Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 22, 2011
Leading entomologist and bee expert awarded prestigious 2011 Tyler Environmental Prize
One of the world's leading entomologists and foremost experts on the evolutionary relationship between insects and plants, May R.

Experimental radioprotective drug safe for lung cancer patients, says Pitt study
Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer can safely take an experimental oral drug intended to protect healthy tissue from the effects of radiation, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and published in this month's issue of Human Gene Therapy.

Study finds reports of domestic violence rise 10 percent after NFL upsets
Calls to the police reporting men's assaults on their wives or intimate partners rose 10 percent in areas where the local National Football League team lost a game they were favored to win, according to an analysis of 900 regular-season NFL games reports researchers in a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Protein could be used to treat alcohol effects on pancreas
A Cardiff University-led study has discovered that a protein provides protection against the effects of alcohol in the pancreas.

Despite uncertain benefit, fibrates commonly used in US, Canada
Although recent evidence suggests that the clinical benefit may be uncertain for fibrates, a class of drugs used for the treatment of high lipid levels, use of these drugs is common in the US and Canada, with usage increasing steadily in the last decade in the US, especially for a brand-name fibrate product, according to a study in the March 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Conservationists develop coral 'stress test' to identify reefs of hope in climate change era
Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have developed a

Look at me!
From the mundane to the magnificent, researchers find when women explore their feelings about being or becoming

Restricted working hours have had little effect in US
Reducing doctors' working hours from over 80 a week does not seem to have adversely affected patient safety and has had limited impact on postgraduate training in the United States, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Can non-medical factors trigger sick leave?
According to UK government statistics over 8 million working days per year are lost due to illness and about a third of these are due to minor ailments such as coughs, colds, sickness and diarrhea.

Pre-conception and early pregnancy iron deficiency harms brain
A mother's iron deficiency early in pregnancy may have a profound and long-lasting effect on the brain development of the child, even if the lack of iron is not enough to cause severe anemia, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

Wanted: More female managers
Do common stereotypes about female characteristics keep the number of women in management roles low?

First image of protein residue in 50 million year old reptile skin
The organic compounds surviving in fifty million year old fossilized reptile skin can be seen for the first time today, thanks to a stunning infra-red image produced by University of Manchester palaeontologists and geochemists.

Hydrocortisone therapy for trauma patients associated with reduced hospital-acquired pneumonia risk
Patients admitted to a hospital with major trauma and treated with the steroid hydrocortisone were less likely to be diagnosed with hospital-acquired pneumonia than patients who received placebo, according to a study in the March 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Youth at risk for obesity show greater brain activity in response to food
In a novel study using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) investigators compared the neural response to food and monetary reward in lean adolescents at risk for obesity relative to lean adolescents not at risk for obesity.

National Biophotonic Sensors and Systems Center announced
The Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology at UC Davis and the Boston University Photonics Center have jointly received the newest National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center award.

Load up on fiber now, avoid heart disease later
A new study from Northwestern Medicine shows a high-fiber diet could be a critical heart-healthy lifestyle change young and middle-aged adults can make.

Digital versus analog control over cortical inhibition
In the cerebral cortex, the balance between excitation and inhibition is thought to be mediated by the primary mode of neuronal communication:

Public satisfaction with the NHS at a record high, says expert
Public satisfaction with the NHS is at a record high, says John Appleby, Chief Economist at the King's Fund, in an article published on bmj.com today.

Clinical trial seeks to determine whether platelet-rich plasma can ease the pain of osteoarthritis
For years, doctors have used platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, to promote healing after surgery.

Cheap catalyst made easy
Catalysts made of carbon nanotubes dipped in a polymer solution equal the energy output and otherwise outperform platinum catalysts in fuel cells, a team of Case Western Reserve University engineers has found.

The killer within -- a novel bacterial suicide mechanism
The zeta toxins are a family of proteins that are normally present within various pathogenic bacteria and can mysteriously trigger suicide when the cells undergo stress.

Specific genetic mutations associated with preeclampsia
Specific genetic mutations in women with autoimmune diseases are associated with preeclampsia -- a common pregnancy-related problem that can threaten the health of both baby and mother.

