Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 23, 2009
Global team develops tools to unravel diversity of rice
By looking at what different types of rice have in common, a team of international scientists are unlocking rice's genetic diversity to help conserve it and find valuable rice genes to help improve rice production.

Injection reverses heart-attack damage
Injured heart tissue normally can't regrow, but researchers at Children's Hospital Boston now offer a groundwork for regenerating heart tissue after a heart attack, in patients with heart failure, or in children with congenital heart defects.

Stem cells not the only way to fix a broken heart
Researchers appear to have a new way to fix a broken heart.

Technology on way to forecasting humanity's needs
Much as meteorologists predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, Indiana University's Alessandro Vespignani believes we will one day predict with unprecedented foresight, specificity and scale such things as the economic and social effects of billions of new Internet users in China and India, or the exact location and number of airline flights to cancel around the world in order to halt the spread of a pandemic.

The 'see food' diet
Current research suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent one of the leading causes of legal blindness among the elderly.

Case Western Reserve University receives $3.7M NIH grant to study autonomic nervous system link to painful bladder syndrome
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine if painful bladder syndrome may be caused by abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system rather than in the bladder itself.

Looking different 'helps animals to survive'
In the animal kingdom, everything is not as it seems.

Reprogrammed mouse fibroblasts can make a whole mouse
In a paper publishing online July 23 in Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press journal, Dr.

International conference on CO2 sequestration processes
Journalists are invited to observe initial tests of one the world's first carbon-dioxide sequestration plants, join a meeting of world scientific experts, and make related field trips to spectacular natural sites.

Mass. General team develops potentially safer general anesthetic
In the August issue of Anesthesiology, a team of Massachusetts General Hospital physicians describe preclinical studies of a new general anesthetic -- a chemically altered version of an exiting drug -- that does not cause the sudden drop in blood pressure seen with most anesthetics or prolonged suppression of adrenal gland activity, a problem with the parent drug.

Safer hair dyes and cosmetics to be made from Shetland seaweed
Scientists have launched a project to make hair dye out of seaweed from around the Shetland Islands.

Human cells secrete cancer-killing protein, UK study finds
The tumor-suppressor protein Par-4 is secreted by human and rodent cells and activates a novel extrinsic pathway involving cell surface GRP78 receptor for induction of apoptosis, researchers at the University of Kentucky led by Vivek Rangnekar announced in Cell.

Improving impaired attention may help patients recover from stroke
An attention training program may be a viable and effective way to improve attention span in stroke survivors.

The disease markers that will aid arthritis research
A combination of biochemical and MRI markers will allow improved measurement of osteoarthritis progression.

EPA grant to University of Chicago for research on food allergy triggers
The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $433,100 grant to the University of Chicago to investigate how allergic reactions to food are initiated.

Scientists discover key event in prostate cancer progression
Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered how hormone-dependent prostate cancer advances to the incurable hormone-independent disease state.

Is RTA a new potential option for the treatment of hydatid cysts?
Cystic echinococcosis is kind of helminthic zoonoses that can occasionally affected human beings.

Protein excreted in urine may be help in diagnosing kidney disease caused by HIV
New data collected at Columbia University Medical Center and by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine are helping researchers understand the extent to which a certain protein -- NGAL -- can play a significant role in marking chronic kidney disease resulting from HIV while at the same time distinguishing nephropathy from more common causes such as diabetes and hypertension.

Technology improves salmon passage at hydropower dams
Acoustic tags and numerical river models are two technologies developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that are helping improve salmon passage at the Columbia Basin's hydroelectric dams.

Brookhaven Lab and Hybridyne Imaging Technologies Inc. win R&D 100 award
The US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Hybridyne Imaging Technologies Inc. of Toronto, Canada, have won a 2009 R&D 100 Award for developing a compact gamma camera for high-resolution imaging of prostate cancer.

University launches coastal research vessel
Scientists at the University of Liverpool will launch a new coastal research vessel next week to help further understanding into plant and animal life in the Irish Sea.

Silicon with afterburners: Process developed at Rice could be boon to electronics manufacturer
Scientists at Rice University and North Carolina State University have found a method of attaching molecules to semiconducting silicon that may help manufacturers reach beyond the current limits of Moore's Law as they make microprocessors both smaller and more powerful.

The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis during a flight is often overestimated
The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis during a long flight is often overestimated.

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
The following highlights summarize research articles that are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

Patil: For he's a jolly good science fellow
Nobody can deny that this has been a jolly, good year for Dr.

Carnegie Mellon team makes sequestration recommendations
Carnegie Mellon researcehrs report that carbon capture and sequestration will not meet its full potential in the United States.

Getting to the bottom of rice
By looking at what different types of rice have in common, a team of international scientists is unlocking rice's genetic diversity to help conserve it and find valuable rice genes to help improve rice production.

