Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 23, 2009
Geoscientists discuss climate change, water issues, carbon sequestration and more
The Keynote Lecture,

Molecular fingerprints point the way to earlier cancer diagnosis and more targeted treatment
Metabolites are molecular fingerprints of what your cells are up to and Dr.

New stem cell therapy may lead to treatment for deafness
Deafness affects more than 250 million people worldwide. It typically involves the loss of sensory receptors, called hair cells, for their

Small investments to battle soybean pest paying off big, says MSU researcher
The small amount of money put toward fighting the tiny, yet destructive soybean aphid will pay big dividends in the coming years, said a Michigan State University economist, thanks to a research and outreach system developed during the last 50 years.

Researchers find the earliest evidence of domesticated maize
Maize was domesticated from its wild ancestor more than 8,700 years according to biological evidence uncovered by researchers in the Mexico's Central Balsas River Valley.

Telltale heat
Is the wind turbine's rotor blade still intact? Or does it have tiny air bubbles that could expand and eventually cause a fracture?

DNA duplication: A mechanism for 'survival of the fittest'
VIB researchers connected to Ghent University have discovered that DNA duplications have given plants an evolutionary advantage.

New 'green' pesticides are first to exploit plant defenses in battle of the fungi
Exploiting a little-known punch/counterpunch strategy in the ongoing battle between disease-causing fungi and crop plants, scientists in Canada are reporting development of a new class of

Caltech scientists create new enzymes for biofuel production
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and world-leading gene-synthesis company DNA2.0 have taken an important step toward the development of a cost-efficient process to extract sugars from cellulose -- the world's most abundant organic material and cheapest form of solar-energy storage.

Alcohol-induced flushing is a risk factor for esophageal cancer from alcohol consumption
There is growing evidence, say researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine, that people who experience facial flushing after drinking alcohol are at much higher risk of esophageal cancer from alcohol consumption than those who do not.

Early agriculture left traces in animal bones
Unraveling the origins of agriculture in different regions around the globe has been a challenge for archeologists.

JCI table of contents: March 23, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published March 23, 2009, in the JCI: Licorice extract blocks colorectal cancer in mice; Approach to treat bone loss might increase bone cancer risk; Making gene therapy safer using self-inactivating LTRs; Too much oxygen not a good thing for tumors; New gene linked to low levels of magnesium; and others.

New data on cancer survival in Europe show more patients are cured
New data and analyses from a long-running study of cancer survival in Europe have shown that the number of people actually cured of cancer -- rather than just surviving for at least five years after diagnosis -- is rising steadily.

Scientists find climate change to have paradoxical effects in coastal wetlands
Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is largely responsible for recent global warming and the rise in sea levels.

Brain wave patterns can predict blunders, new study finds
Everyone makes an occasional error due to lack of attention.

CDC analysis finds unique social and behavior intervention helps reduce MRSA rates up to 62 percent
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Plexus Institute today announce results from an analysis of a multifaceted methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention program that employed positive deviance, a novel approach to social and behavioral change, to trigger significant reductions in MRSA incidence ranging from 26 to 62 percent at participating hospitals.

Vitamin D supplements associated with reduced fracture risk in older adults
Oral vitamin D supplements at a dose of at least 400 international units per day are associated with a reduced risk of bone fractures in older adults, according to results of a meta-analysis published in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Licorice extract blocks colorectal cancer in mice
Although drugs that target the protein COX-2, including aspirin and ibuprofen, prevent the development of intestinal polyps, the precursors of colorectal cancer, they have severe side effects that preclude their routine use for this purpose.

Whole-body CT scan increases chance of survival in severely injured patients
Use of whole-body CT scans in early trauma care significantly increases the probability of survival in severely injured patients with multiple trauma (polytrauma).

Racial biases fade away toward members of your own group
White people don't show hints of unconscious bias against blacks who belong to the same group as them, a new study suggests.

Proteinuria during pre-eclampsia: A poor predictor of complications?
The estimation of levels of proteinuria in women with pre-eclampsia is not a clinically useful test to predict fetal or maternal outcomes.

