Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 24, 2010
Weird orbits of neighbors can make 'habitable' planets not so habitable
New findings from computer modeling indicate some exoplanets might fluctuate between being habitable and being inhospitable to life because of forces exerted by giant neighbors with eccentric orbits.

9/11 attacks linked to loss of male babies
The stress caused by psychological shock from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, felt even by people with no direct link to the event, may have led to an increased number of male children being miscarried in the US.

Antibiotic alternative for battling meningitis-causing bacteria
A study published online on May 24 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggests that boosting the abundance of one of the body's own proteins might be more effective than antibiotic treatment at fighting off a common meningitis-causing bacterium.

9/11 attacks linked to increased male baby miscarriages
Stress caused by psychological shock from the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, felt even by people with no direct link to the event, may have led to an increase in male children being miscarried in the US.

Can bacteria make you smarter?
Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior according to research presented today at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

Model demonstrates infectious cause of asthma
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts have developed an animal model that shows how an early childhood lung infection can cause asthma later in life.

Neuralstem updates clinical trial progress
Neuralstem Inc.'s Phase I human clinical trial to treat ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) with stem cells progresses to bilateral spinal cord injections.

Frequent doctor visits help diabetics lower blood pressure more quickly
Frequent doctor visits helped diabetes patients lower their high blood pressure to normal quicker, according to a large study reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Male antelopes trick females into extra sex opportunities
Scientists have caught male topi antelopes in the act of faking fear in front of females in heat as a way to improve their chances of having sex.

A new cancer vaccine starves tumors of blood
A DNA-vaccine that restricts the supply of blood to tumors has been developed by scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

Technique yields potential biological substitute for dental implants
A technique pioneered in the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory of Dr.

To attack H1N1, other flu viruses, gold nanorods deliver potent payload
Future pandemics of seasonal flu, H1N1 and other drug-resistant viruses may be thwarted by a potent, immune-boosting payload that is effectively delivered to cells by gold nanorods, report scientists at the University at Buffalo and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Ph.D. thesis highlights the most notable cases treated in Bilbao hospitals a century ago
Jose Carrasco, the first head of surgery at the Basurto Hospital, took notes on cases treated during his professional career.

When helper cells aren't helpful
Current research suggests that T helper-type 1 cells, previously thought to mediate autoimmunity, may actual inhibit the development of experimental immune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, by suppressing Th17 cells.

Microbicides that do more than gel: Vaginal rings, tablets and films
A flexible ring containing two anti-HIV drugs showed in tests it can deliver therapeutic levels of both drugs for up to 30 days.

Allen Institute for Brain Science launches Allen Human Brain Atlas
The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced today that it has launched the Allen Human Brain Atlas, a publicly available online atlas charting genes at work throughout the human brain.

Ultraviolet radiation not culprit killing amphibians, research shows
In nature, ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is not the amphibian killer scientists once suspected.

Center for the Study of Aging established at University of Denver
Betty Knoebel, widow of Denver food services pioneer Ferdinand

Strategy may help translate research findings about blood-pressure treatment into clinical practice
Academic detailing -- a method involving face-to-face education of clinicians by investigators trained to present trial findings and guidelines -- may have been associated with a small change in prescribing patterns for patients with high blood pressure, according to a report in the May 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study finds H1N1 associated with serious health risks for pregnant women
Pregnant women who contract the H1N1 flu strain are at risk for obstetrical complications including fetal distress, premature delivery, emergency cesarean delivery and fetal death, according to a report in the May 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Antibacterial silver nanoparticles are a blast
Writing in the International Journal of Nanoparticles, Rani Pattabi and colleagues at Mangalore University, explain how blasting silver nitrate solution with an electron beam can generate nanoparticles that are more effective at killing all kinds of bacteria, including gram-negative species that are not harmed by conventional antibacterial agents.

New method for design of microwave filters to improve communications and wireless detection systems
Israel Arnedo Gil, a telecommunications engineering graduate from the Public University of Navarre, proposed a new method for the design of microwave filters, essential devices for controlling the quantity of energy and time needed to go from one point of the system to another.

