Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 11, 2011
July/August 2011 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet features synopses of original research and commentary from the July/August 2011 issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Gladstone to receive $5.6 million in federal funds to seek a cure for AIDS
The Gladstone Institutes will receive grants totaling $5.6 million over five years as part of the first-ever major funding initiative focusing on HIV eradication.

Nearly all patients with high-grade bladder cancer do not receive guideline-recommended care
A study at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that nearly all patients with high-grade, non-invasive bladder cancer are not receiving the guideline-recommended care that would best protect them from recurrence, a finding that researchers characterized as alarming.

Climbing the social ladder seems to lessen high blood pressure risk
Social mobility -- upwards -- seems to curb the risk of developing high blood pressure among those born on the lower rungs of the ladder, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Researchers identify key role of microRNAs in melanoma metastasis
Researchers at the NYU Cancer Institute, an NCI-designated cancer center at NYU Langone Medical Center, identified for the first time the key role specific microRNAs (miRNAs) play in melanoma metastasis to simultaneously cause cancer cells to invade and immunosuppress the human body's ability to fight abnormal cells.

The Atlas of Coasts and Oceans
Published this month by the University of Chicago Press,

Virginia Tech Coal and Energy Center selected for study of CO2 injection into storage reservoirs
In a test project, researchers plan to inject some 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into a coalbed methane field in southwest Virginia, at a site that is not suitable for underground mining purposes.

Simple little spud helps scientists crack potato's mighty genome
A rare inbred potato created at Virginia Tech was the first to have its genome sequenced.

Owl study expands understanding of human stereovision
Using owls as a model, a new research study reveals the advantage of stereopsis, commonly referred to as stereovision, is its ability to discriminate between objects and background; not in perceiving absolute depth.

iMobot modular robot technology licensed
UC Davis has signed an exclusive license agreement with Barobo Inc. of West Sacramento, Calif., to commercialize the modular robot technology called

New research shows forest trees remember their roots
When it comes to how they respond to the environment, trees may not be that different from humans.

Sertoli cells show promise for therapeutics
Two studies describe a set of conditions for expanding Sertoli cells in vitro from deceased organ/tissue donors and potential therapeutic uses respectively.

ONR schools the educators at STEM summer camps
Gulf Coast-area science and math teachers are learning new lessons and recharging their professional enthusiasm at Office of Naval Research-funded five-day summer camps that wrap up July 15.

Obese patients less likely to develop and die from respiratory distress syndromes after surgery
Researchers have discovered that obese adults undergoing surgery are less frequently developing respiratory insufficiency (RI) and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and that when they do, they are less likely to have fatal outcomes.

University of Kentucky-led research could be path to new energy sources
A team of researchers led by University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Professor Joe Chappell is making a connection from prehistoric times to the present that could result in being able to genetically create a replacement for oil and coal shale deposits.

Risk factors predictive of psychiatric symptoms after traumatic brain injury
A history of psychiatric illness such as depression or anxiety before a traumatic brain injury (TBI), together with other risk factors, are strongly predictive of post-TBI psychiatric disorders, according to an article published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Genetic switch for limbs and digits found in ancient fish
Genetic instructions for developing limbs and digits were present in primitive fish millions of years before their descendants first crawled on to land, University of Chicago researchers report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store
Vegetation in towns and cities can make a significant contribution to carbon storage and, ecologists say, could lock away even more carbon if local authorities and gardeners planted and maintained more trees.

Health-care practitioners' stories can aid medical device designers
Health-care laws to protect patients' privacy make it nearly impossible for medical device designers to develop and test the safety and usability of medical products by observing use in an actual practitioner-patient setting.

Trudeau Institute announces a discovery in the fight against sepsis
New research from the Trudeau Institute may help to explain why anticoagulant therapies have largely failed to extend the lives of patients with sepsis.

The truth about cats and dogs: Pets are good for mental health of 'everyday people'
Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support for

Parkinson's disease patients may benefit from virtual-reality-based therapies
In people with Parkinson's disease (PD), the inability to make quick movements limits basic functioning in daily life.

