Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 19, 2011
Fears of Ontario pharmacy shortage after slashed generic drug prices unfounded: UBC research
A University of British Columbia study shows that there are enough pharmacies situated throughout Ontario communities to absorb many closures without negatively affecting geographical accessibility for residents.

Research provides new kidney cancer clues
In a collaborative project involving scientists from three continents, researchers have identified a gene that is mutated in one in three patients with the most common form of renal cancer.

Strong scientific peer review leads to better science and policy formation
The current Special Issue of Technology & Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, focuses on the history, process and practice of scientific peer review, with several articles aimed at assessing scientific peer review within the federal government and peer review's relationship to federal policy formation.

Study finds celiac patients can eat hydrolyzed wheat flour
Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients.

The Orion nebula: Still full of surprises
This ethereal-looking image of the Orion Nebula was captured using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile.

Khalifa Foundation grants MD Anderson $150 million for cancer research
The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation is granting $150 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to support genetic-analysis based research, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Finland initiates European biomedical research infrastructures construction with $6.7 million for 2011
Finland starts the implementation of European biomedical research infrastructures by investing in a national effort called Biomedinfra -- a joint effort linking to the EU level initiatives in developing biobanking, bioinformatics and translational research infrastructures.

Man, volcanoes and the sun have influenced Europe's climate over recent centuries
An international research team has discovered that seasonal temperatures in Europe, above all in winter, have been affected over the past 500 years by natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar activity, and by human activities such as the emission of greenhouse gases.

U of Alberta researcher working towards pharmacological targets for cholera
Just over a year after the earthquake in Haiti killed 222,000 people there's a new problem that is killing Haitians.

How does anesthesia disturb self-perception?
An Inserm research team in Toulouse, led by Dr. Stein Silva, working with the

Better learning through handwriting
The process of reading and writing involves a number of senses.

Survey reveals potential innovation gap in the US
The 2011 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, announced today, indicates that American women ages 16-25 possess many characteristics necessary to become inventors, yet they still do not see themselves as inventive.

Recycling everything the key to saving the planet
Recycling all the materials we use is the key to saving the Earth and humans from an apocalyptic future, according to a major new book by scientists at the University of East Anglia.

Scientists reveal complete structure of HIV's outer shell
A team of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the University of Virginia has determined the structure of the protein package that delivers the genetic material of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to human cells.

Roundworm unlocks pancreatic cancer pathway
In a study published today in the Cell Press journal Developmental Cell, a team of researchers led by Channing Der, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at UNC-Chapel Hill, took a step back to a simpler organism -- a common roundworm -- and made a discovery about how the Ras oncogene chooses a signaling pathway and how the consequences of that choice play out in cellular development -- a key issue in cancer, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.

Neiker-Tecnalia makes progress in detection and prevention of infection by visna maedi virus
Researchers at Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development) have undertaken a study on the epidemiology and diagnosis of infection by visna/maedi virus.

Predicting political hotspots: Professors' global model forecasts civil unrest against governments
Two Kansas State University professors developed a model predicting which countries will likely experience an escalation in domestic political violence against their governments within the next five years.

Case Western Reserve and Athersys show regenerative benefit of MultiStem after spinal cord injury
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Athersys Inc.

Parental divorce linked to suicidal thoughts
Adult children of divorce are more likely to have seriously considered suicide than their peers from intact families, suggests new research from the University of Toronto.

Pitt study: End-of-life decisions take longer if patient hasn't shared wishes with family
Family caregivers who had not discussed life support measures with critically ill patients took nearly two weeks longer to decide to forgo further medical intervention than those who had prior conversations about the issues, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health.

Migraines and headaches present no risk to cognitive function
Significant and repetitive headaches are associated with a greater prevalence of small lesions in the brain, which are detectable by MRI imaging.

Health-care systems not using best evidence in decision-making
Health-care systems around the world are failing to use evidence obtained through research when making decisions, causing inefficiencies and reduced quantity and quality of life, according to a leading expert in the field of

Challenging the limits of learning
Most theoretical linguists argue that people have little more than a

Creating simplicity: How music fools the ear
What makes music beautiful? The best compositions transcend culture and time -- but what is the commonality which underscores their appeal?

