Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 01, 2012
Antibodies are not required for immunity against some viruses
A new study turns the well established theory that antibodies are required for antiviral immunity upside down and reveals that an unexpected partnership between the specific and non-specific divisions of the immune system is critical for fighting some types of viral infections.

HCPs in pharmacotherapeutic treatment for opioid addiction should not return to clinical practice
Many health-care professionals (HCPs) have easy access to controlled medications and the diversion and abuse of drugs among this group may be as high as 10 percent.

Researchers find sarcoma tumor immune response with combination therapy
A team of 18 researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have found that treating high-risk, soft tissue sarcoma patients with a combination of implanted dendritic cells and fractionated external beam radiation provided more than 50 percent of their trial patients with tumor-specific immune responses lasting from 11 to 42 weeks.

Molecule's role in cancer suggests new combination therapy
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have found that a molecule found at elevated levels in cancer cells seems to protect them from the

PET tracer changes management plan for brain tumor patients
Imaging amino acid transporters with positron emission tomography/computed tomography has been shown to significantly alter intended management plans for patients with brain tumors, according to research in the March issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Medical School implements successful radiation protection program for undergraduate medical students
A medical school in Ireland has successfully implemented a radiation protection program, improving knowledge of radiation protection among medical undergraduates, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Chimp populations show great genetic diversity, with implications for conservation
Chimpanzee populations living in close proximity are substantially more different genetically than humans living on different continents, according to a study published in PLoS Genetics.

Unique salt allows energy production to move inland
Production of energy from the difference between salt water and fresh water is most convenient near the oceans, but now, using an ammonium bicarbonate salt solution, Penn State researchers can combine bacterial degradation of waste water with energy extracted from the salt-water fresh-water gradient to produce power anywhere.

Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats
Treatment with vitamin D reduced the size of uterine fibroids in laboratory rats predisposed to developing the benign tumors, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Living kidney donors at no increased risk of heart disease
Living kidney donors are at no greater risk of heart disease than the healthy general population, finds a study published on today.

Simulator computes evacuation scenarios for major events
Predicting how large numbers of visitors to major events will behave is difficult.

Millennium Development Goals progress reports overestimate access to safe water
New research suggests that official reports overestimate progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goal target for access to safe drinking water.

UC San Diego among first in nation to treat brain cancer with novel viral vector
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center researchers and surgeons are among the first in the nation to treat patients with recurrent brain cancer by directly injecting an investigational viral vector into their tumor.

IU biologists offer clearer picture of how protein machine systems tweak gene expression
Indiana University biologists have found that specific types of RNA polymerase enzymes, the molecular machines that convert DNA into RNA, can differ in function based on variation in the parts -- in this case protein subunits -- used to assemble those machines.

Regular smear tests boost chances of cure from 66 percent to 92 percent
Women can boost their chances of surviving cervical cancer substantially through regular cervical screening, claims a research paper published today on

UCLA scientists identify crucial cell and signaling pathway in placental blood stem cell niche
UCLA stem cell researchers have discovered a critical placental niche cell and signaling pathway that prevent blood precursors from premature differentiation in the placenta.

New method for stronger dental implants
Millions of people have bad teeth replaced with implants. Often following the procedure, they are unable to chew food for several months, until the implant has become fixated in the bone.

On the path to 1 terabit-per-second networks
As IP traffic continues to increase and the router interface rate extends beyond 100 gigabits-per-second, future optical networks will be required to support the rapid growth of data services with different capacities and patterns on the same optical platform.

Does power cloud one's ability to make good decisions?
Grave consequences can result from bad decisions made by people in leadership positions.

Radiation, business and health care policy curricula for US radiation residents show need for improvement
Residency training requirements in competencies related to radiology business practice and health care policy have been in place for more than a decade.

Potential new therapeutic target for a subset of aggressive breast cancers
The main cause of death in women with breast cancer is spread of the original tumor to distant sites, a process known as metastasis.

Mayo researchers provide atomic view of a histone chaperone
Mayo Clinic researchers have gained insights into the function of a member of a family of specialized proteins called histone chaperones.

Autodesk acquires BYU prof's design technology 'T-Splines'
Brigham Young University's Tom Sederberg and his team solved a problem that's troubled the computer-aided design industry since 1980, and they've sold the technology to software giant Autodesk.

