Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 22, 2010
Placebos work -- even without deception
For most of us, the

Scripps Research scientist uncovers switch controlling protein production
A scientist from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a molecular switch that controls the synthesis of ribosomes.

AADR testifies to the FDA advisory panel on dental amalgam
On Dec. 14-15, 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened an Advisory Panel to discuss several scientific issues that may affect the regulation of dental amalgam.

High red blood cell folate levels linked to silenced tumor-suppressors
A study of 781 people enrolled in a colorectal cancer prevention clinical trial finds that elevated levels of red blood cell folate is associated with the deactivation of two anti-cancer genes known to be silenced in colorectal cancer.

Measuring fatigue through the voice
Researchers in Australia have developed a new method to analyze the effect of fatigue on the central nervous system.

Many cancer cells found to have an 'eat me' signal in Stanford study
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that many cancer cells carry the seeds of their own destruction -- a protein on the cell surface that signals circulating immune cells to engulf and digest them.

Iowa State engineer and Goodrich partner to develop next-generation fuel nozzle diagnostic systems
Hui Hu, an Iowa State University associate professor of aerospace engineering, is working with engineers from the Goodrich Corp. to test and characterize the next generation of fuel nozzles.

Imagine your future self: Will it help you save money?
Why do people choose present consumption over their long-term financial interests?

Complementary medicines can be dangerous for children
Complementary medicines can be dangerous for children and can even prove fatal, if substituted for conventional medicine, indicates an audit of kids' CAM treatment published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Eindhoven University builds affordable alternative to mega-laser X-FEL
Stanford University in the USA has an X-FEL (X-ray free electron laser) with a pricetag of hundreds of millions.

New research: 'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity
Published in PNAS, recent anti-aging findings are significant because some older adult take growth hormone for rejuvenation.

Arsenic agent shuts down 2 hard-to-treat cancers in animal experiments
Researchers at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center, have found that an arsenic-based agent already FDA-approved for a type of leukemia may be helpful in another hard-to-treat cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma (ES).

KISSing a theory goodbye in the link between puberty and nutrition status
The timing of the onset of puberty is linked to levels of nutrition: later onset is associated with malnutrition, while earlier onset is linked to childhood obesity.

Picking a poison for brain tumors: Arsenic
Arsenic is usually thought of as a poison. Despite this, it has been used in medicine for over 2000 years, and the arsenic compound arsenic trioxide (ATO) is FDA approved for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Shouldering family demands and worries bumps up angina risk
Shouldering family demands and worries seems to increase the risk of angina, the precursor to coronary artery disease, reveals research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

America's stroke belt partially fueled by fried fish
Eating a Southern staple, fried fish, could be one reason people in Alabama and across the

Study shows drifting fish larvae allow marine reserves to rebuild fisheries
Marine ecologists at Oregon State University have shown for the first time that tiny fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and

University of Minnesota discovery suggests a new way to prevent HIV from infecting human cells
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered how HIV binds to and destroys a specific human antiviral protein called APOBEC3F.

Mammalian aging process linked to overactive cellular pathway
Whitehead Institute researchers have linked hyperactivity in the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 cellular pathway to reduced ketone production in the liver, which is a well-defined physiological trait of aging in mice.

Study: Couples who delay having sex get benefits later
A statistical analysis showed benefits enjoyed by couples who waited until marriage compared to those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship.

NIH-led study identifies genetic variant that can lead to severe impulsivity
A research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol.

NSF/NASA scientific balloon launches from Antarctica
NASA and the National Science Foundation launched a scientific balloon on Monday, Dec.

Genome of extinct Siberian cave-dweller linked to modern-day humans
Researchers have discovered evidence of a distinct group of

A new method is developed for predicting shade improvement after teeth bleaching
This is the first time that scientists manage to predict the outcome of bleaching treatments, which will certainly have an important impact on these treatments, which are becoming frequent.

