Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 22, 2012
Array of light for early disease detection?
A special feature in this week's issue of the journal Science highlights protein array technology, touching on research conducted by Joshua LaBaer, director of the Biodesign Institute's Virginia G.

Scientists find gold-plated fossil solution
Novel method will assist with study of ancient specimens.

Identifying asthma patients who tolerate lower doses of steroids remains problematic
Common respiratory measurements are not effective in determining which asthma patients are able to significantly decrease their use of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) medications without risk of flare-ups or exacerbations, according to a new study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom.

Internet politics, policies have rapidly become integral to US international affairs
Internet governance policy has rapidly risen from a relatively marginal issue for the United States' foreign policy establishment to a significant component of the country's international affairs and national security strategy, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Use of multicomponent intervention linked with decrease in using physical restraint in nursing homes
Nursing homes that used a multicomponent intervention that included staff training and supportive materials for staff, residents and relatives had a lower rate of use of physical restraints such as bilateral bed rails and belts, according to a study in the May 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Scientists start explaining Fat Bastard's vicious cycle
Fat Bastard's revelation

Early-life risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Factors influencing early life non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) incidence include family characteristics, high fetal growth, older maternal age, low birth order, and male gender, according to a study published May 22 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Optogenetics workshop to fast-track innovative approaches to save and restore sight
Forum will unite researchers, retinal specialists, companies interested in gene therapy, regulators, and the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Eye Institute (NEI), to examine the clinical path of optogenetic approaches in treating vision-robbing diseases such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and related conditions that affect more than 10 million Americans.

Better tests for sleeping sickness
Lies Van Nieuwenhove, researcher at the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, has produced proteins imitating typical parts of the sleeping sickness parasite.

Not a 1-way street: Evolution shapes environment of Connecticut lakes
Environmental change is the selective force that preserves adaptive traits in organisms and is a primary driver of evolution.

A quick fix is possible for sacroiliac joint pain in many children and adolescents
Investigators report that a simple bedside manual therapy to correct a painful misaligned sacroiliac joint was highly successful in a group of 45 patients 10 to 20 years of age.

Alberto now a tropical depression, seen by NASA
Infrared satellite imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite revealed Alberto weakened from a tropical storm to a tropical depression as it appears more disorganized.

Hartford program issues geriatric social work awards
The prestigious Hartford Scholars Program has granted eight geriatric social work researchers a two-year award that will provide career development, mentorship, and support for projects that will improve healthy outcomes for the country's aging population.

Newly discovered breast milk antibodies help neutralize HIV
Antibodies that help to stop the HIV virus have been found in breast milk.

The older we get, the less we know (cosmologically)
The universe is a marvelously complex place, filled with galaxies and larger-scale structures that have evolved over its 13.7-billion-year history.

Psychological Science explains uproar over prostate-cancer screenings
Despite recent recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force, many people simply don't believe that the prostate-specific antigen test is ineffective.

Intensivists at night improve patient outcomes in some ICUs, says Pitt/UPMC team
Intensive care units that had no or limited access to critical care doctors during the day can improve patient outcomes by having the specialists, called intensivists, man the unit at night, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC.

Voters' views of Mormonism still hamper Romney's campaign
Mitt Romney's religion was a major stumbling block for his 2008 presidential aspirations, and remains so for his candidacy in 2012, according to David Campbell at the University of Notre Dame.

For monogamous sparrows, it doesn't pay to stray (but they do it anyway)
It's quite common for a female song sparrow to stray from her breeding partner and mate with the male next door, but a new study shows that sleeping around can be costly.

Track Atlantic bluefin tuna to learn migration, habitat secrets
The availability of miniaturized pop-up satellite tags suitable for smaller (two- to five-year-old) fish helped make the research possible.

Study reveals sarcoidosis-related mortality rates among black women
A new study conducted by researchers from Boston University has found that sarcoidosis accounts for 25 percent of all deaths among women in the Black Women's Health Study who have the disease.

Scientists unravel role of fusion gene in prostate cancer
Up to half of all prostate cancer cells have a chromosomal rearrangement that results in a new

How one strain of MRSA becomes resistant to last-line antibiotic
Researchers have uncovered what makes one particular strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) so proficient at picking up resistance genes, such as the one that makes it resistant to vancomycin, the last line of defense for hospital-acquired infections.

