Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 27, 2009
ACC positions quality at center of health-care reform
The American College of Cardiology -- long at the forefront of quality initiatives -- is taking a leading role in health-care reform.

Orangutans unique in movement through tree tops
Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Birmingham have found that orangutans move through the canopy of tropical forests in a completely different way to all other tree-dwelling primates.

Nanophysics: Serving up Buckyballs on a silver platter
New measurements conducted on C60 molecules (carbon Buckyballs) adhered to silver substrates push the limits of surface science.

How the carrot approach facilitates learning
People who are rewarded for making correct decisions learn quickly.

Trade liberalization linked to obesity in Central America
Since trade liberalization between Central and North America, imports and availability of processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods have increased dramatically.

Nanodiamonds deliver insulin for wound healing
Using tiny nanodiamonds, researchers at Northwestern University have demonstrated an innovative method for delivering and releasing insulin at a specific location over a period of time.

Case Western Reserve researchers discover the key to malaria susceptibility in children
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have solved the mystery of why some children are more susceptible to malaria infection and anemia.

Mom and dad as financial advisors
According to a new study by Dr. Soyeon Shim, from the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Arizona, and her colleagues, parents have the greatest influence on students' financial habits, over and above work experience and financial education in high school.

Rethinking Brownian motion with the 'Emperor's New Clothes'
In the classic fairy tale,

121 breeding tigers estimated to be found in Nepal
The World Wildlife Fund welcomes the news of an estimated 121 breeding tigers in four protected areas in the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal as announced by the government in Kathmandu, July 27, 2009.

Natural born killers -- how the body's frontline immune cells decide which cells to destroy
The mechanism used by

Smaller than expected, but severe, dead zone in Gulf of Mexico
NOAA-supported scientists, led by Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D., from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, found the size of this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be smaller than forecasted, measuring 3,000 square miles.

Iron-binding drug could help diabetics heal stubborn wounds, says Stanford/Einstein study
A drug used to remove iron from the body could help doctors fight one of diabetes' cruelest complications: poor wound healing, which can lead to amputation of patients' toes, feet and even legs.

Yawn alert for weary drivers
Research published in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics, describes a system that can tell when you are yawning and could prevent road traffic accidents.

Study: Cigarette packaging still misleading consumers over health hazards
New research suggests that current regulations have failed to remove misleading information from cigarette packaging, revealing that a substantial majority of consumers believe cigarettes are less hazardous when the packs display words such as

ISU researchers find possible treatment for spinal muscular atrophy
Spinal muscular atrophy affects 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 10,000 children born every year.

Video shows nanotube spins as it grows
New video showing the atom-by-atom growth of carbon nanotubes reveals they spin stepwise as they grow, much like a ticking clock.

The cytoplasmic talk of retroviruses helps them spread from cell to cell
In this week's edition of the online open-access journal PLoS Biology, researchers at Yale University, led by Dr.

New supercomputer to reel in answers to some of Earth's problems
The newest supercomputer in town is almost 15 times faster than its predecessor and ready to take on problems in areas such as climate science, hydrogen storage and molecular chemistry.

Adult cancer survivors at increased risk of psychological distress
Long-term survivors of cancer that developed in adulthood are at increased risk of experiencing serious psychological distress, according to a report in the July 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Galaxy Zoo hunters help astronomers discover rare 'Green Pea' galaxies
A team of astronomers has discovered a group of rare galaxies called the

Scripps-led study sheds light on earthquake hazard along San Andreas Fault
Researchers have discovered new faults that reveal how earthquake-induced stress is transferred below Southern California's Salton Sea.

Discovery to aid in future treatments of third-world parasites
Schistosomiasis, one of the most important of the neglected tropical diseases, is caused by infection with parasitic helminths of the genus Schistosoma.

Blood flow in Alzheimer's disease
Researchers have discovered that the enzyme, endothelin converting enzyme-2 (ECE-2), may cause the decrease in blood flow in the brain seen in Alzheimer's disease and contribute to progression of the disease.

Ovarian cancer tests flawed, in need of new design, says Stanford study
Current diagnostic tests for ovarian cancer are woefully ineffective for early detection of the disease, say researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Bioterrorism and disaster preparedness explored in special issue of Medical Decision Making
According to a study in a special issue of Medical Decision Making, a large-scale, covert anthrax attack on a large city would overwhelm hospital resources even with an extremely effective public health response, primarily because of expected delays in detecting the attack and initiating a response to it.

Study finds acceptable levels of anxiety among men living with early, untreated prostate cancer
Men with early stages of prostate cancer who delay radical treatment in favor of an approach of

Disease threat may change how frogs mate
Dr. Amber Teacher, studying a post-doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London, has discovered evidence that a disease may be causing a behavioral change in frogs.

