Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 13, 2012
Pharmaceuticals from crab shells
The pharmaceutical NANA is 50 times more expensive than gold.

NASA sees Giovanna reach cyclone strength, threaten Madagascar
Tropical Storm 12S built up steam and became a cyclone on Feb.

Prolonged fructose intake not linked to rise in blood pressure: Study
Eating fructose over an extended period of time does not lead to an increase in blood pressure, according to researchers at St.

First prospective analysis links breast and pancreatic cancer risk with lynch syndrome
This is a summary of the first prospective study - published online Feb.

A study analyzes emotions in software engineering
Emotions are an important factor that must be taken into account when designing any type of software.

Cell discovery strengthens quest for cancer treatments
Fresh insights into how our cells multiply could help scientists develop drugs to treat cancer.

The world's strongest and purest neutron beam
The world's strongest neutron beam is produced in a scientific instrument at the research neutron source FRM II at the Technischen Universitaet Muenchen.

UBC researchers illuminate link between sodium, calcium and heartbeat using Canadian Light Source
Using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, researchers from the University of British Columbia have revealed, for the first time, one of the molecular mechanisms that regulates the beating of heart cells by controlling the movement of sodium in out of the cells -- and what calcium has to do with it.

U of A medical researchers discover 'very promising' treatment for Huntington disease
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a promising new therapy for Huntington disease that restores lost motor skills and may delay or stop the progression of the disease based on lab model tests, says the lead researcher.

New book examines impact of US tobacco industry
A new book, 'Tobacco Capitalism', by Washington University in St.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 13, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Ethanol mandate not the best option
Many people are willing to pay a premium for ethanol, but not enough to justify the government mandate for the corn-based fuel, a Michigan State University economist argues.

U of A researcher receives NSERC money to study drinking water
Water is something people can't live without, that's why it's important that Xing Fang Li finds out what is in our tap water that may pose a disease risk.

Primary care program helps obese teen girls manage weight, improve body image and behavior
Teenage girls gained less weight, improved their body image, ate less fast food, and had more family meals after participating in a six-month program that involved weekly peer meetings, consultations with primary care providers and separate meetings for parents.

Immigrant youth reject the school integration policy
Some call it

Common postoperative radiotherapy does not improve survival in older people with lung cancer
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that post-operative radiation therapy, a controversial yet frequently administered treatment for lung cancer, may not prolong life in older people with locally advanced disease.

WSU chemist applies Google software to webs of the molecular world
The technology that Google uses to analyze trillions of Web pages is being brought to bear on the way molecules are shaped and organized.

Many lung cancer patients get radiation therapy that may not prolong their lives
A new study has found that many older lung cancer patients get treatments that may not help them live longer.

UCLA engineers create tandem polymer solar cells that set record for energy-conversion
Researchers at UCLA Engineering and the California Nanosystems Institute at UCLA are reporting a unique way to significantly enhance the polymer solar cell performance by building a tandem structure device.

Lovelorn liars leave linguistic leads
Online daters intent on fudging their personal information have a big advantage: most people are terrible at identifying a liar.

Motivation to exercise affects behavior
For many people, the motivation to exercise fluctuates from week to week, and these fluctuations predict whether they will be physically active, according to researchers at Penn State.

Hearing aid gap: Millions who could benefit remain untreated
Though an estimated 26.7 million Americans age 50 and older have hearing loss, only about one in seven uses a hearing aid, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Plants use circadian rhythms to prepare for battle with insects
In a study of the molecular underpinnings of plants' pest resistance, Rice University biologists have shown that plants use circadian rhythms to both anticipate raids by hungry insects and to time the production of defensive hormones that protect against insect attack.

Therapy targets leukemia stem cells
New research takes aim at stubborn cancer stem cells that are thought to be responsible for treatment resistance and relapse.

2 studies recognized for improving health policymaking
Research studies that helped shine a light on the impact of health reform in Massachusetts and industry influence on health care, respectively, were jointly awarded the AcademyHealth Health Services Research Impact Award at the 2012 National Health Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

Teen dating violence often occurs alongside other abuse
In February, romance is typically associated with Valentine's Day. But for some teens, a dating partner can prove to be abusive rather than affectionate.

