Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 16, 2009
Cardiac imaging highlighted at Biennial ICNC-9
ICNC-9, the key international scientific meeting on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT, is taking place in Barcelona, May 10-13.

The physics of animals, plants and materials inspired by nature
Take a new look at nature through the eyes of physicists at next month's March Meeting of American Physical Society, which takes place from March 16-20, 2009 at the David L.

Scripps research scientists 'watch' as individual alpha-synuclein proteins change shape
Much remains to be understood about what role alpha-synuclein, a protein mostly associated with Parkinson's disease, plays in the brain, either in a normal or diseased state.

Historical increase in corn yield -- it's in the roots
The extraordinary yield advance within the US Corn Belt over the past century has been a significant agricultural development associated with the breeding of hybrids and increased planting density.

Shrinking in hippocampus area of brain precedes Alzheimer's disease
People who have lost brain cells in the hippocampus area of the brain are more likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in the March 17, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

JCI online early table of contents: March 16, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, March 16, 2009, in the JCI, including: New human genetic link to high levels of

IADR Research in Prosthodontics and Implants Award presented to Lyndon Cooper
Dr. Lyndon Cooper, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, is the 2009 recipient of the Research in Prosthodontics and Implants Award, to be presented at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) 87th General Session & Exhibition in Miami, Fla., USA, on April 1, 2009.

Guitarists' brains swing together
When musicians play along together it isn't just their instruments that are in time -- their brain waves are too.

UH sociologist has different perspective on obesity 'epidemic'
Headlines tell us the nation is getting fatter, and that obesity has become an epidemic.

USP applauds nomination of Dr. Margaret Hamburg as FDA Commissioner
Noting the growing importance of drug and food quality on the nation's agenda, Roger L.

Dancing 'adatoms' help chemists understand how water molecules split
Single oxygen atoms dancing on metal oxide have helped chemists better understand how water splits into oxygen and hydrogen.

A curious pair of galaxies
The ESO Very Large Telescope has taken the best image ever of a strange and chaotic duo of interwoven galaxies.

Young dinosaurs roamed together, died together
A herd of young birdlike dinosaurs met their death on the muddy margins of a lake some 90 million years ago, according to a team of Chinese and American paleontologists that excavated the site in the Gobi Desert in western Inner Mongolia.

Stress may cause the brain to become disconnected
Does stress damage the brain? In the March 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, a paper by Tibor Hajszan and colleagues provides an important new chapter to this question.

'Thinking like a trader' may diminish emotional reaction and aversion to loss
A study led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and New York University suggests that taking the perspective of a professional trader may alter the emotional reaction to losing money and result in different choices.

Metabolic syndrome can help identify diabetes risk in Aboriginal Canadians
Metabolic syndrome can help identify Aboriginal Canadians at risk of type 2 diabetes, which can be especially useful in isolated communities where 2-hour oral glucose tolerance tests may be difficult to apply, found a study published in CMAJ.

First sister study results reinforce the importance of healthy living
Women who maintain a healthy weight and who have lower perceived stress may be less likely to have chromosome changes associated with aging than obese and stressed women, according to a pilot study that was part of the Sister Study.

Steroid nasal wash appears to improve health of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis
A nasal wash containing the corticosteroid budesonide appears to reduce symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis without suppressing the function of the adrenal glands, a known complication of this type of drug that would indicate absorption throughout the whole body, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Biomedical news from the largest physics meeting of the year
Many of the leading scientists working at the interface of physics and medicine will present their latest research at next month's March Meeting of American Physical Society, which takes place from March 16-20, 2009, at the David L.

Anatomical Science International joins Springer's publishing program
The Japanese Association of Anatomists has chosen Springer to publish its official journal, Anatomical Science International.

Combination therapy restores T cell numbers in HIV-infected individuals
CD4+ T cell depletion by HIV is a major blow to the immune system.

Odds are, seedings don't matter after Sweet 16, University of Illinois professor says
Sheldon H. Jacobson, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois, says that a top-3 seeded team's odds of winning games past the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament are statistically no different than a coin flip.

Cleaning up oil spills can kill more fish than spills themselves, say Queen's biologists
A new Queen's University study shows that detergents used to clean up spills of diesel oil actually increase its toxicity to fish, making it more harmful.

