Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 17, 2009
Newly discovered mechanism in cell division has implications for chromosome's role in cancer
Errors in cell division can cause mutations that lead to cancer, and a new study could shed light on the role of chromosome abnormalities in uncontrolled cell replication.

Non-coding RNA called Evf2 is important for gene regulation
Can mental disorders result from altered non-coding RNA-dependent gene regulation during embryonic development?

Gene vital to brain's stem cells implicated in deadly brain cancer
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center's Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a protein that activates brain stem cells to make new neurons -- but that may be hijacked later in life to cause brain cancer in humans.

Women, minorities face special hurdles in job market
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that white men receive significantly more tips about job opportunities than women and racial minorities -- particularly among people in upper management positions -- highlighting racial and gender inequality in the labor market.

Researchers find genetic link between physical pain and social rejection
UCLA psychologists have determined for the first time that a gene linked with physical pain sensitivity is associated with social pain sensitivity as well.

Cellular crosstalk linked to lung disease
Crosstalk between cells lining the lung and airway smooth muscle cells is important in lung development.

Common variation in gene linked to structural changes in the brain
An international group of researchers is the first to show that common variations in a gene -- previously shown to be associated with Retts Syndrome, autism and mental retardation -- are associated with differences in brain structure in both healthy individuals and patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Research points to new target for stopping colon cancer
New research led by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found a drug target that suggests a potent way to kill colon cancers that resist current drugs aimed at blocking a molecule found on the surface of cells.

Ana's path being mapped by NASA Satellites; she's drenching Puerto Rico
Tropical Depression Ana is currently drenching Puerto Rico and tropical storm watches are posted for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as Ana continues westward.

Asia faces food shortage by 2050 without water reform
A comprehensive new study of irrigation in Asia warns that, without major reforms and innovations in the way water is used for agriculture, many developing nations face the politically risky prospect of having to import more than a quarter of the rice, wheat and maize they will need by 2050.

The first gene-encoded amphibian toxin isolated
Researchers in China have discovered the first protein-based toxin in an amphibian -- a 60-amino-acid neurotoxin found in the skin of a Chinese tree frog.

Developmental language disorders at preschool age: no proof of benefit from screening
Language is a central element of social life. It is not only a prerequisite for personal relationships, but also for employment prospects.

Advance toward an 'electronic tongue' with a taste for sweets
In an advance toward an

NASA researchers make first discovery of life's building block in comet
NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA's Stardust spacecraft.

UCI chemistry center awarded $20 million from NSF
A UC Irvine center that aims to make real-time videos of single molecules in action has been awarded $20 million over five years from the National Science Foundation.

US-born Asian-American women more likely to think about, attempt suicide
Although Asian-Americans as a group have lower rates of thinking about and attempting suicide than the national average, US-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior.

MS patients who smoke show more brain atrophy, more lesions, than MS nonsmokers
Persons with multiple sclerosis who smoked for a little as six months during their lifetime had more destruction of brain tissue and more brain atrophy than MS patients who never smoked, a study by neuroimaging specialists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Honey-bee aggression study suggests nurture alters nature
A new study of honey bees lends support to the idea that nurture (an organism's environment) may ultimately influence nature (it's genetic inheritance).

Severe sleep apnea tied to increased risk of death
Moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of death from any cause in middle-aged adults, especially men, according to new results from a landmark study supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH.

Nanomagnets guide stem cells to damaged tissue
Microscopic magnetic particles have been used to bring stem cells to sites of cardiovascular injury in a new method designed to increase the capacity of cells to repair damaged tissue, UCL scientists announced today.

Annual survey shows high numbers of seed scallops on Georges Bank, low numbers in Mid-Atlantic
A NOAA Fisheries scallop survey off the northeastern coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts shows high numbers of juvenile

Does sugar feed cancer?
Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah have uncovered new information on the notion that sugar

Magazines for women depict babies in unsafe sleep environments
More than one third of photos in women's magazines depicted babies in unsafe sleep positions, according to a new study in Pediatrics.

