Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 20, 2011
Ends of chromosomes protected by stacked, coiled DNA caps
Researchers are delving into the details of the complex structure at the ends of chromosomes.

Pulse oximetry training video by BMC anesthesiologist published in NEJM
A pulse oximetry training video produced by Rafael Ortega, M.D., the vice-chair of academic affairs for the department of anesthesiology at Boston Medical Center and professor of anesthesiology at Boston University School of Medicine, and his colleagues is featured in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Protein and calories can help lessen effects of severe traumatic brain injury
To help alleviate the effects of severe traumatic brain injury, the US Department of Defense should ensure that all military personnel with this type of injury receive adequate protein and calories immediately after the trauma and through the first two weeks of treatment, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Contemporary climate change alters the pace and drivers of extinction
Local extinction rates of American pikas have increased nearly five-fold in the last 10 years, and the rate at which the climate-sensitive species is moving up mountain slopes has increased 11-fold, since the 20th century, according to a study soon to be published in Global Change Biology.

Rotten meat doesn't stand a chance
When it comes to packaged fish or meat, it is nearly impossible to distinguish between fresh goods and their inedible counterparts.

Antimalarial trees in East Africa threatened with extinction
Research released in anticipation of World Malaria Day finds that plants in East Africa with promising antimalarial qualities -- ones that have treated malaria symptoms in the region's communities for hundreds of years -- are at risk of extinction.

EMBO Gold Medal 2011 awarded to Simon Boulton
The European Molecular Biology Organization today announced Simon Boulton of Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratories as the winner of the 2011 EMBO Gold Medal.

Thomas Kipps receives ACGT Investigator Award
Citing his on-going development of an immune-mediated gene therapy for intractable B cell leukemia, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) has awarded Thomas J.

Fruit flies on meth: Study explores whole-body effects of toxic drug
A new study in fruit flies offers a broad view of the potent and sometimes devastating molecular events that occur throughout the body as a result of methamphetamine exposure.

Smart Systems Week in Helsinki June 14-17, 2011
EURIPIDES -- in close cooperation with VTT and TEKES -- is proud to announce its 5th Annual Forum at the Scandic Marina Congress in Helsinki from June 14-17, 2011.

UK's tuberculosis screening strategy for immigrants misses most imported cases of latent infection and unlikely to prevent the spread of disease
UK tuberculosis screening for new immigrants is missing most imported cases of latent infection.

Presenting cancer treatment options in small doses yields smarter choices
Women who choose among different breast cancer treatment options make smarter choices when getting the information and making decisions in small doses rather than all at once, as is customary, a University of Michigan study found.

A bird and a plane -- NYU's Courant Institute receives grant to develop crow-sized autonomous plane
New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences has received a grant from the US Office of Naval Research to develop a bird-sized, self-flying plane that could navigate through both forests and urban environments.

People fall into 3 categories of gut microbiota
Every person's intestinal system falls into one of three clearly distinguishable types of gut microbiota, comparable to blood types.

Neuroscientists discover new 'chemical pathway' in the brain for stress
A team of neuroscientists at the University of Leicester, UK, in collaboration with researchers from Poland and Japan, has announced a breakthrough in the understanding of the

PSERC awarded $5.5 million to map a new trajectory for the energy system grid
Research to pave the way for transforming the nation's electric grid into a more sustainable energy system will be boosted by a $5.5 million grant from the US Department of Energy to a national research partnership led by Arizona State University.

Engineering professor wins award for pioneering work expected to improve electronic devices
A professor at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering will receive an international award for his pioneering work in nanotechnology that could have far-reaching impacts on electronic devices.

Immigrant screening misses majority of imported latent TB, finds study
Current UK procedures to screen new immigrants for tuberculosis fail to detect more than 70 percent of cases of latent infection, according to a new study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Laser sparks revolution in internal combustion engines
For more than 150 years, spark plugs have powered internal combustion engines.

New data shows half of all children with autism wander and bolt from safe places
The Interactive Autism Network, the nation's largest online autism research project, reveals the preliminary results of the first major survey on wandering and elopement among individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and announces the launch of a new research survey on the association between pregnancy factors and autism.

Bertil Fredholm wins the 2011 ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award in basic science research
The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology is pleased to announce Bertil Fredholm as the recipient of the 2011 ECNP Neuropsychopharmacology Award in Basic Science Research in recognition of his pioneering work on the brain adenosine system.

Primordial weirdness: Did the early universe have 1 dimension?
Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That's the mind-boggling concept at the heart of a theory that University at Buffalo physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues proposed in 2010.