BGI contributes whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics expertise to potato genome research
BGI (previously known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomic organization in the world, announced today that it was among the research organizations comprising the Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium that completed the genome sequence and analysis of the tuber crop potato, published as an advance online publication in Nature.

Large human study links phthalates, BPA and thyroid hormone levels
A link between chemicals called phthalates and thyroid hormone levels was confirmed by the University of Michigan in the first large-scale and nationally representative study of phthalates and BPA in relation to thyroid function in humans.

Natural pain relief from poisonous shrub
An extract of the poisonous shrub Jatropha curcas acts as a strong painkiller and may have a mode of action different from conventional analgesics, such as morphine and other pharmaceuticals.

New studies suggest lack of meaningful land rights threaten Indonesian forests
New research released today at a high-level forestry conference in Indonesia -- opened today by Vice President Boediono -- suggests that Asia's largest forest nation is paying a high price for failing to give local communities enforceable rights to contested forests, causing significant economic losses owing to its highly undervalued forestland, and leading it to lose out to regional competitors.

Multiple 'siblings' from every gene: Alternate gene reading leads to alternate gene products
A genome-wide survey by researchers at The Wistar Institute shows how our cells create alternate versions of mRNA transcripts -- and therefore alternate proteins -- by slightly altering how they

Georgia hospitals lag in palliative care for the seriously ill, UGA study finds
Hospitals across the nation are increasingly implementing palliative care programs to help patients manage the physical and emotional burdens of serious illnesses, but a new University of Georgia study finds that 82 percent of the state's hospitals do not offer palliative care services.

Athletes may have different reasons for marijuana use
College athletes tend to be less likely than their non-athlete peers to smoke marijuana.

Do-it-yourself brain repair following stroke
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and death in the United States.

Sandia's 'cooler' technology offers fundamental breakthrough in heat transfer
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new technology with the potential to dramatically alter the air-cooling landscape in computing and microelectronics and lab officials are now seeking licensees in the electronics chip cooling field to license and commercialize the device.

Obstructive sleep apnea linked to blood vessel abnormalities
Sleep apnea can cause changes in blood vessel function that reduces blood supply to the heart in people who are otherwise healthy.

EARTH: Is there really a minerals crisis?
China sent the high-tech industry and markets reeling when it blocked exports of raw rare earth minerals.

Vitamin D insufficiency prevalent among psoriatic arthritis suffers
New research reports a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency among patients with psoriatic arthritis.

African-American women stress compounded
Using incense or lighting a candle may seem like good ways to let go of racial stress, but a recent study found that might not be the case in terms of racial tension among women.

Carsey Institute: Lack of sick leave creates tough choices for rural workers
Rural workers have less access to sick leave, forcing them to choose between caring for themselves or family members, and losing pay or perhaps even their jobs when faced with an illness, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Poor bone health may start early in people with multiple sclerosis
Osteoporosis and low bone density are common in people in the early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study published in the July 12, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

SUMO defeats protein aggregates that typify Parkinson's disease
A small protein called SUMO might prevent the protein aggregations that typify Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a new study in the July 11, 2011, issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

Expert help from a distance
When electronic devices refuse to work, you rarely find the solution in the manual.

Writing DNR orders takes longer, death more likely when surrogate decision-maker involved
Indiana University and Regenstrief Institute researchers report that it takes significantly longer for orders to forgo resuscitation in the event of cardiac arrest to be written for patients who had that decision made for them by a surrogate decision-maker compared to patients who made their own decisions, even though patients with a surrogate were sicker and the resuscitation issue might arise sooner.

Out-of-body experiences linked to neural instability and biases in body representation
Although out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are typically associated with migraine, epilepsy and psychopathology, they are quite common in healthy and psychologically normal individuals as well.

The perfect connection between guitar and computer
Guitar virtuosos have to master all kinds of playing techniques.

NIH funds new research toward an HIV cure
Three research teams focused on developing strategies that could help to rid the body of HIV are receiving grants totaling more than $14 million a year, for up to five years, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health announced today.

