Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 16, 2012
Is too much brain activity connected to Alzheimer's disease?
High baseline levels of neuronal activity in the best connected parts of the brain may play an important role in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Why are elderly duped? UI researchers explain why
Researchers at the University of Iowa have pinpointed for the first time the area in the human brain where doubt arises.

Blood markers reveal severity of common kidney disease
The blood levels of certain abnormal proteins and the antibodies that attack them rise according to the severity of one of the most common diseases of the kidney.

Organisms cope with environmental uncertainty by guessing the future
In uncertain environments, organisms not only react to signals, but also use molecular processes to make guesses about the future, according to a study by Markus Arnoldini et al. from ETH Zurich and Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.

Small molecule may provide direction to quest for male contraceptive
A small molecule that can worm its way past the barrier that separates blood and sperm and snuggle into a crucial pocket needed in the process of making sperm may spell the future for male contraception.

Annals of Internal Medicine publishes new CDC recommendations on hepatitis C screening
Without other risk factors, all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 should have a one-time screening for the hepatitis C virus according to new recommendations being published early online today in Annals of Internal Medicine, the flagship journal of the American College of Physicians.

RI Hospital: Use of PMP may increase demand for drug treatment, reduce painkiller abuse
A Rhode Island Hospital researcher has found that the use of electronic prescription drug monitoring programs (PMPs) may have a significant impact on the demand for drug treatment programs and how prescribers detect and respond to abuse of painkillers.

Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained
Researchers have found what they believe is the key to understanding why the human brain is larger and more complex than that of other animals.

Genes carried by E. coli bacteria linked to colon cancer
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified a type of E. coli bacteria that may encourage the development of colon cancer.

Pan-fried meat increases risk of prostate cancer, new study finds
New research from the Keck School of Medicine of USC indicates that how red meat and chicken are cooked may influence risk of prostate cancer.

Report card shows Australia's oceans are changing
The 2012 Marine Climate Change in Australia Report Card shows climate change is having significant impacts on Australia's marine ecosystems.

Creating a future of personalized medicine: U-M forms joint venture for DNA diagnostics
As a key step toward providing patients with treatments based on their own DNA profiles, the University of Michigan and the International Genomics Consortium have launched a new joint venture that will help usher in an age of personalized medicine.

Researchers hope to transform software engineering training
Failures in communication, organization and teamwork are the primary cause of the high rate of failure for software projects, says SF State's Dragutin Petkovic.

Added benefit of eribulin in breast cancer is not proven
Added benefit of eribulin in breast cancer is not proven The currently available evidence provides

Researchers awarded National Cancer Institute grants aimed at answering 'provocative questions'
Two Johns Hopkins scientists are among the first recipients of grants geared to answer

East meets West to bring improved sanitation and hygiene practices to Vietnam, Cambodia
East Meets West has received a US $10.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve sanitation and hygiene practices among the rural poor in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Mouse study finds clear linkages between inflammation, bacterial communities and cancer
In a study with inflammation-prone mice, researchers have found a mechanism for the development of colorectal cancer wherein inflammation fosters a change in the gut microbiome including reduced bacterial diversity but also the increased presence of E. coli and related pathogens.

Study underscores need to improve communication with moms of critically ill infants
Now research from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center suggests that common language may also be the divide standing between mothers of critically ill newborns and the clinicians who care for them.

Elsevier launches new journal: Performance Enhancement & Health
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, is proud to announce the launch of Performance Enhancement & Health -- a new international, peer-reviewed journal that critically explores the health implications of performance enhancement on the human being, from steroid doping in elite athletes, right through to amphetamine use amongst truck drivers.

A male contraceptive pill in the making?
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Baylor College of Medicine report in the Aug.

Bird louse study shows how evolution sometimes repeats itself
Birds of a feather flock together and -- according to a new analysis -- so do their lice.

Maryland - Delaware partnership brings teachers and scientists together on climate change
The National Science Foundation announced that it is funding a major initiative to help prepare educators in Maryland and Delaware to teach climate change science in the classroom.

NASA sees System 93L explode into Tropical Storm Gordon
NASA has been watching the low pressure system called System 93L for the last week, and late on Aug.

