Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 15, 2011
Miniature lasers could help launch new age of the Internet
A new laser device created at the University of Central Florida could make high-speed computing faster and more reliable, opening the door to a new age of the Internet.

Prozac reorganizes brain plasticity
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as Prozac are regularly used to treat severe anxiety and depression.

UCSF study predicts cholera epidemic in Haiti will far exceed UN projections
A new study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Harvard Medical School predicts that the cholera epidemic in Haiti this year will be far worse than United Nations' projections, which had estimated 400,000 cases of the diarrheal disease over the course of the epidemic.

Regions with higher rate of diagnoses have lower fatality rate for chronic conditions
An examination of data for more than 5 million Medicare beneficiaries finds that hospital regions that have a greater frequency of diagnoses have a lower case-fatality rate for chronic conditions such as coronary artery disease and kidney failure, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass
A US Department of Agriculture grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing.

Equity, not just economic growth, needed for child health in India
In this week's PLoS Medicine, K. Srinath Reddy from the Public Health Foundation of India discusses new research published last week by Malavika Subramanyam, S.

Modern Magellans: New NSF grant uses the power of the masses to map dark matter in the galaxy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute astronomer Heidi Newberg is using a new grant from the National Science Foundation to begin mapping the distribution of dark matter in our galaxy.

Current projections greatly underestimate impact of Haitian cholera epidemic
Current projections regarding the extent of the cholera epidemic in Haiti may greatly underestimate the eventual impact, according to a report in the Lancet.

An early age at first drink combined with stressful life events can lead to heavy drinking
Researchers believe that an early age at first drink (AFD) may lead to greater stress-induced drinking.

The relationship between body mass index and age at hepatocellular carcinoma onset
A research team from Japan identified factors associated with the age at onset of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Comparing profiles of learning and memory impairments in 2 groups of children
A new study has compared the verbal learning and memory performance of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) with that of children with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Potential new treatment to reduce the burden of atherosclerosis in acute coronary syndrome patients
The Montreal Heart Institute today announced the start of the Phase 2 CHI-SQUARE (Can HDL Infusions Significantly QUicken Atherosclerosis REgression?) study of CER-001 in patients with acute coronary syndrome, in collaboration with Cerenis Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel high-density lipoprotein therapies to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Inflammation behind heart valve disease
Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows, that a specific inflammatory factor may be important in the development of the heart valve disease aortic stenosis.

US health care reforms should use model developed by Queen's University professor
A model of health care developed by a Queen's University doctor should be studied and copied as a way to reform health care in the US The US is facing a problem of adding 40 million people to its health care system if President Obama's health care reforms are passed and Ontario's Family Health Team Model could help ease the burden.

Social class makes no difference to water contamination risk
Wealthy, well-educated people who choose to drink bottled water rather than water from public supplies may be no less exposed to potentially cancer-causing water contaminants, according to new research published in BioMed Central's open-access journal Environmental Health.

UCI jointly receives CDC grant to combat health care-associated staph infections
A UC Irvine infectious disease specialist will be part of a nationwide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research program to develop and test innovative approaches to reducing infection in health care settings.

20th anniversary of first laparoscopic nephrectomy
Since the first laparoscopic procedure was performed to remove a diseased kidney 20 years ago at Washington University in St.

Poorly presented risk statistics could misinform health decisions
Choosing the appropriate way to present risk statistics is key to helping people make well-informed decisions.

Grants to support UCI elder abuse prevention efforts
UC Irvine's Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect has received a pair of two-year grants that will allow the university to continue its innovative work in elder abuse prevention.

Integrity of the brain's reward system is linked to relapse following treatment
The brain reward system (BRS) is involved in developing/maintaining addictive disorders, as well as relapse.

Large Hadron Collider could be world's first time machine
If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider -- the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year -- could be the first machine capable causing matter to travel backwards in time.

Northern peatlands a misunderstood player in climate change
University of Alberta researchers have determined that the influence of northern peatlands on the prehistorical record of climate change has been over estimated, but the vast northern wetlands must still be watched closely as the planet grapples with its current global warming trend.

Collectibles can trigger obsessive-compulsive disorder in vulnerable people
Although collecting articles with moderation has good psychological effects on collectors, this habit can become a psychological disorder.