Illinois entomology professor May Berenbaum to receive 2011 Tyler Prize
University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum will receive the 2011 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an international award that recognizes

Occasional physical, sexual activity associated with short-term increased risk of heart attack
An analysis of previous studies that examined whether episodic physical activity and sexual activity can act as a trigger for cardiac events found an association between these activities and a short-term increased risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death, although the absolute risk was small and lessened among persons with high levels of regular physical activity, according to an article in the March 23/30 issue of JAMA.

New 2-hour protocol identifies patients admitted with chest pain who are at low risk of a serious cardiac event, and thus may be discharged from hospital earlier
A new protocol for rapid identification of patients admitted with chest pain who are at low risk of having a serious cardiac event is published in an article online first and in an upcoming Lancet.

Spinal cord processes information just like areas of the brain
Patrick Stroman's work mapping the function and information processing of the spinal cord could improve treatment for spinal cord injuries.

Plant buffers can slow runoff of veterinary antibiotics
Field tests by University of Missouri scientists support laboratory research indicating that vegetative buffer strips can reduce levels of herbicide and veterinary antibiotics in runoff from farm plots.

EU trade deal threatens access to life saving drugs for developing countries
A new trade agreement between India and Europe would block access to life saving drugs for billions of people living in developing countries, warns an expert on bmj.com today.

New online resource on Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine
In this week's PLoS Medicine, and to coincide with World TB Day, Madhukar Pai from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues introduce the BCG World Atlas, an open-access, user-friendly website for TB clinicians to discern global BCG vaccination policies and practices and improve the care of their patients.

Genetic errors linked to life-threatening pregnancy disorder
Scientists have identified genetic errors in women with autoimmune diseases that increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs in 10 percent of all pregnancies.

Analytics conference highlights growth of analytics in business, government decisionmaking
Business analytics, which has received plaudits from Harvard Business Review, Gartner and Accenture for aiding better decisions at organizations, will be the focus of a conference hosted by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Report indicates that 'new' welfare reforms hark back to Victorians
A paper by a University of Leicester historian draws parallels between past and present medical negligence.

Simulating tomorrow's accelerators at near the speed of light
Borrowing a page from Albert Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have perfected a way to accelerate modeling of laser-plasma wakefield accelerators up to a million times faster.

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2011: Recognition and incentive for early career researchers
The new prize winners of the most important award for early career researchers in Germany have been chosen.

Hannover Messe: 'Good-bye, blind spot' -- man and machine always in view
Particular care must be taken in a production hall where robots and men work together, where even minor carelessness could result in serious accidents or stop production.

Study finds that overweight people really are big-boned
One of the blind spots in forensic science, particularly in identifying unknown remains, is the inability of experts to determine how much an individual weighed based on his or her skeleton.

Hippocampal volume and resilience in posttramatic stress disorder
The hippocampus, a brain region implicated in memory and interpreting environmental contexts, has been the focus of a controversy in post-traumatic stress disorder.

Health bill spells the end of the NHS in England, warn experts
The Health and Social Care Bill amounts to the abolition of the English NHS as a universal, comprehensive, publicly accountable, tax funded service, free at the point of delivery, warn experts today.

Scientists discover genetic changes that may predispose women to pre-eclampsia
Lead investigator Jane Salmon, M.D., a rheumatologist and senior scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and colleagues uncovered genetic mutations in women with the autoimmune diseases associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia, as well as in patients with pre-eclampsia who did not have an autoimmune disease.

Evolutionary 'winners' and 'losers' revealed in collaborative study
In a study that literally analyzed competing bacteria fighting it out to the death, a University of Houston researcher and his colleagues identified evolutionary

The BCG World Atlas: a world first in the fight against tuberculosis
In the days leading up to World TB Day 2011 on March 24, a team of researchers from McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is officially launching the BCG World Atlas: a first-of-its-kind, easy-to-use, searchable website that provides free detailed information on current and past TB vaccination policies and practices for more than 180 countries.

Think you'll ace that test? Think again, then start studying
We hold many beliefs about memory -- for instance, if you study more, you learn more.

Biophysical Society announces 2011 Student Research Achievement award winners
the 9500-member Biophysical Society is pleased to announce the 2011 Student Research Achievement Award Winners.

Sign language users read words and see signs simultaneously
People fluent in sign language may simultaneously keep words and signs in their minds as they read, according to an international team of researchers.

