Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 23, 2012
Children with trisomy 13 and 18 and their families are happy
Children with trisomy 13 or 18, who are for the most part severely disabled and have a very short life expectancy, and their families lead a life that is happy and rewarding overall, contrary to the usually gloomy predictions made by the medical community at the time of diagnosis, according to a study of parents who are members of support groups published today in Pediatrics.

NASA Goddard scientist receives Presidential Early Career Award
President Obama has named six NASA individuals as recipients of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

University of Alberta's designer compounds inhibit prion infection
A team of University of Alberta researchers has identified a new class of compounds that inhibit the spread of prions, misfolded proteins in the brain that trigger lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals.

High dietary antioxidant intake might cut pancreatic cancer risk
Increasing dietary intake of the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and selenium could help cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to two thirds, suggests research published online in the journal Gut.

HPTN study finds greatly elevated HIV infection rates among young black MSM in the US
Study results released today by the HIV Prevention Trials Network show disturbing rates of new HIV infections occurring among black gay and bisexual men in the US.

Judging DNA by its cover
A newly-discovered molecular mechanism might explain the link between stem cells and cancer.

Research shows potential of microneedles to target therapeutics to the back of the eye
Thanks to tiny microneedles, eye doctors may soon have a better way to treat diseases such as macular degeneration that affect tissues in the back of the eye.

The International Society for Advancement of Cytometry presented its 2012 awards at CYTO 2012
The International Society for Advancement of Cytometry presented its 2012 awards at CYTO 2012 in Leipzig, Germany, on June 26.

MBL scientists to explore hidden realm of microbes, viruses beneath the ocean floor
The microbes and viruses shrouded in darkness below the ocean floor are bound to become much less mysterious, due to a bold research program led by MBL Bay Paul Center Scientist Julie Huber and her colleagues from several institutions.

UC Berkeley survey shows college campuses can make good bird havens
Thanks to the discovery of an unpublished 1913-18 campus bird survey, a UC Berkeley student undertook a resurvey and discovered that, while the types of birds have changed over the past 90+ years, the variety and diversity is still strong.

Snacking and BMI linked to double effect of brain activity and self-control
Snack consumption and BMI are linked to both brain activity and self-control.

Media alert: 24th EORTC/NCI/AACR symposium, 'Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics'
Journalists can register now to attend or receive information on the 24th EORTC - NCI - AACR Symposium on 'Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics' taking place in Dublin, Ireland, from November 6-9, 2012.

American Chemical Society's highest honor to Peter Stang
Only months after collecting a National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama, University of Utah organic chemist Peter J.

Climate change and deforestation: When the past influences the present
A recent study, by an international research group led by Lounes Chickhi, group leader at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, and CNRS researcher in Toulouse, France, questions the prevailing account that degradation of tropical ecosystems is essentially a product of human activity.

Public health expert David Dausey calls BPA ban 'hollow victory'
Public health expert Dr. David Dausey says more public scrutiny is needed to ensure that potentially toxic chemicals do not make their way into consumer products.

Clinical trial seeks to cure advanced Crohn's disease using bone marrow transplant
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have opened a clinical trial to test the theory that giving a patient a new immune system can cure severe cases of Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

Study finds non-disclosure of HIV serostatus common among India female sex workers
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine in partnership with Indian researchers and HIV positive networks groups, have found that in India, non-disclosure of HIV serostatus to sex partners among both HIV-infected female sex workers (FSWs) and HIV-infected clients of FSWs is exceedingly common.

Aspirin protects against Barrett's esophagus
Aspirin use appears to reduce the risk of Barrett's esophagus, the largest known risk factor for esophageal cancer.

Public sightings suggest increase in basking sharks in British waters
The number of basking sharks recorded in Britain's seas could be increasing, decades after being protected from commercial hunting in the late 20th century.

Prevention of HIV spread focus of NIDA's 2012 Avant-Garde Awards
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced the recipients of the 2012 Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research.

