Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 19, 2011
Potential concern about drugs in clinical trial
Drugs that enhance levels of small molecules derived naturally in the body from a major component of animal fats are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes.

In hot water: Ice Age findings forecast problems
The first comprehensive study of changes in the oxygenation of oceans at the end of the last Ice Age has implications for the future of our oceans under global warming.

Commentary calls for awareness of Internet pharmacies' role in prescription drug abuse
Efforts to halt the growing abuse of prescription drugs must include addressing the availability of these drugs on the Internet and increasing physician awareness of the dangers posed by Internet pharmacies, according to a commentary from investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California, and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Study reveals turn 'signals' for neuron growth
Researchers at UC Irvine and The University of Texas at Arlington have discovered how spinning microparticles can direct the growth of nerve fiber, a discovery that could allow for directed growth of neuronal networks on a chip and improve methods for treating spinal or brain injuries.

Kessler Foundation neuroscientist Jordan Grafman receives Humboldt Research Award
Jordan Grafman, Ph.D., of Kessler Foundation, has received a Humboldt Research Award.

Chemicals and biofuel from wood biomass
A method developed at Aalto University in Finland makes it possible to use microbes to produce butanol suitable for biofuel and other industrial chemicals from wood biomass.

Cockroach hookup signal could benefit endangered woodpecker
A North Carolina State University discovery of the unique chemical composition of a cockroach signal -- a

Reproductive disorder linked to increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease
Women with endometriosis are up to twice as likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease as those without this reproductive disorder, suggests a large study published online in Gut.

Wayne State study finds soybean compounds enhances effects of cancer radiotherapy
A Wayne State University researcher has shown that compounds found in soybeans can make radiation treatment of lung cancer tumors more effective while helping to preserve normal tissue.

Legumes give nitrogen-supplying bacteria special access pass
A 125-year debate on how nitrogen-fixing bacteria are able to breach the cell walls of legumes has been settled.

A major step forward towards drought tolerance in crops
When a plant encounters drought, it does its best to cope with this stress by activating a set of protein molecules called receptors.

Abolish the criminalization of HIV
Routine criminal prosecutions for not disclosing HIV status should be abolished, write three HIV/AIDS experts in an article in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Targeting EETs to treat cardiovascular disease may prove a double-edged sword
A group of small molecules called EETs -- currently under scrutiny as possible treatment targets for a host of cardiovascular diseases -- may also drive the growth and spread of cancer, according to researchers at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC) and other institutions.

University of Nevada, Reno using new technology to record Antarctic Ocean, ice temperatures
Half-mile long thermometers have been dropped through the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica that will give the world relevant data on sea and ice temperatures for tracking climate change and its effect on the glacial ice surrounding the continent.

Lower classes quicker to show compassion in the face of suffering
Emotional differences between the rich and poor, as depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as

Research and education success earns more NSF funding
The Center for Layered Polymeric Systems program, led by Case Western Reserve University, has received a 5-year renewal of funding from the National Science Foundation, bringing the total amount to $40 million over 10 years.

Algal protein gives boost to electrochemical water splitting
Water splitting in photo-electrochemical cells to yield hydrogen is a promising way to sustainable fuels.

Salk discovery may lead to safer treatments for asthma, allergies and arthritis
Scientists have discovered a missing link between the body's biological clock and sugar metabolism system, a finding that may help avoid the serious side effects of drugs used for treating asthma, allergies and arthritis.

New insight into why locusts swarm
New research has found that a protein associated with learning and memory plays an integral role in changing the behavior of locusts from that of harmless grasshoppers into swarming pests.

Plant-eating dinosaur discovered in Antarctica
For the first time, the presence of large bodied herbivorous dinosaurs in Antarctica has been recorded.

Physician notifications improve postfracture care for patients
A simple physician notification system can help prevent further fractures in osteoporotic patients who have had already had fractures, according to a study in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Location, location, location: Economists document key role of spatial component in economic growth
Location and other geographical factors play an important role in supporting economic growth and development in emerging markets, a new study from the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty has found.

Researchers measure nanometer scale temperature
Illinois researchers have developed a new kind of electro-thermal nanoprobe that can independently control voltage and temperature at a nanometer-scale point contact.

