Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 15, 2009
Alcohol taxes have clear effect on drinking
A new study published online today finds that the more alcoholic beverages cost, the less likely people are to drink.

Possible new hope for crops battling parasitic infection
Scientists from Ghent University and VIB (the Flemisch Institute for Biotechnology) have demonstrated how nematodes, also known as roundworms, manipulate the transport of the plant hormone auxin in order to force the plant to produce food for them.

New family of antibacterial agents uncovered
In this week's JBC, researchers have found a potential new antibiotic agent in the tiny freshwater animal Hydra.

National Lung Cancer Partnership announces 2009 career development recipient
The National Lung Cancer Partnership is pleased to announce I-Ching Wang, Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the recipient of the 2009 Career Development Award.

A world-first in solar technology unveiled at Concordia University
A new type of solar technology that combines solar heat and power technology has been developed at Montreal's Concordia University and is being integrated into the university's new business school.

Climate scientist wins new $500K award
Wallace S. Broecker, a geochemist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has received the newly founded Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change Research, one of the world's largest science prizes.

New York's Cancer Vaccine Collaborative is named finalist for national nonprofit collaboration prize
The Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, a joint program of the Cancer Research Institute Inc. and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd., has been named one of eight finalists for the Collaboration Prize, a national cash award of $250,000 presented to an outstanding model of nonprofit collaboration.

National Lung Cancer Partnership and LUNGevity Foundation announce 2009 grant recipients
The 2009 winners of the National Lung Cancer Partnership/LUNGevity Foundation Research Grants are Prasad Adusumilli, M.D., and Lee Goodglick, Ph.D.

Clearing the 'fog'
Misplacing items, inability to multi-task, forgetfulness: These are the effects some cancer patients say they experience after chemotherapy.

Cornell-led team detects dust around a primitive star, shedding new light on universe's origins
A Cornell-led team of astronomers has observed dust forming around a dying star in a nearby galaxy, giving a glimpse into the early universe and enlivening a debate about the origins of all cosmic dust.

World Congress on Osteoporosis 2010 -- IOFWCO-ECCEO10 to be held in Florence
We invite you to attend the joint Congress of the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the European Society of Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis, to be held in Florence, Italy, May 5-8, 2010.

Honoring chemistry excellence with the Wiley-CST Award for outstanding publication
Two outstanding young Thai chemists were awarded the Wiley-CST Award for Outstanding Publication 2008 today.

Strategic farming practices could help mitigate global warming
Researchers say that strategic farming practices might be part of the solution for curbing global warming.

Cooling the planet with crops
By carefully selecting which varieties of food crops to cultivate, much of Europe and North America could be cooled by up to 1 degree Celsius during the summer growing season, say researchers from the University of Bristol, UK.

Biologist enhances use of bioinformatic tools and achieves precision in genetic annotation
Jose Luis Lavin Trueba, a graduate in biology and biochemistry from the University of Salamanca, Spain, and currently collaborator in the Genetic and Microbiology Research Group at the Public University of Navarre, has enhanced the use of bioinformatic tools for the identification and annotation of certain fungal and bacterial genes.

Postnatal depression can be effectively treated and possibly prevented
Health visitors can be trained to identify women with postnatal depression and offer effective treatment, while telephone peer support (mother to mother) may halve the risk of developing postnatal depression, suggests research published on bmj.com today.

Gene associated with reduced mortality from acute lung injury
Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver have discovered a gene that is associated with improved survival among patients with acute lung injury.

Does universal health care affect attitude toward dementia?
In spite of their universal health care system which facilitates access to free dementia care, older adults in the United Kingdom are less willing to undergo dementia screening than their counterparts in the US because the Britons perceive greater societal stigma from diagnosis of the disease than do Americans according to researches from Indiana University and the Universities of Kent and London.

Researchers detail how aging undermines bone healing
Researchers have unraveled crucial details of how aging causes broken bones to heal slowly, or not at all, according to study results published today in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Possible Alzheimer's disease marker discovered in rare genotype
Researchers at Banner Health's Sun Health Research Institute have uncovered evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be clinically confirmed in patients with apolipoprotein E2 homozygote.

Study of 9 million people shows bipolar disorder and schizophrenia share common genetic causes
An analysis of 9 million Swedish people from a 30-year period has shown that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia share common genetic causes.

Health provisions among public's top priorities for economic stimulus
The public ranks action on health care highly as part of efforts to stem the impact of the economic recession and also views reforming health care as one of the top priorities for President-elect Obama and Congress, according to a new national survey.

The Science Coalition applauds House economic stimulus package proposal
The Science Coalition applauds the House for recognizing the vital need to include research funding in the economic stimulus and recovery efforts.

Researchers to use K-State's BSL-3 Lab for $1 million study of fungus threatening wheat crops
Barbara Valent, Kansas State University distinguished professor of plant pathology, is leading a group of researchers to study the wheat blast fungus at K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute.

