Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 25, 2009
CWRU receives $5 million from Ohio Third Frontier Commission
The Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, comprised of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Athersys Inc., has received $5 million from Ohio's Third Frontier Commission under the Research Commercialization Program.

New fossil tells how piranhas got their teeth
Previously unknown fossil fish bridges the evolutionary gap between flesh-eating piranhas and their plant-eating cousins

Engineering autism: Mice with extra chromosome region show many autistic signs
Mice who inherit a particular chromosomal duplication from their fathers show many behaviors associated with human autism, researchers report in the June 26 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press Publication.

Roadsters embrace green racing
Green racing is now part of the American Le Mans series.

UT gets federal stimulus grant for Parkinson's disease research
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has received a $412,500 federal stimulus grant for Parkinson's disease research, the university announced today.

U-M study finds voice box can be preserved, even with the largest cancers
Some patients with large tumors on their larynx can preserve their speech by opting for chemotherapy and radiation over surgery to remove the voice box.

Binge drinking linked with hemorrhagic stroke in Korean men
Frequent binge drinking -- having six or more alcoholic drinks at one occasion, at lease once a week -- by Korean men was associated with a dramatic increase in hemorrhagic stroke.

AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting begins Sunday
The AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting convenes more than 2,300 researchers, policymakers and practitioners to discuss the latest research into how to improve the nation's health-care delivery system, expand access and reduce costs.

STAT3 protein found to play a key role in cancer
A protein called STAT3 has been found to play a fundamental role in converting normal cells to cancerous cells, according to a new study led by David E.

Nematode courting caught on camera
Researchers studying the nervous control of nematode mating behavior have produced video footage of a male worm preparing to mate with a hermaphrodite.

What should a teenage girl do if she finds a lump in her breast?
If a lump is found in the breast of an adolescent girl, she often will undergo an excisional biopsy.

Your arteries on Wonder Bread
A landmark study from Tel Aviv University shows how high carb foods cause heart attacks.

Minimum alcohol price of 50 pence per unit could lead to 100,000 fewer hospital admissions per year in UK
In a second comment which accompanies the alcohol series, Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, discusses the industry friendly policies that have led to a 33-fold increase in alcohol consumption in Thailand over just 40 years.

Exposure to phthalates may be a risk factor for low birth weight in infants
Many parents worry about their child's exposure to phthalates, the chemical compounds used as plasticizers in a wide variety of personal care products, children's toys and medical devices.

Effective solar cells and sensitive bioanalysis
A new simulation program optimizes the structure and configuration of the metallic contact fingers in concentrator solar cells, thereby improving the efficiency factor, and a highly sensitive method of producing cDNA fragments from biological sample material has been developed.

'Nature' and 'nurture' variables early predictors of AMD
Like many diseases, causes for age-related macular degeneration can be categorized as either

Internists support broad goals of House 'tri-committee' proposed health-reform legislation
Agreeing with the broad goals and most of the underlying policies contained in a comprehensive draft bill on health care reform legislation, the American College of Physicians today praised the House

Nation's first children's hospital-based safety store focuses on child injury prevention
The Riley Safety Store at Riley Hospital for Children, the first of its kind in the nation, is serving as a model for children's hospitals across the nation.

Computers aid in cracking deception in plants
If the growing presence of computer 'geeks' on television crime shows is any indicator, computers are increasingly becoming essential tools for detecting and combating skullduggery.

UT San Antonio researcher wins $917,000 from NIH to study memory
University of Texas at San Antonio neuroscience researcher Brian Derrick has won $917,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health to research the effects of time on the preservation of episodic, or autobiographical, memories by the brain's dentate gyrus.

In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires' flames
The recent increase in area burned by wildfires in the Western United States is a product not of higher temperatures or longer fire seasons alone, but a complex relationship between climate and fuels that varies among different ecosystems, according to a study conducted by US Forest Service and university scientists.

Taxpayer Alliance applauds bill to broaden access to federal research results
Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John Cornyn today introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act, a bill to ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by 11 US federal agencies.

The AGA Foundation awards grant to Dr. Michael Choi to further his research on carcinoid tumors
The AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition has named Michael Y.

Projected food, energy demands seen to outpace production
With the caloric needs of the planet expected to soar by 50 percent in the next 40 years, planning and investment in global agriculture will become critically important, according a new report released today.

University of Houston research team aims to help caregivers monitor patients' health and whereabouts
For those who are caring for elderly parents, peace of mind is hard to come by.

Cells use import machinery to export their goods as well
Research suggests a new level of regulation for cellular export process by molecules previously assumed to be dedicated to import activities.