Research links evolution of fins and limbs with that of gills
The genetic toolkit animals use to build fins and limbs is the same one that controls the development of part of the gill skeleton in sharks.

Stroke survivors improve balance with tai chi
A study led by UIC physical therapy professor Christina Hui-Chan of Hong Kong stroke survivors found they did better at balance control after practicing tai chi than did a control group doing more conventional exercises.

Increasing number of Americans have insufficient levels of vitamin D
Average blood levels of vitamin D appear to have decreased in the United States between 1994 and 2004, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Genomic variations in African-American and white populations
Deletions, duplications or rearrangements of genomic regions in the human genomes produce differences in gene copy numbers, referred to as copy number variations (CNV).

APS applauds confirmation of renowned scientists Holdren and Lubchenco to top administrative posts
The American Physical Society is elated that APS Fellow John P.

New guidelines will help detect and study counterfeit medicines
New guidelines proposed by a group of international experts will help better study the prevalence and geography of counterfeit and other poor quality medicines that threaten public health across the world.

Wild grass became maize crop more than 8,700 years ago
The earliest physical evidence for domesticated maize, what some cultures call corn, dates to at least 8,700 calendar years ago, and it was probably domesticated by indigenous peoples in the lowland areas of southwestern Mexico, not the highland areas.

March 25 meeting on mental, behavioral disorders in children and teens
Mental, emotional and behavioral disorders in young people cost the US about $247 billion annually.

Study shows how Salmonella survives in environment
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have demonstrated how a single-celled organism, living freely in the environment, could be a source of Salmonella transmission to animals and humans.

Family history associated with increased risk of blood clots
Children and siblings of those with venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, appear to have more than double the risk of developing the condition than those without a family history, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Financial advice causes 'off-loading' in the brain
A study using functional magnetic resonance imaging shows that expert advice may shut down areas of the brain responsible for decision-making processes, particularly when individuals are trying to evaluate a situation where risk is involved.

2 'new' greenhouse gases growing
Two new greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere, according to an international research team led by scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US and CSIRO scientist, Dr.

A possible risk group for statin use
In a study of over 1,000 individuals with coronary artery disease, researchers have found that high levels of an enzyme called PLTP significantly increased the risk of heart attack in the subset of patients taking statins, suggesting that high levels of PLTP in the blood should be a consideration for potential statin treatment.

Fear or romance could make you change your mind, U of Minnesota study finds
New research from Vladas Griskevicius, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, suggests that the effectiveness of common persuasion tactics can be dramatically altered by two primal emotions -- fear and romantic desire.

National Science and Technology Council releases strategy for digital scientific data
The National Science and Technology Council released a report describing a strategy to promote preservation and access to digital scientific data.

Professors Raphael Haftka and C. T. Sun to receive AIAA-ASC James H. Starnes Jr. Award
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society for Composites congratulate the winners of the inaugural AIAA-ASC James H.

After the collapse
Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science and San Diego State University managed to observe a super-sized supernova explosion from start to finish, including the black hole ending.

Food choices evolve through information overload
Ever been so overwhelmed by a huge restaurant menu that you end up choosing an old favorite instead of trying something new?

New research highlights dramatically reduced risk of developing dementia
People with memory problems are less at risk of developing dementia than previously thought, a new study led by the University of Leicester and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust reveals.

Plastic protein protects bacteria from stomach acid's unfolding power
A tiny protein helps protect disease-causing bacteria from the ravaging effects of stomach acid, researchers at the University of Michigan and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have discovered.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

UIC researchers measure health effects of Chicago's waterways
UIC researchers are conducting a study to determine the health effects associated with recreational activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing on Chicago's waterways.

Germany: Colonoscopy prevents 15,000 cancer cases
Following the nationwide introduction of colonoscopy as part of the statutory cancer screening program in 2002, scientists of the German Cancer Research Center have now published the first evidence-based evaluation.

Peter Koen to chair 2009 US Front End of Innovation Conference, Boston, May 18-20
Stevens Institute of Technology Professor of Technology Management, Dr. Peter Koen, regularly referred to as the godfather of the conference, will this year, for the seventh time, chair the US Front End of Innovation Conference, May 18-20, 2009, at the Boston World Trade Center & Seaport Hotel.

