Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 05, 2009
Researchers' new goal: Drug-free remission for HIV infection
A group including leading academic and industry scientists has issued a challenge to researchers in the field of HIV/AIDS: find a way to effectively purge latent HIV infection and eliminate the need for chronic, suppressive therapy to control this disease.

Protein structure determined in living cells
The function of a protein is determined both by its structure and by its interaction partners in the cell.

Stem cell breakthrough gives new hope to sufferers of muscle-wasting diseases
An experimental procedure that dramatically strengthens stem cells' ability to regenerate damaged tissue could offer new hope to sufferers of muscle-wasting diseases such as myopathy and muscular dystrophy, according to researchers from the University of New South Wales.

Drug blocks 2 of world's deadliest emerging viruses
Two highly lethal viruses that have emerged in recent outbreaks are susceptible to chloroquine, an established drug used to prevent and treat malaria, according to a new basic science study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Journal of Virology.

Enhanced quality of 'LIFE' through Nordic food
The world's largest research project into children's health and well-being will help solve global problems such as obesity, obesity-related diseases and learning difficulties.

Baker Institute panel to debate Hurricane Ike lessons
In the six months since Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, experts have been pondering how to be better prepared for the next storm.

Exposure to family violence compromises physical and mental health of older women
Older African American women exposed to high levels of family violence during their lifetimes are at significantly greater risk of poor health status, according to a report in the current issue of Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Amazon carbon sink threatened by drought
The Amazon is surprisingly sensitive to drought, according to new research conducted throughout the world's largest tropical forest.

Transparent zebrafish a must-see model for atherosclerosis
We usually think of fish as a

Statement by Sandy Andelman, co-author of 'Drought sensitivity of the Amazon Rainforest'
On March 6, 2009, the journal Science published a study showing that the Amazon is more sensitive to drought than scientists previously knew.

Pulmonary hypertension in children may result from reduced activity of gene regulator
Too little activity by gene regulators called PPARs appears to be a major player in the irreversible lung damage that can occur in children with heart defects, researchers say.

Venter, Somerville and Church highlight DOE/JGI genomics of energy and environment meeting
Keynote addresses by genomics pioneers J. Craig Venter, Energy Bioscience Institute's Chris Somerville and Harvard's George Church will highlight the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute annual Genomics of Energy and Environment User Meeting March 25-27, 2009, in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Scientists closer to making invisibility cloak a reality
A paper published in the March 2009 issue of SIAM Review,

Virus-free embryonic-like stem cells made from skin of Parkinson's disease patients
Researchers reporting in the March 6 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, have developed a new way to produce human embryonic-like stem cells that are free of the viruses used to insert the key ingredients.

Public forum at Rice with mayor and county judge marks 6-month Ike anniversary
To mark the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Ike during a free public forum at Rice University March 12, Houston Mayor Bill White and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will discuss the leadership challenges they had to overcome to guide Houston through the hurricane.

Go green for healthy teeth and gums
A new study published in the Journal of Periodontology shows that drinking green tea may help reduce periodontal disease.

After a few drinks, older adults more impaired than they think
A University of Florida study indicates people 50 or older metabolize alcohol much like younger people do, but they don't perform as well on special tests after having moderate amounts of alcohol and don't always realize when they are impaired.

Canada to host diabetes mega-congress
International Diabetes Federation has chosen Canada as the location for its 20th World Diabetes Congress.

A new way to assemble cells into 3-D microtissues
By programming cells with short lengths of synthetic DNA on their surfaces, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can control how different cell types bind together to form complex artificial microtissues for potential uses in medicine, and in medical and biological research.

Saving heart attack patients in the middle of the night
Having interventional cardiologists on site at a hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week can save lives of heart attack patients.

7 steps to successful child and adolescent weight loss
Overweight children and adolescents, with the active involvement of their parents and families, can successfully lose weight by following the seven steps to success described in the current issue of Obesity Management, a journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Scientists gather to protect global food security from return of devastating wheat fungus
The sudden and unexpected re-emergence of a fungus that could cripple wheat production in Africa, Asia and, eventually, Europe and the Americas, has prompted wheat experts from around the world, led by Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, to gather March 17-20 in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, to map out a strategy for averting agricultural disaster for a crop that provides food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.

A dead gene comes back to life in humans
Researchers have discovered that a long-defunct gene was resurrected during the course of human evolution.

