Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 25, 2010
NIGMS awards contract to expand human genetic cell repository
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded a $27 million, five-year contract to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, N.J., to continue and expand operation of the NIGMS Human Genetic Cell Repository.

70 percent of Inuit preschoolers live in food insecure homes
Seventy percent of Inuit preschoolers in Nunavut, Canada's largest territory, live in households where there isn't enough food, a situation with implications for children's academic and psychosocial development, found an article in CMAJ.

8 global health agencies call for better global health data
Eight global health agencies call for a concerted global effort to collect better health data.

Gastric ulcer bacteria turn immune defense inwards
Despite a strong response from our immune defence, the body is unable to rid itself of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

Cell-enriched fat grafts improve long term graft retention in preclinical study
Cytori's preclinical results published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery support the potential clinical utility for cell-enriched fat grafts in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

Lopsided fish show that symmetry is only skin deep
Putting function before form, members of the Perissodinus genus of fish have developed a hugely lopsided jaw that provides a distinct feeding advantage.

Do we have free will? FSU philosopher awarded $4.4 million grant to find out
Since the beginning of time, philosophers, scientists and theologians have sought to find out whether human beings have free will or whether other forces are at work to control our actions, decisions and choices.

St. Jude and Washington University team to unravel genetic basis of childhood cancers
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Ozone hole healing could cause further climate warming
The hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.

The NHS and the cost-benefit dilemma
New research by health economists at the University of York has raised concerns over any move to broaden the range of costs and economic benefits considered in the analysis of new NHS treatments.

New therapeutic approach identified for kidney disease associated with lupus
Investigators led by Hospital for Special Surgery have identified a new disease mechanism and therapeutic approach for a type of advanced kidney disease that is a common cause of complications in patients with lupus.

Physical activity associated with healthier aging
Physical activity appears to be associated with a reduced risk or slower progression of several age-related conditions as well as improvements in overall health in older age, according to a commentary and four articles published in the Jan.

In bats and whales, convergence in echolocation ability runs deep
Only some bats and toothed whales rely on sophisticated echolocation, in which they emit sonar pulses and process returning echoes, to detect and track down small prey.

Bigger corn plants bully smaller neighbors in no-till fields
It might not look like there's much going on in those roadside corn fields, but a Purdue University researcher has shown that corn plants are in a fierce battle with each other for resources.

JCI table of contents: Jan. 25, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Jan.

Why humans outlive apes
The same evolutionary genetic advantages that have helped increase human lifespans also make us uniquely susceptible to diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia, reveals a study to be published in a special PNAS collection on

'Poop' dermatitis linked to fashionable toilet seats, harsh chemicals
Considered a dermatological nuisance that was long gone, skin irritations caused by toilet seats appear to be making a comeback in pediatricians' offices, according to research led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center investigator Bernard Cohen, M.D.

Device simulates deep-sea floor conditions in lab
Two UIC geoscientists have built a device for laboratory simulations of deep-sea pressure and temperature conditions that allows X-ray sample analysis.

Men feel less guilt
Although changing social and cultural contexts mean guilt has less power today than it once did, a new study has shown that in the West this emotion is

Computers do better than humans at measuring some radiology images
Scientists have automated the measurement of a vital part of the knee in images with a computer program that performs much faster and just as reliably as humans who interpret the same images.

Judy Riffle elected international fellow
Judy S. Riffle, professor of chemistry and director of Virginia Tech's Macromolecular Science and Engineering program, was one of only three chemists worldwide to be named a Fellow in the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering division of the American Chemical Society in 2010.

Gene family found to play key role in early stages of development
Scientists have identified a gene family that plays a key role in one of the earliest stages of development in which an embryo distinguishes its left side from the right and determines how organs should be positioned within the body.

Vaccine approach extends life of metastatic prostate cancer patients
In a newly published clinical trial, patients with metastatic prostate cancer who received a vaccine of harmless poxviruses engineered to spur an immune system attack on prostate tumor cells lived substantially longer than patients who received a placebo vaccine, report researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and affiliated organizations.