Earthworms soak up heavy metal
Earthworms could be used to extract toxic heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, from solid waste from domestic refuse collection and waste from vegetable and flower markets, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management.

New form of carbon observed
A team of scientists led by Carnegie's Lin Wang has observed a new form of very hard carbon clusters, which are unusual in their mix of crystalline and disordered structure.

What's best for very low birth weight babies
While the health benefits of breast feeding baby are well known, a new study published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Pediatrics finds that, for very low birth weight (VLBW) babies, a small amount of fortification can improve growth rates without sacrificing the benefits associated with mother's milk.

Nature: Electronic read-out of quantum bits
Quantum computers promise to reach computation speeds far beyond that of today's computers.

3-D movies in your living room -- without the glasses
New television screens will make it possible for viewers to enjoy three-dimensional television programming without those bothersome 3-D glasses.

Will the real independents please stand up?
As November draws near, many Americans are thinking about which political candidates will be receiving their support.

A GPS in your DNA
Professor Eran Halperin of Tel Aviv University has devised a method for more precisely determining the geographical location of a person's ancestral origins based on a model of genetic traits for every coordinate on the globe.

Secrets of 'SuperAger' brains
Scientists for the first time have identified an elite group of elderly people age 80 and older whose memories are as sharp as people 20 to 30 years younger than them.

IDRI and Medicago announce authorization to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial for an H5N1 vaccine
The Infectious Disease Research Institute, a Seattle-based nonprofit research organization that is a leading developer of adjuvants used in vaccines combating infectious disease, and Medicago Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles, announce that they have been cleared by the FDA to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial for an H5N1 Avian Influenza VLP vaccine candidate.

Warming causes more extreme shifts of the Southern Hemisphere's largest rain band
South Pacific countries will experience more extreme floods and droughts, in response to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a paper out today in the journal Nature.

JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust to fund islet encapsulation research at Diabetes Research Institute
JDRF, in collaboration with the Leona M. and Harry B.

Soft robots, in color
As demonstrated in an Aug. 16 paper published in Science, researchers have developed a system -- inspired by nature -- that allows soft robots to either camouflage themselves against a background, or to make bold color displays.

ACP physician wins national award for internal medicine education
ACP's Philip Masters, M.D., FACP, is the recipient of the 2012 Ruth-Marie E.

Black stroke survivors have higher blood pressure, increased risk of repeat stroke
Blacks who survived a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain had higher blood pressure than whites a year later, according to a study published today in the journal Stroke.

Finally, the promise of male birth control in a pill
Researchers have finally found a compound that may offer the first effective and hormone-free birth control pill for men.

Some like it hot: Tropical species 'not as vulnerable' to climate change extinction
In the face of a changing climate many species must adapt or perish.

Virus throws a wrench in the immune system
The cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpesvirus family.

B cell survival holds key to chronic graft vs. host disease
B cells, which produce proteins called antibodies, are one type of immune cell involved in GVHD.

MARC travel awards announced for 2012 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring
The FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2012 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring in Tampa, Fla., from Oct.

New heart attack definition to be launched at ESC Congress 2012 topics: Myocardial disease
The third universal definition of myocardial infarction (MI) clarifies the controversial area of procedural related MI and will be the gold standard for diagnosis and clinical trial endpoints.

Taking the edge off a pipe bomb -- literally
DHS' Science and Technology Directorate new device for dismantling pipe bombs may look like a tinkerer's project, but it's sophisticated enough to do the job and preserve the forensic evidence.

Researchers uncover how poxviruses such as smallpox evolve rapidly -- despite low mutation rates
Poxviruses, a group of DNA-containing viruses that includes smallpox, are responsible for a wide range of diseases in humans and animals.

Multi-dimensional brain measurements can assess child's age
A national team of researchers led by investigators at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have developed a multidimensional set of brain measurements that, when taken together, can accurately assess a child's age with 92 percent accuracy.

Psychopaths get a break from biology
A University of Utah survey of judges in 19 states found that if a convicted criminal is a psychopath, judges consider it an aggravating factor in sentencing, but if judges also hear biological explanations for the disorder, they reduce the sentence by about a year on average.

