Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 23, 2012
Many people continue to smoke after being diagnosed with cancer
A new analysis has found that a substantial number of lung and colorectal cancer patients continue to smoke after being diagnosed.

Biochip measures glucose in saliva, not blood
Engineers at Brown University have designed a biological device that can measure glucose concentrations in human saliva.

Waiting for Death Valley's Big Bang
In California's Death Valley, death is looking just a bit closer.

Enriched skimmed milk may curb frequency of gout flare-ups
A daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two components found in dairy products, may help to curb the frequency of painful gout flare-ups, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Study: Unilateral divorce laws caused temporary spike in violent crime
US states that enacted unilateral divorce laws saw substantial increases in violent crime in the years following the reform, according to research in the Journal of Labor Economics.

DGK-alpha helps cancer cells gain traction and mobilize
Metastasizing cancer cells often express integrins that provide better traction.

Patterns of chromosome abnormality: The key to cancer?
Professor Ron Shamir of Tel Aviv University has combined techniques from computer science and statistics to discover that many chromosomal pairs are lost or gained together across various cancer types, such as kidney, skeleton, and liver cancers.

Emergency room visits risky for elderly residents from long-term care facilities
Elderly patients who have visited an emergency department are three times more likely to develop respiratory or gastrointestinal infections in the week following their return to a long-term care facility, such as a Centre d'Hébergement de Soins de Longue Durée.

Quality of life for younger breast cancer patients more adversely affected than older women
Quality of life in younger patients treated for breast cancer is seriously compromised and these women suffer from severe psychological distress, infertility, premature menopause, a decrease in physical activity and weight gain, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Taking moments to enjoy life helps patients make better health decisions
The experience of daily positive affect -- a mild, happy feeling -- and self-affirmation helps some patients with chronic diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and asthma, make better decisions about their health.

Working moms: Looking for more than a paycheck
Working mothers may be busy, but they like it that way.

Monogamy reduces major social problems of polygamist cultures
In cultures that permit men to take multiple wives, the intra-sexual competition that occurs causes greater levels of crime, violence, poverty and gender inequality than in societies that institutionalize and practice monogamous marriage.

Syracuse University research expected to help utility companies predict service life of pipelines
Regression models presented in the American Society of Civil Engineers' Journal of Infrastructure Systems by researchers at Syracuse University are expected to help utility companies predict the service life of wastewater pipeline infrastructure and take a proactive approach to pipeline replacements and maintenance.

Metadynamics technique offers insight into mineral growth and dissolution
By using a novel technique to better understand mineral growth and dissolution, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving predictions of mineral reactions and laying the groundwork for applications ranging from keeping oil pipes clear to sequestering radium.

Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Awards granted for pioneering ideas in cancer research
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation announced that five scientists with novel approaches to fighting cancer have been named 2012 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award.

Lifelong brain-stimulating habits linked to lower Alzheimer's protein levels
People who have made mental engagement a lifelong habit have lower levels of a key protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley neuroscientists.

Rate of physician referrals nearly doubled
The percentage of ambulatory patient visits to physicians resulting in referrals to a specialist nearly doubled from 1999 to 2009, after years of stability.

Lead blood levels may increase smokers' risk for kidney cancer
Higher than normal levels of lead in the blood may signal a risk two times higher than average of developing renal cell carcinoma in smokers, according to medical researchers.

Nature Materials study: Graphene 'invisible' to water
Graphene is the thinnest material known to science. The nanomaterial is so thin, in fact, water often doesn't even know it's there.

New tool enhances view of muscles
Simon Fraser University researcher James Wakeling is adding to the arsenal of increasingly sophisticated medical imaging tools with a new signal-processing method for viewing muscle activation details never seen before.

Dog skull dates back 33,000 years
A 33,000-year-old dog skull unearthed in a Siberian mountain cave presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication and indicates that modern dogs may be descended from multiple ancestors, with advancing glaciers thwarting early domestication efforts.

Broadest study of ocean acidification to date helps scientists evaluate effects on marine life
Might a penguin's next meal be affected by the exhaust from your tailpipe?

Moral imagination as a key to overcoming work-related stigmas
Moral imagination is an essential faculty for workers who must overcome the stigmas of ethical conflicts and social rejection associated with certain types of jobs, according to a study carried out at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid.

Selectively inhibiting PKM2 starves cancer cells
Crippling a protein that allows cancer cells to grow when oxygen is scarce causes tumors to regress, according to a study published online on Jan.

High-tech models help guide restoration efforts to save threatened plants
A team of scientists from the USDA Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station and two universities will begin research using sophisticated topographic models to identify areas within dry forests that have the most potential for ecological restoration.