IAS and partners recognize outstanding researchers from around the world at IAS 2011
The International AIDS Society announced today the six winners of three prestigious scientific awards, to be presented at plenary sessions during the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention to be held in Rome July 17-20, 2011.

PXR: A stepping stone from environmental chemical to cancer?
Several chemicals that can accumulate to high levels in our body (for example BPA and some pesticides) have been recently linked to an increased risk of cancer and/or impaired responsiveness to anticancer drugs.

New study highlights what works in osteoporosis treatment
More patients are tested and treated for osteoporosis when fracture clinics have someone dedicated to screening for the bone disease, a new study has found.

Drinking until you forget leads to injuries for college kids
New research from Northwestern Medicine shows that 50 percent of college drinkers report at least one alcohol-induced memory blackout -- a period of amnesia -- in the past year during a drinking binge.

Epigenetic pathway and new drug show promise in reversing a hard-to-treat childhood cancer
A difficult-to-treat form of childhood leukemia relies on changes in the structure of DNA -- so-called epigenetic changes -- to wreak genomic havoc within white blood cells, according to one of two studies conducted by a research team at Children's Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Wayne State University engineering student receives American Tinnitus Association award
Na Zhu, a Wayne State University College of Engineering student, has received the 2011 American Tinnitus Association Student Research Grant Program award.

No difference in brand name and generic drugs regarding thyroid dysfunction
There is no difference between brand-name and generic drug formulations of amiodarone -- taken to control arrhythmia -- in the incidence of thyroid dysfunction, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Employers with tipped employees
Employers increasingly face wage and hour enforcement actions and costly class action lawsuits under the federal and state laws that regulate minimum wages and tipping.

Dana-Farber study finds new points of attack on breast cancers not fueled by estrogen
Although it sounds like a case of gender confusion on a molecular scale, the male hormone androgen spurs the growth of some breast tumors in women.

Neural stem progenitor cell transplantation's potential to aid spinal cord injury tested
A study investigating optimal routes for transplanting neural stem/progenitor cells in animal models of spinal cord injury compared safety and efficacy results of IL, IT and IV injection.

All-cause mortality rates are lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers
The author of this paper set out to determine the extent to which potential

'Resilience' of US metros measured by online index developed by UB researchers
Which US metro region is most likely to come out of the next recession, natural disaster or other regional

If you get lost, my mobile will guide you
TECNALIA Research & Innovation and Telefonica R+D have succeeded in taking one more step with social networks; with MUGGES, they have managed that any person with a mobile telephone in his or her hand is able to become a

AACR hosts Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research Conference in San Francisco
This year, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., the immediate past president of the AACR and a recent Nobel laureate, will chair the Second AACR Conference on Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research.

Malaria parasites use camouflage to trick immune defences of pregnant women
Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of Copenhagen have discovered why malaria parasites are able to hide from the immune defenses of expectant mothers.

Biofilters reduce carbon footprint of old landfill sites
Researchers in the US are testing biofilter systems as a viable alternative to releasing methane from passive landfill vents into the atmosphere.

Perfecting the meat of the potato
By honing in on the mysterious potato genome and its tuber -- its edible portion -- researchers are unveiling the secrets of the world's most-important nongrain food crop.

Pitt team finds way to classify post-cardiac arrest patients to better predict outcomes
A new method for scoring the severity of illness for patients after cardiac arrest may help to predict their outcomes, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Regional system to cool cardiac arrest patients improves outcomes
A regional network of EMS departments and hospitals used a coordinated plan to cool, then gradually re-warm people who had been resuscitated after a cardiac arrest.

Bladder cancer patients rarely receive recommended care
A new study has found that almost all patients with high-grade noninvasive bladder cancer do not receive complete care as recommended by current guidelines.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
According to an article published early online in Annals of Internal Medicine, the flagship journal of the American College of Physicians, year-end changeovers in medical trainees are associated with increased mortality and decreased efficiency at teaching hospitals during the month of July.

Alcohol consumption guidelines inadequate for cancer prevention
Current alcohol consumption guidelines are inadequate for the prevention of cancer and new international guidelines are needed, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Just like teens, parents get personal on Facebook
They may not dress like Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez, but parents are a whole lot like their teenagers when it comes to their behavior on Facebook.