What's your lifetime risk of developing kidney failure?
Approximately one in 40 men and one in 60 women of middle age will develop kidney failure if they live into their 90s.

Sea-surfing 'wave glider' robot deployed to help track white sharks in the Pacific
A sleek, unmanned Wave Glider robot has been deployed off the US coast near San Francisco -- the latest addition to an arsenal of ocean observing technologies revealing in real time the mysterious travels of great white sharks and other magnificent marine creatures.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers validate molecular signature to predict radiation therapy benefit
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, working with colleagues in Sweden, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico, have validated a radiosensitivity molecular signature that can lead to better radiation therapy decisions for treating patients with breast cancer.

Treatment for cervical disease is not linked to increased risk of preterm births
Treatment for cervical disease does not appear to increase the risk of subsequently giving birth prematurely, according to a study of over 44,000 women in England.

UT Dallas engineers identify material that reduces pollution from diesel engines
A catalyst that can replace platinum in diesel engines has been shown to reduce pollution by up to 45 percent.

Non-invasive treatment for children with obstructive sleep apnea suggested by Ben-Gurion University study
The study was tested in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled fashion in which 23 children were given placebos, and 23 children were given montelukast.

Democracy works for Endangered Species Act, study finds
In protecting endangered species, the power of the people is key, an analysis of listings under the US Endangered Species Act finds.

Molecular and protein markers discovered for liver transplant failure from hepatitis C
Researchers have discovered molecular and protein signatures that predict rapid onset of liver damage in hepatitis C patients following a liver transplant.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation invests $11.9 million in NARSAD grants
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation announces $11.9 million in NARSAD grants.

Climate and drought lessons from ancient Egypt
Ancient pollen and charcoal preserved in deeply buried sediments in Egypt's Nile Delta document the region's ancient droughts and fires, including a huge drought 4,200 years ago associated with the demise of Egypt's Old Kingdom, the era known as the pyramid-building time.

Enzalutamide adds 5 months survival in late-stage prostate cancer
Results of a Phase III clinical trial of the drug enzalutamide, published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, show the drug extends life by an average five months in the most advanced stages of prostate cancer.

Scripps Research scientists find an important molecular trigger for wound-healing
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have made a breakthrough in understanding a class of cells that help wounds in skin and other epithelial tissues heal, uncovering a molecular mechanism that pushes the body into wound-repair mode.

ORNL researchers improve soil carbon cycling models
A new carbon cycling model developed at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory better accounts for the carbon dioxide-releasing activity of microbes in the ground, improving scientists' understanding of the role soil will play in future climate change.

Hubble watches star clusters on a collision course
Astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have caught two clusters full of massive stars that may be in the early stages of merging.

Leading cancer specialists from Europe and beyond recognized at ESMO 2012
The European Society for Medical Oncology announced today the names of two eminent cancer specialists and one European institution that will be recognized for their contribution to the advancement of medical oncology at the ESMO 2012 Congress.

Brain scans don't lie about age
It isn't uncommon for people to pass for ages much older or younger than their years, but researchers have now found that this feature doesn't apply to our brains.

Mepolizumab almost halves exacerbations in patients with severe asthma
The largest study of patients with severe asthma to date, published in the Lancet special issue on respiratory medicine, shows that those treated with the monoclonal antibody mepolizumab experienced an almost 50 percent reduction in severe exacerbations, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations compared with patients given placebo.

Yoga: A cost-effective treatment for back pain sufferers?
Specialized group yoga classes could provide a cost-effective way of treating patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain, according to the UK's largest ever study of the benefits of yoga.

Future of concentrating photovoltaics focus of technology roundtable at UC Santa Barbara
On July 25-26, 2012, the Institute for Energy Efficiency and the Center for Energy Efficient Materials brought together key stakeholders from the private sector, academia and government for a highly interactive, facilitated discussion to inform and focus research in the CPV field.

Poxviruses defeat antiviral defenses by duplicating a gene
Scientists have discovered that poxviruses, which are responsible for smallpox and other diseases, can adapt to defeat different host antiviral defenses by quickly and temporarily producing multiple copies of a gene that helps the viruses to counter host immunity.