New drug may reduce heart attack damage
A novel drug that targets a master disease-causing gene can dramatically reduce heart muscle damage after a heart attack and may lead to significantly improved patient outcomes, researchers at the University of New South Wales have shown.

UC San Diego's $3 million NSF grant to fund science festivals
The University of California, San Diego, has received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the 2010 San Diego Science Festival and fund the creation and growth of Science Festivals nationwide.

Human-dog communication -- breed as important as species
Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision.

Parasites keep things sexy in 'hotspots'
Evolutionarily speaking, parasites make sex a worthwhile thing to do, according to a study published online on July 23 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Embarrassing illnesses no bar to information sharing
People with potentially

SNM's Clinical Trials Network expands European membership of PET biomarker manufacturers
SNM's Clinical Trials Network today announced that several leading commercial providers of PET radiopharmaceuticals in Europe have registered their manufacturing sites with the network.

Social scientist suggests new research framework to study complex systems
The often-used one-size-fits-all approach to policies aimed at achieving sustainable social-ecological systems needs to be updated with a diagnostic tool to help scholars from multiple disciplines better frame the question and think through the variables, asserts social scientist and political economist Elinor Ostrom.

Short stressful events may improve working memory
Experiencing chronic stress day after day can produce wear and tear on the body physically and mentally, and can have a detrimental effect on learning and emotion.

American Joint Replacement Registry announced
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has incorporated the American Joint Replacement Registry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to collecting and reporting on hip and knee joint replacement procedures.

FTA selects Western Transportation Institute to create national assistance center for public lands
The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $1.5 million to the Western Transportation Institute at MSU to create and administer a technical assistance center for public lands managers nationwide.

July 27 meeting to plan evaluation of DC public schools
The National Research Council will hold a meeting on Monday, July 27, as part of a planning process for the proposed evaluation of District of Columbia Public Schools.

Exotic math making finance a less risky business
CSIRO has extended its partnership and licensing agreement with GFI FENICS, the market standard for pricing and analyzing foreign-exchange options.

Emphysema severity directly linked to coal dust exposure
Coal dust exposure is directly linked to severity of emphysema in smokers and nonsmokers alike, according to new research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

NASA celebrates Chandra X-Ray Observatory's 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, on July 23, 1999, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia and deployed into orbit.

Synchronized swimming of algae
Using high-speed cinematography, scientists at Cambridge University have discovered that individual algal cells can regulate the beating of their flagella in and out of synchrony in a manner that controls their swimming trajectories.

Research on molecular basis of water use efficiency in plants gets $1 million grant
Biochemist John Cushman is investigating how plants thrive in warmer, drier climates, which may become more widespread in the future due to global warming.

Small fossils provide key clues for interpreting environmental changes
The micropalaeontology team at the Department of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology at the University of the Basque Country is working on the study of microfossils under the direction of Mr.

Sticky protein helps reinforce fragile muscle membranes
A new study by scientists at the University of Iowa shows why muscle membranes don't rupture when healthy people exercise.

Bone from blood: Circulating cells form bone outside the normal skeleton, Penn study finds
The accepted dogma has been that bone-forming cells, derived from the body's connective tissue, are the only cells able to form the skeleton.

Genetically engineered bacteria compute the route
US researchers have created

A simpler definition for major depressive disorder
Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital's department of psychiatry propose that the definition for major depressive disorder should be shortened to include only the mood and cognitive symptoms that have been part of the definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the past 35 years.

Lisbon researcher gets set-up grant
Lars Jansen from the Gulbenkian Institute for Science in Oeiras, near Lisbon, is the recipient of an EMBO Installation Grant assisting him to establish a new research group in Portugal.

Fresh meats often contain additives harmful to kidney disease patients
Uncooked meat products enhanced with food additives may contain high levels of phosphorous and potassium that are not discernable from inspection of food labels, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Engineering researchers: Supercomputer fastest of its type in world
A supercomputer named Novo-G described by its lead designer as likely the most powerful computer of its kind in the world became operational this week at the University of Florida.

NTU unveils green and fastest supercomputer in ASEAN in collaboration with leading IT giants
Nanyang Technological University receives a significant boost in its research efforts with the installation of a green supercomputer at its new High Performance Computing Center on campus.

New lab test helps predict kidney damage
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a frequent complication in patients in intensive care.

Testing trauma cases for blood alcohol levels can identify high-risk patients
Heavy drinking often leads to trauma, and can also complicate subsequent assessment and patient care.

Oprah, Luke Skywalker and Maradona -- new study investigates how our brains respond to them
New research reveals how visual and auditory information converges into the firing of single neurons.

Lung volume reduction surgery shown to prolong and improve life for some emphysema patients
Lung volume reduction surgery can have a significantly beneficial effect in patients with severe emphysema, according to the first ever study to randomize emphysema patients to receive either LVRS or nonsurgical medical care.