Medical school link to wide variations in pass rate for specialist exam
Wide variations in doctors' pass rates, for a professional exam that is essential for one type of specialty training, seem to be linked to the particular medical school where the student graduated, indicates research published online in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Fetal exposure to radiation increases risk of testicular cancer
Male fetuses of mothers that are exposed to radiation during early pregnancy may have an increased chance of developing testicular cancer, according to a study in mice at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Sensing self and non-self: New research into immune tolerance
Cancer cells can undergo unchecked proliferation, producing self-antigens that are tolerated by the immune system, rather than being targeted for destruction.

Researchers develop method to examine batteries -- from the inside
Researchers at Cambridge University, Stony Brook University, and NYU have developed methodology, based on magnetic resonance imaging, to look inside a battery without destroying it.

NYU study: Blood from periodontal disease can be used to screen for diabetes
Oral blood samples drawn from deep pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure hemoglobin A1c, an important gauge of a patient's diabetes status, an NYU nursing-dental research team has found.

UCLA brain-imaging technique predicts who will suffer cognitive decline over time
UCLA scientists previously developed a brain-imaging tool to help assess the neurological changes associated with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Oxygen-deprived baby rats fare worse if kept warm
New study suggests that baby rats deprived of oxygen, but kept warm, had bigger swings in glucose and insulin, metabolic and physiologic effects that could increase the chances of brain damage.

Patients' online hospital reviews reflect data on hospital outcomes
Patients' ratings of hospitals tally with objective measures of the hospital's performance, according to an independent study published today in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Evidence strengthens link between NSAIDs and reduced cancer metastasis
A new study reveals key factors that promote the spread of cancer to lymph nodes and provides a mechanism that explains how a common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can reduce the spread of tumor cells through the lymphatic system.

Lens produces hours of scientific work in seconds
A new form of microscope which can produce results in seconds rather than hours - dramatically speeding up the process of drug development - is being developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Electromobility - an important topic for the future
The German government wants one million electric cars to be on Germany's roads by 2020.

UMass Amherst neurobiologists identify animal model for a deadly human metabolic disorder
University of Massachusetts Amherst neuroscientist Gerald Downes and colleagues have developed a mutant zebrafish model to study Maple Syrup Urine Disease, an inherited metabolic disorder that causes affected individuals to smell like maple syrup and can result in mental retardation, profound neurological damage, severe dystonia, coma and death.

Enhancing the effectiveness of a breast cancer treatment
Breast cancers expressing the protein HER2 have a particularly poor prognosis.

What we mean when we ask for the milk
New research into the different ways that English and Polish people use language in everyday family situations can help members of each community to understand each other better and avoid cultural misunderstandings.

Cognitive impairment in older adults often unrecognized in the primary care setting
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveals that brief cognitive screenings combined with offering further evaluation increased new diagnoses of cognitive impairment in older veterans two to three fold.

Cancer rate 4 times higher in children with juvenile arthritis
New research reports that incident malignancy among children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis is four times higher than in those without the disease.

Powerful myeloma treatment regimen shows promise for AL amyloidosis
Two studies published today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, demonstrate preliminary success of an effective multiple myeloma regimen in patients with AL amyloidosis, a rare and devastating blood disease that results in deposition of damaging abnormal protein in critical organs of the body, including the kidneys, heart, liver, and intestines, and shares some characteristics with MM.

New cases of rare genetic disorder identified
Scientists at the University of Liverpool, working with international partners, have shown a rare genetic disease, that causes crippling osteoarthritis in the spine and major joints, is far more prevalent worldwide than previously thought.

Scientists deploy lasers, GPS technology to improve snow measurements
Scientists are working to solve a critical wintertime weather mystery: How to accurately measure the amount of snow on the ground.

ORNL microscopy explores nanowires' weakest link
Deliberately introduced defects, which are only the size of a single atom, could turn a conducting nanowire into an insulator by shutting down the path of electrons.

