Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 22, 2012
Protecting the NHS for future generations -- services only for the poor are poor services
This week in the UK's House of Commons it was revealed that an NHS Director had written to an NHS employee to say that it was

US Forest Service research used in new, invasive-plant software
US Forest Service research and funding have led to the development of a free software application that will help people identify and control destructive invasive plants in Southern forests and grasslands.

Pharmacy director to receive top honor for patient safety, smart clinical practices
During her 34-year career, Rita Shane, PharmD, has earned a reputation as a tireless advocate for patient safety -- one who has transformed the way pharmacists perform their jobs.

World of Warcraft boosts cognitive functioning in some older adults
For some older adults, the online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) may provide more than just an opportunity for escapist adventure.

Researchers reveal how cancer cells change once they spread to distant organs
Oncologists have known that in order for cancer cells to spread, they must transform themselves so they can detach from a tumor and spread to a distant organ.

Uncovered: Genetic cause of complex disease seen in Irish Traveller community
Two independent groups of researchers have now identified the disease-causing gene in patients with a complex inherited syndrome most commonly observed within the Irish Traveller community.

Academic inventors critical to American innovation
In a paper published in Technology and Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, Richard Malsby, associate commissioner for innovation and development for the USPTO, advocates for promoting American academic innovation and favors building a close relationship with the National Academy of Inventors for educational outreach concerning the value of recognizing and supporting academic inventors.

The secret life of subliminal messaging
Modern consumers of mass media have long been swayed by the notion that secret, invisible messages are embedded in everything from radio commercials to Hollywood blockbusters.

Geological cycle causes biodiversity booms and busts every 60 million years, research suggests
A mysterious cycle of booms and busts in marine biodiversity over the past 500 million years could be tied to a periodic uplifting of the world's continents, scientists report in the latest issue of the Journal of Geology.

Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University announce youth football publication, new head impact study
The first ever publication with data on head impacts from youth football players includes the details of over 700 head impacts measured on 7- and 8-year-old youth football players.

Researchers: Prevalence of improper condom use a public health issue worldwide
Problems with the correct use of the male condom, such as not wearing a condom throughout sex or putting it on upside down, are common in the US, and have become a major concern of public health officials.

Migraine linked to increased risk of depression in women
New research suggests women who have migraine or have had them in the past are at an increased risk for developing depression compared to women who have never had migraine.

ACGME announces plan to transform graduate medical education
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education today announced major changes in how the nation's medical residency programs will be accredited in the years ahead, putting in place an outcomes-based evaluation system where the doctors of tomorrow will be measured for their competency in performing the essential tasks necessary for clinical practice in the 21st century.

Sydney to host the 2012 International Microbicides Conference
The biennial International Microbicides Conference is the premier gathering for those working on new approaches to HIV prevention and this year's conference in Sydney, Australia will place a strong emphasis on the role of community in both research and implementation of scientific findings.

For disaster debris arriving from Japan, radiation least of the concerns
Later this year debris from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan should begin to wash up on US shores -- and one question many have asked is whether that will pose a radiation risk.

New book says financial model for higher ed is broken, offers ways to overhaul
Higher education, a jewel of American society and an engine of its economy, is under threat, and if the nation is to remain competitive the financial model must be overhauled, says a new book.

University of Houston to host round table discussion on 'Houston, Leading America's Future'
The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work will host

Solved! Mystery that stumped ecosystem modelers
As scientists warn that the Earth is on the brink of a period of mass extinctions, they are struggling to identify ecosystem responses to environmental change.

Benchmarking study prompts rethink on next cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines
The fifth edition of the Joint European CVD Prevention Guidelines to be released at EuroPRevent 2012 congress, to be held May 3-5 in Dublin, Ireland.

Paying research volunteers raises ethical concerns, study concludes
Researchers often offer money for healthy volunteers to enroll in research studies, but does payment amount to coercion or undue inducement?

New member of the breast-cancer gene network found by Penn-led team
The infamous BRCA genes do not act alone in causing cancer; There is a molecular syndicate at work preventing the way cells normally repair breaks in DNA that is at the root of breast cancer.

