Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 17, 2010
Carbon dioxide is the missing link to past global climate changes
Carbon dioxide is the missing ingredient in explaining the advent of Ice Ages in the Northern Hemisphere and why those cold epochs have caused changes in the tropics for the past 2.7 million years.

New analysis on problems between archaeology and pharaonic chronology, based on radiocarbon dating
A Science magazine article reports that, for the first time, it is possible to relate the Minoan Santorini eruption with Egyptian Historical Chronology solely on the basis of radiocarbon dates.

Why do certain diseases go into remission during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, many women experience remission of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and uveitis.

Using bacteria in oil wells to convert oil to natural gas
Some bacteria destroy oil. Might those bacteria lead oil companies to change their methods of harvesting the energy of the oil while at the same time reducing the carbon dioxide that burning oil and gasoline discharges into the atmosphere?

A nutritional supplement for treating chronic hepatitis C: Viusid
A research team from Cuba investigated the efficacy of Viusid, a nutritional supplement, as an antioxidant and an immunomodulator in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Huge pelvi-abdominal malignant inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor
A research team from Taiwan reported an unusual case of pelvic-abdominal inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) with malignant transformation in a 14-year-old boy presenting with abdominal pain and 9 kg body weight loss in one month.

UAB study confirms military spending helps states survive poor economy
States in which defense spending is high are better equipped to withstand the effects of an economic downturn than others, according to a new study led by University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor of Sociology Casey Borch, Ph.D.

Researchers identify protein that modulates metabolic dysfunction in obesity
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have discovered that Sfrp5, which refers to secreted frizzled-related protein 5, is an anti-inflammatory adipokine whose expression is disrupted in animal models of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Physicists get an up-close look at synthetic quantum materials
Physicists at Harvard University have, for the first time, tracked individual atoms in a gas cooled to extreme temperatures as the particles reorganized into a crystal, a process driven by quantum mechanics.

Sequencing a single genome yields cause of inherited bone disorder
Combining new, whole-genome sequencing technology with classic genetic approaches to understanding inherited diseases, Duke University Medical Center geneticists and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have discovered two gene mutations that cause metachondromatosis, a rare, heritable disorder that leads to bony growths, typically on hands and feet.

Low calcium intake linked with increased risk of osteoporosis and hypertension in postmenopausal women
Italian postmenopausal women who have a low calcium intake show a higher risk of developing both osteoporosis and hypertension (a chronic medical condition in which arterial blood pressure is elevated) than those who consume higher levels of calcium according to research presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

European working time directive: It's here to stay
An editorial in this week's Lancet looks at the recently released review of the effect of the European Working Time Directive on the quality of medical training in England, by John Temple.

Smoking cigarettes is a predictor of RA and may negatively impact on efficacy of anti-TNFs
Smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis and may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of anti-tumour necrosis factor inhibitors in RA patients taking these treatments, according to results of two studies presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

Father involvement in pregnancy could reduce infant mortality
A new study suggests that a father's involvement before his child is born may play a vital role in preventing death during the first year of life -- particularly if the infant is black.

From head to toe: Deep insights from whole body MRI
Thanks to technical progress, there are now new areas in which whole body magnetic resonance imaging can be used.

Fuzzy logic predicts cell aging
The process of aging disturbs a broad range of cellular mechanisms in a complex fashion and is not well understood.

AFOSR-funded initiative creates more secure environment for cloud computing
Scientists at the University of Texas in Dallas, with funding from AFOSR's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, are seeking solutions for maintaining privacy in a cloud, or an Internet-based computing environment where all resources are offered on demand.

Alternative pathway to malaria infection identified
Discovery of a key red cell molecule used by the malaria parasite gives renewed hope for an effective vaccine in the future, according to an international team of researchers.

Connection elucidated between obesity, salt sensitivity and high blood pressure
One way obese people become salt sensitive and hypertensive has been identified by Medical College of Georgia researchers.

In predominantly black communities, people of all races miss out on kidney care
Regardless of race, fewer people see a kidney specialist before starting dialysis if they live in predominantly black communities, reports a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Experiment turns up the heat on natural selection, reveals new details of an evolutionary mechanism
Scientists in Munich report that high concentrations of the molecular

Gut-residing bacteria trigger arthritis in genetically susceptible individuals
Using a mouse model, researchers demonstrated a link between normally occurring bacteria in the gut and arthritis.