Tissue structure delays cancer development
Computer model reveals that spatial structure delays tumor formation.

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 19, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Bone marrow-derived cells differentiate in the brain through mechanisms of plasticity
When bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMDCs) were grafted into mutant mice suffering from degeneration of specific neuronal populations at different ages, more bone marrow-derived microglial cells were observed in olfactory bulbs of the test animals where degeneration of mitral cells was still in progress, rather than in the cerebellum where cell degeneration had been completed, showing that BMDCs contribute to the central nervous system variably in the same animal depending on region and cell-specific factors.

Georgetown researchers lead discovery expected to significantly change biomedical research
In a major step that could revolutionize biomedical research, scientists have discovered a way to keep normal cells as well as tumor cells taken from an individual cancer patient alive in the laboratory -- which previously had not been possible.

Middle-age blood pressure changes affect lifetime heart disease, stroke risk
Changes in blood pressure during middle age can affect lifetime risk for heart disease and stroke.

Snipping key nerves may help life threatening heart rhythms
According to a new UCLA study, cutting key nerves to the heart that control the adrenaline-driven

Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease
Stabilizing the cell's power-generating center protects against Parkinson's disease in a rat model, according to a report published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

University of Maryland Department of surgery continues to lead through surgical innovation
New funding data for fiscal 2011 shows that the University of Maryland Department of Surgery received the most research funding from the National Institutes of Health of any surgery department in Maryland and Washington, DC, and is among the top 10 NIH-funded surgical programs in the nation.

A new kind of metal in the deep Earth
The intense pressures and temperatures in Earth's deep interior squeeze atoms and electrons so close they interact differently.

Hedge fund share restrictions favor managers over investors
A new study of hedge fund managers' trading habits shows they sell off their holdings ahead of other investors.

IRSF awards over $1.5 million for basic and translational research for Rett syndrome
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation announced today that it is awarding over $1.5 million to support 18 new grants designed to study a variety of diverse topics from basic science and disease pathology to developing treatments and outcome measures for Rett syndrome.

MU researchers find pet kidney injuries are similar to human kidney injuries
For pets suffering critical illness or injury, University of Missouri researchers have found that even tiny increases of creatinine in blood also could indicate acute kidney damage.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Dec. 20, 2011
Below is information about articles being published in the Dec.

Evolution at warp speed: Hatcheries change salmon genetics after a single generation
The impact of hatcheries on salmon is so profound that in just one generation traits are selected that allow fish to survive and prosper in the hatchery environment, at the cost of their ability to thrive and reproduce in a wild environment.

Infrared technology for measuring the effect of fire on materials
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid are developing an infrared measuring method to analyze the thermal properties and resistance to fire of composite materials.

Acupuncture reduces protein linked to stress in first of its kind animal study
Acupuncture significantly reduces levels of a protein in rats linked to chronic stress, researchers have found.

Researchers find misinformation about emergency contraception common in low-income neighborhoods
Researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have found that in low-income neighborhoods, misinformation about access to emergency contraception is a common occurrence.

Data-driven tools cast geographical patterns of rainfall extremes in new light
Using statistical analysis methods to examine rainfall extremes in India, a team of researchers has made a discovery that resolves an ongoing debate in published findings and offers new insights.

ESC calls for European studies exploring readmissions to hospital following PCI
The European Society of Cardiology welcomes the spotlight that a US study has placed on the importance of measuring rates of re-hospitalization following percutaneous coronary intervention procedures.

What are the prospects for sustaining high-quality groundwater?
New research led by the University of Bristol's Department of Civil Engineering has looked at nitrate transport from agricultural land to water in the Thames basin.

Blood pressure drug limits cigarette smoke-induced lung injury in mice
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is among the most common causes of death in the US.

Chinese Academy of Sciences names CMU's Veloso an Einstein Chair Professor
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has named Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A.

Report identifies health, environmental issues and best practices
A number of health and environmental issues and related risks need to be addressed when considering whether to lift the almost 30-year moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia

Award success for University
Two University of Manchester academics have received awards for the quality of their research into sustainable chemical engineering.

