Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 09, 2012
Seizures in patients with pork tapeworm caused by Substance P
A neuropeptide called Substance P is the cause of seizures in patients with brains infected by the pork tapeworm, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers.

Sustainable land use strategies to support bioenergy described in Industrial Biotechnology journal
Applying 21st century tools and technologies to manage land use, maximize biomass production, and increase the efficiency of processes for extracting energy from renewable resources will enable the biofuels industry to overcome current challenges in bioenergy production, according to a comprehensive review article published in Industrial Biotechnology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Study suggests that children of women exposed to chemotherapy for cancer treatment in pregnancy develop as well as children in the general population
A study published online first by the Lancet Oncology, and linked to the Lancet series on cancer in pregnancy, shows that children of women exposed to chemotherapy while pregnant develop as well as children in the general population.

University of East Anglia research reveals why fishermen keep fishing despite dwindling catches
Half of fishermen would not give up their livelihood in the face of drastically declining catches, according to research led by the University of East Anglia.

UofL receives Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges TB biomarkers grant
The University of Louisville has been awarded its first Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, $576,800 over two years to pursue an innovative research project to identify and validate tuberculosis biomarkers, titled

Ultrasound study provides first direct evidence of effect of malaria on fetal growth
A study of almost 3,800 pregnancies has provided the most accurate and direct evidence to date that malaria infection reduces early fetal growth.

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering faculty elected to National Academy of Engineering
Three faculty members in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Study identifies risk factors associated with death of extremely low birth weight infants after NICU
Extremely low birth weight preterm infants have an increased risk of death during the first year of life.

The power of estrogen -- male snakes attract other males
A new study has shown that boosting the estrogen levels of male garter snakes causes them to secrete the same pheromones that females use to attract suitors, and turned the males into just about the sexiest snake in the neighborhood -- attracting dozens of other males eager to mate.

Cell death unleashes full force of human antiviral system
A scientific team led by researchers at the University of Geneva and the Charité Berlin Medical University has made a completely unprecedented discovery showing how much our immune system is provoked into action when confronted by viral intruders.

New method makes culture of complex tissue possible in any lab
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new method for making scaffolds for culturing tissue in three-dimensional arrangements that mimic those in the body.

Study shows fainting factor in cardiac arrests
A new study by Dr. Andrew Krahn shows that over a quarter of unexplained cardiac arrests occurred after the patient had an event of fainting, known as syncope.

Cannabis use doubles chances of vehicle crash
Drivers who consume cannabis within three hours of driving are nearly twice as likely to cause a vehicle collision as those who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol claims a paper published today on

Ultrasound can reliably diagnose hip dysplasia at age 6 months
Ultrasound is a reliable alternative imaging method to X-rays for diagnosing developmental dislocation (dysplasia) of the hip in 5- to 7-month-old children, according to new research presented today at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Ocean warming causes elephant seals to dive deeper
Global warming is having an effect on the dive behavior and search for food of southern elephant seals.

Genetic risks for type 2 diabetes span multiple ethnicities
A recent comprehensive analysis of 50,000 genetic variants across 2,000 genes linked to cardiovascular and metabolic function has identified four genes associated with type 2 diabetes and six independent disease-associated variants at previously known loci.

Potential for incorrect relationship identification in new forensic familial searching techniques
In familial searching, a partial genetic profile match between a database entrant and a crime scene sample is used to implicate genetic relatives of the database entrant as potential sources of the sample.

Study indicates that induced labor may not lower risk of infection or respiratory problems in newborns
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, the Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that suggest that induction of labor in patients who suffer a rupture of membranes between the 34th and 37th week of gestation (before the onset of labor) does not reduce the risk of infection or respiratory problems in the newborn.

Major trial gives hope to motor neurone disease sufferers
Patients suffering from a devastating disease are being given fresh hope through an innovative trial being led by the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

New battery could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar energy
A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAPsystems has found that a new type of battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power.

Largest-ever gene study of Type 2 diabetes finds variants across many ethnic groups
The largest genetics study to date of Type 2 diabetes has identified new gene variants associated with risk for the common metabolic disease.

