Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 17, 2012
Nanoscale scaffolds and stem cells show promise in cartilage repair
Johns Hopkins tissue engineers have used tiny, artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.

Researchers link Kawasaki Disease in childhood with increased risk of adult heart disease
Cedars-Sinai researchers have linked Kawasaki Disease, a serious childhood illness that causes inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body, with early-onset and accelerated atherosclerosis, a leading cause of heart disease in adults.

AACR and Kure It partner to offer a new grant for kidney cancer research
The American Association for Cancer Research is pleased to announce a new partnership with Kure It and a call for nominations for the 2012 AACR-Kure It Grant for Kidney Cancer Research.

Study identifies how muscles are paralyzed during sleep
Two powerful brain chemical systems work together to paralyze skeletal muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, according to new research in the July 18 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Study suggests moderate drinking lowers risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in women
A follow-up study of more than 34,000 women in Sweden has shown that moderate drinkers, in comparison with abstainers, were at significantly lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an often serious and disabling type of arthritis.

First snow leopards collared in Afghanistan
Two snow leopards were captured, fitted with satellite collars, and released for the first time in Afghanistan by a team of Wildlife Conservation Society conservationists and Afghan veterinarians conducting research during a recent expedition.

Sodium buildup in brain linked to disability in multiple sclerosis
A buildup of sodium in the brain detected by MRI may be a biomarker for the degeneration of nerve cells that occurs in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Poisoning from industrial compounds can cause similar effects to ALS
Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Barcelona have coordinated a research into how the IDPN nitrile causes neurological syndromes similar to those of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a severe neuromuscular degenerative disease.

World record: Scientists from northern Germany produce the lightest material in the world
A network of porous carbon tubes that is three-dimensionally interwoven at nano and micro level - this is the lightest material in the world.

Musical glove improves sensation, mobility for people with spinal cord injury
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Atlanta's Shepherd Center have created a wireless, musical glove that may improve sensation and motor skills for people with spinal cord injuries.

Modified tPA could be effective stroke treatment without bleeding risk
Even when its clot-dissolving powers are removed, the stroke drug tPA can still protect brain cells from the loss of oxygen and glucose induced by a stroke, researchers have discovered.

NASA's TRMM satellite eyeing Tropical Storm Khanun's rainfall
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is keeping an eye on the rainfall being generated by Tropical Storm Khanun as it moves past Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

Female money doesn't buy male happiness
Macho men whose partners earn more than they do have worse romantic relationships, in part because the difference in income is a strain for them, men who are not so traditional in their masculinity do not place as much importance on the difference in income and, as a result, appear to have better quality relationships with their female partner.

NASA watching Tropical Storm Fabio head to southern California
Southern California's coast is already feeling rough surf from Tropical Storm Fabio, and as the storm draws closer it is expected to bring scattered showers and thunderstorms as well.

Cleaning with sunlight
The sun breaks through the clouds -- and surfaces start cleaning themselves!

Treating chronic hepatitis C with milk thistle extract does not appear beneficial
Use of the botanical product silymarin, an extract of milk thistle that is commonly used by some patients with chronic liver disease, did not provide greater benefit than placebo for patients with treatment-resistant chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

Experimental drug may extend therapeutic window for stroke
When given at a time that the FDA-approved clot-busting drug therapy tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is ineffective, the combination of tPA and an experimental compound, developed by a team led by USC physician-scientist Berislav V.

Certain jobs dads do linked to higher risk of birth defects
Several types of job carried out by future fathers may be linked to an increased risk of birth defects in their babies, suggests research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Stanford researchers calculate global health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster
In the first detailed analysis of the global health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, researchers estimate the number of deaths and cases of cancer worldwide resulting from the release of radiation.

Drug shown to improve memory in those with Down syndrome
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found a drug that boosts memory function in those with Down syndrome, a major milestone in the treatment of this genetic disorder that could significantly improve quality of life.

Marriage has different meanings for blacks and whites
Black people who are married don't appear to live any longer than black couples who simply live together, suggesting marriage doesn't boost longevity for blacks the way it does for whites, according to a large national study led by Michigan State University.

Mothers who give birth to large infants at increased risk for breast cancer
Delivering a high-birth-weight infant more than doubles a woman's breast cancer risk, according to research from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Revised geographic adjustments could improve accuracy of Medicare payments, will not solve access, quality problems
Changing the way that Medicare payments are adjusted to account for regional variations in the cost of providing care as recommended by a previous report from the Institute of Medicine.

Vitamin E may lower liver cancer risk
High consumption of vitamin E either from diet or vitamin supplements may lower the risk of liver cancer, according to a study published July 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Autonomous robot maps ship hulls for mines
MIT professor Franz Hover and graduate student Brendan Englot have designed algorithms that vastly improve underwater robots' navigation and feature-detecting capabilities.

