Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 18, 2011
Pier review
On Oct. 5, 2010, the historic Hastings Pier was set on fire, destroying 95 percent of the Grade II listed building, leading to concerns over its future.

How the bilingual brain copes with aging
Older bilingual adults compensate for age-related declines in brainpower by developing new strategies to process language, according to a recent study published in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition.

Virtual surgery shows promise in personalized treatment of nasal obstruction
A preliminary report suggests that virtual nasal surgery has the potential to be a productive tool that may enable surgeons to perform personalized nasal surgery using computer simulation techniques, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the September print issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

U-M experts: Gym gone but not forgotten? Parents want more physical activity at school for kids
Childhood obesity affects 1 of every 6 kids in the United States, in part due to a lack of physical activity.

New kid on the plasmonic block
Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved plasmonic properties in the semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots.

Study links social environment to high attempted suicide rates among gay youth
In the wake of several highly publicized suicides by gay teenagers, a new study finds that a negative social environment surrounding gay youth is associated with high rates of suicide attempts by lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth.

JCI online early table of contents: April 18, 2011
This release contains the summaries, titles and author contact information for articles to be released in the April 18 edition of the JCI, including

Elderly diabetes patients with very low glucose levels have slightly increased risk of death
A new study of older diabetes patients has found that well-controlled blood sugar levels were associated with a lower risk of major complications but the very lowest blood sugar levels were associated with a small but significant increased risk of death.

Report cites 'liquefaction' as key to much of Japanese earthquake damage
The massive subduction zone earthquake in Japan caused a significant level of soil

Stanford studies document widespread, risky use clotting drug on non-hemophilia patients
An expensive blood-clotting drug that is intended only for hemophilia patients is being used in hospitals predominantly to treat patients without this disorder, despite evidence suggesting that it could harm them, according to a pair of studies from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Study shows new TB test can, in resource-poor settings, provide early and accurate diagnosis and potentially reduce consequences of delayed diagnosis and treatment
A study has shown that a recently developed test for TB can be used effectively in resource poor settings to rapidly diagnose those infected, including those with multi-drug resistant TB.

Experts to discuss advances in dental sleep medicine treatments for sleep-disordered breathing
Nearly 800 dental sleep medicine professionals from around the world will gather at the 20th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, which will take place Saturday, June 11, 2011, at the Hilton Minneapolis in Minneapolis, Minn.

Change strategy to save diversity of species
Active efforts are required to preserve biodiversity in the seas -- that far most people are in agreement.

Plant hormone auxin triggers a genetic switch
Researchers have found a mechanism for stabilizing the development of plant organisms.

Previous-day alcohol consumption appears to affect surgical skills on virtual reality simulator
Excessive alcohol consumption appears to be associated with changes in some surgical skills performed on virtual reality simulator testing the following day, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

24th ECNP Congress Sept. 3-7, 2011, Paris, France
The 24th Congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, which is the largest annual scientific congress on neuropsychopharmacology, brain disorders and mental health in Europe, will be held from Sept.

CMAJ calls on federal government to protect Canadians from unsafe drugs
Canada needs to modernize its pharmaceutical drug laws to ensure that new drugs as well as older drugs are safe for Canadians, states an editorial in CMAJ.

Intellectual disability is frequently caused by non-hereditary genetic problems
Mutations in a group of genes associated with brain activity frequently cause intellectual disability, according to a study led by scientists affiliated with the University of Montreal and the research centre at the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine.

More accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's
A new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows how analyzing spinal fluid can help to detect Alzheimer's disease at an early stage.

Do-not-resuscitate orders associated with poor surgical outcomes even for non-emergency procedures
Surgical patients with do-not-resuscitate orders appear to be at higher risk for poor surgical outcomes, according to a report published online today by the Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Overdose deaths down 35 percent after opening of Vancouver's supervised injection site: UBC-BC-CfE study
Illicit drug overdose deaths in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside dropped by 35 percent after the establishment of Insite, North America's first supervised injection facility, according a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Airway abnormalities appear uncommon in well-appearing babies with apparent life-threatening events
Airway abnormalities were uncommon among well-appearing infants hospitalized with apparent life-threatening events, and pediatric otolaryngology service was involved in their care only a small proportion of the time during five years after the episode, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Noninvasive extenders are better than surgery for men who want a longer penis
Surgeons should encourage men who request penile lengthening surgery to try non-invasive methods first and, in some cases, consider therapy to help them feel more positive about their body.