Researchers find gene that protects against dementia in high-risk individuals
Neuroscientists had assumed that a mutation in the progranulin gene, which makes the progranulin protein and supports brain neurons, was sufficient to produce a kind of dementia known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Hot embossing glass -- to the nearest micrometer
The lens is what matters: if lens arrays could be made of glass, it would be possible to make more conveniently sized projectors.

Why must we compensate after buying gifts that threaten our identities?
If a vegetarian has to buy a steakhouse gift certificate for a friend, her discomfort will lead her to buy something else that reaffirms her identity, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Ever-sharp urchin teeth may yield tools that never need honing
To survive in a tumultuous environment, sea urchins literally eat through stone, using their teeth to carve out nooks where the spiny creatures hide from predators and protect themselves from the crashing surf on the rocky shores and tide pools where they live.

Record time limit
Running and swimming records are broken again and again at almost every international athletics event, But, can human performance continue to improve indefinitely?

Emerging drug class may enhance red blood cell production in anemic patients
By determining how corticosteroids act to increase production of red blood cell progenitors, Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a class of drugs that may be beneficial in treating some erythropoietin-resistant anemias.

Mount Sinai researchers make major breakthrough in melanoma research
In a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments for patients with malignant melanoma, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have discovered that a particular protein suppresses the progression of melanoma through regulation of an oncogene, or gene responsible for cancer growth.

Researchers discover genetic predisposition for breast, kidney cancers
Researchers at Cleveland Clinic's Genomic Medicine Institute have revealed multiple genetic discoveries that may permit easier diagnosis and disease management for Cowden syndrome patients who are predisposed to breast and kidney cancer.

Removal of hexavalent chromium from your drinking water
The only way to learn if your water source has hexavalent chromium is to check with your public water supplier and request a water quality report, said NJIT professor Taha Marhaba, a civil/environmental engineer.

AFOSR-supported scientist leads heat-resistant ceramic coatings research
AFOSR-supported research at the University of Arizona is investigating high temperature resistant ceramic coatings that will provide thermal protection for Air Force hypersonic flight vehicles.

Brain gene a trigger for determining gender
University of Adelaide researchers are a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of human sexual development, following genetic studies that show male mice can be created without a Y chromosome -- through the activation of an ancient brain gene.

Most common adult brain cancer linked to gene deletion, Stanford doctors say
A study fast-tracked for online publication Dec. 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine has identified an important gene deletion in up to one of every four cases of glioblastoma, the most common adult brain cancer.

Climbing Mount Everest: Noble adventure or selfish pursuit?
Adventure seekers are plunking down more than $50,000 to climb Mount Everest, but a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that people who pay for transformative experiences often lack the communitarian spirit that usually defines such activities.

Snow fails to stop delivery of 1800c furnace to University of Warwick
Snow may be hampering Christmas deliveries but it has failed to stop the delivery of University Warwick's Professor Phil Mawby's Christmas present -- a special furnace that can reach 1800 degrees centigrade.

Some firms benefit from increased spending despite recession
During recessions, increased spending on research and development and on advertising can benefit certain types of firms and punish others, according to researchers, who identified the firm types that spend most effectively.

York U study pinpoints part of brain that suppresses instinct
York University research is revealing which regions in the brain fire up when we suppress an automatic behavior such as the urge to look at other people in an elevator.

An important breakthrough by IRCM researchers in hematopoiesis and the development of B cells
A team at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal led by Dr.

Invention could improve cancer drug delivery, lessen harmful effects of chemotherapy
An invention by UA researchers may provide a way to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to cancer tissues in controlled doses without harming healthy body cells.

Fossil finger bone yields genome of a previously unknown human relative
A 30,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in southern Siberia came from a young girl who belonged to a previously unknown group of human relatives who may have lived throughout much of Asia.