Disinhibition/drinking differences between African-American and European-American youth
African American adolescents drink less than European American adolescents. A new study examines racial differences in disinhibition.

Social deprivation has a measurable effect on brain growth
This latest research from Boston Children's Hospital finds that social deprivation has a measurable effect on a child's brain growth.

Gladstone's Dr. Warner C. Greene authors HIV/AIDS medicine textbook for developing world
Warner C. Greene, M.D., who directs virology and immunology research at the Gladstone Institutes, has joined with other global AIDS experts to release a locally affordable version of the world's leading AIDS medical textbook.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund makes company grants in health-related technologies
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund announced nearly $570,000 in awards in its inaugural corporate grant program to support commercialization of new health and health-care products by four early-stage Washington-based companies.

Aging heart cells rejuvenated by modified stem cells
Elderly heart failure patients' heart cells were rejuvenated with modified stem cells.

Traveling through the volcanic conduit
Scientists widely believe that volcanic particle size is determined by the initial fragmentation process, when bubbly magma deep in the volcano changes into gas-particle flows.

Why does vivid memory 'feel so real?'
Neuroscientists have found strong evidence that vivid memory and directly experiencing the real moment can trigger similar brain activation patterns.

Fools' gold found to regulate oxygen
The sulfur-based chemistry of iron pyrite seems to play a major role in atmospheric oxygen concentrations.

Functional neurologic abnormalities due to prenatal alcohol exposure are common
A new study has examined heavy alcohol exposure during pregnancy using population-based data in Chile.

University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers develop laser technology to fight cancer
Researchers at the Center for Laser Applications at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma have developed a technology that goes on a

A portal for Earth science data exploration
As the earth and environmental sciences evolve to be more data-intensive, discovering, integrating and analyzing massive amounts of heterogeneous information becomes critical to enable researchers to address complex questions about our environment and our role within it.

AMA adopts diagnostic ultrasound utilization and education resolution
The American Medical Association House of Delegates recently adopted Resolution 507: Diagnostic Ultrasound Utilization and Education, which was introduced by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and cosponsored by 15 national and state medical societies.

Trial signals major milestone in hunt for new TB drugs
A novel approach to discover the first new tuberculosis (TB) combination drug regimen cleared a major hurdle when Phase II clinical trial results found it could kill more than 99 percent of patients' TB bacteria within two weeks and could be more effective than existing treatments, according to a study published today in the Lancet.

Survival rates for premature babies in high-level NICUs are better than previously reported
Premature babies are more likely to survive when they are born in high-level neonatal intensive care units than in hospitals without such facilities, and this benefit is considerably larger than previously reported.

New study: Raisins as effective as sports chews for fueling workouts
New research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that eating raisins may provide the same workout boost as sports chews.

President Obama names SF State math professor a top young scientist
President Barack Obama has named San Francisco State University mathematician Mariel Vazquez, a pioneer in an emerging field called DNA topology, one of the nation's most promising young scientists.

New lipid screening guidelines for children overly aggressive, UCSF researchers say
Recent guidelines recommending cholesterol tests for children fail to weigh health benefits against potential harms and costs, according to a new commentary authored by three physician-researchers at UCSF.

Cognitive changes may be only sign of fetal alcohol exposure
Most children exposed to high levels of alcohol in the womb do not develop the distinct facial features seen in fetal alcohol syndrome, but instead show signs of abnormal intellectual or behavioral development, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and researchers in Chile.

New drug combination offers hope in fight against tuberculosis
A new combination of drugs to treat tuberculosis could offer renewed hope in the fight against the disease, thought to kill around 1.4 million people every year.

New Queen's spin-in company to revolutionize cancer detection
The development of novel medical imaging techniques to revolutionize cancer detection and treatment will be the result of a new partnership announced today between Queen's University Belfast and Cirdan Imaging Ltd.

