Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 05, 2009
Cell death from cytomegalovirus may bring new life to treatment of retinal disease
Just days after the first retinal cell gets infected with the common cytomegalovirus, contiguous cells start committing suicide and researchers believe their death may provide clues to better treatment of this potentially blinding infection.

Mothers pass on disease clues to offspring
The study provides the first evidence for a transgenerational effect on immune response based on environmental cues -- with maternal perception of disease risk in the immediate environment potentially determining offspring disease resistance and social dominance.

Mayo researchers offer new insight into effectiveness of procedure to stop heavy menstrual bleeding
Experts estimate that 20 percent of women experience excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding at some time during their lives, particularly as they approach menopause.

Field Museum discovery helps solve mystery of South American trophy heads
A recent study using specimens from Chicago's Field Museum establishes that Nazca trophy heads came from people who lived in the same place and were part of the same culture as those who collected them.

Medical errors, apologies and apology laws
Apologizing for medical errors is both ethically and professionally responsible and also crucial for improving patient safety and quality of care, write Dr.

Burnham researchers illuminate mechanisms that regulate DNA damage control and replication
Scientists at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have demonstrated important new roles for the protein kinase complex Cdc7/Dbf4 or Cdc7/Drf1 in monitoring damage control during DNA replication and reinitiating replication following DNA repair.

Joint mathematics meeting special session to tackle redistricting
What would happen if mathematicians and other experts designed voting districts, rather than politicians?

Low-carb diets prove better at controlling type 2 diabetes
In a six-month comparison of low-carb diets, one that encourages eating carbohydrates with the lowest-possible rating on the glycemic index leads to greater improvement in blood sugar control, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Folic acid survey of Spanish-speaking women finds most are missing benefits, March of Dimes says
Only 17 percent of Spanish-speaking women of childbearing age in the United States are taking a multivitamin containing folic acid daily, according to the first nationally representative folic acid awareness survey to focus on this population.

Emotional needs key for teaching gifted students
Teachers of gifted students need to pay close attention to the social and emotional needs of their pupils or they are far less likely to reach their potential.

Scientists can now differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells
A new study by McMaster University researchers has provided insight into how scientists might develop therapies and drugs that more carefully target cancer, while sparing normal healthy cells.

Adult-onset diabetes slows mental functioning in several ways, with deficits appearing early
Adults with diabetes experience a slowdown in several types of mental processing, which appears early in the disease and persists into old age, according to new research.

Testes stem cell can change into other body tissues, Stanford/UCSF study shows
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and at UC-San Francisco have succeeded in isolating stem cells from human testes.

Childhood trauma associated with chronic fatigue syndrome
Individuals who experience trauma during childhood appear more likely to develop chronic fatigue syndrome as adults, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

EAU 2nd Eastern Mediterranean Meeting expected to highlight cystectomy
The 1st Eastern Mediterranean Meeting, which was held in Antalya in 2007, was a great success.

Majority of teens discuss risky behaviors on MySpace, studies conclude
In a pair of related studies released by Seattle Children's Research Institute and published in the January, 2009, issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that 54 percent of adolescents frequently discuss high-risk activities including sexual behavior, substance abuse or violence using MySpace, the popular social networking Web site.

Conference on cell therapy includes new session on stem cells for noncardiac organ injury
The 5th International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease will include a new session on stem cells for noncardiac organ injury.

Cell biologists identify new tumor suppressor for lung cancer
Cancer and cell biology experts at the University of Cincinnati have identified a new tumor suppressor that may help scientists develop more targeted drug therapies to combat lung cancer.

Developer of advanced computing memory, father of biochemical engineering, and innovative engineering educators win highest engineering honors of 2009
The engineering profession's highest honors for 2009, presented by the National Academy of Engineering, recognize three achievements that helped the expansion of computing power; led to the widespread production of antibiotics; and developed unique entrepreneurial-themed curricula for engineers.

'Recovery coaches' effective in reducing number of babies exposed to drugs
Recovery coaches can significantly reduce the number of substance-exposed births as well as help reunite substance-involved families, saving state child-welfare systems millions of dollars in foster-care and other placement costs.

'Relocation' plan of metastatic cancer cells uncovered by Stanford researchers
Few things are as tiresome as house hunting and moving.

Brain circuit abnormalities may underlie bulimia nervosa in women
Women with bulimia nervosa appear to respond more impulsively during psychological testing than those without eating disorders, and brain scans show differences in areas responsible for regulating behavior, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Evolution in action: Our antibodies take 'evolutionary leaps' to fight microbes
With cold and flu season in full swing, the fact that viruses and bacteria rapidly evolve is apparent with every sneeze, sniffle and cough.