Interactive asthma education program reduces need for emergency care and steroid use in children
Education on asthma management in children delivered in small, interactive groups improved asthma outcomes and the overall care of children with asthma, found researchers in a study in CMAJ.

Guam Navy and University of Guam partner to conserve native tree
The University of Guam has completed the establishment of a conservation planting of Guam's endangered fadang tree on the island of Tinian.

Cancer's break-in tools possibly identified at Duke
A single cell in a 1-millimeter nematode worm is providing valuable new clues into cancer's deadliest behavior -- its ability to put down roots in new tissues after spreading throughout the body.

Inexpensive hypertension drug could be multiple sclerosis treatment, Stanford study shows
Turning serendipity into science, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a link, in mice and in human brain tissue, between high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis.

Secrets of the sandcastle worm could yield a powerful medical adhesive
Scientists have copied the natural glue secreted by a tiny sea creature called the sandcastle worm in an effort to develop a long-sought medical adhesive needed to repair bones shattered in battlefield injuries, car crashes and other accidents.

To contract or not to contract: Decision controlled by 2 microRNAs
New research has provided insight into the molecular regulators of the function of muscle cells in the walls of blood vessels, i.e., vascular smooth muscle cells.

Faster, cheaper way to find disease genes in human genome passes initial test
Researchers have successfully developed a novel genomic analysis strategy for faster, cheaper discovery of gene-disease links.

University of Guam entomologist secures USDA funding for weevil control
r. Gadi V. P. Reddy of the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center, UOG has been awarded a $75,000 US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service grant to address the weevil threat to palms in the region.

Children with headache
Family quarrels and a lack of free time can promote headaches in children.

Caltech and IBM scientists use self-assembled DNA scaffolding to build tiny circuit boards
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and IBM's Almaden Research Center have developed a new technique to orient and position self-assembled DNA shapes and patterns -- or

Stressed crops emit more methane than thought
Scientists at the University of Calgary have found that methane emission by plants could be a bigger problem in global warming than previously thought.

Water quality improves after lawn fertilizer ban, study shows
In an effort to keep lakes and streams clean, municipalities around the country are banning or restricting the use of phosphorus-containing lawn fertilizers, which can kill fish and cause smelly algae blooms and other problems when the phosphorus washes out of the soil and into waterways.

Heidelberg cardiac surgeons implant world's first new DeBakey Heart Assist Device
At the end of July 2009, a team of cardiac surgeons headed by Dr.

Scientists link genetic glitches to common childhood cancer
A multicenter team of childhood cancer researchers has discovered two genetic variations linked to an increased risk for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, the most common childhood cancer in the United States.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about four articles being published in the August 18 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mother's immune system may block fetal treatments for blood diseases
Researchers have resolved an apparent contradiction in prenatal cell transplantation -- a technique that holds future promise in correcting sickle cell disease and other congenital blood disorders.

Tropical Storm Claudette makes landfall in Florida, moving into Mississippi
By mid-day today Monday, Aug. 17, Claudette's center had moved into southwestern Alabama and weakened into a tropical depression.

UGA, UPR grant license for long-persistence glow materials, in any color
The University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc. and the University of Puerto Rico have granted an international, non-exclusive license for a portfolio of glow-in-the-dark pigments that can be designed to emit light in any color of the visible spectrum for nearly a day.

Smoking linked to increased brain lesions and brain shrinkage in MS
People who smoke and have multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at increased risk of brain shrinkage and increased brain lesions related to the disease, according to a study published in the Aug.

UCSF/Stanford team finds labor induction need not increase cesarean risk
Contrary to a belief widely held by obstetricians, inducing labor need not increase a woman's risk for cesarean section delivery in childbirth, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Stanford University School of Medicine have found.

