Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 15, 2010
Weekend hospital admissions are higher risk for patients with acute kidney injury
Patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) who are admitted to the hospital on a weekend are more likely to die than those admitted on a weekday, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Pittsburgh's young workforce among top 5 most educated in US
Once defined by heavy-industry and blue-collar masses, Pittsburgh now hosts the fifth most educated young workforce in the United States, a distinction that groups the city with such bastions of erudition as Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to a recent report in the Pittsburgh Economic Quarterly published by the University of Pittsburgh's University Center for Social and Urban Research.

Commissioning in the English NHS should be abandoned
Commissioning in the English NHS is a failing system that needs to be abandoned, says a public policy expert in an editorial published on today.

Keep eating your fruit and vegetables
An editorial in this week's Lancet says the

Switchgrass proves viable as nursery container substrate
Loblolly pine bark is the primary component of nursery container substrates but a shortage of the organic material is prompting researchers to investigate new materials as potential alternatives.

Diet high in B vitamins lowers heart risks in Japanese study
In a large study in Japan, women who reported eating more foods containing the B vitamins folate and B-6 were less likely to die from stroke and heart disease.

Trying to eradicate a disease is a waste of money: researcher
McGill University Biologist Dr. Jonathan Davies explains that reducing the prevalence of diseases in areas most affected by them is a far more effective and efficient strategy than trying to eradicate them altogether, which is extremely difficult and costs billions of dollars

Quantity may determine quality when choosing romantic partners
At bigger speed-dating events, with 24 or more dates, both male and female choosers were more likely to decide based on attributes that could be judged quickly, such as their dates' height, and whether they were underweight, normal weight or overweight.

Research findings underscore needed action to safeguard lungs of young cancer survivors
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have identified childhood cancer survivors who are at increased risk for deteriorating lung health, in part due to the lifesaving bone marrow transplants they underwent years earlier.

Health, life insurers hold $1.88 billion in fast-food stocks: AJPH article
A new Harvard-based study shows that US, Canadian and European-based insurance firms hold at least $1.88 billion of investments in five leading fast-food companies.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Human development index linked to stem cell transplant rates and success in leukemia patients
The socioeconomic status of a country has long been considered a potentially significant factor in the availability of high-quality health-care interventions and even a determinant of long-term patient outcomes.

2nd European Lung Cancer Conference
The ELCC press program will feature new study results from the conference program.

Faculty team awarded $2.85 million NSF grant for K-12 education
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $2.85 million grant to a team of Penn State faculty for a carbon research/science education collaboration with two Pennsylvania school districts.

Fostering scientific links between the UK and Japan
University of Nottingham scientists will join forces with Japan in the fight against a common bacterium -- thanks to an international research award.

Study pins factors behind geography of human disease
A new study finds that your environment has lots to do with the numbers of human diseases that surround you.

Media, small businesses invited to ACS webinar on raising capital in today's economic climate
News media, scientists and others interested in finance, entrepreneurships and the chemical sciences are invited to join an American Chemical Society Small & Medium Business webinar on raising capital in a difficult economic climate on Thursday, April 22, from 2-3 p.m.

Playing a video game before bedtime has only a mild effect on adolescent sleep
After playing

UCI astrophysicists cast doubt on link between excess positrons and dark matter
Astrophysicists are looking everywhere -- inside the Large Hadron Collider, in deep mines and far out into space -- for evidence of dark matter, which makes up about 25 percent of the energy density of the universe.

New CSIRO soybean a hit in Japan
A new soybean variety from CSIRO is gaining popularity in Japan due to its enhanced suitability as an ingredient in traditional Japanese dishes.

Novel strategy for generating induced pluripotent stem cells for clinical use is safe and efficient
A new technique for reprogramming human adult cells could greatly improve the safety and efficiency of producing patient-specific stem cells for use in a range of therapeutic applications to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissues.

It's elemental: Potato after-cooking darkening may be affected by nutrients
Irish potato, one of the world's major food crops can be accepted or rejected on the basis of color and appearance.

