Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 16, 2011
Researchers identify protein that improves DNA repair under stress
New research by a team of scientists at the University of Rochester has unveiled an important new mechanism that allows cells to recognize when they are under stress and prime the DNA repair machinery to respond to the threat of damage.

Researchers engineer the environment for stem cell development to control differentiation
New research shows that systematically controlling the local and global environments during stem cell development helps to effectively direct the process of differentiation.

Heightened immunity to colds makes asthma flare-ups worse, U-M research shows
People often talk about

CSHL structural biologists reveal novel drug binding site in NMDA receptor subunit
Structural biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have obtained a precise molecular map of the binding site for an allosteric inhibitor in a subtype of the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor, which is commonly expressed in brain cells, dysfunctions of which have been implicated in depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Imagination can influence perception
Imagining something with our mind's eye is a task we engage in frequently, whether we're daydreaming, conjuring up the face of a childhood friend, or trying to figure out exactly where we might have parked the car.

Walking, sex and spicy food are favored unprescribed methods to bring on labor
More than half of the women in a recently published survey reported that near the end of their pregnancies, they took it upon themselves to try to induce labor, mostly by walking, having sex, eating spicy food or stimulating their nipples.

Caltech scientist awarded $5 million grant for plant research
Elliot Meyerowitz, a plant genetics and developmental biology expert at the California Institute of Technology, has been awarded one of 15 five-year, $5 million grants for fundamental plant science research.

Risk factor identified for acute aortic dissections
People who have duplications in a region of chromosome 16 (16p13.1) that is present in approximately 1 in 1000 individuals have a 12-fold increased risk of thoracic aortic aneurysms leading to a tear in the aorta, or acute aortic dissections.

UCLA team reports scalable fabrication of self-aligned graphene transistors, circuits
UCLA researchers previously reported a self-aligned technique for making graphene transistors with unparalleled speed, but scalability was a question.

Pregnancy-related depression linked to eating disorders and abuse histories
Having a history of eating disorders or abuse may increase a woman's risk for developing depression during and after pregnancy, according to new research from UNC.

Old, large, living trees must be left standing to protect nesting animals: UBC study
Old trees must be protected to save the homes of more than 1,000 different bird and mammal species who nest, says a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Tough dogs not merely gang weapons
Youths in groups or gangs choose to own dogs primarily for socializing and companionship.

Postnatal depression linked to depression in offspring until age 16
A recent study by Lynne Murray and colleagues published in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is the first to demonstrate that the effects of maternal depression on the likelihood of the child to develop depression may begin as early as infancy.

Wireless self-powered routers dropped like a trail of crumbs won't become toast when baked...or soggy when hosed
When Hansel and Gretel ventured into the forest, they left a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way home.

SIR Foundation sets research priorities for minimally invasive treatments for MS patients
Evaluating patients with multiple sclerosis who have narrowed jugular and azygos veins -- and the value of widening those veins with angioplasty -- warrants careful, well-designed research, noted members of a Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation's Research Consensus Panel.

GW researchers receive award from NCI to study cancer from a neglected tropical disease
Researchers from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences have been awarded a five-year, $500,000-per-year R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Gamma-ray flash came from star being eaten by massive black hole
A bright flash of gamma rays observed March 28 by the Swift satellite signaled the death of a star falling into a massive black hole, say a team of astronomers led by UC Berkeley's Joshua Bloom.

Northern Ireland hay-fever sufferers to breathe more easily thanks to Queen's
Local hay-fever sufferers will breathe more easily following the news that Northern Ireland's only air pollen sampler has been installed at Queen's University Belfast in association with the Met Office.

2 UC Davis plant biologists named as HHMI-GBMF investigators
Two plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, have been selected among the first-ever class of HHMI-GBMF Investigators, funded jointly by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Hematologist discovers, names the 'Toms River' blood mutation in N.J. family
A newborn described as a

HHMI and GBMF name 15 ASPB members as investigators
Two of the nation's largest private sponsors of research have taken a giant leap into plant science.

Landsat 5 satellite sees Mississippi River floodwaters lingering
In a Landsat 5 satellite image captured June 11, 2011, flooding is still evident both east and west of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss.

Firestorm of star birth in the active galaxy Centaurus A
Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.

Radionuclide treatment against small tumors and metastases
Medicine could very soon have a new ally in the fight against cancer: Terbium-161.

Counting the cost of cold winters: Emergency treatment for falls on snow and ice
During the winter of 2009-2010 the average temperature for the UK was 1.6 degrees centigrade, making it the coldest recorded winter in the last 30 years.

