Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 27, 2011
New target structure for antidepressants on the horizon?
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich have compared the genomes of a total of 4,088 patients and 11,001 healthy control subjects from all over the world and identified a new risk gene variant for depression.

Laser printing speeds parts on demand to manufacturers
Pull into the auto repair shop with a smashed bumper, and there's no wait while they order a replacement.

Research outlines mysterious evolution of nematodes -- one of Earth's first animals
A new book establishes for the first time the field of palaeonematology -- a study of the ancient origins of one of Earth's earliest, most common, important, and usually ignored animal groups.

Baycrest and NHL Alumni partner on brain health study
One of the world's top neuroscience institutes has teamed up with the NHL Alumni on a study that will track the brain health of retired NHL players over several years.

Study: Resiniferatoxin may increase sepsis-related mortality
Pain researchers from the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation have discovered that resiniferatoxin, a drug that has shown early promise as an option for chronic, severe pain sufferers, may decrease the body's ability to fight off bacterial infections, particularly sepsis.

Americans still may not be getting enough calcium
Americans may not be getting enough calcium in their diets, according to a new study published in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

IPF lung disease numbers are rising quickly to become a significant cause of mortality in UK
The number of cases of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has continued to rise significantly in the first decade of the 21st century and could lead to more deaths than ovarian cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, or kidney cancer, reveals research published ahead of print in the Thorax journal.

BIDMC's Peter Weller, M.D., receives NIH MERIT Award
The Chief of the Divisions of Allergy and Inflammation and of Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is recognized for his longstanding investigations of eosinophils.

Researchers create terahertz invisibility cloak
Researchers at Northwestern University have created a new kind of cloaking material that can render objects invisible in the terahertz range.

Long struggle for appropriately processed manufacturer data leads to a new assessment of memantine
After the manufacturer of the Alzheimer's drug memantine submitted a supplementary analysis of study data, the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) sees proof of a benefit of the drug for cognitive function, as well as indications of a benefit for activities of daily living, at least for a treatment period of 6 months.

Tired neurons caught nodding off in sleep-deprived rats
A new study in rats helps to explain how sleep-deprived lifestyles might impair functioning without people realizing it.

Current long-term surveillance strategy for women treated for precancerous cervical lesions effective for preventing cervical cancer
Women who have been treated for precancerous cervical lesions face a similar 5-year risk of developing cervical cancer or recurrent disease to women in the general population after three consecutive normal cytological smears (Pap tests), and can return to population-based regular screening.

Tropical blueberries are extreme super fruits
The first analysis of the healthful antioxidant content of blueberries that grow wild in Mexico, Central and South America concludes that some of these fruits have even more healthful antioxidants than the blueberries -- already renowned as

Researchers observe disruptions of daily rhythms in Alzheimer's patients' brains
Disruptions of circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles have been observed in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists identify genetic risk for major depression
A new study reveals a novel gene associated with major depression.

Can traumatic memories be erased?
Can veterans of war, rape victims and people who have seen horrific crimes some day have the traumatic memories that haunt them weakened in their brains?

Neurorobotics reveals brain mechanisms of self-consciousness
A new study uses creative engineering to unravel brain mechanisms associated with one of the most fundamental subjective human feelings: self-consciousness.

Evolution in the back yard -- census of 750,000 banded snails leads to surprising results
The project, Evolution MegaLab, is an online mass public experiment aimed at bringing Darwinian theory to life.

Bariatric surgery better than dieting for glucose control
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, have uncovered a new clue for why bariatric surgery is more effective than dietary remedies alone at controlling glucose levels.

Penn research demonstrates motivation plays a critical role in determining IQ test scores
New psychology research at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates a correlation between a test-taker's motivation and performance on an IQ test and, more important, between that performance and a person's future success.

A better imaging agent for heart disease and breast cancer
Scientists are reporting development of a process for producing large quantities of a much-needed new imaging agent for computed tomography scans in heart disease, breast cancer and other diseases, and the first evidence that the material is safe for clinical use.

