Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 15, 2009
Alzheimer's: New findings resolve long dispute about how the disease might kill brain cells
For a decade, Alzheimer's disease researchers have been entrenched in debate about one of the mechanisms believed to be responsible for brain cell death and memory loss in the illness.

Researchers identify specific lung cancer susceptibility gene
University of Cincinnati cancer cell biologists have identified a distinct gene linked to increased lung cancer susceptibility and development.

Study: Price gap threatens Chicago Board of Trade's wheat futures market
A commodity market that has long helped wheat growers and processors manage price risks could lose its relevance unless the Chicago Board of Trade bridges a wide gap between futures and cash prices, a new University of Illinois study warns.

Prenatal exposure to Hong Kong flu associated with reduced intelligence in adulthood
The Hong Kong flu pandemic was responsible for more than 700,000 deaths worldwide in the late 1960s, with major disease outbreaks in Europe in the winter of 1969-1970.

UCSB receives $6.1 million for diamond-based quantum information processing and communication
Two government funding agencies are putting $6.1 million into a pair of research projects aimed at utilizing diamond for quantum communication processing.

Dannie Heineman prizes for 2009
The American Institute of Physics announces the winners of the 2009 Dannie Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics and for Astrophysics.

Greening existing homes: A Herculean task, says report
A new joint Economic and Social Research Council and Technology Strategy Board publication highlights the need to focus on improving the energy efficiency of millions of buildings in Britain that will still be standing in 2050.

Long-lasting nerve block could change pain management
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have developed a slow-release local anesthetic that could potentially revolutionize treatment of pain during and after surgery.

Control of hypersonic vehicles for planetary capture and entry missions
Global Aerospace Corp. announced today that it has begun development of a Hypersonic Control Modeling and Simulation Tool.

Why do blacks with advanced kidney disease live longer than whites?
Blacks in the United States are more likely to require dialysis and develop end stage renal disease than whites, but they also live longer than whites once they reach later stages of kidney disease.

Prehistoric turtle goes to hospital for CT scan in search for skull, eggs, embryos
Montana State University researchers recently took a 75-million-year-old turtle for a CT scan to look for its skull, additional eggs and possible embryos.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis burden much higher in former Soviet states and China
The fourth round of data from the Global Project on Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance shows the majority of the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis burden falls in China and former Soviet states -- where it is far higher than in high-income countries.

HIV dearms protective protein in cells
The AIDS-causing HIV specifically counteracts the mechanisms of human cells that protect these against viral infections -- a special viral protein marks protective cellular proteins for their rapid destruction and thus diminishes the cell's supply.

UBC researchers put a new spin on electrons
In the first demonstration of its kind, researchers at the University of British Columbia have controlled the spin of electrons using a ballistic technique -- bouncing electrons through a microscopic channel of precisely constructed, two-dimensional layer of semiconductor.

Nanoribbons from sliced open nanotubes: new, faster, more accurate method from Stanford
A team at Stanford University under Hongjie Dai has developed a new method that will allow relatively precise production of mass quantities of the tiny ribbons by slicing open carbon nanotubes.

Veterinary oncologists advance cancer drugs for humans and pets
As more pet owners are choosing to treat their pets' cancers through advanced medicine, veterinarians gain valuable knowledge about the progression and treatment of cancers in humans through pet trials of new drugs.

Nondrug treatment of Alzheimer's disease: Long-term benefit not proven
Whether people with Alzheimer's disease benefit in the long term from nondrug treatment interventions remains an unanswered question.

Jefferson researcher awarded Landenberger Foundation grant for ALS research
Piera Pasinelli, Ph.D., co-director of the Frances and Joseph Weinberg Unit for ALS Research at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University was recently awarded a Margaret Q.

Neurodegenerative diseases target healthy brain's intrinsic networks
New research suggests that neurodegenerative diseases are neither diffuse nor random but specifically target large-scale functional networks in the human brain.