Human-like spine morphology found in aquatic eel fossil
For decades, scientists believed that a spine with multiple segments was an exclusive feature of land-dwelling animals.

Home damage following Sept. 11 attacks linked with higher levels of respiratory illness
Residents of Lower Manhattan who suffered home damage following the Sept.

In string theory, the eponymous strings are the fundamental building blocks for all matter.

Flu shot during pregnancy shows unexpected benefits in large study
Getting a flu shot during pregnancy provides unanticipated benefits to the baby, according to the authors of a large population-based study examining the issue.

Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road
A study out of MIT's Concrete Sustainability Hub shows that pavement deflection under vehicle tires makes for a continuous uphill drive that increases fuel consumption

New means of safeguarding world fish stocks proven
Powerful and versatile new genetic tools that will assist in safeguarding both European fish stocks and European consumers is reported in Nature Communications.

Genetic marker may predict smoking quantity in African Americans
In a step toward understanding possible genetic differences in smoking behaviors, a team of researchers co-led by SRI International has identified a genetic marker associated with smoking quantity in people of African ancestry.

Late-breaking clinical trials
On Tuesday afternoon, May 22, 2012, results from seven late-breaking clinical trials will be presented in session C91 at the ATS International Conference.

FDA clears test developed in partnership with VCU researcher
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new test to help physicians diagnose a group of rare cell disorders.

New TB test promises to be cheap and fast
Biomedical engineers at UC Davis have developed a microfluidic chip to test for latent tuberculosis.

Reactions to HIV drug have autoimmune cause, reports AIDS journal
Potentially severe hypersensitivity reactions to the anti-HIV drug abacavir occur through an autoimmune mechanism, resulting from the creation of drug-induced immunogens that are attacked by the body's immune system, according to a study published online by the journal AIDS, official journal of the International AIDS Society.

Poorly armed, but successful
The stubby arms of Tyrannosaurus rex obviously weren't designed for hand-to-hand combat.

Vitamin C improves pulmonary function in newborns of pregnant smoking women
Vitamin C supplementation in pregnant women who are unable to quit smoking significantly improves pulmonary function in their newborns, according to a new study.

Study shows availability of hydrogen controls chemical structure of graphene oxide
A new study shows that the availability of hydrogen plays a significant role in determining the chemical and structural makeup of graphene oxide, a material that has potential uses in nano-electronics, nano-electromechanical systems, sensing, composites, optics, catalysis and energy storage.

Researchers present new findings for novel pancreatic cancer vaccine
A novel pancreatic cancer vaccine shows promise in improving survival when added to standard treatment, according to new research out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

$3.3 million NSF award creates UCSB and UTEP partnership for materials science and engineering research
The National Science Foundation has awarded $3.3 million for the establishment of a collaborative research and education program between the University of Texas at El Paso and University of California, Santa Barbara to broaden the participation and advanced degree attainment of under-represented minorities.

Bee pollen supplements can cause anaphylactic reactions
Although many people take bee pollen as a health supplement, it can cause severe anaphylactic reactions.

Novel biomarkers reveal evidence of radiation exposure
Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin have identified novel biomarkers that could be used to confirm exposure to damaging radiation in large groups of people potentially exposed to unknown and variable doses for the purpose of triage and treatment.

NASA Sees Eastern Pacific's Second Tropical Storm Form
On May 21, NASA satellites were monitoring Tropical Depression 02E in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and 24 hours later it strengthened into the second tropical storm of the season.

University of Leicester study finds low agreeableness linked to a preference for aggressive dogs
Aggressive dog ownership is not always a sign of attempted dominance or actual delinquency.

Methods in most prediction studies do not follow guidelines
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Walter Bouwmeester of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues investigate the reporting and methods of prediction studies in 2008 in six top international general medical journals.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Storm Sanvu pass Guam, strengthen
Tropical Depression 03W in the western North Pacific did exactly what forecasters expected over the last twenty-four hours: it became a tropical storm named Sanvu and passed west of Guam on a northwesterly track.

Excess maternal weight before and during pregnancy can result in larger babies
Excess weight in pregnant women, both before pregnancy and gained during pregnancy, is the main predictor of whether mothers will have larger than average babies, which can result in increased risk of cesarean section or trauma during delivery, states a study published in CMAJ.

