Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 11, 2011
NSF awards grant to University of Houston professor to develop color-coded MRIs
The NSF has awarded a grant to a University of Houston professor who is working on a developing a new class of contrasting agents that provide color to MRI images for the first time.

Wayne State leads study to improve management of cancer pain in African Americans
Nearly all patients with advanced cancer experience severe pain, and almost half of all other cancer patients have some pain, regardless of the type or stage of the disease.

Hair styles may contribute to scarring hair loss in African-American women
Hair grooming practices, such as braids and weaves, as well as inflammation in the form of bacterial infection, may be contributing to the development of scarring hair loss in African American women, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the August print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Louisiana Tech engineering students earn top honors at concrete canoe, steel bridge competitions
Louisiana Tech University's student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers won first place in several categories including concrete canoe and steel bridge during the Deep South Regional Conference at Mississippi State University.

Distribution of cancers in the HIV/AIDS population is shifting
As treatments for HIV/AIDS improve and patients are living longer, the distribution of cancers in this population has undergone a dramatic shift in the United States.

EPA's draft health assessment for formaldehyde needs improvement
A US Environmental Protection Agency draft assessment of the potential health effects associated with formaldehyde exposure needs substantial revision.

OHSU expert co-authors study finding treatment for rare lung disease
A new study has revealed a drug approved to prevent rejection in organ transplant patients helped treat a rare lung disease in women.

Combined use of 3 markers for kidney disease may help predict risk of kidney failure, death
Combining the chronic kidney disease markers of creatinine-based estimated glomerular filtration rate and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio with the biomarker cystatin C was associated with improved prediction of end-stage kidney disease and all-cause death, according to a study that will appear in the April 20 issue of JAMA.

Fatigue and sleep woes worsen neurocognitive problems in childhood cancer survivors
Fatigue and sleep problems dramatically reduce the thinking and reasoning abilities of adults who survived childhood cancer, according to new research from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

Tuberculosis strain spread by the fur trade reveals stealthy approach of epidemics
French Canadian voyageurs spread tuberculosis throughout the indigenous peoples of western Canada for over 150 years, yet, strangely enough, it wasn't until the fur traders ceased their forays that epidemics of tuberculosis broke out.

Wildlife Conservation Society and Idaho Fish and Game track pronghorn by satellite
Twenty-one pronghorn were captured and fitted with GPS collars in the Upper Snake River Plain of Idaho as part of an ongoing migration study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and its partners, the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game.

Effective pain management crucial to older adults' well-being
Improved management of chronic pain can significantly reduce disability in older adults, according to the latest issue of the

Is the wrist bone connected to heart risk?
Wrist size in overweight and obese children and adolescents appears closely related to insulin resistance, a metabolic condition in which the body is unable to use insulin efficiently to break down blood sugar.

The world's smallest wedding rings
DNA nanotechnology makes use of the ability of the natural DNA-strains' capacity for self asssembly.

Immunization not linked to increased hospitalization for children with inherited disorder
Children with inborn errors of metabolism received vaccines on the same immunization schedule as did healthy infants, according to Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center scientists who examined the Kaiser Permanente Northern California population.

Vitamin D levels associated with age-related macular degeneration
Women under the age of 75 with high vitamin D status were less likely to have early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in adults, a University at Buffalo study has shown.

Antibiotic resistance spreads rapidly between bacteria
The part of bacterial DNA that often carries antibiotic resistance is a master at moving between different types of bacteria and adapting to widely differing bacterial species, shows a study made by a research team at the University of Gothenburg in cooperation with Chalmers University of Technology.

Combating plant diseases is key for sustainable crops
Climate change is likely to make plants more vulnerable to infectious disease, which will threaten crop yield and impact on the price and availability of food.

UNC study helps clarify link between high-fat diet and type 2 diabetes
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine adds clarity to the connection.

Tissue engineers use new system to measure biomaterials, structures
As cells assemble into a donut shape and ascend a hydrogel cone, they do work and thereby reveal the total power involved in forming a three-dimensional structure.

New drug shows potential for treatment-resistant leukemia
A study from Tufts Medical Center researchers published today finds that a novel drug shows promise for treating leukemia patients who have few other options because their disease has developed resistance to standard treatment.

Scientists find method to probe genes of the most common bacterial STI
In a new study from the NIAID, scientists describe successfully mutating specific genes of Chlamydia bacteria, which cause the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States as well as a type of blindness common in developing nations.

