Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 17, 2009
LSUHSC research may benefit diabetes by increasing understanding of how to control islet cell growth
Michael Lan, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is the senior author of a paper revealing the molecular mechanism of how a protein determines the fate of the cells that make and release insulin.

Capillary mats labor-saving, economical alternative to hand watering
Capillary mats are popular in the retail nursery industry and with many home gardeners.

What if Oregonians decline to address climate change?
If nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Oregon will face some $3.3 billion in annual costs, which translates to about 4 percent of annual household income by 2020, according to a report produced for the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics by ECONorthwest.

Forgotten and lost -- when proteins 'shut down' our brain
Which modules of the tau protein, in neurons of Alzheimer disease patients, may act in a destructive manner were investigated by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the Max Planck Unit for Structural Molecular Biology with the help of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

Biochemical markers for non-invasive assessment of primary biliary cirrhosis
Needle liver biopsy has been used as the

Iowa Power Fund advances researcher's long quest for efficient solar power
Vikram Dalal and a team of Iowa State University researchers are trying to improve thin film solar cells.

Case report of a brain and spinal tumor following human fetal stem cell therapy
A case report, published in this week's issue of the open-access general medical journal PLoS Medicine, describes a rare side effect of human fetal stem cell therapy.

Marine scientists to assess environment before offshore drilling begins in US arctic waters
Through a $2.9 million, three-year grant from the Minerals Management Service, a team led by University of Texas at Austin marine scientists will assess the biological and chemical conditions on the seabed of the Chukchi Sea before the area opens for offshore oil drilling.

Type of rheumatoid arthritis medication may be associated with increased risk for shingles
Use of certain medications known as monoclonal anti- tumor necrosis factor α antibodies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis appears to be associated with an increased risk for herpes zoster, the painful infection characterized by blisters, according to a study in the Feb.

A potential marker of increased histological activity in hepatitis C virus infection
Lymphocyte proliferative responses specific to hepatitis C virus have been regarded as pivotal for viral clearance, while antibody responses' contribution is still controversial.

Study indicates some MRSA infections in ICU patients have been decreasing in recent years
In contrast to the perception that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections associated with use of a catheter is an increasing problem in intensive care unit patients, the incidence of this type of infection decreased by nearly 50 percent from 1997 - 2007, according to a study in the Feb.

Veterinarians developing model to help producers, vets make cattle more comfortable
A jogger's heart rate monitor and an instrument similar to a pedometer are a few of the tools Kansas State University veterinary researchers are using to measure discomfort in cattle undergoing two routine procedures, castration and dehorning.

IEEE-USA awards $5,000 in video competition scholarship awards to US undergraduates
Coinciding with Engineers Week from 15-21 February, IEEE-USA is announcing $5,000 in scholarship awards to five undergraduates at four US universities, who entered the organization's 2009

Bioremediation to keep atrazine from waterways
Farmers around the world are expected to benefit from the successful trial of an enzyme that breaks down the herbicide, atrazine, in run-off water.

Statins pay off on a health-policy level, UCSF study finds
Current guidelines for when to prescribe popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins would produce cost-effective results and would save thousands of lives every year if they were followed more closely by physicians and patients, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

There isn't a 'right' way to cope with tragedy, says researcher
After a collective trauma, such as Thursday's crash of Continental Flight 3407 near Buffalo, an entire community (or even the nation) can be exposed to the tragedy through media coverage and second-hand accounts, according to Mark Seery, Ph.D., University at Buffalo assistant professor of psychology.

Genetic ID of marker in lymph nodes may be linked to colorectal cancer recurrence risk
A preliminary report suggests that genetic testing may help identify a marker in lymph nodes that is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer recurrence among patients in whom conventional testing indicates that those lymph nodes show no evidence of cancer spread, according to a study in the Feb.

OHSU vaccine research targets HIV in the slower, early stage of infection
New research at OHSU suggests vaccines that specifically target HIV in the initial stages of infection before it becomes a rapidly replicating, system-wide infection may be a successful approach in limiting the spread of the disease.

FIBERcast on social responsibility in apparel industry
The University of Delaware will host its first FIBERcast -- a 45-minute audio program broadcast live over the Internet -- on Monday, Feb.

Historical photographs expose decline in Florida's reef fish, new Scripps study finds
A unique study by a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has provided fresh evidence of fishing's impact on marine ecosystems.

Earthquake engineering research aims to save lives, billions of dollars
Research at the University of Arizona and two other schools is geared toward avoiding seismic damage like that of the 1989 Northridge Earthquake.

