Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 26, 2011
EARTH: Tracking trace elements and isotopes in the oceans
Last fall, EARTH caught up with geochemistry grad student Jeremy Jacquot as he was about to embark on the first US-led GEOTRACES cruise across the Atlantic, where he and 32 researchers were hoping to measure and track concentrations of various trace elements and isotopes.

Antibiotic may prove beneficial to preterm infant lung health
A study performed by University of Kentucky researchers shows promise for the use of azithromycin in treating Ureaplasma-colonized or infected premature infants to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Vitamin D may help explain racial differences in blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is more common and often more deadly in blacks than in whites, and a new University of Rochester study shows that low vitamin D levels among black people might be a powerful factor that contributes to the racial differences in hypertension.

Researchers at Brandeis University make strides in understanding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
The Pestko/Ringe laboratory at Brandeis University reports success in blocking the lethal effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by performing genetic screenings and biochemical experiments in yeast cells proved positive in reversing the toxicity of the mutated protein in a familial type of the disease.

RxPONDER trial will evaluate whether gene expression test can drive chemotherapy choice
SWOG-led clinical trial will recruit 4,000 women to determine whether chemotherapy benefits patients with node positive breast cancer who have low to intermediate Oncotype DX recurrence scores.

Global forestry institutions call for more community-based forest management
The leading international organizations working to protect and manage the world's forests are calling for governments across the globe to increase communities' role in forest management.

Cold case: Siberian hot springs reveal ancient ecology
Exotic bacteria that do not rely on oxygen may have played an important role in determining the composition of Earth's early atmosphere, according to a theory that UChicago researcher Albert Colman is testing in the scalding hot springs of a volcanic crater in Siberia.

Looks do matter, particularly when it comes to neighborhoods
It's an unfamiliar neighborhood and you find yourself in the middle of a bunch of streets and buildings you've never seen before.

Guns in the home provide greater health risk than benefit
Despite the fact that nearly one-third of American households have a firearm, studies show that having a gun in the home poses a household a greater health risk than a potential benefit.

It's all about control
Having power over others and having choices in your own life share a critical foundation: control, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Chandra finds new evidence on origin of supernovas
Astronomers may now know the cause of an historic supernova explosion that is an important type of object for investigating dark energy in the universe.

NRL scientists focus on light ions for fast ignition of fusion fuels
The fast ignition concept has been conceived as an alternative to other approaches for nuclear fusion energy.

New 'nanobead' approach could revolutionize sensor technology
Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to use magnetic

A potential novel drug-target for colorectal cancer treatment comes from the brain
A group at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Brazil found that a brain-derived protein known to be involved in tumor growth, metastasis and drug resistance in a number of cancers, including some non-neurological cancers, is also found in colorectal cancer.

Topical treatment may prevent melanoma
While incidents of melanoma continue to increase despite the use of sunscreen and skin screenings, a topical compound called ISC-4 may prevent melanoma lesion formation, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Teen sleep study adds to evidence of a 'neural fingerprint'
New research finds that consistent,

Activation of biomarker linked with improved survival among obese patients with colorectal cancer
Among obese patients, activation of the protein biomarker CTNNB1 was associated with better colorectal cancer-specific survival and overall survival, whereas post-diagnosis physical activity was associated with better colorectal cancer-specific survival among patients negative for CTNNB1, according to a study in the April 27 issue of JAMA.

Increase in evidence-based treatments followed by decreased risk of death in heart attack patients
In an analysis of data from a coronary care registry in Sweden, between 1996-2007 there was an increase in the prevalence of use of evidence-based invasive procedures and pharmacological therapies for treatment of a certain type of heart attack, and a decrease in the rate of death at 30 days and one year after a heart attack for these patients, according to a study in the April 27 issue of JAMA.

Emergency surgery coalition needed for future disasters
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Kathryn Chu, from Médecins Sans Frontières in Cape Town, South Africa, and colleagues describe the experiences of MSF after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and discuss how to improve delivery of surgery in humanitarian disasters.