Ocean changes may have dire impact on people
The heart and lungs of the planet, the world's oceans, shows worrying signs of ill health, concludes the first comprehensive synthesis of recent research into the effects of climate change on oceans, published in Science magazine.

Astronomers witness a star being born
Astronomers have glimpsed what could be the youngest known star at the very moment it is being born.

Scientist uses geological observatories to monitor the health of soils
Erosion and weathering can hinder soil's ability to maintain a nutritional balance -- a process crucial to maintaining life around the globe.

First large-scale analysis of pro-eating disorder websites conducted by Hopkins/Stanford researchers
Websites that promote anorexia and bulimia offer interactive communities where site users can encourage one another in unhealthy eating behaviors, yet the majority of these sites also recognize eating disorders as a disease, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Storing carbon dioxide deep underground in rock form
As carbon dioxide continues to burgeon in the atmosphere causing the Earth's climate to warm, scientists are trying to find ways to remove the excess gas from the atmosphere and store it where it can cause no trouble.

New link identified for bipolar disorder
Scientists at Cardiff University have identified a mechanism which could explain how lithium helps stabilize bipolar disorder.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Peter M. Tessier named Pew Scholar
Peter M. Tessier, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Physical fitness may help reduce chronic disease risk in college students
Staying in shape may bolster the metabolic profiles of first-year college students, even in those with higher than desirable body fat percentages.

Gulf oil spill: Mississippi River hydrology may help reduce oil onshore
The Gulf of Mexico: what role will the Mississippi River play in oil washing ashore and into delta wetlands?

More action needed to prevent stomach problems in NSAID users, despite recent progress
Four out of 10 high-risk patients prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also received appropriate measures to prevent upper-gastrointestinal problems, but the remainder did not receive adequate protection.

Study examines pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites
A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines the content and messages presented by websites that appear to support or encourage eating disorders.

Education matters: Study of women's health insurance links education to coverage
Stay in school, stay insured: Four out of 10 women without a high school degree -- or 42 percent -- did not have health insurance in contrast to 11 percent of women with a college degree, according to a new study of women's health insurance from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

New model suggests feared side effect of Alzheimer's drugs is unlikely
The first trial of a new model for testing Alzheimer's treatments has reassured researchers that a promising class of drugs does not exacerbate the disease if treatment is interrupted.

Study finds echoes of the Holocaust in Russia's economy, politics
Russian cities and regions whose Jewish populations bore the brunt of the Holocaust have seen lower economic growth and wages ever since, according to a detailed new analysis of seven decades of Soviet and Russian data.

Constraining the reign of ancient Egypt
For several thousands of years, ancient Egypt dominated the Mediterranean world -- and scholars across the globe have spent more than a century trying to document the reigns of the various rulers of Egypt's Old, Middle and New Kingdoms.

University of Utah researchers fight genetic killer of infants and toddlers
With the generous support of Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, researchers in the University of Utah Department of Neurology are making significant headway in the fight against the disease.

Pollinators focus of international conference
The decline of pollinator populations around the world and the potential causes and cures for the decline will be the focus of the International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy, July 24-28, 2010, Penn State's University Park campus.

NT-proBNP is a predictor of CV risk in arthritis patients taking NSAIDs
The role of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP, a protein thought to be a regulator of cardiovascular function) as a robust, noninvasive predictor of cardiovascular risk in patients with arthritis taking cyclooxygenase inhibitors has been reinforced by the results of a multinational study presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

UBC study offers ethical and cost-effective strategy for managing MRI incidental findings
The increasing number of incidental findings in brain imaging can be managed ethically and cost-effectively by screening study participants based on gender, age and family history, according to University of British Columbia researchers.

Body-image distortion predicts onset of unsafe weight-loss behaviors
Normal weight and underweight teenage girls who falsely believe they are overweight are at significantly greater risk of succumbing to unnecessary and unsafe weight-loss behaviors than girls who can accurately assess their weight status, according to new research by a University of Illinois expert in eating disorders and body-image perception.

Polar oceans key to temperature in the tropics
Reporting in Science, this research contributes new data from the Northern Pacific and Southern Atlantic into the study of climate under global warming conditions.

Promising Latin American biomedical scientists named 2010 Pew Fellows
The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 10 gifted biomedical researchers as 2010 Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences.