Grape news: New treatment combination safe alternative to sulfur dioxide
Packaged fresh-cut grapes are becoming increasingly popular with consumers who like the convenience and health benefits of these ready-to-eat fruits.

NIST detector counts photons with 99 percent efficiency
NIST scientists have developed the world's most efficient single photon detector, which is able to count individual particles of light traveling through fiber optic cables with roughly 99 percent efficiency.

'Missing' heat may affect future climate change
Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a

Molecular discovery points to new therapies for brain tumors
A class of brain tumor that tends to emerge in younger patients but is less aggressive than others can be identified by examining DNA methylation of a specific set of genes, scientists at the University of Texas M.

Drug shared by addicts seems to protect against HIV brain dementia
To their surprise, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that morphine (a derivate of the opium poppy that is similar to heroin) protects rat neurons against HIV toxicity -- a finding they say might help in the design of new neuroprotective therapies for patients with the infection.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland unlikely to have global effects, says CU-Boulder scientist
The eruption of an Icelandic volcano that sent a huge plume of ash into the atmosphere and caused sweeping disruptions of air traffic over Great Britain and Scandinavia today will likely dissipate in the next several days, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder atmospheric scientist.

New genetic framework could help explain drug side effects
In a major step toward predicting adverse drug reactions, systems biologists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have integrated genetic, cellular and clinical information to find out why certain medicines can trigger fatal heart arrhythmias.

$2.3 million in NIH funding for promising cancer research at Cincinnati Children's
Two scientific teams at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are receiving a total of $2.3 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue promising studies seeking novel treatments for leukemia and bone marrow failure.

Link between solar activity and the UK's cold winters
A link between low solar activity and jet streams over the Atlantic could explain why, despite global warming trends, people in regions North East of the Atlantic Ocean might need to brace themselves for more frequent cold winters in years to come.

For post-boomers, public education worth more than Social Security and Medicare
Will retiring baby boomers benefit from Social Security and Medicare at the expense of younger generations?

SAGE to publish 'The Islamic Studies Handbook'
Islamic studies is at a critical moment in its history.

Getting the bead on conception
A scientifically based tool developed by Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health to help women prevent pregnancy, is now being used by a growing number of women to help plan pregnancy.

It takes only 5 minutes to assess disability in patients with depression
A research team has tested the utility of the short version of WHO-DAS II, a tool to assess within five minutes disability in patients with depression,

NAE grand challenges for engineering summit series
The National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges for Engineering summit series is designed to enhance student interest in engineering, science, and technology entrepreneurship and help prepare the next generation of engineers to find innovative solutions to grand challenges of the 21st century.

Weizmann scientists developed an electronic 'nose' that can predict the pleasantness of novel odors
Weizmann Institute scientists have

Knowing when poultry goes foul
Mom's trusty nose may be good, but NIST researchers have gone her one better by designing an instrument that quickly and precisely sniffs trace amounts of chemical compounds that indicate poultry spoilage without damaging the product itself.

ADHD linked to interaction of genetics and psychology
ADHD may be caused by alterations in the serotonin neurotransmission system combined with a tendency to experience psychosocial distress.

For older adults, flu season tends to peak first in Nevada, last in Maine
An analysis of hospitalization records for adults age 65 and over found that seasonal flu tends to move in traveling waves, peaking earliest in western states and moving east.

Pitt Dental School researchers find susceptibility for caries, gum disease in genes
Certain genetic variations may be linked to higher rates of tooth decay and aggressive periodontitis, according to two papers published recently in the Journal of Dental Medicine and in PLoS ONE by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and their collaborators.

Caltech-led team uncovers new functions of mitochondrial fusion
A typical human cell contains hundreds of mitochondria -- energy-producing organelles -- that continually fuse and divide.

Rock of ages: Clues about Mars evolution revealed
Through the study of a popular Martian meteorite's age, Tom Lapen and his team have made significant discoveries about the timeline of volcanic activity on Mars.

The association between sleep disturbances and reduced quality of life varies by race
Physical health-related quality of life in African-Americans who snored frequently, had insomnia symptoms or reported excessive daytime sleepiness was significantly worse than in Caucasians.

