Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 16, 2012
Researchers warn nanoparticles in food, vitamins could harm human health
Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought.

Puzzle play may help boost learning math-related skills
Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills, a study by University of Chicago researchers has found.

As diabetes emerges, researchers track disease's first steps
Scientists have taken a remarkably detailed look at the initial steps that occur in the body when Type 1 diabetes mellitus first develops in a child or young adult.

Study simulates effects of foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Mexico
In a worst-case scenario simulation of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Mexico, researchers found that establishing a good surveillance system and raising a more resilient breed of cattle could lessen the blow to the Mexican cattle industry should an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or other infectious disease occur.

New F1000 app identifies top research in biology and medicine covered in Elsevier's SciVerse
Faculty of 1000, today announced the launch of a new application that helps researchers explore the scientific content in biology and medicine included in Elsevier's SciVerse platform.

Military service changes personality, makes vets less agreeable
It's no secret that battlefield trauma can leave veterans with deep emotional scars that impact their ability to function in civilian life.

First successful human results achieved: Implantable wireless microchip drug delivery device
The first successful human study was announced for an implantable, wireless microchip device for drug delivery.

Puzzle play improves math skills
An important context for figuring out problems through reasoning is puzzle play, say researchers at University of Chicago.

Making motors more energy efficient
Energy efficiency efforts tend to focus on things such as lighting and insulation.

$10.5 million grant will expand vast online hub for educators, by educators
Between teaching, paperwork, assessments, discipline and grading, schoolteachers have a demanding job, and lately it's becoming even tougher.

Researchers find strange new nanoregion can form in quasicrystals
A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of structural anomaly, or defect, that can appear in quasicrystals, a unique material with some crystal-like properties but a more complex structure.

AAAS workshop: Research collaborations with India and Brazil
This AUCC workshop will look at how Canada is positioning itself as a world leader in research and innovation -- in part through enhanced partnerships and collaborations with emerging nations -- and how this strategy fits with the country's ongoing mission of attracting the best and brightest minds from around the world to its universities.

Dog owners more likely to achieve recommended activity levels during pregnancy
Collaborative research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition and the University of Liverpool has shown that pregnant women who own dogs are more physically active than those who don't.

New ability to regrow blood vessels holds promise for treatment of heart disease
University of Texas at Austin researchers have demonstrated a new and more effective method for regrowing blood vessels in the heart and limbs -- a research advancement that could have major implications for how we treat heart disease, the leading cause of death in the Western world.

Great news for chimpanzees
The Republic of Congo has formally expanded Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park to protect an increasingly rare treasure: One of Africa's most pristine forests and a population of

U of Minn. researchers discover cell phone hackers can track your location without your knowledge
Cellular networks leak the locations of cell phone users, allowing a third party to easily track the location of the cell phone user without the user's knowledge, according to new research by computer scientists in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering.

High doses of 'load' slows loss of bone in spinal cord injury
A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of

Implantable microchip delivers medicine to women with osteoporosis
Osteoporosis patients could soon ditch daily injection pens for an implantable microchip that releases medication at the push of a remote-controlled button, reports new study appearing Feb.

NASA sees Cyclone Giovanna moving through the Mozambique Channel
Infrared NASA satellite imagery showed Cyclone Giovanna moving south through the Mozambique Channel on Thursday, Feb.

Gates Foundation awards grant to tackle malaria
Can an innovative wallpaper-like liner help reduce the number of cases of malaria, and if so, will it be cost effective?

Berkeley Lab researchers at AAAS
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab researchers will be presenting at this year's AAAS meeting in Vancouver.

York researchers create 'tornados' inside electron microscopes
Researchers from the University of York are pioneering the development of electron microscopes which will allow scientists to examine a greater variety of materials in new revolutionary ways.

The splice of life: Proteins cooperate to regulate gene splicing
In a step toward deciphering the

Fruit flies use alcohol as a drug to kill parasites
Fruit flies infected with a blood-borne parasite consume alcohol to self-medicate, a behavior that greatly increases their survival rate, an Emory University study finds.

Doctoral student presenting research on literacy in Sudan to United Nations
Kansas State University doctoral student Stephanie Pearson will present her research before the United Nations General Assembly on Feb.

When is a gene not a gene?
This release outlines the development of a high-quality reliable catalog of loss-of-function variants designed by Sanger Institute researchers.

