Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 21, 2011
Researchers identify genes causing antimalarial drug resistance
Using a pair of powerful genome-search techniques, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Harvard University, and the Broad Institute have identified several genes that may be implicated in the malaria parasite's notorious ability to rapidly evade drug treatments.

UBC recognizes 2 Canadian medical researchers with $50,000 prizes
Two of Canada's most eminent health researchers -- Dr. Jacques Genest at McGill University and Dr.

Prenatal pesticide exposure tied to lower IQ in children
A new UC Berkeley study has found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides -- widely used on food crops -- is related to lower intelligence scores in children.

Caltech: Learning to tolerate our microbial self
The human gut is filled with 100 trillion symbiotic bacteria which we blissfully live with, although they have many features similar to infectious bacteria we react against.

Simple fungus reveals clue to immune system protection
A discovery by Johns Hopkins scientists about how a single-celled fungus survives in low-oxygen settings may someday help humans whose immune systems are compromised by organ transplants or AIDS.

Students tackle deforestation, win first prize with video game design
Tackling deforestation, water pollution and poverty earned University of Houston students top honors in computer game designing at the US finals of the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.

Carnegie Mellon researchers build time machine to visually explore space and time
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute have leveraged the latest browser technology to create GigaPan Time Machine, a system that enables viewers to explore gigapixel-scale, high-resolution videos and image sequences by panning or zooming in and out of the images while simultaneously moving back and forth through time.

Researchers find fat turns into soap in sewers, contributes to overflows
Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered how fat, oil and grease can create hardened deposits in sewer lines: it turns into soap!

EPO doping helps combat cerebral malaria
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have now discovered that EPO, the doping drug known from professional cycling, can significantly reduce cerebral malaria related deaths.

New technique improves sensitivity of PCR pathogen detection
A new procedure devised by US Department of Agriculture scientists and colleagues can improve polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods of detecting plant disease organisms.

A new ending to an old 'tail'
In stark contrast to normal cells, which only divide a finite number of times before they enter into a permanent state of growth arrest or simply die, cancer cells never cease to proliferate.

Drug effective in treating kidney disease in diabetic patients
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mayo Clinic have published promising results of a clinical study using an experimental anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory drug called pirfenidone to treat patients with diabetic nephropathy.

Are dietary supplements working against you?
Do you belong to the one-half of the population that frequently uses dietary supplements with the hope that it might be good for you?

Say hello to cheaper hydrogen fuel cells
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have developed a way to avoid the use of expensive platinum in hydrogen fuel cells, the environmentally friendly devices that might replace current power sources in everything from personal data devices to automobiles.

UC Berkeley launches Synthetic Biology Institute to advance research in biological engineering
Aiming to create

Purdue-led team studies Earth's recovery from prehistoric global warming
The Earth may be able to recover from rising carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought, according to evidence from a prehistoric.

UGA compound offers new hope for treatment of painful adult shingles
Researchers at the University of Georgia and Yale University have discovered a compound with the potential to be more effective than existing agents in treating the very painful blisters known as shingles -- a condition that affects up to 30 percent of Americans, mostly elderly, and for which no specific treatment exists.

Prenatal exposure to common insecticide linked to decreases in cognitive functioning at age 7
Researchers from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health report evidence of a link between prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos and deficits in IQ and working memory at age seven.

MSU lands $4.1 million grant to unlock plants' biochemistry secrets
Michigan State University will use a $4.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to unlock plants' biochemistry secrets.

Giant tortoises show rewilding can work
Exotic species can be used to restore important functions in ecosystems that were lost following the extinction of key species, according to a new study of giant tortoises on a small island in the Indian Ocean.

What do you know about that fracture?
A fracture in a person over the age of 50 can be a sign of osteoporosis, yet some patient populations have little knowledge of the disease.

Wayne State University chosen as Michigan's sole participant in EcoCAR 2
A team of Wayne State University students from the College of Engineering have been chosen to participate in EcoCAR 2: Plugging in to the Future, a one-of-a-kind program established by the US Department of Energy and General Motors.

Subset of self-destructive immune cells may selectively drive diabetes
New research identifies a distinctive population of immune cells that may play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetes.

Religion continues to impact voter decision, MU study finds
Church attendance in western democracies has declined; yet, a new University of Missouri study shows religious beliefs still influence people at the polls.

Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have for the first time observed the activity of a single gene in living cells.

First articles in new neuroscience journal -- Brain Connectivity -- debut online
The new neuroscience journal, Brain Connectivity, set to become the premier source of cutting-edge basic and clinical research contributing to a better understanding of how structural and functional connections in the brain are organized, develop, and are altered in neurological disorders, launches with four compelling articles.

Fossil sirenians give scientists new look at ancient climate
What tales they tell of their former lives, these old bones of sirenians, relatives of today's dugongs and manatees.

Researchers create functioning synapse using carbon nanotubes
Engineering researchers at the University of Southern California have made a significant breakthrough in the use of nanotechnologies for the construction of a synthetic brain.

Scientists engineer nanoscale vaults to encapsulate 'nanodisks' for drug delivery
The first steps toward the development of the vault nanoparticle into a versatile and effective DDS are reported in this paper.

Parasite strategy offers insight to help tackle sleeping sickness
Fresh insight into the survival strategy of the parasite that causes sleeping sickness could help inform new treatments for the disease.