5 percent of workers gave up smoking when the anti-tobacco law took effect
The enforcement of Law 42/2010, which extends the smoking ban to public places, has accompanied a progressive reduction in the percentage of smokers (from 40.3 percent to 35.3 percent) and in consumption amongst the working population.

Correct treatment of common diabetic foot infections can reduce amputations
Diabetic foot infections are an increasingly common problem, but proper care can save limbs and, ultimately, lives, suggest new guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Sequence it...and they will come!
Rapid DNA sequencing may soon become a routine part of each individual's medical record, providing enormous information previously sequestered in the human genome's 3 billion nucleotide bases.

Food fight or romantic dinner? Communication between couples is key to improving men's diets
Married men will eat their peas to keep the peace, but many aren't happy about it, and may even binge on unhealthy foods away from home.

Markey receives $6.25 million to study deadly blood and bone marrow disease
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has received more than $6 million to study a deadly blood and bone marrow disease often caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Dr. Arthur Slutsky, vice-president of research at St. Michael's, receives lifetime award
Dr. Art Slutsky, vice-president of research at St. Michael's Hospital, is the 2012 recipient of the American Thoracic Society Assembly on Critical Care Lifetime Achievement Award.

Quantum condensate of the thirteenth kind
Francesca Ferlaino's research team at the University of Innsbruck is the first to successfully create a condensate of the exotic element erbium.

Harvard team cracks code for new drug resistant superbugs
National Institutes of Health-funded scientists have determined the genetic sequences of all 12 available strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria resistant to vancomycin -- an antibiotic of last resort -- and have demonstrated that resistance arose independently in each strain after it acquired a specific bit of genetic material called transposon Tn1546.

Gastroenterology Societies issue sedation curriculum for gastrointestinal endoscopy
The national gastroenterology societies have issued a new document on sedation training for gastrointestinal endoscopy.

New tool helps decide what drugs to include in health care formularies
A new tool that could provide a useful framework for deciding what medicines to include in drug formularies is presented in this week's PLoS Medicine by the experts from Harvard Medical School and the University of Illinois at Chicago who developed it.

Studies examine CPAP treatment and cardiovascular outcomes in adults with obstructive sleep apnea
Two studies that included adults with obstructive sleep apnea examined the effectiveness of reducing the risk of cardiovascular outcomes, including high blood pressure, by treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), according to the articles in the May 23/30 issue of JAMA.

'Slum tourism' research project launched at University of Leicester
New European Union-funded project investigates contentious pastime.

Tecnalia offers European industry the first humanoid robot that works side by side people
The research centre Tecnalia Research & Innovation is embarking on a new era by incorporating into European industry the first robot capable of working shoulder to shoulder with people.

Sichuan Agricultural University and BGI to unravel the relation between DNA methylomes and obesity
In a highlighted paper published online in Nature Communications, researchers from Sichuan Agricultural University and BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, reported the atlas of DNA methylomes in porcine adipose and muscle tissues, providing a valuable epigenomic source for obesity prediction and prevention as well as boosting the further development of pig as a model animal for human obesity research.

New research examines impact of liver disease
Research being presented at Digestive Disease Week® offers insights into the progression of diseases leading to liver damage, which affect diverse populations, including young people.

Cleft lip/palate cause much more than cosmetic problems
Children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial disorders face numerous medical challenges beyond appearance.

VCU Massey Cancer Center sees potential in novel leukemia treatment
Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center may be one step closer to developing a new therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after discovering that the targeted agents obatoclax and sorafenib kill leukemia cells much more effectively when combined than when the drugs are administered individually.

Dementia incidence in less-developed countries could be double that of previous estimates
Conventional estimates of dementia incidence in middle-income countries have been too optimistic, suggests one of the largest studies of dementia incidence to date, published online first in the Lancet.

Baseline characteristics of children with mild persistent asthma predict response to ICS
A further analysis of a previously published National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded study of children with mild persistent asthma reports the relative benefits of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) treatment varies among children with differing demographic and clinical characteristics.

Refining fire behavior modeling
Research by USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station biometrician Bernie Parresol takes center stage in a special issue of the journal Forest Ecology and Management due out in June.