Aligning the eyes: A simpler surgery for a complex condition
People with strabismus (misalignment and limited movement of one or more eyes) are often teased about their crossed-eye appearance; those with more complex, disfiguring strabismus can become socially isolated and develop neck and back problems from having to turn their head to see properly.

Games and interactive media are powerful tools for health promotion and childhood obesity prevention
Children are naturally drawn toward gaming and other types of technology, creating an ideal opportunity to design interactive media tools to encourage physical activity and promote healthy eating habits, according to an article in a special issue of the journal Childhood Obesity celebrating the second anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.

New model of childhood brain cancer establishes first step to personalized treatment
Scientists at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute developed a new mouse model for studying medulloblastoma, a devastating childhood brain cancer.

Scientific considerations for complex drugs in light of established regulatory guidance
The FDA is currently working toward implementing the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009.

The leading cause of death for diabetics: Getting to the heart of problem
Millions of people suffer from Type 2 diabetes. The leading cause of death in these patients is heart disease.

Compound may help in fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs
North Carolina State University chemists have created a compound that makes existing antibiotics 16 times more effective against recently discovered antibiotic-resistant

Indiana University scientist works to detach protein that HIV uses as protective shield
One of the frustrations for scientists working on HIV/AIDS treatments has been the human immunodeficiency virus' ability to evade the body's immune system.

Study shows children with IBD have difficulty in school, mostly due to absences
Children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may have difficulty functioning in school, particularly because their tendency to internalize problems can impact attendance.

Islamic Law Materialized: A new database for Islamic documents from the Middle Ages
Scholars from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany are participating in the creation of a new database for Arabic documents from the 8th to 15th centuries AD Legal documents issued or attested by courts across the entire Arabic-speaking world are being collected as part of the project.

Gearing up for data deluge from world's biggest radio telescope
The amount of computer data generated by the entire world in a whole year will need to be stored in a single day for the world's most powerful telescope − the Square Kilometre Array − and the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research is gearing up to meet that unprecedented need.

Heart failure patients have new hope
More than six million American adults suffer from heart failure.

Practice makes perfect, but not when it comes to decisions about risk
People aren't always good at making informed decisions that involve risk, but a new study shows that even when we know the likelihood of certain outcomes based on statistical evidence or our own experiences, we still make decisions at odds with the probability of their occurrence.

Cut your Valentine some slack
If the one you love usually forgets Valentine's Day, but this year makes a romantic effort, you should give him credit for trying.

Neuron memory key to taming chronic pain
A team of researchers led by McGill neuroscientist Terence Coderre, who is also affiliated with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, has found the key to understanding how memories of pain are stored in the brain.

Young adults allowed to stay on parents' health insurance have improved access to care
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that laws permitting children to stay on their parents' health insurance through age 26 result in improved access to health care compared to states without those laws.

Breast cancer survivors suffer musculoskeletal alterations caused by surgery
A research study conducted at the University of Granada has revealed that breast cancer survivors exhibit greater activation of neck and shoulder muscles, which may contribute to the development of chronic pain.

More than 40 UBC researchers present leading Canadian research at global science conference
The University of British Columbia community has come out in full force to take part in the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest general scientific gathering in the world.

The depths of winter: How much snow is in fact on the ground?
Equipped with specialized lasers and GPS technology, scientists are working to address a critical wintertime weather challenge: how to accurately measure the amount of snow on the ground.

Radiation treatment transforms breast cancer cells into cancer stem cells
Researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report for the first time that radiation therapy -- despite killing half of all tumor cells during every treatment -- transforms other cancer cells into treatment-resistant breast cancer stem cells.

Antibodies to intracellular cancer antigens combined with chemotherapy enhance anti-cancer immunity
An international team of scientists in Japan, Switzerland, and the United States has confirmed that combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy in cancer treatment enhances the immune system's ability to find and eliminate cancer cells, even when the cancer-associated proteins targeted by the immune system are hidden behind the cancer cell membrane.

Smoking bans lead to less, not more, smoking at home
Smoking bans in public/workplaces don't drive smokers to light up more at home, suggests a study of four European countries with smoke free legislation, published online in Tobacco Control.

