Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 09, 2012
Sustainability of rice landscapes in South East Asia threatened
During a meeting in Banaue, the Philippines, scientists from 21 research institutions from Germany, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, UK, Bulgaria and Spain raised several concerns on the future of the rice ecosystems in South East Asia.

Turning off key piece of genetic coding eliminates toxic effect of statins, SLU research finds
In research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association and published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, Saint Louis University investigator Ángel Baldán, Ph.D., found that the microRNA miR-33 plays a key role in regulating bile metabolism.

Carnegie Mellon's smart headlight system will have drivers seeing through the rain
Drivers can struggle to see when driving at night in a rainstorm or snowstorm, but a smart headlight system invented by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute can improve visibility by constantly redirecting light to shine between particles of precipitation.

How Australia survived the global financial crisis unscathed
A large University of Melbourne study has provided a detailed picture of how Australian householders coped during the global financial crisis.

Iron supplements can reduce fatigue in nonanemic women
Iron supplementation reduced fatigue by almost 50 percent in women who are low in iron but not anemic, according to the results of a clinical trial published July 9 in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Lax gun ownership laws could impact ability of high-risk individuals to purchase firearms
Sixty percent of persons incarcerated for gun crimes in the thirteen US states with the most lax standards for legal firearm ownership were not legally prohibited from possessing firearms when they committed.

Hunting for autism's chemical clues
University at Buffalo chemist Troy Wood is leading a research project to pinpoint an array of molecular compounds that appear in distinct amounts in the urine of children with autism.

U-M's Taubman Institute awards inaugural $100,000 translational medical research prize
The inaugural $100,000 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science has been awarded to Harry Dietz, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan's A.

Handlebar level can affect sexual health of female cyclists
A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that handlebar position is associated with changes in genital sensation in female cyclists.

$53 million grant will help health researchers develop new therapies -- with the public's help
University of Michigan scientists and doctors do some of the most advanced medical research in the world.

UC Santa Barbara researchers play key role in UN Environmental Assessment
Despite the ever-louder drumbeat for sustainability and global efforts to advance environmental initiatives, Earth remains on a collision course with

Decreasing cancer risk associated with inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is caused by chronic inflammation, which leads to damage of the intestinal epithelium.

New evidence for link between obesity and circle of friends
A Loyola study of high school students provides new evidence that a person's circle of friends may influence his or her weight.

UNH, Michigan Aerospace Corp to bring radiation detector to market
Scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the Michigan Aerospace Corporation have signed an exclusive option agreement to commercialize instrumentation originally developed at UNH's Space Science Center for space-based missions and now being re-engineered for homeland security purposes.

SUNY Downstate receives award to develop mobile phone apps for stroke patients and their caregivers
Steven R. Levine, M.D., is scientific principal investigator on a $500,000 award from the federally funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to develop mobile phone applications for stroke patients and their caregivers.

Vertebroplasty reportedly provides better pain relief and function
An analysis of published data in the medical literature has found that vertebroplasty can provide more pain relief and better function for patients with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures than nonoperative treatments.

Sounds of northern lights are born close to ground
For the first time, researchers at Aalto University in Finland have located where the sounds associated with the northern lights are created.

Frankincense as a medicine
Since the ancient world the aromatic fragrance of burning Boswellia resin has been part of many religious ceremonies.

New insights into how the most iconic reaction in organic chemistry really works
The Diels-Alder reaction is the most iconic organic chemistry reaction.

Study shows Islamist extremists emphasize self-defense, not world domination
A common belief in the West is that al Qaeda wishes to impose Islam everywhere.

Small molecule may play big role in Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is one of the most dreaded illnesses facing older Americans.

Non-slip tracheal implants
If a person's windpipe is constricted, an operation in which the surgeon inserts a stent to enlarge the trachea is often the only way to relieve their respiratory distress.

Long-term hormone treatment increases synapses in rat prefrontal cortex
A new study of aged female rats found that long-term treatment with estrogen and a synthetic progesterone known as MPA increased levels of a protein marker of synapses in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region known to suffer significant losses in aging.

Study serves up healthy choice of rice
Rice consumers concerned about reports that rice is linked to diabetes can rest assured that rice can be part of a healthy diet, with scientists finding that the glycemic index of rice varies a lot from one type of rice to another, with most varieties scoring a low to medium GI.

Overqualified recent immigrants three times as likely to be injured at work
Men who are recent immigrants and over qualified for their jobs are more than three times as likely to sustain an injury at work as their appropriately qualified peers who have been in the country for some time, suggests Canadian research published online in Injury Prevention.

