Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 14, 2011
Statins may protect against kidney complications following elective surgery
Taking a statin before having major elective surgery reduces potentially serious kidney complications, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

Data catches up with theory: Ocean front is energetic contributor to mixing
Wind blowing on the ocean is a crucial factor mixing carbon dioxide into the ocean depths and keeping it from going back into the atmosphere.

Dietary yeast extracts tested as alternative to antibiotics in poultry
A dietary yeast extract could be an effective alternative to antibiotics for poultry producers, according to a US Department of Agriculture study.

Hopkins team discovers how DNA changes
Using human kidney cells and brain tissue from adult mice, Johns Hopkins scientists have uncovered the sequence of steps that makes normally stable DNA undergo the crucial chemical changes implicated in cancers, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Human Factors/Ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards
Ryan was just four years old when he went to sleep on his bunk bed one night and never woke up.

Drug potency -- what happens in space?
Some of the Pharmaceuticals intended for the treatment of minor illnesses of astronauts in space may require special packaging and reformulation to remain stable for long periods in the space environment.

Evolution points to genes involved in birth timing
Evolutionary changes that make us uniquely human -- such as our large heads and narrow pelvises -- may have

Study finds aggressive glycemic control in diabetic CABG patients does not improve survival
Surgeons from Boston Medical Center have found that in diabetic patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, aggressive glycemic control does not result in any significant improvement of clinical outcomes as compared with moderate control.

Duke Human Vaccine Institute signs research agreement to develop pandemic virus vaccines
The Duke Human Vaccine Institute today announced a collaboration and strategic agreement with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics to enable the rapid development of a vaccine and accelerate preparedness in case of a pandemic virus threat such as pandemic influenza.

Recipe for radioactive compounds aids nuclear waste and fuel storage pools studies
Easy-to-follow recipes for radioactive compounds like those found in nuclear fuel storage pools, liquid waste containment areas and other contaminated aqueous environments have been developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories.

Women more likely to self-medicate
Approximately 20 percent of Spaniards take non-prescribed medication and women are the group most inclined towards this practice.

People know when first impressions are accurate
First impressions are important, and they usually contain a healthy dose both of accuracy and misperception.

Taking blood from Fukushima radiation workers in order to prepare for future stem cell transplants in case they are accidently exposed to high doses of radiation
In correspondence published online first and an upcoming Lancet, Japanese experts suggest that blood products be taken from workers dealing with the ailing Fukushima Nuclear Facility -- so that, should they accidently be exposed to high and health-damaging doses of radiation during the clean-up operation, they will be able to receive treatment by undergoing stem cell transplanation using their own cells (autologous transplant).

Novel therapy improves immune function in teen with rare disease
In a novel approach that works around the gene defect in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, an inherited immune deficiency disorder, researchers used an alternative cell signaling pathway to significantly improve immune function in a 13-year-old boy with the disease.

Illusion can halve the pain of osteoarthritis, scientists say
A serendipitous discovery by academics at The University of Nottingham has shown that a simple illusion can significantly reduce -- and in some cases even temporarily eradicate -- arthritic pain in the hand.

UCSF team describes neurological basis for embarrassment
Recording people belting out an old Motown tune and then asking them to listen to their own singing without the accompanying music seems like an unusually cruel form of punishment.

New ACE survey shows people with type 2 diabetes experience low blood sugar during typical daily activities
New survey data released today at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 20th Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress reveal that more than half (55 percent) of people with type 2 diabetes across the country report they have experienced hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Historical context guides language development
Not only do we humans enjoy talking -- and talking a lot -- we also do so in very different ways: about 6,000 languages are spoken today worldwide.

Older workers benefit from high-tech, high-touch health promotion
Older workers benefit most from a modest health behavior program when it combines a Web-based risk assessment with personal coaching, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Temporary memory loss strikes hospitalized seniors
Battling an illness, lack of sleep and strange surroundings can make any hospital patient feel out of sorts.