Express yourself: How zygotes sort out imprinted genes
Writing in the Feb. 17, 2012 issue of the journal Cell, researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Toronto Western Research Institute peel away some of the enduring mystery of how zygotes or fertilized eggs determine which copies of parental genes will be used or ignored.

Health games emerge as important new therapeutic tools for physical and mental health and well-being
Millions of dollars and immeasurable hours of research and development are being invested to develop and employ increasingly sophisticated hardware and software technologies to deliver innovative new personalized health care interventions.

New protected areas for dolphins declared
The Government of Bangladesh recently declared three new wildlife sanctuaries for endangered freshwater dolphins in the world's largest mangrove ecosystem - the Sundarbans, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society whose conservation work helped pinpoint the locations of the protected areas.

International ranking for infant mortality flawed: Canadian study
The ranking of the US and Canada in international child health indexes would dramatically improve if measurements were standardized, according to a new study by researchers at four Canadian universities and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

DFG to establish 4 new research units
Topics range from digital knowledge representation to ecological networks.

An 'immortal' devil's genome and the secrets of a cancer that's catching
Researchers reporting in the Feb. 17 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell have sequenced the complete genome of one immortal devil.

Patient education classes may reduce disparities in kidney transplantation
Being educated about your health and your treatment options is a good thing.

National guardsmen face a high risk of developing alcohol abuse problems following deployment
Soldiers in the National Guard with no history of alcohol abuse are at significant risk of developing alcohol-related problems during and after deployment.

Study documents the importance of supportive spouses in coping with work-related stress
The growth of two-income families and increasing levels of job stress are two of the most significant work trends affecting American businesses and families in recent years.

Food scientists fortify goat cheese with fish oil to deliver healthy omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil is an underused ingredient in the food industry because of its association with a strong odor and aftertaste.

Video games lead to new paths to treat cancer, other diseases
Samuel Cho, a researcher at Wake Forest University, uses graphics processing units, the technology that makes video game images so realistic, to simulate the inner workings of human cells.

The quest for sugars involved in origin of life
Team from University of the Basque Country manage to isolate a sugar -- a ribose -- in gas phase and to characterize a number of its structures.

AgriLife research study shows temperatures may change disease resistance in wheat
Wheat streak mosaic resistance bred into several wheat varieties might be negated by the producer practice in the High Plains of planting wheat early and using it for both winter forage for cattle and grain, according to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

UGA animal vaccine may slow deadly spread of Chagas disease
Chagas disease is the single most common cause of congestive heart failure and sudden death in the world.

Yale paper finds arsenic supply at highest risk
Modern technology depends on reliable supplies of a wide variety of materials, but there is increasing concern about the dependability of those supplies.

First EarthScope 'transportable array' seismic station reaches US East Coast
Yulee, Florida. Not a place one usually thinks of as an Earthquake Epicenter.

Microbial oasis discovered beneath the Atacama Desert
Two meters below the surface of the Atacama Desert there is an 'oasis' of microorganisms.

Genetic studies of special mice could lead to rapid human health advances
Genetic information provided by a large group of specially-designed mice could pave the way to faster human health discoveries and transform the ways people battle and prevent disease.

Grief is not an illness and should not be routinely treated with antidepressants
The lead Editorial in this week's Lancet expresses concerns about the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychiatric Association.

New study shows no evidence of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to reports of groundwater contamination, based on evidence reviewed in a study released Thursday by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

Marine protected areas: changing climate could require change of plans
Marine protected areas may turn out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Secret of sperm quality control revealed by Yale scientists
Yale researchers have discovered how the

Protein that functions in normal breast may also contribute to breast cancer metastasis
The trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) protein protects and maintains the integrity of the epithelial surface in the normal breast.

Queen's soft tissue replacement technology gets a funding boost
A new process for transforming discarded human fat into a soft-tissue substitute for use in reconstructive surgery is laying the groundwork for creating an Ontario-based regenerative medicine initiative focused on developing products for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

MDC researcher Zsuzsanna Izsvák receives advanced European research grant
Dr. Zsuzsanna Izsvák, research group leader at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch, has been named recipient of a European Research Council grant worth EUR 1.94 million for her research on

To create 2.4 million jobs invest excess corporate cash: UMD study
US corporations have far less cash on hand to invest than popularly believed - but enough to provide a significant economic stimulus and renewed employment growth in the midst of a tepid economic recovery, concludes a new study by University of Maryland economic researchers.