Wildlife biologist named Roger Tory Peterson Medal recipient, speaker
Russell Mittermeier, renowned wildlife biologist and president of Conservation International, has been selected to receive the 12th annual Roger Tory Peterson Medal presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Exploring the dynamic relationship between health and environment
The 14th spring symposium from the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History will be

Smokers may have increased risk of pancreatitis
Smoking appears to be associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic pancreatitis, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

ONR-sponsored scientist receives prestigious award
Ground-breaking research that led to the miniaturization of computer hard disc drives and world-wide usage of laptop computers was recently recognized with the prestigious Oliver E.

New research reveals the earliest evidence for corn in the New World
An international team of scientists led by Dolores Piperno, archaeobotanist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and Anthony Ranere, professor of anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia, have discovered the first direct evidence that indicates maize was domesticated by 8,700 years ago, the earliest date recorded for the crop.

School kids 'wagging' breakfast are missing healthy brain fuel
The national MBF Healthwatch survey has revealed that a disturbing number of children

'Ice that burns' may yield clean, sustainable bridge to global energy future
In the future, natural gas derived from chunks of ice that workers collect from beneath the ocean floor and beneath the arctic permafrost may fuel cars, heat homes, and power factories.

Common gene variants influence risk factor for sudden cardiac death
A new study has identified several common genetic variants related to a risk factor for sudden cardiac death.

IODP-MI president accepts German Medal of Honor in geophysics
IODP-MI President Manik Talwani receives 2009 Wiechert Medal for outstanding achievement in geophysics from the German Geophysical Society.

Biologists consider sustainable agriculture and global food supply
The American Institute of Biological Sciences will host its 62nd Annual Meeting on May 18-19, 2009, at the Westin Gateway, Arlington, Va.

Starve a yeast, sweeten its lifespan
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a new energy-making biochemical twist in determining the lifespan of yeast cells, one so valuable to longevity that it is likely to also functions in humans.

Caltech researchers find tiny genetic change keeps nicotine from binding to muscle cells
A tiny genetic mutation is the key to understanding why nicotine -- which binds to brain receptors with such addictive potency -- is virtually powerless in muscle cells that are studded with the same type of receptor.

Eating red and processed meat associated with increased risk of death
Individuals who eat more red meat and processed meat appear to have a modestly increased risk of death from all causes and also from cancer or heart disease over a 10-year period, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Strategy discovered for fighting persistent bacterial infections
Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a promising strategy for destroying the molecular scaffolding that can make Pseudomonas bacterial infections extremely difficult to treat in cystic fibrosis patients.

Golden Gate Bridge reveals influence of 'shadow government' agencies
As the Obama administration prepares to disperse economic stimulus money for infrastructure, a timely new book sheds light on special districts, the

Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease
Accumulating evidence indicates that an increase in particulate air pollution is associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths.

Experts turn to Web to combat distressing skin disease
People experiencing the skin disease psoriasis may get relief from their symptoms and the psychological distress they can cause through a new Web-based therapy program.

Space shuttle experiment to provide insights into turbulence, heating
A Purdue University aerospace researcher helped shape plans to install a new experiment currently on the space shuttle Discovery to collect data for controlling deadly friction and heating in the design of future spacecraft.

On demand doctor's appointments do not improve diabetes care
Same-day medical scheduling, also known as on demand scheduling, does not improve care of chronically ill individuals, according to an Indiana University School of Medicine study of 4,060 adult patients with diabetes.

New UC San Diego center to train future engineering leaders to help America stay competitive
Engineering leadership today is more important than ever to ensure the United States remains at the forefront of technological innovation.

Researchers identify genes for thiostrepton, a powerful drug whose use is now limited
Researchers have identified the genetic machinery responsible for synthesizing thiostrepton, a powerful antibiotic produced by certain bacteria.

Software fits flexible components
Can the newly designed dashboard be easily installed? What paths should the assembly robot take so that the cables do not hit against the car body?

Solving a subatomic shell game
Physicists at Michigan Technological University have filled in some longtime blank spaces on the periodic table, calculating electron affinities of the lanthanides, a series of 15 elements known as rare earths.

