Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 16, 2011
Nature reaches for the high-hanging fruit
In the first study of its kind, researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals.

Does moderate alcohol consumption increase body weight?
A paper from Spain provides an extensive review of the association between alcohol consumption and body weight.

Zinc lozenges may shorten common cold duration
Depending on the total dosage of zinc and the composition of lozenges, zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40%, according to a recent Finnish study published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal.

Rush researchers discover antibody that may help detect ovarian cancer in earliest stages
Using a new approach to developing biomarkers for the very early detection of ovarian cancer, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified a molecule in the bloodstream of infertile women that could one day be used to screen for those at high risk for the disease -- or even those with early-stage ovarian cancer.

Carbon nanotube structures changed by 'attack' from within, researchers discover
A team of researchers involving scientists from The University of Nottingham has shown for the first time that chemical reactions at the nano-level which change the structure of carbon nanotubes can be sparked by an

Mimicking biological complexity, in a tiny particle
New MIT technology could lead to better drug delivery and artificial tissues that imitate natural tissue.

How soft corals defy their environment
Many marine organisms, including corals, build skeletons from calcium carbonate -- in the form of calcite or aragonite.

AIAA Space 2011 Conference set for Sept. 27-29 in Long Beach
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will hold its SPACE 2011 Conference & Exposition Sept.

Genomewide mapping reveals developmental and environmental impacts
Complex traits that help plants adapt to environmental challenges are likely influenced by variations in thousands of genes that are affected by both the plant's growth and the external environment, reports a team of researchers at UC Davis.

Soft coral builds strong reefs
Prof. Yehuda Benayahu of Tel Aviv University, along with colleagues in Taiwan, has proven that soft corals are one of the central building blocks of reefs.

Stem cells in development and disease
Stem cells, which can be derived from embryonic cells, but also from adult human cells, have the remarkable potential to either perpetuate themselves through self-renewal or differentiate towards specialized cell lineages.

Confirmation that vitamin D acts as a protective agent against the advance of colon cancer
Researchers at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology have confirmed the pivotal role of vitamin D, specifically its receptor, in slowing down the action of a key protein in the carcinogenic transformation process of colon cancer cells.

Earth: 9/11's lingering effects: Tracking the long-term impact of the dust
Five days after the 9/11 attack, two geoscientists were to use remote sensing to categorize the hazards that might affect the rescue workers, civilians and survivors.

Want to keep your exercise resolutions? New research offers pointers
Sticking with an exercise routine means being able to overcome the obstacles that invariably arise.

Nano Gold Rush: Researchers use tiny gold particles to boost organic solar cell efficiency
Reseachers demonstrate how they inserted a gold nanoparticle layer between two subcells to combine the tandem cell strategy with the plasmonic effect -- a process that concentrates light via scattering from nanoparticles.

Ions control shape of nanofibers grown on clear substrate
Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a new way to develop straight carbon nanofibers on a transparent substrate.

State of the art in health policy and systems research
This week PLoS Medicine launches a three part weekly series of articles on the

ASHG awards $10,000 genetics education research grant to Maurice Godfrey of University of Nebraska
Maurice Godfrey, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the American Society of Human Genetics for his proposal titled,

MIT: Oxygen's watery past
Research from MIT suggests O2 may have been made on Earth hundreds of millions of years before its debut in the atmosphere, keeping a low profile in

Reducing drug funding to Medicare patients will lead many to stop taking their medications
The lack of financial assistance to cover the cost of drugs to Medicare beneficiaries (the US government's health insurance program for people aged 65 or over, which currently covers 50 million US citizens) could result in an additional 18,000 patients discontinuing one or more prescriptions for essential drugs a year -- a 100 percent increase -- and others to not take their required medications regularly.

Thyroid cancer treatment varies by hospital, U-M study finds
Where thyroid cancer patients go for care plays a large role in whether they receive radioactive iodine treatment, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds.

NIH awards WSU researcher $1.39M to study chromatin's role in cell division
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health recently awarded Lori A.

Hospitalizations due to skin and soft-tissue infections among children have doubled
The number of children hospitalized for skin and soft-tissue infections, most due to community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, has more than doubled since 2000, a study by researchers at UC Davis and elsewhere has found.

