Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 18, 2009
Westernization associated with potentially harmful sun habits among Asian-Americans
Asian-Americans who have adopted more aspects of Western culture may be more likely to engage in behaviors that increase sun exposure, thereby endangering their skin health, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A combined tooth-venom arsenal revealed as key to Komodo dragon's hunting strategy
A new study has shown that the effectiveness of the Komodo dragon bite is a combination of highly specialized serrated teeth and venom.

UTSA security program earns elite CAE-R designation
The University of Texas at San Antonio has received the elite National Center of Academic Excellence in Research designation from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for five years through 2014.

New tool isolates RNA within specific cells
A team of University of Oregon biologists, using fruit flies, has created a way to isolate RNA from specific cells, opening a new window on how gene expression drives normal development and disease-causing breakdowns.

Dental researchers ID new target in fight against osteoporosis, periodontitis
UCLA dental school researchers identify a promising new target in the fight against osteoporosis and periodontitis: inhibiting the activity of the NF-kB protein restores a healthy balance between bone formation and resorption.

Calvin B. Cotner to receive AIAA Aerospace Communications Award
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is pleased to announce that Calvin B.

Researchers discover why eczema often leads to asthma
Many children who get a severe skin rash develop asthma months or years later.

Research points to a new way to protect kidneys threatened by insufficient blood or toxins
Better treatments for acute renal failure may be possible by blocking the mitochondrial fragmentation that occurs when kidneys don't get enough blood or are exposed to toxins, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia report in the may issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

A molecular link between sleep and weight gain
There appears to be a link between sleep and weight control, with some studies indicating that sleep disruption can increase weight gain and other studies that diet affects sleep.

The first evidence of pre-industrial mercury pollution in the Andes
The study of ancient lake sediment from high altitude lakes in the Andes has revealed for the first time that mercury pollution occurred long before the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Research: Mockingbirds, no bird brains, can recognize a face in a crowd
The birds are watching. They know who you are. And they will attack.

Double trouble for water life
Excess phosphorus and nitrogen produced by human activities on neighboring land is making its way into our coastal waters and degrading both water quality and aquatic life.

Women more susceptible to harmful effects of smoking
Women may be more susceptible to the lung damaging effects of smoking than men, according to new research by Inga-Cecilie Soerheim, M.D., and her colleagues from Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and University of Bergen, Norway.

The most important osteoporosis research, in a nutshell
Progress in Osteoporosis, the free online journal published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, is the only open-access online resource that provides concise summaries of new osteoporosis research published in the preceding three to four months.

University of Florida study provides insight into evolution of first flowers
Charles Darwin described the sudden origin of flowering plants about 130 million years ago as an abominable mystery, one that scientists have yet to solve.

Computer model predicts brain tumor growth and evolution
Scientists from Brown University, the University of Texas and elsewhere have developed a computational computer model that tracks brain tumor growth virtually and can be matched to real tumors.

$1.5 million awarded for palliative care research to improve care of seriously ill patients
The American Cancer Society and the National Palliative Care Research Center are awarding $1.5 million in research grants to researchers at eleven institutions for studies aimed at reducing suffering for seriously ill patients and their family caregivers.

Vitamin D expert receives Linus Pauling Prize for Health Research
Dr. Michael Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine who has revolutionized the understanding of vitamin D and its role in disease prevention, today received the $50,000 Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research.

Lettuce gets a healthy suntan
Salad dressing aside, a pile of spinach has more nutritional value than a wedge of iceberg lettuce.

Shire's INTUNIV (Guanfacine) extended release in children with ADHD and oppositional symptoms
Shire Plc. announced new findings on the effects of INTUNIV (guanfacine) extended release, an investigational selective alpha-2A-agonist, on oppositional symptoms in children aged 6 to 12 years with a diagnosis of ADHD and the presence of oppositional symptoms.

Risk of facial fractures in motor vehicle crashes decreasing
Facial fractures from motor vehicle crashes appear to be decreasing, most likely due to design improvements in newer vehicles, according to a report in the May/June issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Automated tissue engineering on demand
There is an increasing demand for skin. Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cosmetics and medical engineering products need it in order to test the compatibility of their products with human skin.

