Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 21, 2009
New NOAA report offers in-depth look at Northwestern Hawaiian islands marine life, ecosystems
A new NOAA report on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, protected by the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, provides the sharpest picture yet of the region's marine life and ecosystems.

Mockingbirds in fickle climates sing fancier tunes
Why are some birds simple singers and others vocal virtuosos?

New direction needed for obesity research, Deakin health expert claims
Most of the current obesity research is not proving helpful in finding solutions to the growing international epidemic, according to a Deakin University public health expert.

U of Minnesota research reveals critical role of evolutionary processes in species coexistence
A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, addressing long-standing conflicts in ecology and evolutionary science, has provided key directions for the future of community ecology.

'Happy hour' gene discovery suggests cancer drugs might treat alcoholism
A class of drugs already approved as cancer treatments might also help to beat alcohol addiction.

Blood tests and better communication skills could cut over-prescribing of antibiotics
Improving communications skills and the use of a simple blood test could help cut the growing number of inappropriate prescriptions of antibiotics, a joint Cardiff University trial has discovered.

BPA, chemical used to make plastics, found to leach from polycarbonate drinking bottles into humans
A new study from Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that participants who drank for a week from polycarbonate bottles, the popular, hard-plastic drinking bottles and baby bottles, showed a two-thirds increase in their urine of the chemical bisphenol A.

LSUHSC research describes function of key protein in cancer spread
Research led by David Worthylake, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, may help lay the groundwork for the development of a compound to prevent the spread of cancer.

Getting more from whole-transcript microarrays
The widely used Affymetrix Whole-Transcript Gene 1.0 ST (sense target) microarray platform, normally used to assay gene expression, can also be utilized to interrogate exon-specific splicing.

LA BioMed researcher honored by UCLA
Lynne M. Smith, M.D., a researcher at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), received the Award for Excellence in Education Wednesday at the University of California, Los Angeles.

NIST study finds a decade of high-payoff, high-throughput research
In its first decade of work, a research effort at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop novel and improved

Prevalence of variant CJD agent in Britain remains uncertain
First results from a large tissue survey in Britain of the agent that causes variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) are unable so far to establish that the prevalence is lower than that given by previous estimates, concludes a study published on bmj.com today.

Back to basics: Scientists discover a fundamental mechanism for cell organization
At the MBL in Woods Hole, scientists discovered that cells use a very simple phase transition -- similar to water vapor condensing into dew -- to assemble and localize subcellular structures that are involved in formation of the embryo.

Pneumonia caused by community-acquired MRSA: An emerging and deadly threat
As community-acquired infections due to meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) increase, so lethal cases of CA-MRSA pneumonia are also on the rise.

Using 'dominance' to explain dog behavior is old hat
A new study shows how the behavior of dogs has been misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behavior and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behavior.

Thousands of Canada's best minds converge at Congress 2009
North America's largest annual interdisciplinary academic conference kicks off in Ottawa this week.

Groundbreaking 'reorganizational healing' model puts emphasis on self-awareness and personal will
Reorganizational Healing, an emerging concept for wellness, healing and personal growth, is explored in depth in a seminal groundbreaking article and accompanying commentaries in the latest issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

NIST helping improve speed measurements for cars, bullets
Two speed measuring devices used by the law enforcement community -- the down-the-road radar with which officers enforce automobile speed limits and the ballistic chronograph which tracks the velocity of bullets during testing of protective equipment -- soon should be more useful tools thanks to recent research conducted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The cosmos is green: Researchers catch nature in the act of 'recycling' a star
For the first time, researchers have observed a singular cosmic act of rebirth: the transformation of an ordinary, slow-rotating pulsar into a superfast millisecond pulsar with an almost infinitely extended lifespan.

Regulating the sugar factory in diabetes
Scientists in Sydney and Boston believe they may have identified a gene that controls abnormal production of sugar in the liver, a very troublesome problem for people with diabetes.

Reducing the roadworks
Cones, holes and temporary traffic lights ... the scourge of Britain's roads!

No change in pharmacokinetics of ADHD medication VYVANSE CII when coadministered with Prilosec
Shire announced coadministration of ADHD medication VYVANSE CII with the proton pump inhibitor Prilosec OTC did not alter the median time to reach maximum plasma concentration of d-amphetamine, the active drug.