Prenatal malaria exposure increases risk of malaria and anemia for some children
Some babies who are exposed to malaria before birth develop a tolerant phenotype that increases their susceptibility to malaria and anemia in childhood, says a new study in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

UBC researchers help push for standard DNA barcodes for plants
Two University of British Columbia researchers are part of an international team recommending standards for the DNA barcoding of land plants, a step they hope will lead to a universal system for identifying over 400,000 species, and ultimately boost conservation efforts.

Spallation Neutron Source sees first target replacement
Having outlasted all expectations of its service life, the original mercury target of the Spallation Neutron Source, the US Department of Energy Office of Science's record-setting neutron science facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is being replaced for the first time.

Teasing apart T helper cells
The cytokine IL-9 promotes a multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice, according to a new study by Nowak et al. published online on July 13 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Soldiers turn a march into a charge
Engineers at the University of Leeds are developing a way to capture the kinetic energy produced when soldiers march and use it to power their equipment.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc./Lymphoma Research Foundation funds lymphoma research
Dr. Fu and his coworkers have found that higher expression of miR-17~92 is directly correlated with poorer patient survival.

Tiny early stage ovarian tumors define early detection challenge
A new study shows that most early stage ovarian tumors exist for years at a size that is a thousand times smaller than existing tests can detect reliably.

New FDA regulation of tobacco products has problems
New US legislation granting the Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction over tobacco products represents a serious compromise on the part of tobacco control advocates, argues a new essay in this week's open-access journal, PLoS Medicine.

Heart failure: Women different than men
Striking differences in the risk factors for developing heart failure (HF) and patient prognosis exist between men and women.

Could therapeutic vaccines treat hard to beat breast cancers?
A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,600 tumor samples conducted by the international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research has found that CT-X genes are expressed in nearly half the breast cancers that lack the estrogen receptor.

All-in-1 nanoparticle: A Swiss Army knife for nanomedicine
For the first time, researchers combine nanoparticles used for medical imaging and therapy in one tiny package.

Common food dye may hold promise in treating spinal cord injury
A common food additive that gives M&Ms and Gatorade their blue tint may offer promise for preventing the additional -- and serious -- secondary damage that immediately follows a traumatic injury to the spinal cord.

Health care leaders say need for reform is urgent
By a wide margin, health care leaders believe that individuals should have a choice of public and private health plans, and strongly support other central components of health reform such as innovative provider payment reform and a national insurance health exchange with strong standard-setting authority.

1 nano-step closer to weighing a single atom
By studying gold nanoparticles with highly uniform sizes and shapes, scientists now understand how they lose energy, a key step towards producing nanoscale detectors for weighing any single atom.

Grant for brain tumor and deafness research
Researchers at the Peninsula Medical School have received a grant of over £39,000 from the charity Deafness Research UK, to investigate the role of brain tumors causing deafness in children and adults and the development of therapies using in vitro models.

University has grand designs to build a house of straw
Could straw houses be the buildings of the future? That's what researchers at the University of Bath will be testing this summer by constructing a

Sichuan earthquake caused significant damage to giant panda habitat
When the magnitude 8 Sichuan earthquake struck southern China in May 2008, it left more than 69,000 people dead and 4.3 million homeless.

Assisted reproductive techniques alter the expression of genes that are important for metabolism
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that assisted reproductive techniques alter the expression of genes that are important for metabolism and the transport of nutrients in the placenta of mice.

Mines could provide geothermal energy
Mine shafts on the point of being closed down could be used to provide geothermal energy to local towns.

Key OSU water research receives national funding
Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will receive $226,890 in grant funding from the US Geological Survey, provided through the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute.

Delays in defibrillation not explained by traditional hospital factors
Traditional hospital factors -- such as case volume and academic status -- do not appear to predict whether patients with cardiac arrest at that facility are likely to experience delays in receiving defibrillation, according to a report in the July 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New method uses electrolyzed water for more efficient fuel production
Using electrolyzed water rather than harsh chemicals could be a more effective and environmentally friendly method in the pretreatment of ethanol waste products to produce an acetone-butanol-ethanol fuel mix, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois.

Study reveals a reprogrammed role for the androgen receptor
The androgen receptor -- a protein ignition switch for prostate cancer cell growth and division -- is a master of adaptability.

AAAS Pacific division scientific conference to meet in San Francisco Aug. 14 - 19
The American Association for the Advancement of Science's Pacific Division will convene its 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, bringing together scholars from the Western US to share their work.

A yeast cancer model for mapping cancer genes
Researchers have devised a scheme for identifying genes in yeast that could lead to the identification of new cancer genes in humans.

