Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 28, 2010
Hypertensive rat genome sequence expected to uncover genetic basis of human hypertension
Chronic high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious health risk factor that afflicts more than 25 percent of all adults worldwide, but the molecular basis of the disease remains poorly understood.

Regional hyperthermia combined with chemotherapy could improve survival in sarcoma patients
Treating high-risk sarcoma with hyperthermia, by applying regional heat, alongside chemotherapy could improve the chances of survival, concludes an article published online first in the Lancet Oncology.

Curcumin nanoparticles 'open up' resistant cancers
Pre-treatment with curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, makes ovarian cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Complex brain functions help adapt to new situations and stimuli
New research by David Badre of Brown University and colleagues at the University of California -- Berkeley suggests that the frontal cortex may have a larger role in decision-making in unfamiliar situations.

Asteroid ice may be 'living fossil' with clues to oceans' origins
The first-ever discovery of ice and organic molecules on an asteroid may hold clues to the origins of Earth's oceans and life 4 billion years ago.

Elsevier announces winners of new LIBER award for library innovation
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, announced today the winners of the first-annual LIBER Award for Library Innovation.

ATS systematic review: Critical care outcomes tied to insurance status
Among the general US population, people who are uninsured are about half as likely to receive critical care services as those with insurance, according to systematic review of the literature by the American Thoracic Society's Health Disparities Group.

Do unruptured brain vessel malformations need preventative surgery?
Rush University Medical Center is part of an international, multicenter, NIH-funded trial called,

Sandia wins 2 national technology transfer awards for work with Cray, Stirling Energy Systems
Sandia National Laboratories has won two national Federal Laboratory Consortium awards for its efforts to transfer technology to supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc., and solar energy supplier Stirling Energy Systems Inc.

Scripps Research scientists solve protein structure revealing secrets of cell membranes
A team of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health has discovered the structure of a protein that pinches off tiny pouches from cells' outer membranes.

Melting icebergs causing sea level rise
Scientists have discovered that changes in the amount of ice floating in the polar oceans are causing sea levels to rise.

Locating tsunami warning buoys
Australian researchers describe a mathematical model in the International Journal of Operational Research that can find the ten optimal sites at which tsunami detection buoys and sea-level monitors should be installed.

NIST develops 'dimmer switch' for superconducting quantum computing
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed the first

MS study suggests key role of environmental factor in the disease
Scientists are reporting what they say is compelling evidence that some powerful nonheritable, environmental factor likely plays a key role in the development of multiple sclerosis.

MU researcher developing test for swallowing disorder treatments
One of the silent, and most serious, symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease is losing the ability to swallow.

Nearly 4 million Californians report sexual or physical violence from a spouse or companion
Nearly four million adults in California reported being a victim of physical or sexual violence at the hand of a spouse, companion or other intimate partner according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Reinventing technology assessment for the 21st century
A new report defines the criteria for a new technology assessment function in the United States, emphasizing the need to incorporate citizen-participation methods to complement expert analysis.

Scientists probe Earth's core
By observing distant earthquakes, researchers at the University of Calgary have revealed new clues about the top of the Earth's core in a paper published in the May edition of the journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Neural mechanisms of abstract learning
A new study provides intriguing insight into the way that humans approach novel situations.

New microscopy technique reveals mechanics of blood cell membranes
Thanks to an interdisciplinary team of researchers, scientists now have a more complete understanding of one of the human body's most vital structures: the red blood cell.

Public health officials cite value of USP's work, call for stronger partnerships
Four of the nation's leading public health officials laid out opportunities and challenges in the diverse area of patient care in the 21st century at the recently concluded US Pharmacopeial Convention's 2010 Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., emphasizing the critical nature of partnerships and the evolving role of quality standards to meet modern threats.

Inventor honored for tech improving access to clean water, healthcare and business development in India
The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced Agrawal as recipient of the 2010 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability in recognition of his accomplishments.

Imaging method for eye disease used to eye art forgeries
Scientists in Poland are describing how a medical imaging technique has taken on a second life in revealing forgery of an artist's signature and changes in inscriptions on paintings that are hundreds of years old.

The quantum ohm comes from PTB
In the endeavor to trace the SI back to natural constants, the electrical units have long been in the lead -- because, among other things, the resistance can be realized with the aid of the quantum Hall effect.

