Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 27, 2008
Moderate use averts failure of type 2 diabetes drugs in animal model
Drugs widely used to treat type 2 diabetes may be more likely to keep working if they are used in moderation, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Diabetes treatment becomes more complex, costly
A progressively more complex and expensive array of treatments for type 2 diabetes is being prescribed to an increasing number of adults, according to a report in the Oct.

Soil Science Society of America presents 2008 fellows
A recognition of Fellows from the Soil Science Society of America as presented during their annual meeting on Oct.

Healing process found to backfire in lung patients
A mechanism in the body which typically helps a person heal from an injury, may actually be causing patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis to get worse, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of the National Institutes of Health, and their collaborators have found.

Gladstone scientists identify single microRNA that controls how heart chambers form
The discovery of the role of a microRNA called miR-138, could offer strategies for the treatment of congenital heart defects.

Common epilepsy drug could prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have discovered that a drug used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorders blocks the formation of plaques that cause Alzheimer's disease in animal models.

Solar system's young twin has 2 asteroid belts
Astronomers have discovered that the nearby star Epsilon Eridani has two rocky asteroid belts and an outer icy ring, making it a triple-ring system.

Brain stimulation improves dexterity
Applying electrical stimulation to the scalp and the underlying motor regions of the brain could make you more skilled at delicate tasks.

In game of tennis, seeing isn't always believing
A universal bias in the way people perceive moving objects means that tennis referees are more likely to make mistakes when they call balls

American Society of Agronomy presents 2008 Fellows
A recognition of Fellows from the American Society of Agronomy as presented during their Annual Meeting on Oct.

Meta-analysis examines cardiovascular effects of diabetes medications
The diabetes medication metformin may be associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to a meta-analysis of previously published studies in the Oct.

How we see objects in depth: The brain's code for 3-D structure
Neuroscientists have discovered patterns of brain activity that may underlie our remarkable ability to see and understand the three-dimensional structure of objects.

Statins show promise for blood clot prevention
New research presented at CHEST 2008, the 74th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, suggests that the use of statins may be associated with a significant reduction in the occurrence of venous thromboembolism, a condition that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, in patients with solid organ tumors, including breast, lung and colon cancers.

MU researchers advance health communication for at-risk populations
The NCI renewal grant will fund the continuation of Ozioma (which means

NSF funds research at Illinois on sustainable biofuels infrastructure
The National Science Foundation announced this month that it is funding a new research effort at the University of Illinois aimed at understanding how -- and whether it is possible -- to build sustainable infrastructure to support the emerging biofuels industry.

Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
Wild migratory birds may be more important carriers of avian influenza viruses from continent to continent than previously thought, according to new scientific research that has important implications for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus surveillance in North America.

NIH awards Rutgers Cell and DNA Repository $57.8M
The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository has received two major awards worth more than $57.8 million from the National Institutes of Health.

End-of-life preferences appear to remain stable as health declines
Most individuals' preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment do not appear to change over a three-year period, regardless of declines in physical and mental health, according to a report in the Oct.

Eating whole grains lowers heart failure risk, according to new study
While some reports indicate that changes to diet can reduce heart failure risk, few large, prospective studies have been conducted.

Biosolids microbes pose manageable risk to workers
Biosolids, a nutrient rich byproduct of sewage produced at wastewater treatment plants that can be applied to land as a fertilizer, has been scrutinized of late for its potential to transport disease-causing microorganisms.

Researcher to provide new insight for treating vascular disease
University of Missouri researcher Steven Segal has received the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's prestigious Method to Extend Research in Time Award for his work in defining the signaling processes that control blood flow in the smallest, microscopic blood vessels, the microcirculation.

When you look at a face, you look nose first
While general wisdom says that you look at the eyes first in order to recognize a face, UC San Diego computer scientists now report that you look at the nose first.

Good code, bad computations: A computer security gray area
If you want to make sure your computer or server is not tricked into undertaking malicious or undesirable behavior, it's not enough to keep bad code out of the system.

