Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 07, 2011
Evolution reveals missing link between DNA and protein shape
Using evolutionary genetic information, an international team of researchers has taken major steps toward solving a classic problem of molecular biology: Predicting how a protein will fold in three dimensions.

World's first super predator had remarkable vision
South Australian Museum and University of Adelaide scientists working on fossils from Kangaroo Island, South Australia, have found eyes belonging to a giant 500 million-year-old marine predator that sat at the top of the earth's first food chain.

Why aren't we smarter already? Evolutionary limits on cognition
We put a lot of energy into improving our memory, intelligence, and attention.

Mayo Clinic researchers find drug duo kills chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer cells
The use of two drugs never tried in combination before in ovarian cancer resulted in a 70 percent destruction of cancer cells already resistant to commonly used chemotherapy agents, say researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Solar power much cheaper to produce than most analysts realize, study finds
The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen's University.

Stress in early pregnancy can lead to shorter pregnancies, more pre-term births and fewer baby boys
Stress in the second and third months of pregnancy can shorten pregnancies, increase the risk of pre-term births and may affect the ratio of boys to girls being born, leading to a decline in male babies.

The big picture: Long-term imaging reveals intriguing patterns of human brain maturation
Now, new research describes the first comprehensive study of coordinated anatomical maturation within the developing human brain.

How our brains keep us focused
In a new study to appear in Neuron, scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have uncovered mechanisms that help our brain to focus by efficiently routing only relevant information to perceptual brain regions.

Public health insurance offers insured infants better, less costly care than private plans
Unexpected findings from a first-of-its-kind study of insured infants suggests that those children are better off under public health insurance and that private insurance can even be detrimental, says economist Manan Roy, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Economic recession takes toll on family relationships, MU researcher says
A University of Missouri researcher studied how parents' financial problems and resulting mental distress affect their relationships with their children.

Vampire star reveals its secrets
Astronomers have obtained the best images ever of a star that has lost most of its material to a vampire companion.

Breast cancer mortality higher in Hispanic women
Hispanic women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women, according to research presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

American Association for Advancement of Science selects 2 NYU faculty as Fellows
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has selected two New York University faculty as 2011 Fellows: Zlatko Bacic and Michael Ward, both professors in NYU's Department of Chemistry.

New study puts eco-labels to the test
A new report released today by the University of Victoria ranks eco-labels intended to distinguish seafood produced with less damage to the environment.

Spain's digital gender gap is larger than European average
Researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid have compared internet use and frequency in Spain with the rest of the 31 European countries.

Researchers develop one of the world's smallest electronic circuits
A team of scientists, led by Guillaume Gervais from McGill's Physics Department and Mike Lilly from Sandia National Laboratories, has engineered one of the world's smallest electronic circuits.

Being overweight not such a stigma for African American women
While all obese women are less satisfied with the weight-related quality of their lives than women of 'normal' weight, black women report a higher quality of life than white women of the same weight.

New fluorescent imaging sorts microbiome in human mouth
New fluorescent labeling technology that distinguishes in a single image the population size and spatial distribution of 15 different taxa has uncovered new taxon pairings that indicate unsuspected cooperation -- and standoffishness -- between members of the microbe biofilm that covers teeth.

New protocols improve detection of microRNAs for diagnosis
MicroRNAs that regulate processes including fertilization, development, and aging show promise as biomarkers of disease.

Improved technology may obviate need for drug when assessing patients for a coronary stent
A new method for measuring narrowing in the arteries of the heart may allow patients to be assessed for a stent without having to take a drug with unpleasant side effects.

Novel drug wipes out deadliest malaria parasite through starvation
An antimalarial agent developed by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University proved effective at clearing infections caused by the malaria parasite most lethal to humans -- by literally starving the parasites to death.

National museum accreditation renewed for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has been awarded a renewal of its accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

How sustainable is nuclear power for the UK?
Nuclear power could contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK but this would lead to considerable impacts on natural resources and the environment, a report from the University of Manchester claims.

Anti-estrogen combo better than single drug for hormone-sensitive breast cancer
A phase III study by the SWOG clinical trials network shows new treatment combining anastrozole and fulvestrant can lengthen lives of post-menopausal women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer.

Scientists reveal where growing conditions today mirror future climates
With climate change posing a threat to food production around the world, scientists are developing a form of virtual time travel that can offer farmers in many countries a glimpse of their future by identifying regions where growing conditions today match those that will exist 20 years from now, according to a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.