Supplement of probiotics provides a new therapy for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a non-specific chronic inflammation of intestinal tract and the primary therapies are limited by the side-effects, poor compliance of patient and the high rates of relapse.

Select roses survive with minimal care
Roses have long been a favorite of gardeners, but they often require a lot of work to thrive.

Researchers explore new driver of transplant rejection: Platelets
Platelets, tiny and relatively uncharted tenants of the bloodstream known mostly for their role in blood clotting, turn out to also rally sustained immune system inflammatory responses that play a critical role in organ transplant rejection, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins scientists.

What is the suppressing effect of the PPAR-gamma ligands on stomach cancer cells?
Troglitazone-suppressed stomach cancer via activation of PPAR-gamma, and stomach cancer was suppressed by apoptosis mediated by PPAR-gamma ligands.

Methyl bromide alternatives for California strawberry nurseries
Since around 1960, methyl bromide (MB) has been the foundation for soil-borne disease and weed control in California strawberries.

Troubled youths struggle after time in detention center
The kids who pass through detention facilities are among the most troubled.

Huge pressures that melt diamond on planet Neptune determined by Sandia researchers
The enormous pressures needed to melt diamond to slush and then to a completely liquid state have been determined 10 times more accurately by Sandia National Laboratories researchers than ever before.

University of Texas engineers receive $3.2 million in National Science Foundation CAREER awards
Eight engineering assistant professors at the University of Texas at Austin have been awarded Faculty Early Career Development awards from the National Science Foundation, an honor which recognizes promising young faculty and supports their research with five years of funding.

Anti-social behavior in girls predicts adolescent depression seven years later
Social scientists tracked first- and second-graders for seven years and found that anti-social behavior among girls and anxiety among both sexes predicted depression in early adolescence.

Enzyme weakens the heart
An enzyme makes the mouse heart prone to chronic cardiac insufficiency -- if it is suppressed, the heart remains strong despite increased stress.

Health sciences students open weekly free clinic
UC Irvine health sciences students -- tomorrow's doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals -- have opened a free clinic to provide vital primary and preventive care services and referrals for people without adequate access to health care.

New working-class task force faces broad challenges, labor expert says
A task force launched by President Obama to boost America's middle class will have to help retool beleaguered US workplaces facing their most sweeping changes since World War II, a University of Illinois labor expert says.

San Diego Supercomputer Center begins cloud computing research using the Google-IBM CluE cluster
Researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have been awarded a two-year, $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore new ways for academic researchers to manage extremely large data sets hosted on massive, Internet-based commercial computer clusters, or what have become known as computing

Johns Hopkins leads first 12-patient, multicenter 'domino donor' kidney transplant
Surgical teams at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St.

APS applauds inclusion of scientific investments in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The American Physical Society today commended Congress and President Obama for their exceptional leadership and vision as demonstrated by the inclusion of crucial investments in scientific infrastructure and instruments, and energy efficiency research in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Grape shapes
Round, oblong, and in-between: the shapes of the fruits we eat are not always coincidental or, for that matter, thanks to nature.

Always something brewing year 'round on NASA's hurricane Web page
Hurricanes and tropical cyclones develop in various places around the world all year 'round, and NASA's Hurricane/Tropical Cyclone Web page covers them.

How do secure mother-child attachments predict good friendships?
Preschool children who are securely attached to their mothers form closer friendships in the early grade-school years for a number of reasons, according to a new University of Illinois study published in Child Development.

Iron overload: An important co-factor in the development of liver disease in alcoholics
Heavy drinking is associated with iron overload. A research group in Portugal found an association between HFE mutations/iron overload and alcoholic liver disease.

Asthma drugs need to be maintained for continued benefit
Children whose asthma improved while taking steroid drugs for several years did not see those improvements continue after stopping the drugs, new results from a comprehensive childhood asthma study show.

When dreaming is believing: Dreams affect people's judgment, behavior
While science tries to understand the stuff dreams are made of, humans, from cultures all over the world, continue to believe that dreams contain important hidden truths, according to newly published research.

Forget the antioxidants? McGill researchers cast doubt on role of free radicals in aging
For more than 40 years, the prevailing explanation of why we get old has been tied to what is called oxidative stress.

American Association for Cancer Research lauds Senator Arlen Specter
Following the passage of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 by Congress, the American Association for Cancer Research praised Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for his leadership in including a $10 billion investment in the National Institutes of Health.

Persons who survive cancer more likely to be unemployed
An analysis of previous studies finds an association between being a cancer survivor and being unemployed, compared to healthy individuals, especially for survivors of breast and gastrointestinal cancers, according to an article in the Feb.

