Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 26, 2009
Capturing the birth of a synapse
Researchers have identified the locking mechanism that allows some neurons to form synapses to pass along essential information.

Toward cheap underwater sensor nets
UC San Diego computer scientists are one step closer to building low cost networks of underwater sensors for real time underwater environmental monitoring.

The neurobiology of musicality related to the intrinsic attachment behavior?
Music is social communication between individuals -- humming of lullabies attach infant to parent and singing or playing music adds croup cohesion.

Lessons from the vaccine-autism wars
This week, the open-access journal PLoS Biology investigates why the debunked vaccine-autism theory won't go away.

Sahlgrenska Academy to lead major European project on obesity
The new project is an interdisciplinary research project covering the neurobiological and socio-psychological causes of obesity.

Strict maternal feeding practices not linked to child weight gain
A new study published online in the journal Obesity provides further evidence that strict maternal control over eating habits -- such as determining how much a child should eat and coaxing them to eat certain foods -- during early childhood may not lead to significant future weight gain in boys or girls.

Refusing immunizations puts children at increased risk of pertussis infection
A Kaiser Permanente study found that children of parents who refuse vaccines are 23 times more likely to get whooping cough compared to fully immunized children.

BUSM researchers find no adjustment method fully resolves confounding by indication
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health have found that no adjustment method fully resolves confounding by indication in observational studies, meaning when the validity of a study is threatened by unmeasured confounding, it is not straightforward to determine which method of adjustment, if any, is most effective in obtaining a valid and precise estimate of effect.

WHO-IAEA join forces to fight cancer
The World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency today announced the launch of a Joint Program on Cancer Control, aimed at strengthening and accelerating efforts to fight cancer in the developing world.

JAMA study: Effectively managing pain with depression
Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute report in the May 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that a strategy they developed of closely monitored antidepressant therapy coupled with pain self-management can produce substantial improvements in both depression and pain.

Oldest evidence of leprosy found in India
Reporting in PLoS ONE, a biological anthropologist from Appalachian State University working with an undergraduate student from Appalachian, an evolutionary biologist from UNC Greensboro, and a team of archaeologists from Deccan College (Pune, India) recently reported analysis of a 4000-year-old skeleton from India bearing evidence of leprosy.

NEJM study finds drug-eluting stents more effective than bare-metal stents in heart attack patients
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, together with the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, announced that its landmark study comparing the safety and efficacy of drug-eluting stents and bare-metal stents was published in the May 7 New England Journal of Medicine.

Protective footwear for diabetics at a high-street price
A new generation of prophylactic footwear has been developed by the partners of EUREKA Project E!

Fast and cheap forecasting system for Mediterranean cyclones
Scientists from the University of the Balearic Islands have developed a new methodology to improve forecasting success between 48 and 24 hours before cyclones occur in the Mediterranean Sea.

UCB launches Vimpat in the US for add-on treatment of epilepsy in adults
UCB today announced that Vimpat (lacosamide) C-V, a new antiepileptic drug is available in the US as an add-on therapy for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in people with epilepsy who are 17 years and older.

K-State grad student receives National Science Foundation fellowship for computer science
Tim Weninger, research associate in computer science at K-State, will receive three years of funding for graduate studies in computer science.

JNCI May 26 issue tip sheet
Also in the May 26 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are studies on the clinical relevance of the cancer inhibitor phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) to gastric cancer; the variability among diagnostic mammography facilities; and the effect of the peptide RasGAP on colon cancer-bearing mice.

Markers for inflammation discovered in breast cancer survivors are linked to survival
A study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has identified two proteins in the blood that could become important prognostic markers for long-term survival in breast cancer patients.

M. D. Anderson study finds dramatic increase in metastatic colon cancer survival
Novel chemotherapy and biological agents for metastatic colorectal cancer, combined with surgical advances in liver resection, have resulted in a dramatic increase in survival for patients with advanced disease, according to researchers at the University of Texas M.

