Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 25, 2011
Gene variation predicts rate of age-related decline in mental performance, Stanford study
A tiny difference in the coding pattern of a single gene significantly affects the rate at which men's intellectual function drops with advancing age, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System have learned.

'Junk DNA' defines differences between humans and chimps
DNA sequences for human and chimpanzees are nearly identical, despite vast phenotypical differences between the two species.

Rutgers professor uses lichen to help cities go green
In this era of environmental consciousness, many buildings are being outfitted to

UC Davis and BGI announce partnership to establish state-of-the-art genome center in Sacramento
UC Davis, and BGI have signed a historic agreement that will change the landscape of genomic sciences in California and the Western states, and foster critical breakthroughs in the areas of food security and human, animal and environmental health.

Fixed appliances best and cheapest
Society could save millions of crowns each year if more children were fitted with fixed appliances.

IADR/AADR publish study on dental caries vaccine
In a report on a preclinical investigation titled

First geothermal mapping report confirms vast coast-to-coast clean energy source
New research from SMU's Geothermal Laboratory, funded by a grant from, documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power - 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.

Students coax yeast cells to add vitamins to bread
Any way you slice it, bread that contains critical nutrients could help combat malnutrition in impoverished regions.

Founder of international telecom company and more to be honored by NJIT
Three notable engineers, including the founder of an international telecom company, who have achieved notable success in the international business community will be honored by NJIT for their achievements at the university's annual celebration event, set this year for Nov.

Glaciers in southwest China feel the brunt of climate change
Significant increases in annual temperatures are having a devastating effect on glaciers in the mountainous regions of southwestern China, potentially affecting natural habitats, tourism and wider economic development.

Uncovering the blind spot of patient satisfaction and patient expectations: An international survey
Patient satisfaction is increasingly recognized as an important component of quality of care.

Chain hotels lead the way in going green
Chain hotels are doing a better job of going green than their independent competitors, say Washington State University researchers.

Go fish! RIT psychology professor trains goldfish for object perception research
Caroline DeLong, an assistant professor of psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology, is researching object discrimination in goldfish and echolocation in dolphins to bring scientists closer to unlocking the mysteries of animal perception and cognition.

Computer scientist cracks mysterious 'Copiale Cipher'
More than three centuries after it was devised, the 75,000-character

Independent review of NHS breast screening underway, reveals top cancer doctor
An independent review of the NHS breast cancer screening program is under way, Professor Sir Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, told the BMJ today.

Blood test could identify smokers at higher risk for heart disease, UT Southwestern researchers find
A simple blood test could someday quantify a smoker's lung toxicity and danger of heart disease, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Strawberries protect the stomach from alcohol
In an experiment on rats, European researchers have proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach mucous membrane.

That's gross!: Study uncovers physiological nature of disgust in politics
The study shows that that we have gut feelings about politics -- literally -- and that our political attitudes and behaviors are reflected in our biology.

Low levels of BNP hormone linked to development of Type 2 diabetes
Using Mendelian randomization, Roman Pfister of the University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues demonstrate a potentially causal link between low levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), a hormone released by damaged heart tissue, and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

New genetic evidence confirms coyote migration route to Virginia and hybridization with wolves
Changes in North American ecosystems over the past 150 years have caused coyotes to move from their native habitats in the plains and southwestern deserts of North America to habitats throughout the United States.

Fewer marten detections in California forest linked to decline in habitat
Scientists tracking the reclusive American marten in the Sierra Nevada mountains have estimated that detection rates of marten have declined by 60 percent compared to historical surveys in the 1980s - and one possible cause, they say, is habitat loss from logging.

Linking of mutations in 12 genes to ovarian cancer may lead to more effective prevention
More patients with ovarian cancer carry predisposing mutations, and in more genes, than previously thought.

'Southern Pine Beetle II'
The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station today announced the publication of a new synthesis of research on the southern pine beetle, a native bark beetle that impacts both the economic and ecological well-being of the forests of the southern United States.

The role of fat in assessing breast cancer risk
It is known that a high proportion of dense breast tissue, as seen with a mammogram, is associated with a high risk of breast cancer.

University of New Hampshire scientists land roles in European and Japanese space missions
Scientists and engineers from the University of New Hampshire's Space Science Center have been selected to provide instruments for two upcoming satellite missions led by the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Innovative transdermal patch for delivery of HIV medicine featured at AAPS Annual Meeting
An innovative delivery method for human immunodeficiency virus medications has been developed through use of a transdermal patch, the first of its kind to treat HIV.