Celecoxib for arthritis relief less likely to cause gastrointestinal damage than diclofenac/omeprazole (CONDOR study)
Patients receiving a non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) plus a proton pump inhibitor -- to reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis -- are more than four times more likely to suffer upper or lower gastrointestinal adverse clinical outcomes than those who receive a cyclo-oxygenase-2 selective NSAID.

Academic internists release principles for Medicare GME reform
The Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine released Thursday, June 17, 2010, a set of principles that outlines the shortfalls of Medicare's financing of graduate medical education and proposes recommendations to address these concerns in view of the nation's current health care needs.

EULAR 2010 abstracts are now online
Journalist registrations are now being accepted for EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism's eleventh annual meeting, taking place June 16-19, 2010, in Rome, Italy.

Political protests can lead to more responsive political parties, MU study finds
In 2001, riots in Argentina protesting President Fernando de la RĂșa's economic decisions overthrew him from office and killed almost 30 people.

Scientists call for a new strategy for polar ocean observation
In a report published in this week's issue of Science, a team of oceanographers, including MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Ecosystems Center director Hugh Ducklow, outline a polar ocean observation strategy they say will revolutionize scientists' understanding of marine ecosystem response to climate change.

Medicare cuts increase cancer treatments, study finds
The 2005 Medicare Modernization Act, which substantially reduced Medicare payments to physicians for administering outpatient chemotherapy drugs, has paradoxically increased, rather than decreased, chemotherapy treatment rates among Medicare recipients.

NIH awards $2.5 million to study osteoporosis in youth with spina bifida
Tishya Wren, Ph.D., of the Saban Research Institute at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health -- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study bone development in children with myelomeningocele, the most severe type of spina bifida .

Carbon dioxide has played leading role in dictating global climate patterns
Increasingly, the Earth's climate appears to be more connected than anyone would have imagined.

Illegal bushmeat trade rife in Europe
More than five tonnes of illegal bushmeat is being smuggled in personal luggage each week through one of Europe's busiest airports, reveals new research published in Conservation Letters today.

Battle of the bugs leaves humans as collateral damage
It's a tragedy of war that innocent bystanders often get caught in the crossfire.

The experience of arterial reconstruction in adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation
A research team from China retrospectively investigated the experience of microsurgical hepatic artery reconstruction and management of hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) in adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation (A-A LDLT).

Scientists discover that sense of direction is innate
Sense of direction is represented in the brains of newborn rats before they have explored their environment, according to new research by scientists at UCL.

The 3-dimensional transcription film
Research scientists at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (CNRS/Inserm/University of Strasbourg) have managed to sequence DNA transcription initiation

New complication seen in stem cell therapy
Following stem cell therapy, an adult patient experienced a new and previously unrecognized complication, which required removal of one of the kidneys, according to a case report appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Neonatal diarrhea
A research team from Italy designed a nationwide study aimed at investigating the frequency, etiology, clinical features, nutritional management, therapeutic approach and outcomes of diarrhea observed in hospitalized neonates.

WHOI scientist takes comprehensive look at human impacts on ocean chemistry
Numerous studies are documenting the growing effects of climate change, carbon dioxide, pollution and other human-related phenomena on the world's oceans.

Tropical Depression 2-E struggling, while Tropical Storm Blas is born
NASA infrared satellite imagery captured two tropical depressions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean today, as one struggles to survive and the other powered up into Tropical Storm Blas.

Probiotic therapy cuts risk of VAP in half for some in ICU
Daily use of probiotics reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in critically ill patients by almost half, according to new research from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb.

Orphaned elderly serious casualty of African AIDS epidemic, Stanford study finds
The rise in AIDS death rates in sub-Saharan Africa has led to a burgeoning new category of neglected individuals -- nearly a million orphaned elderly, or older adults living alone without the benefit of any caregivers, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have found.

Caribbean coral reef protection efforts miss the mark
Conservation efforts aimed at protecting endangered Caribbean corals may be overlooking regions where corals are best equipped to evolve in response to global warming and other climate challenges.

Unlocking genetic disease with next-generation sequencing
Using new, whole-genome sequencing technology coupled with classic methods of genetic investigation, scientists at Duke University, along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins, have discovered two mutations in the same gene that seem to cause metachondromatosis in humans.