MRI may contribute to early detection of Alzheimer's
New research suggests that magnetic resonance imaging could help detect Alzheimer's disease at an early stage, before irreversible damage has occurred, according to a new study.

Evidence lacking for efficacy of memantine in treating mild Alzheimer's disease
An analysis of studies involving the drug memantine finds a lack of evidence for benefit when the drug is used to treat patients with mild Alzheimer disease and mild cognitive impairment, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the August print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Delhi air quality regulations improve respiratory health
New research by Brown University economist Andrew Foster is among the first to use remote sensing imagery to look directly at the effects of air quality on health.

Study provides new way to classify E. coli bacteria and test for fecal contamination
The meaning of the standard fecal coliform test used to monitor water quality has been called into question by a new study that identified sources of Escherichia coli bacteria that might not indicate an environmental hazard.

The nauseating taste of bitter
A new study from the Monell Center highlights the vital role taste plays as the body's gatekeeper.

Social wasps show how bigger brains provide complex cognition
Across many groups of animals, species with bigger brains often have better cognitive abilities.

Bitterness induces nausea, swallowing not required
The mere taste of something extremely bitter -- even if you don't swallow it at all -- is enough to cause that dreaded feeling of nausea and to set your stomach churning, according to a new study reported in the April 12 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

New potential atherosclerosis risk marker discovered
How your carotid artery moves can reveal your risk of a future heart attack, and it is now possible to study this vessel aspect in more detail thanks to a new technique which could eventually be used to identify patients with suspected coronary artery disease, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

On the cutting-edge in condensed matter physics with Nobelist Philip W. Anderson
Princeton University physicist Philip W. Anderson, renowned for his path-breaking insights into the nature of broken symmetry and the emergent electronic properties of magnetic and disordered systems, will join a panel of experts to discuss how groundbreaking discoveries often start out unpopular.

Therapeutically promising new findings for combating hypertension and cardiovascular disease
Researchers in Wisconsin and Texas have discovered a promising new avenue they strongly believe can be further developed to treat hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Hebrew University, Heidelberg University sign cooperative academic management agreement
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has signed an agreement with Heidelberg University in Germany in the area of academic management.

RIKEN and JASRI unveil 'SACLA', Japan's first X-ray free electron laser
RIKEN and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute have cut the ribbon on a new cutting-edge X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) facility in Harima, the first such facility in Japan and only the second in the whole world.

UCSF scientists discover link between inflammation and pancreatic cancer
Solving part of a medical mystery, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have established a link between molecules found in an inflamed pancreas and the early formation of pancreatic cancer -- a discovery that may help scientists identify new ways to detect, monitor and treat this deadly disease.

How do we fight the war against cyber terrorism?
The Internet has no borders, no universal legislation, and although highly social and distributed is not represented by cooperation across the globe.

New genetic tool helps researchers to analyze cells' most important functions
Although it has been many years since the human genome was first mapped, there are still many genes whose function we do not understand.

New technique tracks viral infections, aids development of antiviral drugs
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory Center for Bio-Molecular Science and Engineering have developed a method to rapidly measure thousands of cells and quickly determine the presence of viruses.

Sleep issues contribute to cognitive problems in childhood cancer survivors
A new analysis has found that childhood cancer survivors often suffer from sleep problems and fatigue, which negatively impact their attention and memory.

Emory Healthcare's unique training shows signific knowledge of quality principles
The effectiveness of a unique two-pronged educational program has shown significant improvements in knowledge of quality principles by leaders as well as the successful design and launch of QI (quality improvement) projects by frontline staff, according to results outlined in an article in the April 2011 issue of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

Recurring genital problems could be herpes
A study of patients attending sexual health clinics in Gothenburg found that just four out of ten patients with genital herpes actually knew that they had the disorder.

Scientists flex their muscles to solve an old problem
220 years ago, Luigi Galvani discovered that the muscles of a frog's leg twitch when a voltage is applied.

Shootingstars provide clues to likely response of plants to global warming
For his dissertation at Washington University in St. Louis, Brad Oberle delved into the post-Pleistocene history of two rare species of shootingstars (Dodecatheon), thinking that their response to post-glacial warming might provide clues to the response of plants to global warming.

Researchers find replacement for rare material indium tin oxide
Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a replacement for indium tin oxide, an important material used in displays and solar cells.

New review suggests drinking 100 percent fruit juice may offer disease-fighting benefits
Highlights from a new report summarizing recent research on the potential benefits of 100 percent fruit juice suggest a positive association between intake of 100 percent juice and reduced risk for several chronic diseases, including cancer, markers for cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Measles not being reported
Measles is not always being reported in Germany as required by law, particularly when cases are sporadic.