Peak P? Phosphorus, food supply spurs Southwest initiative
The mineral phosphorus (P) is critical to the creation of bones, teeth and DNA.

Black men with chronic pain at higher risk for depression, disability
Black men with chronic pain were more likely to experience the downward spiral of depression, affective distress and disability than white men with chronic pain, according to research by the University of Michigan Health System.

New satellite image of volcanic ash cloud
This image, acquired today by ESA's Envisat satellite, shows the vast cloud of volcanic ash sweeping across the UK from the eruption in Iceland, more than 1,000 km away.

Many patients don't know they had minor stroke, need emergency care
As many as 70 percent of patients were unaware they suffered a minor stroke and almost one-third of patients delayed seeking medical attention for more than 24 hours, according to a British study.

Effectiveness of state-level pecan promotion program evaluated
Pecans are the only nut native to the US grown on a commercial scale.

Cellular channel may open doors to skin conditions, hair growth
Skin and hair follicles are constantly renewed in the body, maintained by specialized stem cells.

Quality improvement in neonatal and perinatal medicine covered in Clinics in Perinatology
The March 2010 issue of Clinics in Perinatology, published by Elsevier, provides neonatologists and maternal-fetal-medicine specialists with the tools and concepts necessary to understand quality improvement (QI) methodology and to initiate QI projects within their own practices and neonatal intensive care units.

Source of zodiac glow identified
The eerie glow that straddles the night time zodiac in the eastern sky is no longer a mystery.

Growth curve analyses of Finnish population shed light on the genetic regulation of growth in height
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have shown that a gene called LIN28B strongly influences height growth from birth to adulthood in a complex and sex-specific manner.

Improving the degradation of toxic hydrocarbons
The world-wide project

Better patient safety linked to fewer medical malpractice claims in California
Reducing the number of preventable patient injuries in California hospitals from 2001-2005 was associated with a corresponding drop in malpractice claims against physicians, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation.

Researchers prove the gene responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy can be repaired
Researchers from Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine and the CHUQ Research Center have proven that it is possible to repair the defective gene responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

McGill plays important role in new global cancer-research network
A new network was announced today by the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and Dr.

Study shows potential benefit of dark chocolate for liver disease patients
Doctors could soon be prescribing a dose of dark chocolate to help patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and from dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen, according to new research presented today at the International Liver Congress TM 2010, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Vienna, Austria.

Demystifying yield fluctuations for greenhouse tomatoes
Fluctuations in yield challenges greenhouse tomato producers who need to fulfill orders and predict labor costs.

Common PGR helps creeping bentgrass weather drought
In their ongoing search for ways to improve turfgrass growth in environments where water is limited, scientists are searching for effective water saving practices by looking to factors that influence drought resistance.

Einstein receives $10 million NIH grant to expand stem cell research facilities
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has been awarded $10 million from the National Institutes of Health to expand its stem cell research capabilities.

Finishing the job of polio eradication worldwide is an ethical obligation: Experts
Failure to pursue eradication of polio worldwide given the capacity and opportunity to do so is a violation of ethical principles, foremost among them a

The forgotten political generation
The election campaign may be underway but new research from the University of Nottingham shows that the parties are in danger of immediately writing off at least 4 million young working class female voters.

Study IDs first molecules that protect cells against deadly ricin poison
The results of a high-throughput screen of thousands of chemicals in search of agents that could protect cells, and ultimately people, against the deadly ricin poison has turned up two contenders.

Innovation in science
Results of a study presented today at the at the International Liver Congress TM 2010 reveals the effects of a new drug for the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis, and shows further evaluation is necessary.

USC researchers discover new molecular subtype of brain cancer
Study in Cancer Cell journal identifies patients with longer-than-expected survival times from onset of highly aggressive glioblastoma multiforme.

High-altitude metabolism lets mice stay slim and healthy on a high-fat diet
Mice that are missing a protein involved in the response to low oxygen stay lean and healthy, even on a high-fat diet, a new study has found.

