Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 02, 2011
New MRSA variant detected in cow's milk that can evade some existing detection methods
An article published online first by the Lancet Infectious Diseases reports detection of a new variant of meticilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in cow's milk -- genetically different to existing MRSA strains -- from the UK and Denmark.

ASCO: Glioblastoma in the 21st century: Wealthier patients living longer than poorer patients
Survival rates of wealthier patients and those younger than 70 with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumor, have improved since 2000, whereas rates for those living in poorer areas and older than 70 have remained stagnant, according to an abstract being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital researchers.

Wayne State to study the role of vitamin D in African-Americans with high blood pressure
Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit are working to determine how vitamin D affects cardiac structure and function, and vascular function in blacks with hypertension.

Small change makes a big difference for ion channels
Using a high-resolution single-molecule study technique, University of Illinois researchers have seen the very subtle differences between two branches of an important family of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels.

Education doesn't increase odds that minorities play 'high-status' sports
Black and Mexican American doctors and lawyers aren't any more likely to play

Higher doses of radiation in fewer treatments proved safe, effective for low-risk prostate cancer
In a multicenter clinical trial, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that higher doses of stereotactic radiation therapy requiring fewer treatments are safe and effective for patients with low-to-intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

Safer sex: Study examines sexual communication in transgender community
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that talking about safer sex is a complicated process for individuals in the transgender community.

UF researchers suggest cholera vaccination strategies for Zimbabwe
Mathematical models analyzing how a cholera outbreak spread in Zimbabwe are providing new insights into the most effective vaccination strategies for preventing future cholera epidemics, according to University of Florida researchers.

Single moms entering midlife may lead to public health crisis
Unwed mothers face poorer health at midlife than do women who have children after marriage, according to a new nationwide study, which appears in the June 2011 issue of the American Sociological Review.

Stevens engineers take 3rd in RIT IEEE Student Design Competition
Students at Stevens developed the prototype for a

Farmer networks hold key to agricultural innovation in developing countries, Stanford study finds
New technologies can improve agricultural sustainability in developing countries, but only with the engagement of local farmers and the social and economic networks they depend on, according to a Stanford University study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Pulling a fast one
Do those lightening fast disclaimers at the end of radio and television advertisements scare you away or simply seem like white noise required by regulatory agencies?

Cognitive impairment seen in preschool children with epilepsy
A recent study has shown that cognitive impairment is evident early on in preschool children with epilepsy, consistent with results of similar studies in older children.

Study finds copper proves effective against new E. coli strains
As the World Health Organization suggests the E. coli outbreak in Germany is a strain never before seen in an outbreak -- O104:H4 -- laboratory science conducted at the University of Southampton indicates a role for copper in preventing the spread of such infections.

Supportive of intent of ACO proposed rule, ACP expresses concern
The ACP comment provides recommendations to provide pathway for participation by smaller, independent primary care physician practices.

Study reveals how high-fat diet during pregnancy increases risk of stillbirth
Eating a high-fat diet during pregnancy increases the chance of stillbirth, according to new research at Oregon Health & Science University.

Healthy dose of chemistry coming to Montreal
To mark the International Year of Chemistry, the 94th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition will take place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal from June 5-9, 2011.

New clinical trial to test novel approach to treat triple-negative breast cancer
A multicenter clinical trial led by a researcher at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center will evaluate a new approach to treat triple-negative breast cancer, an often-aggressive type of cancer that is more common among African-Americans and young women.

Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer
While it is already known that breast cancer cells create the conditions for their own survival by communicating their needs to the healthy cells that surround them, Australian researchers have identified a new way of turning off that cellular cross talk.

Eating dirt can be good for the belly, researchers find
Most of us never considered eating the mud pies we made as kids, but for many people all over the world, dining on dirt is nothing out of the ordinary.

New bitter blocker discovered
Bitter taste often causes rejection that can interfere with food selection, nutrition and therapeutic compliance.