Plants teach humans a thing or two about fighting diseases
Avoiding germs to prevent sickness is commonplace for people. Wash hands often.

Searching for the 'perfect glass'
Glasses differ from crystals. Crystals are organized in repeating patterns that extend in every direction.

EPOXI finds Hartley 2 is a hyperactive comet
Hartley 2's hyperactive state, as studied by NASA's EPOXI mission, is detailed in a new paper published in this week's issue of the journal Science by an international team of scientists that includes Lucy McFadden of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Shellpak demonstrates statistically significant improvement in patient medication adherence
According to new data published in Clinical Therapeutics, the way a medication is packaged can have a significant impact on whether patients take it as prescribed.

UTHealth researchers link chromosome region to thoracic aortic disease
Patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms that lead to acute aortic dissections are 12 times more likely to have duplications in the DNA in a region of chromosome 16 (16p13.1) than those without the disease, according to a study led by genetic researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Low testosterone linked to varicoceles
As many as 15 percent of men have varicoceles, masses of enlarged and dilated veins in the testicles.

John Innes Centre announces collaboration with Chinese Academy of Sciences
The John Innes Centre has launched a major collaborative venture with Institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

LSU researchers see an indication of a new type of neutrino oscillation at the T2K experiment
LSU Department of Physics Professors Thomas Kutter and Martin Tzanov, and Professor Emeritus William Metcalf, along with graduate and undergraduate students, have been working for several years on an experiment in Japan called T2K, or Tokai to Kamioka Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiment, which studies the most elusive of fundamental subatomic particles -- the neutrino.

'Ultrawideband' could be future of medical monitoring
New research has confirmed that an electronic technology called

UT Southwestern researchers uncover why ketamine produces a fast antidepressant response
UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists are shedding new light on why the anesthetic drug ketamine produces a fast-acting antidepressant response in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

A stem cell target for expanding waistlines?
Researchers may have found the key to developing a method to rid the body of stem cells responsible for driving fat expansion.

Reclassifying osteoarthritis into different divisions will lead to better treatments
This week's Lancet contains a three-part series on arthritis. The first paper discusses issues and future directions around osteoarthritis, and is written by professor Johannes W.

First diagnostic test for hereditary children's disease
A breakthrough in genetic research has uncovered the defect behind a rare hereditary children's disease that inhibits the body's ability to break down vitamin D.

Messenger orbital data confirm theories, reveal surprises
In March, the Messenger spacecraft entered orbit around Mercury to become that planet's first orbiter.

After 55 years, surgery restores sight
After being hit in the eye by a stone, a detached retina left a man blind in his right eye.

Secretary of the Navy Outlines Plan to Renew Focus in STEM Education at Conference
Reinforcing President Obama's call to improve America's science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education over the next decade, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced his plan to strengthen the service's future workforce at a June 15-16 conference sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.

Turning hot air into energy savings
A team of students from the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside have been selected for a $15,000 grant from the EPA to develop a system could cut electricity bills up to 16 percent by using heat from the sun and attic to operate a clothes dryer.

Salk scientist Joseph Ecker, appointed as HHMI-GBMF Investigator
Plant biologist Joseph R. Ecker, Ph.D., professor and director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been selected for a prestigious position as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Don't stop anonymizing data
Canadian privacy experts have issued a new report today that strongly backs the practice of de-identification as a key element in the protection of personal information.

Children as young as 10 vomit to lose weight, with highest rates in boys
Thirteen percent of the children who took part in a study of 120 schools made themselves sick to lose weight.

BUSM professor honored for intellectual and developmental disabilities research
Joanne Wilkinson, M.D., M.Sc., associate director of Medical Student Education at Boston University School of Medicine, has been selected as the first physician to receive the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities' 2011 Early Career Award.

Study is first to show reduction in high-grade cervical abnormalities following implementation of human papillomavirus vaccination programs
A study from Australia is the first to show reduction of high-grade cervical abnormalities (HGAs -- the precursors to cervical cancer) in a population of women following introduction of human papillomavirus vaccination programs.

Fetal electrocardiogram helps in early detection of neonatal acidosis
Researchers at the University of Granada have proved that this method helps to reduce cesarean rate in women in labor with cardiotocographic recordings (CTG) compatible with the risk of loss of fetal well-being, and presents more advantages than pulse oximetry.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Treatment gap leaves many older adults at unnecessary risk of fracture
A new report prepared by the International Osteoporosis Foundation in collaboration with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations has found that only a minority of high-risk patients are receiving treatment to prevent fractures -- contrary to the recommendations of most national osteoporosis guidelines and despite continued advances in risk assessment and the widespread availability of effective medication.