New research reveals brain's protection mechanism during stroke
Neuroscientists have identified a natural protection mechanism in some of the brain's nerve cells during the onset of stroke.

Flower power puts a hurt on caterpillars
US Department of Agriculture scientists in Peoria, Ill., are investigating the pest-fighting potential of anthocyanins, healthful chemical compounds in the form of plant pigments that give blueberries, plums, grapes and flowers such as petunias their blue and purple color.

Sandia Labs' Gemini-Scout robot likely to reach trapped miners ahead of rescuers
Sandia robotics engineers have designed the Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue Robot, which finds dangers and can provide relief to trapped miners.

New risk score spots patients at high risk of serious blood clots
A new risk prediction tool can identify patients at high risk of serious blood clots (known as venous thromboembolism) who might need preventative treatment, says a study published online today.

Scripps Research scientists expand knowledge of cell process involved in many diseases
As part of a joint research effort with the University of Michigan, scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have for the first time defined the structure of one of the cell's most basic engines, which is required for cell growth, as it assembles from its components.

Research identifies benefits of the open source software market
A forthcoming paper in Marketing Science identifies the social-welfare benefits of open source software, despite the existence of free-riding

Fat-stigma study: Mass media messages appear to trump opinions of family, close friends
Women harbor a fat-stigma even though their family and closest friends may not judge them as

Study: New process that can save at-risk cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly
People at risk for a certain form of colon and other types of cancer may soon have a better chance at surviving or even avoiding the diseases, thanks to a new study done by the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

'Methyl magnet' genes can cause family cancer risk
Medical researchers have discovered a new type of mechanism causing cancer susceptibility, showing that tiny changes in some anti-cancer genes can act as magnets to attract modifying

New drug aids gout patients not helped by standard treatments
Pegloticase can produce significant and sustained clinical improvements in many patients with chronic gout that is resistant to conventional therapies.

Largest global childhood pneumonia etiology study launched
This week, a groundbreaking new study called the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study gets off the ground.

BU identifies contributors to high incidence of breast cancer in African-American women
Investigators from the Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have reported findings that may shed light on why African American women have a disproportionately higher risk of developing more aggressive and difficult-to-treat breast cancers, specifically estrogen and progesterone receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancers.

Any prime-boost mix of injected or spray flu vaccine shields toddlers
Children younger than 3 years old receive the same protective antibody response from the recommended two doses of licensed seasonal influenza vaccines regardless of whether the two doses are injected by needle, inhaled through a nasal spray or provided through one dose of each in any order, according to researchers funded by NIH.

Speaking and understanding speech share the same parts of the brain
The brain has two big tasks related to speech: making it and understanding it.

Seattle Children's lands major funding with hopes of saving thousands of infant lives
Seattle Children's receives $2.3 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to complete development of affordable respiratory support device.

Seeing eye to eye is key to copying, say scientists
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but how do our brains decide when and who we should copy?

Reduced recognition of fear and sadness in post-traumatic stress disorder
New research has now revealed evidence that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also characterized by changes in the way the brain processes specific emotions and that certain aspects of this disorder could be understood as a consequence of the altered processing of emotional cues.

Not all antipsychotics are equally effective at treating acute manic episodes
An article published by the Lancet shows that antipsychotic drugs are much more effective than mood stabilizers in tackling acute manic episodes.

Variation in bowel reoperation rates prompts call for better quality measures
There is a large variation in unplanned reoperation rates after colorectal surgery in English NHS hospitals, finds a study published online today.

Improving care of HIV-positive young men of color who have sex with men
To overcome the unique challenges faced by a growing segment of the HIV-positive population -- young men of color who have sex with men (YMSM of Color) -- novel intervention strategies for providing HIV testing, medical care, and prevention services were recently evaluated.

Scientists show how gene variant linked to ADHD could operate
A study using mice provides insight into how a specific receptor subtype in the brain could play a role in increasing a person's risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation funds Howard Hughes Medical Institute Award
The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation launched a major new collaboration created with an eye toward the future of the specialty with its announcement that it will provide funding for one medical student conducting preclinical research in interventional radiology during 2012-13 in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) prestigious Medical Research Fellows Program.

