Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 05, 2012
Who's the boss? Research shows cells influence their own destiny
In a major shake-up of scientists' understanding of what determines the fate of cells, researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have shown that cells have some control over their own destiny.

School pupils learn about practical philosophy
Children could learn valuable lessons in responsible citizenship, such as making moral judgments and informed choices, through taking part in philosophical dialogue, according to researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Making personal health records more usable
A new study by Regenstrief Institute investigators recruited patients into a human-computer interaction laboratory to determine the user experience for several popular functions of the Department of Veterans Affairs' My HealtheVet, the most widely disseminated personal health record system in the United States.

Flatworms' minimalist approach to cell division reveals molecular architecture of human centrosome
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have discovered that planarians, tiny flatworms fabled for their regenerative powers, completely lack centrosomes, cellular structures that organize the network of microtubules that pulls chromosomes apart during cell division.

Lead-free solder becomes top income-generating technology in Ames Lab and ISU history
Fifteen years ago, an environmentally-friendly solder developed by the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory made history as the first cost-effective, broadly usable alternative to tin-lead solder, a toxic but necessary ingredient in a range of consumer electronics.

Cancer drugs help the hardest cases of Pompe disease
Kids with Pompe disease fail because of a missing enzyme, GAA, that leads to dangerous sugar build-up, which affects muscles and movement.

Light makes write for DNA information-storage device
Researchers have demonstrated a write-once-read-many-times information-storage device, made of DNA embedded with silver nanoparticles, that uses ultraviolet light to encode data.

Experts suggest all hospitalized patients have blood glucose levels tested
Hyperglycemia, or having high glucose levels in the blood, is a common, serious and costly health care problem in hospitalized patients.

OHSU research produces the world's first primate chimeric offspring
Newly published research by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University provides significant new information about how early embryonic stem cells develop and take part in formation of the primate species.

New practice model may reduce miscarriage after assisted reproduction
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services today announced the publication of an article in the December issue of Reproductive BioMedicine Online about miscarriage rates following IVF treatment with frozen thawed embryos which may revolutionize clinical and laboratory practice.

Low vitamin D levels linked to depression, UT Southwestern psychiatrists report
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study.

Inflammation in depression: Chicken or egg?
An important ongoing debate in the field of psychiatry is whether inflammation in the body is a consequence of or contributor to major depression.

Novel brain tumor vaccine acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells
A national clinical trial testing the efficacy of a novel brain tumor vaccine has begun at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the only facility in the Southeast to participate.

Clinical trial demonstrates that rilonacept significantly reduces gout flares
A phase II clinical trial found that rilonacept, an inhibitor of the protein interleukin-1, significantly reduced acute gout flares that occur when initiating uric acid-lowering therapy.

Trauma centers increase use of non-surgical options for abdominal gunshot and stab wounds
An increasing number of abdominal gunshot and stab wounds are being treated without surgery according to an American study of nearly 26,000 patients from 378 trauma centers across the USA.

Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics adds society affiliation
Springer's Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics announces an affiliation with the American Society of Pharmacometrics starting in 2012.

Cell-CT: A new dimension in breast cancer research
A team led by professor Deirdre Meldrum, ASU Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation at the Biodesign Institute at ASU has examined normal, benign and malignant cells, using the first and only research Cell-CT (VisionGate, Inc., Phoenix, Ariz.

Dialysis treatments go green
Solar power can help offset high utility costs and make hemodialysis treatments more environmentally friendly, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Telling children about death
How do you tell a little girl that her grandfather, her mother, her friend... has died, and that he or she has gone for ever?

Another outbreak of coral disease hits the reefs of Kane'ohe Bay, O'ahu
Researchers at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, an organized research unit in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology have discovered an outbreak of coral disease called Montipora White Syndrome in Kāneʿohe Bay, Oʿahu.

Study finds air pollution linked to diabetes and hypertension in African-American women
The incidence of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension increases with cumulative levels of exposure to nitrogen oxides, according to a new study led by researchers from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University.