Black hole kills star and blasts 3.8 billion light year beam at Earth
Research led by astronomers at the University of Warwick has confirmed that the flash from one of the biggest and brightest bangs yet recorded by astronomers comes from a massive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy.

How many US deaths are caused by poverty, low levels of education and other social factors?
In the first comprehensive analysis of the contribution of social factors to US mortality, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that poverty, low levels of education, poor social support and other social factors contribute about as many deaths in the US as such familiar causes as heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer.

Size matters -- in virulent fungal spores -- and suggests ways to stop a killer
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found that larger fungal spores can be more lethal.

The sweet growth of plant cells
An international collaboration team unravels the fundamental role that carbohydrates play in the root hairs of Arabidopsis thaliana and shows how cell growth is modulated in this species.

Where have all the flowers gone?
It's summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color.

Washington University surgeons successfully use artificial lung in toddler
Two-year-old Owen Stark came to St. Louis Children's Hospital in the summer of 2010 near death from heart failure and dangerously high blood pressure in his lungs.

Lyme disease bacteria take cover in lymph nodes
The bacteria that cause Lyme disease appear to hide out in the lymph nodes, triggering a significant immune response, but one that is not strong enough to rout the infection, report researchers at UC Davis.

UTHealth awarded FEMA grant to explore novel obesity risk factor among firefighters
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have been awarded nearly $1 million to investigate Adenovirus-36 infection as a novel risk factor for obesity.

How we come to know our bodies as our own
By taking advantage of a

Roadmap published for dynamic mapping of estrogen signaling in breast cancer
The first roadmap to mathematical modeling of a powerful basic

USC researchers find new clues about protein linked to Parkinson's disease
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California have uncovered structural clues about the protein linked to Parkinson's disease, which ultimately could lead to finding a cure for the degenerative neurological disorder.

University of Utah professor wins Italy's top math prize
Christopher Hacon, a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Utah, has been awarded the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in Mathematics, Mechanics and Applications by Italy's Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, or National Lincean Academy.

International conference tackles effects of nuclear radiation on humans, plants and animals
McMaster University will host a major conference on the environmental effects of radiation as Japan continues to struggle in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

NSF awards CU-Boulder $5.9 million grant for alpine ecosystem research
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Colorado Boulder a six-year, $5.9 million grant to continue intensive studies of long-term ecological changes in Colorado's high mountains, both natural and human-caused, over decades and centuries.

Ocean's harmful low-oxygen zones growing, are sensitive to small changes in climate
UCLA scientists report a connection between climate fluctuations and the habitability of marine ecosystems by modeling the expansion and contraction of low-oxygen zones that are dangerous for ocean life.

When warming up for the cycling race, less is more
New findings challenge conventional wisdom and find shorter warm-ups of lower intensity are better for boosting cycling performance.

CU-Boulder part of international team to discover neutrinos can change 'flavors'
An international research team led by Japan and that includes the University of Colorado Boulder may have taken a significant step in discovering why matter trumped antimatter at the time of Big Bang, helping to create virtually all of the galaxies and stars in the universe.

Noninvasive brain implant could someday translate thoughts into movement
A brain implant developed at the University of Michigan uses the body's skin like a conductor to wirelessly transmit the brain's neural signals to control a computer, and may eventually be used to reactivate paralyzed limbs.

UC Riverside botanist receives high honor from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Xuemei Chen, a professor of plant cell and molecular biology at the University of California, Riverside, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute -- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator.

Spectacular Hubble view of Centaurus A
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a close-up view of the galaxy Centaurus A.

Stretchable electronics report how you feel
Electronics that can be bent and stretched might sound like science fiction.

New stem cell research could aid in battle against bulging waistlines
Innovative adult stem cell research by scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) could aid efforts to apply the brakes to stem cells that produce the type of fat ringing the waists of millions.

Medical debt occurs despite insurance, UA study shows
Health insurance is not protecting Arizonans from having problems paying medical bills, and having bill problems is keeping families from getting needed medical care and prescription medicines, a new study from the University of Arizona has found.

MSU plant scientist named one of the nation's most innovative researchers
Sheng Yang He, plant biologist at Michigan State University, has been named one of the nation's most-innovative plant scientists as part of a $75 million new plant science research initiative.

Medical societies respond to the FDA's safety announcement on the use of Actos
The Endocrine Society, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American Diabetes Association urge diabetes patients to remain on their prescribed medications unless instructed otherwise by their health-care provider.

