Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 30, 2009
Community spread of trachoma could be stopped by treating all household members
All members of the household need to be treated for trachoma in order to prevent rapid re-infection, according to a new study published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Study examines the use of light in medical therapy
A study published in a special issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology examines the emerging practice of drug delivery systems which use the application of light to activate medications in the body.

U of Minnesota researchers test new ways to involve people in news through social media
University of Minnesota researcher Christine Greenhow, Seattle-based news aggregator NewsCloud and student newspaper the Minnesota Daily today announced the launch of the Minnesota Daily Facebook application.

A missing enzyme conveys major heart protection in pre-clinical work
Mice born without a certain enzyme can resist the normal effects of a heart attack and retain nearly normal function in the heart's ventricles and still-oxygenated heart tissue, according to a study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Heart failure risk model validated
Researchers at Emory School of Medicine created the Health ABC Heart Failure Model for predicting risk of new onset heart failure in the elderly.

ACMGF Lifetime Achievement Award presented to pre-eminent medical geneticist
Arno G. Motulsky, M.D., Sc.D., F.A.C.M.G., professor emeritus (active), Departments of Medicine (Medical Genetics) and Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, and a pioneer in the field of medical genetics, was presented the American College of Medical Genetics Foundation inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Handwashing more important than isolation in controlling MRSA superbug infection
Regular handwashing by hospital staff and visitors did more to prevent the spread of the MRSA superbug than isolating infected patients.

The secret to chimp strength
Evolutionary biologist Alan Walker argues that humans may lack the strength of chimps because our nervous systems exert more control over our muscles.

Study answers question of timing in use of eptifibatide
An international study to resolve a decade of debate over the best timing for administering an anti-clotting drug for certain heart patients has come up with an answer: It doesn't matter.

NASA continues to advance international polar year science
Although the International Polar Year officially came to a close in February, NASA is continuing to push the frontiers of polar science from space, the air and the surface of ice.

Infant weight gain linked to childhood obesity
An ongoing study of pregnant women and their babies has found that rapid weight gain during the first six months of life may place a child at risk for obesity by 3 years of age.

Low-income families with sick children often enrolled in high-deductible health care plans
High-deductible health plans are increasingly used by healthy people who are unlikely to incur high medical expenses.

Intestinal parasites alter immunity in cholera patients
Cholera patients also infected with parasitic intestinal worms have a significantly reduced immune response to the cholera toxin, according to a report published March 31 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

To swim or to crawl: For the worm it's a no brainer
A study at the University of Leeds has shown, for the first time, that C. elegans worms crawl and swim using the same gait, overturning the widely accepted belief that these two behaviors are completely different.

IADR announces winner of the 2009 David B. Scott Fellowship
The International Association for Dental Research announces Andreas Niklas, University of Regensburg Medical School, Germany, as the 2009 recipient of the IADR David B.

Nitrate stimulates greenhouse gas production in small streams
A study conducted at the University of Notre Dame revealed that nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, is frequently produced in the sediments of small streams and that production rates were best explained by stream water nitrate concentrations.

Brain building: Study shows brain growth tied to cell division in mouse embryos
How your brain grows might come down to how your cells divide.

Montana State grad's work helps diagnose skin cancer without a biopsy
A recent master's graduate at Montana State University is working on a handheld laser microscope that could reduce the number of biopsies needed to diagnose various types of cancer.

New link in liver cancer
Liver damage can be triggered by various insults, including hepatitis infection or alcohol-induced cirrhosis.

Tanzania study reopens debate on targeting mosquito larvae to control malaria
Targeting mosquito larval populations may be an effective intervention to help control malaria in urban situations, a study published today suggests.

AADR announces winner of the 2009 Jack Hein Public Service Award
The American Association for Dental Research announces Roseann Mulligan, University of Southern California, as the winner of the 2009 Jack Hein Public Service Award.