Potential diagnostic test for Alzheimer's would use cerebrospinal fluid
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are working on a potential diagnostic test for Alzheimer's disease, based on biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.

GOES-13 satellite eyeing system with a high risk of severe storms
A low pressure area currently over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin has created conditions that call for a forecast of severe weather in the eastern third of the U.S. today and one area is even labeled

CSHL structural biologists reveal molecular architecture of key NMDA receptor subunit
Structural biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in collaboration with colleagues at Emory University have determined the molecular structure of a key portion, or subunit, of a receptor type commonly expressed in brain cells.

Racial differences in willingness to exhaust personal finances for life-sustaining care
Minority races -- especially blacks -- are more willing than whites to expend personal financial resources to prolong life after being diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer, even if it means using up all of their personal financial resources.

Fitness and frailty in adults linked to health outcomes
The prevalence of frailty, which is linked to earlier death, increases throughout adulthood as people age and not just after age 65, found an article in CMAJ.

CU-Boulder leading study of wind turbine wakes
While wind turbines primarily are a source of renewable energy, they also produce wakes of invisible ripples that can affect the atmosphere and influence wind turbines downstream -- an issue being researched in a newly launched study led by the University of Colorado Boulder's Julie Lundquist, assistant professor in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department.

RAD-tagging technology is demystifying genome sequencing
Take millions of puzzle pieces containing partial words and create full words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters until a book is rebuilt.

DFG establishes 13 new priority programs
Topics range from historical port structures to interactions in bacterial cultures, the stability of glass, and regenerative fuels.

Health care alliance for tobacco dependence treatment launches training in Mexico
Global Bridges, a health care alliance for tobacco dependence treatment based at Mayo Clinic, and its regional partner, the InterAmerican Heart Foundation in Dallas, Texas, announced today the first of a series of training courses for health care providers in Latin America on how to successfully treat tobacco users.

Understanding how glasses 'relax' provides some relief for manufacturers
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Wesleyan University have used computer simulations to gain basic insights into a fundamental problem in material science related to glass-forming materials, offering a precise mathematical and physical description of the way temperature affects the rate of flow in this broad class of materials -- a long-standing goal.

Low health literacy associated with higher rate of death among heart failure patients
An examination of health literacy (such as understanding basic health information) among managed care patients with heart failure, a condition that requires self-management, found that nearly one in five have low health literacy, which was associated with a higher all-cause risk of death, according to a study in the April 27 issue of JAMA.

Vitamin D unlocks racial differences in blood pressure
Lower vitamin D levels may explain part of the disparity in hypertension that exists between Black and White people in the US.

Developing biocontrols to contain a voracious pest
US Department of Agriculture scientists are playing a key role in efforts to contain the emerald ash borer's destructive march through the nation's forests.

Transferring doctors to heart attack patients improves outcomes
Transporting a specialist to a patient having a severe heart attack can reduce delays in the patient receiving primary angioplasty, compared with transferring the patient to a specialist.

Diamonds shine in quantum networks
Researchers at the University of Calgary and Hewlett Packard Labs in Palo Alto, California, have come up with a way to use impurities in diamonds as a method of creating a node in a quantum network.

Scott & White Glenda Vasicek Cancer Center receives national achievement award
The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons has granted its Outstanding Achievement Award to Scott & White's Glenda Vasicek Cancer Center as a result of surveys performed in 2010.

BIDMC neurologist Bernard Chang, M.D., receives award for epilepsy research
Bernard Chang, M.D., a member of the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, received the Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held recently in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Brain imaging demonstrates that former smokers have greater willpower
A study, completed by researchers from Trinity College and the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society, Dublin, Ireland, compares former smokers to current smokers, and obtains insight into how to quit smoking might be discovered by studying the brains of those who have successfully managed to do so.