Increased metabolic rate may lead to accelerated aging
A recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that higher metabolic rates predict early natural mortality, indicating that higher energy turnover may accelerate aging in humans.

Agulhas leakage fueled by global warming could stabilize Atlantic overturning circulation
In a study published in the journal Nature, April 27, a global team of scientists led by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Lisa Beal, suggests that Agulhas Leakage could be a significant player in global climate variability.

Physics World highlight: There's more to implants than meets the eye
In this month's Physics World, Richard Taylor, professor of physics, psychology and art at the University of Oregon, warns that artificial retinal implants -- a technology fast becoming a reality -- must adapt to the unique features of the human eye in order to become an effective treatment.

Swiss-US team finds indigenous cases of leprosy in the Southern United States
Using advanced DNA analysis and extensive field work, an international research team has confirmed the link between leprosy infection in Americans and direct contact with armadillos.

Andrew Toms receives AMS Centennial Fellowship
Andrew Toms of Purdue University has been awarded the prestigious AMS Centennial Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with different types of obesity in black and white children
A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that while black and white children with vitamin D deficiency both had higher fat levels, black children were more likely to have higher levels of fat just under their skin and white children were more likely to have higher levels of fat between their internal organs.

GW researchers reveal 18 novel subtype-dependent genetic variants for autism spectrum disorders and identify potential genetic markers for diagnostic screening
By dividing individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) into four subtypes according to similarity of symptoms and reanalyzing existing genome-wide genetic data on these individuals vs. controls, researchers at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences have identified 18 novel and highly significant genetic markers for ASD.

MIT: Advances in DNA 'origami'
Now a team at MIT, led by biological engineer Mark Bathe, has developed software that makes it easier to predict the three-dimensional shape that will result from a given DNA template.

What can movie stars tell us about marriage? That education matters, study finds
According to a study published in the Spring issue of the Journal of Human Capital, marriages among movie stars can help unravel the reasons why people tend to marry partners of similar education levels.

NIH researchers create comprehensive collection of approved drugs to identify new therapies
Researchers have begun screening the first definitive collection of thousands of approved drugs for clinical use against rare and neglected diseases.

BGU and France Telecom sign agreement to optimize Internet communications
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and France Telecom have agreed to collaborate on research applying

New opioid-blocking medication effective to treat opioid dependence, in Lancet study
Results from the phase 3 study of VIVITROL (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) were published in The Lancet, showing that VIVITROL is safe and effective for treating opioid dependence.

Researchers ID promising pancreatic cancer screening marker
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a protein that shows distinct changes in structure between pancreatic cancer, non-cancerous diseases and normal blood serum.

Rare Pennsylvania fungus is named for Philadelphia botanist
A Philadelphia botanist who has studied rare plants for 50 years, but has never attained the honor of having a plant named for him is finally getting his due, but with a barely visible organism so rare it may never be seen again.

GSA Bulletin highlights: New research posted April 12-18, 2011
GSA Bulletin highlights for new research posted online in pre-issue publication are below.

Scorpion venom -- bad for bugs, good for pesticides
Fables have long cast scorpions as bad-natured killers of hapless turtles that naively agree to ferry them across rivers.

Online social network members donate personal data for public health research
Using a combination of Facebook-like tools and personally controlled health records, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have engaged members of an online diabetes social network as participants in public health surveillance.

Versatility of stem cells controlled by alliances, competitions of proteins
Because they can change into any other cell, stem cells are the subject of intense research, but how they

Tobacco-derived compound prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's disease mice
Cotinine, a compound derived from tobacco, reduced plaques associated with dementia and prevented memory loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, reports a new study published online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Large differences in mortality between urban and isolated rural areas
In urban communities, less than 1 in 100 inhabitants died from Spanish flu in 1918, but in isolated communities up to 9 out of 10 died.

Vitamin E helps diminish a type of fatty liver disease in children
A specific form of vitamin E improved the most severe form of fatty liver disease in some children, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists show how the brain's estimate of Newton's laws affects perceived object stability
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tuebingen, Germany recently reported that although the physical laws governing object stability are reasonably well represented by the brain, you are a better judge of how objects fall when you are upright than when you lay on your side.

