Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 08, 2008
State policies have little effect on reducing minors' indoor tanning use
A new analysis finds that state policies meant to limit minors' indoor tanning use have had little effect.

Breaking the silence after a study ends
While an estimated 2.3 million people in the United States take part in clinical trials every year, there currently exists no formal requirement to inform them of study results, an oversight that leaves participants confused, frustrated, and, in some cases, lacking information that may be important to their health.

NEJM: 2 new studies show malaria vaccine candidate advancing in Africa
Results published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the world's most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate provides both infants and young children with significant protection against malaria.

Children's cancer group recommends global evaluation system for neuroblastoma to improve treatment
An international coalition of researchers and physicians has developed a system to standardize studies of neuroblastoma across the world to enable quicker identification of optimal treatments for this sometimes difficult-to-manage form of pediatric cancer.

Psychologists report that a gender gap in spatial skills starts in infancy
Men tend to perform better than women at tasks that require a person to rotate an object mentally, studies have indicated.

Pavlov's neurons: Researchers find brain cells that are a key to learning
More than a century after Ivan Pavlov's dog was conditioned to salivate when it heard the sound of a tone prior to receiving food, scientists have found neurons that are critical to how people and animals learn from experience.

UT Southwestern scientists identify 'border patrol agents' in the gut
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have shown in mice how and under what circumstances the gut activates its defensive mechanisms to prevent illness.

Selenium may prevent high risk-bladder cancer
A study published in the December issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that selenium, a trace mineral found in grains, nuts and meats, may aid in the prevention of high-risk bladder cancer.

Race a factor in receiving transplant treatment for bone marrow cancer but does not affect outcomes
A new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center Milwaukee, has found that African Americans and whites have identical survival rates after undergoing autologous (self-donor) bone marrow transplant treatment for a common cancer of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma).

Agenda set for fifth annual global conference on stem cell therapy Jan. 13-16 in New York
The Fifth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease, one of the largest of its kind with more than 60 internationally recognized faculty members, is a three-day comprehensive program dedicated to the evolving field of cell-based therapies for cardiac repair and regeneration.

China's paradoxical policies on HIV and drug use threaten health
Injection drug users sentenced to compulsory detention under China's paradoxical policies on HIV/AIDS and narcotics suffer human rights abuses that may imperil their health, says a new study published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Occurrence of major eye disease projected to increase among patients with diabetes
Based on projected increases in the prevalence of diabetes, the number of people with diabetes-related retinal disease, with glaucoma and with cataracts is estimated to increase significantly by 2050, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Multiple Vimpat (lacosamide) studies presented at American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting
UCB today announced new findings from analyses of pooled Vimpat clinical trial data, demonstrating that the new antiepileptic drug starts working during the first week of treatment and across doses in a challenging patient population, when administered as adjunctive therapy.

Cellular stress causes fatty liver disease in mice
A University of Iowa researcher and colleagues at the University of Michigan have discovered a direct link between disruption of a critical cellular housekeeping process and fatty liver disease, a condition that causes fat to accumulate in the liver.

Sexual abuse: Faith can silence victims or provide solace
A child's God can be kidnapped and exploited by an adult, often by the very adult who taught the child about God in the first place.

From mother to daughters: A central mystery in cell division solved
Researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a key step required for cell division in a study that could help improve therapies to treat cancer.

New study finds not all fats are created equal
In Canada, 22.2 percent of women aged 15 and over were obese.

Elsevier sponsors 2008 Semantic Web Challenge
The winners have been announced for the Semantic Web Challenge which took place at the International Semantic Web Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, from Oct.

New results on world's most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate to be reported in NEJM
Results from two new studies on the efficacy of the world's most clinically advanced malaria vaccine candidate in infants and young children in Africa will be announced at a telephone press briefing on Dec.

The Burnham buzz
Recent developments include:

UV-B light sensing mechanism discovered in plant roots
Scientists have discovered that plant roots can sense UV-B light and have identified a specific gene that is a vital player in UV-B signaling, the communication between cells.

Modeling neonatal diabetes
Neonatal diabetes is a rare form of diabetes that is usually detected within the first six months of life.

An Achilles heel in cancer cells
A protein that shields tumor cells from cell death and exerts resistance to chemotherapy has an Achilles heel, a vulnerability that can be exploited to target and kill the very tumor cells it usually protects, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago show in a new study published in the Dec.

