Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 31, 2012
Rejected Alzheimer's drug shows new potential
An international team of scientists led by researchers at Mount Sinai School Medicine have discovered that a drug that had previously yielded conflicting results in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease effectively stopped the progression of memory deterioration and brain pathology in mouse models of early stage Alzheimer's disease.

Exercise results in modest reduction in depressive symptoms for patients with chronic heart failure
Patients with chronic heart failure who participated in exercise training had modest reductions in symptoms of depression after 12 months, compared with usual care

To know a tiger is at least to start tolerating them, study shows
To protect a dangerous and endangered animal -- be it a tiger in Nepal or a wolf in Michigan - you have to ask people,

From microns to centimetres
University of Toronto researchers Axel Guenther Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, cross-appointed to the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), and Milica Radisic, Associate Professor at IBBME and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, along with graduate students from their labs -- Lian Leng, Boyang Zhang, and Arianna McAllister -- have invented a new device that may allow for the uniform, large-scale engineering of tissue.

Mathematicians find solution to biological building block puzzle
Theory resolves decade-old debate on regulation of protein production by microRNAs in cells.

Study allays concerns about endoscopic vein harvesting during heart surgery
Using an endoscope to guide the removal of leg veins used in heart surgery is as safe as using large, ankle-to-groin incisions, according to a study by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Hey, I'm over here: Men and women see things differently
In a new study published in the journal Vision Research, researchers at the University of Southern California show that the eyes and attention of men and women meander in distinctly different ways.

Camouflage of moths: Secrets to invisibility revealed
Moth wing coloration is shaped by natural selection to match the patterns of natural substrates, such as a tree bark or leaves, on which the moths rest.

Honor for studying the scientists
Professor Harry Collins has been made a Fellow of the British Academy for his role in establishing the sociological study of science.

Study finds correlation between number of colorectal polyps and genetic mutations
Among patients with multiple colorectal polyps, the prevalence of certain gene mutations varied considerably by polyp count

Gene network restores CF protein function
Researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine have discovered a genetic process that can restore function to a defective protein, which is the most common cause of cystic fibrosis.

Sick from stress? Blame your mom... and epigenetics
If you're sick from stress, a new research report appearing in the August 2012 issue of the FASEB Journal suggests that what your mother ate -- or didn't eat -- may be part of the cause.

When we forget to remember -- failures in prospective memory range from annoying to lethal
Why would highly skilled professionals forget to perform a simple task they have executed without difficulty thousands of times before?

Childhood obesity may affect timing of puberty, create problems with reproduction
A dramatic increase in childhood obesity in recent decades may have impacts that go beyond the usual health concerns - it could be disrupting the timing of puberty and ultimately lead to a diminished ability to reproduce, especially in females.

Economic recession leads to increased entrepreneurship, MU study finds
University of Missouri researchers have found that in recent years the number of Americans engaging in entrepreneurship has risen significantly due to the recession.

Low-cost carbon capture gets X-rayed
Diamond Light Source is being used to improve low cost methods for carbon capture.

'Superbird' stuns researchers
A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the National Research Council of Argentina recently fitted a South American sea bird called an imperial cormorant with a small camera, then watched stunned as it became 'superbird' -- diving 150 feet underwater in 40 seconds, feeding on the ocean floor for 80 seconds where it eventually caught a snakelike fish, before returning to the surface 40 seconds later.

Opioid receptors as a drug target for stopping obesity
Imagine eating all of the sugar and fat that you want without gaining a pound.

Wayne State research team finds possible clue to progression of MS
Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers, working with colleagues in Canada, have found that one or more substances produced by a type of immune cell in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may play a role in the disease's progression.

Personality and social psychology at the 2012 APA Convention
From how relationships affect our health to the psychology of an awkward party moment to why we often choose ignorance over information - this is a guide to some talks with new research in personality and social psychology at the APA Convention in Orlando, Aug.

$5 million grant awarded to UC Riverside to study immortality
The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a three-year, five million dollar grant to John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality.

'Flightless' molecule may prevent cancer from spreading from 1 tissue to another
Thanks to the

EARTH: Trash-to-treasure
One man's trash is quickly becoming society's new treasure. In the August issue of EARTH Magazine, we explore how materials that were once considered garbage are now being recognized for their true potential as valuable energy resources capable of solving multiple problems at once.

Chemistry on Mars video with Curiosity Rover from the American Chemical Society
Now hurtling through space at 13,000 miles per hour, NASA's Curiosity Rover is a fully equipped chemistry lab scheduled to touchdown on Mars on August 6.

New influenza virus from seals highlights the risks of pandemic flu from animals
A new strain of influenza virus found in harbor seals could represent a threat to wildlife and human health, according to the authors of a study appearing July 31 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

New University of Houston research focuses on treatment for perpetrator, not victim
A new UH experiment takes an unconventional look at the treatment for domestic violence, otherwise known as intimate partner violence (IPV), by focusing on changing the perpetrators' psychological abuse during arguments rather than addressing his sexist beliefs.

