Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 12, 2009
Study supports possible role of urate in slowing Parkinson's disease progression
By examining data from a 20-year-old clinical trial, a research team based at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Harvard School of Public Health, has found evidence supporting the findings of their 2008 study -- that elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

Healthy neighborhoods may be associated with lower diabetes risk
Individuals living in neighborhoods conducive to physical activity and providing access to healthy foods may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a five-year period, according to a report in the Oct.

News brief: Effects of aspirin and folic acid on inflammation markers for colorectal adenomas
Unexpectedly, inflammation markers do not appear to be involved with the chemopreventative effect of aspirin on colorectal adenomas, according to a brief communication published online Oct.

Packages of care for epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries
In the second in a six part series on treating mental health problems in resource-poor settings, Caroline Mbuba and Charles Newton discuss

More infants surviving pre-term births results in higher rates of eye problems
As more extremely pre-term infants survive in Sweden, an increasing number of babies are experiencing vision problems caused by abnormalities involving the retina, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Setting sail in an ecological 'Earthship'
Could sustainable architecture address pollution, climate change and resource depletion by helping us build self-sufficient, off-grid, housing from

A balancing act in Parkinson's disease: Phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein
Both genetic and pathologic data indicate a role for the neuronal protein alpha-synuclein in Parkinson disease.

Yes, we have bananas!
UK bioscientists are transferring GM knowledge and technology from the developed to the developing world to help fight future food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Loss of tumor supressor gene essential to transforming benign nerve tumors into cancers
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center showed for the first time that the loss or decreased expression of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN plays a central role in the malignant transformation of benign nerve tumors called neurofibromas into a malignant and extremely deadly form of sarcoma.

Inhibiting the cellular process autophagy makes mice leaner
The more brown fat cells a person has, the lower their body mass.

Genes behind increasingly common form of cancer identified
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have identified two genes believed to play a role in the development of endometrial cancer.

2009 Vanderbilt Prize awarded to UCSD researcher
Susan Taylor, Ph.D., a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, has been awarded the 2009 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science.

Case Western Reserve University researchers receive $1.25 million from NIMH to study schizophrenia
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received $1.25 million from the National Institutes of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study schizophrenia from an interdisciplinary standpoint.

UNC study: Children can greatly reduce abdominal pain by using their imagination
This study found that children with functional abdominal pain who used audio recordings of guided imagery at home in addition to standard medical treatment were almost three times as likely to improve their pain problem, compared to children who received standard treatment alone.

SCID kids leading healthy, normal lives 25 years after 'Bubble Boy'
Mention the words

Investigation of contaminated heparin syringes highlights medication safety issues
An outbreak of bloodstream infections appears to have been caused by the contamination of pre-filled heparin and saline syringes made by a single company, according to a report in the Oct.

Intensive care procedure saves lives: Swine flu study
A research team has warned medical experts in the Northern Hemisphere not to underestimate the serious impact of the H1N1 virus with a new report showing that many patients who were critically ill with the virus required prolonged life support treatment with heart-lung machines.

Critical illness from 2009 H1N1 in Mexico associated with high fatality rate
Critical illness from 2009 influenza A(H1N1) in Mexico occurred among young patients, was associated with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome and shock, and had a fatality rate of about 40 percent, according to a study to appear in the Nov.

JCI online early table of contents: Oct. 12, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Oct.

Medical documentation of injuries is associated with more convictions in adult rapes in South Africa
A study examining how the South African criminal justice system handles cases of rape shows an association between the medical documentation of ano-genital injuries, the commencement of trials, and convictions in rape cases.

Kaiser Permanente, UCSF awarded $25 million from NIH for genetic epidemiology research
The Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health and the University of California, San Francisco, have been awarded $24.8 million over two years by the National Institutes of Health to create a new resource for studying disease, health and aging.

Prediction model superior to traditional criteria in bladder treatment decision
Study finds a statistical model can accurately predict which patients will have poor outcomes after bladder surgery and can determine the need for chemotherapy.

Magnetic nanotags spot cancer in mice earlier than methods now in clinical use
Searching for biomarkers that can warn of diseases such as cancer while they are still in their earliest stage is likely to become far easier thanks to an innovative biosensor chip developed by Stanford University researchers.

Self-sacrifice among strangers has more to do with nurture than nature
Socially learned behavior and belief are much better candidates than genetics to explain the self-sacrificing behavior we see among strangers in societies, from soldiers to blood donors to those who contribute to food banks.

An action plan for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's once proud achievements in health have been undermined over the past 20 years by increasing poverty, bad governance, poor economic policies, widespread HIV/AIDS, and a weakened health system.

H1N1 critical illness can occur rapidly; predominantly affects young patients
Critical illness among Canadian patients with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) occurred rapidly after hospital admission, often in young adults, and was associated with severely low levels of oxygen in the blood, multi-system organ failure, a need for prolonged mechanical ventilation and frequent use of rescue therapies, according to a study to appear in the Nov.

