Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 14, 2009
For carnivorous plants, slow but steady wins the race
The existence of carnivorous plants has fascinated botanists and nonbotanists alike for centuries and raises the question,

Understanding the implications of prenatal testing for Down syndrome
With new prenatal tests for Down syndrome on the horizon promising to be safer, more accurate, and available to women earlier in pregnancy, the medical community must come together and engage in dialogue about the impact of existing and expected tests, argues a new leading article published online first by Archives of Disease in Childhood.

ESO unveils an amazing, interactive, 360-degree panoramic view of the entire night sky
The first of three images of ESO's GigaGalaxy Zoom project -- a new magnificent 800-million-pixel panorama of the entire sky as seen from ESO's observing sites in Chile -- has just been released online.

Elsevier's leading mental health research now available in 1 place
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the launch of a new web platform, Elsevier Mental Health.

Evidence points to conscious 'metacognition' in some nonhuman animals
J. David Smith, Ph.D., a comparative psychologist at the University at Buffalo who has conducted extensive studies in animal cognition, says there is growing evidence that animals share functional parallels with human conscious metacognition -- that is, they may share humans' ability to reflect upon, monitor or regulate their states of mind.

Daily bathroom showers may deliver face full of pathogens, says CU-Boulder study
While daily bathroom showers provide invigorating relief and a good cleansing for millions of Americans, they also can deliver a face full of potentially pathogenic bacteria, according to a surprising new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Cancer risk raised after northern Italian industrial accident
People living in the Seveso area of Italy, which was exposed to dioxin after an industrial accident in 1976, have experienced an increased risk of developing cancer.

DOE awards $8.2 million to Rochester center for 'extreme fusion'
The US Department of Energy has awarded $8.2 million to the University of Rochester to support its Fusion Science Center for Extreme States of Matter for another five years.

New nanostructure technology provides advances in eyeglass, solar energy performance
Chemical engineers at Oregon State University have invented a new technology to deposit

Once-daily pill effective as multiple dosings for oral yeast infection in HIV/AIDS patients
A once-daily medication option for treating the most common mouth infection in HIV/AIDS patients has shown to be just as effective and safe as taking an anti-fungal pill five times a day, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Fred fades with a satellite exclamation point
NASA's Aqua satellite flew over the remnants of Fred, Sept.

Barcoding endangered sea turtles
A new paper published in the early online edition of Molecular Ecology Resources shows that DNA barcodes can quickly and accurately determine the species identity of specimens collected from of all seven endangered sea turtles.

Loyola receives $2 million Coleman Foundation matching grant
Loyola University Medical Center has received a $2 million matching grant from the Coleman Foundation to renovate the hospital's nationally known bone marrow transplant unit.

Lung cancer suppresses miR-200 to invade and spread
Primary lung cancer shifts to metastatic disease by suppressing a family of small molecules that normally locks the tumor in a noninvasive state, researchers at the University of Texas M.

Depression increases cancer patients' risk of dying
A new review finds depression can affect a cancer patient's likelihood of survival, highlighting the need for systematic screening of psychological distress and subsequent treatments.

Diabetes drug kills cancer stem cells in combination treatment in mice
In a one-two punch, a familiar diabetes drug reduced tumors faster and prolonged remission in mice longer than chemotherapy alone by targeting cancer stem cells, Harvard Medical School researchers reported in the Sept.

How do we perceive art?
An artist-in-residence is to work alongside University of Leicester's neuroscience research lab.

Less than 10 percent of Americans have low risk for heart disease
The proportion of Americans rated low on key heart disease risk factors expanded during the 1980s and 1990s, but is now declining, according to national surveys.

UCLA School of Dentistry to build new cancer research facility
Federal economic stimulus efforts will soon add muscle to the fight against cancer at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

Neurons found to be similar to Electoral College
A Northwestern University study has found that certain neurons, at one level, operate a little like the US Electoral College.

