Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 24, 2011
UT Southwestern researchers find protein breakdown contributes to pelvic organ prolapse
A gynecologist and a molecular biologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center have collaborated to show for the first time that pelvic organ prolapse -- a condition in which the uterus, bladder or vagina protrude from the body -- is caused by a combination of a loss of elasticity and a breakdown of proteins in the vaginal wall.

Female rappers tout their sexiness, keep silent about domestic skills
Male rappers see the

The role of bacteria in weather events
Researchers have discovered a high concentration of bacteria in the center of hailstones, suggesting that airborne microorganisms may be responsible for that and other weather events.

Higher levels of primary care physicians in area associated with favorable outcomes for patients
Medicare beneficiaries residing in areas with higher levels of primary care physicians per population have modestly lower death rates and fewer preventable hospitalizations, according to a study in the May 25 issue of JAMA.

Unusual earthquake gave Japan tsunami extra punch, say Stanford scientists
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan were generated on a fault that didn't rupture the usual way, according to Stanford researchers.

Rethinking extinction risk?
For over 40 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has published the Red List of Threatened Species describing the conservation status of various species of animals.

MIT commercial property price index posts flat result for first quarter
Transaction prices of commercial properties sold by major institutional investors were nearly flat in the first quarter of this year, posting a return of negative 0.07 percent and leaving the price index 19.2 percent above its 4Q2009 low-point, according to an index developed and published by the MIT Center for Real Estate (MIT/CRE).

Certain biomarkers appear to increase risk of death for elderly patients with heart failure symptoms
Elderly patients with symptoms of heart failure and increased concentrations in the blood of the biomarker copeptin, or a combination of elevated concentrations of copeptin and the biomarker NT-proBNP, had an associated increased risk of all-cause death, according to a study in the May 25 issue of JAMA.

New made-in-Canada therapy for bladder cancer shows promising results
Clinical trials for a new bladder cancer therapy show promising interim results.

Sardines and horse mackerel identified using forensic techniques
A team of researchers from Galicia in Spain have used forensic mitochondrial DNA species identification techniques to distinguish between sardines and horse mackerel.

Earth: Waves of disaster: Lessons from Japan and New Zealand
On Feb. 22, a magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing nearly 200 people and causing $12 billion in damage.

Increasing daily calcium will not reduce the risk of fractures in later life
While moderate amounts of calcium (around 700 mg a day) are vital for maintaining healthy bones, there is no need to start increasing calcium intake in order to reduce the risk of fractures or osteoporosis in later life, finds a paper published online today.

California's energy future: Aggressive efficiency and electrification needed to cut emissions
In the next 40 years, California's demand for energy is expected to double.

Sleep deprivation in doctors
Sleep deprivation is an issue that affects practicing physicians and not only medical residents, and we need to establish standards for maximum work and minimum uninterrupted sleep to ensure patient safety, states an editorial in CMAJ.

Seeing an atomic thickness
Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory, in collaboration with Linköping University, Sweden, have shown that regions of graphene of different thickness can be easily identified in ambient conditions using Electrostatic Force Microscopy.

West coast radar network is world's largest
A network of high-frequency radar systems designed for mapping ocean surface currents now provides detail of coastal ocean dynamics along the US West Coast never before available.

Mexican flu pandemic study supports social distancing
Eighteen-day periods of mandatory school closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29 to 37 percent reduction in influenza transmission rates in Mexico during the 2009 pandemic.

Hips take walking in stride; ankles put best foot forward in run
In a first-of-its-kind study comparing human walking and running motions -- and whether the hips, knees or ankles are the most important power sources for these motions -- researchers at North Carolina State University show that the hips generate more of the power when people walk, but the ankles generate more of the power when humans run.

Brisk walking may help men with prostate cancer, UCSF study finds
A study of 1,455 US men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer has found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression, according to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Atrial fibrillation associated with increased risk of death and cardiovascular events in women
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found that among women who are mostly healthy, those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of death when compared to women without atrial fibrillation.

