Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 18, 2011
Fishing games gone wrong
When an egg cell is being formed, the cellular machinery which separates chromosomes is extremely imprecise at fishing them out of the cell's interior, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered.

Cholesterial drugs can reduce the risk of stroke, but aren't for everyone
For many patients, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can reduce the risk of strokes as well as heart attacks.

NIH-commissioned study identifies gaps in NIH funding success rates for black researchers
Black scientists were significantly less likely than their white counterparts to receive research funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to an analysis of data from 2000 to 2006.

National Center for Regenerative Medicine at CWRU to host Cleveland Stem Cell Conference, Aug. 22-24
The National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University presents

CSHL neuroscientists show activity patterns in fly brain are optimized for memory storage
A research team at CSHL shows large populations of neurons in the brains of living fruit flies responding simultaneously to a variety of odors.

Microbial life on Mars: Could saltwater make it possible?
How common are droplets of saltwater on Mars? Could microbial life survive and reproduce in them?

AMRI receives NIH contract award for development of pre-clinical drug candidates
AMRI today announced it received a federal contract award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to provide chemistry and other drug discovery technologies in support of NINDS' Medicinal Chemistry for Neurotherapeutics Program (MCNP), part of the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network.

UM researcher develops successful prevention program for postpartum OCD
The birth of a baby can elicit many emotions, from joy and excitement to fear and uncertainty.

Researchers investigate muscle-building effect of protein beverages for athletes
The researchers concluded that muscle metabolism after exercise can be manipulated via dietary means.

NYU Langone researchers reveal a new mechanism of genomic instability
Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have discovered the cellular mechanisms that normally generate chromosomal breaks in bacteria such as E. coli.

Harnessing the power of plants
A new USDA and Department of Energy-backed study has a research team looking at how to genetically modify sorghum to produce more biomass, which could be turned into biofuel.

New component of a plant steroid-activated pathway discovered
Plant biologists have been working for years to nail down the series of chemical signals that one class of plant hormones, brassinosteroids, send from a protein on the surface of a cell to the nucleus.

URMC and Temple announce drug discovery partnership
The University of Rochester Medical Center and Temple University School of Pharmacy have announced a partnership that will help translate novel medical research into new drugs for treating diseases.

3 waves of evolutionary innovation shaped diversity of vertebrates
Over the past 530 million years, the vertebrate lineage branched out from a primitive jawless fish wriggling through Cambrian seas to encompass all the diverse forms of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

Embryo development obeys the laws of hydrodynamics
The law of hydrodynamics can contribute to our understanding of how a cluster of embryonic cells can transform into an animal within the first 36 hours of development, according to research recently published in European Physical Journal E.

B chromosomes affect sex determination in cichlid fishes
B chromosomes have a functional effect on sex determination in a species of cichlid fishes from Lake Victoria, according to a study by Japanese researchers to be published in open-access journal PLoS Genetics on Aug.

Football analysis leads to advance in artificial intelligence
Computer scientists in the field of artificial intelligence have made an important advance that blends computer vision, machine learning and automated planning, and created a new system that may improve everything from factory efficiency to airport operation or nursing care.

Biomedical research gets its head into cloud computing
Cloud computing is a term used to describe a system that allows easy access to a shared pool of resources.

DOE laboratories help develop promising new cancer fighting drug, vemurafenib
Powerful X-ray technology developed at the Department of Energy's national laboratories is revealing new insights into diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to the swine flu, and, most recently, enabled the discovery of a groundbreaking new drug treatment for malignant melanoma.

New CU-Boulder study reveals bacteria from dog feces in outdoor air of urbanized air
Bacteria from fecal material -- in particular, dog fecal material -- may constitute the dominant source of airborne bacteria in Cleveland's and Detroit's wintertime air, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

IRSF awards over $650,000 for Translational Rett Syndrome research
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF) announced today that it is awarding over $650,000 to support eight cutting-edge projects that aim to accelerate translational research to develop treatments for Rett syndrome.