Current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth's history
Current rates of ocean acidification are unparalleled in Earth's history, according to new research from an international team of scientists which compiled all the evidence of global warming and acidifying oceans from the past 300 million years.

Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
What if bacteria could talk to each other? What if they had a sense of touch?

Fukushima 1 year on: Poor planning hampered Fukushima response
One year after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, an independent investigation panel has highlighted the country's failures in disaster planning and crisis management for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Postmenopausal women at greater risk of stroke from high trans fat intake
New research shows an increased risk of ischemic stroke in postmenopausal women who consume higher amounts of trans fatty acids, commonly found in baked goods, fried foods, and packaged products.

Investigators predict, confirm how E. coli bacteria hijack cells' directional mechanism
Working in the emerging field of systems biology, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers mathematically predicted how bacteria that cause food poisoning hijack a cell's sense of direction and then confirmed those predictions in living cells.

Leading evolutionary scientist to discuss how genome of bacteria has evolved
Nancy A. Moran, a leading expert on evolution, will give the 2012 Alfred M.

Breaking up isn't hard to do -- the secret lives of corals on dark and stormy nights
Forming a unique part of the animal kingdom, corals have built the only living entity visible from space: the Great Barrier Reef.

Bacteria tend leafcutter ants' gardens
New research points to two important roles for bacteria that live in the underground fungal gardens of leafcutter ants: they help decompose leaves that ants bring to the gardens and play a major role in turning those leaves into nutrients for both ants and the fungi.

Tortoise and the hare: New drug stops rushing cancer cells, slow and steady healthy cells unharmed
The American Cancer Society estimates that 44,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed this year and that 37,000 people will die from the disease.

Road map provides insight to urbanization phenomenon
Researchers examined data on 200 years of evolution of a road network in northern Italy to help future urban planning.

Advertising for health products regularly infringes current legislation in Spain
Spanish consumers are defenseless against deceptive advertising broadcast on the radio in areas that could affect their health, according to a study carried out by two lecturers at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

New study reveals more people surviving leukaemia and pancreatic cancer in Northern Ireland
The first audit of leukemia treatment and survival in Northern Ireland by the Cancer Registry at Queen's University Belfast has shown that survival rates for the disease here are at the highest levels since data collection began in 1993.

APS issues new policy requiring identification of sex or gender in reporting scientific research
The American Physiological Society announces a new policy requiring identification of sex or gender in reporting of scientific research in its 13 peer-reviewed journals.

Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
Cut marks found on Ice Age bones indicate that humans in Ohio hunted or scavenged earlier than previously known.

China's healthcare reforms mean better equity, yet catastrophic health expenses persist
China's plan to ensure universal health coverage has led to massive increases in insurance coverage and impatient reimbursement, yet patients are still faced with extremely high health costs, says the first paper in the Lancet themed issue on China.

Graphene-based optical modulators poised to break speed limits in digital communications
In yet another astounding application of the

AAO-HNSF clinical practice guideline: Sudden hearing loss
On March 1, 2012, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published a new clinical practice guideline on sudden hearing loss.

Osteoporosis experts urge bone density testing more frequently for women at risk
Although a recent study suggests that women with normal results on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans at ages 67 and older may wait up to 15 years for a second test, a viewpoint article published today in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research cautions that such a lengthy interval is inappropriate for many adults.

Cardiologists identify mechanism that makes heart disease worse in diabetics
UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists have uncovered how a specific protein's previously unsuspected role contributes to the deterioration of heart muscle in patients with diabetes.

Where pain lives: Managing chronic pain tougher in poor neighborhoods
Study by University of Michigan Health System shows race and neighborhood status impact pain management and suggests doctors may need to be more aware of a patient's life circumstances when treating their chronic pain.

Cyber technology, policy, law and planning to be focus of Sandia Labs summer institute
Graduate students pursuing careers related to cybersecurity, including specialties in computer science, engineering, law, public policy, economics and social sciences, are being encouraged to apply for Cyber Security Technology, Policy, Law and Planning for an Uncertain Future, a weeklong summer institute at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif.

New study links dust to increased glacier melting, ocean productivity
A new study in Science conducted in Iceland links dust to increased glacier melting, ocean productivity.

