Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 18, 2009
Greater certainty in monitoring 3 therapeutic medications is facilitated by new CRMs
To help bring greater certainty to the measurement of medication levels in a patient's bloodstream for three drugs with narrow therapeutic ranges, the US Pharmacopeial Convention is releasing new certified reference materials (CRMs).

Scientists find molecular trigger that helps prevent aging and disease
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine set out to address a question that has been challenging scientists for years: How do dietary restriction -- and the reverse, overconsumption -- produce protective effects against aging and disease?

Creation of new school districts in US may cause a new form of segregation
Although the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 overturned segregation within many US metropolitan communities and districts, school districts were slow to change and have remained segregated between districts.

Vitamin B niacin offers no extra benefit to statin therapy in seniors already diagnosed with CAD
The routine prescription of extended-release niacin, a B vitamin (1,500 milligrams daily), in combination with traditional cholesterol-lowering therapy offers no extra benefit in correcting arterial narrowing and diminishing plaque buildup in seniors who already have coronary artery disease, a new vascular imaging study from Johns Hopkins experts shows.

Current cigarette smokers at increased risk of seizures
A recent study determined there is a significant risk of seizure for individuals who currently smoke cigarettes.

Drug for erectile dysfunction improves heart function in young heart-disease patients
After treatment with sildenafil, heart function significantly improved in children and young adults with single-ventricle congenital heart disease who have had the Fontan operation.

Remote therapies could help in fight against eating disorders
Eating disorders continue to have a stigma attached to them.

New Down syndrome treatment suggested by Stanford/Packard study in mice
At birth, children with Down syndrome aren't developmentally delayed. But as they age, these kids fall behind.

Research challenges for understanding landscape changes identified
Nine research challenges and four research initiatives that are poised to advance the study of how Earth's landscapes change were unveiled today in a new report by the National Research Council.

Baffling boxy bulge
Just as many people are surprised to find themselves packing on unexplained weight around the middle, astronomers find the evolution of bulges in the centers of spiral galaxies puzzling.

Saliva proteins change as women age
In a step toward using human saliva to tell whether those stiff joints, memory lapses, and other telltale signs of aging are normal or red flags for disease, scientists are describing how the protein content of women's saliva change with advancing age.

Hidden threat: Elevated pollution levels near regional airports
Scientists are reporting evidence that air pollution -- a well-recognized problem at major airports -- may pose an important but largely overlooked health concern for people living near smaller regional airports.

New on-off 'switch' triggers and reverses paralysis in animals with a beam of light
In an advance with overtones of Star Trek phasers and other sci-fi ray guns, scientists in Canada are reporting development of an internal on-off

Kill the cancer, not the patient: New toxicity testing approach could make chemo drugs safer
With a new two-year, $1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, Jackson Laboratory Professor Gary Churchill is launching a radical new approach to testing three chemotherapeutic drugs for potential toxic effects, using an outbred mouse population that approximates the genetic diversity observed in human populations.

Residential design for persons with neurological disability
The November special issue of NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal is devoted to residential design for persons with neurodisability.

Girls 'disengage' from high school science
High school girls are bored, disengaged and stressed in science classes when compared to boys, Northern Illinois University researchers say.

Proton's party pals may alter its internal structure
A recent experiment at the US Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has found that a proton's nearest neighbors in the nucleus of the atom may modify the proton's internal structure.

BioMed Central partners with Quertle
BioMed Central, the world's largest open-access publisher with over 200 peer-reviewed journals has teamed up with Quertle LLC to add over 60,000 published articles into the latest version of their innovative online biomedical search tool.

Common pain relief medication may encourage cancer growth
Although morphine has been the gold-standard treatment for postoperative and chronic cancer pain for two centuries, a growing body of evidence is showing that opiate-based painkillers can stimulate the growth and spread of cancer cells.

GEN reports on enhancing the applications of qPCR
Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology is experiencing a surge of interest and rapid expansion as a result of advances such as instrumentation that pushes capacity to 1,536 wells and optimization-free multiplexing, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

Findings that should speed the development of drugs for Parkinson's disease
Australian scientists have significantly advanced our understanding of dopamine release from nerve cells, findings that should speed the development of more effective drugs for treating Parkinson's disease.

NanoString Technologies announces research collaboration with the Broad Institute
NanoString Technologies Inc., a privately held life sciences company marketing a molecular barcoding detection system, today announced that it is collaborating with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to investigate molecular networks involved in immune response and other important biological processes.

