Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 07, 2012
Guideline: Steroid pills effective for treating facial paralysis in Bell's palsy
For people experiencing first-time symptoms of Bell's palsy, steroid pills very likely are the most effective known treatment for recovering full strength in the facial muscles, according to a guideline published in the Nov.

Ultrasensitive photon hunter
When it comes to imaging, every single photon counts if there is barely any available light.

Dealing with power outages more efficiently
When there is a power failure, the utility companies, public officials and emergency services must work together quickly.

Scientific progress could be casualty in public health vs. privacy debate over newborn blood samples
The tremendous potential public health benefits of research with blood samples left over after routine newborn screening must not be lost amidst controversy and litigation, say medical and bioethics experts in a commentary published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Higher dietary glycemic load linked to worse colon cancer survival
Researchers have identified a link between higher dietary glycemic load and total carbohydrate intake and increased risk of cancer recurrences or death among stage three colon cancer patients, a finding that suggests that diet and lifestyle modification can have a role in improving patient survival, according to a study published Nov.

Self-imagination can enhance memory in healthy and memory-impaired individuals
There's no question that our ability to remember informs our sense of self.

Measuring metabolism can predict Alzheimer's progress with 90 percent accuracy
A new study from Tel Aviv University suggests that early clues about the progression of the disease can be found in the metabolism of the brain, making it possible to detect and diagnose Alzheimer's at an early stage with a simple blood test.

Bone marrow stem cells do not improve short-term recovery after heart attack
Administering stem cells derived from patients' own bone marrow either three or seven days after a heart attack is safe but does not improve heart function six months later, according to a clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Persistent sync for neurons
A team of Brazilian physicists working with neuroscientists studying freely behaving rats have found that their neurons often act in precise coordination over time, in a study about to be published in EPJ B.

Quantum 'kisses 'change the color of space
Researchers from the DIPC and the CFM in Donostia-San Sebastián have observed for the first time with optical methods the quantum regime in the interaction between nano-sized spheres of gold thanks to the change of color of the gap or space between these particles when these are at distances of less than one nanometer.

Better climate predictions for Europe
A European initiative for climate service observation and modeling, funded by the European Commission is launched.

More plus-size models could change women's obsession with thin bodies
British women's obsession for thin bodies could potentially be changed if advertising showed more plus size models, suggests a preliminary study published today (7 Nov).

Financial incentives may improve hospital mortality rates, says study
New research into controversial pay-for-performance schemes has suggested they may help to save the lives of NHS patients.

Drifting word clouds may change perceptions of climate science
The impact of climate science research on society is likely to depend on regular fashion cycles in the public's use of specific keywords relating to climate change, according to new research from the University of Bristol, published today in PLoS ONE.

Study reveals declining influence of high impact factor journals
The most prestigious peer-reviewed journals in the world, such as Cell, Nature, Science, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, have less and less influence amongst scientists, according to a paper co-authored by Vincent Lariviere, a professor at the University of Montreal's School of Library and Information Sciences.

New targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer shows anti-tumor activity in clinical trials
At the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland, researchers will report that a new drug that specifically targets a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells has performed well in a phase I clinical trial, and a phase II trial has started.

Researchers develop non-invasive technique for predicting patients' response to chemotherapy
Researchers have developed a non-invasive way of predicting how much of a cancer-killing drug is absorbed by a tumor.

Wake Forest Baptist research goes global with genetic center in India
World-renowned scientists are taking what they've learned from their multicenter research collaboration studying the health impact of fatty acids on diverse populations to set up a genetics center in India.

Inflammation marker linked to increased risk for death from cancer in Korean men
High levels of the inflammation marker hs-CRP associated with increased risk for cancer death.

$9 million to investigate blood-clotting disorders
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a $9 million grant to investigate blood-clotting disorders.

How butterfly wings can inspire new high-tech surfaces
Researchers here have taken a new look at butterfly wings and rice leaves, and learned things about their microscopic texture that could improve a variety of products.