NIH Blueprint empowers drug development for nervous system disorders
The National Institutes of Health has made awards to investigators across the United States for an ambitious set of projects seeking to develop new drugs for disorders of the nervous system, including vision loss, neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

Mount Sinai receives $3.4 million for largest study of personalized medicine in the clinical setting
Mount Sinai School of Medicine has been awarded a $3.4 million grant over four years from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin the largest study of its kind, in which a patient's genomic risk for disease is revealed in a lab, and then entered into an electronic medical record for use in determining treatment in the clinical care setting.

Gladstone scientist identifies gene that exacerbates risk factors for heart disease and diabetes
A scientist at the Gladstone Institutes has discovered how a gene known as SIRT3 contributes to a suite of health problems sweeping across America, offering new insight into how to combat these potentially fatal conditions.

More sex please, we're Greek: exposing the myth of Platonic love
Plato lent his name to Platonic love but a new book reveals that the ancient Greek philosopher never advocated love without sex.

Research examines the black-and-white issues surrounding executions in the South
Newspaper accounts of black executions in the old South reveal a social history that intersects race with crime and punishment.

Smoke-free policies could save landlords up to $18 million a year in cleaning costs
But by implementing complete smoke-free rules throughout their properties, owners of California multi-unit rental buildings could save up to $18 million a year statewide on the cost of cleaning apartments vacated by tenants who smoke.

NIH-commissioned study identifies gaps in NIH funding success rates for black researchers
Black applicants from 2000-2006 were 10 percentage points less likely than white applicants to be awarded research project grants from the NIH after controlling for factors that influence the likelihood of a grant award, according to an NIH-commissioned study in the journal Science.

Major advanced cancer study to be led by Uppsala University
Several prominent cancer researchers are now joining forces in an advanced new cancer study.

New 'bionic' leg gives amputees a natural gait
A new lower-limb prosthetic uses the latest advances in computer, sensor, electric motor and battery technology to give it bionic capabilities.

Treatment with vitamin C dissolves toxic protein aggregates in Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Lund University have discovered a new function for vitamin C.

Carnegie Mellon researchers outline ways to advance scientific thinking in children
Science educators aim to nurture, enrich and sustain children's natural and spontaneous interest in scientific knowledge using many different approaches.

Not faster, but longer -- new drug changes beat in treating heart failure
A new drug which offers a radically different approach to treating certain types of heart failure has been shown to improve cardiac function in heart failure patients in its first clinical trials.

Complex choices in Medicare Advantage program may overwhelm seniors, study finds
Medicare's managed care program, Medicare Advantage, provides beneficiaries with numerous private health plan alternatives compared to traditional Medicare, often with more generous benefits.

Four-year-olds know that being right is not enough
As they grow, children learn a lot about the world from what other people tell them.

Study finds coronary calcium beats C-reactive protein for predicting heart attack and stroke risk
The presence of calcium in coronary arteries is a much better predictor of heart attack and stroke than C-reactive protein among people with normal levels of LDL cholesterol, according to a study of more than 2,000 people led by a Johns Hopkins heart specialist.

Revealed: How sticky egg captures sperm
Researchers have uncovered exactly how a human egg captures an incoming sperm to begin the fertilization process, in a new study published this week in the journal Science.

AGU journal highlights -- Aug. 18
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Veterinary researcher receives prestigious grant to study swine disease
A researcher in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine has received a prestigious US Department of Agriculture postdoctoral fellowship grant to investigate the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis behind porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

Valley Presbyterian Hospital wins grant for breastfeeding support
First 5 LA announced today that it is awarding a grant of nearly $500,000 to Valley Presbyterian Hospital to encourage breastfeeding.

Boys reach sexual maturity younger and younger
Evidence for long term historic trend:the phase between being physically but not socially adult is getting longer.

Public radio exposes injustice
Malawian villagers have found an unlikely platform to expose injustice and abuse of power and bring their leaders to task, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Coronary artery calcium better than C-reactive protein for predicting cardiovascular events and who benefits most from statins
A study in this week's European Society of Cardiology special issue of the Lancet shows that coronary artery calcium is a much better predictor of heart attack and stroke in apparently healthy adults than is the level of C-reactive protein.

Lung function declines as chest deformity deepens
A common deformity that cases a depression in the chest wall inhibits lung function as the cavity grows deeper, a national study of 327 patients published in the Journal of Pediatrics found.