Shades of gray: LSU researcher studies South Louisiana's historical ties to the oil industry
In response to the probing questions being asked of science and society, LSU researchers are taking a better look at how oil has influenced Louisiana -- and how Louisiana influences the industry.

How TRIM5 fights HIV
Thanks to a certain protein, rhesus monkeys are resistant to HIV.

International scientists warn of growing threat of wheat rust epidemics worldwide
Researchers meeting at a scientific conference in Aleppo this week reported that aggressive new strains of wheat rust diseases -- called stem rust and stripe rust -- have decimated up to 40 percent of farmers' wheat fields in recent harvests in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, including Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Ethiopia and Kenya.

A disturbed galactic duo
The galaxies in this pairing, captured by the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope in Chile, display some curious features, demonstrating that each member of the duo is close enough to feel the distorting gravitational influence of the other.

WHRC debuts detailed maps of forest canopy height and carbon stock for the conterminous US
The Woods Hole Research Center has released the first hectare-scale maps of canopy height, aboveground biomass, and associated carbon stock for the forests and woodlands of the conterminous United States.

Lightning-fast materials testing using ultrasound
For years, ultrasound has proven to be a valuable tool in non-destructive materials testing.

Researchers construct RNA nanoparticles to safely deliver long-lasting therapy to cells
Though RNA is viewed as a promising tool in nanotherapy, the difficulties of producing stable and long-lasting therapeutic RNA have posed challenges to research.

Common genetic variant linked to pulmonary fibrosis risk
Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have identified a common genetic variant associated with substantially increased risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, a debilitating and life-threatening lung condition.

Toward new medications for chronic brain diseases
A needle-in-the-haystack search through nearly 390,000 chemical compounds had led scientists to a substance that can sneak through the protective barrier surrounding the brain with effects promising for new drugs for Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.

Biological links found between childhood abuse and adolescent depression
Queen's University psychology professor Kate Harkness has found that a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood substantially increases the risk of depression in adolescence by altering a person's neuroendocrine response to stress.

Using the energy in oil shale without releasing carbon dioxide in a greenhouse world
New technology that combines production of electricity with capture of carbon dioxide could make billions of barrels of oil shale -- now regarded as off-limits because of the huge amounts of carbon dioxide released in its production -- available as an energy source in a greenhouse world of the future.

Quest for new plant protection substances mirrors search for new drugs
The costly, often-frustrating quest for new ways of preventing and treating diseases that strike vegetables, fruits, and other food crops bears striking similarity to the better-known saga of the pharmaceutical industry's pricey search for new drugs for humans.

Breastfeeding tied to stronger maternal response to baby's cry
A new study from the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry finds that mothers who feed their babies breast milk exclusively, as opposed to formula, are more likely to bond emotionally with their child during the first few months after delivery.

European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Annual Meeting, July 3-6, 2011, Stockholm
ESHRE's Annual Meeting is the forum where more than 9,000 of the world's leading experts in reproductive medicine gather to give the first public presentation of their latest research findings.

USC research shows critical role of placenta in brain development
Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California's Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute shows for the first time that the human placenta plays an active role in synthesizing serotonin, paving the way to new treatment strategies that could mitigate health impacts such as cardiovascular disease and mental illness.

Rensselaer secures $1.5 million from DOE/NNSA to launch new nuclear safety research program
Nuclear criticality safety and reactor safety are at the heart of a new initiative led by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Musical activity may improve cognitive aging
A study conducted by Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist in Emory's Department of Neurology, and cognitive psychologist Alicia MacKay, Ph.D., found that older individuals who spent a significant amount of time throughout life playing a musical instrument perform better on some cognitive tests.

Ring around the hurricanes: Satellites can predict storm intensity
Coastal residents may soon have longer warning when a storm headed in their direction is becoming a hurricane, thanks to a University of Illinois study demonstrating how to use existing satellites to monitor tropical storm dynamics and predict sudden surges in strength.

Strong protection for weak passwords
The combination of simple codes and Captchas, which are even more encrypted using a chaotic process, produces effective password protection.

Heart drugs could cut blood pressure risks in pregnancy
Pregnant women could benefit from a pioneering trial that will test whether heart disease drugs can be used to treat pre-eclampsia.

Scientists prove new technology to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes
Scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Washington, Seattle, have taken an important step towards developing control measures for mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

Starting a new metabolic path
JBEI researchers have demonstrated a new technique that speeds up and improves the identification and quantification of proteins within a cell or micoorganism.

