Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 13, 2010
Not a fish story: Protected corals increase fishing profits
The Wildlife Conservation Society today announced findings from a study showing that closures and gear restrictions implemented in fishing areas can increase fishery revenue and net profits.

Research published in NEJM highlights potential benefits of Cameron Health's S-ICD System
Cameron Health Inc. today announced the publication of study results online in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighting the development and potential benefits of the company's S-ICD System, the first minimally invasive, subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator, for the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest.

Setting time limits for hunting and fishing may help maintain wildlife populations
Hunting and fishing quotas limit the number of game animals or fish an individual may take based on harvests from the previous year.

Pharmaceutical companies provide EPA 100 drugs to help predict toxicity
The US EPA will continue validating its ToxCast screening tool by screening more than 100 drugs provided by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis and Merck.

Emergence of fungal plant diseases linked to ecological speciation
A new commentary on the nature of pathogens is raising startling new questions about the role that fundamental science research on evolution plays in the understanding of emerging disease.

Study shows costs and benefits of testosterone in birds
Do nice guys finish last, or will the meek inherit the earth?

Strategies for increasing carbon stored in forests and wood
While the US and other world leaders consider options for offsetting carbon emissions, it is important to take into account the role forests play in the global carbon cycle, say scientists in a paper published in the spring edition of Issues in Ecology.

University of Pennsylvania mathematicians solve 140-year-old Boltzmann equation
Two University of Pennsylvania mathematicians have found solutions to a 140-year-old, 7-dimensional equation that were not known to exist for more than a century despite its widespread use in modeling the behavior of gases.

South Atlantic map plots Falklands claims
Researchers at Durham University have drawn up new maps to show the competing claims of Argentina and the UK for resources in the South Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

Wistar scientists explain the persistence of melanoma through 'dynamic stemness'
Wistar scientists offer a new explanation for the tenacity of melanoma cells, one of the reasons why melanoma remains the deadliest form of skin cancer.

New forensics research will help identify remains of children
New research from North Carolina State University is now giving forensic scientists a tool that can be used to help identify the remains of children, and may contribute to resolving missing-persons cases, among other uses.

DksA polices the intersection of replication and transcription
DNA replication, the process by which a strand of DNA is copied during cell proliferation, and DNA transcription, the process by which the message in the DNA is translated into messenger RNA, involve the same

Scientists ID bacterial genes that improve plant growth
To find out what makes microbe-plant interactions

700 international researchers gather for Great Lakes Research Conference
Invasive species, toxic chemical contamination and the safety of fish as food are some of the topics being addressed at major Great Lakes research conference.

New intervention to reduce self-stigma among persons with serious mental illness
A new intervention, the result of a collaboration between researchers from the University of Haifa, City University of New York and Indiana University, was found to reduce the self-stigma and improve the quality of life and self-esteem among persons with serious mental illness.

Volcanic plume meets and occluded weather front, changes wind direction
A visible satellite image on Wednesday, May 12, at 13:10 UTC (9:10 a.m.

Immune system compromised during spaceflight, study finds
A research group led by University of Arizona immunobiologist Ty Lebsack has discovered that spaceflight changes the activity of genes controlling immune and stress response, perhaps leading to more sickness.

NSF provides $20 million to support 15 projects through BREAD program
To support basic research that will build a foundation for generating sustainable, science-based solutions to agricultural problems in developing countries, the National Science Foundation has awarded 15 grants in the inaugural year of the Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development program.

Rise in immigration may help explain drop in violent crimes, says CU-Boulder study
During the 1990s, immigration reached record highs and crime rates fell more precipitously than at any time in US history.

Game theoretic machine learning methods can help explain long periods of conflict
Researchers at the Santa Fe Institute have developed new machine learning methods to study conflict.

Study finds rotavirus vaccine greatly reduces hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis in children
Vaccinating infants against rotavirus, a leading cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration among babies and young children, was associated with a dramatic decline in US hospitalization rates for acute gastroenteritis.

NYU College of Dentistry, Penn State develop new model for investigating tobacco/oral cancer link
Now, a recently completed study has shown that a powerful carcinogen in tobacco smoke can be used for oral cancer research in experimental animals, thus providing a new, more relevant research model with which to understand the initiation, progression and, ultimately, the prevention of oral cancer.

Age-related cortical bone loss might be key to osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment
Contrary to current views, most fractures in old-age occur after 65 years of age, are not vertebral, and are the result of greater loss of cortical rather than trabecular bone.

Women clear winners with heart failure device
For women with mild heart failure, device therapy is an extremely attractive option to prevent progression of the disease.

Molecular robots on the rise
Researchers from Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan and the California Institute of Technology have created and programmed robots the size of single molecule that can move independently across a nano-scale track.