Sharing anonymized hospital data prevents violence
Combining information from hospitals and police can prevent violence and make communities safer, according to a study published on today.

Majority of consumers oppose wine in supermarkets, study reveals
A survey of wine drinkers conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management has found that 54 percent say they are opposed to a New York State proposal to sell wine in supermarkets.

New sealant gel is effective in closing spinal wounds following surgery, study finds
A gel that creates a watertight seal to close surgical wounds provides a significant advance in the treatment of patients following spinal procedures, effectively sealing spinal wounds 100 percent of the time, a national multicenter randomized study led by researchers at UC Davis has found.

Fortifying corn masa flour with folic acid could prevent birth defects, March of Dimes says
Since the 1998 FDA mandate that enriched cereal grains such as bread and pasta be fortified with folic acid, the rate of birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida and anencephaly, has decreased by nearly one-third.

New online dissector helps students master gross anatomy
Gross anatomy dissection books have changed little in recent decades even though today's students may be more visual learners, curriculum committees frequently assign fewer hours to the course, and universities are often under pressure to train more students within tight space constraints.

Metallic glass: A crystal at heart
Glass, by definition, is amorphous. But when scientists squeezed tiny samples of a metallic glass under high pressure, they got a surprise: The atoms lined up in a regular pattern to form a single crystal.

CSHL professor Rob Martienssen receives prestigious appointment as HHMI-GBMF investigator
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have selected professor Rob Martienssen, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to join a new initiative to accelerate basic research in fundamental plant science.

Founded on science, world cooperation in Antarctica a model for meeting climate, other challenges
The success of world co-operation based on science and practiced since the Cold War by nations operating in Antarctica offers a model to humanity as it confronts challenges to common interests like climate change, biodiversity loss and overfishing, says the editor of a new book on science diplomacy.

Landsat 5 satellite helps emergency managers fight largest fire in Arizona history
The largest fire in the history of the state of Arizona continues to burn and emergency managers and responders are using satellite data from a variety of instruments to plan their firefighting containment strategies and mitigation efforts once the fires are out.

Scientists learn how horseweed shrugs off herbicide
A team of scientists from Washington University in St. Louis and Monsanto, a St.

New biofuel sustainability assessment tool and GHG calculator released
Various biofuels, first hailed as a way to a sustainable energy supply, have since fallen out of favor because of the overall negative impact they have on the environment.

Why disparities in dental care persist for African-Americans even when they have insurance coverage
African-Americans receive poorer dental care than white Americans, even when they have some dental insurance coverage.

Does driving a Porsche make a man more desirable to women?
New research by faculty at Rice University, the University of Texas-San Antonio and the University of Minnesota finds that men's conspicuous spending is driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings.

The complete map of the Germany E. coli O104 genome released
Building upon previous efforts producing a high-quality de novo genome assemblies of deadly 2011 E.coli O104:H4 outbreak strain, the BGI and their collaborators at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf have now released the first complete map of the genome and plasmids without any assembly gaps.

The possibilities of social networking and health
Three letters in this week's Lancet discuss social networking and health, including on how both doctors and patients are adjusting to this new method of communication.

Depressed, pregnant women receive inconsistent treatment, have longer hospital stays
Pregnant women who screen positive for depression are unlikely to receive consistent treatment, researchers say.

Taking the 3-D measure of macromolecules:
Berkeley Lab and German researchers have developed the world's first three-dimensional plasmon rulers, capable of measuring nanometer-scale spatial changes in macromolecular systems.

Gatekeepers: Penn study discovers how microbes make it past tight spaces between cells
There are ten microbial cells for every one human cell in the body, and microbiology dogma holds that there is a tight barrier protecting the inside of the body from outside invaders, in this case bacteria.

Nanyang Technological University spurs industrial park project in southwestern China
Renhuai City, Guizhou, is set to plug into the global economy with investment and expertise in public administration and modern economics from Singapore.

UMD-led EPOXI science team publishes latest comet findings in Science
Comet Hartley 2 is in a hyperactive class of its own compared to other comets visited by spacecraft, says a new study in the journal Science.

Barrett's esophagus carries lower risk of malignancy than previously reported
Patients with Barrett's esophagus may have a lower risk of esophageal cancer than previously reported, according to a large, long-term study published online June 16 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

NRL scientist receives award for mentoring minority students
Recognized for his efforts to promote science and technology to minority youth, Paul Charles, a research chemist with the Naval Research Laboratory, was honored at the 2011 Naval STEM Forum on June 15 in Alexandria, Va. 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