Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 25, 2010
Why BPA leached from 'safe' plastics may damage health of female offspring
Here's more evidence that

Stickleback genomes shining bright light on evolution
Twenty billion pieces of DNA in 100 small fish have opened the eyes of biologists studying evolution.

Accelerated radiation therapy reduces toxicity in patients with advanced head and neck cancers
Using an accelerated, shorter course of radiation therapy for patients with advanced head and neck cancer allows doctors to reduce the amount of chemotherapy, thus reducing toxicity, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

Emerging science, tech advances highlight new NIH Common Fund programs
NIH announces seven new scientific initiatives to begin in fiscal year 2010 supported by the NIH Common Fund.

Introducing RoSS, a 'flight simulator' for robotic surgery
A collaboration between the Center for Robotic Surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has produced one of the world's first simulators that closely approximates the

Video games may help combat depression in older adults
Research at the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests a novel route to improving the symptoms of subsyndromal depression (SSD) in seniors through the regular use of

Gene-based stem cell therapy specifically removes cell receptor that attracts HIV
UCLA AIDS Institute researchers successfully removed CCR5 -- a cell receptor to which HIV-1 binds for infection but which the human body does not need -- from human cells.

Novel compound found effective against H5N1 avian influenza virus
A new study shows that a novel antiviral compound is effective against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, including oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant strains, according to scientists from Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

HIV drug that protects a fetus should be avoided for 1 year after childbirth, researchers say
A new study found that while nevirapine works well to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, a single dose of nevirapine in infected pregnant women can trigger resistance to some forms of the AIDS-drug cocktail (antiretrovirals).

How health care is paid for appears to impact outcome
A seven-year study, in the February 2010 issue of Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, found that while 49 percent of those who had a Medicare reimbursed hip fracture surgery went to nursing homes only 35 percent of those treated at VA facilities for hip fractures were discharged to a nursing home.

First measurement of the age of cometary material
Though comets are thought to be some of the oldest, most primitive bodies in the solar system, new research on comet Wild 2 indicates that inner solar system material was transported to the comet-forming region at least 1.7 million years after the formation of the oldest solar system solids.

Does the devil really wear Prada? The psychology of anthropomorphism and dehumanization
People talk to their plants, pray to human-like gods, name their cars, and even dress their pets up in clothing.

Geoscience education Web site awarded prestigious prize by Science
A Web site created at Carleton College to make earth science come alive in the classroom has been awarded the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education.

Reliable biomarkers needed for early detection of liver cancer
While biomarkers are needed to complement ultrasound in the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma, neither des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin nor the most widely used biomarker, alpha fetoprotein, is optimal.

Small survival benefit for women who opt for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy
Among breast cancer patients, surgical removal of the opposite breast is associated with a small increase in five-year survival, specifically for younger women with early stage, estrogen-receptor negative tumors, according to a study published online Feb.

AFOSR Trailblazer Award honoree opens doors for others
Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program Manager Ed Lee recently received a Trailblazer Award at the 23rd Annual Black Engineer of the Year Award's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference in Baltimore, Md.

Scientists glimpse nanobubbles on super nonstick surfaces
Scientists at Brookhaven Lab have obtained the first glimpse of minuscule air bubbles that keep water from wetting a super nonstick surface.

Cancer patients find relief in integrative medicine services
The integrative oncology services that recently launched at Northwestern aim to address cancer patients' needs from every angle through treatment that extends beyond medical therapies.

Others may know us better than we know ourselves, study finds
Humans have long been advised to

New process yields high-energy-density, plant-based transportation fuel
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has developed a highly efficient, environmentally friendly process that selectively converts gamma-valerolactone, a biomass derivative, into the chemical equivalent of jet fuel.

Researchers gain detailed insight into failing heart cells using new nano technique
Researchers have been able to see how heart failure affects the surface of an individual heart muscle cell in minute detail, using a new nanoscale scanning technique developed at Imperial College London.

Field study exposes how sea turtle hatchlings use their flippers to move quickly on sand
Georgia Tech researchers conducted the first field study showing how endangered loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings use their limbs to move quickly on a variety of terrains in order to reach the ocean.

Dialysis patients: Fatigue may predict heart attack
For dialysis patients, high scores on a new fatigue rating scale predict an increased risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular events, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

The Lancet/the Lancet Neurology weekly press release
Articles this week include:

Methods for abandoning old drugs in favor of new must be improved
Decisions about which drugs to abandon to fund new treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are inconsistent and may be contributing to the postcode lottery -- one of the key issues that NICE was set up to tackle, warn experts on today.