Sweet chemistry: Carbohydrate adhesion gives stainless steel implants beneficial new functions
A new chemical bonding process can add new functions to stainless steel and make it a more useful material for implanted biomedical devices.

Spanish scientific journals must raise professional standards in order to compete
A study by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology shows a lack of standardization in the peer review systems whereby independent experts assess the content of scientific publications published in Spain.

Heart attacks are more serious if they occur at certain times of the day
People who have a heart attack are likely to be more seriously affected if the attack happens in the morning, reveals research published ahead of print in Heart journal.

Record number of whales, krill found in Antarctic bays
Scientists have observed a

Hepatitis B virus reemerges with long-term nucleoside analog treatment
A recently published study revealed that virological breakthrough (VBT) is common in patients receiving nucleoside analogs for chronic hepatitis B.

Study suggests lower risk of coronary heart disease from alcohol, even with hazardous drinking
A study suggests a lower risk of coronary heart disease from alcohol, even with hazardous drinking.

Study: Antibiotics, not surgery, may better treat appendicitis if appendix hasn't burst
Antibiotics, not surgery, may better treat childhood appendicitis when the appendix hasn't burst, according to research by Southern Methodist University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, both in Dallas.

The doctor will see all of you now? Group doctor visits may be feasible for Parkinson's disease
Group appointments where doctors see several people for a longer time may be feasible for Parkinson's disease, according to a new study published in the April 27, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Travel hazards: 2 studies start to map pollutant threats to turtles
In a pair of new studies researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., report that persistent organic pollutants are consistently showing up in the blood and eggs of loggerhead sea turtles, that the turtles accumulate more of the contaminant chemicals the farther they travel up the Atlantic coast, and that the pollutants may pose a threat to the survival of this endangered species.

Identifying beaked whale foraging habitat in the tongue of the ocean, Bahamas
Dr. Elliott Hazen and colleagues found that oceanographic and prey measurements can be used to identify beaked whale foraging habitat.

ASTRO publishes evidence-based guideline for thoracic radiotherapy
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has developed a guideline for the use of external beam radiation therapy, endobronchial brachytherapy and concurrent chemotherapy to palliate thoracic symptoms caused by advanced lung cancer.

The history of reinforced concrete in the architecture of the 20th century
Today there is an extensive heritage of reinforced concrete buildings in the Basque Country, which hardly existed a century ago.

New test shows promise for detecting warning signs of joint replacement failure
A new test shows promise for detecting the early stages of a major cause of failure in joint replacement implants, so that patients can be treated and perhaps avoid additional surgery.

Psychologists ask how well -- or badly -- we remember together
Several years ago, Suparna Rajaram noticed a strange sort of contagion in a couple she was close to.

New technique extends cancer-fighting cells' potency in melanoma patients
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have developed a technique -- a form of

For peacocks, the eyespots don't lie
Male peacock tail plumage and courtship antics likely influence their success at attracting and mating with females, according to recent Queen's University research.

NASA mission seeks to uncover a rainfall mystery
Scientists from NASA and other organizations are on a mission to unlock the mysteries of why certain clouds produce copious amounts of rain.

2 graphene layers may be better than 1
NIST researchers have shown that the electronic properties of two layers of graphene vary on the nanometer scale.

Mercury converted to its most toxic form in ocean waters
University of Alberta-led research has confirmed that a relatively harmless inorganic form of mercury found worldwide in ocean water is transformed into a potent neurotoxin in the seawater itself.

Discovery could change the way doctors treat patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases
Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta have made an important discovery that provides a new understanding of how our immune system

A surprise: China's energy consumption will stabilize
Well before 2050, according to a new study by Berkeley Lab's China Energy Group, China's energy use will level off, even as its population edges past 1.4 billion.

