Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 13, 2010
UCSF 'fountain of youth' pill could restore aging immune system
UCSF researchers have identified an existing medication that restores key elements of the immune system that, when out of balance, lead to a steady decline in immunity and health as people age.

Cells 'feel' the difference between stiff or soft and thick or thin matrix
Cultured mesenchymal stem cells can

'Cadillac Desert' withstands the test of time and technology
In 1986, Marc Reisner published

NSF's Nathaniel B. Palmer sails with Sweden's Oden to study Antarctic Peninsula ecosystem
In a unique and complex example of

UK ill prepared for 'epidemic' of degenerative valvular heart disease
The UK is poorly prepared for the forthcoming epidemic of degenerative valvular heart disease, prompted by a rapidly aging population, say leading experts in the journal Heart.

A benefit of flu: protection from asthma?
The number of people with asthma has increased sharply over the past few decades.

Springer to provide exclusive publishing services for Atlantis Press
Springer is now exclusively responsible for production, marketing and distribution for the French scientific publishing house Atlantis Press.

UCLA bioengineers discover how particles self-assemble in flowing fluids
UCLA bioengineers have been exploring a unique phenomenon whereby randomly dispersed microparticles will self-assemble into a highly organized structure during flow through micro-scale channels.

Researchers explain mechanism behind rare muscle disorders
Researchers have provided the first thorough mechanistic account of how a genetic defect leads to malignant hypothermia and central core disease, rare genetic skeletal muscle disorders.

Less than they are worth
Supplying energy is in the process of metamorphosis because people want to know what is the most intelligent and efficient way to utilize all types of energy carriers.

Over long haul, money doesn't buy happiness: 'Easterlin Paradox' revisited
A new collaborative paper by economist Richard Easterlin -- namesake of the

CMU's research finds large uncertainty in carbon footprint calculating
The results of a recent study by Carnegie Mellon's christopher Weber found that the calculation of carbon footprints for products if often riddled with large uncertainties, particularly related to electronic goods.

ASCB launches 'The Cell: An Image Library' to inspire discovery and improve human health
The American Society for Cell Biology, in collaboration with Glencoe Software Inc. and the Open Microscopy Environment today announce the launch of

Smoking behind more than a third of severe rheumatoid arthritis cases
Smoking accounts for more than a third of cases of the most severe and common form of rheumatoid arthritis, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

USDA scientists discover how foot-and-mouth disease virus begins infection in cattle
US Department of Agriculture scientists have identified the primary site where the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease begins infection in cattle.

Satellite data provide a new way to monitor groundwater in agricultural regions
Much of the agriculture in the American West depends on underground water systems that need to be carefully monitored to avoid overuse.

Guidance on preventing unintentional injuries to children
Researchers from the Peninsula Technology Assessment Group at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry have contributed to new National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on preventing unintentional injury to the under-15s.

Research tackles drug use, HIV in South African youth
Drug use, risky sexual behavior and violence among South African youth may be reduced thanks to Penn State researchers, who will look at expanding a leisure education and life skills program to 56 South African high schools.

Ovarian cancer screening saves few lives
The best currently available screening tests can only slightly reduce ovarian cancer deaths.

Researchers make critical leukemia stem cell discovery
Researchers at King's College London have discovered that leukemic stem cells can be reversed to a pre-leukemic stage by suppressing a protein called beta-catenin found in the blood.

Unlawful killing of newborns soon after birth 5 times higher than thought
Although rare, the true incidence of neonaticides -- the unlawful killing of a baby within the first 24 hours of its life -- is more than five times as common as official estimates suggest, suggests research published online in the Fetal and Neonatal edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Capasso lab demonstrates highly unidirectional 'whispering gallery' microlasers
Utilizing a century-old phenomenon discovered in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, applied scientists at Harvard University have demonstrated, for the first time, highly collimated unidirectional microlasers.

Ovarian cancer advances when genes are silenced
Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute have found evidence of epigenetics at work on a genome-wide scale in cases of ovarian cancer.

Study shows how flu infections may prevent asthma
In a paper that suggests a new strategy to prevent asthma, scientists at Children's Hospital Boston and their colleagues report that the influenza virus infection in young mice protected the mice as adults against the development of allergic asthma.