CT scan to help scientists diagnose role of clouds in climate
During May and June 2009, scientists from Brookhaven and Argonne national laboratories and the University of Colorado at Boulder will use high-tech scanners -- analogous to those used in medical settings -- to make observations of clouds.

Gene therapy could expand stem cells' promise
Once placed into a patient's body, stem cells intended to treat or cure a disease could end up wreaking havoc simply because they are no longer under the control of the clinician.

New stem cell research unlocks unknown therapies
New treatments for the devastating Parkinson's disease and ALS are in clinical studies in Sweden, thanks to breaking new stem cell research.

Preventing ear infections in the future: Delivering vaccine through the skin
An experimental vaccine applied the surface of the skin appears to protect against certain types of ear infections.

Sleeping through dialysis: No nightmare for kidney patients
Dialysis takes hours of kidney disease patients' time several days a week, so why not do it at night while sleeping?

Web-based program designs more efficient farm terrace layouts
From the time of the Babylonians to the Incas, terracing has been used to prevent water from eroding steep and hilly croplands.

NIST engineers discover fundamental flaw in transistor noise theory
Chip manufacturers beware: There's a newfound flaw in our understanding of transistor noise, a phenomenon affecting the electronic on-off switch that makes computer circuits possible.

Jungle yeast
A new species of yeast has been discovered deep in the Amazon jungle.

Genetic testing for breast or ovarian cancer risk may be greatly underutilized
Although a test for gene mutations known to significantly increase the risk of hereditary breast or ovarian cancer has been available for more than a decade, a new study finds that few women with family histories of these cancers are even discussing genetic testing with their physicians or other health care providers.

Telemedicine may improve care for school children with diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic childhood disease.

First of its kind study identifies risk factors for LRTIs in Inuit children
Inuit children have the highest rate of hospital admission for Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) globally, but new research shows that lowering risk factors though public health interventions and an enhanced immunization program could improve health for Inuit children and lower health care costs significantly.

MicroRNA regulation of tumor-killing viruses avoids unwanted viral pathology
Scientists have determined how to produce replication-competent viruses with key toxicities removed, providing a new platform for development of improved cancer treatments and better vaccines for a broad range of viral diseases.

When climate is iffy, birds sing a more elaborate tune
Why is it that some birds sing such elaborate songs and others not so much?

Hunt for 'climate-ready' crops accelerates as organizations search seed collections worldwide
The Global Crop Diversity Trust announced today numerous new grant awards to support scientists to explore the millions of seed samples maintained in 1,500 crop gene banks around the world.

Diabetics' heart attack risk can be reduced, research finds
People with diabetes who maintain intensive, low blood sugar levels are significantly less likely to suffer heart attacks and coronary heart disease, new research published today in the Lancet has shown.

Health Professions Education Conference features 'Headspace Theater,' serious gaming, PDAs
Improving patient care with PDA-using nursing students in clinical placements, using simulation to teach police about mental illness, enlisting video games to improve analytical and psychomotor skills, and piloting new simulation techniques for myth-busting in advanced pain management courses are some of the exciting topics for discussion at the first international Health Professions Education Conference May 21-23, 2009, hosted by the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.

Scientists discover genetic defects linked with rare bearded lady
New research provides exciting genetic insight into a rare syndrome that first appeared in the medical literature in the mid 1800s with the case of Julia Pastrana, the world's most notorious bearded lady.

K-State's fast laser research and theory building on Einsten's work by timing electrons emissions
Kansas State University theorists have developed a model that allows them to compute not just the energy of photo-emitted electrons, but also the times after their release at which they can be detected.

Mayo Clinic researchers examine the psychological impact of child abuse
According to a new Mayo Clinic study, a history of child abuse significantly impacts the wide range of challenges facing depressed inpatients.

Key protein may explain the anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits of dietary restriction
A protein that plays a key role in tumor formation, oxygen metabolism and inflammation is involved in a pathway that extends lifespan by dietary restriction.

Protein predicts development of invasive breast cancer in women with DCIS, Penn study shows
Women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who exhibit an overexpression of the protein HER2/neu have a six-fold increase in risk of invasive breast cancer, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Thieving whale caught on video gives rare clues about hunting strategy, sound production
A marine mammal videotaped stealing fish provides information about animal's physical features.

