Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 22, 2010
Virus hybridization could create pandemic bird flu
Genetic interactions between avian H5N1 influenza and human seasonal influenza viruses have the potential to create hybrid strains combining the virulence of bird flu with the pandemic ability of H1N1, according to a new study.

Aphid's genome generates exciting questions
The genome of the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), sequenced by the International Aphid Genomics Consortium, is published this week in the online open-access journal PLoS Biology.

Blocking blood vessel formation prevents brain tumor recurrence in mice
Patients with GBM (glioblastoma multiforme), an extremely aggressive brain tumor, have a very poor prognosis.

Tropical Storm 17P forms in South Pacific
On Feb. 21, the 17th tropical depression formed in the South Pacific Ocean.

Few professionals keep current
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Boras in Sweden have looked at how professionals in different occupational groups seek and use information and keep updated after finishing their education.

Hebrew University archaeologist discovers Jerusalem city wall from tenth century B.C.E.
A section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem from the 10th century B.C.E.

Use of DNA evidence is not an open and shut case
Whether used to clinch a guilty verdict or predict the end of a

South Africa's land reforms discriminate against women
Since the end of apartheid, land reforms have been one way of righting the wrongs to which the black South African majority was previously subjected.

Synthetic lethality: A new way to kill cancer cells
Ovarian and breast cancer treatments being developed that mix a protein inhibitor and traditional anticancer drugs are showing signs of success, according to a new review for Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports.

ACP Advocate blog cited as best health policy/ethics Weblog
The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty was cited at the conclusion of voting last week as

Stacking traits in algae is focus of grant to Iowa State University researcher
With the help of a $4.37 million grant from the US Department of Energy, Martin Spalding wants to develop a micro-algal platform that will allow micro-algae to be treated as a crop, including stacking desirable traits that may increase that oil production and the production into hydrocarbons.

Diapers' contents could change way of finding intestinal disease
A medical test initially researched for aging adults also could be helpful for premature babies, according to scientists with Texas AgriLife Research.

Short on specialized intensive care physicians, team-based approach improves ICU outcomes
The severe shortage of specially trained intensivist physicians has hospital intensive care units (ICUs) nationwide struggling to staff units with critical care teams led by intensivists, even though the presence of these specially trained physicians reduces the risk of death for patients in the ICU.

Seamounts reach a pinnacle in upcoming issue of Oceanography
Lying beneath the ocean is spectacular terrain ranging from endless chains of mountains and isolated peaks to fiery volcanoes and black smokers exploding with magma and other minerals from below Earth's surface.

Putting data centers on a low-energy diet
A holistic approach to data centers could result in millions of dollars of savings and a far smaller carbon footprint for the ever-expanding universe of information technology.

Killing in the name of conservation
Methods in Ecology and Evolution reports on a new application developed by ecologists to improve the success of wildlife managers dealing with feral animals.

Do TV ads affect children's diet, obesity?
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy have received a $2.2 million federal grant to determine whether or not TV food advertising affects children's diet, physical activity and weight.

$12.7 million to further malaria research
A research program that aims to better understand malaria infection and develop treatments and vaccines for the disease has today been awarded AU$12.7 million ($11.5 million) by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Survey finds significant racial differences in lung cancer beliefs
A new survey finds that while both whites and African-Americans know and think little about lung cancer, African-Americans are more likely to hold beliefs and perceptions about the disease that could interfere with prevention and treatment.

Flightless mosquitoes developed to help control dengue fever
A new strain of mosquitoes in which females cannot fly may help curb the transmission of dengue fever, according to UC Irvine and British scientists.

Typhoid fever bacteria collect on gallstones to perpetuate disease
A new study suggests that the bacteria that cause typhoid fever collect in tiny but persistent communities on gallstones, making the infection particularly hard to fight in so-called

Successful wind tunnel test of controllable rubber trailing edge flap for wind turbine blades
For some years, the Wind Energy Division at Risø DTU in Denmark has been working to develop a method for controlling the loads on large wind turbine blades using a flexible trailing edge made of an elastic material which can be controlled by means of compressed air or hydraulics.

Malaria research must be based in Africa
Organizations supporting medical research in Africa, for example research on malaria, cannot assume that scientific results are independent of time and space.

