Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 03, 2011
Early cART for HIV-infected people with TB; 5 psychotropic medicines in emergencies
Early antiretroviral therapy reduces mortality among HIV-infected adults with tuberculosis and improves retention in care, regardless of CD4 count; the addition of psychotropic medicines to the Interagency Emergency Health Kit.

Portable tech might provide drinking water, power to villages
Researchers have developed an aluminum alloy that could be used in a new type of mobile technology to convert non-potable water into drinking water while also extracting hydrogen to generate electricity.

COST to receive additional $45 million from European Commission
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and the European Science Foundation have been informed by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation of their decision to allocate an additional 30 million euro ($45 million) to COST.

Robots learn to share, validating Hamilton's rule
Using simple robots to simulate genetic evolution over hundreds of generations, Swiss scientists provide quantitative proof of kin selection and shed light on one of the most enduring puzzles in biology: Why do most social animals, including humans, go out of their way to help each other?

Peripheral venous catheters pose infection risk
A new study from Rhode Island Hospital has found that more than one in 10 catheter-related bloodstream infections due to S. aureus in hospitalized adults are caused by infected peripheral venous catheters.

UT Southwestern's Luis Parada elected to National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences today elected Luis F. Parada, Ph.D., chairman of developmental biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, to membership.

Why the eye is better than a camera
The human eye long ago solved a problem common to both digital and film cameras: how to get good contrast in an image while also capturing faint detail.

Mouse study turns fat-loss/longevity link on its head
Food restriction in 41 different strains of mice showed that, contrary to a widely held view, the animals' loss of fat did not necessarily result in longer life.

NYU's Ledoux receives distinguished Lashley Award for work on emotion and fear
The American Philosophical Society has awarded New York University neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux its 2011 Karl Spencer Lashley Award in recognition of his

Researchers join forces to cure deadly childhood disease
Saint Louis University's Center for World Health and Medicine and the Institute for OneWorld Health are teaming up to develop new drugs to combat diarrhea, the second leading cause of death in children.

Thylacine hunting behavior: Case of crying wolf?
Was the iconic, extinct creature that once roamed Australia a marsupial wolf or a Tasmanian tiger?

Controlling brain circuits with light
F1000 Biology Reports, the open-access, peer-reviewed journal from Faculty of 1000, today published a historical account of the beginnings of the optogenetic revolution by Edward Boyden.

First rainforests arose when plants solved plumbing problem
A team of scientists, including several from the Smithsonian Institution, discovered that leaves of flowering plants in the world's first rainforests had more veins per unit area than leaves ever had before.

MIT: New system for flat-panel solar power combines with hot water systems for greater performance
MIT researchers and their collaborators have come up with a high performance and possibly less expensive way of turning the sun's heat into electricity.

Webcam technology used to measure medications' effects on the heart
A common component in webcams may help drug makers and prescribers address a common side-effect of drugs called cardiotoxicity, an unhealthy change in the way the heart beats.

Genome duplication encourages rapid adaptation of plants
A University of Rochester biologist has found that at least some plant adaptations can occur almost instantaneously, not by a change in DNA sequence, but simply by duplication of existing genetic material.

How should systematic reviews consider evidence on harms?
Systematic reviews that attempt to assess the risk of harms (adverse effects) associated with specific therapies should consider a broad range of study designs, including both systematic reviews and observational studies.

Breast cancers found between mammograms more likely to be aggressive
Breast cancers that are first detectable in the interval between screening mammograms are more likely to be aggressive, fast-growing tumors according to a study published online May 3 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Illinois professor chairs committee that recommends immediate calories, protein for TBI
A Vietnam veteran who conducted early-morning mine sweeps on that country's roads, University of Illinois nutrition professor John Erdman knows the damage that a traumatic brain injury can cause.

Carnegie Mellon uses social networking to tap collective intelligence of online study groups
Taking their cue from social media, educators at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a social networking application called Classroom Salon that engages students in online learning communities that effectively tap the collective intelligence of groups.

New online crisis management and evaluation tool introduced by researchers
Leveraging Israel's experience in dealing with crises on a daily basis, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researcher, Dr.

Study says eliminate pelvic imaging to reduce radiation for the detection of venous thromboembolism
A recent study shows that pelvic imaging using computed tomography examinations are not necessary for diagnosing patients with venous thromboembolism and eliminating this exam can significantly reduce a patient's exposure to excessive radiation dose.

'Nutcracker Man' had fundamentally different diet
An ancient, bipedal hominid needs a new nickname. Paranthropus boisei, a 2.3 million to 1.2 million-year-old primate, whom researchers say is an early human cousin, probably didn't crack nuts at all as his common handle suggests.

