Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 09, 2012
The music of the (hemi)spheres sheds new light on schizophrenia
In 1619, the pioneering astronomer Johannes Kepler published Harmonices Mundi in which he analyzed data on the movement of planets and asserted that the laws of nature governing the movements of planets show features of harmonic relationships in music.

New under the sun: Recurrent genetic mutations in melanoma
Melanoma -- the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer -- has long been linked to time spent in the sun.

Hot sauce ingredient reduces 'beer belly' fat as a weight-loss surgery alternative
According to research from Brigham and Women's Hospital, the ingredient that gives hot sauce its heat could play a role in the future of weight loss.

Editorial calls for comprehensive approach to cancer screening
An editorial by Marcus Plescia, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls for a more organized and comprehensive approach to increase cancer screening participation among those who are insured or are likely to become insured through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mayo Clinic: Exhaustion renders immune cells less effective in cancer treatment
Rather than stimulating immune cells to more effectively battle cancerous tumors, treatment with the protein interleukin-12 has the opposite effect, driving these intracellular fighters to exhaustion, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

Long-term use of osteoporosis medication may reduce bone fracture risk for some patients
Continuing a popular but controversial treatment for osteoporosis could reduce spine fracture risk for a particular group of patients, but others could see little to no change if they discontinue it.

Biodiversity loss ranks with climate change and pollution in terms of impacts to environment
A recent study published by an international research team working at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis has found that loss of biodiversity impacts the environment as significantly as climate change and pollution.

First instrument for the JWST is completed and handed over to NASA
After more than ten years of work by more than 200 engineers, the Mid InfraRed Instrument, a camera so sensitive it could see a candle on one of Jupiter's moons, has been declared ready for delivery by the European Space Agency and NASA.

OHSU study: Misdiagnosis of MS is costing health system millions per year
It is relatively common for doctors to diagnose someone with multiple sclerosis when the patient doesn't have the disease -- a misdiagnosis that not only causes patients potential harm but costs the US health care system untold millions of dollars a year, according to a study published online today in the journal Neurology.

The Brain Prize 2012 is presented May 9th
Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation announces that the Brain Prize is presented on May 9th by Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark to Christine Petit and Karen Steel: 'For their unique, world-leading contributions to our understanding of the genetic regulation of the development and functioning of the ear, and for elucidating the causes of many of the hundreds of inherited forms of deafness.'

EARTH: Volcanoes sparked, and prolonged, the Little Ice Age
Volcanism is often implicated in periods of abrupt cooling. After the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, for instance, global temperatures dropped by half a degree Celsius due to airborne particulate matter blocking solar radiation.

Tattoo-like devices for wireless pregnancy monitoring
The University of California, San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Costs of screening children for sudden cardiac death outweigh its benefits
An article in Circulation by Laurel K. Leslie, MD, MPH, from Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and colleagues from Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, reports that screening for sudden cardiac death in children and adolescents can save lives, but because it targets rare conditions and available tests have limited accuracy, it is costly, compared to other life-saving measures.

Virtual reality allows researchers to measure brain activity during behavior at unprecedented resolution
Researchers part-funded by the Wellcome Trust have developed a new technique which allows them to measure brain activity in large populations of nerve cells at the resolution of individual cells.

Gene-modified stem cell transplant protects patients from toxic side effects of chemotherapy
For the first time, scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have transplanted brain cancer patients' own gene-modified blood stem cells in order to protect their bone marrow against the toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

Discovery of a new family of key mitochondrial proteins for the function and viability of the brain
A team headed by Eduardo Soriano at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine has published a study in Nature Communications describing a new family of six genes whose function regulates the movement and position of mitochondria in neurons.

Drawing test can predict subsequent stroke death in older men
A simple drawing test can predict the long-term risk of dying after a first stroke among older men, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Stem cell sparing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer may avoid salivary gland damage
Researchers believe they may have found a way to avoid damaging salivary glands during radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer.

Healthcare for the US Navy's animal warriors could help people stay healthier
Military patrol dogs with your keen sense of smell, step aside.

Obama's Bioethics Commission to meet in D.C.
The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will hold its ninth public meeting on May 17, 2012.

Pitt team uses genomics to identify a molecular-based treatment for a viral skin cancer
Four years after they discovered the viral roots of a rare skin cancer, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the School of Medicine have now identified a molecule activated by this virus that, in animal studies, could be targeted to selectively kill the tumor cells.

Technology developed at Caltech measures Martian sand movement
Last year, images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars -- observations that challenged previously held beliefs that there was not a lot of movement on the red planet's surface.

Rice students work on weighty problem for doctors
Rice University students built a prototype device to lift weight from the abdomens of obese patients to help them breathe during surgical procedures.