Gene pattern may identify kidney transplant recipients who don't need life-long anti-rejection drugs
Researchers have identified a distinct pattern of gene expression in the largest reported group of kidney transplant recipients who have not rejected the transplant kidneys even though they stopped taking anti-rejection drugs.

Odds are about 1-in-3 that a mega-earthquake will hit the Northwest in the next 50 years
The major earthquakes that devastated Chile earlier this year and which triggered the catastrophic Indonesian tsunami of 2004 are more than just a distinct possibility to strike the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, scientists say.

Rare hybrid cell key to regulating the immune system
A cell small in number but powerful in its ability to switch the immune system on or off is a unique hybrid of two well-known immune cell types, Medical College of Georgia researchers report.

Using ARVs to prevent HIV could result in drug resistance if routine screening is not done
Their scientific methods may have been quite different, but their conclusions were not.

Oregon may build nation's first tsunami evacuation structure
Residents of a small Oregon coastal community are moving closer to the creation of something that's never before been built in the United States -- a structure designed specifically to withstand a major earthquake and the force of a tsunami, and give people somewhere to run to for safety.

World leaders focus on stroke prevention, care as Stroke journal turns 40
On the 40th anniversary of the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, stroke leaders from around the world celebrated stroke research accomplishments and set an agenda for the future, according to a special report in the journal.

Bandu begone: Tropical Cyclone 2A fading in Somalia
Early on Saturday, May 22, Tropical Storm 02A moved into the Gulf of Aden and was named

University of Washington launches project to discover fundamentals of early learning
The University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences announced today the launch of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar initiative to foster new brain research discoveries and insights into how and when children learn.

Scripps Research scientists break barrier to creating potential therapeutic molecules
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have created a novel technique that for the first time will allow the efficient production of a molecular structure that is common to a vast array of natural molecules.

Book urges a 'minds-on' approach to teaching science
Thomas O'Brien, director of Binghamton University's Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, is hoping that his new book will change the way students and teachers think about learning and teaching science.

Scientists share latest Mexico earthquake data
A Joint Meeting of the Geological Society of America's Cordilleran Section and the Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, with the Western Regional Society of Petroleum Engineers, is expected to draw more than 900 geoscientists to Anaheim, Calif., later this week to present new Earth science research.

Brown chemists report promising advance in fuel-cell technology
Chemists at Brown University have come up with a promising advance in fuel-cell technology.

New national study examines pediatric mobility aid-related injuries
A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that more than 63,000 pediatric mobility aid-related injuries were treated in United States emergency departments from 1991-2008, and the annual number of cases increased 23 percent during the 19-year study period.

UAF scientists collaborate to study Eyjafjallajokull lightning
For travelers in Europe, the recent eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull meant a major disruption in business and travel plans.

Grin and bear it
Five Rice seniors have created a portable dental suction device, an inexpensive, battery-powered version of the vacuum system commonly used in dentists' offices to remove blood and saliva from a patient's mouth.

Iowa State engineer explores intersection of engineering, economics and green policy
W. Ross Morrow, an Iowa State University mechanical engineer, believes engineers have a place in public policy debates.

Gene change raises odds of mother-to-child HIV transmission
A correlation has been discovered between specific variants of the gene that codes for a key immune system protein, TLR9, and the risk of mother-to-child, or vertical, transmission of HIV.

Viral infection linked to juvenile diabetes
Researchers from Italy have found a statistically significant association between enteroviral infection and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children.

Symptom patterns differ between pandemic, seasonal flu in Singapore
In a tropical environment, influenza A(H1N1) appeared milder than seasonal flu, was less likely to cause fever and upset stomach and more likely to infect younger individuals, according to a report in the May 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Scientists conclude asteroid ended the age of dinosaurs
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, scientist Michael Whalen is part of a team of distinguished scientists who recently compiled a wide swath of evidence striking a definitive blow in the ongoing battle over what killed the dinosaurs.

Anti-aging supplements may be best taken not too late in life
University of Florida researchers investigated the potential anti-aging benefits of a commercially available mixture marketed for relieving chronic fatigue and protecting against muscle aging.

