Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 20, 2010
Hops helps reduce ammonia produced by cattle
An Agricultural Research Service scientist may have found a way to cut the amount of ammonia produced by cattle, using a key ingredient of the brewer's art: hops.

Bigger molecular-sized anesthetics do not promote amyloid beta peptide micro-aggregation
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting millions of people worldwide and has become a major global concern.

Field Museum and University of Chicago launch Emerging Pathogens Project
The Field Museum and the University of Chicago today announced the establishment of the Emerging Pathogens Project, a unique research program to study the evolution of species-switching parasites or pathogens that result in diseases such as bird flu, malaria and AIDS.

Distance-education students utilize computer-mediated communication
Researchers at Texas Tech analyzed communication methods between students and faculty in three distance learning modalities: Web-facilitated, online and interactive video conferencing courses.

Sharing the load: Individual fibrin fibers distribute strain across a network
A new study shows that when it comes to networks of protein fibers, individual fibers play a substantial role in effectively strengthening an entire network of fibers.

Singapore scientists make breakthrough findings on early embryonic development
Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore have recently generated significant single cell expression data crucial for a detailed molecular understanding of mammalian development from fertilization to embryo implantation, a process known as the preimplantation period.

Concern over hearing loss from personal music players
Young people who listen to personal music players for several hours a day at high volume could be putting their hearing at risk, warns an expert in an editorial published on today.

Higher consumption of dietary added sugars associated with unfavorable lipid levels
Consuming a higher amount of added sugars in processed or prepared foods is associated with lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, the

Researchers identify the source of 'noise' in HIV
New research identifies a molecular mechanism that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) appears to utilize for generating random fluctuations called

Low heritability of tinnitus
The relative importance of genetic factors in tinnitus is low, according to new research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

From ancient rocks to new knowledge of the universe
Thirty technical geoscience sessions will generate discussions around new earth-science research at the 62nd annual meeting of the Geological Society of America's Rocky Mountain Section, held in association with the Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference.

Airway obstructions have high death rate for young children
Though airway obstructions in young children occur less often than other types of injuries, the death rate is higher, according to new research from Children's National Medical Center.

Designer threads: New insight into protein fiber assembly
Understanding how mixtures of proteins assemble and how to manipulate them in the laboratory has many exciting biomedical applications, such as providing scaffolds for the engineering of tissues that can replace diseased or damaged human tissues.

Planting depth affects popular landscape tree
Landscape trees produced in container nursery systems are replanted one to two times into larger containers, a practice known as

Gastric adenomyoma presenting as melena
A research team from China reported a case of 68-year-old man with gastric adenomyoma (AM) admitted to hospital for melana.

Using death rates to judge hospital performance 'a bad idea'
Mortality rates are a poor measure of the quality of hospital care and should not be a trigger for public inquiries such as the investigation at the Mid Staffordshire hospital, argue experts in a paper published on today.

Does the weather cause northerners to get more prostate cancer?
Cold, dry weather has been linked to an increased incidence of prostate cancer.

Cover crop mulches tested for no-till organic onions
Conservation tillage encompasses a range of techniques for establishing crops in the previous crop's residues.

Scientists create artificial human skin with biomechanical properties using tissue engineering
A biomaterial fibrin-agarose complex was used to generate the artificial skin that was later grafted onto athymic nude mice.

Ultrasound pioneer receives highest award in engineering profession
Ultrasound pioneer Gerald J. Posakony was honored with the John Fritz Medal -- the highest award in the engineering profession -- on Monday night by the American Association of Engineering Societies.

An artificial eye on your driving
Prof. Shai Avidan of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering is collaborating with General Motors Research Israel to develop advanced algorithms that will help cameras mounted on GM cars detect threats, alerting drivers to make split-second decisions.

The sweet smell of aging
What does the smell of a good meal mean to you?

Study provides new insights into the implications of autism onset patterns
Kennedy Krieger Institute announced today new study results showing that when and how autism symptoms appear in the first three years of life has vital implications to a child's developmental, diagnostic and educational outcomes.

Children's cognitive ability can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants
A study by the Mailman School of Public Health's Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health carried out in Krakow, Poland, has found that prenatal exposure to pollutants can adversely affect children's cognitive development at age 5, confirming previous findings in a New York City study.

Materials research advances reliability of faster 'smart sensors'
In military and security situations, a split second can make the difference between life and death, so North Carolina State University's development of new

Body Mass Index gain throughout adulthood may increase risk of postmenopausal breast cancer
Reported mid-life increase in body mass index (BMI) may lead to substantially higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to results of a prospective cohort study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010, held here April 17-21.