Mayo Clinic: Robotic surgery proves successful, less invasive way to treat HPV-related oral cancer
Robotic surgery conducted through patients' mouths provides excellent results in removing squamous cell carcinoma at the back of the throat, especially in patients with HPV, a Mayo Clinic study published in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings found.

Alnylam and UMass Medical School announce Tuschl I patent upheld in European opposition proceedings
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., a leading RNAi therapeutics company, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported today that the European Patent Office has upheld the Tuschl I '726 patent in oral opposition proceedings held in Munich, Germany.

LAMIS -- a green chemistry alternative for laser spectroscopy
LAMIS, a green chemistry laser spectroscopy technique from Berkeley Lab that is faster and less expensive than mass spectrometry and can be carried out from across vast distances.

Solved: The mystery of the nanoscale crop circles
A useful alloy of gold and silicon, called a eutectic, melts at a far lower temperature than either of its components.

New treatment may reduce opioid-induced constipation in critical care patients
Opioids are a mainstay of care in the critical care unit, but their use frequently causes constipation which can lead to adverse outcomes including delayed feeding and later discharge from the ICU.

Study: Sleep gets better with age, not worse
The results challenge the conventional wisdom that difficulty sleeping is perceived more by older adults, and challenge the general clinical practice of ignoring sleep complaints from older adults as a normal part of aging.

Older adults who sleep poorly react to stress with increased inflammation
Older adults who sleep poorly have an altered immune system response to stress that may increase risk for mental and physical health problems, according to a study led by a University of Rochester Medical Center researcher.

Overfishing leaves swaths of Mediterranean barren
Centuries of overexploitation of fish and other marine resources -- as well as invasion of fish from the Red Sea -- have turned some formerly healthy ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea into barren places, an unprecedented study of the Mediterranean concludes.

Researchers find 5 novel gene mutations linked to platelet counts in African Americans
Researchers, led by scientists from Johns Hopkins, have found five previously unknown gene mutations believed to be associated with elevated blood platelet counts in African-Americans, findings they say could someday lead to the development of new drugs to help prevent coronary artery disease.

SDSC, UC Santa Cruz to host summer school on astroinformatics
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, in conjunction with the University of California's High-Performance AstroComputing Center, will host a two-week-long summer school designed to help the next generation of astronomers manage the ever-increasing amount of data generated by new instruments, digital sky surveys, and simulations.

March 2012 story tips
Consumers and the environment could ultimately be the beneficiaries of a high-efficiency CO2 heat pump water heater concept being researched by General Electric and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Depression could be evolutionary byproduct of immune system
Psychiatrists have proposed that genetic variations that promote depression arose during evolution because they helped our ancestors fight infection.

Aspirin may counteract potential trans fat-related stroke risk in older women
Older women whose diets include a substantial amount of trans fats are more likely than their counterparts to suffer an ischemic stroke, a new study shows.

Markers warn of progressive kidney problems after heart surgery
Blood and urine markers can indicate which patients with an abrupt kidney injury following heart surgery will experience progressive kidney problems, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

First model of how buds grow into leaves
Leaves come in all shapes and sizes. Scientists have discovered the simple rules that control leaf shape during growth.

Protein complex affects cells' ability to move, respond to external cues
In a paper published today in the journal, Cell, a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has explained for the first time how a long-studied protein complex affects cell migration and how external cues affect cell's ability to migrate.

Understanding and treating the cognitive dysfunction of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease
Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic disorder in live born children arising as a consequence of a chromosomal abnormality.

NASA satellite movie shows movement of tornadic weather system
A satellite animation of NOAA's GOES-13 satellite imagery showed the movement of the front that triggered severe storms and tornadoes in several states on Feb.

Ocean acidification rate may be unprecedented, study says
The world's oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science.

How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they don't
Yale researchers have discovered how megakaryocytes -- giant blood cells that produce wound-healing platelets -- manage to grow 10 to 15 times larger than other blood cells.

Sturdy Scandinavian conifers survived Ice Age
Until now, it was presumed that the last glacial period denuded the Scandinavian landscape of trees until a gradual return of milder weather began and melted away the ice cover some 9,000 years ago.

Team aims to make sugarcane, sorghum into oil-producing crops
With the support of a $3.2 million grant from the U.S.

