Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 01, 2009
Study identifies biomarker that safely monitors tumor response to new brain cancer treatment
A specific biomarker, a protein released by dying tumor cells, has been identified as an effective tool in an animal model to gauge the response to a novel gene therapy treatment for glioblastoma mulitforme.

Axel Ullrich named winner of 2009 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
Johnson & Johnson announced that Axel Ullrich, Ph.D., director of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, whose discoveries have led to novel cancer therapies including Herceptin (trastuzumab), is the winner of the 2009 Dr.

Desert rhubarb -- a self-irrigating plant
Researchers from the department of science education-biology at the University of Haifa-Oranim have managed to make out the

Hormone treatment eases post-surgery distress in children
In the July issue of Anesthesiology, UC Irvine physicians focused on reducing anxiety in children and their families report that oral treatment with melatonin before surgery can significantly reduce the occurrence of emergence delirium in children.

Study strongly supports many genetic contributions to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
An international research consortium has discovered that many common genetic variants contribute to a person's risk of schizophrenia, providing the first molecular evidence that this form of genetic variation is involved in schizophrenia.

Scientists: Salamanders, regenerative wonders, heal like mammals, people
The salamander is a superhero of regeneration, able to replace lost limbs, damaged lungs, sliced spinal cord -- even bits of lopped-off brain.

New science review examines multiple health benefits of dairy foods
In a supplement to the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, several prominent nutrition researchers weigh in on an updated review of the health benefits of consuming dairy foods.

Blood stem cell growth factor reverses memory decline in mice
A human growth factor that stimulates blood stem cells to proliferate in bone marrow reverses memory impairment in mice genetically altered to develop Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds.

Emerging techniques put a new twist on ankle repair
People with ankle injuries who do not respond successfully to initial treatment may have a second chance at recovery, thanks to two new procedures.

Microbial analysis, micropatterning methods featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
The July issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols presents a method for quantifying populations of microorganisms in a variety of naturally occurring conditions such as plankton samples or biofilms, as well as a simple, fast and efficient method for generating micropatterns for cellular studies.

Researchers testing virus-gene therapy combination against melanoma
Researchers at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center are injecting a modified herpes virus into melanoma tumors, hoping to kill the cancer cells while also bolstering the body's immune defenses against the disease.

Deep brain stimulation shows promising results for some patients with cerebral palsy
Deep brain stimulation improves movement skills and quality of life in some patients with a subtype of cerebral palsy, dystonia-choreoathetosis CP, and could be an effective treatment option for these patients, finds an article published online first and in the July edition of the Lancet Neurology.

Wagner's 'difficult' reputation unwarranted says research
The composer Richard Wagner is well-known, even notorious, for writing operas that can challenge both performers and listeners.

ADA releases updated position paper on vegetarian diets
The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position paper on vegetarian diets that concludes such diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

Joint replacement patients with diabetes greatly benefit from controlled glucose
Diabetics undergoing total joint replacement often are at a higher risk of experiencing complications after surgery due to various pre-existing health conditions.

Colorectal cancer
Previously, only a few genes had been associated with the formation of metastases in colorectal cancer.

UNC study rewrites textbook on key genetic phenomenon
A new UNC study appearing online July 1 in the journal Nature disputes current scientific belief by showing that X-inactivation can occur even in the absence of a gene previously thought to be the trigger of the process.

Plants save the earth from an icy doom
Fifty million years ago, the North and South poles were ice-free and crocodiles roamed the Arctic.

Stanford discovery pinpoints new connection between cancer cells, stem cells
A molecule called telomerase, best known for enabling unlimited cell division of stem cells and cancer cells, has a surprising additional role in the expression of genes in an important stem cell regulatory pathway, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets revealed about how disease-causing DNA mutations occur
A team of Penn State scientists has shed light on the processes that lead to certain human DNA mutations that are implicated in hundreds of inherited diseases.

A young brain for an old bee
Scientists have found that by switching the social role of honey bees, aging honey bees can keep their learning ability intact or even improve it.

Clue to normal-tension glaucoma; herpes infection and corneal transplants
The July issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, includes two studies that may influence clinical treatment of serious eye conditions.

UCLA collaboration identifies immune system link to schizophrenia
Researchers at UCLA and colleagues from around the world have, for the first time, identified additional genes that confirm what scientists have long suspected -- that the immune system may play a role in the development of schizophrenia.