Zoledronic acid shows long-term benefit in survivorship for premenopausal ER-positive breast cancer
Researchers have proven the continuing effectiveness of treating patients with estrogen receptor-positive premenopausal breast cancer with adjuvant zoledronic acid in addition to adjuvant endocrine treatment including ovarian function suppression.

Improving health will take a village
Improving health is too multifaceted to be left solely in the hands of those working in the health sector alone, according to the latest Healthy People 2020 Objectives for the Nation.

Maternal care influences brain chemistry into adulthood
The effect of the messenger substance neuropeptide Y depends on the behavior of the mother during infancy.

Those who stay together yawn together
You're more likely to respond to a yawn with another yawn when it comes from family member or a friend than from a stranger, says a study published Dec.

Unique genetic marker may improve detection of recurrent ovarian cancer
New work published in the Dec. 7 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE reports promising advances toward the development of blood-based DNA markers for ovarian cancer.

US Tox21 to begin screening 10,000 chemicals
A high-speed robotic screening system, aimed at protecting human health by improving how chemicals are tested in the United States, begins today to test 10,000 compounds for potential toxicity.

Racial, ethnic and insurance disparities revealed in post-hospital care after trauma
According to the results of a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, African-Americans, Hispanics and uninsured patients use fewer post-hospitalization services after traumatic injury, including home health care, skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation.

Drug reverses aging-associated changes in brain cells
Drugs that affect the levels of an important brain protein involved in learning and memory reverse cellular changes in the brain seen during aging, according to an animal study in the Dec.

Cities fail to recognize full potential of smart technologies
Cities are wasting the potential of smart technologies by failing to realize the value of their hidden infrastructure and digital assets.

Study could lead to drug therapies for preventing atherosclerosis
By changing the behavior of certain cells within human blood vessels, Cornell University researchers have discovered important clues as to the underlying causes of atherosclerosis - a discovery researchers hope can lead to more targeted drug therapies for the prevention of the disease.

Voltage increases up to 25 percent observed in closely packed nanowires at Sandia Labs
Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25 percent in two barely separated nanowires means that designers of next-generation telephones, handheld computers, batteries, and certain solar arrays may need to make allowance for such surprise boosts.

Canada's early entrepreneurs profiled in new book
From the Aboriginal chief who controlled the early Maritime fur trade to pioneering female saloon owners who made their mark during the gold rush, a fascinating new book profiles the entrepreneurs who shaped Canadian history.

Long non-coding RNA prevents the death of maturing red blood cells
A long non-coding RNA prevents programmed cell death during one of the final stages of red blood cell differentiation, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Hospital gives first tomosynthesis mammograms in region this week
There is still a one in eight lifetime risk that a woman will develop breast cancer, and the best tool against the disease remains early detection.

Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in the 12 months after childbirth
Forty percent of women who report depressive symptoms following birth also reported intimate partner violence finds a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Cellular automaton model predicts how hair follicle stem cells regenerate
Your hair -- or lack of hair -- is the result of a lifelong tug-of-war between activators that wake up, and inhibitors that calm, stem cells in every hair follicle on your body.

Tecnalia develops a high-speed fire door
The NOFIRE European Project, coordinated by Tecnalia, has solved two big challenges by putting two technologies together into one, a move which so far has prevented having a door that is simultaneously a high-speed door and a fire door.

Heart health risk of prostate cancer treatment being ignored, warn specialists
Heart disease and stroke are emerging complications of treating prostate cancer with drugs to suppress testosterone production, yet standard management of the disease is ignoring this risk, warn specialists in a viewpoint published online in Heart.

Human brains unlikely to evolve into a 'supermind' as price to pay would be too high
Human minds have hit an evolutionary

Obesity linked to worse outcomes in early breast cancer treatment
Obesity is associated with worse outcomes overall in early-stage breast cancer, researchers reported at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Counting atoms with glass fiber
Glass fibers, thinner than the wavelength of visible light can now be used to detect atoms.

Better CMT outcome measurement is Wayne State University physician's goal
A Wayne State University physician is seeking a better way to determine the effectiveness of treatments for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or inherited sensory-motor neuropathy, a disease that afflicts one in 2,500 people.

ASME Petroleum Division donates $1.25 million to University of Houston
The University of Houston has received $1.25 million from the Petroleum Division of ASME for two energy-related programs.

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy offers limited gains for breast cancer patients
Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, a procedure that removes the unaffected breast in patients with cancer in one breast, provides only a modest increase in life expectancy, according to researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Psychopathy: A misunderstood personality disorder
Psychopathic personalities are some of the most memorable characters portrayed in popular media today.