Conflict between plant and animal hormones in the insect gut?
A reaction similar to the inactivation of prostaglandin hormones in animals has now been discovered in the larval guts of two plant pest species.

New research by University of Miami law professor analyzes the corporate attorney-client privilege
Due to the evolutionary legal landscape, corporate lawyers now find themselves relying on information and guidance from nonlegal advisors like accountants, investment bankers and public relations professionals.

Stevens awarded 6th Workforce Development grant of $563,600 by NJ Department of Labor
Stevens Institute of Technology has again been awarded a $563,600 High-Growth Workforce Development training grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Trust your gut? Study explores religion, morality and trust in authority
Researchers provided a nationally represented sample of adults with an online survey about the US Supreme Court's ruling on physician-assisted suicide.

Scientists identify gene for short-circuiting excess mucus in lung disease, common colds
Scientists have identified the main genetic switch that causes excessive mucus in the lungs, a discovery that one day could ease suffering for people with chronic lung disease or just those fighting the common cold.

Study identifies which children do not need CT scans after head trauma
A substantial percentage of children who get CT scans after apparently minor head trauma do not need them, and as a result are put at increased risk of cancer due to radiation exposure.

When you've doubled your genes, what's 1 chromosome more or less?
For animals, an extra chromosome can result in major problems, but plants are another matter.

Tuberculosis patients can reduce transmissability by inhaling interferon through a nebulizer
A new study published in the Sept. 15, 2009, issue of PLoS ONE found that patients with cavitary pulmonary tuberculosis receiving anti-TB medications supplemented with nebulized interferon-gamma have fewer bacilli in the lungs and less inflammation, thereby reducing the transmissibility of tuberculosis in the early phase of treatment.

New function for the protein Bcl-xL: It prevents bone breakdown
In blood cells, the protein Bcl-xL has a well-characterized role in preventing cell death by a process known as apoptosis.

Tropical Storm Koppu poised for China landfall
The latest tropical storm in the western Pacific formed on Sunday, and is poised to make landfall in mainland China on Tuesday, near typhoon strength.

New book offers practical advice for unraveling the genetics of complex human diseases
A new book published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press,

1 in 20 patients experience critical event during urgent air-medical transport
During air-medical transport of acutely ill patients, 1 in 20 experience a critical event such as death, major resuscitation or blood pressure deterioration according to a new study in CMAJ.

Prolonged stress sparks ER to release calcium stores and induce cell death in aging-related diseases
Li et al. explain how prolonged stress sparks the endoplasmic reticulum to release its calcium stores, inducing cells to undergo apoptosis in several aging-related diseases.

University of Southern California hosts National Combustion Conference
Researchers and funders gather in Los Angeles to discuss research on fuels and flames, including biofuels and synthetics

CSHL gears up for 2nd annual Personal Genomes meeting
Cited for two of the best conferences in genome biology by Genome Technology magazine, CSHL gears up for 2nd annual Personal Genomes meeting, which will run Sept.

Green tea component may help preserve stored platelets, tissues
Using EGCG, a polyphenol component in green tea known to have anti-oxidative properties, two teams of Japanese researchers found that EGCG enhances the shelf life of stored blood platelet cells and also helps preserve cryopreserved skin grafts longer than current procedures allow.

Athletes with smaller ACLs may be more susceptible to injury
Comparing images of the knees in people who did and didn't have previous injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament suggests that people who tore their ACLs are more likely to have a smaller ligament than do similarly sized people who have never injured a knee.

Blood test helps guide treatment and can impact quality of life for breast cancer patients
With the goal of tailoring cancer interventions for the individual, researchers at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown have published the results of a prospective study that validates the use of a simple blood test to help doctors more reliably assess treatment effectiveness for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

JCI online early table of contents: Sept. 14, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept.

Forest ecologist sees climate consequences
Scientist Susan Prichard's story is the latest in a series of video shorts featured on and produced by Princeton, NJ-based nonprofit Climate Central, an authoritative, non-advocacy source for science-based information about climate change.

