Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 11, 2010
Diabetic eye disease more severe in African-Americans who consume more calories, sodium
High intakes of calories and sodium appear to be associated with the progression of retinal disease among African-American patients with diabetes, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

I-1c gene therapy: Not such a good idea in heart failure?
Several lines of evidence have led to the suggestion that gene therapy to express a constitutively active form of the protein I-1 (I-1c) might provide a new approach to treating heart failure.

One-third of NFL players with Achilles tendon injuries sidelined
More than a third of National Football League players who sustained an Achilles tendon injury were never able to return to professional play according to research in the current issue of Foot & Ankle Specialist (published by SAGE).

Insecticide-treated net program in Tanzania
A Tanzanian program to supply insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria in pregnant women successfully delivers the intervention to only 30 percent of women, but simple changes could increase effectiveness, according to an article in CMAJ.

Clustering MRSA in Europe indicates diffusion through regional health-care networks
A new study finds that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) -- responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections including blood poisoning and pneumonia and a particular problem in hospitals -- occurs in distinct geographical clusters across Europe.

Physicians' moods affect quality of care, according to Ben-Gurion University study
The findings show that a good or bad mood affected all five physician behaviors.

Cesarean section should only be done when medically indicated: Results from the WHO global maternal survey
Data from the WHO global survey on maternal and perinatal health shows that risk of maternal death and serious complications is higher for women undergoing cesarean section that is not medically indicated than for those where there is a medical indication.

Mango effective in preventing, stopping certain colon, breast cancer cells
Mango. If you know little about this fruit, understand this: It's been found to prevent or stop certain colon and breast cancer cells in the lab.

Program may prevent knee injuries in young female soccer players
A soccer-specific exercise program that includes individual instruction of athletes appears to reduce the risk of knee injuries in young female players, according to a report in the Jan.

Bifocals may slow progression of nearsightedness in children
Bifocal glasses may be effective in slowing the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in children with high rates of progression, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Quality and safety of infant formulas, functional foods enhanced by new standards
New standards to help ensure the quality and enhance the safety of key ingredients widely used in infant formulas and a variety of functional foods are being proposed for inclusion in the Food Chemicals Codex, an internationally recognized compendium of quality standards for food ingredients.

Raft or bridge: How did iguanas reach tiny Pacific islands?
Scientists have long puzzled over how iguanas, a group of lizards mostly found in the Americas, came to inhabit the isolated Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga.

€1.6 million ($2.32 million) grant awarded to Prof. Kobi Rosenblum for brain and memory research
Prof. Kobi Rosenblum, head of the department of neurobiology and ethology at the University of Haifa, has been awarded a €1.6 million ($2.32 million) grant from DIP, a German-Israeli Project Cooperation, over a five-year period.

Friendship may help stem rise of obesity in children, study finds
Parents are acutely aware of the influence of friends on their children's behavior -- how they dress, how they wear their hair, whether they drink or smoke.

Faster and more efficient software for the US Air Force
Researchers at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln have addressed the issue of faulty software by developing an algorithm and open source tool that is 300 times faster at generating tests and also reduces current software testing time.

Cities and states propose voluntary framework for cutting salt in packaged and restaurant foods
The National Salt Reduction Initiative, a New York City-led partnership of cities, states and national health organizations, today unveiled its proposed targets to guide a voluntary reduction of salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods.

Study reveals how one form of natural vitamin E protects brain after stroke
Blocking the function of an enzyme in the brain with a specific kind of vitamin E can prevent nerve cells from dying after a stroke, new research suggests.

Considering the evidence in health care
Taking a more strongly evidence-based approach to medicine would help the US health care system recover its ranking among other nations and improve quality, access, efficiency, equity and healthy lives, according to a report published in the International Journal of Public Policy this month.

Exercise associated with preventing, improving mild cognitive impairment
Moderate physical activity performed in midlife or later appears to be associated with a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment, whereas a six-month high-intensity aerobic exercise program may improve cognitive function in individuals who already have the condition, according to two reports in the January issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Clemson manufacturing research gets boost with $400,000 NSF CAREER Award
Clemson assistant professor of mechanical engineering Laine Mears has been awarded a $400,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to research model-based control methods for machining processes.