Researchers find increasing the number of family physicians reduces hospital readmissions
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center have found that by adding one family physician per 1,000, or 100 per 100,000, could reduce hospital readmission costs by $579 million per year, or 83 percent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act target.

Simulation model to improve safety and efficiency of port traffic
TU Delft in the Netherlands is set to conduct a joint research project with the Jiaotong University in Shanghai.

Colorectal cancer screening rates on rise among Medicare beneficiaries due to expansion of coverage
Colorectal cancer screening rates increased for Medicare beneficiaries when coverage was expanded to average-risk individuals, but racial disparities still exist, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

MRI identifies primary endometrial and cervical cancer
MRI can determine if a patient has endometrial versus cervical cancer even when a biopsy can't make that distinction, according to a new study.

Screening for hepatitis B may be cost-effective for more of the population, analysis shows
Research at the University of Cincinnati provides evidence that current prevention and screening standards for hepatitis B are worth the cost and may even need expansion to include more of the population, further helping prevent the spread of this life-threatening disease.

Hebrew University researchers demonstrate why DNA breaks down in cancer cells
Damage to normal DNA is a hallmark of cancer cells.

Market lighting affects nutrients
Many people reach toward the back of the fresh-produce shelf to find the freshest salad greens with the latest expiration dates.

Pistachios pummel pretzels as a weight-wise snack
When it comes to healthy snacking and weight management, a new study bolsters the long-held view that not all calories are created equal.

Most patients recover from 'chemo-brain' by 5 years after stem cell transplant
Many patients who undergo bone marrow or blood stem cell transplantation to treat blood cancers experience a decline in mental and fine motor skills due to the toll of their disease and its treatment.

MIT: Removable 'cloak' for nanoparticles helps them target tumors
MIT chemical engineers have designed a new type of drug-delivery nanoparticle that exploits a trait shared by almost all tumors: They are more acidic than healthy tissues.

Extracting stem cells from fat for tissue regeneration
Stem cells extracted from body fat may pave the way for the development of new regenerative therapies including soft tissue reconstruction and the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Why the eye is better than a camera at capturing contrast and faint detail simultaneously
The discovery nearly 50 years ago of lateral inhibition -- that the cones in the eye inhibit their neighbors by way of negative feedback -- explained the keen edge detail we see, but never accounted for the fact that we can see faint detail near these edges and in the shadows.

World's largest telescope: Astronomy, science and opportunity in the era of big data
Scientists, engineers, representatives from industry and government from around the world are gathering between July 3-8 in Banff, Canada, for a week-long series of meetings.

Nicotine and cocaine leave similar mark on brain after first contact
The effects of nicotine upon brain regions involved in addiction mirror those of cocaine, according to new neuroscience research.

$4.5 million grant creates transdisciplinary program to train scholars in child obesity prevention
A five-year $4.5 million USDA grant to University of Illinois researchers will establish the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program, an innovative research-based program that will combine a Ph.D. with a master's in public health degree focused on child obesity prevention.

Protein identified as enemy of vital tumor suppressor PTEN
A protein known as WWP2 appears to play a key role in tumor survival, a research team headed by a scientist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports in an advance online publication of Nature Cell Biology.

Scientists track evolution and spread of deadly fungus, one of the world's major killers
New research has shed light on the origins of a fungal infection which is one of the major causes of death from AIDS-related illnesses.

Limitations of evidence base for prescribing aripiprazole in maintenance therapy of bipolar disorder
The evidence base for the prescribing of aripiprazole in maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder is limited to a single trial, sponsored by the manufacturer of aripiprazole, according to a rigorous appraisal of the evidence for its use led jointly by Alexander Tsai of Harvard University, Boston, USA, and Nicholas Rosenlicht of the University of California San Francisco, USA.

Ranking research
A new approach to evaluating research papers exploits social bookmarking tools to extract relevance.

Penn study shows drop off in coronary artery bypass surgeries for heart patients
New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows a substantial decrease in one type of revascularization procedure, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, while rates of utilization of the other form, percutaneous coronary intervention, has remained unchanged.

World's smallest atomic clock on sale
A matchbook-sized atomic clock 100 times smaller than its commercial predecessors has been created by researchers.

Climbers leave rare plants' genetic variation on the rocks
Rock climbers are having a negative impact on rare cliff-dwelling plants, ecologists have found.

Columbia Business School study reveals empirical evidence on role of intermediary firms in trade
A new study provides the first empirical evidence that quantifies the role of intermediary firms in developing and expanding international trade -- data that can play an important role shaping US trade policies.

Rice U. parlays sun's saving grace into autoclave
Rice University senior engineering students are using the sun to power an autoclave that sterilizes medical instruments and help solve a long-standing health issue for developing countries.