Ending individual mandate would not dramatically hike insurance prices, study finds
A new study finds that eliminating a key part of health care reform that requires all Americans to have health insurance would not dramatically increase the cost of buying policies through new insurance exchanges.

Spatial proximity plays important role in chromosome translocation
A new study published online in the journal Cell by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston, offers the first conclusive evidence that the three dimensional structure of the chromosome strongly influences patterns of chromosome rearrangements and translocations.

To kill off parasites, an insect self-medicates with alcohol
Alcoholic drinks aren't generally put into the category of health food, but in some cases they might be just the cure for nasty parasites.

Nanosurgery and the fight against cancer: Major breakthrough at Polytechnique Montréal
Researchers at Polytechnique Montréal have succeeded in changing the genetic material of cancer cells using a brand-new transfection method.

'Honeycombs' and hexacopters help tell story of Mars
For decades, the family resemblance between the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington state and Mars has lured planetary scientists.

Agreement on short-term SGR 'patch' fails to ensure access to care or advance needed reforms
This is a joint Statement of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and American Osteopathic Association.

Nanoparticles may enhance cancer therapy
A mixture of current drugs and carbon nanoparticles shows potential to enhance treatment for head-and-neck cancers, especially when combined with radiation therapy, according to new research by Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Paediatricians oppose Health and Social Care Bill warning
In Correspondence published Online First in The Lancet, a group of over 150 paediatricians and members of the UK's Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health call for the UK Government to drop The Health and Social Care Bill on the grounds it will have an extremely damaging effect on the health of children and their families and their access to high-quality, effective services.

Scripps Research and Sanford-Burnham scientists shed light on how body fends off bacteria
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have determined the 3D structure of the interaction between the bacterial protein flagellin and an immune molecule called TLR5, shedding light on how the body protects itself from foreign invaders.

UMass Amherst chemical engineers say 'mini-cellulose' molecule unlocks biofuel chemistry
Chemical engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered a small molecule that behaves the same as cellulose when it is converted to biofuel.

Genes may travel from plant to plant to fuel evolution
Evolutionary biologists at Brown University and the University of Sheffield have documented for the first time that plants pass genes from plant to plant to fuel their evolutionary development.

Inspired by gecko feet, UMass Amherst scientists invent super-adhesive material
Geckskin's adhesive pad uses simple everyday materials such as polydimethylsiloxane, which holds promise for developing an inexpensive, strong and durable dry adhesive.

Study details on-off switch that promotes or suppresses breast cancer
The cell signaling pathway TGF-beta can both promote and suppress breast cancer cells.

Common flame retardant linked to social, behavioral and learning deficits
Mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to a common flame retardant were less fertile and their offspring were smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found.

Successful human tests for first wirelessly controlled drug-delivery chip
About 15 years ago, MIT professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima had the idea to develop a programmable, wirelessly controlled microchip that would deliver drugs after implantation in a patient's body.

MBL's Hugh Ducklow appointed to Antarctic Blue Ribbon Panel
Hugh Ducklow, senior scientist and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center has been appointed to the US Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel.

How the 'Quarter' Horse won the rodeo
American Quarter Horses are renowned for their speed, agility, and calm disposition.

Death of woman from Legionnaires' disease traced to infection from contaminated dental surgery equipment
The Case Report in this week's Lancet details the death of an 82-year-old woman in Italy, which was caused by Legionnaires' disease traced to equipment in a dental surgery she attended shortly before her death.

Sandia's Maynard Holliday named Volunteer of the Year by Citizen Schools
Maynard Holliday, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, has been named Volunteer of the Year by Citizen Schools California for his work as a volunteer teacher at Oakland's Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School.

Texting affects ability to interpret words
Research designed to understand the effect of text messaging on language found that texting has a negative impact on people's linguistic ability to interpret and accept words, according to a University of Calgary linguistics researcher.

World's top technology researchers coming to Queen's for TEI 2012
One of the world's top conferences in human-computer interaction, TEI 2012, is taking place at Queen's University.

Synthetic protein amplifies genes needed for stem cells
Scientists have found a way to generate and maintain stem cells much more efficiently by amplifying the effect of an essential protein.

Pancreatic hormone linked with severe heart disease in obese and diabetic patients
Severe heart damage in people who are obese and diabetic is linked with a pancreatic hormone called amylin, UC Davis researchers have found.

