Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 15, 2011
Sudden cardiac death subject of sweeping UCSF study in San Francisco
A new study by the University of California, San Francisco's Cardiac Electrophysiology Service seeks to discover for the first time the true causes of sudden cardiac death, why it is more prevalent in some demographic populations, and whether it is too often inaccurately cited as a cause of death.

How does identification with an organization enhance values?
Strongly identifying with an organization or workplace can change people's lives in profound ways, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

23andMe database surpasses 100,000 users
Leading personal genetics company 23andMe has built one of the world's largest databases of individual genetic information including the DNA data of more than 100,000 people.

Latest data from Cedars-Sinai vaccine study supports immune targeting of brain tumors
An experimental vaccine developed by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute targets overactive antigens in highly aggressive brain tumors and improves length of survival in newly diagnosed patients, according to new data that was presented in a poster session at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

'Casanova gene' in female songbirds
It is assumed that many bird species are monogamous, yet infidelity is a widespread phenomenon.

Specialty physicians turn away two-thirds of children with public insurance, Penn study shows
Sixty-six percent of publicly insured children were unable to get a doctor's appointment for serious medical conditions including diabetes and seizures, while children with identical symptoms and private insurance were turned away only 11 percent of the time, according to an audit study of specialty physician practices in Cook County, Ill. conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Evidence of a natural origin for banned drug that plumps up livestock
There may be a natural solution to the mystery of how small amounts of a banned drug that disrupts thyroid function and plumps up livestock gets into their bodies -- and the bodies of humans, scientists are reporting.

AgriLife research: Multi-paddock grazing is superior to continuous grazing
A long-term study verifies multi-paddock grazing improves vegetation, soil health and animal production relative to continuous grazing in large-scale ranches, according to Texas AgriLife Research scientists.

What makes a plant a plant?
Although scientists have been able to sequence the genomes of many organisms, they still lack a context for associating the proteins encoded in genes with specific biological processes.

Noninvasive brain stimulation helps curb impulsivity
Inhibitory control can be boosted with a mild form of brain stimulation, according to a study published in the June 2011 issue of Neuroimage, Elsevier's Journal of Brain Function.

Energy Infotech Forum kicks off at the New York Academy of Sciences
New York's unique capabilities in information technology, internet applications, media and finance position it to be a global leader at the intersection of IT and clean tech.

BU researcher plays key role in discovery of new type of neutrino oscillation
The international T2K collaboration announced today that they have observed an indication of a new type of neutrino transformation or oscillation from a muon neutrino to an electron neutrino.

Medicaid managed care plans owned by public companies have higher administrative costs
A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that Medicaid managed care plans that are owned by publicly traded for-profit companies whose primary line of business is managing Medicaid enrollees spent an average of 14 percent of premiums on administrative costs, compared with an average of only 10 percent spent by non-publicly traded plans owned by groups of health care providers, health systems, community health centers, or clinics.

How the immune system fights back against anthrax infections
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have uncovered how the body's immune system launches its survival response to the notorious and deadly bacterium anthrax.

Life expectancy in most US counties falls behind world's healthiest nations
While people in Japan, Canada, and other nations have enjoyed significant gains in life expectancy, most counties within the United States are falling behind, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Neutrinos change flavors while crossing Japan
By shooting a beam of neutrinos through a small slice of the Earth under Japan, physicists say they've caught the particles changing their stripes in new ways.

A knockout resource for mouse genetics
An international consortium of researchers report today in Nature that they have knocked out almost 40 percent of the genes in the mouse genome.

Motivation to change, confidence to resist temptation, should tailor alcohol-dependence treatment
People seeking help for their alcohol or other drug problems enter treatment with very different levels of motivation to change.

When imitation doesn't flatter: When do consumers care about mimicry?
Consumers react strongly to their product choices being copied, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

UCSF stem cell, cancer scientist honored for pioneering studies
UCSF's Robert Blelloch, M.D., Ph.D., has received the 2011 Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research, for his pioneering research on the role of molecular tools known as microRNAs in embryonic stem cells and cancer.