Inland ants often prefer salt over sugar, implying salt may be a limitation on their activity
Mammals are limited by the availability of salt, and now researchers have shown that ants are too.

Pain automatically activates facial muscle groups
All individuals have a nonverbal mode of communication influenced by culture, education, age and sex, according to a new joint study from the Université de Montréal, the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Université Otto-Friedrich in Bamberg, Germany.

Scripps research scientists develop a new strategy to fight obesity
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a catalytic antibody that degrades a known appetite stimulant.

Earthworm activity can alter forests' carbon-carrying capabilities
Earthworms can change the chemical nature of the carbon in North American forest litter and soils, potentially affecting the amount of carbon stored in forests.

How toxic environmental chemical DBT affects the immune system
An international team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Basel in Switzerland have issued a report on the mechanism of toxicity of a chemical compound called Dibutyltin (DBT).

A million people suffer from tinnitus -- in province of Quebec alone
Université de Montréal Professor Sylvie Hébert is conducting a study exploring the root causes of tinnitus, a condition that creates the perception of sound in the absence of external stimulation.

The MDS Foundation supports vidaza's recommendation for European approval
The Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation supports the positive opinion from the European Union's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommending approval of vidaza for specific types of MDS patients, including those with high-risk MDS, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia.

MIT funds collaborative neurotechnology projects
MIT is developing new technologies for neuroscience research in projects aimed at accelerating basic research and developing new therapeutic approaches for brain disorders.

Vidaza receives positve opinion from European CHMP
The Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation is pleased to inform patients that the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has awarded Vidaza a positive opinion for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes patients who are not eligible for stem cell transplants.

New hormone data can predict menopause within a year
For many women, including the growing number who choose later-in-life pregnancy, predicting their biological clock's relation to the timing of their menopause and infertility is critically important.

Salmon smolt survival similar in Columbia and Fraser rivers
A new study by researchers in Oregon and British Columbia has found that survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead during their migration to the sea through two large Northwest rivers, the Columbia and the Fraser, is remarkably similar despite one major difference: the Columbia has a series of dams, while the Fraser has none.

GUMC researchers hone in on new strategy to treat common infection
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have successfully tested a genetic strategy designed to improve treatment of human infections caused by the yeast Candida albicans, ranging from diaper rash, vaginitis, oral infections (or thrush which is common in HIV/AIDS patients), as well as invasive, blood-borne and life-threatening diseases.

Similar survival rates for Pacific salmon in Fraser, Columbia Rivers raises new questions
Canadian and US researchers have made a surprising discovery that some endangered Pacific salmon stocks are surviving in rivers with hydroelectric dams as well as or better than in rivers without dams.

It all adds up: Early achievement in math may identify future scientists and engineers
New research published in the October issue of Psychological Science suggests that there may be a way to identify future scientists and engineers.

Effects of anesthesia on the heart
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have created the first animal model that can reveal the side effects of anesthetic agents (the substances used to block pain during surgery) in individuals genetically predisposed to sudden cardiac death.

Catching quakes with laptops
Inside your laptop is a small accelerometer chip, there to protect the delicate moving parts of your hard disk from sudden jolts.

MSU doctors bring much-needed psychiatric care to rural areas via technology
To tackle the growing number of psychiatric cases in Michigan's rural areas, particularly among children and adolescents, a team of Michigan State University doctors from the colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Human Medicine meet each week with patients from across the state via video conference.

Epilepsy drug may help Alzheimer's patients
A popular epilepsy drug may also be beneficial in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study to be published on Oct.

Soil Science Society of America presents awards in Houston
A recognition of outstanding contributions from the Soil Science Society of America as presented during their annual meeting on Oct.

Osteoporosis drugs increase risk for heart problems
New research, presented at CHEST 2008 shows that people taking alendronate or zoledronic acid, two common medications to prevent or slow the occurrence of osteoporosis, were significantly more likely to experience serious atrial fibrillation, including hospitalization or death, compared with placebo.