Safer swiping while voting and globetrotting
A new study from Professor Avishai Wool of Tel Aviv University finds serious security drawbacks in chips embedded in credit, debit and

'Black box' plankton found to have huge role in ocean carbon fixation
Carbon fixation by phytoplankton plays a key role in the global carbon cycle.

Routine screening for pediatric chronic kidney disease is not effective
The routine use of a screening urine dipstick to diagnose chronic kidney disease in healthy children is not a cost-effective test, confirm Penn State College of Medicine researchers, who validated an American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation.

Odor pleasantness shown to be partly hard-wired
Scientists have

Scientists isolate portion of virus that causes pink eye
Viral keratoconjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common, uncomfortable and highly contagious condition.

American Chemical Society unveils free iPhone app for Molecule of the Week
The American Chemical Society's Molecule of the Week is one of the most popular destinations on the ACS Web site, and it may be getting more popular.

Lessons from the pond: Clues from green algae on the origin of males and females
A multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri, may have finally unlocked the secrets behind the evolution of different sexes.

Minorities hit hardest by arthritis
The burden of arthritis is greater for African-Americans and Hispanics, despite lower prevalence among these groups according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Neurons growing in line
Frankfurt brain researchers have developed a novel method to grow cultured neurons in order to investigate basic mechanisms of memory.

Perhaps a longer lifespan, certainly a longer 'health span'
Organisms from yeast to rodents to humans all benefit from cutting calories.

Guggenheim fellowship supports research on ancient life, climate by Virginia Tech scientist
Shuhai Xiao, professor of geobiology in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been named a Guggenheim Fellow.

Collegiate Astronomy Consortium gains sky access in Chile
Researchers at 10 higher education institutions in six states, including Florida Tech, recently began pointing and focusing a 24-inch telescope in Chile without having to leave their respective campuses.

Questions remain over existence of 'new syndrome' in autistic children
This week, the BMJ questions the existence of a new bowel condition in autistic children dubbed

Better training needed to curb 'fatism' within the health professions
Prejudice towards obese people is rife among trainee health professionals, but can be modified, new research has found.

Study: US church attendance steady, but makeup of churchgoers changes
A University of Nebraska, Lincoln, sociologist applied a unique estimation method to uncover new findings about how often Americans -- and certain groups of Americans -- worship.

Rare gene variants linked to high risk of broad range of seizure disorders
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have uncovered evidence suggesting that people missing large chunks of DNA on chromosome 16 are much more likely than others to develop a chronic seizure disorder during their lifetime.

Older drivers often involved in daytime crashes more severe than younger drivers' crashes
K-State engineers identified the characteristics of older drivers in Kansas and the types of crashes they are involved in.

'Missing' heat may affect future climate change
Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a

Disabled UK children more likely to live in poverty
Disabled children in the UK are more likely to likely to live with low-income, deprivation, debt and poor housing.

Temperature-sensing protein linked to skin cancer, hirsutism
New findings about a temperature sensor in the skin could lead to novel approaches to controlling excess hair growth and treating skin cancers.

Lung virus taking its toll on young lives, study finds
A common virus that causes wheezing and pneumonia claims the lives of up to 200,000 children worldwide each year, a study has found.

Carnegie Mellon's Anupam Datta joins multi-university research group
Carnegie Mellon University's Anupam Datta is part of a multi-institutional research team that received a $15 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to reduce security and privacy barriers to the meaningful use of health information technology.

Convenience drives US women to buy over-the-counter contraception in Mexico, study finds
Research conducted along the US-Mexico border suggests there is demand in the United States for over-the-counter birth control pills and that many US women would buy such contraception without a doctor's prescription if given the option.

Mephedrone -- a collapse in integrity of scientific advice in the UK
The lead Editorial in this week's Lancet focuses on the pressure put on the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to ban the recreational drug mephedrone, despite the absence of a direct causal link between reported deaths and the drug.