Spring cold snap helps with stream ecosystem research
A rare April freeze in 2007 provided researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory with further evidence that climate change could have negative effects on stream and forest ecosystems.

Researchers create first targeted knockout rats using zinc finger nuclease technology
Scientists from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Sangamo Biosciences Inc., Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, Open Monoclonal Technology Inc. and INSERM today announced the creation of the first genetically modified mammals developed using zinc finger nuclease technology.

Stripping leukemia-initiating cells of their 'invisibility cloak'
Two new studies reveal a way to increase the body's appetite for gobbling up the cancer stem cells responsible for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a form of cancer with a particularly poor survival rate.

When the going gets noisy, some birds get going; others thrive
Many birds really can't stand a racket. But when the going gets noisy, a few species of birds actually thrive, according to a new report published online on July 23 in Current Biology, a Cell Press journal.

Detecting early signs of osteoarthritis
Researchers at the University of Nottingham are hoping to find out if inflammation of the knee could be an early sign of osteoarthritis -- a condition which leads to pain, stiffness, swelling and disability.

HIV infection and chronic drinking have a synergistic, damaging effect on the brain
At least half of clinic patients with the human immunodeficiency virus report they also drink heavily.

Some blood pressure drugs may help protect against dementia, study shows
A particular class of medication used to treat high blood pressure could protect older adults against memory decline and other impairments in cognitive function, according to a newly published study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Resistance to antibiotics: When 1+1 is not 2
The evolution of multiple antibiotic resistances is a global and difficult problem to eradicate.

URI researcher sheds light on 'man-eating' squid; finds them timid, nonthreatening
News reports last week about scuba divers off San Diego being menaced by large numbers of Humboldt's or jumbo squid have raised the ire of University of Rhode Island biologist Brad Seibel.

OMT announces a breakthrough in the development of a novel human antibody platform
OMT, in collaboration with Sangamo, Sigma-Aldrich, the Medical College of Wisconsin and INSERM, created the first targeted knockout rats with permanent heritable genetic mutations, as published in the July 24, 2009, edition of Science.

Alzheimer's-causing amyloid and bacteria trigger same immune response in the brain
In a new study published in the July issue of Cell Host and Microbe, UC Davis researchers report that both amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and structures made by some gut bacteria likely elicit the same response by human immune cells in culture.

Newly discovered gene fusion may lead to improved prostate cancer diagnosis
Researchers from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center have discovered a new gene fusion that is highly expressed in a subset of prostate cancers.

Scientists discover gene mutation responsible for hereditary neuroendocrine tumor
University of Utah researchers and their colleagues have identified the gene that is mutated in a hereditary form of a rare neuroendocrine tumor called paraganglioma.

Justice and morality today
During its summer session, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft approved the establishment of two additional Humanities Centers for Advanced Studies.

The paradox of loyalty
In the wake of the Iraq invasion, many US citizens who disagreed with the Bush Administration's decision detached themselves from politics.

High construction cost for cycads
Self-sustaining organisms like plants possess the ability to synthesize their own food using inorganic materials.

Bcl6 gene sculpts helper T cell to boost antibody production
Expression of a single gene programs an immune system helper T cell that fuels rapid growth and diversification of antibodies in a cellular structure implicated in autoimmune diseases and development of B cell lymphoma, scientists at the University of Texas M.

Study finds rapid growth in health costs hurts economic performance of US industries
A first-of-its-kind study has linked the rapid growth in health care costs in the United States with job losses and lower output among industries that commonly provide workers with health insurance.

Noise pollution negatively affects woodland bird communities, says CU-Boulder study
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study shows the strongest evidence yet that noise pollution negatively influences bird populations, findings with implications for the fate of ecological communities situated amid growing urban clamor.

Medical ethics and Guantanamo Bay: Time for reform
A viewpoint in this week's Lancet proposes reforms at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, with respect to medical ethics and the medical status of detainees.

From psychology to virus research
During its summer session, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has approved funding for six new research units.

Leukemia cells evade immune system by mimicking normal cells, Stanford studies show
Human leukemia stem cells escape detection by co-opting a protective molecular badge used by normal blood stem cells to migrate safely within the body, according to a pair of studies by researchers at Stanford University Medical School.

Almost 1/4 of Spanish women take antidepressants
Psychopharmaceutical use has risen over recent years. This is fact, but what is not clear is the reason why.

Even healthy lungs labor at acceptable ozone levels
Ozone exposure, even at levels deemed safe by current clean air standards, can have a significant and negative effect on lung function, according to researchers at the University of California Davis.

Parasitic worms make sex worthwhile
The coevolutionary struggle between a New Zealand snail and its worm parasite makes sex advantageous for the snail, whose females favor asexual reproduction in the absence of parasites, say Indiana University Bloomington and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology biologists in this week's Current Biology.

Consulting with clouds: A clear role in climate change
As the earth warms, it is not known whether clouds will dissipate and let more heat in, or whether cloud cover will increase.
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