fibers to biofuel commercialized
A Kansas company has licensed Michigan State University technology that uses enzymes from a microbe in a cow's stomach to create plants that can be more efficiently turned into biofuel.

NIH awards Argonne $800,000 to develop tool to measure distances within proteins
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have won an $800,000 EUREKA award from the National Institutes of Health to develop MADMAX, a precise molecular ruler for measuring distances within a protein.

Participating in religion may make adolescents from certain races more depressed
One of the few studies to look at the effects of religious participation on the mental health of minorities suggests that for some of them, religion may actually be contributing to adolescent depression.

Monitoring immune responses in disease
Novel technology for analyzing single blood cells.

At risk for peripheral arterial disease? Simple quiz provides key so you can circulate better
Ten million Americans have peripheral arterial disease, and research shows that the highest risk populations include African-Americans, seniors and diabetics.

New virtual telescope zooms in on Milky Way's super-massive black hole
An international team, led by astronomers at the MIT Haystack Observatory, has obtained the closest views ever of what is believed to be a super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

Halas wins prestigious nanotechnology research award
Rice University nanophotonics pioneer Naomi Halas has won one of nanotechnology's top academic honors, the Research Excellence Award from the University of Pennsylvania's Nano/Bio Interface Center.

Scientists produce nanoscale droplets with cancer-fighting implications
UCLA scientists have succeeded in making unique nanoscale droplets that are much smaller than a human cell and can potentially be used to deliver pharmaceuticals.

Link between nationality and cervical cancer
Gynecological screening tests for cervical cancer have been available to all women in Sweden for almost four decades.

Cholesterol drugs lower risk of stroke for elderly too
Elderly people who take a cholesterol drug after a stroke or mini-stroke lower their risk of having another stroke just as much as younger people in the same situation, according to research published in the Sept.

Height linked to risk of prostate cancer development and progression
A man's height is a modest marker for risk of prostate cancer development, but is more strongly linked to progression of the cancer, say British researchers who conducted their own study on the connection and also reviewed 58 published studies.

Next stop: The fourth dimension
Tel Aviv University plays a starring role in the next big bang.

Do 68 molecules hold the key to understanding disease?
Reviewing findings from multiple disciplines, Jamey Marth, Ph.D., UC San Diego professor of cellular and molecular medicine and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, realized that only 68 molecular building blocks are used to construct these four fundamental components of cells: the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), proteins, glycans and lipids.

Evolving designer ecosystem sheds light on unintended consequences
What are the consequences of human-made tinkering with land cover and hydrology on surrounding native desert ecosystems and biodiversity?

Defibrillators save lives, don't diminish quality of life
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators reduce the risk of death from sudden cardiac arrest among patients with heart failure, and they do so without significantly altering a person's quality of life, say researchers from Duke University Medical Center.

Rohm and Haas acrylic innovation named a National Historic Chemical Landmark
The American Chemical Society will designate the development of water-based acrylic emulsion technology -- which sparked the growth of the do-it-yourself paint market -- a National Historic Chemical Landmark at Rohm and Haas Company in Philadelphia on Sept.

MIT probe could aid quantum computing
MIT researchers may have found a way to overcome a key barrier to the advent of super-fast quantum computers, which could be powerful tools for applications such as code breaking.

Cardiac cell transplant studies show promise in cardiac tissue repair
Two studies involving cardiac cell transplantation have shown an evolving role for bone marrow cells in cardiac cell therapy.

NYU Cancer Institute researcher among first NIH EUREKA award recipients
Michelle Krogsgaard, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology at the NYU Cancer Institute, is the first NYU School of Medicine recipient of the EUREKA award.

New research challenges long-held assumptions of flightless bird evolution
Large flightless birds of the southern continents -- African ostriches, Australian emus and cassowaries, South American rheas and the New Zealand kiwi -- do not share a common flightless ancestor as once believed.

Blood 'fingerprints' for cancer
Serum microRNAs can serve as biomarkers for the detection of diseases including cancer and diabetes, according to research published online this week in Cell Research.

Donation of $500,000 supports rice research to boost cheaper and high-yielding production
The International Rice Research Institute today announced that it has received a donation of materials worth $500,000 from 5 PRIME, a Germany-based company that produces technologies and reagents for molecular biology applications.

NTP finalizes report on Bisphenol A
Current human exposure to bisphenol A, a chemical used in many polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, is of

M. D. Anderson study finds racial disparities in radiation therapy rates for breast cancer
Black women are less likely than white women to receive radiation therapy after a lumpectomy, the standard of care for early stage breast cancer, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas M.

Physicians urged to broaden suicide prevention by addressing access to guns with patients
In an effort to create safer environments for potentially suicidal individuals, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health demonstrate how physicians can broaden their treatment of such patients to address not only their mental illness but also the patients' access to guns and other lethal means.

A little nitrogen can go a long way
With significant increases in the price of fertilizer and grain, site-specific management -- especially in variable rate nitrogen application -- can have a significant impact on yield and profitability, as reported in the latest issue of Agronomy Journal.

K-State professor's research suggests that cigarettes' power may not be in nicotine itself
K-State professor's research suggests that cigarettes' power may not be in nicotine itself but in how it enhances other experiences while smoking. 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