Nationwide Children's Hospital neuromuscular disorder podcasts now available on iTunes
In 2010, the Center for Gene Therapy at Nationwide Children's Hospital launched a monthly podcast entitled,

Diabetes Research Institute develops oxygen-generating biomaterial
Diabetes Research Institute scientists have developed a revolutionary biomaterial to provide critical oxygen for maintaining the survival of islet cells, a first for the successful delivery of oxygen locally and a major step toward developing an alternative site to house insulin-producing cells.

Pasta-shaped radio waves beamed across Venice
A group of Italian and Swedish researchers appears to have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received.

Solving mystery of how sulfa drugs kill bacteria yields 21st century drug development target
More than 70 years after the first sulfa drugs helped to revolutionize medical care and save millions of lives, St.

Boys' cynicism towards school increases at upper secondary school
According to a recent study, the negative and cynical attitude of boys towards school increases dramatically as they advance in their upper secondary studies.

Pioneering research reveals bacterium's secrets
Groundbreaking research by an international team of scientists will help to make one of the most versatile of bacteria even more useful to society and the environment.

Cardiovascular societies release heart valve replacement credentialing recommendations
Four leading heart organizations representing cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons released initial recommendations today for creating and maintaining transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) programs.

A supercharged protein reduces damage from heart attack
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers tap into the body's own repair system to protect heart cells after an attack.

What makes a robot fish attractive? (Hint: It's in the moves)
Probing the largely unexplored question of what characteristics make a leader among schooling fish, researchers have discovered that by mimicking nature, a robotic fish can transform into a leader of live ones.

Urbanization in China pushes up disease rates and health-care disparities
In 2012, the proportion of the population living in urban areas overtook that living in rural areas for the first time ever.

Study reveals how anesthetic isoflurane induces Alzheimer's-like changes in mammalian brains
The association of the inhaled anesthetic isoflurane with Alzheimer's-disease-like changes in mammalian brains may by caused by the drug's effects on mitochondria, the structures in which most cellular energy is produced.

Babies born just 2 or 3 weeks early at higher risk of poor health
A research paper which demonstrates that babies born even just a few weeks early have worse health outcomes than full-term babies has been published today on

JCI online early table of contents: March 1, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, March 1, 2012, in the JCI: Potential new therapeutic target for a subset of aggressive breast cancers; Sensitizing tumor cells to radiotherapy; New insight into brain tumor aggressiveness; Unraveling the chain of events leading to virulence determinant activity; Stairway to T cell development found in the human tonsil; and Understanding how acetaminophen kills liver cells.

GPM microwave imager instrument for NASA and JAXA mission arrives at Goddard
The Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager instrument has arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. for integration into NASA's upcoming Earth science spacecraft.

First study of its kind finds no increased risk of heart disease for kidney donors
There is good news for the 27,000 plus people around the world who donate a kidney each year.

Sensitizing tumor cells to radiotherapy
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the fifth most common cancer worldwide.

How marijuana impairs memory
A major downside of the medical use of marijuana is the drug's ill effects on working memory, the ability to transiently hold and process information for reasoning, comprehension and learning.

OU graduate student wins national physics award
A University of Oklahoma graduate student is the first recipient of a national award from the American Physical Society for outstanding dissertation in theoretical particle physics.

UC Davis study shows that the increase in obesity among California school children has slowed
After years of increases in the rates of childhood obesity, a new UC Davis study shows that the increase slowed from 2003 to 2008 among California school children.

UGA study reveals basic molecular 'wiring' of stem cells
A University of Georgia study published in the March 2 edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell creates the first ever blueprint of how stem cells are wired to respond to the external signaling molecules to which they are constantly exposed.

Legislation introduced to guarantee free colorectal cancer screening for all medicare beneficiaries
Colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but a loophole in current Medicare law may cause patients to think twice before undergoing this vital test.

Why spiders do not stick to their own sticky web sites
Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and University of Costa Rica asked why spiders do not stick to their own sticky webs.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Irina still hugging Madagascar coast
NASA's Terra satellite today shows Tropical Storm Irina is slow to leave the coastline of Madagascar.

Effects of environmental toxicants reach down through generations
A Washington State University researcher has demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring.