Research!America responds to President Obama's FY2013 budget
Research!America Chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, says President Obama's budget is a mixed bag for science and innovation, increasing investment in some areas while shortchanging other key agencies.

Challenges of identifying cognitive abilities in severely brain-injured patients
By employing complex machine learning techniques to decipher repeated advanced brain scans, researchers at New York‑Presbyterian/Weill Cornell were able to provide evidence that a patient with a severe brain injury could, in her way, communicate accurately.

Startling results in synthetic chemistry presented in Nature Chemistry
Swiss scientists have created a minor sensation in synthetic chemistry.

Leading the quest to crack cosmological mysteries
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics launches national collaboration on deepest questions of dark energy, dark matter and cosmic inflation.

Computer programs that think like humans
Intelligence -- what does it really mean? In the 1800s, it meant that you were good at memorizing things, and today intelligence is measured through IQ tests where the average score for humans is 100.

New devices could hold key to predicting premature births
Scientists and doctors from the University of Sheffield are developing two novel devices that could lead to the improved prediction of premature births.

A new technique identifies corpses by comparing the skull with a picture of the subject alive
University of Granada researchers have designed a new corpse identification technique that is more reliable and less costly than those currently employed.

Know a teen hurt by a date? Someone else has been hurting them too, UNH research finds
Teen victims of dating violence are overwhelmingly more likely to have been victims of other forms of violence, such as sexual violence and child abuse, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center.

Children at risk for ingestion of PAHs from pavement sealant, study finds
Children living near coal-tar-sealed pavement are likely to receive a far higher dose of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from incidental ingestion of house dust than do children living near unsealed pavement, and that dose is more than two times higher than the PAH dose children are estimated to receive from food.

Study shows that patient's own cardiac stem cells can repair damaged heart muscle
A study published online first by the Lancet shows that infusion of cardiac stem cells into patients who had had heart attacks can help regenerate healthy heart muscle.

Physician approaches to palliative sedation
Physicians take two types of approaches to palliative sedation, either mild sedation or deep sedation from the start, and it is important to understand the reasons behind each approach, states an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The birds in the Iliad strengthened warriors
The birds in the Iliad help warriors and kings make difficult decisions and satisfy the basic human need for self-esteem and security.

Why looks can be deceiving
Neuropsychology researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -the Neuro, McGill University, have found that two areas of the prefrontal cortex are critical for either detecting or distinguishing emotions from facial expressions.

Nanotechnology may lead to more energy-efficient electronics
Carbon nanotubes and graphene consist of just a couple of layers of carbon atoms, but they are lighter than aluminum, stronger than steel and can bend like spring-coils.

Study evaluates the factors underlying Medicare decisions on coverage of medical technology
A new study provides unique insight into factors that affect Medicare decisions on whether to pay for medical technologies.

Weighing the difference: Switching to water, diet beverages can tip the scales
Making a simple substitution of water or diet soft drinks for drinks with calories can help people lose four to five pounds, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

Nerve sparing helps most prostate cancer patients to have same orgasms as before surgery
91 percent of men who have a prostate cancer operation can retain their ability to orgasm if the surgery is carried out without removing both sets of nerves that surround the prostate gland like a hammock.

Stress in cells activates hepatitis viruses
Substances which suppress the immune system while simultaneously keeping viral infections in check would be an ideal drug for organ transplant recipients.

NIH's National Library of Medicine acquires papers of distinguished Wayne State University professor
The National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, the world's largest medical library, announced recently the acquisition of the papers of Charles F.

America must maintain strong funding of scientific research
The Science Coalition supports President Obama's commitment to scientific research and innovation as outlined in his FY 2013 budget submitted to Congress today.

10 rights and responsibilities of users of electronic health records
Providing clinicians ten rights and responsibilities regarding their electronic health record use could serve as the foundation on which to build a new approach to health care in the electronic age, states an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Larger belly linked to memory problems in people with HIV
A larger waistline may be linked to an increased risk of decreased mental functioning in people infected with the AIDS virus HIV, according to research published in the Feb.

New HIV-vaccine tested on people
Scientists from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital and Antwerp University have tested a new 'therapeutic vaccine' against HIV on volunteers.