SF State researcher releases first results from nationwide bee count
After finding low numbers of bees in urban areas across America, Biologist Gretchen LeBuhn will lead her

New silk technology preserves heat-sensitive drugs for months without refrigeration
Stabilizing vaccines and other heat-sensitive drugs in a protein made from silkworm cocoons maintains their potency without refrigeration, for months and possibly years at temperatures above 110 degrees F.

Lower iron levels seen in newborns of obese mothers
Being born to an obese mother with elevated levels of the hormone hepcidin was associated with lower iron status at birth, according to researchers at Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center.

Rating films with smoking 'R' will cut smoking onset by teens
New research from Norris Cotton Cancer Center estimates, for the first time, the impact of an R rating for movie smoking.

A new species of wirerush from the wetlands in northern New Zealand
The northern part of the North Island of New Zealand is marked at approximately 38 degrees S latitude by a distinct ecological boundary known as the

Pediatric tumors traced to stem cells in developing brain​​
Stem cells that come from a specific part of the developing brain help fuel the growth of brain tumors caused by an inherited condition, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

'We can still save our reefs:' Coral scientist
John Pandolfi keeps his optimism alive despite the grim scientific evidence he confronts daily that the world's coral reefs are in a lot of trouble - along with 81 nations and 500 million people who depend on them.

UTHealth, French researchers discover gene defect for new syndrome
Research teams from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Paris, France have discovered a gene defect linked to a cluster of systemic complications, including life-threatening thoracic aortic disease and intracranial aneurysms.

Wiring bats for neuroscience research
A new colony of bats bred in captivity at Tel Aviv University is free to forage outside the lab, equipped with GPS systems, wireless ultra-sonic microphones, and other cutting-edge technologies to unlock the secrets of animal -- and human -- behavior and cognition.

JCI early table of contents for July 9, 2012
This release contains summaries and links for the following papers to be published online in the JCI on July 9th, 2012: Breathing easy: keeping airways open, Crosstalk between glucose and lipid metabolism, Decreasing cancer risk associated with inflammatory bowel disease, and Differentiating effects on skin cancer.

Choice to use drug-eluting stents has little relation to patients' probable benefit
A new study finds that the use of drug-eluting stents after angioplasty bears little relationship to patients' predicted risk of restenosis of the treated coronary artery and that reducing the usage of the devices in low-risk patients could save more than $200 million each year.

Europe clears the air
Satellite measurements show that nitrogen dioxide in the lower atmosphere over parts of Europe and the US has fallen over the past decade.

University of Houston receives new federal grant for STARTALK program
The University of Houston has received a grant of nearly $100,000 to offer a professional training program to Chinese language teachers in Texas.

Facebook use leads to depression? No, says Wisconsin study
A study of university students is the first evidence to refute the supposed link between depression and the amount of time spent on Facebook and other social-media sites.

Olympic torch can brighten or burn host cities
Hosting the Olympics can allow cities to realize many long-term dreams or spark economic nightmares, according to a new book written by a Michigan State University professor.

Scientists join forces in call for action to save coral reefs
A consensus statement supported by over 2,600 scientists called for governments worldwide to take steps to protect valuable coral reef ecosystems.

Investing in karma by doing good deeds
For many important outcomes in life -- applying for jobs, waiting for medical test results -- there comes a point when you just have to sit back and hope for the best.

Taking nothing at face value
Photographs of faces may not be adequate proof of a person's identity and this could have serious implications for the accuracy of passport photographs in determining identity according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Canada's Bill C-31 to change immigration act could severely affect mental health of refugees
The Canadian government's proposed Bill C-31 to change the country's immigration act could have serious negative impacts on the mental health of refugees, states a commentary in CMAJ.

Newer technology to control blood sugar works better than conventional methods
Newer technologies designed to help people with Type 1 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels daily work better than traditional methods and require fewer painful needle sticks, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

July/August 2012 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet offers synopses of original research and editorial published in the July/August 2012 issue of Annals.

Uncircumcised boys at higher risk of urinary tract infections
Uncircumcised boys are at higher risk of urinary tract infection, regardless of whether the urethra is visible, found a new study published in CMAJ.

NASA analyzes twin hurricanes in the eastern Pacific
The TRMM satellite passed over both storms in pinpointed the intensity of the rainfall within each storm, indicative of their power.

Carnegie Mellon's Marcel Just to receive Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award
Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just -- a leading neuroscientist who focuses on how language comprehension and problem-solving emerges from brain processes -- has been selected to receive the Society for Text and Discourse Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

NUS-led research team discovers how bacteria sense salt stress
Scientists from the National University of Singapore and Mechanobiology Institute have discovered how bacteria respond to salts in their environment and the ways in which salts can alter the behavior of specialized salt sensor bacterial proteins.

UCLA study to determine if copper surfaces can reduce hospital-acquired infections
UCLA received $2.5 million to conduct one of the first randomized clinical trials of its kind to help determine if the reduction of surface bacteria due to the use of copper will result in a decreased number of hospital-acquired infections.