Biomarker of breathing control abnormality associated with hypertension and stroke
A study in the July 1 issue of the journal Sleep identified a distinct ECG-derived spectrographic phenotype, designated as narrow-band elevated low frequency coupling (e-LFCNB), that is associated with prevalent hypertension, stroke, greater severity of sleep disordered breathing and sleep fragmentation in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

VYVANSE CII provided significant efficacy at 14 hours in adults with ADHD
Shire announced results from a Phase 3b study that found VYVANSE (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) CII demonstrated significant efficacy at 14 hours after administration during a simulated workplace environment in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Exercise helps patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Counseling patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease on how to increase physical activity leads to health benefits that are independent of changes in weight.

Triggering muscle development -- a therapeutic cure for muscle wastage?
Scientists have shown that if elderly men who were given growth hormone and exercised their legs showed an appreciable muscle mass increase.

Inbred bumblebees less successful
Declining bumblebee populations are at greater risk of inbreeding, which can trigger a downward spiral of further decline.

Cancer geneticist Janet Davison Rowley to receive $500,000 Gruber genetics prize
Janet Davison Rowley, M.D., a founder in the field of cancer cytogenetics and a renowned leader in molecular oncology, will receive the 2009 Genetics Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation.

Predicting the return of prostate cancer: New Johns Hopkins study betters the odds of success
Cancer experts at Johns Hopkins say a study tracking 774 prostate cancer patients for a median of eight years has shown that a three-way combination of measurements has the best chance yet of predicting disease metastasis.

Acid-reducing medicines may lead to dependency
Treatment with proton pump inhibitors for eight weeks induces acid-related symptoms like heartburn, acid regurgitation and dyspepsia once treatment is withdrawn in healthy individuals.

New treatment for receding gums: No pain, lots of gain
Tufts dental researchers demonstrate three-year success with a tissue regeneration application that reduces the pain and recovery time of gum grafting surgery.

Study examines liver transplantation after drug induced acute liver failure
Liver transplantation offers a good chance for survival for patients with drug induced acute liver failure, however, certain pre-transplant factors are associated with worse outcomes.

Genetically engineered mice yield clues to 'knocking out' cancer
Researchers from NIST, Oregon Health and Science University and the New York University School of Medicine have demonstrated that deleting two genes in mice responsible for repairing DNA strands damaged by oxidation leads to several types of tumors, providing additional evidence that such stress contributes to the development of cancer.

Cell transplantation and cardiac repair
Two separate studies published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation into cardiac repair by cell transplantation have found, respectively, that the best way to deliver autologous bone-marrow mononuclear cells to the heart following a myocardial infarction was via the anterograde intracoronary vein and that bone marrow cell transplants for limb ischemia induced angiogenesis in patients failing therapy and facing amputation.

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic roots
A trio of genome-wide studies -- collectively the largest to date -- has pinpointed an array of genetic variation that cumulatively may account for at least one-third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia.

Earth's most prominent rainfall feature creeping northward
The rain band near the equator that determines the supply of freshwater to nearly a billion people throughout the tropics and subtropics has been creeping north for more than 300 years.

International team of students and scientists on month-long field course in Siberian Arctic
Scientists and undergraduate students from across the United States and Russia are departing July 2 for a month-long field course in the Russian Arctic.

Double success for Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia scientists working on chromosome segregation
Lars Jansen's work on the formation of the centromere, a key cellular structure in powering and controlling chromosome segregation and accurate cell division, has just earned him a paper in Nature Cell Biology and a prestigious EMBO installation grant, of 50,000 euro per year, for a maximum of five years, to be carried out at the IGC, in Portugal.

New e-science service could accelerate cancer research
The University of Manchester and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute have launched a major new e-science resource for biologists -- which could accelerate research into treatments for H1N1 flu and cancer.

NEJM study addresses impact of Medicare Part D on medical spending
After enrolling in Medicare Part D, seniors who previously had limited or no drug coverage spent more on prescriptions and less on other medical care service, says a University of Pittsburgh study in the July 2 issue of New England Journal of Medicine.

Both good/bad movie characters who smoke influence teens to do the same
Dartmouth researchers have determined that movie characters who smoke, regardless of whether they are

Mangrove-dependent animals globally threatened
An assessment in the July/August issue of BioScience finds that substantial numbers of terrestrial vertebrates are restricted to mangrove forests.