Georgia Tech to pursue 'transparent Internet' with $1 million Google Focused Research Award
Google awards Georgia Tech $1 million to conduct research on Internet transparency.

A new system has been developed for an ID in a mobile phone
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid are participating in the development of an application to integrate electronic ID data into an SIM mobile phone card so as to use the terminal as a means of personal identifications.

Report uncovers key trends in water resources research
The report

Jefferson clinical trial: Can a cholesterol drug prevent colon cancer?
Thomas Jefferson University has started recruiting patients for a new National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trial to test whether the cholesterol-reducing drug rosuvastatin is effective in the prevention of recurrent colon cancer.

Discovery in liver cancer cells provides new target for drugs
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine have discovered a novel mechanism in gene regulation that contributes to the development of a form of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Developing strategies in a desert watershed that sustain regional water supplies
US Department of Agriculture scientists are helping meet the water demands of a riparian desert region that is home to a national conservation area and a thriving military base.

Tahoe native fish population declines sharply, invasives on the rise
In a lakewide study, a team of scientists lead by University of Nevada, Reno limnologist Sudeep Chandra has found a considerable decline in native fish species density at Lake Tahoe since 1951.

More sensitive blood test better at identifying heart attacks
A highly sensitive blood test could help identify heart attacks in thousands of patients who would otherwise have gone undiagnosed, a study suggests.

UK-Vietnam collaboration to improve world's most important staple food
On March 22 the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on rice genomics research with the Ministry of Science and Technology in Vietnam.

Newly discovered virus implicated in deadly Chinese outbreaks
Outbreaks of a mysterious and deadly disease in central China have been linked to a previously unknown virus.

Seismology tip sheet for April issue of BSSA, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
The following articles from the April 2011 BSSA are highlighted:

Know your drugs: A primer for chemical and life science professionals is ACS Webinars topic
The modern drug discovery process is the topic of the next in a series of American Chemical Society Webinars for scientists and chemical professionals.

Metabolic abnormalities in obese teens may relate to poor diets
Obese teens may feel healthy, but blood tests reveal inflammation, insulin resistance and high homocysteine levels, metabolic abnormalities that heighten heart disease risk.

Good news for meat lovers: Most ready-to-eat meat products contain very few cancerous compounds
J. Scott Smith, Kansas State University professor of food chemistry, and a K-State research team have shown that ready-to-eat meat products -- such as pepperoni, deli meats and hot dogs -- are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds.

EARTH: Rise of community remote sensing
If you ask someone involved in community remote sensing to define the emerging field, the most likely response will be a chuckle followed by

More sensitive test for cardiac biomarker may better identify patients who experienced heart attack
In patients with a suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS; such as heart attack or unstable angina), use of a more sensitive test to detect the protein troponin in blood was associated with increased diagnosis of a heart attack and improved identification of patients at high risk of another heart attack and death in the following year, according to a study in the March 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Pulling an all-nighter can bring on euphoria and risky behavior
A sleepless night can make us cranky and moody. But a lesser known side effect of sleep deprivation is short-term euphoria, which can potentially lead to poor judgment and addictive behavior, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.

WSU proves extracellular matrix tugging creates come hither stimulus for cancer migration
Ninety percent of cancer deaths resulted from metastasis, the spread of cancer to different areas in the body, yet scientific exploration of the possible mechanical factors that promote metastasis has been limited.

Carbon capture and storage: Carbon dioxide pressure dissipates in underground reservoirs
Carbon capture and storage is controversial in the eyes of the general public.

CML patients on imatinib have similar mortality rates to general population
Patients taking imatinib (Gleevec) for CML, or chronic myelogenous leukemia, and in remission after two years of treatment, have a mortality rate similar to that of the general population according to a study published online March 22 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Number of child diarrhea deaths can be halved with current interventions
Deaths from diarrhea -- a major killer of young children in poor countries -- could be almost halved if already available interventions such as breastfeeding, hand washing with soap and improved household water treatment were widely implemented.

Who owns our blood?
The absence of specific laws which define the ownership, storage and use of blood drops taken from every Australian baby since 1971 could threaten public trust in newborn screening (NBS) programs in Australia, a University of Melbourne academic has warned.

European coastal pollution is harmful to seals
The bodies of harbor seals, which live in estuaries or along coastlines where industrial activities take place, are highly contaminated.