Almost 200,000 children under 5 each year could be dying due to respiratory infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus
Up to 200,000 children under 5 each year could be dying due to acute lower-respiratory tract infections caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Stalagmite reveals carbon footprint of early Native Americans
A new study led by Ohio University scientists suggests that early Native Americans left a bigger carbon footprint than previously thought, providing more evidence that humans impacted global climate long before the modern industrial era.

New U of A research goes against mom's advice that routine lifting is bad for your back
New University of Alberta research disputes advice that routine lifting is bad for your back.

Texas Children's Cancer Center first in Texas to magnetically lengthen 9-year-old's leg as she grows
Nine-year-old Morgan LaRue is the first cancer patient in Texas to benefit from a groundbreaking procedure that will magnetically lengthen her leg, sparing her the possibility of up to 10 future surgeries as her body grows.

Mount Sinai researchers discover genetic framework to explain and predict adverse drug reactions
In a new study, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have taken a major step toward the ability to predict adverse drug reactions, using genetic, cellular, and clinical information to learn why some medicines cause heart arrhythmias in patients.

Congress takes another stride toward public access to research
Fueling the growing momentum toward openness, transparency, and accessibility to publicly funded information, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2010 has been introduced today in the US House of Representatives by Rep.

Perchance to dream, perchance to write for young children
Anne Haas Dyson, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the U. of I.

Gay men and lesbians more likely to experience violent events and subsequent PTSD
A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Children's Hospital Boston has found that gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals who have ever had a same-sex sex partner are one-and-a-half to two times as likely to experience violent events, especially in childhood, than the general population and have double the risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of these events.

Switch that enables Salmonella to sabotage host cells revealed in new study
A new switch that enables Salmonella bacteria to sabotage host cells is revealed in a study published today in the journal Science.

Visualization of geographic patterns may predict spread of disease
Disease statistics buried within patient records or detailed in newspaper clippings can be sorted and organized to depict geographic patterns, allowing the discovery of trends that were previously overlooked, according to a Penn State geographer.

Slobbery kisses from 'man's best friend' aid cancer research
Fido's wet licks might hold more than love. They could provide the DNA keys to findings new treatments for rare cancers and other diseases in both dogs and human patients.

Monocyte turnover predicts speed and severity of AIDS and onset of brain disease
A team of Boston College researchers report the first observation within AIDS of a marker in blood or plasma exclusive to monocytes, which underscores the relationship between innate immune response and the devastating effects of AIDS within the brain.

Banning trans fats would save lives, say doctors
Banning trans fats from all foods in the UK would prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths every year, and would be a simple way to protect the public and save lives, say two senior doctors on today.

Behavioral incentives mimic effects of medication on brain systems in ADHD
Medication and behavioral interventions help children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) better maintain attention and self control by normalizing activity in the same brain systems, according to researchers at the University of Nottingham.

Solid-state illuminator reduces nitrates in leafy green vegetables
Searching for ways to improve the nutritional quality of leafy green vegetables, Lithuanian researchers have found success with new technology that features high-density photosynthetic photon flux generated by a solid-state illuminator.

Driving ban for epileptics
Physicians treating patients with epilepsy are in a difficult legal situation when they have to assess their patients' ability to drive.

From wimp to jock: How a cell motor gets pushy
A University of Utah researcher helped discover how a

Hydrocooling shows promise for reducing strawberry weight loss, bruising
Strawberries are very fragile and highly susceptible to mechanical injury during commercial production and must be harvested when they are ripe to minimize bruising.

Low vitamin D levels associated with more asthma symptoms and medication use
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with lower lung function and greater medication use in children with asthma, according to researchers at National Jewish Health.

Uncovering early stages of Alzheimer's disease
A major Australian study has provided new insights into the loss of structure in regions of the brain and its potential association with Alzheimer's disease.

MSU study: US needs better-trained math teachers to compete globally
Math teachers in the United States need better training if the nation's K-12 students are going to compete globally, according to international research released today by a Michigan State University scholar.

Using neutrons to peer inside a battery designed for hybrid locomotives
GE and Technische Universitaet Muenchen are collaborating on research that could help to optimize charging and discharging of high-performance batteries. 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