Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 24, 2012
Under the electron microscope -- a 3-D image of an individual protein
Berkeley Lab scientists are reporting the first 3-D images of an individual protein ever obtained with enough clarity to determine its structure.

Babies are born with 'intuitive physics' knowledge, says MU researcher
While it may appear that infants are helpless creatures that only blink, eat, cry and sleep, one University of Missouri researcher says that studies indicate infant brains come equipped with knowledge of

Genetic variation increases risk of metabolic side effects in children on some antipsychotics
Researchers have found a genetic variation predisposing children to six-times greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome when taking second-generation anti-psychotic medications.

NRL's SoloHI instrument selected for flight on Solar Orbiter mission
The Naval Research Laboratory's Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI), part of the Solar Orbiter mission, is headed for space.

PFCs, chemicals in environment, linked to lowered immune response to childhood vaccinations
A new study finds that perfluorinated compounds, widely used in manufactured products such as non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and fast-food packaging, were associated with lowered immune response to vaccinations in children.

Foot and ankle structure differs between sprinters and non-sprinters
The skeletal structure of the foot and ankle differs significantly between human sprinters and non-sprinters, according to Penn State researchers.

Winged dinosaur Archaeopteryx dressed for flight
The iconic, winged dinosaur Archaeopteryx was dressed for flight, an international team of researchers led by Brown University has concluded.

It's evolution: Nature of prejudice, aggression different for men and women
Prejudice against people from groups different than their own is linked to aggression for men and fear for women, suggests new research led by Michigan State University scholars.

Gene therapy is a 'disruptive science' ready for commercial development
The time for commercial development of gene therapy has come.

Marine mammals on the menu in many parts of world
The fate of the world's great whale species commands global attention as a result of heated debate between pro and anti-whaling advocates, but the fate of smaller marine mammals is less understood, specifically because the deliberate and accidental catching and killing of dolphins, porpoises, manatees, and other warm-blooded aquatic species are rarely studied or monitored.

Graphene: Impressive capabilities on the horizon
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research, along with other funding agencies, helped a Rice University research team make graphene suitable for a variety of organic chemistry applications -- especially the promise of advanced chemical sensors, nanoscale electronic circuits and metamaterials.

Nano form of titanium dioxide can be toxic to marine organisms
The Bren School-based authors of a study published Jan. 20 in the journal PLoS ONE have observed toxicity to marine organisms resulting from exposure to a nanoparticle that had not previously been shown to be toxic under similar conditions.

Understanding causes of obesity in Aboriginal children
To fully understand the causes of the obesity epidemic in Aboriginal children requires an understanding of the unique social and historical factors that shape the Aboriginal community.

Kessler Foundation awards $425,000 to University of Hawaii virtual reality employment initiative
Kessler Foundation awarded major grant to University of Hawaii, to develop a virtual reality software application, EmployAble: A World Without Barriers, to help jobseekers with disabilities.

Toxicologists' annual meeting in San Francisco to showcase the latest scientific achievements
The Society's March 11-15 Meeting will take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA.

'Speed gene' in modern racehorses originated from British mare 300 years ago, scientists say
Scientists have traced the origin of the

HPV testing: Indications of a benefit in primary screening
Studies currently available provide indications and a

Turtles' mating habits protect against effects of climate change
The mating habits of marine turtles may help to protect them against the effects of climate change.

WHOI's John Waterbury receives NAS Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal
The National Academy of Sciences has awarded John Waterbury, scientist emeritus in the Biology Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the 2012 Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal.

GABA deficits disturb endocannabinoid system
Changes in the endocannabinoid system may have important implications for psychiatric and addiction disorders.

EMBL Monterotondo researcher wins award for early career scientists
Rocio Sotillo, a staff scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, is one of 28 outstanding young biomedical scientists who have been honored with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Early Career Scientist award this year.

Preoperative MRI may reduce risk of nerve damage in prostate cancer surgeries
Preoperative MRI helps surgeons make more informed decisions about nerve-sparing procedures in men with prostate cancer, according to a new study.

Bilayer graphene works as an insulator
A research team led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside has identified a property of

Rowley to receive Japan Prize for her role in the development of targeted cancer therapy
The University of Chicago's Janet Rowley will share the 2012 Japan Prize for Healthcare and Medical Technology with Brian Druker, OHSU, and Nicholas Lydon, Ph.D., Novartis, for their roles in the development of the first precisely targeted anti-cancer drug, Gleevec.

Exercise has charms to soothe a savage boss
If your boss is giving you a hard time -- lying, making fun of you in public and generally putting you down, he or she may benefit from some exercise, according to a new study by James Burton from Northern Illinois University in the US and his team.

New detection method for UTI-causing bacteria means better treatment and fewer costs
A new method for identifying bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) will lead to much faster, more effective treatment as well as a reduction in costs.