Scientists find new way to induce programmed cell death, or apoptosis
Researchers from the Hebrew University and Weizmann Institute have developed a technique to cause apoptosis -- programmed cell death.

SUPERGEN hub to address burning bioenergy questions
A new research hub that will investigate the efficiency and whole-life impact of a variety of bioenergy techniques and accelerate the deployment of sustainable bioenergy was announced today by David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science.

Glyphosate-resistant 'superweeds' may be less susceptible to diseases
Scientists searching for clues to understand how superweeds obtain resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate may have been missing a critical piece of information, a Purdue University study shows.

Genetic link to rapid weight gain from antipsychotics discovered
Scientists have discovered two genetic variants associated with the substantial, rapid weight gain occurring in nearly half the patients treated with antipsychotic medications, according to two studies involving the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Access to clinical trials drives dramatic increases in survival from childhood cancer
More children are surviving cancer in Britain than ever before according to new research to be published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology on Wednesday.

ICAP study uses novel incentive to encourage HIV patient care and treatment
Researchers are assessing a novel approach to encourage newly diagnosed HIV positive people to seek care and adhere to HIV treatment.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
In this month's issue: Package Inserts Overstate Diagnostic TB Tests' Accuracy; UVC Light Kills Wound Bacteria; Copper Surfaces Could Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections; Penile Foreskin Is Immunologically Complete: Raises New Vaccine Possibilities For HIV Vaccine.

Study shows how aging impairs immune response
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have uncovered one of the mechanisms by which aging may compromise the ability of the immune system to fight infections and respond to vaccines.

'Sifting' liquid at the molecular level
Drexel University engineers continue to drive research into the use of carbon nanotubes, straw-like structures that are more than 1,000 times thinner than a single human hair.

University of Minnesota teams up with Google to offer new 360-degree images of Antarctica
See the inside of early polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's hut, visit a penguin colony and take in the wonders of the Antarctic landscape from the comfort of your own home or office with new images launched online today by Google in cooperation with the University of Minnesota's Polar Geospatial Center.

20-year quest ends as scientists pin down structure of elusive, heart-protective protein
It is a cellular component so scarce, some scientists even doubted its existence, and many others gave up searching for its molecular structure.

Exposure to sexual content in popular movies predicts sexual behavior in adolescence
Intuitively it simply makes sense: exposure to sexual content in movies at an early age probably influences adolescents' sexual behavior.

Expert panel calls for new research approach to prevent youth violence
A federal panel has called for a new research approach to identify protective factors that would reduce the likelihood of youth violence.

Physicians' focus on risks for stroke and dementia saved lives, money
Urging primary care physicians to focus on the top risks for stroke and dementia saved money and lives.

Penn expert addresses ethical implications of testing for Alzheimer's disease risk
Questions remain about how diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's disease can be used in research studies examining potential interventions to treat and prevent the disease.

Wayne State University researcher's program targets safer river fishing, anglers' health
While Michigan environmental programs are slowly reducing toxins in lakes and rivers, human consumption of contaminated fish continues.

Sohn Conference and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundations name first pediatric research fellows
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Sohn Conference Foundation have named three outstanding young scientists as the first-ever Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Research Fellows, committing more than half a million dollars to help address a critical shortage of funding for pediatric cancer research.

Infants' recognition of speech more sophisticated than previously known, NYU researchers find
The ability of infants to recognize speech is more sophisticated than previously known, researchers in NYU's Department of Psychology have found.

The electric atmosphere: Plasma is next NASA science target
Two giant donuts of this plasma surround Earth, trapped within a region known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts.

Caltech researchers find evidence of link between immune irregularities and autism
A new Caltech study suggests that specific changes in an overactive immune system can contribute to autism-like behaviors in mice, and that in some cases, this activation can be related to what a developing fetus experiences in the womb.

Vitamin B12 supplements may help treat hepatitis C
Adding vitamin B12 to standard hepatitis C virus treatment significantly boosts the body's ability to keep the virus at bay, indicates a pilot study published online in the journal Gut.

New video series highlights the people who fuel America's innovation pipeline
The Science Coalition's

What it takes to be the perfect invading parasite
Scientists from the Zoological Society of London are the first to document the characteristics of invading parasites, using malaria in New Zealand bird species.

Girls with eating disorders regain healthy fatty acid levels when their weight normalizes
A study of teenage girls with eating disorders has shown that reduced essential fatty acid levels -- implicated in the development of depression and other mental health issues -- returned to normal once the girls returned to a healthy weight.