Describing soils: Calibration tool for teaching soil rupture resistance
A new tool has been developed that will help measure the rupture resistance of soils by calibrating the correct amount of pressure between a thumb and forefinger of students and soil scientists when studying soils in the field.

Baby Jupiters must gain weight fast
The planet Jupiter gained weight in a hurry during its infancy.

Tackling climate change with new permits to pollute
A new way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and tackle climate change had been unveiled by leading economists.

Models simulate nitrate dynamics in Garonne, Southwest France
A new study details the first European application of two models that simulate the daily flow and dynamics of nitrogen in a watershed, which will help researchers prevent the over-enrichment of fresh, transitional, and marine waters with nitrogen, as well as understand the impacts of environmental change.

Stars forming just beyond black hole's grasp at galactic center
The center of the Milky Way presents astronomers with a paradox: It holds young stars, but no one is sure how those stars got there.

Studies reveal lifelong gender difference in physical activity
Females of all ages are less active than their male peers.

Study: Can nature's leading indicators presage environmental disaster?
Economists use leading indicators -- the drivers of economic performance -- to take the temperature of the economy and predict the future.

Viagra's other talents: Help a 'signaling' protein shield the heart from high blood pressure damage
Johns Hopkins and other researchers report what is believed to be the first direct evidence in lab animals that the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil amplifies the effects of a heart-protective protein.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Jan. 6, 2009, issue
Below is information about three studies being published in the Jan.

New insight into aggressive childhood cancer
A new study reveals critical molecular mechanisms associated with the development and progression of human neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in young children.

The importance of early childhood monitoring
Universal, affordable access to early childhood programs is essential to help young children develop their potential.

Removing user fees does not improve health outcomes in Ghana
Removing user fees for primary health care changed health utilization behavior but did not improve health outcomes among households with children under the age of five in Ghana, says a new study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

Jupiter-like planets could form around twin suns
Life on a planet ruled by two suns might be a little complicated.

New standard for popular stevia-based sweetener to assure product's quality
Responding to the growing popularity of a plant-based sweetener, the US Pharmacopeial Convention today announced it is developing a new standard to be included in the Food Chemicals Codex that will help food and beverage manufacturers assure the product's quality for consumers.

How to treat fevers in African children up for debate
A new debate in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine questions whether all African children with fever should be treated presumptively with antimalarial drugs, or if treatment should wait until laboratory tests confirm malarial infection.

Doubts make consumers more willing to re-evaluate brands, study finds
Most consumers crave a clear understanding of brand images, making them more receptive to new marketing messages if anything clouds their vision of companies or products, according to a new study by a University of Illinois marketing expert.

GEN joins Charles Darwin 2009 celebration
Theodosius Dobzhansky, the late great geneticist and evolutionary biologist, said it best:

California study shows shade trees reduce summertime electricity use
A recent study shows that shade trees on the west and south sides of a house in California can reduce a homeowner's summertime electric bill by about $25.00 a year.

Zeroing in on Hubble's constant
The rate at which the universe is expanding, a value known as the Hubble constant, has been hotly debated for the last 80 years.

UK scientists help museum curators to determine Viking trade routes by the metal in their swords
Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington have worked with the Wallace Collection to analyze the contents of Viking swords -- and the results shed new light on trade routes in the middle ages.

Volcanoes cool the tropics, say researchers
Climate researchers have shown that big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics but suggest that such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures.

Pneumococcal vaccine does not appear to protect against pneumonia
Commonly used pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines do not appear to be effective for preventing pneumonia, found a study by a team of researchers from Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Uncultured bacteria found in amniotic fluids of women who experience preterm births
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Yale University have made a significant advancement in understanding the cause behind why some pregnant women suffer from inflammations in the inner womb without any signs of an infection.

Milky Way a swifter spinner, more massive, new measurements show
Our home galaxy is rotating about 100,000 miles per hour faster than previously thought, meaning its mass is 50 percent greater.

Methods for studying DNA repair and protein modification are featured in CSH Protocols
This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features two articles detailing experimental methods for the analysis of molecular processes involved in DNA repair and post-translational modification of proteins.

Breathing easier
Tel Aviv University finds that exertion at work and play can trigger deadly asthma attacks.

Biological link connects childhood trauma and risk for chronic fatigue syndrome
Childhood trauma is a potent risk factor for development of chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a study by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New findings shed light on why smokers struggle to quit
Just seeing someone smoke can trigger smokers to abandon their nascent efforts to kick the habit, according to new research conducted at Duke University Medical Center.

Nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord sense pain caused by physical insult
Researchers have shown that the protein COX2 in mouse nerve cells in the central nervous system (CNS) is crucial for hypersensitivity to pain caused by the physical insult associated with inflammation, but not pain caused by the heat associated with inflammation.

