Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 30, 2012
UC Davis researchers create molecule that blocks pathway leading to Alzheimer's disease
UC Davis researchers have found novel compounds that disrupt the formation of amyloid, the clumps of protein in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease believed to be important in causing the disease's characteristic mental decline.

The antibiotic, amoxicillin-clavulanate, before a meal may improve small bowel motility
The common antibiotic, amoxicillin-clavulanate, may improve small bowel function in children experiencing motility disturbances, according to a study appearing in the June print edition of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Student-devised process would prep Chinese shale gas for sale
Rice University chemical engineering students design an environmentally friendly process for turning shale gas extracted from China's Sichuan Basin into a range of profitable products.

Magnetic resonance imaging with side effects
Great care should be taken when performing magnetic resonance imaging in patients with a cardiac pacemaker.

Maintaining bridges on a budget
In a paper published in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Abu Dabous and his thesis supervisor Sabah Alkass, professor of in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, came up with a new decision-making approach that could revolutionize how cities manage bridge infrastructure.

Bilingualism fine-tunes hearing, enhances attention
A Northwestern University study provides the first biological evidence that bilinguals' rich experience with language

Obesity affects job prospects for women, study finds
Obese women are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for jobs and receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues, a new study has found.

Rogue stars ejected from the galaxy are found in intergalactic space
Astronomers have identified nearly 700 rogue stars that appear to have been ejected from the Milky Way galaxy.

NASA satellite measurements imply Texas wind farm impact on surface temperature
A Texas region containing four of the world's largest wind farms showed an increase in land surface temperature over nine years that researchers have connected to local meteorological effects of the turbines.

Courtship in the cricket world
Everyone wants to present themselves in the best light - especially when it comes to finding a partner.

Technology eases migraine pain in the deep brain
A team of researchers that includes Dr. Marom Bikson, associate professor of biomedical engineering in CCNY's Grove School of Engineering, has shown that a brain stimulation technology can prevent debilitating migraine attacks from occurring.

High-strength silk scaffolds improve bone repair
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated the first all-polymeric bone scaffold that is fully biodegradable and offers significant mechanical support during repair.

24 new species of lizards discovered on Caribbean islands are close to extinction
Twenty-four new species of lizards known as skinks have been discovered on Caribbean islands, half of which already may be extinct or close to extinction.

GHSU researcher develops non-toxic dandruff shampoo
Dandruff sufferers will soon have a non-toxic product to treat the condition, says a researcher at Georgia Health Sciences University.

Scientists awarded $2.4 million to study genetic variation in people with diabetes
A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-led team of scientists has received a $2.4 million grant to study genetic variations in people with diabetes.

Prenatal exposure to insecticide chlorpyrifos linked to alterations in brain structure and cognition
Even low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child, according to a new brain imaging study.

About 1 baby born each hour addicted to opiate drugs in U.S., U-M study shows
About one baby is born every hour addicted to opiate drugs in the United States, according to new research from University of Michigan physicians.

Cost study shows timing crucial in appendectomies
Removing a child's ruptured appendix sooner rather than later significantly lowers hospital costs and charges, according to a recently published study.

WPI team scales-up production of biopolymer microthreads
Development of new therapies for a range of medical conditions -- from common sports injuries to heart attacks -- will be supported by a new production-scale microthread extruder designed and built by a team of graduate students and biomedical engineering faculty at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Old star, new trick
For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of arsenic and selenium, neighboring elements near the middle of the periodic table, in an ancient star in the faint stellar halo that surrounds the Milky Way.

Starting a family does not encourage parents to eat healthier
Few studies have evaluated how the addition of children into the home may affect parents' eating habits.

Improved adult-derived human stem cells have fewer genetic changes than expected
A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Human Genome Research Institute has evaluated the whole genomic sequence of stem cells derived from human bone marrow cells -- so-called induced pluripotent stem cells -- and found that relatively few genetic changes occur during stem cell conversion by an improved method.

When cells hit the wall: UCLA engineers put the squeeze on cells to diagnose disease
UCLA bioengineering researchers have taken advantage of cell physical properties for the development of a new instrument that slams cells against a wall of fluid and quickly analyzes the physical response, allowing identification of cancer and other cell states without chemical tags.

Poorer quality of life for gay men and minorities after prostate cancer treatment: What are we missing?
To improve the quality of life in gay men and minorities treated for prostate cancer, a greater awareness of ethnic and sexual preference-related factors is needed to help men choose a more-suitable treatment plan, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital conclude in a literature review published May 1 in Nature Reviews Urology.