Light-activated antibacterial coating is new weapon in fight against hospital-acquired infections
A new hard coating with antibacterial properties that has been tested by researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute has been shown to kill 99.9 percent of Escherichia coli bacteria when a white hospital light was shone on its surface to activate it.

Technique measures heat transport in the Earth's crust
Putting a new spin on an old technique, Anne M.

Cancer Genomics Browser gives cancer researchers a powerful new tool
A Cancer Genomics Browser developed by researchers at UC Santa Cruz provides a new way to visualize and analyze data from studies aimed at improving cancer treatment by unraveling the complex genetic roots of the disease.

Brazil plays key role in improving access to medicines for all
The role Brazil has played in changing global AIDS policy and promoting widespread access to AIDS treatment is explored in a new paper by academics from Scotland and the United States.

Surveillance vehicles take flight using alternative energy
Nearly undetectable from the ground, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are widely used by the military to scan terrain for possible threats and intelligence.

Gene linked to lupus might explain gender difference in disease risk
In an international human genetic study, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a gene linked to the autoimmune disease lupus, and its location on the X chromosome might help explain why females are 10 times more susceptible to the disease than males.

IADR/AADR and the J. Morita Corp. announce the winners of the 2009 William J. Gies Awards
The International and American Associations for Dental Research and J.

Science setback for Texas schools
After three all-day meetings and a blizzard of amendments and counter-amendments, the Texas Board of Education cast its final vote Friday on state science standards.

Researchers examine use of native southern African plants in veterinary medicine
When animals in southern Africa are sick, often the first place their caretakers look for help is from native plants.

A potential therapeutic strategy for hepatic failure
A research group from China evaluated the effect of intrahepatic transplantation of hepatic oval cells (HOC) on fulminant hepatic failure in rats.

Meet-the-expert sessions on 20 key topics to enhance scientific program of IOF WCO-ECCEO10
The International Osteoporosis Foundation and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis will hold a joint global congress, IOF WCO-ECCEO10, in Florence, Italy, from May 5-8, 2010.

New radiation-free targeted therapy detects and eliminates breast cancer tumors in mice
Combining a compound known as a gallium corrole with a protein carrier results in a targeted cancer therapy that is able to detect and eliminate tumors in mice with seemingly fewer side effects than other breast-cancer treatments, says a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Mutations within a conservative region of HCV affects the therapy
A research group from Egypt investigated the relationship between mutations within a conservative region of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome and response to therapy.

Angiogenesis inhibitor improves brain tumor survival by reducing edema
The beneficial effects of anti-angiogenesis drugs in the treatment of the deadly brain tumors called glioblastomas appear to result primarily from reduction of edema -- the swelling of brain tissue -- and not from any direct anti-tumor effect.

Lice genomes: Pieces of a new puzzle
Parents and school nurses take note. Lice are a nuisance and vectors of serious diseases, such as epidemic typhus, in developing regions.

Hundreds of natural-selection studies could be wrong, study demonstrates
Hundreds of natural-selection studies could have made incorrect conclusions because several statistical methods commonly used by biologists to detect natural selection at the molecular level tend to produce incorrect results, according to new research led by a biologist at Penn State University.

Juliet Compston presented with IBMS John G. Haddad Jr. Award
Professor Juliet Compston, board member of the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the International Bone and Mineral Society, has been awarded the prestigious IBMS John G.

A little java makes it easier to jive, researcher says
A former competitive cyclist who is now a professor of kinesiology and community health has found that caffeine reduces pain during exercise.

After heart attack, bone marrow stem cells increase blood flow within heart
Patients treated with their own bone marrow stem cells after a heart attack experienced increased circulation within the heart, a study has found.

IADR announces winner of the 2009 E.W. Borrow Memorial Award
The International Association for Dental Research announces Lars Petersson, Halmstad Hospital, Sweden, as the 2009 recipient of the IADR E.W.

Presidential primary 2008 polls: What went wrong
University of Michigan survey experts working with the American Association for Public Opinion Research have identified several reasons polls picked the wrong winners in the 2008 presidential primary.