Why do some bird species lay only 1 egg? UC San Diego study offers some answers
A global study of the wide variation among birds in this trait, known as the

REGiMMUNE receives $12 million in grants to develop transplant and allergy drugs
REGiMMUNE Corporation, a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing technologies and products for immune disorders, today announced that it has received two separate grants totaling more than $12 million from the Japan Science and Technology Agency and from National Institute of Biomedical Innovation for its reVax drug for cedar allergy and for its ToleroVax drug, a new immunosuppressant for graft-versus-host disease associated with stem cell transplantation, respectively.

Protein levels indicate risk of death in some colorectal cancer patients
A pair of proteins may help explain why people with surgically removed colorectal cancer and who are overweight, physically inactive and follow a Western-pattern diet may have an increased risk of dying of the disease or other causes, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists report.

Discovery of microbe in roundworm provides animal model for 'emerging pathogen'
An international team of biologists has discovered a new species of microsporidia, a single-celled parasite of animals, in a roundworm used in genetic laboratories around the world.

Researchers discover why Gleevec-type drugs control, but do not eradicate leukemia
Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute researchers are closer to understanding why certain chronic myeloid leukemia mutations are not stopped by the revolutionary targeted cancer pill, Gleevec, or similar therapies in that drug family.

When less is more: Brief inhibition of cancer target is effective and less toxic
New research shows that the delicate balance between maximum clinical impact and toxicity may not be quite as fragile as scientists had previously believed.

Statins do not interfere with rituximab treatment for lymphomas, Mayo Clinic study finds
Statins, drugs widely prescribed to lower cholesterol, do not interfere with a commonly used medication to treat lymphomas.

Keeping the weight off: Which obesity treatment is most successful?
Severely obese patients who have lost significant amounts of weight by changing their diet and exercise habits may be as successful in keeping the weight off long-term as those individuals who lost weight after bariatric surgery.

Improving internet access on the move
The on-board entertainment and internet access enjoyed by train passengers could soon be transformed by new technology developed at the University of York.

Rosenstiel School student wins honor at ocean forecasting symposium
Of 166 posters from around the world presented during the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment in Nice, France, a poster submitted by UM Rosenstiel School Ph.D. student Rafael Schiller earned on of six coveted

U of Minnesota researcher finds link between aggression, status and sex
Have you ever wondered why it seems like the littlest things make people angry?

New hybrid nanostructures detect nanoscale magnetism
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a new process for growing a single multi-walled carbon nanotube that is embedded with cobalt nanostructures.

Men with wives, significant others more likely to be screened for prostate cancer
Although the link between early screening and prostate cancer survival is well established, men are less likely to go for early screening unless they have a wife or significant other living with them, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Unique transatlantic tie-up to understand the aging process
Increased life expectancy in the developed world is forecast to lead to a dramatically older population in coming decades.

Isopora or isn't it?
Scientists have made an unexpected discovery that links corals of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Nanotech: To know it is not necessarily to love it
Public opinion surveys report that the small fraction of people who know about nanotechnology have a favorable view of it.

Older AML patients show promising response in drug study
Older patients with acute myloid leukemia who were once told that nothing could be done for them are finding new hope -- and life -- through a clinical trial at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Wii bit of fun at Rice University has serious intent
A Rice University research project recently funded by the National Science Foundation is making use of Nintendo's popular video game technology to codify learning systems in ways that can be used in a range of human endeavors, from sports to surgery.

Spotting the next great music superstar
Tel Aviv University researchers develop a way to predict future hit artists.

Global warming aided by drought, deforestation link
In the rainforests of equatorial Asia, a link between drought and deforestation is fueling global warming, finds an international study that includes a UC Irvine scientist.

Genetic signature predicts outcome of pediatric liver cancer
Scientists have identified a genetic signature that is remarkably effective at predicting the prognosis of an aggressive liver cancer in children.

Key to 'curing' obesity may lie in worms that destroy their own fat: McGill researchers
A previously unknown mutation discovered in a common roundworm holds the promise of new treatments for obesity in humans, McGill University researchers say.

Stress relief: Lab mice that exercise control may be more normal
Purdue University scientists found that mice raised in cages may relieve stress with behaviors associated with mice in the wild.