Testosterone deficiency affects male cancer survivors' quality of life
A new study has found that many male cancer survivors who develop testosterone deficiency after receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy have an impaired quality of life and reduced energy levels.

Kidney damage in 12 percent of Chinese children exposed to melamine-contaminated dairy products
While the majority of children who were affected by consuming toxic melamine-contaminated products in China recovered, kidney abnormalities remained in 12 percent of the affected children, according to an article in CMAJ.

Is an animal's agility affected by the position of its eyes?
New research from scientists in Liverpool has revealed the relationship between agility and vision in mammals.

CU-Boulder prof speaks on mass media role in climate change skepticism
Mass media have been a key vehicle by which climate change contrarianism has traveled, according to Maxwell Boykoff, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor and fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.

Pesky aphid thrives despite weak immune system
Pea aphids, expert survivors of the insect world, appear to lack major biological defenses, according to the first genetic analysis of their immune system.

How to make the best decisions when at high risk for breast or ovarian cancer
When Joi Morris learned she carried a BRCA2 gene mutation, the vast knowledge needed to understand her cancer risk and her medical options was daunting and confusing.

New study reveals long delays and variability are losing the UK research and jobs
Significant new research from Warwick Business School and Queen Mary, University of London, warns that delays and variability in the approvals process for clinical research could be causing pharmaceutical companies to look outside the UK and risks the country losing some of its most experienced researchers.

Experts call for acceleration of research and interventions for prematurity and stillbirth
A new report led by the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth identifies the enormous global impact of preterm birth and stillbirth -- and what can be done to decrease it.

Strategies help clinicians say 'no' to inappropriate treatment requests
Clinicians may use one of several approaches to deny patient requests for an inappropriate treatment while preserving the physician-patient relationship, according to a report in the Feb.

Ice shelves disappearing on Antarctic Peninsula
Ice shelves are retreating in the southern section of the Antarctic Peninsula due to climate change.

IOM report declares high blood pressure a neglected disease
Public health officials and health care providers need to step up their efforts to reduce Americans' increasing rates of high blood pressure and better treat those with the condition, which triggers more than one-third of heart attacks and almost half of heart failures in the United States each year, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Warning: Immigrating to North America may foster smoking in children
Moving to Canada could be hazardous for the health of young immigrants.

Are Latino teens sexual risk takers? It's complicated, researcher says
A University of Illinois researcher advises caution when trying to characterize gender roles and sexual behavior among this country's Latino adolescents and young adults.

The mouse with a human liver: A new model for the treatment of liver disease
How do you study -- and try to cure in the laboratory -- an infection that only humans can get?

MRI: Noninvasive diagnostic tool for diagnosing testicular cancer
Researchers have found that noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a good diagnostic tool for the evaluation and staging of testicular cancer and may improve patient care by sparing some men unnecessary surgery, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

NIH grant will create behavioral health registry for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a two-year development grant to researchers with Hasbro Children's Hospital and the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center to better understand the role behavioral health plays in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, a condition that causes chronic and painful inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

African-Americans' attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention
A new survey has found that African-Americans are more likely than whites to hold mistaken and fatalistic beliefs about lung cancer, as well as being more reluctant to consult a doctor about possible symptoms of the disease, according to researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and their collaborators.

Urgent need to prepare developing countries for surge in e-wastes: UN
Unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the specter of fast-rising hazardous e-waste mountains this coming decade with serious consequences for the environment and public health, according to UN experts in a landmark report released today by UNEP.

Ancient DNA reveals caribou history linked to volcanic eruption
DNA recovered from ancient caribou bones reveals a possible link between several small unique caribou herds and a massive volcanic eruption that blanketed much of the Alaskan Yukon territory in a thick layer of ash 1,000 years ago, reports research published today in Molecular Ecology.

Melanoma transcriptome reveals novel genomic alterations not seen before
Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, afflicts more than 50,000 people in the United States annually and the incidence rate continues to rise.

New treatment to prevent cancer recurrence shows promise in Stanford study
Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly human brain cancers.

Diabetes complications a huge health care burden in poorer countries, not just the developed world
A study published this week in PLoS Medicine finds that major diabetes complications are a huge economic burden to health care systems around the world, adding new evidence in an area that has focused on cost estimates almost exclusively in the developed world.