Targeted messages may encourage some patients to get colorectal cancer screenings
Personalized electronic messages to patients overdue for screenings, or mailings targeted to patients with expired orders for colonoscopies, may each increase colorectal cancer screening rates over the short term, according to two reports posted online today that will be published in the April 11 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Hot with decades of drought: Expectations for the Southwest
An unprecedented combination of heat plus decades of drought could be in store for the Southwest sometime this century, suggests new research from a University of Arizona-led team.

UC Davis study: Wild salmon decline was not caused by sea lice from farm salmon
A new UC Davis study contradicts earlier reports that salmon farms were responsible for the 2002 population crash of wild pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago of western Canada.

New report provides women's perspectives on medical male circumcision for HIV prevention
A new report, Making Medical Male Circumcision Work for Women, from the Women's HIV Prevention Tracking Project (WHiPT), a collaborative initiative of AVAC and the ATHENA Network, features an unprecedented collection of voices from Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda reflecting on what male circumcision for HIV prevention means for women.

Killing drug-resistant melanoma requires combination therapy
Wistar researchers report that melanoma that have become resistant to PLX4032 and other BRAF inhibitors will signal around the blocked proteins by shifting rerouting signaling pathways.

Tecnalia proposes solutions for explosions, fires and cyber attacks at transport terminals
Through its Construction Unit, Tecnalia is taking part in the Segurtrans project, the aim of which is to increase the overall safety/security level of transport terminals in the face of deliberate critical events such as explosions, fires and cyber attacks.

2009 H1N1 vaccine safe and induces robust immune response in people with asthma
Results from a government-sponsored clinical trial of inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in people with asthma indicate that a single dose of vaccine was safe and induced a strong immune response predictive of protection.

Tracking down particulates
Wood-burning stoves are enjoying a surge in popularity. But burning biomass releases fine dust particles that are hazardous to health.

Nevada nursing professor awarded National Institutes of Health grant to study detection of ischemia
University of Nevada, Reno Orvis School of Nursing researcher Michele Pelter has been awarded $377,000 from the National Institutes of Health to study detection of ischemia, a condition that can lead to heart attacks.

Potential chink in armor of African sleeping sickness parasite: It's social
Long considered a freewheeling loner, the Trypanosoma brucei parasite responsible for African sleeping sickness has revealed a totally unexpected social side, opening a potential chink in the behavioral armor of this and other supposedly solitary human parasites.

Winners of the IOF Young Investigators Awards announced at Singapore meeting
Researchers from China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, China, were the recipients of the International Osteoporosis Foundation's Young Investigators Awards, presented today at the IOF Regionals -- 1st Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting in Singapore.

Research examines gender gaps in immigrant health
A key focus of the health care debate has involved immigrants and their impact on the US health care system.

Forest Service researcher receives prestigious Presidential award
The USDA Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station officially announced today that Dr.

Team of scientists predicts continued death of forests in southwestern US due to climate change
If current climate projections hold true, the forests of the Southwestern United States face a bleak future, with more severe -- and more frequent -- forest fires, higher tree death rates, more insect infestation, and weaker trees.

Strength training for seniors provides cognitive function, economic benefits: VCH-UBC study
A one-year follow-up study on seniors who participated in a strength training exercise program shows sustained cognitive benefits as well as savings for the health-care system.

Bering Sea was ice-free and full of life during last warm period, study finds
Deep sediment cores retrieved from the Bering Sea floor indicate that the region was ice-free all year and biological productivity was high during the last major warm period in Earth's climate history.

UK medical student ophthalmology teaching falling short
UK medical schools are failing to comply with the recommended curriculum for ophthalmology, set out by the International Council of Ophthalmologists, suggests a survey published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Study: Personal contacts at work help people better understand organ donation
Face-to-face workplace interactions may be the best way to educate and encourage people to consider becoming organ donors, according to new research from Purdue University.

Hot stuff: Magma at shallow depth under Hawaii
Ohio State University researchers have found a new way to gauge the depth of the magma chamber that forms the Hawaiian Island volcanic chain, and determined that the magma lies much closer to the surface than previously thought.

Boston University School of Medicine professor receives AACC's Van Slyke Award
Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., a professor at Boston University School of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2010 Van Slyke Award from the American Academy for Clinical Chemistry New York Metro Section.

