Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 06, 2012
'Smoke-free' laws lead to fewer hospitalizations and deaths
Laws that end smoking at work and other public places result in significantly fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks, strokes, asthma and other respiratory conditions, a new UCSF analysis has found.

Regular physical activity increases life expectancy even if overweight
People who do regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, live longer than those who don't do any leisure time exercise, even when overweight, reports a study by international researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Patients with heart block see strong benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy
Heart failure patients with a condition called

Researchers discover immune pathway
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have now discovered an important mechanism behind one of our most fundamental lines of immune function.

Strange diet for methane consuming microorganisms
Methane supplies the energy for cell metabolism, but is not the carbon source.

Saber-toothed cats and bear dogs: How they made cohabitation work
The fossilized fangs of saber-toothed cats hold clues to how the extinct mammals shared space and food with other large predators 9 million years ago.

Living abroad can bring success -- if you do it right
Dr. Carmit Tadmor of Tel Aviv University says that the benefits of extended international travel depend on having a

Team finds a new way to inhibit blood clotting and inflammation
Scientists have identified a group of small molecules that target a compound that initiates multiple steps in blood clotting, including those that lead to the obstruction of veins or arteries, a condition called thrombosis.

Anti-tobacco policies responsible for Brazil's big success in reducing smoking rates
Smoking rates in Brazil have dropped by half over the past two decades thanks to strict tobacco control policies, according to a study by US and Brazilian researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

DNA sequencing of infants and children with anatomical defects of unknown causes
A one-year-old research initiative has brought together researchers, clinicians and policy experts to tackle the challenges of incorporating new genomic technologies into the clinical care of newborns, infants and children with anatomical defects whose causes are unknown.

Breast cancer drug could halt other tumors
A drug commonly used in treating breast cancer could have far wider benefits, offering a new way of preventing cancers spreading through the body, according to a University of Leeds-led study.

Virtual reality could help people lose weight, fight prejudice
When an individual strongly identifies with the virtual reality representation of themselves, known as an avatar, the electronic doppelganger can influence that person's health and appearance, according to a University of Missouri researcher's study.

Discovery may help nerve regeneration in spinal injury
Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow have uncovered a possible new method of enhancing nerve repair in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Not only the Olm comes from Thuringia...
From December 2012 onwards a project at the chair of Indo-European Studies at Jena University will look into the Thuringian dialect: the Thuringian Etymological Dictionary is supported and funded with 240,000 Euro by the German Research Foundation -- initially for three years.

IOM President to speak at Schwartz Center Consensus Meeting Nov. 8
Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., will give the plenary address at a consensus meeting in Boston Nov.

Small change in defibrillator therapy leads to huge benefits for heart patients
A new study shows that defibrillators -- devices designed to detect and correct dangerous heart rhythms -- can help heart disease patients live longer, and with a much better quality of life, than they do now.

Clever cockatoo with skilled craftmanship
The use and fashioning of objects as tools has rarely been seen in the animal kingdom.

Top Canadian, Indian institutions form $30M partnership
Scientists from the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Toronto and 11 leading institutions in India are joining forces to tackle urgent issues in both countries with a $30-million partnership.

HF patients treated by a cardiologist, rather than hospitalist, have fewer readmissions
When a cardiologist attends to heart failure patients, even when the severity of illness is higher, patients have reduced rates of hospital readmissions, compared with those patients who are treated by a hospitalist, according to a trial being presented today at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Los Angeles.

Losing protein helps heart recover, say Temple scientists
Scientists at Temple University School of Medicine have identified a key target they hope will help stave off the potentially harmful effects of remodeling that often occurs as that heart attempts to regain some of its former function after a heart attack.

National Academies' Keck Conference picks NYU-Poly citizen science researcher
Polytechnic Institute of New York University Assistant Professor Oded Nov, whose research focuses on technology-mediated social participation, has been selected for the prestigious 2012 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conference.

Physical activity and gain in life expectancy -- quantified
In a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, researchers have quantified how many years of life are gained by being physically active at different levels, among all individuals as well as among various groups with different body mass index.

Surprising findings from NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project reported
Scientists participating in Exome Sequencing Project sponsored by NBHLBI expected that individual rare variants would have a greater effect on over 80 heart, lung and blood related traits and diseases.

What paleotempestology tells scientists about today's tempests
Understanding Earth's paleo-hurricane record cannot be more timely and important in a light of Hurricane Sandy, which shocked the US East Coast last week.