Treatments for recurring TB infection failing the developing world, study finds
The standard approach to re-treating tuberculosis (TB) in low and middle income settings is failing, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Training program for dealing with behavioral problems is available as iPhone application
Behavior Breakthroughs uses game-based technology and 3-D imagery to help train people who work with children and adults with autism, ADHD or other behavioral challenges.

Newer antimalarials more effective than quinine against severe malaria
Quinine should no longer be the drug of choice for treating severe malaria, according to an updated systematic review by Cochrane researchers.

Island Sustainability Conference
The University of Guam will host its 2nd Annual Regional Conference on Island Sustainability for Guam and Micronesia on April 19-20, 2011.

Treatment breakthrough for rare disease linked to diabetes
University of Manchester scientists have led an international team to discover new treatments for a rare and potentially lethal childhood disease that is the clinical opposite of diabetes mellitus.

New vaccine candidate shows strong potential to prevent highly contagious norovirus
Scientists found that an experimental vaccine against human norovirus -- the bug behind 90 percent of highly contagious nonbacterial illnesses causing diarrhea and vomiting -- generates a strong immune response in mice without causing the animals any harm.

Malaria drug slows pancreatic cancer growth in mouse models
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists report they have used hydroxychloroquine, a drug routinely prescribed for malaria and rheumatoid arthritis, to shrink or slow the growth of notoriously resistant pancreatic tumors in mice.

Save the date: American Physical Society 2011 April Meeting, April 30-May 3 in Anaheim, Calif.
The American Physical Society's 2011 April meeting will focus on some of the world's largest physics projects and grandest research areas.

Could there be more than lunch lurking on your retainer?
Insufficient cleaning could allow build-up of microbes on orthodontic retainers, researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute have found.

Insulin-releasing switch discovered
Johns Hopkins researchers believe they have uncovered the molecular switch for the secretion of insulin -- the hormone that regulates blood sugar -- providing for the first time an explanation of this process.

Maquipucuna cloud forest in Ecuador yields new species of yeast
In a unique collaboration between scientists from the UK, Ecuador and Réunion, a new species of yeast has been discovered growing on the fruit of an unidentified and innocuous bramble collected from the biodiversity-rich Maquipucuna cloud forest nature reserve, near Quito, in Ecuador.

The development of better biotech enzymes
Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, such as laundry detergent digesting protein stains, which are otherwise very difficult to remove.

Finding of long-sought drug target structure may expedite drug discovery
Researchers have solved the 3-D structure of a key biological receptor.

The 5 hospital factors that affect heart attack survival
A new Yale University study looks at why there is such a big difference in the mortality rates among patients treated for heart attacks in hospitals across the country.

Natural sequence farming
Improving land management and farming practices in Australia could have an effect on global climate change, according to a study published in the International Journal of Water.

Strategies for improved collection of national travel data
Good travel data are essential to measure and monitor the performance of the US transportation system and to help guide policy choices and investments in transportation infrastructure, says a new report from the National Research Council that calls for the creation of a national travel data program.

'Openness prevails' -- have Obama's promises fallen short?
WikiLeaks' disclosures highlight longstanding problems of the overclassification of information and failure of transparency laws, says David L.

Hannover Messe: Quiet area for sensitive devices
Devices for precise analysis or manufacturing are very sensitive to ambient vibrations.

CU-Boulder space scientists ready for orbital insertion of Mercury spacecraft
NASA's MESSENGER mission launched in 2004 is slated to slide into Mercury's orbit March 17 after a harrowing 4.7 billion mile journey that involved 15 loops around the sun and will bring relief and renewed excitement to the University of Colorado Boulder team that designed and a built an $8.7 million instrument on board.

Single gene defect causes brain tumor
Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University Hospitals have shown in mice that a defect in a single gene, which is involved in cellular signaling, is sufficient to cause a dangerous brain tumor.

The new adulthood: Extended parental support as a safety net
Parental assistance in early adulthood promotes progress toward autonomy and self-reliance.

mygenomatix: A secure cloud-like model for next-gen sequencing data analysis
With mygenomatix, Genomatix launches a service model that incorporates all the power of its in-house platform and combines it with the affordability of cloud computing and the security of an in-house solution all at a very affordable price.