Contraband could hide in plain sight, Duke research shows
As airport security employees scan luggage for a large variety of banned items, they may miss a deadly box cutter if they find a water bottle first.

Shorter maternal height associated with more deaths among children in developing countries
Mothers shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches in low- to middle-income countries had about a 40 percent higher risk of their children dying within the first five years of life than mothers who were 5 feet, 3 inches or taller according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Consumer preferences for Hawaiian orchids revealed
Increasing sales of orchids are the second fastest-growing group of potted flowering plants in the United States, outranked only by poinsettias.

Alternative turfgrasses show potential for use on golf course fairways
Burgeoning restrictions on water use, fertilization, and pesticide application are becoming important considerations in golf course design and management.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, industry to collaborate in advanced battery research
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and American industry will tackle some of the most critical challenges facing lithium ion battery production.

Study finds public reporting of heart-bypass surgery outcomes in California has not reduced access
New UC Davis research has found that patients scheduled to undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery in California were just as ill in 2003 -- when public reporting of performance data for this particular surgery began -- as in 2006, evidence that

Brown scientists elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Donald Forsyth, the James L. Manning Professor of Geological Sciences, and Johanna Schmitt, the Stephen T.

A little less force: Making atomic force microscopy work for cells
Scientists with Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry have developed a nanowire-based imaging technique by which atomic force microscopy could be used to study biological cells and other soft materials in their natural, liquid environment without tearing apart or deforming the samples.

Cochlear implantation in young children associated with improved language skills
Children under 5 years of age with severe hearing loss who underwent cochlear implantation experienced greater improvement in comprehension and expression in spoken language than would be predicted from their pre-implantation language scores, with younger age at implantation associated with greater improvements, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA.

For children with hearing loss: The earlier the better for cochlear implants
Receiving a cochlear implant before 18 months of age dramatically improves a deaf child's ability to hear, understand and, eventually, speak, according to a multicenter study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins.

Gladstone's Deepak Srivastava elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Deepak Srivastava, M.D., director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry at UCSF, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Henry Ford Health System goes radical: Creating the hospital of the future
A two-day educational symposium,

AIAA to host international forum for aerospace leaders on energy and environmental challenges
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will host

OB/GYN offices may offer ideal venue for improving vaccine rates among women
Obstetrician/gynecologist offices may be the ideal venue for boosting vaccination rates among women, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Computer model better than clinical judgment for diagnosing fever in young children
A computerized diagnostic model outperforms clinical judgment for the diagnosis of fever in young children, and may improve early treatment, finds a study published on today.

Change in breast density over time provides clues about breast cancer risk
A decrease in breast density, or the proportion of fibroglandular tissue depicted on the mammogram image, over a number of years is associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, researchers from the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota report at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.

In developing countries, shorter maternal height associated with higher death rates for children
Among 54 low- to middle-income countries, a mother's shorter height is associated with a higher rate of death for her children and a greater likelihood of these children being underweight and having a reduced rate of growth, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA.

Team finds promising new drug target for Alzheimer's disease
Researchers have identified a potential drug target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a receptor that is embedded in the membrane of neurons and other cells.

Higher amounts of added sugars increase heart disease risk factors
Added sugars in processed foods and beverages may increase cardiovascular disease risk factors, according to a study by Emory University researchers.

Volunteers scrutinize "10 most wanted" plants for clues to climate change
Students, gardeners, retirees and other volunteers across the nation who are taking part in a nationwide initiative -- Project BudBurst -- are finding hints that certain plants are blooming unusually early, perhaps as a result of climate change.

Protein plays a critical role in the development of aggressive breast cancer
Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have identified a potentially significant molecular player in the development of aggressive breast cancer.

Travel Medicine becomes the official journal of RCPSG's Faculty of Travel Medicine
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, in partnership with the Faculty of Travel Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, announces that Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease has been chosen to become the official journal of RCPSG's Faculty of Travel Medicine.

Molecular mechanism underlying natural taurine protection against hepatic fibrosis
A research team from China investigated the global protein expression changes in hepatic stellate cells affected by taurine using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry platform.

Research in infectious diseases and immunology receives shot in the arm with fresh funding
Twelve research projects on infectious diseases and immunology have been awarded grants by A*STAR's Biomedical Research Council and Singapore Immunology Network this year.