Acupuncture relieves hot flashes from prostate cancer treatment
Acupuncture provides long-lasting relief to hot flashes, heart palpitations and anxiety due to side effects of the hormone given to counteract testosterone, the hormone that induces prostate cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, an official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Antidepressants may not improve all symptoms of depression, UT Southwestern researchers find
Even people who show a clear treatment response with antidepressant medications continue to experience symptoms like insomnia, sadness and decreased concentration, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found after analyzing data from the largest study on the treatment of depression.

Whitehead Institute director honored with March of Dimes Prize
Whitehead Institute Director David Page has been named a recipient of the 2011 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.

Study in roundworm chromosomes may offer new clues to tumor genome development
Research led by UNC School of Medicine scientists finds that a

Standing up for athletes at risk
A Tel Aviv University cardiologist has developed a new, inexpensive test for

Kidney disease coupled with heart disease common problem in elderly
Patients on peritoneal dialysis typically have a higher early survival rate than patients on hemodialysis (HD).

DFG establishes 4 new research units
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft has established four new Research Units. This decision has just been made by the Senate of the DFG at its meeting in Bonn in April.

MIT: Development in fog harvesting process
Shreerang Chhatre is an engineer and aspiring entrepreneur at MIT who works on fog harvesting, the deployment of devices that, like the beetle, attract water droplets and corral the runoff.

Evolution can cause a rapid reduction in genome size
Despite being closely related to the lyre-leaved rock cress, the thale cress has a considerably smaller genome.

Bacteria interrupted: Disabling coordinated behavior and virulence gene expression
New research reveals a strategy for disrupting the ability of bacteria to communicate and coordinate the expression of virulence factors.

Meditation may help the brain 'turn down the volume' on distractions
The positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm.

Early warning system for Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow are developing a technique based on a new discovery which could pave the way towards detecting Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages - and could help to develop urgently-needed treatments.

UCI anesthesiologist to lead study on alleviating surgical anxiety, pain in children
A UC Irvine anesthesiologist will use a $3.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to launch a research effort aimed at lessening the anxiety and pain children feel before and after surgery.

Optical microscope without lenses produces high-resolution 3-D images on a chip
UCLA researchers have redesigned the concept of a microscope, by removing the lens, to create a system small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, but powerful enough to create 3-D tomographic, or sectional, images of miniscule samples.

Ben-Gurion University professor awarded top prize for best article on Palestinian-Israeli watersheds
Prof. Tal and his co-authors from BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research were recognized for the article titled

Data miners dig for corrosion resistance
A better understanding of corrosion resistance may be possible using a data-mining tool, according to Penn State material scientists.

Happiest places have highest suicide rates says new research
The happiest countries and happiest US states tend to have the highest suicide rates, according to research from the UK's University of Warwick, Hamilton College in New York and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Lawn of native grasses beats traditional lawn for lushness, weed resistance
A lawn of regionally native grasses would take less resources to maintain while providing as lush a carpet as a common turfgrass used in the South, according to a study by ecologists at The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Nation's pediatric otolaryngologists to convene in Chicago, April 27-May 1
The American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology will hold its annual meeting, April 29-May 1, during the 2011 Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings -- a joint meeting of eight otolaryngological societies in Chicago, Ill.

Deaths from drug overdose decline 35 percent after the opening of supervised injection site
Illicit drug overdose deaths declined dramatically after the establishment of North America's first supervised injection facility located in Vancouver, Canada.

Lecture at UC Riverside explores how unnatural disasters can be prevented cost-effectively
While earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards,

Liver-cell transplants show promise in reversing genetic disease affecting liver and lungs
Transplanting cells from healthy adult livers may work in treating a genetic liver-lung disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, according to an animal study in the April 18 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Severe obesity not seen to increase risk of depression in teens
According to a new study, severely obese adolescents are no more likely to be depressed than normal weight peers.

Columbia engineering study links ozone hole to climate change all the way to the equator
In a study in the April 21 issue of Science, researchers at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science report their findings that the ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator.

What motivates environmental activists, policymakers? asks new research center
A new University of Maryland research center will focus on the human side of environmental policymaking and activism -- one of the first of its kind in the field.

Scott & White Healthcare broadcasts live surgery to São Paolo, Brazil
Scott & White Healthcare today teleconferenced one of the world's first live international surgical procedures to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm to conference attendees in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Salmonella utilize multiple modes of infection
Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany, have discovered a new, hitherto unknown mechanism of Salmonella invasion into gut cells: In this entry mode, the bacteria exploit the muscle power of cells to be pulled into the host cell cytoplasm.

In time for spring, biologist illuminates how seedlings regulate growth
All kinds of organisms, from plants to people, regulate growth via networks of proteins that add on and lop off phosphate molecules.

Use of topical corticosteroids in children with eczema does not have negative side effects
A new study published in the journal Pediatric Dermatology reveals that routine, long-term use of topical corticosteroids for treating children with eczema does not cause any significant, negative side effects.

Phase 3 trial finds no benefit from atrasentan added to chemo for advanced prostate cancer
The NCI-supported SWOG trial S0421 closed early based on interim finding that atrasentan added to docetaxel and prednisone did not confer additional survival benefit to patients with advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

Berkeley Lab study finds that photovoltaic systems boost the sales price of California homes
New research by the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds strong evidence that homes with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems sell for a premium over homes without solar systems.

Kidney disease coupled with heart disease common problem in elderly
Chronic kidney disease is common and linked with heart disease in the very elderly, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Prenatal exposure to certain pesticides may negatively impact cognitive development in children
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that exposure during pregnancy to a family of pesticides called organophosphates may impair child cognitive development.
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