Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 30, 2011
Johns Hopkins scientists reveal new survival mechanism for neurons
Nerve cells that regulate everything from heart muscle to salivary glands send out projections known as axons to their targets.

Why does Japan have the highest life expectancy?
Japan has had the highest average life expectancy in the world since 1986, and babies born in the last few years will live on average to 86 years.

More questions than answers remain concerning effects of airplane travel on insulin pump delivery
Despite recent concerns that changes in atmospheric pressure during airplane travel may affect the amount of insulin delivered via pump devices, the current evidence is limited and it would be unwise to overreact until more data are available, according to an insightful editorial in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

The diamond planet
Radio wave observations show the transformation of a galaxy into a millisecond pulsar and its companion planet.

Epic search for evidence of life on Mars heats up with focus on high-tech instruments
Scientists are expressing confidence that questions about life on Mars, which have captured human imagination for centuries, finally may be answered, thanks in part to new life-detection tools up to 1,000 times more sensitive than previous instruments.

Tropical coral could be used to create novel sunscreens for human use, say scientists
Researchers at King's College London have discovered how coral produces natural sunscreen compounds to protect itself from damaging UV rays, leading scientists to believe these compounds could form the basis of a new type of sunscreen for humans.

Japan's fee-setting rules: how health-care costs have been contained
Japan spends only 8 percent of its GDP on healthcare, ranking it 20th in OECD countries, largely due to its strict and universal rules on fees for services.

New insight into impulse control
How the brain controls impulsive behavior may be significantly different than psychologists have thought for the last 40 years.

ESC pilot registry in heart failure reflects improvement in chronic disease
With the increased prevalence of chronic heart failure (HF), there is a concomitant increase in the number of related hospitalizations; as chronic HF progresses, the risk of acute exacerbation increases.

Lawson researchers share in $2.2 million grant
Lawson Health Research Institute's Drs. Peter Cadieux and Hassan Razvi have been awarded just over $566,000 as part of a $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Research (NIH).

Double damage: Partner violence impacts mental health of over half-million Californians
Violence from an intimate partner does not just brutalize a victim physically; exposure to violence can result in disproportionately higher rates of mental health distress, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Stanford/UCSF scientists invent new way to disarm malaria parasite
A novel technique to

What do patients receiving optimal medical therapy after a heart attack die from?
Because of improved management at the acute stage, the risk of dying in hospital after a heart attack has decreased by about 50 percent in the past 10 years.

Cardiac disease: Coronary or not?
Acute myocardial Infarction (AMI) is a major cause of death and disability.

Location, location, location; Study shows the middle is the place to be
Choice is a central tenet of a free society. From the brand of cereal we eat for breakfast, to the answers we give on a survey, or the people we select to be our leaders, we frequently define ourselves by the choices we make.

Role of soy in menopausal health reported
Soy has recently been reviewed and supported for introduction into general medical practice as a treatment for distressing vasomotor symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, but its use in other medical areas, such as heart health, requires further research, according to a new report reviewing the risks and benefits of soy protein, isoflavones and metabolites in menopausal health from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)/Wulf H.

The RUBY-1 trial
A phase II dose-finding study has found that the new oral Factor Xa inhibitor darexaban was associated with a two to four-fold increase in bleeding when added to dual antiplatelet therapy in patients following an acute coronary syndrome.

Localizing language in the brain
New research from MIT suggests that there are parts of our brain dedicated to language and only language, a finding that marks a major advance in the search for brain regions specialized for sophisticated mental functions.

Japan's No. 1 longevity ranking in jeopardy
In a comment with the series, Professor Christopher Murray, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA, says that Japan enjoyed huge drops in mortality in the 1950s and 60s, and kept pace with other nations for most of the rest of the 20th century.

Microscope on the go: Cheap, portable, dual-mode microscope uses holograms, not lenses
To serve remote areas of the world, doctors, nurses and field workers need equipment that is portable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive.

FSU to lead consortium in BP-funded oil spill research initiative
The nation will be looking to Florida State University and its expertise in the marine sciences as it studies the long-term aftereffects and changes in the Gulf of Mexico following last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Patients' health motivates workers to wash their hands
Campaigns about hand-washing in hospitals usually try to scare doctors and nurses about personal illness, says Adam Grant, a psychological scientist at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Wakeup call for college students: New research finds you need to catch more z's
A new study finds that college students are spending too much time burning the midnight oil and not enough time gaining the sleep that will benefit their ability to learn.