New piece in the jigsaw puzzle of human origins
In an article in today's Nature, Uppsala researcher Martin Brazeau describes the skull and jaws of a fish that lived about 410 million years ago.

Depressed adolescents not harmed by being part of placebo group in clinical trial, researchers find
In a national clinical trial, adolescents with moderate to severe depression first given a placebo treatment and then an antidepressant medication alone or in combination with therapy responded just as well over the long term as participants who received active treatment throughout the study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

DNA repair patterns may predict risk of pancreatic cancer
Genetic variations in DNA repair patterns may increase risk of pancreatic cancer by as much as threefold or decrease it by as much as 77 percent, depending on the genes involved, according to a report published in the Jan.

Prophylaxis to reduce sepsis in extremely preterm babies does not improve survival (programs trial)
Prophylactic administration to premature babies of a blood cell growth factor raises immune cell counts but does not reduce systemic infection (sepsis) or improve survival.

Tufts receives NIH grant to study obesity prevention in new immigrants
Tufts University received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to design and study an obesity prevention program for new immigrants in Somerville, Mass.

New study resolves mystery of how massive stars form
Theorists have long wondered how massive stars -- up to 120 times the mass of the sun -- can form without blowing away the clouds of gas and dust that feed their growth.

Biofuel carbon footprint not as big as feared, Michigan State University research says
Some researchers have blasted biofuels' potential to increase greenhouse gas emissions, calling into question the environmental benefits of making fuel from plant material.

New genetic model predicts plant flowering in different environments
A Brown University-led team has created a model that precisely charts the genetic and environmental signals that guide the life cycle of a scientifically important plant species.

Study of human tissue reveals potential colon cancer biomarker
University of Cincinnati scientists have identified a new biomarker that could help predict a person's risk of developing colon cancer and how aggressive it may become.

Why domestic animals changed coat
A new study on pigs, published Jan. 16 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, reveals that the prime explanation for the bewildering diversity in coat color among our pigs, dogs and other domestic animals, is that humans have actively changed the coat color of domestic animals by cherry-picking and actively selecting for rare mutations.

Global warming linked to European viral epidemic
An epidemic of the viral disease nephropathia epidemica has been linked to increases in the vole population caused by hotter summers, milder winters and increased seedcrop production by broadleaf trees.

DREAM: 1 gene regulates pain, learning and memory
The DREAM-gene which is crucial in regulating pain perception seems to also influence learning and memory.

Researchers find essential proteins for critical stage of malaria
Researchers have identified the molecular components that enable the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium to infect the salivary glands of the Anopheles mosquito -- a critical stage for spreading malaria to humans.

Easy assembly of electronic biological chips
A handheld, ultra-portable device that can recognize and immediately report on a wide variety of environmental or medical compounds may eventually be possible, using a method that incorporates a mixture of biologically tagged nanowires onto integrated circuit chips, according to Penn State researchers.

U of T chemistry discovery brings organic solar cells a step closer
Inexpensive solar cells, vastly improved medical imaging techniques and lighter more flexible television screens are among the potential applications envisioned for organic electronics.

Scientists solve longstanding astronomy mystery
New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley has shown how a massive star can grow despite outward-flowing radiation pressure that exceeds the gravitational force pulling material inward.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is in the mind
The main factors influencing the amount of physical exercise people carry out are their self-perceived ability and the extent of their desire to exercise.

Humans are reason for why domestic animals have strange and varied coat colors
Study proves humans have actively changed the coats of domestic animals by cherry-picking rare genetic mutations, causing variations such as different colors, bands and spots, according to a new study.

Abnormal DNA repair genes may predict pancreatic cancer risk
Abnormalities in genes that repair mistakes in DNA replication may help identify people who are at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer, a research team from the University of Texas M.

Reduced breast cancer risk: Physical activity after menopause pays off
The breast cancer risk of women who are regularly physically active in the postmenopausal phase is reduced by about one third compared to relatively inactive women.

Nanotech safety high on Congress' priority list
The House Science and Technology Committee today introduced legislation that highlights the growing attention on Capitol Hill to the need to strengthen federal efforts to learn more about the potential environmental, health and safety risks posed by engineered nanomaterials.

Treatment of indigestion with antacids first can reduce costs of care (DIAMOND study)
The order in which drugs are administered for indigestion (dyspepsia) has implications for cost-effectiveness.

High school students' paper published in prestigious college math journal
A paper written by four students from High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, titled

E. coli persists against antibiotics through HipA-induced dormancy
Bacteria hunker down and survive antibiotic attack when a protein flips a chemical switch that throws them into a dormant state until treatment abates, researchers at the University of Texas M.

Next generation cloaking device demonstrated
A device that can bestow invisibility to an object by

Avalon Laboratories receives FDA and European clearances to market 3 catheter devices
Avalon Laboratories has received 510(k) clearances from the FDA and CE Mark acceptance from the European Union for three new catheter devices used in medical life support systems.