High levels of 'good' cholesterol may be associated with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease
High levels of high-density lipoprotein, also known as

Early settlers rapidly transformed New Zealand forests with fire
New research from Montana State University indicates that the speed of early forest clearance following human colonization of the South Island of New Zealand was much faster and more intense than previously thought.

Acupuncture may help some older children with lazy eye
Acupuncture could potentially become an alternative to patching for treating amblyopia (lazy eye) in some older children, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Rice researchers take molecule's temperature
A new paper from the lab of Douglas Natelson, a Rice professor of physics and astronomy, details a technique that measures the temperature of molecules set between two gold nanowires and heated either by current applied to the wires or laser light.

Assessing the environmental effects of tidal turbines
A tidal energy demonstration project in Puget Sound, the first on the US West Coast, will help determine the environmental effects of underwater turbines.

UCSF tests promising solutions for cancer hair loss
UCSF physicians are combating a devastating side effect of chemotherapy with an innovative new program --

U-M researchers discover way to block neurodegeneration in an adult form of Fragile X syndrome
Expression of a toxic RNA that leads to Fragile X Tremor Ataxia Syndrome is modifiable by genetic or pharmacologic means, according to new research from U-M Medical School scientists.

The stemness of cancer cells
A close collaboration between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Institute for Advanced Study found that the tumor suppressor p53, long thought of as the

We spend more time sick now than a decade ago
A 20-year-old today can expect to live one less healthy year than a 20-year-old a decade ago, even though life expectancy has grown.

Many brain tumor patients use homeopathy, alternative treatments
Many people with incurable brain tumors use alternative therapies, such as taking vitamins and homeopathy, in addition to their conventional treatments, according to a study published in the Dec.

WebLib develops application for Elsevier's SciVerse applications
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced that as a result of a partnership with WebLib, a new application, HealthMash, is now available on SciVerse Applications beta.

Calculating tidal energy turbines' effects on sediments and fish
Engineers are developing computer models to study how changes in water pressure and current speed around tidal turbines affect sediment buildup and fish health.

Math research to improve Internet reliability
Mathematics researchers at the University of Adelaide are leading a new project aimed at improving the reliability and efficiency of Internet services.

Oldest fossils found in Cordillera Betica mountain range
Spanish researchers have found fossils of Ordovician conodonts dating to between 446 and 444 million years ago for the first time in the western Mediterranean.

Study shows that counselling-led by a lay person works well for depression and anxiety in public health facilities in Goa, India (MANAS trial)
A study published online first by the Lancet shows that a trained lay counselor-led collaborative care intervention can lead to an improvement in recovery from common disorders (CMD, such as depression and anxiety) among patients attending public primary care facilities, but a positive effect was not shown in patients at private facilities.

Indian study reveals that three-quarters of hip fracture patients are vitamin D deficient
A study from New Delhi India has revealed high rates of vitamin D deficiency among hip fracture patients, confirming the conclusions of similar international studies which point to vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for hip fracture.

Quantifying fragmentation of medical information
In a new retrospective study, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston looked at adult acute care in Massachusetts and found that of 3.6 million adults visiting an acute care site during a 5-year period, almost a third sought care at 2 or more different hospitals.

Human networking theory gives picture of infectious disease spread
New research using human-networking theory may give a clearer picture of just how, exactly, infectious diseases such as the common cold, influenza, whooping cough and SARS can spread through a closed group of people, and even through populations at large.

Researchers show rapid rise of hip fracture rates in Beijing
Data show that hip fracture rates are rising very rapidly in Beijing, due to the growth in the number of elderly people and increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

Biological diversity of ovarian cancer lessens value of screening
Cancer prevention experts have long been frustrated by the lack of a meaningful way to screen women for ovarian cancer.

When it comes to selecting a mate, the eyes have it: Queen's University study
For the first time ever, scientists have found a difference in the way males and females of the same species of vertebrate see things -- and that sexes likely use that difference to select their mates.

Freshwater sustainability challenges shared by Southwest and Southeast, researchers find
Water scarcity in the western US has long been an issue of concern.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: The health of health care depends on it
A study of the observations and conclusions of third-year medical students provides insight into how future physicians acquire knowledge of respectful and disrespectful professional behavior.