A hidden drip, drip, drip beneath Earth's surface
There are very few places in the world where dynamic activity taking place beneath Earth's surface goes undetected.

Intervention helps reduce pain and depression
For patients who experience pain and depression, common co-existing conditions, an intervention that included individually tailored antidepressant therapy and a pain self-management program resulted in greater improvement in the symptoms of these conditions than patients who received usual care, according to a study in the May 27 issue of JAMA.

Spring agricultural fires have large impact on melting Arctic
Scientists from around the world will convene at the University of New Hampshire June 2-5, 2009, to discuss key findings from the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to measure

NASA uses satellite to unearth innovation in crop forecasting
NASA researchers are using satellite data to deliver a kind of space-based humanitarian assistance.

New broad-spectrum vaccine to prevent cervical cancer induces strong responses in animals
Mice and rabbits immunized with a multimeric-L2 protein vaccine had robust antibody responses and were protected from infection when exposed to human papillomavirus type 16 four months after vaccination, according to a new study published in the May 26 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

'Curve ball' wins international illusion contest
Science has proven what baseball players have known for more than a hundred years, the curve ball is more powerful than the brain.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings: The evolution of migraine from episodic headache to chronic disorder
Patients living with migraine have strong reason for new optimism concerning a positive future.

In a rare disorder, a familiar protein disrupts gene function
In this week's PLoS Biology, an international team of scientists studying a rare genetic disease has discovered that a bundle of proteins already known to be important for keeping chromosomes together also plays an important role in regulating gene expression in humans.

Pediatrician creates easier way to identify kids' high BP
Pediatricians now have a new and simple way to diagnose a serious problem facing our nation's children -- thanks to David Kaelber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., MetroHealth System pediatrician, internist, and chief medical informatics officer and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher and faculty member.

Dr. Bhakta Rath honored by President of India
Dr. Bhakta Rath, associate director of research and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate at the Naval Research Laboratory, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan Award of Honors and Excellence bestowed by the President of India.

Newborns of South Asian and East Asian descent misclassified as underweight at birth: Study
Babies of East Asian and South Asian descent are between two and three times more likely to be misclassified as underweight at birth when compared to their Canadian counterparts, according to a study led by St.

Healing wounds with lasers, vehicles that drive themselves, other cutting-edge optics
Researchers will present the latest breakthroughs at the 2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/International Quantum Electronics Conference, May 31 to June 5 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Where the most private becomes public: Policy making for sexual health
It is time to realign research and policy making to promote better sexual health for all, according to the latest editorial from the PLoS Medicine team.

Europe's fastest computer unveiled in Julich
No fewer than three supercomputers for European research were unveiled today in Julich in a ceremony attended by the Federal Minister for Education and Research Dr.

Pediatric carbon monoxide poisoning linked to video games after Hurricane Ike
Hours after Hurricane Ike roared ashore in Texas, more than 2 million homes were without power, which left some scrambling to preserve food and others looking for ways to entertain children, a move that proved to be, in some instances, poisonous.

Comprehensive cardiogenetic testing for families of sudden unexplained death victims can save lives
Vienna, Austria: Relatives of a young person who dies suddenly should always be referred for cardiological and genetic examination in order to identify if they too are at risk of sudden death.

The evolution of gene regulation
Supply and demand could be a governing principle even at the genetic level, because most genes are only expressed when needed.

Can we afford the cancer care of the future?
When a cancer patient and his or her doctor discuss the value of a treatment option, the conversation usually centers on a consideration of the treatment's medical benefits versus its possible side effects for the patient.

Study questions impact of GP pay incentives on patient care
The care of patients with diabetes has improved over the last decade, but this does not seem to be a direct result of the quality and outcomes framework -- the scheme that rewards UK general practices for delivering quality care.