Osler's Bedside Library: An introduction to the world's great literature for physicians
Regarded by many as the father of modern medicine, Sir William Osler was also a voracious reader and an avid collector of books.

Breast tenderness during hormone replacement therapy linked to elevated cancer risk
Women who developed new-onset breast tenderness after starting estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement therapy were at significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer than women on the combination therapy who didn't experience such tenderness, according to a new UCLA study.

National Institute for Health Research funds supporter membership of BioMed Central
The NIHR has a mission to support outstanding health research and to enhance access to the results of that research.

Important defense against stomach ulcer bacterium identified
A special protein in the lining of the stomach has been shown to be an important part of the body's defense against the stomach ulcer bacterium Helicobacter pylori in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

Science and Technology Roadmaps to China 2050
Springer and the Chinese Academy of Sciences announce the publication of strategic reports planning the next 40 years of progress in science and technology.

Herbivory discovered in a spider
There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders in the world, all of which have been thought to be strict predators that feed on insects or other animals.

Scientists encouraged by new mouse model's similarities to human ALS
A new mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis closely resembles humans with the paralyzing disorder, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

No such thing as 'junk RNA,' say Pitt researchers
Tiny fragments of RNA previously dismissed as cellular junk are actually stable molecules that play a significant role in gene regulation, say University of Pittsburgh researchers.

BIDMC Chairman of Neurology Clifford B. Saper, M.D., Ph.D., elected to Institute of Medicine
Clifford B. Saper, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the department of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Hollow spheres made of metal
Producing metallic hollow spheres is complicated: It has not yet been possible to make the small sizes required for new high-tech applications.

First 'mainly vegetarian' spider described
The 40,000 or so spiders that have been described are generally known as strict predators, trapping their prey in elaborate webs or hunting them down directly.

Impaired fetal growth increases risk of asthma
A new study from the medical university Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm shows that children born with low birth weight are at a higher risk of developing asthma later in life.

Improved redox flow batteries for electric cars
A new type of redox flow battery presents a huge advantage for electric cars.

Genetics of patterning the cerebral cortex
In the October 11 advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies report that they have identified the first genetic mechanism that determines the regional identity of progenitors tasked with generating the cerebral cortex.

Gene mingling increases sudden death risk
A multinational research team reports in the journal Circulation that variations in the gene NOS1AP increase the risk of cardiac symptoms and sudden death in patients who have an inherited cardiac disease called congenital long-QT syndrome.

Studying cancer in pet dogs to find new treatments for human patients
A team of scientists at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, says that studying pet dogs with cancer could yield valuable information on how to diagnose and treat human cancers.

Researchers identify workings of L-form bacteria
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have for the first time identified the genetic mechanisms involved in the formation and survival of L-form bacteria.

UF researchers find triggers in cells' transition from colitis to cancer
In findings that may help explain why patients with colitis have up to a 30-fold risk of developing colon cancer compared with people without the disease, University of Florida researchers reveal that inflamed but noncancerous colon tissue taken from human patients transformed into tumors in mice.

New guidelines identify best treatments to help ALS patients live longer, easier
New guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology identify the most effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig's disease.

Proactive, personalized telephone counseling can help teen smokers to quit
Personalized, proactive telephone counseling centered on motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills training has been found to favorably impact quit rates among teen smokers, according to a pair of studies published online Oct.

New old drug fights colon cancer
Dr. Rina Rosen-Arbesfeld of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine has shown that a common antibiotic can suppress the growth of colon cancer polyps in mice.

Small ... smaller ... smallest? ASU researchers create molecular diode
Recently, at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, N.J., Tao and collaborators have found a way to make a key electrical component on a phenomenally tiny scale.

Teenage boys take less responsibility for preventing the spread of chlamydia
Teenage boys in Sweden take less responsibility than girls for preventing the spread of chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections, according to a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

A high fat diet during pregnancy can lead to severe liver disease in offspring
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown link between a mother's diet in pregnancy and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in her child.

First-of-kind study shows model can be used to rate courtroom psychiatric experts performance
What does it mean when expert psychiatric witnesses in a court case reach opposing conclusions on the same sets of evidence?

MSU-led study to examine effect of climate change on global industries
A team of international researchers led by a Michigan State University climatologist will conduct a first-of-its-kind study to measure the effects of climate change on global industries.

Warmer climate not the cause of oxygen deficiency in the Baltic Sea
Oxygen deficiency in the Baltic Sea has never been greater than it is now.

Dyslexia varies across language barriers
Chinese-speaking children with dyslexia have a disorder that is distinctly different, and perhaps more complicated and severe, than that of English speakers.

5 UCSF scientists named to Institute of Medicine
Five UCSF faculty scientists are among the 65 newly elected members to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences.

LSUHSC's England plays key role in developing new ALS treatment guidelines
Dr. John England, Professor and Chairman of Neurology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, analyzed research findings and was responsible for the quality and accuracy of evidence analysis and the conclusions of the studies resulting in new guidelines for treating Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotropic lateral sclerosis.