New prenatal genetic test is much more powerful at detecting fetal abnormalities
A nationwide, federally funded study has found that testing a developing fetus' DNA through chromosomal microarray provides more information about potential disorders than does the standard method of prenatal testing, which is to visually examine the chromosomes.

Fresh city tomatoes, any time
Why not produce lettuce, beans and tomatoes where most of the consumers are to be found: in the city?

Storm warning: Financial tsunami heading this way
Dror Kenett and professor Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University recently devised a financial market

Surgery and chemotherapy are possible for pregnant women with breast cancer, and a normal-length pregnancy should be the aim
Breast cancer in pregnant women is as common as in non-pregnant women of the same age, with no evidence to suggest pregnancy increases the risk of such cancer.

Complications of blood cancers make termination advisable at early stages of pregnancy; but cancer therapy is possible for later stage pregnancies
Lymphoma is the fourth most common cancer in pregnancy, affecting one in 6,000 pregnancies.

Ultraviolet protection molecule in plants yields its secrets to Scripps research team
Lying around in the sun all day is hazardous not just for humans but also for plants.

A novel method for simultaneously measuring blood pressure and arterial stiffness
Arterial stiffness due to is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease but is very difficult to measure.

National Academy of Engineering elects 66 members and 10 foreign associates
The National Academy of Engineering has elected 66 new members and 10 foreign associates, announced NAE President Charles M.

'Dark plasmons' transmit energy
Microscopic channels of gold nanoparticles have the ability to transmit electromagnetic energy that starts as light and propagates via

First prospective clinical trial of adaptive radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients
Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research released initial findings from a first-of-a-kind clinical trial in adaptive radiotherapy for head and neck cancer.

Could antidepressants help reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy?
A groundbreaking study published in Elsevier's Epilepsy & Behavior provides evidence in mouse model that drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; one category of antidepressants) may reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

News of plaque-clearing drug tops week of major advances against Alzheimer's disease
In the last eight days, scientists have delivered a powerful one-two punch in the fight to defeat Alzheimer's disease.

Autism experts to gather at USC symposium
USC faculty and community experts are slated to convene on March 9 at the USC Occupational Science Symposium to share research and perspectives on autism and autism spectrum disorders with an audience of university colleagues and students, health professionals and public advocates.

Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel bridges genotype-phenotype gap
How long does it take a fruit fly to emerge from a cold-induced coma, or how quickly can a fruit fly settle down after it is startled?

Study finds in utero surgery preferable to surgery
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that show that, for children with spina bifida, surgery conducted while the fetus is still in utero as opposed to surgery on a newborn is more cost effective due to the costs associated with caring for a child with significant deficits.

Navy to build 2 new oceanographic research vessels
The Navy awarded $70 million to Dakota Creek Industries Inc.

ONR Global taking off for Singapore Air Show 2012
The Office of Naval Research Global will be showcasing unmanned systems Feb.

ORNL's Zinkle elected to National Academy of Engineering
Steven J. Zinkle, a senior materials researcher at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

RI Hospital receives $2.2 million grant to study prevention of post-traumatic osteoarthritis
Rhode Island Hospital has received a grant of $2.2 million from the United States Department of Defense to support a research study on a treatment that may prevent post-traumatic osteoarthritis, a common condition in men and women who suffer joint injuries to the knee and hip.

New technology platform for molecule-based electronics
Researchers at the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new nanotechnology platform for the development of molecule-based electronic components using the wonder material graphene.

Decoding the molecular machine behind E. coli and cholera
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered the workings behind some of the bacteria that kill hundreds of thousands every year, possibly paving the way for new antibiotics that could treat infections more effectively.

3-D laser map shows earthquake before and after
Geologists have a new tool to study how earthquakes change the landscape down to a few inches, and it's giving them insight into how earthquake faults behave.

Tell me how you are -- and I know how long you will live
The way people rate their health determines their probability of survival in the following decades.

Baby knows best! Study shows baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences
A new study by psychologists at the University of Nottingham has shown that babies who are weaned using solid finger food are more likely to develop healthier food preferences and are less likely to become overweight as children than those who are spoon-fed pureed food.

Fuel from market waste
Mushy tomatoes, brown bananas and overripe cherries -- to date, waste from wholesale markets has ended up on the compost heap at best.