Fraunhofer MEVIS and the University of Bern cooperate with the leading liver center in Shanghai
Today, challenging liver surgery is frequently planned and optimized with regard to associated risks with the support of a computer.

Love-smitten consumers will do anything for their cars and guns
The way people treat their possessions looks like love, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Grants fund projects that will tackle 'Grand Challenges'
Arizona State University engineering faculty will lead projects to address some of the world's most critical problems with support from the Grand Challenges Research Seed Funding program.

New Year's Eve tip from American Chemical Society journal: Pour champagne down the side of the glass
Just in time for New Year's Eve, a study in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry may settle a long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne: Scientists in France are reporting that pouring bubbly in an angled, down-the-side way is best for preserving its taste and fizz.

Which comes first: Exercise-induced asthma or obesity?
Obese people are more likely to report exercise as a trigger for asthma.

Growing hypoxic zones reduce habitat for billfish and tuna
Billfish and tuna, important commercial and recreational fish species, may be more vulnerable to fishing pressure because of shrinking habitat, according to a new study published by scientists from NOAA, the Billfish Foundation, and University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Designer probiotics could reduce obesity
Specially designed probiotics can modulate the physiology of host fat cells say scientists writing in Microbiology.

Milestone: A methane-metal marriage
UA scientists have inserted metal atoms into methane gas molecules and obtained a detailed structure of the resulting molecule.

Fast sepsis test can save lives
Blood poisoning can be fatal. If you suffer from sepsis, you used to have to wait as much as 48 hours for laboratory findings.

New fossil site in China shows long recovery of life from the largest extinction in Earth's history
A major new fossil site in south-west China has filled in a sizable gap in our understanding of how life on this planet recovered from the greatest mass extinction of all time, according to a paper co-authored by professor Mike Benton, in the School of Earth Sciences, and published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Tau disrupts neural communication prior to neurodegeneration
A new study is unraveling the earliest events associated with neurodegenerative diseases characterized by abnormal accumulation of tau protein.

Brain gene makes a female develop as a male
Australian scientists have discovered that changes to a gene involved in brain development can lead to testis formation and male genitalia in an otherwise female embryo.

Stellar success for Queen's solar stars
Astrophysicists from Queen's University have captured an unprecedented close-up image of the sun's fiery atmosphere -- and, in so doing, have won a major new global award.

Photons vs. protons for treatment of spinal cord gliomas
A study comparing the long-term outcomes of patients with spinal-cord tumors following radiation therapy suggests that certain subsets of patients have better long-term survival, and that photon-based radiation therapy may result in better survival than proton-beam therapy, even in patients with more favorable characteristics.

Newly formed PolymerPlus emerges from layered polymers research at Case Western Reserve University
A spin-off venture with its roots in advanced polymers research at Case Western Reserve University has been established, aiming to commercialize polymer technology.

Why do risks with human characteristics make powerful consumers feel lucky?
People who feel powerful are more likely to believe they can beat cancer if it's described in human terms, according to new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

JCI table of contents: Dec. 22, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published Dec.

Vertical search across the educational horizon
According to researchers at Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto, Calif., and a Chinese technology company, Innovation Works, general search engines, while very effective at tracking down information, are nevertheless unstructured, which limits the user's ability to further automate the processing of the search results.

98.6 degrees Fahrenheit ideal temperature for keeping fungi away and food at bay
Two researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that our 98.6 F (37 C) body temperature strikes a perfect balance: warm enough to ward off fungal infection but not so hot that we need to eat nonstop to maintain our metabolism.

Drilling in the holy land
About 50 miles from Bethlehem, a drilling project is determining the climate and earthquake activity of the holy land.

Does equality increase status spending?
People are happier when goods are more equally distributed, but equality makes people want to spend more to get ahead of their neighbors, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Scientists reveal how biological activity is regulated in fruit fly and roundworm genomes
Scientists today published catalogs of the fruit fly and roundworm's functional genomic elements: DNA sequences in the genome that carry the instructions and determine which genes are turned on and off at various times in different cells.