Treatment of silent acid reflux does not improve asthma in children, NIH study finds
Adding the acid reflux drug lansoprazole to a standard inhaled steroid treatment for asthma does not improve asthma control in children who have no symptom of acid reflux, according to a new study funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Supporting primary children's understanding of physics
New software has significant benefits for primary school children and their understanding of elementary physics, research shows.

Brown fat burns calories in adult humans
Brown fat burns calories to generate body heat in rodents and newborn humans.

Cocoa could prevent intestinal pathologies such as colon cancer
A new study on living animals has shown for the first time that eating cocoa (the raw material in chocolate) can help to prevent intestinal complaints linked to oxidative stress, including colon carcinogenesis onset caused by chemical substances.

Improving crops from the roots up
Research involving scientists at the University of Nottingham has taken us a step closer to breeding hardier crops that can better adapt to different environmental conditions and fight off attack from parasites.

JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 24, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published Jan.

Study examines link between vaccinations and exposure to compound widely used in food packaging
Elevated exposures in children to perfluorinated compounds, which are widely used in manufacturing and food packaging, were associated with lower antibody responses to routine childhood immunizations, according to a study in the Jan.

Saliva HIV test passes the grade
A saliva test used to diagnose the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is comparable in accuracy to the traditional blood test, according to a new study.

Therapeutically useful stem cell derivatives in need of stability
It is hoped that human embryonic stem cells can be used to generate cell populations with therapeutic utility.

Adding proton pump inhibitor to treat poorly controlled asthma in children does not improve symptoms
Children without symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux whose asthma was being poorly controlled with anti-inflammatory treatment did not have an improvement in symptoms or lung function with the added treatment of the proton pump inhibitor lansoprazole, compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the Jan.

Entry point for hepatitis C infection identified
A molecule embedded in the membrane of human liver cells that aids in cholesterol absorption also allows the entry of hepatitis C virus, the first step in hepatitis C infection, according to research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

$5.8 million Gates grant targets child-killing bacteria diseases in Africa
Bacteria infections -- most of which are preventable via vaccines readily available in the developed world -- and not malaria are the leading cause of death for children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lifestyle counseling reduces time to reach treatment goals for people with diabetes
Lifestyle counseling, practiced as part of routine care for people with diabetes, helps people more quickly lower blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and keep them under control, according to a large, long-term study published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

Availability and use of sanitation reduces by half the likelihood of parasitic worm infections
Access to sanitation facilities, such as latrines, reduces by half the risk of becoming infected by parasitic worms that are transmitted via soil according to a study published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Generation X: How young adults deal with influenza
Only about one in five young adults in their late 30s received a flu shot during the 2009-2010 swine flu epidemic, according to a University of Michigan report that details the behavior and attitudes of Generation X.

New migraine clinical trial guidelines
Experts from the International Headache Societyhave developed new recommendations for conduct of acute and preventive migraine clinical trials.

MIT neuroscientists explore how longstanding conflict influences empathy for others
MIT neuroscientists explore how longstanding conflict influences empathy for others.

Georgetown University Medical Center licenses 'theranostic' for development
Georgetown University Medical Center has licensed worldwide rights of a potential novel cancer therapy and diagnostic, or

Acid reflux drug does not improve asthma in children
A randomized clinic trial conducted by the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Group found that the addition of lansoprazole does not improve asthma symptoms or the control of asthma in children and may increase the risk for upper respiratory infections and other adverse events.

Rice lab mimics Jupiter's Trojan asteroids inside a single atom
Rice University physicists have built an accurate model of part of the solar system inside a single atom.

Scientists discover new clue to the chemical origins of life
Organic chemists at the University of York have made a significant advance towards establishing the origin of the carbohydrates (sugars) that form the building blocks of life.

World-class scientists chosen for HHMI's first International Early Career award
Top biomedical scientists from 12 countries will receive an important boost at a critical time in their careers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's inaugural International Early Career Scientist awards.

NJIT professor, electrical engineer, petri net expert named AAAS Fellow
NJIT Professor Mengchu Zhou has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science based on his distinguished scientific contributions to a variety of research areas in the field of electrical and computer engineering.

Fungi-filled forests are critical for endangered orchids
When it comes to conserving the world's orchids, not all forests are equal.

Wasp found in upstate New York shows up in Southern California
In August 2010, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside discovered a tiny fairyfly wasp in upstate New York that had never been seen in the United States until then.

Tobacco smoking and high blood pressure are biggest killers of Japanese adults
The life expectancy of a person born in Japan is among the highest in the world (82.9 years) yet tobacco smoking and high blood pressure are still the major risk factors for death among adults in Japan, emphasizing the need to reduce tobacco smoking and to improve ongoing programs designed to help people manage multiple cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, according to a study published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Learning to 'talk things through in your head' may help people with autism
Teaching children with autism to

Earth Science Week 2012 theme announced: 'Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences'
The American Geosciences Institute is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2012 will be

High fructose consumption by adolescents may put them at cardiovascular risk
Evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat, researchers report.