Quantum kisses change the color of nothing
Even empty gaps have a color. Now scientists have shown that quantum jumps of electrons can change the color of gaps between nano-sized balls of gold.

Cell damage caused by personal lubricants does not increase HIV risk
The use of certain water-based, over-the-counter personal lubricants can dry out and irritate vaginal and rectal tissue, but does not appear to increase susceptibility to HIV, according to a laboratory study published today in PLOS ONE.

Whole genome sequencing of de novo balanced rearrangements in prenatal diagnosis
Whole genome sequencing of the DNA code of three prenatal samples provided a detailed map of the locations of their chromosomal abnormalities in 14 days, a relatively brief timeframe that should enable physicians to predict diagnosis of serious congenital disorders prenatally to counsel the parents and plan perinatal care of infants with chromosomal rearrangements.

Capturing carbon with clever trapdoors
University of Melbourne Engineers have developed a novel method of collecting and storing carbon dioxide that will reduce the cost of separating and storing carbon dioxide.

Study shows how to reduce inappropriate shocks from implanted defibrillators
A landmark study could lead to fewer inappropriate shocks from implanted defibrillators.

Activating the 'mind's eye' -- sounds, instead of eyesight can be alternative vision
Common wisdom has it that if the visual cortex in the brain is deprived of visual information in early infanthood, it may never develop properly its functional specialization, making sight restoration later in life almost impossible.

CeGaT and Genomatix finalists of Boston Children's Hospital's CLARITY challenge
CeGaT GmbH, the Department of Prostate Cancer Research at the University Hospital Bonn and Genomatix Software GmbH were announced as finalist of the CLARITY challenge today.

Low prevalence of type 2 diabetes among regular black tea drinkers
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is low in countries where consumption of black tea is high, suggests a mathematical analysis of data from 50 countries, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

New drug target found for cystic fibrosis lung disease
In a new study, Canadian researchers have discovered the cellular pathway that causes the lung-damaging inflammation in cystic fibrosis.

Development of measures to prevent wine indispositions
In a joint project Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum Rheinpfalz (DLR) have developed measures to identify and reduce biogenic amines in wine, where they can be of particular risk to human well-being.

Hopes for new generation of patient diagnostics
Today sees the launch of the International Diagnostics Centre, a global research collaboration hub, created at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to undertake innovative research on the development and deployment of new diagnostic tests that enable patients to be diagnosed faster, more accurately and cost effectively.

Social networking info will increasingly influence med student and trainee doctor selection
The use of social networking sites is set to increasingly influence the selection of medical students and trainee doctors in the US, suggests the largest study of its kind published online in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Financial incentives may improve hospital mortality rates, says study
New research into controversial pay-for-performance schemes has suggested they may help to save the lives of NHS patients.

U-M researchers to study 'food security' across Michigan
Researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment are leading a five-year, $four million study of disparities in access to healthy food across the state.

Gene find turns soldier beetle defence into biotech opportunity
New antibiotic and anti-cancer chemicals may one day be synthesised using biotechnology, following CSIRO's discovery of the three genes that combine to provide soldier beetles with their potent predator defense system.

New study suggests that Arabica coffee could be extinct in the wild within 70 years
A study conducted by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia, reports that climate change alone could lead to the extinction of wild Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) well before the end of this century.

Israel's first Green Roofs Ecology research center dedicated at University of Haifa
The University of Haifa, Israel, has dedicated Israel's first research center for Green Roofs Ecology, which will focus on research and development of non-irrigated green roofs; improving biological diversity with green roofs; and developing ecological and evolutionary theories.

14 US Army dentists recognized for outstanding achievement
At the annual meetings of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists, 14 US Army dentists were inducted as new Fellows of these honorary dental organizations, in recognition of their professional achievement and service to the dental profession.

Sharks: Bad creatures or bad image?
Historically, the media have been particularly harsh to sharks, and it's affecting their survival.

