Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 04, 2011
B-cell discovery suggests why women suffer more autoimmune disease
Researchers at National Jewish Health report the discovery of a new type of cell that, makes autoantibodies, which attack the body's own tissues.

University of Virginia researchers uncover new catalysis site
A new collaborative study at the University of Virginia details for the first time a new type of catalytic site where oxidation catalysis occurs, shedding new light on the inner workings of the process.

US physicians spend nearly 4 times more on health insurance costs than Canadian counterparts
US physicians spend nearly $61,000 more than their Canadian counterparts each year on administrative expenses related to health insurance, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto.

Drinking just 1 measure of spirits increases the risk of acute pancreatitis
Drinking just one 4cl measure of spirits can increase the risk of an acute attack of pancreatitis, but wine or beer does not appear to have the same effect.

First scorpion antivenom approved by FDA
The highest concentration of dangerous bark scorpions in the United States is in Arizona, where about 8,000 scorpion stings occur each year.

Compression stockings may reduce OSA in some patients
Wearing compression stockings may be a simple low-tech way to improve obstructive sleep apnea in patients with chronic venous insufficiency, according to French researchers.

Lincoln Park Zoo awarded 2 significant grants for science education
Lincoln Park Zoo was awarded two significant, highly competitive national grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, American Association of Museums and the U.S.

Hastings Center Report expands reach through Wiley-Blackwell partnership
Wiley-Blackwell, the Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc. is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Hastings Center, to publish the Hastings Center Report, one of the leading journals in the field of bioethics.

Spotting weaknesses in solid wood
Is there a hairline crack in the oak table? Was the window frame glued badly?

Briny water may be at work in seasonal flows on Mars
Summary: Dark, narrow features running down slopes in the warmer regions of Mars point to the possibility of salty water as the causing agent.

Elusive gene mutations found for malignant brain tumor
A discovery by scientists at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University could increase the chances for an effective combination of drug therapy to treat the second most common type of brain tumor.

Caltech-led engineers solve longstanding problem in photonic chip technology
Stretching for thousands of miles beneath oceans, optical fibers now connect every continent except for Antarctica.

Researchers shed new light on predicting spinal disc degeneration
About 80 percent of the active population suffers from low back pain at some point in their lives.

Large variations in Arctic sea ice
For the last 10,000 years, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been far from constant.

Poorly controlled asthma costly
Poorly controlled asthma more than doubles health-care costs associated with the disease and threatens educational achievement through a dramatic increase in school absence, according to researchers at National Jewish Health.

Bypassing stem cells, scientists make neurons directly from human skin
Researchers have come up with a recipe for making functional neurons directly from human skin cells, including those taken from patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Sexually extravagant male birds age more rapidly, but try to hide it
For male houbara bustards sexual extravagance is the key to attracting mates in some of the world's harshest desert environments.

A patient's own skin cells may one day treat multiple diseases
The possibility of developing stem cells from a patient's own skin and using them to treat conditions as diverse as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer has generated tremendous excitement in the stem cell research community in recent years.

Assumptions, not data, dictate opinions about predictive genetic testing in youth
Predictive genetic testing may be able to identify children's risk for developing common, treatable, and possibly preventable disorders.

New study shows how to eliminate motion sickness on tilting trains
An international team of researchers led by scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that motion sickness on tilting trains can be essentially eliminated by adjusting the timing of when the cars tilt as they enter and leave the curves.

Rice discovery points way to graphene circuits
Rice University materials scientists have made a fundamental discovery that could make it easier for engineers to build electronic circuits out of the much-touted nanomaterial graphene.

Wireless network in hospital monitors vital signs
A clinical warning system undergoing a feasibility study at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St.

Disappearance of genetic material allows tumor cells to grow
Scientists in Germany have succeeded in proving a specific gene loss in a certain human lymphoma, the genesis of which is largely unexplained to date.

Mold exposure during infancy increases asthma risk
Infants who live in

Human skin cells converted directly into functional neurons
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have for the first time directly converted human skin cells into functional forebrain neurons, without the need for stem cells of any kind.

Suicide risk high for war veterans in college, study finds
Nearly half of college students who are U.S. military veterans reported thinking of suicide and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves, rates significantly higher than among college students in general, according to a study presented at the American Psychological Association's 119th Annual Convention.

Johns Hopkins scientists map genes for common form of brain cancer
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have completed a comprehensive map of genetic mutations occurring in the second-most common form of brain cancer, oligodendroglioma.

Innate cells shown to form immunological 'memory' and protect against viral infection
Researchers have demonstrated that cells of the innate immune system are capable of

Out of body experience for stem cells may lead to more successful transplants
New research finds that growing blood stem cells in the laboratory for about a week may help to overcome one of the most difficult roadblocks to successful transplantation, immune rejection.

Molecular mechanisms offer hope for new pain treatments
By working with individuals suffering from a severe disorder that causes sensory neurons to degenerate, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital and CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital have discovered how a specific genetic mutation causes their patients' condition, which in turn has revealed more information about the mechanisms in our bodies which enable us to sense pain.