Scientists unveil mechanism for 'up and down' in plants
VIB researchers at Ghent University discovered how the transport of an important plant hormone is organized in a way that the plant knows in which direction its roots and leaves have to grow.

New brain link as cause of schizophrenia
A lack of specific brain receptors has been linked with schizophrenia in new research by scientists at Newcastle University.

Does religion make a difference in politics?
Hoping to answer the question of which political party has a monopoly on the

Costlier new diabetes drugs don't necessarily produce better outcomes, Stanford researcher says
The annual cost of prescription diabetes drugs nearly doubled to $12.5 billion between 2001 and 2007, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago.

In mice, anxiety is linked to immune system
Scientists reveal that immune cells in the brain influence how mice respond to stressful situations.

Bacteria cause old buildings to feel off-color
The assumption that time, weather, and pollution are what cause buildings to decline is only partly true.

Jefferson doctor receives Tree of Life award
Edith P. Mitchell, M.D., clinical professor, Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and associate director of Diversity Programs for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, was recently honored with a

Researchers at UH explore use of fat cells as heart attack therapy
For those of us trained to read nutrition labels, conventional wisdom tells us that fat isn't good for the heart.

The fluid transducer: Electricity from gas and water
A large number of technical systems work with air or water.

Indiana University research at American Public Health Association meeting
Dozens of researchers from Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, School of Medicine, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, School of Nursing and other schools and departments are participating in the American Public Health Association's annual meeting on Oct.

Breakthrough in treatment for E. coli toxin
A University of Alberta researcher has found a possible treatment for the E. coli strain that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ontario, in 2000, and has just been linked to more than 200 illnesses in North Bay, Ontario.

Study reveals factors of exceptional health in old age
Elderly people who have a positive outlook, lower stress levels, moderate alcohol consumption, abstention from tobacco, moderate to higher income and no chronic health conditions are more likely to thrive in their old age, according to a study in the October issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Flawed 401(k) laws putting retirement at risk, expert says
Congress needs to reform flawed 401(k) laws that could push back retirement for millions of Americans whose savings have collapsed along with the stock market, a University of Illinois elder law expert says.

Research challenges conventional notions about salmon survival
In a paper published in the open access journal PLoS Biology, researchers used new tagging and tracking technologies to show that contrary to popular belief dams made no difference to the survival of juvenile salmon.

Effects of climate change vary greatly across plant families
Drawing on records dating back to the journals of Henry David Thoreau, scientists at Harvard University have found that different plant families near Walden Pond have borne the effects of climate change in strikingly different ways.

Credit crunch threatens new medicines
The global financial crisis could seriously delay the discovery and production of many new life-saving medicines, warns a major international conference Monday, Oct.

Sea urchin yields a key secret of biomineralization
The teeth and bones of mammals, the protective shells of mollusks, and the needle-sharp spines of sea urchins and other marine creatures are made-from-scratch wonders of nature.

The mental health dangers of birth hypoxia
The Nov. 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry includes an article by researchers who show that the presence of a specific indicator of fetal distress following hypoxia was more likely to be present among people who later develop schizophrenia.

Caregiving may be associated with poorer health in certain groups
Older white caregivers (those who provide regular care or assistance for a child or a disabled or sick adult) appear to have poorer health outcomes than black female caregivers, according to a report in the Oct.

Growing fuel and medicine: Advancing biofuels and plant-produced therapeutics
Can biofuels produced from nonfood plant products ever become a commercial reality?

Masks, hand washing, prevent spread of flu-like symptoms by up to 50 percent
Wearing masks and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers may prevent the spread of flu symptoms by as much as 50 percent, a landmark new study suggests.

How drug companies covertly promote off-label drug use
In an article in this week's PLoS Medicine, two physician researchers describe the techniques that drug companies use to covertly promote off-label use, even when such promotion is illegal.