A 'Kit' for increasing insulin production
Scientists from Western University in London, Canada and the Lawson Health Research Insitute have identified the critical role of a receptor called c-Kit in the development and function of insulin-producing beta cells, making it an exciting therapeutic target for the management of diabetes.

Including stroke severity in risk models associated with improved prediction of risk of death
Adding stroke severity to a hospital 30-day mortality model based on claims data for Medicare beneficiaries with acute ischemic stroke was associated with improvement in predicting the risk of death at 30 days and changes in performance ranking regarding mortality for a considerable proportion of hospitals.

Reporting of hospital infection rates and burden of C. difficile
A new study published today in PLoS Medicine re-evaluates the role of public reporting of hospital-acquired infection data.

Study examines variation, factors involved with patient-sharing networks among physicians in US
Physicians tend to share patients with colleagues who have similar personal traits and practice styles, and there is substantial variation in physician network characteristics across geographic areas.

New roadmap suggests proven routes to ending health disparities
Major disparities exist along racial and ethnic lines in the United States for various medical conditions, but guidance is scarce about how to reduce these gaps.

Notre Dame, MIT economists demonstrate wage impacts of large microfinance program
A notable new study from the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty presents some of the first real evidence of microfinance impacts and indicates that the true returns of expanding access to credit are much more complex.

Frog calls inspire a new algorithm for wireless networks
Males of the Japanese tree frog have learned not to use their calls at the same time so that the females can distinguish between them.

In search of the key word
Bursts of certain words within a text are what make them keywords.

Obesity plus low vitamin D may add up to a greater risk of diabetes
The combination of obesity and vitamin D deficiency may put people at even greater risk of insulin resistance than either factor alone, according to new research from the Drexel University School of Public Health recently published early online in the journal Diabetes Care.

New way of mapping physicians provides valuable network science tool
A new way of mapping how physicians share patients provides opportunities for improving the quality of medical care and organizing the nature of care delivery, according to researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Marijuana use doubles risk of premature birth
A large international study led by University of Adelaide researchers has found that women who use marijuana can more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby prematurely.

Unmet needs: Adolescents and young adult cancer patients lack psychological, social support
A new study lead by U-M Cancer Center researchers shows significant proportions of young adult cancer patients are not getting their pyschosocial care needs met.

BGI debuts new tool 'PDXomics' for tumor xenograft research and applications
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, announced today that it has successfully developed a new filtering tool, PDXomics, which performs accurate and specific classification of the mixed reads derived from the host and tumor xenografts.

Beating the fuel prices: Using yeast for economic production of bioethanol
Finding renewable and economic sources of energy are one of the most important concerns for the continuation of the human species.

Search continues for submerged evidence of early Americans
The fourth installment of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded archaeological expedition -- Exploring the Submerged New World 2012 -- commences July 20 for nine days in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's west coast.

DNA analysis of ancient remains to uncover origin mysteries
Griffith University researchers will analyze DNA sequences from ancient human remains, some dating back 45,000 years, to determine the origins of the peoples of Southeast Asia and Australia.

UH chemist tackles black holes in Canada with Fulbright Fellowship
A recently chosen Fulbright fellow in chemistry at the University of Houston is hoping to accomplish something no one has done before.

Evolutionary information improves discovery of mutations associated with diseases
Sudhir Kumar, a researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute and his colleagues have developed a statistical method using evolutionary information to significantly enhance the likelihood of identifying disease-associated alleles in the genome that show better consistency across populations.

Vitamin E may lower liver cancer risk
High consumption of vitamin E either from diet or vitamin supplements may lower the risk of liver cancer, according to a study published July 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Punishment motivated by fairness, not revenge
Researchers at UCL and Harvard have found that we punish cheats only when they end up better off than us, in a study that challenges the notion that punishment is motivated by revenge.

Johns Hopkins researchers link 2 biological risk factors for schizophrenia
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered a cause-and-effect relationship between two well-established biological risk factors for schizophrenia previously believed to be independent of one another.

Milk thistle, taken by many people for liver disease, ineffective as treatment for hepatitis C
A new multicenter trial finds that taking silymarin (milk thistle) has no effect on serum ALT or levels of the hepatitis C virus in people with chronic hepatitis C infection.

Hospitals' stroke-care rankings change markedly when stroke severity is considered
A UCLA-led national study has found that when reporting on 30-day mortality rates for Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with acute stroke, using a model that adjusts for stroke severity completely alters performance outcomes and rankings for many hospitals.

Social entrepreneurship for sexual health
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Joseph Tucker from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA and colleagues lay out a social entrepreneurship for sexual health approach that focuses on decentralized community delivery, multisectoral networks, and horizontal collaboration (business, technology, and academia).