Cornea cell density predictive of graft failure at 6 months post-transplant
A new predictor of cornea transplant success has been identified by the Cornea Donor Study Investigator Group.

Impact of FDA safety warnings examined
A study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine examines the impact of a safety warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration for commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications.

Ancient Egyptian cosmetics: 'Magical' makeup may have been medicine for eye disease
There's more to the eye makeup that gave Queen Nefertiti and other ancient Egyptians royals those stupendous gazes and legendary beauty than meets the eye.

Genetic variant associated with aggressive form of prostate cancer
Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues have identified the first genetic variant associated with aggressive prostate cancer, proving the concept that genetic information may one day be used in combination with other factors to guide treatment decisions.

New spider species discovered by University of Haifa scientists
A new and previously unknown species of spider has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar in the southern Arava region by a team of scientists from the Department of Biology in the University of Haifa-Oranim.

Small amounts of lead may damage children's kidneys
Small amounts of lead in the bodies of healthy children and teens -- amounts well below the levels defined as

Yoga reduces cytokine levels known to promote inflammation
Regularly practicing yoga exercises may lower a number of compounds in the blood and reduce the level of inflammation that normally rises because of both normal aging and stress, a new study has shown.

WIRES: A new approach to understanding climate change
Climate change is a phenomenon that extends far beyond science, with fundamental implications for economics, politics, sociology and environmental ethics.

Study examines prescribing of antipsychotic medications for nursing home residents
Older adults newly admitted to nursing homes with high rates of antipsychotic prescribing in the previous year are more likely to receive antipsychotic agents, according to a report in the Jan.

Mercyhurst expands research of beach water quality
Pa. Coastal Zone Management grant allows Mercyhurst College biologists to fine-tune their studies of Lake Erie recreational waters.

Gastroenterologists study mind/body techniques for treating celiac disease
For adults and children diagnosed with celiac disease, the only treatment is a gluten-free diet, which can be very challenging.

Can we trust the results of research done on children?
U of A researcher finds flawed medical research could lead to children receiving treatment that either doesn't work or is harmful.

A solid case of entanglement
Physicists have finally managed to demonstrate quantum entanglement of spatially separated electrons in solid state circuitry.

Google founding investor gives $2M for Nobel laureate-led education transformations at UBC
A University of British Columbia alumnus widely credited for mentoring Google's founders and helping establish the company is supporting science education transformations with a $2 million gift to the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative.

New quantum cascade lasers emit more light than heat
Northwestern University researchers have developed compact, mid-infrared laser diodes that generate more light than heat -- a breakthroughs in quantum cascade laser efficiency.

Mammography availability linked to breast cancer mortality rate
More women die of breast cancer in areas where mammography centers are few and far between, according to research by a Medical College of Georgia radiology resident.

Captured by true crime
Women are more drawn to true crime books than are men, according to research in the inaugural issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science, published by SAGE.

Study shows key role environment plays in developing reading skills
While genetics play a key role in children's initial reading skills, a new study of twins is the first to demonstrate that environment plays an important role in reading growth over time.

Ongoing human evolution could explain recent rise in certain disorders
Evolutionary pressures could explain the seeming rise of disorders such as autism and autoimmune diseases, researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Shipworm threatens archaeological treasures
The dreaded shipworm is moving into the Baltic Sea, threatening artifacts of the area's cultural heritage.

For gunshot and stab victims, on-scene spine immobilization may do more harm than good
Immobilizing the spines of shooting and stabbing victims before they are taken to the hospital -- standard procedure in Maryland and some other parts of the country -- appears to double the risk of death compared to transporting patients to a trauma center without this time-consuming, on-scene medical intervention, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Microbe understudies await their turn in the limelight
On the marine microbial stage, there appears to be a vast, varied group of understudies only too ready to step in when

Biologists merge methods, results from different disciplines to find new meaning in old data
A growing number of scientists are merging methods and results from different disciplines to extract new meaning from old data, say researchers in the journal Evolution.

