Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 30, 2010
Pitt researcher receives NIH funding for technology-enhanced weight-loss program
Pitt's study is one of seven NIH-funded clinical trials -- receiving a total of $36 million over five years -- which will use the Web, cell phones, wearable technology, and social networking to promote good health in young adults.

Snakes on a rope: Researchers take a unique look at the climbing abilities of boa constrictors
In the wild, how does a snake climb a vertical surface without slipping?

Photos show how a specific fluid defies normal activity
An illustration showing a scientific phenomenon that defies intuition has garnered Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, and his doctoral student, Navish Wadhwa, of Blacksburg, Va., the international Milton Van Dyke Award.

Gene transfer from transgenic crops: A more realistic picture
A comprehensive, data-driven statistical model including the surrounding landscape, pollinating insects and human seed dispersal allowed University of Arizona researchers to assess the movement of an inserted gene between crop varieties more realistically than was possible with previously available methods.

Genomic fault zones come and go
The fragile regions in mammalian genomes that are thought to play a key role in evolution go through a

Researchers track a century of HIV evolution and migration
The latest research tools are now being used to piece together how HIV has changed and spread in human populations over the past 100 years, according to a review published online first in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Narcissistic students don't mind cheating their way to the top
College students who exhibit narcissistic tendencies are more likely than fellow students to cheat on exams and assignments, a new study shows.

Children with autism appear more likely to have cell irregularity
Preliminary research has found that children with autism are more likely to have impaired mitochondrial function (structures within cells responsible for energy production) and mitochondrial DNA abnormalities than typically developing children, according to a study in the Dec.

Study finds low vitamin-d levels in northern California residents with metabolic syndrome
Researchers from the UC Davis Health System have found that compared with healthy controls, blood levels of vitamin D are significantly reduced in patients in the Sacramento area with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of disease risk factors that affects about one in three US adults and predisposes them to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Biofuels production has unintended consequences on water quality and quantity in Mississippi
More water is required to produce corn than to produce cotton in the Mississippi Delta requiring increased withdrawals of groundwater from the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer for irrigation.

Legalizing child pornography is linked to lower rates of child sex abuse
Could making child pornography legal lead to lower rates of child sex abuse?

UC Davis surgeons test innovative device in patient with swallowing disorder
In what might be one of the world's first medicinal body piercings, UC Davis Health System surgeons announced today that they have successfully implanted an experimental device in the throat of a man that will enable him to manually control his ability to swallow.

Instructions on over-the-counter medications for children are found to be confusing
Instructions on boxes and bottles of over-the-counter medicines for children in the United States are confusing and hard for parents to understand and follow, according to a study in the Dec.

Measuring the temperature of nanoparticles
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York have developed a new technique for probing the temperature rise in the vicinity of nanoparticles using fluorescent quantum dots as temperature sensors.

Ensuring the rights of women worldwide to reproductive health care
Access to quality reproductive health care for women around the globe is a fundamental aspect of a woman's human rights, freedom, equity and right to control her own body.

Scoring system is 93 percent accurate for diagnosing Wilson's disease in pediatric patients
An Italian research team confirmed that the scoring system for Wilson's disease provides good diagnostic accuracy with 93 percent positive and 92 percent negative predictive values, respectively in children with mild liver disease.

Project pioneers use of silicon-germanium for space electronics applications
A five-year project led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a novel approach to space electronics that could change how space vehicles and instruments are designed.

Alternative therapies may leave asthmatics gasping
Approximately 13 percent of parents turn to alternative therapies to treat their children's asthma, according to a new study from the Universite de Montreal.

Joined-up care for people with low back pain saves money
An integrated approach to care for people on long term sick leave because of chronic low back pain has substantially lower costs than usual care, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

International clinical trial tests targeted drug for melanoma
Rush University Medical Center has just enrolled the first US patient in an international clinical trial testing a novel drug to treat certain kinds of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer that in its advanced stages currently has few effective treatments.