Alteplase for stroke treatment -- sooner the better, later the risks
After a stroke, the thrombolytic (

Slight changes in 2 key genes appear to launch breast cancer development
Researchers at Georgetown Lombard Comprehensive Cancer Center have been able to show, in mice, how just a little adjustment in the expression of two common genes can promote the kind of cellular changes that led to breast cancer.

Cutting-edge vaccine research to be showcased at AAPS National Biotechnology Conference
Novel vaccines for diseases ranging from the flu to HIV highlight a week's worth of biotechnology research at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' National Biotechnology Conference.

BYU lizard researcher dusts off 30-year-old field notes for worldwide climate change study
When Brigham Young University biology professor Jack Sites spent summers in the late 1970s collecting lizards in Mexico, he had no idea his field notes would one day help form the foundation for a worldwide study that attributes local lizard extinctions to climate change.

Fossil find fills in picture of ancient marine life
Paleontologists have discovered a rich array of exceptionally preserved fossils of marine animals that lived between 480 million and 472 million years ago, during the early part of a period known as the Ordovician.

ACS Webinar focuses on green chemistry innovations and applications
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 green chemistry applications and innovations.

Tissue engineers create a new way to assemble artificial tissues
Researchers at the MIT-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology have come up with a new way to encapsulate living cells in cubes and arrange them into 3-D structures, just as a child would construct buildings out of blocks.

People who recognize stroke symptoms still may not call 9-1-1
A telephone survey of more than 4,800 people in Michigan found that only a fraction of them would call 9-1-1 if they recognized symptoms of a stroke.

Silver tells a volatile story of Earth's origin
Tiny variations in the isotopic composition of silver in meteorites and Earth rocks are helping scientists put together a timetable of how our planet was assembled beginning 4.568 billion years ago.

Study documents widespread extinction of lizard populations due to climate change
An international team of biologists has found an alarming pattern of population extinctions attributable to rising temperatures.

MicroRNA and host gene play key role in regulating cholesterol pathways
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have identified tiny segments of RNA that may play an important role in the body's regulation of cholesterol and lipids.

July-August 2010 GSA Bulletin highlights
The July-August GSA Bulletin includes several articles on the nature of the continental crust; mountain building; and landscape evolution as driven by tectonics, erosion, wind, and climate.

Low oxygen levels prevent X chromosome inactivation in human embryonic stem cells
Oxygen levels in the lab can permanently alter human embryonic stem cells, inducing X chromosome inactivation in female cells.

As global temperatures rise, the world's lizards are disappearing
After decades of surveying Sceloporus lizard populations in Mexico, an international research team has found that rising temperatures have driven 12 percent of the country's lizard populations to extinction.

'Votes' of sub-cellular variables control cell fate
Members of a population of identical cells often

Ethics experts call for refocus of scientific review to ensure integrity of research process
In a paper published this week in the journal Science, experts caution that important ethical issues in the testing of new therapies like stem cells may not be receiving the attention they deserve.

How do organisms make dietary choices?
When given a choice, organisms will choose a diet that maintains a nutritional balance in tune with their needs.

Lifestyle factors significantly impact survival of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, study finds
A new study led by researchers from Mayo Clinic in collaboration with six other US institutions has found that patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who smoked, consumed alcohol or were obese before their cancer diagnosis had poorer overall survival, compared to patients who did not have these risk factors.

Advanced geographical models bring new perspective to study of archaeology
The use of computational modeling is providing new opportunities to the field of archaeology and can possibly enhance previous findings of how humans and the environment interact.

New pathway discovered in cellular cholesterol regulation
Researchers at two laboratories at NYU Langone Medical Center have collaborated to identify a tiny micro-RNA, miR-33, that regulates key genes involved in cellular cholesterol transport.

Novel pouch could reduce mother-to-infant HIV infection
By using medications packaged just like fast-food ketchup, HIV-positive mothers in developing countries can more easily provide protection to newborn babies born at home.

Tibetans developed genes to help them adapt to life at high elevations
Researchers have long wondered why the people of the Tibetan Highlands can live at elevations that cause some humans to become life-threateningly ill -- and a new study answers that mystery, in part, by showing that through thousands of years of natural selection, those hardy inhabitants of south-central Asia evolved 10 unique oxygen-processing genes that help them live in higher climes.

Sniff of local anesthetic in the dentist's chair could replace the needle
Modern dentistry has eliminated much of the

Sexual dysfunction in kidney disease patients requires study
Despite the very high rate of problems with sexual function among people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), little is known about the best treatment approaches in this group of patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Unmet expectations and smoking prove key factors in quitting bladder medication
A study of 5,392 adults found that a quarter had quit their overactive bladder medication, with nine out of 10 saying it didn't work as expected or they couldn't tolerate it.