Childbearing may increase risk of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in African-American women
African-American women are at higher risk for hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, one of the most difficult subtypes to treat, but this risk could be ameliorated somewhat by breastfeeding their children.

A tool to measure stress hormone in birds -- feathers
Traditionally, researchers have analyzed blood samples to detect corticosterone levels in wild birds.

Baylor University study finds consequences of co-worker rudeness are far-reaching
A co-worker's rudeness can have a great impact on relationships far beyond the workplace, according to a Baylor University study published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Holograms reveal brain's inner workings
Like far away galaxies, powerful tools are required to bring the minute inner workings of neurons into focus.

Fermilab scientist receives $2.5 million award for innovative accelerator work
Alex Romanenko, a materials scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will receive $2.5 million from the Department of Energy's Office of Science to expand his innovative research to develop superconducting accelerator components.

Scientists find easier, cheaper way to make a sought-after chemical modification to drugs
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have devised a much easier technique for performing a chemical modification used widely in the synthesis of drugs and other products.

Researchers discover 5 inherited genetic variants linked to the most lethal prostate cancers
An international team of researchers led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has identified five inherited genetic variants that are strongly associated with aggressive, lethal prostate cancer.

Switch in cell's 'power plant' declines with age, rejuvenated by drug
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found a protein normally involved in blood pressure regulation in a surprising place: tucked within the little

New process that may save lives of cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly
People who are at risk for a certain form of colon and other types of cancer may soon have a better chance at surviving or even avoiding the diseases, thanks to a new study done by the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Research on famous Siamese twins demonstrates how the paradox of American identity played out in the bodies of Chang and Eng
Cultural scholar Cynthia Wu has spent years studying Chang and Eng Bunker, a pair of Asian-born, co-joined, entrepreneurial, self-promoting

Research opens the possibility of temporarily reversing aging in the immune system
Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have discovered a new mechanism controlling aging in white blood cells.

UBC researchers discover key mechanism that regulates shape and growth of plants
UBC researchers have discovered a key mechanism that -- much like a construction site foreperson -- controls the direction of plant growth as well as the physical properties of the biopolymers that plants produce.

Study finds flexible-fiber CO2 laser safe in endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery
A new study has shown the Flexible-Fiber CO2 laser to safely cut and coagulate during endoscopic assisted transsphenoidal craniotomies without the line of sight problems encountered with conventional CO2 lasers.

Defect in A20 gene expression causes rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers from VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and Ghent University have shown that a defective gene can contribute to the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, an often-crippling inflammation of the joints that afflicts about 1 percent of the world's population.

UConn scientist develops sterile variety of invasive plant
A scientist in the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has developed a seedless variety of the popular ornamental shrub Euonymus alatus, also called 'burning bush,' that retains the plant's brilliant foliage yet eliminates its ability to spread and invade natural habitats.

A faster, cheaper way to diagnose TB
Researchers have discovered a faster, cheaper method for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB).

Fat around heart may be early indicator of coronary disease
Researchers have found more evidence supporting the role of fat around the heart in promoting atherosclerosis, according to a new study.

Cells derived from pluripotent stem cells are developmentally immature
Stem cell researchers at UCLA have discovered that three types of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are similar to each other, but are much more developmentally immature than previously thought when compared to those same cell types taken directly from human tissue.

Tsunami observed by radar
The tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11 was picked up by high-frequency radar in California and Japan as it swept toward their coasts, according to US and Japanese scientists.

Medication for severe, chronic gout associated with improvement in symptoms
As an alternative to a conventional treatment for gout that some patients may not respond to, patients with severe, chronic gout who received the medication pegloticase for six months had greater improvement in measures of uric acid levels as well as physical function and quality of life, according to a study in the Aug.

Realistic simulation of ion flux through membrane sheds light on antibiotic resistance
A new study describes an innovative new computational model that realistically simulates the complex conditions found in biological systems and allows for a more accurate look at ion channel function at the level of individual atoms.

