Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 17, 2010
Carnegie Mellon silicon researchers collaborate with industry
Carnegie Mellon University is launching an initiative, led by two of its Silicon Valley-based researchers, to address the need for industry-wide, globally accepted measures for calculating the benefits and risks of cloud-computing services.

The role of nurses in physician-assisted dying
Nurses in Belgium who administer life-ending drugs in euthanasia and in cases without explicit patient request often act outside of the law, according to a study in CMAJ.

Cochlear implants slightly less beneficial in older patients
Older adults appear to benefit significantly from cochlear implants, but not as much as younger patients who had similar levels of hearing impairment before surgery, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

EMS can prevent limb and respiratory muscle weakness in ICU patients
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) can prevent critical illness polyneuromyopathy (CIPNM), according to Greek researchers.

Study looks at major advances in pediatric epilepsy surgery at UCLA over 2 decades
A new study from the UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program has found that surgery at UCLA to treat catastrophic pediatric epilepsy -- cerebral hemispherectomy being one type -- has improved over the past two decades and has led to more successful outcomes, including freedom from seizures.

Argonne scientists reveal secret of nanoparticle crystallization in real time
A collaboration between the Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials at US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has

A racing motorcycle made by students
Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid present the Moto Student Project, in which a group of university students and engineers have worked to design and develop a racing motorcycle prototype that will complete against university teams from all over the world.

The cost of medicalizing human conditions
Menopause. Normal pregnancy. Infertility. ADHD. Erectile dysfunction. Over the last several decades, these conditions have come to be defined and treated as medical problems.

Nonprofit TFT to follow palm oil back to source for Nestle
The Forest Trust (TFT) announced today that Swiss consumer goods company Nestlé has agreed to a plan that will rid its products of palm oil purchased from suppliers whose activities are destroying vulnerable tropical forests in the developing world.

Noninvasively seeing a clear picture of immune cell function in vivo
Immune cell function can be monitored noninvasively in the clinic using a technique known as a PET scan.

Varicose vein study shows radiofrequency ablation causes less post-operative pain
Patients who received radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins reported less post-procedural pain than those treated with endovenous laser ablation.

Sleep apnea may increase insulin resistance
Sleep apnea may cause metabolic changes that increase insulin resistance, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Google Flu Trends estimates off
Google Flu Trends is not as accurate at estimating rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza as CDC national surveillance programs, according to a new study from the University of Washington.

'Fountain of youth' steroids could protect against heart disease
A natural defense mechanism against heart disease could be switched on by steroids sold as health supplements, according to researchers at the University of Leeds.

New research links decline of endangered California delta smelt to nutrient pollution
A new study to be published in Reviews in Fisheries Science recommends that efforts to restore the endangered California delta smelt and other declining pelagic fish should more sharply focus on reducing nutrient pollution to the species' native waters.

New study finds racial wealth gap quadrupled since mid-1980s
The wealth gap between white and African-American families increased more than four times between 1984-2007, and middle-income white households now own far more wealth than high-income African-Americans, according to an analysis by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.

AAPS announces 2010 NBC award winners
In the Opening Session of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' 2010 National Biotechnology Conference, AAPS President Danny D.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about three articles and one clinical observation being published in the May 18 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

AACR nomination of Harold E. Varmus, M.D., as director of the NCI
The American Association for Cancer Research, the world's oldest and largest cancer research organization, congratulates Harold E.

Gene loss causes leukemia
Researchers from VIB and K.U.Leuven, both in Flanders, Belgium, have discovered a new factor in the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease that mainly affects children.

New study characterizes cognitive and anatomic differences in Alzheimer's disease gene carriers
In the most comprehensive study to date, neurologists have clearly identified significant differences in the ways that Alzheimer's disease affects patients with and without the apolipoprotein E e4 gene, a known genetic risk factor for the neurodegenerative disease, using a combination of cognitive and neuroanatomic measures.

3 new monitor lizards from the Philippines identified
German scientist Andre Koch from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn together with his supervisor Dr.

3 Louisiana Tech University students receive national engineering scholarships
Three students from Louisiana Tech University's College of Engineering and Science have been awarded 2010-2011 academic scholarships from Tau Beta Pi, one of the nation's leading engineering honor societies.