Highest percentage of Americans in 4 decades say financial situation has gotten worse
A report of the General Social Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, shows that for the first time since 1972, more Americans say that their financial situation has gotten worse in recent years rather than better.

Genes that control 'aging' steroid identified
Eight genes which control levels of the main steroid produced by the adrenal gland, believed to play a role in aging and longevity, have been uncovered by an international consortium of scientists, co-led by King's College London.

Precipitation, predators may be key in ecological regulation of infectious disease
In a study appearing in the May issue of the journal American Naturalist, researchers show that just three ecological factors -- rainfall, predator diversity, and island size and shape -- can account for nearly all of the differences in infection rates among the eight Channel Islands off the California coast.

Hydrocarbons in the deep earth
A new computational study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how hydrocarbons may be formed from methane in deep Earth at extreme pressures and temperatures.

Accountable care organizations have potential to curb costs and improve health care
If implemented successfully, accountable care organizations (ACOs) have the ability to achieve better care, better population health, and lower costs, according to a new report released today by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

Nationwide Children's Hospital accepted to Neonatal Research Network
Nationwide Children's Hospital has been accepted to join an elite group of research centers dedicated to studying neonatal medicine.

A chance discovery may revolutionize hydrogen production
Producing hydrogen in a sustainable way is a challenge and production cost is too high.

A bicycle built for none: Riderless bike helps researchers learn how balance rolls along
In a discovery that could lead to better and safer bicycle design, researchers have shown that long-accepted

Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging
The idea of probing the body's interior with radiation stretches back to experiments with X rays in the 1800s, but more than a century later, images taken with radiological scans still are not considered reliable enough to, serve as the sole indicator of the efficacy of a cancer treatment.

Wikipedia deemed a reliable source for political info by new study
A study of articles related to candidates for governor across the US found very few inaccuracies.

Boston University researchers find most substance-dependent individuals report poor oral health
A team of Boston University researchers has found that the majority of individuals with substance dependence problems report having poor oral health.

Scientists finely control methane combustion to get different products
Scientists find that combustion of methane using two gold atoms at room temperature yields ethylene, while at lower temperatures it yields formaldehyde.

Too Much Information? Risk-benefit data does not always lead to informed decision-making
Giving patients data about the risks and benefits of a medical intervention is not always helpful and may even lead them to irrational decisions, according to an article in the Hastings Center Report.

Carbon sequestration estimate in US increased -- barring a drought
A research group has concluded that forests and other terrestrial ecosystems in the lower 48 states can sequester up to 40 percent of the nation's fossil fuel carbon emissions, a larger amount than previously estimated -- unless a drought or other major disturbance occurs.

Search for dark matters moves one step closer to detecting elusive particle
The international XENON collaboration reports the best constraints to date on the properties of dark matter, the mysterious particles that may account for nearly 83 percent of all mass in the universe.

'Jurassic Park' had it right: Some dinosaurs hunted by night
Velociraptors hunted by night while big plant-eating dinosaurs browsed around the clock, according to a paper on the eyes of fossil animals published on-line this week in Science Express.

University of Granada researchers make the first bioartificial organ in Spain
Researchers extracted pig corneal cells and replaced them with human stem cells.

New study finds stronger regulations of in vitro fertilization may save lives
Couples struggling with infertility often use assisted reproductive technologies, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), to get pregnant.

The eyes have it: Dinosaurs hunted by night
The movie Jurassic Park got one thing right: those velociraptors hunted by night while the big plant-eaters browsed around the clock, according to a new study of the eyes of fossil animals.

Climate change from black carbon depends on altitude
Scientists have known for decades that black carbon aerosols add to global warming.

Teachers-based intervention provides stress resistance in war-exposed children
In a study published in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers report on the effects of an Israeli, teacher-based stress resistance intervention implemented in grade schools before the rocket attacks that occurred during Operation Cast Lead, compared with a non-intervention but exposed control group.