UCSB scientists discover new drug target for kidney disease
Two discoveries at UC Santa Barbara point to potential new drug therapies for patients with kidney disease.

Water molecules characterize the structure of DNA genetic material
Water molecules surround the genetic material DNA in a very specific way.

NIST seeks improved recovery of samples from biohazard events
In a recent paper, NIST researchers studied different methods for collecting, extracting and quantifying microbial spores from indoor surfaces to estimate parameters that should be considered in the development of a standard biological sampling protocol.

Unique AED pads give hearts a second chance
An invention by Rice University bioengineering students in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute is geared toward giving immediate second chances to arrhythmia victims headed toward cardiac arrest.

New discovery could 'green up' hundreds of everyday products
The American Chemical Society today released a new episode in its award-winning

NTU and NAC launch first-of-its-kind Singapore Writing Residencies
The literary arts in Singapore get a major boost through a new program where local and international literary luminaries will write and teach at Nanyang Technological University.

Solar cell technology opportunities: Looking to a bright, sunny future
What are the major technology challenges to future growth in the solar-cell industry?

Research results and incidental findings from genomic biobanks and archives focus of conference
The University of Minnesota's Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences will host a major conference on

A 'guardian angel' to watch over your heart
When a heart attack begins, a stopwatch starts. With each passing minute heart tissue is deprived of blood, causing it to deteriorate or die.

New sensor glove may help stroke patients recover mobility
People who have strokes are often left with moderate to severe physical impairments.

Mouth as the gateway to your body
A persistent and abundant bacterium in the mouth is not only a threat to teeth and gums, but can disrupt pregnancies and has been found in lung, liver, spleen, blood, abdominal, and obstetrical and gynecological abscesses and infections.

Caterpillars inspire new movements in soft robots
Researchers have been examining the diverse behaviors of caterpillars to find solutions for the new generation of search and rescue soft robots.

Singapore's first satellite in the pink of health
Scientists, researchers and students from Nanyang Technological University have established contact with X-SAT, Singapore's first micro-satellite in space, and obtained a healthy communication link which ascertains that all its core systems are working normally.

Will minorities be left out of health care law provision?
Hospitals and physician practices that form care-coordinating networks called

Study examines folic acid absorption rates from softgel capsule and standard tablet
Folic acid, an essential vitamin formulated to be part of a multivitamin + DHA liquid softgel capsule, is absorbed and available within the body in amounts similar to folic acid formulated for solid tablets, according to a study presented in a late breaking session at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2011 annual meeting.

Studies of mutated protein in Lou Gehrig's disease reveal new paths for drug discovery
Several genes have been linked to ALS, with one of the most recent called FUS.

'Explosive' evolution in pupfish
Two groups of small fish, one from a Caribbean island and one from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, exhibit some of the fastest rates of evolution known in any organism, according to a new UC Davis study.

Pew announces 2011 recipients of distinguished marine conservation fellowship
The Pew Environment Group announces that four individuals, representing Chile, Mexico and the United States, are receiving a 2011 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.

Canadians should demand commitments for pharmacare program, says CMAJ
Canada needs a national pharmacare program and federal leaders must commit adequate funding, states an editorial in CMAJ.

In the wake of the wind
On the Front Range within the Rocky Mountains, prevailing winds sweep eastward over the mountains smack into the National Wind Technology Center.

Health-care alliance for tobacco dependence treatment launches training in the Middle East
Global Bridges, a health-care alliance for tobacco dependence treatment based at Mayo Clinic, and its regional partner, King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan, announced today that they will start training health care providers in the Eastern Mediterranean Region on how to successfully treat tobacco users.

LA BioMed to honor achievements of physician-researchers
LA BioMed will honor Alan H. Jobe, M.D., Ph.D., and Jerome I.