Increasing physical activity and limiting television may lead to reduction in type 2 diabetes
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found that reducing time spent watching television and increasing time spent walking briskly or engaged in vigorous physical activity may reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes in African-American women.

US Department of Energy funds Clemson, Savannah River National Laboratory hydrogen research
The US Department of Energy has awarded Clemson University researchers, in collaboration with DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory, $409,000 to develop a new polymer membrane that may enable the production of hydrogen using high-temperature heat, such as that from a nuclear reactor.

Harm-reduction cigarettes are more toxic than traditional cigarettes, UC Riverside study finds
A study by University of California, Riverside researchers shows that smoke from harm-reduction cigarettes retains toxicity and that this toxicity can affect prenatal development.

Media Advisory 4: AGU Fall Meeting
This release previews 20 press conferences to take place next week at the 2008 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Cytori reports benefit of adipose-derived regenerative cells in spinal disc model
Cytori Therapeutics reports 12-month pre-clinical study results that suggest the potential benefit of adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells in spinal disc repair.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Dec. 3, 2008
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Viewing US politics through the lens of race
The election of Barack Obama, America's first African-American president, was a watershed moment in US racial politics.

Electronic prescribing system may encourage physicians to choose lower-cost drugs
Clinicians using an electronic prescribing system appear more likely to prescribe lower-cost medications, reducing drug spending, according to a report in the Dec.

Clinical trial demonstrates safety of pre-transplant expansion of umbilical cord blood stem cells
Taking blood stem cells collected from an umbilical cord into the lab and expanding their number before transplanting them to replace a patient's blood supply is as safe as a standard cord blood transplant, researchers reported today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Promising trials of malaria vaccine lead to calls for Phase 3 development
Experts are recommending that a malaria vaccine progress to Phase 3 trials following the successful trial of the RTS, S/AS01E malaria vaccine among 5-17 month old children in Korogwe, Tanzania and coastal Kenya, which is reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Boston University School of Medicine receives a grant to study chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Boston University School of Medicine is one of seven centers to receive a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to use cutting edge genomic technologies to better understand lung disease.

Oil spray reduces greenhouse gas emissions from pig finishing barns
Researchers have known that the animal feeding industry creates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane and carbon dioxide.

Baby fish in polluted San Francisco estuary waters are stunted and deformed
Striped bass in the San Francisco Estuary are contaminated before birth with a toxic mix of pesticides, industrial chemicals and flame retardants that their mothers acquire from estuary waters and food sources and pass on to their eggs, say UC Davis researchers.

Dune and dirty: Hurricane teaches lessons through ecosystem research
Dr. Rusty Feagin was managing several ecosystem research projects on Galveston Island when the 2008 hurricane season began.

Contraceptive methods shape women's sexual pleasure and satisfaction
New data from the Kinsey Institute demonstrate that many women think condoms undermine sexual pleasure, but those who use both hormonal contraception and condoms also reported higher overall sexual satisfaction.

Discovery of microbe in roundworm provides animal model for 'emerging pathogen'
An article in this week's PLoS Biology documents a newly discovered species of microsporidia, which infects C. elegans, the round worm used as a model system by developmental biologists.

Epilepsy drug shows potential for Alzheimer's treatment
A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy could help clear the plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.

Age-related farsightedness may affect more than 1 billion worldwide
It is estimated that more than 1 billion individuals worldwide in 2005 had presbyopia, or age-related difficulty in seeing objects nearby, with an estimated 410 million with the condition unable to perform tasks requiring near vision, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CT scans reveal that dinosaurs were airheads
Paleontologists have long known that dinosaurs had tiny brains, but they had no idea the beasts were such airheads.

Medical terms worry more people than lay terms, study finds
The label used to identify a disease -- whether it is common language or medical terminology -- can influence how serious people think the condition is, according to new research from McMaster University.

Oldest old 'hanging in the balance'?
A lack of clear-cut, scientific evidence illustrating the benefits of mammography screening in women over 80 has created a trail of controversy leading to a disturbing conclusion about cancer care in America.

Alternative splicing proteins prompt heart development
Just as the emotions it represents are dynamic, the heart's development requires dynamic shifts in proteins that prompt alternative spicing, a mechanism that allows a given gene to program the cell to make several proteins, said a group of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Experts examine risk-pooling through insurance to help poor countries cope with climate change
The role of insurance mechanisms in helping poor countries cope with climate change will be taken up at climate talks in Poland.