News from space for osteoporosis patients on earth: resistance is not futile
Results of a space experiment published online in the FASEB Journal have yielded a giant leap for science that could translate into an important step for mankind in the ongoing battle against osteoporosis.

Novel framework reconstructs neural networks with high-throughput tools
Mapping the billions of connections in the brain is a grand challenge in neuroscience.

Chemists: Light-activated 'lock' can control blood clotting, drug delivery
Scientists have shed new light -- literally -- on a possible way to starve cancer tumors or prevent side effects from a wide range of drugs.

Police with higher multitasking abilities less likely to shoot unarmed persons
In the midst of life-threatening situations requiring split-second decisions, police officers with a higher ability to multitask are less likely to shoot unarmed persons when feeling threatened during video simulations, a new Georgia State University study suggests.

In the age of Facebook, University of Kansas researcher plumbs shifting online relationships
A University of Kansas professor is researching details of relationships forged on social networking sites and determining their significance, depth and potential.

AADR presents honorary membership to Congressman Mike Simpson
In recognition of his long-standing support for the National Institutes of Health, the American Association for Dental Research has extended an honorary membership to Congressman Mike Simpson, D.M.D.

Workhorse immune molecules lead secret lives in the brain, Stanford study finds
Carla Shatz, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and of biology, and her colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that members of a large family of proteins critical to immune function (collectively known as HLA molecules in humans and MHC molecules in mice) also play a role in the brain.

Oxycodone effective against shingles pain
The painkiller oxycodone is effective at treating the acute pain of shingles, an illness that often causes severe pain which can become long-lasting and sometimes even permanent.

Prize for Dundee professor's groundbreaking work on microbes, metals and minerals
Professor Geoffrey Gadd from the University of Dundee has been awarded the Society for General Microbiology's Colworth Prize lecture for his work on how microbes interact with metals and minerals.

Microbes turn electricity directly to methane without hydrogen generation
A tiny microbe can take electricity and directly convert carbon dioxide and water to methane, producing a portable energy source with a potentially neutral carbon footprint, according to a team of Penn State engineers.

Study shows that allergic reactions to Plavix can be treated with steroids and antihistamines
A clinical study of cardiac patients who suffered an allergic reaction to the widely prescribed drug clopidogrel, also known by the pharmaceutical name Plavix, found that treatment with a combination of steroids and antihistamines can alleviate the allergic reaction symptoms thereby allowing patients to remain on the drug.

A 'bionic nose' that knows
Tel Aviv University chemist develops device to detect microscopic signs of cancer, bombs and impure water.

Time of conception linked to birth defects in United States
A study in the April 2009 issue of Acta P├Ždiatrica is the first to report that birth defect rates in the US were highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer.

New breakthrough in global warming plant production
Researchers are one step closer to

IADR awards Mirela Shinohara the 2009 Toshio Nakao Fellowship
The International Association for Dental Research announces Dr. Mirela Shinohara, State University of Amazon, Brazil, as the 2009 Toshio Nakao Fellowship recipient.

New images of marine microbe illuminate carbon and nitrogen fixation
How marine microbe Trichodesmium fixes nitrogen and carbon dioxide apparently at the same time has long puzzled scientists.

Mice and men should have more in common in clinical trials
Just as no two humans are the same, a Purdue University scientist has shown treating mice more as individuals in laboratory testing cuts down on erroneous results and could significantly reduce the cost of drug development.

Flexible, transparent supercapacitors are latest devices from USC nanotube lab
A prototype high-performance device created at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering uses a novel architecture of carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires set in indium oxide films to temporarily store large amounts of electrical energy for release when needed.

IADR presents Fujio Miura the 2009 Distinguished Service Award
The International Association for Dental Research announces Dr. Fujio Miura, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Medical & Dental University in Japan, as the 2009 IADR Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Study examines effect of heart surgery on employment
A new studying appearing in Congenital Heart Disease compares the careers and long-term occupational successes of men and women who underwent surgery for congenital heart disease to those of the general population.

