Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 12, 2012
Study finds gender differences in salaries of physician researchers
A survey of mid-career academic physician researchers finds that gender differences in salary exist, even after adjustment for differences in specialty, institutional characteristics, academic productivity, academic rank, work hours, and other factors, according to a study in the June 13 issue of JAMA.

Substance abuse librarians raise the alarm as libraries continue to close
Members of the Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists are calling for urgent action to halt the closure of specialist libraries and databases, before valuable resources and expertise are lost forever.

Liquid glucagon formulation discovered for potential use in artificial pancreas systems
JDRF-funded researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health have discovered a liquid glucagon formulation that may be useable in standard diabetes pumps.

What does a tree growing faster than its neighbor look like from outer space?
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researchers Andrew Elmore and David Nelson were awarded $653,018 from National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a three-year project to use satellite data to find out how the growth rate of trees in a longer growing season is impacting the environment.

Policies needed to tackle inequalities in deaths from heart disease in England
Although improved treatment uptake for coronary heart disease in England has resulted in a dramatic fall in death rates over recent years, improvements in major risk factors vary substantially between richer and poorer people, according to a study by UK researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Progress in Osteoporosis re-launched with new design, now invites commentary
The International Osteoporosis Foundation has published the first issue of the newly revised Progress in Osteoporosis.

The first day of development -- a window to successful pregnancy
An article published in F1000 Biology Reports discusses recent important advancements in the development of alternative methods of embryo evaluation and selection that could lead to improvements in the reliability of IVF treatments.

Alcohol abuse may be cause, rather than effect of social isolation, poor grades among teens
Rather than gaining

New risk score predicts heart disease in patients with chest pain
A new risk prediction tool can identify patients at high risk of coronary artery disease who might need further diagnostic work, says a study published on today.

Nevirapine based treatment for HIV is effective in African women
In African women, an anti-AIDS treatment regimen that includes the drug nevirapine is as effective as a treatment regimen with the more expensive drugs, lopinavir/ritonavir, according to a study by a team of international researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

A century of learning about the physiological demands of Antarctica
A century after British Naval Captain Robert F. Scott led a team of explorers on their quest to be the first to reach the South Pole, a new article examines what we have learned about the physiological stresses of severe exercise, malnutrition, hypothermia, high altitude, and sleep deprivation since then.

Hormones, Elvis, and human emotion
The velvety voice of Elvis Presley still makes hearts flutter -- and in a new study with people who have the rare genetic disorder Williams syndrome, one of the King's classics is among a group of songs that helped to cast light on part of the essence of being human: the mystery of emotion and human interaction.

University of Arizona researchers awarded $3.6 million to design metaphorical cybersecurity map
University of Arizona engineering and computer science researchers have won a $3.6 million cybersecurity research contract from the Office of Naval Research to develop dynamic maps that visualize suspicious activity on computer networks.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards $3.3 million to 8 top young clinical investigators
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named six new Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators at its spring 2012 Clinical Investigator Award Committee review.

Spotting ultrafine loops in the sun's corona
A key to understanding the dynamics of the sun and what causes the great solar explosions there relies on deciphering how material, heat and energy swirl across the sun's surface and rise into the upper atmosphere, or corona.

Teaching autistic teens to cope
UCLA researchers report that in a 14-week follow-up study, the social skills taught and learned in a unique class for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder either stayed with the kids, or further improved.

Unhealthy lifestyles have little impact on sperm quality
Lifestyle advice given by doctors to men diagnosed with infertility should be radically overhauled according to research published today (Wednesday).

Kill the messenger
A small molecule developed at the Weizmann Institute prevents a cancer-causing message from entering the cell nucleus.