Consortium recommends microarray testing as new standard for pediatric genetic diagnosis
An international consortium of genetics experts has issued a consensus statement recommending chromosomal microarray as the new standard practice for genetic evaluation of children with unexplained developmental delay, autism or birth defects.

Post-transplant drug may also help patients with common genetic kidney disease
The immunosuppressive drug sirolimus considerably improves the kidney health of patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Study: Community approach to smoking bans not effective in Appalachia
Local ordinances in Appalachian states with weak statewide smoking regulations do not offer most residents adequate protection against second-hand smoke, according to a new study.

Calcium in early life may prevent obesity later
Research from North Carolina State University suggests that not getting enough calcium in the earliest days of life could have a more profound, lifelong impact on bone health and perhaps even obesity than previously thought.

Scripps Research scientists find chemical signal from predators that sparks fear in mice
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have found a specific chemical compound secreted by many predators that makes mice behave fearfully.

Genetic ancestry testing challenges identified by American Society of Human Genetics task force
In response to their 2008 statement, the ASHG Ancestry Testing Task Force is publishing a follow-up white paper report in the American Journal of Human Genetics on May 14, 2010.

Wine-making yeast shows promise for bioethanol production
Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that might be important for ethanol production from plant material, providing insights into the bioethanol alternative to fossil fuels.

New hope for better treatment for a rising cancer
Poor diet, too much alcohol, smoking and increasing obesity could be leading to an epidemic of oesophageal and upper stomach cancer, according to a leading UK team of specialists at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals.

Computers can effectively detect diabetes-related eye problems
People with diabetes have an increased risk of blindness, yet nearly half of the approximately 23 million Americans with diabetes do not get an annual eye exam to detect possible problems.

Without this protein, embryonic development halts
Researchers studying the common genetic disorder chromosome 22q.11 deletion syndrome (also known as DiGeorge syndrome) have identified key proteins that act together to regulate early embryonic development.

Firms pay more to high-skill foreign IT pros than to US colleagues, shows INFORMS study
Contrary to public assertions, IT professionals in the US who are not citizens actually earned more than their American colleagues from 2000-2005 and therefore did not depress the salaries of American citizens, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

The Hastings Center Report table of contents for May/June 2010
This edition of the Hastings Center Report contains articles on: ethical issues surrounding new neuroimaging research; defining cardiac donor death; warning relatives, re: risk of sudden cardiac death; rethinking palliative sedation guidelines; multiple embryo transfers; suicide attempts and treatment refusals; sexuality and a severely brain-injured spouse; and assisted suicide as a right.

Childhood psychological problems create long-term economic losses, study finds
A first-of-its-kind study examining the long-term economic consequences of childhood psychological disorders such as depression and substance abuse finds the conditions diminish people's ability to work and earn as adults, costing $2.1 trillion over the lifetimes of all affected Americans.

How microtubules let go of their attachments during cell division
Whitehead Institute researchers have determined how cells regulate the chromosome/microtubule interface, which is central to proper chromosomal distribution during cell division.

Going to the dogs: What can shy dogs teach us about longevity?
According to a new study by a Quebec research team, there are strong correlations between dog breeds' typical personalities, how long they live, and how much food they eat.

Study raises new concerns about radiation and breast cancer
A new study on human breast cells shows that even when radiation exposure does no direct genetic damage, it can alter the environment surrounding the cells so that future cells are more likely to become cancerous.

Water was present during birth of Earth
New research by The University of Manchester and the Carnegie Institution of Washington is to make scientists rethink their understanding of how Earth formed.

Frequent alcohol use linked to faster HIV disease progression
HIV disease tends to progress at a faster rate in infected individuals who consume two or more alcoholic drinks a day, according to an important new paper in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

IEEE-USA cites 5 engineering breakthroughs
Five engineering breakthroughs -- from software for virtual surgery to an energy saving device that detects drafts -- were cited today by IEEE-USA, the US career and public policy unit of the IEEE, the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

Can Celebrex prevent cancer-causing colon polyps?
Rush University Medical Center is testing whether celecoxib, known by its brand name Celebrex, can help prevent the growth of precancerous polyps that form in the colon, rectum and small intestine of children with an inheritable genetic disease called familial adenomatous polyposis.

It was brawn over beauty in human mating competition
Male physical competition, not attraction, was central in winning mates among human ancestors, according to a Penn State anthropologist.

Scientists offer new take on selective fishing
A new, less selective approach to commercial fishing is needed to ensure the ongoing productivity of marine ecosystems and to maintain biodiversity, according to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Falls and follow-ups: Medical attention following a fall critical to senior health
Falling down is hazardous to a senior citizen's health. Yet fewer than half of all seniors see a doctor after a fall.

