Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2009
'Dramatic' increase in Ph.D.s awarded to minority scientists, AAAS report shows
Efforts over the past decade to boost minority participation in the sciences and engineering have been successful, a AAAS report shows.

Montana State University professor wins Shingo prize for problem-solving and manufacturing research
Montana State University industrial engineering professor Durward Sobek has won a 2009 Shingo research prize for his book about problem-solving within organizations.

Low-income patients with obstructive sleep apnea are less likely to start CPAP therapy
A study in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep demonstrates that low socioeconomic status independently predicts the poor acceptance of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea, and patients with higher incomes are more likely to begin treatment.

Is intervention beneficial for brain vessel malformations?
Individuals diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation -- an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins -- are at increased risk of vessel rupture and bleeding that can cause permanent brain damage.

Healing a shoulder separation
While low-level shoulder separations can commonly be treated nonsurgically and high-level injuries often require surgery, a literature review published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons finds that many surgeons still disagree on the best course of treatment for those injuries that fall in between.

'How professors think'
When making decisions about which of their peers' projects deserve millions of dollars in academic research funding, reviewers often consider both the diversity and the excellence of the proposals before them.

Tropical forest seed banks: A blast from the past
Using the Lab's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry to measure the amount of carbon 14 in seeds of the trees Croton billbergianus (Euphorbiaceae), Trema micrantha (Celtidaceae) and Zanthoxylum ekmannii (Rutaceae), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Tom Brown and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign colleague James Dalling found that seeds survived in the soil for 38, 31 and 18 years, respectively.

Breakthrough made in energy efficiency, use of waste heat
Engineers at Oregon State University have made a major new advance in taking waste heat and using it to run a cooling system -- a technology that can improve the energy efficiency of diesel engines, and perhaps some day will appear in automobiles, homes and industry.

ADA releases updated position statement on functional foods
The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position on functional foods that says fortified, enriched or enhanced foods can benefit a person's health when consumed as part of a varied diet, encourages further research and urges continued efforts to educate the public on such foods.

Waste not, want not
Tapping industrial waste heat could reduce fossil fuel demands in the short term and improve efficiency of countless manufacturing processes, according to scientists in Japan writing in the International Journal of Exergy.

Weight at birth tied to heart disease and diabetes risk in adulthood
Lower weight at birth may increase inflammatory processes in adulthood, which are associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

New evidence explains poor infant immune response to certain vaccines, says MU researcher
For years, researchers and physicians have known that infants' immune systems do not respond well to certain vaccines.

Distinguishing single cells with nothing but light
Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a novel optical technique that permits rapid analysis of single human immune cells using only light.

NPL Cavimeter receives 2009 UIA Outstanding Product Award
The National Physical Laboratory's Cavimeter has received the Ultrasonic Industry Association Outstanding Product Award for 2009.

Malardalen University creating robot for first construction on moon
Malardalen University is top dog in Sweden when it comes to constructing smart robots.

April Geosphere media highlights
The April Geological Society of America e-journal, Geosphere, is now online.

UCLA scientists identify gene linked to deadly disorder in newborns
After 12 years of searching, UCLA scientists have tracked down the first known gene mutation responsible for a heartbreaking disorder that kills newborn babies.

Ali Shilatifard and colleagues aim to clarify the definition of 'epigenetics'
Ali Shilatifard, Ph.D., investigator, has joined with a team of colleagues to propose an operational definition of

Some radiation therapy treatments can decrease fertility
In female cancer patients of reproductive age, radiation treatment directly to the ovaries should be avoided because there is a direct relationship between certain types of radiation therapy and fertility problems, according to a review in the April 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

'Unfunded liabilities' a financial myth, expert says
An elder law expert contends the notion of

20 percent of hospitalized Medicare patients re-admitted to hospital within 30 days
One of five Medicare beneficiaries discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days, and half of nonsurgical patients are re-admitted to the hospital without having seen an outpatient doctor in follow-up, according to a Commonwealth Fund-supported study in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Jonathan Berg, M.D., Ph.D., awarded Richard King Trainee Award for Best in Genetics in Medicine
Jonathan Berg, M.D., Ph.D., is the inaugural recipient of the Richard King Trainee Award.