New scientific model tracks form of ovarian cancer to origins in fallopian tube
High-grade serous ovarian cancer is thought by many scientists to often be a fallopian tube malignancy masquerading as an ovarian one.

For testing skin cream, synthetic skin may be as good as the real thing
New research suggests that currently available types of synthetic skin may now be good enough to imitate animal skin in laboratory tests, and may be on their way to truly simulating human skin in the future.

Sandia and UNM lead effort to destroy cancers
Melding nanotechnology and medical research, researchers have produced an effective strategy that uses nanoparticles to blast cancerous cells with a melange of killer drugs.

The pain of evolution: A big toothache for reptiles
Our susceptibility to oral infection has some parallels to those of ancient reptiles that evolved to eat a diet incorporating plants in addition to meat.

Reptilian root canal: U of T Mississauga study reveals infection in jaw of ancient fossil
A reptile that lived 275-million years ago in what is now Oklahoma is giving paleontologists a glimpse of the oldest known toothache.

Mercury on the rise in endangered Pacific seabirds
Using 120 years of feathers from natural history museums in the United States, Harvard University researchers have been able to track increases in the neurotoxin methylmercury in the black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), an endangered seabird that forages extensively throughout the Pacific.

South African Minister launches the IAU Global Office of Astronomy for Development
The South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, launched the IAU Global Office of Astronomy for Development at the headquarters of the South African Astronomical Observatory.

Health status of migrant workers in Canada
International migrant workers entering Canada generally arrive healthy but their low-skilled occupations may put them at risk of health issues and they may face barriers to health care, states an analysis in CMAJ.

Ferromagnetism plus superconductivity
It actually seems impossible: Scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the TU Dresden were able to verify with an intermetallic compound of bismuth and nickel that certain materials actually exhibit the two contrary properties of superconductivity and ferromagnetism at the same time.

Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth
A computer modeling study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that at deep Earth pressures and temperatures, longer hydrocarbons may be formed from the simplest one, the methane molecule.

NIDA raises the curtain on addiction
The Addiction Performance Project is an innovative continued medical education program designed to help primary care providers break down the stigma associated with addiction.

New vitamin D-fortified food could battle widespread need for the sunshine vitamin
Mention vitamin D-fortified foods and most people think of milk, which has been fortified with the sunshine vitamin since the 1930s.

Research turns the world upside down
Using tests of visual perception and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Lars Strother and colleagues at the University of Western Ontario's world-renowned Centre for Brain & Mind recently measured activity in two regions of the brain well known for facial recognition and found they were highly sensitive to the orientation of people's faces.

New Baylor research shows using leaves' characteristics improves accuracy measuring past climates
A study led by Baylor University geologists shows that a new method that uses different size and shape traits of leaves to reconstruct past climates over the last 120 million years is more accurate than other current methods.

Results on national study of parental concerns about childhood vaccines announced
A new study led by Allison Kempe, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of the Children's Outcomes Research Program at The Children's Hospital, reports the results of a national survey of primary care physicians who deliver vaccinations to children.

International training to assist governments of 5 African nations in detecting poor-quality drugs
Scientists from the national laboratories of five African nations are gathering in Accra, Ghana, this week to take part in technical training that will provide them with improved capacity to detect substandard and counterfeit medicines.

Zoom-up star photos poke holes in century-old astronomical theory
The hottest stars in the universe spin so fast that they get a bit squished at their poles and dimmer around their middle.

Man's best friend: A joint tumor marker in man and dog
The dog may be man's best friend but even so it comes as a surprise that the two species share a common tumor marker.

For family violence among adolescents, mattering matters
Teens and adolescents who believe that they matter to their family -- that is, they feel the make a difference in the family's daily doings -- are significantly less likely to threaten or engage in family violence, according to a new study by Brown sociologist Gregory Elliott.