Infiltrating blood-derived macrophages play a role in recovery from spinal cord injury in mice
Although macrophages are known as essential players in wound healing, their contribution to recovery from spinal cord injury is a subject of debate.

Charging ahead: University of Houston team revealing secrets of electricity-producing materials
Much like humans, materials are capable of some pretty remarkable things when placed under pressure.

New management training could lead to improved worker health
In an effort to improve worker health, researchers from Michigan State University and Portland State University have created an innovative training program that calls for supervisors to better support their employees' work and family demands.

Warmer environment means shorter lives for cold-blooded animals
Temperature explains much of why cold-blooded organisms such as fish, amphibians, crustaceans and lizards live longer at higher latitudes than at lower latitudes, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online.

Study finds significant number of kids experience family homelessness
Researchers found that 7 percent of fifth-graders and their families have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives and that the occurrence is even higher -- 11 percent -- for African-American children and those from the poorest households.

UCSF team focuses on patient safety in ambulatory care system
Health care experts at the University of California, San Francisco, highlight in a new report the hidden risks and complexities that compromise patient safety for ambulatory patients with chronic disease.

The 15-Minute Genome 2009 Industrial Physics Forum features faster, cheaper genome sequencing
In the race for faster, cheaper ways to read human genomes, Pacific Biosciences is hoping to set a new benchmark with technology that watches DNA being copied in real time.

Weight loss improves mood in depressed people
Research to be presented at the Annual SSIB Meeting finds that after a six-month behavioral weight loss program, depressed patients not only lost 8 percent of their initial weight but also reported significant improvements in their symptoms of depression, as well as reductions in triglycerides, which are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Leading health organizations launch new accreditation process for laboratories across Africa
Government health officials from 13 African countries today launched the first-ever push for accreditation of the continent's medical laboratories, starting a process that the World Health Organization and the US government believe will be an historic step to strengthen health systems and lead to better care for patients.

Jade sheds light on Guatemala's geologic history
The shifting of tectonic plates in Central America has been poorly understood -- until now.

Intensive glucose control halves complications of longstanding type 1 diabetes
Near-normal control of glucose beginning as soon as possible after diagnosis would greatly improve the long-term prognosis of type 1 diabetes, concludes a study published in the July 27, 2009, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, which updates information about the clinical course of type 1 diabetes.

Earliest animals lived in a lake environment, research shows
A UC Riverside-led team of researchers studying ancient rock samples in South China has found that the first animal fossils in the paleontological record are preserved in ancient lake deposits, not marine sediments as commonly assumed.

In the modern post-PSA era, prostate cancer surgery may not be necessary for some patients
Investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, along with collaborating teams at the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Michigan, have completed the first large-scale, multi-institutional study of prostate cancer death after standard treatment to remove the prostate since PSA screening has become widely used as a method to screen for the disease.

Cancer's distinctive pattern of gene expression could aid early screening and prevention
Distinctive patterns of genes turned off -- or left on -- in healthy versus cancerous cells could enable early screening for many common cancers and maybe help avoid them, Medical College of Georgia scientists say.

Smoking increases potential for metastatic pancreatic cancer
Smoking has once again been implicated in the development of advanced cancer.

Rush University Medical Center studies program to help older adults transition from hospital to home
Rush University Medical Center has launched a study of its program to help older adults transition from hospital to home.

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads
Accumulation of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein, resulting in the formation of aggregates called Lewy bodies in the brain, is a hallmark of Parkinson's and other related neurodegenerative diseases.

Scientists track impact of DNA damage in the developing brain
Switching off a key DNA repair system in the developing nervous system is linked to smaller brain size as well as problems in brain structures vital to movement, memory and emotion, according to new research led by St.

Cardiothoracic surgeons projected to be in short supply by 2025
Within the next 15 years, the United States faces a severe shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons -- possibly resulting in diminished quality of care and delayed care for heart and lung surgery patients.

Infiltrating blood-derived macrophages are vital cells in recovery from spinal cord injury in mice
Although macrophages are known as essential players in wound healing, their contribution to recovery from spinal cord injury is a subject of debate.

Placenta-derived stem cells may help sufferers of lung diseases
Human placenta-derived stem cells, known to engraft in solid organs, including the lungs, also demonstrate characteristics of high plasticity and low immunogenicity.

Just expecting a tasty food activates brain reward systems
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, shows that exposing rats to a context associated with eating chocolate activates a part of the brain's reward system known as the orexin system.

Study examines modern-day course of type 1 diabetes
The rates of serious complications among individuals with type 1 diabetes appear lower than reported historically, especially when patients are treated intensively, according to a report in the July 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Divorce undermines health in ways remarriage doesn't heal
Divorce and widowhood have a lingering, detrimental impact on health, even after a person remarries, research at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University shows.