Post-treatment pain in head and neck cancer patients linked to recurrence, lower survival rate
Patients with head and neck cancer who experience a higher level of post-treatment pain appear to have a lower survival rate than those who experience little or no post-treatment pain, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Surgeon experience not associated with survival among trauma patients in a structured trauma program
Within a structured trauma program, trauma patients are equally likely to survive if they are treated by a novice surgeon or by the experienced trauma director, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health honors outstanding authors
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, announced that its publication, the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, the official journal of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, has honored four authors for their outstanding contributions to the journal in 2008.

eHealth interventions need to be continuously evaluated
In the first in a series on evaluating eHealth in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, Aziz Sheikh and Lorraine Catwell from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, outline the background to the series and discuss the importance of evaluating the widespread investments in and adoption of information communication technology in health care.

Flat bacteria in nanoslits
It appears that bacteria can squeeze through practically anything. In extremely small nanoslits they take on a completely new flat shape.

Dermatologist skin examinations detect more, thinner skin cancers than patients identify themselves
Most melanomas detected in a general-practice dermatology clinic were found by dermatologists during full-body skin examinations of patients who had come to the clinic for different complaints, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UTSA biology researchers demystify elusive war zone bacterium
University of Texas at San Antonio researcher Tao Weitao is making great strides in his research on the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes mortality rates as high as 75 percent in the Middle East.

Vanquishing infinity
Quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of general relativity are both extremely accurate theories of how the universe works, but all attempts to combine the two into a unified theory have ended in failure.

Study supports DNA repair-blocker research in cancer therapy
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have uncovered the mechanism behind a promising new approach to cancer treatment: damaging cancer cells' DNA with potent drugs while simultaneously preventing the cells from repairing themselves.

Pitt researchers harness carbon nanomaterials for drug delivery systems, oxygen sensors
Two nanoscale devices recently reported by University of Pittsburgh researchers in two separate journals harness the potential of carbon nanomaterials to enhance technologies for drug or imaging agent delivery and energy storage systems, in one case, and, in the other, bolster the sensitivity of oxygen sensors essential in confined settings, from mines to spacecrafts.

Researcher says microchannels could advance tissue engineering methods
Utilizing fractal patterns similar to those created by lightning strikes, Victor Ugaz, associate professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has created a network of microchannels that could advance the field of tissue engineering by serving as a three-dimensional vasculature for the support of larger tissue constructs, such as human organs.

Organic electronics a 2-way street, thanks to new plastic semiconductor
A new organic material lets both positive and negative charges flow efficiently.

Corticosteroid injections may be helpful to manage vocal fold polyps without surgery
Corticosteroid injections appear to offer an alternative to surgery for treating polyps on the vocal cords, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

2 NASA satellites capture Hurricane Bill's 'baby pictures'
Bill was the third tropical depression in the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, behind Ana and Tropical Depression One.

New collaborative center to provide education, research on temperate rainforests
Federal, university and city officials recently signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for the establishment of a temperate rainforest education and research center in Juneau.

Folic acid -- mandatory fortification may be unnecessary
Persistently present levels of unmetabolized folic acid found in the population indicate that introducing mandatory food fortification may result in an

Ocean-drilling expedition cites new evidence related to origin and evolution of seismogenic faults
New research about what triggers earthquakes, authored by Michael Strasser of Bremen University, Germany, with colleagues from the US, Japan, China, France and Germany, will appear in the Aug.

Severe breathing disorders during sleep are associated with an increased risk of dying
Severe breathing disorders during sleep are associated with an increased risk of dying from any cause according to research published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Excessive exercise can be addicting, new study says
Although exercise is good for your health, extreme exercise may be physically addicting.

Study shows how to boost value of Alzheimer's-fighting compounds
The polyphenols found in red wine are thought to help prevent Alzheimer's disease, and new research from Purdue University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine has shown that some of those compounds in fact reach the brain.

Low-income kids report first sexual intercourse at 12 years old in new national study
A new Iowa State University study of nearly 1,000 low-income families in three major cities found that one in four children between the ages of 11 and 16 reported having sex, with their first sexual intercourse occurring at the average age of 12.77.

Preparing for the H1N1 pandemic: a formidable foe
Prevention of H1N1 influenza virus through vaccination must be our top priority if disease patterns in the northern hemisphere follow those in the southern hemisphere this fall, writes Paul H├ębert, editor-in-chief of CMAJ in an editorial.