Arsenic-polluted water toxic to Bangladesh economy
An international team of economists finds that exposure to arsenic in rural Bangladesh, in addition to the longer-term health damages expected to occur in coming years, is reducing the labor supply by 8 percent.

UC Davis study finds children with autism have mitochondrial dysfunction
Children with autism are far more likely to have deficits in their ability to produce cellular energy than are typically developing children, a new study by researchers at UC Davis has found.

Women and Infants' physician authors chapter in reference book
The fifth edition of the guide

People with chronic pain face complex dilemmas and life-changing decisions
How do people handle chronic pain and how does it affect their everyday life and their ability to work?

ASH announces 2010 merit award winners
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) recognizes the following abstract presenters at the 52nd ASH Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., with the highest scoring abstracts in the categories of undergraduate student, medical student, graduate student, resident physician and post-doctoral fellow.

Sixth global conference on stem cell therapy to be held Jan. 20-21, 2011, in New York City
The Sixth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease (IC3D) is a one-and-a-half day comprehensive program dedicated to the evolving field of cell-based therapies for the repair and regeneration of cardiac and vascular disease, as well as related diseases such as diabetes and stroke.

Argonne scientists awarded supercomputing time to enable scientific breakthroughs
Four researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory lead projects that have been awarded a total of 65 million hours of computing time on Argonne's energy-efficient Blue Gene/P (

Berkeley Lab scientists receive time on nation's fastest computer for energy research
Berkeley Lab scientists have been awarded massive allocations on the nation's most powerful supercomputer to advance innovative research in improving the combustion of hydrogen fuels and increasing the efficiency of nanoscale solar cells.

Study: Ecological effects of biodiversity loss underestimated
More than half of all species are believed to change their dietary preferences -- sometimes several times -- between birth and adulthood.

Referral for specialist care varies by age, sex and social deprivation
In the UK, the likelihood of being referred for specialist care varies according to age, sex and socio-economic circumstances, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Venus holds warning for Earth
A mysterious high-altitude layer of sulphur dioxide discovered by ESA's Venus Express has been explained.

Acupuncture changes brain's perception and processing of pain
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have captured pictures of the brain while patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture to determine acupuncture's effect on how the brain processes pain.

Arjun Deb awarded Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Science Research Prize
On Nov. 16, 2010, at the annual AHA meeting in Chicago, Arjun Deb, MD, was awarded the Louis N. and Arnold M.

The hidden impact of aids on South African children
December 1st is World AIDS day. There are 33.4 million people worldwide living with HIV, 67per cent in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Screening tool may better identify heart disease in African-Americans
Researchers say they may have an explanation as to why African-Americans, despite having lower amounts of coronary artery calcification, are at increased risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular events compared with Caucasians.

Dosing directions, measuring devices appear inconsistent for many children's liquid medications
An examination of 200 of the top-selling cough/cold, allergy, analgesic and gastrointestinal over-the-counter liquid medications for children finds that there have been high levels of variability and inconsistencies regarding medication labeling and measuring devices, according to a study that will appear in the Dec.

Discovery finds cancer drugs offer new hope for Crohn's disease and sarcoidosis
A new study offers insight into a new treatment avenue for Crohn's Disease and sarcoidosis.

During National Diabetes Awareness month, new report ties disease to shortened life expectancy
Despite medical advances enabling those with diabetes to live longer today than in the past, a 50-year-old with the disease still can expect to live 8.5 years fewer years, on average, than a 50-year-old without the disease.

Society appreciates powerful individuals' effort -- even although they fail
A study conducted at the University of Granada has proven that individuals' personal power clearly affects how society perceive their success or failures.

Mystery dissolves with calcium pump discovery
Geo-microbiologists from Arizona State University have solved a long-standing conundrum about how some photosynthetic microorganisms, endolithic cyanobacteria, bore their way into limestone, sand grains, mussel shells, coral skeletons and other substrates composed of carbonate.