Date for your diary: International Symposium of Antarctic Earth Sciences 2011
Over 500 experts in Earth sciences from around the world meet next month in Edinburgh (July 11-15) to discuss the latest scientific research from the Polar Regions.

UH chemist developing materials to detect, repel E. coli
A University of Houston chemist who is developing materials for detecting and repelling E. coli has published papers in two high-impact journals this month.

New sensor to measure structural stresses can heal itself when broken
Researchers from North Carolina State University have designed a sensor that can measure strain in structural materials and is capable of healing itself -- an important advance for collecting data to help us make informed decisions about structural safety in the wake of earthquakes, explosions or other unexpected events.

The New York Academy of Sciences to host a symposium on cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis
On June 21-23, 2011, the New York Academy of Sciences will bring together physicians, neurologists, clinical neuropsychologists, cellular and molecular biologists and patient advocates to discuss current challenges and potential solutions for improving diagnosis, treatment and management of the cognitive symptoms of MS.

AGU journal highlights -- June 15, 2011
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

A mother's determination, next-generation sequencing provide solutions for twins
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, experts in San Diego and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor describe how the sequencing of the children's whole genome along with that of their older brother and their parents zeroed in on the gene that caused the children's genetic disorder, which enabled physicians to fine-tune their treatment.

Landmark report reveals immense burden of osteoporotic fractures in Europe
A new report by the International Osteoporosis Foundation in collaboration with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations reveals that the burden of fractures in Europe has been vastly underestimated.

Study hints at antibiotic overuse in home-care patients
A study of Canadian home-care patients looks at the prescribing practices for receiving ongoing medical care at home.

Changing genetic 'red light' to green holds promise for treating disease
Researchers found a new way to surpass a common mutation that is estimated to cause a third of genetic disorders.

Penn researchers break light-matter coupling strength limit in nanoscale semiconductors
New engineering research at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates that polaritons have increased coupling strength when confined to nanoscale semiconductors.

Rutgers contributes to findings that black holes were surprisingly common in early universe
A Rutgers University astrophysicist is part of a scientific team that has unveiled evidence of black holes being common in the early universe.

Too close for comfort? Maybe not
People generally worry about who their neighbors are, especially neighbors of our children.

UF study: When singing mice choose a mate, a skillful song gets the gal
Like rock stars of the rodent world, the flashiest performers of a Central American mouse species get the most attention from the ladies, a University of Florida study shows.

Potential cause of severe sleep disorder discovered, implications for Parkinson's disease
Researchers at the University of Toronto are the first to identify a potential cause for a severe sleep disorder that has been closely linked to Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Facebook friends? Group identity helps consumers remember ads
When consumers think about the groups they belong to, they recall ads better, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Several methods for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease developed by European scientists
European scientists have taken several significant steps to enable earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in PredictAD, an EU-funded project.

Malaria vaccination strategy provides model for superior protection
Now, a new study uncovers a powerful strategy for eliciting an immune response that can combat the parasite during multiple stages of its complex life cycle and describes what may be the most effective next-generation vaccination approach for malaria.

Teens look to parents more than friends for sexual role models
The results of a national online study show that 45 percent of teenagers consider their parents to be their sexuality role model.

Program announced for 1st Middle-East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting
The IOF Regionals -- 1st Middle-East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting, to be held in Dubai, from Oct.

UT Southwestern surgeons examine hypospadias repair efficacy for patients with differing anatomies
A pediatric urologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center who pioneered a surgical technique for repairing a common birth defect in boys reports the procedure is singularly effective in correcting the problem with few complications.

Study: MR enterography as effective as CT in diagnosing Crohn's disease, reduces radiation exposure
A new study from Rhode Island Hospital has found that MR enterography (MRE) without the use of an anti-peristaltic agent were as reliable as CT enterography in determining the presence of Crohn's disease.

Anxious searchers miss multiple objects
A person scanning baggage or X-rays stands a better chance of seeing everything they're searching for if they aren't feeling anxious, according to a new laboratory experiment.

