Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 29, 2010
Low vitamin D levels are related to ms brain atrophy, cognitive function, studies show
Low vitamin D levels may be associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis, studies conducted by neurologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.

Cancer risk for kidney transplant
Kidney transplant recipients are known to have a higher risk of cancer, compared to the general population, due to the need to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent organ rejection.

Scientists clock onto how sunlight puts a spring in our step
Scientists have discovered two

Obesity associated with increased risk of fibromyalgia
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found an association between the level of leisure time physical exercise and a future risk of developing fibromyalgia.

US Environmental Protection Agency opens access to chemical information
The US Environmental Protection Agency is making it easier to find chemical information online.

Sex of baby drives response to pregnancy stress
University of Adelaide research is showing that the sex of the baby determines the way it responds to stressors during pregnancy and its ability to survive pregnancy complications.

Virginia Tech researcher explores role of human behavior in infectious disease emergence
Wildlife scientists Kathleen Alexander examined how different human behaviors influence disease transmission between domestic dogs and the African wild dog, an endangered species.

CXCR4: A new drug target in lung cancer
Lung cancer patients whose tumors over-express a cell surface molecule called CXCR4 do significantly worse than those who do not, Canadian researchers have found.

New research about human genetic diseases and human development
A new study on sex chromosomes in primates may have important consequences for research on human genetic diseases.

Stanford study first to analyze individual's genome for risk of diseases, responses to treatment
For the first time, researchers have used a healthy person's complete genome sequence to predict his risk for dozens of diseases and how he will respond to several common medications.

Gene therapy sets stage for new treatments for inherited blindness, Penn veterinary researchers say
Veterinary vision scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have safely and successfully used a viral vector in targeting a class of photoreceptors of the retina called rods, a critical first step in developing gene therapies for inherited blindness caused by rod degeneration.

Scientists report first genome sequence of frog
Because of its large eggs, Xenopus laevis -- the African clawed frog -- has become a popular model for studying embryo development and cell biology.

Hand-washing, mask-wearing may limit transmission of pandemic flu
Practicing nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as hand-washing and mouth covering may help limit the transmission of pandemic flu, but more research on these measures is critical according to a new study in the May issue of AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control.

Physicist finds colder isn't always slower as electron emissions increase at temps down to -452 F
Working with highly sensitive photomultipliers, Indiana University nuclear physicist Hans-Otto Meyer identified new attributes to a phenomenon called cryogenic electron emission.

Virtual lab wins prestigious prize awarded by Science
With virtual experiments such as one that allows students to use chemistry concepts to solve a murder in a research group whose work focuses on an antitoxin for spider bites, the ChemCollective offers the drama and intrigues of chemistry to students early on.

Study reveals new genetic link to scleroderma
An international research consortium including scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has identified a new genetic link to the systemic form of scleroderma.

Pitt researchers discover big role for microRNA in lethal lung fibrosis
A small piece of RNA appears to play a big role in the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, according to lung disease researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Scientists identify seamounts as significant, unexplored territory
Scientists from NOAA and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi were astounded to find that seamounts, mountains that rise from the seafloor, rank as some of the most common ocean habitats in the world.

Researchers find Mass. health care reform improved access to inpatient procedures among minorities
Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University School of Medicine have found that health care reform in Massachusetts has improved minority access for some inpatient procedures.

Study links microRNA to shut-down of DNA-repair genes
New research shows that microRNA can silence genes that protect against cancer-causing mutations.

New HIV model suggests killer T cell for vaccine
A new improved modeling system, developed by Chinese researchers, which attempts to incorporate more of the HIV virus' random behavioral dynamics, suggests that a particular type of T cell could be useful in the development of an AIDS vaccine.

Antibiotic regimen effective for reactive arthritis
Researchers from University of South Florida College of Medicine found a combination of antibiotics to be an effective treatment for chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis, a major step forward in the management, and possibly cure, of this disease.

Purple Pokeberries hold secret to affordable solar power worldwide
Pokeberries -- the weeds that children smash to stain their cheeks purple-red and that Civil War soldiers used to write letters home -- could be the key to spreading solar power across the globe, according to researchers at Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials.

Sign language study shows multiple brain regions wired for language
A new study from the University of Rochester finds that there is no single advanced area of the human brain that gives it language capabilities above and beyond those of any other animal species.

New tool helps scientists 'see' molecular signals of eye disease before symptoms arise
Forget what you know about how diseases are diagnosed -- new research published in the May 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal details a noninvasive ground-breaking tool that detects signs of disease at early molecular stages before symptoms can be seen using traditional methods.