Panel finds insufficient evidence for Alzheimer's disease preventive measures
Many preventive measures for cognitive decline and for preventing Alzheimer's disease -- mental stimulation, exercise and a variety of dietary supplements -- have been studied over the years.

Eliminating weeds could put more cows on the pasture
A weed calculator developed by an Agricultural Research Service scientist tells ranchers the number of additional cows they could raise if they eliminated one or two widespread exotic invasive weeds.

20 years of PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis)
The program of this campus activity is divided into three sessions: the past, present and future of PGD; PGD from a patient's perspective; and embryology and ethics related to PGD.

Historic medical conference finds Bolivar may have been poisoned
Could one of South America's greatest generals have died from a deadly poison?

Lollipops and ice fishing: Molecular rulers used to probe nanopores
Using a pair of exotic techniques including a molecular-scale version of ice fishing, a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed methods to measure accurately the length of

New afforestation techniques increase tree growth in Mediterranean farmlands
This research focused on the relationship between land and plant, and analyzed the effect of afforestation projects on biodiversity at the landscape scale.

Flag has ladies all of a flutter
A new study -- using high speed video and feathers bought on eBay -- shows that when the male snipe sticks out his outer tail feathers, they flutter like flags in the wind, producing a highly seductive drumming sound.

Nanodots breakthrough may lead to 'a library on one chip'
A researcher at North Carolina State University has developed a computer chip that can store an unprecedented amount of data -- enough to hold an entire library's worth of information on a single chip.

New study helps explain the surprising behavior of tiny 'artificial muscles'
Using neutron beams and atomic-force microscopes, a team of university researchers working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology may have resolved a 10-year-old question about an exotic class of

NIH study offers hope to patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
A daily dose of a specific form of vitamin E significantly improved the liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), according to a study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers attack stem cells that cause colon cancer
Many of the colon cancer cells that form tumors can be killed by genetically short-circuiting the cells' ability to absorb a key nutrient, a new study has found.

How nerve cells distinguish odors
Whether different odors can be quickly distinguished depends on certain synapses in the brain that inhibit nerve stimulation.

Fibromyalgia affects mental health of those diagnosed and their spouses, study finds
University of Missouri researchers are examining how the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can affect marriages.

Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic, new study reveals
Melting sea ice has been shown to be a major cause of warming in the Arctic according to a University of Melbourne, Australia, study.

Sustainable biofuels from forests, grasslands and rangelands
The promise of switchgrass, the challenges for forests and the costs of corn-based ethanol production: Ecological scientists review the many factors surrounding biofuel crop production and its implications on ecosystem health in three new Biofuels and Sustainability Reports.

Testosterone directly amplifies but does not program male behaviors
New research uncovers some surprising information about how sex hormones control masculinization of the brain during development and drive gender related behaviors in adult males.

Statistical model for short-term prediction of heavy rainfalls locally -- Basque Ph.D. thesis
The study contributes to the enhancement of the management of the public water supply network in the Greater Bilbao area.

Carnegie Mellon, Jibbigo produce first Iraqi-to-English speech-to-speech translation application
Researchers at Jibbigo LLC and Carnegie Mellon University's International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies have developed a new application for Apple's iPhone 3GS that performs speech-to-speech and speech-to-text translation between English and the Iraqi dialect of Arabic.

Scientists to track twisters in world's largest tornado study
More than 100 researchers from NCAR and other organizations will begin deploying a flotilla of instruments across the Great Plains next week, aiming to surround tornadoes with an unprecedented fleet of mobile radars and other tools in the second and final year of the most ambitious tornado study in history.

New advances in science of the ultra-small promise big benefits for cancer patients
A $145-million Federal Government effort to harness the power of nanotechnology to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer is producing innovations that will radically improve care for the disease.

Comparison of available breast cancer risk assessment tools shows room for improvement
All the breast cancer risk assessment tools now available have serious limitations when it comes to discriminating between individuals who will and will not develop breast cancer, according to an article published online April 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

'Epigenetic' concepts offer new approach to degenerative disease
In studies on cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and other degenerative conditions, some scientists are moving away from the

Tulane researchers call for eliminating malaria in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
In an editorial in the May 2010 issue of the journal the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Tulane University malaria researchers urge action to eliminate malaria from Hispaniola, the last island in the Caribbean where the disease occurs regularly.