More evidence suggests electric cars need night time charging
Researchers in America have shown that ozone -- a known pollutant at low levels in the earth's atmosphere, causing harmful effects on the respiratory system and sensitive plants -- can be reduced, on average, when electric vehicle charging is done at night time.

Putting a price on sea fish
HÃ¥kan Eggert's studies from Iceland and the Gullmar fjord on the Swedish west coast reveal that when commercial fishermen are given fishing rights they voluntarily choose more sustainable fishing methods and earn far more.

BIDMC researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media
With ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook and Twitter blurring private and professional lines, there is an increasing need for physicians to create a healthy distance between their work and home online identities, two Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center physicians assert.

Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging
Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay aging provide exceptionally good health.

A screening test for cognitive therapy?
The most effective treatments for depression, including cognitive therapy, are successful for only about half the patients to whom they are given.

Ban bodychecking in youth hockey to prevent concussions
Bodychecking in youth hockey leagues should be banned to prevent concussions which can cause serious repercussions, states an analysis in CMAJ.

ONR's digital tutors give Naval recruits, high school students an academic edge
The Office of Naval Research may have a hand in helping Navy recruits and students make the grade with computer-based applications.

Clouds, clouds, burning bright
High up in the sky near the poles some 50 miles above the ground, silvery blue clouds sometimes appear, shining brightly in the night.

Study: Parents likely to embrace predictive genetic testing for their children if offered
Parents offered genetic testing to predict their risks of common, adult-onset health conditions say they would also test their children.

Brookhaven storm experts head to Oklahoma
This spring, scientists from the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory will head to Oklahoma!

Ben-Gurion University students develop thought-controlled, hands-free computer for the disabled
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev software engineering students have developed innovative technology that could enable people to operate a computer without using a keyboard or mouse -- only their brainwaves.

Green transportation experts to speak about future of New York City system at NYAS
Tuesday, April 26, the New York Academy of Sciences presents

Patients appear to adjust and learn to cope with loss or reduced sense of smell
Most patients who have a reduced ability to smell or detect odors seem to attach less importance to the sense of smell in their daily lives than people with a normal olfactory function, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Discovery of relationship between proteins may impact development of cancer therapies
By identifying a surprising association of two intracellular proteins, University of Iowa researchers have laid the groundwork for the development of new therapies to treat B cell lymphomas and autoimmune disease.

Enhanced cord blood stem cell transplants safe in long-term studies
An innovative experimental treatment for boosting the effectiveness of stem-cell transplants with umbilical cord blood has a favorable safety profile in long-term animal studies, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Children's Hospital Boston.

Predicting premature birth possible through markers in mother's blood
Here is a new reason to care about the price of Makena: Scientists have identified a group of proteins and peptides that signal risk of premature birth.

Safeguarding genome integrity through extraordinary DNA repair
Once called

Risk of gallbladder disease virtually the same with newer and older types of birth control pills
The risk of gallbladder disease associated with newer types of oral contraceptives is similar to older oral contraceptives, according to an article in CMAJ.

Move over Prozac: New drug offers hope for depression
The brain chemistry that underlies depression is incompletely understood, but research suggests that aberrant signaling by a chemical called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor through its receptor TrkB, may contribute to anxiety and depression.

Biomaterial banks for research -- clear strategies and recommendations needed
Biomaterial banks are an indispensable resource for biomedical research. They are of great importance to the quality and competitiveness of German research.

Scientists discover how to predict learning using brain analysis
An international team of scientists has developed a way to predict how much a person can learn, based on studies at UC Santa Barbara's Brain Imaging Center.

Study shows how inflammation can lead to cancer
A new study shows how inflammation can help cause cancer.

More game time lost by NHL players with recurrent concussion
A new study of concussions over seven NHL (National Hockey League) seasons indicates that rates of concussions have declined from a peak in 2000, although the time lag between injury and return to play has increased, states an article in the CMAJ.

UTMB's Bhavnani wins award for cutting-edge research in translational bioinformatics
Suresh Bhavnani, an associate professor of biomedical informatics in the Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, was recently honored for using advanced visual analytical methods to propose a new classification of asthma patients.

