Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 13, 2012
New study finds external stimulation impacts white matter development in the postnatal brain
A team at Children's National Medical Center has found that external stimulation has an impact on the postnatal development of a specific region of the brain.

Existing drugs offer new treatment options for high-risk childhood leukemia subtype
Scientists have identified new genetic alterations underlying a high-risk subtype of the most common childhood cancer that could be effectively targeted with existing leukemia therapies.

UF scientists find state record 87 eggs in largest python from Everglades
University of Florida researchers curating a 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python, the largest found in Florida, discovered 87 eggs in the snake, also a state record.

New system could predict solar flares, give advance warning
Researchers may have discovered a new method to predict solar flares more than a day before they occur, providing advance warning to help protect satellites, power grids and astronauts from potentially dangerous radiation.

New oncogene identified for breast cancer
A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, led by Dr.

Special rice gift arrives in flood-ravaged India
As fresh waves of floods hit India's northeastern state of Assam, the International Rice Research Institute has stepped up to help rice farmers by providing free seed of its popular flood-tolerant rice Swarna-Sub1.

Egg yolk consumption almost as bad as smoking when it comes to atherosclerosis
Newly published research led by Dr. David Spence of Western University Canada shows that eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes.

Deeply held religious beliefs prompting sick kids to be given 'futile' treatment
Parental hopes of a

Graphene's behavior depends on where it sits
Surprising new experiments conducted at MIT show that a one-atom-thick material called graphene, a form of pure carbon whose atoms are joined in a chicken-wire-like lattice, behaves quite differently depending on the nature of material it's wrapped around.

Smoking increases, while alcohol consumption may decrease risk of ALS
A population-based case-control study of the rare but devastating neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has shown that the risk of such disease is increased among smokers, as has been shown previously.

Antisense approach promising for treatment of parasitic infections
A targeted approach to treating toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease, shows early promise in test-tube and animal studies, where it prevented the parasites from making selected proteins.

Gamma rays from galactic center could be evidence of dark matter
Gamma-ray photons seen emanating from the center of the Milky Way galaxy are consistent with the intriguing possibility that dark-matter particles are annihilating each other in space, according to research submitted by UC Irvine astrophysicists to the American Physical Society journal Physical Review D.

The scent of love: Decomposition and male sex pheromones
Young virgin female hide beetles (Dermestes maculatus) are attracted to cadavers by a combination of cadaver odour and male sex pheromones, finds a new study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology.

Research shows how computation can predict group conflict
When conflict breaks out in social groups, individuals make strategic decisions about how to behave based on their understanding of alliances and feuds in the group.

Bringing style home
Does the ideal ratio of couch to rug size keep you up at night?

Supercomputers solve riddle of congenital heart defects
With the aid of pioneering technology, Danish scientists have charted several of the complex biological processes behind congenital heart defects.

PETA, PCRM address ICCVAM 5-year plan
In public comments submitted today, PETA and PCRM charged that NICEATM-ICCVAM continues to fail at implementing its Congressional mandate to facilitate the uptake of non-animal testing methods government-wide.

Elsevier launches new journal: Discourse, Context and Media
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce the launch of a new quarterly journal, Discourse, Context and Media.

Chemical widely used in antibacterial hand soaps may impair muscle function
Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical widely used in hand soaps and other personal-care products, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado.

Stepping stones to the north
A new study led by scientists at the University of York has shown how birds, butterflies, other insects and spiders have colonized nature reserves and areas protected for wildlife, as they move north in response to climate change and other environmental changes.

Pioneering research into rare neonatal diseases
Groundbreaking research into rare neonatal diseases, conducted by the University of Sheffield, is set to improve the treatment of babies who lack the stress hormone cortisol.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Aug. 14, 2012 online issue
Below is information about articles being published in the Aug.

Diabetes drugs taken by over 15 million Americans raises risk of bladder cancer
A popular class of diabetes drugs increases patients' risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

NASA observes a quieter Atlantic to start the week; Hector in east Pacific
On Aug. 13, the Atlantic tropics are quieter than they were the previous week, when four low pressure areas were marching across the ocean basin.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Kai-tak brushing the Philippines
NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of Tropical Storm Kai-tak affecting the northern Philippines on Aug.

