Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 09, 2011
Abnormal neural activity recorded from the deep brain of Parkinson's disease and dystonia patients
An international joint research team led by Professor Toru Itakura and Assistant Professor Hiroki Nishibayashi from Wakayama Medical University, Japan, Professor Atsushi Nambu from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan, succeeded, for the first time, in recording cortically induced neural activity of the basal ganglia in patients with Parkinson's disease and dystonia during stereotaxic neurosurgery for the deep brain stimulation.

Web-crawling the brain
Researchers have created a three-dimensional nanoscale model of a neural circuit using electron microscopy.

New molecular robot can be programmed to follow instructions
Scientists have developed a programmable

MBARI and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to study effects of shipping containers lost at sea
Each year, an estimated 10,000 shipping containers fall off container ships at sea.

University of Illinois partners in $9.6 million grant to bolster food security in India
In parts of India, living on less than $1.25 per day per capita is a harsh reality.

Researchers in France and Austria find novel role for calcium channels in pacemaker cell function
Pacemaker cells in the sinoatrial node control heart rate, but what controls the ticking of these pacemaker cells?

New study proves the brain has 3 layers of working memory
Researchers from Rice University and Georgia Institute of Technology have found support for the theory that the brain has three concentric layers of working memory where it stores readily available items.

Researchers selectively control anxiety pathways in the brain
A new study sheds light -- both literally and figuratively -- on the intricate brain cell connections responsible for anxiety.

Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than same-age counterparts in England
Researchers announced today in the American Journal of Epidemiology that despite the high level of spending on health care in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages.

BMC doctor recognized by World Health Organization for pulse oximetry training video
Rafael Ortega, M.D., an anesthesiologist at Boston Medical Center and vice-chairman of academic affairs at Boston University School of Medicine, received a Letter of Commendation from the World Health Organization for producing a training video on pulse oximetry.

An advance toward blood transfusions that require no typing
Scientists are reporting an

Researchers identify new biomarker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow disease
Neena Singh, MD, PhD and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), a universally fatal, degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. sCJD is one of the causes of dementia and typically leads to death within a year of disease onset.

Barrow researcher launches depression study
A top medical researcher at Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

Passive smoking increases risk to unborn babies, study says
Pregnant non-smokers who breathe in the second-hand smoke of other people are at an increased risk of delivering stillborn babies or babies with defects, a study led by researchers at The University of Nottingham has found.

Missing DNA makes us human
Chimpanzees and humans are minimally different genetically, but the small differences are what make us human, according to a team of researchers who identified segments of non-coding DNA missing in humans that exist in chimpanzees and other animals.

Study: Negative classroom environment adversely affects children's mental health
Children in classrooms with inadequate material resources and children whose teachers feel they are not respected by colleagues exhibit more mental health problems than students in classrooms without these issues, finds a new study in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Pinpointing air pollution's effects on the heart
Scientists are untangling how the tiniest pollution particles -- which we take in with every breath we breathe -- affect our health, making people more vulnerable to cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

Sunlight can influence the breakdown of medicines in the body
A study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has shown that the body's ability to break down medicines may be closely related to exposure to sunlight, and thus may vary with the seasons.

New mouse models generated for MYH9 genetic disorders
Researchers have created the first mouse models of human MYH9 genetic disorders, which cause several problems -- including enlarged platelets and sometimes fatal kidney disease.

Researchers develop synthetic compound that may lead to drugs to fight pancreatic, lung cancer
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a chemical compound that may eventually lead to a drug that fights cancers that are dependent on a particular anti-viral enzyme for growth.

Battling the bedbug epidemic
Mom's comforting tuck-them-in-words --

Missing DNA helps make us human
Specific traits that distinguish humans from their closest living relatives -- chimpanzees, with whom we share 96 percent of our DNA -- can be attributed to the loss of chunks of DNA that control when and where certain genes are turned on.

Rensselaer professor utilizing New York state grant to study adult stem cells
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Deanna Thompson is utilizing more than $300,000 in New York state funding as part of the state stem cell research program, NYSTEM, to study adult neural stem cells.

Researchers find smoking may increase risk for lung disease
A team of researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that approximately one out of every twelve adult smokers have abnormal lung densities present on chest computed tomography images suggestive of interstitial lung disease which is associated with substantial reductions in lung volumes.