Fish of Antarctica threatened by climate change
A Yale-led study of the evolutionary history of Antarctic fish and their

New legal limits in traffic for drugs other than alcohol
Legal limits for twenty illegal drugs and medicines with an abuse potential have been introduced by the Norwegian government.

Scientific advances promise better ways to engineer water-safety systems
Grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation will support research at Arizona State University seeking better ways to remove health-threatening contaminants from water sources and to develop technologies to help the country's smaller and more remote communities maintain water-safety standards.

USC team tracks down cause of birth defect
A USC research team has pinpointed the source of a genetic disorder that causes life-threatening birth defects, which may allow doctors to quickly diagnose and better treat the disease.

Environment Canada cuts threaten science, international agreements
Recent cuts to the scientific workforce of Environment Canada, a government agency responsible for meteorological services and environmental research, threaten scientific research related to the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and pollution in the lower atmosphere, according to environmental scientists in the US.

Middle school teachers, students stay after school to work on science, engineering projects
Virginia Tech and the University of Kentucky are launching an inquiry-based after-school program for middle school students in Appalachia.

Explosive evolution need not follow mass extinctions, study of ancient zooplankton finds
Fossil record of graptoloids challenges the theory that immediately after a mass extinction, species develop new physical traits at a rapid pace.

Georgia Tech develops computational algorithm to assist in cancer treatments
Georgia Tech has created a new data analysis algorithm that quickly transforms complex RNA sequence data into usable content for biologists and clinicians.

National commitment to recess, healthy food, environment, & research are keys to childhood obesity
Dr. Melinda Sothern, Professor of Public Health and Jim Finks Chair of Health Promotion at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, addressed First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move!

UT researchers find China's pollution related to E-cars may be more harmful than gasoline cars
What a University of Tennessee civil engineer and his team have discovered defies conventional logic: electric cars cause much more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars in China.

The developing genome?
Dr. Ehud Lamm of Tel Aviv University says that a genome, rather than a static collection of information, is a dynamic structure itself, responding to stress and contributing to our genetic development.

In older adults, fluctuating sense of control linked to cognitive ability
Everyone has moments when they feel more in control of their lives than at other times.

Study finds association between air pollution and cognitive decline in women
A large, prospective study led by a researcher at Rush University Medical Center indicates that chronic exposure to particulate air pollution may accelerate cognitive decline in older adults.

Georgia Tech develops software for the rapid analysis of foodborne pathogens
2011 brought two of the deadliest bacterial outbreaks the world has seen during the last 25 years.

New GSA Bulletin science online ahead of print Feb. 6, 2012
New science published in GSA Bulletin includes evidence from Ellesmere Island that the end-Permian mass extinction may not have been a synchronous, global event; an understanding of how weak faults are formed by weak minerals; a study of the Mull Granite of northwest Scotland; and a proposed revision of 30-year-old model of geomorphic response to climate change based on observations from the hyperarid Nahal Yael watershed in the southern Negev Desert, Israel.

UK cases of progressive sight loss condition set to rise a third by 2020
New cases of the progressive sight loss condition, known as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD for short, are set to rise by a third in the UK over the next decade, reveals research published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Even moderate air pollution can raise stroke risks
Air pollution, even at levels generally considered safe by federal regulations, increases the risk of stroke by 34 percent, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers have found.

The Swedish song - from lute to protest
Performance practice within the Swedish song type known as

Marshall University scientist receives $60,000 grant to explore link between obesity and cancer
A Marshall University researcher has been awarded a one-year, $60,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation.

Penn psychologists find 6- to 9-month-olds understand the meaning of many spoken words
At an age when

Exercise in early 20s may lower risk of osteoporosis
Physical exercise in the early 20s improves bone development and may reduce the risk of fractures later in life, reveals a study of more than 800 Swedish men carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

First-of-its-kind stem cell study re-grows healthy heart muscle in heart attack patients
Results from a Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute clinical trial show that treating heart attack patients with an infusion of their own heart-derived cells helps damaged hearts re-grow healthy muscle. 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