The European Society of Cardiology organizes educational program in Asia
In the context of rising levels of cardiovascular disease in the Asia Pacific region, the European Society of Cardiology announces that -- for the first time -- the Society will send an official delegation to participate in the Asia Pacific Congress of Cardiology.

Obese adolescents lacking vitamin D
A new study from Hasbro Children's Hospital has found that most obese adolescents are lacking in vitamin D.

NIST prototypes framework for evaluating sustainability standards
NIST researchers have developed a prototype tool to help organizations of all types sort through the welter of choices and evaluate, and implement sustainability standards most appropriate for their operations and interests.

Rice University geologist leads team effort to solve mystery of the Colorado Plateau
A team of scientists led by Rice University has figured out why the Colorado Plateau -- a 130,000-square-mile region that straddles Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico -- is rising even while parts of its lower crust appear to be falling.

New study: Health reform to make health insurance affordable for nearly all families
Ninety percent of American families living above the federal poverty level will be able to afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Social media can alter research priorities, according to paper in Nature
Widespread demands in Canada for clinical trials for a controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis show the growing power of the Internet and social media to influence research priorities, according to a paper published today in Nature.

Severity of hepatitis C and HIV co-infection in mothers contribute to HCV transmission to child
New research shows that high maternal viral load and co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the only risk factors associated with vertical transmission of the hepatitis C virus (HCV-VT).

Get a whiff of this: Low-cost sensor can diagnose bacterial infections
Bacterial infections really stink. And that could be the key to a fast diagnosis.

Exploring the superconducting transition in ultra thin films
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory are using a precise atom-by-atom layering technique to fabricate an ultrathin transistor-like field effect device to study the conditions that turn insulating materials into high-temperature superconductors.

A less painful colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is regarded as the most thorough way to screen for colon cancer but it can be a painful procedure.

Good eggs: NIST nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories
NIST magnetics researchers colored lots of eggs recently. Bunnies might find the eggs a bit small, but these

UofL hosts address by Nobel Laureate, DNA structure co-discoverer James Watson
James D. Watson, Ph.D., winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, will present

University of Houston wins NIH grant for vaccine study
Navin Varadarajan, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UH, received a two-year grant administered by the Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Engineering education society names NJIT professor Fellow
Ronald H. Rockland, Ph.D., chair of NJIT's Department of Engineering Technology, has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

NRL researchers take a step toward valleytronics
Valley-based electronics, also known as valleytronics, is one step closer to reality.

Out of Africa -- how the fruit fly made its way in the world
The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster used to be found only in sub-Saharan Africa but about 10,000 years ago it began to colonize Asia and Europe.

Brain regions can take short naps during wakefulness, leading to errors
If you've ever lost your keys or stuck the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the refrigerator, you may have been the victim of a tired brain region that was taking a quick nap.

Medical sleuthing linked muscle, kidney problems to kava tea
When a 34-year-old bicyclist was found collapsed on a roadside and rushed to the University of Rochester Medical Center emergency room on the verge of kidney failure and muscle breakdown, doctors were surprised to discover that a trendy tea derived from the kava plant was the cause of his ills.

Threading the climate needle: The Agulhas current system
The Agulhas Current which runs along the east coast of Africa may not be as well known as its counterpart in the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream.

AGU journal highlights -- April 27, 2011
The following highlights summarize research papers that have been recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences.

Women at higher risk than men of kidney damage after heart imaging test
Women are at higher risk than men of developing kidney damage after undergoing a coronary angiogram, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Andromeda's coat of many colors
ESA's fleet of space telescopes has captured the nearby Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, in different wavelengths.

Study shows extended-release naltrexone can be used effectively in opioid addicts, but linked comment authors criticize FDA for having approved drug for this use
An article published online first and in an upcoming Lancet shows that a once-monthly injection of extended-release naltrexone is an effective treatment for opioid dependence when compared with placebo.

Scientists can track origin of shark fins using 'zip codes' in their DNA
An international team of scientists, led by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, has used DNA to determine that groups of dusky sharks and copper sharks living in different coastal regions across the globe are separate populations of each species. 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