Motor protein may offer promise in ovarian cancer treatment
A motor regulatory protein can block human ovarian tumor growth, leading to eventual cancer cell death and possible new therapies to treat the disease, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Prey-tell: Why right whales linger in the Gulf of Maine
WHOI's Mark Baumgartner finds that the location, the length of stay, and perhaps the very abundance of the whales may be dependent on an interesting vertical migration pattern by the copepods on which the whales feed.

Canada faces obesity epidemic, legislative changes are vital
With the increase in numbers of overweight children and young adults, Canada and other developed countries are facing an obesity epidemic and legislative approaches are required to address this issue, states an article in CMAJ.

Men's and women's immune systems respond differently to PTSD
Men and women had starkly different immune system responses to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, with men showing no response and women showing a strong response, in two studies by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

Mosby's eLearning and the ASHI introduce ACLS Blended Learning Solution
Mosby's eLearning, a pioneer in providing eLearning solutions to more than 1,300 healthcare organizations, and the American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) today introduced the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Blended Learning Solution, a training certification solution aimed at effectively educating health care professionals about adult advanced cardiac life support.

Gynecologic cancer expert helps pinpoint best treatment for fast-growing gestational tumors
A clinical trial has sifted out the most effective single-drug chemotherapy regimen for quick-growing but highly curable cancers that arise from the placentas of pregnant women.

Blacks more willing to exhaust financial resources for more cancer care
Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are more likely than whites to spend their life savings to extend life; preferences could inform cancer care

Chernobyl's radioactivity reduced the populations of birds of orange plumage
On April 26, 1986, history's greatest nuclear accident took place northwest of the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl.

Researchers identify key players in cancer cells' survival kit
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have discovered new details of how cancer cells escape from tumor suppression mechanisms that normally prevent these damaged cells from multiplying.

Scripps Research wins more than $2 million to study prostate cancer
The Scripps Research Institute and Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center have been awarded more than $2 million to study the formation and progression of prostate cancer.

Medication nonadherence patterns among children with epilepsy associated with socioeconomic status
An examination of medication adherence among children with newly diagnosed epilepsy found that nearly 60 percent showed persistent nonadherence during the first 6 months of therapy, and that lower socioeconomic status was associated with higher non-adherence, according to a study in the April 27 issue of JAMA.

Evidence of medical complicity in torture at Guantánamo Bay
Inspection of medical records, case files and legal affidavits provides compelling evidence that medical personnel who treated detainees at Guantanamo Bay failed to inquire and/or document causes of physical injuries and psychological symptoms they observed in the detainees, according to a paper published this week in PLoS Medicine.

Green UV sterilization, MEGa-rays for nuclear detection, and cloaking 3-D objects
The world's foremost researchers in laser science, optoelectronics and quantum optics will present their findings at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO: 2011), May 1-6 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Novel ash analysis validates volcano no-fly zones
Air safety authorities essentially had to fly blind when the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull caused them to close the airspace over Europe last year.

Heaviest antimatter found
The antimatter equivalent of helium nuclei has been produced by an international team of physicists, including two from UC Davis, working with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

Vitamin E or metformin may not be effective for treating liver disease in children and teens
In contrast to previous preliminary data, use of vitamin E or the diabetes drug metformin was not superior to placebo on a measured outcome for treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in children and adolescents, according to a study in the April 27 issue of JAMA.

Tipsheet for the May issue of the American Naturalist
Article highlights from the May issue of the American Naturalist include

Protein inhibitor may bring a topical treatment for HPV
Patients infected with cancer-causing HPV may someday have an alternative to surgical and harsh chemical treatments, thanks to research being done at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Solutions for 'culture crashes' in algal production sought with $1 million grant
With a recent five-year, $1 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture, Arizona State University scientist Qiang Hu and his research team are studying the factors involved with algal crop failure.

Study finds flame retardants at high levels in pet dogs
Indiana University scientists have found chemical flame retardants in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans, but lower than levels found in a previous study of cats. 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