How probiotics can prevent disease
Using probiotics successfully against a number of animal diseases has helped scientists from University College Cork, Ireland, to understand some of the ways in which they work, which could lead to them using probiotics to prevent and even to treat human diseases

Increase in p53 mutation linked to advanced colorectal cancer in blacks
Researchers have identified a possible genetic cause for increased risk for a more advanced form of colorectal cancer in blacks that leads to shorter survival, according to data published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Using the multi-living agent concept to investigate complex information systems
New research shows that the multi-living agent concept may be used to investigate the complex information systems.

Ocera Therapeutics licenses novel treatment for acute hepatic encephalopathy from UCLB
University College London Business PLC and Ocera Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced the signing of an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for UCL-L1V and all assets and technologies related to the compound for the treatment of acute hepatic encephalopathy.

Accurate assessment of heart disease leads to earlier, more aggressive therapy
In a study comparing the ability of various medical techniques to accurately determine the extent of heart disease and stratify patients according to disease severity, researchers found that myocardial perfusion testing with gated single photon emission computed tomography was a more accurate predictor of prognosis in chronic ischemic heart disease -- a painful condition caused by a temporary reduction of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

Anemia treatment improves heart structure and quality of life in kidney disease patients
In chronic kidney disease patients, different levels of anemia treatment have a beneficial effect on the heart and improve quality of life, according to a pair of studies appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

How do we support today's Einsteins?
Is today's academic and corporate culture stifling science's risk-takers and stopping disruptive, revolutionary science from coming to the fore?

Study: Health undervalued in reproductive rights debate
A review of recent reproductive rights cases shows that judges may shortchange women's health when it is pitted against other legal interests, such as religious freedom.

Drug commonly used for alcoholism, drug addiction, curbs urges of compulsive stealers
It appears that a drug commonly used to treat alcohol and drug addiction has a similar effect on the compulsive behavior of kleptomaniacs -- it curbs their urge to steal, according to new research at the University of Minnesota.

Researchers find current drug can treat rare heart disorder
New research has found that the answer to treating a rare inherited heart disorder could lie with a drug already on the market.

Researchers to determine if aeration reduces compaction, runoff on no-till fields
Much of Texas' wheat may be grazed as a part of a dual-use crop.

New research shows lower educational outcomes for survivors of childhood cancer
Childhood cancer survivors may suffer from poor educational achievement and learning difficulties.

Last step leading to blood cell formation elucidated
A team of scientists led by Dr. Timm Schroeder of Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen has proved the existence of hemogenic endothelial cells.

New national genome center to underpin food security and animal health
A new national centre to analyse plant, animal and microbial genomes has been announced today by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Ophthalmology research news April 2009
Highlights of April's Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy), include the first international, peer-reviewed report on LASIK patient satisfaction, data on increased cataract risk in patients who use combined steroids and the first large study of refractive error and vision correction in American preschool children.

Sexy or repulsive? Butterfly wings can be both to mates and predators
Butterflies seem able to both attract mates and ward off predators using different sides of their wings, according to new research by Yale University biologists.

Basic guides to PCR, labeling neurons featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
Along with new cutting-edge methods, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols is home to an in-depth library of basic laboratory methods.

Source of major health benefits in olive oil revealed
Scientists have pinned down the constituent of olive oil that gives greatest protection from heart attack and stroke.

News from the April 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association features research studies focusing on vegetarian eating plans; dietary quality among children; and relationships between eating habits and metabolic syndrome.

The immune system's role in hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation
A new study pinpoints certain aspects of the immune system that may play a role in the recurrence and progression of hepatitis C virus after liver transplantation.

Maternal smoking may alter the arousal process of infants, increasing their risk for SIDS
A study in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that maternal smoking is associated with an impaired infant arousal process that may increase the risk for sudden infant death syndrome.

Activation of the prefrontal cortex improves working memory
Working memory or short-term memory is related to the ability to pass intelligence tests and is stored in the parietal cortex.

Multivariate coupling mechanism of superhydrophobicity on NOCTUIDAE moth wing surface
New research shows that the surfaces of moth wings are hydrophobic.