Team finds breast cancer gene linked to disease spread
A team of researchers at Princeton University and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey has identified a long-sought gene that is fatefully switched on in 30 to 40 percent of all breast cancer patients, spreading the disease, resisting traditional chemotherapies and eventually leading to death.

Ophthalmology highlights January 2009
Hideharu Funatsu, M.D., and colleagues at the Tokyo Women's Medical University, Japan, focused on diabetic macular edema, a serious complication of retinopathy.

JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 5, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Collagen VI may help protect the brain against Alzheimer's disease
Gladstone scientists have discovered a new type of collagen that may protect neurons against the toxic effects of amyloid beta.

Molecular insight into how a heart failure drug in clinical trials works
One of the factors that contributes to heart failure is thickening of the muscle wall of the heart (hypertrophy) -- a compensatory response of the heart to high blood pressure.

Studies link maternity leave with fewer C-sections and increased breastfeeding
Two new studies led by UC Berkeley researchers find that women who start their leave in the last month of pregnancy are less likely to have cesarean deliveries, and that new mothers are more likely to establish breastfeeding the longer they delay their return to work.

Substance abuse adds millions to Medicaid's total health care costs
People with substance abuse disorders cost Medicaid hundreds of millions of dollars annually in medical care, suggesting that early interventions for substance abuse could not only improve outcomes but also save substantial amounts of money, according to a comprehensive study that examined records of nearly 150,000 people in six states.

New hope for cancer comes straight from the heart
Digitalis-based drugs like digoxin have been used for centuries to treat patients with irregular heart rhythms and heart failure and are still in use today.

Lamin A/C deficiency is 'unnerving'
Mutations in the nuclear intermediate filament lamin A/C gene are associated with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, but cause the disease by unknown mechanisms.

Iowa State astrophysicist helps map the Milky Way's 4 spiral arms
Martin Pohl, an Iowa State University associate professor of physics and astronomy, is part of a research team that developed the first complete map of the Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery -- in brief
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ... In Brief is distributed monthly and designed to keep you updated on the most current scientific news from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Study links obesity to elevated risk of ovarian cancer
A new epidemiological study has found that among women who have never used menopausal hormone therapy, obese women are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women of normal weight.

Burnham researchers discover 'on switch' for cell death signaling mechanism
Scientists at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have determined the structure of the interactions between proteins that form the heart of the death inducing signaling complex, which is responsible for triggering apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

'Beyond Fortress America': A review of National Security controls on S&T research
A new report from the National Research Council,

IU physicist offers foundation for uprooting a hallowed principle of physics
Physicists at Indiana University have developed a promising new way to identify a possible abnormality in a fundamental building block of Einstein's theory of relativity known as

International copper industry defines role in the fight against hospital infections
Leading scientists from the UK, US, Germany and Greece presented scientific evidence supporting the case for incorporating copper surfaces into health care environments to help reduce the risk of infection and to protect public health.

Gene plays dual role in breast cancers with poor prognosis
A new study reveals that the metadherin gene (MTDH) plays a role in both cancer metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy.

Flawed deposit insurance programs need reform, banking expert says
Government insurance programs that safeguard bank deposits should be reformed to ease taxpayers' undue stake in propping up the nation's banking system, according to research by a University of Illinois finance professor.

Prolonged nevirapine in breast-fed babies prevents HIV infection but leads to drug-resistant HIV
Babies born to HIV-positive mothers and given the antiretroviral drug nevirapine through the first six weeks of life to prevent infection via breast-feeding are at high risk for developing drug-resistant HIV if they get infected anyway, a team of researchers report.

Understanding extinct microbes may influence the state of modern human health
The study of ancient microbes may not seem consequential, but such pioneering research at the University of Oklahoma has implications for the state of modern human health.

Teens frequently mention risky behaviors on social networking sites
About half of teens reference sex, substance use or other risky behaviors on their publicly available online profiles, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Similar long-term mortality risks in men with type 2 diabetes and men with cardiovascular disease
Men with type 2 diabetes and men with previous heart attack or stroke had a 3 to 4 fold risk of cardiovascular death compared to men without either disease in the years following the first acute event, according to a study in CMAJ.

New appropriate use criteria guide treatment of patients with heart blockage
Whether it's appropriate to treat chest pain with medical therapy alone or prescribe medical therapy and also perform revascularization -- that is, by restoring good blood flow to the heart muscle with a balloon-tipped catheter or bypass surgery -- depends on several factors that vary from patient to patient.

Leading international researchers to discuss data relevant to psychoanalytic treatment
On Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, members of two research groups who are international leaders in the investigation of factors underlying change in psychoanalytic treatment will make presentations as part of the Winter 2009 Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association which will be held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue in New York.
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