UW-Madison study reveals new options for people with PKU
For people with the genetic condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU), diet is a constant struggle.

Colon cancer and the microbes in your gut
A typical Western diet, rich in meat and fats and low in complex carbohydrates, is a recipe for colon cancer, Professor Stephen O'Keefe from the University of Pittsburgh, told the Society for General Microbiology meeting.

Baker Institute event to mark 30 years of US-China ties
The United States and the People's Republic of China established full diplomatic relations 30 years ago.

Australian Academy of Science honors CSIRO scientist
One of Australia's leading atmosphere scientists, CSIRO's Dr Mike Raupach, has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science -- one of the highest honors for individual contributions to science awarded in Australia.

Stem cell breakthrough: Monitoring the on switch that turns stem cells into muscle
In a genetic engineering breakthrough that could help everyone from bed-ridden patients to elite athletes, a team of American researchers -- including 2007 Nobel Prize winner Mario R.

Polypill could reduce multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease
A polypill containing a statin, aspirin, and three blood pressure-lowering drugs could massively reduce future incidence of heart attack and stroke in currently healthy people.

A milestone toward ending river blindness in the Western Hemisphere by 2012
An international team of researchers led by Rodrigo Gonzalez of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala reports that the transmission of onchocerciasis or river blindness has been broken in Escuintla, Guatemala, one of the largest endemic areas in the Western Hemisphere to date to stop the transmission of the parasitic disease.

Multiple sclerosis associated with lower cancer risk
A new study shows that people with multiple sclerosis may be at a lower risk for cancer overall, but at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as brain tumors and bladder cancer.

IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research 2008 Cover of the Year
The International & American Associations for Dental Research announces C.

Australian clinical trials threatened: Jobs and patient access to new treatments at stake
Last week's Pharmaceutical Industry Council R&D Taskforce forum demonstrated that Australian clinical research is facing challenging times.

Eye cells believed to be retinal stem cells are misidentified
Cells isolated from the eye that many scientists believed were retinal stem cells are, in fact, normal adult cells, investigators at St.

Researchers bring new brain mapping capabilities to desktops of scientists worldwide
In this week's open-access journal PLoS Biology, research teams at the University of Utah John A.

Study: Embrace the 'Dwight Schrutes' in your office for better performance
Nobody wants to share a cubicle with a new hire like Dwight Schrute.

Apollo 17 astronaut of 'blue marble' photo fame to speak at UH April 1
One of the last astronauts to step foot on the moon will be speaking at the University of Houston April 1.

Aussie meat ants may be invasive cane toad's Achilles' heel
Ecologists in Australia have discovered that cane toads are far more susceptible to being killed and eaten by meat ants than native frogs.

Genetic basis for migration
Scientists studying Eastern North American monarch butterflies have uncovered a suite of genes that may be involved in driving the butterflies to migrate towards Mexico for the winter.

AERA journal presents research on use of observational methods to improve instruction
With the need for excellent teachers for every student becoming increasingly apparent, education researchers are studying classroom practices to determine those that lead to improvements in learning.

Catheter-based renal denervation as new treatment for resistant hypertension
Deactivation of nerves in the kidneys (renal denervation) using a catheter-based technique reduces blood pressure, and thus could be a treatment option for the many patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) who do not respond to conventional drugs.

New approach discovered to lowering triglycerides
Studies done with laboratory rats suggest that supplementation of their diet with lipoic acid had a significant effect in lowering triglycerides, which along with cholesterol levels and blood pressure are one of the key risk factors in cardiovascular disease.

Scientists identify new role for lung epithelial cells in sensing allergens in the air
Researchers at NIAID and at Ghent University, Belgium, have identified a new role for certain lung cells in the immune response to airborne allergens.