Why certain anticancer drugs can cause heart failure in some patients
Several types of cancer are characterized by overexpression of PDGFR proteins, and molecules that inhibit PDGFR signaling have proven useful anticancer therapeutics.

Sedentary TV time may cut life short
A study found that every hour spent in front of the television per day brings with it an 11 percent greater risk of premature death from all causes, and an 18 percent greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

$1 million from NIH continues cell growth regulation studies
Grant furthers study of how cellular proteins and DNA join together to form a very small molecular machine that acts as an

Discovery provides new drug targets for malaria cure
Researchers are a step closer to developing new antimalarial drugs after discovering the normal function of a set of proteins related to the malaria parasite protein, which causes resistance to the front-line drug chloroquine.

IOM report recommends steps to tackle hepatitis B and C
Stepped-up vaccination requirements, a boost in resources for prevention and treatment, and a public awareness campaign similar to the effort that dispelled the stigma of HIV/AIDS are needed to curb the health threats posed by hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Workers' comp research provides insight into curbing health-care costs
Analyzing physicians' practice patterns may hold valuable clues about how to curb the nation's rising health care costs, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Breast cancer multigene test helping patients avoid chemotherapy
A 21-gene test that predicts whether early stage breast cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy is having a big impact on treatment decisions by patients and doctors alike, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Weekend strokes may receive more aggressive treatment
Stroke patients admitted to the hospital on the weekend appear more likely to receive the clot-dissolving medication tissue plasminogen activator than patients admitted during the week, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Still safely at sea, Edzani now a tropical storm
The weekend wasn't very helpful to Edzani, once a powerful cyclone, now weakened to a tropical storm in the southern Indian Ocean.

Use of body ornamentation shows Neanderthal mind capable of advanced thought
The widespread view of Neanderthals as cognitively inferior to early modern humans is challenged by new research from the University of Bristol published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UNICEF's Accelerated Child Survival and Development Program in West Africa did not achieve its aim
The Accelerated Child Survival and Development Program, implemented by UNICEF in 11 West African countries between 2001 and 2005, aimed to reduce child mortality by at least 25 percent by the end of 2006.

Study shows that delivering stem cells improves repair of major bone injuries in rats
A new study published in PNAS shows that delivering stem cells on a polymer scaffold to treat large areas of missing bone leads to improved bone formation and better mechanical properties compared to treatment with scaffold alone.

FDA warnings associated with reduced atypical antipsychotic use among older adults with dementia
The use of atypical antipsychotics to treat elderly patients with dementia appears to have decreased following a 2005 Food and Drug Administration advisory regarding the risks of these medications in this population, according to a report in the Jan.

Tobacco company helped shape European policy system favoring corporate profits over public health
British American Tobacco, the world's second largest tobacco transnational, strategically influenced the European Union's framework for evaluating policy options, leading to the acceptance of an agenda which emphasizes business interests over public health, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine.

Melting tundra creating vast river of waste into Arctic Ocean
The increase in temperature in the Arctic has already caused the sea-ice there to melt.

Imaging studies help detect underlying cancers in patients with neurologic symptoms
A combined positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan of the whole body appears to detect cancer in individuals with related neurologic complications more accurately than some other commonly used tests, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the March print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

7 CU-Boulder research efforts cited in Discover Magazine's top 100 science stories in 2009
Seven research efforts involving the University of Colorado at Boulder were among the top 100 science stories of the year selected by Discover Magazine -- ideas and breakthroughs that are reshaping our understanding of the world, according to the publication.

Excess protein in urine is indicator of heart disease risk in whites, but not blacks
The cardiovascular risk that is associated with proteinuria, or high levels of protein in the urine, a common test used by doctors as an indicator of increased risk for progressive kidney disease, heart attack and stroke, has race-dependent effects, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Drug shows promise as new treatment for gut tumor
Bortezomib, a drug that already is an approved therapy for some cancers, also might be an effective secondary treatment for a rare tumor of the gastrointestinal tract, said a team led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in the Jan.

Segregating out UbcH10's role in tumor formation
A ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme that regulates the cell cycle promotes chromosome missegregation and tumor formation, according to van Ree et al. in the Jan.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership and the Kyoto Protocols: In conflict or cooperation?
Does the international strategy to tackle climate change hinge on cooperation between the United States and Asia?