A boring life -- the Asiatic wild ass in the Mongolian Gobi
Migratory birds may face threats not only in their breeding and wintering areas but also en route between them.

HIV drug could prevent cervical cancer
A widely used HIV drug could be used to prevent cervical cancer caused by infection with the human papillomavirus, say scientists.

Chest journal news briefs, May 2011 issue
The following articles will appear in the May issue of Chest:

GEN reports on novel noninvasive tests for early cancer detection
Researchers at last month's AACR conference in Orlando demonstrated that they are intensifying their efforts to identify and validate various types of biomarkers that are detectable in readily accessible bodily fluids such as blood and urine.

Simple exercise improves lung function in children with CF
A small Johns Hopkins Children's Center study of children and teens with cystic fibrosis (CF) shows that simple exercise, individually tailored to each patient's preference and lifestyle, can help improve lung function and overall fitness.

What lies beneath the seafloor?
An international team of scientists report on the first observatory experiment to study the microbial life of an ever-changing environment inside Earth's crust.

New program to bring Tsinghua University med students to Pitt for research training
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing have entered into a first-of-its-kind collaborative education and research agreement to bring Chinese medical and graduate students to Pittsburgh for training in biomedical research.

Rutgers offers hope in new treatment for spinal cord injuries
Scientists at the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University and Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have developed a chemically synthesized siRNA molecule that allows regeneration of nerve cells.

Climate change analysis predicts increased fatalities from heat waves
Global climate change is anticipated to bring more extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves that could impact human health in the coming decades.

Penn researchers develop technique for measuring stressed molecules in cells
Biophysicists at the University of Pennsylvania have helped develop a new technique for studying how proteins respond to physical stress and have applied it to better understand the stability-granting structures in normal and mutated red blood cells.

Cell biologist Daniel Gottschling elected to National Academy of Sciences
Cell biologist Daniel Gottschling, Ph.D., a member of the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.

Biological diversity: Exploiters and exploited
From the crops we farm to the insects which blight them mankind has always had a complex relationship with nature, commanding some species while falling victim to others.

Amygdala detects spontaneity in human behavior
A study of jazz musicians revealed how the brain processes improvisations.

Marine snails get a metabolism boost
Most of us wouldn't consider slow-moving snails to be high-metabolism creatures.

Rate of coronary artery bypass graft surgeries decreases substantially
Between 2001 and 2008, the annual rate of coronary artery bypass graft surgeries performed in the United States decreased by more than 30 percent, but rates of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries) did not change significantly, according to a study in the May 4 issue of JAMA.

Grazing as a conservation tool
Rotational grazing of cattle in native pasturelands in Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado regions can benefit both cattle and wildlife, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

'Fatting in': Immigrant groups eat high-calorie American meals to fit in
Immigrants to the United States and their US-born children gain more than a new life and new citizenship.

It's a jungle out there
The most comprehensive study of 20th century children's books ever undertaken in the United States has found a bias towards tales that feature men and boys as lead characters.

Dependency and passivity -- you can have 1 without the other
Think of a dependent person, and you think of someone who's needy, high-maintenance, and passive.

Employees should build reputation before using work-family programs
Employees often suspect that participating in work-family programs could harm their careers, and prior research studies have shown they are right to be worried.

Study finds infection control violations at 15 percent of US nursing homes
Fifteen percent of US nursing homes receive deficiency citations for infection control per year, according to a new study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC -- the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

UCSF scientists honored by National Academy of Sciences
Alexander D. Johnson, Ph.D., and Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., have been elected as members of the National Academy of Sciences for their excellence in original scientific research.

Sense of justice built into the brain
A new study from the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm School of Economics shows that the brain has built-in mechanisms that trigger an automatic reaction to someone who refuses to share.

Agent selectively targets malignant B cells in chronic leukemia, study shows
A new experimental drug called PCI-32765 selectively kills the cancer cells that cause chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to a new study.

Study helps explain behavior of latest high-temp superconductors
A Rice University-led team of physicists this week is describing how the magnetic properties of electrons in two dissimilar families of iron-based high-temperature superconductors could give rise to superconductivity.

Turning 'bad' fat into 'good': A future treatment for obesity?
By knocking down the expression of a protein in rat brains known to stimulate eating, Johns Hopkins researchers say they not only reduced the animals' calorie intake and weight, but also transformed their fat into a type that burns off more energy.

National Academy of Sciences elects new members
The National Academy of Sciences today announced the election of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

New cotton candy-like glass fibers appear to speed healing in venous stasis wound trial
Cottony glass fibers appear to speed healing in a venous stasis wound trial.

