Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 21, 2011
6,000-year climate record suggests longer droughts, drier climate for Pacific Northwest
Pitt-led researchers extracted a 6,000-year climate record from a Washington state lake showing that the American Pacific Northwest could not only be in for longer dry seasons, but also is unlikely to see a period as wet as the 20th century any time soon and will likely suffer severe water shortages.

Elsevier / MEDai and dbMotion partner to deliver powerful health analytics solutions
Elsevier / MEDai, a leading health information company with award-winning solutions for the improvement of care delivery, and dbMotion, an innovative provider of connected healthcare solutions, today announced they have formed a partnership to deliver robust health analytics solutions to both the health care payer and provider markets.

Patient education helps earlier detection of skin lesions after kidney transplant
Sharing printed educational materials about the risk of squamous cell carcinoma with kidney transplant recipients appeared to be effective at increasing skin self-examination and encouraging follow-up with a dermatologist to determine risk of cancer, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Plenary speech by HHMI professor highlights efforts of scientist-educators
HHMI professor Graham Walker will talk about running a science education research group and developing resources for MIT and the larger education community in a AAAS plenary talk.

Chemical compounds in trees can fight deadly staph infections in humans
A University of Missouri research team has found an antibiotic in the Eastern Red Cedar tree that is effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a

Study shows rapamycin reverses myocardial defects in mouse model of LEOPARD syndrome
A new study showing that the mTOR inhibitor drug rapamycin can reverse cardiac muscle damage in a mouse model of LEOPARD syndrome not only identifies the first possible medical treatment for this rare condition, but also demonstrates the importance of targeted therapies in managing congenital heart disease.

The Catholic mission in the Inca Empire lacked responsible Church leadership
The Catholic mission in the former Inca Empire lacked responsible and effective Church leadership.

High cholesterol and blood pressure in middle age tied to early memory problems
Middle-age men and women who have cardiovascular issues, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, may not only be at risk for heart disease, but for an increased risk of developing early cognitive and memory problems as well.

£7M ($11.3M) for public wheat pre-breeding program announced
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has today announced a £7 million ($11.3 million) grant to a consortium of researchers to increase the diversity of traits available in wheat via a comprehensive pre-breeding program -- the first of its kind in the UK in over 20 years.

Cancer-related pathways reveal potential treatment target for congenital heart disease
Cross-disciplinary teams of scientists studying genetic pathways that are mutated in many forms of cancer, but which also cause certain forms of congenital heart disease - including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that is the leading cause of sudden death in children and young adults, have introduced these mutations into mice and successfully treated HCM in the lab.

Reprogrammed stem cells hit a roadblock
Is there a future for stem cell therapies that don't use embryonic stem cells?

Common congenital defect a prickly problem for the kidney
One of the most common congenital defects in humans is a kidney abnormality known as hydronephrosis.

Why chemotherapy causes more infertility in women than in men
For a long time a relationship between infertility and chemotherapeutic agents has been assumed.

Cold winters mean more pollution
Differences in air pressure over the North Atlantic have meant that the last two winters in Gothenburg, Sweden, have been extremely cold.

Antifungal compound found on tropical seaweed has promising antimalarial properties
A group of chemical compounds used by a species of tropical seaweed to ward off fungus attacks may have promising antimalarial properties for humans.

Men attend childbirth classes for partner's sake
Although their involvement is very different, childbirth is an important shared experience for the first-time father and his partner, yet men generally attend childbirth classes only for their partner's sake, reveals research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Elsevier and the Arabidopsis Information Resource connect research articles
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and TAIR -- The Arabidopsis Information Resource, announce their next step in interconnecting the diverse elements of scientific research.

Top-tier work earns UH biologist prestigious Humboldt Prize
With work potentially impacting such things as advances in medicine and more sustainable food production down the line, University of Houston biologist Dan Graur does top-tier work in evolution and genomics.

Community oncology: Ensuring the best standards of care
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a devastating experience. Still under the shock of the bad news, patients must make choices including who to turn to for advice and treatment, with the possibility to choose among comprehensive cancer centers, university hospitals or community oncology hospitals.

Canadian Cardiovascular Society and Elsevier publish issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology
Elsevier and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society announce the publication of the January/February 2011 issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, the first in their partnership.