Bush's court appointments emphasized ideology over diversity
The judicial appointments of former president George W. Bush suggests that his motivation for appointing nontraditional judges was driven more by ideology and strategy than concerns for diversity, a new analysis shows.

Kidney damage from medical imaging procedures can cause long-term health problems
Kidney injury that can arise after undergoing certain medical imaging procedures increases a patient's risk of having a stroke or heart attack over the next year or two, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

International framework convention on alcohol control, similar to that for tobacco, is needed to confront alcohol disease burden
Despite clear evidence of the major contribution alcohol makes to the global burden of disease and to substantial economic costs, focus on alcohol control is inadequate internationally and in most countries.

Engineering innovative solutions for 21st century medicine
The Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have announced joint funding for four new Centers of Excellence in Medical Engineering to transform the future of health care.

Like burrs on your clothes, molecule-size capsules can deliver drugs by sticking to targeted cells
It is now possible to engineer tiny containers the size of a virus to deliver drugs and other materials with almost 100 percent efficiency to targeted cells in the bloodstream.

NTU receives $2.7 million research funds for innovative water quality monitoring technologies
Two projects from Nanyang Technological University receive up to S$4 ($2.7) million in research fund from the Environment & Water Industry Development Council under its second Challenge Call for Request-for-Proposals in the area of rapid microbial detection.

Diabetes is significant economic burden for US health-care system
Excess medical expenses and reduced productivity due to diabetes costs the US economy more than $174 billion annually, a figure that could be reduced by lifestyle modifications and preventive care and by pay-for-performance incentives that reward improved disease management, as supported by three articles in the recent issue of Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Making alcohol both more expensive and less available, and banning advertising are highly cost-effective strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm
Of the interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm, making alcohol both more expensive and less available, and banning advertising are the most cost-effective strategies.

American Association of Physicists in Medicine 51st Annual Meeting
Thousands of scientists and health professionals from the field of medical physics will meet at the 51st meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine from July 26-30, 2009, in Anaheim, Calif.

Environmental cues control reproductive timing and longevity, University of Minnesota study shows
When humans and animals delay reproduction because food or other resources are scarce, they may live longer to increase the impact of reproduction, according to a new study by University of Minnesota researchers.

Does quantum mechanics show a connection between the human mind and the cosmos?
Does quantum mechanics show a connection between the human mind and the cosmos?

New nanoparticles could revolutionize therapeutic drug discovery
A revolutionary new protein stabilization technique has been developed by scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council which could lead to 30 percent more proteins being available as potential targets for drug development -- opening up exciting possibilities in drug discovery.

Study challenges routine use of MRI scans to evaluate breast cancer
Reviewing the records of 577 breast cancer patients, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers found that women with newly diagnosed breast cancer who receive a breast MRI are more likely to receive a mastectomy after their diagnosis and may face delays in starting treatment.

T-STAR grant funds genetic studies on shrimp and papaya and endangered cycad rescue
The University of Guam's Western Pacific Tropical Research Center was awarded $510,165 in T-STAR grant funds from USDA.

Cambridge scientists cage chemical demon
A Cambridge University-led research team has discovered a technique to safely handle and transport white phosphorous.

Antidepressant directly stimulates brain growth factor receptors
The tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline can directly bind and stimulate the growth factor receptors TrkA and TrkB in the brain.

Fitting squares into circles
Particle filters are standard in the basic fittings for cars.

CPAP treatment linked to lower mortality in stroke patients with OSA
Stroke patients with obstructive sleep apnea who undergo treatment with continuous positive airway pressure following their stroke may substantially reduce their risk of death, according to Spanish research to be published in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

New gene discovery links obesity to the brain
A variation in a gene that is active in the central nervous system is associated with increased risk for obesity, according to an international study in which Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University played a major role.

Latino teens happier, healthier if families embrace biculturalism
Over the years, research has shown that Latino youth face numerous risk factors when integrating into American culture, including increased rates of alcohol and higher rates of dropping out of school.

Remembering what to remember and what to forget
People in very early stages of Alzheimer's disease already have trouble focusing on what is important to remember, a UCLA psychologist and colleagues report.

Experts: Big Tobacco dead by 2047, possibly sooner
President Barack Obama's signature on a bill this week to grant the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco was historic, and represents a step in the march to eliminate tobacco use in this country by 2047, two national tobacco experts said today.

Online ethics and the bloggers' code revealed
Whatever their reason for posting their thoughts online, bloggers have a shared ethical code, according to a recent study published in the journal New Media Society, published by SAGE.