Ethnic differences in precursors of type 2 diabetes apparent at an early age
A study published in PLoS Medicine this week finds that precursors of higher risk of diabetes in South Asian and African-Caribbean adults in the UK are increased in healthy children from these ethnic groups.

Who is at risk for MRSA?
A multicenter study led by a researcher at Rhode Island Hospital has determined that long-term elder care, HIV-infected and hemodialysis patients are at increased risk of carrying MRSA in their nose.

Study examines outcomes of early vs. late tracheotomy for mechanically ventilated ICU patients
Adult ICU patients who received tracheotomy six to eight days vs.

CU-Boulder faculty, students to chase tornadoes once again this spring
University of Colorado at Boulder faculty and students will join a storm-chasing science team for the second year in a row across the nation's infamous

Does foreign policy help or hinder global health?
This week PLoS Medicine launches a series on global health diplomacy with an introductory article outlining the intersection between foreign policy and global health interests, and a case study of Brazil's growing influence in international relations.

Outcomes of patients dismissed from the hospital with non-cardiac chest pain
The growing number of Americans with cardiovascular disease has caused a heightened sensitivity in the evaluation of chest pain.

Scientists sever molecular signals that prolific parasite uses to puppeteer cells
Scientists studying a cunning parasite that has commandeered the cells of almost half the world's human population have begun to zero in on the molecular signals that must be severed to free the organism's cellular hostages.

Perception: Skinny people aren't lazy but overweight people are
Research at the University of Alberta shows that when a thin person is seen laying down watching television, people assume they're resting.

In breasts considered 'healthy,' too much of 1 protein identifies abnormal growth
By examining tissue removed during breast reduction surgery in healthy women, researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Center have found a molecule they say identified women who had atypical hyperplasia, a potentially precancerous condition in which cells are abnormally increased.

Death rates not best judge of hospital quality, researchers say
Inpatient mortality rates, used by organizations to issue

Vitamin D status not predicted by surrogate markers, UB researchers find
Vitamin supplements, diet, geographic location, demographic information or lifestyle, independently or in combination, cannot accurately predict vitamin D concentrations in blood, researchers at the University at Buffalo have found.

African-American babies and boys least likely to be adopted, study shows
Parents pursuing adoption within the United States have strong preferences regarding the types of babies they will apply for, tending to choose non-African-American girls, and favoring babies who are close to being born as opposed to those who have already been born or who are early in gestation.

Mexico's Indeval wins INFORMS Edelman Award
The application of operations research and analytics to speedily processing complex securities transactions allowed Mexico's Indeval to win the 2010 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in Orlando last night.

NASA's Terra satellite keeps eye on Eyjafjallajökull's ash plume
NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of the ash plume from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano this morning, April 20, as it flew overhead from its vantage point in space.

Alternative strategies to reduce maternal mortality in India
A study by Sue J. Goldie and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health published this week in PLoS Medicine finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care could reduce maternal mortality in India by 75 percent in less than a decade.

Low-tech cool: Shade trees for subtropical streets
In addition to their aesthetic qualities, shade trees reduce air and noise pollution, provide habitat for wildlife, and offer cool respite for harried urbanites.

Study cautions: Psychotropic medications overprescribed to children
A new study from the Journal of Marital & Family Therapy cautions the use of psychotropic medications for children.

USGS awards $2.7 million in stimulus funding
The US Geological Survey has awarded $2.7 million in cooperative agreements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the University of California, Berkeley; Central Washington University; University of California, San Diego; and UNAVCO Inc. to improve networks that detect minute changes in the Earth's crust caused by faulting in earthquake-prone regions.

Experts call for accelerated national sodium reduction initiatives
Responding to the health threat posed by Americans' over-consumption of sodium, experts in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America called today for sodium reduction strategies that are strong and effective -- and that maximize the enjoyment people derive from food.

Psychology researchers explore the science of emotional intelligence
Gerry Matthews, a University of Cincinnati psychology professor, co-authors a book that receives national recognition for professional and scholarly excellence.

Preoperative/neoadjuvant therapy in pancreatic cancer
In research published this week in PLoS Medicine, Joerg Kleeff from Technische Universitaet Muenchen, and colleagues suggest that patients with apparently locally nonresectable tumors should be included in neoadjuvant protocols.

Berkeley Lab generates thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the economy
Berkeley Lab generated 5,600 jobs and $446.5 million in personal income and contributed $690 million to the Bay Area's embattled economy in 2009 according to an economic impact study prepared by CBRE Consulting of San Francisco.