New procedure alleviates symptoms in people with severe asthma
A new drug-free treatment for asthma has been shown to be effective in an international study of patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma.

Why does eczema often lead to asthma?
Many young children who get a severe skin rash develop asthma months or years later.

New severe asthma treatment uses radiofrequency energy to improve patient quality of life
Chronic asthma sufferers may find new relief in a simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure known as bronchial thermoplasty, which uses controlled radiofrequency-generated heat to treat the muscles of the airways, preventing them from constricting and narrowing.

Computer simulation captures immune response to flu
Researchers have successfully tested first the first time a computer simulation of major portions of the body's immune reaction to influenza type A, with implications for treatment design and preparation ahead of future pandemics, according to work accepted for publication, and posted online, by the Journal of Virology.

Integrated microbial genomes expert review goes primetime
Scientists at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and the Biological Data Management and Technology Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have launched the Expert Review (ER) version of the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) system.

Scientists work to plug microorganisms into the energy grid
The answer to the looming fuel crisis in the 21st century may be found by thinking small, microscopic in fact.

Triglycerides implicated in diabetes nerve loss
A common blood test for triglycerides may for the first time allow doctors to predict which patients with diabetes are more likely to develop the serious, common complication of neuropathy.

7 out of 10 women too embarrassed to discuss vaginal dryness and pain with their physician
The majority of post-menopausal women are uncomfortable talking about vaginal dryness and pain and are reluctant to seek medical help, according to results from a new international survey presented today at the European Congress on Menopause in London.

Frail elderly disaster
Planning for emergencies must take into account the growing numbers of frail elderly people who will by virtue of shifting demographics be involved in any natural or man-made disaster, according to US researchers writing in the International Journal of Emergency Management.

Are you okay to kiss?
A quick breath check in the palm of your hand can never give accurate results.

Special protein helps maintain an efficient brain
The instruction manual for maintaining an efficient brain may soon include a section on synaptotagmin-IV (Syt-IV), a protein known to influence learning and memory, thanks to a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

Regenstrief Institute is 'pace car' for coordination of medical care at Indy 500
For the first time at any type of mass gathering, electronic medical records will be instantly, securely available on site - in this case the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Clarian Emergency Medical Center.

Summer haze cools southeastern US
Global warming may include some periods of local cooling, according to a new UC Berkeley study.

Babies born to native high-altitude mothers have decreased risk of low birth weight
Pregnant women who are indigenous to the Andes Mountains deliver more blood and oxygen to their fetuses at high altitude than do women of European descent.

Researchers make discovery in colon cancer prevention
A new study finds that individuals who have low expression of the

Scientists discover neurons that 'mirror' the attention of others
Whether a monkey is looking to the left or merely watching another monkey looking that way, the same neurons in his brain are firing, according to researchers at the Duke University Medical Center.

FDA grants approval for use of RISPERDAL CONSTA as both a monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the maintenance treatment of Bipolar I Disorder
Janssen, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the Supplemental New Drug Applications for the use of RISPERDAL CONSTA (risperidone) Long-Acting Treatment as both monotherapy and adjunctive therapy to lithium or valproate in the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder.

How glucocorticoid drugs protect the heart
Synthetic glucocorticoids are used clinically in many situations, such as to treat asthma, and have been shown in animals and humans to help protect the heart from the damaging effects of heart attack.

UCSF creates fast, affordable tool for finding gene 'on-off' switches
UCSF scientists have created a method of quickly identifying large numbers of the genetic material known as short hairpin RNA -- also called shRNA -- that turns genes on and off.

New Jersey's 2009 Annual State of the Shore report, May 19
On Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Dr. Jon Miller of Stevens Institute of Technology and the Coastal Process Specialist for the NJMSC/NJ Sea Grant Program will present the 7th annual State of the Shore report on the condition of New Jersey beaches, as we kick off the peak Jersey Shore tourism season.