New book from the AGA empowers celiac disease patients to get healthy
A new book from the AGA offers broad and practical knowledge on celiac disease and gluten-related disorders, empowering those who are undiagnosed and those living with the disease to achieve the best possible health and well-being.

Stripes offer clues to superconductivity
Magnetic stripes hint at the origin of superconductivity in ceramics.

Switching medications and continuing treatment could help teens with severe depression
More than one-third of teenagers with treatment-resistant depression -- many of whom had been depressed for more than two years -- became symptom-free six months after switching their medication or combining a medicine switch with cognitive behavioral therapy during a multicenter study led by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

LungPoint system results presented at American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference
Broncus Technologies Inc., a medical device company focused on developing minimally invasive innovations for lung diseases, announced today at the American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference the availability of its LungPoint system version 2.1.

Prehistoric fish extinction paved the way for modern vertebrates
A mass extinction of fish 360 million years ago hit the reset button on Earth's life, setting the stage for modern vertebrate biodiversity.

Using a pest's chemical signals to control it
Agricultural Research Service scientists are tapping into the biochemistry of one of the world's most damaging insect pests to develop a biocontrol agent that may keep the pest away from gardens and farms.

Kidney function and damage markers predict mortality risk
Common tests of kidney function and damage predict the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and all causes.

June 2010 Geology and GSA Today highlights
Fossils, faulting, continent formation, river evolution, eolian sedimentation -- the June Geology covers all this and more, with input from scientists around the world.

Art of Science 2010 online gallery launches
Princeton University's fourth

Well-tolerated radiotherapy provides longer life to patients with recurrent brain cancer
Patients who received hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy for their recurrent brain cancers lived longer lives, according to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University.

Neiker-Tecnalia underlines the need to maintain programs for monitoring pathogens in wildlife
The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (Neiker-Tecnalia) has completed a study commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Land Use Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Basque Government, in which individuals of various species of wild carnivores were investigated in order to know the types and frequencies of diseases affecting them.

New evidence caffeine may slow Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, restore cognitive function
Although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide, its potential beneficial effect for maintenance of proper brain functioning has only recently begun to be adequately appreciated.

DFA unreliable in H1N1 testing in critically ill patients
Direct Immunofluorescence Assay (DFA) testing for H1N1 influenza (

The protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection
Mucormycosis is a life-threatening fungal infection. It occurs predominantly in individuals with diabetes, in particular those with the potentially life-threatening complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

A fat cell grows up
In a finding with potential drug-development implications, researchers report the discovery of an intermediate state between early-stage fat cells and fully mature ones that is only present transiently during the fat-cell formation process.

Instant information about water conditions
Now you can receive instant, customized updates about water conditions by subscribing to WaterAlert, a new service from the US Geological Survey.

Traditional aerobic fitness training trumps pedometer-based walking programs for health benefits
University of Alberta researchers compared fitness training to a pedometer-based walking program, measuring the fitness and health outcomes of each.

Plant protection research targets cacao in developing countries
A research collaboration lead by a professor from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech will work to develop methods to protect agriculturally important crops in developing countries from devastating plant pathogens with the support of a $1.45 million award from a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bacterial growths may offer clues about Earth's distant past
Deciphering the few clues about ancient bacterial life that are seen in these poorly preserved rocks has been difficult, but researchers from MIT and the Russian Academy of Sciences may have found a way to glean new information from the fossils.

Good oral health is essential during pregnancy
Despite the fact that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child during pregnancy, only 22-34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy.

High-fat ketogenic diet effectively treats persistent childhood seizures
The high-fat ketogenic diet can dramatically reduce or completely eliminate debilitating seizures in most children with infantile spasms, whose seizures persist despite medication, according to a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study published online April 30 in the journal Epilepsia.

Retinoid use not associated with fracture risk
Individuals treated for acne, psoriasis or another skin condition with vitamin A analogues (retinoids) do not appear to be at increased risk of fracture, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New breakthrough in fight against lethal CCHF virus
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus is a rare but serious human infection that causes internal bleeding, organ failure and ultimately death.

NTU provost, Professor Bertil Andersson, to receive prestigious international award in Austria
NTU provost, Professor Bertil Andersson, will receive this year's Wilhelm Exner Medal, joining an illustrious list of laureates which includes 15 Nobel Prize winners, Dr.