Genetic mutation linked to lethal disease
Researchers have identified a genetic mutation found in the Ohio Amish population as the cause of a fatal developmental disease in fetuses and infants, according to research published in the April 8, 2011, issue of Science.

Research!America urges Congress: Support medical research in 2012 budget
Research!America urged Congress to prioritize medical, health and scientific research as it begins the process of determining the FY2012 federal budget.

Simple injection could limit damage from heart attacks and stroke
Medical researchers today held out promise that a simple injection is being developed to limit the devastating consequences of heart attacks and strokes.

Subcutaneous injection of bortezomib A promising and safer alternative to intravenous delivery in patients with multiple myeloma
The subcutaneous administration (under the skin) of bortezomib, a standard treatment in patients with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow), is as effective as standard intravenous delivery (into a vein) and could provide an easy home-based treatment option at a substantially reduced cost.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about articles being published in the April 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers pinpoint graphene's varying conductivity levels
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found one of the first roadblocks to utilizing graphene by proving that its conductivity decreases significantly when more than one layer is present.

Pitt-led researchers create super-small transistor, artificial atom powered by single electrons
A Pitt-led team reports in Nature Nanotechnology a single-electron transistor with a central component -- an island only 1.5 nanometers in diameter -- that operates with the addition of only one or two electrons.

Young people happy with their sexual experiences but many take risks
Youngsters are, on average, 16 years old and sober when they make their sexual debut with somebody they have known for a while.

Oxygenation at a depth of 120 meters can save the Baltic Sea
Oxygenation brings dead sea bottoms to life. This creates the necessary conditions for the establishment of new ecosystems that enable nature itself to deal with eutrophication.

Children's doctors team up across state lines to fight disease
A new grant program cosponsored by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute will offer pediatric researchers from five major children's hospitals and medical centers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky the opportunity to partner across state lines to fight childhood disease.

Dietary, lifestyle changes can significantly reduce triglycerides
Diet and lifestyle changes that include substituting healthy fats for unhealthy saturated and trans fats, engaging in regular physical activity and losing excess weight can reduce triglycerides -- a blood fat -- by 20 percent to 50 percent.

Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions
Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people's lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's flagship journal.

Obesity not always protective following surgery
Obese patients with high blood pressure and diabetes are at much higher risk for major complications following non-cardiac surgery compared to otherwise healthy obese patients and patients of normal weight.

New pollutants detected in peregrine falcon eggs
Flame retardants are chemical compounds added to fabrics and plastics to keep them from burning easily, but these can be toxic.

Learn to run a biorefinery in a virtual control room developed by Iowa State researchers
Iowa State University researchers have developed a virtual biorefinery control room based on ethanol and biodiesel plants in Iowa.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees weaker Tropical Depression Errol crossing West Timor
NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Depression Errol's warming cloud temperatures as it was crossing the southern tip of West Timor today.

Habitat restoration could help species to cope with climate change
Animals and plants may need extra habitats to survive the challenge of climate change, according to research by scientists at the University of York.

U of M scientist gets 5-year, $10 million grant to direct innovative HIV research program
Reuben Harris, professor in the University of Minnesota's College of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to direct a large-scale research effort to study a human antiviral protein with potential for treating HIV and other viral diseases.

Anti-depressants boost brain cells after injury in early studies
When neurosurgeons noticed that patients with brain injuries who had been prescribed anti-depressants were doing better in unexpected ways than their counterparts who were not taking such medications, scientists took a closer look.

New link between mother's pregnancy diet and offspring's chances of obesity found
Scientists have discovered that a mother's nutrition during pregnancy can strongly influence her child's risk of obesity many years later, by altering their DNA.

GOES-13 satellite animation shows US severe storms and tornado outbreak
The GOES-13 satellite captured images of the powerful weather system that triggered severe weather in the southern US this weekend, and NASA created an animation to show its progression.

FDA approval of brain aneurysm device gives Jefferson neurosurgeons another life-saving tool
The recent US Food and Drug Administration approval of a brain aneurysm device has opened the door for neurosurgeons at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience to offer advanced treatment to patients suffering from large or giant aneurysms who otherwise have limited, effective options.