NCAR teams with Inter-American Development Bank to help Latin America prepare for climate change
NCAR is teaming up with the Inter-American Development Bank to launch a far-reaching program to help Latin American and Caribbean nations prepare for the impacts of global warming.

Novel handheld device detects anthrax with outstanding accuracy and reliability
Veritide will present data at Biodetection Technologies 2009 confirming the exceptional accuracy of its portable detection device in discriminating between anthrax and hoax substances.

Vitamin A derivative provides clues to better breast cancer drugs
A comparison of the effects of estrogen and retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, on the genome of breast cancer cells showed that they have a

Effective pain treatment for cancer patients?
Cancer patients often suffer from severe pain that cannot be effectively treated with conventional medication.

More gene mutations linked to autism risk
More pieces in the complex autism inheritance puzzle are emerging in the latest gene study of autism spectrum disorders.

University of Leeds wins $18 million funding to improve the quality of our old age
The University of Leeds has won £11 ($18) million to continue its long-established track record in developing new therapies for an aging population.

Brain plasticity: Changes and resets in homeostasis
In an article published in the June 25 edition of the journal Neuron, researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, have found that synaptic plasticity, long implicated as a device for

Study characterizes eczema patients most at risk for dangerous viral infections
Eczema patients at risk for serious viral infections have more severe disease, are more likely to be allergic to food and other allergens, and have a frequent history of staph infections, according to researchers at National Jewish Health.

Childhood physical abuse linked to cancer
Childhood physical abuse is associated with elevated rates of cancer in adulthood, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers.

Long-term apple scab resistance remains elusive, Purdue expert says
There are hundreds of choices when picking a crabapple tree from the nursery, but a Purdue University expert says only a handful are resistant to a widespread fungus or other serious diseases.

Artificial liver for drug tests
The liver is one of the most important metabolizing organs in humans.

Alcohol must be given political priority
In a comment which accompanies the alcohol series, Professors Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita, University of Auckland, New Zealand, say that, despite the parallels between alcohol and tobacco,

MicroRNAs help control HIV life cycle
Scientists at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have discovered that specific microRNAs (noncoding RNAs that interfere with gene expression) reduce HIV replication and infectivity in human T-cells.

Explosives prevent technology theft
Product piracy causes billions worth of damage worldwide. A combination of visible and invisible copy protection is really effective against this.

Scientists uncover patterns of genetic changes in mental retardation
Researchers at Radboud University Medical Center, together with UK Medical Research Council scientists at Oxford University, have uncovered some of the central characteristics of genes underlying mental retardation.

Virus filters for medical diagnosis
In biomedicine and biotechnology the smallest, complex, compound sample quantities must be reliably processed.

10 students receive scholarships for outstanding work in public health systems research
AcademyHealth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have awarded 10 scholarships to graduate students who demonstrate outstanding potential to contribute to the field of public health systems research.

Total knee replacements increase mobility and motor skills in older patients
According to a new study from researchers at Duke University, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures performed in older patients with osteoarthritis of the knee result in long-term, significant improvement of physical functioning and motor skills when compared to patients who do not receive TKA.

Europe and China watching Earth together
Nearly 200 scientists from Europe and China have gathered in Barcelona this week to report on the progress of ongoing Dragon 2 research projects using data from ESA and Chinese Earth observation satellites.

A penny for your prions
North Carolina State University researchers have discovered a link between copper and the normal functioning of prion proteins, which are associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases such as Cruetzfeldt-Jakob in humans or

Cancer researchers link DICER1 gene mutation to rare childhood cancer
Research published today online in Science Express demonstrates the first definitive link between mutations in the gene DICER1 and cancer.

Superfood soy linked to reduction in smoker's lung damage risk
People who eat lots of soy products have better lung function, and are less likely to develop the smoking-associated lung disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Yerkes researchers identify parallel mechanism monkeys and humans use to recognize faces
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time rhesus monkeys and humans share a specific perceptual mechanism, configural perception, for discriminating among the numerous faces they encounter daily.

Rhesus monkeys discriminate faces much as humans do
Humans' ability to easily distinguish among many faces and recognize people they know goes way, way back, say researchers reporting online on June 25 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

In 'reading' a gaze, what we believe changes what we see
In primates including ourselves, the ability to register where others are looking is key in social circles.

Partner issues significantly influence women's sexual activity in later years, UCSF study shows
As a woman gets older, physical problems are less likely to influence whether she is sexually active than her partner's health or interest in sex, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Kaiser Permanente.

ATS, ERS jointly issue asthma assessment guidelines
The American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society have released official standards for clinical trials and practice with respect to the assessment of asthma.