New discovery: Plaice are spotted (on the inside)
Have you seen a spotted plaice? Probably. However, marine biologist Helen Nilsson Sköld at the University of Gothenburg is the first person to research the spotted insides of plaice.

Acupuncture lessens depression symptoms during pregnancy, Stanford study shows
Acupuncture appears to be an effective way to reduce depression symptoms during pregnancy, according to a first-of-its-kind study from Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.

Regular exercise reduces patient anxiety by 20 percent, study finds
The anxiety that often accompanies a chronic illness can chip away at quality of life and make patients less likely to follow their treatment plan.

Simple math explains dramatic beak shape variation in Darwin's finches
In a study appearing in the Feb. 16 Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Harvard researchers demonstrated that simple changes in beak length and depth can explain the important morphological diversity of all beak shapes within the famous genus Geospiza.

New study shows sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections kill 48,000 patients
Two common conditions caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 people and ramped up health care costs by $8.1 billion in 2006 alone, according to a study released today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Tumor mechanism identified
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Cornell University in New York, Weil Medical College in New York and the Center for Neural Tumor Research in Los Angeles, have for the first time identified a key mechanism that makes certain cells become tumorous in the brain.

Few differences in outcomes between open and laparoscopic prostate surgery
In a study published online today in the Journal of Urology, researchers from the Urology Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, examined the postoperative outcomes of both ORP and LRP and found similar rates of success.

It's who you know: Study shows hurdles facing black football coaches
Why are there so few black coaches in big-time college football?

NASA's new TDRS spacecraft pass system level reviews
NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite K-L program completed its Critical Design Review and Production Readiness Review in El Segundo, Calif. on Feb.

Small family farms in tropics can feed the hungry and preserve biodiversity
Conventional wisdom among many ecologists is that industrial-scale agriculture is the best way to produce lots of food while preserving biodiversity in the world's remaining tropical forests.

New DNA technique leads to a breakthrough in child cancer research
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Karolinska Institutet have used novel technology to reveal the different genetic patterns of neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Unpacking condensins' function in embryonic stem cells
Regulatory proteins common to all eukaryotic cells can have additional, unique functions in embryonic stem cells, according to a study in the Feb.

Genes responsible for ability to recognize faces
The ability to recognize faces is largely determined by your genes, according to new research at UCL.

Remember magnesium if you want to remember
Published recently in the scientific journal Neuron, a new study from Tel Aviv University's Dr.

DNA evidence tells 'global story' of human history
In recent years, DNA evidence has added important new tools for scientists studying the human past.

Evidence-based care and outcomes improve at Get With The Guidelines -- Stroke hospitals
A study looking at the first 1 million patients in the Get With The Guideline -- Stroke program shows significant improvement in the use of evidence-based stroke therapies at participating hospitals.

Inaugural Kavli Prize Science Forum to focus on international cooperation in science
The inaugural Kavli Prize Science Forum focuses on

Lower-cost hospital care is not always lower in quality
The costs that hospitals incur in treating patients vary widely and do not appear to be strongly associated either with the quality of care patients receive or their risk of dying within 30 days, according to a report in the Feb.

Caltech neuroscientists find brain system behind general intelligence
A collaborative team of neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Iowa, the University of Southern California, and the Autonomous University of Madrid have mapped the brain structures that affect general intelligence.

U. of Colorado scientists create tiny RNA molecule with big implications for life's origins
An extremely small RNA molecule created by a University of Colorado at Boulder team can catalyze a key reaction needed to synthesize proteins, the building blocks of life.

Treadmill training could help tots walk
Using a treadmill could help infants with prenatal complications or who were injured at birth walk earlier and better, according to a University of Michigan researcher.

What it might take to unravel the 'lean mean machine' that is cancer
Scientists from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research have published a paper, online today in Nature Cell Biology, describing gene expression in a prostate cancer cell: more sweeping, more targeted and more complex than we could ever have imagined, even five years ago.

Researchers identify a potential therapeutic target for brain cancer
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic report the identification of a protein that is highly expressed in a subgroup of glioblastoma brain tumor cells and show that depletion of this protein increases the survival of mice with these tumors.

