Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 01, 2012
Spot a bot to stop a botnet
Computer scientists in India have developed a two-pronged algorithm that can detect the presence of a botnet on a computer network and block its malicious activities before it causes too much harm.

'Faster-ticking clock' indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we think
Our solar system is four and a half billion years old, but its formation may have occurred over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, says an international team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities and laboratories in the US and Japan.

Geneticist develops tool to identify genes important in disease, tailoring individual treatment
Mayfield and colleagues have devised a technique for testing the consequence of variant human gene alleles (alternative sequences of a single gene) by moving them into yeast cells.

Bigger gorillas better at attracting mates and raising young
Conservationists with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have found that larger male gorillas living in the rainforests of Congo seem to be more successful than smaller ones at attracting mates and even raising young.

Were dinosaurs undergoing long-term decline before mass extinction?
Despite years of intensive research about the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs about 65.5 million years ago, a fundamental question remains: Were dinosaurs already undergoing a long-term decline before an asteroid hit at the end of the Cretaceous?

UT MD Anderson President Ronald DePinho elected to National Academy of Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center President Ronald DePinho, M.D., has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences -- one of the most prestigious accolades in the United States bestowed in the field of science and engineering.

McLean Report on nanotechnology that may enhance medication delivery and improve MRI performance
Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have shown a new category of

Neuro researchers sharpen our understanding of memories
The scientists found that a factor called

Blood pressure drugs linked with lower PTSD symptoms
Traumatized people who take a class of common blood pressure medications tend to have less severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, researchers have found.

Hepatitis C drug can cause depression
There's a high rate of depression among patients with hepatitis C, but a standard treatment for the disease includes a drug, interferon, that can cause depression.

Examination of registered clinical trials suggests weakness in size and methodology of many studies
Clinical studies registered in between 2007-2010 are dominated by small, single-center trials and contain significant heterogeneity (different in nature, difficult to compare) in methodological approaches, including the use of randomization, blinding, and data monitoring committees, according to a study in the May 2 issue of JAMA.

It takes a village to keep teens substance free
During high school the parents of teenagers' friends can have as much effect on the teens' substance use as their own parents, according to prevention researchers.

Carnegie Mellon researchers create dynamic view of city based on Foursquare check-in data
The millions of

Ivy Neurological Sciences Internship program funded at TGen
The Arizona-based Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation will fund a $45,000 pilot internship program this summer and fall at the Translational Genomics Research Foundation.

Bio-inspired polymer synthesis enhances structure control
A new bio-inspired approach to synthesizing polymers will offer unprecedented control over the final polymer structure and yield advances in nanomedicine, researchers say.

Children with juvenile arthritis have higher rates of bacterial infection
Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis have higher rates of hospitalized bacterial infection than children without JIA according to an observational study appearing in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology.

Secondhand smoke continues to vex children with asthma
Despite longstanding recommendations for children with asthma to avoid tobacco smoke, many youths are still exposed to secondhand smoke and their health suffers because of it, according to a study to be presented Tuesday, May 1, at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Boston.

Harris Lewin elected to National Academy of Sciences
Harris Lewin has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, it was announced today.

Treating childhood obesity: A family affair
With nearly one-third of American children being overweight or obese, doctors agree that there is an acute need for more effective treatments.

Study finds that patient education videos viewed before an operation may benefit patients
A Journal of American College of Surgeons study reports that a patient education video benefits patients when viewed before their operation.

This is your mind on music -- insights from Psychological Science
Music is just sound -- structured, organized sound. Yet it has surrounded us, moved us and echoed in our memories throughout the history of our species.

Decision support system translates into high percentage of positive chest CT examinations
Using a decision support system for ordering chest CT examinations translates into positive examinations three-quarters of the time, a new study shows.

Insulin resistance, inflammation and a muscle-saving protein
In the online May 2 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine publish three distinct articles exploring: the complex interactions of lipids and inflammation in insulin resistance; the roles of omega 3 fatty acids and a particular gene in fighting inflammation; and how elevated levels of a particular protein might delay the muscle-destroying effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

America's clean energy policies need a reality check, say Stanford researchers
In a post-Solyndra, budget-constrained world, the transition to a decarbonized energy system faces great hurdles.