LSUHSC research finds species share perceptual capabilities that affect how communication evolves
A research team that included Hamilton E. Farris, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Otorhinolaryngology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, reveals that two entirely different species show similar perception of auditory cues that drive basic biological functions; that these perceptions may be universally shared among animals; and that such perception may also limit the evolution of communication signals.

Minimal scar techniques in living donors for kidney transplant
The proceeding was entirely developed in Spain, with a significant practice, and it is being adopted by surgical teams in the US, Argentina and Italy.

Screening effort turns up multiple potential anti-malaria compounds
Numerous potential anti-malarial candidate drugs have been uncovered by investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Researchers find way to help donor adult blood stem cells overcome transplant rejection
Findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers may suggest new strategies for successful donor adult stem cell transplants in patients with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

More neurology residents comfortable using stroke clot-busting drug
The percentage of graduating neurology residents comfortable treating stroke with a clot-busting drug has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

New use of artificial lung device pioneered at University of Kentucky
Surgeons at the University of Kentucky on Aug. 3 announced that they were among the first to use artificial‑lung technology to demonstrate the feasibility of a lung transplant, using a device invented by two university faculty members, Dr.

Breakthrough in photonic chip research paves way for ultrafast information sharing
California researchers have discovered a way to prevent light signals on a silicon chip from reflecting backwards and interfering with its operation.

Targeting innate immunity in malaria
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have uncovered a novel DNA-sensing pathway important to the triggering of an innate immune response for malaria.

Wayne State University awarded $3 million from NIH to foster science and research careers
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health has announced a five-year grant of more than $3 million to support the Wayne State University Initiative for Maximizing Student Development program.

NTU hosts top economic minds to contribute ideas for global growth
The world's top economic minds are gathering in Singapore over these three days at the Singapore Economic Review Conference to exchange fresh ideas on how to accelerate the global economy.

One box of Girl Scout Cookies worth $15 billion
Scientists can make graphene out of just about anything with carbon -- even Girl Scout Cookies.

The brain grows while the body starves
When developing babies are growth restricted in the womb, they are typically born with heads that are large relative to their bodies.

East Africa's climate under the spell of El Niño since the last Ice Age
The current severe drought in East Africa is being attributed to La Niña conditions that prevailed in the Pacific until May 2011.

Hormone reduces risk of heart failure from chemotherapy
Now, a new study utilizing a heart failure model is providing insight into one way to coax the cardiac stem cells into repairing the damaged heart.

The old one with the dice: Metaphysics and quantum mechanics
Can quantum theory provide a basis for generating metaphysical hypotheses?

Genetic 'signature' discovered in plaque, possible key to future treatment
Researchers found differences in artery plaque in people who had stroke and people who didn't.

Group Health establishes major initiative to prevent opioid abuse and overdose
Fatal overdoses involving prescribed opioids tripled in the United States between 1999 and 2006, climbing to almost 14,000 deaths annually -- more than cocaine and heroin overdoses combined.

Polymer's hunt for nicotine
Newly synthesized polymer, fitted with molecular pincers of carefully tailored structure, effectively captures nicotine molecules and its analogues.

La Ninas distant effects in East Africa
For 20,000 years, climate variability in East Africa has been following a pattern that is evidently a remote effect of the ENSO phenomenon (El Nino Southern Oscillation) known as El Nino/La Nina.

AviCoS replaces vehicle owner's manuals
Flashing signal lamps and unfamiliar control elements tend to worry car drivers.

US physician practices spend 4 times Canadian practices
Physicians in the United States spend nearly four times as much dealing with health insurers and payers compared with doctors in Canada.

U of Minnesota researchers discover a natural food preservative that kills food-borne bacteria
University of Minnesota researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic -- a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria -- that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

Wearable device that vibrates fingertip could improve one's sense of touch
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a glove with a special fingertip designed to improve the wearer's sense of touch.

Locally owned small businesses pack powerful economic punch
Thinking small and local, not big and global, may help communities ignite long-term economic growth, according to Penn State economists.

Springer launches new open access journal with Beijing Normal University
Beijing Normal University and Springer are launching the International Journal of Disaster Risk Science.

Cells die so defensive organs can live
Researchers demonstrate for the first time that programmed cell death -- a process by which cells deliberately destroy themselves - is involved in mandibular regression in termites.

High-risk stroke patients more likely to get follow-up care after motivational talk
Even though many Americans learn through community health screenings that they are at high risk for having a stroke, they rarely follow-up with their doctor for care.

Females can place limits on evolution of attractive features in males, research shows
Female cognitive ability can limit how melodious or handsome males become over evolutionary time, biologists from the University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have observed.

Fossils of forest rodents found in highland desert
Two new rodent fossils were discovered in the arid highlands of southern Bolivia by researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Universidad Autonoma Tomas Frias.

2011 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition
Scientists from around the world will gather to share their insights and latest scientific discoveries in order to improve health through advances in pharmaceutical sciences at the 2011 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Potato trials and research provide grower information
Whether it is a purple potato to fit a niche market or finding varieties resistant or at least tolerant to psyllid infestations, Dr.