NASA and NOAA ready GOES-P satellite for launch
NASA is preparing to launch the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P (GOES-P) from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

K-State professor receives National Science Foundation career award, chemistry department's fourth
A Kansas State University chemist is receiving a National Science Foundation CAREER award that will allow her to improve the laboratory experience for undergraduates and conduct research that could lead to clean and renewable sources of energy.

Business culture steers flow of ideas, study says
The business culture that companies emphasize has an effect on new product ideas that bubble back up from the workforce, a University of Illinois marketing study found.

Packages of care for ADHD in low- and middle-income countries
In the final article in a six part series on treating mental health problems in resource-poor settings, Alan Flisher, from the University of Cape Town, and colleagues present

Husbands' hostile, anti-social behaviors increase wives' symptoms of depression, researchers find
While the causes of depression vary, a new study reveals that marital hostility is a contributing factor.

AAN guideline evaluates treatments for muscle cramps
A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology recommends that the drug quinine, although effective, should be avoided for treatment of routine muscle cramps due to uncommon but serious side effects.

Rutgers researchers show new security threat against 'smart phone' users
Rutgers computer scientists have shown how a familiar type of personal computer security threat can now attack new generations of smart mobile phones, with the potential to cause more serious consequences.

Studies examine team approaches to hospital care
Multidisciplinary care teams consisting of clinicians, nurses and other health care professionals appear to be associated with a lower risk of death among patients in the intensive care unit, according to a report in the Feb.

Pregnancy weight gain may increase a woman's risk of gestational diabetes
Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, may increase their risk of developing diabetes later in their pregnancy, according to a study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research that appears online in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Aphid's genome reflects its reproductive, symbiotic lifestyle
The International Aphid Genomics consortium has sequenced the genome of the pea aphid, said Dr.

JCI table of contents: Feb. 22, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Feb.

Stress raises risk of mental decline in older diabetics, study shows
Stress raises the risk of memory loss and cognitive decline among older people with diabetes, research suggests.

Tool identifies infection clusters; rate of T cell drop not helpful in decision to start treating HIV
In research published this week in PLoS Medicine, Susan Huang and colleagues describe the use of a novel automated cluster detection tool and Marcel Wolbers found that the CD4 cell slope does not improve the prediction of clinical outcome in patients with a CD4 cell count above 350 cells/μl.

Special issue of NeuroRehabilitation focuses on hypoxic-ischemic brain injuries
IOS Press announces publication of a special issue of NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal devoted specifically to hypoxic-ischemic brain injury (HI-BI), a significant disruption of brain function due to a deficient supply of oxygen to the brain.

Pharmaceutical industry support not desirable but frequently accepted by residency program directors
Most directors of internal medicine residency training programs would prefer not to accept pharmaceutical support for the residencies they oversee, but more than half report doing so, according to an article in the Feb.

Stanford review finds painfully few surefire treatments for muscle cramps
A thorough literature review conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, to be published Feb.

Dry winters linked to seasonal outbreaks of influenza
The seasonal increase of influenza has long baffled scientists, but a new study published this week in PLoS Biology has found that seasonal changes of absolute humidity are the apparent underlying cause of these wintertime peaks.

Pitt researchers report internal and environmental factors trigger unique brain activity in teens
While the otherworldly behavior of teenagers is well documented, University of Pittsburgh researchers have taken a significant step toward finally unraveling the actual brain activity that can drive adolescents to engage in impulsive, self-indulgent or self-destructive behavior.

Black women at increased risk for weakened heart muscle at childbirth
Black women are at significantly increased risk for developing a potentially deadly weakening of the heart muscle around the time of childbirth, researchers report.

Diffusion of a soluble protein through a sensory cilium
A team of researchers led by Peter Calvert (SUNY Upstate Medical University) has, for the first time, measured the diffusion coefficient of a protein in a primary cilium and in other major compartments of a highly polarized cell.

Cyberbullying -- a growing problem
Around 10 percent of all adolescents in grades 7-9 are victims of internet bullying.

Earthquake engineers release report on damage in Haiti
A UW engineer led a team of experts sent to Haiti to evaluate the impact of the magnitude-7 earthquake.

Predicting the progression of Alzheimer's
An assessment has been developed which reliably predicts future performance in cognition and activities of daily living for patients with Alzheimer's disease. 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