Mexico City air pollution adversely affects the hearts of young people
A post-mortem study of the hearts of 21 young people in Mexico City has found that the heart begins to show the adverse effects of air pollution at a young age and that tiny bits of inactivated bacteria that hitch a ride on pollutants may make the problem worse.

Research shows part of Alaska inundated by ancient megafloods
New research indicates that one of the largest fresh-water floods in Earth's history happened about 17,000 years ago and inundated a large area of Alaska that is now occupied in part by the city of Wasilla.

NIST, Maryland researchers COMMAND a better class of liposomes
A National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland research team has defined the workings of NIST technique for making liquid-filled vesicles called liposomes,

Synthetic enzymes could help ID proteins
Using a rare metal that's not utilized by nature, Rice University chemists have created a synthetic enzyme that could help unlock the identities of thousands of difficult-to-study proteins, including many that play key roles in cancer and other diseases.

American Chemical Society president elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Chemical Society President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D., and at least 11 other ACS members have been elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Nuvu Cameras to commercialize world's most sensitive camera
Olivier Daigle, recipient of the People's Choice Award for discovery of the year given by Québec Science magazine, has launched a new company with his partner, Marie-Eve Ducharme.

Resilient gypsy moth continues to shrug off best pesticides
The gypsy moth, a highly destructive insect that has damaged millions of acres of forests and urban landscapes, continues to slowly spread throughout the country despite the use of safer, more effective pesticides, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

Canada joins international network providing free access to health research
The flow of information and ideas amongst researchers is a fundamental element in turning knowledge into discoveries that will address the health challenges of tomorrow.

Breakthrough method predicts risk of invasive breast cancer
For the first time, scientists have discovered a way to predict whether women with ductal carcinoma in situ -- the most common form of noninvasive breast cancer -- are at risk of developing more invasive tumors in later years.

'Epigenetic' concepts offer new approach to degenerative disease
In studies on cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and other degenerative conditions, some scientists are moving away from the

Twice as many Swedes as Brits survive lung cancer
The odds of surviving lung cancer are significantly higher in Norway and Sweden than they are in England, reveals a comparison of the three countries published in Thorax today.

Study shows why cholesterol damages arteries
The presence of crystalline cholesterol in the walls of our arteries is a major cause of life-threatening inflammation.

Developing world will produce double the e-waste of developed countries by 2030
Developing countries will be producing at least twice as much electronic waste (e-waste) as developed countries within the next six to eight years, according to a new study published in ACS' semimonthly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Study finds high rates of at-risk drinking among elderly adults
Researchers find that more than a third of drinkers 60 years old and older consume amounts of alcohol that are excessive or that are potentially harmful in combination with certain diseases they may have or medications they may be taking.

Cambodia takes action in fight against substandard and counterfeit medicines
In a major crackdown, Cambodia has forced nearly 65 percent of illegal pharmacies operating in the country to close within the past five months.

Canadians lead longer, healthier lives than Americans
Compared to their neighbors south of the border, Canadians live longer, healthier lives.

Seeing moire in graphene
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology have demonstrated that atomic scale moire patterns, an interference pattern that appears when two or more grids are overlaid slightly askew, can be used to measure how sheets of graphene are stacked and reveal areas of strain.

Causes of death in AIDS patients
New research shows that antiretroviral therapy (ART) continues to dramatically reduce rates of mortality from HIV infection in high-income countries, such that non-AIDS-related deaths exceed AIDS deaths after approximately four years of taking ART.

Pigs provide clues on cystic fibrosis lung disease
Aided by a new experimental model, scientists are a step closer to understanding how cystic fibrosis (CF) causes lung disease in people with the condition.

Barn owl auditory spatial cues and more
The following papers are among those papers being published the week of April 28:

New women's health researcher brings $6.8 million in funding to MSU
Michigan State University has become the new home for a $6.8 million Center for Women's Health and Reproduction Research.

Civic engagement imperative for reduction of violence and improved public health
In a set of papers just published in two leading scholarly journals, LSU sociology professor Matthew Lee reports that both violent crime and all-cause mortality rates are on average substantially lower in communities with a vibrant civic climate.

To improve lung cancer diagnosis, good medicine is a polymer pill
Doctors may soon be able to diagnose lung cancer more effectively thanks to research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where scientists have found ways both to increase the accuracy of computed tomography scans and to lessen the amount of time necessary to perceive telltale changes in lung tissue.