PET scans predict effectiveness of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in HIV patients
Research in the June issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that the use of 18F-FDG positron emission tomography scans can help to determine earlier if treatment for tuberculosis is working or if the disease is multidrug-resistant.

Lifestyle counseling and glycemic control in patients with diabetes: True to form?
As EMRs have become a standard in medical care, there is a need for additional research of how the system and usage can be refined.

Why people with schizophrenia may have trouble reading social cues
Impairments to a brain area responsible for processing social stimuli may help explain why individuals with schizophrenia have trouble reading social cues.

Weill Cornell drug stops aggressive form of childhood leukemia
In a significant breakthrough, investigators at Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of California, San Francisco, have been able to overcome resistance of a form of leukemia to targeted therapy, demonstrating complete eradication of the cancer in cell and animal studies.

New study aims to improve long-term treatment for patients with bipolar disorder
Patients with bipolar disorder may be eligible for a new clinical research study comparing two medications -- quetiapine (Seroquel), a widely prescribed second-generation antipsychotic mood-stabilizing medication, and lithium, the gold-standard mood stabilizer.

Baylor study finds common fire retardant harmful to aquatic life
A new study by Baylor University environmental health researchers found that zebra fish exposed to several different technical mixtures of polybrominated diphenyl ethers -- a common fire retardant -- during early development can cause developmental malformations, changes in behavior and death.

Migration an overlooked health policy issue: New series
If internal and international migrants comprised a nation, it would be the third most populous country in the world, just after China and India.

Studies show no meaningful difference between high fructose corn syrup and sucrose
A comprehensive review of research focusing on the debate between high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other sweeteners presented today finds there is no evidence of any significant variation in the way the human body metabolizes HFCS as opposed to standard table sugar, or any difference in impact on risk factors for chronic disease.

Kepler's astounding haul of multiple-planet systems
NASA's Kepler spacecraft is proving itself to be a prolific planet hunter.

U of Toronto to award quantum mechanics prize to renowned physicist Sandu Popescu
The University of Toronto has selected quantum physicist Sandu Popescu to receive the prestigious John Stewart Bell Prize for his enormous contributions to the field of quantum mechanics.

Sandia Labs partners with UA Engineering to boost energy, water, climate research in the Southwest
A new partnership between Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Arizona College of Engineering is expected to drive deeper investigations into the relationships between these critical environmental research areas.

How to learn a star's true age
For many movie stars, their age is a well-kept secret.

Studies show Vectra(TM) DA can track early response to rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Crescendo Bioscience today announced data indicating that Vectra(TM) DA, a first-in-class multi-biomarker blood test used to assess rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity, provides physicians with an objective measure which may help determine whether patients are responding to therapy.

Women who start prenatal vitamins early are less likely to have children with autism
Women who reported not taking a daily prenatal vitamin immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder as women who did take the supplements -- and the associated risk rose to seven times as great when combined with a high-risk genetic make-up, a study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

'Genetic predisposition' argument in Canadian courts may diminish influence of other factors
Using genetic predisposition as a factor in medical conditions presented in Canadian legal cases may diminish the impact of occupational, environmental and social factors in determining health claims, particularly workplace claims, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

U-M study: Kids dependent on long-term ventilation require longer, more expensive hospital care
A new study led by University of Michigan researchers found that children with complex chronic conditions who require long-term mechanical ventilation have significantly higher mortality, longer length of hospitalizations, higher mean charges, and more emergency department admissions.

No health card means no family doctor for many homeless people
For every year a person is homeless, the odds of them having a family doctor drop by 9 percent, according to a report by St.

P&G pioneering the 'Omics' revolution to solve molecular puzzles in beauty and grooming
Procter & Gamble today unveiled its pioneering efforts in the breakthrough field of

NASA's infrared satellite imagery shows a stronger Typhoon Songda
Songda is now a typhoon in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean as it continues tracking parallel to the eastern coast of Luzon, Philippines.

Overly easy to steal cargo from transport networks
Each year, billions of euros worth of goods are being stolen from European transport networks.