The leading journal Genome Research announces shift in licensing terms
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press announced today new licensing arrangements with authors of articles published in its journal Genome Research.

How does the immune system fight off threats to the brain? New research yields fresh insight
Like a police officer calling for backup while also keeping a strong hold on a suspected criminal, immune cells in the brain take a two-tier approach to fighting off a threat, new research shows.

Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet for May 1, 2012 issue
Below is information about articles being published in the May 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Abnormal levels of uric acid in teens linked to high blood pressure
Teens with high levels of uric acid appear to be at increased risk for high blood pressure, according to results of research from scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Risk factors may inform breast cancer screening
An international research team found the tipping point for breast cancer screening: Benefits vs. harms of biennial screening mammograms are the same for populations of women aged 40-49 with twofold increased risk level of breast cancer as for women aged 50-74 with an average breast cancer risk level.

Arabic records allow past climate to be reconstructed
Corals, trees, and marine sediments, among others, are direct evidence of the climate of the past, but they are not the only indicators.

Control of gene expression: Histone occupancy in your genome
When stretched out, the genome of a single human cell can reach six feet.

A 100-gigbit highway for science
Because thousands of researchers around the world contribute to the generation and analysis of this data, a reliable, high-speed network is needed to transport the torrent of information.

New study finds gender, racial/ethnic disparities in general surgery board certification
New study reports gender and racial/ethnic disparities in surgery board certification among US medical graduates.

Barrow researchers unravel illusion
Barrow Neurological Institute researchers Jorge Otero-Millan, Stephen Macknik, and Susana Martinez-Conde share the recent cover of the Journal of Neuroscience in a compelling study into why illusions trick our brains

Scientists uncover exciting lead into premature aging and heart disease
Scientists have discovered that they can dramatically increase the life span of mice with progeria (premature aging disease) and heart disease (caused by Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy) by reducing levels of a protein called SUN1.

Science fair winner publishes new study on butterfly foraging behavior
University of Florida lepidopterist Andrei Sourakov has spent his life's work studying moths and butterflies.

Key lessons from history on alcohol taxes
Steep rises in taxes on alcohol do not necessarily reduce consumption, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council into the history of intoxicants in 16th and 17th England.

Equal access to care helps close survival gap for young African-American cancer patients
A new analysis from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital adds to evidence that equal access to comprehensive treatment and supportive care typically translates into equally good outcomes for most young African-American and white cancer patients.

The bright side of death: Awareness of mortality can result in positive behaviors
Contemplating death doesn't necessarily lead to morose despondency, fear, aggression or other negative behaviors, as previous research has suggested.

Scientists find night-warming effect over large wind farms in Texas
Large wind farms in certain areas in the United States appear to affect local land surface temperatures, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Cleveland Clinic-led study finds Lucentis and Avastin equivalent in treating AMD
In a landmark drug-comparison study, Cleveland Clinic researchers found that bevacizumab (Avastin) is equivalent to ranibizumab (Lucentis) in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) through two years.

Avastin and Lucentis are equivalent in treating age-related macular degeneration
At two years, Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab injection), two widely used drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), improve vision when administered monthly or on an as needed basis, although greater improvements in vision were seen with monthly administration for this common, debilitating eye disease, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Image share project gives patients and physicians anytime, anywhere access to medical images
Patients can successfully pull their medical images from the

India designs its own image as global power
India's image has changed dramatically in the last decade from an aid recipient nation to a global power.

FANCM plays key role in inheritance
Scientists of KIT and the University of Birmingham have identified relevant new functions of a gene that plays a crucial role in Fanconi anemia, a life-threatening disease.

Protein heals wounds, boosts immunity and protects from cancer
Hans Vogel, a professor in the biological sciences department, was the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology that focuses on lactoferrin, an important iron-binding protein with many health benefits.

A new drug to manage resistant chronic pain
Neuropathic pain is the culprit behind many cases of chronic pain, resistant to common drugs.

Impaired recovery of Atlantic cod -- forage fish or other factors?
In a rapid communication just published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, biologist Douglas Swain of the Gulf Fisheries Center and Robert Mohn, emeritus scientist, at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography present findings that suggest the delay in recovery of Atlantic cod on the eastern Scotian Shelf could be attributed to increased predation by grey seals or other governing factors and not the effect of forage fish as previously thought.

Innovate and compete with science
One of the keys to responding to many global problems and needs, with sustainable solutions, lies in building a society that uses knowledge to innovate, according to experts at foromadrid ciencia&empresa.