Wildflower declines in Thoreau's Concord woods are due to climate changes
Researchers at Boston University and Harvard University found rapid changes in temperatue have led to changes in the timing of seasonal activities , such as flowering in a significant number of species in Concord, Mass.

News flash: Candidates' ads actually match deeds in Congress
If you think candidates never keep their promises and will say anything to get elected, you're certainly not alone.

Cut and run: MSU research predicts risk avoidance in the face of chronic economic loss
Investors are liquidating their retirement investments in droves, rather than risk further loss of their nest eggs.

Researchers: Strengthen restrictions on off-label promotion by pharmaceutical companies
Researchers are asking for tougher penalties and fines for pharmaceutical companies that market drugs for

Scientists identify new gene responsible for puberty disorders
A new gene responsible for some puberty disorders has been identified by Medical College of Georgia researchers.

What's in store for America's next president?
Are Americans ready to change history? On Nov. 4, US voters will be asked to choose between another Republican versus a Democrat who may become the country's first black president.

'Digital dark age' may doom some data
What stands a better chance of surviving 50 years from now, a framed photograph or a 10-megabyte digital photo file on your computer's hard drive?

Glutamate: Too much of a good thing in schizophrenia?
The study by Karlsson and colleagues, appearing in the Nov.

Stress during pregnancy has detrimental effect on offspring
That stress during a mother's pregnancy can cause developmental and emotional problems for offspring has long been observed by behavioral and biological researchers, but the objective measuring and timing of that stress and its results are difficult to prove objectively in humans.

Crop Science Society of America presents the 2008 Fellows
A recognition of Fellows from the Crop Science Society of America as presented during their Annual Meeting on Oct.

Progress toward new storage media
A team led by Massimiliano Cavallini at the National Research Council in Bologna (Italy) and Mario Ruben at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Germany) produced reliable nanopatterns of a spin-transition compound on silicon oxide chips.

Anti-inflammatory medications may become a treatment for schizophrenia
Many of the structural and neurochemical features of schizophrenia are present long before the full syndrome of schizophrenia develops.

Cost of diabetes treatment nearly doubled since 2001
Because of the increased number of patients, growing reliance on multiple medications and the shift toward more expensive new medicines, the annual cost of diabetes drugs nearly doubled in only six years, rising from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007.

Bloomberg School of Public Health to lead nationwide aging study
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have been selected to lead a new national survey of older Americans to understand patterns of disability and aging. the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, is expected to award approximately $24 million over the next five years to develop and implement the new survey.

Synthetic Biology: Coming Up Fast!
Synthetic biology is being touted by scientists and venture capitalists as

Building the blood-brain barrier
Construction of the brain's border fence is supervised by Wnt/b-catenin signaling, report Liebner et al. in the Journal of Cell Biology.

Pregnant women consuming flaxseed oil have high risk of premature birth
The risks of a premature birth quadruple if flaxseed oil is consumed in the last two trimesters of pregnancy, according to a new study from the Université de Montréal and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center.

American Society of Agronomy presents awards
A recognition of outstanding contributions from the American Society of Agronomy as presented during their Annual Meeting on Oct.

New research on flu vaccination in PLoS Medicine
Two new studies published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine show that increasing the number of people vaccinated against influenza can decrease the burden of the disease, and not just in the individuals receiving the vaccine.

Are you phonagnosic?
The first known case of someone born without the ability to recognize voices has been reported in a paper by UCL researchers, in a study of a rare condition known as phonagnosia.

New understanding of how we remember traumatic events
Neuroscientists at the University of Queensland have discovered a new way to explain how emotional events can sometimes lead to disturbing long term memories.

A face by any other name: Seeing racial bias
If Barack Obama had taken his mother's surname and kept his childhood nickname, American voters might literally see

Roads bring death and fear to forest elephants
Why did the elephant cross the road? It didn't according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Save the Elephants that says endangered forest elephants are avoiding roadways at all costs.

Virtual screening leads to real progress in drug design
Around 150 thousand people per year get the parasitic disease African sleeping sickness, but the only medicines to treat it are either difficult to administer, expensive, or toxic.