Protein power for Jack and the beanstalk
A recent publication in the journal PLoS Biology from Prof.

NASA, Google data show North Korea logging in protected area
Using NASA satellite data and Google Earth, a Purdue University researcher has reported finding evidence that North Korea has been logging in what is designated as a protected United Nations forest preserve.

Wrinkles are scarier than skin cancer for young tanners
The most effective way to convince young women to cut back on their indoor tanning, a habit that hikes their risk of melanoma 75 percent, is to warn them that it will cause leathery, wrinkled skin.

Scientists identify mechanism T cells use to block HIV
Scientists at Duke University Medical School and Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found a new role for a host protein that provides further insight into how CD8+ T cells work to control HIV and other infections.

Did the end of smallpox vaccination cause the explosive spread of HIV?
Vaccinia immunization, as given to prevent the spread of smallpox, produces a five-fold reduction in HIV replication in the laboratory.

Combination therapy targets stubborn leukemia stem cells
New research discovers a combination of drugs that may prove to be a more effective treatment for a lethal form of leukemia.

Press briefings at International Microbicides Conference, May 22-25
Issues on the forefront of HIV prevention research will be taking center stage at the International Microbicides Conference (M2010) at the David L.

American Cancer Society awards 152 new research and training grants
The American Cancer Society, the largest nongovernment, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 152 new national research and training grants totaling $50,717,000 in the first of two grants cycles for 2010.

ICU infection rates not a good measure of mortality risk
ICU-acquired infection rates are not an indication of patients' mortality risk, according to researchers the University of Pennsylvania, undermining a central tenet of many pay-for-performance initiatives.

Invasive kudzu is major factor in surface ozone pollution, study shows
Kudzu, an invasive vine that is spreading across the southeastern United States and northward, is a major contributor to large-scale increases of the pollutant surface ozone, according to a study published the week of May 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Stem cells restore tissue affected by ALI
Human stem cells administered intravenously can restore alveolar epithelial tissue to a normal function in a novel ex vivo perfused human lung after E. coli endotoxin-induced acute lung injury (ALI), according to research from the University of California San Francisco.

Johns Hopkins provost honored with international award
Lloyd Minor, M.D., an expert in balance and inner-ear disorders, and Johns Hopkins University's provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, has been awarded the Prosper Ménière Society's 2010 gold medal.

APS urges rapid action on House reauthorization of 2007 bipartisan America COMPETES bill
The APS urges rapid action on House reauthorization of the 2007 bipartisan America COMPETES bill after the legislation failed to come to a floor vote.

Update: Event advisory -- announcement of 2010 Kavli Prize laureates
On June 3, 8-10 a.m. EDT, the World Science Festival launches its first full day with the announcement of the 2010 Kavli Prize laureates.

20th-century warming in Lake Tanganyika is unprecedented
Lake Tanganyika's surface waters are currently warmer than at any time in the previous 1,500 years, researchers report online in Nature Geoscience.

Minimally invasive sinus surgery becoming more common in medicare population
Sinus surgery performed using an endoscope appears to be increasingly common for the management of chronic sinus disease among Medicare beneficiaries, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Eating processed meats, but not unprocessed red meats, may raise risk of heart disease and diabetes
In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that eating processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Prehistoric fish extinction paved the way for modern vertebrates
A mass extinction of fish 360 million years ago hit the reset button on Earth's life, setting the stage for modern vertebrate biodiversity, a new study reports.

Like parent, like child: Good oral health starts at home
Parents are a child's first teacher in life and play a significant role in maintaining his or her overall health.

The psychology of food cravings
Why do we get intense desires to eat certain foods?

JCI online early table of contents: May 17, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, May 17th, 2010, in the JCI: The protein GRP78 opens the door to life-threatening fungal infection; Noninvasively seeing a clear picture of immune cell function in vivo; A breath of vitamin A: the molecular link to lung formation; Maintaining the barrier integrity of the gut; Tracking the spread of lymphomas with the protein p73; and others.

Australian researchers identify a new disease
Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital have identified a previously undiagnosed condition and successfully treated it by performing an experimental stem cell transplant.