New type of MRSA in hospitalized patients probably of animal origin
A distinctly new type of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that is not detected by traditional genetic screening methods has been discovered in patients in Irish hospitals according to research to be published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Oxford University students condemn their university's practice of investing in companies that manufacture arms
In a comment published in this week's edition of the Lancet, a group of students, graduates and lecturers at Oxford University condemns its practice of investing in companies that manufacture arms.

For stressed bees, the glass is half empty
When people are depressed or anxious, they are much more likely to see their glass as half empty than half full.

Children of divorce fall behind peers in math, social skills
Divorce is a drag on the academic and emotional development of young children, but only once the breakup is under way, according to a study of elementary school students and their families.

Developmental disease is recreated in an adult model
An IRSF funded study published today in the journal Science has shown that the childhood disorder Rett syndrome, can be reestablished in adult animals by

New grant to study how pediatric brain tumor, ependymoma, develops
Armed with new grant support, investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital plan to examine how a common gene of the nervous system leads to the development of a devastating brain tumor, ependymoma.

Mechanism discovered for health benefit of green tea, new approach to autoimmune disease
One of the beneficial compounds found in green tea has a powerful ability to increase the number of

This is what the margins of the Ebro looked like 6 million years ago
A Spanish research team, using 3-D reflection seismology, has for the first time mapped the geomorphological features of the Ebro river basin between five and six million years ago.

Will neuroscience challenge the legal concept of criminal responsibility?
How do the US courts determine who is fit to stand trial?

UofL researchers uncover mechanism in saliva production
University of Louisville researchers are one step closer to helping millions of people whose salivary glands no longer work because of disease or damage from treatment of diseases.

Rett protein needed for adult neuron function
Girls born with dysfunctional MeCP2 (methyl-CpG-binding protein 2) develop Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder.

Single moms entering midlife may lead to public health crisis
Unwed mothers face poorer health at midlife than do women who have children after marriage, according to a new nationwide study.

Role of gene regulator in skeletal muscles demonstrated
Fast muscles, such as the thigh muscle in a sprinter, deliver energy quickly but fatigue quickly.

Biochemist David Deamer explores how life began in new book, 'First Life'
David Deamer began studying the origin of life in the early 1980s, and his research over the past 30 years has had a major influence on scientific understanding of how life on Earth got started.

Researchers characterize epigenetic fingerprint of 1,628 people
The researcher Manel Esteller, director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), professor at the University of Barcelona and ICREA researcher, has coordinated a work that identifies the

Study reveals how right-to-work laws impact store openings
Professor Paul Ingram discusses a study he co-authored that is featured in this month's American Sociological Review, which reveals how right-to-work laws impact Walmart store openings.

A drug combination extends survival in refractory lung cancer patients
A combination of two FDA-approved drugs extend survival in advanced-stage lung cancer patients who have run out of treatment options.

Reforms needed for compassionate release of prison inmates
The nation's system of freeing some terminally ill prisoners on grounds of compassionate release is so riddled with medical flaws and procedural barriers that many potentially medically eligible inmates are dying behind bars, say UCSF researchers in a new study.

C-reactive protein levels predict breast cancer survival rates
Levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are increased in response to acute inflammation, infection and tissue damage.

Stem cell treatment to prevent leukemia returning is a step closer, say scientists
Researchers at King's College London have identified a way of eliminating leukemic stem cells, which could lead to new treatments that may enable complete remission for leukemia patients.

Non-independent mutations present new path to evolutionary success
Mutations of DNA that lead to one base being replaced by another don't have to happen as single, independent events in humans and other eukaryotes, a group of Indiana University Bloomington biologists has learned after surveying several creatures' genomes.

Eye on the environment
A multi-disciplinary team of scholars from Uganda, Peru and Canada is setting out to study both some of the health effects of climate change on indigenous groups, along with some of the factors that may help them adapt to some of these changes.

Leakage of private information from popular websites is common, new study finds
A study of more than 100 popular websites has found that three-quarters leak either private information or users' unique identifiers to third-party tracking sites.

A promising new approach to autoimmune diseases
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and MIT have developed a new approach for identifying the

Gladstone scientists discover drug candidate for Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have identified a drug candidate that diminishes the effects of both Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease in animal models, offering new hope for patients who currently lack any medications to halt the progression of these two debilitating illnesses.

