Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 11, 2008
New statement outlines essentials of heart failure clinics
Heart failure clinics are an increasingly important approach to the treatment of patients with heart failure, yet there have been no published standards regarding the care provided by these specialized clinics.

Babies born a few weeks too soon at greater risk of cerebral palsy and developmental delays
Late preterm infants, those born 34-36 weeks gestation, were three times as likely to have cerebral palsy than full-term infants, according new research by a team lead by the March of Dimes.

USC researchers identify key mechanism that occurs at the inception point of many human lymphomas
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California have explained how certain key mutations occur in human lymphomas -- a process that has, until now, remained a mystery.

University of Minnesota receives $40 million for type 1 diabetes research
The University of Minnesota has received a $40 million pledge for diabetes research from the Richard M.

Michigan State University to host $550 million federal nuclear science facility
The US Department of Energy Office of Science today named Michigan State University as the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

A fisheries catch-22
Human impacts on the environment have reduced populations of wild species to dangerously low levels.

New cause of heart arrhythmia found
A new study shows that atrial fibrillation -- the most common form of sustained heart arrhythmia -- can be caused in an unexpected way.

The 2009 Leibniz Prize: Eleven new scientific discoverers
The recipients of this year's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize have been officially announced.

An enzyme that mutates antibodies also targets a cancer-causing oncogene
The human immune system runs a risky business. It mutates its own DNA to diversify defenses against foreign invaders it has never before encountered.

University of Virginia engineers to create parts of virtual crash test dummy
Two teams of engineers with the University of Virginia's Center for Biomechanics will play major roles in the creation of a new

Strategic video game improves critical cognitive skills in older adults
A desire to rule the world may be a good thing if you're over 60 and worried about losing your mental faculties.

University of Maryland researchers discover gene mutation that appears to help prevent heart disease
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have discovered a novel gene mutation among the Old Order Amish population that significantly reduces the level of triglycerides in the blood and appears to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Climate change alters ocean chemistry
Scientists have discovered that the ocean's chemical makeup is less stable and more greatly affected by climate change than previously believed.

Use weights, not aerobics, to ease back pain
People who use weight training to ease their lower back pain are better off than those who choose other forms of exercise such as jogging.

Amputees can experience prosthetic hand as their own
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Lund University in Sweden have succeeded in inducing people with an amputated arm to experience a prosthetic rubber hand as belonging to their own body.

Hawaiian honeyeaters' long-lost relatives found
Despite appearances, Hawaii's five species of recently extinct songbirds known as honeyeaters bore no close relationship at all to the honeyeaters found in Australia and New Guinea, according to a genetic analysis reported online on Dec.

The profound effects of numbing agents
A large proteomics study on the brains of newborn mice provides more evidence that sedative and analgesic drugs often used in obstetric or pediatric medicine can have profound and long-term negative effects, even after minimal exposure.

Important role of groundwater springs in shaping Mars
Data and images from Mars Express suggest that several light toned deposits, some of the least understood features on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface.

Rare disease provides clues about enzyme role in arrhythmias
A new study provides insight into calmodulin kinase II, a calcium-sensing enzyme already known to play a role in irregular heartbeats and other critical functions.

Missing: 2,000 elephants
Elephants in Zakouma National Park, the last stronghold for the savanna elephants of Central Africa's Sahel region, now hover at about 1,000 animals, down from an estimated 3,000 in 2006.

Low-carb diets can affect dieters' cognition skills
A new study from Tufts University shows that when dieters eliminate carbohydrates from their meals, they performed more poorly on memory-based tasks than when they reduce calories, but maintain carbohydrates.

Rochester biologist modifies theory of cells' engines
Biologists have known for decades that cells use tiny molecular motors to move chromosomes, mitochondria, and many other organelles within the cell, but no one has been able to understand what

MIT developing a better flight plan for weather forecasting
At MIT, planning for bad weather involves far more than remembering an umbrella.

Seven life scientists get research boost to set up in Europe
Seven talented life science researchers will receive the 2008 EMBO Installation Grants, assisting them to relocate and set up their research groups in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Turkey.

Comparable data on maternal and infant in Europe available for the first time
The European Perinatal Health Report released by the EURO-PERISTAT project is the most comprehensive report on the subject to date and takes a new approach to health reporting.

Easton honored with inaugural AACR Outstanding Investigator Award in Breast Cancer Research
Douglas Easton, Ph.D., whose international studies in breast cancer explained the genetic patterns and causes of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations which indicate a person's risk for breast cancer, has been selected to receive the inaugural American Association for Cancer Research Outstanding Investigator Award in Breast Cancer Research.

MIT researchers explain mystery of gravity fingers
Researchers at MIT recently found an elegant solution to a sticky scientific problem in basic fluid mechanics: why water doesn't soak into soil at an even rate, but instead forms what look like fingers of fluid flowing downward.