Doctors identify patients at high risk of C. difficile
Doctors have developed and validated a clinical prediction rule for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection that was simple, reliable and accurate, and can be used to identify high-risk patients most likely to benefit from measures to prevent recurrence.

ACC presents lifetime achievement award to Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute's James Forrester, M.D.
James S. Forrester, M.D., former chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Cardiology at the Annual Scientific Session in Orlando March 29.

Amphibians may develop immunity to fatal fungus
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) threatens amphibians all over the globe and has contributed to extinctions.

Health choices predict cancer survival, U-M study finds
Head and neck cancer patients who smoked, drank, didn't exercise or didn't eat enough fruit when they were diagnosed had worse survival outcomes than those with better health habits, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Health benefits, consequences of folic acid dependent on circumstances
For the past several decades, evidence has shown that greater dietary intake of the B-vitamin, folate, offers protection against the development of certain common cancers and reduces neural tube defects in newborns, opening new avenues for public health interventions that have a great impact on health.

Einstein scientists propose new theory of autism
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have proposed a sweeping new theory of autism that suggests that the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible.

Active component of marijuana has anti-cancer effects
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, provides evidence that suggests that cannabinoids such as the main active component of marijuana have anticancer effects on human brain cancer cells.

From stress to financial mess: Study suggests acute stress affects financial decision making
According to a new report, stress could make our financial troubles even worse.

Omega-3 kills cancer cells
Docosahexanoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumors and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects.

Test allows early detection of vision problems in infants with hemangiomas of eyelids
In children with vascular birthmarks around the eye, even partial blockage of vision can lead to visual loss due to amblyopia.

Breast cancer: To screen or not to screen?
Women are often told that mammography saves lives. But rarely is the question asked,

Methodspace: Connecting the research community
SAGE, the world's leading independent academic publisher has today launched; a public social network dedicated to the discussion of research methods online.

UCI researchers find new way to fight cocaine addiction
UC Irvine pharmacological researchers have discovered that blocking a hormone related to hunger regulation can limit cocaine cravings.

Idea that Abner Doubleday created baseball is going, going, gone
If you believe Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, put down that Louisville Slugger -- you just struck out.

Journal of Correctional Health Care accepted in Medline
SAGE and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care are pleased to announce that the Journal of Correctional Health Care, the official publication of NCCHC, has been accepted for inclusion in Medline.

Suppressing the compulsion to steal
If a drug took the fun out of stealing, would it reduce crime?

Childhood hearing loss more prevalent among Hispanic-American, low-income households
A new review of medical databases shows that neonatal hearing loss, already one of the most common birth disorders in the United States, is especially prevalent among Hispanic-Americans and those from low-income households, according to the April 2009 issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

NJIT electrical engineer cracks code to detect media tampering
An NJIT electrical engineer has cracked the code that will enable researchers around the world to detect tampering with electronic images.

NOAA report calls flame retardants concern to US coastal ecosystems
NOAA scientists, in a first-of-its-kind report issued today, state that Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, chemicals commonly used in commercial goods as flame retardants since the 1970s, are found in all United States coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers.

Study finds surprisingly high rate of patients readmitted to hospital within a month
A new national study has found one out of five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days, costing billions in health care and suffering for patients.

Combat injuries: A matter of life and death
Orthopedic surgeons play a crucial role in the care of active duty military personnel according to a Forum article in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Blood protein may hold key to stopping tumor growth in cancer patients
A recent discovery by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine could clear the way for a new drug that inhibits tumor growth in cancer patients and could potentially help in the healing of wounds.

Carbon capture has a sparkling future
New research shows that for millions of years carbon dioxide has been stored safely and naturally in underground water in gas fields saturated with the greenhouse gas.

Targeting specific disease-causing bacteria in the mouth
Research to develop a narrow-spectrum antibiotic that can target a particular species of bacteria without harming the other

Light reveals breast tumor oxygen status
Light directed at a breast tumor through a needle can provide pathologists with biological specifics of the tumor and help oncologists choose treatment options that would be most effective for that individual patient.

The more oral bacteria, the higher the risk of heart attack, UB study shows
Several studies have suggested there is a connection between organisms that cause gum disease, and the development of heart disease, but few studies have tested this theory.