Social support is most effective when provided invisibly
New research in Psychological Science shows how social support benefits are maximized when provided

Brain scans show effects of Parkinson's drug
Neuroscientists using a new brain imaging technique could see an investigational drug for Parkinson's disease get into a patient's brain and affect blood flow in several key structures, an indicator the drug may be effective.

Genome 10K Project announces first 101 species for genome sequencing
The Genome 10K Community of Scientists and BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) of Shenzhen, China, have announced a plan to sequence the genomes of 101 vertebrate species within the next two years, the first of an eventual 10,000 species to be sequenced by the Genome 10K Project.

Pioneering study reveals UK biodiversity hotspot
Scientists are calling for radical new approaches to conservation following the first biodiversity audit of its kind.

Organizing R & D in teams is useful for retaining talent
Researchers who work in R & D in key areas within a company, together with those who have participated in the most important innovations, are more likely to be hired away by competitors.

Tricyclic anti-depressants linked to increased risk of heart disease
Research that followed nearly 15,000 people in Scotland has shown that a class of older generation anti-depressant is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Astronomers use moon in effort to corral elusive cosmic particles
Radio telescopes normally can't detect neutrinos, but astronomers aimed Very Large Array antennas at the Moon in an innovative effort to detect radio

Manufacturing 'made to measure' atomic-scale electrodes
Thanks to collaborative work between scientists in Donostia-San Sebastian and the University of Kiel (Germany) it has been shown that it is possible to determine and control the number of atoms in contact between a molecule and a metal electrode of copper, at the same time as the electric current passing through the union being recorded.

Columbia engineering team discovers graphene's weakness
Using quantum theory and supercomputers, Chris Marianetti, assistant professor in Columbia Engineering's Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, has revealed the mechanisms of mechanical failure of pure graphene under tensile stress.

Health-care-acquired infections greatly increase risk of dying in intensive care, but additional impact of antimicrobial resistance is small
Critically ill patients with bloodstream infections and pneumonia face a greatly increased risk of dying, but resistance to the most common antimicrobial agents has only a small additional effect on patient outcome, according to a Europe-wide study that analyzed health-care-associated infections in more than 500 intensive care units (ICUs) in 10 countries.

Celebrex may help prevent some non-melanoma skin cancers
New research shows the NSAID Celebrex may help prevent some non-melanoma skin cancers from developing in patients who have pre-cancerous actinic keratoses lesions and are at high risk for having the disease.

Yo-yo dieting alters genes linked with stress
Stressed-out mice with a history of dieting ate more high-fat foods than similarly stressed mice not previously on diets, according to a new study in the Dec.

Children with autism more likely to have mitochondrial defects impacting cellular energy production
Autism Speaks funded UC Davis research published Dec. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that children with autism have more trouble fueling the energy demands of their cells due to dysfunctional mitochondria.

Perceived bad boys receive less pain medications
If you should find yourself running from the police, watch your step.

Could 135,000 laptops help solve the energy challenge?
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the largest ever awards of the department's supercomputing time to 57 innovative research projects -- using computer simulations to perform virtual experiments that in most cases would be impossible or impractical in the natural world.

Nano-diamond qubits and photonic crystals
Researchers in Germany have successfully fabricated a rudimentary quantum computing hybrid system using electronic excitations in nano-diamonds as qubits and optical nanostructures, so-called photonic crystals with tailored optical properties.

Researchers find link between sugar, diabetes and aggression
A spoonful of sugar may be enough to cool a hot temper, at least for a short time, according to new research.

HIV clinical trial looks at potential benefits of treating recently-infected patients
A Wellcome Trust-funded clinical trial is examining whether it is possible to limit damage to the immune system by treating people soon after they are infected with HIV with a short course of antiretroviral drugs and therefore delay the time to commencing long-term antiretroviral treatment.