'Array of arrays' coaxing secrets from unfelt seismic tremor events
New technology is letting University of Washington researchers get a much better picture of how episodic tremor events relate to potentially catastrophic earthquakes every 300 to 500 years in the Cascadia subduction zone.

Study: Osteoporosis drug reduces bone loss, tumor size in oral cancer
A drug currently approved for osteoporosis treatment has been shown to reduce bone loss in a study of mice with oral cancer, suggesting it could serve as an important supplemental therapy in patients with head and neck cancers that erode bone.

Drought and rising temperatures weaken southwest forests
Forests in the southwestern United States are changing and will face reduced growth if temperatures continue to rise and precipitation declines during this century, according to a study conducted by a team of scientists from the US Forest Service; University of California, Santa Barbara; U.S.

Children who don't like fruit and vegetables are 13 times more likely to be constipated
Primary school children who don't like eating fruit and vegetables are 13 times more likely to develop functional constipation than children who do.

Parkinson's disparities
African American patients and those with lower socioeconomic status have more advanced disease and greater disability when they seek treatment from Parkinson's disease specialists, according to a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

How Iapetus got its ridge
Two scientists propose an explanation for the bizarre ridge belting Saturn's moon Iapetus at the equator.

Scientists ashore assist in discovery of tubeworm colony off Cyprus
When a field of tubeworms was unexpectedly discovered on the side of a large underwater mountain 50 miles off the coast of Cyprus this summer, the finding was notable both for the discovery itself and for the process of the discovery.

A study analyzes the movement of tree sap
Scientists at Carlos III University of Madrid use 3-D modeling to analyze the mechanisms used to by trees to transport water in their interior.

Recovering from job loss: Most report few long-term psychological effects, study finds
Losing a job is a profoundly distressing experience, but the unemployed may be more resilient than previously believed -- the vast majority eventually end up as satisfied with life as they were before they lost their jobs, according to a new analysis published by the American Psychological Association.

Jellyfish counterattack in winter
A study carried out over 50 years by an international team, with the participation of the Balearic Oceanography Center of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography has confirmed an increase in the size and intensity of proliferations of the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca.

Decline of West Coast fog brought higher coastal temperatures last 60 years
Summertime fog, a common feature along the West Coast, has decline since 1950 while coastal temperatures have increased slightly, new research shows.

Disease-management programs shown to improve diabetes care
Disease-management programs, which may include patient education, psychological intervention, dietary education, self-monitoring and telemedicine, can improve diabetes care, states an article in CMAJ.

Mexican immigrants' health declines as they assimilate to America
Mexican-Americans who are most integrated into the culture -- including those born in the United States, and not recent immigrants -- appear less healthy and more likely to require resources to manage their health conditions than more recent, less-integrated migrants, according to a new study from Rice University, Duke University and the University of Colorado Denver.

Choose a movie's plot -- while you watch it
Turbulence, a film by Prof. Nitzan Ben Shaul of Tel Aviv University, uses complicated video coding procedures that allow the viewer to change the course of a movie in mid-plot.

Small details between 'in vivo' and 'in vitro' studies make for big differences
Exocytosis, the fundamental process by which cells secrete hormones such as insulin and other useful biological substances, is regulated far differently in life than in laboratory tissue cultures and explanted organs.

Study probes link between magnetism, superconductivity
European and US physicists are offering up the strongest evidence yet that magnetism is the driving force behind unconventional superconductivity.

Earthshaking possibilities may limit underground storage of carbon dioxide
Combating global warming by pumping carbon dioxide into the ground for long-term storage -- known as carbon sequestration -- could trigger small earthquakes that might breach the storage system, allowing the gas back into the atmosphere, according to Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback.

Protein restores learning, memory in Alzheimer's mouse model
Studies at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio point to a way to reverse effects of the memory-robbing Alzheimer's disease.

Nano-measurement of troponin levels proves an accurate predictor of deterioration in heart failure
Today, heart failure is by far the single biggest reason for acute hospital admission.

Soda taxes: Weight loss benefit linked to household income
Imposing higher taxes on sodas and other sweetened drinks may generate a lot of money -- but would lead to only minimal weight loss among most people and would have no effect on weight among consumers in the highest and lowest income groups, according to new research from Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School.