Wildlife Conservation Society helps hatch rare Siamese crocodiles in Lao PDR
Working with the government of Lao PDR, the Wildlife Conservation Society has helped to successfully hatch a clutch of 20 Siamese crocodiles, a species threatened across its range by hunting, habitat fragmentation and loss, and other factors.

STOP Obesity Alliance Task Force urges HHS to give obesity equal weight in essential health benefits
The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance Essential Health Benefits Task Force today released recommendations supporting the inclusion of obesity-related services in the US Department of Health and Human Services' essential health benefits (EHB) package.

ONR funds study of nanoscale wetting dynamics of superhydrophobic surfaces at Stevens
To support Office of Naval Research development of anti-corrosion materials, Dr.

SwRI selected as payload integrator for NASA suborbital flight opportunities research providers
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been selected to provide payload flight integration services as part of three suborbital flight provider contracts recently announced by NASA to Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Masten Space Systems.

Mobile phone data help track populations during disasters
Mobile phone positioning data can be used to monitor population movements during disasters and outbreaks, according to a study published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Study of childhood bullying shifts focus to victims
Many wonder why bullies bully, but a new study looks at the other side of the equation: How do children respond to bullying and why?

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation with the Edwards valve prosthesis in patients with low
Results from a study presented today at the ESC Congress 2011, show that TAVI implantation in low risk patients, met with 100% procedural success (vs.

Optimal reperfusion in ST-elevation myocardial infarction
Primary PCI is the best reperfusion therapy for patients presenting with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

Evidence in the field of CVD in pregnancy is sparse, but the condition remains a concern:
Pre-existing heart disease in pregnancy remains a concern. Complications are frequent and in some cases may be life-threatening for both the mother and her child.

Hospitalized children who carry MRSA at risk for full-blown infections
A Johns Hopkins Children's Center study of more than 3,000 hospitalized children shows that those colonized but not sick with the antibiotic-resistant bacterium MRSA are at considerable risk for developing full-blown infections.

Awareness of ethnicity-based stigma found to start early
A new study examines more than 450 second and fourth graders in New York City with ethnic-minority and -majority backgrounds.

6 months on from Fukushima: The world has helped Japan, now
Japan's universal and equitable health system, now in place for 50 years, has put the country in a position to become a leader in global health.

New tests for 'legal marijuana,' 'bath salts' and other emerging designer drugs
Scientists today reported development of much needed new tests to help cope with a wave of deaths, emergency room visits and other problems from a new genre of designer drugs sold legally in stores and online that mimic the effects of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.

Extreme 2010 Russian fires and Pakistan floods linked meteorologically
Two of the most destructive natural disasters of 2010 were closely linked by a single meteorological event, even though they occurred 1,500 miles (2,414 km) apart and were of completely different natures, a new NASA study suggests.

New Stanford method reveals parts of bacterium genome essential to life
A team at the Stanford University School of Medicine has cataloged, down to the letter, exactly what parts of the genetic code are essential for survival in one bacterial species, Caulobacter crescentus.

Patients' underlying health linked to worse outcomes for melanoma, U-M study finds
It's not how old but how frail patients are that can predict how well they will fare after a melanoma diagnosis.

Mother-son ties change over time, influence teen boys' behavior, Wayne State study finds
Relationships between mothers and their sons change during childhood and adolescence, however, not all relationships change in the same way.

Hands-on dads give kids an edge
Fathers who actively engage in raising their children can help make their offspring smarter and better behaved, according to new research from Concordia University.

New chemical reagent turns mouse brain transparent
Researchers at RIKEN, Japan's flagship research organization, have developed a ground-breaking new aqueous reagent which literally turns biological tissue transparent.

Viruses in the human gut show dynamic response to diet
The digestive system is home to a myriad of viruses, but how they are involved in health and disease is poorly understood.

Registry: Do medications which reduce angina
Although medication which decreases the risk of angina attacks (chest pain caused by blockage of the arteries that supply the heart), are frequently prescribed in patients who have sustained a myocardial infarction, the possible influence of medication on long-term survival is not known, with the exception of beta-blocking agents, which have been shown to decrease mortality in clinical trials performed 30 years ago.

How Japan looks after its elderly people: a benchmark for nations worldwide
Just as Japan's elderly population continues to grow, their care needs are growing too.