Penn bioengineers say cellular workouts strengthen endothelial cells' grasp
University of Pennsylvania bioengineers have demonstrated that the cells that line blood vessels respond to mechanical forces -- the microscopic tugging and pulling on cellular structures -- by reinforcing and growing their connections, thus creating stronger adhesive interactions between neighboring cells.

Uncovering Nottingham's hidden medieval sandstone caves
The very latest laser technology combined with old fashioned pedal power is being used to provide a unique insight into the layout of Nottingham's sandstone caves -- where the city's renowned medieval ale was brewed and, where legend has it, the country's most famous outlaw Robin Hood was imprisoned.

NOAA's modernized positioning system key to improved mapping, emergency and land planning
NOAA's National Geodetic Survey -- the official US government source for determining precise latitude, longitude and elevation -- is undergoing a modernization effort that takes into account advances in GPS and other technologies.

Low umbilical cord pH at birth linked to death and brain damage
Low umbilical cord blood pH at birth is strongly associated with serious outcomes such as infant death, brain damage and the development of cerebral palsy in childhood, concludes a study published on today.

Study documents widespread extinction of lizard populations due to climate change
A major survey of lizard populations worldwide has found an alarming pattern of population extinctions attributable to rising temperatures.

Virtual humans appear to influence ethical decisions in gender-specific ways
Virtual humans are increasingly taking on roles that were once reserved for real humans.

How the brain decides what to eat
Carlos Ribeiro, group leader in the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (Portugal), and Barry Dickson, at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (Austria), provide the first indication of the genes and brain circuits involved in this decision process, in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, opening the way for understanding feeding decisions in other organisms, from the malaria-carrying mosquito to humans.

UGA researchers use patented SERS technique to rapidly, accurately detect rotavirus strain
Using nanotechnology and a patented signal enhancing technique developed at the University of Georgia, UGA researchers have discovered a rapid, sensitive and cost-effective method to detect and identify a number of rotavirus strains and genotypes in less than one minute with greater than 96 percent accuracy.

Why a whiff of cats or rats is scary (if you're a mouse, that is)
If you were a mouse, a mere whiff of a cat, rat or snake would be enough to send you into a fearful state.

Children with epilepsy say their quality of life is better than their parents think
UCLA researchers found that children with epilepsy say their quality of life is comparable to that of their healthy siblings.

New collaboration with Cleveland Clinic offers online medical education credits to BMJ readers
The BMJ has joined forces with the Cleveland Clinic in the US to offer certified continuing medical education credits to all of its readers.

Study identifies 1 of the mechanisms behind breast cancer metastasis
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center scientists help explain the paradox of the Akt molecular pathway.

Cheese found to improve the immune response of the elderly
Scientists in Finland have discovered that cheese can help preserve and enhance the immune system of the elderly by acting as a carrier for probiotic bacteria, reports FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology.

Symposium focuses on patient safety in CT scanning
A national summit of medical professionals meeting last month in Atlanta called for the creation of consensus scan techniques as a way of addressing the concerns of patients undergoing CT scans -- a common medical imaging procedure that uses X-rays to show cross-sectional images of the body.

New research shows cardiologists can quickly detect significant coronary artery disease using a noninvasive simple, short respiratory stress test
Newly published data confirm a noninvasive respiratory stress response can quickly and accurately measure the presence of significant coronary artery disease, the leading cause of cardiovascular death worldwide.

New research reveals Hurricane Katrina's impact on ecological and human health
Scientists studying the environmental impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans have revealed the ecological impact and human health risks from exposure to chemical contaminants.

A recipe for hearing: Sensory hair cells made from stem cells
After 10 years of effort, researchers reporting in the May 14 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, say they have found a way to coax embryonic stem cells as well as reprogrammed adult cells to develop into sensory cells that normally reside in the mammalian inner ear.

Aiming to cure deafness, Stanford scientists first to create functional inner-ear cells
Deep inside the ear, specialized cells called hair cells detect vibrations in the air and translate them into sound.

Stanford investigators decipher how dangerous food-borne pathogen evades body's defenses
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have pushed into place another piece of the puzzle of how Listeria monocytogenes, a dangerous food-borne pathogen, slips through the intestine's defenses and causes disease.

Cardiac procedure significantly reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke, researchers find
New findings by researchers from the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, reveals treatment of the most common heart rhythm disorder that affects more than 2 million Americans significantly reduces the risk of stroke, mortality, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Invasive 'tunicate' appears in Oregon's coastal waters
An aggressive, invasive aquatic organism that is on the state's most dangerous species list has been discovered in both Winchester Bay and Coos Bay, and scientists say this 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