Scientists to study impact of gulf oil spill on marine food webs
Shells from oysters, clams, and periwinkles hold clues about the ways and rates at which harmful compounds from the spill are being incorporated into the Gulf's marine food web.

Signatures of kidney transplant rejection and acceptance
Three new reports describe biomarkers that differentiate kidney transplant recipients likely to maintain excellent and stable allograft function in the absence of immunosuppressive drugs from recipients at risk of losing their transplants.

Revealing China's ancient past
An archeologist at Washington University in St. Louis is helping to reveal for the first time a snapshot of rural life in China during the Han Dynasty.

Inspired by a cotton candy machine, engineers put a new spin on creating tiny nanofibers
Hailed as a

JCI table of contents: May 24, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published May 24, 2010, in the JCI:

Research points to 2 promising proteins for preventing diabetes
Two human proteins that evolutionary processes have conserved from ancient single-celled organisms appear to provide new targets of opportunity for scientists hoping to thwart the development of diabetes.

Coastal birds carry toxic ocean metals inland
A collaborative research team led by Queen's University biologists has found that potent metals like mercury and lead, ingested by Arctic seabirds feeding in the ocean, end up in the sediment of polar ponds.

Beta-blockers may be associated with benefits in patients with lung disease
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may have fewer respiratory flare-ups and longer survival if they take beta-blocker medications, according to a report in the May 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New criteria proposed for diagnosing fibromyalgia
The American College of Rheumatology is proposing a new set of diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia that replaces the tender point test with a rating system that includes common symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive problems, as well as pain.

Residential care home workers need more training to give older people a 'home for life'
Carers working in residential homes need funding and support to improve their skills to ensure more older people have a home for life instead of being transferred to hospitals and nursing homes, according to a new report.

Gulf oil spill: NSF awards rapid response grant to study microbes' natural degradation of oil
To understand how the use of dispersants impacts the degradation of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Science Foundation has awarded a rapid response grant to scientist David Valentine of the University of California at Santa Barbara and colleagues.

What is the protein modification hypusine? A therapeutic target in diabetes
Underlying all forms of diabetes is dysfunction of cells in the pancreas known as beta cells.

Preventing cells from getting the kinks out of DNA
Some of the most common antibiotics and anticancer drugs block topoisomerases that snip the tangles out of DNA.

Nile delta natural gas potential is significant
An estimated 223 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas are in the Nile Delta Basin Province, located in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Singapore scientists exploit knowledge of p53 for increasing specificity of cancer treatments
Researchers from the p53 Laboratory of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research, have made a finding that makes feasible a unique method of cancer treatment.

Using fish to illuminate the architecture of inherited disease
A research team led by scientists from the Duke University Medical Center has developed a way to simultaneously look at the effects of 125 mutations occurring on 14 different genes.

It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships
Expressions of gratitude in romantic relationships boost trust and connection.

STEREO, SOHO spacecraft catch comet diving into sun
Three UC Berkeley post-doctoral fellows have used STEREO data to track the path of a sungrazing comet and have caught it crashing through the corona and chromosophere to evaporate in the photosphere.

Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages may lower blood pressure
Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages -- a leading source of added sugar in the US diet -- may lower blood pressure, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Do we clamp the umbilical cord too soon?
The timing of umbilical cord clamping at birth remains controversial.

Meeting of ICES/CIEM experts in Bilbao on state of demersal fish populations
The working group of the ICES/CIEM met in Bilbao from May 5-11, 2010, to evaluate the stocks of hake, monkfish and John Dory on the south platform.

Gene pattern may identify kidney transplant recipients who don't need lifelong anti-rejection drugs
Kidney transplant recipients have to take drugs that control their immune systems for the rest of their lives.

Obesity remains an economic issue, Seattle obesity study finds
Researchers at the University of Washington Center for Public Health Nutrition, UW Urban Form Lab and the Nutritional Sciences Program in the School of Public Health are asking:

Alcohol consumption may protect against risk of AD, particularly in female nonsmokers
Knowledge regarding environmental factors influencing the risk of Alzheimer's disease is surprisingly scarce, despite substantial research in this area.