Despite economic slump, donors give generously to global health, though at a slower rate
The worst global economic crisis in decades has not stopped public and private donors from giving record amounts of money to health assistance for developing countries, according to a new report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Motorcycle simulator gives new clues to road safety
New research using a world leading motorcycle simulator to analyze rider behavior has proved that safer doesn't necessarily mean slower and that formal advanced training for bikers can demonstrate improved safety on our roads.

Researchers use patient's own blood to treat hamstring injury
Researchers in London say they have found an effective two-part treatment for microtears in the hamstring: injections of the patient's own blood and a steroid along with

Space science and Renaissance tombs
A group of Renaissance Tomb-Monuments in Suffolk is being analyzed with tools developed in Space Science, to unlock their mysterious past and offer new insights into the Tudor Reformation.

Are good-looking people more employable? New Ben-Gurion University study
The resumes of

Mayo researchers find drug-resistant HIV patients with unimpaired immune cells
Mayo Clinic researchers have shown why, in a minority of HIV patients, immune function improves despite a lack of response to standard anti-retroviral treatment.

Hebrew University professor Uriel Bachrach to be honored in Rome
Prof. Emeritus Uriel Bachrach of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will receive a special award from the mayor of Rome on Wednesday, Dec.

Oregon's POLST program expands to provide patients with more control at the end of their lives
Oregon's groundbreaking POLST program -- a program that allows persons to communicate their end-of-life plans via a physician's written order -- has achieved a new milestone.

Public health in the genomic era: A global issue
In a new report

New study suggests that a propensity for 1-night stands, uncommitted sex could be genetic
So, he or she has cheated on you for the umpteenth time and their only excuse is:

Surgeon-physician marriages can place stress on careers, emotional health
Surgeons married to physicians face more challenges in balancing their personal and professional lives than do surgeons whose partners work in a non-physician field or stay at home, according to new research findings focused on surgeon marriages published in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Study assesses nuclear power assumptions
A broad review of current research on nuclear power economics has been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Experimental vaccine sets sights on lung cancer
An experimental immunotherapy may someday become the newest weapon against lung cancer.

The couch potato effect
Mice without the protein PGC-1 develop normally but are unable to exercise.

World's fastest camera takes a new look at biosensing
A European consortium comprising the National Physical Laboratory, ST Microelectronics, the University of Edinburgh, and TU Delft has been involved in the development and application of the Megaframe Imager -- an ultrafast camera capable of recording images at the incredible rate of one million frames

Politics about global health estimates overshadow real needs
Recent controversies about maternal mortality rates mask a bigger need to improve the process of global health estimation, and they deflect attention away from the need for action to improve the health of the most vulnerable.

Hebrew University researchers reveal way in which possible earthquakes can be predicted
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who have been examining what happens in a

Active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer may offer better quality-of-life
In a study that compared initial treatment strategies for low-risk prostate cancer among men 65 years old, active surveillance showed higher measures on quality of life compared to an initial treatment such as radical prostatectomy, although the optimal strategy was highly dependent on individual patient preferences for surveillance or treatment, according to a study in the Dec.

SRC-1 controls liver's 'sweet spot' for glucose production
SRC-1 (steroid receptor coactivator) orchestrates glucose production in the liver, regulating the activity of a cascade of enzymes that turns sugar production on and off in the liver, said Baylor College of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center researchers in a report that appears in the current issue of Cell Metabolism.

Rotating light provides indirect look into the nucleus
Nuclear magnetic resonance is one of the best tools for gaining insight into the structure and dynamics of molecules and how they behave in a variety of chemical environments.

New American Chemical Society podcast: Black rice bran may reduce inflammation
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning podcast series,

Belly fat puts women at risk for osteoporosis
For years, it was believed that obese women were at lower risk for developing osteoporosis, and that excess body fat actually protected against bone loss.

Predatory bugs can save cornfields
One of the worst pests of corn in the world, the corn rootworm, may owe its worldwide success partly to its larvae's nasty, sticky blood, according to a U.S.