Scientist shows link between diet and onset of mental illness
Changes in diet have been linked to a reduction of abnormal behaviors in mentally ill people or animals, but a Purdue University study shows that diet might also trigger the onset of mental illness in the first place.

A new mechanism for reversible proteasome inhibition
In their function as cellular recycling plants, proteasomes fulfill a life-sustaining role in all cells -- including cancer cells.

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 13, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Unlocking the secrets of a plant's light sensitivity
Plants are very sensitive to light conditions, in part due to a signal that activates special photoreceptors that regulate growth, metabolism, and physiological development.

Leibniz Prize 2011: 10 researchers awarded €2.5 million ($3.3 million) each
The winners of Germany's most prestigious research prize have been officially announced.

Sleepless honey bees miscommunicate, too, research at the University of Texas at Austin shows
In the busy world of a honey bee hive, worker bees need their rest in order to best communicate the location of food to their hive mates, research from the University of Texas at Austin shows.

Deleting ghrelin receptor, but not ghrelin, turns up fat-burning thermostat
Deleting the receptor, not the protein ghrelin itself, turns up the body's fat-burning thermostat, giving aging mice an exothermic boost toward a svelte physique.

Statistician wins $150K scholarship to interpret biomedical data
Statistician Mr Davis McCarthy has won a $150,000 scholarship from the General Sir John Monash Foundation to undertake a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

Increased consumption of folic acid can reduce birth defects but blood levels in Canadians are now high
Folic acid can reduce birth defects including neural tube defects, congenital heart disease and oral clefts but some speculate high intakes of folic acid may be associated with adverse events such as colorectal cancer, states an article in CMAJ.

USC nanosatellite blasts off from Cape Canaveral on SpaceX launch
All systems were go -- and went perfectly -- Dec.

Britain at political crossroads
The National Centre for Social Research today released its latest British Social Attitudes report, its landmark study of the public's attitudes and values, published annually for almost thirty years.

Ovarian cancer clue: Methylation-mediated suppression of a key pathway is found
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death among gynecological cancers.

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane
Scientists at the EMBL in Grenoble, France, were the first to determine the structure of a ribosome-protein complex involved in carrying nascent proteins out of the cell.

Apartment-dwelling children in nonsmoking units still exposed
Children living in apartments are exposed to secondhand smoke even when no one smokes inside their own unit.

Defective cell surface 'glue' is key to tumor invasion
A remarkable discovery into how tumor cells invade normal tissue should lead to vital diagnostic tools and help develop strategies to stop the spread of cancer cells.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute research leader Francine Berman named Fellow of IEEE
Cyberinfrastructure pioneer Francine Berman, the vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Racial, economic disparities evident among patients with Parkinson's disease and similar conditions
African Americans and those with lower socioeconomic status appear to have more severe parkinsonism with greater levels of disability, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the April 2011 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Expert: Seven-year moratorium on Gulf oil drilling an unwise decision
The recently announced seven-year moratorium on offshore drilling is yet another example of the short-sightedness of the US Department of the Interior, says John W.

Widespread vitamin D deficiency a concern in Asia
Bone health experts attending the 1st Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting in Singapore this week have flagged vitamin D deficiency as a major concern in the region, particularly in South Asia where the problem is especially severe and widespread across the entire population.

New approaches needed for treating chronic myeloid leukemia
The drug imatinib transformed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) from a fatal disease to a chronic condition.

Early years' initiatives, such as Sure Start, are failing the poor, eight-year study shows
Early years initiatives for preschool children are not delivering improvements in language and numeracy development, according to leading education experts.

Satellites pinpoint drivers of urban heat islands in the northeast
The size, background ecology, and development patterns of major northeastern cities combine to make them unusually warm, according to NASA scientists who presented new research today at an American Geophysical Union meeting, in San Francisco, Calif.

Scientists unravel more details of plant cell-wall construction
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are unraveling details of how plant cells' structural supports - their cell walls -- are made, with the hope of finding ways to change their composition for more efficient biofuel production.

Epilepsy researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia receives scientific prize
Douglas A. Coulter, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, received the 2010 Epilepsy Research Recognition Award for Basic Science from the American Epilepsy Society.

Opioid use associated with increased risk of adverse events among older adults
Opioids appear to be associated with more adverse events among older adults with arthritis than other commonly used analgesics, including coxibs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, according to a report in the Dec. 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