Gene discovery could improve treatment for acute myeloid leukemia
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have made a discovery involving mice and humans that could mean that people with acute myeloid leukemia, a usually fatal cancer, are a step closer to new treatment options.

Butter flavoring in microwave popcorn, thought safe for food industry workers, is respiratory hazard
The ingredient 2,3-pentanedione (PD), used to impart the flavor and aroma of butter in microwave popcorn, is a respiratory hazard that can also alter gene expression in the brain of rats.

Consuming flavanol-rich cocoa may enhance brain function
Consuming cocoa flavanols as a part of a calorie-controlled and nutritionally-balanced diet could improve brain function.

Radiation after lumpectomy helps prevent need for mastectomy in early stage breast cancer
Contrary to clinical recommendations, older women with early stage breast cancer may want to undergo radiation after lumpectomy to help ensure that they will not need a mastectomy in the future.

Rejected drug may protect against toxic substance common to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases
The second of two studies on latrepirdine, recently published in Molecular Psychiatry, demonstrates new potential for the compound in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, sleep disorders, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

BUSM researchers part of multi-center study on cardiac amyloidosis
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have been part of a multi-center observational study called TRACS (Transthyretin Amyloidosis Cardiac Study) to help determine the health significance of a particular gene mutation which is commonly found in black Americans.

Are methane hydrates dissolving?
West of Spitsbergen methane gas is effervescing out of the seabed.

Why are people overconfident so often?
Researchers have long known that people are very frequently overconfident -- that they tend to believe they are more physically talented, socially adept, and skilled at their job than they actually are.

Protein that helps tumor blood vessels mature could make cancer drugs more effective
Since anti-cancer drugs are carried to tumors by the bloodstream, abnormal blood vessel development can hamper delivery.

NIST's speedy ions could add zip to quantum computers
Take that, sports cars! Physicists at NIST can accelerate their beryllium ions from zero to 100 miles per hour and stop them in just a few microseconds.

National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence awards new fellows, scholars
The National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence today announced $1.38 million in awards to the latest cohort of Claire M.

National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation award $4.5 million to preserve languages threatened with extinction
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) yesterday announced the award of five fellowships, 32 institutional grants, and six doctoral dissertation research awards totaling $4.5 million in the agencies' ongoing Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program.

'Harmless' condition shown to alter brain function in elderly
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say a common condition called leukoaraiosis, made up of tiny areas in the brain that have been deprived of oxygen and appear as bright white dots on MRI scans, is not a harmless part of the aging process, but rather a disease that alters brain function in the elderly.

Blood test could guide treatment for kidney cancer
A common enzyme that is easily detected in blood may predict how well patients with advanced kidney cancer will respond to a specific treatment, according to doctors at Duke Cancer Institute.

A new energy source: Major advance made in generating electricity from wastewater
Engineers have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves while cleaning sewage, but will sell excess electricity.

AERA et al. bring science to bear in major affirmative action case
On Aug. 13, AERA filed an amicus curiae brief in the US Supreme Court case of Fisher v.

University of Houston researcher develops solar panel coating
A University of Houston physics researcher has developed a nanoparticle coating for solar panels.

Ancient seal may add substance to the legend of Samson
An ancient seal depicting a man and a lion in hand-to-paw combat places the Biblical story of Samson in the archaeological setting of Beth Shemesh during the 12th century BCE, Tel Aviv University researchers say.

Vandetanib almost doubles progression free survival in patients with thyroid cancer
Results of a phase two randomized trial for patients with advanced differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) show that those treated with the oral targeted agent vandetanib survived without the disease getting worse for almost twice as long as patients given placebo (11.1 months vs 5.9 months).

The ins and outs of building the sperm tail
In the latest issue of the journal Developmental Cell, scientists from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, in Portugal, have dissected how sperm cells of the fruit fly build their flagella.

Clemson researchers make optical fibers from common materials
Clemson researchers are taking common materials to uncommon places by transforming easily obtainable and affordable materials into fiber.

Consumers perceive risk when 'price' means more than money
When faced with paying for a product or a service with more than money -- say with effort or information -- consumers perceive greater risk in the transaction.

Hurricanes can be 50 percent stronger if passing over fresh water, says Texas A&M study
If a hurricane's path carries it over large areas of fresh water, it will potentially intensify 50 percent faster than those that do not pass over such regions, meaning it has greater potential to become a stronger storm and be more devastating, according to a study co-written by a group of researchers at Texas A&M University.