Tel Aviv University research links childhood obesity to cancer risk
Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that obesity in adolescence, defined as a Body Mass Index in the 85th percentile and above, has a direct link to the incidence of bladder, urinary tract, and colorectal cancers in adulthood.

Scientists confirm existence of vitamin 'deserts' in the ocean
Using a newly developed analytical technique, a team led by scientists at USC was the first to identify long-hypothesized vitamin B deficient zones in the ocean.

First study of heart 'maps' for kids could help correct rapid rhythms
Creating a 3-D map of the heart's electrical signals could help treat kids with rapid heartbeat.

Powerful class of antioxidants may be potent Parkinson's treatment
A new and powerful class of antioxidants could one day be a potent treatment for Parkinson's disease, researchers report.

Largest review of management and treatment of Barrett's dysplasia and adenocarcinoma
The world's largest review of all the evidence on the best way of managing and treating common pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions of the oesophagus has found that good endoscopy equipment, more endoscopic surgery, and more tissue sampling are required to improve care for patients.

Making allowances for job seekers on Facebook
Your inappropriate Facebook profile, posts and photos could lose you your next job, according to an in-depth study of employers from six different industries.

New findings by GW researcher break tanning misconceptions: 'There is no such thing as a safe tan'
Nature Communications recently published GW research in a study titled,

Study examines use of diagnostic tests in adolescents with hypertension
A study of adolescents with hypertension enrolled in the Michigan Medicaid program suggests that guideline-recommended diagnostic tests -- echocardiograms and renal ultrasonography -- were poorly used

Researchers seek to improve drought resistance of biofuels crops
A new multi-institutional initiative seeks to determine the genetic basis of drought resistance in a grass closely related to current biofuels feedstocks and food crops.

Sex is the ultimate risky business (for flies in bat territory, that is)
If you are a fly living with bats in a cowshed, sex really could be the death of you.

Superfast evolution in sea stars
How quickly can new species arise? In as little as 6,000 years, according to a study of Australian sea stars.

Strobe eyewear training improves visual memory
Participants in a Duke University study engaged in physical activities, such as playing catch, while using either specialized eyewear that limits vision to only brief snapshots or while using eyewear with clear lenses that provides uninterrupted vision.

Washington's forests will lose stored carbon as area burned by wildfire increases
Forests in the Pacific Northwest store more carbon than any other region in the United States, but our warming climate may undermine their storage potential.

First results of community health campaign in Uganda for HIV and other diseases
A clinical study in a remote region of southwest Uganda has demonstrated the feasibility of using a health campaign to rapidly test a community for HIV and simultaneously offer prevention and diagnosis for a variety of other diseases in rural and resource-poor settings of sub-Saharan Africa.

Mice have distinct subsystem to handle smell associated with fear
Mice appear to have a specialized system for detecting and at least initially processing instinctually important smells such as those that denote predators.

Boosting new memories with wakeful resting
Too often our memory starts acting like a particularly porous sieve: all the important fragments that should be caught and preserved somehow just disappear.

Loss of tiny liver molecule might lead to liver cancer
A new study shows that loss of a molecule called microRNA-122 in liver cells might lead to liver cancer.

Rubbing boulders, fossil mammal teeth, barrier islands, and a change in volcanic behavior
In Geology: Researchers experience an earthquake while studying the Atacama's rubbing boulders; information from fossil mammals, such as tooth crown height, is used to track aridity patterns; calibration of the plant transpiration of an ancient terrestrial ecosystem is presented; researchers chronicle the discovery of a new chain of barrier islands in one the highest wave-energy environments on Earth; and a change in volcanic behavior at Pisciarelli, Campi Flegrei, Italy, comes to light.

Joslin researchers gain new understanding of diabetes and kidney disease
Joslin Diabetes Center researchers have found the biological mechanism by which glucogon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) protects against kidney disease, as well as the mechanisms that inhibit its actions in diabetes.