Vitamin C improves lung function in newborns of pregnant smoking women
Women who are unable to quit smoking during pregnancy can significantly improve the lung function of their newborns by taking Vitamin C daily, according to a new study at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

New initiative aims to increase mobility for disabled children worldwide
A team of global partners has tasked itself with the daunting challenge of bringing mobility to disabled children of developing nations through the Lifelong Mobility Project.

New study shows how nanotechnology can help detect disease earlier
A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers shows a new way to precisely detect a single chemical at extremely low concentrations and high contamination.

Does polyploidy play a role in the onset of the Italian endemic flora?
Plants show a higher variation in chromosome numbers than animals do, mainly because of polyploidy- the occurrence of more than two sets of chromosomes.

Platform for detector technologies and systems
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf adds its competences in the field of detector technologies and systems to the Helmholtz Association's new research platform bearing the same name.

Alcohol intake in the elderly affects risk of cognitive decline and dementia
Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are most common in the very elderly, and are associated with huge health costs.

Special issue of the EMBO Journal celebrates 30 years of Wnt research
The impact and influence of 30 years of research into the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway are highlighted in a special issue of The EMBO Journal.

A milestone in nanoparticle research: Nanoparticle test handbook sets the standards
A new handbook has been published under Empa leadership which aims to unify European standards in nanoparticle research.

Barrow researchers use magic for discoveries
Researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center have unveiled how and why the public perceives some magic tricks in recent studies that could have real-world implications in military tactics, marketing and sports

UC San Diego Superfund Research Program receives $15 million grant renewal
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, has renewed funding for the Superfund Research Program at the University of California, San Diego.

Study highlights how Twitter is used to share information after a disaster
A study from North Carolina State University shows how people used Twitter following the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan, highlighting challenges for using the social media tool to share information.

Stem cell research paves way for progress on dealing with Fragile X retardation
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have achieved, for the first time, the generation of neuronal cells from stem cells of Fragile X patients.

Viewers' family background affects how they react to MTV shows 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom
Two popular MTV programs about teenage pregnancy --

Nea Kameni volcano movement captured by Envisat
Archived data from the Envisat satellite show that the volcanic island of Santorini has recently displayed signs of unrest.

Discovered a new checkpoint of cell cycle control through joint action of 2 proteins
Alterations in the formation of ribosomes (the elements of the cell where proteins are made) cause the induction of p53 protein and cell cycle disruption.

Pathological aging brains contain the same amyloid plaques as Alzheimer's disease
New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, shows that Pathological aging and AD brains contain similar amyloid β (Aβ) plaques and that, while on average AD brains contain more Aβ, there was considerable overlap in Aβ subtypes.

Geoscience Currents 60: Female US geoscience enrollments and degrees remain steady in 2011
The American Geosciences Institute has released Geoscience Currents 60, which examines female enrollments and degrees in the geosciences over time.

Research suggests why bovine TB continues to spread
Research at the University of Liverpool suggests that the failure of the current bovine tuberculosis eradication program could be partly due to a parasitic infection that hinders the tests used in cattle to diagnose bovine TB.

EARTH: Carbon and the city
In 2010, the world reached a milestone: The number of people living in urban areas reached 50 percent.

Probability of contamination from severe nuclear reactor accidents is higher than expected
Western Europe has the worldwide highest risk of radioactive contamination caused by major reactor accidents.

Latest research examines colorectal cancer risk factors
New research being presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) looks at patient experiences with colorectal cancer screening and questions current screening guidelines.

Canada should significantly increase its funding of randomized clinical trials
Large randomized controlled trials are critical for determining effectiveness of medical therapies, tests and procedures.

Scientists turn patients' skin cells into heart muscle cells to repair their damaged hearts
For the first time scientists have succeeded in taking skin cells from heart failure patients and reprogramming them to transform into healthy, new heart muscle cells that are capable of integrating with existing heart tissue.

Children failing asthma therapy may have severe asthma with fungal sensitization
New research presented at the ATS 2012 International Conference in San Francisco suggests that a significant proportion of children with asthma failing Step 4 or greater therapy may have severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS).

Doing the tooth implant 2-step
When it comes to tooth implantation, periodontists have a choice -- a one-step process in which bone is allowed to grow around the implant, or a two-step process in which the bone is nurtured to provide a stronger base for the implant.