Drug doubles survival of patients with pre-leukemia
The drug azacitidine dramatically improves the survival of patients who have high-risk forms of myelodysplastic syndromes, according to an article published online first and in the March issue of the Lancet Oncology.

What if Washingtonians don't address climate change?
If nothing is done to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Washington is likely to experience some $3.8 billion in associated annual costs -- including $1.3 billion in health related costs alone, according to a report produced for the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics by ECONorthwest.

Tumor suppressor may attenuate fibrotic disease
New research reveals a critical cellular signaling pathway that is responsible for generating excess connective tissue in multiple organs, similar to what is seen in human patients with scleroderma.

Researchers identify gene linked to aggressive progression of liver cancer
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have identified a gene that plays a key role in regulating liver cancer progression, a discovery that could one day lead to new targeted therapeutic strategies to fight the highly aggressive disease.

Press statement on new CDC MRSA study from SHEA president
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a decrease in catheter-associated bloodstream infections caused by both methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus.

ORNL, UT project could save vision of millions
In the blink of an eye, people at risk of becoming blind can now be screened for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

CSHL researchers identify gene that helps plant cells keep communication channels open
Stem cells in plants' growing tips, called

Extensive publication bias for Phase I drug trials
A study published in this week's issue of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine suggests that, in comparison to other types of trials, the results of Phase I drug trials are far less likely to be published.

Decline of shorebird linked to bait use of horseshoe crabs
Declining numbers of a shorebird called the red knot have been linked to bait use of horseshoe crabs.

Emergency medical professionals support their participation in prevention programs
Most emergency medical services professionals believe that they should also participate in injury and disease prevention programs, according to a national survey by emergency medicine researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

New Fraunhofer institute for wind energy
The time for wind energy has come. According to a European Council decision in December 2008 20 percent of the energy consumed in the EU is to be covered by renewable energy by the year 2020.

Veterinary college, Luna Innovations partner on nationally funded nerve gas program
A veterinary pharmaco-toxicologist in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech is leading a team that has been awarded almost $1 million from the National Institutes of Health to explore the development of a nanotechnology-based approach for protecting people from the deadly affects of nerve gases like Sarin, VX and others that can be used as agents of terror.

Robot playmates monitor emotional state of children with ASD
The day that robot playmates help children with autism learn the social skills that they naturally lack has come a step closer with the development of a system that allows a robot to monitor a child's emotional state.

Biomarker predicts disease recurrence in colorectal cancer
Findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University show that the presence of a biomarker in regional lymph nodes is an independent predictor of disease recurrence in patients with colorectal cancer.

Tiny 'lab-on-a-chip' detects pollutants, disease and biological weapons
For centuries, animals have been our first line of defense against toxins.

Engineers tune a nanoscale grating structure to trap and release a variety of light waves
Researchers at Lehigh University have developed a graded grating structure that can be scaled to dimensions compatible with light waves in both the terahertz and telecommunications portion of the spectrum.

Air-filled bones helped prehistoric reptiles take first flight
In the Mesozoic Era, 70 million years before birds first conquered the skies, pterosaurs dominated the air with sparrow- to Cessna-sized wingspans.

Rice University's Baker Institute experts available to discuss stem cell research, recommendations
Baker Institute fellows Neal Lane and Kirstin Matthews released policy recommendations on stem cell research for the Obama administration.

GABAergic: A promising molecular target for liver cancer therapy
Recently, abnormal levels of gene and protein expression of some GABA receptor subunits have been detected in many malignant tumors.

Cracking the species code for plants
A recent article published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, focuses on the challenges of DNA barcoding for land plants.

Controlling cucumber beetles organically
As the popularity of organic produce increases with consumers, growers need more options to manage pests naturally.

Process for expansion and division of heart cells identified
Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and the University of California, San Francisco have unraveled a complex signaling process that reveals how different types of cells interact to create a heart.

New research shows high-quality protein in eggs contributes to power, strength and energy
A research review published recently in Nutrition Today affirms that the high-quality protein in eggs makes a valuable contribution to muscle strength, provides a source of sustained energy and promotes satiety.

Investigating a community where smoking rates are double the national average
Researchers from the University of Nottingham are taking to the streets of Aspley in Nottingham to understand why smoking rates there are nearly twice the national average.

Stanford scientists identify drug to treat opioid addiction
Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that a commonly available non-addictive drug can prevent symptoms of withdrawal from opioids with little likelihood of serious side effects.

