Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 02, 2009
Sleep: Spring cleaning for the brain?
If you've ever been sleep-deprived, you know the feeling that your brain is full of wool.

New strategy improves stem cell recruitment, heart function and survival after heart injury
A new study in mice shows that a dual therapy can lead to generation of new blood vessels and improved cardiac function following a heart attack.

A 'personal assistant' satnav on your mobile phone could be available now
Some of the UK's leading experts in satellite navigation confirmed today that the technology to create a personal navigation device replacing your phone, satnav, traffic news, road signs and public transport information is available now.

2009 Society for Research in Child Development biennial meeting
This meeting will bring together thousands of leading national and international experts to hear the latest transdisciplinary research in child development.

Prions serve as important source of variation in nature
Special proteins known as prions, which are perhaps best known as the agents of mad cow and other neurodegenerative diseases, can also serve as an important source of beneficial variation in nature, confirms a new study in the April 3 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication.

MIT: Novel needle could cut medical complications
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer medical complications from hypodermic needles that penetrate too far under their skin.

New antibiotic moxifloxacin could shorten tuberculosis treatment
A phase II study has shown that the new antibiotic moxifloxacin, in combination with other drugs, could shorten the time needed to cure tuberculosis by several months.

More compelling evidence on why earlier HIV treatment lengthens survival
A study showing improved survival of starting antiretroviral treatment earlier than current US recommendations is being reported in the April 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bird can 'read' human gaze
We all know that people sometimes change their behavior when someone is looking their way.

Artificial pump effectively backs up failing hearts
Patients with severe heart failure can be bridged to eventual transplant by a new, smaller and lighter implantable heart pump, according to a just-completed study of the device.

Gene discovery could lead to male contraceptive
A newly discovered genetic abnormality that appears to prevent some men from conceiving children could be the key for developing a male contraceptive, according to University of Iowa researchers reporting their findings in the April 2 online edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Research moves a step closer to possibility of brain scan-assisted diagnosis for PTSD
Research examining the difference in brain activity between soldiers with PTSD and those without it moves scientists a step closer to the possibility of being able one day to use brain scans to help diagnose the condition.

Amalgam fillings are safe, but skeptics still claim controversy, researcher says
Dental amalgam has been proven safe and effective for years, yet unfounded controversy still surrounds it, a Medical College of Georgia researcher says.

Diabetes drug class linked to vision-threatening complication
Treatment with the glitazone class of diabetes drugs leads to a

Autism linked with stress hormone levels
Some of the symptoms of the autistic condition Asperger Syndrome, such as a need for routine and resistance to change, could be linked to levels of the stress hormone cortisol, suggests new research led by the University of Bath.

Sleep may help clear the brain for new learning
A new theory about sleep's benefits for the brain gets a boost from fruit flies in this week's Science.

Major aspergillus genomics supplement published by journal Fungal Genetics and Biology
A major effort from within the Aspergillus community has resulted in the publication of an exceptional supplement by the Elsevier journal Fungal Genetics and Biology.

Gene protects against neurotoxins that spur inflammation and Parkinson's disease
A new study in the April 3 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, helps to explain why people who carry mutations in a gene known as Nurr1 develop a rare, inherited form of Parkinson's disease, the most prevalent movement disorder in people over the age of 65.

A miR boost enables acute leukemia cells to mature
A study by Ohio State University cancer researchers shows that boosting the level of a molecule called miR-29b in acute myeloid leukemia cells can reverse gene changes that trap the cells in an immature, fast growing state of development.

Nuclear hormone receptors, microRNAs form developmental switch
A particular nuclear hormone receptor called DAF-12 and molecules called microRNAs in the let-7 family form a molecular switch that encourages cells in the larvae of a model worm to shift to a more developed state, said a consortium led by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online today in the journal Science.

Straw bale house survives violent shaking at earthquake lab
It huffed and puffed, but the 82-ton-force, earthquake-simulation shake table could not knock down the straw house designed and built by University of Nevada, Reno alumna and civil engineer Darcey Donovan.