First partial sequencing of an Iberian pig
Researchers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and of the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics, the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, the National Institute for Agrarian Technology and Research in Madrid and Wageningen Research Center have published the first partial genome sequencing of an Iberian pig.

Envy holds back agricultural development
Agricultural innovation in developing countries can be hampered and discouraged by envy, according to research published today by academics at the University of East Anglia, UK.

Gift will allow Mayo researchers to explore cause of dementia in the elderly
To help continue its internationally recognized work in Lewy body dementia, the Harry T.

Patients and clinicians must share healthcare decisions, say experts
Clinicians have an ethical imperative to share important decisions with patients, and patients have a right to be equal participants in their care, say a group of experts today.

Interest in toys predicts effectiveness of autism treatment in toddlers
Toddlers who played with a limited number of toys showed more improvement in their communication skills following parent-guided treatment than those receiving other community-based treatments.

Gaps in health care limit options for older adults, MU expert says
There are 50 million family members providing care to older adults.

Elderly victims of abuse often use alcohol or drugs, study says
A UIC researcher reports in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that victims of severe traumatic elder abuse are more likely to be female, suffer from a neurological or mental disorder, and to abuse drugs or alcohol.

For back, neck pain, artificial disc replacement has cost, outcome advantages over fusion surgery
When physical therapy and drugs fail to relieve back or neck pain, patients often turn to spinal fusion surgery as a last resort, but two new studies show that in certain situations, especially when several discs are involved, artificial disc replacement may give better long-term results at lower cost.

In the race of life, better an adaptable tortoise than a fit hare
When it comes to survival of the fittest, it's sometimes better to be an adaptable tortoise than a fitness-oriented hare, a Michigan State University evolutionary biologist says.

Only the weak survive?: Pitt team adds more give for stronger self-healing materials
A Pitt and Carnegie Mellon team developed a new model of how self-repairing materials function and show that materials with a certain number of easily breakable bonds can absorb more stress, a natural trick found in the resilient abalone shell.

New book on animal behavior provides integrated view
A new book

Queen's University puts over 2,400 food scares under the microscope
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have completed the first ever analysis of all food recalls announced in the USA, UK and Ireland over the last decade.

Protein associated with allergic response causes airway changes in asthma patients
Changes that occur in the airways of asthma patients are in part caused by the naturally occurring protein interleukin-13 (IL-13) which stimulates invasion of airway cells called fibroblasts, according to a study conducted by researchers at Duke University.

UT MD Anderson receives grant for study of acupuncture in cancer
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded a grant to study whether xerostomia, a debilitating side effect caused by head and neck cancer radiation treatment, can be prevented when acupuncture is part of a patient's treatment regimen.

Study of how brain corrects perceptual errors has implications for brain injuries, robotics
New research provides the first evidence that sensory recalibration -- the brain's automatic correcting of errors made by our sensory or perceptual systems -- can occur instantly.

Research practices must be changed to minimize fraud, deception
In a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association March 23, two University of Michigan physicians call for changes throughout the research process .

Sino-Danish cooperation on the computational design of advanced materials for wind turbines
The high reliability of wind turbine blades is especially important for large and extra large wind turbines.

Exposure to organochloride pesticides affects semen quality
Two in 10 young people in southeast Spain have poor sperm density, which involves requiring more time to accomplish fertilization.

BIDMC investigator to receive vascular biology award from the American Heart Association
A paradoxical discovery by BIDMC scientist could help explain why many antioxidant clinical trials have failed to produce the expected results.

Tree resin the key evidence of current and historic insect invasions
A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that insects that bore into trees as long ago 90 million years, or as recently as last summer, leave a calling card that's rich with information.

UW-Madison lake scientist gets world's top water prize
Noted University of Wisconsin-Madison limnologist Stephen Carpenter has been awarded the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize, the world's most prestigious award for water-related activities, it was announced in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 22.

IU study: Smoke-free air law had no effect on off-track betting facility business activity
An Indiana U. study found that a smoke-free air law implemented in an Indiana community did not hurt business at the off-track betting facility in that community.

Nanomodified surfaces seal leg implants against infection
Researchers at Brown University have created nanoscale surfaces for implanted materials that mimic the contours of natural skin.
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