Women's voices remain steady throughout the month
Studies have suggested women's voices change at different times over the menstrual cycle, with the tone rising as ovulation approaches.

Diesel-engine exhaust filter reduces harmful particles by 98 percent
Traps installed on diesel engines can cut heart-harmful microscopic exhaust particles by 98 percent.

Rensselaer Professor Xuegang (Jeff) Ban receives NSF CAREER Award
Jeff Ban, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won an NSF CAREER Award.

UCSF analysis shows newer surgery for neck pain may be better
A new surgery for cervical disc disease in the neck may restore range of motion and reduce repeat surgeries in some younger patients, according to a team of neurosurgeons from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and several other medical centers that analyzed three large, randomized clinical trials comparing two different surgeries.

Research shows that some features of human face perception are not uniquely human
A study published by two University of Iowa researchers in the March 31 issue of the Journal of Vision found that pigeons recognize a human face's identity and emotional expression in much the same way as people do

The science of sound
Sonic booms, the science of making music, the impact of noise on people and animals, and bursts of sound-induced light are just some of the intriguing topics that will be presented at the 161st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

Genetic study offers insight into the social lives of bees
Most people have trouble telling them apart, but bumble bees, honey bees, stingless bees and solitary bees have home lives that are as different from one another as a monarch's palace is from a hippie commune or a hermit's cabin in the woods.

Tufts biologists find another clue to the origins of degenerative diseases
A Tufts University research team shows that cell death can also result from the process by which the cell repairs damage that occurs within a repeated CAG/CTG sequence.

Mechanism for invasion of tumorous cells discovered by Hebrew University researchers
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered a previously unknown mechanism whereby tumor cells invade normal tissues, spreading cancer through various organs.

Routine lab test data predicts progression to kidney failure for chronic kidney disease patients
A prediction model that included data on measures of several routinely obtained laboratory tests including blood levels of calcium, phosphate and albumin accurately predicted the short-term risk of kidney failure for patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease, according to a study that will appear in the April 20 issue of JAMA.

Research digs deep into the fracking controversy
The research will be presented April 14 at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Seattle.

Glaucoma patients report a wide range of emotional and psychological changes
Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest issues facing patients with glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide after cataracts.

Obesity may shut down circadian clock in the cardiovascular system
Researchers have found that a key gene clock of the cardiovascular system does not work properly when obesity is present.

Vitamin D may help heart risk in African-Americans
New research indicates that supplementation with the

Researchers find anatomic differences after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have concluded that the anatomy of the pelvis following robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) is considerably different when compared to the anatomy of the pelvis following an open prostatectomy (OP).

Nasal spray vaccines more effective against flu
Nasal vaccines that effectively protect against flu, pneumonia and even bioterrorism agents such as Yersinia pestis that causes the plague, could soon be a possibility, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate.

Office of Naval Research showcases technologies at Sea-Air-Space Expo
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) will display some of its newest technologies and programs, including alternative energy initiatives as well as laser and weapon systems, at the 2011 Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition to be held April 11-13 at National Harbor, Md.

Cephalopods experience massive acoustic trauma from noise pollution in the oceans
Noise pollution has been shown to cause physical and behavioral changes in marine life, especially in dolphins and whales, which rely on sound for daily activities.

Light, chemistry, action -- a new technique to target skin cancers?
Targeted photodynamic therapy can completely eradicate some models of cancer, according to the latest research by UK and Swiss scientists, published in the current issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

How do life-threatening medical conditions in children impact quality of life?
How do we assess the current and future quality of life (QoL) for infants and children with life-threatening conditions?

QB3, Deloitte collaborate to drive California bioscience innovation
The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) has entered into a collaboration with Deloitte to help the institute in its efforts to convert bioscience innovation into a driver for jobs, companies and improved health in California.

Creative, online learning tool helps students tackle real-world problems
A new computer interface developed at ISU called ThinkSpace is helping students use what they've learned in the horticulture classroom and apply it to problems they'll face when they are on the job site.

Physicists discover new way to visualize warped space and time
When black holes slam into each other, the surrounding space and time surge and undulate like a heaving sea during a storm.

Oral drug for MS significantly reduces disease activity and slows disability
The drug laquinimod reduced the number of relapses for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), in a large, long-term Phase III clinical study that will be presented as late-breaking research at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 9-16, 2011, in Honolulu.