Brain tumor treatment may increase number of cancer stem-like cells
A new study suggests that the standard treatment for a common brain tumor increases the aggressiveness of surviving cancer cells, possibly leaving patients more vulnerable to tumor recurrence.

Discovery of a new retinal gene involved in childhood blindness
The team of Dr. Robert Koenekoop which includes Dr. Irma Lopez from the Research Institute of the MUHC at the Montreal Children's Hospital played a crucial role in the international collaboration that led to the discovery of a new gene that causes Leber congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa, two devastating forms of childhood blindness.

Racial disparities in emergency department length of stay point to added risks for minority patients
Sick or injured African-American patients wait about an hour longer than patients of other races before being transferred to an inpatient hospital bed following emergency room visits, according to a new national study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

Education and progress at the 24th Annual EAU Congress in Stockholm
The Education Office of the European Association of Urology is very proud to present the first edition of Education & Progress, to be held during the 24th Annual EAU Congress in Stockholm from March 18 to 20.

How mosquitoes could teach us a trick in the fight against malaria
The means by which most deadly malaria parasites are detected and killed by the mosquitoes that carry them is revealed for the first time in research published today in Science Express.

Ocean's journey towards the center of the Earth
A Monash geoscientist and a team of international researchers have discovered the existence of an ocean floor was destroyed 50 to 20 million years ago, proving that New Caledonia and New Zealand are geographically connected.

Authors, journal editors respond to possible cases of plagiarism identified by UT Southwestern
By bringing cases of potential plagiarism out into the open, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have shed light on the peer-review process and scientific publication.

Genetic mutations identified that suggest link between type 1 diabetes and common viral infection
Scientists from Cambridge University have discovered four rare mutations of a gene associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D) that reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Older adults more impaired by social drinking
Older adults may be more affected by a couple of glasses of wine than their younger counterparts are -- yet they are less likely to be aware of it, a new study suggests.

Magnetic nanoparticles navigate therapeutic genes through the body
Scientists of the national German metrology institute, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, have developed a highly sensitive measuring method with which the efficiency of gene transfer in cases if cardiovascular diseases can be investigated.

Computer scientists deploy first practical, Web-based, secure, verifiable voting system
Computer scientists affiliated with the Center for Research on Computation and Society, based at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in collaboration with scientists at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, deployed the first practical, Web-based implementation of a secure, verifiable voting system for the presidential election held at UCL earlier this week.

Engineers ride 'rogue' laser waves to build better light sources
A freak wave at sea is a terrifying sight. Seven stories tall, wildly unpredictable, and incredibly destructive, such waves have been known to emerge from calm waters and swallow ships whole.

UF scientist on team for NASA planet-hunting spacecraft to launch Friday
A University of Florida astronomer is part of a team of scientists participating in a NASA mission aimed at finding Earth-size or smaller planets around distant stars.

Education may improve hospital prescription rate of emergency contraception to teens
Many doctors don't offer emergency contraception pills to adolescents who may benefit from them during emergency department visits because of misinformation about how the medicine works, according to a study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Geologists map rocks to soak CO2 from air
A new report by scientists at Columbia University's Earth Institute and the US Geological Survey points to an abundant supply of carbon-trapping rock in the US that could be used to help stabilize global warming.

New Tel Aviv University research links diabetes to cognitive deterioration
Researchers from Tel Aviv University offer conclusive proof that diabetes also attacks the mind.

Opportunities and challenges in uncertainty quantification for complex interacting systems
The workshop will provide a forum where issues of uncertainty quantification and model validation in predictive science will be addressed, bringing together leading scientists from physics-based modeling, network science and social networks to explore the fundamental similarities and differences in the challenges facing them.

Claiming benefits improves the health of the unemployed
Unemployment benefits help reduce the negative health-related behaviors often associated with being unemployed.

Archaeologists find earliest known domestic horses
An international team of archaeologists has uncovered the earliest known evidence of horses being domesticated by humans.

Support for adjunctive vitamin C treatment in cancer
Serious flaws in a recent study, which concluded that high doses of vitamin C reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of cancer, are revealed in the current issue of Alternative and Complementary Therapies, a journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Lack of strategies to manage MRI wait lists a key reason for excessive wait times
A new study headed by Dr. Tom Feasby, dean of University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine, shows that while Canada lags behind other countries in the number of diagnostic imaging devices, more machines are not the only solution to long wait times.