Health insurance status linked to mortality risk in PA ICUs
Adult patients without health insurance admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in Pennsylvania hospitals are at a 21 percent increased risk of death compared to similar patients with private insurance, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

Climate threatens trout and salmon
Trout and salmon are among the world's most familiar freshwater fishes, but numbers have fallen over recent decades -- in some areas, dramatically.

Physicists' findings about helium could lead to more accurate temperature
Most of us know helium as a gas for filling party balloons or for making your voice temporarily sound like a cartoon character's.

Gregory Downey, M.D., of National Jewish Health, honored for scientific accomplishments
Gregory Downey, M.D., received the 2010 Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference on Monday, May 17.

Surgical options for female incontinence found to be effective but with different complications
Two popular procedures for female stress incontinence were found to be equivalent in efficacy but differed in side effects, according to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' 58th Annual Clinical Meeting.

1-a-day heart polypill to be tested in new international trial
Researchers will be exploring whether a new, very low cost, one-a-day combined

Nomad people baffle with good health in spite of malnourishment
Nutritionists from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena analyzed the diet of a nomadic tribe in the Kajiado District.

PET scanning probes reveal different cell function within the immune system
A commonly used probe for positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and a new probe developed by researchers at UCLA reveal different functions in diverse cells of the immune system, providing a noninvasive and much clearer picture of an immune response in action.

UC design innovation: Healing for hospital signs that don't work
A sign redesign project is seeking to produce healthier hospital signage that's easy to follow no matter your language or reading level.

Falling in old age linked to altered blood flow in brain
A new study shows that altered blood flow in the brain due to high blood pressure and other conditions may lead to falls in elderly people.

Cancer genetics pioneer wins Margaret Kripke Legend Award
Janet Davison Rowley, M.D., trail-blazing researcher on the role of genetic variation in cancer, mentor of young scientists and role model for the possibilities of work-life balance, is the second winner of the Margaret Kripke Legend Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

World's biggest study on cell phones and brain cancer inconclusive
The world's biggest investigation on possible links between cell-phone use and brain tumors is inconclusive, according to a Canadian scientist who collaborated on the Interphone International Study Group.

National Oceanography Centre turns to the sea to save energy
The National Oceanography Centre in Southampton is conserving energy and reducing its carbon footprint -- by harnessing the cooling power of seawater.

Philosophical genius; aristocratic rebel
International scholars gather on the 100th anniversary of Bertrand Russell's landmark work Principia Mathematica, cheekily known as

Study examines factors that may predict if patients will be satisfied with facial plastic surgery
A study of patients undergoing elective facial plastic surgery suggests that older patients and those currently being treated for depression may be more likely to be satisfied with the results of their procedures, whereas overall optimism and pessimism do not appear related to satisfaction with surgical outcomes, according to a report in the May/June issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Haitian group that leads AIDS fight wins 2010 Gates Award for Global Health
GHESKIO, an institution in Haiti founded nearly three decades ago to fight a mysterious killer disease later identified as AIDS, has been awarded the prestigious 2010 Gates Award for Global Health for its years of ground-breaking clinical service, research and training to treat effectively and prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS and other related illnesses, the Global Health Council announced today.

UTIs becoming harder to treat
Genes that make bacteria resistant to antibiotics can be transferred between humans and other animals, say researchers writing in this month's issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Push to understand basis of childhood brain tumors leads to a new treatment target
The most comprehensive analysis yet of the genetic imbalances at the heart of childhood brain tumors known as high-grade gliomas identified a cancer gene that is unusually active in some tumors and is now the focus of a St.

Additional Annals of Internal Medicine article for May 18, 2010, issue
Authors of a new article in Annals of Internal Medicine, the flagship journal of the American College of Physicians, offer a solution to the ongoing problem of conflict of interest in the development of clinical guidelines.

Are invasives bad? Not always, say Brown researchers
New research at Brown University challenges the notion that invasive species can't coexist with native animals.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation reduces muscle atrophy in COPD
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) may reduce muscle atrophy in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to Canadian researchers.

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research receives project funding from Gates Foundation
The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research has received a grant through the current round of the funding program Grand Challenges Explorations of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

AIBS recognizes 2010 awardees during Washington, D.C., event
The American Institute of Biological Sciences will recognize excellence in science and science education during an awards ceremony and lecture at the National Academies' Keck Center in Washington, D.C., on May 18, 2010, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Extinct giant shark nursery discovered in Panama
Young giant sharks, now extinct, may have grown up in shallow water nurseries, according to new findings from Panama's Gatun Formation.