Anthrax-killing foam proves effective in meth lab cleanup
Sandia's decontamination foam, developed more than a decade ago and used to decontaminate federal office buildings and mailrooms during the 2001 anthrax attacks, is now being used to decontaminate illegal methamphetamine labs.

Broadband internet for everyone
In the developing world, 96 percent of all households have no internet access.

Wayne State proves targeted tumor freezing therapy increases ovarian cancer survival
Ovarian cancer, which killed 15,000 American women last year, is one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Europe needs a 'RESCUE' revolution
Resolving the world's major challenges whether climate change, environmental pollution, urbanization, our aging population or resource scarcity requires a sweeping shift in our approach to sustainability research and education, a group of leading scientists told European policy makers today during the launch of their report

Energy poverty creating a respiratory disease 'epidemic' for almost half the world's population
Limited access to clean sources of energy, known as energy poverty, makes nearly half the world's population reliant on burning wood, animal waste, coal or charcoal to cook.

Birds in uncertain climates are more likely to stray from their mates
Married people may pledge to stay faithful through good times and bad, but birds sing a different tune -- when weather is severe or uncertain, birds are more likely to stray from their mates, says a new study by researchers working at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Columbia University.

Organic foods may be an unsuspected source of dietary arsenic
Organic brown rice syrup, a sweetening alternative to the high-fructose corn syrup, may be surreptitiously introducing arsenic in health foods.

Wayne State research reveals improved method for paramedics to stop prolonged seizures
Drug delivery directly into muscle using an autoinjector is faster and may be more effective in stopping prolonged seizures, according to a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher.

New mouse collaborative cross resource promises new cures and treatments for diseases
In 15 articles published this month in the journals of the Genetics Society of America, GENETICS and G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, researchers present findings on a new resource, called the

International experts clarify hormonal changes of menopause
Published simultaneously in four top-tier journals, a new report provides a framework within which physicians and researchers can systematically and consistently identify the different reproductive stages women go though from adolescence to menopause and beyond.

Mother of pearl tells a tale of ocean temperature, depth
Produced by a multitude of mollusk species, nacre is widely used in jewelry and art. improves migraine self-management and reduces migraine-related psychological distress
The study tested the ability of to increase the use of self-management skills in people with chronic migraine headaches.

New model accurately predicts who will develop deadly form of dengue fever
Researchers have developed the first accurate predictive model to differentiate between dengue fever and its more severe form, dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Researchers make living model of brain tumor
Researchers have created a living 3-D model of a brain tumor and its surrounding blood vessels.

Did an evolutionary arms race cause lupus? Biologist Harmit Malik receives grant to try and find out
Evolutionary biologist Harmit Singh Malik, Ph.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has received a $300,000 grant from the Lupus Research Institute to study the potential role of

Cellular aging increases risk of heart attack and early death
Every cell in the body has chromosomes with so-called telomeres, which are shortened over time and also through lifestyle choices such as smoking and obesity.

Fossilized pollen unlocks secrets of ancient royal garden
The garden at the 2,500-year-old palace of Ramat Rahel in Israel hasn't been in bloom for more than two millennia.

Modern health mapping shows how poverty and ill health persist over 100 years
Academics from Queen Mary, University of London have blended old maps with new technology to reveal a geographical picture depicting the 'hotspots' for diabetes risk in east London.

AMP testifies at USPTO
AMP presented testimony to the US Patent and Trademark Office requesting moratorium on human gene patenting.

SBRT provides better outcomes than surgery for cancer patients with common lung disease
Stereotactic body radiotherapy provides better overall survival rates than surgery for lung cancer patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a disease commonly associated with lung cancer, according to a study in the upcoming March issue of the International Journal of Radiation, Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Determination of the immunoproteasome crystal structure
If the immune system detects nonself peptides on the surface of a cell, it annihilates it.

Physician reminders don't improve care for kidney disease patients
Laboratory-based treatment reminders meant to improve physicians' prescribing habits for patients with chronic kidney disease may not be effective, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Preventing the devil's downfall
This release outlines a study into the contagious facial cancer that is threatening the Tasmanian devil with extinction.

Special Fukushima Session at 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting
In a special session on Tuesday, Feb. 21, during the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, researchers will present early results from several field and modeling studies examining the fate of more than a dozen radioactive isotopes in the air, water, and organisms impacted by the Fukushima releases.

Cell signaling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have revealed new details about how cell signaling is controlled in the immune system, identifying in the process potential new therapeutic targets for treating severe blood disorders.