Growers rally behind purple flowers to support TGen cancer research
A group of Ohio greenhouse growers hopes a

Beams of electrons link Saturn with its moon Enceladus
Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have revealed that Enceladus, one of Saturn's diminutive moons, is linked to Saturn by powerful electrical currents -- beams of electrons that flow back and forth between the planet and moon.

Kids' 'screen time' linked to early markers for cardiovascular disease
Children who had the most hours of screen time, particularly in front of the television, had narrower arteries in the eyes -- a possible indicator for future heart disease risk.

Low carbohydrate diet may reverse kidney failure in people with diabetes
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have for the first time determined that the ketogenic diet, a specialized high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Infants with persistent crying problems more likely to have behavior problems in childhood
Infants who have problems with persistent crying, sleeping and/or feeding -- known as regulatory problems -- are far more likely to become children with significant behavioral problems, reveals research published ahead of print in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Electronic medical records speed genetic health studies
Recruiting thousands of patients to collect health data for genetic clues to disease is expensive and time consuming.

New battery produces electricity where freshwater meets saltwater
Scientists are reporting development of a new battery that extracts and stores energy produced from the difference in saltiness at the point where freshwater in rivers flows into oceans.

Childhood music lessons may provide lifelong boost in brain functioning
Those childhood music lessons could pay off decades later -- even for those who no longer play an instrument -- by keeping the mind sharper as people age, according to a preliminary study published by the American Psychological Association.

Melting ice on Arctic islands a major player in sea level rise
Melting glaciers and ice caps on Canadian Arctic islands play a much greater role in sea level rise than scientists previously thought, according to a new study led by a University of Michigan researcher.

Press registration now open for Transcatheter Valve Therapies
Transcatheter Valve Therapies: An Advanced Scientific and Clinical Workshop (TVT) is a unique educational event, offering an in-depth review of the diagnostic and therapeutic options for the treatment of valvular heart disease.

Evolution of human 'super-brain' tied to development of bipedalism, tool-making
Scientists seeking to understand the origin of the human mind may want to look to honeybees -- not ancestral apes -- for at least some of the answers, according to a University of Colorado Boulder archaeologist.

MicroRNA mediates gene-diet interaction related to obesity
Tufts University researchers observed that a genetic variant on the perilipin 4 (PLIN4) locus was associated with an increased risk of obesity yet, carriers with higher omega-3 fatty acid intakes tended to weigh less than carriers who consumed little or no omega-3 fatty acids.

WSU files for patent on researcher's vaccine technology for chlamydia
A Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher has developed a potential first ever vaccine for Chlamydia, the world's most prevalent sexually transmitted disease and the leading cause of new cases of blindness.

Researchers combine active proteins with material derived from fruit fly
The new work from the Rice lab of biochemist Kathleen Matthews, in collaboration with former Rice faculty fellow and current Texas A&M assistant professor Sarah Bondos, simplifies the process of making materials with fully functional proteins.

Singapore's first locally made satellite launched into space
Singapore's first indigenous micro-satellite, X-SAT, lifted off on board India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C16 at 10.12am Indian Standard Time (12.42pm, Singapore time) on April 20, 2011.

Worm studies shed light on human cancers
Research in the worm is shedding light on a protein associated with a number of different human cancers, and may point to a highly targeted way to treat them.

GOES-13 sees an extraordinarily early Atlantic low in the tropics
Hurricane season doesn't start in the Northern Atlantic Ocean until June 1, but a low pressure system in doesn't seem to want to follow the calendar.

Study group looks at the future of corporate boards
A 20-member blue-ribbon panel, the Study Group on Corporate Boards, co-sponsored by Columbia Business School and the John L.

Drifting on alien winds
Most people are familiar with the seasonal weather patterns on Planet Earth.

Genetic discovery offers new hope in fight against deadly pulmonary fibrosis
Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a genetic variant that increases the risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis by 7 to 22 times.

Rice wins $1.2 million for heart-valve tissue research
A team of bioengineers from Rice University is bringing a promising new strategy for growing replacement heart valves closer to reality, thanks to a four-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Nature's elegant solution to repairing DNA in cancer, other conditions
A major discovery about an enzyme's structure has opened a window on understanding DNA repair.

How molecules get to the right place at the right time
Active transport processes in cells ensure that proteins with specialized local functions reach their intracellular destinations.

Material that if scratched, you can quickly and easily fix yourself, with light not heat
A team of researchers in the United States and Switzerland have developed a polymer-based material that can heal itself with the help of a widely used type of lighting.