Prozac and Celexa exhibit anti-inflammatory effects
A new study found that fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa) treatment significantly inhibited disease progression of collagen-induced arthritis in mice.

Pretreatment SUV associated with head and neck cancer treatment outcomes, may help decide treatment plans
The maximal standardized uptake value (called SUVmax) measured from FDG PET readings taken from the primary tumor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients before treatment is a strong predictor of disease-specific survival, overall survival and disease-free survival, while pretreatment SUVmax for lymphodenopathy is strongly associated with distant metastasis, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

Nouns and verbs are learned in different parts of the brain
Two Spanish psychologists and a German neurologist have recently shown that the brain that activates when a person learns a new noun is different from the part used when a verb is learnt.

New edition of ASM Press biotechnology text announced
Acclaimed by students and instructors,

New study casts doubt over ME virus link
A new study published on today casts doubt on recent claims that a human retrovirus known as XMRV is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome or ME (myalgic encephalitis).

New strategy develops 2 prototype drugs against cancer, retinal diseases
A comprehensive drug development strategy that starts with extensive screening of potential targeting peptides to identify prototype small-molecule drugs has produced two that target the EGFR and VEGFR pathways in novel ways.

University of Hawaii at Manoa team going after regional climate patterns of global warming
Analyzing global model warming projections in models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a team of scientists headed by meteorologist Shang-Ping Xie at UH Mānoa's International Pacific Research Center, finds that ocean temperature patterns in the tropics and subtropics will change in ways that will lead to significant changes in rainfall patterns.

New biomedical engineering chair earns high honors
Just weeks into his post as chair of UH's new biomedical engineering department, Metin Akay is already being recognized.

The mathematics behind a good night's sleep
Professor of Mathematics Mark Holmes and his graduate student Lisa Rogers are using math to develop a new computer model that can be easily manipulated by other scientists and doctors to predict how different environmental, medical, or physical changes to a person's body will affect their sleep.

Wii video games may help stroke patients improve motor function
The use of virtual reality Wii game technology holds the promise as a safe and feasible way to help patients recovering from stroke improve their motor function.

Larynx preservation treatments result in low instance of severe voice disability, nutritional dysfunction
Head and neck cancer patients receiving induction chemotherapy followed by radiation to preserve their larynx have a low risk of severe voice disability and almost half experienced no eating or swallowing problems, according to a first of its kind study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

Plotting and treachery in ant royal families
Social insects -- ants in particular -- are usually thought of as selfless entities willing to sacrifice everything for their comrades.

Scientists reveal driving force behind evolution
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have provided the first experimental evidence that shows that evolution is driven most powerfully by interactions between species, rather than adaptation to the environment.

New research shows fishery management practices for beluga sturgeon must change
A first-of-its-kind study of a Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) fishery demonstrates current harvest rates are four to five times higher than those that would sustain population abundance.

More than 1: Long-reigning microbe controlling ocean nitrogen shares the throne
Marine scientists long believed that a microbe called Trichodesmium, a member of a group called the cyanobacteria, reigned over the ocean's nitrogen budget.

Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation makes pipeline for future doctors
The Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation announced today that it will make a significant investment in the city of Cleveland to create a medical education pipeline for students from traditionally underrepresented minorities and low-income backgrounds.

Fish can recognize a face based on UV pattern alone
Two species of damselfish may look identical -- not to mention drab -- to the human eye.

Rwandan genocide survivors provide new insights into resilience and PTSD
Even under stress as extreme as genocide, not all individuals develop PTSD.

New University of Colorado paper shows novel way to study human inflammatory disease
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study shows mice infected with the bacteria salmonella develop clinical signs consistent with a deadly and poorly understood human inflammatory disease, a finding that may lead to new therapies.

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy associated with survival in select breast cancer patients
Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, a preventive procedure to remove the unaffected breast in patients with disease in one breast, may only offer a survival benefit to breast cancer patients age 50 and younger, who have early stage disease and are estrogen receptor negative, according to researchers at the University of Texas M.

Avoiding dairy due to lactose intolerance is unnecessary in most cases
People may avoid milk and other dairy products due to concerns about lactose intolerance, but eliminating these nutrient-rich foods may not only be unnecessary to manage the condition -- it could impact diet and health, concludes a panel of experts assembled by the National Institutes of Health.