Reproductive coercion often is accompanied by physical or sexual violence, study finds
Young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage birth control or coerce pregnancy -- including damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives -- and these efforts, defined as

Weight training improves cognitive function in seniors: UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health research
Weight-bearing exercises may help minimize cognitive decline and impaired mobility in seniors, according to a new study conducted by the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia.

Elementary school women teachers transfer their fear of doing math to girls
Female elementary school teachers who are anxious about math pass on to female students the stereotype that boys, not girls, are good at math.

New class of brain-protecting drugs emerging
The compound 7,8-dihydroxyflavone mimics BDNF, one of the brain's own growth factors, and can protect brain cells against damage in animal models of seizure, stroke and Parkinson's disease.

Mixed-handed children more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems
Children who are mixed-handed, or ambidextrous, are more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems in childhood than right- or left-handed children, according to a new study published today in the journal Pediatrics.

AAN guideline evaluates treatments for kids with cerebral palsy
A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society finds botulinum toxin type A to be an effective treatment for spasticity, muscle tightness that interferes with movement, in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, but poses some risk.

New studies highlight needs of boys in K-12, higher education
Boys face high rates of a variety of mental health issues, in addition to lagging behind girls in academic performance and college attendance, according to two new papers by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Judith Kleinfeld.

A pregnant woman does not look like an olive
Replacing confusing language and icons on standard warnings labels for prescription medicine and listing only the most important warnings could make a big difference in how well patients understand the instructions that are critical to their health, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Study of shark virgin birth shows offspring can survive long term
Shark pups born to virgin mothers can survive over the long-term, according to new research published Jan.

Maximum height of extreme waves up dramatically in Pacific Northwest
A major increase in maximum ocean wave heights off the Pacific Northwest in recent decades has forced scientists to re-evaluate how high a

Gecko's lessons transfer well
Rice graduate student Cary Pint has come up with a way to transfer forests of strongly aligned, single-walled carbon nanotubes from one surface to another -- any surface -- in a matter of minutes.

Smooth and integrated movement patterns can help individuals with back pain
Many people with back pain do not know what is causing it and they do not receive effective treatment, but learning to move in a more integrated way makes a big difference, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Insulin research points way to better diabetes treatments
New research significantly improves our understanding of how insulin interacts with cells in the human body with implications for the treatments of diabetes.

Surprising discovery: X-rays drive formation of new crystals
X-rays can do a lot of useful things but who knew they could cause crystals to form?

Thinking outside the block in disease gene studies
In the decade since the Human Genome Project produced the first map of DNA sequences in the human genome, scientists throughout the world have combed through genome data to identify genes and gene variants that cause human disease.

Dolphin and bat DNA on the same wavelength
Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have shown that the remarkable ability of echolocation is shared by bats and dolphins at a much deeper level than anyone previously realized -- all the way down to the molecular level.

Blood pressure control abnormal in newborns of smoking mothers
Blood pressure control in infants of smoking mothers is abnormal compared to that of infants from non-smoking parents.

Monitoring peatland from Earth and space
A team of UK scientists has developed a technique for monitoring the condition of peatlands by capturing images from Earth and space to measure spatial patterning.

Researchers correct the record about behavior of important human protein tied to cancer
In a study to be published this week, a research team is challenging a prevailing belief about the behavior of a human protein linked to the formation of cancer, possibly breathing new life into the search for therapies that will inhibit that protein from

Engineering a new way to study hepatitis C
Researchers at MIT and Rockefeller University have successfully grown hepatitis C virus in otherwise healthy liver cells in the laboratory, an advance that could allow scientists to develop and test new treatments for the disease.

No evidence of a post-Olympics boom or bust for host city real estate prices: UBC study
Cities that win Olympic bids experience neither boom nor bust in their real estate prices, but gain construction jobs as they prepare for the Games, according to researchers at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

CAREER grant will help understand cell cycle model
Yang Cao, an assistant professor of computer science, is developing computer simulation methods to help biologists understand the complex, discrete, and stochastic cell cycle and provide the ability to switch between different models and algorithms as dictated by the scales of underlying problems, with seamless transition.

Babraham scientists find survival factor for keeping nerve cells healthy
Scientists at the Babraham Institute have discovered a novel survival factor whose rapid transport along nerve cells is crucial for keeping them alive.