Scientists across US launch study of thunderstorm impacts on upper atmosphere
Scientists are targeting thunderstorms across the US to discover what happens when clouds suck up air from Earth's surface many miles into the atmosphere.

Research by John Bates Clark Medal winner in the Journal of Political Economy
Congratulations to MIT's Amy Finkelstein for being named this year's winner of the John Bates Clark medal in economics.

Novel radiation surveillance technology could help thwart nuclear terrorism
Georgia Tech researchers have developed a prototype radiation-detection system that uses rare-earth elements and other materials at the nanoscale.

Use of fish oil supplements shows mixed results regarding graft patency for hemodialysis
Among patients with new synthetic arteriovenous grafts (a synthetic tube grafted between an artery and vein) for vascular access for hemodialysis, daily ingestion of fish oil did not decrease the proportion of grafts with loss of patency (remaining open) within 12 months, according to a study in the May 2 issue of JAMA.

UC Santa Cruz builds national data center for cancer genome research
The University of California, Santa Cruz, has established a large-scale data repository and user portal for the National Cancer Institute's cancer genome research programs.

Vitamin D for pregnant women and babies -- how much is enough?
Women who do not receive enough vitamin D during pregnancy and lactation can experience serious health problems for themselves and their baby, but health experts offer conflicting advice on what constitutes a safe amount.

UC Riverside plant cell biologist receives top scientific honor
Natasha V. Raikhel, a distinguished professor of plant cell biology at the University of California - Riverside and one of the most highly-cited researchers in plant science, was elected today a member of the National Academy of Sciences for her excellence in original scientific research.

Delirium mouse model helps researchers understand the condition's causes
A new mouse model of delirium developed by Wellcome Trust researchers has provided an important insight into the mechanisms underlying the condition, bringing together two theories as to its causes.

Protections needed for some people who say no to research, study concludes
Although federal regulations provide protections for people who participate in research, protections are also needed for some people who decline to participate and may face harmful repercussions as a result, concludes an article in IRB: Ethics & Human Research.

Newborns should be screened for heart defects, study shows
There is now overwhelming evidence that all babies should be offered screening for heart defects at birth, according to a major new study published online in the Lancet.

Risks of mixing drugs and herbal supplements: What doctors and patients need to know
Herbal, dietary, and energy or nutritional supplements may offer specific health benefits, but they can also have harmful and even life-threatening effects when combined with commonly used medications.

Global warming: New research emphasizes the role of economic growth
It's a message no one wants to hear: to slow down global warming, we'll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world's economies work.

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work announces partnership with MD Anderson
The University of Houston will soon open its doors to the Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research, a new joint venture between the UH Graduate College of Social Work and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.

Virginia Tech announces 2012 football helmet ratings; 2 more added to the 5-star mark
Virginia Tech released today the results of its 2012 rating for adult football helmets that is designed to assess a helmet's ability to reduce the risk of concussion.

Majority of states fail to address youth exposure to alcohol marketing
A new report examines the extent to which states' alcohol advertising laws incorporate eight different best practices to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing.

Evidence that BMI has an independent and causal effect on heart disease risk
In addition to the many risk factors associated with poor health, reducing body mass index (BMI) will have a considerable and independent impact if you want to reduce the risk of developing ischemic heart disease.

Michigan State and University of Texas scientists receive 2012 Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
The ASNTR awarded The 2012 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Timothy J.

'Biggest ever' computer conference to honor Alan Turing
The University of Manchester will this year host the biggest event in the history of computer science to celebrate the centenary of Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer.

Cracking the Neural Code: Third Annual Aspen Brain Forum
One of the greatest challenges in neuroscience today is deciphering how the activity of individual neurons and neuronal circuits gives rise to higher order cognition and behavior.

Anti-HIV drug use during pregnancy does not affect infant size, birth weight
Infants born to women who used the anti-HIV drug tenofovir as part of an anti-HIV drug regimen during pregnancy do not weigh less at birth and are not of shorter length than infants born to women who used anti-HIV drug regimens that do not include tenofovir during pregnancy, according to findings from a National Institutes of Health network study.

New study identifies how information technology is used to solve global health challenges
Today, Results for Development Institute published a study in the May 1 issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization demonstrating that information technology is being increasingly employed to solve some of the world's biggest health systems challenges.