How can policymakers cope with ambiguity?
How might policymakers make reasonable decisions when they have limited information?

New developments in nanotechnology tackle the 2 biggest problems associated with chemotherapy
Huixin He, associate professor, nanoscale chemistry at Rutgers University, Newark, and Tamara Minko, professor at the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, have developed a nanotechnology approach that potentially could eliminate the problems of side effects and drug resistance in the treatment of cancer.

A new way forward for nanocomposite nanostructures
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Illinois -- Urbana Champaign recently reported a new technique for directly writing composites of nanoparticles and polymers.

Do men with early prostate cancer commit suicide more frequently?
The risk of suicide is increased among cancer patients including men with PCa.

Obesity and physical inactivity poses arthritis risk, especially for women
Researchers from the Toronto Western Research Institute noted a higher prevalence of arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitations in the US versus the Canadian population.

Emerging tick-borne disease
A new assay allows scientists to discover whether ticks are carrying disease-causing bacteria and which animals provided their last blood meal.

A mother's sensitivity may help language growth in children with autism spectrum disorder
A new study by researchers from the University of Miami shows that maternal sensitivity may influence language development among children who go on to develop autism.

Startup joins UCLA tech incubator to develop technologies for drug discovery, screening
Librede Inc. has joined the UCLA on-campus technology incubator space at the California NanoSystems Institute, where the startup company will work on developing technologies to improve ion channel drug discovery and screening.

NOAA, NASA and Old Dominion researchers measure impacts of changing climate on ocean biology
A three-year field program now underway is measuring carbon distributions and primary productivity in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean to help scientists worldwide determine the impacts of a changing climate on ocean biology and biogeochemistry.

Repeated inflations of a blood pressure cuff limits tissue damage in patients with AMI
In patients with acute heart attack, a simple warm-up procedure called remote conditioning reduces tissue damage to the heart.

Why symptoms of schizophrenia emerge in young adulthood
In reports of two new studies, researchers led by Johns Hopkins say they have identified the mechanisms rooted in two anatomical brain abnormalities that may explain the onset of schizophrenia and the reason symptoms don't develop until young adulthood.

Lacosamide validated as promising therapy for uncontrolled partial-onset seizures
A recent multicenter study has confirmed earlier study results that 400 mg/day of lacosamide provides a good balance of efficacy and tolerability for patients with uncontrolled partial-onset seizures, and doses of 600mg/day may provide additional benefit for some patients.

New graphene 'nanomesh' could change the future of electronics
In a new study to be published in Nature Nanotechnology, UCLA Engineering professor Yu Huang reveals the creation of a new graphene nanostructure called the graphene nanomesh (GNM).

Carnegie Mellon's Chris Hendrickson tracks water use
Carnegie Mellon University researchers are tracking how US industry uses scarce water resources.

Does promiscuity prevent extinction?
Promiscuous females may be the key to a species' survival, according to new research by UK scientists.

Novel compound found effective against avian influenza virus
A novel compound is highly effective against the pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, including some drug-resistant strains, according to new research led by a University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist.

ESA highlights the potential of satellite data for the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank has an annual lending portfolio of around 75 billion euros, operating globally in more than 130 countries.

Princeton scientists find an equation for materials innovation
Princeton engineers have made a breakthrough in an 80-year-old quandary in quantum physics, paving the way for the development of new materials that could make electronic devices smaller and cars more energy efficient.

Childhood stress such as abuse or emotional neglect can result in structural brain changes
New research using magnetic resonance imaging shows that childhood stress such as abuse or emotional neglect, in particular when combined with genetic factors, can result in structural brain changes, rendering these people more vulnerable to developing depression.

Genes associated with early tooth development identified
Several genes affect tooth development in the first year of life, according to the findings of a study conducted at Imperial College London, the University of Bristol in the UK and the University of Oulu in Finland.

Supplement blocks the initiation of breast cell mutations by estrogens
EQ Biosciences Inc. launches Prevennia, a dietary supplement that blocks the initiation of breast cell mutation.

Top scientists to discuss global changes at arctic conference in Miami
Hundreds of the world's top scientists and policymakers are expected to attend the State of the Arctic conference at the Miami Hyatt Regency from March 16-19, 2010.

Fellowship winners make cancer their focus
Two outstanding female scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have been awarded research fellowships worth AU$1.75 million ($1.5 million) to continue their cancer research.