Entrepreneurship urged to stimulate the economy
Economists have been pointing to the growth in entrepreneurship and small business hiring as two ways the US economy can speed the recovery process.

Life in extreme environments paves the way for international collaboration
Life thriving in deserts, the polar regions and the deep sea is the focus of a report released today by the CAREX project, involving over 200 international scientists.

Limit to nanotechnology mass-production?
A leading nanotechnology scientist has raised questions over a billion dollar industry by boldly claiming that there is a limit to how small nanotechnology materials can be mass produced.

A galactic rose highlights Hubble's 21st anniversary
In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's deployment into space, astronomers pointed Hubble at an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.

30th annual survey shows Houstonians upbeat about city's future
Klineberg said that as a city at the forefront of the country's demographic revolution, Houston offers a glimpse into America's future, and the survey's assessment of the city may offer important lessons for strengthening the rest of the country

Citizens United case unlikely to end corporate speech debate
University of Illinois law professor Larry E. Ribstein says the US Supreme Court's 5-to-4 ruling in favor of corporate speech has sparked a furor among pundits and the public that has shown little signs of slowing down.

ESHRE sets standards for cross-border reproductive care
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology is setting the first ever standards in cross-border reproductive care.

Repeated stress in pregnancy linked to children's behavior
Research from Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has found a link between the number of stressful events experienced during pregnancy and increased risk of behavioral problems in children.

Genetic discovery good news/bad news for patients with pulmonary fibrosis
The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation applaud the efforts of scientists that led to the discovery of a genetic variation associated with the MUC5B gene which may increase the risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis.

Stanford research moves nanomedicine one step closer to reality
A class of engineered nanoparticles -- gold-centered spheres smaller than viruses -- has been shown safe when administered by two alternative routes in a mouse study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Adaptive trial designs could accelerate HIV vaccine development
In the past 12 years, four large-scale efficacy trials of HIV vaccines have been conducted in various populations.

RF MEMS switch wins at Research Expo 2011 at UC San Diego
New RF MEMS metal-contact switches developed at the University of California, San Diego, could make their way into MRIs and other medical equipment, satellites, and electronic instrumentation such as spectrum analyzers and signal sources.

Society of Interventional Radiology addresses radiation safety, advances best practices
The Society of Interventional Radiology has a long-term commitment to radiation safety and takes the lead in promoting the safety of patients and health care professionals.

A scratched coating heals itself
Researchers have developed a polymer-based coating that can heal itself when placed under ultraviolet light for less than a minute.

Rice to update influential 'Texas Challenge' study for policymakers
Two influential demography books that have impacted public policy in Texas and other states for years will be updated with 2010 census data and converted for online access, courtesy of a generous grant from the Meadows Foundation to Rice University's Hobby Center for the Study of Texas.

How can we measure infants' pain after an operation?
It turns out to be difficult to find out exactly how much a child who cannot yet speak suffers after a surgical operation.

Molecule Nutlin-3a activates a signal inducing cell death and senescence in primary brain tumors
Researchers of Apoptosis and Cancer Group of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have found that a small molecule, Nutlin-3a, an antagonist of MDM2 protein, stimulates the signaling pathway of another protein, p53.

Does video game violence harm teens? New study weighs the evidence
How much scientific evidence is there for and against the assertion that exposure to video game violence can harm teens?

Air pollution exposure affects chances of developing premenopausal breast cancer
Exposure to air pollution early in life and when a woman gives birth to her first child may alter her DNA and may be associated with pre-menopausal breast cancer later in life, researchers at the University at Buffalo have shown.

What's your gut type?
Humans have three different gut types, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg and collaborators in the international MetaHIT consortium have found.

What's your intestinal bacteria type?
As partners in the international research consortium named MetaHit, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have contributed to show that an individual's intestinal bacteria flora, regardless of nationality, gender and age, organizes itself in certain clusters.

Outstanding quality of science at 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011) underlines conference goal of translating HIV research into practice
The 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention will examine basic, clinical and prevention sciences as well as operations and implementation research.

Functional MRI shows how mindfulness meditation changes decision-making process
Neuroimaging research shows that Buddhist meditators use different areas of the brain than other people when confronted with unfair choices, enabling them to make decisions rationally rather than emotionally.

Long-term poverty but not family instability affects children's cognitive development
Children from homes that experience persistent poverty are more likely to have their cognitive development affected than children in better off homes, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 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