Using recycled cardboard in food packaging risks contaminating food with mineral oils
Harmful mineral oils from the printing inks used on cardboard can migrate into food if recycled cardboard is used for food packaging.

Genetic mutation linked to asbestos exposure
Mice inhabiting an area known for its high concentration of asbestos-contaminated dust, have a higher level of genetic somatic mutations, compared with other regions where asbestos pollution levels are lower.

URI nursing study finds effects of premature birth can reach into adulthood
In the longest running US study of premature infants who are now 23 years old, URI professor of nursing Mary Sullivan has found that premature infants are less healthy, have more social and school struggles and face a greater risk of heart-health problems in adulthood.

National Eye Institute awards Cedars-Sinai $3 million to develop gene, stem cell therapies
Cedars-Sinai stem cell researchers investigating ways to prevent eye problems in diabetic patients have been awarded a $3 million grant from the National Eye Institute to develop gene therapy in corneal stem cells to alleviate damage to corneas that can cause vision loss.

Tecnalia facilitates starting signal for athletes with sensory disability
The system alerts the race start through visual signals -- enabling reaction time equal to other participants.

Animal instincts: Why do unhappy consumers prefer tactile sensations?
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explains why sad people are more likely to want to hug a teddy bear than seek out a visual experience such as looking at art.

Pesticide impact: Comparing lab, field-scale results
Researching the impact of pesticide use is an important task with several methods of collecting data.

What will climate change and sea level rise mean for barrier islands?
A new survey of barrier islands published earlier this spring offers the most thorough assessment to date of the thousands of small islands that hug the coasts of the world's landmasses.

Scientists prove existence of 'magnetic ropes' that cause solar storms
George Mason University scientists discovered recently that a phenomenon called a giant magnetic rope is the cause of solar storms.

Understanding alcohol's damaging effects on the brain
While alcohol has a wide range of pharmacological effects on the body, the brain is a primary target.

Polysomnography for sleep-disordered breathing prior to tonsillectomy in children
A multidisciplinary clinical practice guideline,

Entomologists launch the 5,000 Insect Genome Project (i5k)
The i5k Initiative aims to sequence the genomes of 5,000 insects and other arthropods over the next five years in order to

Study finds golden algae responsible for killing millions of fish less toxic in sunlight
A new Baylor University study has found that sunlight decreases the toxicity of golden algae, which kills millions of fish in the southern United States every year.

Study reveals important aspects of signaling across cell membranes in plants
Every living plant cell and animal cell is surrounded by a membrane that helps it communicate with other cells and the outside world.

IADR/AADR publish proceedings from Symposium on Tissue Injury and Pulp Regeneration
The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) have published the proceedings from a symposium themed

First self-powered device with wireless data transmission
Scientists are reporting development of the first self-powered nano-device that can transmit data wirelessly over long distances.

ORNL neutrons, simulations reveal details of bioenergy barrier
A first of its kind combination of experiment and simulation at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing a close-up look at the molecule that complicates next-generation biofuels.

NASA satellite gallery shows Chilean volcano plume moving around the world
Since its eruption in early June, several NASA satellites have captured images of the ash plume from the eruption of the Chilean Volcano called Puyehue-Cordón Caulle and have tracked it around the world.

'SpongeBob' mushroom discovered in the forests of Borneo
SF State researcher Dennis Desjardin has discovered Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of mushroom almost as strange as its cartoon namesake.

The top 5 actions parents can take to reduce child exposure to toxic chemicals at home
Controlling house dust tops a list of five ways parents can protect their children from toxic substances in and around the home, say leading health and environmental experts in Canada.

Dawn of agriculture took toll on health
When populations around the globe started turning to agriculture around 10,000 years ago, regardless of their locations and type of crops, a similar trend occurred: the height and health of the people declined.