MMV and SCYNEXIS offer 400 active compounds for neglected disease drug research at no cost
In a bid to catalyze malaria and neglected disease drug discovery, MMV and SCYNEXIS, Inc. have assembled a Malaria Box of 400 carefully selected commercially available compounds with antimalarial activity and will provide it to researchers at no cost.

Summary of evidence shows most patients need several sequential treatment steps for remission of major depression
Major depressive disorder is a major public health problem that affects seven percent of the population during any 12-month period and affects around one in six people throughout their lifetime.

What makes patients complex? Ask their primary care physicians
Being able to define and measure patient complexity has important implications for how care is organized, how physicians and health care systems are paid, and how resources are allocated.

Impact of climate change on agriculture
When climatic patterns shift, the spatial distribution of croplands, habitats and fish populations soon follows, significantly impacting agriculture and food production.

Study: African-American men don't reap same career benefits from mentoring as Caucasians
Networking within an organization and having a mentor are widely thought to promote career success, but a new University of Georgia study finds that African-American men don't receive the same measurable benefits from these professional connections that Caucasians do.

Stanford study finds IPS cells match embryonic stem cells in modeling human disease
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have shown that iPS cells, viewed as a possible alternative to human embryonic stem cells, can mirror the defining defects of a genetic condition -- in this instance, Marfan syndrome -- as well as embryonic stem cells can.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's illness deciphered after 150 years
Known for her poetry, letters, love affair and marriage to Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning also left a legacy of unanswered questions about her lifelong chronic illness.

Research could improve laser-manufacturing technique
Engineers have discovered details about the behavior of ultrafast laser pulses that may lead to new applications in manufacturing, diagnostics and other research.

Babies remember even as they seem to forget
Babies may not remember what they saw, but they remember that they saw something.

San Diego Zoo researchers contribute to project using mummy DNA to differentiate croc species
The Nile crocodile is a species that was identified by ancient Egyptians.

Wolfson Foundation awards £20 million to UCL for experimental neurology center
A new center dedicated to the understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases will be established at UCL following the award of a £20 million grant from the Wolfson Foundation, it was announced today.

Will Antarctic worms warm to changing climate?
Researchers at the University of Delaware are examining tiny worms that inhabit the frigid sea off Antarctica to learn not only how these organisms adapt to the severe cold, but how they will survive as ocean temperatures increase.

New predictor of heart attack or stroke
A hike in your blood pressure during middle age significantly raises the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke during your lifetime, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.

1 trait has huge impact on whether alcohol makes you aggressive
Drinking enough alcohol to become intoxicated increases aggression significantly in people who have one particular personality trait, according to new research.

Tufts University Professor Eric Miller named IEEE Fellow
Miller was named a fellow for his research in inverse problems and physics-based signal and image processing.

Intel wins coveted INFORMS Society Wagner Prize with product design innovations
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) today announced the award of the Daniel H.

Doctors are cautious, patients enthusiastic about sharing medical notes
Patients are overwhelmingly interested in exploring the notes doctors write about them after an office visit, but doctors worry about the impact of such transparency on their patients and on their own workflow, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) study suggests.

German research team targets 'at risk' data on biodiversity
A new German-based project is setting out to rescue biodiversity data at risk of being lost, because they are not integrated in institutional databases, are kept in outdated digital storage systems, or are not properly documented.

Eating less keeps the brain young
Overeating may cause brain aging while eating less turns on a molecule that helps the brain stay young.

Breast cancers at lower-risk detected with widespread use of mammograms
As a woman ages, her chances of being diagnosed with a lower-risk breast tumor increase, according to a novel study led by UCSF which found that for women over 50, a substantial number of cancers detected by mammograms have good prognoses.

High bodily levels of nickel and selenium may lower pancreatic cancer risk
Similarly, high levels of lead, arsenic, and cadmium could boost the likelihood of developing the disease, the study shows.

Study reveals gender bias of prospective parents
A Queen's University study has found that when people think about having children, men want boys and women want girls.

Sensational bird finding in China
Seven singing males were observed in Foping and seven more in Changqing National Nature Reserves - which almost equals the total number of individuals observed of this species since its discovery in the late 19th century.