Official projections have substantially underestimated the cholera epidemic in Haiti but combining available interventions could prevent thousands of deaths
Contrary to estimates proposed by UN agencies of 400,000 cases of cholera in Haiti this year, a new mathematical modeling study predicts nearly 800,000 cases and over 11 000 deaths.

Columbia Business School's Stephen Penman awarded with the Roger F. Murray Prize
Professor Stephen Penman of Columbia Business School was awarded the Roger F.

New research demonstrates language learners' creativity
New research published in Language, the journal of the Linguistic Society of America, firmly establishes that language learning goes well beyond simple imitation, and in fact that language learners are quite creative and remarkably smart.

Arachnophobes beware: Hubble snaps close-up of the Tarantula
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of part of the famous Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming cloud of gas and dust in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Study shows how chickens keep their cool
Its head looks like a turkey, its body resembles a chicken -- now scientists can explain why one of the poultry world's most curious specimens has developed such a distinctive look in next week's issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology.

New insights into cancer treatment
Jean-Christophe Marine strongly argues against the use of Cop1-inhibitory drugs.

Chasing the pot of gold: WSU researchers study gambling subtypes and treatment outcomes
Approximately two million adults in the United States meet criteria for pathological gambling, and another four to six million are considered problem gamblers, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Unusual treatment of colonic perforation
A research team from Italy described a case of a sigmoid perforation repaired with endoclips and endoloops, and sealed with fibrin glue.

Prevalence of heavy smokers in US decreases
From 1965 to 2007, the population prevalence of persons who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day declined significantly, and there was also a decrease in the prevalence of smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day, with these declines greater in California than in the rest of the US, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Golf courses that reuse water irrigate too much
Irrigation is one of the most controversial aspects in the sustainable management of golf courses.

EARTH: Still in a haze: Black carbon
Black carbon -- fine particles of soot in the atmosphere produced from the burning of fossil fuels or biomass -- a major contributor to the thick hazes of pollution hovering over cities around the world, has been known to be a health hazard for decades.

New reporting guidelines for genetic risk prediction studies: GRIPS Statement
This week PLoS Medicine publishes the Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies (GRIPS) Statement, a checklist and guidance to help strengthen the reporting of genetic risk prediction studies.

Study shows how chickens keep their cool
Its head looks like a turkey's, its body resembles a chicken's -- now scientists can explain why one of the poultry world's most curious specimens has developed such a distinctive look.

Geoscientists meet in Pittsburgh to discuss 'the shield to the sea'
More than 1500 geoscientists will gather in Pittsburgh, Pa., March 20-22, to present their earth-science research in a program themed

New laser technique opens doors for drug discovery
A new laser technique has demonstrated that it can measure the interactions between proteins tangled in a cell's membrane and a variety of other biological molecules.

Managing post-stroke depression improves physical functioning
Stroke patients who are not successfully treated for depression are at higher risk of losing some of their capability to function normally, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke which appears in the March 15, 2011, issue of the journal Neurology.

Elsevier launches SciVal Strata to enhance research evaluation
Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the availability of SciVal Strata.

Carnegie Mellon's Wing to receive Computer Research Association award
Carnegie Mellon University's Jeannette Wing, whose ideas have helped shape conceptions of what computer science is and can be, will receive the 2011 Distinguished Service Award of the Computer Research Association, a leading advocate for computer science research and education.

Nursing home boom in China has little government involvement
A new study of the growth and operation of nursing homes in Chinese cities finds that the industry, while still small, is surging to meet the country's overwhelming shift toward an older population.

Unprecedented view of protein folding may help develop brain disease therapies
When vital proteins in our bodies are misfolded, debilitating diseases can result.

All wrapped up: K-State researcher's graphene cloak protects bacteria, leading to better images
Vikas Berry, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Kansas State University, and his research team are wrapping bacteria with graphene to address current challenges with imaging bacteria under electron microscopes.

Why Henry Higgins could tell his barrow girl from his fair lady
When Professor Henry Higgins instructed Eliza Doolittle that it was

Evidence poor for link between biomarkers and risk of CV events for patients with kidney disease
Even though clinical practice guidelines for patients with chronic kidney disease recommend specific treatment target levels for serum phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, and calcium to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, an analysis of data from previous studies did not find a strong association between these biomarkers and the risk of death and cardiovascular events, except for higher serum phosphorus levels, according to an article in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Standard retreatment regimen for TB is inadequate
The standard retreatment regimen for tuberculosis has low treatment response rates and is associated with poor long term outcomes in certain subgroups of patients, particularly those infected with both HIV and multi-drug-resistant TB.