For better trade, give peace a chance
Liberal theorists and politicians have long argued that trade leads to peaceful relations between nations -- a view that informs the push for free trade.

Forest tree species diversity depends on individual variation
It's a paradox that's puzzled scientists for a half-century. Models clearly show that the coexistence of competing species depends on those species responding differently to the availability of resources.

Vitamin D deficiency likely among some kidney disease patients starting dialysis
Vitamin D deficiency is almost universal among kidney disease patients who have low blood protein levels and who start dialysis during the winter, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Proton beam therapy shows encouraging long-term outcome for patients with locally advanced sinonasal cancers
Proton beam radiation therapy shows encouraging results for patients with locally advanced sinonasal malignancies, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM.

UCLA 'dark matter' conference highlights new research on mysterious cosmic substance
Scientists offer new insights into dark matter, for more than 70 years as mysterious and unknowable a subject to science as the legendary island of Atlantis has been to history.

How long is a piece of thread? Long enough to save a life
In a world first, the researchers have used ordinary cotton thread and sewing needles to literally stitch together the uniquely low-cost microfluidic analytical device, which is the size of a postage stamp and allows scientists to carry out chemical analyses of minute fluid samples, such as blood and urine.

Personalized medicine in warfarin therapy
Researchers from the Ohio State University have developed a rapid, multiplexed genotyping method to identify the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that affect warfarin dose.

Log exports down, lumber exports up in Washington and Oregon in 2009
A total of 697.3 million board feet of softwood logs was exported from Washington and Oregon in 2009, according to data released by the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.

MeCP2 goes global -- redefining the function of the Rett syndrome protein
A paper published online today in Molecular Cell proposes that Methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) impacts the entire genome in neurons, rather than acting as a regulator of specific genes.

Nanotechnologists from Penn collaborate to form near-frictionless diamond material
Mechanical engineers have fabricated an ultra sharp, diamond-like carbon tip possessing such high strength that it is 3,000 times more wear-resistant at the nanoscale than silicon.

Good parenting triumphs over prenatal stress
A mother's nurture may provide powerful protection against risks her baby faces in the womb, according to a new article published online today in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Volcano monitoring will target hazard threat to Marianas, US military and commercial jets
Technology to detect nuclear explosions now will be pioneered to monitor active volcanoes in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth near Guam.

Montana State University students take aim at bear spray canisters
Visitors to national parks and forests are encouraged to use bear spray when they encounter grizzlies, but disposing of the bear spray canisters is a problem that three Montana State University students addressed.

Could a new UN resolution end doctors' participation in torture?
A new UN resolution has the potential to fight torture and cruelty say experts on today.

Combined drug therapy to treat TB and HIV significantly improves survival
Initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) during tuberculosis therapy significantly reduced mortality rates by 56 percent in a randomized clinical trial of 642 patients co-infected with HIV and tuberculosis.

Can a single layer of cells control a leaf's size?
Little is known about the developmental control of leaf size and shape, and understanding the mechanisms behind this is a major issue in plant biology.

Exploiting the body's own ability to fight a heart attack
Scientists trying to find a way to better help patients protect themselves against harm from a heart attack are taking their cues from cardiac patients.

Notch-blocking drugs kill brain cancer stem cells, yet multiple therapies may be needed
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins scientists who tested drugs intended to halt growth of brain cancer stem cells -- a small population of cells within tumors that perpetuate cancer growth -- conclude that blocking these cells may be somewhat effective, but more than one targeted drug attack may be needed to get the job done.

Montana State University geologist wins national prize for Web site to improve education
A Montana State University geologist who uses old-time dances to teach abstract concepts is part of a team that won a national award for a Web site they created to improve undergraduate education.

Intracranial stenting, injecting clot-busting drugs directly to brain
Placing stents in the brain and injecting clot-busting drugs directly to the brain had better success rates for acute ischemic stroke than other treatments.

Effective prostate cancer treatment discovery
Monash University biomedical scientists have identified a new way to treat castrate resistant cells in prostate cancer sufferers -- the most common cancer in Australian men.

AcademyHealth Minority Scholars Program creates opportunities in HSR and disparities research
AcademyHealth is launching a Minority Scholars Program to support scholars and fellows from minority populations underrepresented in the field of health services research and promote careers in health services and disparities research.

Antibodies linked to cardiovascular disease increase in patients with active lupus
A study by researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom suggests that autoantibodies to fat binding proteins significantly increase in systemic lupus erythematosus patients with active 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