Einstein receives nearly $5 million to study how Ebola causes infection
The National Institutes of Health has awarded researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University a five-year, $4.8 million grant to study the molecular mechanism that allows the Ebola virus to cause infection and spread in animals.

University of Miami-led study finds winds played important role in keeping oil away from S. Fla.
University of Miami-led study finds that winds played an important role in keeping oil away from South Florida.

EARTH: Karakoram glaciers buck global, regional trends
Resting in the Karakoram Range between northern Pakistan and western China, the Karakoram glaciers are stumping scientists.

Cranberry products associated with prevention of urinary tract infections
Use of cranberry-containing products appears to be associated with prevention of urinary tract infections in some individuals, according to a study that reviewed the available medical literature and was published by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Use of drug-eluting stents varies widely; Modestly correlated with coronary artery restenosis risk
A study based on more than 1.5 million percutaneous coronary intervention procedures (such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement to open narrowed coronary arteries) suggests that the use of drug-eluting stents varies widely among US physicians, and is only modestly correlated with the patient's risk of coronary artery restenosis (renarrowing), according to a report published online first by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Triboelectric generator produces electricity by harnessing friction between surfaces
Researchers have discovered yet another way to harvest small amounts of electricity from motion in the world around us -- this time by capturing the electrical charge produced when two different kinds of plastic materials rub against one another.

Hormone curbs depressive-like symptoms in stressed mice
A hormone with anti-diabetic properties also reduces depression-like symptoms in mice.

A roll of the dice
Researchers from the University of Calgary's Institute for Quantum Information Science along with researchers from the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo and the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland, have published a paper that suggests quantum theory is close to optimal in terms of its predictive power.

Recession's bite: Nearly 4 million Californians struggled to put food on table during downturn
An estimated 3.8 million Californians - particularly poor families with children and low-income Latinos - could not afford to put adequate food on the table during the recent recession, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Marcellus brine migration likely natural, not man-made
A Duke University study of well water in northeastern Pennsylvania suggests that naturally occurring pathways could have allowed salts and gases from the Marcellus shale formation deep underground to migrate up into shallow drinking water aquifers.

15 top medical organizations agree on hormone therapy use
After ten years of debate regarding the risks and benefits of hormone therapy, 15 top medical organizations have come together to issue a statement of agreement regarding the benefits of hormone therapy for symptomatic menopausal women.

Researchers offer new approach to track former prisoners' access to community HIV care
Researchers say a new monitoring tool could play a major role in preventing the spread of HIV and could guide future strategies to improve the quality of care for prisoners, a population disproportionately affected by the disease.

Study suggests poorer outcomes for patients with stroke hospitalized on weekends
A study of patients with stroke admitted to English National Health Service public hospitals suggests that patients who were hospitalized on weekends were less likely to receive urgent treatments and had worse outcomes, according to a report published online first by Archives of Neurology, a JAMA Network publication.

PEPFAR HIV/AIDS programs linked to uptick in babies born at health facilities in sub-saharan Africa
There have been concerns that as HIV programs expand they divert investments from other health priorities such as maternal health.

UNC research: Corals on ocean-side of reef are most susceptible to recent warming
Marine scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have linked the decline in growth of Caribbean forereef corals -- due to recent warming -- to long-term trends in seawater temperature experienced by these corals located on the ocean-side of the reef.

Study examines quality of life factors at end of life for patients with cancer
Better quality of life at the end of life for patients with advanced cancer was associated with avoiding hospitalizations and the intensive care unit, worrying less, praying or meditating, being visited by a pastor in a hospital or clinic, and having a therapeutic alliance with their physician, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Wound care meta-review draws firm conclusions from Cochrane published studies
Robust evidence exists for some wound care interventions, but there are still gaps in current knowledge requiring international consensus and further high-level clinical evidence.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for July 10, 2012, online issue
This press release contains information about articles being published in the July 10 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

East Midlands designed health sensor could be a lifesaver for miners
A chance discussion between a professor at the University of Nottingham and the managing director of a Derby company has resulted in the development of a revolutionary new technology which could help save lives in the mining industry.

Researchers find new target deep within cancer cells
Investigators reporting in the July issue of the Cell Press journal Cancer Cell have found that blocking a fundamental process deep within cancer cells can selectively kill them and spare normal cells.

Researchers create 'MRI' of the sun's interior motions
A team of scientists has created an

Vaccine and antibiotics stabilized so refrigeration is not needed -- NIH study
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new silk-based stabilizer that, in the laboratory, kept some vaccines and antibiotics stable up to temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Taking a bird's eye view could cut wildlife collisions with aircraft
Using lights to make aircraft more visible to birds could help reduce the risk of bird strikes, new research by the US Department of Agriculture has found.