Computer scientists scale 'layer 2' data center networks to 100,000 ports and beyond
University of California, San Diego, computer scientists have created software that they hope will lead to data centers that logically function as single, plug-and-play networks that will scale to the massive scale of modern data center networks.

MIT study: Heavier rainstorms ahead
Heavier rainstorms lie in our future. That's the clear conclusion of a new MIT and Caltech study on the impact that global climate change will have on precipitation patterns.

Taking up music so you can hear
Anyone with an MP3 device has a notion of the majesty of music, of the primal place it holds in the human imagination.

Syracuse University researcher to present 'Shipwrecks as Fossils' at AAAS Pacific Division meeting
Mariners call the continental margin off the North Carolina coast the

Mexican health care reform has been convoluted and ineffective
A policy forum published in this week's open access journal PLoS Medicine argues that 25 years of health care reforms in Mexico have increased insurance coverage but have not resulted in greater efficiency and have not significantly reduced health inequities despite their costs in a country that has huge divisions between the rich and the poor.

Antioxidants not associated with increased melanoma risk
Antioxidant supplements do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of melanoma, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

JCI online early table of contents: August 17, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, August 17, 2009, in the JCI:

How to make a lung
A tissue-repair-and-regeneration pathway in the human body, including wound healing, is essential for the early lung to develop properly.

Genetic diagnosis of embryos: clear explanation, not rhetoric needed
In the area of genetic diagnosis of embryos, the choice of words matters as they can influence policies and perceptions, according to an analysis in CMAJ.

New DNA test uses nanotechnology to find early signs of cancer
Using tiny crystals called quantum dots, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a highly sensitive test to look for DNA attachments that often are early warning signs of cancer.

Agricultural methods of early civilizations may have altered global climate, study suggests
Massive burning of forests for agriculture thousands of years ago may have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide enough to alter global climate and usher in a warming trend that continues today, according to a new study that appears online Aug.

Listening to rocks helps researchers better understand earthquakes
Using a technique called

Endoscopy within 24 hours shows better outcomes in elderly with peptic ulcer bleeding
A new study shows that elderly patients who underwent endoscopy within one day of presentation for peptic ulcer bleeding had a two-day shorter hospital stay and were less likely to require upper gastrointestinal surgery than patients who did not receive endoscopy within the first day of presentation.

Pitt research suggests EPA pesticide exposure test too short, overlooks long term effects
The four-day testing period the US Environmental Protection Agency commonly uses to determine safe levels of pesticide exposure for humans and animals could fail to account for the toxins' long-term effects, University of Pittsburgh researchers report in the September edition of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Prion protein identified as a novel early pancreatic cancer biomarker
Mad cow disease is caused by the accumulation of an abnormal protein, the prion, in the brain of an affected patient.

CSHL study finds short- and long-term memories require same gene but in different circuits
It is known that long-term and short-term memories are stored very differently in the brain.

New material for nanoscale computer chips
New data from Chinese-Danish collaboration shows that organic nanoscale wires could be an alternative to silicon in computer chips.

Hepatitis C virus channels efforts into cell survival
Researchers at the University of Leeds have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that allows the hepatitis C virus to remain in the body for decades.

Engineered protein-like molecule protects cells against HIV infection
With the help of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and molecular engineering, researchers have designed synthetic protein-like mimics convincing enough to interrupt unwanted biological conversations between cells.

New book puts mirth in math
Peanut butter and jelly, strawberries and cream, math and ...

Naturally occurring protection against severe malaria
In a study to be published in the next issue of PNAS, researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, in Portugal, show that an anti-oxidant drug can protect against the development of deadly forms of malaria.

Personality type linked to risk of death among individuals with peripheral artery disease
A preliminary study suggests that a negative, inhibited personality type (type D personality) appears to predict an increased risk of death over four years among patients with peripheral arterial disease, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UCLA to host conference on revolutionary and controversial new strategy to combat HIV
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new strategy for combating HIV.
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