Astrocytes help separate man from mouse
A type of brain cell that was long overlooked by researchers embodies one of very few ways in which the human brain differs fundamentally from that of a mouse or rat.

Super micro-surgery offers new hope for breast cancer patients with lymphedema
Breast cancer patients with lymphedema in their upper arm experienced reduced fluid in the swollen arm by up to 39 percent after undergoing a super-microsurgical technique known as lymphaticovenular bypass, report researchers at the University of Texas M.

RWJF Health and Society Scholars Program selects 2009-2011 participants
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program is pleased to announce the selection of 17 new scholars who will engage in an intensive two-year research program to reduce population health disparities and to encourage improvements in the nation's health-care system.

Most detailed malaria map ever highlights hope and challenges facing global community
The most detailed map ever created of malaria risk worldwide is published today by an international team of researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Review of probiotic trial research finds only Bifantis able to claim efficacy for IBS symptoms
A review by researchers at Northwestern University and University of Michigan of the utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel Syndrome found that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 was the only probiotic strain out of 13 different individual strains or preparations reviewed to significantly improve symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating and bowel movement difficulty.

Genetic changes outside nuclear DNA suspected to trigger more than half of all cancers
A buildup of chemical bonds on certain cancer-promoting genes, a process known as hypermethylation, is widely known to render cells cancerous by disrupting biological brakes on runaway growth.

New book chronicles the journeys of women physicians and scientists to fighting cancer
Legends and Legacies: Personal Journeys of Women Physicians and Scientists at M.

Proteins by design: Penn biochemists create new protein from scratch
Using design and engineering principles learned from nature, a team of biochemists have built -- from scratch -- a completely new type of protein.

Licorice compound offers new cancer prevention strategy
A chemical component of licorice may offer a new approach to preventing colorectal cancer without the adverse side effects of other preventive therapies, Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers report.

Carnegie Mellon engineering student wins award
Carnegie Mellon University's Ross Finman will receive the prestigious Robert H.

Vertigo linked to osteoporosis
People who have osteoporosis are more likely to also have vertigo, according to a study published in the March 24, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Social isolation makes strokes more deadly, study finds
New research in mice suggests that social isolation may promote more damaging inflammation in the brain during a stroke.

CellThera and WPI advance in regeneration study
CellThera, a biotechnology company located in Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, has received a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to extend its research program in tissue regeneration.

Surgery safe for babies and toddlers suffering from seizures
A new study published in Epilepsia reveals surgery for babies and toddlers suffering from epilepsy is relatively safe and is effective in controlling seizures.

Glass you can build with
Bulk metallic glass has no crystalline structure, and many kinds of metallic glasses are stronger than their crystalline cousins.

Redefining DNA: Darwin from the atom up
In a dramatic rewrite of the recipe for life, scientists from Florida describe the design of a new type of DNA with 12 chemical letters instead of the usual four.

A new theoretical model of tumor growth and metastasis based on differences in tissue pressure
An HFSP Journal article describes a theoretical model of tumor growth and metastasis based on differences in tissue pressure.

Tales of the 'Trojan horse drug' and the 'miracle dogs'
Scientists are reporting promising results with a drug called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl) in battling cancer in dogs without any negative side effects.

Time (and PPAR-beta/delta) heals all wounds
Mammalian skin requires constant maintenance, but how do skin cells know when to proliferate and at what rate?

Groups share information in workplace, but not the 'right' information
From the operating room to the executive board room, the benefits of working in teams have long been touted.

MIT: New material could lead to faster chips
New research findings at MIT could lead to microchips that operate at much higher speeds than is possible with today's standard silicon chips, leading to cell phones and other communications systems that can transmit data much faster.

'Good war' rationale for Kosovo in question
In a book due out in June, University of Arizona historian David N.

New method of assessing women's eggs could enhance IVF success, Stanford study shows
Barry Behr, Ph.D., H.C.L.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and director of Stanford's IVF laboratory, recently published findings on a way to

Columbia researchers identify early brain marker for familial form of depression
Findings from one of the largest-ever imaging studies of depression indicate that a structural difference in the brain -- a thinning of the right hemisphere -- appears to be linked to a higher risk for depression, according to new research at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Coenzyme rare to bacteria critical to Mycobacterium tuberculosis survival
Coenzyme F420 is common in archaea, some of which thrive in extreme environments, but rare in bacteria.