Mainz University Medical Center deploys new system for therapy of metastatic spinal tumors
The Orthopedic Clinic and Policlinic at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has recently deployed a new system for the treatment of spinal tumors for the first time.

UNC tapped to lead national effort to find a cure for AIDS
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been awarded a $32 million, five-year federal grant to develop ways to cure people with HIV by purging the virus hiding in the immune systems of patients taking antiretroviral therapy.

Landscape change leads to increased insecticide use in the Midwest
The continued growth of cropland and loss of natural habitat have increasingly simplified agricultural landscapes in the Midwest.

NSF awards grants to advance digitization of biological collections
Centuries of discovery document the diversity of life on Earth.

Chicks dig certain types of music
What accounts for the sounds we like to hear? Is it something about the properties of our auditory systems or brains?

Orchids and fungi: An unexpected case of symbiosis
The majority of orchids are found in habitats where light may be a limiting factor.

Contact allergies may trigger immune system defences to ward off cancer
Contact allergies (reactions caused by direct contact with substances like common metals and chemicals) may help prime the immune system to ward off certain types of cancer, suggests research published today in the online only title BMJ Open.

Higher-protein diets can improve appetite control and satiety
A new study demonstrates that higher-protein meals improve perceived appetite and satiety in overweight and obese men during weight loss .

More oxygen in eyes of African-Americans may help explain glaucoma risk
Measuring oxygen during eye surgery, investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

U of T research suggests female minorities are more affected by racism than sexism
Studies by the University of Toronto's psychology department suggest that racism may impact some female minority groups more deeply than sexism.

Online consumers willing to pay premium for Net privacy, says study in INFORMS Journal
Online consumers thought to be motivated primarily by savings are, in fact, often willing to pay a premium for purchases from online vendors with clear, protective privacy policies, according to a new study in the current issue of a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Underwater Antarctic volcanoes discovered in the Southern Ocean
Scientists from British Antarctic Survey have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands.

Project Achilles pinpoints vulnerabilities in ovarian cancer
Cancer is not invincible but its weaknesses can be difficult to detect.

Johns Hopkins researchers awarded $32 million
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded two groups at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine each approximately $2.3 million a year for seven years to establish two Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences.

Even before language, babies learn the world through sounds
It's not just the words, but the sounds of words that have meaning for us.

The threat of gossip can rein in selfishness
Gossip can be hurtful, unproductive, and mean. It can also be an important part of making sure that people will share and cooperate, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

A classic instinct -- salt appetite -- is linked to drug addiction
A team of Duke University Medical Center and Australian scientists has found that addictive drugs may have hijacked the same nerve cells and connections in the brain that serve a powerful, ancient instinct: the appetite for salt.

New discovery throws light on blood pressure regulation
Researchers have discovered that a protein found in the walls of blood vessels plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure; a discovery that could one day lead to new treatments for people with high blood pressure.

Hutchinson Center to lead research project to explore a potential cure for HIV infection
Whether a stem cell transplant using an HIV-infected person's own genetically modified immune cells can become a cure for the disease is the focus of a new $20 million, five-year research grant award announced today by the National Institutes of Health to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Organ transplantations: How big are the waiting lists really?
In a viewpoint published online first by the Lancet, organ transplantation experts discuss how waiting lists can be artificially inflated, since only a proportion of those listed as needing a transplant are actually ready to receive one (and it varies depending on the organ).

New model for studying germ cell tumors in testes enlists embryonic stem cells
Researchers offer a new model for studying the development of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) based on transplanting embryonic stem cells into mouse seminiferous tubules, resulting in tumors with gene expressions and differentiation patterns similar to those found in TGCTs.

UC Riverside physicists discover new way to produce antimatter-containing atom
Physicists at the University of California, Riverside report that they have discovered a new way to create positronium, an exotic and short-lived atom that could help answer what happened to antimatter in the universe, why nature favored matter over antimatter at the universe's creation.