Accolade for solar-hydrogen project
A research project that aims to produce hydrogen on an environmentally friendly and cost-effective basis by using energy from the sun has won a prestigious E.ON research award.

Patients reveal willingness to trade hands-on medical care for computer consultations
A qualitative study led by a research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center provides key insights into consumer preferences, suggesting that patients want full access to all of their medical records, are willing to make some privacy concessions in the interest of making their medical records completely transparent, and that, going forward, fully expect that computers will play a major role in their medical care, even substituting for face-to-face doctor visits.

Arctic river deltas may hold clues to future global climate
Scientists struggling to understand how Earth's climate will change in the next few decades have neglected a potential treasure trove of information -- sediments deposited in the ocean by major Arctic rivers such as the Colville and Mackenzie rivers.

Mock CPR drills in kids show many residents fail in key skills, Hopkins study reveals
Research from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center exposes alarming gaps in training hospital residents in

New study may help understand how Alzheimer's robs sufferers of episodic memory
Just-published research from scientists at the University of Georgia is offering new insights into how one kind of memory works.

Study: Smoking bans do not cause job losses in bars and restaurants
New research suggests that exempting bars from community smoking bans makes no economic difference in terms of preserving bar employment, and that even the most comprehensive clean indoor air policies do not lead to a reduction in hospitality jobs.

Autism in the UK costs more than $41 billion every year, shows new research
Research published this week in the Journal Autism, published by SAGE, estimate the annual costs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to be more than £27 ($41) billion a year.

100 reasons to change the way we think about genetics
Increasingly, biologists are finding that nongenetic variation acquired during the life of an organism can sometimes be passed on to offspring -- a phenomenon known as epigenetic inheritance.

Every move you make: Free smart phone app helps you burn calories
What can't the iPhone do? Now, thanks to a team of University of Houston researchers, it can even count how many calories you've burned in a given day.

Biological link established between tumors and depression
In a study that could help explain the connections between depression and cancer, researchers have used an animal model to find, for the first time, a biological link between tumors and negative mood changes.

Cosmology's best standard candles get even better
The international Nearby Supernova Factory based at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has discovered an efficient method for standardizing the intrinsic brightness and thus the distance to the cosmic milestones known as Type Ia supernovae.

Air-fueled battery could last up to 10 times longer
A new type of air-fueled battery could give up to ten times the energy storage of designs currently available.

New lead on malaria treatment
Approximately 350 million to 500 million cases of malaria are diagnosed each year mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

New insight into primate eye evolution
Researchers comparing the fetal development of the eye of the owl monkey with that of the capuchin monkey have found that only a minor difference in the timing of cell proliferation can explain the multiple anatomical differences in the two kinds of eyes.

Yale team identifies key to potential new treatment for allergy-induced asthma
In research that could lead to new asthma drugs, scientists at Yale School of Medicine, Hydra Biosciences of Cambridge, Mass., and the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered that a protein may be a trigger of allergy-induced asthma in mice.

Shire presents new scientific data on ADHD treatments at National Psychiatric Scientific Meeting
Shire plc, the global specialty biopharmaceutical company will present key scientific data on its attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatments lisdexamfetamine dimesylate and investigational nonscheduled guanfacine extended release, at a national scientific meeting of psychiatrists to be held May 16-21 in San Francisco.

How embryo movement stimulates joint formation
A new study uncovers a molecular mechanism that explains why joints fail to develop in embryos with paralyzed limbs.

Cohesin jigsaw begins to fit
The essential chromosomal protein complex cohesin has crucial roles in sister chromatid cohesion, DNA repair and transcriptional regulation.

How solid is concrete's carbon footprint?
Many scientists currently think at least 5 percent of humanity's carbon footprint comes from the concrete industry, both from energy use and the carbon dioxide byproduct from the production of cement, one of concrete's principal components.

New vaccine strategy might offer protection against pandemic influenza strains
A novel vaccine strategy using virus-like particles could provide stronger and longer-lasting influenza vaccines with a significantly shorter development and production time than current ones, allowing public health authorities to react more quickly in the event of a potential pandemic.