Rutgers researchers identify materials that may deliver more 'bounce'
Rutgers researchers have identified a class of high-strength metal alloys that show potential to make springs, sensors and switches smaller and more responsive.

'Singing' mice -- the ongoing debate of nature vs. nurture
What happened to being

EU tariffs obstacle to trade with the rest of the world
Tariffs have a major negative impact on imports of food products to the EU.

High-volume portable music players may impair ability to clearly discriminate sounds
The study was a collaboration between Drs. Hidehiko Okamoto and Ryusuke Kakigi from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan, and Drs.

Gene fusion mechanisms offer new clues to origin of pediatric brain tumors
A detailed analysis of gene fusions present at high frequency in the most common pediatric brain tumors has been performed for the first time in a study published online today in Genome Research, shedding new light on how these genomic rearrangements form in the early stages of cancer.

Learning to see consciously
Our brains process many more stimuli than we become aware of.

How do people respond to being touched by a robot?
In an initial study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot's intent made a significant difference.

NASA and other satellites keeping busy with this week's severe weather
Satellites have been busy this week covering severe weather across the US.

Young Caltech engineers recognized for innovative work in disease diagnostic technologies
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) graduate student Guoan Zheng is the recipient of the 2011 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Caltech Student Prize.

International panel revises 'McDonald Criteria' for diagnosing multiple sclerosis
An international panel has revised and simplified the

Giving children the power to be scientists
Children who are taught how to think and act like scientists develop a clearer understanding of the subject, a study has shown.

Novel method could improve the performance of proteins used therapeutically
Whitehead Institute scientists have created a method that site-specifically modifies proteins to exert control over their properties when administered therapeutically.

Stanford scientists discover anti-anxiety circuit in brain region considered the seat of fear
Stimulation of a distinct brain circuit that lies within a brain structure typically associated with fearfulness produces the opposite effect: Its activity, instead of triggering or increasing anxiety, counters it.

Alcohol abuse history influences quality of life following liver transplant
A history of alcohol abuse significantly impacts quality of life for patients after liver transplant, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

New UF study shows some sharks follow 'mental map' to navigate seas
A new study led by a University of Florida researcher uses tracking data of three shark species to provide the first evidence some of the fish swim directly to targeted locations.

New ultra-long-acting insulin improves glucose control even when injected just 3 times a week instead of daily
A study assessing a new longer-acting form of insulin -- degludec -- has shown that when given once daily it is as effective at controlling blood sugar as existing insulin glargine injections but with lower rates of hypoglycemia.

Banana peels get a second life as water purifier
To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals.

Combating cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus
US Department of Agriculture scientists are working to give melon growers some relief from cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus, or CYSDV.

Which side of the brain rotates a mental picture?
Consider the simple situation in which you are walking around the kitchen and decide to pick up your own cup of tea, which is identical to others lying on the table.

Baby stars born to 'napping' parents
Cardiff University astronomers believe that a young star's long

Saving lives at birth: A grand challenge for development
On March 9,

March 14-15 Conference on Aging in Asia to be held in New Delhi
The portion of India's population age 65 or older will more than triple between 2000 and 2050.

MIT scientists identify new H1N1 mutation that could allow virus to spread more easily
In a new study from MIT, researchers have identified a single mutation in the H1N1 genetic makeup that would allow it to be much more easily transmitted between people.

Boston Medical Center to receive $245,000 grant from Attorney General Martha Coakley
Boston Medical Center has been selected as one of seven recipients to share a $1.5 million grant from the Attorney General's office to promote preventive care and reduce health care disparities in Massachusetts.

Student innovator at Rensselaer uses sound waves, T-rays for safer detection of bombs
Benjamin Clough is dedicated to making the world a safer place for emergency first responders, police and military personnel, chemical plant employees, and many others.

Differences in mammalian brain structure and genitalia linked to specific DNA regions in new study
Humans are clearly different from chimpanzees. The question is, why?

Physicists measure current-induced torque in nonvolatile magnetic memory devices
Tomorrow's nonvolatile memory devices -- computer memory that can retain stored information even when not powered -- will profoundly change electronics, and Cornell University researchers have discovered a new way of measuring and optimizing their performance.