Hormone offers promise as fertility treatment
New research suggests the hormone kisspeptin shows promise as a potential new treatment for infertility.

American Chemical Society's weekly PressPac -- March 11, 2009
This is the American Chemical Society Office of Public Affairs Weekly Press Package with reports from 34 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Depression twice as likely in seizure sufferers
A new study published in Epilepsia finds that the prevalence of depression is almost twice as high in people with epilepsy compared to the general population.

Science returns to the Capitol Hill spotlight at March 24 exhibition
Fascinating scientific advances across the spectrum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines will be featured and explained through engaging table-top exhibits at the Coalition for National Science Funding 15th Annual Exhibition & Reception.

NRL researchers report a forceful new method to sensitively detect proteins
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory recently reported the detection of toxins with unprecedented speed, sensitivity and simplicity.

Climate-related changes on the Antarctic peninsula
Scientists have long established that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming spots on Earth.

Rabies infections highlight dangers of processing dog meat
Eating dog meat is common in many Asian countries, but research conducted as part of the South East Asian Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Network has discovered a potentially lethal risk associated with preparing dog meat: rabies.

Flies may spread drug-resistant bacteria from poultry operations
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found evidence that houseflies collected near broiler poultry operations may contribute to the dispersion of drug-resistant bacteria and thus increase the potential for human exposure to drug-resistant bacteria.

Catching the common cold virus genome
A new study by Brigham Young University researchers on the virus behind nearly half of all cold infections explains how and where evolution occurs in the rhinovirus genome and what this means for possible vaccines.

France-Israel scientific cooperation agreement
A French-Israeli scientific agreement, known as the European Associated Laboratory Agreement, will be signed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Wednesday, March 18, within the framework of the France-Israel Binational Symposium in Neuroscience.

Paper electrified by copper particles
The Polymer Chemistry Research Group at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has succeeded in producing nano-sized metallic copper particles.

Canberra parents lack allergy awareness: Study
Nearly four percent of ACT kindergarten children have a peanut allergy and while the region's schools are well prepared to cope with this, some parents are taking inappropriate action when dealing with their child's allergy, according to a new study.

Experts convene to promote excellence in hospice and palliative medicine
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, in collaboration with the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, will host its Annual Assembly March 25-28, 2009, at the Austin Convention Center, in Austin, Texas.

Tree species composition influences nitrogen loss from forests
The Catskill Mountains receive some of the highest nitrogen deposition rates in North America due to pollutants drifting, and a recent study in this region demonstrates how some forested watersheds are more capable than others in absorbing nitrogen.

Less of a stink in diabetes patients?
Hydrogen sulfide is commonly associated with smell of rotten eggs, stink bombs and blocked drains but lower blood levels of the gas are possibly linked to cardiovascular complications in some male patients with type II diabetes.

New target for heart failure therapy identified
A novel signaling pathway plays a significant role in the production of aldosterone, a hormone that promotes heart failure after a myocardial infarction, according to a study conducted by Thomas Jefferson University researchers.

UV lights decrease infectious TB in hospital room air
The simple intervention of using ultraviolet lights near the ceiling together with fans may reduce the spread of tuberculosis in hospitals, and air treatment with negative ionizers may also be effective, according to research published in PLoS Medicine.

Immune cells play surprising role in cystic fibrosis lung damage, Stanford/Packard study shows
Immune cells once thought to be innocent bystanders in cystic fibrosis may hold the key to stopping patients' fatal lung disease.

IADR and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare announce winners of 2009 Innovation in Oral Care Awards
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare today announced the 2009 winners of the annual IADR/GSK Innovation in Oral Care Awards.

Waking up dormant HIV
A chemical called suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, recently approved by the FDA as a leukemia drug, has now been shown to

Music tuition can help children improve reading skills
Children exposed to a multiyear program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their nonmusically trained peers, according to a study published today in the journal Psychology of Music, published by SAGE.

Preventium is 'where the prevention of breast and prostate cancer begins'
Preventium is the only product in the market place that keeps estrogen-DNA adduct levels normal and healthy.

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative announces completion of genome-wide analysis
A high-density genome wide analysis of participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is more than 95 percent complete.