Quotas for women in local politics brings surge in documented crimes against women in India
An increase in female representation in local politics has caused a significant rise in documented crimes against women in India, new research has found.

Brain function - A new way to measure the burden of aging across nations
Cognitive function may be a better indicator of the impact of aging on an economy than age-distribution, with chronological age imposing less of a social and economic burden if the population is

NIH scientists find a potential new avenue for cancer therapies
Recent findings in mice suggest that blocking the production of small molecules produced in the body, known as epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), may represent a novel strategy for treating cancer by eliminating the blood vessels that feed cancer tumors.

Milling machines could consume less without their productivity being compromised
There are few places in the world where the machine tool has more tradition than in the Basque Country.

Hellbender salamander study seeks answers for global amphibian decline
A new study co-authored by University of Florida researchers on the endangered Ozark Hellbender giant salamander is the first to detail its skin microbes, the bacteria and fungi that defend against pathogens.

Knee pain common complaint in middle-aged and mature women
New research shows 63 percent of women age 50 and older reported persistent, incident, or intermittent knee pain during a 12-year study period.

Hospitals invest heavily in new heart attack care programs but fail to improve access
Researchers have found a 44 percent increase since 2001 in the number of hospitals that offer definitive emergency care to patients with heart attack, but only a one percent increase in access to that care.

UCF nanotechnology may speed up drug testing
Testing the effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals may get faster thanks to a new technique incorporating quantum dots developed at the University of Central Florida.

First aid after tick bites
They come out in the spring, and each year they spread further - the ticks.

Stop the violence and play hockey
The tradition of fighting in hockey should be stopped, as research shows that repeated head trauma causes severe and progressive brain damage, states an editorial in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Crowdfunding science: Student raises cash online to follow a flying fox
The flying fox is an adorable doe-eyed bat with a dark side - it is the perfect vector for emerging infectious diseases from Asia.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advocates for expanded nutritional coverage under Medicare
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has prepared a request to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy for specific diseases, including hypertension, obesity, and cancer, as part of the CMS National Coverage Determination Process.

TMT's Jerry Nelson honored with Franklin Institute Award
If the success of the people behind the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project is any measure, this planned next-generation astronomical observatory looks set to accomplish a great deal.

Sensing the deep ocean
Sensorbots are spherical devices equipped with biogeochemical sensors, that promise to open a new chapter in the notoriously challenging exploration of earth's largest ecosystem -- the ocean.

Grafting of human spinal stem cells into ALS rats best with immunosuppressant combination
Researchers grafting human spinal stem cells into rats modeled with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) tested four immunosuppressive protocols to determine which regimen improved long-term therapeutic effects.

Quantum computing has applications in magnetic imaging, say Pitt researchers
Quantum computing -- considered the powerhouse of computational tasks -- may have applications in areas outside of pure electronics, according to a University of Pittsburgh researcher and his collaborators.

Congress' 'disarray' makes it 'likely' that 27 percent Medicare cut will go in effect
Washington: Congress'

Kaist expresses appreciation to a Swedish nurse served in the Korean War and donated a scholarship
In late June of 2011, Rune and Kerstin Jonasson donated 700 million Krona to Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and the couple requested that a portion of the money be used to promote academic interaction and collaboration with KAIST.

'Transending Borders Towards Global Health'
'Transcending Borders Towards Global Health' is a thought stimulating conference, convening leaders, changemakers, and participants from all areas of global health.

Effect of adenotonsillectomy in children with sleep-disordered breathing
Children may have a better quality of life and diminished cardiovascular disease risk from the decreased endothelin 1 levels after adenotonsillectomy, according to new research published in the December 2011 issue of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

Potential anti-cancer treatment method wins Kaye Award
A strategy for inhibiting a protein that is associated with the spread of cancer has won for a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. student in chemistry one of this year's Kaye Innovation Awards at the university.

Ultra-compact dwarf galaxies are bright star clusters
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a new statistical study of the so-called 'ultra-compact dwarf galaxies' (UCDs), which are still mysterious objects.

National Science Foundation awards major grant to Cary Institute
The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies has received a $1.6 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an innovative graduate training program. 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