Have we met before? Scientists show why the brain has the answer
Have you ever been approached by someone whose face you recognise but whose name you can't remember?

New paper examines future of seawater desalinization
A paper co-authored by William Phillip of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Menachem Elimelech, Robert Goizueta Professor of Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Yale University, appearing in this week's edition of the journal Science offers a critical review of the state of seawater desalination technology.

Hang out at the water cooler, live longer
Dr. Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University has completed a study that statistically proves the positive health consequences of an emotionally supportive workplace.

Potential new eye tumor treatment discovered
New research from a team including several Carnegie scientists demonstrates that a specific small segment of RNA could play a key role in the growth of a type of malignant childhood eye tumor called retinoblastoma.

Small interventions can alleviate underperformance caused by stereotype threat
Picture black and white students at an Ivy League college learning about black students who are a year or so ahead of them in that school.

NYU neuroscientists identify how the brain remembers what happens and when
New York University neuroscientists have identified the parts of the brain we use to remember the timing of events within an episode.

UK study shows newborn oxygen screening test improves detection of congenital heart disease and should be part of routine care (PulseOx trial)
A quick, non-invasive test that measures blood oxygen levels in newborns detects more cases of life-threatening congenital heart defects than current standard approaches and should be adopted into the routine assessment of all newborns before discharge from hospital, according to an article published online first in the Lancet.

Novel DNA-sensing pathway in immune response to malaria
Now, a new study identifies a novel DNA-sensing mechanism that plays a role in the innate immune response to the parasite that causes malaria.

New Montana State research sheds light on South Pole dinosaurs
A Montana State University study finds that the bones of South Pole dinosaurs grew like the bones of other dinosaurs, helping explain why dinosaurs were able to dominate the planet for 160 million years.

UC Riverside entomologist to study diseases transmitted by ticks
Summer for most people means time spent outdoors, which could also mean increased exposure to bugs and, possibly, arthropod-borne diseases, such as

AAA journal rockets to top of science education category
As AAA publisher Wiley-Blackwell put it in a recent press release,

ESC announces review of Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines
The ESC will produce a focused update of the AF Guidelines when the full results of PALLAS have been published and regulatory authorities have revised the labeling for dronedarone.

What parasites eat is the key to better drug design
A new study has revealed in unprecedented detail how parasites use different nutrients needed for growth, providing University of Melbourne researchers with unique drug targets against Leishmania, a tropical parasite that infects 12 million people worldwide and causes 500,000 deaths annually.

Montana State University team surprised by results of lung, mold study
Researchers led by Montana State University have found a surprising condition that occurs in the lungs after an invasion of a common, but potentially dangerous, mold.

Better desalination technology key to solving world's water shortage
Over one-third of the world's population already lives in areas struggling to keep up with the demand for fresh water.

Making sperm from stem cells in a dish
Researchers have found a way to turn mouse embryonic stem cells into sperm.

Mutation linked with the absence of fingerprints
Scientists have identified a mutation that might underlie an extremely rare condition, called

Making runways safer
Airplanes undergo significant stresses during take-off and landing, and parts often become detached, putting subsequent runway users at risk.

Researchers develop fully cooked food-aid product
US Department of Agriculture scientists have developed a fully cooked food-aid product called Instant Corn Soy Blend that supplements meals, particularly for young children.

Designing diamond circuits for extreme environments
There is a new way to design computer chips and electronic circuitry for extreme environments: make them out of diamond.

Studies shed light on hand hygiene knowledge and infection risk in hospitals and elementary schools
Increased hand hygiene knowledge positively correlates with a decreased risk of transmitting infection among both health care workers and elementary school children, according to two studies published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC -- the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Fusion diagnostic developed at PPPL sheds light on plasma behavior at EAST
An instrument developed by researchers at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has enabled a team at the EAST fusion experiment in China to observe -- in startling detail -- how a particular type of electromagnetic wave known as a radiofrequency wave affects the behavior of hot ionized gas.

The last 3 million years at a snail's pace
Scientists at the University of York, using an 'amino acid time capsule', have led the largest ever programme to date the British Quaternary period, stretching back nearly three million years.

Prescriptions for antidepressants increasing among individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis
A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines national trends in antidepressant prescribing and finds much of this growth was driven by a substantial increase in antidepressant prescriptions by non-psychiatrist providers without any accompanying psychiatric diagnosis.

6 million years of African savanna
Scientists using chemical isotopes in ancient soil to measure prehistoric tree cover -- in effect, shade -- have found that grassy, tree-dotted savannas prevailed at most East African sites where human ancestors and their ape relatives evolved during the past six million years.

Use of a retroflexion technique during colonoscopy in the right side of the colon improves polyp detection
A new study from researchers in Indiana reports that use of a retroflexion technique in the right side of the colon during colonoscopy is safe and results in the detection of additional adenomatous (precancerous) polyps in approximately four percent of patients. 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