Simple, affordable interventions to increase prenatal screening and treatment could halve stillbirths and newborn deaths due to syphilis
Simple, low-cost interventions to increase the coverage of screening and treatment of syphilis during pregnancy could prevent more than half of newborn deaths and stillbirths related to the disease, which is responsible for nearly 500,000 perinatal deaths every year in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Eat your fruits and vegetables!
Not only do fruits and vegetables furnish valuable dietary nutrients, but they also contribute vital elements to chronic disease prevention for heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers, vision problems of aging, and possibly type 2 diabetes.

X-ray telescope finds new voracious black holes in early universe
Using the deepest X-ray image ever taken, a University of Michigan astronomer and her colleagues have found the first direct evidence that massive black holes were common in the early universe.

NIH researchers identify new marker to predict progressive kidney failure, death
A high level of a hormone that regulates phosphate is associated with an increased risk of kidney failure and death among chronic kidney disease patients, according to a recent study led by researchers at the University of Miami and funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Health system achieves high flu vaccination rates by mandating masking
Optimizing employee influenza vaccination rates has become a health care focus.

Using olive oil in your diet may prevent a stroke
A new study suggests that consuming olive oil may help prevent a stroke in older people.

Researchers report progress using iPS cells to reverse blindness
Researchers have used cutting-edge stem cell technology to correct a genetic defect present in a rare blinding disorder, another step on a promising path that may one day lead to therapies to reverse blindness caused by common retinal diseases.

MIT research: Life after 'Snowball Earth'
Researchers at MIT, Harvard and Smith have discovered hundreds of microscopic fossils in rocks dating back nearly 710 million years, around the time when the planet emerged from a global glaciation, or

Study suggests drug significantly improves glycemic control in type 1 diabetics on insulin
Results of a University at Buffalo study suggest that liraglutide, an injectable medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, also helps type 1 diabetics on insulin achieve optimal control of their blood glucose levels.

Oft-used DSM diagnosis of alcohol dependence shows reliability
A new study examined the reliability of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- Fourth Edition diagnosis of alcohol dependence (AD) in a population-based sample.

Dating an ancient episode of severe global warming
Using sophisticated methods of dating rocks, a team including University of Southampton researchers based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, have pinned down the timing of the start of an episode of an ancient global warming known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, with implications for the triggering mechanism.

Astronomers discover earliest black holes at dawn of universe
A team of astronomers has discovered the earliest black holes ever detected, despite the fact that they are hidden from view by their host galaxies.

Researchers identify why dopamine replacement therapy has a paradoxical effect on cognition
Dopamine replacement therapy, which is used to manage motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease, can, at times, adversely affect cognition.

Nanotechnology makes big inroads into construction industry
The small science of nanotechnology -- which deals with objects so tiny that thousands would fit inside the period at the end of this sentence -- is having a big impact in the construction industry, according to the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the American Chemical Society's weekly news magazine.

Fathers benefit from seeking help as parents
Men are sometimes criticized for being unwilling to ask for directions when they travel, but they can benefit from looking for help as they begin their journeys as fathers, according to a researcher on fatherhood.

A grid approach to pandemic disease control
An evaluation of the Public Health Grid (PHGrid) technology during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic could enhance the capabilities of epidemiologists and disease-control agencies when the next emergent disease appears, according to a study published in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing.

'Glowing hands' in the waiting room improves kids' handwashing
Hand-hygiene in children was improved with the use of a glowing gel that, when black lit, illustrates bacteria on hands, even after washing.

Magical thinking helps dieters cope with unrealistic expectations
Magical thinking, usually dismissed as naive and irrational, can actually help consumers cope with stressful situations like trying to lose weight, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Using living cells as an 'invisibility cloak'
The quest for better ways of encapsulating medicine so that it can reach diseased parts of the body has led scientists to harness -- for the first time -- living human cells to produce natural capsules with channels for releasing drugs and diagnostic agents.

Young adults struggle with online political participation
Young adults who are web savvy, but lack knowledge about federal government, may struggle to use the web for political participation, according to a team of researchers.

Leaky genes put evolution on the fast track, Pitt and UW-Madison researchers find
Small genetic mutations that add up over time could create an evolutionary express lane that leads to the rapid development of new traits, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin at Madison report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 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