Medical imaging benefits far outweigh radiation risks
In response to a recent report by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement stating that the US population is exposed to seven times more radiation from medical imaging exams than in 1980, SNM urges Americans to consider the proven benefits of such imaging.

GEN reports biomanufacturers target a fully disposable process stream
The disposable bioprocessing market has moved far beyond plastic bags for buffer preparation toward a range of products for cell culture and upstream and downstream operations, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

Breakthrough produces Parkinson's patient-specific stem cells free of harmful reprogramming genes
Deploying a method that removes potentially cancer-causing genes, Whitehead Institute researchers have

New specialty to focus on advanced heart failure and heart transplantation
Subspecialty cardiologists will guide delivery of high-tech, cost-effective care for advanced heart failure, according to Journal of Cardiac Failure.

March 20 lecture focuses on global warming, Alaska's Inupiaq people
On Friday, March 20, at 3:30 p.m. on the University of Delaware's Newark campus, Columbia University researcher Chie Sakakibara will present the lecture

Researchers look to the past -- and the future -- in 'Evolution: The first 4 billion years'
One is a biologist, the other is a historian and philosopher.

Buckyballs could keep water systems flowing
Microscopic particles of carbon known as buckyballs may be able to keep the nation's water pipes clear in the same way clot-busting drugs prevent arteries from clogging up.

'Personalized' genome sequencing reveals coding error in gene for inherited pancreatic cancer
Scientists at the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have used

How moths key into the scent of a flower
Although a flower's bouquet can be composed of hundreds of chemicals, the tobacco hornworm moth needs to smell just a handful to identify its favorite source of nectar, the sacred datura flower.

Journal Chest: March news briefs
Studies from the March issue of Chest highlight three studies related to COPD, including how blood clots may be more likely in COPD patients; how helium may be used to help COPD patients; and how depression doubles mortality risk in patients with COPD.

Assessing the challenges of urban health through anthropology
As urban areas grow to be denser and more diverse, so do challenges of health, illness and healing in multicultural urban populations.

Study finds that students benefit from depth, rather than breadth, in high school science courses
A study by University of Virginia researcher Robert Tai and colleagues from two other universities reports that high school students who study fewer science topics, but study them in greater depth, have an advantage in college science classes over their peers who study more topics and spend less time on each.

NYU College of Dentistry awarded $1.9 million NIH grant for HIV research
Seeking to shed new light on HIV's ability to survive in the body and cause disease, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH has awarded a five-year, $1.9 million grant to an AIDS research team at the New York University College of Dentistry to continue its study of a new mode of HIV replication that involves cooperation between viruses.

New research sheds light on how stem cells turn into blood cells
Researchers funded by the Canadian Cancer Society have discovered how certain messages that are carried within stem cells can trigger those cells to become blood cells.

Measuring the impact of electronic medical records
The push is on to bring the US health care system into the digital age by replacing paper-based systems with electronic medical records systems and other information technology tools.

New CME guidelines advise paradigm shift in physician education
New evidence-based educational guidelines evaluate the effectiveness of current continuing medical education practices and provide the first set of recommendations on how those practices need to change in the future.

LSTM and MiP Consortium awarded further $4.5 million
The Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium, led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, has been awarded €3.6 ($4.5) million by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership to undertake research aimed at optimizing the use of an antimalarial drug given to prevent malaria in pregnancy in Africa.

IAU vice-president receives L'Oreal-UNESCO award
Beatriz Barbuy, vice-president of the International Astronomical Union today receives a L'Oreal-UNESCO award for exceptional women scientists.

Penile extender increased flaccid length by almost a third says independent clinical study
Men who used a penile extender for six months found that their flaccid penile length had increased by 32 percent six months after they stopped using the device.

New Stanford list of HIV mutations vital to tracking AIDS epidemic
In a collaborative study with the World Health Organization and seven other laboratories, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have compiled a list of 93 common mutations of the AIDS virus associated with drug resistance that will be used to track future resistance trends throughout the world.

Number of cardiovascular risk factors could determine safety of intravenous gammaglobulin treatment
New research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine identifies the presence of cardiovascular risk factors as an indicator of how likely it is that elderly, hospitalized patients who receive intravenous immunoglobulin treatment will have a stroke or heart attack.

Markets outperform patents in promoting intellectual discovery, say Caltech-led economists
When it comes to intellectual curiosity and creativity, a market economy in which inventors can buy and sell shares of the key components of their discoveries actually beats out the winner-takes-all world of patent rights as a motivating force, according to a California Institute of Technology-led team of researchers.