Mayo Clinic finds social media valuable tool to recruit study participants for rare diseases
Mayo Clinic has identified a new benefit of social media and online networking: a novel way to study rare diseases.

Hemodynamic results after Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)
Since 2007 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) has become an alternative treatment for elderly patients with severe aortic stenosis at high risk for surgical aortic valve replacement.

Suicide in Japan: a serious and urgent challenge for the nation
More than 30,000 Japanese people take their own lives each year, a statistic that has remained fairly constant since the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Natural anti-oxidant deserts aging body
Study of human cells finds mitochondria, energy plants of cells, to be more vulnerable in senescent cells due to impaired function of an anti-oxidant enzyme.

The first European registry to evaluate the real-life epidemiology of atrial fibrillation ablation
Results presented today from the Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Pilot Study show that almost 40 percent of patients undergoing a catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation have no underlying disease associated with the arrhythmia, and precipitating factors are rare.

The future for Japanese health: human-security based reforms, more power for local government, improving quality, emphasis on global health, and effectively dealing with the Fukushima aftermath
Japan's premier health accomplishment in the past 50 years is the achievement of good population health at low cost with increased equity between different population groups, but the future of this universal health coverage is now under threat from demographic, economic and political factors.

Goodnight Irene: NASA's TRMM Satellite adds up Irene's massive rainfall totals
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) has been busy doing just that: measuring the massive amounts of rainfall left in the wake of Hurricane Irene as she ravaged the Caribbean and US East coast this past week.

Beyond pills: Cardiologists examine alternatives to halt high blood pressure
More and more, patients show up to appointments with hypertension expert John Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D. carrying bags full of

Using ground covers in organic production
Studies by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists indicate that organic farmers who need to periodically amend their soils with compost after planting can still control weeds -- and hold down costs -- by using fabric ground covers.

Assessing the most appropriate duration of dual antiplatelet therapy after coronary stenting
A randomized multi-center open-label study evaluating the efficacy and safety of prolonged antiplatelet therapy in patients with coronary disease has found that 24 months' duration of dual therapy is no better than six months DAPT in preventing adverse cardiac events.

Happiness: All in who you know, goals
An Indiana University study involving extroverted college students and their less socially inclined peers found that less-outgoing happy people relied less on partying and drinking to be happy and more on connections with family and friends.

Are New England's iconic maples at risk?
Results from the first study of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in forests show that the invasive insect can easily spread from tree-lined city streets to neighboring forests.

Flame retardants linked to lower-birth-weight babies
A new study led by researchers at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health links prenatal exposure to flame retardant chemicals commonly found in homes to lower-birth-weight babies.

The Great Recession could reduce school achievement for children of unemployed
The Great Recession could have lingering impacts on the children of the unemployed, according to researchers at the University of Chicago.

Simple blood test at high street opticians could help to diagnose diabetes
A simple finger prick test during routine eye examinations at high street opticians could help to identify millions of people with previously undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

Study shows balloon pump use prior to angioplasty does not reduce heart muscle damage
Inserting intra-aortic balloon pumps prior to angioplasty in patients with acute myocardial infarction does not reduce the scope of heart muscle damage, a condition referred to as infarct size, according to a new study conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Death rates in newborns remain shockingly high in Africa and India
Neonatal mortality -- deaths in newborns, aged 3 weeks and under -- has declined in all regions of the world over the past two decades but in 2009, more than half of all neonatal deaths occurred in five countries -- India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Landlubber fish leap for love when tide is right
One of the world's strangest animals -- a unique fish that lives on land and can leap large distances despite having no legs -- has a rich and complex social life, a new study has found.

Novel alloy could produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight
Using state-of-the-art theoretical computations, a team of scientists from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville has determined that an alloy formed by a 2 percent substitution of antimony in gallium nitride has the right electrical properties to enable solar light energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

Youths' social goals help determine response to bullying
This study finds that the types of goals children set in their relationships help determine how they respond to being bullied -- and whether they choose responses that are effective.

Rotavirus vaccination of infants also protects unvaccinated older children and adults
Vaccinating infants against rotavirus also prevents serious disease in unvaccinated older children and adults, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Studies question effectiveness of sex offender laws
Two studies in the latest issue of the Journal of Law and Economics cast doubt on whether sex offender registry and notification laws actually work as intended.

Wolves may aid recovery of Canada lynx, a threatened species
As wolf populations grow in parts of the West, most of the focus has been on their value in aiding broader ecosystem recovery -- but a new study also points out that they could play an important role in helping to save other threatened species, including the Canada lynx.

