Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 24, 2009
UC San Diego biologists discover a protein link to wound healing
Diabetes and eczema may appear to be two completely unrelated diseases.

Record number of patients seek laser treatments to take lightyears off their faces
New trends reveal that laser technology is steering the future of the cosmetic surgery industry.

AIBS names 2009 emerging public policy leaders
The American Institute of Biological Sciences has selected Adam Roddy, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, and Anna Maria Stewart, a graduate student at the State University of New York -- College of Environmental Science and Forestry, to receive the 2009 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award.

Mutated gene in zebrafish sheds light on blindness in humans
Among zebrafish, the eyes have it. Inside them is a mosaic of light-sensitive cells whose structure and functions are nearly identical to those of humans.

'Master regulator' of skin formation discovered
Researchers at Oregon State University have found one gene in the human body that appears to be a master regulator for skin development, in research that could help address everything from skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis to the wrinkling of skin as people age.

Cause of mussel poisoning identified
The origin of the neurotoxin azaspiracid has finally been identified after a search for more than a decade.

Ownership of electronic health information must be addressed, article says
Clarifying legal rights of patient control over electronic health records could be the key to making the best use of the huge amount of electronic medical information that the

Plant pathologists call for more data to support pre-harvest food safety interventions
In meetings with USDA, FDA, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy last week, key leaders from The American Phytopathological Society Public Policy Board addressed concerns related to human pathogens on plants and noted that significantly more research is needed to ensure national food safety.

Latent tuberculosis: An international project to fight a worldwide disease
A team of researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre has received the largest grant ever awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a clinical trial of latent tuberculosis therapy.

Someone else's experience can make you happy
Researchers say they know what makes you happy. Ask a total stranger.

Ice storms devastating to pecan orchards
Ice storms and other severe weather can have devastating impacts on pecan trees.

3-drug chemotherapy combination increases organ preservation in patients with larynx cancer
Patients with larynx cancer who received a three-drug combination of docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil during induction chemotherapy were more likely to retain larynx function than were patients treated with cisplatin and 5-fluoruracil alone, according to data from a randomized controlled trial in the March 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancers detected early may be less aggressive, questioning effectiveness of screening
The biology of ovarian cancers discovered at an early stage may render them slower growing and less likely to spread than more aggressive cancers, which typically are discovered in an advanced stage, according to a study led by investigators in the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study finds researchers open to knowledge transfer
Scientists like to pay it forward. According to a new study by University of Montreal professors Christian Dagenais and Michel Janosz, most academics are quite open to knowledge transfer.

Deep-sea rocks point to early oxygen on Earth
Red jasper cored from layers 3.46 billion years old suggests that not only did the oceans contain abundant oxygen then, but that the atmosphere was as oxygen rich as it is today, according to geologists.

Lohafex provides new insights on plankton ecology
The Indo-German team of scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography and the Alfred Wegener Institute has returned from its expedition on research vessel Polarstern.

Forget it! A biochemical pathway for blocking your worst fears?
A receptor for glutamate, the most prominent neurotransmitter in the brain, plays a key role in the process of

New test may predict spread of breast cancer
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered that the co-mingling of three cell types can predict whether localized breast cancer will spread throughout the body.

Risk of aggressive breast cancer subtype 3 times higher for black women
Lifestyle, age and weight have all been considered as risk factors for breast cancer.

European medical research community demands revision of EC Directive on use of animals in research
Unless it is amended, the new EU Directive on the Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purposes, as proposed by European Commission and European Parliament, could seriously impede the further advancement of European medical and veterinary research.

New endoscope allows for easier use in diagnosis of biliary and pancreatic diseases
Spyglass Spyscope, is a new single-operator endoscope that has been recently introduced into the endoscopic arena.