Popular TV shows teach children fame is most important value, UCLA psychologists report
Fame is the #1 value emphasized by television shows popular with 9-11 year-olds -- a dramatic change in 10 years, UCLA psychologists report in a new study.

Research shows 'BPA-free' bottles live up to manufacturers' claims
In a study reported in the July 8, 2011 advance online edition of the journal Chemosphere, Scott Belcher, Ph.D., associate professor in the pharmacology and cell biophysics department at the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues found that stainless steel- and/or co-polyester lined-aluminum bottles did not release BPA; however, aluminum bottles lined with epoxy-based resins still resulted in BPA contamination of liquids.

New brain research suggests eating disorders impact brain function
Bulimia nervosa is a severe eating disorder associated with episodic binge eating followed by extreme behaviors to avoid weight gain such as self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or excessive exercise.

Resilience amongst the long-term ill
People who have a long-term debilitating physical illness demonstrate mental resilience according to Understanding Society, the world's largest longitudinal household study.

Could targeting the skin help prevent the spread of HIV?
Applying a vaccine patch to the skin with thousands of tiny micro-needles could help boost the body's immune response and prevent the spread of life-threatening infections like HIV and TB, a major Cardiff University study aims to uncover.

Decline in species shows climate change warnings not exaggerated
One in 10 species could face extinction by the year 2100 if current climate change impacts continue.

Is a little negativity the best marketing policy?
Dr. Danit Ein-Gar of Tel Aviv University says that a

New study may lead to quicker diagnosis, improved treatment for fatal lung disease
Twenty percent of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension suffer with the fatal disease for more than two years before being correctly diagnosed and properly treated, according to a new national study led by researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Deformed limbs one of several birth defects linked to smoking in pregnancy
Missing or deformed limbs, clubfoot, facial disorders and gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common birth defects found to be associated with smoking during pregnancy, according to a major new report led by scientists at UCL.

JCI online early table of contents: July 11, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, July 11, 2011, in the JCI: Do-it-yourself brain repair following stroke; PXR: a stepping stone from environmental chemical to cancer?; Sex hormone protection from type 2 diabetes; A Rock(in') target for treating breast cancer; Opposing forces at work in lung cancer; The liver is scarred for life by the protein p53; and others.

UC research points to best practices to reduce recidivism
Most recidivism research focuses on characteristics of the offender to determine the likelihood of repeat criminal activity.

'Healthy' habits linked to childhood obesity in China
Teenage boys from well-off Chinese families who say they are physically active and eat plenty of vegetables but few sweets are more likely to be overweight, according to a study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Mantle drilling initial feasibility study completed
The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program has announced completion of a feasibility study of drilling and coring activities that would be conducted in an ultra-deepwater environment into very high temperature igneous rocks to reach the upper oceanic mantle.

Wiley-Blackwell announces continued growth in impact factor journals
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly business of global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. today announced a continued increase in the number and proportion of its journal titles with an impact factor, with 1,087 titles included in the Thomson ISI 2010 Journal Citation Reports.

New study shows artery-opening procedure still widely used in spite of changed guidelines
Despite changes in standard treatment practice guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology several years ago, there has been no meaningful change in the nation's practice of opening completely blocked coronary arteries with balloons and stents in the days after a heart attack, according to a new study published in the July 11, 2011, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

ESF releases the 2011 revised lists of European Research Index for Humanities
The European Science Foundation has released nine of 15 the European Research Index for Humanities (ERIH) Revised Lists 2011.

ICT and automotive: New app reduces motorway pile-ups by 40 percent
What do you do if you're driving down the motorway and 500 meters ahead of you there is an accident?

Data revealing migrations of larval reef fish vital for designing networks of marine protected areas
Networks of biologically-connected marine protected areas need to be carefully planned, taking into account the open ocean migrations of marine fish larvae that take them from one home to another sometimes hundreds of kilometers away.

MU psychology study finds key early skills for later math learning
Psychologists at the University of Missouri have identified the beginning of first grade math skills that teachers and parents should target to effectively improve children's later math learning. 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