Geoscientists find key to why some patients get infections from cardiac implants
New research suggests that some patients develop a potentially deadly blood infection from their implanted cardiac devices because bacterial cells in their bodies have gene mutations that allow them to stick to the devices.

A World Series to remember?
It's a moment burned into the minds of Red Sox and Yankee fans alike -- sitting inches away from the television, fists clenched, tightness in the chest and the unbearable urge to look away...

New guidelines for reporting epidemiological studies that involve molecular markers
New guidelines that provide an easy-to-use checklist for the accurate and ethical reporting of epidemiological studies involving molecular markers have been proposed by a group of international researchers and are published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

A disproportionate burden of neglected tropical diseases found in India and South Asia
The open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases today published a comprehensive report showcasing the disproportionately high burden of neglected tropical diseases in India and South Asia.

The Generation X Report: U-M survey paints a surprisingly positive portrait
They've been stereotyped as a bunch of insecure, angst-ridden, underachievers.

How cannabis causes 'cognitive chaos' in the brain
Cannabis use is associated with disturbances in concentration and memory.

Peer pressure in preschool children
Children as young as four years of age conform their public opinion to the majority.

Teachers lack tools for competent literacy instruction
Many teachers teach literacy without having tools to reflect on how their approach affects pupils' reading and writing development.

Close-up on endometriosis at 40th AAGL Global Congress
This year's annual meeting of gynecologic laparoscopic surgeons explores endometriosis from both the patient's and the physician's perspective in its Keynote session, 8 to 10am Tuesday, Nov.

Wayne State University study of heroin users to examine links between stress, drug use
A Wayne State University researcher is using a three-year, $1.55 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health to learn more about the links between stress and drug use by applying behavioral economics.

New test can precisely pinpoint food pathogens
A collaborative team led by Cornell University scientists will enable government agencies and food companies to pinpoint the exact nature and origin of food-borne bacteria with unprecedented accuracy.

Restraint improves dielectric performance, lifespan
Just as a corset improves the appearance of its wearer by keeping everything tightly together, rigidly constraining insulating materials in electrical components can increase their energy density and decrease their rates of failure.

Dormant malaria parasites in red blood cells may contribute to treatment failure
Researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public College Health have shown for the first time in a rodent model that the earliest form of malaria parasites can lay dormant in red blood cells and

EurekAlert! announces the 2012 fellowship recipients for international science journalism in China
EurekAlert!, the global science news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and its sister site, EurekAlert!

Extreme melting on Greenland ice sheet, reports CCNY team
The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don't hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr.

Enzyme controlling cell death paves way for treatment of brain damage in newborns
Brain damage due to birth asphyxia -- where the brain is starved of oxygen around the time of delivery -- is normally treated by cooling the infant, but this only helps one baby in nine.

Researchers find gene variants that cause stent thrombosis in people with coronary artery disease
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have discovered gene variants contributing to early stent thrombosis, a devastating and often deadly complication after coronary stent implantation in people with coronary artery disease.

Simple gut hormone combo makes our brains think we're full
Many of us would love nothing more than to trick ourselves into believing we are full even as our stomachs remain empty.

Study: Women aren't becoming engineers because of confidence issues
Women are less likely than men to stay in engineering majors and to become engineers because they want to have families and are more insecure about their math abilities, right?

CT scans for lung cancer screening may be beneficial in detecting COPD
Among men who were current or former heavy smokers, undergoing lung cancer screening with computed tomography (CT) scanning identified a substantial proportion who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), suggesting that this method may be helpful as an additional tool in detecting COPD, according to a study in the Oct.

Cornell reaches two milestones toward a new coherent X-ray source
Cornell scientists have surpassed two major milestones toward a novel, exceedingly powerful X-ray source: A record-breaking electron gun emittance and a successfully tested prototype of a superconducting linac cavity.

NASA satellite sees a more powerful Hurricane Rina, warnings up in Mexico
Hurricane warnings are in effect in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and visible and infrared satellite imagery from NASA continues to show Hurricane Rina getting stronger.