Competing treatments comparable for sudden hearing loss
A relatively new treatment for sudden hearing loss that involves injecting steroids into the middle ear appears to work just as well as the current standard of oral steroids, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and other institutions suggests.

Comparable effectiveness shown for 2 common sudden deafness treatments
Direct injection of steroids into the middle ear for the treatment of sudden deafness was shown to be no more or less effective than oral steroids in restoring hearing levels in a large comparison study of patients.

Brisk walking could improve prostate cancer outcomes
Men with prostate cancer can improve their outcomes if they walk briskly for at least three hours a week following their diagnosis, according to a recent study in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The healing power of hydrogen peroxide
New information has come to light explaining how injured skin cells and touch-sensing nerve fibers regenerate during wound healing.

Angela Douglas to give Founders' Memorial Lecture at Entomology 2011
Dr. Angela Douglas of Cornell University has been selected to deliver the Founders' Memorial Award lecture at Entomology 2011 -- the 59th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America -- this November in Reno, Nevada.

Your culture may influence your perception of death
Contemplating mortality can be terrifying. But not everyone responds to that terror in the same way.

Better scheduling of admissions can reduce crowding at children's hospitals
Too many admissions at a hospital at one time can put patients at risk.

IUPUI study first to look at early treatment of depression to reduce heart disease risk
An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis research study -- Beating the Blues for Your Heart -- will be the first to evaluate whether pre-heart attack treatment of depression can reduce dysfunction in the arteries, thus lowering risk of heart disease in the future.

FDA predictability a top concern for medtech firms; EU preferred for product approval
Two-thirds of small medical device and diagnostic companies -- the drivers of innovation in the sector -- are obtaining clearance for new products in Europe first, suggesting delayed market entry in the US, according to a comprehensive industry-wide survey about FDA's 510(k) product review process by researchers at Northwestern University.

24th ECNP Congress: The most promising data from research across brain disorders
The ECNP Congress attracts more than 7,000 psychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists and neuroscience researchers from across the world to discuss the latest advances in brain research and their implications for clinical practice, and its high-caliber program provides a good opportunity for reporting developments of major public health importance.

MIT research: What makes an image memorable?
A new study from MIT neuroscientists shows that the most memorable photos are those that contain people, followed by static indoor scenes and human-scale objects.

Dual parasitic infections deadly to marine mammals
A study of tissue samples from 161 marine mammals that died between 2004 and 2009 in the Pacific Northwest reveals an association between severe illness and co-infection with two kinds of parasites normally found in land animals.

Frequent moderate drinking of alcohol is associated with a lower risk of fatty liver disease
In a large study of men in Japan, the presence of fatty liver disease by ultrasonography showed an inverse ( reduced risk) association with the frequency of moderate alcohol consumption; however, there was some suggestion of an increase in fatty liver disease with higher volume of alcohol consumed per day.

NASA's TRMM satellite saw heavy rainfall in supercell that spawned Joplin tornado
On Sunday May 22, 2011, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite captured an image of the rainfall rate in the supercell thunderstorm that generated the deadly twister that struck Joplin, Mo.

Expanded VLA flexing new scientific muscle
The famous Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope has become the Expanded VLA -- a completely new scientific instrument with dramatically improved capabilities.

Pandemic influenza H1N1 in Mexico
Gerardo Chowell and coworkers report the incidence of pandemic influenza H1N1 morbidity and mortality in 32 Mexican states in 2009 and quantify the association between local influenza transmission rates, school cycles and demographic factors.

H1N1 study shows closing schools, other measures effective
Social distancing measures proved effective according to a new study that examined the H1N1 pandemic in Mexico.

Happy guys finish last, says new study on sexual attractiveness
Women find happy guys significantly less sexually attractive than swaggering or brooding men, according to a new University of British Columbia study that helps to explain the enduring allure of

Medical students have substantial exposure to pharmaceutical industry marketing
Medical students in the United States are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in their preclinical years, and the extent of their contact with industry is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications.