Substance P found to cause seizures in patients with pork tapeworm
A neuropeptide called Substance P is the cause of seizures in patients with brains infected by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium, according to Baylor College of Medicine researchers.

Training in muscle power improves the functional capacity and quality of life of elderly people
Twelve weeks of training geared towards improving muscular power in older people are highly effective for improving their functional capacity and quality of life, as shown by the studies carried out by the Biomechanics and Physiology of Movement research group at the Public University of Navarre led by professor Mikel Izquierdo-Redin.

Maryland Commission recommends 'common sense' immigration policy
Immigrants to Maryland contribute significantly to the state's economy, and were vital to its workforce expansion in both technical and less-skilled occupations from 2000 to 2010, concludes a new report by a Maryland state commission.

Metastatic breast cancer hitches a free ride from the immune system
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most lethal form of breast cancer .

Study finds prior preterm delivery indicates subsequent baby will be small even if carried to term
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that women who deliver their first baby early are more likely to have a subsequent baby that is small for its gestational age, even when the second pregnancy is carried to term.

Automatic suspension of insulin delivery via insulin pumps reduces hypoglycemia
An automated on/off feature built into insulin pump systems can suspend insulin delivery when it detects low blood glucose levels (via continuous glucose monitoring), significantly reducing the severity and duration of hypoglycemia in individuals with Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Vanderbilt study shows high cost of defensive medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers estimate that US orthopaedic surgeons create approximately $2 billion per year in unnecessary health care costs associated with orthopaedic care due to the practice of defensive medicine.

Research finds ways that young couples experience less relationship stress, higher satisfaction
Young adults who easily engage in rewarding conversations with their partners are less likely to hold onto anger and stress and more likely to be satisfied with the relationship, according to research from Kansas State University.

Physically abused children report higher levels of psychosomatic symptoms
Children who display multiple psychosomatic symptoms, such as regular aches and pains and sleep and appetite problems, are more than twice as likely to be experiencing physical abuse at home than children who do not display symptoms.

To perform with less effort, practice beyond perfection
Whether you are an athlete, a musician or a stroke patient learning to walk again, practice can make perfect, but more practice may make you more efficient, according to a surprising new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Shorter hospital stay for knee replacement linked with greater revision, mortality risks
Outpatient total knee replacement patients may have less pain and stiffness than patients who remain hospitalized after surgery, but they also face higher risk for mortality, readmission and dislocation, according to new research presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

New avenue for treating colon cancer
A research team led by cell biologists at the University of California, Riverside has uncovered a new insight into colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

£7 public funding available for research to deliver better fruit and vegetables
A new research initiative launched Feb. 9 aims to bring academic researchers together with industry in order to deliver bigger yields of better quality fruits and vegetables for the consumer through more sustainable farming practices.

5-10 percent corn yield jump using erosion-slowing cover crops shown in ISU study
The most recent annual results from a four-year Iowa State University study by Ken Moore, Distinguished Professor of agronomy and primary investigator on the project, reveal that using cover crops can lead to higher yields -- by as much as 10 percent .

SomaLogic Inc. receives Grand Challenges tuberculosis biomarkers grant
SomaLogic Inc. announced today that it will receive a tuberculosis biomarkers grant through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative that seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.

An economic analysis of Emerald Ash Borer management options
A new study in the Journal of Economic Entomology examines several options for managing the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that is destroying US ash trees.

US workers are 'giving away the store,' costing firms billions
Nearly 70 percent of the nation's service employees give away free goods and services - from hamburgers to cable TV - costing companies billions of dollars a year, according to a groundbreaking study.

Integrated weed management best response to herbicide resistance
Over-reliance on glyphosate-type herbicides for weed control on US farms has created a dramatic increase in the number of genetically-resistant weeds, according to a team of agricultural researchers, who say the solution lies in an integrated weed management program.

Secrets of immune response illuminated in new study
In research appearing in this month's issue of the journal Nature Immunology, Roy Curtiss, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University investigates the coordination of a particular type of immune response, involving the release of of IFN-λ -- a cell-signaling protein molecule known as a cytokine.

Fruit flies drawn to the sweet smell of youth
Aging takes its toll on sex appeal and now an international team of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan find that in fruit flies, at least, it even diminishes the come-hither effect of the chemicals of love -- pheromones.