UGA scientists 'hijack' bacterial immune system
The knowledge that bacteria possess adaptable immune systems that protect them from individual viruses and other foreign invaders is relatively new to science, and researchers across the globe are working to learn how these systems function and to apply that knowledge in industry and medicine.

NPL and SUERC calibrate a 'rock clock'
New research by the National Physical Laboratory and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center will improve the accuracy of estimates of the time of geological events.

Why humans choose running over walking
Other than Olympic race walkers, people generally find it more comfortable to run than walk when they start moving at around two meters per second - about 4.5 miles per hour.

Twin Cities light rail project presents both opportunities and risks for health, according to report
The rezoning around a planned light rail line in the Twin Cities would create both opportunities and potential risks for the health of the people in the communities it would pass through, according to a health impact assessment released today.

Cognitive decline can begin as early as age 45, warn experts
The brain's capacity for memory, reasoning and comprehension skills can start to deteriorate from age 45, finds research published on today.

NanoCAGE reveals transcriptional landscape of the mouse main olfactory epithelium
The problem in biology of how to identify the promoters of olfactory receptor genes has remained unsolved due to the difficulty of purifying sufficient material from the olfactory epithelium.

Graphene's piezoelectric promise
Engineers predict that graphene can be coaxed into acting piezoelectric, merely by punching triangular holes into the material.

Around 200 million people using illicit drugs worldwide each year, with use highest in high-income countries
The first paper in the Lancet Series on Addiction addresses the global burden of disease due to illicit drug use, and reports estimates that some 200 million people worldwide use illicit drugs each year.

Countries wanting to try new approaches to drug legislation would have to move beyond existing international treaties
International treaties governing laws on illicit and non-medical drug use prevent innovative approaches and have done little for the cause for which they were intended.

Down to the wire for silicon: Researchers create a wire 4 atoms wide, 1 atom tall
The smallest wires ever developed in silicon -- just one atom tall and four atoms wide -- have been shown by a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales, Melbourne University and Purdue University to have the same current-carrying capability as copper wires.

Dogs read our intent
Dogs pick up not only on the words we say but also on our intent to communicate with them, according to a report published online in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Jan.

MU researcher's photoacoustic device finds cancer cells before they become tumors
University of Missouri researchers are one step closer to melanoma cancer detection at the cellular level, long before tumors have a chance to form.

Starting smoking cessation medication earlier may make it easier to quit
Smokers planning to kick the habit may have more success if they begin using a cessation medication several weeks before they actually try to quit.

Focusing on family helps mothers of technology-dependent children function
Normal everyday life for parents requires organization. Parents of children who require ventilators, oxygen, IVs and other tools to live, those day-to-day tasks can be time-consuming, difficult and stressful on the family.

Paddlefish sensors tuned to detect signals from zooplankton prey
Neurons fire in a synchronized bursting pattern in response to robust signals indicating nearby food.

Chinese herbal medicine may provide novel treatment for alcohol abuse
UCLA researchers have identified how a component of an ancient Chinese herbal anti-hangover medicine called dihydromyricetin, isolated from the plant Hovenia, counteracts acute alcohol intoxication and withdrawal symptoms.

UC Riverside bug expert visits Rwanda to solve mystery surrounding specialty coffee sector
The expertise of the University of California, Riverside entomologists has a worldwide impact, with researchers tracking down the natural enemy of the Asian citrus psyllid in Pakistan, identifying insecticidal fungi to control katydids in Papua New Guinea, and suppressing the cottony cushion scale in the Galapagos Islands - to name just a few projects.

Study finds statin costs 400 percent higher in US compared to UK
In the United States, the cost paid for statins in people under the age of 65 who have private insurance is approximately 400 percent higher than comparable costs paid by the government in the United Kingdom.

Startup receives $4 million to develop drug delivery targeted to the back of the eye
Technology developed at Georgia Tech and Emory for delivering drugs and other therapeutics to specific locations in the eye provides the foundation for a startup that has received a $4 million venture capital investment.