Stress wrecks intestinal bacteria, could keep immune system on idle
Stress not only sends the human immune system into overdrive -- it can also wreak havoc on the trillions of bacteria that work and thrive inside our digestive system.

Bacteria in wasp antennae produce antibiotic cocktails
Bacteria that grow in the antennae of wasps help ward off fungal threats by secreting a 'cocktail' of antibiotics explains a scientist at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate.

Scientists identify a surprising new source of cancer stem cells
Certain differentiated cells in breast tissue can spontaneously convert to a stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Primary care targeted for suicide prevention efforts
Forty-five percent of the 32,000 Americans who take their own lives each year visit their primary care provider within one month of their death.

New study finds compounds show promise in blocking STAT3 signaling as treatment for osteosarcoma
A study appearing in the journal Investigational New Drugs and conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital, discovered that two new small molecule inhibitors are showing promise in blocking STAT3, a protein linked to the most common malignant bone tumor, osteosarcoma.

UCSF study on multitasking reveals switching glitch in aging brain
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have pinpointed a reason older adults have a harder time multitasking than younger adults: they have more difficulty switching between tasks at the level of brain networks.

Device proves solar cell potential of high bandgap inorganic nanowire arrays
Proving a theoretical concept for improving the light absorption capabilities of a class of semiconductor materials long-considered impractical for solar energy collection, a team of researchers has successfully fabricated and tested an array of

Neiker-Tecnalia research -- to obtain more productive, resistant and sustainable oil palms
Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development) is carrying out research, the objective of which is to improve oil palm crops through genetic enhancement.

Tourism does not harm all caves
Unlike the situation in other caves, damage caused by tourists at the Aguila cave in Avila, Spain is

Tiny antibody fragments raised in camels find drug targets in human breast cancer cells
A new discovery published online in the FASEB Journal promises to help physicians identify patients most likely to benefit from breast cancer drug therapies.

Women's voices remain steady throughout the month
In recent years several studies have suggested that women's voices change at different times over the menstrual cycle, with the tone rising as ovulation approaches.

Scientists ignore cultural barriers to find the cause of a rare disease
In a research collaboration blind to affairs of politics, ethnicity, and religion, an international team led by Israeli scientists has identified the genetic cause of a neurological disorder afflicting members of a Palestinian family.

New sepsis discovery goes straight to the heart to save lives
New research published online in The FASEB Journal details research in rats and mice that offers hope for stopping the devastating, and often fatal, effects of sepsis in humans.

Potato consumption in children's meals leads to higher overall diet quality
New research demonstrates that consumption of white potatoes (non-fried) by children does not displace other vegetables from children's meals.

Protein could improve recovery from heart attacks
Angiogenesis is required during embryonic development and wound healing, as well as during disease processes such as tumor growth.

WSU receives DOD grant to determine common genetic link among Gulf War Illness patients
For nearly two decades following the 1991 Gulf War, doctors noticed a trend in many of veterans of that conflict: an unexplainable cluster of symptoms including but not limited to chronic fatigue, memory loss, and depression.

New diabetes education program yields improved blood sugar control
An intensive program that taught low-income, poorly educated diabetics to better manage their disease resulted in significantly improved long-term blood sugar control, according to Johns Hopkins researchers who designed and implemented the program.

Umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells studied for lupus therapy
Transplanted human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells were beneficial for treating lupus nephritis in mouse models of the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for patients with SLE.

Haiti cholera epidemic could have been blunted with use of mobile stockpile of oral vaccine
Had a large stockpile of oral cholera vaccine been available and deployed to inoculate the majority of Haitians most at risk after the outbreak following last year's earthquake, the illness and death from the cholera epidemic could have been reduced by about half, according to new research.

Cancer burden shifts for people with HIV/AIDS
The number of cancers and the types of cancers among people living with AIDS in the U.S. have changed dramatically during the 15-year period from 1991-2005, according to an article published online April 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Berkeley Lab researchers report tandem catalysis in nanocrystal interfaces
In a development that holds intriguing possibilities for green energy technologies such as artificial photosynthesis, Berkeley Lab researchers have created the first bilayered metal-metal oxide nanocrystals to feature multiple catalytic sites on nanocrystal interfaces.

Space jets in a bottle
By creating space-like conditions in a slim 4-meter vessel, Italian researchers have helped confirm the behavior of astrophysical jets -- streams of charged particles shot out by supermassive black holes and young stars, which stretch several hundred thousand light years across space.