Synthetic catalyst mimics nature's 'hydrogen economy'
By creating a model of the active site found in a naturally occurring enzyme, chemists at the University of Illinois have described a catalyst that acts like nature's most pervasive hydrogen processor.

New tool for next-generation cancer treatments using nanodiamonds
A research team at Northwestern University has demonstrated use of a Nanofountain Probe that can precisely deliver tiny doses of drug-carrying nanomaterials to individual cells.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- May 13, 2009
The American Chemical Society Weekly Press Package with reports from 34 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Low-income breast cancer patients skipping hormonal therapy, increasing their risks
Many low-income women are failing to take the hormonal therapy prescribed as part of their breast cancer treatment, possibly lowering their survival rates, according to a study led by a researcher in the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Komodo even more deadly than thought: Research
The fearsome Komodo dragon is deadlier than previously thought, with new research revealing that the giant lizards weaken and immobilize their prey with a potent venomous bite before using razor sharp teeth and powerful neck muscles to kill victims.

Trace elements unbalanced in dialysis patients
Abnormal levels of trace elements may explain dialysis morbidity. A systematic review published in the open-access journal BMC Medicine has shown that, compared to healthy controls, dialysis patients have significantly different blood concentrations of trace elements.

Research reveals molecular pathway behind invasive prostate cancers
University of Cincinnati cancer and cell biologists have identified a new molecular pathway key to the development of invasive prostate cancers.

Leading virologist says to expect the unexpected with influenza
World renowned virologist Professor Albert Osterhaus told participants at Europe's largest conference on infectious diseases that the outbreak of influenza A H1N1 is without question the most important event of the past 40 years in human influenza.

Web-based consultations may reduce referrals to dermatologists
A Web-based system allowing general practitioners to confer with specialists regarding patients with skin conditions may reduce referrals to dermatologists by approximately 20 percent, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

MMRF and the Broad Institute to perform whole genome sequencing of multiple myeloma samples
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard launch a collaboration to systematically uncover the molecular changes underlying multiple myeloma by whole genome sequencing of individual patient tumors.

Heart disease patients carrying extra pounds do better, live longer
Being overweight or obese is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated risk factors; however, in patients with established CVD, obesity appears to play a protective role.

Asian-Americans increasingly adopting risky skin-care habits, Stanford survey suggests
A new survey from the Stanford University School of Medicine suggests that a significant number of Asian-Americans living in California adopt unhealthy sun-exposure behaviors as they become more westernized.

Canadian research team reports major breakthrough in lithium battery technology
An NSERC-funded lab at the University of Waterloo has laid the groundwork for a lithium battery that can store and deliver more than three times the power of conventional lithium ion batteries.

Navy's science and technology ambassadors foster global partnerships abroad
The work of ONR Global to find and leverage S&T for naval needs leads to global research partnerships, which are a key tenant of the US Navy's Maritime Strategy.

Study: Potential criminals deterred by longer sentences
Can prison sentences deter potential criminals? A new article in the Journal of Political Economy suggests that in certain circumstances, they can.

Thyroid and parathyroid surgery outcomes may be worse in pregnant women
Pregnant women appear to have worse clinical and economic outcomes after thyroid and parathyroid surgery compared with women who are not pregnant, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study finds higher prevalence of early menarche among survivors of childhood sexual abuse
African-American women who were younger at menarche, or the onset of their menstrual periods, were more likely to report a history of childhood sexual abuse, according to a new study led by a researcher at Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center.

Turmeric extract suppresses fat tissue growth in rodent models
Curcumin, the major polyphenol found in turmeric, appears to reduce weight gain in mice and suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice and cell models.

Study examines trends in gallbladder cancer over 4 decades
Overall prognosis for gallbladder cancer appears to be improving, although many patients still have incurable disease and poor survival rates, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

LSHTM wins 2009 annual Gates Award for Global Health
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has won the Gates Award for Global Health, and will receive $1 million in prize money.

The role of astronomy in antiquity examined in new book
In his new authoritative study of archaeoastronomy,

Springer to publish and distribute journal for the Societe de Pathologie Exotique
As of January 2010, the Bulletin de la Société de Pathologie Exotique will join Springer's publishing program.