Jurassic pain: Giant 'flea-like' insects plagued dinosaurs 165 million years ago
It takes a gutsy insect to sneak up on a huge dinosaur while it sleeps, crawl onto its soft underbelly and give it a bite that might have felt like a needle going in -- but giant

New surgical technique for removing inoperable tumors of the abdomen
Abdominal tumors involving both roots of the celiac and superior mesenteric artery are deemed unresectable by conventional surgical methods, as removal would cause necrosis of the organs that are supplied by those blood vessels.

Researchers gain better understanding of mechanism behind tau spreading in the brain
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have gained insight into the mechanism by which a pathological brain protein called tau contributes to the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Study using stem cell therapy shows promise in fight against HIV
UC Davis Health System researchers are a step closer to launching human clinical trials involving the use of an innovative stem cell therapy to fight the virus that causes AIDS.

Large-scale analysis finds majority of clinical trials don't provide meaningful evidence
The largest comprehensive analysis of finds that clinical trials are falling short of producing high-quality evidence needed to guide medical decision-making.

Gene mutation leads to impairment of 2 senses: Touch and hearing
People with good hearing also have a keen sense of touch; people with impaired hearing generally have an impaired sense of touch.

National poll: Low cost, lifesaving services missing from most older patients' health care
Large majorities of older Americans experience significant and troubling gaps in their primary care, according to a new national survey,

Research yields new clues to how brain cancer cells migrate and invade
Researchers have discovered that a protein that transports sodium, potassium and chloride may hold clues to how glioblastoma, the most common and deadliest type of brain cancer, moves and invades nearby healthy brain tissue.

First-of-its-kind 'Menopause Map' helps women navigate treatment
Women going through menopause now have a first-of-its-kind interactive guide to help them better understand their menu of treatment options, including whether hormone therapy may be right for them.

How will the US biotechnology industry benefit from new patent laws?
Passage of the America Invents Act into law led to the most dramatic changes in the US patent system in 60 years.

Carnegie's Richard Carlson elected to National Academy of Sciences
Geochemist Richard Carlson of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Medicare penalty appears to drive hospital infection prevention efforts
The 2008 decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to cease additional reimbursement to hospitals for certain health-care-associated infections has led to enhanced focus on infection prevention and changes in practice by front-line staff, according to a national survey of infection preventionists published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology/

Squid and zebrafish cells inspire camouflaging smart materials
Researchers from the University of Bristol have created artificial muscles that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic the remarkable camouflaging abilities of organisms such as squid and zebrafish.

Excessive sleepiness may be cause of learning, attention and school problems
Children who have learning, attention and behavior problems may be suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), even though clinical tests show them sleeping long enough at night.

Penn scientists develop large-scale simulation of human blood
Having a virtual copy of a patient's blood in a computer would be a boon to researchers and doctors.

Everyday fish oil capsule may provide kidney-related benefits
According to Dr. Louise Moist, Lawson Health Research Institute, fish oil may improve outcomes for kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis via arteriovenous grafts.

Greater numbers of highly educated women are having children, bucking recent history
A national study suggests that a significantly greater number of highly educated women in their late 30s and 40s are deciding to have children -- a dramatic turnaround from recent history.

Environment key to preventing childhood disabilities
The United States government would get a better bang for its health-care buck in managing the country's most prevalent childhood disabilities if it invested more in eliminating socioenvironmental risk factors than in developing medicines.

Joslin scientists identify important mechanism that affects the aging process
Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have identified a key mechanism of action for the TOR (target of rapamycin) protein kinase, a critical regulator of cell growth which plays a major role in illness and aging.

Moving midwives to work in rural areas helps improve essential obstetric care
A scheme supporting newly graduated, unemployed, and retired midwives to work in rural areas of Nigeria and provide essential obstetric care has helped to improve maternal, newborn, and child health and could potentially serve as a model for other low-income countries.