Robotic mine vehicles successfully reanimated by UA engineering students using industry support
Engineering students from the University of Arizona (with some help from regional industry) rebuilt and successfully tested autonomous robotic vehicles for eventual use in remote areas or underground mines where conditions are too extreme for human workers.

Ahead of major UN AIDS meeting, new HIV investment model is proposed
Ahead of a UN AIDS meeting, in a health policy published online first by the Lancet, a group of HIV experts propose a new investment model intended to support better management of national and international HIV/AIDS responses than exists with the present system.

GEN reports on advances in novel protein kinase inhibitor development
Biotech scientists are working on novel protein kinase inhibitors that are targeting a host of conditions ranging from atherosclerosis to neurodegenerative diseases, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

Use of clot busters for stroke increased from 2005 to 2009, but still low
The use of a clot-busting drug for stroke increased over a recent five-year period, but it's still low.

Recent financial crisis rooted in politics of creditworthiness, new study contends
A common reading of the recent subprime mortgage crisis pins the blame on bankers and loan brokers who extended mortgages to those who could not afford them, thereby inflating a housing bubble that was destined to burst.

ASCO: Emerging trends in radiation therapy for women over 70 with early stage breast cancer
Patterns of radiation usage in breast conserving therapy for women 70 years and older with stage I breast cancer are changing: more women are opting for radioactive implants and those with estrogen positive tumors are opting out of radiation therapy, according to an abstract being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital researchers.

Color red increases the speed and strength of reactions
When humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful.

PrEP can significantly lower risk of getting HIV, but is the public buying?
Researchers from UCLA and Lima, Peru, who used consumer marketing techniques to gauge acceptance of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among high-risk groups in Lima, found that study participants were generally supportive of the therapy but that out-of-pocket costs had the greatest impact -- even more than the drug's effectiveness -- on their willingness to use it.

Hartford Program issues geriatric social work awards, forms VA partnership
The prestigious Hartford Faculty Scholars Program has granted 11 geriatric social work researchers a two-year award that will provide career development, mentorship, and support for projects that will improve healthy outcomes for the country's aging population.

NEJM: PCPs treat hepatitis C as effectively as specialists through new delivery model
Under a completely new way of providing health care, primary care clinicians in remote villages, prisons and poor urban neighborhoods who were trained to treat patients with hepatitis C achieved excellent results identical to those of specialists at a university medical center.

Microscopic worms could help open up travel into deep space
A space flight by millions of microscopic worms could help us overcome the numerous threats posed to human health by space travel.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution leads expedition to measure radioactive contaminants in Pacific
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will lead the first international, multidisciplinary assessment of the levels and dispersion of radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima nuclear power plant -- a research effort funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Is the description-experience gap in risky choice limited to rare events?
Researchers at the University of Alberta found people confronted with risky choices respond differently when they rely on past experiences, rather than when they just focus on the odds of winning or losing.

Scripps Research scientists find way to block stress-related cell death
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have uncovered a potentially important new therapeutic target that could prevent stress-related cell death, a characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, as well as heart attack and stroke.

Children eat more vegetables when allowed to choose
A study conducted at the University of Granada has proved that children eat up to 80 percent more vegetables when they are allowed to choose.

Again, but faster! The spectacular courtship dance of a tiny bird
A small male bird called a golden-collared manakin performs a difficult, elaborate, physically demanding courtship dance.

Combination therapy shows promise for rare, deadly cancer caused by asbestos
Pleural mesothelioma patients who undergo lung-sparing surgery in combination with photodynamic therapy (PDT) show superior overall survival than patient treated using the conventional therapy of extrapleural pneumonectomy (or en bloc removal of the lung and surrounding tissue) with PDT, indicates new research from the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Research reveals effectiveness of seizure treatments for children with autism
Research compares effectiveness of various drugs and diets as treatments for controlling seizes often experienced by children with autism.