Multidisciplinary research urged for optimal melanoma surgery
In an editorial published Oct. 23rd in The Lancet, UNC Lineberger member David Ollila, MD, and co-author John Thompson, MD, of the Melanoma Institute Australia, praise a new study on optimal margins for melanoma surgery but urge researchers to bring new molecular and genetic techniques to bear on the question of how to minimize the need for more complex surgical techniques while maximizing long-term patient survival.

NIH study shows benefits, limits of therapy for rare inflammatory syndrome
A study shows that the medication etanercept reduces the frequency and severity of symptoms of TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome, a rare inherited condition characterized by recurrent fevers, abdominal pain and skin rashes.

Mood, cognition and sleep patterns improve in Alzheimer's patients after cataract surgery
Researchers at Tenon Hospital, Paris, France, found that patients with mild Alzheimer's disease whose vision improved after cataract surgery also showed improvement in cognitive ability, mood, sleep patterns and other behaviors.

Blood proteins predict survival in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Pitt-led team says
A panel of blood proteins can predict which patients with the progressive lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are likely to die within two years or live at least five more, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Centocor R&D.

First-of-a-kind tension wood study broadens biofuels research
Tension wood, which forms naturally in hardwood trees in response to bending stress, is known to possess unique features that render it desirable as a bioenergy feedstock.

Study confirms some contraceptive pills more likely to cause blood clots
A study published on today confirms previous findings that certain oral contraceptive pills are more likely to cause serious blood clots than others.

Quality-of-life for women an issue: in some matters of the heart, women do not fare as well as men
A Heart and Stroke Foundation study has found that women under age 55 fare worse than their male counterparts following a heart attack -- and their health status declines more than that of their male counterparts after one month.

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state
A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland and Sweden has found that strange stare may be a key that can eventually lead to a solution to this long debate about the existence of a hypnotic state.

Gaps in evidence for effectiveness of influenza vaccines highlight need for new vaccine
There are critical gaps in the evidence for the effectiveness of licensed influenza vaccines in the USA, according to a meta-analysis published Online First in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Immunization Action Coalition receives $1.4 million award from CDC
The Immunization Action Coalition, one of the nation's premier sources of immunization information, and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are entering into a cooperative agreement that will distribute IAC's highly regarded publications to pediatricians, family physicians, and other healthcare professionals involved in providing immunization services.

Dividing corn stover makes ethanol conversion more efficient
Not all parts of a corn stalk are equal, and they shouldn't be treated that way when creating cellulosic ethanol, say Purdue University researchers.

Double duty for blood pressure drugs: how they could revolutionize how we treat valve disease
A type of medication known as angiotensin-receptor blockers could reduce risk of mortality in people with a heart disease called calcific aortic stenosis (AS) by 30 per cent over an eight-year period, Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr.

Fast diagnostics not enough to change health outcomes
In this week's PLoS Medicine, the PLoS Medicine editors reflect on recent research and analysis into rapid and convenient diagnostic tests for tuberculosis and HIV.

Peter Thiel announces Breakout Labs to energize innovation
Peter Thiel today launched a new program of the Thiel Foundation, Breakout Labs, a revolving fund to improve the way early-stage science and technology research is funded by helping independent scientists and early-stage companies develop their most radical ideas.

You are what you eat: Low fat diet with fish oil slowed growth of human prostate cancer cells
A low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed down the growth of prostate cancer cells -- the number of rapidly dividing cells -- in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.

A substance from bacteria can lead to allergy-free sunscreen
As the realization that radiation emitted by the sun can give rise to skin cancer has increased, so also has the use of sunscreen creams.

Doctor suggests tabloids publish daily smoking death toll
While smoking remains legal, the number of smokers is never going to fall significantly, argues public health doctor in a letter to this week's BMJ.

Association for Molecular Pathology comments on proposed changes to the common rule
The Association for Molecular Pathology expresses concern that the proposed rule's determination that biospecimens cannot be de-identified will limit validation of clinical tests.

Space debris, more efficient LEDs, and thinner, cheaper solar cells
The Optical Society's Renewable Energy and the Environment Congress, being held Nov.

Infection is an important post-stroke problem
After a stroke the brain tries to protect itself by blocking all inflammation.

Standard definition of loss-to-follow-up for ART patients
A study led by Benjamin Chi of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA, and colleagues reports on the development of a standard definition for loss-to-follow-up that can be used by HIV antiretroviral programs worldwide.