Well water should be tested annually to reduce health risks to children
Private well water should be tested yearly, and in some cases more often, according to new guidance offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Legal loophole exposes Canadians to drug advertising banned in US: UBC research
A legal loophole is counteracting Canada's ban on direct-to-consumer drug advertising and has exposed Canadians to more than $90 million worth of ads, including those for drugs with life-threatening risks, according to a study by UBC researchers.

New center at Georgia Tech aims to improve recovery of soldiers with severe injuries
The new Georgia Tech Center for Advanced Bioengineering for Soldier Survivability is working to quickly move tools that are clinically valuable, safe and effective from laboratories to use in military trauma centers.

Microfossils challenge prevailing views of the effects of 'Snowball Earth' glaciations on life
New fossil findings discovered by scientists at UC Santa Barbara challenge prevailing views about the effects of

Elsevier's Science & Technology division and Science News partner
Elsevier's Science & Technology division China and Science News announced today that they will jointly organize the first

Is vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia?
There are several risk factors for the development of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

PET scan can noninvasively measure early assessment of treatment for common type of breast cancer
Noninvasive imaging can measure how well patients with the most common form of breast cancer -- estrogen receptor positive type -- respond to standard aromatase inhibitor therapy after only two weeks and shows similar findings that more invasive needle sampling identifies, according to a poster presentation to be presented at the ASCO annual meeting next week.

Getting to the root of science in a nutty way
Dr. Leo Lombardini has gone underground to get the most top secret information in his field.

Meet the complete mouse -- whole mouse genome sequence published
A new paper, published in this week's issue of PLoS Biology, explores exactly what distinguishes our genome from that of the lab mouse.

World-class innovation through international cooperation
Welcome to the Launch Conference of the German EUREKA Chairmanship 2009/2010!

Diabetes drug shows promise against multiple sclerosis
A drug currently FDA-approved for use in diabetes shows some protective effects in the brains of patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine report in a study online in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

Activated stem cells in damaged lungs could be first step toward cancer
Stem cells that respond after a severe injury in the lungs of mice may be a source of rapidly dividing cells that lead to lung cancer, according to a team of American and British researchers.

New way of gauging professional behavior in medical students
A new way of assessing professionalism among medical students could help to make better doctors, a new research study suggests.

Carbohydrate restriction may slow prostate tumor growth
Restricting carbohydrates, regardless of weight loss, appears to slow the growth of prostate tumors, according to an animal study being published this week by researchers in the Duke Prostate Center.

JCI table of contents: May 26, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published May 26, 2009, in the JCI: Targeting the more lethal form of the cancer rhabdomyosarcoma; What's DAT?

Did the North Atlantic fisheries collapse due to fisheries-induced evolution?
The Atlantic cod has, for many centuries, sustained major fisheries on both sides of the Atlantic.

Viruses are sneakier than we thought
Of central importance for viruses is the ability to commandeer cellular gene expression machinery.

NTU and EMBL remote X-ray scattering experiment a success
Nanyang Technological University's School of Biological Science (SBS) has partnered the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg to conduct successfully a remotely controlled Solution X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) experiment.

National study finds youth baseball-related injuries down 25 percent
Spring marks baseball season for more than 19 million children and adolescents who play each year as part of a team or in backyards throughout the United States.

Doctors explore 'Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies about Health'
Riley Hospital for Children physicians Aaron Carroll, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, both at the Indiana University School of Medicine, tackle commonly held medical beliefs in a new book, laying out the science which proves or disproves them.

Study compares NFL players' health to that of other healthy young men
Despite being larger in size and heavier in weight, an analysis of the cardiovascular disease risk factors of about 500 National Football League players finds that they have a lower incidence of impaired fasting glucose and similar prevalence of abnormal cholesterol levels as compared to a sample of healthy young-adult men, but have an increased prevalence of high blood pressure, according to a study in the May 27 issue of JAMA.