Human papillomavirus genotype distribution in New Mexico cervical cancers
DNA from human papilloma virus type 16 and HPV type 18 were found in the majority of invasive cervical cancers in New Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a population-based study published in the March 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Video games, cell phones and academic performance: Some good news
Using cell phones and playing video games may not be as harmful to children's academic performance as previously believed, according to new research by a team of Michigan State University scholars.

Herbal medicines for treatment of gastrointestinal disease
Herbal medicines could benefit patients suffering from gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders that cannot be treated using conventional drug therapy.

Single embryo transfer is the cheapest and most effective strategy for assisted reproduction
Two papers on single embryo transfer (SET) are published in Human Reproduction journal on Wednesday, March 25.

Licorice may block effectiveness of drug widely used by transplant patients
Chemists in Taiwan are reporting that an ingredient in licorice -- widely used in various foods and herbal medicines -- appears to block the absorption of cyclosporine, a drug used by transplant patients to prevent organ rejection.

Transcending politics to save lives
Cardiologists from Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East will gather in Indianapolis April 1 and 2 for the First International Cardiovascular Conference: Focus on the Middle East.

Experimental Parkinson's therapy may have robust weight-loss effect
A growth factor used to rescue dying brain cells may cause unwanted weight loss if placed in specific brain regions -- a cautionary warning for experimental treatments to treat Parkinson's disease that use GDNF, short for glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor.

New EINSTEIN@HOME effort launched: home computers to search Arecibo data for new pulsars
More than 200,000 people have signed up for the project and donated time on their computers to search gravitational wave data for signals from unknown pulsars.

Not all titanium dioxide is equal when it comes to splitting water with visible light
With a splash of UV light, titanium dioxide can break down contaminants for environmental cleanup or split water for hydrogen fuel production.

New form of destructive terrorist material unlikely, chemists report
Concerns that terrorists could produce a new and particularly dangerous form of the explosive responsible for airport security screening of passengers' shoes and restrictions on liquids in carryon baggage are unfounded, a group of scientists is reporting.

Ben-Gurion U researchers -- bariatric surgery minimizes pregnancy complications for obese women
Women who undergo bariatric surgery to treat obesity will reduce the risk of medical and obstetric complications when they become pregnant, according to a study by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Faculty of Health Sciences.

Lectures, keynoters, symposia highlight international dental research meeting
Following is a summary of the key lectures, symposia and workshops that will anchor the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, convening here April 1-4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

AAAS, leading Texas scientists urge state board to reject anti-evolution effort
Leading members of the Texas scientific community, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have urged the Texas State Board of Education to reject amendments to the state's draft science standards that would undermine sound science teaching.

National Academies advisory: April 6 symposium celebrating the International Polar Year
The National Academy of Science and the National Science Foundation will co-host a symposium that highlights the early accomplishments of International Polar Year -- the global research effort to better understand the polar regions.

Inconsistent performance speed among children with ADHD may underlie how well they use memory
Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder show more variable or inconsistent responses during on

Study helps identify college drinkers who might continue excessive drinking as adults
College students who are problem drinkers using alcohol to cope with personal problems and boost self-confidence are more likely to continue excessive drinking into adulthood, a recent study suggests.

New study set to change how critically ill patients are treated
The current practice of intensively lowering blood glucose in critically ill patients increases the risk of death by 10 percent.

NICE SUGAR: Intensive insulin therapy risks
Intensive insulin therapy significantly increases the risk of hypoglycemia in critically ill patients, found a new study in CMAJ.

Study reports current shortage of surgeons in Maryland likely to worsen
New research published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons reveals shortages of qualified surgeons in many regions of Maryland, especially in rural areas.

Alarming new data shows TB-HIV co-infection a bigger threat
The World Health Organization released staggering new data about the threat of tuberculosis and the toll it takes on people with HIV/AIDS today, in recognition of World TB Day.