Mollusks taste memories to build shells
Mollusks add daily to the margins of their shells, producing intricate patterns prized by beachcombers.

Mathematicians provide new insight into tsunamis
A new mathematical formula that could be used to give advance warning of where a tsunami is likely to hit and how destructive it will be has been worked out by scientists at Newcastle University.

Lithium protects brain cells during cranial radiation
Cranial radiation therapy to treat brain cancer can result in various long-term neurological side effects, particularly in children.

Simulations and ancient magnetism suggest mantle plumes may bend deep beneath Earth's crust
Computer simulations, paleomagnetism and plate motion histories described in today's issue of Science reveal how hotspots, centers of erupting magma that sit atop columns of hot mantle that were once thought to remain firmly fixed in place, in fact move beneath Earth's crust.

Young vegetarians may have healthier diets but could be at risk for disordered eating behaviors
Although adolescent and young adult vegetarians may eat a healthier diet, there is some evidence that they may be at increased risk for disordered eating behaviors.

Researchers peer into nanowires to measure dopant properties
Using a technique called atom probe tomography, researchers at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, have provided an atomic-level view of the composition of a nanowire.

Gauging the effects of increasing carbon dioxide on land and in oceans
The complex connections among climate change, biodiversity, environmental degradation, sustainability, dependence on fossil fuels and socioeconomic systems are increasingly being captured in one research area, referred to as global systems science.

Chronic insomnia with short sleep duration is a significant risk factor for hypertension
A study in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep is the first to demonstrate that chronic insomnia with objectively measured short sleep time is an independent and clinically significant risk factor for hypertension.

6 out of every 10 university students present 'mathematical anxiety' or fear of this subject
A study carried out at the University of Granada concludes that this problem affects more women than men.

UBC study first to show evolution's impact on ecosystems
Scientists have come to agree that different environments impact the evolution of new species.

Humans may be losers if technological nature replaces the real thing
Modern technology increasingly is encroaching into human connections with the natural world and University of Washington psychologists believe this intrusion may emerge as one of the central psychological problems of our times.

Autism Speaks launches research partnerships with Albania and Ireland
Autism Speaks announces research partnerships with the Albanian Children Foundation and with Irish Autism Action both Global Autism Public Health Initiatives.

Balancing hormones may help prevent preterm births
The relationship between two different types of estrogen and a hormone produced in the placenta may serve as the mechanism for signaling labor, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers examine bacterial rice diseases, search for genetic solutions
Some types of rice are naturally resistant to the Xanthomonas bacteria.

2009 Signature Genomic Laboratories Travel Award winner announced
Kathy M. Chun, Ph.D., F.A.C.M.G., was honored as the 2009 recipient of the Signature Genomic Laboratories Travel Award at the American College of Medical Genetics 2009 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting in Tampa, Fla.

Iowa State chemist synthesizes carbohydrates, launches startup company
Nikki Pohl, an associate professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, and Beatrice Collet, the principal scientist for LuCELLa Biosciences Inc. in Ames, Iowa, have developed a process for synthesizing custom-order carbohydrates.

STEM workforce researcher honored by IEEE-USA for furthering engineering professionalism
A STEM workforce researcher was honored by IEEE-USA for his more than 25 years of research and analysis of high-tech fields.

Making the list -- disparities in kidney transplant waiting lists
You might expect that living close to a clinic that specializes in transplanting organs would put you at an advantage if you needed a new kidney.

Seismology tip sheet for April
Linking prehistoric seismic events on the San Andreas Fault; evidence for great tsunamigenic quakes along Mexican Coast; and icequakes and glacier flow are among the topics featured in the April issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Babies born to women with anxiety or depression are more likely to sleep poorly
A study in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that babies are more likely to have night wakings at both 6 months and 12 months of age if they are born to women who suffered from anxiety or depression prior to the pregnancy.

Study: White wine can make tooth stains darker
It has long been known that red wine causes teeth to stain.

Relocation, relocation, relocation
As sea levels rise in the wake of climate change and semi-arid regions turn to desert, people living in those parts of the world are likely to be displaced.

Dealing with dwarfism
A popular cable reality television show,

Ecologists question effects of climate change on infectious diseases
Recent research has predicted that climate change may expand the scope of human infectious diseases.