Media invited to ACS Webinar on chemistry and entreprenuership and small/medium business
News media covering the chemical sciences are invited to join an American Chemical Society Small & Medium Business Webinar on Thursday, April 23, from 2-3 p.m.

University of Toronto archeologists discover temple that sheds light on so-called Dark Age
The discovery of a remarkably well-preserved monumental temple in Turkey -- thought to be constructed during the time of King Solomon in the 10th/9th-centuries B.C.

Chemists synthesize herbal alkaloid
Synthetic chemists from Vanderbilt University have found an efficient way to create one of the complex alkaloids found in club moss, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, so that it can be made in sufficient quantity to test the compound's therapeutic value.

Can EUS elastography help distinguish benign from malignant tissue?
Elastography has recently been presented as a new ultrasound technique to distinguish tissues based on different elasticity.

A touch of potassium yields better hydrogen-storage materials
An international research team, has shown that small additions of potassium drastically improve the hydrogen-storage properties of certain types of hydrogen compounds.

Study finds cognitive behavioral therapy can alleviate nonepileptic seizures
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have found that cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, along with improving their overall quality of life.

A new method for bone-marrow-derived liver stem cells isolation and proliferation
Bone-marrow-derived liver stem cells were once a hot topic in the field of stem cell research because of their important therapeutic implications, but little progress has been made in recent years because of the difficulty of isolation and proliferation of this special cell population.

UI biologist studies ocean plant cell adaptation in climate change
How will plant cells that live in the oceans and serve as the basic food supply for many of the world's sea creatures react to climate change?

Biodegradable gel being studied as a treatment for esophageal cancer
Gastroenterologists at Rush University Medical Center are studying the safety and efficacy of a new system for delivering chemotherapy for patients with esophageal cancer, a rare, but deadly disease that attacks the throat.

DECIPHERing human disease
A new report outlines the pivotal role of the DECIPHER database -- hosted by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute -- in developing clinical understanding of structural changes in human DNA.

Prenatal meth exposure linked to abnormal brain development
A first of its kind study examining the effects of methamphetamine use during pregnancy has found the drug appears to cause abnormal brain development in children.

AGU Joint Assembly: Abstracts now online and searchable
All 379 sessions and 2,548 abstracts for the 2009 Joint Assembly have been posted on the AGU Web site.

Alternative therapy for lupus nephritis
Lupus is a rare but serious disease that mainly affects women of child-bearing age and occurs when the body's immune system goes awry, damaging a variety of organs.

UT Houston researchers use stroke patient's own stem cells in trial for first time
Stroke patient Roland Henrich, 61, is the first patient in the United States to receive his own bone marrow stem cells intravenously as part of a Phase I study on the safety of the procedure.

Melatonin is an effective treatment for sleep problems in children with autism
A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that over-the-counter melatonin medication can shorted the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder, Fragile X syndrome or both to fall asleep at the beginning of the night.

Tijuana injection drug users on collision course for HIV and TB
A study by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with Mexican researchers and health officials, shows that as many as 67 percent of injection drug users in Tijuana test positive for tuberculosis infection.

Brown researchers create novel technique to sequence human genome
Physicists at Brown University have developed a novel procedure to map a person's genome.

Companion robots will improve elderly people's quality of life in smart homes
The Tecnalia Health and Quality of Life Unit is taking part in the Companionable project, the aim of which is to contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life of elderly and disabled persons using robotized solutions designed to operate in intelligent homes.

HIV handicaps itself to escape immune system pressure
HIV quickly mutates and evolves in response to pressure from the immune system.

Large congenital and solitary intrahepatic arterioportal
Congenital intrahepatic arterioportal fistula is rare clinically. In most cases, the symptoms and complications often develop during infancy.

Rice researchers unzip the future
Scientists at Rice University have found a simple way to unzip carbon nanotubes into ribbons in bulk to create basic elements for aircraft, flat-screen TVs, electronics and other products that incorporate sheets of tough, electrically conductive material.

Standing together to improve hemophilia treatment
Behind every person with hemophilia is a much needed team of support.