Combating a crisis: Global burden of preterm birth can be reduced if critical actions are taken
New surveys show research and funding is uncoordinated, lacking a cohesive agenda.

2011 Virginia quake triggered landslides at extraordinary distances
The 2011 Mineral, Virginia M-5.8 earthquake was felt over an extraordinarily large area.

Cancer data in the 'cloud' could lead to more effective treatment
Researchers are using cloud technology to collect information from thousands of cancer cell samples.

Taiho Pharmaceutical unveils data on 8 novel anticancer compounds
Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., the developer of the first orally available fluorouracil Chemotherapeutic treatment, is presenting early stage data for eight novel oncology compounds, including potential first-in-class therapies.

Stem cell therapy using patient's own cells after heart attack does not enhance cardiac recovery
Administering autologous stem cells obtained from bone marrow either three or seven days following a heart attack did not improve heart function six months later, reports a new clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Is your memory playing tricks on you? Check your medicine cabinet!
Common medication to treat insomnia, anxiety, itching or allergies can have a negative impact on memory or concentration in the elderly, according to Dr.

A new computational method for timing the tree of life
Sudhir Kumar, director of the Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics at ASU's Biodesign Institute has developed a new method for calculating species divergence, delivering accurate results at 1,000 times the speed of conventional techniques.

New method helps link genomic variation to protein production
By adopting a novel approach for determining the effect of genetic variation on efficiency of the biological process that translates a gene's DNA sequence into a protein, researchers found that translational differences between mRNAs that differ only slightly from one another can be detected at a transcriptome-wide scale.

Head-to-head trial of 2 diabetes drugs yields mixed results
Daily injections of liraglutide were slightly more effective than weekly injections of exenatide in lowering blood sugar and promoting weight loss.

Mothers' age at menopause may predict daughters' ovarian reserve
A mother's age at menopause may predict her daughter's fertility in terms of the numbers of eggs remaining in her ovaries, according to the new research published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.

Life does get under your skin
'Social medicines' are beneficial to the health and wellbeing of individuals and the population.

New drug significantly lowers bad cholesterol
New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that AMG 145 added to statin therapy can reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 66 percent.

Pressure switch inside the head
An increase in cerebral pressure may cause dementia and could destroy the brain.

Supercomputing for a superproblem: A computational journey into pure mathematics
World famous mathematician publishes his findings as a University of Leicester research report.

New study reveals challenge facing designers of future computer chips
To build the computer chips of the future, designers will need to understand how an electrical charge behaves when confined to metal wires a few atom-widths in diameter.

Imaging speeds early diagnosis of heart disease, the top killer in the Western world
The most up-to-date imaging techniques for the early diagnosis of heart disease will be presented and discussed at EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2012.

Scientists test 5,000 combinations of 100 existing cancer drugs to find more effective treatments
Scientists have tested all possible pairings of the 100 cancer drugs in order to discover whether there are any combinations not tried previously that are effective in certain cancers.

New bacteria to fight against intestinal inflammation
Nathalie Vergnolle, director of research at Inserm, and her team at the Centre for Physiopathology at Toulouse Purpan (CPTP Inserm / Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier /CNRS), with Philippe Langella director of research at INRA and his team at the Institut Micalis , in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur, have recently succeeded in producing

Drug trio improved effectiveness of cancer treatment, protected heart
Combining either sildenafil or rapamycin with cancer medication doxorubicin protected the heart from damage and improved doxorubicin's ability to kill cancer cells.

New study finds that 75 percent of patients taking popular blood-thinners are getting wrong dose
Cardiology researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute have found that approximately 75 percent of patients taking two common blood-thinning drugs may be receiving the wrong dosage levels, according to a new study.

A new development in the relief of spasms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
A team of researchers from Strasbourg, directed by Luc Dupuis, have recently discovered the origin of spasms - a disabling symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Personalizing medicine: New American Chemical Society Prized Science video
Personalized medicine -- the promise of customizing treatments that will work best for each individual patient -- could get a boost from advances in understanding how the proteins that help determine health and disease take the three-dimensional shapes needed to work in the body.

SF State Dean of Science & Engineering Sheldon Axler named American Mathematical Society Fellow
San Francisco State University Dean of Science & Engineering has been named an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society for his contributions to the field of mathematics.