Post-stroke language impairment adds thousands to medical costs
Stroke-related language impairment adds about $1,703 per patient to medical costs the first year after stroke, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Harvard's Wyss Institute develops DNA nanorobot to trigger targeted therapeutic responses
A new robotic device made from DNA could potentially seek out specific cell targets and deliver important molecular instructions, such as telling cancer cells to self-destruct.

Robot reconnoiters uncharted terrain
Mobile robots have many uses. They serve as cleaners, carry out inspections and search for survivors of disasters.

MGH Cancer Center team identifies potential treatment target for KRAS-mutated colon cancer
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center have identified a new potential strategy for treating colon tumors driven by mutations in the KRAS gene, which usually resist both conventional and targeted treatments.

Pregnant asthmatic women warned of health risks
Many pregnant women who suffer from asthma are putting their unborn child's health at risk by failing to use the right medication, according to a University of Adelaide researcher.

Students at Western University develop a novel way to teach interdisciplinary care
A unique board game developed by a group of medical students at Western University will help bridge gaps between various health disciplines to better educate students about their roles in interdisciplinary health teams.

When body clock runs down, immune system takes time off
The circadian clock is a finely tuned genetic mechanism that regulates our sleep cycle and key metabolic changes during the 24-hour cycle.

OHSU discovery may someday lead to prevention and treatment of sudden infant death syndrome
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that brain cells commonly thought to play a supporting role actually are critically important for the growth of brainstem neurons responsible for cardiorespiratory control.

Study evaluates faster treatment for seizures
Results have just been released from an NIH study conducted at multiple sites, including the University of Kentucky, indicating that an autoinjector pen is a faster and possibly more effective way for emergency medical personnel to treat serious seizures.

NASA awards Goddard Institute for Space Studies contract
NASA has awarded a contract to Trinnovim, LLC, of Arlington, Va., for specialized scientific support services to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, N.Y.

Scripps research scientists create molecular map to guide treatment of multiple sclerosis
A team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute, collaborating with members of the drug discovery company Receptos, has created the first high-resolution virtual image of cellular structures called S1P1 receptors, which are critical in controlling the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

4 new drugs will change prostate cancer care
After almost 15 years of near stagnation, new targeted drugs that act on innovative mechanisms may transform prostate cancer from a terminal to a chronic disease.

Faculty retention proves a major challenge for universities
Attracting and retaining the world's brightest students is on the mind of every university official.

Eating problems persist 3 months after stroke and 56 percent still face malnutrition risk
People who suffered a stroke continued to experience eating problems and more than half still risked malnutrition after three months, even though there had been a marked improvement in most of their physical functions.

To understand chromosome reshuffling, look to the genome's 3D structure
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and the Immune Disease Institute have helped bring those rules into clearer focus by discovering that where each of the genome's thousands of genes lie within the cell's nucleus - essentially, the genome's three-dimensional organization - holds great influence over where broken chromosome ends rejoin, knowledge that could shed light on fundamental processes related to cancer and normal cellular functions, for example in immunity.

Women with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus give birth to fewer children
New research shows that more than half of women with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus have fewer children than desired.

Queen's-led national study identifies mental health as a primary concern for Canada's youth
Canadian girls report higher levels of emotional problems and lower levels of emotional well-being and life satisfaction, while boys tend to experience more behavioral problems and demonstrate less prosocial behavior, a new Queen's University-led national study of youth health behavior shows.

North Carolina-based genetic resources fuel big scientific progress
A series of 15 scientific papers published this week in the journals of the Genetics Society of America (Genetics and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics) put North Carolina at the epicenter of a scientific resource called the Collaborative Cross -- a

Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center establishes Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities
In an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate cancer disparities among adults in the Philadelphia region, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson has established the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities.

MIT Research: New system allows robots to continuously map their environment
Robots could one day navigate through constantly changing surroundings with virtually no input from humans, thanks to a system that allows them to build and continuously update a three-dimensional map of their environment using a low-cost camera such as Microsoft's Kinect.

Nano-technology uses virus' coats to fool cancer cells
While there have been major advances in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of brain cancer, it continues to have a very low survival rate.

Study: Weight training improves Parkinson's symptoms
New research suggests weight training for two years significantly improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease compared to other forms of exercise such as stretching and balance exercises.

Circadian clock governs highs and lows of immune response
It's been said that timing is everything, and that may be particularly true when it comes to the ability to fight off disease. 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