Satellite snow maps help reindeer herders adapt to a changing Arctic
Arctic reindeer herders are facing the challenges of adapting to climate change as a warmer Arctic climate makes it harder for herds to find food and navigate.

Rutgers selected to co-lead Homeland Security research center
The United States Department of Homeland Security has selected Rutgers University as the co-lead for a new DHS Center of Excellence to conduct research into the technological issues involved with maintaining homeland security.

Keep on spinning
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have taken a major step forward in the technology of spintronics by controlling spin states of highly mobile electrons at different locations in a semiconductor and turning the collective state on and off at will.

Compassion fatigue: Impact on healthcare providers of caring for the terminally ill
Compassion fatigue in front line cancer-care providers significantly impacts how they interact with patients, with patient families, with other healthcare workers, and with their own family, according to analysis by Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute researchers published in the March issue of the Journal of Health Psychology.

A hot solution to bean sprout safety
Bacterial infection of mung bean seeds can cause outbreaks of food poisoning when the sprouts are eaten.

Medication may improve portal hypertension
In a new study, a therapeutic agent called sorafenib dramatically improved the condition of rats with portal hypertension.

JCI online early table of contents: April 1, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 1st, 2009, in the JCI, including: Active component of marijuana has anticancer effects; Lithium protects brain cells during cranial radiation; Girls lacking the protein ITK at risk from fatal viral infection; Nerve disorder following critical illness can be rapidly reversible; and A mouse model of the kidney disease focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Researchers discover new fat-fighting pathway
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a process that controls the amount of fat that cells store for use as a back-up energy source.

Scripps scientists help decode mysterious green glow of the sea
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have uncovered key clues about the bioluminescent worms that produce the green glow and the biological mechanisms behind their light production.

Serious vision problems in urban preschoolers rare but not that rare, Hopkins study shows
In what is believed to be the first comprehensive eye disease study among urban pre-schoolers, Johns Hopkins investigators report that while vision problems are rare, they are more common than once thought.

Ovarian cancer screening not catching early disease
Screening regimens that combine ultrasound and a blood test for ovarian cancer fail to detect the disease early enough to make important progress, the authors of a new study reported.

Procedure improves health of cancer patients
A novel hemodialysis procedure helps restore kidney function and increases lifespan in patients with multiple myeloma, according to a study appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Fox Chase is first cancer center in the nation to use MRI-guided biopsy to detect prostate cancer
Earlier this month, Fox Chase Cancer Center became the first hospital in North America to offer an MRI guided biopsy to detect prostate cancer using Invivo Equipment in a clinical hospital setting.

New studies examine elimination of hepatitis B and C
Two new studies in the April issue of Hepatology explore the ways that hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus can be cleared from patients' bodies.

Offsetting perceptions: Firms use charitable giving to clean up their international reputation
British multinationals operating in countries that lack basic human rights give around 70 percent more money to charity than firms that do not have a presence in such politically controversial nations, a new study has revealed.

Glitazones have not yet been sufficiently investigated
There is so far a lack of scientific evidence that glitazones are better than alternative therapies at reducing mortality or complications caused by blood vessel damage in people with type 2 diabetes.

A new test for a deadly fungal infection in patients with damaged immune systems
A quicker, cheaper and more accurate test for deadly Aspergillus fumigatus fungal infections in patients with damaged or suppressed immune systems was described April 2 at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, by Dr.

UT Southwestern researchers find marker for severity in adult brain cancer
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a new biological indicator that may help identify which brain-cancer patients have the most aggressive forms of the disease.

A test bench to measure high temperature combined cycle fatigue
TECNALIA Technological Corporation participates in the development and manufacture of a test bench for carrying out high temperature CCF tests and FCC tests on alloys currently used in gas turbine components in order to contribute towards the development of predictive models for the life of said components.

Hemofiltration during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care have reported that continuous hemofiltration significantly reduces ECMO duration in newborns.

UC Davis researchers identify a protein that may help breast cancer spread, beat cancer drugs
New research from UC Davis Cancer Center shows that a protein called Muc4 may be the essential ingredient that allows breast cancer to spread to other organs and resist therapeutic treatment. 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