Adolescents in substance abuse treatment report using someone else's medical marijuana
A study published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that diverted medical marijuana use among adolescents receiving treatment for substance abuse is very common.

Canadians super-sizing Canada's Food Guide servings: York University study
Many people overestimate the size of one serving of food as defined in Canada's Food Guide, so they may be overeating even if they believe they are being careful, according to a new study from York University, in Toronto.

Study examines endoscopic procedure for acquiring veins for coronary artery bypass graft surgery
Although there have been questions regarding the safety and durability of endoscopic vein graft harvest for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, an analysis of data of more than 200,000 patients who underwent CABG surgery found no evidence of a long-term increased risk of death with endoscopic vein graft harvesting compared to open vein-graft harvesting

As a man's belt size increases, so does his risk of sexual and urinary dysfunction
As a man's waistline grows, so can his experience with sexual dysfunction and frequent urination, say researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Report: Captive lion reintroduction programs in Africa operate under 'conservation myth'
A new report published in the international conservation journal Oryx concludes that commercial 'wildlife encounter' operations across Africa promoting the reintroduction of captive lions do little to further the conservation of African lions in the wild.

Mental disorders impair economic success in developed countries
Mental disorders that emerge in childhood and adolescence, including attention-deficit disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, constitute significant challenges to cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Stress during pregnancy leads to abdominal obesity in mice offspring
A new report involving mice suggests that a relationship exists between maternal metabolic or psychological stress and the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in her offspring.

Being paranoid about office politics can make you a target: UBC research
The UBC Sauder School of Business study reveals that paranoia about negative gossip or being snubbed leads people to seek out information to confirm their fears, ultimately annoying colleague and increasing the likelihood they will be rejected or subverted.

Exercise boosts mental and physical health of heart failure patients
Moderate exercise helps ease depression in patients with chronic heart failure, and is also associated with a small but significant reduction in deaths and hospitalizations, according to a large, international study lead by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Are cold feet plaguing your relationship?
Are cold feet plaguing your relationship? Scientists have identified the biological mechanism that could be responsible for this phenomenon, a problem that bothers many couples.

Protein-based coating could help rehabilitate long-term brain function
Tel Aviv University has developed a bioactive coating which not only

Medical equipment donated to developing countries inappropriate for local conditions
Wealthy countries that make donations of expensive medical equipment to low- and middle-income countries may be missing the mark, according to a new Imperial College London / Lancet Commission.

Computational analysis identifies drugs to treat drug-resistant breast cancer
Researchers have used computational analysis to identify a new Achilles heel for the treatment of drug-resistant breast cancer.

Autoantibodies damage blood vessels in the brain
The presence of specific autoantibodies of the immune system is associated with blood vessel damage in the brain.

Never again a flat vehicle battery: RUB researchers develop early warning system
A flat battery can turn an unsuspecting car driver into an unintentional pedestrian.

Study: Conciliatory tactics more effective than punishment in reducing terrorism
Policies that reward abstinence from terrorism are more successful in reducing such acts of violence than tactics that aim to punish terrorists, suggests a new study in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

Study finds people have difficulty controlling multiple chronic conditions
Most people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol have difficultly managing all three conditions; indeed, success is fleeting for those who do manage all three, according to a Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research study that appears online in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Vaccine research shows vigilance needed against evolution of more-virulent malaria
Malaria parasites evolving in vaccinated laboratory mice become more virulent, according to research at Penn State University.

Study: Methodology of determining financial viability of social security
The Social Security Trust Fund is off on its prediction by $730 billion for needed benefits in 2030.

Anxiety and depression increase risk of sick leave
Long-term sick leave is a burden for individuals and society at large, yet very little is known about the underlying reasons for it.

Ecosystems reveal radiation secrets
A new study by Tiina Tuovinen, from the University of Eastern Finland, and her colleagues casts doubt over the validity of models used to assess the impact of radiation on human health.

Concerns over minimally invasive heart valve surgery
A new type of heart valve surgery known as transcatheter aortic valve implantation

IL-10 from donor skin cells helps the body incorporate skin grafts
Scientists have found that the anti-inflammatory molecule, IL-10, may improve success rates of skin autografts (skin moved from one site of the body to another).

Most with celiac disease unaware of it, others go gluten-free without diagnosis
Roughly 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, but around 1.4 million of them are unaware that they have it, a Mayo Clinic-led analysis of the condition's prevalence has found.

University of Illinois professor develops tool that helps dietitians deliver info clients need and can understand
If you've consulted with a nutrition educator about how best to lose weight or manage your diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, you may not have learned as much as you could have, said a University of Illinois professor of nutrition extension.

2-virus link to prostate cancer
New research has revealed that both the human papilloma virus and Epstein Barr virus are present together in more than half of malignant prostate cancers found in Australian men.

Early treatment could mean greater earning potential for people with HIV
In a first-of-its-kind health campaign in Uganda, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show that adults with HIV who had less severe infections could work more hours per week, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school.