Digital images estimate canopy coverage, light interception
Maximizing leaf growth through light interception is an important consideration when studying different agricultural or environmental factors on crop yield, and it is the main source of data in the most widely used methods for estimating crop water needs.

Exploring new pathways to language
The standard of care for patients with aphasia has been intense behavioral therapy - reading and repeating words and sounds.

Public health concerns as more turn to 'tan jabs'
Increasing numbers are risking their health just because they want to have a tan, say researchers in an editorial published on today.

Structural biologist recognized for research on molecular motor structure and function
The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) announced Anne Houdusse, head of the Structural Motility Team, CNRS/Institute Curie, Paris, France, as the winner of the FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award for 2009.

HIV treatment test closer to manufacture with new $7.3 million grant
An initiative that is developing a rapid and inexpensive test to analyze the immune system of people living with HIV/AIDS has received a $7.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it is announced today.

Aerosols -- their part in our rainfall
Aerosols may have a greater impact on patterns of Australian rainfall and future climate change than previously thought, according to leading atmospheric scientist, CSIRO's Dr.

Death on film
Death is a subject that is frequently dealt with on film, arousing strong feelings in many viewers.

Indoor plants can reduce formaldehyde levels
The toxic gas formaldehyde is contained in building materials including carpeting, curtains, plywood, and adhesives.

Does the TIPS placement alter dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase activity?
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) plays a regulatory role in the arginine-nitric oxide (NO) pathway by inhibiting the enzyme NO synthase.

College-level documents for 8th grade readers
Patients hoping to find out about their rights are unlikely to get the information they need from hospital documents designed precisely for that purpose.

ECO 2009 -- The 17th European Congress on obesity
The 17th European Congress on Obesity will take place at the RAI Exhibition and Congress Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from Wednesday, May 6, to Saturday, May 9, 2009.

Can exercising your brain prevent memory loss?
Participating in certain mental activities, like reading magazines or crafting in middle age or later in life, may delay or prevent memory loss, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25 - May 2, 2009.

UCLA geographers urge US to search three structures in Pakistan for bin Laden
While U.S. intelligence officials have spent more than seven years searching fruitlessly for Osama bin Laden, UCLA geographers say they have a good idea of where the terrorist leader was at the end of 2001 -- and perhaps where he has been in the years since.

IOM convenes Feb. 25-27 Summit on Integrative Medicine
The Institute of Medicine is convening the Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public to advance the science, understanding, and progress of integrative medicine.

Celine 101: Will her heart grow on with Spanish-speaking audiences?
Enrique Pato, a Hispanic studies professor at University of Montreal Department of Literature and Modern Languages, has established the Research Group on Spanish in America to provide Céline Dion with new tools to break through Spanish-speaking markets.

NASA study predicted outbreak of deadly virus
An early warning system, more than a decade in development, successfully predicted the 2006-2007 outbreak of the deadly Rift Valley fever in northeast Africa, according to a new study led by NASA scientists.

Taurine: Key to the visual toxicity of an anti-epileptic drug for children?
Vigabatrin, first intention molecule for the treatment of epilepsy in children, in many cases produces secondary effects that lead to an irreversible loss of vision.

Cheaper materials could be key to low-cost solar cells
Solar cells today are made from expensive materials such as crystalline silicon or exotic thin films of rare elements like cadmium and tellurium.

Anthropologist's studies of childbirth bring new focus on women in evolution
Contrary to the TV sitcom where the wife experiencing strong labor pains screams at her husband to stay away from her, women rarely give birth alone.

Researchers isolate protein domain linked to tumor progression
When a promising cancer drug reached clinical trials in the 1990s, researchers were disappointed by the debilitating side effects that limited the trials.

Protecting wine grapes from heat and drought
Under sunny, arid conditions, wine grapes can become sunburned, which can adversely affect productivity and fruit maturity.

An adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent in gastric cancer therapy
Recently, Astragalus injection has been shown to have anticancer activity.

On-the-spot DNA analysis to test tolerance to prescription drugs gets closer
A handheld device to predict whether patients will respond adversely to medication is one step closer to the market, thanks to a new partnership announced today.

Detecting disease in greenhouse plants
Greenhouses are an integral part of US agriculture. Nearly $200 million of food is produced in domestic greenhouses each year.

IEEE-USA recommends ways United States can break oil addiction, mitigate climate change
The United States can break its addiction to oil and mitigate climate change by electrifying transportation, building a modern electric grid, developing alternative fuels and increasing energy efficiency.