Men are red, women are green, Brown researcher finds
Michael J. Tarr, professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown University, has discovered a difference in skin tone associated with gender.

Rice University study finds possible clues to epilepsy, autism
Rice University researchers have found a potential clue to the roots of epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia and other neurological disorders.

Educational Researcher devoted to report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel
The Dec. 2008 issue of Educational Researcher provides a timely scholarly examination of Foundations for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

Late Neandertals and modern human contact in southeastern Iberia
It is widely accepted that early modern humans spread westward across Europe about 42,000 years ago, displacing and absorbing Neandertal populations in the process.

Study examines motives behind Santa myth
In 1896, 54 percent of parents said they perpetuated the myth of Santa since it made their children happy; compared with 73 percent in 1979 and 80 percent in 2000.

Researchers examine the environmental impacts of automobiles to eyewear
How to protect the environment is a major concern for the Interuniversity Research Center for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services, founded by École Polytechnique, HEC Montréal and the Université de Montréal.

Clinical trial participants value personalized, accurate information about study results
Participants in clinical trials report being satisfied with personalized, accurate communication of results by study investigators soon after the study findings are released publicly, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Anti-clotting drug thins risk to pregnancy and surgery patients with blood disorder
Pregnancy and surgery patients with a serious blood disorder that causes excessive clotting have responded well to treatment with a man-made anti-clotting protein.

Precious metal could lead to next generation of cancer treatments
A precious metal which has never before been used in a clinical setting is being developed as an anti-cancer agent by University of Warwick researchers.

New system can improve video-sharing Web sites like YouTube
As video sharing websites like YouTube continue to grow in popularity, so do challenges around proper labeling of videos and monitoring for copyright infractions.

News from the Journal of Clinical Oncology
New data from a long-term, prospective study show that among people who were surgically treated for colorectal cancer, pre-diagnosis blood levels of two insulin-related proteins predicted the risk of subsequent death.

Search engine marketing for non-profits
Non-profit organizations should be exploiting the strategies of online marketers to gain traffic to their websites, raise awareness of their

Are men hardwired to overspend?
Bling, foreclosures, rising credit card debt, bank and auto bailouts, upside down mortgages and perhaps a mid-life crisis new Corvette -- all symptoms of compulsive overspending.

Massague honored with inaugural AACR Distinguished Leadership Award in Breast Cancer Research
Joan Massague, Ph.D., whose research identified the role of transforming growth hormone factor-Beta in the metastasis of breast cancer cells to the lung, has been selected to receive the inaugural AACR Distinguished Leadership Award in Breast Cancer Research.

Einstein researchers discover protein that contributes to cancer spread
In an important finding published online in Developmental Cell, researchers have identified a protein likely responsible for causing breast cancer to spread.

Second-generation CML drugs show promise as frontline therapy
Two drugs approved as fallback therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia appear to outperform historical benchmarks of the frontline medication when used as a first treatment in separate clinical trials, researchers at The University of Texas M.

Mediterranean diet plus nuts may be helpful in managing metabolic syndrome
A traditional Mediterranean diet with an additional daily serving of mixed nuts appears to be useful for managing some metabolic abnormalities in older adults at high risk for heart disease, according to a report in the Dec.

Spider love: Little guys get lots more
Big males outperform smaller ones in head-to-head mating contests but diminutive males make ten times better lovers because they're quicker to mature and faster on their feet, a new study of redback spiders reveals.

Biologists spy close-up view of poliovirus linked to host cell receptor
Researchers from Purdue and Stony Brook universities have determined the precise atomic-scale structure of the poliovirus attached to key receptor molecules in human host cells and also have taken a vital snapshot of processes leading to infection.

Report reveals diverse recreation needs on national forests
Hispanics often do not visit undeveloped natural areas like national forests because of a lack of information about recreation opportunities, according to a recent Forest Service report.

Caltech researchers get first look at how groups of cells coordinate their movements
Using novel imaging, labeling and data-analysis techniques, scientists from the California Institute of Technology have been able to visualize, for the first time, large numbers of cells moving en masse during some of the earliest stages of embryonic development.

Study identifies characteristics of hospitals with low rates of surgical site infections
New research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests that surgical procedures that are shorter in duration and the use of fewer blood transfusions characterize hospitals that have a lower incidence of surgical site infections.