Protein involved in DNA replication, centrosome regulation linked to dwarfism, small brain size
Research published Aug. 1 by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) links gene mutations found in some patients with Meier-Gorlin syndrome (MGS) with specific cellular dysfunctions that are thought to give rise to a particularly extreme version of dwarfism, small brain size, and other manifestations of abnormal growth which generally characterize that rare condition.

Bioethicist explores hypochondria in new book from OUP
Catherine Belling, author of the new book, A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria, seeks to change the way Americans think about hypochondria, and to use hypochondria as a lens to sharpen our thinking about health care.

Farmers team with scientists to make the perfect rat trap
Rice farmers from two districts in Vietnam have successfully implemented a community action plan to thwart rodent damage to their crops - thus reducing damage caused by the pests and giving them a 20 percent boost in income.

UC Riverside graduate student awarded Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship
When she feels unmotivated, Divya Sain, a graduate student from India at UC Riverside, remembers 'Shane shane parvata langhanam,' a chant that translates as 'Slowly and steady, even mountains can be conquered.' The latest mountain Sain has conquered is securing the Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship.

Allergies? Your sneeze is a biological response to the nose's 'blue screen of death'
Who would have thought that our noses and Microsoft Windows' infamous blue screen of death could have something in common?

Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy
People with mental health problems have a lower life expectancy, according to a large-scale population based study part-funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Men with large waists face an increased risk of frequent urination
Men with large waists urinate more frequently than their slimmer counterparts.

Critically endangered whales sing like birds; New recordings hint at rebound
A University of Washington researcher and colleagues discovered the critically endangered bowhead whales singing like birds in the Fram Strait, indicating that the whales might be more populous than previously thought or that they sing a wide repertoire of songs, unlike other whales.

Older patients have lower risk of hip fracture after cataract surgery
Medicare patients 65 years and older who underwent cataract surgery had a lower odds of hip fracture 1 year after the procedure when compared with patients with cataract who did not have cataract surgery

Concussions and head impacts may accelerate brain aging
Concussions and even lesser head impacts may speed up the brain's natural aging process by causing signaling pathways in the brain to break down more quickly than they would in someone who has never suffered a brain injury or concussion.

Immune responses can be generated locally within human melanoma skin metastases
Immune cell activation seen in skin metastases from melanoma patients.

Study of zebra fish mouth formation may speak to Fraser syndrome hearing loss
Using mutant zebra fish, researchers studying the earliest formation of cartilage of the mouth believe they may have gotten a look at a mechanism involved in a genetic defect linked to Fraser syndrome deafness in humans.

Seniors with serious illness find smoking, drinking tough habits to break
A recent study of adults age 50 to 85 found that only 19 percent of those diagnosed with lung disease quit smoking within two years.

Fatal bridge collapse spurs new, affordable, instant warnings
On August 1, 2007, the roadway suddenly disappeared beneath drivers on a Minneapolis bridge, killing 13 and injuring145.

New book tackles the 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'
The editors of a new collection of essays, 'Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Kick Their Asses,' set out to tackle a series of questions - many of which are still being debated in online discussions about the books and related movies.

An avian flu that jumps from birds to mammals is killing New England's baby seals
A novel avian influenza virus has acquired the ability to infect aquatic mammals and was responsible for an outbreak of fatal pneumonia that recently struck harbor seals in New England, according to scientists at the Center for Infection & Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, New England Aquarium, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, SeaWorld and EcoHealth Alliance.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among Olympic athletes
Based on data from the last five Olympic games, a study by the University of Western Australia has identified those athletes with asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness.

100 years of cosmic rays mystery
As physicists gather in early August to celebrate a century since the initial discovery of cosmic rays, Alan Watson, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Leeds, explains how physicists have gradually revealed the nature of these mysterious objects and examines the progress being made in understanding where they come from.

AGU journal highlights -- 31 July 2012
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics: 'The random walk of pollutants through river catchments,' 'Atmospheric CO2 drove climate change during longest interglacial,' 'Shear layers in solar winds affect Earth's magnetosphere,' 'Dams impact carbon dynamics in US rivers,' 'Comparison with observations shows cloud simulations improving,' 'Turbulent forces within river plumes affect spread.'

BGI partners with the University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham and BGI announced a major joint initiative in environmental and human health research.

Adding a '3D print' button to animation software
Pixels to plastic! A group of graphics experts led by computer scientists at Harvard have created an add-on software tool that translates video game characters -- or any other three-dimensional animations -- into fully articulated action figures, with the help of a 3D printer.

Can herbal products provide sun protection?
Recent research supports the ability of some herbal agents, taken orally or applied topically, to prevent sunburn and limit the damage caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.

Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters
Rapid rates of coral reef growth have been identified in sediment-laden marine environments, conditions previously believed to be detrimental to reef growth.

Mild mental health problems linked to increased risk of death
People with symptoms of anxiety or depression, commonly referred to as psychological distress, experience an increased risk of death from several major causes, finds a study published on today.

Mayo Clinic: Drug duo turns on cancer-fighting gene in kidney, breast cancers
A potentially powerful new approach to treating two lethal metastatic cancers -- triple negative breast cancer and clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer -- has been discovered by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida. 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