Beyond genomics, biologists and engineers decode the next frontier
A team of biologists and engineers has dramatically improved the speed and accuracy of measuring histones, an enigmatic set of proteins that influences almost every aspect of how cells and tissues function.

Oceans' uptake of manmade carbon may be slowing
The oceans play a key role in regulating climate, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air.

The protein Srebp2 drives cholesterol formation in prion-infected neuronal cells
The regulating protein Srebp2 drives cholesterol formation, which prions need for their propagation, in prion-infected neuronal cells.

Women at risk from vitamin A deficiency
A new genetic discovery highlights a potential vitamin A deficiency among UK women.

Nanyang Technological University professor wins 8th Feng Kang Prize in Scientific Computing in China
Associate Professor Tai Xue-Cheng, from Nanyang Technological University's School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded the 8th Feng Kang Prize in Scientific Computing.

Developing 'green' tires that boost mileage and cut carbon dioxide emissions
A new generation of

Study raises concerns about outdoor second-hand smoke
Indoor smoking bans have forced smokers at bars and restaurants onto outdoor patios, but a new University of Georgia study in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that these outdoor smoking areas might be creating a new health hazard.

What's eating the breadwinners?
Control, independence, ambition, pressure, worry, guilt and resentment are all experienced by female breadwinners, according to Dr.

Cancers' sweet tooth may be weakness
Cancer cells tend to take up more glucose than healthy cells and metabolize it in a process called glycolysis.

Superconductivity leader receives $2.8M grant from US Air Force Office
Paul Chu, the T. L. L. Temple Chair of Science, professor of physics at the University of Houston and executive director of TcSUH, received a $2.8 million grant from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research for his ongoing efforts to search for novel materials that become superconducting at higher temperatures, preferably close to or above room temperature, and with higher current carrying capacity.

Secondhand smoke exposure worse for toddlers, obese children
Some children may suffer greater consequences of secondhand smoke exposure.

AGU Fall Meeting: Press room update, book hotels by Nov. 19
This updates for the AGU 2009 Fall Meeting contains a press room update, reminder to book hotels by Nov.

Migration of key employees to competitors hinders organizational success
A study by researchers from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University explored the competitive advantage organizations gain when hiring key employees away from a competitor.

'Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites' wins award from the Geoscience Information Society
The Springer book

Research indicates that baby's sleep position is the major factor in 'flat-headedness'
A baby's sleep position is the best predictor of a misshapen skull condition known as deformational plagiocephaly -- or the development of flat spots on an infant's head -- according to findings reported by Arizona State University scientists in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Immune system activated in schizophrenia
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have discovered that patients with recent-onset schizophrenia have higher levels of inflammatory substances in their brains.

NSF supports Case Western Reserve University's IDEAL
A program at Case Western Reserve University to encourage career advancement of women and underrepresented minority men in sciences and engineering is expanding to five public institutions of higher education through a three-year, nearly $1 million National Science Foundation grant.

UCR plant scientist's research spawns new discoveries showing how crops survive drought
Breakthrough research done earlier this year by a UC Riverside plant cell biologist has greatly accelerated scientists' knowledge on how plants and crops can survive difficult environmental conditions like drought.

Pew Health Group statement on Senate mark up of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510)
Sandra Eskin, director of the Pew Health Group's Food Safety Campaign, today issued the following statement regarding the markup of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee:

Antifibrotic effects of green tea
A research team from South Korea examined the protective effect of green tea extract on hepatic fibrosis in vitro and in vivo in dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced rats.

Is hepatic differentiation of embryonic stem cells induced by valproic acid and cytokines?
A research team from China developed a protocol for direct hepatic lineage differentiation from early developmental progenitors to a population of mature hepatocytes.

Good news on multiple sclerosis and pregnancy
There is good news for women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.

Focus on male infertility at international event at Queen's
Male infertility and tackling falling birth rates across Europe will be among the topics addressed at this year's British Andrology Society's annual conference at Queen's University in Belfast.

MIT: Better way to harness waste heat
New MIT research points the way to a technology that might make it possible to harvest much of the wasted heat produced by everything from computer processor chips to car engines to electric power plants, and turn it into usable electricity.

New culprit for viral infections among elderly -- an overactive immune response
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that exaggerated responses of the immune system explain why the elderly succumb to viral infections more readily than younger people.

UCLA study shows brain's ability to reorganize
Department of Neurology scientists at UCLA have confirmed that blindness causes structural changes in the brain, implying that the brain may re-organize itself functionally in order to adapt to a loss in sensory inputs.