Disruption of immune-system pathway key step in cancer progression, Stanford study shows
Human immune cells communicate constantly with one another as they coordinate to fight off infection and other threats.

Researchers from OU's National Weather Center win US Department of the Interior awards
Oklahoma Climatological Survey director Ken Crawford and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Severe Storms Laboratory hydrometeorologist Suzanne Van Cooten are part of a multidisciplinary team that recently received the Department of the Interior Cooperative Conservation Award for the Protection of Aquifer Resources in Oklahoma.

Novel mechanism of action of corticosteroids in allergic diseases
Research by Peter Barnes (Imperial College, London) and colleagues may explain the effectiveness of common treatments for allergic inflammation and may point the way to targets for new treatments for allergic diseases, according to a study published in this week's open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

JCI online early table of contents: May 18, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, May 18, 2009, in the JCI: A molecular link between sleep and weight gain; How glucocorticoid drugs protect the heart; New tool for predicting drug responsiveness in non-small cell lung cancer; Not strong enough: the protein OPN promotes muscle degeneration; New insights into a rare human syndrome; and others.

Tumor growth and chemo response may be predicted by mathematical model
The aggressiveness of tumors and their susceptibility to chemotherapy may become easier to predict based on a mathematical model developed at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Study shows judges' backgrounds matter in high court selection
Some federal judges are tossing out civil cases based on their own opinions, a disturbing trend that makes background checks even more important in the search for a new associate justice for the US Supreme Court, a University of Illinois legal expert says.

Partial bans on smoking don't save jobs in restaurants and bars
Opponents of bans on smoking in public places often cite impact of bans on employment in bars and restaurants.

High performance research
It's modeled the evolution of the universe, simulated the behavior of proteins and explored how different bridge types respond to weather conditions and turbulence.

Weight loss in old age may signal dementia
A new study shows that older people who are thinner or are losing weight quickly are at a higher risk of developing dementia, especially if they started out overweight or obese.

Quick test for prostate cancer
A new three-minute test could help in diagnosing prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the UK, according to scientists.

Surgery, oral devices associated with improvement in sleep breathing disorder
Treatment with surgery or an oral appliance that adjusts the jaw is associated with improvements in obstructive sleep apnea, a condition caused by blocked upper airways in which patients periodically stop breathing during sleep, according to two reports in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Voyages of discovery or necessity?
Fish poisoning, or ciguatera could be the reason that New Zealand, Easter Island, and possibly, Hawaii in the 11th to 15th centuries became colonized by masses of migrating Polynesians.

July-August 2009 GSA Bulletin media highlights
The July-August GSA Bulletin is now online. Highlights include documentation of Holocene rupture on all three major faults in Lake Tahoe basin; evidence for a large paleolake in the Western Desert, Egypt; examination of the southern Colorado Plateau-Arizona Transition Zone groundwater system; a study germane to both the search for natural gas below the Columbia River Basalt Group and to deciphering the seismic hazards of western Washington State; and descriptions of a Peruvian petrified forest.

Filling the gap: The importance of Medicaid continuity for former inmates
It is time for states to suspend, rather than terminate, the Medicaid benefits of inmates while they are incarcerated, say correctional health care experts from the Miriam Hospital in a commentary published online by the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Carbon measuring system to help mitigate climate change
A new international project will create the first carbon measuring and modeling system to be used to help mitigate climate change, verify the benefits of controversial offsetting initiatives and boost carbon trading.

Research in PNAS by Hydra shows that TRP ion channel drug can treat allergy-induced asthma
Hydra Biosciences, Inc. today announced that research published by Hydra scientists and collaborators at Yale University for the first time identified the ion channel TRPA1 as playing an essential role in allergic asthma and demonstrated that Hydra's TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031 effectively treated allergic asthma in mice.

Popular cancer drug linked to often fatal brain virus
A new study from Northwestern University links use of the popular cancer drug rituximab to a swiftly moving and often fatal viral brain infection called PML. 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