News articles linking alcohol to crimes or accidents increase support for liquor law enforcement
Reading a newspaper article about the role alcohol played in an injury accident or violent crime makes people more supportive of enforcing alcohol laws, a new study suggests.

Cognitive rehabilitation improves brain performance in patients with MS
In a new study, functional magnetic resonance imaging shows that cognitive rehabilitation changes brain function and improves cognitive performance in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

The heart beats to the rhythm of a circadian clock
Researchers explain the molecular linkage between the circadian clock and the deadly heart rhythms that lead to sudden death, which is more likely to occur shortly after waking in the morning and in the late night.

New way to tap largest remaining treasure trove of potential new antibiotics
Scientists are reporting use of a new technology for sifting through the world's largest remaining pool of potential antibiotics to discover two new antibiotics that work against deadly resistant microbes, including the

Researchers confirm WIC breastfeeding rate data
While medical professionals have long known breastfeeding positively impacts infant and maternal health, few effective tools are available to measure breastfeeding practices nationally.

Restoring reality: Training improves brain activation and behavior in schizophrenia
A pioneering new study finds that a specific type of computerized cognitive training can lead to significant neural and behavioral improvements in individuals with schizophrenia.

Invasive plant protects Australian lizards from invasive toad: Study
An invasive plant may have saved an iconic Australian lizard species from death at the hands of toxic cane toads, according to research published in the March issue of the American Naturalist.

To celebrate prairie landscapes, research says to take an aesthetic approach
A Kansas State University doctoral student is studying the rich -- although sometimes hidden -- beauty of prairie landscapes.

Le Foundation supports psychiatry neuroimaging research
The department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has received a $250,000 gift from the Iris & Junming Le Foundation to advance neuroimaging research conducted by young scientists in the early stages of their careers.

Scientists call for no-take coral sea park
More than 300 eminent scientists from 21 other countries around the world today urged the Australian Federal Government to create the world's largest no-take marine reserve in the Coral Sea.

A European project to achieve more sustainable production and distribution of foodstuffs
The European project SENSE aims to contribute towards getting the food and drink sector to engage in more environmentally sustainable production, transformation and distribution of its products.

AGU: Oil sands pollution comparable to a large power plant
In the first look at the overall effect of air pollution from the excavation of oil sands, also called tar sands, in Alberta, Canada, scientists used satellites to measure nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide emitted from the industry.

Toxic aldehydes detected in reheated oil
Researchers from the University of the Basque Country have been the first to discover the presence of certain aldehydes in food, which are believed to be related to some neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer.

Newly approved drug for metastatic melanoma nearly doubles median survival
Researchers from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report for the first time that a newly approved drug for patients with metastatic melanoma nearly doubles median survival times, a finding that will change the way this deadly form of skin cancer is treated.

Unraveling why children with Down syndrome have increased leukemia risk
Children with Down syndrome (DS) have an increased risk of developing leukemia, in particular acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Plastic nanoparticles affect behavior and fat metabolism in fish
Nanoparticles have many useful applications, but also raise some potential health and ecological concerns.

Cebit 2012: Interactive 3-D graphical objects as an integral part of online shops
Computer scientists from Saarland University show new 3-D technology at the computer fair Cebit.

Almonds are the new red
The American Heart Association recently certified almonds based on their nutrient profile to display the signature Heart-Check mark.

Injectable gel could repair tissue damaged by heart attack
University of California, San Diego researchers have developed a new injectable hydrogel that could be an effective and safe treatment for tissue damage caused by heart attacks.

Researchers evaluate teaching program for breaking bad news to patients
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and the University of South Florida College of Medicine evaluated the experience of medical students who participated in videotaped sessions where they practiced conveying difficult news to

Researchers solve puzzle of proteins linked to heart failure
Sudden cardiac death is a risk for patients with heart failure because the calcium inside their heart cells is not properly controlled and this can lead to an irregular heartbeat.

RI Hospital study looks at patients' decision-making in asymptomatic carotid stenosis
A paper from Rhode Island Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit examines whether different presentation formats, presenter characteristics, and patient characteristics affect decision-making for patients requiring treatment for asymptomatic carotid stenosis.