Polluted air leads to disease by promoting widespread inflammation
Chronic inhalation of polluted air appears to activate a protein that triggers the release of white blood cells, setting off events that lead to widespread inflammation, according to new research in an animal model.

LOFAR takes the pulse of the radio sky
A powerful new telescope is allowing an international team led by University of Manchester scientists to have their

Study suggests enzyme crucial to DNA replication may provide potent anti-cancer drug target
An enzyme essential for DNA replication and repair in humans works in a way that might be exploited as anti-cancer therapy, say researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Warning to breastfeeding mothers
While breastfeeding babies has numerous health advantages to both mother and child, mothers who breastfeed may find that other people look down on them and do not want to work with them.

Mount Sinai researchers present critical MS data at American Academy of Neurology meeting
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine will present several key studies at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, including research providing critical insight into the prognosis and clinical treatment course of people with a certain subtype of multiple sclerosis.

Teaching with technology: WSU examines status quo, benefits of online learning in Canada
Michael Barbour, Ph.D., assistant professor of instructional technology at Wayne State University's College of Education and a resident of Windsor, Ontario, has spent the past three years conducting an ongoing study to evaluate ways in which Canadian students, like those in northern Ontario, are benefiting from the use of technology as a tool to provide distance learning.

Rising star of brain found to regulate circadian rhythms
The circadian system that controls sleep patterns is regulated by glial brain cells called astrocytes, according to a study published in Current Biology.

Free online tool aids decisions on fire sprinkler systems for homes
For the many states, communities, new-home builders, and prospective buyers now mulling over the pluses and minuses of installing residential fire suppression sprinklers, NIST has developed a free on-line tool to help them sort through the costs and benefits of the technology.

Study: Compassion, not sanctions, is best response to workplace anger
Challenging traditional views of workplace anger, a new article by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor suggests that even intense emotional outbursts can prove beneficial if responded to with compassion.

Eyes of rock let chitons see predators
Using eyes made of a calcium carbonate crystal, a simple mollusk may have evolved enough vision to spot potential predators, scientists say.

CSHL team perfects non-lethal way of switching off essential genes in mice
Switching off an essential gene to study its function is problematic because shutting off its activity permanently will kill the organism before the gene's function can be determined.

Heart needs work after heart attack: U of A study challenges the notion that the heart must rest
A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta shows that for best results in stable patients after heart attack, early exercise as well as prolonged exercise is the key to the best outcomes.

MU researcher works with carbon fiber to reinforce buildings; protect from explosion
Most buildings are not constructed to withstand an unexpected explosion or impact.

Inability to detect sarcasm, lies may be early sign of dementia, UCSF study shows
By asking a group of older adults to analyze videos of other people conversing -- some talking truthfully, some insincerely -- a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has determined which areas of the brain govern a person's ability to detect sarcasm and lies.

Study finds diet plus exercise is more effective for weight loss than either method alone
A new study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that when it comes to losing weight and body fat, diet and exercise are most effective when done together as compared to either strategy alone.

Experimental drug inhibits cell signaling pathway and slows ovarian cancer growth
An experimental drug that blocks two points of a crucial cancer cell signaling pathway inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells and significantly increases survival in an ovarian cancer mouse model, a study at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found.

Artificial pancreas may improve overnight control of diabetes in adults
Two small randomized trials published online today suggest that closed loop insulin delivery (also known as an artificial pancreas) may improve overnight blood glucose control and reduce the risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood glucose levels during the night) in adults with type 1 diabetes.

Parents' 'um's' and 'uh's' help toddlers learn new words, cognitive scientists find
A team of cognitive scientists has good news for parents who are worried that they are setting a bad example for their children when they say

Mayo Clinic finds botox eases painful spinal headaches
A Mayo Clinic case study finds Botox may offer new hope to patients suffering disabling low cerebrospinal fluid headaches.