Spotting dyslexia before a child starts school
Children at risk for dyslexia show differences in brain activity on MRI scans even before they begin learning to read, finds a study at Children's Hospital Boston.

Georgetown professor applauds decision of researchers to temporarily halt research on H5N1
A Georgetown University Medical Center professor says the voluntary action taken by two research teams to temporarily halt work involving the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 is

Commonly used drug for enlarged prostate slows growth of early-stage prostate cancer
Dutasteride, a drug that is commonly used to treat enlargement of the prostate, might also slow the growth of early-stage prostate cancer and reduce the need for potentially debilitating treatments that carry risks of impotence and incontinence, according to an article published Online First in the Lancet.

Molecular fingerprint discovered that may improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, have found a biomarker in head and neck cancers that can predict whether a patient's tumor will be life threatening.

Professor Charles Lieber receives Israel's Wolf Prize
Charles Lieber, the Mark Hyman Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, was recently awarded Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize.

American College of Physicians, CECity launch new quality improvement technology platform
A new partnership is set to provide expanded access to MedConcert, a new and innovative multi-tenant cloud-based platform for healthcare, designed to cost-effectively scale and spread continuous quality improvement and address key patient safety issues.

Van Andel research institute study provides new details of fundamental cellular process
A recent Van Andel Research Institute study published in the journal Science investigating the molecular structure and function of an essential plant hormone could profoundly change our understanding of a key cell process, and might ultimately lead to the development of new drugs for a variety of diseases.

SUNY Downstate receives grant from research to prevent blindness
Capping SUNY Downstate Medical Center's growth into a major center for eye research, Research to Prevent Blindness has awarded SUNY Downstate a four-year challenge grant of $220,000 to spur the development of advanced research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of blinding diseases.

CWRU study finds the love of a dog or cat helps women cope with HIV/AIDS
A spoonful of medicine goes down a lot easier if there is a dog or cat around.

Eating smart: Researcher studies foods, dietary supplements that may reduce risk of prostate cancer
A Kansas State University human nutrition professor is helping men make more informed diet decisions by studying foods and dietary supplements that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Regional surgical quality collaborative significantly improves surgical outcomes and reduces cost
A new study published online today in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds hospitals participating in a regional collaborative of the American College of Surgeon's National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, achieved substantial improvements in surgical outcomes, such as reducing the rates of acute renal failure and surgical site infections.

Going to physician visits with older loved ones could improve care
Family companions who routinely accompany older adults to physician office visits could be helpful to health care quality improvement efforts.

Use of iodinated contrast media in imaging procedures appears to affect thyroid function
Exposure to iodinated contrast media during imaging procedures is associated with changes in thyroid function.

Study suggests association between cognitive activity and brain protein related to Alzheimer's disease
Individuals who keep their brains active throughout life with cognitively stimulating activities such as reading, writing and playing games appear to have reduced levels of the beta-amyloid protein, which is the major part of the amyloid plaque in Alzheimer's disease, according to a report published online first by Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

FASEB SRC announces conference registration open for: Virus Structure and Assembly
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology announces the opening of registration for the Science Research Conference: Virus Structure & Assembly.

Self-collection and HPV DNA testing could be an effective cervical cancer screening
Human papillomavirus testing of self-collected specimens may be a more effective way to screen for cervical cancer in low-resource settings compared to visual inspection with acetic acid and liquid-based cytology, according to a study published Jan.

How protein networks stabilize muscle fibers: Same mechanism as for DNA
The same mechanism that stabilizes the DNA in the cell nucleus is also important for the structure and function of vertebrate muscle cells.

Water sees right through graphene
A new study by scientists at Rice University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has determined that gold, copper and silicon get just as wet when clad by a single continuous layer of graphene as they would without.

Positive affirmation appears to improve medication adherence in hypertensive African-Americans
Positive affirmation along with patient education appears to help African-American patients with high blood pressure more effectively follow their medication regimen, according to a study published online first by the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Confidence, positive feelings support better medication adherence in hypertensive African-Americans
When it comes to taking prescribed medications for hypertension, a patient's self confidence could be as important as doctor's orders.

How cells dispose of their waste
Max Planck researchers reveal the structure of cellular protein degradation machinery.

Women report feeling pain more intensely than men, says Stanford study of electronic medical records
Women report more-intense pain than men in virtually every disease category, according to Stanford University School of Medicine investigators who mined a huge collection of electronic medical records to establish the broad gender difference to a high level of statistical significance.

Patterns of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in Galapagos reptiles
Land and marine iguanas and giant tortoises living close to human settlements or tourist sites in the Galapagos islands were more likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria than those living in more remote or protected sites on the islands, researchers report in a new study.