The 'other' cruciate ligament: Newer treatments for PCL tears
While major advances have been made in the understanding of posterior cruciate ligament anatomy and reconstruction, a literature review published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons finds that there must be continued advances in basic science research in order to determine the best course of treatment for those with PCL injuries.

JCI online early table of contents: July 1, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, July 1, 2009, in the JCI, including:

NIST develops novel ion trap for sensing force and light
A novel ion trap demonstrated at NIST could usher in a new generation of applications, because the device holds promise as a stylus for sensing very small forces or for an interface for efficient transfer of individual light particles for quantum communications.

Chromosomal problems affect nearly all human embryos
For the first time, scientists have shown that chromosomal abnormalities are present in more than 90 percent of IVF embryos, even those produced by young, fertile couples

Researchers find clear difference in quality, type of lung cancer info available in US and Japan
A study published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology revealed that internet-based lung cancer information was of a higher quality in the United States than in Japan.

IOP announces 2009 award winners
Successful business applications such as drug screening technologies, flat-panel displays and solar-cell designs are amongst the achievements in physics recognised by the Institute of Physics' 2009 awards, announced today (Wednesday, July 1), along with leading research in a wide range of fields from astronomy to optical physics, and excellence in engaging the general public with physics.

Astronomer's new guide to the galaxy: Largest map of cold dust revealed
Astronomers have unveiled an unprecedented new atlas of the inner regions of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, peppered with thousands of previously undiscovered dense knots of cold cosmic dust -- the potential birthplaces of new stars.

UT researcher: Interferon alpha can delay full onset of type I diabetes
A low dose of oral interferon alpha shows promise in preserving beta cell function for patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

U of Minnesota finds treatment that significantly slows progression of eye damage in persons with type 1 diabetes
University of Minnesota Medical School researcher Michael Mauer, M.D., has found a treatment that significantly slows the progression of eye injury in people with type 1 diabetes, a common complication caused by this disease.

NIST issues human milk and blood serum SRMs for contaminant measurements
NIST has issued four new Standard Reference Materials to help researchers accurately measure organic contaminants in human body fluids, including milk and blood serum.

Women with endometriosis need special care during pregnancy to avoid risk of premature birth
The largest study of endometriosis in pregnant women has found that the condition is a major risk factor for premature birth, the 25th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard on Wednesday, July 1.

Poor sleep is independently associated with depression in postpartum women
A study in the July 1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that postpartum depression may aggravate an already impaired sleep quality, as experiencing difficulties with sleep is a symptom of depression.

Forest Service designates new experimental forest in Tongass National Forest
The USDA Forest Service established a new experimental forest in Alaska on June 25.

Infants should be screened for hip trouble
Developmental hip dysplasia is the most common congenital defect in newborns.

MS study offers theory for why repair of brain's wiring fails
Scientists have uncovered new evidence suggesting that damage to nerve cells in people with multiple sclerosis accumulates because the body's natural mechanism for repair of the nerve coating called

Common antibacterial treatment linked to sensorineural hearing loss in cystic fibrosis patients
An otherwise effective treatment for cystic fibrosis places patients at a high risk of sensorineural hearing loss, according to new research published in the July edition of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Will IVF work for a particular patient? The answer may be found in her blood
For the first time, researchers have been able to identify genetic predictors of the potential success or failure of IVF treatment in blood.

Hall, Rosbash and Young share $500,000 Gruber neuroscience prize
The 2009 neuroscience prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is being awarded to Jeffrey Hall, professor of neurogenetics at the University of Maine; Michael Rosbash, professor and director of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis University; and Michael Young, professor and head of the Laboratory of Genetics at Rockefeller University, for their groundbreaking discoveries of the molecular mechanisms that control circadian (daily) rhythms in the nervous system.

Lack of sleep could be more dangerous for women than men
Women who get less than the recommended eight hours sleep a night are at higher risk of heart disease and heart-related problems than men with the same sleeping patterns.

Increasing age of mothers in Spain leads to rise in mortality rates
A new study examining the evolution of maternal mortality rates in Spain since 1996 shows a 17 percent increase in deaths.

Research network wins approximately £5.7 million to target human and animal diseases in Africa
Deadly diseases including plague, Ebola and Rift Valley Fever are being targeted as part of a new multimillion pound international partnership involving African researchers and the London International Development Center.