Advanced genetic screening method may speed vaccine development
Vaccines remain the best line of defense against deadly pathogens and now Kathryn Sykes and Stephen Johnston, researchers at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, along with co-author Michael McGuire from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are using clever functional screening methods to attempt to speed new vaccines into production that are both safer and more potent.

ACP applauds introduction of bipartisan bill to eliminate Medicare SGR formula
The American College of Physicians today applauded Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Rep.

ORNL protein analysis investigates marine worm community
Techniques used by researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to analyze a simple marine worm and its resident bacteria could accelerate efforts to understand more complex microbial communities such as those found in humans.

UK health system not designed to cope with rising numbers of people with multiple health problems
New research published Online First in the Lancet shows that having several medical conditions is not just a feature of old age.

AGI launches GeoWord of the Day
In celebration of the release of the revised fifth edition Glossary of Geology for the Kindle and Nook platforms, the American Geosciences Institute has started a free GeoWord of the Day service.

BIDMC researchers uncover important clues to a dangerous complication of pregnancy
Research team provides first clear evidence that a dangerous form of heart failure that occurs in pregnancy is a vascular disease, brought about by an imbalance of angiogenic proteins.

Biosensor illuminates compounds to aid fight against TB
For his work on developing new treatments for tuberculosis, a Michigan State University researcher has been named a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA
Researchers compare ancient, modern whale DNA to investigate discrepancies between genetic data and historical estimates.

Response to first drug treatment may signal likelihood of future seizures in people with epilepsy
How well people with newly diagnosed epilepsy respond to their first drug treatment, may signal the likelihood that they will continue to have uncontrolled seizures according to University of Melbourne Chair of Neurology Professor Patrick Kwan.

OHSU researchers develop new animal model for 1 of the least understood medical issues: ADHD
To better understand the cause of ADHD and to identify methods to prevent and treat it, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center have developed a new form of specially bred mouse that mimics the condition.

NTU scientists invent superbug killers
Conceived at Nanyang Technological University, this superbug killer comes in the form of a coating which has a magnetic-like feature that attracts bacteria and kills them without the need for antibiotics.

Autumn warning: Cancer-causing skin damage is done when young
With high UV levels continuing in Queensland this autumn, young people are at risk of suffering the worst skin damage they will receive during their lifetime, research from Queensland University of Technology has found.

New study shows bird color variations speed up evolution
Researchers have found that bird species with multiple plumage color forms within in the same population, evolve into new species faster than those with only one color form, confirming a 60 year-old evolution theory.

Soybeans soaked in warm water naturally release key cancer-fighting substance
Soybeans soaking in warm water could become a new

Discoveries on the science of sound at acoustics meeting
The latest news and discoveries from the science of sound will be featured at Acoustics 2012 Hong Kong, May 13-18, a joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Acoustical Society of China, Western Pacific Acoustics Conference, and the Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics.

EMBO welcomes 55 leading life scientists as members
55 life scientists from Europe and around the world were today recognized by EMBO for their excellence in research.

Scientists discover new inflammatory target
Scientists have found a new role for the tiny organelles known as primary cilia - they are important for regulating inflammation.

Georgia Tech receives grant to design energy-efficient vaccine warehousing system
The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

University of Texas at Austin research awards promote algae fuel production, coastal security
Moncrief Grand Challenge awards given to faculty at the University of Texas at Austin to develop computer models for algae-based fuel production and improve the security of coastal waters.

Improved waiting area design increases customer comfort, MU study finds
A University of Missouri researcher has studied restaurant design and has recommendations for how restaurateurs can design waiting areas to be more comfortable, thus increasing diners' willingness to wait for a table.

Social Security's IT system could benefit by joining the cloud, Carnegie Mellon scientist says
The Social Security Administration should restructure its already massive information technology systems so they can be readily scaled up, much like the systems used by Google and Amazon, William L.

First study investigating possible link between sunscreen ingredient and endometriosis
Scientists are reporting a possible link between the use of sunscreen containing a certain ingredient that mimics the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen and an increased risk of being diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus.

Study: No difference in results by race with standard heart failure treatment
A traditional treatment for heart failure appears to be equally protective in preventing death or hospitalization among African-American patients, as compared to white patients, according to a study at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Legume lessons: Reducing fertilizer use through beneficial microbe reactions
Janine Sherrier, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware, is part of a team that has been awarded $6.8 million from the National Science Foundation to study the legume Medicago truncatula and the protein-to-protein interactions essential for its symbiotic relationship with beneficial microbes.

Markle releases new resources for health information sharing implementation
Markle Connecting for Health today released a wide-ranging compendium of resources designed to further support the interoperable, private, and secure sharing of health information.