Research identifies how inflammatory disease causes fatigue
New animal research in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience may indicate how certain diseases make people feel so tired and listless.

If you're aggressive, your dog will be too, says veterinary study at University of Pennsylvania
In a new, year-long University of Pennsylvania survey of dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, veterinary researchers have found that most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified.

Singapore research organisations team up to advance drug discovery using brain tumor stem cells
A new research collaboration will leverage earlier findings that primary brain tumors are caused by minority group of cells that display genetic profile distinct from that of tumor bulk.

University of the Basque Country team develop nano-hydrogels capable of detecting cancer cells
One of the problems in the treatment of cancers continues to be the lack of ability when it comes to discriminating between healthy and unhealthy cells, with the result being that all cells are affected non-specifically by the treatment.

New blackberry introduced

Apple peel appeal
Apples, long been associated with good health, contain anthocyanins, important antioxidants that give the peels their red coloring.

SNM molecular imaging summit introduces clinical trials network
More than 150 physicians, imagers and pharmaceutical developers convened in Clearwater, Fla., Feb.

In flurry of studies, researcher details role of apples in inhibiting breast cancer
Six studies published in the past year by a Cornell researcher add to growing evidence that an apple a day -- as well as daily helpings of other fruits and vegetables -- can help keep the breast-cancer doctor away.

Protecting apples from disease
Washington's famous apple industry brought in $1.4 billion in 2006, but a disease is cutting into those profits.

Results of national nursery survey unveiled
The US Green industry, including nursery and greenhouse producers, landscape services firms, and wholesale and retail distributors, has grown dramatically.

UT receives Michael J. Fox award to develop Parkinson's vaccine
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have received a $325,000 award from the Michael J.

Medical prescription of heroin does not pose neighborhood risk
Providing heroin to drug addicts at medically supervised clinics does not pose risks to surrounding neighborhoods, according to a new study by Serge Brochu, a researcher at the Universite de Montreal School of Criminology.

Vitamin supplements may protect against noise-induced hearing loss
Results that show vitamin supplements can prevent hearing loss in test animals have brought scientists a step closer to preventing noise-induced and perhaps even age-related hearing loss in humans.

Mechanical thinning increases fruit size, reduces labor
Hand thinning is a necessary but costly management practice in peach and organic apple production.

Sandia's diamond-like films on board NASA satellite
Diamond-like carbon films created at Sandia National Laboratories are helping probe the far boundaries of the solar system as part of a NASA mission to study how the sun's solar wind interacts with the interstellar medium -- the matter that exists between the stars within a galaxy.

1 in 4 California adolescent girls has had HPV vaccine
Less than two years after the HPV vaccine was approved as a routine vaccination for girls 11 years and older, one-quarter of California adolescent girls have started the series of shots that protect against the Human Papillomavirus, a virus strongly linked to cervical cancer.

Scientists develop resource to study animal aging
A database detailing the life history of more than 4,000 animal species has been developed by scientists at the University of Liverpool for study in areas such as aging, evolution and conservation.

Mutant rats offer clues to medical mystery
A Rice University researcher finds a clue to the calcification process by studying how a genetic mutation in rats makes them resistant to poison but also leaves them susceptible to arterial calcification and, potentially, osteoporosis.

Synthetic steroid increases risk of recurrence in breast cancer survivors
Tibolone -- a synthetic steroid used to treat menopausal symptoms and to prevent osteoporosis -- significantly increases the risk of recurrence for breast cancer patients, according to findings published online first and in the February issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Cells with double vision
In comparison to many other living creatures, flies tend to be small and their brains, despite their complexity, are quite manageable.

Global effort to extract more oil and gas
A University of Adelaide petroleum geologist is spearheading an international project to extract more oil and gas from the ground, potentially saving companies billions of dollars.

Sweet potato takes a ride on space shuttle
Researchers at the Center for Food and Environmental Systems for Human Exploration of Space, G.W.

Experimental antiarrhythmic drug reduces death rate in patients with atrial fibrillation
Results from the ATHENA trial, reported in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that the (as yet unlicensed) anti-arrhythmic drug dronedarone can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular-related hospitalization or death in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Smoking kills -- irrespective of social class and gender
A well-off professional who smokes has a much lower survival rate than a non-smoking low-paid worker of the same sex concludes new research published today on

What if New Mexico doesn't address climate change?
If nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, New Mexico could experience some $3.2 billion in associated costs -- led primarily by wildfires and health-care, according to a report produced for the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics by ECONorthwest.

Assisted colonization key to species' survival in changing climate
Species are adapting slowly to climate change and 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