Researchers develop new method to measure IT quality
Researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Management have proposed a better way of measuring the capabilities of IT service providers in a study recently published in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.

Researchers develop rapid test strips for bacterial contamination in swimming water
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a rapid testing method using a simple paper strip that can detect E. coli in recreational water within minutes.

Antarctic albatross displays shift in breeding habits
A new study of the wandering albatross -- one of the largest birds on Earth -- has shown that some of the birds are breeding earlier in the season compared with 30 years ago.

New research expands understanding of psychoactive medication use among children in foster care
New research looked at 686,000 foster-care children enrolled in Medicaid annually in 48 states from 2002-2007.

African-American breast cancer survivors report inadequate information, options, support services
African-American breast cancer survivors were satisfied with their cancer treatment, but most were never offered clinical trials opportunities or support services during or after their treatment, according to a study by a UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher and her community partner, Rev.

Conquering LED efficiency droop
Like a coffee enthusiast who struggles to get a buzz from that third cup of morning joe, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) seem to reach a point where more electricity no longer imparts the same kick and productivity levels-off.

Get your rotor runnin': ONR-sponsored Flexrotor program takes off for next phase
Part helicopter, part airplane, the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Flexrotor vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) enters the next development phase April 30 in delivering improved maritime surveillance capability.

Chemical engineers at UMass Amherst find high-yield method of making xylene from biomass
A team of chemical engineers led by Paul J. Dauenhauer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a new, high-yield method of producing the key ingredient used to make plastic bottles from biomass.

System helps public health officials identify priorities to better allocate resources
As the United States grapples with health-care reform, much attention has focused on the importance of preventative health care.

ER doc, Sandia Labs engineer join forces on stronger trauma shears
An Albuquerque physician teamed with a Sandia National Laboratories engineer to improve the doctor's trauma shears design so emergency personnel can get to the injuries they need to treat more quickly.

Research breakthrough takes supercomputing out of the lab
In the age of high-speed computing, the photon is king.

How human cells 'hold hands'
University of Iowa biologists have advanced the knowledge of human neurodevelopmental disorders by finding that a lack of a particular group of cell adhesion molecules in the cerebral cortex -- the outermost layer of the brain where language, thought and other higher functions take place -- disrupts the formation of neural circuitry.

Venus to appear in once-in-a-lifetime event
On June 5-6 this year, millions of people around the world will be able to see Venus pass across the face of the sun in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Superconducting strip could become an ultra-low-voltage sensor
Researchers studying a superconducting strip observed an intermittent motion of magnetic flux which carries vortices inside the regularly spaced weak conducting regions carved into the superconducting material.

Grant awarded to help improve problem-solving skills for deaf and hard-of-hearing students
Rochester Institute of Technology has received a $198,172 grant from the National Science Foundation for

Goddard collaborates with international partners on MMS instrument
At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., a team of scientists and engineers are working on a crucial element of the MMS instrument suite: the Fast Plasma Instrument (FPI).

Only 1 in 5 bike share cyclists wears a helmet
A national rise in public bike sharing programs could mean less air pollution and more exercise, an environmental and health win-win for people in the cities that host them, but according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, more than 80 percent of bike share riders are putting themselves at significant health risk by not wearing helmets.

Modern hybrid corn makes better use of nitrogen, study shows
Today's hybrid corn varieties more efficiently use nitrogen to create more grain, according to 72 years of public-sector research data reviewed by Purdue University researchers.

MR enterography is as good or better than standard imaging exams for pediatric Crohn's patients
MR enterography is superior to CT enterography in diagnosing fibrosis in pediatric patients with Crohn's disease and equally as good as CT enterography in detecting active inflammation, and a new study shows.

Redefining time
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, in the south of Germany, and the Federal Institute of Physical and Technical Affairs in the north have successfully sent a highly accurate clock signal across the many hundreds of kilometers of countryside that separate their two institutions.

Research examines when benefits of screening mammography outweigh the harms for women in their 40s
A new analysis suggests the benefits of mammography screening every other year outweigh the potential harms for women aged 40 to 49 who are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer -- a finding that could affect one out of every five American women.

Radiologists rank themselves as less than competent on health policy issues
Radiologists classify themselves as less competent than other physicians regarding knowledge of patient imaging costs and patient safety, a new study shows.

Electric charge disorder: A key to biological order?
Researchers have shown how small random patches of disordered, frozen electric charges can make a difference when they are scattered on surfaces that are overall neutral.