New malaria maps to guide battle against the disease
A new suite of malaria maps has revealed in unprecedented detail the current global pattern of the disease, allowing researchers to see how malaria has changed over a number of years.

Study examines quality of colonoscopy reporting and performance
Researchers in the Netherlands assessed the quality of colonoscopy reporting in daily clinical practice and evaluated the quality of colonoscopy performance.

Magic mushrooms' effects illuminated in brain imaging studies
Brain scans of people under the influence of the psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, have given scientists the most detailed picture to date of how psychedelic drugs work.

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad
It's often said that conservatives and liberals don't see the world in the same way.

Study shines light on ways to cut costs for greenhouse growers
Greenhouse bedding plant growers can save themselves time, money or possibly both by giving cuttings in propagation more light, according to a Purdue University study.

Nurturing mothers rear physically healthier adults
Nurturing mothers have garnered accolades for rescuing skinned knees on the playground and coaxing their children to sleep with lullabies.

U. of Nebraska to lead $25 million project targeting E. coli threat
The effort aims to reduce E. coli strain occurrences throughout the beef production chain that pose major threats to public health.

IU study: Socioeconomic status more influential than race in determination of child abuse
An Indiana University School of Medicine study has determined that a patient's socioeconomic status has more influence than race on physician diagnosis of whether a child's injury was accidental or caused by abuse.

Global conference on stem cell therapy for heart disease to be held Jan. 25-27 in NYC
The 7th 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.

Researchers develop gene therapy that could correct a common form of blindness
A new gene therapy has the potential to treat a common form of blindness that strikes both youngsters and adults.

A single therapy slows multiple cancers
Targeting a single protein can help fight both breast cancers and leukemias, according to two reports published online on Jan.

Diets high in fiber won't protect against diverticulosis
For more than 40 years, scientists and physicians have thought eating a high-fiber diet lowered a person's risk of diverticulosis, a disease of the large intestine in which pouches develop in the colon wall.

Bonobos' unusual success story
Mate competition by males over females is common in many animal species.

To 'think outside the box,' think outside the box
Want to think outside the box? Try actually thinking outside of a box.

True stories from the cancer ward
Jonathan Waxman, a professor of oncology, was inspired to write a book by his conversations with his patients.

Tecnalia is working in Ecuador to improve the recovery of the country's historical heritage
Tecnalia is leading a project in the south of Ecuador on the conservation and enhancement of its cultural heritage as the backbone in the improvement in the living conditions of the local population, and in economic development.

Acidification provides the thrust
Diamond-bearing kimberlites are volcanic rocks that originate deep in the Earth and are erupted onto the surface.

Study examines research on overuse of health care services
The overuse of health care services in the United States appears to be an understudied problem with research literature limited to a few services and rates of overuse varying widely, according to an article published in the Jan.

SDSC's East Building receives LEED Gold Certification
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, has been awarded a LEED Gold certification for its SDSC East building expansion.

Gene therapy research from Penn Vet & Scheie Eye Inst. cures retinitis pigmentosa in dogs
Members of a University of Pennsylvania research team have shown that they can prevent, or even reverse, a blinding retinal disease, X-linked Retinitis Pigmentosa, or XLRP, in dogs.

Team finds new way to image brain tumors and predict recurrence
After people with low-grade glioma, a type of brain cancer, undergo neurosurgery to remove the tumors, they face variable odds of survival -- depending largely on how rapidly the cancer recurs.

Researchers quantify muscle soreness
Quantifying how sore a person is after a long workout is a challenge for doctors and researchers, but scientists from Loma Linda and Asuza Pacific Universities think they may have figured it out.

Powerful people feel taller than they are
After the huge 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the chairman of BP referred to the victims of the spill as the

Researchers meet to refine carbon budget for US East Coast
A large group of researchers gathered at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to integrate and refine field measurements and computer models of carbon cycling in the waters along the US East Coast.

Neuropathy patients more likely to receive high-cost, screening instead of more effective tests
Researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed the tremendous cost of diagnosing peripheral neuropathy and found that less expensive, more effective tests are less likely to be used.

Sweeten up your profits with the right hybrid
New University of Illinois sweet corn research shows that higher yield and profitability are possible with greater plant populations of certain hybrids.

BU study finds new genetic loci associated with menopause onset
An international team of researchers from the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine and other institutions has uncovered 13 genetic loci, linked to immune function and DNA repair, that are factors in the age of onset of menopause.

Ancient dinosaur nursery -- the oldest nesting site ever found
An excavation at a site in South Africa has unearthed the 190-million-year-old dinosaur nesting site of the prosauropod dinosaur Massospondylus -- revealing significant clues about the evolution of complex reproductive behavior in early dinosaurs.