Routine syphilis screening in pregnant women aided by simple, rapid diagnostic test
A simple and rapid test done near the patient that does not need laboratories, electricity, or highly trained staff (known as a point-of-care test) can effectively diagnose syphilis in pregnant women and has been adopted in six low- and middle-income countries thus preventing many stillbirths and deaths in newborn babies according to a report from international researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

New research published today is already saving lives
Pregnant women are benefiting from new rapid tests for syphilis in six countries thanks to influential research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Substantial increase in rate of advanced diagnostic imaging, associated radiation exposure
Among six large integrated health care systems between 1996 and 2010 there was a substantial increase in the use of advanced diagnostic imaging, including approximately a tripling of the use of computed tomography and nearly a quadrupling of the use of magnetic resonance imaging, as well as a substantial increase in estimated radiation exposure, according to a study in the June 13 issue of JAMA.

Asiatic pear genome sequenced
The first sequencing of the Asiatic pear genome has recently been completed by an international consortium of seven worldwide universities and institutions including the University of Illinois.

Avatars may help children with social anxiety overcome fears
Researchers want to find out if practice conversations with avatars help children overcome social anxiety as much as the

Climate change to alter global fire risk
Climate change is widely expected to disrupt future fire patterns around the world, with some regions, such as the western United States, seeing more frequent fires within the next 30 years, according to a new analysis led by UC Berkeley researchers in collaboration with an international team of scientists.

Potential Iceland eruption could pump acid into European airspace
A modern recurrence of an extraordinary type of volcanic eruption in Iceland could inject large quantities of hazardous gases into North Atlantic and European flight corridors, potentially for months at a time, a new study suggests.

Illnesses in Colorado children's hospital prompts discovery of contaminated alcohol pads
A small cluster of unusual illnesses at a Colorado children's hospital prompted an investigation that swiftly identified alcohol prep pads contaminated with Bacillus cereus bacteria, according to a report in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Clinical trials need to better protect participants and research integrity as data accumulate
An essay by Susan Ellenberg from the University of Pennsylvania describes alternative approaches to the evaluation of clinical trials, with the objectives both of preventing undue risks to participants and protecting the integrity of data.

Development of prosthetic hands stagnated for 20 years
The development of body-powered prosthetic hands has stagnated for over 20 years.

NJIT designer creates an ergonomic chair for musicians
A chair to help musicians feel better and play better is the goal of David Brothers, assistant professor of interior design at NJIT's School of Art + Design.

Ancient story of Dartmoor tors has an ice-cold twist
Ice extended further across the UK than previously thought and played a part in sculpting the rocky landscape of Dartmoor in South West England during the last Ice Age, according to new research which challenges previously held theories.

Dear (insert company name), personalized emails don't impress customers
Personalized email advertisements are far more likely to repel customers than to endear them, according to a study led by a Temple University Fox School of Business professor.

President Obama honors outstanding math and science teachers
President Obama today named 97 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

A father's love is one of the greatest influences on personality development
A father's love contributes as much -- and sometimes more -- to a child's development as does a mother's love.

Evaluation of microscopy techniques may help scientists to better understand ancient plants
In a paper published in PLoS ONE, scientists at the University of Illinois released their findings on what microscopy techniques are needed to identify the shape and texture of pollen grains.

Georgia Tech launches HomeLab to help companies evaluate home health technologies
To help companies evaluate baby boomers' perceptions, use and acceptance of home health and wellness technologies, the Georgia Institute of Technology has launched HomeLab.

Robotic assistants may adapt to humans in the factory
In today's manufacturing plants, the division of labor between humans and robots is quite clear, but according to Julie Shah, the Boeing Career Development Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, the factory floor of the future may host humans and robots working side by side, each helping the other in common tasks.

Community-acquired MRSA cases on the rise in New York City, study suggests
Hospitalization rates in New York City for patients with community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially deadly bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotic treatment, more than tripled between 1997 and 2006, according to a report published in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Nevirapine-based treatment is effective in African women, but not optimal
According to new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital, an anti-AIDS treatment regimen, which includes the WHO-recommended drug nevirapine, is just as effective at suppressing the HIV virus as lopinavir/ritonavir, which is more expensive.

Making music with real stars
Using star data from the Kepler Space Telescope, Georgia Tech researchers have developed sounds that will be used in a song later this summer for a national recording artist.