Newly appreciated membrane estrogen receptor important therapeutic target for breast cancer
New research at Rhode Island Hospital has uncovered the biological effects of a novel membrane estrogen receptor, a finding that has potential implications for hormonal therapy for breast cancer.

Schizophrenia linked for first time to chromosome region in study led by Stanford scientists
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have played a major role in an international effort that has shown, for the first time, that modern genetic technologies can solve the riddle of how gene variations lead to schizophrenia.

New class of black holes discovered
A new class of black hole, more than 500 times the mass of the sun, has been discovered by an international team of astronomers.

News media registration open for 49th ICAAC, Sept. 12-15, 2009, San Francisco
News media registration for the annual infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology is now open.

Lap-Band weight-loss surgery can reverse metabolic syndrome in obese teens
A new study of obese adolescents has shown that laparoscopic gastric banding surgery -- the

New discovery to aid in diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in collaboration with scientists at the University of Louisville and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France, have identified the target antigen PLA2R in patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (kidney disease), which has implications for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Study examines dietary influences of liver disease
Diets high in protein and cholesterol are associated with a higher risk of hospitalization or death due to cirrhosis or liver cancer, while diets high in carbohydrates are associated with a lower risk.

Study shows that a combination of common genetic variations can lead to schizophrenia
The finding suggests that schizophrenia is much more complex than previously thought, and can arise not only from both rare genetic variants but also from a significant number of common ones.

Key to evolutionary fitness: Cut the calories
Charles Darwin postulated that animals eat as much as possible while food is plentiful, and produce as many offspring as this would allow.

Those unsure of own ideas more resistant to views of others
We swim in a sea of information, but filter out most of what we see or hear.

Plants put limit on ice ages
When glaciers advanced over much of the Earth's surface during the last ice age, what kept the planet from freezing over entirely?

Unexpectedly long-range effects in advanced magnetic devices
A tiny grid pattern has led materials scientists at NIST and the Institute of Solid State Physics in Russia to an unexpected finding -- the surprisingly strong and long-range effects of certain electromagnetic nanostructures used in data storage.

Nanotechnology may increase longevity of dental fillings
Tooth-colored fillings may be more attractive than silver ones, but the bonds between the white filling and the tooth quickly age and degrade.

JNCI news brief: Cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination in the Netherlands
Even under favorable assumptions, including lifelong protection against 70 percent of all cervical cancers and no side effects, vaccination against the human papillomavirus is not cost-effective in the Netherlands, according to a study published online July 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

JNCI news brief: Risk of breast cancer and a single-nucleotide polymorphism
The single-nucleotide polymorphism known as 2q35-rs13387042 is associated with increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive and -negative breast cancer, according to a study published online July 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The least sea ice in 800 years
New research, which reconstructs the extent of ice in the sea between Greenland and Svalbard from the 13th century to the present indicates that there has never been so little sea ice as there is now.

Clocking salt levels in the blood: A link between the circadian rhythm and salt balance
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests a link between the circadian rhythm and control of sodium (salt) levels in the blood of mice.

Cancer survivors at greater risk of birth complications; special monitoring needed
Survivors of childhood cancer run particular risks when pregnant and should be closely monitored, say Dutch researchers.

New clue into how brain stem cells develop into cells which repair damaged tissue
Scientists have discovered a new mechanism in brain stem cells that controls how and when they develop into cells which repair damage in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Mayo Clinic study finds celiac disease 4 times more common than in 1950s
Celiac disease, an immune system reaction to gluten in the diet, is over four times more common today than it was 50 years ago, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study published this month in the journal Gastroenterology.

Alzheimer's research yields potential drug target
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara and several other institutions have found laboratory evidence that a cluster of peptides may be the toxic agent in Alzheimer's disease.

Sleep duration is associated with variations in levels of inflammatory markers in women
A study in the July 1 issue of the journal Sleep demonstrates that levels of inflammatory markers varied significantly with self-reported sleep duration in women but not men.

African institutions lead international consortia in $49 million initiative
More than 50 institutions from 18 African countries -- from Senegal to Sudan to South Africa -- are to participate in international consortia under a £30 ($49) million initiative from the Wellcome Trust to strengthen research capacity on the continent. 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