Evolution reveals a link between DNA and protein shape
Using evolutionary genetic information, an international team of researchers has taken major steps toward solving a classic problem of molecular biology: Predicting how a protein will fold in three dimensions.

Brain tsunamis' are clue to helping victims of major head injuries
Treating 'brain tsunamis' or 'killer waves' could stop many victims of major head injury from suffering additional brain damage, a study published in Lancet Neurology has found.

Behavior of people faced with health-care choices is not influenced by 'framing effect,' study finds
The behavior of consumers who are faced with making decisions about their health is not significantly influenced by the way health messages are worded or framed, according to a large, new study by researchers at the University at Buffalo and other institutions.

Shedding light on why it is so 'tough' to make healthier hot dogs
In part of an effort to replace animal fat in hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers and other foods with healthier fat, scientists are reporting an advance in solving the mystery of why hot dogs develop an unpleasant tough texture when vegetable oils pinch hit for animal fat.

Should nuns be given the pill for health reasons?
Like any other women who do not have children, Catholic nuns find themselves with an increased risk of dying from breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer compared with women who bear children.

Novel approach to treating breast cancer shows great promise
In a novel therapeutic approach to treating breast cancer, Loyola University Medical Center researchers are reporting positive results from a clinical trial of a drug that targets tumor stem cells.

Mayo Clinic collaboration finds multiple sclerosis often starts in brain's outer layers
Multiple sclerosis may progress from the outermost layers of the brain to its deep parts, and isn't always an

Closing in on an ulcer- and cancer-causing bacterium
A research team led by scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is releasing study results this week showing how a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, that causes more than half of peptic ulcers worldwide and that has been implicated in stomach cancer has managed for eons to turn the acidic environment of the human gut into one in which it can thrive.

Short walk cuts chocolate consumption in half
A 15-minute walk can cut snacking on chocolate at work by half, according to research by the University of Exeter.

Applied Optics focus issue: Digital holography and 3-D imaging
The editors of OSA's journal Applied Optics have teamed with the editors of the journal Chinese Optics Letters to publish a special focus issue on Digital Holography and 3D imaging.

Echocardiography offers the future for infarct size quantification
Two studies being presented at EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2011 Congress in Budapest, Hungary, Dec.

A 'wild card' in your genes
The human genome and the endowments of genes in other animals and plants are like a deck of poker cards containing a

Combination of everolimus and exemestane improves survival for women with metastatic breast cancer
In an international Phase III randomized study, everolimus, when combined with the hormonal therapy exemestane, has been shown to dramatically improve progression‑free survival, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Former enemies influence EU governance of GMOs
The EU's governance of genetically modified organisms and food safety has given lobbyists a new role.

Scientists are doing their most creative work later in life
In another illustration of the contributions older people make to society, an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News describes how older scientists are winning Nobel prizes more often these days than in the past.

University of Southampton develops faster lasers to map jet engines
The University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center is developing lasers, which will allow for a better understanding of the combustion process in jet engines and reduce emissions.

Oxford University Press acquires 2 journals from Preston Publications
Oxford University Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of two titles, Journal of Analytical Toxicology and Journal of Chromatographic Science, from Preston Publications, in a transaction managed by DeSilva+Phillips.

EUROECHO 2011: Importance of echocardiography to evaluate cardio toxicity in cancer patients
Echocardiography has a central role to play in identifying patients at risk of suffering heart damage from cancer therapies, and also in evaluating potential cardio protective treatments, report two new studies at the EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2011 Congress.

Dual HER2 blockade significantly extends progression-free survival
Adding pertuzumab to a combination of trastuzumab and docetaxel chemotherapy extended progression-free survival by a median of 6.1 months in patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer compared with patients who received the combination therapy with placebo.

Optical illusion reveals reflexes in the brain
New research by psychologists at Queen Mary, University of London has revealed that the way we see the world might depend on reflexes in the brain.

Oral bisphosphonate did not improve prognosis for patients with breast cancer
Results from a German study demonstrated no improvement in disease-free survival among patients with breast cancer who were treated with dose-dense chemotherapy and the bisphosphonate ibandronate.

New insights into how the brain reconstructs the third dimension
A new visual illusion has shed light on a long-standing mystery about how the brain works out the 3-D shapes of objects.

Avatars develop real world skills
New research suggests that far from disengaging young people from real life, virtual worlds can provide unique environments that can help them learn and negotiate new situations.