World first remote heart operation to be carried out in Leicester using robotic arm
A pioneering world first robotics system operation is to be conducted at Glenfield Hospital Leicester thanks to expertise at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester.

WPI researchers study feasibility of giant deep-ocean wind turbines
With a three-year, $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is studying the feasibility of placing large wind turbines on deep-ocean platforms.

It's electrifying
Physicists at JILA have demonstrated a new tool for controlling ultracold gases and ultracold chemistry: electric fields.

Scientists finds evidence of water ice on asteroid's surface
Josh Emery, research assistant professor with the earth and planetary sciences department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has found evidence of water ice and organic material on the asteroid 24 Themis.

Lottery game helps to assess brain damage following stroke
Patients recovering from stroke sometimes behave as if completely unaware of one half of the world: colliding with obstacles on their left, eating food only from the right side of their plate, or failing to dress their left side.

U Alberta-led team studies T cell activation with nanoparticles
A University of Alberta-led research team has taken a major step forward in understanding how T cells are activated in the course of an immune response by combining nanotechnology and cell biology.

Baby swimmers have better balance
Teaching babies to swim turns out to be more than just fun.

Can 'organic' labels backfire?
In findings presented at this week's Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif., Cornell University researchers show that

Innovative digital technologies assist specialists in anatomical reconstruction
Techniques for using digital technology in separating conjoined twins, developing facial prostheses and acquiring data from anthropological specimens among the topics being presented at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting.

Vaccines preventing pneumococcal disease protect African children with sickle-cell disease
A new study released this week in the Lancet Infectious Diseases finds that African children who contract pneumococcus -- a bacterial infection that causes pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis -- are 36 times as likely to have sickle-cell disease, a blood disorder prevalent in African children that increases the risk for infectious diseases and early death.

Deep brain stimulation offers benefits for advanced Parkinson's disease patients over drug treatment alone
Patients with advanced Parkinson's disease who have surgery (deep brain stimulation) in addition to the best medical drug treatment have a better overall quality of life and more improvement in mobility and activities of daily living after one year than patients who receive the best medical drug treatment alone, according to the self-reported experience of patients.

A clamp for emerging flu viruses
When the human body becomes infected with new influenza viruses, the immune system rapidly activates an inborn protective mechanism to inhibit the intruding pathogen.

Oncos Therapeutics raises €4 million ($5.3 million) to develop oncolytic viruses into cancer treatment
Oncos Therapeutics, a biotech company developing new cancer therapeutics based on its next generation oncolytic viruses, completed a $5.5 million investment from HealthCap.

Tobacco imagery still common in films rated suitable for kids and young teens
Tobacco imagery is still relatively common in films rated suitable for kids and young teens, despite significant declines in the cinematic depiction of smoking over the past 20 years, indicates research published in Thorax today.

Tests may predict cause of hospital readmissions in newborns and improve outcomes for asthma patients
The results of two separate research studies taking place at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics will help physicians use genetic testing to prevent complications, and ease the worry of new parents by predicting in advance which newborns may require readmission to the hospital shortly after birth.

Ben-Gurion U. research confirms that hand-clapping songs improve motor and cognitive skills
A researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev conducted the first study of hand-clapping songs, revealing a direct link between those activities and the development of important skills in children and young adults, including university students.

Most states offer HPV vaccinations to girls in juvenile justice system
Nearly all US states offer the human papillomavirus vaccine to adolescent girls who have been arrested or detained, according to a new report from the Miriam Hospital and Brown University.

Collaborative education created a new model for researchers to assess teaching methods
By developing a collaborative team mentored approach to learning through the Medical Education Research Certificate, a committee of experienced medical education researchers created a new model that makes it possible to conduct the scientific studies needed to assess the effectiveness of medical teaching methods, Wendy Coates, M.D., a Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute principal investigator writes in a study published today in Academic Medicine.

Advances in personalized medicine take center stage
Many of the world's leading experts in pediatric pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine are gathering today at a first-of-its-kind conference in Kansas City to change the way childhood diseases and illnesses are treated.

ASTRO releases SBRT for lung cancer report
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has released its Emerging Technology Committee's report evaluating the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy in lung cancer treatment.
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