A novel explanation for a floral genetic mystery
Scientists at the University of Jena, Germany, have put forth a novel explanation of the evolutionary driving force behind a genetic switching circuit that regulates flower development and survival.

Fish guts explain marine carbon cycle mystery
Research reveals the major influence of fish on maintaining the delicate pH balance of our oceans, vital for the health of coral reefs and other marine life.

Scripps research team develops new technique to tap full potential of antibody libraries
Antibodies are the attack dogs of the immune system, fighting off bacterial and other invaders.

UBC researcher gives first-ever estimate of worldwide fish biomass and impact on climate change
Are there really plenty of fish in the sea? University of British Columbia fisheries researcher Villy Christensen gives the first-ever estimate of total fish biomass in our oceans: two billion tons.

News from CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
Highlights from this issue include an overview on the progress made in studies of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics; a report on adherence to drug therapy among patients with cancer and interventions to improve compliance rates; the American Cancer Society's annual summary of its recommendations for early cancer detection, including data and trends in cancer screening rates and select issues related to cancer screening; and a report on the important aspects of lymphedema, including the anatomy, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of this condition.

Discovery of methane reveals Mars is not a dead planet
A team of NASA and university scientists has achieved the first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars.

Researchers embark on $6.8 million research project to develop wireless monitoring of bridges
The nation's aging highway bridges could become safer structures using state-of-the-art wireless monitoring and inspection systems being developed through a multimillion-dollar grant to an engineering team from the University of Texas at Austin, National Instruments and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, an engineering firm based in Northbrook, Ill.

Mutant host cell protein sequesters critical HIV-1 element
Scientists have identified a new way to inhibit a molecule that is critical for HIV pathogenesis.

Scientists present the largest-to-date genetic snapshot of Iceland 1,000 years ago
Scientists at deCODE genetics have completed the largest study of ancient DNA from a single population ever undertaken.

Mass production micro-hybrid technology set to cut emissions and fuel use in cars
New technology will enable a very high level of hybrid circuit integration to extend

High-tech solutions ease inaugural challenges
Transportation and security officials on Inauguration Day will have a centralized, consolidated stream of traffic information and other data displayed on a single screen using software developed by the University of Maryland.

Astronomers from Princeton and Japan unite to explore the universe, near and far
Scientists from Princeton University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan have agreed to collaborate over the next 10 years, using new instrumentation on the Hawaii-based Subaru Telescope to peer into hidden corners of the nearby universe and ferret out secrets from its distant past.

Combating infection of crops by nematodes is soon to improve
Scientists from Ghent University and VIB have succeeded in showing how nematodes are able to manipulate the transport of the plant hormone auxin in order to force the plant to produce food for them.

Countries undergoing economic change urged to limit social and health costs for populations
Countries seeking to make massive changes in the way their economies are run, for example by privatizing formerly state-run sectors, must take into account the potential impact of such changes on people's health, experts warn today.

US Air Force test and evaluations days conference
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will join with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center in hosting the 2009 US Air Force T&E Days Conference, which will take place Feb.

Moderate alcohol consumption may help seniors keep disabilities at bay
It is well known that moderate drinking can have positive health benefits.

In race to predict protein structure, computers take lead
Two teams of computer scientists at the University of Missouri were ranked among the best in the world at the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction competition.

A fantastic voyage brought to life
Tel Aviv University scientists develop a medical

Paintballs can cause 'devastating' eye injuries
Paintballs can cause severe and 'visually devastating' eye injuries, especially when used in unsupervised settings without proper eye protection, reports a study in the February issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, published by Elsevier.

SQUID: The long (and sticky) arms of the law
What's possible when a group of scientists are inspired by a famous superhero and a giant creature from the sea?

ASGE recognizes 56 endoscopy units for quality and safety through Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy has recognized 56 endoscopy units as part of its new program specifically dedicated to promoting quality in endoscopy, in all settings where it is practiced in the United States.

SNM supports long-term objective of National Academy of Sciences report on medical isotopes
According to a report released Jan. 14, 2009, by the National Academy of Sciences, eliminating the highly enriched uranium process -- the primary source of medical isotopes in the US -- would be technically and economically feasible.

Now you see it, now you don't: MBL scientists unraveling the mystery of camouflage
Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, has discovered three broad classes of camouflage body patterns.

Stanford researchers show adaptation plays a significant role in human evolution
For years researchers have puzzled over whether adaptation plays a major role in human evolution or whether most changes are due to neutral, random selection of genes and traits.

Prairie soil organic matter shown to be resilient under intensive agriculture
A recent study has confirmed that although there was a large reduction of organic carbon and total nitrogen pools when prairies were first cultivated and drained, there has been no consistent pattern in these organic matter pools during the period of synthetic fertilizer use, that is, from 1957-2002.

Scripps Florida scientists find novel use for old compound in cancer treatment
Scientists from the Scripps Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have found a potentially beneficial use for a once-abandoned compound in the prevention and treatment of neuroblastoma, one of the most devastating cancers among young children.
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