Work by UH evolutionary biologist may one day help with chronic diseases
Working to better predict general patterns of evolution, a University of Houston biologist and his team have discovered some surprising things about gene mutations that might one day make it possible to predict the progression of chronic disease.

Climate projections don't accurately reflect soil carbon release
A new study concludes that models may be predicting releases of atmospheric carbon dioxide that are either too high or too low, depending on the region, because they don't adequately reflect variable temperatures that can affect the amount of carbon released from soil.

Study: Children of divorce lag behind peers in math and social skills
Children whose parents get divorced generally don't experience detrimental setbacks in the pre-divorce period, but often fall behind their peers -- and don't catch up -- when it comes to math and interpersonal social skills after their parents begin the divorce process, according to a new study.

U of T scientist leads international team in quantum physics first
An international team led by University of Toronto physicist Aephraim Steinberg of the Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, have found a way to measure without distorting: a quantum physics first.

Novel 'prodrug' alleviates symptoms in Huntington's and Alzheimer's mice
A study in a special early online publication of Cell, a Cell Press publication, reveals a promising new slow-release compound that protects mice against the neurodegenerative effects of both Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists identify mutations that cause congenital cataracts
New research identifies genetic mutations that cause an inherited form of cataracts in humans.

With feedlot manure, it pays to be precise
The same precision farming techniques that work with crops can work with manure management on cattle feedlots, according to US Department of Agriculture scientists.

Sexual health of men with chronic heart failure significantly improves with CRT
A new study published in the journal Clinical Cardiology reveals that in men with chronic heart failure, cardiac resynchronization therapy improves patients' libido, erectile dysfunction, and sexual performance.

Trans-Atlantic team announces Huntington's disease breakthrough
New research offers promise of medical intervention for this devastating disorder.

Caltech researchers build largest biochemical circuit out of small synthetic DNA molecules
In many ways, life is like a computer. An organism's genome is the software that tells the cellular and molecular machinery -- the hardware -- what to do.

Partnership between autism experts, pediatricians identifies toddlers at risk for autism
Parents and health care providers can't always tell whether toddlers display signs of autism syndrome disorder, but new research from the University of Utah shows that a significant portion of at-risk children between 14-24 months can be identified through systematic screening by autism experts and providers working together.

ACSM: Stronger hips improved running mechanics, lessened knee pain
Hip strengthening exercises performed by female runners not only significantly reduced patellofemoral pain -- a common knee pain experienced by runners -- but they also improved the runners' gaits, according to Indiana University motion analysis expert Tracy Dierks.

The blame game in work-family conflict
A new study by Elizabeth M. Poposki, Ph.D., of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the first to explore day-to-day experiences in attributing blame that arises from work-family conflict.

From pre-gut cells to glory
For all animals, development begins with the embryo. It is here that uniform cells divide and diversify, and blueprints are laid for structures, like skeletal and digestive systems.

In the lab and clinic, VCU Massey develops a new therapy for blood cancers
Clinical researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial evaluating a combination of the drugs Bortezomib and Alvocidib in patients with relapsed or refractory blood cancers, paving the way for a Phase II clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of the new therapy.

Depression and negative thoughts
We all have our ups and downs -- a fight with a friend, a divorce, the loss of a parent.

Nobel Laureate to speak at American Chemical Society green chemistry conference
Ei-ichi Negishi, Ph.D., recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will be among the featured speakers at the 15th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, June 21-23, in Washington, D.C.

Use of clot-busting drug for US stroke patients doubled from 2005 to 2009
In a review of nationwide hospital databases, University of Cincinnati researchers have found that the rate of treatment with the standard therapy for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) has doubled since 2005.

U of Alberta researchers hoping to stop heart disease in cancer patients before it starts
Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry are trying to reverse a devastating trend: cancer survivors developing cardiovascular disease, one of the top two killers in Canada.

People who have had head injuries report more violent behavior
Young people who have sustained a head injury during their lifetime are more likely to engage in violent behavior, according to an eight-year study from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Building a better dam map
The culmination of a four-year collaboration by a team of scientists from around the globe, coordinated by the Global Water System Project and led by McGill University's Bernhard Lehner, has produced the Global Reservoir and Dam database (GRanD), a unique, geographically explicit, high-resolution global database of large dams and reservoirs.