Damon Runyon, Sohn Foundation partner to address funding shortage in pediatric cancer research
Two non-profit organizations committed to eliminating cancer in children and young adults have joined together to address the critical shortage of funding for pediatric cancer research.

Moderate red wine drinking may help cut women's breast cancer risk, Cedars-Sinai study shows
Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among US women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows.

Role of retail chains in inflation measurement and price dynamics
A study by Columbia Business School Professor Emi Nakamura, Chazen Senior Scholar at the Jerome A.

Wildlife Conservation Society documents pneumonia outbreak in endangered markhor
If they didn't have enough to worry about from dodging poachers, snow leopards, and landslides in Central Asia's rugged mountains, a population of endangered markhor -- a majestic wild goat species -- has contracted pneumonia, detected for the first time by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partners in Tajikistan and France.

Rice's Grande-Allen wins AHA Established Investigator Award
Rice University bioengineering researcher Jane Grande-Allen has won an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association for a multiyear study of the role played by proteoglycans (PGs) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in heart-valve health.

Many drug control initiatives to date based on insufficient evidence
The pursuit of public good is an appropriate objective of drug policy, and necessitates the judicious application of controls over availability, prevention, treatments and rehabilitation.

Global conference on stem cell therapy for heart disease to be held Jan. 25-27 in NYC
The Seventh International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation is a comprehensive program dedicated to the evolving field of cell-based therapies for the repair and regeneration of cardiac and vascular disease, as well as related diseases such as diabetes and stroke.

Colorful plates boost a picky eater's appetite
Parents of picky eaters can encourage their children to eat more nutritionally diverse diets by introducing more color to their meals, according to a new Cornell University study.

Solving the structure of a protein that shows promise as a DNA-targeting molecule for gene therapy
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have solved the three-dimensional structure of a newly discovered type of gene-targeting protein that has shown to be useful as a DNA-targeting molecule for gene correction, gene therapy and gene modification.

Developers of liquid crystal display and designers of innovative curriculum win 2012's highest engineering honors
The engineering profession's highest honors for 2012, presented by the National Academy of Engineering, recognize ground-breaking contributions to the development of the modern liquid crystal display and achievements that led to a curriculum that encourages engineering leadership.

Scripps Research Scientist wins pair of grants to study critical component of memory
Sathyanaryanan Puthanveettil, an assistant professor on the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute, has been awarded a pair of notable grants to study a critical component of long-term memory formation.

Diabetic mice provide a surprising breakthrough for multiple sclerosis research
Dr. Dan Frenkel of Tel Aviv University has discovered that when mice with diabetes are injected with a specific protein, they experience the same brain lesions and disabilities that occur in human MS patients.

Crucial gene activator in slow-killing parasite identified
Case Western Reserve University researchers have identified a gene activator crucial to development of flatworms that cause schistosomiasis - a potential target for a vaccine for the killer disease.

Autism Speaks, FSU and First Signs launch Autism Video Glossary treatment section
Autism Speaks, Florida State University's Autism Institute and First Signs introduce a new treatment section in the Autism Video Glossary.

EARTH: Afghanistan's mineral resources laid bare
Geologists carrying rock hammers and accompanied by Marines traverse the rugged expanse of the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, searching for untold mineral wealth.

Earth's massive extinction: The story gets worse
Scientists have uncovered a lot about the Earth's greatest extinction event that took place 250 million years ago when rapid climate change wiped out nearly all marine species and a majority of those on land.

Platform safety on the radar for researchers
Systems used to detect aircraft and ships could soon be fitted in train stations to quickly identify objects - or even people - that have fallen on the tracks, preventing serious accidents and reducing delays that are frequently caused by these mishaps.

Research proving link between virus and MS could point the way to treatment and prevention
A new study from researchers at Queen Mary, University of London shows how a particular virus tricks the immune system into triggering inflammation and nerve cell damage in the brain, which is known to cause MS.

Burundi release 2 new rice varieties for better lives
Farmers in Burundi will soon sow the seeds of hard work and international cooperation with the release of two new rice varieties set to boost rice production and meet the rapidly growing demand for rice in Burundi.