Pollution with antibiotics leads to resistant bacteria
Many of the substances in our most common medicines are manufactured in India.

Simple spit and blood tests might detect burnout before it happens
Your blood and the level of a hormone in your spit could reveal if you're on the point of burnout, according to research undertaken by Dr.

Who can drive after a stroke? Tests can help decide
Many people want to keep driving after having a stroke, and many can do so safely.

Climate change affecting food safety
Climate change is already having an effect on the safety of the world's food supplies and unless action is taken it's only going to get worse, a Michigan State University professor told a symposium at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Carbon sink at South Pole has grown recently, historical collections reveal
By studying collections of a marine bryozoan that date back to a famous 1901 expedition to the South Pole, researchers have found that those organisms were growing steadily up until 1990, when their growth more than doubled.

AAAS news briefs from UC Davis
UC Davis will present at AAAS this week on these topics: Greenhouse gases in fuels; predatory arms races; agricultural nitrogen; celestial superconductors; ocean invaders; making energy from manure; mosquito repellents.

Applied physicists discover that migrating cells flow like glass
By studying cellular movements at the level of both the individual cell and the collective group, applied physicists have discovered that migrating tissues flow very much like colloidal glass.

Datong, provider of drug decision support products in China, is acquired by Elsevier
Elsevier, the leading global publisher of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, announced today the acquisition of Shanghai Datong Medical Information Technology Co., Ltd., a leading drug decision support provider in China.

Bone-anchored hearing aids appear beneficial for hearing-impaired children
Bone-anchored hearing aids appear helpful in improving hearing and quality of life in children with hearing loss in one or both ears, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

First harmful algal bloom species genome sequenced
The microscopic phytoplankton Aureococcus anophagefferens, which causes devastating brown tides, may be tiny but it's a fierce competitor.

Study shows tobacco retail proximity to schools
For years the tobacco industry has argued that efforts to ban tobacco advertising near schools would constitute a total ban on tobacco advertising in urban areas.

The difference in workers' contracts is one of the main causes of unemployment
La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has participated in research that analyzes the causes of the greater increase in unemployment in Spain as compared to the level registered in other countries with similar labor regulations.

Plankton key to origin of Earth's first breathable atmosphere
Researchers studying the origin of Earth's first breathable atmosphere have zeroed in on the major role played by some very unassuming creatures: plankton.

Champlin earns Transplant Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
The American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation has honored leader, innovator and educator Richard Champlin, M.D., with its Lifetime Achievement Award during the group's annual meeting Feb.

Careful cleaning of children's skin wounds key to healing, regardless of antibiotic choice
When it comes to curing skin infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), timely and proper wound cleaning and draining may be more important than the choice of antibiotic, according to a new Johns Hopkins Children's Center study.

Coral'network' can protect Asia-Pac fish stocks
Research by Dr. Johnathan Kool of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, and his colleagues, has established that the richest marine region on Earth -- the Coral Triangle between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines -- depends vitally for its diversity and resilience on coral and fish larvae swept in from the South China Sea and Solomon Islands.

Fish provide missing piece in the marine sediment jigsaw
Research has revealed that fine carbonate sediment found in the ocean is produced in the intestines of fish.

Pollution tax rebates little help for low-income workers
Finance professor Don Fullerton says using revenue from pollution taxes to lessen its regressiveness on low-wage workers is not enough to offset higher commodity prices and shrunken real wages.

Brown tide culprit sequenced: Genome of the first of algal bloom species
Some algal species can bloom and discolor coastal waters and reduce the amount of light and oxygen available in the ecosystem.

JCI table of contents: Feb. 21, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for papers to be published Feb.

Lesbian moms vulnerable when abused, reluctant to seek help
Lesbian moms who are experiencing intimate partner violence are often reluctant to seek help for fear of losing custody of their children, said two University of Illinois professors.

Cross-disciplinary research could mean more effective military interventions
Several academic disciplines study how to achieve success in military interventions in internal wars, not least peace studies and war studies.

Extramural exposure leads to more varied use of English by 16-year-olds
Pupils who devote much of their spare time to activities involving exposure to English, such as computer games and films, are thought to vary their use of language more in their written work than pupils with less extramural exposure to English, reveals a licentiate thesis, focusing on educational science, from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Famed neurosurgeon's century-old notes reveal 'modern' style admission of medical error
The current focus on medical errors isn't quite as new as it seems.