Movement and threat of RNA viruses widespread in pollinator community
Penn State researchers have found that native pollinators, like wild bees and wasps, are infected by the same viral diseases as honey bees and that these viruses are transmitted via pollen.

Carnegie Mellon researchers discover mechanism for signaling receptor recycling
An international team of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University's Manojkumar Puthenveedu has discovered the mechanism by which signaling receptors recycle, a critical piece in understanding signaling receptor function.

Award for airport security scanner
The University of Manchester has scooped a prestigious prize for a 3-D airport scanner which can dramatically improve luggage security.

Pterygotid sea scorpions: No longer terror of the ancient seas?
Experiments by a team of researchers in New York and New Jersey have generated evidence that questions the common belief that the pterygotid eurypterids (

Eating healthier means living longer
The leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

New annotated database sifts through mountains of sequencing data to find gene promoters
Researchers at The Wistar Institute announce the release of an online tool that will help scientists find

Teen girls in most deprived areas 5 times as likely to be assaulted
Teen girls living in the most deprived areas are five times as likely to be assaulted as their affluent male and female peers, reveals research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Getting inside the mind of Islam
A Tel Aviv University psychologist is investigating how religion helped the American Muslim community cope with the 9/11 tragedy -- and his study has implications for other religions as well.

A robot with finger-tip sensitivity
Two arms, three cameras, finger-tip sensitivity and a variety of facial expressions -- these are the distinguishing features of the pi4-workerbot.

UT Southwestern researchers identify site in brain where leptin may trigger puberty
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have pinpointed a tiny site in the brain where the hormone leptin may help trigger the onset of puberty.

Genome of extinct Siberian human sheds new light on modern human origins
The sequencing of the nuclear genome from an ancient finger bone found in a Siberian cave shows that the cave dwellers were neither Neandertals nor modern humans.

Researchers train software to help monitor climate change
A computer program that automatically analyzes mounds of satellite images and other data could help climate scientists keep track of complex, constantly changing environmental conditions, according to an international team of researchers.

What sex are you?
Sex in mammals is genetically determined. In humans, females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.

Why does dialysis fail?
A protein implicated in the development of vascular diseases may also contribute to the failure of arteriovenous (AV) fistulas created for vascular access in dialysis patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Placebos work -- even without deception
Patients who were knowingly given placebos for irritable bowel syndrome experienced significant symptom relief when compared with controls who were given nothing.

Penn researchers identify potential target for breast cancer therapy
Overexpression or hyperactivation of ErbB cell-surface receptors drives the growth of many breast cancers.

Some cancer drugs may block cellular 'cross talk' but not kill cancer cells
A class of drugs thought to kill cancer cells may in fact block

Mortality rates are an unreliable metric for assessing hospital quality, study finds
A comparative analysis found wide disparities in the results of four common measures of hospital-wide mortality rates, with competing methods yielding both higher- and lower-than-expected rates for the same Massachusetts hospitals during the same year.

How past experiences inform future choices
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report for the first time how animals' knowledge obtained through past experiences can subconsciously influence their behavior in new situations.

Learning to read the genome
As part of the National Institutes of Health's

Eating less healthy fish may contribute to America's stroke belt
People living in the

Cord blood cell transplantation provides improvement for severely brain-injured child
In three monthly injections, researchers transplanted neurally committed, autologous cord blood derived cells tagged with iron oxide nanoparticles into the lateral cerebral ventricle of a 16-month-old child with severe global hypoxic ischemic brain injury.

Research shows positive results with high pressure technology for certain dairy products
The AZTI-Tecnalia technological center, in a project undertaken by the Tecnolat and Llet de Catalunya dairy product companies within the FUTURAL project, has verified that, as an alternative to the traditional heat treatment for decontamination of a number of dairy products, high pressure technology is highly recommendable. 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