New recruits in the fight against disease
Scientists have discovered the structure and operating procedures of a powerful anti-bacterial killing machine that could become an alternative to antibiotics.

New DataONE portal streamlines access to environmental data
Environmental researchers who investigate climate change, invasive species, infectious diseases, and other data-intensive topics can now benefit from easy access to diverse datasets through technology released today by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.

The largest research expedition of its kind near the site of Deepwater Horizon incident
Scientists have embarked on a three-week expedition aboard the R/V Walton Smith in the Gulf of Mexico to understand how surface ocean currents near the site of the Deepwater Horizon influence the fate and transport of oil/dispersants, like those from the 2010 spill.

Herding sheep really are selfish
Many animals spend time together in large groups not because they enjoy each other's company, but rather because it lowers their own chances of being eaten should an uninvited guest arrive on the scene.

Return to the Japan Trench
International team aboard Chikyu successfully completed installation of a temperature observatory in the borehole by reaching the fault that caused the Great East Japan Earthquake.

America Invents Act is a game changer
In the current issue of Technology and Innovation-Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, USPTO Patent Reform Coordinator Janet Gongola describes implementing the first patent law reform in 60 years.

Ancient alteration of seawater chemistry linked with past climate change
Scientists have discovered a potential cause of Earth's

Infants can use language to learn about people's intentions, NYU, McGill researchers find
Infants are able to detect how speech communicates unobservable intentions, researchers at New York University and McGill University have found in a study that sheds new light on how early in life we can rely on language to acquire knowledge about matters that go beyond first-hand experiences.

Bloodstream scavenger inhibits clotting without increased bleeding
A compound that mops up debris of damaged cells from the bloodstream may be the first in a new class of drugs designed to address one of medicine's most difficult challenges -- stopping the formation of blood clots without triggering equally threatening bleeding.

Alcoholism and HIV infection have different effects on visuomotor procedural memory processes
Visuomotor procedural memory processes include driving a car, riding a bike, and using a computer mouse.

NASA successfully tests hypersonic inflatable heat shield
A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA's Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while traveling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph.

Caught in the act: Bats use the sound of copulating flies as a cue for foraging
Noisy wing movements during mating make flies easy prey.

Is YouTube a prescription for vertigo?
Watching videos on YouTube may be a new way to show the treatment for a common cause of vertigo, which often goes untreated by physicians, according to a study published in the July 24, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

$125 million US-India Initiative drives expansion of university's solar energy program
Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis will be working on low-cost solar cells and systems that integrate solar cells with batteries as part of $125 million US-India Initiative for Clean Energy announced this year.

JCI early table of contents for July 23, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for newsworthy papers to be published online, July 23, 2012, in the JCI.

Researchers unfold the mechanisms underlying blood disorders
A Finnish research team together with researchers from New York, US, has uncovered a protein structure that regulates cell signaling and the formation of blood cells.

Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air
With a series of papers published in chemistry and chemical engineering journals, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have advanced the case for extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air using newly-developed adsorbent materials.

Synthetic stimulants called 'bath salts' act in the brain like cocaine
Results of a new study offer compelling evidence for the first time that mephedrone, like cocaine, does have potential for abuse and addiction.

UCSF/SFGH researchers call for change in new FDA recommendation on HIV and TB drug doses
In January, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidelines on dosing of an HIV medication used to treat people infected with both HIV and tuberculosis (TB) because of a potential interaction between two of the main drugs used to treat each disease.

Study shows why some types of multitasking are more dangerous than others
In a new study that has implications for distracted drivers, researchers found that people are better at juggling some types of multitasking than they are at others.

ICAP study finds concerningly high HIV infection rates for young black gay and bisexual men in US
Researchers at ICAP's Harlem Prevention Center joined the HIV Prevention Trials Network today to announce study results that showed disturbing rates of new HIV infections occurring among black gay and bisexual men in the US (also known as men who have sex with men, or MSM), particularly young black MSM.