Retention forestry now sparing trees and benefitting biodiversity worldwide
Deliberately leaving some trees standing after harvesting, a practice known as retention forestry, has been successfully employed in landscapes worldwide and offers multiple advantages over traditional, industrial forest management, according to an international group of researchers.

The challenges and opportunities of clinical trials in developing countries
Conducting more clinical trials in developing countries is of benefit because these populations are underrepresented in research, but doing trials in resource poor settings has many challenges.

International Communication Association announces Fellows for 2012
The International Communication Association recently named six new Fellows at its 2012 Annual Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., USA.

When being scared twice is enough to remember
One of the brain's jobs is to help us figure out what's important enough to be remembered.

PAP therapy improves depressive symptoms in all patients with sleep apnea
Study of 779 patients using positive airway pressure (PAP) to treat sleep apnea had improvements in depressive symptoms, even if they followed the prescribed PAP regimen only partly, new study reports.

Children with asthma marginalized in movies, says Rutgers-Camden researcher
A Rutgers-Camden researcher says that movies fail to treat children with asthma with respect.

Dissonant music brings out the animal in listeners, say UCLA researchers
A UCLA-based team of researchers has isolated some of the ways in which distorted and jarring music is so evocative, and they believe that the mechanisms are closely related to distress calls in animals.

New weekly fertility injections work as well as daily
New long-lasting weekly injections of fertility hormones are as safe and effective as standard daily injections, according to Cochrane researchers.

Role of omega-3 in preventing cognitive decline in older people questioned
Older people who take omega-3 fish oil supplements are probably not reducing their chances of losing cognitive function, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.

Naturally occurring protein has a role in chronic pain
Researchers in France and Sweden have discovered how one of the body's own proteins is involved in generating chronic pain in rats.

Alzheimer's risk gene disrupts brain function in healthy older women, but not men
A team led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has found that the most common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease disrupts brain function in healthy older women but has little impact on brain function in healthy, older men.

Improving quality of care for sick children in Kenya is cost effective
A cost-effectiveness analysis conducted by Edwine Barasa of the Kenya Medical Research Institute Centre for Geographic Medicine Research, Nairobi, Kenya and colleagues estimates that a complex intervention aimed at improving quality of care for sick children in district hospitals would be affordable and cost effective in Kenya.

Intervention to improve foster families' lack of trust, connectedness
Researchers adapted a parenting program to help foster families address their greatest challenges, including overwhelmed foster parents and a lack of trust between caregivers and foster children.

Radiation exposure from medical imaging has increased even at HMOs
Concern about overexposure to radiation due to excessive use of medical imaging has come to the fore in recent years.

Professional exam for software engineering to be offered in April 2013
NCEES, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, will begin offering a Principles and Practice of Engineering exam - PE exam - in software engineering in April 2013.

UCSF pair win Gruber Foundation Neuroscience prize
Lily Jan, Ph.D., and Yuh Nung Jan, Ph.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, will jointly receive the 2012 Neuroscience Prize of the Gruber Foundation.

Don't feel like exercise? Scientists find compound that may help you work out harder
Could there be a pill to help you exercise harder?

Echocardiogram screenings are effective in preventing rheumatic heart disease
Routine screening with echocardiogram can detect three times as many cases of rheumatic heart disease as clinical examinations, offering a novel approach in preventing this common disease, according to a new study in Circulation.

Potential carbon capture role for new CO2-absorbing material
A novel porous material that has unique carbon dioxide retention properties has been developed through research led by the University of Nottingham.

UTMB researchers create powerful new method to analyze genetic data
Researchers have developed a powerful visual analytical approach to explore genetic data, enabling scientists to identify novel patterns of information that could be crucial to human health.

Liposuction for the management of submental lymphedema in the head and neck cancer patient
Liposuction is a novel and minimally invasive procedure for treating persistent submental lymphedema in patients with previous head and neck cancer, according to an article published in the June 2012 issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Volcanic gases could deplete ozone layer
Giant volcanic eruptions in Nicaragua over the past 70,000 years could have injected enough gases into the atmosphere to temporarily thin the ozone layer, according to new research.