Middle-class elementary school students ask for help more often than their working-class peers
Middle-class children ask their teachers for help more often and more assertively than working-class children and, in doing so, receive more support and assistance from teachers according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.

New Autism Speaks 'Office Hour: The Doctors Are In' monthly live web chat
Starting Jan. 5, 2012 and the first Thursday of every month, Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, and AVP, Head of Medical Research Joseph Horrigan, M.D., a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, both with extensive clinical experience, will conduct

Time estimation ability predicts mathematical intelligence
Being good at estimating time can be a useful skill on its own, but it may also indicate higher mathematical intelligence as well, according to a new study published in the Dec.

Barrow physicians chronicle Vladimir Betz in Brain
A team of physicians and scientists at Barrow Neurological Institute, in collaboration with colleagues in the Ukraine, have written a first-of-its-kind biography of Ukranian anatomist and histologist Vladimir Betz.

Extreme cold good for exercise recovery
A study published in the Dec. 7 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE reports that runners benefit more from whole-body cryotherapy, in which the study participants was exposed to temperatures as cold as -166 F, than from exposure to far-infrared radiation or no treatment.

Researchers discover that changes in bioelectric signals cause tadpoles to grow eyes in back, tail
For the first time, scientists have altered natural bioelectrical communication among cells to directly specify the type of new organ to be created at a particular location within a vertebrate organism.

Penn study: Middle-class elementary students ask for help more than working-class peers
Middle-class children ask their teachers for help more often and more assertively than working-class children and, in doing so, receive more support and assistance from teachers according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers find best routes to self-assembling 3-D shapes
Researchers at Brown and Johns Hopkins universities have found optimal configurations for creating 3-D geometric shapes -- like tiny, highly simplified geodesic domes that assemble by themselves.

Landsat satellites track Yellowstone's underground heat
Yellowstone National Park sits on top of a vast, ancient, and still active volcano.

Recycled thermal cash register receipts spread BPA to other paper products: ACS podcast
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

UH architecture students creating practical designs for proposed Galveston levees
This fall, 12 students at UH's Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture developed designs and plans for urban amenities that can be incorporated into a Galveston levee.

Humboldt Research Award for Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover
The Israeli Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover has been named one of the recipients of the Humboldt Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Scientists identify strategies to conquer lifestyle and genetic factors related to chronic diseases
A dramatic increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, allergy, and irritable bowel syndrome, has led to concern about how modern lifestyles may trigger physiological defense mechanisms.

Gene expression in mouse neural retina sequenced
In a new study, researchers have gained new insights into neural disease genes by sequencing virtually all the gene expression in the mouse neural retina.

Pycnogenol found to improve memory and test scores in college students in new clinical trial
Natural supplement Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was found to significantly enhance mental performance, including improved sustained attention, memory and mood, in healthy college students in a recent clinical trial published in Panminerva Medica.

Older Californians with disabilities struggle to remain at home as public programs lose funding
California's low-income seniors with disabilities are struggling to remain in their homes as public funding for long-term care services shrinks and may be slashed even further, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which was produced with support from the SCAN Foundation.

New Montana State University, Pennsylvania study reveals North America's biggest dinosaur
New research from Montana State University and the State Museum of Pennsylvania has unveiled enormous bones from North America's biggest dinosaur.

Heads up Kobe Bryant! Research shows that trying for another 3-pointer is a mistake
New research by Dr. Yonatan Loewenstein and graduate student Tal Neiman at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem shatters the myth that a player who scores one or more three-pointers improves his odds of scoring another.

Research could help people with declining sense of smell
Cells in the nose - smell sensors, primarily - are constantly replaced as old ones die off.

When prophecy fails: How to better predict success in HIV prevention clinical trials
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of medicine and pharmacy may help explain the failure of some recent clinical trials of prevention of HIV infection, compared to the success of others that used the same drugs.

Clodronate appeared safe, modestly affected breast cancer disease events
A recently presented study revealed that the bisphosphonate clodronate had a low incidence of adverse events and toxicity among patients with breast cancer and may modestly reduce the incidence of distant metastases in postmenopausal women.

Nipping metastases in the bud
The proliferation of metastases is often the main cause of complications and death from cancer.

New international consortium to prepare research community for future pandemics
An international consortium aimed at ensuring that the clinical research community is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic or other rapidly emerging public health threat is launched today by leading funders of medical research from across the globe.

New approach to management of overeating in children
Overeating, whether in children or adults, often takes place even in the absence of hunger, resulting in weight gain and obesity.