Suppressing a gene in mice prevents heart from aging, preserves its function
In a mouse study, suppressing the activity of a key gene prevented age-related cardiac changes and preserved much of the heart's function.

The first neotropical rainforest was home of the Titanoboa
Plant fossils from the same site in northern Colombia where the Titanoboa was found reveal a rainforest very similar to modern neotropical rainforests, but several degrees warmer.

NIH awards more than $54 million to Kaiser Permanente to conduct health research
As part of the $5 billion in grants announced by President Obama, the National Institutes of Health has granted Kaiser Permanente more than $54 million over two years through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to conduct health research on a multitude of critical public and clinical health areas.

Silence of the genes
Berkeley researchers have solved the structure of a protein complex that helps determine the fate of human cells.

Study may explain how a well-known epilepsy and pain drug works
A Duke University Medical Center researcher who spent years looking for the signals that prompt the brain to form new connections between neurons has found one that may explain precisely how a well-known drug for epilepsy and pain actually works.

Stanford scientist's new findings of autism-associated synapse alterations lead to coveted NIH grant
A Stanford University School of Medicine researcher has pinpointed the mechanism by which a gene associated with both autism and schizophrenia influences behavior in mice.

Nurses safely and effectively prescribe antiretroviral drugs in pilot program
Given sufficient training and support, nurses can safely and effectively prescribe antiretroviral therapy to patients with HIV, according to a Rwandan study published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Teen smoking-cessation trial first to achieve significant quit rates
For the first time, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have demonstrated that it is possible to successfully recruit and retain a large number of adolescent smokers from the general population into a smoking intervention study and, through personalized, proactive telephone counseling, significantly impact rates of six-month continuous quitting.

Immune cells predict outcome of West Nile virus infection
Infection with West Nile virus (WNV) causes no symptoms in most people.

Premium auto tech and cow dung point to new high tech disease diagnosis
Researchers at the University of Warwick have taken high tech gas sensors normally used to test components for premium cars and applied the same techniques to human blood, human urine, and even cow dung samples from local cow pats.

Rochester-led Parkinson's study pays off again, 2 decades later
Parkinson's disease progresses more slowly in patients who have higher levels of urate, a chemical that at very high level is associated with gout, scientists have found.

Supervised strength training is more effective
Half of all Swedish elite volleyball players suffer at least one injury per season.

Blood vessel builders
A pair of Case Western Reserve University biomedical engineers are developing a method to grow blood vessels in engineered tissues.

Growing geodesic carbon nanodomes
Studying the formation of nanoscopic carbon geodesic domes offers insight into the growth of graphene sheets, and may lead to compact, efficient circuitry.

Elsevier partners with Peking University
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced its publishing partnership with Peking University.

Noncorrectable vision problems associated with shorter lifespan in older adults
Visual problems that cannot be corrected are associated with increased risk of death among individuals between the ages of 49 and 74, and all visual impairments may be associated with the risk of death in older adults, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study finds partner abuse leads to wide range of health problems
Women abused by intimate partners suffer higher rates of a wide variety of doctor-diagnosed medical maladies compared to women who were never abused, according to a new study of more than 3,000 women.

Afib triggered by a cell that resembles a pigment-producing skin cell
The source and mechanisms underlying the abnormal heart beats that initiate atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common type of abnormal heart beat, have not been well determined.

Investment in Parkinson's disease data bank yields potential therapy
Individuals with Parkinson's disease who have higher levels of a metabolite called urate in their blood and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have a slower rate of disease progression, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Most H1N1 patients with respiratory failure treated with oxygenating system survive illness
Despite the severity of disease and the intensity of treatment, most patients in Australia and New Zealand who experienced respiratory failure as a result of 2009 influenza A(H1N1) and were treated with a system that adds oxygen to the patient's blood survived the disease, according to a study to appear in the Nov.

Researchers discover RNA repair system in bacteria
In new papers appearing this month in Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Illinois biochemistry professor Raven H.

US asthma researchers more open than UK scientists to the inclusion of ethnic minorities
New findings reveal a large gap between US and UK researchers in terms of policy, attitudes, practices and experiences in relation to including ethnic minorities in asthma research.

Singapore scientists discover widely sought molecular key to understanding p53 tumor suppressor gene
Singapore scientists have determined how master gene regulator p53 could switch a gene in a cell

Leading biogeochemist to give talk at UC Riverside on global nitrogen cycle
William H. Schlesinger, a leading biogeochemist and the president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, will give a free, public lecture at the University of California, Riverside on Monday, Oct.

Urate in blood and spinal fluid may predict slower decline in patients with Parkinson's disease
Higher concentration of urate (an antioxidant) in the blood and spinal fluid of patients with early Parkinson's disease is associated with slower rates of clinical decline, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the December print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Declines in other thinking and learning skills may precede memory loss in Alzheimer's disease
Cognitive abilities other than memory, including visuospatial skills needed to perceive relationships between objects, may decline years prior to a clinical diagnosis in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. 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