University of Miami received high rankings in the Urban Land Institute student competition
A team of students from the University of Miami School of Architecture and the School of Business placed among the top four at the prestigious annual Urban Land Institute/Gerald D.

Predicting higher risk for prostate cancer diagnosis
High-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) carries a high predictive value for future diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Arthritis drug might prove effective in fighting the flu, study suggests
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found that an approved drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis reduces severe illness and death in mice exposed to the influenza A virus.

New research helps explain how connexin hemichannels are kept closed
Hemichannels are connexin channels that can dock with each other to create a gap junction across two plasma membranes.

Culture change to encourage whistleblowing needed, says expert
Greater statutory protection, support from regulatory bodies and, above all, a culture change to encourage whistleblowing are required to protect patients and clinicians, according to an editorial published on today.

Prescribing sunshine for multiple sclerosis?
Could a holiday in the sun reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis?

Less toxic drug prolongs survival in metastatic breast cancer
A Northwestern University study has found that a less toxic, solvent-free chemotherapy drug more effectively prevents the progression of metastatic breast cancer and has fewer side effects than a commonly used solvent-based drug.

Researchers identify biological markers that may indicate poor breast cancer prognosis
A team of researchers has found an association between breast cancer survival and two proteins that are indicators of inflammation.

Researchers gain ground in efforts to fight parasite infection
New findings by researchers UT Southwestern Medical Center are accelerating efforts to eradicate worm infections that afflict a third of the world's population.

Jeepers creepers: Climate change threatens endangered honeycreepers
As climate change causes temperatures to increase in Hawaii's mountains, deadly non-native bird diseases will likely also creep up the mountains, invading most of the last disease-free refuges for honeycreepers -- a group of endangered and remarkable birds.

Elsevier hosts exclusive webcast on measuring performance in multidisciplinary research landscape
A groundbreaking case study on alternative energy illustrates new method for identifying leaders.

Zebrafish provide a model for cancerous melanoma in humans
In a new study published in Disease Models & Mechanisms, scientists use the zebrafish to gain insight into the influence of known cancer genes on the development and progression of melanoma, an aggressive form of human skin cancer with limited treatment options.

Caffeic acid inhibits colitis in a mouse model -- is a drug-metabolizing gene crucial?
Researchers at Iowa State University have found that increased expression of a form of cytochrome P-450 is a key marker of inhibition of colitis in mice by caffeic acid, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant compound widely distributed in foods.

Green tea extract shows promise in leukemia trials
Mayo Clinic researchers are reporting positive results in early leukemia clinical trials using the chemical epigallocatechin gallate, an active ingredient in green tea.

Study shows bank risk-assessment tool not responding adequately to market fluctuations
A new study from North Carolina State University indicates that regulators need to do more to ensure that banks are adequately computing their Value-at-Risk to reflect fluctuations in financial markets, which is significant because VaRs are key risk-assessment tools financial institutions use to determine the amount of capital they need to keep on hand to cover potential losses.

NASA/University team develops new method to find alien oceans
NASA-sponsored scientists looking back at Earth with the Deep Impact/EPOXI mission have developed a method to indicate whether Earth-like alien worlds have oceans.

New technique could find water on Earth-like planets orbiting distant suns
A team of astronomers and astrobiologists has devised a technique to tell whether small Earth-like planets orbiting other suns harbor liquid water, which in turn could tell whether they might be able to support life.

Society for Prevention Research Meeting in Washington, D.C., May 27-29, 2009
Prevention researchers will present new findings at the Society for Prevention Research annual meeting held May 27-29, 2009, in Washington, D.C.

Poor attention in kindergarten predicts lower high school test scores, UC Davis researchers find
As thousands of students nationwide prepare to leave high school, a UC Davis study appearing online today in the June issue of the medical journal Pediatrics shows a clear link between attention problems early in school -- as early as kindergarten -- and lower high school test scores.