Positive results from Phase 1/2 stem cell trial reported
Allogeneic and autologous MSCs delivered with the Helical Infusion System, BioCardia's proprietary delivery technology for cell- and gene-based therapy, were safe and well-tolerated at all doses.

European boost for DNA nanotechnology
The use of DNA strands as nano building materials is on the way to creating revolutionary new opportunities in the development of medicine, optics and electronics.

Strong tobacco control policies in Brazil credited for more than 400,000 lives saved
Brazil's tobacco control policies are credited for more than 400,000 lives saved and a 50 percent reduction in smoking between 1989 and 2010.

Rebuilding a whole heart for children born with only half of 1
Using a combination of surgical procedures developed over the last 11 years, surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital have established a new approach for rebuilding the heart in children born with a severe heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).

Telltale visible signs of aging may predict heart disease
Visible signs of aging may predict your risk of heart disease.

2 years out, patients receiving stem cell therapy show sustained heart function improvement
In a Late-Breaking Clinical Trial session at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 meeting, Roberto Bolli, M.D., of the University of Louisville and Piero Anversa, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, report that after two years, all patients receiving autologous stem cell therapy show improvement in heart function, with an overall 12.9 absolute unit increase in left ventricular ejection fraction.

Early treatment sparks striking brain changes in autism
When given early treatment, children with autism spectrum disorders made significant improvements in behavior, communication, and most strikingly, brain function, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study.

Global metabolomic initiative announced
Investigators at Washington University and The Scripps Research Institute have announced the launch of a

The Phosphorus Index: Changes afoot
Twenty years after its inception, the continued need for water quality improvement has led to a call for further advancement of the Phosphorus Index.

New strategy for fingerprint visualization developed at Hebrew University
Identifying fingerprints on paper is a commonly used method in police forensic work, but unfortunately it is not easy to make those fingerprints visible.

Umeå University hosts new World Health Organization Collaborating Centre
The World Health Organization has created a new Collaborating Centre at Umeå University, Sweden, in the specialist area of verbal autopsy.

Humans, chimpanzees and monkeys share DNA but not gene regulatory mechanisms
Up to 40 percent of the differences in the expression or activity patterns of genes between humans, chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys can be explained by regulatory mechanisms that determine whether and how a gene's recipe for a protein is transcribed to the RNA molecule that carries the recipe instructions to the sites in cells where proteins are manufactured.

Dr. Taub to give Estabrook Research Lecture at Kessler Foundation on Nov. 28
Kessler Foundation announces that The 2012 Estabrook Distinguished Research Lectureship will be given on Nov.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Member
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Member Kerry J.

Sweet news for specialty stores: You don't need to lower prices to compete, study shows
Specialty stores do not have to compete with supermarket prices to increase sales, according to a recent study from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

High blood pressure in young adults likely to go undiagnosed
Most young adults with high blood pressure remain undiagnosed after four years of regular doctor's care.

New monoclonal antibody inhibits tumor growth in advanced solid tumors in phase I clinical trial
A newly developed antibody targeting a signalling pathway that is frequently active in solid tumors has shown encouraging signs of efficacy in its first trial in humans, researchers will report at the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday.

How bacteria talk to each other and our cells
Bacteria can talk to each other via molecules they themselves produce.

Temple researchers show targeted cancer drug may stunt heart's ability to repair itself
Scientists have shown how a

NIH study finds leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight, according to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute , part of the National Institutes of Health.

China health system reform needs more accountability
In this week's PLOS Medicine, David Hipgrave from the University of Melbourne, Australia and colleagues discuss health system reform in China and argue that parallel reforms in governance, financing, and accountability are also needed to ensure health equity.

Research could lead to preeclampsia prevention
Excessive turnover of cells in the placenta may trigger an unnatural increase in blood pressure that puts mother and baby at risk, researchers say.

Long shifts lead to nurse burnout and dissatisfied patients
Extended work shifts of 12 hours or longer are common and popular among hospital staff nurses, but a new study reports that nurses working longer shifts were more likely to experience burnout, job dissatisfaction, and patients were more dissatisfied with their care.

Heart-related deaths increase in winter regardless of climate
No matter what climate you live in, you're more likely to die of heart-related issues in the winter.

Quality products from rubber residues
Rubber residues can be downcycled to floor coverings and safety crashpads, and for the first time, also processed into high-quality plastics. 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