Heart study shows many suffer poor quality of life
The world's largest quality of life study of chronic angina patients has revealed that almost one in three experience frequent chest pain, which affects their daily life.

The story of the development of noninvasive heart care
In 1958, a team comprised of a groundbreaking engineer -- Dean Franklin, in concert with two exceptional physicians -- Drs.

Digging deeper below Antarctica's Lake Vida
Two UIC geoscientists will lead an exploration of Antarctica's perpetually ice-covered Lake Vida, site of one of the most extreme environments on Earth for living organisms.

New report: Light brown apple moth classification for eradication and quarantine was justified
A new report from the National Research Council finds that the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is within its broad regulatory authority to classify California's invasive Light Brown Apple Moth as an

Plasma power: Turning fusion into a renewable energy source
A team of researchers from UC San Diego, MIT and UC Berkeley have received a $7 million research grant from the US Department of Energy that could lead us one step closer to turning fusion into a green energy source.

Zinc deficiences a global concern
Other vitamins and nutrients may get more headlines, but experts say as many as two billion people around the world have diets deficient in zinc -- and studies at Oregon State University and elsewhere are raising concerns about the health implications this holds for infectious disease, immune function, DNA damage and cancer.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about two articles being published in the Sept.

'Alert status' area in brain discoved by Hebrew University scientists
A new understanding of how anesthesia and anesthesia-like states are controlled in the brain opens the door to possible new future treatments of various states of loss of consciousness, such as reversible coma, according to Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists.

New treatment found to reduce vision loss from central retinal vein occlusion
Scientists have identified the first long-term, effective treatment to improve vision and reduce vision loss associated with blockage of large veins in the eye.

Seal of quality for hygienic equipment
The processing and packaging of food is governed by very strict hygiene rules.

K-State's plant pathology head named fellow of Phytopathology Society
John Leslie, professor of plant pathology, has been named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society.

Researcher looks for answers about unique disease-resistant gene
Each year, more than 20 percent of all crops are lost to plant diseases worldwide.

Steroid injections may help restore vision in some patients with blocked eye veins
Injecting the eye with the corticosteroid triamcinolone appears effective in improving the vision of some patients with retinal vein occlusion, an important cause of vision loss that results from blockages in the blood vessels in the retina, according to two reports in the September issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Analysis of TB treatment studies identifies gaps in guidelines
International guidelines for treating tuberculosis are due for specific improvements, according to two research papers published this week in the open-access journal, PLoS Medicine.

Can parasites cause anemia and undernutrition in Northern Rwanda?
Northern Rwandan inhabitants infected with more than two species of parasitic worm are more likely to be underweight than those with just one or with no infection, according to new research published Sept.

Implantable defibrillators may not benefit women with heart failure
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators do not appear to be associated with a reduced risk of death in women with advanced heart failure, according to a meta-analysis of previously published research in the Sept.

Figures of speech -- understanding idioms requires both sides of the brain
Is it better to treat someone with kid gloves or to treat them carefully?

Gladstone's Shinya Yamanaka wins Lasker Award
Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Kyoto University, has won the 2009 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his discovery of a method of reprogramming adult skin cells to become embryonic-like stem cells.

Laser treatment for BRVO is safer than corticosteroid injections and equally effective
Scientists have found that laser therapy is equivalent to two different dosages of corticosteroid medications for treating vision loss from the blockage of small veins in the back of the eye, a condition known as branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO).

Study examines stroke risk among patients undergoing cardiac surgery
Among patients undergoing cardiac surgery, post-operative stroke occurred in approximately 2 percent, was not correlated with significant carotid artery narrowing, but was more common among patients who had combined cardiac and carotid procedures, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study shows common pain cream could protect heart during attack
New research from the University of Cincinnati shows that a common, over-the-counter pain salve rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant, preventing or reducing damage to the heart while interventions are administered.