New tool to improve patient understanding of long-acting injectable antipsychotic therapies (LAT) unveiled in April issue of Psychiatry 2009
A new instrument for improving patient understanding and acceptance of long-acting injectable antipsychotic therapy has been published in the April edition of Psychiatry 2009.

Notre Dame researchers describe new tool for evaluating 'managed relocations'
Three University of Notre Dame researchers are among the authors of a new paper that describes a ground-breaking tool designed to help policy makers determine when and how to use an environmental strategy known as

NTU signs MOU with Technische Universitat Munchen
Nanyang Technological University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Technische Universitat Munchen, a leading German research university, to foster faculty and student exchanges on Monday, May 25, 2009.

In rare disease, a familiar protein disrupts gene function
Scientists studying a rare genetic disease discovered that a bundle of proteins with the long-established function of keeping chromosomes together also plays an important role in regulating genes in humans.

What is the function of lymph nodes?
A new paper, published in this week's issue of PLoS Biology, suggests that lymph nodes are not essential in the mouse in marshaling T cells (a main immune foot soldier) to respond to a breach of the skin barrier.

Shellfish face an uncertain future in a high CO2 world
Overfishing and disease have decimated shellfish populations in many of the world's temperate estuarine and coastal ecosystems.

HIV prevention program gets a boost from NIMH recovery act funds
NIMH awarded a two-year grant to David Perez-Jimenez, Ph.D., at the University of Puerto Rico, to support the adaptation and assessment of an HIV and other sexually transmitted infection intervention designed for young, heterosexual Latino couples.

'Disordered' amino acids may really be there to provide wiggle room for signaling protein
Sections of proteins previously considered

New therapy substitutes missing protein in those with muscular dystrophy
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have discovered a new therapy that shows potential to treat people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal disease and the most common form of muscular dystrophy in children.

Nearly 1 million Californians seek medical care in Mexico annually
Driven by rising healthcare costs at home, nearly one million Californians cross the border each year to seek medical care in Mexico, according to new research published today in the journal Medical Care.

Scientists reaching consensus on how brain processes speech
Neuroscientists feel they are much closer to an accepted unified theory about how the brain processes speech and language, according to a scientist at Georgetown University Medical Center who first laid the concepts a decade ago and who has now published a review article confirming the theory.

Scientists find city rats are loyal to their 'hoods
In the rat race of life, one thing is certain: there's no place like home.

Use of acid-suppressive medications associated with increased risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia
Hospitalized patients who receive acid-suppressive medications such as a proton-pump inhibitor have a 30 percent increased odds of developing pneumonia while in the hospital, according to a study in the May 27 issue of JAMA.

Mayo study finds that team preop briefing improves communication, reduces errors
A short, preoperative team briefing prior to cardiac surgery -- where each person on the team speaks -- improves communication and reduces errors and costs, according to a pilot study conducted at Mayo Clinic.

Cancer drug causes patient to lose fingerprints and be detained by US immigration
Immigration officials held a cancer patient for four hours before they allowed him to enter the US because one of his cancer drugs caused his fingerprints to disappear.

A new mouse model provides insight into genetic neurological disorders
Neurosensory diseases are difficult to model in mice because their symptoms are complex and diverse.

John P. Cogswell, Ph.D., receives 2009 Alzheimer Award
John P. Cogswell, Ph.D., has been chosen as the recipient of the 2009 Alzheimer Award presented by the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in recognition of his outstanding work,

Targeting the more lethal form of the cancer rhabdomyosarcoma
Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) are the most common forms of an aggressive muscle cancer that mostly affects children.

Lifelong cancer risk for patients treated for childhood cancer
Childhood cancer survivors have a persistent and high risk for a second primary cancer throughout their lives, according to a new study published in the May 26 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Francois Furstenberg earns N.Y.C. library fellowship
Francois Furstenberg, a Universite de Montreal history professor, is headed to New York City to write about the French and American revolutions thanks to a prestigious fellowship. 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