Stanford chemists synthesize compound that flushes out latent HIV
A new collection of compounds, called

Klerman/Freedman Awards
Six young scientists will be recognized with the Annual Klerman and Freedman Prizes by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation on Friday July 27, 2012 at Le Parker Meriden Hotel in New York City.

Man-made pores mimic important features of natural pores
Inspired by nature, an international research team has created synthetic pores that mimic the activity of cellular ion channels, which play a vital role in human health by severely restricting the types of materials allowed to enter cells.

Research update: Chips with self-assembling rectangles
Researchers at MIT have developed a new approach to creating the complex array of wires and connections on microchips, using a system of self-assembling polymers.

Zebrafish -- the stars of biomedicine
Zebrafish share most organ systems with humans. This makes them ideal model organisms to study the causes of human diseases like cancer or heart diseases.

Clemson researcher: Humanizing computer aids affects trust, dependence
Computerized aids that include person-like characteristics can influence trust and dependence among adults, according to a Clemson University researcher.

Thieving rodents: Did they save tropical trees?
Big seeds produced by tropical trees such as black palms were probably once ingested and then left whole by huge mammals called gomphotheres.

Helping pigs to digest phosphorus
Research conducted at the University of Illinois has determined how adding various levels of the enzyme phytase to the diet improves how pigs digest the phosphorus in four different feed ingredients.

New therapeutic target for prostate cancer identified
A small, naturally occurring nucleic acid sequence, called a microRNA, known to regulate a number of different cancers, appears to alter the activity of the androgen receptor, which plays a critical role in prostate cancer.

Workplace exposure to organic solvents linked to heart defects at birth
Workplace exposure to organic solvents is linked to several types of heart defects at birth, indicates research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Anti-Semitic violence down 27 percent, but harassment is on the rise
Despite a 27 percent decline in anti-Semitic violence in 2011, incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, including verbal threats, insults, and abusive behavior, have escalated in the same period, according to a new study from Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

Study: Children abused by parents face increased cancer risk
Frequent abuse by a parent can increase a child's cancer risk in adulthood, and the effects are especially significant when mothers abuse their daughters and fathers abuse their sons, according to new research from Purdue University.

Study may explain how exercise improves heart function in diabetics
A detailed study of heart muscle function in mice has uncovered evidence to explain why exercise is beneficial for heart function in Type 2 diabetes.

Mammography screening shows limited effect on breast cancer mortality in Sweden
Breast cancer mortality statistics in Sweden are consistent with studies that have reported that screening has limited or no impact on breast cancer mortality among women aged 40-69, according to a study published July 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Treatment of multiple sclerosis with interferon beta not linked with less progression of disability
Among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, treatment with the widely prescribed drug to treat MS, interferon beta, was not associated with less progression of disability.

Triggers study evaluates regular staff, ICU specialists
A system of care focused on the detection and systematic assessment of patients with clinical instability can yield similar outcomes as rapid response teams staffed with trained intensive care specialists, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study has found.

UCSB researchers' discovery of 'hopping' of bacterial enzyme gives insight into gene expression
UC Santa Barbara researchers' discovery of a variation of an enzyme's ability to

Trials involving switching HIV drugs may not be beneficial to participants
A increasingly used type of HIV study which involves switching patients on one type of antiretroviral therapy to another, to see whether the new drug is as good as the at preventing replication of the HIV virus, may be unethical, according to a new essay published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Report focuses on sustainability of infectious disease surveillance
Just as the globalization of trade and travel is rapidly evolving, so is the globalization of infectious diseases and the need for cooperative approaches to detect, prevent and control them.

Refining the tool kit for sustainable fisheries
As spatial planning is used increasingly to manage fisheries and other ocean resources, researchers are working to determine the best ways to use and refine the various spatial management tools.

Physical health problems substantially increase use of mental health services, study shows
People who experience a physical health problem, from diabetes and back pain to cancer or heart disease, are three times more likely to seek mental health care than patients who report having no physical ailment, according to a new study.

Calculations reveal fine line for hydrogen release from storage materials
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have shed new light on the kinetics of hydrogen release, or dehydrogenation, from aluminum hydride (AlH3), a material that is highly promising for energy storage.

Americans support local control of schools
Despite criticism that local school boards are

Widely prescribed MS treatment may not slow progression of disease: VCH-UBC research
Researchers with the UBC Hospital MS Clinic and Brain Research Centre at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia have published important data in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) about the impact of a common drug therapy on the progression of multiple sclerosis for people with the relapse-remitting form of the disease.

A nursing program shows promise for reducing deaths from chronic illnesses
A community-based nursing program delivered in collaboration with existing health care services is more effective in reducing the number of older people dying from chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, than usual care according to a study by US researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Stress fuels breast cancer metastasis to bone
Stress can promote breast cancer cell colonization of bone, Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology investigators have discovered. 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