Diabetes may clamp down on brain cholesterol
The brain contains more cholesterol than any other organ in the body, has to produce its own cholesterol and won't function normally if it doesn't churn out enough.

Photos of tiny blood vessels in the eye link air pollution to heart disease
By digitally photographing the tiny, hair-like blood vessels in the back of our eyes, researchers can now look directly at how small blood vessels like those that bring blood to the heart respond to air pollution.

Air pollution is associated with eye vessel changes indicative of cardiovascular disease
It is known that fine particle air pollution is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; a study by Sara Adar, and colleagues (University of Washington/University of Michigan), published in this week's PLoS Medicine, takes this association further.

Water resources played important role in patterns of human settlement, new UNH research shows
Once lost in the mists of time, the colonial hydrology of the northeastern United States has been reconstructed by a team of geoscientists, biological scientists and social scientists, including University of New Hampshire Ph.D. candidate Christopher Pastore.

5.7 million Californians lack access to job-based coverage
Most Americans receive health insurance through their employer, or through an employed family member's coverage.

Study suggests earliest brain changes associated with the genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease
What are the earliest brain changes associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease?

Novel services for tropical forest monitoring with satellite
A consortium led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing methods for monitoring tropical forests using satellite data in a project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission.

Freshwater mussels discovered in urban Delaware river
Scientists working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Academy of Natural Sciences have made an important discovery in the Delaware River between Chester, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey: beds of freshwater mussels.

Scientists discover molecular 'switch' that contributes to cellular aging process
A team of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) scientists report finding a molecular

Strategic alliance expands clinical and public health informatics globally
The International Medical Informatics Association and the Global Health Informatics Partnership have announced a strategic alliance to strengthen health information and communication (HICT) systems, create learning modules appropriate for a wide variety of workers in public health and clinical roles, and facilitate infrastructures and policies that support sustained investment in HICT and informatics at the global level.

ASH's 52nd Annual Meeting and Exposition showcases the latest advances in the field
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will host its 52nd annual meeting at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Dec.

Psychologists make link between profitable law firms and yearbook photos of managing partners
Psychologists at the University of Toronto and Tufts University have shown that law firms are more profitable when led by managing partners with powerful looking faces.

Diabetic brains suffer from lack of cholesterol
Our brains are packed with cholesterol, almost all of which has to be produced within the brain itself, where it is critical for normal brain functions.

Study finds anti-microbials a common cause of drug-induced liver injury and failure
New research shows that anti-microbial medications are a common cause of drug-induced liver injury leading to acute liver failure (ALF), with women and minorities disproportionately affected.

Risk of death increases in IBD patients with hospital-acquired infections
Death and length of stay are increased among hospitalized inflammatory bowel disease patients who develop hospital-acquired infections.

CRN reacts to Institute of Medicine DRI recommendations for vitamin D
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, the dietary supplement industry's leading trade association, today called the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine's newly-released report on the dietary reference intake levels for vitamin D

ASH presents Public Service Award to Sen. Sherrod Brown and Outstanding Service Award to Erik Fatemi
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) with the 2010 ASH Award for Public Service and Erik Fatemi, Majority Clerk for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS), with the Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of their dedication to championing health care and research issues.

People with sleep apnea at higher risk for aggressive heart disease
People with obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder associated with obesity, have more non-calcified or

Recommendations issued on controversial 'Ashley' procedure for disabled children
Should parents be able to use medical means to restrict the growth of profoundly disabled children to make them easier to care for at home?

Vitamin D and calcium -- updated dietary reference intakes from IOM
Vitamin D and calcium have been the focus of much research since the Institute of Medicine set nutritional reference values for them in 1997.

Diabetes may clamp down on cholesterol the brain needs
The brain contains more cholesterol than any other organ in the body, has to produce its own cholesterol and won't function normally if it doesn't churn out enough.

Source of protection against saturated fat found
A new report in the December Cell Metabolism identifies a protein without which diets high in saturated fat lead to a massive inflammatory response that can prove fatal.
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