New biomarker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease found, the human form of mad cow disease
Neena Singh, MD, PhD and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), a universally fatal, degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. sCJD is one of the causes of dementia and typically leads to death within a year of disease onset.

Inaugural Herbert A. Fleisch ESCEO-IOF Medal is awarded to Professor Gerard Karsenty
The European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis and the International Osteoporosis Foundation have announced that Professor Gerard Karsenty of the Columbia University Medical Center is to be awarded the first Herbert A.

Researchers identify new form of muscular dystrophy
A strong international collaboration and a single patient with mild muscle disease and severe cognitive impairment have allowed University of Iowa researchers to identify a new gene mutation that causes muscular dystrophy.

Tiny gems take big step toward battling cancer
Northwestern University researchers are members of a multidisciplinary team that is the first to demonstrate the significance and translational potential of nanodiamonds in the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers.

New microscope decodes complex eye circuitry
The sensory cells in the retina of the mammalian eye convert light stimuli into electrical signals and transmit them via downstream interneurons to the retinal ganglion cells which, in turn, forward them to the brain.

The most distant mature galaxy cluster
Astronomers have used an armada of telescopes on the ground and in space, including the Very Large Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile to discover and measure the distance to the most remote mature cluster of galaxies yet found.

New lupus drug results from Scripps Research technology
Scientific advances at the Scripps Research Institute were key to laying the foundation for the new drug Benlysta (belimumab), approved today by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Myth of the Egyptian 'girly man'; questions on recent Egyptian revolt
An unexpected side-effect of British occupation of Egypt at the turn of the 20th Century might have led to its undoing.

Protein study helps shape understanding of body forms
Scientists have shed light on why some people are apple-shaped and others are pear-shaped.

Drug use increasingly associated with microbial infections
Illicit drug users are at increased risk of being exposed to microbial pathogens and are more susceptible to serious infections say physicians writing in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Aspirin's ability to protect against colorectal cancer may depend on inflammatory pathways
The reduced risk of colorectal cancer associated with taking aspirin or other NSAIDs may be confined to individuals already at risk because of elevations in a particular inflammatory factor in the blood.

A new look at the adolescent brain: It's not all emotional chaos
Adolescence is often described as a tumultuous time, where heightened reactivity and impulsivity lead to negative behaviors like substance abuse and unsafe sexual activity.

First international index developed to predict suicidal behavior
Although thousands of people commit suicide worldwide each year, researchers and doctors do not have any method for evaluating a person's likelihood of thinking about or trying to commit suicide.

Study illuminates role of cerebrospinal fluid in brain stem cell development
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid found in and around the brain and spinal cord, may play a larger role in the developing brain than previously thought, according to researchers at Children's Hospital Boston.

Cerebral spinal fluid guides stem cell development in the brain
New studies by HHMI researchers show that cerebral spinal fluid contains a potent mix of substances that nourishes and rejuvenates brain cells.

Deep brain stimulation research expands at Barrow
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Barrow Neurological Institute has received a $10.1 million donation, the largest single gift in the organization's history and one of the biggest ever given to any Arizona hospital.

Pollution forms an invisible barrier for marine life
Researchers examined the genetic structure of a common, non-harvested sea star using a spatially explicit model to test whether the largest sewage discharge and urban runoff sources were affecting the genetic structure of this species.

How do we combine faces and voices?
Human social interactions are shaped by our ability to recognize people.

Synthetic biology: TUM researchers develop novel kind of fluorescent protein
Since the 1990s a green fluorescent protein known as GFP has been used in research labs worldwide.

Nottingham scientists identify trigger in cat allergy
A breakthrough by scientists at the University of Nottingham could provide hope for any allergy sufferers who have ever had to choose between their health and their household pet.

Study shows how plants sort and eliminate genes over millennia
Hybrid plants with multiple genome copies show evidence of preferential treatment of the genes from one ancient parent over the genes of the other parent, even to the point where some of the unfavored genes eventually are deleted.

NSF grant for infrared imaging in pit vipers
Sciences Michael Grace has earned a three-year, $369,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his work on the mechanisms of infrared imaging in pit vipers, pythons and boas.

When leukemia returns, gene that mediates response to key drug often mutated
Despite dramatically improved survival rates for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), relapse remains a leading cause of death from the disease.