What you give, might not always be received
A fundamental process in the transmission of genes from mother to child has been identified by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University.

Queen's University Belfast plays leading role in Europe-wide tests for safer food
A top food scientist at Queen's University Belfast is playing a major role in a £4 million ($5.9 million) European project to develop new techniques to detect chemical contaminants in food and animal feed.

Sweetened beverage consumption increases in the US
Over the past two decades, the number of adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches has increased dramatically, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Gene therapy effective treatment against gum disease
Scientists at the University of Michigan have shown that gene therapy can be used to successfully stop the development of periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Sale of UH biotech spin-off shows commercialization potential
In a move that demonstrates the commercial appeal of research coming out of University of Houston, a company created by six of its professors was sold to a global conglomerate in the disease-research and drug-discovery industries.

Heart regenerates after infarction -- first trials with mice
Up until today, scientists assumed that the adult heart is unable to regenerate.

Late preterm births present serious risks to newborns
More than half a million babies are born preterm in the United States each year and preterm births are on the rise.

Inexperienced prostitutes most at risk of sexual infections
Less experienced prostitutes are more likely to have sexually transmitted infections.

Doctors issue warning about the danger of heavy toilet seats to male toddlers
That new toilet seat may look great in the smallest room, but it could also be putting toilet training males at risk.

Study finds link between political corruption and FEMA money
Where natural disasters strike, political corruption is soon to follow, say the authors of a new study in the Journal of Law and Economics.

There's a life-saving medical device sitting on your sink
Toothbrushing can prevent hospital-borne pneumonia, a Tel Aviv University study finds.

Pitt, NETL researchers report molecular chain reaction thought to be impossible
People said it couldn't be done, but researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the US Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh demonstrated a molecular chain reaction on a metal surface, a nanoscale process with sizable potential in areas from nanotechnology to developing information storage technology.

New MIT detector will aid dark matter search
Several research projects are underway to try to detect particles that may make up the mysterious

Estrogen pills can benefit women with metastatic breast cancer
Estrogen-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer often develops resistance to conventional therapies that severely lower a woman's estrogen level.

UC and P&G create cutting-edge computer simulation center
A collaborative effort between Procter & Gamble and the University of Cincinnati has developed a center of expertise in computer simulation.

Drama in the heart of the Tarantula
A new Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the Tarantula Nebula gives scientists a close-up view of the drama of star formation and evolution.

Mathematical models of adaptive immunity
More than five million people die every year from infectious diseases, despite the availability of numerous antibiotics and vaccines.

Stressed-out mice reveal role of epigenetics in behavior
Research conducted by a team in Switzerland suggests that a family of genes involved in regulating the expression of other genes in the brain is responsible for helping us deal with external inputs such as stress.

EPA and USDA should create new initiative to better monitor nutrients
The US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture should jointly establish a Nutrient Control Implementation Initiative to learn more about the effectiveness of actions meant to improve water quality throughout the Mississippi River basin and into the northern Gulf of Mexico, says a new report from the National Research Council.

LATH wins contract to boost health research capacity in Malawi
Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health, a consulting arm of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, has been awarded a £10 million contract to manage a program of work supporting a new Health Research Capacity Strengthening initiative in Malawi.

Dr. Ben Berkhout awarded Retrovirology Prize for contribution to HIV research
Dr. Ben Berkhout, a retrovirologist from the Netherlands, has been awarded the 2008 M Jeang Retrovirology Prize.

Mayo Clinic researchers find tamoxifen's power comes from endoxifen
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that a chemical known as endoxifen appears to be the primary metabolite responsible for the effectiveness of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer and that it works against cancer in an entirely unexpected way.

Meta-analyses of global trials finds in favor of aromatase inhibitors
Two separate meta-analyses of clinical trials from around the world that tested tamoxifen against aromatase inhibitor drugs in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer have each reached the same conclusion: aromatase inhibitors are more effective in preventing breast cancer from coming back.

Iron Age 'sacrifice' is Britain's oldest surviving brain
The oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2000 years to the Iron Age, has been has been unearthed during excavations on the site of the University of York's campus expansion at Heslington East.

Cueing up at the meiotic starting line
Geneticists have been debating if meiosis requires only external or internal signals.

New studies reveal differing perceptions of nature-altering science
Two new National Science Foundation-sponsored research studies say public acceptance of the relatively new, nature-altering science of nanotechnology isn't a foregone conclusion.

Wobbly planets could reveal Earth-like moons
Moons outside our solar system with the potential to support life have just become much easier to detect, thanks to research by an astronomer at University College London.