Exploring the deep biosphere
Over the last two decades, scientific drilling into sediments and rocks in the ocean and on continents has revealed the presence of physiologically and phylogenetically complex microbial life in the deep subsurface.

Cause and potential treatment found for cancer drug's kidney toxicity
Scientists may have a way to make the powerful cancer drug cisplatin less toxic to the kidneys and more effective against some cancers.

University of Arizona awarded $2.95 million to study monsoon ecology
The National Science Foundation has awarded almost $3 million to better understand the highly complex processes by which the North American monsoon influences ecosystems and natural cycles.

A hot body could help ships reduce drag
New research into drag reduction has the potential to help industries such shipping to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

How to supply sustainable electricity to world's billions of 'energy poor' people
A private-public partnership created to provide renewable energy to two remote South American settlements could light the way for thousands of other similar projects needed around the globe, with potentially profound health, educational and economic benefits.

BGI sequences genome of the deadly E. coli in Germany and reveals new super-toxic strain
The recent outbreak of an E. coli infection from cucumbers in Germany raises serious concerns about the potential appearance of a new deadly bacteria strain.

Want to solve a problem? Don't just use your brain, but your body, too
When we've got a problem to solve, we don't just use our brains but the rest of our bodies, too.

Revamped college science course improves student performance -- in spite of cuts
Students overall performed better -- and educationally disadvantaged students generally made even greater strides than everyone else -- in an introductory biology course at a university where recent budget woes doubled class sizes for the course, cut lab times and reduced the number of graduate teaching assistants.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2011
Researchers are working alongside state troopers to test and validate screening technologies that can automatically detect brake, wheel and tire problems as a vehicle enters the weigh station.

Adult brain requires MeCP2 for proper functioning
A paper published online today in Science provides evidence that the Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 (MeCP2) is required throughout life to maintain healthy brain function.

New research: Post-exercise recovery advantages of lowfat chocolate milk
New research suggests an effective recovery drink may already be in your refrigerator: lowfat chocolate milk.

Phase change memory-based 'moneta'system points to the future of computer storage
A faculty-student team in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is about to demonstrate a first-of-its kind, phase-change memory solid state storage device provides performance thousands of times faster than a conventional hard drive and up to seven times faster than current state-of-the-art solid-state drives.

Managing forests requires a bird's-eye view
Managers of northern Michigan forests may not see the birds for the trees -- or at least are in danger of losing sight of songbird neighborhoods when looking out for timber harvests

Beef: America's favorite protein is an essential building block
The new visual icon released today by the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, called MyPlate, offers simple and actionable steps to build healthier diets.

Iron key to brain tumor drug delivery
Brain cancer therapy may be more effective if the expression of an iron-storing protein is decreased to enhance the action of therapeutic drugs on brain cancer cells, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Antifungal drug delays need for chemo in advanced prostate cancer
The oral antifungal drug itraconazole, most commonly used to treat nail fungus, may keep prostate cancer from worsening and delay the need for chemotherapy in men with advanced disease.

Examining the brain as a neural information super-highway
An article demonstrating how tools for modeling traffic on the Internet and telephone systems can be used to study information flow in brain networks will be published in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology on June 2, 2011.

ASCO: Experimental vaccine made from frozen immune cells shows promise for prostate cancer patients
Metastatic prostate cancer patients who received an investigational vaccine made from their own frozen immune cells lived 10 months longer than those not treated with it, according to data being presented by researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

Noninvasive diagnostics may offer alternative to liver biopsy for assessing liver fibrosis
Patients who are evaluated for liver diseases such as hepatitis C are typically recommended for liver biopsy to determine the extent of disease progression.

New sound synchronization technology holds the key to earlier diagnosis of heart disease
Innovative UK technology is contributing to the development of a revolutionary digital stethoscope that could make it easier for GPs to spot the first signs of heart disease. 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