Scientists focus on revealing hidden mysteries of the Universe
Secrets of the Universe are to be revealed as a new telescope equipped with the world's most powerful digital camera begins its observations of the night sky.

Blueberry ameliorates hepatic fibrosis
A research team from China examined the effect of blueberry on hepatic fibrosis and detoxification enzyme systems in rats.

IU and Regenstrief address critical need for health IT professionals
In collaboration with the Regenstrief Institute, an internationally respected biomedical and public health informatics innovator dedicated to improving health by enhancing the quality of health care, the Indiana University School of Informatics will address the growing workforce needs for qualified health IT workers.

Biologics-naive juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients have elevated risk of cancer
Biologics-naive juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients may have an increased risk of cancer compared with the general Swedish population, according to research presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.

Anxiety/panic disorder most frequent disabling comorbid disorder in TS patients, study finds
An assessment of patients with adult Tourette syndrome to identify clinical factors that contribute to psychosocial and occupational disabilities resulting from the vocal or motor tics that define TS found that anxiety/panic disorder may be the most disabling psychiatric condition associated with the disorder.

University of Minnesota researchers clear major hurdle in road to high-efficiency solar cells
A team of University of Minnesota-led researchers has cleared a major hurdle in the drive to build solar cells with potential efficiencies up to twice as high as current levels

Dental pulp cells for stem cell banking
Defined sets of factors can reprogram human cells to induced pluripotent stem cells.

Competition puts the brakes on body evolution in island lizards
Millions of years before humans began battling it out over beachfront property, a similar phenomenon was unfolding in a diverse group of island lizards.

Puffing in public housing poses serious health risks to tenants
In an effort to protect children from harmful tobacco smoke exposure, health and medical professionals are pushing for a ban on smoking in public housing in a report appearing in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Fringe dwellers 'hold secrets of survival'
Corals on the exposed edges of the world's coral reefs may hold important clues to the survival of coral ecosystems facing intensifying pressure from human activities and climate change.

An innate sense of direction
Are we born with an innate sense of direction, or is it learned?

Researchers identify key enzyme in melanoma cell development
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have discovered a mechanism by which an enzyme regulates gene expression and growth in melanoma cells, a finding that could someday lead to more effective drugs to attack cancers and make them more treatable.

When do newborns first feel cold?
Cold sensing neural circuits in newborn mice take around two weeks to become fully active, according to a new study.

Highly efficient solar cells could result from quantum dot research
Conventional solar cell efficiency could be increased from the current limit of 30 percent to more than 60 percent, suggests new research on semiconductor nanocrystals, or quantum dots, led by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu at the University of Texas at Austin.

New research shows malaria threat is as old as humanity
New research published today, June 17, in the journal Current Biology shows that malaria is tens of thousands of years older than previously thought.

Young blood wanted: Can Google and Facebook help?
An editorial in this week's Lancet looks at WHO's focus on getting young people to donate blood, and looks at the potential of harnessing the power of the Internet and social networking to achieve this.

Brain study shows that the opinions of others matters
Simon Cowell may appear to relish arguing with his fellow judges when they disagree with him, but new research out today suggests that -- at least at a neuronal level -- he would find their agreement much more satisfying.

Damselfish 'garden' algae
A species of damselfish, Stegastes nigricans, selectively weed the algal gardens on which they feed in order to encourage the growth of their preferred algal species of Polysiphonia and suppress the growth of less palatable algae.

Physicists help biologists to understand protein folding
Physicists at UC Santa Barbara have created a microscopic device to assist biologists in making very fast molecular measurements that aid the understanding of protein folding.

PTSD: The serotonin system influences vulnerability and treatment
There is a great deal of interest in factors that contribute to the vulnerability to developing post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Signal like you mean it
Great ape gestures have intentional meaning and are made with the expectation of specific behavioral responses, according to Erica Cartmill and Richard Byrne from the University of St.

Posidonia meadows reflect pollution levels in the Mediterranean
Spanish researchers have carried out a full sample on more than 50 meadows of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica in the Balearic islands.

21 of America's top early career scientists named 2010 Pew Scholars in the biomedical sciences
The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 21 talented scientists as Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

Researchers use science to identify soccer stars
Until now, rating the world's best soccer players was often based on a fan's personal sense of the game.
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