Study gives green light to plants' role in global warming
Plants remain an effective way of tackling global warming despite emitting small amounts of an important greenhouse gas, a study has shown.

Refined tools help pinpoint disease-causing genes
In findings that may speed the search for disease-causing genes, a new study challenges the prevailing view that common diseases are usually caused by common gene variants (mutations).

Worldwide mortality in men and women aged 15-59 years, 1970-2010: Australia, Iceland and Cyprus among best performers, while many African and former Soviet states among worst
A comprehensive global analysis of adult mortality in men and women aged 15-59 years shows that Australia (both sexes) and South Korea (women) haves some of the highest annual rates of decline.

Ames Laboratory scientists win national technology transfer awards
Three US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory scientists have won national Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Fluorescent compounds make tumors glow
A series of novel imaging agents could light up tumors as they begin to form -- before they turn deadly -- and signal their transition to aggressive cancers.

Cancer risk the same for kidney transplant recipients, no matter the drug
Drugs taken by kidney transplant recipients to prevent organ rejection carry similar risks of cancer, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

British Academy Wiley prize in psychology
Dr. Essi Viding, an outstanding young developmental psychologist from University College London specializing in the causes of violent antisocial behavior in children and adolescents, has been named by the British Academy and Wiley-Blackwell as the winner of the 2010 Wiley Prize, awarded for the first time this year to an early career scholar.

Combination antibiotics effective against chlamydia-induced arthritis
Combination antibiotics effectively treat Chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis -- a major step toward management, and possibly cure, of this disease, a federal multicenter clinical trial led by the University of South Florida found.

Nude-colored hospital gowns could help doctors better detect hard-to-see symptoms
Changing the hue of hospital gowns and bed sheets to match a patient's skin color could greatly enhance a physician's ability to detect cyanosis and other health-related skin color changes, according to a new study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Hormone mimic reduces liver damage caused by common genetic kidney disease
A hormone mimic called Octreotide may be effective for treating polycystic liver disease (PLD) caused by autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Animals' right to privacy denied by documentary-makers
Animals' right to privacy is being denied by makers of television wildlife documentaries according to new research.

Protein loss in the urine harmful for people with high blood pressure
Healthy people with high blood pressure who excrete a slight excess of protein in the urine raise their risk of developing kidney and heart complications.

BioMed Central partners with MIT Libraries to deposit open access articles using SWORD
BioMed Central, the leading open access publisher, has worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries to develop an automated system that uses the latest technology to automatically populate MIT's digital repository, DSpace@MIT, with the official version of articles by MIT researchers that have been published in BioMed Central's journals.

Scripps Florida awarded $1.3 million grant for new tests for potential obesity/diabetes treatment
The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded a $1.3 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to develop a series of tests at its Florida campus to help explore the potential of a protein that has emerged as a highly attractive target for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable award goes to Scottish chemist
The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) Pharmaceutical Roundtable has awarded its 2010 research grant to Scottish chemist David Cole-Hamilton, Ph.D., for making great strides in expanding green chemistry and engineering practices in the global pharmaceutical industry.

Cells programmed to cure and even prevent cancer
The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal is proud to announce the launch of the very first ribonucleic acid engineering laboratory in Canada.

First case of animals making their own carotene
The insects known as aphids can make their own essential nutrients called carotenoids, according to University of Arizona researchers.

Through the looking glass: Scientists peer into Antarctica's past to see our future climate
In response to growing concerns about our planet's changing climate, rising global temperatures and sea levels, and increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists are looking to the planet's past to help predict its future.

US Department of State names UCR entomologist a Jefferson Science Fellow
Thomas Miller, an internationally recognized expert at the University of California, Riverside, on insect physiology, toxicology and genetics, has been chosen by the US Department of State to receive a 2010-2011 Jefferson Science Fellowship.

Particle 'mousetrap' could help answer gnawing cosmic questions
Michigan State University scientists landed a $3.28 million federal grant to develop an electromagnetic trap to snag and quickly extract rare isotope ricochets from high-speed particle collisions they create.

Summit aims to develop guidelines for safe and effective CT scans
A national

Research finds low oxygen resources in Central New York's Three Rivers system
A three-year longitudinal and vertical study of Central New York's Three Rivers system -- involving the Oswego, Oneida and Seneca rivers -- has revealed that oxygen resources have become degraded by several stressors, including the impact of wastewater treatment plants, nonpoint runoff, an increase in invasive zebra mussels and channelization of the flow.