New technology delivers sustained release of drugs for up to 6 months
A new technology which delivers sustained release of therapeutics for up to six months could be used in conditions which require routine injections, including diabetes, certain forms of cancer and potentially HIV/AIDS.

New method may allow personalized clinical trial for cancer therapies
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators have developed a new tool to observe cell behavior, which has revealed surprising clues about how cancer cells respond to therapy.

Common antibiotics pose a rare risk of severe liver injury in older patients
The commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotics moxifloxacin and levofloxacin are associated with an increased risk of severe liver injury in older people, according to a new study published in CMAJ.

Nano, photonic research gets boost from new 3-D visualization technology
For the first time X-ray scientists have combined high-resolution imaging with 3-D viewing of the surface layer of material using X-ray vision in a way that does not damage the sample.

Fresh water breathes fresh life into hurricanes
An analysis of a decade's worth of tropical cyclones shows that when hurricanes blow over ocean regions swamped by fresh water, the conditions can unexpectedly intensify the storm.

NCH CIRP awarded CDC Injury Control Research Center designation, another 5 years
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has renewed the designation of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital as one of the agency's Injury Control Research Centers.

New class of proteins allows breast cancer cells to evade tyrosine kinase inhibitors
Aberrant regulation of cell growth pathways is required for normal cells to become cancerous, and in many types of cancer, cell growth is driven by a group of enzymes known as receptor tyrosine kinases.

Mount Sinai researchers identify new drug target for schizophrenia
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine may have discovered why certain drugs to treat schizophrenia are ineffective in some patients.

CNIO researchers discover a new therapy that prevents lung cancer growth in mice
The Tumour Suppression Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, led by Manuel Serrano, has deciphered one of the molecular pathways behind lung cancer.

Springer and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to collaborate on book series
Springer will publish a series of books in cooperation with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation starting in 2013.

NASA STEREO observes 1 of the fastest CMEs on record
On July 23, 2012, a massive cloud of solar material erupted off the sun's right side, zooming out into space, passing one of NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft along the way.

Strategy appears to help rule-in, rule-out heart attack within 1 hour
A strategy using an algorithm that incorporates high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T values appears to be associated with ruling-out or ruling-in myocardial infarction (heart attack) within one hour in 77 percent of patients with acute chest pain who presented to an emergency department

Optics and photonics research priorities, grand challenges presented in new report
A new report from the National Research Council identifies research priorities and grand challenges to fill gaps in optics and photonics.

The NBA league is more equal than the ACB
Competitiveness amongst NBA teams is more constant throughout seasons than during the ACB basketball league (Spain), which also falls after every Olympic Games.

Seeds of hope amidst Philippine floods
Amidst horrendous flooding around Manila and major rice-growing across Luzon in the Philippines, some good news has emerged for rice farmers -- Submarino rice -- rice that can survive around two weeks of being under water.

Researchers identify key culprit causing muscle atrophy
Researchers at the University of Iowa have identified a key protein that causes muscles to atrophy.

Poor oral health can mean missed school, lower grades
Poor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school, upping the risk of low grades and more absences.

Mayo Clinic conference to explore genomics in patient care
Mayo Clinic's Individualizing Medicine Conference, scheduled for Oct. 1-3, will draw experts from around the world to discuss the use of genomics in patient care.

A pre-crack might propagate or stick under mechanical and electrical loading
Electric sticking and fracture have not been considered together, although both are challenging topics in academic research and industrial practice.

UD partner in NIH research project to produce artificial salivary glands
University of Delaware professor Xinqiao Jia is part of a research team breaking new ground in the creation of artificial salivary glands.

Wind farms: A danger to ultra-light aircraft?
Airfields for ultra-light aircraft are typically constructed on level ground -- and so are wind farms.

Fruity science halves fat in chocolate
Scientists have found a way to replace up to 50 percent of chocolate's fat content with fruit juice.

Australia creates world's first continental-scale mineral maps
A new suite of mineral maps will enable mining companies to increase the efficiency and viability of their exploration efforts.

Journal of Clinical Investigation early table of contents for Aug. 13, 2012
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Aug.