Echolocating bats and whales share molecular mechanism
With high-pitched squeaks, clicks and chirps and ultra-sensitive hearing, toothed whales and some bats zero in on prey by emitting pulses of sound and interpreting the echoes that bounce back.

Discovery of epigenetic memory during breast cancer
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine have determined how the TGFB-Smad signaling pathway, which is over activated in late-stage cancers, is responsible for the

Superconducting hydrogen?
Physicists have long wondered whether hydrogen could be transformed into a metal or a superconductor -- the elusive state in which electrons can flow without resistance.

Louisiana Tech VP Les Guice honored with 2009 Robert E. Russ Award
Dr. Leslie K. Guice, vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech University, has received the 2009 Robert E.

Sweet future: Fluctuating blood glucose levels may affect decision making
People's preferences for current vs. later rewards may be influenced by blood glucose levels: Volunteers who drank a regular soda (and therefore had higher blood glucose levels) were more likely to select receiving more money at a later date while the volunteers who drank a diet soda (containing artificial sweetener) were likelier to opt for receiving smaller sums of money immediately.

Doctors develop life-saving, low-cost ventilators for emergency, rural and military use
Anesthetists have designed three prototype low-cost ventilators that could provide vital support during major health care emergencies involving large numbers of patients, such as pandemics, and where resources are limited, such as in developing countries, remote locations or by the military.

NPL helps the R&A measure rules of golf
Researchers from the National Physical Laboratory have helped the R&A to ensure that golf equipment manufacturers cannot produce kit that gives players an unfair advantage.

Researchers of microraptor shed light on ancient origin of bird flight
A joint team from the University of Kansas and Northeastern University in China says that it has settled the long-standing question of how bird flight began.

2-pronged immune response offers hope for effective Salmonella vaccine
Research from Malawi, Birmingham and Liverpool has renewed hope that an effective vaccine could be developed against non-typhoidal strains of Salmonella.

Facebook or MySpace, youths' use reflect face-to-face interactions
Though parents often have concerns about letting their teens use social media Web sites like Facebook and MySpace, a new study suggests that well-adapted youth with positive friendships will use these sites to further enhance the positive relationships they already have.

Quantifying the number of pregnancies at risk of malaria in 2007: A demographic study
Research published this week in PLoS Medicine concludes that at least 125.2 million women at risk of malaria become pregnant each year.

Oxford University Press enters publishing partnership with Infectious Diseases Society of America
Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a leading professional society, have announced a new publishing partnership for IDSA's highly cited and internationally prestigious journals: Clinical Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Everybody laughs, everybody cries: Researchers identify universal emotions
Here's a piece of research that might leave you tickled: laughter is a universal language, according to new research.

The global health system: Lessons for a stronger institutional framework
This week PLoS Medicine publishes the last in a four-part series of policy papers examining the ways in which global health institutions and arrangements are changing and evolving.

New tools and systems may help patients, primary care clinicians manage obesity
Using combined and intensive treatments and restructuring care to treat obesity like other chronic diseases may help primary care clinicians and patients better address the condition, according to a commentary and three articles published in the Jan.

Medical students may soon be tested on evolution
What does evolution -- a field that often deals with changes over many generations -- have to do with preventing and treating disease in our lifetime?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy brings lasting benefits, new study finds
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the therapy grow after treatment has ended, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Sodium contents of processed foods decoded
A new database provides descriptive data and the tools and information needed for continued monitoring of food sodium content.

World's least known bird rediscovered
A species of bird, which has only been observed alive on three previous occasions since it was first discovered in 1867, has been rediscovered in a remote land corridor in north-eastern Afghanistan.

Rush University Medical Center leads nationwide clinical trial of nutritional drink for Alzheimer's
Rush University Medical Center is leading a nationwide clinical trial of a nutritional drink to determine whether it can improve cognitive performance in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

Mayo Clinic and IBM advance early detection of brain aneurysms
Preventing deadly ruptures of the blood vessels in the brain is the aim of a new Mayo Clinic project to help radiologists detect aneurysms with far greater speed and accuracy.

Advanced engine-control system reduces biodiesel fuel consumption and emissions
Researchers from Purdue University and Cummins Inc. have developed an advanced

Research at UCSB points to potential treatment for kidney disease
Research performed at UC Santa Barbara points to the drug rapamycin as a potential treatment for kidney disease.