MU research on teacher retirement systems timely for reform efforts
A number of states are trying to deal with huge unfunded pension liabilities that threaten to absorb large shares of K-12 education budgets.

How much sex is enough?
Society has long debated the contrasting advantages of monogamy and promiscuity and, in Western society at least, the long-term benefits of monogamy have in general won out.

Hotspots tamed by BEAST
The secrets behind the mysterious nano-sized electromagnetic

Bedbug genetic study finds possible pesticide-resistance genes
Entomologists have conducted the first genetic study of bedbugs, paving the road to the identification of potential genes associated with pesticide resistance and possible new control methods for the troublesome insect, whose sudden resurgence in the United States has led to a public health scare.

Toward controlling fungus that caused Irish potato famine
Scientists are reporting a key advance toward development of a way to combat the terrible plant diseases that caused the Irish potato famine and still inflict billions of dollars of damage to crops each year around the world.

Stroke rate rises for patients with HIV infection
While the overall hospitalization rate for stroke has declined in recent years, the numbers have jumped dramatically for patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus, suggesting they may be up to three times more likely to suffer a stroke than people uninfected by the virus that causes AIDS.

Coronary imaging enhances ability to identify plaques likely to cause future heart disease
Results from the PROSPECT clinical trial shed new light on the types of vulnerable plaque that are most likely to cause sudden, unexpected adverse cardiac events, and on the ability to identify them through imaging techniques before they occur.

40-year-old test procedure finds modern niche in developing new medicines
The blood test procedure used on newborn infants for 40 years is finding a second life in the search for new lifesaving medications, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

US Office of Naval Research achieves milestone
Scientists at Los Alamos National Lab, N.M., have achieved a remarkable breakthrough with the Office of Naval Research's Free Electron Laser (FEL) program, demonstrating an injector capable of producing the electrons needed to generate megawatt-class laser beams for the Navy's next-generation weapon system.

Researchers discover giant crayfish species right under their noses
Two aquatic biologists have proven that you don't have to travel to exotic locales to search for unusual new species.

Malaria parasite caught red-handed invading blood cells
Australian scientists using new image and cell technologies have for the first time caught malaria parasites in the act of invading red blood cells.

Internet-based rehab is a viable treatment option following knee surgery
Knee replacement patients undergoing telerehabilitation -- a unique Internet-based postoperative rehabilitation program that can be conducted from the patient's home -- experience the same results as patients who undergo traditional postoperative rehabilitation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Girls who are bullied are at risk for substance use through depression
Bullying is a serious problem among adolescents. Parents need to know the signs of bullying and related issues, such as depression and substance abuse.

University of Illinois study confirms glycerin as a feasible feedstuff for swine
An increased interest in biofuel production and a growing need to find cost-effective livestock feedstuff alternatives has led University of Illinois researchers to further evaluate the use of glycerin in swine diets.

Compliance with current guidelines might result in more patients dying of multi-drug-resistant pneumonia in intensive care units
Adhering to the current guideline recommendations for the treatment of intensive-care patients at risk of infection with multi-drug-resistant pneumonia might be associated with an increased risk of death.

Does our DNA determine how well we respond to stem-cell transplantation?
Do genetic variations in DNA determine the outcome and success in patients who undergo stem-cell transplantation to treat blood cancers and predict complications?

Strategic financial planning is ACS Webinars topic for scientists and chemical professionals
Financial planning for scientific professionals is the topic of the next in a series of American Chemical Society Webinars for scientists and chemical professionals.

NC State research tests winter cover crops, soil health on organic farms
North Carolina State University soil scientists have received $700,000 from the US Department of Agriculture to examine how winter cover crops on organic farms can make the soil healthier to help organic farming meet increased demand from consumers.

New European collaboration on cancer research
Europe's leading oncology organizations are combining forces in the global fight against cancer.

Small molecules may prevent ebola infection
University of Illinois at Chicago scientists report they've discovered small molecules that appear to bind to the outer protein coat of the Ebola virus, possibly blocking the virus from entering human cells.