Researchers find important 'target' playing role in tobacco-related lung cancers
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have discovered that the immune response regulator IKBKE (serine/threonine kinase) plays two roles in tobacco-related non-small cell lung cancers.

Amazing skin gives sharks a push
Shark skin has long been known to improve the fish's swimming performance by reducing drag, but now George Lauder and Johannes Oeffner from Harvard University show that in addition, the skin generates thrust, giving the fish an extra boost.

Nanotube therapy takes aim at breast cancer stem cells
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers have again proven that injecting multiwalled carbon nanotubes into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second laser treatment can kill them.

Digital photos could put kids at risk
A study published in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics this month suggests that parents and carers could be putting children at risk if they upload digital photos that are automatically

New research shows C-section not always best for babies
New research challenges conventional wisdom that c-sections have few or no risks for the baby.

Further support for a role of synaptic proteins in autism spectrum disorders
A new study combines genetic and neurobiological approaches to confirm that synaptic mutations increase the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Hydrogen from acidic water
A technique from Berkley Lab for creating a new molecule that structurally and chemically replicates the active part of the molybdenite catalyst paves the way for developing catalytic materials that can serve as effective low-cost alternatives to platinum for generating hydrogen gas from water.

NFC aid for the visually and hearing impaired
As the proportion of senior citizens grows, their special needs are gaining momentum.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees Cyclone Jasmine in 3-D
Data from NASA's TRMM satellite was used to create a 3-Dimensional look at Cyclone Jasmine, currently moving through the South Pacific Ocean.

Undiagnosed neurological disorders may cause falls and hip fractures in the elderly
Undiagnosed neurological disorders, such as cervical myelopathy, may predispose elderly patients to falls and fractures, according to new research presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthpaedics.

Racial disparities exist in access to kidney transplantation
A new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that racial disparities exist in both the early and late steps in access to kidney transplantation.

The Forsyth Institute receives Grand Challenges tuberculosis biomarkers grant
The Forsyth Institute announced today that it will receive a tuberculosis biomarkers grant through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative which seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.

Advancing global health through informatics -- NI2012 Congress
Informatics leaders, practitioners and other healthcare professionals will meet in Montreal, June 23-27, for the 11th International Congress on Nursing Informatics.

From the University of Houston's Texas Obesity Research Center
TORC and the CDC: Recently awarded more than $4 million dollars over four years from the Center for Disease Control, the Texas Obesity Research Center has developed a research group to create a comprehensive evaluation system to examine three childhood obesity programs.

Kids show cultural gender bias
Talk about gender confusion! A recent study by University of Alberta researchers Elena Nicoladis and Cassandra Foursha-Stevenson in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology into whether speaking French influenced how children assigned gender to objects yielded some interesting observations.

Focus on self-improvement, rather than winning, benefits young athletes
Underserved youth athletes report more life skill and character development when their coaches place greater emphasis on creating caring climates instead of focusing on competition, according to research from Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports.

Carnegie's Richard Meserve receives inaugural Garwin Award
The Federation of American Scientists presented Richard A. Meserve, the Carnegie Institution president, with the inaugural 2011 Richard L.

Fruit fly turn-on: A sexy, youthful smell may make up for advancing age
Beauty is more than skin deep, at least for fruit flies studied in new research that demonstrates how age-related changes in pheromone production can reduce sexual attractiveness.

Potentially important new mechanisms found anti-aging effects of resveratrol
A well-conducted experimental study in mice has provided potentially important new insights into the association of the intake of resveratrol and like compounds with health benefits.

Model analyzes shape-memory alloys for use in earthquake-resistant structures
Recent earthquake damage has exposed the vulnerability of existing structures to strong ground movement.

Study indicates that cesarean delivery may not be more protective for small, premature newborns
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that suggest that delivery by cesarean section may not be protective compared to vaginal deliveries for babies who are small for their gestational age born more than six weeks before their due date.

New integrated building model may improve fish farming operations
Those who have ventured to turn a vacant barn or garage into an aquaculture business have too often been defeated by high energy and feed costs, building-related woes and serious environmental problems.