Iowa State, Ames Lab engineer works to develop better batteries for energy alternatives
Steve Martin, an Iowa State distinguished professor of materials science and engineering and an associate of the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, is studying how new materials could be used to improve battery performance.

Better computing, communication for emergency personnel at disaster sites
Hurricane Katrina. The Southeast Asian tsunami. Now the killer earthquake in Haiti, which has claimed upwards of 50,000 lives.

Study confirms prostate cancer is treated differently at county vs. private hospitals
Researchers at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues have found that prostate cancer treatments varied significantly between county hospitals and private providers.

Technique for preserving pre-transplant livers improves outcomes and organ pool
Preserving organs on ice prior to transplantation, an approach known as cold storage or CS, has been the standard practice in liver transplant for 20 years.

Sweet success for sustainable biofuel research
Scientists have found a way to increase fermentable sugar stores in plants which could lead to plant biomass being easier to convert into eco-friendly sustainable biofuels.

Female athletes injured more than male athletes
Female athletes experience dramatically higher rates of specific musculoskeletal injuries and medical conditions compared to male athletes.

Low-carb diet effective at lowering blood pressure
In a head-to-head comparison, two popular weight loss methods proved equally effective at helping participants lose significant amounts of weight.

New intensive treatment strategy shows promising results for treating locally
A combined chemotherapy regimen of capecitabine and oxaliplatin given before chemoradiotherapy and surgery is well tolerated and shows promising anti-tumor activity and good overall survival rates in patients with poor-risk rectal cancer.

Birth outcomes in Inuit-inhabited areas
The fetal and infant mortality rate for women in Inuit-inhabited areas of Canada was 2.7 times higher than in the rest of Canada, and women had higher rates of preterm birth, found an article in CMAJ.

Fast food menus with calorie information lead to lower calorie selections for young children
In a new study, the amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced by an average of 102 calories when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item.

Materials Design selected as software supplier and partner for advanced reactor project
Materials Design, a global leader in computational materials science and engineering software and services, has been selected as a scientific software supplier and partner to Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Ltd. of South Africa.

Rare genetic variants create 'synthetic' genome-wide signals of disease risk
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center say they are now convinced that rare genetic variants -- as opposed to more common ones -- lie at the heart of the genetic component of most common diseases.

Natural pest control saves coffee berry
A predator for the devastating coffee berry borer has just been discovered in Africa.

Scientists achieve first rewire of genetic switches
Researchers in Manchester have successfully carried out the first rewire of genetic switches, creating what could be a vital tool for the development of new drugs and even future gene therapies.

Canada's food safety system fails international comparisons
Canada's food safety system is reactive, lags behind other countries, and investment is needed to ensure it can adequately protect Canadians, states an article in CMAJ.

Computer science researcher hopes to stall malware threat by tracking human use behaviors
Danfeng Yao, an assistant professor in the computer science department at Virginia Tech, is building a new malicious software detection system for personal computers that will be able to accurately differentiate network behaviors of a legitimate human user from a malware program.

New compound could be alternative strategy for preventing HIV infection
With the help of effective drug therapies, HIV patients are living longer, healthier lives.

How arthritis thrives
Our immediate environment interacts with our genetic programming and can determine if we will succumb to an autoimmune disease, says rheumatologist Prof.

New study finds 125 million pregnancies globally at risk from malaria every year
A new study by the Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium has estimated that more than 125 million pregnancies around the world are at risk from malaria every year.

Scripps research team finds stress hormone key to alcohol dependence
A team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has found that a specific stress hormone, the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), is key to the development and maintenance of alcohol dependence in animal models.

Control of herpes symptoms does not reduce HIV transmission, international study found
Research from a five-year international clinical study conducted by the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study, shows that acyclovir, a commonly prescribed drug used to suppress symptoms of the herpes virus, does not affect HIV transmission by people with both viruses.

Studies shed new light on early transmembrane signaling
Two new studies by researchers at the University of Washington further our understanding of the molecular steps in the PLC cascade, a G protein-coupled receptor signaling mechanism that underlies a wide variety of cellular processes, including egg fertilization, hormone secretion, and the regulation of certain potassium channels. 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