APBI associated with more mastectomies, toxicities, complications, compared to traditional radiation
Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) brachytherapy, the localized form of radiation therapy growing increasingly popular as a treatment choice for women with early-stage breast cancer, is associated with higher rate of later mastectomy, increased radiation-related toxicities and post-operative complications, compared to traditional whole breast irradiation (WBI), according to researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify drivers of sarcoma growth and survival
To better understand the signaling pathways active in sarcomas, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center used state-of-the-art mass spectrometry-based proteomics to characterize a family of protein enzymes that act as

First recipients of AcademyHealth's Presidential Scholarship announced
AcademyHealth announced today the inaugural class of its Presidential Scholarship for New Health Services Researchers, which provides early career researchers with financial support to attend the organizations Annual Research Meeting and offers exclusive networking and mentoring opportunities with AcademyHealth leadership and staff, and distinguished leaders in the field.

Garlic compound fights source of food-borne illness better than antibiotics
Researchers at Washington State University have found that a compound in garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, one of the most common causes of intestinal illness.

International Communication Association to hold annual conference in Phoenix, Ariz.
The International Communication Association will hold its annual conference May 24-28 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Use of dedicated pediatric imaging departments for pediatric CT reduces radiation dose
The use of a dedicated pediatric imaging department (with dedicated pediatric computed tomography (CT) technologists) for pediatric CT scans significantly reduces the radiation dose delivered to the patient, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

OSC's Tomko to champion high-performance computing
A senior researcher in computer science at the Ohio Supercomputer Center has been designated a Campus Champion -- charged with empowering researchers and educators to advance scientific discovery by serving as their local source of knowledge about national high performance computing opportunities and resources.

Smart gas sensors for better chemical detection
Portable gas sensors can allow you to search for explosives, diagnose medical conditions through a patient's breath, and decide whether it's safe to stay in a mine.

Researchers find potential 'dark side' to diets high in beta-carotene
New research suggests that there could be health hazards associated with consuming excessive amounts of beta-carotene.

With climate and vegetation data, UCSB geographers closer to predicting droughts in Africa
What might happen if droughts were predicted months ahead of time?

NJIT author to discuss newest book at Morris Museum on May 9
NJIT Professor David Rothenberg, author of Survival of the Beautiful (Bloomsbury Press, 2011) will present his revolutionary examination of the interplay between beauty, art and culture in evolution in a lecture May 9, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown.

Heavy new arguments weigh in on the danger of obesity
A true obesity epidemic is gradually advancing throughout the developed world.

Longer sleep times may counteract genetic factors related to weight gain
Sleeping more than nine hours a night may actually suppress genetic influences on body weight, says a new study examining sleep and body mass index (BMI) in 1,088 pairs of twins.

New UCLA method quickly IDs nanomaterials that can cause oxidative damage to cells
UCLA researchers have developed a novel screening technology that allows large batches of metal oxide nanomaterials to be assessed in a rapid fashion based on their ability to trigger biological responses that are dependent on the electron transfer properties of semiconductor metal oxides.

Differences in dopamine may determine how hard people work
Whether someone is a

Scientists make stunning inner space observations
High-powered microscopes reveal workings of the cell -- results could impact treatment of Down syndrome, lissencephaly (a brain formation disorder) or cancer.

Thwarting the cleverest attackers
Savvy hackers can steal a computer's secrets by timing its data storage transactions or measuring its power use.

Study resolves controversy on life-extending red wine ingredient, restores hope for anti-aging pill
A study in the May issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism appears to offer vindication for an approach to anti-aging drugs that has been at the center of heated scientific debate in recent years.

New study challenges current thinking on risk factors for contrast induced nephrotoxicity
Contrary to current belief, a new study finds that patients with a history of diabetes are not one of the most at risk for contrast induced nephrotoxicity.

Experts write on the risks of low-level radiation
A special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, examines what is new about the debate over low-dose radiation risk, specifically focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement, including quantitative estimates of cancer risk as radiation dose increases, or what is known as the linear non-threshold theory.

Researchers determine vitamin D blood level for reducing major medical risks in older adults
To resolve controversy over how much vitamin D is enough to protect older adults' health, researchers tested Cardiovascular Health Study blood samples.

Study questions the relevance of benchmarks among CABG patients receiving insulin infusions
Cardiothoracic surgeons and endocrinologists from Boston Medical Center have found that among patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, achieving Surgical Care Improvement Project benchmarks for glycemic control may be irrelevant when perioperative continuous insulin infusion protocols are implemented.