Environment plays role in complex heart defect
A congenital heart disease, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, that often leads to death in newborns is significantly more common during the summer, leading researchers to believe that the environment, and not just genes that affect the heart, may play a role in causing

Rhode Island Hospital is new clinical coordinating center for international trial of sepsis drug
The Ocean State Clinical Coordinating Center, a collaboration of the pulmonary/critical care and infectious diseases divisions of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., will serve as the academic clinical coordinating center in tandem with the Hospital St.

Mothers of multiple births at increased odds of postpartum depression
Mothers of multiples have 43 percent increased odds of having moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after giving birth compared to mothers of single-born children, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Yale researchers discover mechanism for
Two-year-olds with autism lack an important building block of social interaction that prompts newborn babies to pay attention to other people.

Board member makes $1 million challenge gift to the Jackson Laboratory
Geneticist and author Weslie Janeway of New York has made a $1 million

Melatonin may be served as a potential anti-fibrotic drug
A research group from China investigated the protective effects of melatonin on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic fibrosis in experimental rats.

Keeping nurses on the job: Retention is part of the answer to the nursing shortage
A new research study, published in the March/April issue of the journal Nursing Economics, has determined what factors can help keep new nurses from leaving their jobs and -- in doing so -- save health systems money.

The clinical availability of CT colonography
A research group from South Korea investigated the frequency and characteristics of extracolonic lesions detected using computed tomographic (CT) colonography.

Climate change fears for deadly virus outbreaks in livestock
Global warming could have chilling consequences for European livestock, warned Professor Peter Mertens at the Society for General Microbiology meeting.

A new molecular marker of gastric cancer
A research group from China investigated the prognostic significance of phosphatase regenerating liver 3 (PRL-3) in gastric cancer.

Better oral hygiene could reduce complications in pregnancy and help newborn babies
Bacteria from a mother's mouth can be transmitted through the blood and amniotic fluid to her unborn child.

Study exposes need for pediatric cardiac devices
Nearly two-thirds of children who undergo routine interventional cardiology procedures -- those involving a catheter to treat structural disorders of the heart -- may be receiving treatment with a device that's being used for an off-label application.

Homebody queen ants help preserve family ties in large populations
Researchers, writing in the open-access journal, BMC Evolutionary Biology, ask to what extent, if any, can kinship ties account for the evolutionary maintenance of altruistic behavior in large unicolonial alpine wood ant populations in which nests contain hundreds of queens?

New theory on largest known mass extinction in the history of the Earth
The largest mass extinction in the history could have been triggered off by giant salt lakes, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition so dramatically that vegetation was irretrievably damaged.

National Science Foundation announces partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The National Science Foundation today announced a nearly $50 million partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support innovative, solutions to critical agricultural challenges in developing countries.

Study of cat diet leads to key nervous system repair discovery
Scientists studying a mysterious neurological affliction in cats have discovered a surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself and restore function.

Researchers discover link between schizophrenia and diabetes
People with schizophrenia are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, Medical College of Georgia researchers have found.

Is transforming growth factor-beta involved in intestinal wound healing?
A research group from Germany investigated the effects of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) on the differentiation of colonic lamina propria fibroblasts (CLPF) into myofibroblasts in vitro.

ORNL, St. Jude track neurons to predict and prevent disease
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and St.

New strategy developed to diagnose melanoma
A UCSF research team has developed a technique to distinguish benign moles from malignant melanomas by measuring differences in levels of genetic markers.

NASA flies to Greenland to extend polar science
Imagine a piece of ice 1,000 miles long, 400 miles wide and 2 miles thick in the center.

New, more effective nisin antibiotics combat superbugs and food diseases
Researchers at University College Cork have used bioengineering to produce a new generation of natural antibiotics that target harmful micro-organisms such as MRSA and the food-borne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.

GUMC researcher creates first Web-interactive CME course for physicians on pharmaceutical marketing
Difficult-to-remember generic drug names. Unregulated continuing medical education talks for physicians. 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