Following cancer prevention guidelines lowers risk of death from cancer, heart disease, all causes
A study of more than 100,000 men and women over 14 years finds nonsmokers who followed recommendations for cancer prevention had a lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes.

American Chemical Society honors Jeremy Berg and Norman Neureiter with Public Service Award
Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, and Norman P.

Better HIV prevention interventions needed for juvenile offenders
More intensive or family-based HIV prevention interventions may be needed to encourage juvenile offenders to use condoms and stop engaging in risky sexual behavior, say researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center.

Serotonin: A critical chemical for human intimacy and romance
The judgments we make about the intimacy of other couples' relationships appear to be influenced by the brain chemical serotonin, reports a new study published in Biological Psychiatry.

Antibody response may lead to narrowed arteries and organ rejection
Kidney transplant recipients who develop antibodies in response to receiving new organs can develop accelerated arteriosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidney, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

The heat is on: NIST zeroes in on energy consumption of ice makers
In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, NIST researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent.

Researchers create elastic material that changes color in UV light
Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a range of soft, elastic gels that change color when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light -- and change back when the UV light is removed or the material is heated up.

University of Toronto researchers 'brighten' the future of OLED technology
A one-atom thick sheet of the element chlorine is set to revolutionize the next generation of flat-panel displays and lighting technology.

Why does a moving bicycle not fall over? TU Delft casts aside some old theories
Given sufficient forward speed, a bicycle pushed sideways, will not fall over.

Tourette Syndrome: non-drug therapy to reduce tics
The use of cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat tics in Tourette syndrome may be as effective as and even superior to medication in certain cases.

Targeting top 911 callers can trim cost, improve patient care
Repeated unnecessary 911 calls are a common drain on the manpower and finances of emergency medical services, but a pilot program that identified Baltimore City's top 911 callers and coupled them with a case worker has succeeded in drastically cutting the number of such calls while helping callers get proper care.

Filtering out pesticides with E. coli
Genetically modified bacteria could be used in air filters to extract pesticide vapors from polluted air thanks to work by researchers in China published this month in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

Integrative medicine, spirituality improves outcomes in urban adolescents with asthma
A new study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) shows that urban adolescents with asthma may experience worse outcomes when not using spiritual coping and often use complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, like prayer or relaxation, to manage symptoms.

Can nudging help fight the obesity epidemic?
With obesity rates soaring, the government has been promoting nudge -- a strategy that does not tell people how to live but encourages them to make healthy choices in respect of diet and exercise.

Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased
A census team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Insitut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo today announced some encouraging news from a region plagued by warfare and insecurity: a small population of Grauer's gorillas has not only survived, but also increased since the last census.

New NIST SRM helps improve diagnosis of Huntington's disease
A new Standard Reference Material from NIST will help clinical genetics labs accurately diagnose Huntington's disease, an inherited degenerative brain disorder.

Hopkins research sheds light on aortic aneurysm growth, treatment in Marfan syndrome
The Johns Hopkins researchers who first showed that the commonly used blood pressure drug losartan may help prevent life-threatening aneurysms of the aorta in patients with Marfan syndrome have now discovered new clues about the precise mechanism behind the drug's protective effects.

People who overuse credit believe products have unrealistic properties
A University of Missouri researcher says people who overuse credit have very different beliefs about products than people who spend within their means.

Studies of marine animals aim to help prevent rejection of transplanted organs
Studies of the small sea squirt may ultimately help solve the problem of rejection of organ and bone marrow transplants in humans, according to scientists at UC Santa Barbara.

TBI Therapy and Nutrition: IOM report releases April 20
Nutrition research is pointing to ways that nutrients or diets may lessen the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), raising the possibility that the US Department of Defense might be able to use nutritional approaches to help personnel who receive a TBI.

New DNA nanoforms take shape
Miniature architectural forms -- some no larger than viruses -- have been constructed through a revolutionary technique known as DNA origami.