Carnegie Mellon scientist confirms liquid-liquid phase transition in silicon
Using rigorous computer calculations, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington have established evidence that supercooled silicon experiences a liquid-liquid phase transition, where at a certain temperature two different states of liquid silicon exist.

Shifting sound to light may lead to better computer chips
By reversing a process that converts electrical signals into sounds heard out of a cell phone, researchers may have a new tool to enhance the way computer chips, LEDs and transistors are built.

NRL researchers explore magnetic properties of iron-based superconductors
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have proposed theoretical models to explain the normal magnetic properties in iron-based superconductors.

2 cases of rabies in Vietnam after butchering and eating a dog or a cat
Eating dog meat, and to a lesser extent cat meat, is common in Asia.

Stun guns may cause seizures
Stun guns, in certain circumstances, may result in brain-specific complications such as seizures, according to a new case report published in CMAJ.

Researchers develop DNA 'patch' for canine form of muscular dystrophy
Using a novel genetic technology that covers up genetic errors, researchers funded in part by the National Institutes of Health have developed a successful treatment for dogs with the canine version of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a paralyzing, and ultimately fatal, muscle disease.

No consistent advantage for planting soybean early
Identifying the optimum planting date for soybean is difficult as it varies from year to year, depending on the weather and rain conditions.

Engineer helps poor in developing nations purify drinking water
The device looks deceptively simple -- a porous clay pot placed in a five-gallon plastic bucket with a spigot -- but a URI engineer believes it can save millions of lives each year.

Obesity gene associated with susceptibility to polycystic ovary syndrome
Researchers have shown that a gene implicated in the development of obesity is also associated with susceptibility to polycystic ovary syndrome.

Search for blood pressure secrets reveals a surprising new syndrome
Yale researchers investigating the genetic causes of blood pressure variation have identified a previously undescribed syndrome associated with seizures, a lack of coordination, developmental delay and hearing loss.

Spreading high-speed Internet to rural areas
To cut the cost of bringing high-speed Internet to rural areas, Dr.

New human genetic link to high levels of 'good' cholesterol
HDL cholesterol, or

UV light cuts spread of TB
Ultraviolet lights could reduce the spread of tuberculosis in hospital wards and waiting rooms by 70 percent, according to a new study, published in PLoS Medicine today.

New type of botulinum toxin appears to be well tolerated and may help reduce forehead wrinkles
Injections with a new type of botulinum toxin appears to be well tolerated and may help to improve the appearance of moderate to severe forehead lines with no evidence of diminishing treatment response over 13 months, according to a report in the March/April issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Nanoscopic probes can track down and attack cancer cells
A researcher has developed probes that can help pinpoint the location of tumors and might one day be able to directly attack cancer cells.

DeVry University announces Employment Gap Scholarship program to aid displaced workers
DeVry University is establishing a new scholarship program that offers to assist recently displaced workers pursue a college degree and gain new skill sets that are critical for career success.

Where does consciousness come from?
A new paper, published in this week's PLoS Biology, suggests that four specific, separate processes combine as a

Researchers identify cause for severe pediatric epilepsy disorder
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have discovered that convulsive seizures in a form of severe epilepsy are generated, not on the brain's surface as expected, but from within the memory-forming hippocampus.

Obesity associated with worse outcomes after pancreatic cancer surgery
Obese patients with a body mass index of more than 35 appear more likely to have cancer that has spread to their lymph nodes, lower rates of survival and higher rates of recurrence following surgery for pancreatic cancer, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UAB space freezers deemed a success
Just as the first GLACIER is about to return to Earth with its science cargo, a second freezer will be installed in its place on the International Space Station.

Obese women play cancer roulette
Obese women may be putting themselves at greater risk of breast cancer by not undergoing regular screening.

First treatment for muscular dystrophy in sight: Scientists successfully harness exon-skipping
Genetic researchers at Children's National Medical Center and the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo published the results of the first successful application of

Penn Medicine pathologists pioneer biomarker test to diagnose or rule out Alzheimer's disease
A test capable of confirming or ruling out Alzheimer's disease has been validated and standardized by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dendritic cells ensure immune tolerance
Dendritic cells are essential to the body's immune defenses. Now, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen researchers show that they also have to protect the body from itself: They help to identify any immune cells that attack the body's own tissue and need to be destroyed or pacified.