First of its kind 'menopause map' helps women navigate treatment
Women going through menopause now have a first-of-its-kind interactive guide to help them better understand their menu of treatment options, including whether hormone therapy may be right for them.

New virtual reality study and book series help advance educational opportunities for children
UC Davis autism researcher and education specialist Peter Mundy has received a $1 million grant from the US Department of Education to apply virtual-reality technology to evaluate social attention and its relation to academic achievement among school children with autism.

Evidence for causal link between increased BMI and ischemic heart disease
A Mendelian randomization analysis conducted by Børge Nordestgaard of Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark and colleagues, using data from observational studies, supports a causal relationship between body mass index and risk for ischemic heart disease.

Stun guns not safe for citizens, but benefit police, study finds
The use of stun guns by police significantly increases the chances of citizen injury, yet also protects the officers more than other restraint methods, according to the most comprehensive research to date into the safety of stun guns in a law enforcement setting.

Risk of CT-induced cancer minimal compared to risk of dying from disease
Young patients who undergo chest or abdominopelvic CT are more than 35 times more likely to die of their disease than develop a radiation-induced cancer, according to an analysis of 23,359 patients, some of whom were scanned more than 15 times.

Help your organization tackle its toughest challenges through business design
By applying design-inspired principles and practices to innovation and strategic planning, any organization can create bigger breakthroughs that deliver new value to all stakeholders says a new book, Design Works:

Canada's youth bring real-life science innovations to life
After months of preparation, research and collaboration with top university mentors, an elite group of 13 high school whiz kids from across the country will be in Ottawa May 7-8 competing for Canada's ultimate student biotech science prizes in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada.

More evidence for longevity pathway
New research reinforces the claim that resveratrol -- a compound found in plants and food groups, notably red wine -- prolongs lifespan and health-span by interacting with key genes in mitochondria, the cell's energy supplier.

Inexpensive, abundant starch fibers could lead to ouchless bandages
A process that spins starch into fine strands could take the sting out of removing bandages, as well as produce less expensive and more environmentally friendly toilet paper, napkins and other products, according to Penn State food scientists.

Where touch meets hearing
Vision and hearing are so crucial to our daily lives that any impairments usually become obvious to an affected person.

Research yields new clues to how brain cancer cells migrate and invade
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that a protein that transports sodium, potassium and chloride may hold clues to how glioblastoma, the most common and deadliest type of brain cancer, moves and invades nearby healthy brain tissue.

NJIT professor awarded patent today for new desalination devices, more
NJIT Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Kamalesh K. Sirkar was awarded a patent today for his water desalination technology.

Computer use and exercise combo may reduce the odds of having memory loss, Mayo Clinic finds
You think your computer has a lot of memory ...

Dopamine impacts your willingness to work
A new brain imaging study that has found an individual's willingness to work hard to earn money is strongly influenced by dopamine activity in three specific areas of the brain.

Weight loss led to reduction in inflammation
Study indicates relationship between weight loss and cancer risk. Patients had a manageable goal of 10 percent weight loss.

Drug could reverse scourge of cerebral malaria for survivors
Michigan State University researchers, with the help of a groundbreaking medical device, are starting a clinical trial in Africa they hope will provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of children who survive cerebral malaria but are left stricken with epilepsy or other neurologic disorders.

Clean drinking water for everyone
It's easy to purify clear water: just put it in transparent bottles for a few hours in the sun.

Researchers at Hebrew University identify genetic systems disrupted in autistic brain
Autism has a strong genetic basis, but so far efforts to identify the responsible genes have had mixed results.

Interpreting the Avastin-Lucentis study for persons with macular degeneration
AHAF, a nonprofit organization funding groundbreaking research on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), welcomes discoveries from the CATT trials on wet AMD, and calls for a strong national commitment to fund more research on this and other eye diseases.

Sports and energy drinks responsible for irreversible damage to teeth
A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth -- specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

Vanderbilt study finds hand surgeons scarce for emergency surgery
Wrist, hand and finger trauma are the most common injuries presented to emergency departments nationwide, yet only 7 percent of Tennessee hospitals have a hand specialist on call 24/7 to treat these patients, according to a Vanderbilt study published online today in the Annals of Plastic Surgery. 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