Brain activity predicts people's choices
The activity in one brain structure can predict people's preferences, according to new research in the March 25 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Texas Board of Education vote on the way evolution is taught could set national trend
Ecklund, associate director of Rice's Center on Race, Religion and Urban Life, directs the national study on religion and spirituality among scientists at top universities and can discuss her research.

Thinking of turning your chemistry green? Consult GEMs
A database designed to

The University of Miami receives grants from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s Ocean Fund
The University of Miami announces $101,000 in grants awarded by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s Ocean Fund.

How to predict post-operative enteral nutrition problems
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) has established enteral nutrition techniques. A research group in Japan investigated retrospectively enteral nutrition problems after PEG.

UTSA and Southwest Research Institute partner to join elite national research roundtable
The University of Texas at San Antonio and Southwest Research Institute today jointly announced they have joined the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, an elite sub-unit of the National Academies, the nation's advisers in science, engineering and medicine.

International association for dental research presents awards and fellowships
As part of the opening ceremonies of its 87th General Session & Exhibition, convening today at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the International Association for Dental Research will present numerous prestigious awards and fellowships.

Study finds program has improved health agencies' preparedness for bioterror and disease outbreaks
The federal Cities Readiness Initiative, intended to help metropolitan public health agencies prepare to deliver essential medicines to the public after a large-scale bioterror attack or natural disease outbreak, has succeeded in improving the level of readiness in 72 regions across the nation, according to a new study.

Drug used to treat skin conditions is a marine pollutant
Clotrimazole is a common ingredient in over-the-counter skin creams. Recent results from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, now show that it is associated with major environmental risks.

Family skeletons detrimental to healing
Family secrets such as alcoholism, abuse and unwanted pregnancies are quite common and an obstacle to healing when disease strikes, according to Marie-Dominique Beaulieu, a professor at the University of Montreal's Department of Family Medicine.

Visual learners convert words to pictures in the brain and vice versa, says Penn psychology study
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology, the Penn study reveals that people who consider themselves visual learners, as opposed to verbal learners, have a tendency to convert linguistically presented information into a visual mental representation.

New possibilities for hydrogen-producing algae
Photosynthesis produces the food that we eat and the oxygen that we breathe -- could it also help satisfy our future energy needs by producing clean-burning hydrogen?

NYU study finds new risk factor for melanoma in younger women
Researchers may have found a more potent risk factor for melanoma than blistering sunburns, freckling, or family history of the deadly skin disease.

Clouded leopard cubs born at National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center
An endangered clouded leopard at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation & Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal, Va., gave birth to a genetically valuable litter of two cubs on Tuesday, March 24.

Self-cleaning, low-reflectivity treatment boosts efficiency for photovoltaic cells
Using two different types of chemical etching to create features at both the micron and nanometer size scales, researchers have developed a surface treatment that boosts the light absorption of silicon photovoltaic cells in two complementary ways.

New RFID technology tracks and monitors nuclear materials
Radio frequency identification devices have widely been used for tracking for years; recently, scientists from US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have developed a unique tracking technology that also monitors the environmental and physical conditions of containers of nuclear materials in storage and transportation.

NIH will use $60 million in Recovery Act funds to support strategic autism research
The National Institutes of Health will commit roughly $60 million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support autism research and meet objectives set forth earlier this year by a federal advisory committee.

IADR holds 87th General Session and Exhibition
From April 1-4, 2009, thousands of dental research scientists, students, and educators from around the world will convene in Miami, Fla., as the International Association for Dental Research holds its 87th General Session & Exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Eating soy early in life may reduce breast cancer among Asian women
Asian-American women who ate higher amounts of soy during childhood had a 58 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Recently identified genetic heart disorder often deadly for young patients
A study that included young patients with a recently recognized rare type of cardiomyopathy (a disorder of the heart muscle) linked to a genetic mutation finds that progression of this disease may be rapid and often results in early death, according to a study in the March 25 issue of JAMA.