King Solomon's (copper) mines?
Did the Bible's King David and his son Solomon control the copper industry in present-day southern Jordan?

Scientists achieve first tracking of salmon from headwaters in Rockies through Pacific to Alaska
Scientists have proven new miniature tagging and tracking technologies can follow the travels of small salmon through vast distances and highly dissimilar waters -- from as far as the Rocky Mountain headwaters of USA's Columbia River through the ocean to the coast of Alaska.

Why do sulfonylureas fail amongst people with type 2 diabetes?
In a series of mouse experiments published in this issue of PLoS Medicine, Maria Remedi and Colin Nichols from the Washington University School of Medicine explore the mechanisms underlying sulfonylureas treatment failure, and suggest how that failure might be prevented.

Future of plant sciences explored in new primer
The National Academies have released a new primer on the achievements and promise of plant genome sciences.

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex, smoking and drinking
Children and adolescents who abuse alcohol or are sexually active are more likely to take methamphetamines, also known as

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac
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.

New process promises bigger, better diamond crystals
Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have developed a new technique for improving the properties of diamonds -- not only adding sparkle to gemstones, but also simplifying the process of making high-quality diamond for scalpel blades, electronic components, even quantum computers.

WEHI spin-out MuriGen restructures G-CSF antagonist program with CSL
MuriGen Therapeutics today announced that its collaboration with CSL for the development of a new class of drugs that target arthritis and other inflammatory diseases has been restructured.

Crop Science Society of America presents awards in Houston
A recognition of outstanding contributions from the Crop Science Society of America as presented during their Annual Meeting on Oct.

Physicians lack smoking cessation training
New research presented at CHEST 2008 shows that although physicians and other health-care providers advise their patients to quit smoking, few providers have the adequate training to follow their patients through the cessation process.

Better instructions reduce complications among patients using common blood thinner
Patients who report receiving written and verbal instructions on the proper way to take the blood thinner warfarin are significantly less likely to suffer the serious gastrointestinal and brain bleeding problems that are associated with misuse of the drug, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Brown scientists create program to calculate body shape
Computer scientists at Brown University have created a computer program that for the first time can accurately estimate the human body's shape from digital images or video.

Springer adds Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders to biomedical journal portfolio
Springer is launching the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders to complement its portfolio of biomedical journals.

Elsevier announces new partnership with the Society of Powder Technology Japan
Elsevier announced today a new partnership with the Society of Powder Technology Japan, to publish their international journal Advanced Powder Technology.

Rising Co2 'will hit coral reefs harder'
Rising carbon dioxide levels in the world's oceans could deliver a disastrous blow to the ability of coral reefs to withstand climate change.

Stanford researchers discover pervasive network driving protein production and placement in cells
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have uncovered what appears to be an extensive, but until now barely noticed, network of regulatory interactions that influence what proteins are made inside a cell, and when and where.

Stress may make you itch
Current research suggests that stress may activate immune cells in your skin, resulting in inflammatory skin disease.

Statins associated with lower risk of death from pneumonia
Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins before being hospitalized with pneumonia appear less likely to die within 90 days afterward, according to a report in the Oct.

California, Canada campuses combat greenhouse gas emissions with green IT
In one of the first efforts of its kind, universities in Canada and California are pledging to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses while developing so-called

Large hormone dose may reduce risk of post-traumatic stress disorder
A new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers found that a high dose of cortisone could help reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Seeing color in 'blindsight'
By manipulating the brain non-invasively in a new way with magnetic stimulation, researchers have shown that they can restore some experience of color where before there was no visual awareness whatsoever.

ASA, CSSA, SSSA present scholarships in Houston
A list of awards presented by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America at their Annual Meetings on Oct.

Franklin Square to study airway bypass procedure for severe emphysema
Franklin Square Hospital Center announces the start of the EASE (Exhale Airway Stents for Emphysema) Trial to explore an investigational treatment for advanced widespread emphysema/COPD. 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