New pathway found for regulation of blood vessel growth in cancer
Researchers have identified a new function for a gene that normally prevents the development of cancer.

Training can improve memory and increase brain activity in mild cognitive impairment
If someone has trouble remembering where the car keys or the cheese grater are, new research shows that a memory training strategy can help.

Should we play hide-and-go-seek with our children's vegetables?
Pass the peas please! How often do we hear our children say this?

How to respond to an earthquake: Lessons from China
China is an earthquake-prone country -- the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake affected more people than either the 2004 Indonesian earthquake that triggered a tsunami, or the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Parkinson's disease stopped in animal model
Researchers at UCLA have used specific molecular

Kessler Foundation implements Ekso Bionics' first commercial robotic exoskeleton
Kessler Foundation is the second rehabilitation research center in the US to implement Ekso, a wearable, robotic battery-powered exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk.

Kessler Foundation neuroscientist addresses 2nd Annual TBI Conference in Washington DC
Jordan Grafman, Ph.D, director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, is an invited speaker at the 2nd Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference on March 6, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Protein modified by researchers may reduce heart attack damage
Researcher-modified proteins reduced heart attack damage by 50 percent in mice.

Weight-loss surgery safe for obese kidney disease patients
Weight-loss surgery is safe for chronic kidney disease patients who are obese, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

New indicator diseases reveal hidden HIV
An international study under the leadership of the HIV in Europe initiative has now revealed that a number of diseases, including herpes zoster and certain forms of cancer, should be on the list of indicators for having HIV -- and thus serve to prompt health care professionals to suggest an HIV-test to their patients.

When one side does not know about the other one
Whenever we are doing something, one of our brain hemispheres is more active than the other one.

New function of a bacterial photoresponsive protein: Resisting adhesion of mammalian cells
Bacteriorhodopsin is a well-known photoresponsive protein in the cell membrane of Halobacterium salinarum.

China's ambitious health-care reforms must now tackle inefficiencies and quality problems
In 2009, China launched an ambitious $125 billion program of health-care reform to ensure universal health coverage.

Leatherback turtle migration study identifies Pacific danger zones for endangered species
The majestic leatherback turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world, growing to more than 6 feet in length.

New American Chemical Society video on the chemistry behind digestion
Go ahead. Call digestion a disassembly line. Digestion breaks the food down, extracts nutrients, and discards the waste.

UMD poll: Israelis wary of striking Iran nuclear facilities
The Israeli public is wary of launching airstrikes aimed at disrupting Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons, reports a new public opinion poll by researchers at the University of Maryland.

Long-time diabetics have increased risk of stroke
Having diabetes for 10 years or more triples the risk of stroke.

Cirrhotic patients experience increased daytime sleepiness from higher ammonia levels
Italian and Swiss researchers confirm that induced hyperammonaemia significantly increases daytime sleepiness in patients with cirrhosis.

Wine experts' ratings may be a wash for many consumers
Not all wines are created equal; neither are all wine tasters.

Newly released FDA draft guidelines for biosimilar drugs to be discussed at conference
Navigate the most recent regulatory developments for follow-on versions of complex drugs including experimental design, interchangeability and immunogenicity issues from the perspective of government, industry, physicians, and consumers.

Turning off small RNA
Scientists have known for years that minuscule strings of genetic material called small RNA are critically important to our genetic makeup, but finding out what they do hasn't been easy.

Planarian genes that control stem cell biology identified
Devising a novel method to identify potential genetic regulators in planarian stem cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have determined which of those genes affect the two main functions of stem cells.

New system to forecast space weather launched
A new European Union system to forecast space weather goes live March 1.

Mobile mayhem
A research team from the University of Utah, led by Martin Berzins and Charles Wight, is using the processing power of the University of Tennessee's Kraken supercomputer to simulate burning and detonation processes in transportable explosives.

New American Chemical Society video showcases the 'Periodic Table Table'
Almost everyone has seen the Periodic Table of the Elements, the chart gracing the walls of science classroom showing relationships between the chemical elements that make up everything on Earth -- and beyond.

Nutrient found in dark meat of poultry, some seafood, may have cardiovascular benefits
A nutrient found in the dark meat of poultry may provide protection against coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol, according to a study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center. 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