What consumers want: MSU researchers pinpoint common threads
Michigan State University researchers have identified the common desires of today's sophisticated consumer -- a groundbreaking study that could help businesses become more competitive in the troubled global economy.

CU-Boulder research team identifies stem cells that repair injured muscles
A University of Colorado at Boulder research team has identified a type of skeletal muscle stem cell that contributes to the repair of damaged muscles in mice, which could have important implications in the treatment of injured, diseased or aging muscle tissue in humans, including the ravages of muscular dystrophy.

The 'clean plate club' may turn children into overeaters
Preschoolers whose parents forced them to clean their plates, ate 41 percent more snacks when at school.

New space show highlights IBEX spacecraft's mission of discovery
As part of its education and public outreach efforts, the story of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission has been chronicled in a space show premiering this month at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Sunlight turns carbon dioxide to methane
Dual catalysts may be the key to efficiently turning carbon dioxide and water vapor into methane and other hydrocarbons using titania nanotubes and solar power, according to Penn State researchers.

Supply chain report reveals need to improve supplier awareness of climate change threats
The first ever global collaboration on climate change between major organizations and their suppliers demonstrates the need for increased supplier awareness of the regulatory, physical and general risks that climate change poses to their business.

Marine protected areas get a boost from new UCSB Web-based program
This is what can happen when marine life and geospatial scientists collide: tou get a smart, easy-to-use Web-based program that one day soon might help protect the world's fragile marine ecosystems.

Radiation therapy followed by high quality surgery for rectal cancer
A short course of radiation therapy followed by high quality surgery is the most effective treatment for patients with operable rectal cancer.

New explanation for a puzzling biological divide along the Malay Peninsula
More than 58 rapid sea level rises in the last five million years could account for an apparently abrupt switch in the kinds in of mammals found along the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia -- from mainland species to island species -- in the absence of any geographical barrier, ecologists say.

Not so sweet: Over-consumption of sugar linked to aging
As part of the PLoS Genetics study, University of Montreal biochemistry professor Luis Rokeach and his student Antoine Roux discovered to their surprise that if they removed the gene for a glucose sensor from yeast cells, they lived just as long as those living on a glucose-restricted diet.

Pew announces 2009 recipients of Distinguished Marine Conservation Fellowship
The Pew Environment Group announced today that five individuals, representing Argentina, China, France and the United States, received the distinguished 2009 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation for their proposals to improve conservation of the marine environment.

Clinical trial finds microbicide promising as HIV prevention method for women
A clinical trial involving more than 3,000 women in the US and southern Africa demonstrates for the first time the promise of a vaginal microbicide gel for preventing HIV infection in women.

Evolution, ecosystems may buffer some species against climate change
Although ecologists expect many species will be harmed by climate change, some species could be buffered by their potential to evolve or by changes in their surrounding ecosystems.

Ecologists propose first prevention for white-nose syndrome death in bats
White-nose syndrome is a poorly understood condition that, in the two years since its discovery, has spread to at least seven Northeastern states and killed as many as half a million bats.

McMaster study sheds light on how stem cells develop into blood cells
How messages sent within stem cells through a specific communication pathway can trigger the cells to specialize and become blood cells in humans has been discovered by scientists of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.

Why 'lazy Susan' has a weak heart
When young, apparently healthy athletes suddenly collapse, it can be due to hereditary cardiac disease.

New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
Scientists identified seven new species of bamboo coral discovered on a NOAA-funded mission in the deep waters of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

New study of human pancreases links virus to cause of type 1 diabetes
A team of researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England, the University of Brighton and the Department of Pathology at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, has found that a common family of viruses (enteroviruses) may play an important role in triggering the development of diabetes.

Hospital mobile phones 'superbug' scare
Mobile phone handsets belonging to hospital workers are covered in bacteria including the

The making of an intestinal stem cell
Researchers have found the factor that makes the difference between a stem cell in the intestine and any other cell.

Computer superpower strengthens attempts to combat common diseases
New large-scale sequencing technology will revolutionize biomedical research in the coming decade.

PowerNap plan could save 75 percent of data center energy
Putting idle servers to sleep when they're not in use is part of University of Michigan researchers' plan to save up to 75 percent of the energy that power-hungry computer data centers consume.
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