University of Missouri program helps teachers prevent teen suicides
MU College of Education's Missouri Partnership for Educational Renewal (MPER) developed

Study: Obesity limits effectiveness of flu vaccines
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that obesity may make annual flu shots less effective.

1 in 5 medical journal articles include honorary and ghost authors
Just over one in five of articles published in six leading medical journals in 2008 have evidence of honorary and ghost authorship, finds a study published on today.

Penn study explains paradox of insulin resistance genetics
A paradox in understanding insulin resistance is figuring out why insulin-resistant livers make more fat.

Scott & White Healthcare and American Cancer Society enter into partnership for prevention study
Today, Scott & White Healthcare and the American Cancer Society have announced a joint collaboration for the Cancer Prevention Study -- 3 (CPS-3), the first study of its kind in more than 20 years.

UofL students seek answers to breast cancer disparities in minority populations
Understanding the influence of genetics, lifestyle and environment on breast cancer in minority populations is the focus of research for University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences doctoral students Avonne Connor, Nandita Das and Stephanie Denkhoff.

Young, apparently healthy -- and at risk of heart disease
Atherosclerosis -- or buildup of fat in the walls of arteries -- is thought of as a disorder of older people but it affects a large number of young men and women, according to a new Heart and Stroke Foundation study.

Estimating the effectiveness of vaccination programs
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Justin Lessler of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA, and colleagues describe a method that estimates the fraction of a population accessible to vaccination activities, and apply it to measles vaccination in three African countries: Ghana, Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

Surgical treatment within six months of lumbar disc herniation
A new study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that patients with herniated lumbar disc symptoms were significantly worse if the patients had symptoms for more than six months prior to treatment, compared to those who had symptoms for six months or less.

Gene regulatory protein is reduced in bipolar disorder
A new study provides evidence that changes in gene regulation may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

UCSF tapped for US National AIDS Strategy initiative
The US Health Resources and Services Administration has funded the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies to provide leadership and support to seven states implementing interventions to enhance HIV testing and diagnosis, linkage to and retention in high quality HIV care among populations who do not yet know their status or who have been previously diagnosed, but are not currently engaged in care.

23andMe discovers genetic variant that may protect those at risk for Parkinson's disease
23andMe Inc. has announced the first-time discovery of the potentially protective nature of the gene serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) which appears to be protective against a high-risk leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutation for Parkinson's disease.

Henry Ford Hospital first in United States to offer MKTP surgery as treatment option for vitiligo
Henry Ford Hospital is the first in the country to offer skin transplant surgery as part of its treatment portfolio for patients with the skin disease vitiligo.

Researchers identify factors associated with increased risk of blood clot within coronary stent
Patients with certain genes or specific factors related to use of the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel are more likely to experience a blood clot within a coronary stent shortly after placement, according to a study in the Oct.

Land animals, ecosystems walloped after Permian dieoff
Researchers at Brown University and the University of Utah have concluded the mass extinction that ended the Permian Period was disastrous for land-based animals.

Singling out the real breast cancer among the lumps
A July breast cancer study using patient blood reveals a possible way to reduce the number of false alarms that arise during early screening.

Nanotubes key to microscopic mechanics
In the latest issue of Elsevier's Materials Today, researchers from Spain and Belgium reported on the innovative use of carbon nanotubes to create mechanical components for use in a new generation of micro-machines.

A call to bring back sanatoria to help deal with the growing threat of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis
A viewpoint published online first by the Lancet calls for new-age sanatoria to be created in countries with a high burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis, in order to deal with the growing threat of extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Regulatory process for organ scaling discovered
A new study has shed light on the process by which fruit flies develop with their body proportions remaining constant.

Canada Research Chair renewal for Kerry Courneya
Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer, Kerry Courneya of the University of Alberta, will lead several large, longitudinal, interdisciplinary physical activity and cancer studies in Canada and Australia.

Now there's an app for NASA's Swift Observatory
A new, free iPhone application gives you the details of all the latest gamma-ray-burst discoveries that NASA's Swift observatory is making throughout the universe.

Many Alzheimer's patients get drugs with opposing effects
You wouldn't brake your car while stepping on the gas -- or wash down a sleeping pill with espresso.

Veterinary researchers discover first US strains of hepatitis E virus from rabbits
Researchers in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have identified the first strains of hepatitis E virus from farmed rabbits in the United States. 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