One-third of adult Americans with arthritis battle anxiety or depression
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one-third of US adults with arthritis, 45 years and older, report having anxiety or depression.

'Cloud' computing technology should make sharing medical images easier and more efficient
Patients find

NASA's Chandra sees remarkable outburst from old black hole
An extraordinary outburst produced by a black hole in a nearby galaxy has provided direct evidence for a population of old, volatile stellar black holes.

Antimicrobial resistance for common UTI drug increases five fold since 2000
In a surveillance study of over 12 million bacteria, investigators at the George Washington University and Providence Hospital found E. coli antimicrobial resistance to ciprofloxacin, the most commonly prescribed antimicrobial for urinary tract infections in the US, increased over five-fold from 2000 to 2010.

Study finds increase in maternal opiate use, infants born with drug withdrawal syndrome
Between 2000 and 2009 in the United States, the annual rate of maternal opiate use increased nearly five-fold, while diagnosis of the drug withdrawal syndrome among newborns, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), increased almost three-fold, accompanied by a substantial increase in hospital charges related to NAS, according to a study published online by JAMA.

Darwinian selection continues to influence human evolution
New evidence proves humans are continuing to evolve and that significant natural and sexual selection is still taking place in our species in the modern world.

Comparing apples and oranges
To help combat losses due to spoilage, MIT chemistry professor Timothy Swager and his students have built a new sensor that could help grocers and food distributors better monitor their produce.

From tiny grains of sand to the growth of a mountain range
Studies in this Geology posting cover direct dating of brittle fault activity along the Dead Sea fault zone in Northern Israel; onset of the last deglaciation of valley glaciers in southern Patagonia; cutting-edge techniques, including NanoSIMS ion mapping, to identify the microbial metabolism involved in ooid cortex formation; slope failure at Scripps Canyon, California; and the continuing and relatively quick uplift of the US Sierra Nevada, which gains 1-2 mm per year in elevation.

Light weights are just as good for building muscle, getting stronger, researchers find
Lifting less weight more times is just as effective at building muscle as training with heavy weights, a finding by McMaster researchers that turns conventional wisdom on its head.

Study seeks to improve stroke outcomes by optimizing blood glucose control
About 40 percent of ischemic stroke patients arrive at the hospital with high blood glucose levels that can worsen their brain damage, say physicians working to stop the additional loss.

Vitamin D supplements may protect against viral infections during the winter
Vitamin D may be known as the sunshine vitamin, but a new research report appearing in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that it is more than that.

From decade to decade: What's the status of our groundwater quality?
There was no change in concentrations of chloride, dissolved solids, or nitrate in groundwater for more than 50 percent of well networks sampled in a new analysis by the USGS that compared samples from 1988-2000 to samples from 2001-2010.

JCI early table of contents for April 30, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 30, 2012, in the JCI.

Tablet-based case conferences improve resident learning
Tablet-based conference mirroring is giving residents an up close and personal look at images and making radiology case conferences a more interactive learning experience, a new study shows.

LA BioMed researchers remain at the forefront of mental health initiatives
With the month of May recognized nationally as Mental Health Awareness Month, the physician-researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center continue to be at the forefront of mental health initiatives, engaging in clinical trials to help find therapies and treatments for individuals who suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.

Princeton Turing centennial to feature keynote by Google's Eric Schmidt
In honor of the centennial of the birth of Alan Turing -- the father of computer science -- Princeton University is hosting a conference May 10-12.

Study shows halting an enzyme can slow multiple sclerosis in mice
In a study published this month in Brain Pathology, the same group found that an antibody that neutralizes Kallikrein 6 is capable of staving off MS in mice.

Potent protein heals wounds, boosts immunity and protects from cancer
Lactoferrin is an important iron-binding protein with many health benefits.

Keep your fruit close and your vegetables closer
College students wishing to eat healthier may want to invest in a clear fruit bowl says a recent article published in Environment and Behavior (published by SAGE).

Molecular spectroscopy tracks living mammalian cells in real time as they differentiate
Cells regulate their functions by adding or subtracting phosphates from proteins.

Synthetic stool a prospective treatment for C. difficile
A synthetic mixture of intestinal bacteria could one day replace stool transplants as a treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).

Regional variation in rates of cardiac procedures on the rise in Michigan
Regional differences in rates of cardiac procedures have increased in Michigan over the past decade -- not fully explained by differences in health risk factors, heart attack or cardiac mortality rates -- according to a report released today by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

Gene involved in sperm-to-egg binding is key to fertility in mammals
Scientists from Durham University, UK, and Osaka University, Japan, looking at fertility in mice, have discovered for the first time that the gene, which makes a protein called PDILT, enables sperm to bind to an egg, a process essential to fertilization.