Robot scientist becomes first machine to discover new scientific knowledge
Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have created a Robot Scientist which the researchers believe is the first machine to have independently discovered new scientific knowledge.

World-first high blood pressure treatment trialled in Melbourne
A world-first breakthrough to treat high blood pressure has been successfully trialled in Melbourne.

Gaining new insights into mentoring programs for adolescent girls
Adolescent girls can gain the same mentoring benefits as boys -- skill building and problems solving -- along with emotional support and companionship in shared activities, according to a new study that extensively interviewed girls and their mentors.

McGill researchers squeeze light out of quantum dots
McGill University researchers have successfully amplified light with so-called

Protein protects neurons in brain from damage due to inflammation
A research team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla has identified a protein in the brain of mice that protects neurons from excessive inflammation, which can lead to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

NJIT mathematician foresees tight races in Major League Baseball's Eastern divisions
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels should make the playoffs in the American League in 2009 with most other teams lagging well behind.

Three new honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet
Each year, Karolinska Institutet's Board of Research confers the title Honorary Doctor to persons who have in various ways supported activities carried out at the university.

3 Woods Hole scientific institutions forge alliance to address societal issues
Three leading research centers based in Woods Hole, Mass., announce the creation of the Woods Hole Consortium, a new alliance that will bring their combined scientific power to bear on some of the major issues facing society today and spawn scientific growth and job opportunity on the South Coast of Massachusetts.

Naturally fluorescent molecules may serve as cancer biomarker
Excess amounts of a naturally fluorescent molecule found in all living cells could serve as a natural biomarker for cancer, according to bioengineers.

Nimbus and cloud computing meet STAR production demands
The advantages of cloud computing were dramatically illustrated last week by researchers working on the STAR nuclear physics experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider.

High-resolution image of the brightest Orion Trapezium star
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing the sharpest image of the young binary star Theta1 Orionis C in the Orion Trapezium cluster.

Beverage consumption a bigger factor in weight
When it comes to weight loss, what you drink may be more important than what you eat, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Neuroscientists demonstrate link between brainwave activity and visual perception
Can we always see what is in front of us?

Maybe robots dream of electric sheep, but can they do science?
Using the digital mind that guides their self-repairing robot, researchers at Cornell University have created a computer program that uses raw observational data to tease out fundamental physical laws.

NOAA: Ice-free Arctic summers likely sooner than expected
Summers in the Arctic may be ice-free in as few as 30 years, not at the end of the century as previously expected.

Using nicotine replacement therapy could help some smokers quit gradually
Smokers who do not want to quit right now, but are prepared to try to reduce their smoking are twice as likely to stop smoking in the long-term if they use nicotine replacement therapy to help them cut down gradually, according to research published on bmj.com today.

The UK Biobank: Transforming an unpleasant afternoon
The methods of the UK Biobank project are criticized in an editorial in this week's edition of the Lancet.

How a woman nearly lost her leg because of grapefruit
An unusual case in which eating too much grapefruit contributed to a woman developing a large blood clot in her leg is described in a case report in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Cancer stem cells generated by cancer outgrowth
Scientists have discovered that growing mouse skin cells in spheres can lead to generation of cells with properties of cancer stem cells, even without genetic manipulation of stem cell genes.

New storage system design brings hydrogen cars closer to reality
Researchers have developed a critical part of a hydrogen storage system for cars that makes it possible to fill up a vehicle's fuel tank within five minutes with enough hydrogen to drive 300 miles.

Bowman Global Change spearheads efforts to establish unified climate change language
Tom Bowman, president of Bowman Global Change, has co-authored a letter to the scientific community outlining three steps to improve the information exchange between climate scientists and policy makers.