Through the looking glass: Scientists peer into Antarctica's past to see
New results from a research expedition in Antarctic waters may provide critical clues to understanding one of the most dramatic periods of climate change in Earth's history.

New method reveals how individual nerve cells process visual input
In Nature, scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen report evidence that individual neurons carry out significant aspects of visual processing.

Trees provide big savings for every dollar invested by increasing property values, saving energy
Trees can provide beauty and shade in urban areas, but they also can improve air quality, conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions, and filter storm water.

Texas A&M scientist tracks origins of bootleg honey from China
A Texas A&M University scientist spends hours at a time peering at slides of pollen samples, comparing them to track down the origins of honey with questionable heritage.

Communication trumps penalties in new study of social-ecological systems
Research conducted in a computerized microworld by scientists at Arizona State University and Indiana University, including Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom, show how common-pool resources -- such as fisheries, forests, water systems or even bandwidth -- can be managed effectively by self-organized user groups under certain conditions.

Survey reports latest honey bee losses
Losses of managed honey bee colonies nationwide totaled 33.8 percent from all causes from October 2009 to April 2010, according to a survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the Agricultural Research Service.

Less is more when restraining calories boosts immunity
Scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service found that volunteers who followed a low-calorie diet or a very low-calorie diet not only lost weight, but also significantly enhanced their immune response.

The kiss of death: Research targets lethal disease spread by insect that bites lips
It makes your skin crawl -- a bug that crawls onto your lips while you sleep, drawn by the exhaled carbon dioxide, numbs your skin, bites, then gorges on your blood.

How important is geographical isolation in speciation?
A genetic study of island lizards shows that even those that have been geographically isolated for many millions of years have not evolved into separate species as predicted by conventional evolutionary theory.

U-M study: Use of alternative therapy for pain treatment increases with age and wealth
In a University of Michigan Health System study, 1 out of 3 patients with chronic pain reported using complementary and alternative medicine therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic visits for pain relief.

Largest atlas of nuclear galactic rings unveiled
An international team of astrophysicists has just unveiled the most complete atlas of nuclear rings, enormous star-forming ring-shaped regions that circle certain galactic nuclei.

ACS webinar focuses on drug discovery process for small molecule therapeutics
News media and others interested in the chemical sciences are invited to join the next in a series of American Chemical Society webinars, focusing on the drug discovery process for small molecule therapeutics.

VORTEX2 tornado scientists hit the road again
In the largest and most ambitious effort ever made to understand tornadoes, more than 100 scientists and 40 support vehicles will hit the road again this spring.

'Different forms of flowers' continues to fascinate
Research on the subject of heterostyly is often traced back to 1877 when Charles Darwin published

Embryonic stem cells reveal oncogene's secret growth formula
Whitehead Institute researchers identified the mechanism that the protein c-Myc uses to regulate gene transcription, which affects one-third of the genome's expressed genes.

Gut bacteria offer new insights -- and hope -- for people with celiac disease
Dietary changes that include probiotics and/or prebiotics (found in some foods) may help alleviate the severity of celiac disease for some patients.

Tiny particles may help surgeons by marking brain tumors
Researchers have developed a way to enhance how brain tumors appear in MRI scans and during surgery, making the tumors easier for surgeons to identify and remove.

Aphids evolved special, surprising talents
Contrary to popular belief, aphids are not just sap-sucking, plant-destroying enemies of agriculture.

From lab dishwasher to distinguished researcher
Dianne Williams of Baltimore was hired by Carnegie's Department of Embryology to wash lab dishes as part of a city job program for inner city youth in 1983.

Racial disparity observed in varus and valgus thrust study of knee OA
A recent study determined that African-Americans were less likely to have a varus thrust, but more likely to have valgus thrust than Caucasians.

California funds UCI basic research on stem cells
Two UC Irvine scientists will receive grants totaling more than $2.6 million to study the underlying biology of stem cells aimed at treating spinal cord injury, cancer and other disorders.

Louisiana Tech students, faculty earn accolades from Louisiana Dietetic Association
Students and faculty from Louisiana Tech University's School of Human Ecology have been recognized by the Louisiana Dietetic Association and afforded the honor of presenting to the membership at the 2010 Annual Meeting and Food and Nutrition Conference.

Dana-Farber/Provenge: Approval of prostate cancer immunotherapy-new era of cancer treatments
Today's announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Provenge, a new form of therapy for some prostate cancer patients, marks the beginning of an era in which patients' own immune systems become part of the standard therapeutic arsenal against cancer, say Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators who led a study of the treatment's effectiveness in patients.