It's a trap! New laboratory technique captures microRNA targets
To better understand how microRNAs -- small pieces of genetic material -- influence human health and disease, scientists first need to know which microRNAs act upon which genes.

One-quarter of grouper species being fished to extinction
Groupers, a family of fishes often found in coral reefs and prized for their quality of flesh, are facing critical threats to their survival.

Scientists face barriers to engaging with public, but still participate in outreach
Female scientists are more likely to engage with the public than male colleagues.

Doctors' advice key in heart attack victims' return to healthy sex life
Patients who were sexually active before suffering a heart attack were one and a half times more likely to recapture their sex lives if they received guidance on the topic before leaving the hospital, according to a study published today by the American Journal of Cardiology.

Culturally sensitive research in United Arab Emirates pinpoints indoor air quality risks
The rapid shift from nomadic life to modern-day culture in the United Arab Emirates has exposed residents to significant indoor air quality risks that can lead to respiratory illness, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Babies' brains benefit from music lessons, researchers find
After completing the first study of its kind, researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk.

New criteria provide guidance about when to use cardiac catheterization to look for heart problems
Cardiac catheterization is performed thousands of times in the United States each year and, in some cases, can be the best method to diagnose heart problems.

Scripps Florida scientists identify neurotransmitters that lead to forgetting
In a study that appears in the May 10, 2012, issue of the journal Neuron, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have pinpointed a mechanism that is essential for forming memories in the first place and, as it turns out, is equally essential for eliminating them after memories have formed.

Virginia Tech and University of Tuscia lead team to unravel origin of devastating kiwifruit bacterium
Researchers from Virginia Tech and Italy led an international scientific team to track down the source of a

Safer sex work spaces reduce violence and HIV risks for street-involved women
Safer indoor sex work spaces provide important and potentially life-saving benefits to sex workers including reduced exposure to violence and HIV and improved relationships with police, according to a study published by the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the University of British Columbia.

UF to establish Faroe Island research center with help of baseball star
University of Florida researchers studying a genetic condition called glycogen storage disease type III have received support from the Johnny Damon Foundation to establish a new research center on the Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Norway and Iceland.

Collaborative research team identifies safe upper level for vitamin A consumption for puppies
A collaborative team of researchers, working on behalf of the European Pet Food Industry Federation, has identified a safe upper level for vitamin A consumption for puppies.

GMES in Eastern Europe
As Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program nears its full operational phase, its benefits and economic potential for Eastern Europe came into focus last week at a conference in Bucharest, Romania.

Why do people choke when the stakes are high?
In sports, on a game show, or just on the job, what causes people to choke when the stakes are high?

Researchers identify genetic mutation causing rare form of spinal muscular atrophy
Scientists have confirmed that mutations of a gene are responsible for some cases of a rare, inherited disease that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness: Spinal muscular atrophy with lower extremity predominance, also known as SMA-LED.

UC Riverside receives grant for global health and development research
The Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Response to first drug treatment may signal likelihood of future seizures in people with epilepsy
How well people with newly diagnosed epilepsy respond to their first drug treatment may signal the likelihood that they will continue to have more seizures, according to a study published in the May 9, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Investigators trace of role reusable grocery bag in norovirus outbreak
Oregon investigators recently mapped the trail of an outbreak of a nasty stomach bug among participants in a girls' soccer tournament to a reusable open top grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom.

Rapid testing of food quality
Whether fruit, meat or cheese - the quality of food is not always as consumers would like it to be.

Studying school quality, to fight inequality
New MIT center - the School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative - examines education and its lifelong effects.

China poised to accept first-ever non-animal test method for cosmetics
Chinese officials are in the final stages of approving the use of the country's very first non-animal test method for cosmetics ingredients, thanks to guidance from scientists funded by PETA.

Antarctic octopus sheds light on ice-sheet collapse
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that genetic information on the Antarctic octopus supports studies indicating that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed during its history, possibly as recently as 200,000 years ago.

ASBMR responds to NEJM's study on biphosphonates
The Food and Drug Administration announced today that physicians should reassess patients with osteoporosis who are being treated with a class of drugs called bisphosphonates after three to five years of therapy to determine whether they should continue treatment.

LWW receives 21 awards from ASHPE for editorial and design excellence
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health, is pleased to announce that it has won 21 awards in 15 categories, which is a record number of wins in a single year for LWW overall.

ESA declares end of mission for Envisat
Just weeks after celebrating its tenth year in orbit, communication with the Envisat satellite was suddenly lost on April 8.