Ancient rock art found in Brazil
Researchers have discovered an extremely old anthropomorphic figure engraved in rock in Brazil.

Education doesn't increase support for affirmative action among whites, minorities
Highly educated whites and minorities are no more likely to support workplace affirmative action programs than are their less-educated peers, according to a new study in the March issue of Social Psychology Quarterly, which casts some doubt on the view that an advanced education is profoundly transformative when it comes to racial attitudes.

Scientists discover likely new trigger for epidemic of metabolic syndrome
UC Davis scientists have uncovered a key suspect in the destructive inflammation that underlies heart disease and diabetes.

New study confirms low levels of fallout from Fukushima
Fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility in Japan was measured in minimal amounts in precipitation in the United States in about 20 percent of 167 sites sampled in a nationwide study released today.

Is there a general motivation center in the depths of the brain?
A team coordinated by Mathias Pessiglione, Inserm researcher at the Centre de recherche en neurosciences de la Pitié Salpêtrière have identified the part of the brain driving motivation during actions that combine physical and mental effort: the ventral striatum.

Circadian rhythms linked to sudden cardiac death, study finds
A fundamental discovery reported in the March 1 issue of the journal Nature, uncovers the first molecular evidence linking the body's natural circadian rhythms to sudden cardiac death.

Only 1 month to opening of IOF-ECCEO12
Attend the most important bone event in Europe to be held from March 21-24, 2012 in beautiful Bordeaux, France.

Fake drug sales are increasing on the Internet and turning up in legitimate supply chains
Criminal gangs are increasingly using the Internet to market life-threatening counterfeit medicines and some have even turned up in legitimate outlets such as pharmacies.

Reports identify, prioritize environmental health risks in fast-growing United Arab Emirates
By global standards, health risks caused by environmental factors are low in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), new studies by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers show.

Even in winter, life persists in Arctic Seas
Despite brutal cold and lingering darkness, life in the frigid waters off Alaska does not grind to a halt in the winter as scientists previously suspected.

A faster way to catch cells
A new microfluidic device could be used to diagnose and monitor cancer and other diseases.

Accepting 'Hope of Los Angeles' award, Keith Black, M.D., speaks to next generations of hope
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, presenting Keith L. Black, M.D., with one of the city's highest honors -- the Hope of Los Angeles award -- said the neurosurgeon's innovative care and research efforts bring hope to patients throughout the region and the world.

Should patent and commercialization activities by faculty count toward tenure and promotion?
A report published in Technology and Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors finds that 75 percent of institutions surveyed do not include patent and commercialization considerations in their tenure and promotion criteria.

New York launch for education in conflict and emergencies research program
A University of York research program exploring the role of education in addressing violent conflict and humanitarian emergencies will be officially launched in New York this week.

Birds sing louder amidst the noise and structures of the urban jungle
Sparrows, blackbirds and the great tit are all birds known to sing at a higher pitch in urban environments.

Research offers way to save endangered Florida bird, and a lesson for conservationists
New research published online Feb. 22 in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters shows that

Local cops on front lines against product counterfeiting
Contrary to common perception, state and local police are often on the front lines against product counterfeiting, yet it's unclear how prepared they are to deal with the growing crime, according to a new report from two Michigan State University criminologists.

In food form, some probiotics have a better chance to promote health
Functional foods containing bacteria with beneficial health effects, or probiotics, have long been consumed in Northern Europe and are becoming increasingly popular elsewhere.

Assessing the impact of the Affordable Care Act on health care for veterans
While the Affordable Care Act will expand health insurance coverage for low-income persons through Medicaid and state health-insurance exchanges, including much-needed care for 1.8 million uninsured veterans in the US, the new insurance coverage option also may have a number of unintended negative effects on health care for veterans, said Kenneth W.

Hermetic bags save African crop, but not how experts once thought
The hermetic grain storage bags that cut off oxygen to weevils and have saved West and Central African farmers hundreds of millions of dollars by putting the brakes on the insects' rapid multiplication don't merely suffocate them as once thought, a Purdue University study shows.

NIH-funded science on hearing research at annual ARO meeting
NIDCD-funded scientists present research findings at annual ARO meeting.