Unlocking the metabolic secrets of the microbiome
The number of bacterial cells living in and on our bodies outnumbers our own cells ten to one.

Formidable fungal force counters biofuel plant pathogens
An international team of researchers compared two rust fungal genomes to identify the characteristics by which these pathogens can invade their plant hosts and to develop biocontrol methods.

Physicians suggest how airlines can better respond to in-flight emergencies
The concepts now at the center of the health care quality movement, adopted in large part from the airline industry, should be used to standardize the processes and the equipment for in-flight medical emergencies, according to two Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center physicians.

Succulent plants waited for cool, dry Earth to make their mark
Between five and 10 million years ago, the landscape on Earth changed dramatically.

Ecstasy associated with chronic change in brain function
Ecstasy -- the illegal

Teen consumer patterns in China and Canada
Most Canadian teenagers are expected to make their own decisions, while Chinese adolescents are still heavily influenced by their parents, according to a study published in the Journal of Business Research.

Many new drugs did not have comparative effectiveness information available at time of FDA approval
Only about half of new drugs approved in the last decade had comparative effectiveness data available at the time of their approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, and approximately two-thirds of new drugs had this information available when alternative treatment options existed, according to a study in the May 4 issue of JAMA.

Virtual lung models set to personalize asthma and COPD treatment
A team of international experts are set to develop a pioneering tool to help tailor the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as part of a new EU project.

$5 million gift from Prima and well-wishers boosts Singapore universities' capacities and student programs
Singapore's four public universities will today receive gifts totaling $5 million from the Prima Limited and its well-wishers.

Study evaluates relationship of urinary sodium with health outcomes
In a study conducted to examine the health outcomes related to salt intake, as gauged by the amount of sodium excreted in the urine, lower sodium excretion was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death, while higher sodium excretion did not correspond with increased risk of hypertension or cardiovascular disease complications, according to a study in the May 4 issue of JAMA.

An Israel Prize for a Tel Aviv University philosophy star
Professor Michael Schwarz, professor emeritus in Jewish Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, will receive the 2011 Israel Prize, Israel's most distinguished national honor, at a state ceremony in Jerusalem this May.

Novel program is saving newborns' lives in developing countries
A program that teaches health care workers in developing countries basic techniques to resuscitate babies immediately after birth is saving lives.

Early history of genetics revised
The early history of genetics has to be re-written in the light of new findings.

Emergency care researchers say cheap life-saving drug should be made freely available
How much would you pay for an extra year of healthy life?

Curtains that 'quench' noise
Researchers at Empa, in cooperation with textile designer Annette Douglas and silk weavers Weisbrod-Zuerrer AG, have developed lightweight, translucent curtain materials, which are excellent at absorbing sound.

The mirror neuron system in autism: Broken or just slowly developing?
Developmental abnormalities in the mirror neuron system may contribute to social deficits in autism.

Researchers see a 'picture' of threat in the brain: Work may lead to new model of neuroinflammation
A team of researchers is beginning to see exactly what the response to threats looks like in the brain at the cellular and molecular levels.

UCLA scientists discover new way to wake up the immune system using nano vaults to deliver drugs
UCLA scientists have discovered a way to wake up the immune system to fight cancer by delivering an immune system-stimulating protein in a nanoscale container called a vault directly into lung cancer tumors, harnessing the body's natural defenses to fight disease growth.

Leading global health groups call on US to accelerate research
A coalition of 30 leading global health organizations that work on vaccines, drugs, and other tools and technologies that save lives today released a list of recommendations for US policymakers and regulators, calling for acceleration of scientific innovations and streamlining the approval of safe and affordable inventions in order to save more lives around the world.

Popular diabetes drugs' cardiovascular side effects explained
Drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs for short, are widely used in diabetes treatment, but they come with a downside.

Structured exercise training associated with improved glycemic control for patients with diabetes
Implementing structured exercise training, including aerobic, resistance or both, was associated with a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels (a marker of glucose control) for patients with diabetes compared to patients in the control group, and longer weekly exercise duration was also associated with a greater decrease in these levels, according to results of an analysis of previous studies, published in the May 4 issue of JAMA.

Nature of bonding determines thermal conductivity
Phase change materials display a surprisingly low thermal conductivity even in the crystalline state.

An Israel prize in sweet harmony
Professor Noam Sheriff, professor emeritus in conducting and composition at Tel Aviv University, will receive the 2011 Israel Prize, Israel's most distinguished national honor, at a state ceremony in Jerusalem this May.

Improved protocols for contrast agents eliminates new cases of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
A recent study shows how one medical center implemented strict protocols for administering gadolinium-based contrast agents before imaging and eliminated new cases for nephrogenic system fibrosis. 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