Climate scientists discover new weak point of the Antarctic ice sheet
The Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf fringing the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, may start to melt rapidly in this century and no longer act as a barrier for ice streams draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Elderly women with irregular heart beat at higher risk for stroke
Older women who have been diagnosed with an irregular heart beat are at higher risk of stroke than men.

Feeding without the frenzy
Rice University students, in cooperation with the Houston Zoo, have created unique feeders for giraffes and orangutans.

Chronic cocaine use triggers changes in brain's neuron structure
Chronic exposure to cocaine reduces the expression of a protein known to regulate brain plasticity, according to new, in vivo research on the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.

Massive black holes halt star birth in distant galaxies
Astronomers, using the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, have shown that the number of stars that form during the early lives of galaxies may be influenced by the massive black holes at their hearts.

IBN's Droplet Array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells
Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the world's first bioengineering and nanotechnology research institute, have developed a miniaturized biochip for investigating the effect of drugs on cancer stem cells.

Can new diagnostic approaches help assess brain function in unconscious, brain-injured patients?
New functional and imaging-based diagnostic tests that measure communication and signaling between different brain regions may provide valuable information about the potential for consciousness in patients unable to communicate.

DFG establishes 10 new priority programs
Topics range from ultrafast data transfer to climate engineering to novel materials.

Automated insulin dosage titration system demonstrates positive clinical study results
Positive clinical study results show the potential for Hygieia, Inc.'s Diabetes Insulin Guidance System - the first automated insulin dosage titration system.

Agricultural bacteria: Blowing in the wind
The 1930s Dust Bowl proved what a disastrous effect wind can have on dry, unprotected topsoil.

Non-verbal communication between conductor, musician leads to better music
The conductor's leadership abilities affect quality of output.

Larger font packs more emotional punch
Font size affects emotional brain response to written words.

Testosterone-fuelled infantile males might be a product of Mom's behaviour
By comparing the testosterone levels of five-month old pairs of twins, both identical and non-identical, University of Montreal researchers were able to establish that testosterone levels in infancy are not inherited genetically but rather determined by environmental factors.

Secrets of the first practical artificial leaf
A detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf -- a milestone in the drive for sustainable energy that mimics the process, photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert water and sunlight into energy -- appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research.

New book busts myths about sex, race and violence
A new book by University of Notre Dame anthropology professor Agustín Fuentes titled

Scientists discover new site of potential instability in West Antarctic Ice Sheet
A team of scientists from the US and UK have uncovered a previously unknown sub-glacial basin nearly the size of New Jersey beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet near the Weddell Sea.

Experiences of migrant children: At home abroad
Schools, local councils and professionals need better guidance and training to work with migrant families from Eastern Europe and their children, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Reduction of excess brain activity improves memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment
Research published by Cell Press in the May 10 issue of the journal Neuron, describes a potential new therapeutic approach for improving memory and modifying disease progression in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

Self-worth needs to go beyond appearance
Women with high family support and limited pressure to achieve the 'thin and beautiful' ideal have a more positive body image.

Carnivorous plants rely on the services and wastes of a symbiotic ant for nutrition
Plants inhabited by ants have greater prey and nutrient inputs and are more successful.

VISTA views a vast ball of stars
A new image of Messier 55 from ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope shows tens of thousands of stars crowded together like a swarm of bees.

Vampires give Danish teenagers taste for spirituality
Danish teenagers are not looking for answers to life's big questions in established religious institutions.

Portable diagnostics designed to be shaken, not stirred
A textured surface mimics a lotus leaf to move drops of liquid in particular directions.

WSU researchers say genes and vascular risk modify effects of aging on brain and cognition
Efforts to understand how the aging process affects the brain and cognition have expanded beyond simply comparing younger and older adults, according to a Wayne State University study published recently.

Buddhists and Hindus are on the rise nationally, Baylor University professor finds
Hindu and Buddhist groups have grown steadily in the United States since changes in immigration laws in 1965 and 1992, with particularly high concentrations in Texas, California, the New York Metropolitan Area, Illinois and Georgia, according to a Baylor University professor who helped compile the newly released 2010 US Religion Census.

UI professor identifies largest known crocodile
A crocodile large enough to swallow humans once lived in East Africa, according to a University of Iowa researcher.

Aeras and IDRI sign agreement to jointly develop novel tuberculosis vaccine
Aeras and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) announce today a new agreement to conduct joint development activities with respect to IDRI's novel tuberculosis vaccine candidate.

Molecule found that inhibits estrogen, key risk factor for endometrial and breast cancers
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a molecule that inhibits the action of estrogen.

Speedier treatment and better outcomes for high volume stroke centers
Treatment is faster and outcomes are better at stroke centers dealing with a high volume of patients, finds research published online in the Journal of NeuroInterventional 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