Medication quality in Peru and region strengthened with official laboratory's accreditation
In an effort that will contribute to raising the quality of medicines in Peru and the surrounding region, the country's National Center for Quality Control -- the Centro Nacional de Control de Calidad -- has attained internationally recognized ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation for testing and calibration laboratories.

'Missing link': Revealing fast-spinning pulsar mysteries
Changes observed in a unique-double-star system are giving astronomers a glimpse of what they believe is the mechanism for

More intensive glucose control in type 2 diabetes reduces heart attacks and heart disease events
A meta-analysis of five trials has shown that more intensive glucose control in type 2 diabetes leads to fewer heart attacks and heart disease events -- but has no significant effect on stroke or mortality from all causes.

Elderly women with 'dowager's hump' may be at higher risk of earlier death
Hyperkyphosis, or

Women with gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a substantial and persistently elevated risk of type 2 diabetes post birth
Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a seven-and-a-half times increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes post birth, which lasts throughout their lifetime.

Wings that waggle could cut aircraft emissions by 20 percent
Wings which redirect air to waggle sideways could cut airline fuel bills by 20 percent according to research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Airbus in the UK.

NIST defining the expanding world of cloud computing
A working definition for cloud computing -- a new computer technique with potential for achieving significant cost savings and information technology agility -- has been released by a team of computer security experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

AGU Joint Assembly: Final press conference schedule, call-in instructions
The press conferences at the 2009 Joint Assembly, which can be followed online, will be on the following topics:

More than a bad night's sleep
A Temple University-led study found that nearly 87 percent of obese, type 2 diabetics reported symptoms of sleep apnea, but were never diagnosed.

Lingraphica introduces the SmallTalk mobile accessory for aphasia
Lingraphica, maker of the Lingraphica speech-generating device for aphasia, announces the release of the SmallTalk mobile accessory.

Automated analysis of MR images may identify early Alzheimer's disease
Analyzing MRI studies of the brain with software developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital may allow diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and of mild cognitive impairment, a lesser form of dementia that precedes the development of Alzheimer's by several years.

Viral epidemics poised to go mobile
If you own a computer, chances are you have experienced the aftermath of a nasty virus at some point.

Study: Lower legal drinking age increases poor birth outcomes
Amid renewed calls to consider reducing the legal drinking age, a new University of Georgia study finds that lower drinking ages increase unplanned pregnancies and pre-term births among young people.

Specialty care costs for patients with bipolar disorder are higher than diabetes and other chronic diseases
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that bipolar disorder is more costly than other chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, asthma or coronary artery disease.

NYU School of Medicine pathology researchers solve another mystery in B lymphocyte development
A new study published online in Nature Immunology ahead of the June 2009 print issue has found that homologous immunoglobulin (lg) alleles pair up in the nucleus at stages that coincide with V(D)J recombination of the heavy and light chain (Igh and Igk) loci.

NIST validation program tests next-generation Internet products
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is establishing a testing program to assure that the US government purchases new computers and networking products that work properly on the next-generation Internet traffic system -- known as IPv6 -- while meeting standards for federal government use.

Personal discrimination on the Web
Research to be published in International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining reveals an automated system for distinguishing between marketing speak and personal opinions on Web sites.

Agios Pharmaceuticals' founders author Science review on cancer metabolism
Agios announces the journal Science has published a review article,

Government of Canada supports research to improve the health of future generations of Canadians
The Government of Canada today announced a new study that will increase the understanding of common health problems affecting seniors.

Breast cancer etiology may vary by subtype
Women's reproductive and lifestyle characteristics can be linked to different invasive breast cancer subtypes.

Windy, wet and wild: Victoria Crater unveils more of Mars' geologic past
After thoroughly investigating Victoria Crater on Mars for two years, the instruments aboard the Rover Opportunity reveal more evidence of our neighboring red planet's windy, wet and wild past.

Fenofibrate reduces risk of first amputation for type 2 diabetics by 36 percent
Using fenofibrate to lower blood fats in people with type 2 diabetes reduces the risk of a first diabetes-related amputation by 36 percent.
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