Whiff of 'love hormone' helps monkeys show a little kindness
Oxytocin, the

You say you don't care about dating a hottie?
Stating that you don't care if you land a partner who is

Fibroblasts contribute to melanoma tumor growth, say Moffitt Cancer Center researchers
Fibroblasts, cells that play a role in the structural framework of tissues, play an apparent role in melanoma tumor growth.

Time recording up one's sleeve
Optimized operations are essential to globally competitive companies. Until now, inspectors have timed procedures, usually manually, in order to organize manual assembly operations efficiently - a method prone to error.

Proton therapy effective prostate cancer treatment
Proton therapy, a type of external beam radiation therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for prostate cancer, according to two new studies published in the January issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, the American Society for Radiation Oncology's official scientific journal.

Couch potato or elite athlete? A happy medium keeps colds at bay!
Battling colds and doing (or pledging to do) more exercise are familiar activities for most of us in January.

American Mathematical Society to award prizes
On January 5, 2012, the American Mathematical Society will award several major prizes at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

Nanocrystals make dentures shine
Chemists of Jena University succeeded in producing a new kind of glass-ceramic with a nanocrystalline structure, which seems to be well suited to be used in dentistry due to their high strength and its optical characteristics.

BRI and the NBAF's research and work force training initiatives
Research at New York's aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center will transition to Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute in preparation for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, NBAF.

The bigger picture of population genomics
Making sense of the mass of genetic data generated by rapid-throughput methods remains tricky.

Lung cancer conference to focus on new diagnostic techniques, potential treatments
Several hundred of scientists will gather in San Diego at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina during Jan.

Graphene rips follow rules
Research from Rice University and the University of California at Berkeley may give science and industry a new way to manipulate graphene, which naturally rips along armchair and zigzag paths.

Increase in motorway speed limit poses risks to health
Government plans to increase the motorway speed limit in England and Wales will have adverse effects on health, outweighing any economic benefits, claims an editorial published on today.

Flatworm flouts fundamental rule of biology
A tiny, freshwater flatworm found in ponds and rivers around the world that has long intrigued scientists for its remarkable ability to regenerate has now added a new wrinkle to biology.

New drug screening identifies chemical agents with potent anti-cancer activity
Drugs already approved for clinical use across a variety of therapeutic categories can be screened to identify effective agents for thyroid cancer according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

3-dimensional view of 1-dimensional nanostructures
Semiconductor gallium nitride nanowires show great promise in the next generation of nano- and optoelectronic systems.

World's first chimeric monkeys are born
Researchers have produced the world's first chimeric monkeys. The bodies of these monkeys are composed of a mixture of cells representing as many as six distinct genomes.

ISU scientist helps find structure of gene-editing protein named Method of the Year
In the two and a half years since Adam Bogdanove of ISU and colleagues discovered how a class of proteins find and bind specific sequences in plant genomes, researchers worldwide have moved fast to use this discovery.

Majority of Americans say research and development are key to building US economy
The new edition of America Speaks, a compilation of public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America, demonstrates increasing public support for research and innovation to improve health, create jobs and boost the economy.

New report reviews plan for US Global Change Research Program
The draft ten-year strategic plan for the US Global Change Research Program -- which shapes and coordinates climate and related global environmental change research efforts of numerous agencies and departments across the federal government -- is

Relay race with single atoms: New ways of manipulating matter
Thanks to a collaboration between scientists in San Sebastian and Japan, a relay reaction of hydrogen atoms at a single-molecule level has been observed in real-space.

Down to the wire: Silicon links shrink to atomic scale
The narrowest conducting wires in silicon ever produced are shown to have the same electrical current carrying capability as copper, as published in Science.

Stop abusing insecticides in rice
To prevent devastating insect pest outbreaks in rice that cause millions of dollars of damage, the International Rice Research Institute has called for a ban on certain insecticides in rice production as part of its new Action plan to reduce planthopper damage to rice crops in Asia.

Flexible adult stem cells, right there in your eye
In the future, patients in need of perfectly matched neural stem cells may not need to look any further than their own eyes. 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