Alzheimer's disease linked to mitochondrial damage
Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have demonstrated that attacks on the mitochondrial protein Drp1 by the free radical nitric oxide -- which causes a chemical reaction called S-nitrosylation -- mediates neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers unravel role of priming in plant immunity
Scientists have discovered a naturally occurring compound that triggers a plant's immune system, protecting it from infection.

Early family ties: No sponge in the human family tree
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen researchers have confirmed the genetic similarity -- and thus the previously unresolved relationships -- between certain types of sponges, cnidaria and other animal groups that made an early appearance in evolution.

ASBMB announces 2009 undergraduate award winners
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's Undergraduate Affiliate Network is a national organization comprised of university-based chapters dedicated to the advancement of undergraduate research, research-based undergraduate education, and K-12 outreach in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Salivary diagnostics comes of age
Salivary diagnostics has come of age. In a mere six years, research supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has sprung to the forefront of basic, translational and clinical research.

Food security for leaf-cutting ants: Workers and their fungus garden reject endophyte invaders
New diseases affect human survival and food security, especially as population density climbs.

Parents' sexuality influences adoption choices
A couple's sexual orientation determines whether or not they prefer to adopt a boy or a girl.

Astronauts may need more intense workouts to maintain muscle fitness in space
A new study in the the Journal of Applied Physiology, suggests that astronauts need to modify their workouts to avoid extensive muscle loss during missions onboard the International Space Station.

Penn study examines power of exercise to prevent breast cancer
A new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study aims to learn whether women at high risk of breast cancer can use exercise to reduce their risk of getting the disease.

MIT virus battery could power cars, electronic devices
For the first time, MIT researchers have shown they can genetically engineer viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a lithium-ion battery.

Effects of disease severity on autobiographical memory in semantic dementia revealed in new study
In a study conducted by the Laboratory of Neuropsychology of the Universite de Caen Basse-Normandie and published by Elsevier in the April 2009 issue of Cortex, researchers studied for the first time autobiographical memory in a group of semantic dementia patients according to disease progression.

Study reveals worrying survival gap between rich and poor after heart surgery
People from the most deprived areas of England have a far higher risk of death after cardiac surgery than people from the least deprived areas, finds a large study published on bmj.com today.

Death of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit
Little is known about the long-term effects of the death of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit on survivor siblings.

MDC researchers prevent virus induced myocarditis
Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia can be a consequence of myocarditis -- an inflammation of the cardiac muscle that can be caused by the Coxsackievirus.

Lead in the blood increases women's mortality
Lead concentrations in the blood are associated with an increased risk of death from coronary heart diseases.

Study finds that mothers' military deployment affects health of women and teens
Due to regional conflicts across the globe, such as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism, women are being deployed overseas in greater numbers than ever before.

NASA satellites see Hispaniola was a tropical cyclone target five times in 2008
In 2008, residents of Hispaniola experienced one of their worst hurricane seasons in recent memory.

JHU researcher discovers brain cells have 'memory'
As we look at the world around us, images flicker into our brains like disparate pixels on a computer screen that change several times a second.

Will Europe at last unite to combat thousands of alien invaders?
Europe's borders have been breached by thousands of plants and animal species from other parts of the world: from the American mink to the New Zealand flatworm.

Bone deformities linked to inbreeding in Isle Royale wolves
The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones.

Interactive Autism Network opens its doors to adults with autism
The Kennedy Krieger Institute will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Interactive Autism Network with the much-anticipated launch of its research initiative for adults and the unveiling of a more user-friendly, easily navigated online community.

UT Southwestern researchers reveal how the brain processes important information
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have shed light on how the neurotransmitter dopamine helps brain cells process important information.

New book series renews call for ban on gambling
An Illinois professor who is a nationally known gambling critic is a contributing author and editor of the three-volume United States International Gambling Report Series, which calls for a ban on gambling.