New treatment offers hope to patients with chronic lung disorder bronchiectasis
Researchers have identified a promising new treatment for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, a long-term lung disorder which causes persistent coughing and breathlessness.

Black stroke survivors face greater risk from high blood pressure
Blacks are more likely than whites to have hypertension a year after stroke caused by a brain bleed.

Turmeric spices up virus study
Curcumin, found in the popular spice turmeric, stopped the potentially deadly Rift Valley Fever virus from multiplying in infected cells, a new study from George Mason University shows.

Discovery of immune cells that protect against multiple sclerosis offers hope for new treatment
Immune cells called dendritic cells, which were previously thought to contribute to the onset and development of multiple sclerosis, actually protect against the disease in a mouse model, according to a study published by Cell Press in the August issue of the journal Immunity.

Invasive brittle star species hits Atlantic Ocean
Coral Reefs, the journal of the International Society for Reef Studies, has published online a study co-written by Dr.

Danes frequently confronted by religion
European secular social models are challenged in new ways by religions.

Tibetan Plateau may be older than previously thought
The growth of high topography on the Tibetan Plateau in Sichuan, China, began much earlier than previously thought, according to an international team of geologists who looked at mountain ranges along the eastern edge of the plateau.

NASA is tracking electron beams from the sun
NASA is measuring electron beams from the sun using NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer mission.

Ohioans love their lakes, but are concerned for their future
Almost 41 percent of Ohioans have visited a lake, pond, river or creek in the state in the past year, and of those, nearly one-half usually spend their water-related recreational time at Lake Erie, according to a report.

Common parasite may trigger suicide attempts
A parasite thought to be harmless and found in many people may actually be causing subtle changes in the brain, leading to suicide attempts.

New estimates reveal enormity of global tobacco use and urgent need to redouble control efforts
New estimates illustrate the epidemic of tobacco use for over half of the world's population (representing more than three billion adults living in the UK, USA, and 14 developing countries), with around 852 million tobacco consumers (661 million smokers and 247 million smokeless tobacco users).

World's largest tobacco use study: Tobacco control remains major challenge
An international survey of tobacco use in three billion individuals, published in the current issue of the Lancet, demonstrates an urgent need for policy change in low- and middle-income countries, according to the University at Buffalo professor who led the research.

Prosperous Native-American tribes grow anxious about legalization of Internet gambling
Every year tribal gaming generates billions of dollars in revenue, creates tens of thousands of jobs, and boosts the economies of many Native-American communities.

Less commonly prescribed antibiotic may be better
Vancomycin was the most commonly prescribed antibiotic in dialysis patients for treating certain bloodstream infections, but cefazolin was 38 percent better than vancomycin at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from these infections.

Could FastStitch device be the future of suture?
To cut down postoperative complications, engineers have invented a disposable suturing tool to guide the placement of stitches and guard against accidental puncture of internal organs.

Molecular 'movies' may accelerate anti-cancer drug discovery
Using advanced computer simulations, University of Utah College of Pharmacy researchers have produced moving images of a protein complex that is an important target for anti-cancer drugs.

Combination peptide therapies might offer more effective, less toxic cancer treatment
Two studies suggest that an experimental peptide vaccine and a peptide therapeutic used either together or individually with a low-dose of a standard chemotherapy drug, might offer more effective cancer therapy than current standard single-drug treatments.

Children's self-control is associated with their body mass index as adults
As adults, we know that self-control and delaying gratification are important for making healthful eating choices, portion control, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Use of retail medical clinics continues to grow, study finds
Fast-growing retail medical clinics are attracting more older patients and delivering more preventive care, particularly flu shots and other vaccinations.

Metabolic protein wields phosphate group to activate cancer-promoting genes
A metabolic protein that nourishes cancer cells also activates tumor-promoting genes by loosening part of the packaging that entwines DNA to make up chromosomes, a team led by scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports in the Aug.

Triage for plants: NYBG scientists develop and test rapid species conservation assessment technique
Faced with a host of environmental threats, many of the world's plant species are believed to be at risk of extinction. 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