New data on the regulation of a protein that is altered in all cancers
In a study using the Drosophila, researchers at the IRB Barcelona have discovered that the microRNA machinery controls the levels of Myc through the molecule Mei-P26, thereby conferring microRNAs unexpected importance.

CPM Resource Center selected as clinical content provider by Froedtert and Community Health
The CPM Resource Center, an Elsevier company and leader in developing clinical practice guidelines for health care, today announced that it will be the clinical content source for patient care plans and clinical documentation at multiple hospitals of Milwaukee-based Froedtert & Community Health.

On 'Earth week,' world is no longer our oyster
The world is no longer our oyster. As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we can add another species, one of widespread ecological and economic importance, to the list of the beleaguered.

New methods identify thousands of new DNA sequences missing from the human genome reference map
New approaches enabled researchers to discover 2,363 new DNA sequences on the human genome.

Highest prize in public health -- the Frank A. Calderone Prize -- to Susan Baker, pioneer
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health today announced that it will award the highest prize in public health -- the Frank A.

EStar Award recognizes innovative supercomputer cooling
An innovative, energy-saving approach to cooling Argonne's Blue Gene/P supercomputer was recognized with an Environmental Sustainability (EStar) award from the US Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Association of fiber and colorectal cancer risk differs depending on dietary assessment method
High dietary fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer when researchers used data from food diaries but not when they used data obtained from food frequency questionnaires, according to a study published online April 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Adverse drug effects in epileptic patients not correlated with number of prescribed medications
Researchers have found that polytherapy with multiple anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) did not result in greater adverse effects than monotherapy for patients with refractory epilepsy.

Advance made in thin-film solar cell technology
Researchers have made an important breakthrough in the use of continuous flow microreactors to produce thin film absorbers for solar cells -- an innovative technology that could significantly reduce the cost of solar energy devices and reduce material waste.

NSF webcast: Learning from Haiti
Every disaster leaves critical clues in its wake -- not only about its cause, but also about how to protect lives in future emergencies.

Among deaths from H1N1, pregnant women appear to have high risk
Pregnant women had a disproportionately higher risk of death due to 2009 influenza A(H1N1) in the US, and early antiviral treatment appeared to be associated with fewer admissions to an ICU and fewer deaths, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA.

Bone-eating worms 30 million years old
An international team of scientists led by the paleontologist Steffen Kiel at the University of Kiel, Germany, found the first fossil boreholes of the worm, Osedax, that consumes whale bones on the deep-sea floor.

Is COX-2 expression a valuable independent prognostic factor in pancreatic cancer?
A research team from Czech Republic immunohistochemically examined the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to validate the potential usefulness of this marker in predictive oncology.

Lombardi research teams hone in on treatments for osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma
Most cancers arise from the epithelium, the tissue that lines the body and the organs, but sarcomas come from connective tissue cells, like the bones.

Spirit of ovarian cancer advocate keeps fundraising drive on track
The Anne Rita Monahan Foundation recently presented $15,000 for ovarian cancer research to the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Duke, LabCorp combine forces to create the Biomarker Factory
Duke University Medical Center and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings announced today the formation of a joint venture to commercialize new biomarkers.

Rattlesnakes sound warning on biodiversity and habitat fragmentation
Cornell University researchers discover fragmentation of natural habitats by roads -- even smaller, low-traffic highways -- has had a significant effect on genetic structure of timber rattlesnakes.

Discovering the history hidden in the tessellas of mosaics
Mosaics are an important documentary source for the study of history, going far beyond their artistic aspect.

HSP-90 and vasoregulation in portal hypertension
A research team from Germany investigated the role of heat shock protein-90 (HSP-90) in neuronal NO-synthase (nNOS)-function and vasoregulation in the mesenteric vasculature.

Carbon nanotubes boost cancer-fighting cells
Yale University engineers have found that the defects in carbon nanotubes cause T cell antigens to cluster in the blood and stimulate the body's natural immune response.

Couples therapy can be the best choice for alcohol-dependent women with supportive spouses
A woman who wants to break her dependence on alcohol, and has a spouse willing to join her in that fight, has a real chance for success.

NFL gives $1 million unrestricted gift to Boston University to study impact of brain injuries
The National Football League will give a $1 million unrestricted gift to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine to support the Center's research.

Increased EGFR levels may be an early marker of breast cancer
Levels of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) may be elevated in the blood of women within 17 months prior to their breast cancer diagnosis, according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010, held here April 17-21. 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