A second language gives toddlers an edge
Toddlers who learn a second language from infancy have an edge over their monolingual peers, according to a new study from Concordia University and York University in Canada and the Université de Provence in France.

Study suggests possible new treatment for severe 2009 H1N1 infection
Convalescent plasma therapy -- using plasma from patients who have recovered from an infection to treat those with the same infection -- has been used to treat multiple diseases.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles joins Autism Treatment Network
Following a competitive application process, Michele D. Kipke, PhD, Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, was awarded a $420,000 grant which will allow the hospital to become part of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) as an ATN Center of Clinical Excellence.

Putting the dead to work for conservation biology
Conservation paleobiologists -- scientists who use the fossil record to understand the evolutionary and ecological responses of present-day species to changes in their environment -- are putting the dead to work.

Like humans, amoebae pack a lunch before they travel
Some amoebae do what many people do. Before they travel, they pack a lunch.

Science Translational Medicine: 'Creating Hope Act' incentivizes pediatric drug R&D
Recent legislative and regulatory actions make great strides toward establishing much needed incentives for pharmaceutical companies and others to develop and test more medications for pediatric rare diseases, including pediatric cancers, according to commentary by experts from Children's National Medical Center.

HIV-positive head and neck cancer patients benefit from radiation therapy
HIV-positive head and neck cancer patients respond well to radiation therapy treatments and experience similar toxicity rates as non-HIV-positive patients, despite prior reports to the contrary, according to a study in the January issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, an official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

PNNL recognized for technology transfer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been given three awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for bringing lab-developed technologies to the marketplace.

Advance could speed use of genetic material RNA in nanotechnology
Scientists are reporting an advance in overcoming a major barrier to the use of the genetic material RNA in nanotechnology -- the field that involves building machines thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair and now is dominated by its cousin, DNA.

Triblock spheres provide a simple path to complex structures
University of Illinois materials scientists have developed a simple, generalizable technique to fabricate complex structures that assemble themselves.

Data matrix codes used to catalogue archaeological heritage
The research team at the Centre for the Studies of Archaeological and Prehistoric Heritage (CEPAP) of Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have implemented an innovative system to register archaeological artifacts which eliminates problems in manual markings, such as errors in writing or erosion of data.

Wayne State University study predicts risk of memory loss in healthy, older adults
The combined results of a genetic blood test and a five-minute functional MRI done by Wayne State University researchers successfully classified more than three-quarters of healthy older adults, many of whom were destined to develop cognitive decline within 18 months of testing.

Biological clock ticks slower for female birds who choose good mates
In birds as in humans, female fertility declines with age.

Converting 2-D photo into 3-D face for security applications and forensics
It is possible to construct a 3-D face from flat 2-D images, according to research published in the International Journal of Biometrics this month.

Sea-level researchers win major funding
A major Southampton-led consortium project to study past and possible future sea-level rise has received a major grant award of £3.3 million ($5.3 million) over five years from the UK's Natural Environment Research Council.

Expo '67 -- not just a souvenir
Groovy hostess uniforms, exotic food, cutting edge design and architecture, multimedia exhibitions.

Do birth control pills cause weight gain? New research says no
According to research conducted at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University, the commonly held belief that oral contraceptives cause weight gain appears to be false.

A mathematical model for moving bottlenecks in road traffic
Vehicular traffic flow has been tackled by mathematicians, engineers and physicists alike.

New mortgage design would minimize home foreclosures
With mortgage loan defaults on the rise yet again, two mortgage researchers are proposing a new type of mortgage contract that automatically resets the balance and the monthly payment based on the mortgaged home's market value.

New reactor paves the way for efficiently producing fuel from sunlight
Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future.

Research provides new kidney cancer clues
Researchers have identified a gene that is mutated in one in three patients with the most common form of renal cancer.

Spike reported in number of people with HIV having a stroke
New research suggests that people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be up to three times more likely to have a stroke compared to those not affected with HIV.

Quality improvement intervention for ICUs results in increased use of evidence-based care practices
A multifaceted quality improvement intervention that included education, reminders and feedback through a collaborative telecommunication network improved the adoption of evidenced-based care practices in intensive care units at community hospitals for practices such as preventing catheter-related bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia, according to a study that will appear in the Jan.