Selected men with low-risk prostate cancer have good clinical outcomes without immediate treatment
A 16-year study across four institutions finds that certain men with low-risk prostate cancer may be getting

Acitretin therapy may help reduce nail psoriasis
Low-dose acitretin (a drug used to treat skin psoriasis) therapy appears to reduce nail psoriasis symptoms, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Carbon sinks losing the battle with rising emissions
The stabilizing influence that land and ocean carbon sinks have on rising carbon emissions is gradually weakening, scientists who attended the international Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
This release contains information about three studies being published in the March 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The American Association for Cancer Research congratulates Margaret Hamburg, M.D.
The American Association for Cancer Research extends its sincere congratulations to Margaret Hamburg, M.D., on her nomination to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

Wet combing more accurate than visual inspection for identifying active head lice infestation
Combing through a child's wet hair may lead to more accurate identification of active head lice infestation than visual inspection, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Important new model shows how proteins find the right DNA sequences
Researchers at Uppsala University and Harvard University have collaboratively developed a new theoretical model to explain how proteins can rapidly find specific DNA sequences, even though there are many obstacles in the way on the chromosomes.

Researchers find sustained improvement in health in Experience Corps tutors over 55
Tutors over 55 who help young students on a regular basis experience positive physical and mental health outcomes, according to studies released by researchers at Washington University in St.

Stem cells crucial to diabetes cure in mice
More than five years ago, Dr. Lawrence C.B. Chan and colleagues in his Baylor College of Medicine laboratory cured mice with type 1 diabetes by using a gene to induce liver cells to make insulin.

Hospital infection control strategies for antibiotic-resistant organisms
Hand-washing, a clean environment, appropriate infection barriers and early identification of patients at high risk of colonization with a transmissible microorganism remain the essential measures to prevent and control infection.

Early results favorable for 5-day radiation treatment of early stage prostate cancer
Preliminary results show that a shortened course of radiation therapy for prostate cancer called stereotactic body radiation therapy provides good PSA response for early stage prostate cancer and has the same side effects as other treatments, according to a March 15 study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.

Risk score helps identify candidates for combined heart and kidney transplants
Researchers have identified a set of criteria that, when combined with a measure of kidney function, could help identify patients who are likely to receive a survival benefit from a combined heart and kidney transplant, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mini dinosaurs prowled North America
Massive predators like Albertosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex may have been at the top of the food chain, but they were not the only meat-eating dinosaurs to roam North America, according to Canadian researchers who have discovered the smallest dinosaur species on the continent to date.

Defibrillators may have little benefit for older people with comorbidities
Older people with comorbidities and those with multiple hospital admissions related to heart failure are unlikely to receive a meaningful survival benefit from implanted defibrillators, found a study in CMAJ by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Master molecular switch may prevent the spread of cancer cells to distant sites in the body
Researchers identified a switch that might prevent cancer cells from metastasizing from a primary tumor to other organs.

Fish consumption guidelines not environmentally sustainable
Recommendations to increase fish consumption because of health benefits may not be environmentally sustainable and more research is needed to clarify the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, write Dr.

University of Florida professor receives IADR Research in Dental Caries Award
Dr. Robert Burne, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA, is the 2009 recipient of the Research in Dental Caries Award, to be presented by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) at its 87th General Session & Exhibition in Miami, Fla., USA, on April 1, 2009.

NJIT receives $20,000 grant from Horizon Foundation to promote teen health
To promote the health of at-risk teenagers in Newark and the surrounding area, NJIT has received a $20,000 grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

Microscope reveals how bacteria 'breathe' toxic metals
Researchers are studying some common soil bacteria that

Glass tables: An overlooked safety threat
Many households harbor a threat to young children that safety regulations, surprisingly, have overlooked: glass-topped tables and tables with glass panels.

MIT: As planet warms, poor nations face economic chill
A rising tide is said to lift all boats. Rising global temperatures, however, may lead to increased disparities between rich and poor countries, according to a recent MIT economic analysis of the impact of climate change on growth. 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