Antiplatelets: 1 person, 1 dose?
An international consortium of scientists, including major contributions from the Montreal Heart Institute, demonstrates that the

Johns Hopkins scientists discover 'thunder' protein that regulates memory formation
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered in mice a molecular wrecking ball that powers the demolition phase of a cycle that occurs at synapses -- those specialized connections between nerve cells in the brain -- and whose activity appears critical for both limiting and enhancing learning and memory.

Caltech researchers use GPS data to model effects of tidal loads on Earth's surface
For many people, Global Positioning System satellite technology is little more than a high-tech version of a traditional paper map.

New data from XENON100 narrows the possible range for dark matter
Weizmann Institute scientists participate in the most sensitive search yet for dark matter candidates called WIMPs.

Many restaurant staff are undertrained and misinformed about food allergies
A new study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy reveals that there is no association between a restaurant worker's knowledge of food allergy and his or her confidence in being able to provide a safe meal to a food allergic customer.

Autism Speaks awards $770,000 for gastrointestinal research in autism spectrum disorders
Autism Speaks announces a $769,943 Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Award to Principal Investigator Paul Ashwood, Ph.D., of the M.I.N.D.

Lovelace Health Plan chooses Elsevier/MEDai predictive analytic solutions
Elsevier/MEDai, a leading health information company with award-winning solutions for the improvement of care delivery, announced today that Lovelace Health Plan in New Mexico has purchased several products in MEDai's suite of Risk Navigator products to drive quality outcomes through predictive analytics.

New study identifies possible cause of salt-induced hypertension
New research from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Kent State University shows that salt intake raises blood pressure because it makes it harder for the cardiovascular system to simultaneously juggle the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature.

WSU researchers confirm key feature of age-related miscarriages and birth defects
Washington State University researchers have confirmed a critical step in cell division that results in age-related miscarriages and birth defects, including Down syndrome.

Stroke survival among seniors better in sociable neighborhoods
Seniors living in closely-knit, supportive neighborhoods have significantly better stroke survival rates than others, regardless of other health or socioeconomic factors.

Experts author a new book exploring unique challenges facing women with diabetes
In this one-of-a-kind book, University of Utah School of Medicine faculty Robert E.

A sleep strategy commonly used by night nurses throws off their circadian clocks
As many as 25 percent of hospital nurses go without sleep for at least 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift, which is the least effective strategy for adapting their internal, circadian clocks to a night-time schedule.

New spin on graphene
University of Manchester scientists have found a way to make wonder material graphene magnetic, opening up a new range of opportunities for the world's thinnest material in the area of spintronics.

Researchers gain new clues about how to prevent aortic aneurysm in patients with Marfan syndrome
HHMI scientists whose laboratory studies first suggested that an FDA-approved drug, losartan, might prevent the potentially deadly enlargement of the aorta caused by Marfan syndrome now have an even clearer picture of the cellular signals that contribute to the disease.

Toward a more efficient use of solar energy
The exploitation and utilization of new energy sources are considered to be among today's major challenges.

Controversial TOFT theory of cancer versus SMT model: Authors do battle in BioEssays
Writing in BioEssays, cancer scientists Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein pit their controversial tissue organization field theory of the origin of cancer against the widely accepted somatic mutation theory in what is believed to be the first time the two theories have formally opposed each other in a forum for discussion.

Humpback whale songs spread eastward like the latest pop tune
Humpback whales have their own version of the hit single, according to a study reported online on April 14 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

New global portal for cyber-physical systems research launched
Vanderbilt's Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) has built and will operate a Web-based collaboration platform for the new National Science Foundation-funded Cyber-Physical Systems Virtual Organization.

Eyes of rock let chitons see predators
Using eyes made of a calcium carbonate crystal, a simple mollusk may have evolved enough vision to spot potential predators, scientists say. 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