Smithsonian scientist warns that palm oil development may threaten Amazon
Oil palm cultivation drives forest destruction across Southeast Asia. Proposed change in Brazil's legislation, new infrastructure and the influence of foreign agro-industrial firms in the region, may create a similar situation in the Amazon.

International Dental Research Association meets in Miami
Did you know that periodontal disease could be a risk factor for HIV?

Professor to measure environmental impact of war
The United Nations Environment Program has invited Michel A. Bouchard, a professor from the University of Montreal's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to help evaluate the ecological impact of the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighboring countries.

To fight drug addiction, UB researchers target the brain with nanoparticles
A precise, new nanotechnology treatment for drug addiction may be on the horizon as the result of research conducted at the University at Buffalo.

Program helps improve management of chronic pain
Patients with chronic pain who took part in a collaborative care intervention that included patient and clinician education and symptom monitoring and feedback to the primary care physician had improvements in pain-related disability and intensity, compared to usual care, according to a study in the March 25 issue of JAMA.

Discovery may result in new test to determine predisposition to cancer
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed an assay that may be used to help identify new genes that can predict a predisposition to cancer.

Diabetics on high-fiber diets might need extra calcium, report UT Southwestern researchers
The amount of calcium your body absorbs might depend, in part, on the amount of dietary fiber you consume.

Wild bees can be effective pollinators
A three-year study of 15 southwestern Michigan blueberry farms found 112 wild bee species which were active during the blueberry blooming period.

Mayo researchers find link between anesthesia exposure and learning disabilities in children
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that children who require multiple surgeries under anesthesia during their first three years of life are at higher risk of developing learning disabilities later.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce risk of advanced prostate cancer
Omega-3 fatty acids appear protective against advanced prostate cancer, and this effect may be modified by a genetic variant in the COX-2 gene, according to a report in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Gift to Chicago's Field Museum establishes world's largest nongovernment meteorite collection
The Field Museum in Chicago has become home to the world's largest collection of meteorites held outside a government agency, the result of a gift of funding and meteorites worth more than $10 million.

Anti-microbial catheter to cut infection risk for dialysis patients
Medical experts at the University of Nottingham have shown that an innovative anti-microbial catheter could vastly improve treatment and the quality of life for many community-based dialysis patients.

Atlantic snails are increasing dramatically in size, Queen's researcher discovers
A Queen's University biologist has discovered that the shell lengths of snails in the northwest Atlantic Ocean -- an important member of the Atlantic food chain -- have increased by 22.6 percent over the past century.

Automatic slicing system: Ex-vivo culture normal and cancerous pancreatic tissue
Novel treatments are needed to improve the poor prognosis of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Imaging technique may trace development of Parkinson's disease
While finding a biomarker for Parkinson's disease that would let physicians screen for or track progression of the disease remains an elusive goal, a team led by a University of Illinois at Chicago neuroscientist has shown that a noninvasive brain scanning technique offers promise.

Argonne cloud computing helps scientists run high energy physics experiments
A novel system is enabling high energy physicists at CERN in Switzerland to make production runs that integrate their existing pool of distributed computers with dynamic resources in

Australia's most endangered snake might need burning
The last remaining populations of broad-headed snakes are being threatened by encroaching woodland that is destroying their habitat, a study by scientists from the University of Sydney and Stanford University has shown.

Researchers develop flow sensors based on hair structures of blind cavefish
The fish species Astyanax fasciatus cannot see, but their unique technique for sensing their environment and the movement of water around them with gel-covered hairs that extend from their bodies may inspire a new generation of sensors that perform better than current active sonar.

Design revolution
A revolutionary approach to the design of consumer products could cut manufacturers' warranty costs significantly.

Was Triceratops a social animal?
Discovering three juvenile Triceratops deposited together in the badlands of Montana is providing new information about this group of ceratopsid dinosaurs: they may have engaged in social behavior for a portion of their life or under certain circumstances.