Interactive gene 'networks' may predict if leukemia is aggressive or slow-growing
Rather than testing for individual marker genes or proteins, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center have evidence that groups, or networks, of interactive genes may be more reliable in determining the likelihood that a form of leukemia is fast-moving or slow-growing.

Half-dose flu shot appears to produce immune response in young, healthy adults
Individuals younger than 50 who have been previously vaccinated do not appear to have a substantially different immune response to a half-dose of influenza vaccine than to a full dose, according to a report in the Dec.

Confusing risk information may lead breast cancer patients to make poor treatment choices
A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that a tool commonly used by doctors to estimate the risk of a woman's breast cancer returning after surgery is not very effective at explaining risk to patients.

Frequent price promotions threaten quality brands, INFORMS study shows
Frequent price cuts can have a major adverse effects on brand equity, even for well-respected brands, according to a study published in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Black and white is not always a clear distinction
Is race defined by appearance, or can a person also be colored by socioeconomic status?

The crash of 2008: A mathematician's view
Markets need regulation to stay stable. We have had thirty years of financial deregulation.

ASH Presentations report REVLIMID activity and tolerability in patients with CLL
Celgene International Sarl reported two REVLIMID Phase II studies, presented today at the 50th American Society of Hematology Meeting, both demonstrated high response rates and manageable side effects in patients previously untreated with symptomatic chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 8, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Marital problems lead to poorer outcomes for breast cancer patients
Breast cancer patients who have a poor relationship with their spouse may face a more difficult road to recovery than would other women, according to a new study.

Clemson researchers and Itron Inc. generate electric power savings
Imagine being away over the holidays with most of the electric power in your home turned off while the neighbors host their holiday guests, using lots of electricity.

Women are more likely than men to die in hospital from severe heart attack
Women and men have about the same overall in-hospital death rate after heart attack.

DOE Joint Genome Institute completes soybean genome
The US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute has released a complete draft assembly of the soybean genetic code, making it widely available to the research community to advance new breeding strategies for one of the world's most valuable plant commodities.

Dutch research into fair-weather clouds important in climate predictions
Research at the Delft University of Technology has led to better understanding of clouds, the unknown quantity in current climate models.

WomenHeart response
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is releasing the following response to the study

Experts propose minimum standards of care for epilepsy
Leading epilepsy specialists met today at the American Epilepsy Society annual meeting in Seattle to unveil a recently published consensus report that proposes minimum standards of care for diagnosing, treating and monitoring epilepsy.

Properties of unusual virus revealed in research
A team of researchers has uncovered clues that may explain how and why a particular virus, called N4, injects an unusual substance -- an RNA polymerase protein -- into an E. coli bacterial cell.

Mathematical model gives clearer picture of physics of cells, organelles
UCLA researcher William Klug, along with colleagues from the California Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, have recently devised a new mathematical procedure for accurately predicting the 3-D forces involved in creating and maintaining certain organelle membrane structures that could one day shed light on the lifecycle of membrane-bound viruses such as HIV.

Vitamin B1 could reverse early-stage kidney disease in diabetes patients
Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered high doses of thiamine -- vitamin B1 -- can reverse the onset of early diabetic kidney disease.

Nipping violence in the bud in children
Violent behavioral problems that persist in early childhood are good indicators of school drop-outs and future delinquency.

New prognostic model for MDS covers all phases of disease
A new risk model for myelodysplastic syndrome provides survival projections that apply to patients at any stage of the disease, researchers at the University of Texas M.

New technique enables faster genetic diagnosis for hereditary diseases
VIB researchers connected to the University of Antwerp have developed a new method that enables them to track down the cause of hereditary diseases more quickly and efficiently.

Program to deter youth alcohol use also reduces conduct problems, study finds
A University of Georgia program designed to reduce alcohol use, drug use and risky sexual behavior in African-American youth also reduces the likelihood of engaging in conduct problems by up to 74 percent two years later, according to a new study.

Low-income settings require local guideline development for childhood illness
The next generation of case management guidelines for childhood illness need to be more locally informed, rather than relying on those centrally generated by organizations like the World Health Organization, argues a new essay published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Study sheds light on cause of bowel disease
Scientists have uncovered vital clues about how to treat serious bowel disorders by studying the behavior of cells in the colon. 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