Sustainability solutions need the power of networks
The choices an individual makes about environmental issues are affected by family, friends and others in a person's social network.

Gastric bypass surgery associated with improved health outcomes
Gastric bypass surgery appears to lead to better long-term results including greater weight loss, resolution of diabetes and improved quality of life compared with sleeve gastrectomy and

Smallest magnetic field sensor in the world
Further development of modern information technology requires computer capacities of increased efficiency at reasonable costs.

New quadruple therapy regimen more effective at eliminating Helicobacter pylori infection
In a study published online first by the Lancet, researchers show that 10 days of quadruple therapy with omeprazole plus a single three-in-one capsule containing bismuth subcitrate potassium, metronidazole, and tetracycline (quadruple therapy) is better than the standard 7 day treatment regimen of omeprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin in adults with H. pylori infection.

Shellshock: New report lists 25 most endangered turtle species
report issued today, co-authored by the Wildlife Conservation Society working in conjunction with the Turtle Conservation Coalition, lists the 25 most endangered turtle species from around the world -- some of which currently number less than five individuals.

Influence of skin cancer on quality of life appears more substantial for women
Women seem to experience more health-related quality of life issues than men for up to 10 years following a diagnosis of the skin cancer melanoma, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Scientists to sequence DNA of cystic fibrosis superbug
Scientists at the University of Liverpool are using the latest DNA sequencing technology to understand the diversity of a bacterium that causes severe lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients.

Hearing impairment common, perhaps preventable, chronic disease among middle-aged adults
Several factors may be associated with hearing impairment in middle-aged adults, including cardiovascular disease risks, being male and having a noisy job, according to a report published online first in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Protein fuels inflammation in pancreatic and breast tumors
Separate studies published online on Feb. 21 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine identify a protein that drives tumor-promoting inflammation in pancreatic and breast tumors.

Pathway transforms normal cells into aggressive tumors
A biological pathway that transforms normal cells into aggressive tumors has been discovered by researchers at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute.

Increasing triglyceride levels linked to greater stroke risk
A study by researchers in Denmark revealed that increasing levels of non-fasting triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke in men and women.

Texas-bound: Fungus keeps Texas leaf-cutter ants from spreading
Leaf-cutter ants are reliant on the fungus Attamyces, which they cultivate in subterranean gardens.

New study illustrates shifting biomes in Alaska
A new study released today in the EarlyView of Ecology Letters addresses forest productivity trends in Alaska, highlighting a shift in biomes caused by a warming climate.

Polygamy hurt 19th century Mormon wives' evolutionary fitness
Polygamy practiced by some 19th century Mormon men had the curious effect of suppressing the overall offspring numbers of Mormon women in plural marriages, say scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions in the March 2011 issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.

Black History Month's sobering news: MLK dream alive for few, says researcher
Martin Luther King's dream of the day when

Hard for the catering sector to be environmentally sustainable
Purchasers and procurers in the catering sector are experiencing conflicting messages from the authorities -- increasing the proportion of organic products they use, as instructed, clashes with their need to keep within budget and be financially sustainable, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg.

Society may be willing to pay a high price to prevent child abuse and neglect, study suggests
The amount the public will pay to prevent the death of a child may be twice that of an adult, according to a new University of Georgia study.

$1.9 million NIH grant supports research in the most common soft tissue tumor in children
A nearly $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will help investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital search for biomarkers that may be linked to the development and outcome of hemangiomas, the most common soft tissue tumor in children.

Surgery sooner rather than later better for children with perforated appendicitis
For children with a perforated appendix, early appendectomy appears to reduce the time away from normal activities and has fewer adverse events as compared to another common option, the interval appendectomy, which is performed several weeks after diagnosis, according to a report published online first in the Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Parenting stress affects new mothers' postpartum lifestyle
Post-pregnancy excess weight is likely caused by the impact of new parenthood stress on physical activity, Georgia Health Sciences University researchers say.

The hunt for deadly pathogens
The causes of dreaded diseases such as Cholera, Anthrax, Rabies and AIDS are the main focus of a symposium at the German Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research. 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