Study: Increasingly, children's books are where the wild things aren't
A new study finds that over the last several decades, nature has taken a back seat in award-winning children's picture books.

Toward a personalized treatment against diabetes
Gathering experts from 21 European academic institutions and key players of the pharmaceutical industry, the DIRECT project (DIabetes REsearch for patient straTification) will focus on the stratification of patients with Type 2 diabetes in order to develop personalized treatments, that would therefore be more efficient.

Climate change affects bird migration timing in North America
Bird migration timing across North America has been affected by climate change, according to a study published Feb.

1 step closer to blocking the transmission of malaria
MMV and partners have completed the first-ever comparative analysis of all currently available and in-development antimalarials in terms of the steps they target in the parasite's life cycle.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 22, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published Feb.

MOFs special review issue
New analyses of more than 4,000 scientific studies have concluded that a family of

Controlling protein function with nanotechnology
A new study is providing important details on how proteins in our bodies interact with nanomaterials.

Mini molecules could help fight battle of aortic bulge, Stanford study shows
When aortic walls buckle, the body's main blood pipe forms an ever-growing bulge.

UK study provides insight into cancer progression
The University of Kentucky has announced that Dr. Daret St.

Disappearing and reappearing superconductivity surprises scientists
Superconductivity is a rare physical state in which matter is able to conduct electricity -- maintain a flow of electrons -- without any resistance.

Family history -- a significant way to improve cardiovascular disease risk assessment
A new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham has proved that assessing family medical history is a significant tool in helping GPs spot patients at high risk of heart disease and its widespread use could save lives.

Scientists describe the deepest terrestrial arthropod ever found
Scientists have recently described the deepest terrestrial animal ever found, together with four new species for science.

A new link between traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder
Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are cardinal injuries associated with combat stress, and TBI increases the risk of PTSD development.

New melanoma drug nearly doubles survival in majority of patients
Investigators from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and 12 other centers in the United States and Australia have found that a new drug for patients with metastatic melanoma nearly doubled median overall survival.

A research challenges the theories on the global increase in jellyfish population
An international team with CSIC participation asserts that there is no

$70 million to close the gap on treatable Australian Indigenous eye health
Researchers from the University of Melbourne say $70 million could

Analytics conference highlights growth of analytics in business, government
Analytics, the increasingly important specialty that has been cited by Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Gartner, and Accenture for aiding better decisions at organizations, will be the focus of a conference hosted by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the premier organization for advanced analytics professionals.

News coverage of alcohol's harm may sway support for liquor-control laws
If people see news coverage of alcohol's role in violent crime and fatal injuries, they may give more support to alcohol-control laws, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Federal agencies must protect America's Pacific Island monuments from illegal fishing now
Today, Marine Conservation Institute filed a formal petition to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce, asking them to prohibit commercial fishing in America's sensitive and pristine Pacific Island marine national monuments, a ban that President George W.

'Miracle material' graphene is thinnest known anti-corrosion coating
New research has established the

New nanotechnology converts heat into power when it's needed most
Never get stranded with a dead cell phone again. A promising new technology called Power Felt, a thermoelectric device that converts body heat into an electrical current, soon could create enough juice to make another call simply by touching it.

Study: Muscle regeneration may provide ideal environment for rhabdomyosarcoma
Inflammation, cell division and cell differentiation that occur during skeletal muscle regeneration may provide an ideal environment for the highly malignant tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma to arise.

First vaccine against fatal visceral leishmaniasis enters clinical trial
Seattle's Infectious Disease Research Institute is launching dual Phase 1 clinical trials in Washington State and India in test of the first ever vaccine to prevent visceral leishmaniasis (VL).

Lessons from $800-million drug flop may lead to a new genre of anti-cholesterol medicines
Mindful of lessons from a failed heart drug that cost $800 million to develop, drug companies are taking another shot at new medications that boost levels of so-called

Phobia's effect on perception of feared object allows fear to persist
The more afraid a person is of a spider, the bigger that individual perceives the spider to be, new research suggests.

An 'off' switch for pain
Pain? Just turn it off! It may sound like science fiction, but researchers based in Munich, Berkeley and Bordeaux have now succeeded in inhibiting pain-sensitive neurons on demand, in the laboratory.