Architecture professors receive honors for PV-POD solar mounting system
Solar panel mounting device, the PV-Pod, earned a Research and Development Award from Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects.

Interactive eco-schools
Following current international trends based on sustainable

UCSB researchers achieve world's first violet nonpolar vertical-cavity laser technology
Researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara, have developed the first violet nonpolar vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers based on m-plane gallium nitride semiconductors

32-country study shows that type 2 diabetes drug is clinically effective for long-term use
An extended trial of a type 2 diabetes drug has confirmed that linagliptin is a safe and effective means of lowering glucose levels for up to 102 weeks.

Croscat Volcano may have been the last volcanic eruption in Spain 13,000 years ago
Using Carbon-14 dating and the analysis of fossilized pollen, researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de Girona and IPHES confirmed that one of the youngest volcanoes of the Iberian Peninsula is the Croscat Volcano, located in the region of La Garrotxa, Girona.

Neural precursor cells induce cell death in certain brain tumors
Neural precursor cells in the young brain suppress certain brain tumors such as high-grade gliomas, especially glioblastoma, which are among the most common and most aggressive tumors.

New line of approach for combination therapy against melanoma
A melanoma is a malignant form of skin cancer and is one of the most aggressive types of tumors there is.

Neuroeconomics to study decision-making in anxious individuals
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million American adults each year, and although they are treatable, they often cause significant distress.

UCSB assistant professor of physics receives US Presidential Science Award
Ania Bleszynski Jayich, an assistant professor in physics at UC Santa Barbara, has been awarded the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

UConn researchers discover that 'red tide' species is deadlier than first thought
Researchers at the University of Connecticut have discovered that the plankton species Alexandrium tamarense - prominent in harmful algal blooms - contains not one, but two deadly toxins, with potential consequences for marine food chains.

New species of ancient rodents hint at what could be world's oldest grasslands
Researchers have described two ancient species of South American rodents, including the oldest chinchilla, a discovery that substantiates what might be the earliest grasslands in the world.

Simons Foundation honors University of Utah math professor
Christopher Hacon, a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Utah, has been selected as a Simons Foundation Investigator in this inaugural year of the program.

Breakthrough technology focuses in on disease traits of single cells
Professor Deirdre Meldrum, and her colleagues at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute are pioneering a kind of miniaturized laboratory for the investigation of single cells.

Why do anti-hunger and anti-obesity initiatives always fall short?
With widespread hunger continuing to haunt developing nations, and obesity fast becoming a global epidemic, any number of efforts on the parts of governments, scientists, non-profit organizations and the business world have taken aim at these twin nutrition-related crises.

Increased heart attack risk associated with total hip, knee replacement surgeries
Total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries were associated with increased risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI, heart attack) in the first two weeks after the surgical procedures

When campuses and their surrounding communities can join forces to stop alcohol abuse
US college students typically drink more than their non-college peers and are slow to 'mature out' of their harmful drinking patterns.

2 out of 3 very obese kids already have heart disease risk factors
Two out of three severely obese kids already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, suggests research published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Clemson plant breeders roll out new oat variety
Clemson University plant breeders announced a new high-yielding variety of oats.

Polar bear evolution tracked climate change, new DNA study suggests
A whole-genome analysis suggests that polar bear numbers waxed and waned with climate change, and that the animals may have interbred with brown bears since becoming a distinct species millions of years ago.

Rise in temperatures and CO2 follow each other closely in climate change
The greatest climate change the world has seen in the last 100,000 years was the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period.

MiR-122 micromanages liver function
Emerging research suggests that microRNAs (miRNAs) they have diverse roles in normal physiology and disease.

New model of disease contagion ranks US airports in terms of their spreading influence
A new model of disease contagion ranks US airports in terms of their spreading influence.

Researchers develop ginseng-fortified milk to improve cognitive function
American ginseng is reported to have neurocognitive effects, and research has shown benefits in aging, CNS disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.
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