When plants attract bugs, it may be their own fault
In U of I research in greenhouses on two types of impatiens plants, Cajun Carmine had significantly less damage from western flower thrips than Dazzler White and demonstrated that impatiens emit volatiles that attract the thrips.

Navy awards new science ship to Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Ushering in the next era of ocean exploration, the US Office of Naval Research has selected Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego as the operator of a new scientific research vessel.

Kids understand the relationship between humans and other animals
Parents, educators and developmental psychologists have long been interested in how children understand the relationship between human and nonhuman animals.

Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research study links altered blood flow in the brain
Altered blood flow in the brain is associated with slow gait and falls in elderly people, according to a new study published by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife.

A new distribution designed which communicates computers so that they can work in parallel
Iker Castanos, a student of technical engineering in computerized management at the University of the Basque Country, has designed the very first distribution which, initiated either from a DVD or by installation, communicates computers so that they can work in parallel.

Software tool helps tap into the power of graphics processing
Today's computers rely on powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) to create the spectacular graphics in video games.

Most patients survive common thyroid cancer regardless of treatment
Individuals with papillary thyroid cancer that has not spread beyond the thyroid gland appear to have favorable outcomes regardless of whether they receive treatment within the first year after diagnosis, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Unprecedented warming in East Africa's Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika, the second-oldest and second-deepest lake in the world, could be in for some rough waters.

Researchers discover gene network associated with vitamin A deficiency and lung birth defects
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have discovered the mechanism responsible for the failure of the lungs to form as a result of vitamin A/retinoic acid (RA) deficiency.

Newborn infants learn while asleep; study may lead to later disability tests
Sleeping newborns are better learners than thought, says a University of Florida researcher about a study that is the first of its type.

Flower organ's cells make random decisions that determine size
The sepals of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana -- commonly known as the mouse-eared cress -- are characterized by an outer layer of cells that vary widely in their sizes, and are distributed in equally varied patterns and proportions.

John Theurer Cancer Center offers breakthrough radiation measurement technology
John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center announced today that it is one of two cancer centers in the tri-state area currently implanting a wireless radiation sensor, known as DVS (dose verification system).

Pistachios: A handful a day may keep the cardiologist away
A study published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine found that a diet containing nuts, including pistachios, significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol levels, in addition to triglycerides.

Focusing on appearance may reduce tanning in young women
Focusing on the negative effects indoor tanning can have on appearance appears to reduce indoor tanning behavior, even among young women who report that they tan to relax or alleviate seasonal mood disorders, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Challenging the use of routine repeated chest X-rays in certain patients
A high school student presents findings on the medical necessity and cost effectiveness of repeated chest X-rays in children who are dependent on home mechanical ventilation.

Lung disease may be genetic, despite lack of family history
Patients who encounter serious lung diseases in middle age, despite an absence of family history or other predisposing factors, may still have their genes to blame, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Family status and gender associated with career planning among surgical residents
Surgical residents who are single or do not have children are more likely to plan for specialty fellowships, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Euthanasia and the use of end-of-life drugs without explicit request
Despite fears to the contrary, the use of drugs to end life without patient request has not increased since euthanasia was legalized in Belgium, states an article in CMAJ.

Caltech researchers find schooling fish offer new ideas for wind farming
The quest to derive energy from wind may soon be getting some help from Caltech fluid-dynamics expert John Dabiri -- and a school of fish.

Fish facing reflections become feisty but fearful
Fish faced with their reflection in a mirror get aggressive, but also show an unexpected element of fear, which they don't show when fighting a real foe.

Risk of death in general population independently predicted by both low kidney filtration rate and high albumin: creatinine ratio
A meta-analysis of more than a million people in populations across Europe, the USA, Australia and Asia has shown that both glomerular filtration rate (the rate at which blood is filtered by the kidneys) and levels of protein in urine (albuminuria) independently predict the risk of death in the general population.

Pesticide exposure may contribute to ADHD
A team of scientists from the University of Montreal and Harvard University have discovered that exposure to organophosphate pesticides is associated with increased risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.
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