New Pediatrics study identifies the risks, consequences of video game addiction
A new study by an international research team and published this week in Pediatrics found further evidence that video game

Speaker series highlights the role of animals in human culture
Animals are food, but they are also companions. They are beasts of burden but they also inspire poets and painters.

American Physical Society announces Physical Review X
Physical Review X (PRX), a new, online, open-access, primary research journal for authors in all fields of physics will call for submissions in March 2011, and begin publishing in the fall.

MIT scientists discover cancer-fighting role for cells
MIT scientists have discovered that cells lining the blood vessels secrete molecules that suppress tumor growth and keep cancer cells from invading other tissues, a finding that could lead to a new way to treat cancer.

Couples sometimes communicate no better than strangers
Married people may think they communicate well with their partners, but psychologists have found that they don't always convey messages to their loved ones as well as they think -- and in some cases, the spouses communicate no better than strangers.

Students are more likely to retake the SAT if their score ends with '90'
High school students are more likely to retake the SAT if they score just below a round number, such as 1290, than if they score just above it.

Killer paper for next-generation food packaging
Scientists are reporting development and successful lab tests of

OSC, Nationwide Children's use supercomputers to speed diagnoses
Working from an agreement inked last year to collaborate on informatics services, the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital have begun offering a production environment, services and support to speed discovery techniques of childhood diseases, from pediatric cancers to muscular dystrophy.

Cancer scientists discover genetic diversity in leukemic propagating cells
Cancer scientists led by Dr. John Dick at the Ontario Cancer Institute and collaborators at St.

UCSF team views genome as it turns on and off inside cells
UCSF researchers have developed a new approach to decoding the vast information embedded in an organism's genome, while shedding light on exactly how cells interpret their genetic material to create RNA messages and launch new processes in the cell.

Mathematical model explains how complex societies emerge, collapse
The instability of large, complex societies is a predictable phenomenon, according to a new mathematical model that explores the emergence of early human societies via warfare.

Illinois income tax increase a missed opportunity for tax reform
University of Illinois law professor Richard L. Kaplan, an expert on taxation and retirement issues, says the state of Illinois has a seriously outmoded tax structure that's in dire need of reform.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Articles in the journals of the American Society for Microbiology include

A nanoscale rope, and another step toward complex nanomaterials that assemble themselves
Berkeley Lab scientists have coaxed polymers to braid themselves into wispy nanoscale ropes that approach the structural complexity of biological materials.

Speeding up Mother Nature's very own CO2 mitigation process
Using seawater and calcium to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) in a natural gas power plant's flue stream, and then pumping the resulting calcium bicarbonate in the sea, could be beneficial to the oceans' marine life.

University of Maryland shares NSF grant to study urban development impact
The University of Maryland will share part of a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationships of land use, climate and ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Start of the Ulm Helmholtz Institute
Development of efficient battery systems for future energy supply and mobility is the objective of the Ulm Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage.

Malignant brain tumors: Benefit of PET and PET/CT in the detection of recurrences is not assessable
Malignant gliomas are fast-growing brain tumors with poor prospects of recovery depending on disease stage.

Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network expands to 17 sites in North America
Autism Speaks, North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization, announces expansion of its Autism Treatment Network (ATN) to include 17 US and Canadian hospitals and academic medical centers.

Molecular battle in cancer cells offers clues for treatment
Researchers investigating a genetic mutation in brain cancer and leukemia patients have discovered how one cancer metabolite battles another normal metabolite to contribute cancer development.

VIMS team glides into polar research
Researchers with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have set two Antarctic firsts by successfully deploying an underwater glider at 77° south and diving it beneath the Ross Ice Shelf.

No longer just a spectator, silicon oxide gets into the electronics action on computer chips
Scientists are documenting that one fundamental component of computer chips, long regarded as a passive bystander, can actually be made to act like a switch.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announces new AAAS Fellows
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center investigators Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., and Cornelius P.

Unfolding pathogenesis in Parkinson's
The misfolding of abnormal proteins in brain cells is a key element in Parkinson's disease development. 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