Alcohol 'flush' signals increased cancer risk among East Asians
Many people of East Asian descent possess an enzyme deficiency that causes their skin to redden, or flush, when they drink alcohol.

Rensselaer receives more than $2 million from New York State to fund stem cell research
Two groups of Rensselaer researchers each have received a $1.08 million grant from New York through the state's stem cell research initiative.

Deadly ancient disease knocking on Australia's door
Many Australians probably think tuberculosis is a disease of the past.

Human adult testes cells can become embryonic-like
Using what they say is a relatively simple method, scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have extracted stem/progenitor cells from testes and have converted them back into pluripotent embryonic-like stem cells.

Support for racial equality may be victim of Obama's election
Barack Obama's election could turn out to have negative consequences in addressing racial injustices in the United States, according to new research.

Inflation 'felt' to be not so bad as a wage cut
Many people view a rise in their income as a good thing, even when the increase is completely negated again by inflation.

Listening to pleasant music could help restore vision in stroke patients, suggests study
Patients who have lost part of their visual awareness following a stroke can show an improved ability to see when they are listening to music they like, according to a new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Approach to treat bone loss might increase bone cancer risk
One approach being considered as a way to treat osteoporosis is the development of molecules that block the action of proteins that inhibit the Wnt signaling pathway.

Predicting mosquito outbreaks for disease control
University of Adelaide researchers have shown they can predict the biggest population peaks of disease-carrying mosquitoes up to two months ahead.

Florida Tech research may save lives in suicide bombings
Institute of Technology researchers have determined that where a person is standing in a room or other location during a suicide terrorist attack can have a great bearing on survival and injuries.

'Cold fusion' rebirth? New evidence for existence of controversial energy source
Researchers are reporting compelling new scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions, the process once called

Herpes: Scientists find cellular process that fights virus
Scientists have discovered a new way for our immune system to combat the elusive virus responsible for cold sores: type 1 herpes simplex.

Combination of very low LDL and normal systolic blood pressure attenuate coronary artery disease
New data published in the March 31, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology show that patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) who achieve very low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol along with normal systolic blood pressure have the slowest progression of CAD.

UCL and GSK join forces to develop combined small molecule-antibody treatment for rare disease
A collaboration to develop a world first drug-antibody dual treatment for the rare and often fatal condition amyloidosis has been formed between the University College London spinout company Pentraxin Therapeutics Ltd. and GlaxoSmithKline.

Energy Secretary Chu announces $1.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for science
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $1.2 billion in new science funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for major construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research efforts sponsored by DOE's Office of Science.

Physical abuse raises women's health costs over 40 percent
Women experiencing physical abuse from intimate partners spent 42 percent more on health care per year than nonabused women, according to a long-term study of more than 3,000 women.

Elsevier's Computers and Learning conference to be held in Brighton
Elsevier announced today that it will hold the

Oak Ridge National Laboratory to receive $71.2 million in Recovery Act funding
Oak Ridge National Laboratory officials announced today that construction will start in eight to 10 weeks on a major research facility made possible by $71.2 million from President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Comprehensive map of global malaria endemicity -- a key resource for malaria control and elimination
Using data from nearly 8,000 local surveys of malaria parasite infection rates, an international team of researchers has built a global map showing the proportion of the population infected with the parasite Plasmodium falciparum at locations throughout the globe.

High triglyceride levels common, often untreated among Americans
High concentrations of blood fats known as triglycerides are common in the United States, according to a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Final rocket launches, measures aurora movement
It's been a long wait, but it was worth it.

Deep-sea corals may be oldest living marine organism
Deep-sea corals from about 400 meters off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands are much older than once believed and some may be the oldest living marine organisms known to man.

Lipid droplets lead a Spartin existence
Spartin, a protein linked to the neuronal disease Troyer syndrome, was thought to function in endocytosis. 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