Aboriginal children less likely to receive kidney transplants
Aboriginal children with kidney failure were less likely to receive a kidney transplant compared to white children, found an article in CMAJ.

Beyond the barn: Keeping dairy cows outside is good for the outdoors
Computer simulation studies by scientists at the US Department of Agriculture suggests that a dairy cow living year-round in the great outdoors may leave a markedly smaller ecological hoofprint than its more sheltered sisters.

Population genetics reveals shared ancestries
More than just a tool for predicting health, modern genetics is upending long-held assumptions about who we are.

WSU physicists devise new way to analyze a bloody crime scene
Washington State University physicists Gittes have worked out a system that can often determine exactly where blood spatters originate, a critical piece of evidence in not only solving a crime but securing a conviction.

Bacteria use caffeine as food source
A new bacterium that uses caffeine for food has been discovered by a doctoral student at the University of Iowa.

Research suggests that lipofilling may be safe during conservation treatment for breast cancer
A new study in Annals of Oncology has gone some way to answering the question about whether or not a technique called lipofilling is safe for women who are having their breasts reconstructed after surgery for breast cancer.

Nearby supernova factory ramps up
A local supernova factory has recently started production, according to a wealth of new data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory on the Carina Nebula.

MetLife Foundation's grant bolsters media coverage for aging issues
The MetLife Foundation has awarded The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and New America Media $100,000 in new grant funding for a fellowship program that will bring aging-focused reporters to GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston this November.

Louisiana Tech computer scientist pens first cyber data mining reference book
Dr. Sumeet Dua, the Upchurch Endowed Professor of Computer Science and coordinator of information technology research at Louisiana Tech University, has co-authored the first reference book focusing on cyber data mining and machine learning.

Wales faces deepest NHS cuts of all UK countries
In Wales, the NHS is set for a real budget cut of nearly 11 percent over four years, while England escapes the deepest cuts across the four nations, according to John Appleby, Chief Economist at the King's Fund online today.

MIT: Teaching algae to make fuel
Many kinds of algae and cyanobacteria, common water-dwelling microorganisms, are capable of using energy from sunlight to split water molecules and release hydrogen, which holds promise as a clean and carbon-free fuel for the future.

Bipolar disorder: Mind-body connection suggests new directions for treatment, research
An Indiana University suggests that postural control problems may be a core feature of bipolar disorder, not just a random symptom, and can provide insights both into areas of the brain affected by the psychiatric disorder and new potential targets for treatment.

New protein linked to Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research discovered a molecule called c-Abl that has a known role in leukemia also has a hand in Alzheimer's disease.

Risk indexes do not predict the economic future of country
Globalization of the markets was giving rise to crises that were different from previous ones: they were occurring in emerging countries which were apparently stable, and giving rise to a contagion effect between states.

Expert discovers simple method of dealing with harmful radioactive iodine
A novel way to immobilize radioactive forms of iodine using a microwave, has been discovered by an expert at the University of Sheffield.

We have the technology for creating sustainable energy systems of the future
The fifth Risoe International Energy Conference is over and the conclusions of the three-day conference are clear: The climate problems are becoming ever more urgent, but the energy systems of the future present even more issues.

Olympus ScopeGuide receives FDA clearance
Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in Medical and Surgical Products among other core businesses, announces that its revolutionary ScopeGuide technology can now be used within the United States.

Birch mouse ancestor discovered in Inner Mongolia is new species of rare 'living fossil'
Fossils from Inner Mongolia are a new species of birch mice, Sicista primus, says paleontologist Yuri Kimura, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Injection therapy for sudden hearing loss disorder may be suitable alternative to oral steroids
Treating idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss with injections of steroids directly into the ear appears to result in recovery of hearing that is not less than recovery obtained with the standard therapy of oral corticosteroids and may be a preferable treatment for some patients to avoid the potential adverse effects of oral steroids, according to a study in the May 25 issue of JAMA.

Feuding helium dwarfs exposed by eclipse
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found a unique feuding double white dwarf star system where each star appears to have been stripped down to just its helium.