Fundamental discovery could lead to better memory chips
Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have found a way to improve the performance of ferroelectric materials, which have the potential to make memory devices with more storage capacity than magnetic hard drives and faster write speed and longer lifetimes than flash memory.

Association found between industry funding and promotional pieces on menopausal hormone therapy
There may be a link between receiving industry funding for speaking, consulting, or research, and the publication of apparently promotional opinion pieces on menopausal hormone therapy.

Outcome of nonsurgical hepatic decompression in Budd-Chiari
A research team from Egypt evaluated outcomes of patients with Budd-Chiari syndrome after balloon angioplasty ± stenting or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.

Children of immigrants more apt than natives to live with both parents
Children of immigrants are more likely to live in households headed by two married parents than children of natives in their respective ethnic groups, according to Penn State sociologists.

New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier for patients with diabetes
ASU bioengineers and Mayo Clinic physicians are developing a device designed to make it easier for people with diabetes to monitor their health.

Parental monitoring of opposite-gender child may decrease problem drinking in young adults
Young adults whose parents monitor their social interactions may be less likely to display impulsive behavior traits and to have alcohol-related problems, a new study suggests.

Proteins may affect behavior and physiology of female mosquitoes -- from PLoS NTDs
Researchers have identified 93 seminal fluid proteins and 52 sperm male-derived proteins that include candidates likely to affect the behavior and physiology of female mosquitoes of the species, Aedes aegypti.

NASA's Aqua Satellite spots rare Southern Atlantic sub-tropical storm
NASA's Aqua satellite spotted some strong convection in a recently formed low pressure area that strengthened into Sub-Tropical Storm Arani in the South Atlantic.

Certain populations may benefit most from alcohol-dependence treatment naltrexone
Naltrexone is one of the most effective pharmacological treatments for alcohol dependence.

Describing humor with an equation
New theory of humor addresses questions of human attraction to errors and our susceptibility to ideas we know are bad for us, and summarizes it with an equation.

Apnea may be cause for awakening and voiding for those with enlarged prostates report Ben-Gurion U.
According to the new study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, the BGU researchers found that more than half (57.8 percent) of patients with enlarged prostates may in fact have the sleep disorder, and that the awakenings that patients ascribed to their need to urinate at night may be actually caused by their sleep disorders.

Wheels up for extensive survey of Arctic ice
Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on Monday, March 14, for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in Arctic polar ice.

Brain injuries rise sharply in minor hockey after bodychecking rules relaxed: Study
Minor league hockey players in the Atom division are more than 10 times likely to suffer a brain injury since bodychecking was first allowed among the 9- and 10-year-olds.

Vitamin D deficiency in cirrhosis
A research team from Denmark examined the vitamin D status in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis compared to those with primary biliary cirrhosis.

Study examines outcomes of high-dose antiplatelet drug after stent placement
Modifying a patient's dosage of the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel for 6 months depending on the patient's level of platelet reactivity did not result in combined lower rates of nonfatal heart attack, stent thrombosis (clot) and cardiovascular death in patients who had a procedure such as balloon angioplasty and received a drug-releasing coronary stent, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter delivers treasure trove of data
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team released Tuesday the final set of data from the mission's exploration phase along with the first measurements from its new life as a science satellite.

Tying the knot with computer-generated holograms: Winding optical path moves matter
In the latest twist on optical knots, NYU physicists have discovered a new method to create extended and knotted optical traps in 3-D.

Side effects of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement
A research team from United States determined the rate of use and non-use of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes among patients with head and neck cancer patients.

Yi-Qi-Zeng-Min-Tang ameliorates insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic rats
A research team from China investigated the effects of the Chinese herbal decoction, Yi-Qi-Zeng-Min-Tang (YQZMT), on insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic rats.

Detection of early gastric cancer using hydro-stomach CT
A research team from South Korea evaluated the difference in diagnostic performance of hydro-stomach computed tomography (CT) to detect early gastric cancer (EGC) between blinded and nonblinded analysis and to assess independent factors affecting visibility of cancer foci. 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