Neurodegeneration study reveals targets of destruction, UCSF, Stanford study shows
Scientists are reporting the strongest evidence to date that neurodegenerative diseases target and progress along distinct neural networks that normally support healthy brain function.

GSA special paper presents new studies of Western US earth motion
The Great Basin-Sierra Nevada transition zone has received substantial attention over the past decade, due in part to the recognition that nearly 25 percent of the relative motion between the Pacific and North American plates is accommodated along this tectonic boundary.

New minimally invasive surgery option for patients with stomach cancer
A novel, minimally invasive surgical approach to treat stomach cancer has been shown to have advantages that may make it a preferable treatment for some patients.

Scientists discover genetic variant tied to increased stroke risk
Millions of people have a genetic variant linked to increased risk of ischemic stroke, reports an international research team including scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in a study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine on April 15.

Carnegie Mellon hosts panel
Carnegie Mellon University's Pradeep K. Khosla will moderate a panel session devoted to privacy and security.

2009 underwater photography contest winners announced
In its fifth annual Underwater Photography Contest, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science attracted talent representing 23 countries and 918 images.

Treating sleep disorders in people with traumatic brain injury may not eliminate symptoms
A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is the first to assess the effectiveness of treating sleep disorders in adults with a traumatic brain injury.

Separating the good from the bad
Scientists at MIT and Brown University studying how marine bacteria move recently discovered that a sharp variation in water current segregates right-handed bacteria from their left-handed brethren, impelling the microbes in opposite directions.

Survey research shows many Americans are aware of importance of voice care
According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, the association representing America's ear, nose and throat doctors, many Americans believe that

Changing climate will lead to devastating loss of phosphorus from soil
Crop growth, drinking water and recreational water sports could all be adversely affected if predicted changes in rainfall patterns over the coming years prove true.

BMC receives outstanding achievement award from commission on cancer
Boston Medical Center has received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

Researchers discover new genetic variants associated with increased risk of stroke
Scientists have identified a previously unknown connection between two genetic variants and an increased risk of stroke, providing strong evidence for the existence of specific genes that help explain the genetic component of stroke.

AMS April science highlights
Following are story ideas and tips about upcoming AMS meetings, papers in our peer-reviewed journals, and other happenings in the atmospheric and related sciences community.

Gene therapy for muscular dystrophy shows promise beyond safety
Researchers have cleared a safety hurdle in efforts to develop a gene therapy for a form of muscular dystrophy that disables patients by gradually weakening muscles near the hips and shoulders.

Science named 1 of the top 100 journals in biology and medicine
Science has been named one of the top 100 journals that have led the way in and biology and medicine over the last century, by the Biomedical and Life Sciences Division of the Special Libraries Association.

Brain mechanisms for behavioral flexibility
New research provides insight into how the brain can execute different actions in response to the same stimulus.

UC Riverside researcher names lichen after President Barack Obama
Kerry Knudsen, a researcher at UC Riverside, has discovered a new species of lichen, and named it after President Obama.

Red pandas reveal an unexpected (artificial) sweet tooth
Researchers from the Monell Center report that the red panda is the first non-primate mammal to display a liking for the artificial sweetener aspartame.

Vegan Buddhist nuns have same bone density as non-vegetarians
A study comparing the bone health of 105 post-menopausal vegan Buddhist nuns and 105 non-vegetarian women, matched in every other physical respect, has produced a surprising result.

Feather color is more than skin deep
Where do birds get their red feathers from? According to Esther del Val, from the National History Museum in Barcelona, Spain, and her team, the red carotenoids that give the common crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) its red coloration are produced in the liver, not the skin, as previously thought.

New book, 'Untangling the Double Helix,' explores enzymes responsible for maintaining genome integrity
If it were not for a group of enzymes called topoisomerases, DNA would become a knotted, coiled, dysfunctional mess inside of a cell as it gets twisted, rolled, unzipped and pulled by the cellular machinery that reads and copies its sequence.

New radiology research to be presented
The American Roentgen Ray Society will hold its annual meeting April 26-May 1 at the John B.