New citrus variety released by UC Riverside is very sweet, juicy and low-seeded
Juicy. Extremely Sweet. Visually attractive. Easy to peel. Low seeded.

Study finds physicians recommend different treatments for patients than they choose for themselves
The act of making a recommendation appears to change the way physicians think regarding medical choices, and they often make different choices for themselves than what they recommend to patients, according to a survey study published in the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Vitamin D may help reduce heart risk in African-Americans
In recent years supplementation with Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

Pistachios deliver weight management support, heart health benefits
In a first-of-its-kind study with nuts, randomized controlled-feeding research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture found that fat in pistachios may not be completely absorbed by the body.

Clinical study suggests estrogen levels and breast health can be altered
Researchers from Canada and the United States today told attendees of the Experimental Biology 2011 Scientific Meeting that they have uncovered a possible means of enabling women to favorably influence whether the estrogens in their bodies take a

First clinical trial of gene therapy for pain reported by U-M neurologists
In the first clinical trial of gene therapy for treatment of intractable pain, researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Neurology observed that the treatment appears to provide substantial pain relief.

Sackler Prize awarded to pioneering neuroscientist
Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons have announced that the Mortimer D.

Less invasive lymph-node biopsy could prevent unnecessary surgery for patients with early stage endometrial cancer
Sentinel-lymph-node biopsy can accurately diagnose lymph node status in patients with early stage endometrial cancer and provide vital information on the most effective adjuvant (additional) treatment without the need for complete lymphadenectomy (removal of all the pelvic lymph nodes), thereby reducing the risk of surgical complications.

Managing pain -- a family affair
Could adult children's strategies for coping with pain come from watching their parents react to and deal with pain?

Long-term use of antibiotic to treat acne not associated with increased bacterial resistance
The prolonged use of tetracycline antibiotics commonly used to treat acne was associated with a reduced prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and was not associated with increased resistance to the tetracycline antibiotics, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the August print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Periodontal stem cell transplantation shows promise
When transplanted into beagle dogs modeled with advanced periodontal (gum) disease in their molars and premolars, teeth morphologically similar to human teeth, periodontal ligament stem cells have been found to be the most efficacious of three varieties of dental tissue-derived stem cells for regenerating the dental setup.

Excessive nitrogen harms the economy and environment -- first Europe-wide assessment published
A major new study finds that nitrogen pollution is costing each person in Europe around £130 - £650 (€150 - €740 Euros) a year.

Estrogen treatment with no side-effects in sight
Estrogen treatment for osteoporosis has often been associated with serious side-effects.

Actions and personality, east and west
People in different cultures make different assumptions about the people around them, according to an upcoming study published in Psychological Science.

Pharmacogenetics testing offers way to reduce deaths from drug toxicity
Pharmacogenetics testing is at the forefront of reducing adverse drug reactions and increasing drug effectiveness.

Penguins that shun ice still lose big from a warming climate
Fluctuations in penguin populations in the Antarctic are linked more strongly to the availability of their primary food source than to changes in their habitats, according to a new study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mechanism for esophageal cancer uncovered
A gene thought to be associated with cancer development can be a tumor suppressor gene in mice, researchers have discovered.

Corticosteroid use during pregnancy not linked to facial clefts in infants
The use of corticosteroids during pregnancy does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of orofacial clefts in infants, according to an article in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

High levels of vitamin D appear to lower risk of age-related macular degeneration in young women
High levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream appear to be associated with a decreased risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration among women younger than 75 years, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Elsevier and Wood Mackenzie to combine scientific and commercial information into Geofacets
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced a collaboration with Wood Mackenzie, a top provider of research and consultancy to the energy and metals industries.

In it to win it?
Scientists have found that a wide range of drugs can be effective for treating gambling addiction in the short term.

AAN issues new guideline on best treatments for diabetic nerve pain
The American Academy of Neurology has issued a new guideline on the most effective treatments for diabetic nerve pain, the burning or tingling pain in the hands and feet that affects millions of people with diabetes.

Finding may end a 30-year scientific debate
A chance observation by a Queen's University researcher might have ended a decades-old debate about the precise way antifreeze proteins bind to the surface of ice crystals.

Media's focus on ideal body shape can boost women's body satisfaction -- for a while
When researchers had college-age women view magazines for five straight days that only included images of women with thin, idealized body types, something surprising happened: the readers' own body satisfaction improved. 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