Going with the flow: Using star power to better understand fusion
UC San Diego researchers are using

Engineering team to design and study liver mimics
Virginia Tech College of Engineering researchers will use more than $1 million in grant funding to study engineered tissues that mimic the liver, one of the human body's most complex organs.

Antioxidant ingredient proven to relieve stress
A dietary ingredient derived from a melon rich in antioxidant superoxide dismutase enzymes has been shown to relieve stress.

University of Hawai'i at Manoa team unravels the chemistry of Titan's hazy atmosphere
A team of University of Hawai'i at Manoa researchers led by Ralf Kaiser, physical chemist at UH Manoa, unraveled the chemical evolution of the orange-brownish colored atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, the only solar system body besides Venus and Earth with a solid surface and thick atmosphere.

Diabetes drug kills cancer stem cells in combination treatment in mice
In tumors formed by human breast cancer cells in mice, a diabetes drug was more effective than chemotherapy alone in prolonging remission.

Widespread occurrence of intersex bass found in US Rivers
Intersex in smallmouth and largemouth basses is widespread in numerous river basins throughout the United States is the major finding of the most comprehensive and large-scale evaluation of the condition, according to US Geological Survey research published online in Aquatic Toxicology.

New 'adjuvant' could hold future of vaccine development
Scientists at Oregon State University have developed a new

Communication problems in dementia care cause physical strain
Excessive physical strain in dementia care is not so much related to equipment or the resident's body weight as it is due to communication problems and misunderstandings.

What happens when immune cells just won't die?
X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) is a rare inherited immunodeficiency most commonly caused by deficiency in the protein SAP.

New marker for Alzheimer's discovered
Gothenburg researchers have discovered a previously unknown substance in spinal fluid that can be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease.

Difficulties with daily activities associated with progression to dementia
Among individuals with mild cognitive impairment, often considered a transitional state between normal cognitive function and Alzheimer's dementia, those who have more difficulties performing routine activities appear more likely to progress quickly to dementia, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Guideline: Kids with small head size at risk of neurologic problems, screening needed
A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology, developed in full collaboration with the Child Neurology Society, finds that children with microcephaly -- that is, children whose head size is smaller than that of 97 percent of children -- are at risk of neurologic and cognitive problems and should be screened for these problems.

New insights into cardiac aging
Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have found that the conserved protein d4eBP modulates cardiac aging in Drosophila (fruit flies).

Study shows how disruption of spectrin-actin network causes lens cells in the eye to lose shape
A network of proteins underlying the plasma membrane keeps epithelial cells in shape and maintains their orderly hexagonal packing in the mouse lens, say Nowak et al.

Information about the use and accuracy of breast cancer tests is lacking, study finds
A new study finds that there is little information available about the use of new testing technologies and targeted therapies in breast cancer, specifically the anti-cancer drug trastuzumab.

Typhoon Choi-Wan triggers tropical storm warnings for US commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
Microwave imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite revealed extremely high thunderstorms in Typhoon Choi-Wan as it began passing the island of Sai-Pan in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Combat exposure may increase likelihood of newly reported high blood pressure
Military deployment with multiple combat exposures appeared to be a unique risk factor for newly reported hypertension.

Popular stomach acid reducer triples risk of developing pneumonia
A popular stomach-acid reducer used to prevent stress ulcers in critically ill patients needing breathing machine support increases the risk of those patients contracting pneumonia threefold, according to researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Molecules on a string, and why size isn't the only thing that matters for data storage
Physicists get a grip on slippery molecules, and learn how the shape of nanoscopic magnetic islands affect data storage.

Fake video dramatically alters eyewitness accounts
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that fake video evidence can dramatically alter people's perceptions of events, even convincing them to testify as an eyewitness to an event that never happened.

On-the-job pesticide exposure associated with Parkinson's disease
Individuals whose occupation involves contact with pesticides appear to have an increased risk of having Parkinson's disease, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

MUHC/McGill researchers to WHO: Time to revise tuberculosis treatment guidelines
Tuberculosis is a global threat that affects more than 10 million people each year.