After dinosaurs, mammals rise but their genomes get smaller
Evidence buried in the chromosomes of animals and plants strongly suggests only one group -- mammals -- have seen their genomes shrink after the dinosaurs' extinction.

Researchers develop 'brain-reading' methods
It is widely known that the brain perceives information before it reaches a person's awareness.

Hybrid Linac-MRI system described at medical physics meeting in Anaheim
Canadian scientists at the University of Alberta's Cross Cancer Institute are developing a new technology that integrates two existing medical devices -- medical linear accelerators, or

Antipsychotic drugs associated with high blood sugar in older adults with diabetes
Older patients with diabetes who take antipsychotic medications appear to have an increased risk of hospitalization for hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose level), especially soon after beginning treatment, according to a report in the July 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers warn: 'Antivirals might be wasted on the elderly'
A model of influenza transmission and treatment suggests that, if the current swine flu pandemic behaves like the 1918 flu, antiviral treatment should be reserved for the young.

HIV uses autophagy for its own means
Not satisfied with simply thwarting its host's defensive maneuvers, HIV actually twists one to its advantage, based on new findings from Kyei et al. in the July 27, 2009, issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

Most older long-term cancer survivors have poor health habits
A new study finds that most older long-term cancer survivors who are interested in diet and exercise actually have poor health habits, and that those survivors who do exercise and watch their diet have improved physical health and quality of life.

High-fat, high-sugar foods alter brain receptors
Overconsumption of fatty, sugary foods leads to changes in brain receptors, according to new animal research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dopamine-related activity of food reward circuits in the brain and weight gain
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that women who possess genetic modifications associated with low activity of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain when they imagine eating appetizing foods are more prone to weight gain.

Molecule plays early role in nonsmoking lung cancer
A study led by Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and National Cancer Institute researchers suggests that a molecule called miR-21 is important in the development of lung cancer in never-smokers and in smokers.

Proper placement of defibrillators key to effective use
Placing automated external defibrillators in schools can save the lives of student-athletes and nonstudents who suffer sudden cardiac arrest on school grounds, according to a new study by Seattle researchers.

Anemia increases risk of death in the very elderly
Anemia in very elderly people aged 85 and older appears to be associated with an increased risk of death, according to a new study in CMAJ.

Ethics review of research in the context of humanitarian relief work
Two articles published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine highlight the need for, and the practicalities of, getting appropriate ethical review of research done in the context of humanitarian relief.

German researchers find there is more to bats' vision than meets the eye
The eyes of nocturnal bats possess two spectral cone photoreceptor types for daylight and color vision.

GPs have difficulty separating those with and without depression in primary care
A meta-analysis of more than 50,000 patients has shown that general practitioners (GPs) continue to have difficulty separating those with and without depression, with substantial numbers missed and misidentified.

The preclinical natural history of serous ovarian cancer: Defining the target for early detection
Most deaths from ovarian cancer are caused by tumors of the serous histological type, which are rarely diagnosed before the cancer has spread.

Why retroviruses such as HIV love their neighbors
Retroviruses such as HIV that are already within cells are much more easily transmitted when they are next to uninfected cells than if they are floating free in the bloodstream.

Colon capsule endoscopy diagnoses 64 percent of total polyps detected by conventional colonoscopy
Capsule endoscopy for exploring the colon in a minimally invasive manner diagnoses 64 percent of all lesions located by means of conventional colonoscopy.

UB start-up provides innovative digital sperm analysis to infertile couples worldwide
Couples struggling with fertility problems have a new option for assessing their ability to have a child with the start-up of a new Buffalo-based company called LifeCell Dx Inc.

Mayo researchers find anesthesia not harmful for babies during birth process
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that children exposed to anesthesia during cesarean section are not at any higher risk for learning disabilities later in life than children not delivered by C-section.

Comprehensive look at rare leukemia finds relatively few genetic changes launch disease
The most comprehensive analysis yet of the genome of childhood acute myeloid leukemia found only a few mistakes in the genetic blueprint, suggesting the cancer arises from just a handful of missteps, according to new findings from St.

Genetic testing may be valuable in treating colorectal cancer
A new cost-effectiveness study led by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College has determined that so-called pretreatment pharmacogenetic testing is only beneficial if dose-reduced treatment is shown to be nearly as effective as the full dose.

Under a cloud -- darkness linked to 'brain drain' in depressed people
A lack of sunlight is associated with reduced cognitive function among depressed people.

Researchers capture bacterial infection on film
Researchers have developed a new technique that allows them for the first time to make a movie of bacteria infecting their living host. 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