Drug from Mediterranean weed kills tumor cells in mice
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, working with Danish researchers, have developed a novel anticancer drug designed to travel -- undetected by normal cells -- through the bloodstream until activated by specific cancer proteins.

A new avenue to better medicines: Metal-peptide complexes
Researchers at the RUB and from Berkeley have used metal complexes to modify peptide hormones.

Tiny bubbles snap carbon nanotubes like twigs
A computer model from Rice University shows that long nanotubes bend and snap like a twig when blasted with ultrasonic energy.

Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide
Kansas geologists are doing a comprehensive statewide study on using rocks for long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

Cell differentiation as a novel strategy for the treatment of an aggressive type of skin cancer
Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) led by Erwin Wagner, vice-director of Basic Research and director of BBVA Foundation-CNIO Cancer Cell Biology Programme, have discovered a molecular mechanism that favours the disappearance and inhibition of SCC development.

University of Nottingham to play key role in European solar energy technology project
The University of Nottingham has joined a 10 million euro project to develop cost effective, solar generated electricity.

Generic drugs key to US overseas HIV relief
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPfAR) program has spent billions of dollars during the last nine years to provide HIV-related care to millions of people in 15 developing nations.

Technique spots disease using immune cell DNA
By looking at signature chemical differences in the DNA of various immune cells called leukocytes, scientists have developed a way to determine their relative abundance in blood samples.

GoalRef: FIFA approves intelligent goal from Fraunhofer
Goal or no goal? In response to this question, world football association FIFA wants to use technical assistance in the future.

Lipid helps cells find their way by keeping their 'antennae' up
A lipid that helps lotion soften the skin also helps cells find and stay in the right location in the body by ensuring they keep their

TLR1 protein drives immune response to certain food-borne illness in mice
A naturally occurring protein called TLR1 plays a critical role in protecting the body from illnesses caused by eating undercooked pork or drinking contaminated water, according to new research from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Cutting daily sitting time to under 3 hours might extend life by 2 years
Restricting the amount of time spent seated every day to less than three hours might boost the life expectancy of US adults by an extra two years, indicates an analysis of published research in the online journal BMJ Open.

American Society for Microbiology's newest journal earns a high impact factor in latest rankings
Less than two years after publishing its first issue, the online open-access journal mBio is now ranked among the top 20 highest-impact microbiology journals according to Thomson Reuters, which has just released its Journal Citation Reports for 2011.

Millions of diabetics could die of tuberculosis
Recent research out of the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that the risk of tuberculosis breaking out is four times as likely if a person also suffers from diabetes.

High-level commission finds an epidemic of bad laws is stifling the global AIDS response
Landmark report finds evidence that enforcing punitive laws hinders HIV responses and wastes resources.

Climate in northern Europe reconstructed for the past 2,000 years
An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings.

Study suggests new screening method for sudden death in athletes
A new study suggests that echocardiography be included as part of screenings to help identify student athletes with heart problems that could lead to sudden death.

BWH launches a new research division focused on integrating systems biology and medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital announces the launch of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, a newly created research division within the Department of Medicine.

Regulation by proteins outside cancer cells points to potential new drug target
Proteins outside cancer cells that send signals to the cancerous cells to stop proliferating represent a potential novel target for therapeutic strategy, says a biochemist whose team made the finding.

America's poorly-educated spend less time-off with family or friends, study finds
Despite having more leisure time overall, stressed-out Americans report having less 'quality time' to enjoy themselves, particularly those with little or no education.

Study finds 'mad cow disease' in cattle can spread widely in ANS before detectable in CNS
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or

Proton therapy center planned for North Texas in fight against cancer
UT Southwestern Medical Center, seeking to broaden an already robust array of radiation oncology treatments it offers to patients, potentially could play a key role in operating a state-of-the-art proton therapy center for North Texas being planned and funded by San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy.

HPV vaccine reduces infection, even in unvaccinated
The HPV vaccine not only has resulted in a decrease in human papillomavirus infection in immunized teens but also in teens who were not immunized.

Killing of Bin Laden offers insight into the 'business of martyrdom'
The way the US military killed Osama bin Laden sent a message every bit as powerful as the fact that he was killed in the first place, according to the author of a new history of suicide bombing.

Better treatment for brain cancer revealed by new molecular insights
Nearly a third of adults with the most common type of brain cancer develop recurrent, invasive tumors after being treated with a drug called bevacizumab.

New gene transfer strategy shows promise for limb girdle and other muscular dystrophies
The challenge of treating patients with genetic disorders in which a single mutated gene is simply too large to be replaced using traditional gene therapy techniques may soon be a thing of the past. 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