Scripps Research scientists create potent molecules aimed at treating muscular dystrophy
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have for the first time designed a series of small molecules that act against an RNA defect directly responsible for the most common form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy.

Blacks with higher education and prior treatment less likely to seek mental health care
Young adult blacks, especially those with higher levels of education, are significantly less likely to seek mental health services than their white counterparts, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

Spanish-language media help shape public policy
Spanish-language media in the United States play a critical role in shaping perceptions of public opinion among Latino voters and public officials of every ethnicity across the country.

Design eye for the science guy: Drop-in clinic helps scientists communicate data
The Design Help Desk offers scientists a chance to meet with a student who can help them create more effective figures, tables and graphs.

Exposure to micronutrients pre-pregnancy associated with gene modifications in offspring
The offspring of women who were given micronutrient supplements (minerals needed in small quantities, such as iron, iodine and vitamin A) before they became pregnant had gene modifications at birth as well as when they were tested at nine months.

Can you recognize an effective teacher when you recruit one?
A study suggests that one can predict economically significant variation in teacher effectiveness using a broadened set of information on new recruits.

Research discovers potentially deadly fungus senses body's defenses to evade them
Glen Palmer, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and parasitology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, was part of an international research team led by Luigina Romani, M.D., that discovered opportunistic fungi like Candida albicans can sense the immune status of host cells and adapt, evading immune system defenses.

Web security start-up receives $1.1 million
A technology start-up created by a graduate of the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering that focuses on helping web site owners prevent, detect and recover from hacker attacks has raised $1.1 million to expand operations.

Universities and their impact on the economy and society
What do Germany's oldest university and New York City's highly visible Tech Campus competition have in common?

IDIBELL researchers take a step forward in transplanting pig cells to regenerate human cartilage
Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute have studied for the first time the response of human NK cells against porcine chondrocytes.

Toxins from diseased brain cells make diseases of the brain even worse
Sometimes our immune defense attacks our own cells. When this happens in the brain we see neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Cancer discovery shows promise of new drugs
Uncovering the network of genes regulated by a crucial molecule involved in cancer called mTOR, which controls protein production inside cells, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have discovered how a protein

Delivery of child-friendly antimalarial hits the 100 million mark
One hundred million treatments of Coartem Dispersible (artemether-lumefantrine), an antimalarial developed especially for children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria, have been delivered by Novartis to 39 malaria-endemic countries, Medicines for Malaria Venture announced today.

What can animals' survival instincts tell us about understanding human emotion?
Can animals' survival instincts shed additional light on what we know about human emotion?

Chronic stress in elephants can affect long-term behavior
Stress is known to lead to short-term escape behavior, and new research on elephants in South Africa shows that it can also cause long-term escape behavior, affecting the extent that elephants use their habitat.

Shifting the clinical teaching paradigm in undergraduate nursing education
Researchers from the New York University College of Nursing, funded with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education Program, have just published a description of an evaluation study,

Colonoscopy prevents deaths from colon cancer
For the first time, a new study has shown that removing polyps by colonoscopy not only prevents colorectal cancer from developing, but also prevents deaths from the disease.

Theory of the 'rotting' Y chromosome dealt a fatal blow
If you were to discover that a fundamental component of human biology has survived virtually intact for the past 25 million years, you'd be quite confident in saying that it is here to stay.

Explore the solar system with Peter Bond
Throughout history our species has been fascinated with the stars, the planets and the vastness of outer space.

Smoking cessation drug improves walking function in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 3
A nicotinic drug approved for smoking cessation significantly improved the walking ability of patients suffering from an inherited form of ataxia, reports a new clinical study led by University of South Florida researchers.

Surprising diversity at a synapse hints at complex diversity of neural circuitry
A new study reveals a dazzling degree of biological diversity in an unexpected place -- a single neural connection in the body wall of flies.

Mammography-detected breast cancer in 40-49 year-olds has better prognosis
Based on a study of nearly 2,000 breast cancer patients, researchers say that, in women between the ages of 40 and 49, breast cancers detected by mammography have a better prognosis. 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