Testing the water for bioenergy crops
Energy researchers and environmental advocates are excited about the prospect of gaining more efficient large-scale biofuel production by using large grasses like miscanthus or switchgrass rather than corn.

Researchers build a tougher, lighter wind turbine blade
Efforts to build larger wind turbines able to capture more energy from the air are stymied by the weight of blades.

Faulty signaling in brain increases craving for sugar and drugs
When glutamate and dopamine do not collaborate as they should in the brain's signal system, the kick that alcohol, sugar, or other drugs induce increases.

An atlas of the Milky Way
Sino-German research group draws a new map at the Urumqi radio telescope and discovers two supernova remnants.

Health systems research needs overhaul
In the conclusion to a three-part series of articles addressing the current challenges and opportunities for the development of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR), Sara Bennett of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., and colleagues lay out an agenda for action to help build the field.

Biotech, food and the future
Better Living Through Science: A discussion on plant biotechnology -- how biotech crops could feed the world's growing population and how the development of gluten-free wheat might bring hope to Celiac disease sufferers --- at the German Center for Research and Innovation on Sept.

UT Southwestern launches hand transplant program
A team of surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center expects to perform the first hand transplant in North Texas within a year, making the institution just the sixth hospital in the US to perform the rare and intricate surgery.

Ghostwriting remains a fundamental problem in the medical literature
An editorial this week in PLoS Medicine concludes that in the two years since extensive ghostwriting by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth to promote its hormone drug Prempro was exposed through litigation intervention by PLoS Medicine and the New York Times, medical ghostwriting remains a prevalent problem with few concrete solutions in sight.

Acknowledgement and Incentive - Bernd Rendel Prizes 2011
In 2011, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will award the tenth annual Bernd Rendel Prizes to young researchers who, before having achieved their doctorates, have already made significant and inventive contributions to basic research in the geosciences.

Mother-son ties change over time, influence teen boys' behavior
In this longitudinal study of 265 mother-son pairs from low-income families in Pittsburgh, Pa., researchers found that mothers of boys who had a difficult temperament when they were toddlers reported that their relationships with the boys included a lot of conflict and lower levels of closeness over time.

Secure attachment to moms helps irritable babies interact with others
New research suggests that highly irritable children who have secure attachments to their mothers are more likely to get along well with others than those who aren't securely attached.

Considerably lower risk of stent thrombosis and restenosis in 'new generation' drug-eluting stents
Results from the SCAAR study, presented at the ESC Congress 2011 today, showed that Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) with

Lower achieved platelet reactivity associated with better cardiovascular
Compared to patients who had persistently high platelet reactivity, those who achieved low platelet reactivity, according to the VerifyNow P2Y12 Test, had a reduced incidence of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stent thrombosis, as indicated by a clinical trial presented today at the ESC Congress 2011.

Japan's success of universal health coverage provides lessons and challenges for other countries
There is little doubt that Japan's universal health coverage has been one of the nation's great success stories.

Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel cells
A team of USC scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source.

Marine Science Institute receives $7 Million grant to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon
A group of institutions led by the Marine Science Institute (MSI) at The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a three-year, nearly $7 million grant to better understand how oil spills disperse in the Gulf of Mexico, and how the oil affects the ecology of the Gulf.

Suicide methods differ between men and women
Women who commit suicide are more likely than men to avoid facial disfiguration, but not necessarily in the name of vanity.

Mayo Clinic physician: Mistaken fear of measles shot has 'devastating' effect
More than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States already this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback.

Calling nurses to exercise as role models for their patients
Nurses, just like many of their patients, struggle to find time and motivation to exercise.

College freshmen face sleep problems but intervention can help
Sleep often suffers in a student's freshman year, but a new study finds that young college students may think their sleep quality is better than it is.

Unfounded pesticide concerns adversely affect the health of low-income populations
The increasingly prevalent notion that expensive organic fruits and vegetables are safer because pesticides are a risk for causing cancer has no good scientific support, an authority said here today.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute closely involved in satellite data development projects
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) is making progress with all of the Satellite Application Facility (SAF) development projects.

Parents' stress leaves lasting marks on children's genes: UBC-CFRI research
Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute have shown that parental stress during their children's early years can leave an imprint on their sons' or daughters' genes -- an imprint that lasts into adolescence and may affect how these genes are expressed later in life.