Black hole growth found to be out of sync
New evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory challenges prevailing ideas about how black holes grow in the centers of galaxies.

Many poor pregnant women with HIV go untreated for depression
It seems logical that programs to screen and manage depression in pregnant, HIV-positive Medicaid patients should already be in place, but they aren't.

A 'dirt cheap' magnetic field sensor from 'plastic paint'
University of Utah physicists developed an inexpensive, highly accurate magnetic field sensor for scientific and possibly consumer uses based on a

Sleep apnea persisting into teens can impact life skills, study finds
Sleep apnea numbers decline as kids enter adolescence, but for those with persistent sleep apnea, the teens can be a devastating trial of behavior and learning problems.

Tiny 'speed bump' device could sort cancer cells
Engineers have found an easy way to sort microscopic particles and bits of biological matter, including circulating tumor cells.

3-center study identifies main causes of unprofessional behavior among hospitalists
Unprofessional behavior among hospitalists is rare, but those who do behave poorly share common features, according to research published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

New report puts real numbers behind history of oyster reefs
In an effort to advance the field of coastal restoration, The Nature Conservancy and a team of scientists from more than a dozen management agencies and research institutions led by the University of Cambridge conducted an in-depth study of oyster reef area and, for the first time, the actual biomass (the

BGI, GE Healthcare team up on pioneering stem cell science projects
GE Healthcare, the healthcare business of GE, and BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, jointly announced today a pioneering multi-year research collaboration in stem cell science.

Multi-center clinical study intensifies first strike at high-risk cancer in kids
An experimental treatment that combines intense chemotherapy with a radioactive isotope linked to synthesized neurotransmitter is being tested in newly diagnosed cases of high-risk neuroblastoma -- a deadly, hard-to-cure childhood cancer.

Capability of curry component to treat disease merits US patent
A US patent issued today to the University of Rochester and two other entities for the use of compounds related to a popular spice in the fight against cancer, acne, baldness, and other medical conditions.

Investigation questions motives behind post-marketing studies
An investigation published by the BMJ today raises concern about the motives behind post-marketing studies of new treatments for diabetes and calls for better regulation to ensure

Study by UC Santa Barbara psychologists reveals how brain performs 'motor chunking' tasks
You pick up your cell phone and dial the new number of a friend.

Losing money, emotions and evolution
Mildly stressful situations can affect our perceptions in the same way as life-threatening ones.

Astellas and DNDi to collaborate on new drug discovery research for the treatment of NTDs
Astellas Pharma Inc. and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative announced an agreement today to collaborate on drug discovery research for leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and sleeping sickness -- three neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which together affect nearly 10 million people worldwide.

Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge shortlists 2012 projects
The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge shortlist was announced today, highlighting five innovative ideas to provide sustainable access to safe water and sanitation.

Protein residues kiss, don't tell
Jose Onuchic and colleagues at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics have developed a tool, known as direct coupling analysis-fold, that enhances existing methods.

Pre-surgical steps for eye surgery are standardized through JoVE's video publication
Over 45,000 corneal transplant eye surgeries are performed in the US every year.

5 more pharmaceutical companies join NIH initiative to speed therapeutic discovery
Five additional pharmaceutical companies have joined a National Institutes of Health-led effort to help scientists research promising new treatments for patients.

Group B streptococcal meningitis has long-term effects on children's developmental outcomes
Nearly one-half of infants with GBS meningitis experience developmental delays.

USC Norris clinicians discuss cancer research results
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center physician-researchers collaborated on more than 70 research projects presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology this month.

Online treatment beneficial to heart disease patients
Patients with vascular disease such as angina and heart disease can benefit from including an internet-based treatment program on top of usual care, a study published on suggests.

With altered brain chemistry, fear is more easily overcome
In the amygdala, an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down a natural endocannabinoid chemical that acts in essentially the same way as Cannabis.

Planting the right messages may make farms safer
Better marketing tactics may lead to improved safety in one of the nation's most dangerous occupations -- farming, according to Penn State researchers.