'Flipped classroom' teaching model gains an online community
Researchers at Harvard University have launched the Peer Instruction Network, a new global social network for users of interactive teaching methods.

Medical center-based farmers markets improve health
Farmers markets at medical centers may contribute to greater wellness in surrounding communities while adding public health value to a market's mission, say Penn State College of Medicine researchers who have developed and evaluated a market created at Penn State Milton S.

Anyone can learn to be more inventive, says UMass Amherst cognitive researcher
After studying common roadblocks to problem-solving, Anthony McCaffrey has developed a toolkit for enhancing anyone's creativity and inventiveness.

How the zebra got its stripes
Horseflies are unpleasant insects that deliver powerful bites and now it seems that zebras evolved their stripes to avoid attracting the unpleasant pests.

Obesity is associated with altered brain function
Researchers at the University of Turku and Aalto University have found new evidence for the role of the brain in obesity.

Skin deep
Experiments conducted in a Harvard lab, and described in the Feb.

Deconstructing a mystery: What caused Snowmaggedon?
NASA scientists are using computer models to help unravel the mystery of a record-setting snowfall in the Washington, DC area in early 2010.

Drug quickly reverses Alzheimer's symptoms in mice
Neuroscientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have made a dramatic breakthrough in their efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

University of Minnesota and start-up to develop antidote to cyanide poisoning
Cyanide poisoning is often fatal and typically affects victims of industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, or structural fires.

Fighting crimes against biodiversity
Invasive species which have the potential to destroy biodiversity and influence global change could be tracked and controlled in the same way as wanted criminals, according to new research from Queen Mary, University of London.

Ocean microbe communities changing, but long-term environmental impact is unclear
As oceans warm due to climate change, water layers will mix less and affect the microbes and plankton that pump carbon out of the atmosphere - but researchers say it's still unclear whether these processes will further increase global warming or decrease it.

Annual cost of defensive orthopaedic medicine estimated at $2 billion
In a first-ever national survey of orthopaedic surgeons, 96 percent said they have practiced defensive medicine.

Army studies: High recurrence of shoulder instability, better arthroscopic repair outcomes
Two studies on shoulder instability in a military population were presented today by US Army sports medicine surgeons at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' annual meeting.

NASA sees Tropical Storm 12S - a possible threat to Madagascar
The twelfth tropical depression formed in the Southern Indian Ocean today and quickly became a tropical storm, dubbed Tropical Storm 12S.

Scripps research scientists identify most lethal known species of prion protein
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have identified a single prion protein that causes neuronal death similar to that seen in

Study finds pregnant women with prior cesarean choose the delivery method preferred by their doctor
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that women who have undergone one prior delivery via cesarean section appear to know little about the risks and benefits associated with undergoing either a second cesarean or trial of labor to attempt a vaginal delivery, and that the preference of their medical provider strongly affects their selection between the two options.

Study finds residence in US a risk factor for preterm birth
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that duration of stay in the United States is associated with increased risk of preterm birth for Hispanic women.

Innovators funded to develop bold, out-of-the-box ideas to save lives in developing countries
Grand Challenges Canada announces 15 grants valued in total at more than $1.5 million to support bold, out-of-the-box ideas from some of Canada's most creative innovators to improve global health conditions.

Study finds some medications may interact with common anti-recurrent preterm birth medication
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that prescription medications may affect the body's ability to metabolize 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, the only FDA approved medication for the prevention of recurrent preterm birth.

Deadly bird parasite evolves at exceptionally fast rate
A new study of a devastating bird disease that spread from poultry to house finches in the mid-1990s reveals that the bacteria responsible for the disease evolves at an exceptionally fast rate.

Current trend is to preserve pregnancy in patients diagnosed with cervical or ovarian cancer
The first paper in the Lancet series on cancer in pregnancy explores the issues around gynecological cancers, with cervical and ovarian being the most common.

Aid missions get cutting-edge assistance from ONR
A Web-based tool suite that helps first responders rapidly coordinate resources during disasters, co-sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, is being introduced at a University of Connecticut panel Feb.

60 percent of Spanish adolescents state they do not take drugs and rarely drink alcohol
Despite the cliches surrounding the habits of adolescents, the results of a study by the University of Seville show that most young people do not fit the risk profile of taking substances. 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