Paper on automation in surgery wins 2011 Human Factors Prize for Excellence in HF/E Research
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society congratulates Dietrich Manzey, Maria Luz, Stefan Mueller, Andreas Dietz, Juergen Meixensberger, and Gero Strauss on receiving the 2011 Human Factors Prize for their article,

Mutant gene identified that causes abnormal chromosome count, leading to cancer
Cells with too few or too many chromosomes have long been known to be a hallmark of cancer -- but the cause of this abnormal number of chromosomes has been little understood.

NSF launches new engineering research centers with awards totaling $74.0 million
The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the award of $74 million to create four new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) that will advance interdisciplinary research and education in partnership with industry.

Nationwide trends for sepsis in the 21st century
Despite the increasing number of severe sepsis admissions and declining mortality rates, there are more patients being discharged to skilled nursing facilities and in-home care, which warrants increased attention.

New images reveal structures of the solar wind as it travels toward and impacts Earth
Using data collected by NASA's STEREO spacecraft, researchers at Southwest Research Institute and the National Solar Observatory have developed the first detailed images of solar wind structures as plasma and other particles from a coronal mass ejection traveled 93 million miles and impacted Earth.

Fudging in greenhouse gas stats?
Fluorinated hydrocarbons are potent greenhouse gases, emission of which must be reduced under the Kyoto Protocol.

Long-term, intimate partnerships can promote unhealthy habits
New research uncovers how intimate partners believe they directly and indirectly contribute to one another's unhealthy habits.

Study raises doubts about value of heart ultrasound before elective surgery
A new study has found no evidence that patients who had a heart ultrasound known as an echocardiogram before major surgery had improved survival rates one month or one year after their operation.

Biologists' discovery may force revision of biology textbooks
Basic biology textbooks may need a bit of revising now that biologists at UC San Diego have discovered a never-before-noticed component of our basic genetic material.

UGA physicist helps uncover new data on adenine, a crucial building block of life
A University of Georgia physicist and a collaborator in Germany have shown that one of the building blocks of DNA and RNA, adenine, has an unexpectedly variable range of ionization energies along its reaction pathways.

PET scans confirm effectiveness of estrogen-blocking drugs in breast cancer patients
For the first time, researchers at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance have demonstrated the feasibility of using serial positron emission tomography scans, using a special estrogen-containing isotope, to confirm the relative effectiveness of estrogen-blocking and estrogen-depleting therapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Study finds sex differences in mental illness
When it comes to mental illness, the sexes are different: Women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, while men tend toward substance abuse or antisocial disorders, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

Johns Hopkins education leaders call for radical transformation in graduate biomedical curriculum
Leaders in biomedical education at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are calling for a radical new approach to post-graduate training in the life sciences to address significant challenges, including an avalanche of new discoveries in the last decade and the need to transcend traditional departmental boundaries to understand biological processes at multiple levels.

Strengthening fragile immune memories to fight chronic infections
Researchers at the Emory Vaccine Center have identified the conditions that make memory T cells slip away during persistent infections.

Emergency workers will respond
Worries that first responders will shirk duties in a disaster are overblown, but they do need assistance with family matters, University of Delaware study shows.

NASA satellite data confirms Greg a hurricane, Fernanda a tropical storm
Big sisters don't like being overshadowed by their younger brothers and that's what has happened in the eastern Pacific Ocean with Tropical Storm Fernanda and now Hurricane Greg.

First clinical studies show potential of new drug for treating heart failure patients
A novel drug that activates a protein that increases the contraction of heart muscle could lead to a new approach to treating systolic heart failure (SHF), a condition characterized by the inability of the heart to contract strongly enough.

UCI researchers chart long-shrouded glacial reaches of Antarctica
A vast network of previously unmapped glaciers on the move from thousands of miles inland to the Antarctic coast has been charted for the first time by UC Irvine scientists.

Research improving health care
In support of the Government of Canada's commitment to strengthening Canada's health care system, the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced today funding for 25 policy-relevant research projects across six provinces.

Molecular meet and greet
Researchers have discovered that the proteins that help cells sense the world outside their membranes are dynamically organized by the cellular skeleton in a way that optimizes the transmission of biochemical signals.