Out of mind, out of sight: Blinking eyes indicate mind wandering
When your mind wanders, you're not paying attention to what's going in front of you.

Personal genetic profiling can yield clinically relevant information
The complete genetic profile, or genome, of a person can now be rapidly and inexpensively sequenced.

Carnegie Mellon's ChemCollective receives science prize for online resources in education
The ChemCollective website, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to provide chemistry instructors with access to virtual lab and scenario-based learning activities, has received the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education.

Catching multiple sclerosis before it strikes
Prof. Anat Achiron of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has uncovered a new way of detecting MS in the blood.

Our genes can be set on pause
New evidence in embryonic stem cells shows that mammalian genes may all have a layer of control that acts essentially like the pause button on your DVR.

Migratory behavior affects the size of brains in birds
Researchers at Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona-affiliated center) shed new light on the evolution of brain size in birds.

China's busy blogosphere no harbinger of political freedom, open speech
A study by communication researchers at the University at Buffalo confirms what was made evident by the very public Google-Chinese government dispute over Internet censorship: the fact that China's cyberculture is changing and growing rapidly is no harbinger of political freedom and open speech in that country.

Second volume of groundbreaking Emerging Model Organisms series is released
Eighteen diverse organisms are presented in a new volume of

Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements
Researchers have identified the genetic cause of mirror movements, where affected people are unable to move one side of the body without moving the other.

Study: Carbon monoxide exposure can be reduced during routine anesthesia in kids
Doctors at Children's National Medical Center have found that carbon monoxide levels in the blood of young children increase during routine general anesthesia.

UGA, Emory to study how exercise may prevent drug abuse relapse
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia and Emory University will receive $1.9 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurobiological mechanisms for how regular aerobic exercise may prevent drug abuse relapse.

NTU organizes international conference to chart R&D priorities for Singapore's maritime industry
An international conference organized by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore sees some 180 maritime and industry experts discuss five key themes deemed strategic for Singapore's maritime industry.

Study shows inflammatory enzyme associated with coronary heart disease to same extent as high blood pressure and bad cholesterol
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 -- an enzyme carried in the blood with 'bad' cholesterol -- is associated with coronary heart disease risk to about the same extent as high blood pressure and cholesterol, an international study led by Dr.

Genome sequence marks big leap forward for frog researchers
An African clawed frog has joined the spotted green puffer fish, the honeybee, and the human among the ranks of more than 175 organisms that have had their genetic information nearly completely sequenced.

Hormone spray improves male sensitivity
Many women have no doubt been waiting a long time for this: the neuropeptide oytocin enhances male empathy.

'Survivor' black holes may be mid-sized
New evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton strengthens the case that two mid-sized black holes exist close to the center of a nearby starburst galaxy.

New vaccines may come from forcing giardia parasite to display its many disguises
Hugo Luján, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute international research scholar from Argentina, reports in Nature Medicine that Giardia parasites engineered to express all their surface proteins worked as vaccines that could help prevent or mitigate future infections.

Study links liver transplantation to accelerated cellular aging
Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that liver transplant recipients develop premature immune senescence, the normal process by which the immune system ages and becomes less effective.

Patient's whole genome reveals risk of diseases and adverse drug responses
Scientists at Stanford and Harvard universities collaborated to evaluate the entire genome sequence of a person (one of the authors) for disease risks and unusual drug responses.

Strategy to help doctors determine when to treat retinopathy of prematurity
Scientists have shown that through eye examinations, doctors can identify infants who are most likely to benefit from early treatment for a potentially blinding eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity, resulting in better vision for many children.

A single protein regulates 2 immune pathways
A team of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine has identified a protein called NLRC5, a member of the NOD-like protein family, that is involved in inhibition of protein complexes key to critical pathways of innate immunity called NF-κB and type I interferon signaling.

Spanish gene expression data promise targeting of anti-angiogenesis treatment
Analyzing the expression of particular genes in lung cancers could soon allow researchers to identify groups of patients who are likely to benefit most from treatment with angiogenesis-inhibitor drugs.

Climate change will speed spread of invasive fish to northern Europe
Spanish and French researchers have evaluated the spread of the invasive mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki, which is native to the United States and lives in Mediterranean rivers in Spain and France.

Best care for the oldest lung cancer patients
Although more than two fifths of lung cancers are diagnosed in patients over 70, data from clinical trials on the safest and most effective treatments for this age group are scarce. 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