New discoveries in cell aging
A group of researchers led by the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have achieved to quantify with precision the effect of protein aggregation on cell aging processes using as models the Escherichia coli bacteria and the molecule which triggers Alzheimer's disease.

The general link between worker happiness and productivity challenged
Increasing the involvement of workers through job design does affect employees' satisfaction and in turn organizational performance.

Family focus may help obese kids to succeed in treatment
Treatment programs for obese children should involve parents and caregivers according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

Expansion of the Panama Canal has knock-on effect for the environment
Experts at Newcastle University, UK, reveal a reduction in carbon emissions of 16 percent could be achieved in the shipping industry if we take full advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Anaphylactic shock after vaccination 'extremely rare'
Anaphylaxis can be fatal and can be triggered by several factors, including specific foods, airborne allergens, stings and bites, and drugs/vaccines.

CU School of Medicine researchers look at effects of 2 common sweeteners on the body
With growing concern that excessive levels of fructose may pose a great health risk - causing high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes - researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, along with their colleagues at the University of Florida, set out to see if two common sweeteners in western diets differ in their effects on the body in the first few hours after ingestion.

Pediatric emergency research team hit the mark
Pediatric Emergency Research of Canada is today recognized as one of the Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research in 2011.

Use of iodinated contrast media in imaging procedures appears to affect thyroid function
Exposure to iodinated contrast media during imaging procedures is associated with changes in thyroid function, and increased risk of developing hyperthyroidism, according to a report in the Jan.

March of Dimes launches Prematurity Prevention Network
The March of Dimes and its partners launched a Prematurity Prevention Network, a virtual network made up of health care providers, insurers, policy makers, and business leaders -- who will work together to achieve the March of Dimes goal of lowering the preterm birth rate to 9.6 percent of live births.

Genes and timing of menopause
An international team of researchers has discovered 13 new regions of the genome associated with the timing of menopause.

UCSF shares $25-million grant to find epilepsy genes
To probe the genetic secrets of one of the most common neurological diseases, more than 4,000 people with various forms of epilepsy will have their DNA decoded over the next five years in a study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and several collaborating institutions.

Stanford aero-engineers debut open-source fluid dynamics design application
Stanford University Unstructured is an open-source software package that gives advanced engineering students a crucial leg up on the time-consuming process of writing their own code to optimize aerospace designs -- offering for free an ability that is otherwise available only in expensive commercial applications.

Expensive egos
The personality trait narcissism may have an especially negative effect on the health of men, according to a recent study published in PLoS ONE.

Mighty mesh
New research at Harvard explains how bacterial biofilms expand to form slimy mats on teeth, pipes, surgical instruments, and crops.

The race against chronic myeloid leukemia not yet won
Although significant progress has been made in treating chronic myeloid leukemia, the disease cannot yet be eliminated in all patients, and that challenge must be addressed, states a commentary in CMAJ.

La Jolla Institute scientist takes quest to conquer Type 1 diabetes to the next level
Matthias von Herrath, M.D., a world leader in basic research on Type 1 diabetes, has long dreamed of seeing his discoveries translated into new therapies to better treat this serious disorder.

Mass. Eye and Ear granted $30,000 medical eye research fellowship
Research to Prevent Blindness has awarded Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a $30,000 Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship.

SFU hits hot buttons at 2012 AAAS conference
Nine SFU researchers will tackle tough, timely topics in their cutting edge presentations at the 2012 AAAS conference in Vancouver.

Compounds in mate tea induce death in colon cancer cells
In a recent University of Illinois study, scientists showed that human colon cancer cells die when they are exposed to the approximate number of bioactive compounds present in one cup of mate tea, which has long been consumed in South America for its medicinal properties.

UK scientists produce world's first magnetic soap
University of Bristol team dissolve iron in liquid surfactant to create a soap that can be controlled by magnets.

3-fold risk of infection for elderly after emergency department visits
A visit to the emergency department during non-summer months was associated with a three-fold risk of acute respiratory or gastrointestinal infection in elderly residents of long-term care facilities, according to a study in CMAJ.

Prostate cancer study proves drug delays disease progression
For men diagnosed with low-risk, localized prostate cancer, being treated with the drug dutasteride (Avodart) delays disease progression and initiating active treatment, and also reduces anxiety, show the results of a three-year international clinical trial led by Dr.

Ancient dinosaur nursery oldest nesting site yet found
An excavation at a site in South Africa has unearthed the 190-million-year-old dinosaur nesting site of the prosauropod dinosaur Massospondylus -- revealing significant clues about the evolution of complex reproductive behavior in early dinosaurs.

First study using human embryonic stem cells for macular degeneration shows they are safe and lead to some vision improvement
The Lancet today reports the use of human embryonic stem cells to treat macular degeneration in human beings. 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