NASA develops enhanced search and rescue technologies
NASA, which pioneered the technology used for the satellite-aided search and rescue capability that has saved more than 27,000 lives worldwide since its inception nearly three decades ago, has developed new technology that will more quickly identify the locations of people in distress and reduce the risk of rescuers.

Pollution dispersion research aids understanding of 2002 break-up of Antarctic ozone hole
Virginia Tech's Shane Ross and Francois Lekien of Ecole Polytechnique, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, report findings on the flow of particles that will aid in understanding and controlling global-scale phenomena, such as pollution dispersion in the atmosphere and the ocean.

Precise trace gas analysis, without the noise
Analyzing trace gases is very small concentrations is more precise with the help of low-noise current controllers developed by PNNL staff.

Physician assistants and internists reaffirm need for team-based primary care
The American Academy of Physician Assistants and the American College of Physicians today released a policy monograph that supports the critical roles physician assistants and physicians play in improving access to high-quality primary care.

New study first to directly measure body temperatures of extinct species
A new study by researchers from five institutions including the University of Florida introduces the first method to directly measure body temperatures of extinct vertebrates and help reconstruct temperatures of ancient environments.

LSUHSC researcher finds surprising link between sugar in drinks and blood pressure
Research led by Liwei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of public health at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has found an association between sugary drinks and blood pressure and by cutting daily consumption of sugary drinks by just one serving a day, people can lower their blood pressure.

Study: Brain injuries tied to trouble sleeping
People with brain injuries may produce low amounts of melatonin, which affects their sleep, according to a study published in the May 25, 2010, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

First program to train Jordanian paramedics in Israel launched at Ben-Gurion U.
An unprecedented collaborative program is underway at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to train Jordanian and Israeli paramedics side by side in emergency medicine.

Surprising new evidence for asymmetry between matter and antimatter
Why is there matter in the universe and not antimatter, its opposite?

What genes help blossoms last longer?
To help cut flowers and potted plants stay fresh longer, Agricultural Research Service plant physiologist Cai-Zhong Jiang is investigating the gene-controlled mechanisms of plants' aging.

New INL invention could aid Mars probes' search for life
The next generation of Mars rovers could have smaller, cheaper, more robust and more sensitive life-detecting instruments, thanks to a new invention by scientists at Idaho National Laboratory.

International panel recommends redirecting the world community toward sustainable growth
A group of scientists gathered at the Oxford Round Table on The Copenhagen Protocol: Problems and Possibilities, earlier this year.

'Stress' protein could halt aging process, say scientists
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that a protein which responds to stress can halt the degeneration of muscle mass caused during the body's aging process.

African-Americans and women are less likely to undergo bone marrow transplantation
African-Americans and women are less likely than Caucasians and men to undergo bone marrow transplantation to treat cancers of the blood.

Folate prevents alcohol-induced congenital heart defects in mice
A new animal study found that high levels of the B-vitamin folate prevents heart birth defects induced by alcohol exposure very early in pregnancy, a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

Research on self-healing concrete yields cost-effective system to extend life of structures
Efforts to extend the life of structures and reduce repair costs have led engineers to develop

Straw residue helps keep nitrogen on the farm
A research study evaluated the potential for straw residue to retain legume-derived nitrogen in a corn cropping system.

Mount Sinai discovers bone marrow plays critical role in enhancing immune response to viruses
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine for the first time have determined that bone marrow cells play a critical role in fighting respiratory viruses, making the bone marrow a potential therapeutic target, especially in people with compromised immune systems.

New research into safer drugs puts pills through the printer
A collaboration between the University of Leeds, Durham University and GlaxoSmithKline is looking at

Caltech-led team first to directly measure body temperatures of extinct vertebrates
Questions about when, why, and how vertebrates stopped relying on external factors to regulate their body temperatures and began heating themselves internally have long intrigued scientists.

Discovery of stem cell illuminates human brain evolution, points to therapies
UCSF scientists have discovered a new stem cell in the developing human brain. 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