Should nuns be given the pill for health reasons?
Catholic nuns should be given the pill to guard against cancers more common in women who have never had children, according to two leading Australian researchers.

World's oldest super predator had remarkable vision
The Spanish National Research Council collaborates with an international team of palaeontologists that have discovered exceptionally preserved fossil eyes of the meter-long swimming animal Anomalocaris - the world's top predator in the Cambrian ocean over 500 million years ago.

Stress reduction and mindful eating curb weight gain among overweight women
In a study by UCSF researchers published online in the Journal of Obesity, mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting.

Max Planck Florida Institute scientists create first realistic 3D reconstruction of a brain circuit
Researchers from the lab of Nobel laureate Bert Sakmann, MD, Ph.D. at the Max Planck Florida Institute report that, using a conceptually new approach and state-of-the-art research tools, they have created the first realistic three-dimensional diagram of a thalamocortical column in the rodent brain.

Lightweight GPS tags help research track animals of all sizes
GPS tracking has shown its utility for wildlife studies, and now, development of light-weight GPS tags will allow researchers access to information about a broader range of small- to medium-sized animals than was previously available.

US believers favor international action on climate change, nuclear risk: UMD poll
A majority of Americans professing belief in God favor cooperative international efforts to combat climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons - branding it a moral obligation - says a new University of Maryland study.

Traumatic injury sets off a 'genomic storm' in immune system pathways
Serious traumatic injuries, including major burns, set off a

Sewage treatment plants may contribute to antibiotic resistance problem
Water discharged into lakes and rivers from municipal sewage treatment plants may contain significant concentrations of the genes that make bacteria antibiotic-resistant.

NEJM publishes study showing LigoCyte's norovirus vaccine demonstrates protection against illness
LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals announced today that its experimental vaccine provided significant protection against norovirus infection and related gastrointestinal illness collectively known as acute gastroenteritis.

Research offers new pathway of multiple sclerosis
Working together, researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic have for the first time examined early multiple sclerosis brain lesions in the cerebral cortex.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Alenga intensifying
NASA's TRMM satellite passed over Tropical Storm Alenga and noticed that the rainfall has intensified in the storm in the last two days indicating that it continues strengthening.

Immediate bisphosphonate use with endocrine therapy reduced recurrence and increased survival in postmenopausal early breast cancer
The addition of zoledronic acid to adjuvant endocrine therapy increased bone mineral density and reduced the risk for disease recurrence among postmenopausal women with early hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, according to new data from the ZO-FAST trial.

Changing order drugs are taken boosts breast cancer survival
Changing the order in which two drugs are taken significantly extended the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer, researchers reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Child support forgiveness programs can be effective in reducing debt
Sometimes getting something is better than nothing. That's the aim of a pilot program that allows parents with large child support debts to reduce their overall debt if they pay back at least some of what they owe in child support.

Addition of bevacizumab to conventional therapy improved progression-free survival in HER2-positive breast cancer
Data evaluated by an independent review committee revealed that the addition of bevacizumab to trastuzumab and docetaxel significantly improved progression-free survival in HER2-positive breast cancer, despite findings from an investigator assessment that the improvement was present but statistically non-significant.

Lipid-modifying enzyme: New target for pan-viral therapeutics
Poliovirus, coxsackievirus & hepatitis C rely on their unwilling host for membrane platforms enriched in a specific lipid on which they can replicate.

Exemestane plus everolimus increased progression-free survival
Everolimus in combination with exemestane was well tolerated. BOLERO-2 results establish

The H1N1 flu vaccine protects both pregnant women and newly-borns
During the 2011-2012 campaign to promote the winter flu vaccination, Odile Launay, Director of vaccinology at the Center for Clinical Investigation of Cochin Pasteur published the results of the PREFLUVAC clinical study carried out during the worldwide influenza epidemic of 2009.

Satellite data shows that Kirtland's warblers prefer forests after fire
Kirtland's warblers are an endangered species of lightweight little birds with bright yellow-bellies that summer in North America and winter in the Bahamas.

Salk researchers develop safe way to repair sickle cell disease genes
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a way to use patients' own cells to potentially cure sickle cell disease and many other disorders caused by mutations in a gene that helps produce blood hemoglobin.

UCLA researchers suggest unconventional approach to control HIV epidemics
A new weapon to prevent HIV infection, called pre-exposure prophylaxis, Because PrEP is based on the same drugs used to treat HIV-infected individuals, the big public health scare is that the dual use of these drugs will lead to skyrocketing levels of drug resistance. 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