Voicemail discovered in nature
Insects can use plants as

Nanoparticles found in moon glass bubbles explain weird lunar soil behavior
Using synchrotron-based nano tomography, Dr. Marek Zbik has found a highly porous network of alien-looking glassy particles inside unbroken bubbles of glass in a sample of lunar soil.

UCI researchers create mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria
Mosquitoes bred to be unable to infect people with the malaria parasite are an attractive approach to helping curb one of the world's most pressing public health issues, according to UC Irvine scientists.

A study shows that 'mosaicism' is gaining ground in cancer research
A study recently published in Nature Genetics provides new evidence that the genetic makeup of the embryo may cause the appearance of tumors in adult life.

BYU engineers conceive disc replacement to treat chronic low back pain
A new biomedical device to surgically treat chronic back pain - an artificial spinal disc that duplicates the natural motion of the spine - has been licensed from Brigham Young University to a Utah-based company.

Marker distinguishes more-aggressive from less-aggressive forms of chronic leukemia
Researchers have identified a prognostic marker in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that can help to distinguish which patients should start treatment quickly from those who can safely delay treatment, perhaps for years.

Size of voluntary sector workforce larger than previous estimates, says new research
New research from the University of Southampton suggests that there are more employees in the UK's voluntary sector than previously thought.

Nature or nurture? It may depend on where you live
The extent to which our development is affected by nature or nurture -- our genetic make-up or our environment -- may differ depending on where we live, according to research funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Diabetes: Tighter control of blood sugar prevents nerve condition, but at what risk?
Aggressive control of blood sugar levels in diabetes can help to prevent a painful condition affecting patients' nerves, according to a new systematic review in the Cochrane Library.

Physicians and public health agencies need shared accountability to improve health outcomes
A first-time joint publication by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health highlights how the two sectors of public health and primary medicine intersect and the work ahead to achieve true integration.

New England Journal of Medicine hails new skin cancer drug as 'greatest advance yet'
Vismodegib, a new skin cancer drug for patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma tested by TGen, Virginia G.

Save the Children report shows global health funding often ignores newborn babies
Save the Children's major new report,

Living microprocessor tunes in to feedback
What keeps the machinery for chopping certain precursor RNA strands into functional pieces from cutting up the wrong kinds of RNA?

Male doctors make $12K more per year than female doctors
Male doctors make more money than their female counterparts, even when factoring in medical specialty, title, work hours, productivity and a host of other factors, according to a comprehensive new analysis from researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and Duke University.

Woolly mammoth extinction has lessons for modern climate change
In a paper published June 12 in the journal Nature Communications, UCLA researchers and colleagues reveal that not long after the last ice age, the last woolly mammoths succumbed to a lethal combination of climate warming, encroaching humans and habitat change -- the same threats facing many species today.

2 new studies show connection between sleepiness and pro-athlete careers
Two new studies have uncovered a link between a pro athlete's longevity and the degree of sleepiness that athlete experiences in the daytime.

Holy glycosylation! New 'bat signal' flags distressed cells in childhood genetic diseases
A new tool has been developed by scientists for children with glycosylation disorders, also called

Unusual microbes could hitch a ride with travellers
A rare and unusual new species of yeast has been identified at three separate locations across the world, reported in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

NASA tracks tiny Tropical Storm Guchol in western North Pacific
Tropical Storm Guchol appears as a small tropical storm on NASA satellite imagery as it tracks through the western North Pacific Ocean today, June 12, 2012.

Why are some people greener than others?
Differences in attitudes and cultural values could have far-reaching implications for the development of a sustainable global society, according to an analysis to be published in the International Journal of the Sustainable Economy.

Quantum computers could help search engines keep up with the Internet's growth
With the web constantly expanding, researchers at USC have proposed -- and demonstrated the feasibility -- of using quantum computers to speed up the processing of Google's page ranking algorithm.

New study shows earlier birth is best for twins
University of Adelaide researchers say women pregnant with twins should elect to give birth at 37 weeks to avoid serious complications. 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