Milky Way's super-efficient particle accelerators caught in the act
Thanks to a unique

Some stroke survivors' function slowly declines over time
Functional ability gradually declines annually for at least five years after a first ischemic stroke.

Getting the most out of gemstones
Emeralds, rubies and the like are referred to as colored gemstones by experts.

Research: Improving treatment of patients with heart attack
When faced with patients suffering a heart attack, doctors have two choices: fibrinolytic therapy, primary percutaneous coronary intervention.

Climate phenomenon influences England's chances in the Australian leg of the Ashes
The El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon has been shown to have a significant effect on the results of the Ashes cricket series.

New research shows dinosaurs may have been smaller than we thought
For millions of years, dinosaurs have been considered the largest creatures ever to walk on land.

City pupils use GPS to map heathland
Pupils from a Nottingham secondary school will use advanced GPS technology to help protect our unique habitats -- and the plants and animals that make their home there -- from the effects of climate change.

Controversial cancer stem cells offer new direction for treatment
In a review in Science, a University of Rochester Medical Center researcher sorts out the controversy and promise around a dangerous subtype of cancer cells, known as cancer stem cells, which seem capable of resisting many modern treatments.

St. Joseph's selected as only site to provide new genetic test for deadly type of brain cancer
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix has partnered with Castle Biosciences Inc. to provide the nation's first genomics-based test for patients suffering from glioblastoma multiforme, the most deadly form of primary brain cancer.

Alcohol causes more than half of all the premature deaths in Russian adults
Excessive alcohol consumption in Russia, particularly by men, has in several recent years caused more than half of all the deaths at ages 15-54 years.

SRNL to study applicability of solar cell coatings
A project under way at the US Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory will study how special coatings that mimic structures found in nature can increase the usefulness of solar energy as a vital part of the nation's future energy strategy.

Will individuals with Alzheimer's disease benefit from cataract surgery?
A multi-institutional team of researchers, led by the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, will begin a five-year, $2.9 million National Institutes of Health-funded study.

Around 1 in 25 deaths worldwide attributable to alcohol
Worldwide, one in 25 deaths and 5 percent of years lived with disability are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Stem cell surprise for tissue regeneration
Scientists working at the Carnegie Institution's department of embryology have overturned previous research that identified critical genes for making muscle stem cells.

Varying reductions in breast cancer suggest hormone therapy to blame
The recent decline in invasive breast cancer in the US was significantly less pronounced in the poor and those who live in rural areas.

Gladstone scientists identify key factor that controls HIV latency
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes of Virology and Immunology have found another clue that may lead to eradication of HIV from infected patients who have been on antiretroviral therapy.

Iowa State researchers contribute climate model to study that finds some winds decreasing
A team of three Iowa State University researchers contributed to a study that found average wind speeds across the country have decreased by an average of .5 percent to 1 percent per year since 1973.

Health care outcome boost needs better studies
Evidence suggests that outcomes in many clinical settings leave a lot to be desired, which means that research into quality improvement (QI) in clinical care has the potential to greatly improve the lot of patients.

High carbon dioxide levels cause abnormally large fish ear bones
Rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean have been shown to adversely affect shell-forming creatures and corals, and now a new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California -- San Diego has shown for the first time that CO2 can impact a fundamental bodily structure in fish.

Selenium intake may worsen prostate cancer in some, study reports
Higher selenium levels in the blood may worsen prostate cancer in some men who already have the disease.

European researchers look for new ways to fight multidrug-resistant bacterial infections
The Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine belonging to Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona is directing the AntiPathoGN European research project aimed at looking for new drug targets in pathogenic bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics.

MU scientists convert pigs' connective tissue cells into stem cells
Scientists at the University of Missouri have developed the ability to take regular cells from a pig's connective tissues, known as fibroblasts, and transform them into stem cells, eliminating several of the hurdles associated with stem cell research.

AIAA presenting 'Passport to the Future' teacher workshop
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will present a

Good males are bad fathers
Contrary to predictions, males of high genetic quality are not very successful when it comes to fertilizing eggs.

Glucose challenge test is accurate and economical for diabetes and prediabetes screening
A test commonly used to help identify women with diabetes during pregnancy may be an accurate, convenient and inexpensive way to screen the general population for unrecognized diabetes and prediabetes, according to Emory University researchers.

Structural biology scores with protein snapshot
In a landmark technical achievement, investigators in the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology have used nuclear magnetic resonance methods to determine the structure of the largest membrane-spanning protein to date.

Jurors fail to understand rape victims
Rape trial juries need better guidance in the courtroom -- and a better understanding of rape victims -- to help them reach their verdict. 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