Are those liquids explosive?
A team of researchers from the University of the Basque Country (Spain) has developed a method to determine the chemical composition of liquids seized by police and suspected to be explosive.

Battling job barriers with a tube of lipstick
New research examines how women are getting a leg up on finding work in urban Ecuador.

Headaches are common in year following traumatic brain injury, especially among females
Recurring headaches are common during the year following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), regardless of the severity of the TBI, and they tend to occur more often among females and those with a pre-TBI history of headache, according to an article in Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

The first kangaroo genome sequence
Kangaroos form an important niche in the tree of life, but until now their DNA had never been sequenced.

Researchers building new sensor that could stop falls by elderly, before they happen
Researches at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia are creating a portable fall prediction monitoring system for detection of fall risks that can provide early diagnosis and treatment before a fall occurs to reduce injuries and death from falls.

Robust preschool experience offers lasting effects on language and literacy
New research from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College finds preschool teachers' use of sophisticated vocabulary can predict fourth-grade reading comprehension and word recognition.

Annual cervical cancer screening persists, despite recommended guidelines
Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that the majority of primary care providers continue to recommend annual cervical cancer screening, and less than 15 percent would extend the screening interval when using the Papanicolaou test and human papillomavirus test together, as some guidelines suggest.

Disordered networks synchronise faster than small world networks
Synchronization occurs when individual elements in a complex network behave in line with each other.

SUNY Downstate researchers identify possible new targets for treating pain in women
Women and men experience pain, particularly chronic pain, very differently.

The future of inks, paints and coatings takes shape
If you've ever spilled a drop of coffee on a surface, you might have noticed the curious way the color concentrates at the edges when the coffee dries.

Risk misdiagnosis for obese patients
The prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma is increasing partly because of a link between asthma and obesity.

Regenerative powers in the animal kingdom explored in special issue of the Biological Bulletin
Regeneration of tissues or organs in several animal species is detailed in a

Increased celiac disease prevalence in women with unexplained infertility
A recent study demonstrated increased rates of celiac disease in women who present with unexplained infertility.

University of Missouri completes first drought simulator
Historically, droughts have had devastating effects on agriculture, causing famine and increasing consumer food costs.

Webb Telescope's MIRI flight instrument completes cryogenic testing in the UK
A pioneering camera and spectrometer that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has completed cryogenic testing designed to mimic the harsh conditions it will experience in space.

Parents misled by advocates of single-sex education
There is no scientific basis for teaching boys and girls separately, according to Lise Eliot from The Chicago Medical School.

Penn molecular scientists develop color-changing stress sensor
It is helpful -- even life-saving -- to have a warning sign before a structural system fails, but, when the system is only a few nanometers in size, having a sign that's easy to read is a challenge.

Further, faster, higher: Wildlife responds increasingly rapidly to climate change
New research by scientists in the Department of Biology at the University of York shows that species have responded to climate change up to three times faster than previously appreciated.

Cancer stem cells made, not born
In cancer, tumors aren't uniform, but instead are like complex societies, each with a unique balance of cell types.

October 2011 conference focuses on the role of gender in cardiovascular disease
In heart disease, men and women are different. The October 2011 conference sponsored by the American Physiological Society focuses on the role gender plays in cardiovascular disease.

Research finds Greenland glacier melting faster than expected
A key glacier in Greenland is melting faster than previously expected, according to findings by a team of academics, including Dr Edward Hanna from University of Sheffield.

Kidney drugs hampered by high blood phosphate
High blood phosphate levels can set chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on a rapid path to kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

Message to gay soldiers: It's your army too
Dr. Guy Shilo at Tel Aviv University has completed the only quantitative study detailing the LGB experience in the military.

A quick way to grade grasses for ethanol yields
US Department of Agriculture researchers have developed an inexpensive way to grade the ethanol potential of perennial grasses at the biorefinery's loading dock.

Single flexible sigmoidoscopy screening associated with reduced colorectal cancer
A single flexible sigmoidoscopy screening between the ages of 55-64 years is associated with a lower level of colorectal cancer incidence and mortality, according to a study published online August 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 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