Jarid2 may break the Polycomb silence
Historically, fly and human Polycomb proteins were considered textbook exemplars of transcriptional repressors, or proteins that silence the process by which DNA gives rise to new proteins.

Researchers question pulling plug on pacifiers
Binkies, corks, soothers. Whatever you call pacifiers, conventional wisdom holds that giving them to newborns can interfere with breastfeeding.

New research: Why bigger animals aren't always faster
New research in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology shows why bigger isn't always better when it comes to sprinting speed.

Italian merchants funded England's discovery of North America
Evidence that a Florentine merchant house financed the earliest English voyages to North America, has been published online in the academic journal Historical Research.

MSU invention could help pharmaceutical industry save money
Two Michigan State University researchers have invented a protein purifier that could help pharmaceutical companies save time and money.

Graduation year drives Facebook connections for college grads
Are you connected to college friends on Facebook? Research from North Carolina State University shows that these social networks tend to form around graduation year or university housing -- rather than other interests.

Multitasking may hurt your performance, but it makes you feel better
People aren't very good at media multitasking -- like reading a book while watching TV -- but do it anyway because it makes them feel good, a new study suggests.

New Penn study confirms 2 treatments for AMD provide equal improvements in vision
Two drugs commonly used to treat AMD yield similar improvements in vision for patients receiving treatments on a monthly or as-needed basis, according to a study from researchers at the Center for Preventive Ophthalmology and Biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scientists discover enzyme that could slow part of the aging process in astronauts -- and the elderly
New research published in the FASEB Journal suggests that an enzyme, called 5-lipoxygenase, plays a key role in cell death induced by microgravity environments, and that inhibiting this enzyme will likely help prevent or lessen the severity of immune problems in astronauts caused by spaceflight.

Portable gas sensors improve atmospheric pollution measurements
Different types of compact, low-power portable sensors under development by three independent research groups may soon yield unprecedented capabilities to monitor ozone, greenhouse gases, and air pollutants.

Key protein's newly discovered form and function may provide novel cancer treatment target
Research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators suggests that safeguarding cell survival and maintaining a balanced immune system is just the start of the myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 protein's work.

Agroforestry is not rocket science but it might save DPR Korea
There is more going on in DPR Korea than rocket science: local people in collaboration with natural resources scientists are taking control of their food supply through agroforestry.

Lymphoma therapy could deliver a double punch
In this issue of the JCI, Andrei Thomas-Tikhonenko and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia report on their studies to better understand the molecular pathways that interact with MYC and contribute to B cell lymphoma development.

Culturally tailored program helps Mexican-American women lose weight
Mexican-American women who participated in a culturally tailored weight management program lost weight, reduced their fat and sugar consumption and improved their eating habits according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

What is really causing the child obesity epidemic?
Getting to the core of what is causing obesity - and how the U.S. can tackle this problem - is the focus of a topic symposium at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Boston.

Global warming refuge discovered near at-risk Pacific island nation of Kiribati
Scientists predict ocean temperatures will rise in the equatorial Pacific by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on coral reef ecosystems.

Archaeology expands beyond traditional scope into other sciences
Archaeology is a social science that utilizes information from other disciplines to inform and enhance archaeological data and to provide input to other sciences.

Attosecond lighthouses may help illuminate the tempestuous sea of electrons
A collaboration of scientists from France and Canada has developed an elegant new method to study electrons' fleeting antics using isolated, precisely timed, and incredibly fast pulses of light.

Study examines benefit of follow-up CT when abdominal ultrasound inconclusive
About one-third of CT examinations performed following an inconclusive abdominal ultrasound examination have positive findings, according to a study of 449 patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Old maps and dead clams help solve coastal boulder mystery
Perched atop the sheer coastal cliffs of Ireland's Aran Islands, ridges of giant boulders have puzzled geologists for years.

WHO growth curves offer no distinct advantage over CDC measures
Several medical organizations have recently recommended that doctors switch from using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth curves to the World Health Organization growth curves to better determine overweight and obesity in children in Canada aged five years.

Not all altruism is alike, says new study
Not all acts of altruism are alike, says a new study.

March of Dimes awards $250,000 prize to 2 scientists who pioneered advances in skin disorders
Howard Green, M.D., George Higginson Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, and Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., Rebecca C.
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