Climate change could drive native fish out of Wisconsin waters
The cisco, a key forage fish found in Wisconsin's deepest and coldest bodies of water, could become a climate change casualty and disappear from most of the Wisconsin lakes it now inhabits by the year 2100, according to a new study.

Malignant stem cells may explain why some breast cancers develop and recur
Mutations that are found in stem cells could be causing some breast cancers to develop and may be the reason the disease recurs.

A new look below the surface of nanomaterials
Scientists can now look deeper into new materials to study their structure and behavior, thanks to work by an international group of researchers led by UC Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and published Aug.

A mold on which to create new parts of the puzzle that is the nervous system
Nervous system diseases are especially difficult to treat, as it is not easy to replace the parts of the neural puzzle which are damaged.

New analysis indicates that risk of bladder cancer from smoking greater than previously reported
An analysis of data that includes nearly 500,000 individuals indicates that the risk of bladder cancer among smokers is higher than reported from previous population data, and that the risk for women smokers is comparable with that of men, according to a study in the August 17 issue of JAMA.

American Society of Human Genetics to host 12th International Congress of Human Genetics
The world's top scientists and clinicians in the human genetics field will gather to present their latest research findings at the 12th International Congress of Human Genetics (ICHG) / 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), on October 11-15, 2011, in Montreal (Quebec), Canada, at the Montreal Convention Center.

Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation welcomes corporate gift from Sirtex Medical
The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation's Discovery Campaign, which seeks to further the growth of minimally invasive medicine into new areas of discovery, announced a major corporate pledge to that initiative.

GSA Bulletin highlights: New research posted Aug. 8, 2011
GSA Bulletin has posted new research online in pre-issue publication.

Poll finds two-thirds of California voters unprepared for costs of growing older
Two-thirds (66 percent) of California voters, regardless of political party or income level, say they are worried about being able to afford long-term care, according to a new poll from The SCAN Foundation and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

UofL's Ruth Carrico selected for National Nurse Fellowship
Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N., F.S.H.E.A., C.I.C., an associate professor at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, has been named one of just 21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows for 2011.

Persistent, microscopic blood in urine associated with increased risk of kidney disease
Adolescents and young adults who had persistent, microscopic blood in their urine (hematuria) were more likely to develop end-stage renal disease over a follow-up period of about 20 years, although the absolute risk was low, according to a study in the Aug.

Use of radioactive iodine for treatment of thyroid cancer on the rise
Despite uncertainty about the appropriate use of radioactive iodine after surgery for different stages of thyroid cancer, between 1990 and 2008 its use has increased among patients with all tumor sizes, and there was wide variation in use of this treatment among hospitals, according to a study in the August 17 issue of JAMA.

Practice makes perfect
Word recognition behavior can be fine-tuned by experience and practice, according to a new study by Ian Hargreaves and colleagues from the University of Calgary in Canada.

Improved method for capturing proteins holds promise for biomedical research
John Chaput and his colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have developed a new way of producing antibody-like binding agents and rapidly optimizing their affinity for their target proteins.

Cigarette smoking implicated in half of bladder cancers in women
Current cigarette smokers have a higher risk of bladder cancer than previously reported, and the risk in women is now comparable to that in men, according to a study by scientists from the National Cancer Institute.

Stress can affect future offspring
Rats exposed to stress during early development inherit the effects of that stress to their offspring, largely expressed in behavior impairments but also characteristics of resilience, shows a new study from the University of Haifa, published in

Making a bee-line for the best rewards
Bumble bees use complex problem-solving skills to minimize the energy they use when flying to collect food, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

DNA construction software saves time, resources and money
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed the first software package for automating DNA construction that not only makes the process faster and more efficient but -- with an eye on the economics of scientific discovery -- also identifies which construction strategy would be the most cost-effective.

The burly bird catches the girl
While the early bird might catch the worm, it's the quick bird that lands the ladies, according to new research into the running performance of an Arctic cousin of the grouse.

Fast asleep to wide awake -- hibernating bears, predation and pregnancy
Black bears hibernate, sleeping their way through winter, and who can blame them?
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