NIH grant targets inflammation in link between obesity and disease
Scientists are targeting inflammation as a potential way to sever the strong link between obesity and the development of heart disease and diabetes.

Possible new pathway can overcome glioblastoma resistance
A20 E3 ubiquitin ligase could be a therapeutic target. Targeting this ligase may overcome TRAIL resistance.

Portuguese science scores high with American funder
Five of the 28 scientists considered

Shoulder pain from using your ipad? Don't use it on your lap
The sudden popularity of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad has not allowed for the development of guidelines to optimize users' comfort and well-being.

Climatic warming-induced change in timings of 24 seasonal divisions in China since 1960
Changes of seasonal cycles are important to social and economic activities, agricultural planning in particular.

Restored wetlands rarely equal condition of original wetlands
Half of all wetlands in the US, Europe and China were destroyed during the 20th century, but a thriving restoration effort aims to recreate marshes and other ecosystems lost.

Study: Off-campus college party hosts drink more than attendees
On any given weekend, at least 10 percent of students at a single college could be hosting a party, and on average, party hosts who live off campus are drinking more and engaging in more alcohol-related problem behaviors than are the students attending their bashes, research suggests.

The evolution of division of labor
Division of labor is not only a defining feature of human societies but is also omnipresent among the building blocks of biological organisms and is considered a major theme of evolution.

Women with certain type of ovarian cancer and BRCA gene mutation have improved survival at 5 years
Among women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, patients having a germline (gene change in a reproductive cell that could be passed to offspring) mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes was associated with improved five-year overall survival, with BRCA2 carriers having the best prognosis, according to a study in the Jan.

Oxford University Press and Medical Council on Alcohol announce long-term partnership
Oxford University Press is pleased to announce that it has entered a new long-term collaboration with the Medical Council on Alcohol to jointly publish the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Scientists report first step in strategy for cell replacement therapy in Parkinson's disease
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are a promising avenue for cell replacement therapy in neurologic diseases.

Teen passengers: 'The other distraction' for teen drivers
A pair of studies by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm identify factors that may lead teens to drive with multiple peer passengers and, then, how those passengers may affect their driver's behavior just before a serious crash.

Sandia chemists find new material to remove radioactive gas from spent nuclear fuel
Research by a team of Sandia National Laboratories chemists could impact worldwide efforts to produce clean, safe nuclear energy and reduce radioactive waste.

Life discovered on dead hydrothermal vents
A team led by USC microbiologist Katrina Edwards found that the microbes that thrive on hot fluid methane and sulfur spewed by active hydrothermal vents are supplanted, once the vents go cold, by microbes that feed on the solid iron and sulfur that make up the vents themselves.

Food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease
Eating food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease or premature death, finds a paper published on today.

Membrane fusion a mystery no more
The many factors that contribute to how cells communicate and function at the most basic level are still not fully understood, but researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have uncovered a mechanism that helps explain how intracellular membranes fuse, and in the process, created a new physiological membrane fusion model.

Scientific plagiarism: A growing problem in an era of shrinking research funding
Harold Garner, creator of eTBLAST plagiarism detection software, identified numerous instances of wholesale plagiarism among citations in MEDLINE.

Story opportunities at Internal Medicine 2012 in New Orleans
Internal Medicine 2012, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians, is full of story opportunities for health care journalists.

More on legal remedies for ghostwriting
In an Essay that expands on a previous proposal to use the courts to prosecute those involved in ghostwriting on the basis of it being legal fraud, Xavier Bosch from the University of Barcelona, Spain and colleagues lay out three outline specific areas of legal liability in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Queen's study finds religion helps us gain self-control
Thinking about religion gives people more self-control on later, unrelated tasks, according to results from a series of recent Queen's University studies.

Jumpstarting computers with 3-D chips
EPFL scientists are among the leaders in the race to develop an industry-ready prototype of a 3-D chip as well as a high-performance and reliable manufacturing method.

The impact of deleting 5 personality disorders in the new DSM-5
A newly published paper from Rhode Island Hospital reports on the impact to patients if five personality disorders are removed from the upcoming DSM-5.

Adipose stem cell heart attack trial data published in JACC
Cytori announced the publication of previously reported six-month outcomes from APOLLO, the Company's European clinical trial evaluating adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs) in patients with acute myocardial infarction, as Research Correspondence in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers devise new means for creating elastic conductors
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new method for creating elastic conductors made of carbon nanotubes, which will contribute to large-scale production of the material for use in a new generation of elastic electronic devices. 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