Neuron-nourishing cells appear to retaliate in Alzheimer's
When brain cells start oozing too much of the amyloid protein that is the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the astrocytes that normally nourish and protect them deliver a suicide package instead, researchers report.

Inhibition of PBEF is a possible therapeutic target for pulmonary hypertension
Inhibition of pre-B Cell Colony-Enhancing Factor (PBEF) could be a potential therapeutic target for pulmonary hypertension (PH), according to a preclinical study in an animal model of PH.

Researchers take virus-tracking software worldwide
A researcher who tracks dangerous viruses around the globe has restructured his innovative tracking software to promote even wider use of the program around the world.

Light pollution transforming insect communities
Street lighting is transforming communities of insects and other invertebrates, according to research by the University of Exeter.

Breast cancer clinical trial tests combo of heat shock protein inhibitor and hormonal therapy
A clinical trial involving collaboration between researchers at Whitehead Institute and Dana Farber Cancer Institute is now enrolling patients with recurrent or metastatic estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer.

New frog species from Panama dyes fingers yellow
A team of German biologists has discovered a new, beautiful golden frog species in western Panama.

Training our brains to see ourselves in a more attractive light
Researchers at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology have designed a program called Mírate bien (Take a good look at yourself).

US Earth observations, science and services are critical to society but are at risk
Earth observations, science, and services (Earth OSS) inform and guide the activities of virtually all economic sectors and innumerable institutions underlying modern civilization, according to a new study by the American Meteorological Society Policy Program.

Researchers spearhead groundbreaking research into treatment of brain swelling
Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have reported the results of groundbreaking research into the prevention of cerebral edema or swelling of the brain, a major cause of death in people who have sustained a traumatic injury to the brain, out of hospital cardiac arrest or stroke.

Bias found in mental health drug research presented at major psychiatric meeting
Patient care nationwide may be affected when research on medications contain only 'good news' - especially when the research is industry-funded.

Systems treating severe heart attacks expanding nationwide
The number of systems of care for quickly transferring and treating heart attack patients has increased substantially.

Genomes show how Staph bacteria gain resistance to last-line drug
National Institutes of Health-funded scientists have determined the genome sequences of a dozen strains of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria known to be resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic of last resort.

Making microscopic machines using metallic glass
Researchers in Ireland have developed a new technology using materials called bulk metallic glasses to produce high-precision molds for making tiny plastic components.

Asthma medication linked with arrhythmias in children, young adults
Use of inhaled anticholinergics (IACs) has been associated with an increased risk of potentially dangerous heart arrhythmias among young asthma patients, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Social media and the Internet allowed young Arab women to play a central role in the Arab Spring
Over the course of 2011's momentous Arab Spring uprisings, young women in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen used social media and cyberactivism to carve out central roles in the revolutionary struggles under way in their countries, according to a new study commissioned by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

WhaleWatch: Satellite tracking to help reduce number of whales entangled in fishing gear
A new project aims to reduce the number of whales entangled in fishing gear by identifying the areas they are most likely to visit.

GPS for the brain: UGA researchers develop new brain map
University of Georgia researchers have developed a map of the human brain that shows great promise as a new guide to the inner workings of the body's most complex and critical organ.

How ion bombardment reshapes metal surfaces
Ion bombardment of metal surfaces is an important, but poorly understood, nanomanufacturing technique.

Wrongful convictions can be reduced through science, but tradeoffs exist
Many of the wrongful convictions identified in a report this week hinged on a misidentified culprit -- now, scientific research reveals the paradox of reforms in eyewitness identification procedure.

Research reveals new clue in fight against TB in cattle
The failure of the current bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication program could be partly due to a parasitic worm that hinders the tests used to diagnose TB in cows, according to new research published this week.

SRI, U of M announce coalition to develop the world's cleanest passenger locomotive
Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were announced today by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, a collaboration of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment and the nonprofit Sustainable Rail International.

Antidepressant use associated with increased mortality among critically ill patients?
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have found that critically ill patients were more likely to die if they were taking the most commonly prescribed antidepressants when they were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Revised ARDS definition sets out levels of severity
A stratified definition of acute respiratory distress syndrome, announced this week, is expected to guide clinicians to earlier detection of the disease. 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