Blocking nuclear receptor may cut off tumor blood supply
A new method of blocking the genesis of blood vessels that feed tumors may start with the nuclear receptor COUP-TFII, said a pair of Baylor College of Medicine researchers who have studied the factor for more than 20 years.

Regulatory network balances stem cell maintenance, differentiation
While much of the promise of stem cells springs from their ability to develop into any cell type in the body, the biological workings that control that maturation process are still largely unknown.

Why do people 'play the longshot' and buy insurance? It's in our genes
Why do some people like to take risks by playing

A new species of lichen discovered in the Iberian Peninsula
Spanish scientists have described the lichen Phylloblastia fortuita, new to the Iberian Peninsula and to science.

UC Davis study: Butterflies reeling from impacts of climate and development
California butterflies are reeling from a one-two punch of climate change and land development, says an unprecedented analysis led by UC Davis butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro.

Climate change and habitat destruction affect butterfly populations
Butterfly populations in California are declining and, in some cases, moving to higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada due to climate change and loss of habitat, according to a study authored by biologist Matthew Forister, a University of Nevada, Reno professor in the College of Science.

Climate conditions in 2050 crucial to avoid harmful impacts in 2100
While governments around the world continue to explore strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a new study suggests policymakers should focus on what needs to be achieved in the next 40 years in order to keep long-term options viable for avoiding dangerous levels of warming.

Neuroimaging may shed light on how Alzheimer's disease develops
Current Alzheimer's disease research indicates that accumulation of amyloid-beta (AB) protein plaques in the brain is central to the development of AD.

January/February 2010 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
The tip sheet features highlights from the January/February 2010 issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal, including original research and commentary.

Economists: Appliance rebates waste government money
For every $100 of taxpayer money spent on refrigerators under the federal appliance rebate program, $6 is entirely lost, say two University of Delaware economists.

New ways to pressure HIV
Two new studies showing that protein bits produced by unusual

Disconnect between brain regions in ADHD
Two brain areas fail to connect when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder attempt a task that measures attention, according to researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and M.I.N.D.

Got cognitive activity? It does a mind good
If you don't have a college degree, you're at greater risk of developing memory problems or even Alzheimer's.

JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 11, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

New target discovered for treatment of cancer
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have discovered a new way of blocking the formation of blood vessels and halting the growth of tumors in mice.

Growth factor hit by cancer drugs also protects heart
A growth factor that is a common target of cancer drugs also plays an important role in the heart's response to stress, researchers at the University of Texas M.

2010 Seismological Society of America Meeting in Portland, Ore.: Media registration now open
More than 500 seismologists from around the world will convene at the Seismological Society of America annual conference on April 21-23 in Portland, Ore.

Leading ophthalmological centers in the United States and Saudi Arabia announce affiliation
The Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore announced today that it will collaborate in research, education and patient care with the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Reducing dosage of Parkinson's drugs can cause symptoms similar to those of cocaine withdrawal
New research has shown that reducing the dosage of dopamine agonist drugs, a mainstay treatment for Parkinson's disease, sometimes causes acute withdrawal symptoms similar to those reported by cocaine addicts, including anxiety, panic attacks, depression, sweating, nausea, generalized pain, fatigue, dizziness and drug cravings.

Strengthening national health systems to achieve global health goals
This week PLoS Medicine publishes the second in a four-part series of policy papers examining the ways in which global health institutions and arrangements are changing and evolving.

Race, obesity affect outcomes among diabetics following prostatectomy
Obese white men who have both diabetes and prostate cancer have significantly worse outcomes following radical prostatectomy than do men without diabetes who undergo the same procedure, according to research from Duke University Medical Center appearing in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers trace HIV mutations that lead to drug resistance
Researchers have developed a novel way to trace mutations in HIV that lead to drug resistance.

A deadly scorpion provides a safe pesticide
Prof. Michael Gurevitz of Tel Aviv University's Department of Plant Sciences has isolated the genetic sequences for important neurotoxins in the scorpion venom and developed methods to produce and manipulate these toxins to restrict their toxicity to certain insects or mammals. 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