ORNL, partners helping scientists deal with data deluge
Vast amounts of information that could hold the key to breakthroughs in environmental research will be made readily available through a network created by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and partners.

5 exercises can reduce neck, shoulder pain of women office workers
Strength training exercises using dumbbells can reduce pain and improve function in the trapezius muscle among women suffering trapezius myalgia, a tenderness and tightness in the upper trapezius muscle.

Can EP4 agonist alleviate gastric lesions?
A research team from the United States investigated the EP4-selective agonist effect on indomethacin-induced gastric lesions and on the spontaneous healing of chronic gastric ulcers.

At-risk college students reduce HBP, anxiety, depression through Transcendental Meditation
The Transcendental Meditation technique, a widely used standardized program to reduce stress, was an effective method to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression and anger among at-risk college students, according to a new study to be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.

Is type 2 diabetes mellitus a risk factor for gallbladder, biliary and pancreatic cancer?
Presently, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with cardiovascular complications, and also with several cancers.

Cognitive dysfunction reversed in mouse model of Down syndrome
A study by neuroscientist William C. Mobley, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and colleagues at Stanford University Medical School has demonstrated a possible new approach to slowing the inevitable progression of cognitive decline found in Down syndrome.

Georgia Tech launches experimental Green IT Initiative
The Green IT Initiative looks at power consumption from the microchip to the data center.

Scientists unravel evolution of highly toxic box jellyfish
With thousands of stinging cells that can emit deadly venom from tentacles that can reach ten feet in length, the 50 or so species of box jellyfish have long been of interest to scientists and to the public.

NASA's QuikScat and Aqua providing important data on Tropical Storm Anja
Tropical Storm Anja has continued to weaken over the last 24 hours, and NASA's QuikScat satellite has confirmed that the once mighty Category 4 Cyclone is now a tropical storm in the southern Indian Ocean.

Texas A&M researchers examine how viruses destroy bacteria
Viruses are well known for attacking humans and animals, but some viruses instead attack bacteria.

Berkeley Lab lends expertise to India to promote energy efficiency
India may rank only a distant fourth in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, behind China, the United States and Russia, but its rapid economic growth rate coupled with aging and inefficient energy infrastructure suggest dire environmental consequences if

The benefits of stress ... in plants
This study finds that certain wild flax plants growing in poor soils have succeeded in balancing the stress in their lives -- these plants are less likely to experience infection from a fungal pathogen.

BIDMC scientists awarded grants from Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center neurologists Alvaro Pascual-Leone, M.D., Ph.D., and Daniel Tarsy, M.D., have been awarded grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the Michael J.

How to execute dietary management in eating disorder patients
Substances that provoke gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with eating disorders (ED) can impact negatively on their nutritional rehabilitation.

UCLA researchers create 'fly paper' to capture circulating cancer cells
Just as fly paper captures insects, an innovative new device with nano-sized features developed by researchers at UCLA is able to grab cancer cells in the blood that have broken off from a tumor.

TGen Drug Development establishes European footprint
TGen Drug Development and the Institut Paoli-Calmettes have forged a strategic alliance that will enable both to maximize their worldwide contributions in the treatment of cancer patients.

What relates to the short-term effectiveness of biliary drainage?
A research team from Taiwan identified factors that were related to the short term effectiveness of percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage in cholangiocarcinoma patients and evaluated the impact of palliative drainage on their survival.

Toward explaining why hepatitis B hits men harder than women
Scientists in China are reporting discovery of unusual liver proteins, found only in males, that may help explain the long-standing mystery of why the hepatitis B virus sexually discriminates -- hitting men harder than women.

When good companies do bad things
The more prominent and financially successful a corporation becomes, the more likely it is to break the law, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar that challenges previous research.

Future for Internet retailers: Compete on niche products advises management insights study
In their competition with brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers will do best if they promote the ability to search out and obtain niche products online, 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.

New research helps explain why bird flu has not caused a pandemic
Bird flu viruses would have to make at least two simultaneous genetic mutations before they could be transmitted readily from human to human, according to research published today in PLoS ONE.

Hospital report cards do not appear to result in significant improvements
An analysis of quality of cardiac care following the public release of data on measures of care at hospitals in Ontario, Canada, did not result in significant system-wide improvement in hospitals' performance on most quality of care indicators, according to a study to be published in the Dec.
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