Coral reef expedition to Farasan Banks of the Red Sea set to launch
The final expedition of a four-year collaborative coral reef research program along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia will occur April 4-28, 2009, in an area known as the Farasan Banks.

Don't rely on jaundiced eye for assessing newborns
For hundreds of years, doctors, nurses and midwives have visually examined newborn babies for the yellowish skin tones that signify jaundice, judging that more extensive jaundice carried a greater risk of illness.

South Asians with diabetes more likely to lose their eyesight earlier than white Europeans
South Asians with type 2 diabetes are significantly more at risk of losing their eyesight and losing it at an earlier age, compared to white Europeans with the same condition.

Network turns soldiers' helmets into sniper location system
Imagine a platoon of soldiers fighting in a hazardous urban environment who carry personal digital assistants that can display the location of enemy shooters in three dimensions and accurately identify the caliber and type of weapons they are firing.

Older adults concern for personal health linked to walking difficulty
Older adults who worry about their health engage in less physical activity, and those who participate in less activity are more likely to report having difficulty walking, according to a new study.

CU-Boulder research provides new view of the way young children think
For parents who have found themselves repeating the same warnings or directions to their toddler over and over to no avail, new research from the University of Colorado at Boulder offers them an answer as to why their toddlers don't listen to their advice: they're just storing it away for later.

Quality of life may impact coping strategies of young women with breast cancer
Numerous studies have shown a relationship between coping strategies and quality of life (QOL) among women with breast cancer.

Uvalde Center water research could have national, international applications
Intensifying drought conditions in Texas and other parts of the US plus increasing worldwide water consumption makes ongoing water conservation research at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde even more relevant.

Analysis of windmill pitching shows risk of injury to biceps in softball players
Contrary to common belief, softball pitching subjects the biceps to high forces and torques when the player's arm swings around to release the ball, according to an analysis of muscle firing patterns conducted at Rush University Medical Center.

Researchers studying hearing loss find auditory regions of the brain convert to the sense of touch
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have discovered that adult animals with hearing loss actually re-route the sense of touch into the hearing parts of the brain.

Use of antibacterial associated with reduced risk of catheter-related infections
For critically ill patients in intensive care units, use of a sponge containing the antimicrobial agent chlorhexidine gluconate as part of the dressing for catheters reduced the risk of major catheter-related infections, according to a study in the March 25 issue of JAMA.

'Green' hair bleach may become environmentally friendly consumer product
Scientists from Japan are reporting development of what could be the world's first

Codeine use and accident risk
The risk of being involved in a traffic accident with personal injury is significantly higher among codeine users than nonusers.

Long-term L-carnitine supplementation prevents development of liver cancer
Liver cancer is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, especially in Asia and Africa.

Also in the March 24 JNCI
Also in the March 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are a study showing that human cytomegalovirus promotes cell growth by activating telomerase, a study demonstrating that fatty acid synthase can act as a prostate cancer oncogene in mice, a systematic review of prognostic biomarkers in melanoma, and a report on the impact of underreporting by Veterans Affairs facilities on long-term cancer incidence trends in the United States.

Fox Chase performs the world's first successful ViKY robot-assisted surgery for pancreatic tumors
This month Fox Chase Cancer Center performed the world's first successful minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy using the ViKY system's revolutionary robotic, compact laparoscope holder.

tTGA: Is it more essential in diagnosis of gluten sensitive enteropathy?
It has recently been demonstrated in a group at risk for celiac disease that patients with preserved villous architecture may be as symptomatic as patients with atrophy.

Elgar named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow
Steve Elgar, a senior scientist in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering department, was recently named a 2009 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow by the Department of Defense.

Researchers create catalysts for use in hydrogen storage materials
A team of scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and the Savannah River National Laboratory have identified that carbon nanostructures can be used as catalysts to store and release hydrogen, a finding that may point researchers toward developing the right material for hydrogen storage for use in cars.
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