Watching viruses 'friend' a network
PiggyDemic, an application developed by Dr. Gal Almogy and professor Nir Ben-Tal of Tel Aviv University, allows Facebook users to

Graphene's shining light could lead to super-fast Internet
Internet connection speeds could be tens of times faster than they currently are, thanks to research by University of Manchester scientists using wonder material graphene.

Donation will boost UCLA researchers' quest to find cure for Rasmussen Encephalitis
The Rasmussen Encephalitis (RE) Children's Project, a foundation that supports scientific research to find a cure for this devastating neurological disease, has donated $111,000 to researchers in the departments of neurosurgery and pathology/lab medicine (neuropathology) at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

An 'important' reduction in risk of stent thrombosis with everolimus-eluting stent
Results of the independently-funded Bern-Rotterdam cohort study provide robust evidence of an

Results of the EXAMINATION trial
The second generation drug-eluting stent Xience V performs well in patients having primary PCI for ST elevation myocardial infarction, and has a better safety profile than that of bare metal stents, according to results of the EXAMINATION (Evaluation of Xience-V stent in Acute Myocardial INfArcTION) trial.

IU analysis changing diagnosis and management of initial UTIs in young children
Analysis by Indiana University researchers of ten years of studies has resulted in changes in American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for how initial urinary tract infections in infants and toddlers are diagnosed and treated.

Mayo Clinic finds genetic variation that protects against Parkinson's disease
An international team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found a genetic variation they say protects against Parkinson's disease.

Research identifies marketing mix strategy for pharmaceutical firms
A research model created by Columbia Business School and University of Chile faculty depicts that detailing, relationships between sales representatives and medical doctors, is an extremely effective long-term marketing tool, while sampling has a stronger, short-term effect.

GSA TODAY science articles highlight geology of the Upper Midwest
As a prelude to the Geological Society of America's 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the September issue of GSA Today departs from its normal format by publishing four short science articles intended to introduce different aspects of the geology of the Upper Midwest and the contemporary role of the geologist in society.

Anxiety interferes with some children's capacity to form friendships
Socially withdrawn children, who have less contact with peers, may miss out on the support that friendships provide.

Dramatic satellite image shows daylight breaking over newborn Atlantic Tropical Storm Katia
Tropical Depression 12 strengthened into tropical storm Katia as daylight broke in the eastern Atlantic this morning.

Special American Chemical Society symposium on communicating science to the public
Amid ongoing concerns about scientific illiteracy -- with studies indicating that many citizens lack a firm grasp of basic scientific concepts and facts -- the world's largest scientific society today is holding a special symposium on how scientists can better communicate their work to the public.

Future climate change may increase asthma attacks in children
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have found that climate change may lead to more asthma-related health problems in children, and more emergency room (ER) visits in the next decade.

Ability to remember memories' origin not fully developed in youths
During childhood and adolescence, children develop the ability to remember not only past events but the origin of those memories.

Mild hearing loss linked to brain atrophy in older adults
A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that declines in hearing ability may accelerate gray mater atrophy in auditory areas of the brain and increase the listening effort necessary for older adults to successfully comprehend speech.

FDA draft guidance document may limit patient access to tests
The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration on the draft guidance document titled,

Vitamin C may be beneficial for asthmatic children
Depending on the age of asthmatic children, on their exposure to molds or dampness in their bedroom, and on the severity of their asthma, vitamin C has greater or smaller beneficial effect against asthma, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Tanta University in Egypt.

The CRISP AMI trial
Intra-aortic balloon pump counterpulsation prior to PCI in patients with ST segment elevation MI does not reduce infarct size as measured by MRI, according to results from the Counterpulsation Reduces Infarct Size Acute Myocardial Infarction (CRISP AMI) trial.

Computers are oversold and underused
According to new research which studies educational programs in Bahrain, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, information and communication technology (ICT) is not effectively utilized in classrooms in the Middle East.

Rural areas at higher risk of dengue fever than cities
In dengue-endemic areas such as South-East Asia, in contrast to conventional thinking, rural areas rather than cities may bear the highest burden of dengue fever -- a viral infection that causes sudden high fever, severe headache, and muscle and joint pains, and can lead to a life-threatening condition, dengue hemorrhagic fever.

New study shows patients with coronary artery disease
Thrombotic (clotting) and bleeding events are complications that may occur after surgery.
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