Is the GRADE framework evidence based?: International collaborations key to evaluating eHealth
In this week's open-access journal, PLoS Medicine, Brian Kavanagh critiques the GRADE system of grading guidelines.

The future of schizophrenia
In future schizophrenia research, the focus of therapeutic study will move away from schizophrenia as a disease entity onto specific domains of pathology, promoting the development of targeted drug therapies.

Iraq troops' PTSD rate as high as 35 percent, says Management Insights study
The US Veterans Administration should expect a high volume of Iraq veterans seeking treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, with researchers anticipating that the rate among armed forces will be as high as 35 percent, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Sierra Nevada birds move in response to warmer, wetter climate
If the climate is not quite right, birds will up and move rather than stick around and sweat it out, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley biologists.

Center for AIDS Intervention Research Medical receives $11.16 million NIH grant
The Medical College of Wisconsin's Center for AIDS Intervention Research received a five-year, $11.16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health to continue its HIV prevention research.

Figuring out the heads or tails decision in regeneration
Wounds trigger regeneration in planaria, a flatworm commonly studied for its regenerative capabilities.

Dual simulation improves crash performance
Crash tests often produce startling results. A new simulation process which factors in deformation during production as well as preliminary damage can predict the results of a crash test more accurately than ever.

Blood vessels contribute to their own growth and oxygen delivery to tissues and tumors
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the College of Arts & Sciences have identified a new biological process that spurs the growth of new blood vessels.

Texas A&M researcher shows possible link between 1918 El Niño and flu pandemic
Research conducted at Texas A&M University casts doubts on the notion that El Niño has been getting stronger because of global warming and raises interesting questions about the relationship between El Niño and a severe flu pandemic 91 years ago.

September/October 2009 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet offers synopses of original research published in the September/October 2009 issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Cutting sodium consumption: A major public health priority
Reducing sodium intake is a major public health priority that must be acted upon by governments and nongovernmental organizations to improve population health, states an article in CMAJ.

JNCI news brief: Polyclonality of BRAF mutations in acquired melanocytic nevi
The polyclonality of BRAF mutations in melanocytic nevi suggests that mutation of BRAF may not be an initial event in melanocyte transformation, according to a new brief communication published online Sept.

Ice cream may target the brain before your hips, UT Southwestern study suggests
Blame your brain for sabotaging your efforts to get back on track after splurging on an extra scoop of ice cream or that second burger during Friday night's football game.

2009 Lasker Awards recognize promise of stem cells -- global market could top $700 million
The recipients of the 2009 Lasker Awards, announced today, represent the dramatic advances achieved in biotechnology research that have led to a revolutionary cancer treatment and the tremendous promise of stem cell therapy for regenerative medicine.

The making of mucus in common lung diseases
In the lung, mucus is produced by cells known as goblet cells.

Web-based screening and intervention may reduce drinking in university students
Web-based screening and personalized interventions for alcohol use may reduce drinking in undergraduate students, according to a report in the Sept.

During CPR, more chest compressions mean more saved lives
Cardiac arrest victims have a better chance of surviving when their rescuers spend more time doing chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Active older adults live longer, have better functional status
Older adults who continue or begin to do any amount of exercise appear to live longer and have a lower risk of disability, according to a report in the Sept.

Asthma: Epidemiology, etiology and risk factors
An article on the epidemiology, cause and risk factors of asthma is the first in a special report on asthma in CMAJ designed for clinical practitioners.

Nanoparticle treatment for burns curbs infection, reduces inflammation
Treating second-degree burns with a nanoemulsion lotion sharply curbs bacterial growth and reduces inflammation that otherwise can jeopardize recovery, University of Michigan scientists have shown in initial laboratory studies.

Predicting children at very low risk of brain injury following head trauma to avoid CT scans
Using validated prediction rules to identify children at very low risk of clinically important traumatic brain injuries can reduce the need for CT scans and their resultant radiation exposure. 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