Prenatal meth exposure linked to abnormal brain development
A first of its kind study examining the effects of methamphetamine use during pregnancy has found the drug appears to cause abnormal brain development in children.

OHSU scientists partner with others to form center aimed at combating infectious diseases
Oregon Health & Science University and others have received federal funding to form a regional research center aimed at combating emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases that pose a serious threat to human health.

'Free play' for children, teens is vital to social development, reports BC psychologist
A new theory about early human adaptation suggests that use of

'2-handed' marine microbes point to new method for isolating harmful forms of chemicals
Scientists studying how marine bacteria move have discovered that a sharp variation in water current segregates right-handed bacteria from their left-handed brethren, impelling the microbes in opposite directions.

Conserved gene expression reveals our 'inner fish'
A study of gene expression in chickens, frogs, pufferfish, mice and people has revealed surprising similarities in several key tissues.

Physicist Lisa Randall receives 2009 Benjamin Franklin Creativity Award at Smithsonian event
The Smithsonian Associates and the Creativity Foundation have named renowned physicist Lisa Randall as the recipient of the eighth annual Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award.

Harnessing cloud computing for data-intensive research on oceans, galaxies
The University of Washington will apply cloud computing to analyze climate simulation results and astronomical images.

Midwestern ethanol plants use much less water than western plants, U of Minnesota study says
Ethanol production in Minnesota and Iowa uses far less water overall than similar processes in states where water is less plentiful, a new University of Minnesota study shows.

2009 ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship award announcement
SURF fellowships assist promising undergraduate students with meaningful research in plant biology early in their college careers.

Yerkes researchers use eye tracking to detect mild dementia in humans
Researchers developed a test in nonhuman primates that is now using infrared eye tracking to detect mild cognitive impairment in humans.

American Chemical Society's Biochemistry and Medicinal Chemistry win honors
Two of the American Chemical Society's 34 peer-review journals -- Biochemistry and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry -- have been voted among the 100 most influential journals in their fields over the last 100 years by the Special Libraries Association.

Tourette syndrome misconceptions only one battle for patients
The most disabling aspect of Tourette syndrome is that in 90 percent of cases, it exists in conjunction with another disorder.

UC San Diego and UC Davis team to boost solar power in California
The University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with UC Davis will use a two-year, $700,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to expand the development and use of solar energy in the state.

Satellites show how Earth moved during Italy quake
Studying satellite radar data from ESA's Envisat and the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed, scientists have begun analysing the movement of Earth during and after the 6.3 earthquake that shook the medieval town of L'Aquila in central Italy on April 6, 2009.

Climate change may wake up 'sleeper' weeds
Climate change will cause some of Australia's potential weeds to move south by up to 1000 km, according to a report by scientists at CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Study suggests that trouble sleeping leads to increased ratings of pain in cancer patients
A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that sleep problems lead to increased pain and fatigue in cancer patients.

New way to analyze sleep disorders
Sleep is such an essential part of human existence that we spend about a third of our lives doing it -- some more successfully than others.

At risk for kidney disease? Check your genes
Genetic differences can influence one's risk of developing proteinuria, a condition that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Helping hand of hybrid surgery benefits colorectal patients
Despite rapid strides in minimally invasive surgical techniques -- most notably, laparoscopy -- traditional open surgery remains the most common surgical option across the United States for people with diseases of the rectum and colon.

Do patients at risk for B-cell malignancy need antiviral treatment?
The association of hepatitis C infection with type II mixed cryoglobulinemia is well established, but the role of HCV in B-cell lymphoma remains controversial.

Exposure to valproate during pregnancy can impair a child's cognitive development
Three-year-olds whose mothers took the anti-epileptic drug valproate during pregnancy had average IQs six to nine points lower than children exposed to three other anti-epileptic drugs, a landmark multicenter study has found.

Parasite breaks its own DNA to avoid detection
Researchers at Rockefeller University reveal how the parasite initiates its getaway, by cleaving both strands of its DNA.
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