More Indian families selectively aborting girls so that there is at least 1 boy in the family
New research published online first and in an upcoming Lancet shows that, in Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents are aborting their second child if prenatal testing shows it to be a girl, presumably to ensure at least one child in their family will be a boy.

New American Chemical Society podcast: Fast test to diagnose MRSA infections
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning podcast series,

Mount Sinai researchers show reduced ability of the aging brain to respond to experience
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have published new data on why the aging brain is less resilient and less capable of learning from life experiences.

Springer launches new open access journal with Korean research society
Beginning in June 2011, Springer will launch a new open access journal Human-centric Computing and Information Sciences.

New study finds that violence doesn't add to children's enjoyment of TV shows, movies
Despite growing concern about the effects of media violence on children, violent television shows and movies continue to be produced and marketed to them.

CME on atrial fibrillation, interventional cardiology and lipids online at CardioCareLive
CardioCareLive, the world's largest live online cardiology congress presented by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, today announced three new complimentary Continuing Medical Education (CME) Summits to be held over two days on Tuesday June 28th and Wednesday June 29th offering topics of interest to cardiovascular care and internal medicine and family care physicians in Atrial Fibrillation, Interventional Cardiology and Lipids.

Heart failure risk lower in women who often eat baked/broiled fish
The risk of developing heart failure was lower for postmenopausal women who frequently ate baked or broiled fish, but higher for those who ate more fried fish.

Dubai to host largest clinical bone meeting in the Middle East and Africa region
The largest clinical bone meeting in the Middle-East and Africa region will be held in Dubai from October 19-22, 2011.

Government of Ghana invests in AIMS
Perimeter Institute is pleased to announce that the Government of Ghana has committed $1.5 million to the centerpiece of PI's global outreach effort, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences -- Next Einstein Initiative.

UCSF studies examine antibiotic prescribing patterns for children
Two new studies led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have found some antibiotics may be overused for children with asthma and urinary tract infections.

Mathematically ranking ranking methods
In a world where everything from placement in a Google search result to World Cup eligibility depends on ranking and numerical ratings of some kind, it is becoming increasingly important to analyze the algorithms and techniques that underlie such ranking methods in order to ensure fairness, eliminate bias and tailor them to specific applications.

Medicare improved Canadian doctors' salaries: Queen's University study
US doctors might find that their incomes start to rise -- not decline -- when Barack Obama's health care reforms are put in place says a Queen's University School of Medicine professor.

New beamline at MAX II opens for research
Using the new beamline, 911-4, at MAX-lab in Lund, Sweden, researchers can study a wide range of different types of material with a resolution of a few nanometers.

NASA's NPP satellite successfully completes thermal vac testing
The NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) climate and weather satellite has successfully passed all environmental testing with the recent completion of thermal vacuum testing at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp's production and test facility in Boulder, Colo.

Institut Pasteur Korea and Proteros establish a new collaboration
Proteros Biostructures GmbH announced today that it has entered into a service agreement with Institut Pasteur Korea (IP-K) under which Proteros will provide structure-based drug discovery services to IP-K.

New-onset atrial fibrillation in initially healthy women may increase risk of premature death
In a follow-up of participants from the Women's Health Study, seemingly healthy middle-aged women with new-onset atrial fibrillation had an associated increased risk of cardiovascular, non-cardiovascular, and all-cause death, with some of the risk potentially explained by nonfatal cardiovascular events, according to a study in the May 25 issue of JAMA.

X-SAT beams images back to Singapore
Singapore's first locally-built micro-satellite in space, X-SAT, has started to transmit images back to Singapore.

2 Greenland glaciers lose enough ice to fill Lake Erie
A new study aimed at refining the way scientists measure ice loss in Greenland is providing a

Crime Victims' Institute studies adolescent sex and laws
While statutory rape laws have been enacted to protect minors from sexual abuse by adults or peers, more teenagers are engaging in sexual activity before the legal age of consent and are facing sexual assault charges. 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