Newer oral contraceptive as safe for gall bladder as older birth-control pills: UBC-VCH research
Drospirenone, the top-selling oral contraceptive marketed as Yaz or Yasmin in the US and Canada, doesn't carry any more risk of gall bladder disease than the older generation of birth control pills, despite claims by some consumers and lawyers in both countries, according to a new study by University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher Mahyar Etminan.

Study sheds light on NHL concussions
A major University of Calgary study of concussions, conducted over seven National Hockey League seasons indicates that while the rate of injuries leveled out over the study period, the number of days lost per concussion has increased.

Virtual surgery shows promise in personalized treatment of nasal obstruction
Virtual nasal surgery has the potential to be a productive tool that may enable surgeons to perform personalized nasal surgery using computer simulation techniques, according to researchers at The Medical College of Wisconsin.

Innovative screening method identifies possible new treatment for fatal childhood disease
Many genes that cause human diseases have parallel genes in other organisms, including yeast.

Mood swings of bipolar patients can be predicted, study shows
The future mood swings of people with bipolar disorder can be predicted by their current thoughts and behavior, a study published Tuesday, April 19, 2011, has found.

How do you manage US oceans? Look at local successes
A team of experts led by Brown University has a plan to advance President Obama's directive to manage the nation's waters better.

Immediate treatment can alleviate future back problems
Immediate treatment by a physiotherapist, bypassing a waiting list, can reduce problems with recurring low back pain, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Research shows men tend to leap to judgment where women see more shades of gray
An experiment by researchers at the University of Warwick has found the first real evidence that men tend to make black-or-white judgments when women are more prone to see shades of gray in choices and decisions.

Study: Common virus + low sunlight exposure may increase risk of MS
New research suggests that people who are exposed to low levels of sunlight coupled with a history of having a common virus known as mononucleosis may be at greater odds of developing multiple sclerosis than those without the virus.

Cell of origin for squamous cell carcinoma discovered
Squamous cell cancers, which can occur in multiple organs in the body, can originate from hair follicle stem cells, a finding that could result in new strategies to treat and potentially prevent the disease, according to a study by researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.

Television 'breakups' cause some viewers distress
Even temporary

Too many relatives ruining your picnic? Be glad the flies don't invite their cousins
An Iowa State University researcher is one of a team of scientists who have recently researched the fly family tree -- one of the most complicated in the animal world.

MARC Travel Award announced for ISCB Great Lakes Bioinformatics Conference
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipient for the 2011 ISCB Great Lakes Bioinformatics Conference (GLBIO) to be held at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio from May 2-4, 2011.

Tinnitus caused by too little inhibition of brain auditory circuits, Pitt-led study says
Tinnitus, a relentless ringing in the ears known to disable soldiers exposed to blasts, unwary listeners of too-loud music and millions more, is the result of under-inhibition of key neural pathways in the brain's auditory center, say scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New biomarker allows early detection of adverse prognosis after acute kidney injury
A new biomarker-based diagnostic test is more effective than current best practice for early detection of adverse outcomes after acute kidney injury, which can be fatal for 50 percent of the critically ill patients who get the condition.

'I'm a Mac' -- so what? Study finds way to measure brand personality appeal
Companies spend millions to develop their brand's personality, in hopes that it can help sell products.

High-deductible health plans pose no special risks to the medically vulnerable, study finds
People who are medically vulnerable -- those with low incomes or chronic health problems -- who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed health care than other people who enroll in the plans, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Mutated gene found in dog disease the same in humans, MU researchers find
University of Missouri researchers believe both man and animal will benefit from their discovery that the same gene mutation found in Tibetan terrier dogs can also be found in a fatal human neurological disorder related to Parkinson's disease.

Minorities born with heart defects at higher risk of dying in early childhood than whites
Non-Hispanic black infants born with heart defects are more likely to die within the first five years of life than their non-Hispanic white and Hispanic peers, reports a new study by researchers at the University of South Florida, Texas Department of State Health Services and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Tuberculosis strain in indigenous communities linked to Canadian fur trade
Researchers have found that a strain of tuberculosis responsible for devastating some isolated Aboriginal populations in Canada was first introduced to these communities by French Canadian fur traders between 1710 and 1870. 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