Inside the consumer mind: U of M brain scans reveal choice mechanism
Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, has conducted research that shows that decision making is simplified when a consumer considers a third, less attractive option.

NASA science on display at American Geophysical Union meeting
NASA researchers will present new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics during the 2008 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Researcher nabs 'doubly magic' tin isotope
With help from newly developed equipment designed and built at Michigan State University, MSU researchers have been able to make first-of-its-kind measurements of several rare nuclei, one of which has been termed a

Global child immunization is not at the level of official country reports or WHO/UNICEF estimates
Levels of childhood immunization coverage for the three-dose diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough are significantly lower than reported by individual nations or WHO/UNICEF estimates.

Once upon a time, scales were displayed in parlors, not hidden in bathrooms
Stepping onto a scale after a calorie-filled holiday season isn't an activity many 21st-century Americans relish.

Immunology Center will continue to drive standard methods, better science
The Rochester Human Immunology Center has been awarded a $4 million renewal of its grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease.

Europa does the wave to generate heat
One of the moons in our solar system that scientists think has the potential to harbor life may have a far more dynamic ocean than previously thought.

Implantable monitor may help in managing diastolic heart failure
An implantable hemodynamic monitor may help to guide medical treatment in a large subgroup of patients with heart failure: those with diastolic heart failure, reports a study in the December Journal of Cardiac Failure

In the animal world, bigger isn't necessarily better
Shocking new research shows size isn't always an advantage in the animal world, shattering a widely-held belief that bigger is better.

Women's magazines downplay emotional health risks of cosmetic surgery: UBC study
While the emotional health implications of cosmetic surgery are still up for scientific debate, articles in women's magazines such as the Oprah Magazine and Cosmopolitan portray cosmetic surgery as a physically risky, but overall worthwhile option for enhancing physical appearance and emotional health, a UBC study has found.

Pioneering space station experiment keeps reactions in suspense
A revolutionary container-less chemical reactor, pioneered by the space research team at Guigné International Ltd. in Canada with scientists at the University of Bath, has been installed on the International Space Station.

Cornell researcher invents lethal 'lint brush' to capture and kill cancer cells in the bloodstream
In a new tactic in the fight against cancer, Cornell University researcher Michael King has developed what he calls a lethal

A fading sense of smell may signal onset of Parkinson's disease
Many individuals with Parkinson's disease are able to recall losing their sense of smell well before the onset of more commonly recognized symptoms such as tremors, impaired dexterity, speech problems, memory loss and decreased cognitive ability.

Scripps Research scientists watch membrane fission in real time
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have solved one of biology's neatest little tricks: They have discovered how a cell's outer membrane pinches a little pouch from itself to bring molecules outside the cell inside -- without making holes that leak fluid from either side of the membrane.

Study shows major pain research funding decline at NIH
Federal funding for pain research is declining sharply, more than 9 percent a year since 2003, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pain.

Boy or girl? It's in the father's genes
A study of hundreds of years of family trees suggests a man's genes play a role in him having sons or daughters.

UB driver simulation study targets high-risk teenage drivers
Using the bells and whistles of a state-of-the-art entertainment arcade, a University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education project aims to improve the driving habits of teenagers at the very top of the risk pool, and at the same time bring child and parent together for a happier, better functioning family.

Exercise suppresses appetite by affecting appetite hormones
A vigorous 60-minute workout on a treadmill affects the release of two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while 90 minutes of weight lifting affects the level of only ghrelin.

American Heart Association comment on the World Cancer Report
This week the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization, released updated cancer death projections in a call to action, asking the government to help fund cancer prevention and research initiatives and international tobacco control policies.

Charting HIV's rapidly changing journey in the body
HIV is so deadly largely because it evolves so rapidly.

Smithsonian scientists rearrange Hawaii's bird family tree
A group of five endemic Hawaiian songbird species were historically classified as

AGU Journal highlights -- Dec. 11, 2008
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Cancer drugs in the pipeline
Scientists in the clinic and the laboratory continue to work to drive breast cancer mortality rates down with breakthrough drugs.

An evidence-based approach to theories of medical decision making and health
As a way to help both the sick and their medical care providers to make the best health care decisions possible, a special section of the current November/December 2008 issue of Medical Decision Making examines three current evidenced-based theories that can help to improve assessments, assist in prevention programs, and help with intervention efforts.

Key to regulation of puberty discovered
A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge and the University of Cukurova in Turkey have taken a major step to understanding how the brain controls the onset of puberty.

Success of anti-meth ads questioned by study
The federal government and several states have funded an advertising campaign on methamphetamine use.

Orangutan's spontaneous whistling opens new chapter in study of evolution of speech
An orangutan's spontaneous whistling is providing scientists at Great Ape Trust of Iowa new insights into the evolution of speech and learning. 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