NIMBioS study finds bullies squelched when bystanders intervene
With new national anti-bullying ads urging parents to teach their kids to speak up if they witness bullying, one researcher has found that in humans' evolutionary past at least, helping the victim of a bully hastened our species' movement toward a more egalitarian society.

UC Davis researchers identify cellular basis for how anti-aging costmetics work
A team of investigators from UC Davis and Peking University have discovered a mechanism that may explain how alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) -- the key ingredient in cosmetic chemical peels and wrinkle-reducing creams -- work to enhance skin appearance.

Middle-aged adults help their hearts with regular leisure-time physical activities
Middle-aged adults who regularly engage in leisure-time physical activity for more than a decade may benefit from lower markers of inflammation, which is important to heart health.

For young adults, appearance matters more than health, MU research suggests
Research conducted at the University of Missouri suggests, when it comes to college-age individuals taking care of their bodies, appearance is more important than health.

New key element discovered in pathogenesis of Burkitt lymphoma
Burkitt lymphoma is a malignant, fast-growing tumor that originates from a subtype of white blood cells of the immune system and often affects internal organs and the central nervous system.

Research raises doubts about whether modern humans and Neanderthals interbred
New research raises questions about the theory that modern humans and Neanderthals at some point interbred, known as hybridization.

NTU scientist invents pocket living room TV
Leaving your TV show midway because you had to leave your home will no longer happen as you can now

Pay for performance may improve treatment implementation for adolescent substance use disorders
Pay for performance appears to be associated with improved implementation of an adolescent substance use treatment program, although no significant differences were found in remission status between the pay-for-performance and implementation-as-usual groups.

Protective bacteria in the infant gut have resourceful way of helping babies break down breast milk
A research team at the University of California, Davis, has found that important and resourceful bacteria in the baby microbiome can ferret out nourishment from a previously unknown source, possibly helping at-risk infants break down components of breast milk.

From textbook to flexbook: Professor uses new collaborative tool in the classroom
A Kansas State University professor is gaining attention for creating a textbook replacement that saves students money and provides instructors with teaching flexibility.

New bacteria-resistant materials discovered
Using state-of-the-art technology scientists at the University of Nottingham have discovered a new class of polymers that are resistant to bacterial attachment.

Modification of tumor suppressor affects sensitivity to potential GBM treatment
Biologists and oncologists have long understood that a protein called the epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR is altered in at least 50 percent of patients with glioblastoma.

Should doctors treat lack of exercise as a medical condition? Mayo expert says 'yes'
A sedentary lifestyle is a common cause of obesity, and excessive body weight and fat in turn are considered catalysts for diabetes, high blood pressure, joint damage and other serious health problems.

Human embryos frozen for 18 years yield viable stem cells suitable for biomedical research
Even after being frozen for 18 years, human embryos can be thawed, grown in the laboratory, and successfully induced to produce human embryonic stem cells, which represent a valuable resource for drug screening and medical research.

Study links persistent and loud snoring in young children with problem behaviors
Persistent and loud snoring in young children is associated with problem behaviors, according to a new study published online in Pediatrics.

Chromosomal translocations point the way toward personalized cancer care
A recent University of Colorado Cancer Center review published in the journal Frontiers of Medicine shows the role of chromosomal translocations in causing a range of cancers.

Researchers work to further biofuel production without increasing food prices
This fall, MU scientists are beginning a study to determine how non-food biofuel crops, such as switchgrass, grow in marginal land along the floodplains, where most crops cannot thrive.

Friendships promote better farming in developing countries
A study that examined how rural farmers in Ethiopia learn new farming techniques and adopt them on their own farms discovered that learning from a friend was a stronger motivator than learning from neighbors in close proximity.

Study: Majority of older, early-stage breast cancer patients benefit from radiation after lumpectomy
For the majority of older, early-stage breast cancer patients, radiation therapy following breast conserving surgery may help prevent the need for a later mastectomy, according to research from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Scientists use light to 'tag and track' genetic processes
In a new study, UT Dallas researchers outline how they used fluorescent molecules to

Wolters Kluwer Health and the American Academy of Neurology renew partnership
Wolters Kluwer Health and the American Academy of Neurology are pleased to announce that they have signed an agreement to renew their partnership to publish Neurology, Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology, Neurology Today, Neurology Now, and Neurology Clinical Practice. 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