Passover's matzoh ball soup may be good for your health
With the Jewish holiday of Passover beginning at sundown next Wednesday evening, April 8, a staple of the traditional dinner -- chicken soup with matzoh balls -- takes on medicinal importance based on findings published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

From the ethics of Dr. Frankenstein to preventing cardiovascular disease
More than 6,000 internists (adult medicine specialists), subspecialists, medical students and allied health professionals will meet in Philadelphia for Internal Medicine 2009, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians, April 23-25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Healing heart attack victims, one cell at a time
By using the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere from above-ground nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960, researchers have determined that cells in the human heart develop into adulthood.

Vaccine trial flags challenge to celiac disease
An effective clinical treatment for coeliac disease (or gluten intolerance) is the ultimate objective of WEHI clinician scientist, Dr.

Redefining what it means to be a prion
Whitehead Institute researchers have found a large number of new prions, greatly expanding scientists' notion of how important prions might be in normal biology and demonstrating that they play many and varied roles in the inheritance of biological traits.

Recognizing cognitive impairment key to keeping older adults at home
A unique educational summit to be held in April and May in Indianapolis focuses on unrecognized cognitive impairment and will enhance the skills of health-care providers in recognizing and managing CI.

Latest research on children's issues featured at SRCD meeting
This meeting will bring together thousands of leading national and international experts to hear the latest transdisciplinary research in child development.

Young eye researchers receive prestigious ARVO-AFER/Merck award
Four investigators been named as recipients of the 2009 ARVO-AFER/Merck Innovative Ophthalmology Research Award for their work in glaucoma and back-of-the-eye diseases.

Diseased cartilage harbors unique migratory progenitor cells
A new study finds previously unidentified fibrocartilage-forming progenitor cells in degenerating, diseased human cartilage, but not in cartilage from healthy joints.

NYU, Harvard chemists create bipedal, autonomous DNA walker
Chemists at New York University and Harvard University have created a bipedal, autonomous DNA

Mayo Clinic and IBM host medical language initiative
Biomedical informatics researchers at Mayo Clinic and IBM today launched a Web site for the newly founded Open Health Natural Language Processing Consortium.

Pregnancy and tobacco a 'smoking gun' for baby: Study
Monash University researchers have shown that babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be slower to wake or respond to stimulation -- and this may explain their increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Waking up during surgery: Low-cost prevention?
Michael Avidan, George Mashour and David Glick highlight the serious issue of awareness during anesthesia in a recent review published by F1000 Medicine Reports.

Milkshakes are medicine for anorexic teens in family-based outpatient therapy
Getting your teenager to drink a chocolate milkshake isn't something most parents need to worry about.

Supervised exercise therapy can lead to improvements in COPD symptoms
An article in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports that supervised exercise through pulmonary rehabilitation can actually reduce the feelings of breathlessness in COPD patients, increase their tolerance for exercise and improve their quality of life.

Modification of mutant huntingtin protein increases its clearance from brain cells
A new study has identified a potential strategy for removing the abnormal protein that causes Huntington's disease from brain cells, which could slow the progression of the devastating neurological disorder.

Orientation of antenna protein in photosynthetic bacteria described
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have figured out the orientation of a protein in the antenna complex to its neighboring membrane in a photosynthetic bacterium, a key find in the process of energy transfer in photosynthesis.

'Green chemistry' could ease manufacture, boost usefulness of cancer drug
Research by Michigan State University chemist Kevin Walker is paving the way for potentially cleaner, more efficient production of cancer-fighting paclitaxel -- better known as the blockbuster drug Taxol.

NIH releases the first research plan to reduce the burden of digestive diseases
The National Institutes of Health today announced the release of the first long-range plan for tackling digestive diseases, which affect as many as 70 million Americans each year.

Being Isaac Newton: Computer derives natural laws from raw data
If Isaac Newton had access to a supercomputer, he'd have had it watch apples fall -- and let it figure out the physical matters.

Well-timed timeout effective in wiping out fear memory response
Researchers target a key time when memories are ripe for change to substantially modify memories of fear into benign memories and to keep them that way.
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