Weed-eating fish 'key to reef survival'
Preserving an intact population of weed-eating fish may be vital to saving the world's coral reefs from being engulfed by weed as human and climate impacts grow.

U of M researchers using salmonella to fight cancer
University of Minnesota researchers are using salmonella -- the bacteria commonly transmitted through food that sickens thousands of US residents each year -- to do what was once unthinkable: help people.

New genetic deafness syndrome identified
Ten years ago, scientists seeking to understand how a certain type of feature on a cell called an L-type calcium channel worked created a knockout mouse missing both copies of the CACNA1D gene.

Alice Chen receives Lemelson-MIT student prize
Alice A. Chen, a biomedical engineer and graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, today received the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for her innovative applications of microtechnology to study human health and disease.

DOE JGI Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting set for March 22-24, 2011
The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute 6th Annual Meeting, which will feature genomics research in the fields of clean energy generation and the environment, is set to take place March 22-24, 2011, in at the Marriott in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Iowa State engineer studies damage caused by New Zealand earthquake
Iowa State's Sri Sritharan is just back from New Zealand where he studied buildings damaged by the Feb.

Reading in 2 colours at the same time
The Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman once wrote in his autobiographical book (What do you care what other people think?):

Newly identified spider toxin may help uncover novel ways of treating pain and human diseases
Spider venom toxins are useful tools for exploring how ion channels operate in the body.

Gene variant influences chronic kidney disease risk
A team of researchers from the United States and Europe has identified a single genetic mutation in the CUBN gene that is associated with albuminuria both with and without diabetes.

'GPS system' for protein synthesis in nerve cells gives clues for understanding brain disorders
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania explain how a class of RNA molecules is able to target the genetic building blocks that guide the functioning of a specific part of the nerve cell.

A-ha! The neural mechanisms of insight
Although it is quite common for a brief, unique experience to become part of our long-term memory, the underlying brain mechanisms associated with this type of learning are not well understood.

In the best youth football teams, the first team players develop their bodies more rapidly
A number of studies have been undertaken on top younger football players who had already demonstrated that the vigor, rapidity and ability to self-orient themselves and progress are the skills that characterize those who play in the best teams.

Redefining normal blood pressure
As many as 100 million Americans may currently be misclassified as having abnormal blood pressure, according to Dr.

In adolescence, the power to resist blooms in the brain
Just when children are faced with intensifying peer pressure to misbehave, regions of the brain are actually blossoming in a way that heighten the ability to resist risky behavior, report researchers at three West Coast institutions.

What's in a name? Broadening the biological lexicon to bolster translational research
So-called model organisms have long been at the core of biomedical research, allowing scientists to study the ins and outs of human disorders in non-human subjects.

More reasons to be nice: It's less work for everyone
A polite act shows respect. But a new study of a common etiquette -- holding a door for someone -- suggests that courtesy may have a more practical, though unconscious, shared motivation: to reduce the work for those involved.

Toward real time observation of electron dynamics in atoms and molecules
Another step has been taken in matter imaging. By using very short flashes of light produced by a technology developed at the national infrastructure Advanced Laser Light Source located at INRS University, researchers have obtained groundbreaking information on the electronic structure of atoms and molecules by observing for the first time ever electronic correlations using the method of high harmonic generation.

NIST electromechanical circuit sets record beating microscopic 'drum'
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have demonstrated an electromechanical circuit in which microwaves communicate with a vibrating mechanical component 1,000 times more vigorously than ever achieved before in similar experiments.

Elsevier announces the Anxiety and Depression: 21st Neuropharmacology Conference
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced that the Anxiety and Depression: 21st Neuropharmacology Annual Conference will take place in Tyson's Corner, Va., Nov.

UK doctors consistently oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide
A review of research carried out over 20 years suggests that UK doctors appear to consistently oppose euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Report: International collaboration between researchers results in greater recognition
US researchers who collaborate with international scientists are more likely to have their work cited than peers who do not utilize overseas expertise, according to a new study released this week by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Nation's top primary care physician organizations release guidelines for PCMH recognition programs
Four organizations representing more than 350,000 primary care physicians today released joint

SCOPE and Elsevier partner to publish Environmental Development
Elsevier, the world leading publisher of scientific information products and services, and SCOPE, the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, today formalized their collaboration to publish the new journal Environmental Development, to be launched in the final quarter of 2011. 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