Children's National's David Wessel receives AHA Meritorious Achievement Award
Dr. Wessel is honored for his pioneering career in the field of pediatric cardiac critical care.

The IPCC Report on Climate Change - Swedish professor Thomas Sterner selected as 1 of the experts
Professor Thomas Sterner, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is one of the experts who are currently working in Vigo, Spain, on the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report on climate change.

Coral files reveal time of first Polynesian settlements
Polynesia was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by humans, and new techniques reveal that this settlement first occurred within a 16 year window nearly 3,000 years ago.

Researchers explore connection between popular pain relievers, bladder cancer
Dartmouth researchers have found that duration of ibuprofen use was associated with a reduced risk of bladder cancer in patients in northern New England, which has a high mortality rate of this disease.

New cell type developed for possible treatment of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases
UC Irvine researchers have created a new stem cell-derived cell type with unique promise for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Looking for the anti-Alzheimer's molecule -- A new approach to treating a devastating disease
Researchers at Dalhousie University have discovered a new technique using

Loss of essential blood cell gene leads to anemia
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have discovered a new gene that regulates hemoglobin synthesis during red blood cell formation.

When parasites catch viruses
A protozoan parasite causing an STD that affects a quarter of a billion people yearly is fueled in part by its own viral symbiont.

New assessment reveals value of second embryo biopsy for women of advanced maternal age
An elegant new study confirms that the most commonly used method of screening for embryo abnormalities following in vitro fertilization does accurately predict the success of embryo transplantation for younger women, but not necessarily for those of advanced maternal age.

Starchy, high carbohydrate diet associated with recurrence of colon cancer
Colon cancer survivors whose diet is heavy in complex sugars and carbohydrate-rich foods are far more likely to have a recurrence of the disease than are patients who eat a better balance of foods, a new study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers indicates.

Genetics Society of America's GENETICS journal highlights for November 2012
These are selected highlights from the November 2012 issue of the Genetics Society of America's journal, GENETICS.

Digital agenda for Europe: Expert appointed for Luxembourg
Prof. Dr. Björn Ottersten, Director of Luxembourg University's Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, has been appointed 'Digital Champion of Luxembourg' by François Biltgen, Minister for Higher Education and Research.

Study: Metformin offers cardio benefits over sulfonylureas in diabetes
A Vanderbilt study examining the impact of the two most commonly prescribed oral diabetes medications on the risk for heart attack, stroke and death has found the drug metformin has benefits over sulfonylurea drugs.

A firm molecular handshake needed for hearing and balance
Researchers have mapped the precise 3-D atomic structure of a thin protein filament critical for cells in the inner ear and calculated the force necessary to pull it apart.

Houston, we have a problem: firsthand account presented at UH
Hear what it was like to be on the front lines in NASA's Mission Control when a monster failure occurred during the Apollo 13 mission to the moon.

Spread of human melanoma cells in mice correlates with clinical outcomes in patients
UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists led by Dr. Sean Morrison, director of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, have developed an innovative model for predicting the progression of skin cancer in patients.

Recent studies bring fossils and genes together to piece together evolutionary history
In the current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Hans Thewissen, Ingalls-Brown Professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), and his colleagues review recent studies that have used modern genetic techniques to shed light on fossils, and vice versa.

In the digital age, managers can't ignore #angrycustomers
An angry customer may express their dissatisfaction to friends and family, or take their complaints online.

Harvard's Wyss Institute models a human disease in an organ-on-a-chip
Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have mimicked pulmonary edema in a microchip lined by living human cells, as reported today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Aspirin effective in preventing clots following joint replacement surgery
Research from the Rothman Institute at Jefferson has shown aspirin to be just as effective as warfarin in preventing clots, specifically pulmonary emboli, life-threatening blood clots that can develop in the arteries of the lungs following joint replacement surgery.

Protected areas in East Africa may not be conserving iconic plants
A new study led by researchers from the University of York suggests protected areas in East Africa are not conserving plants such as the iconic Acacia tree.

Geologist calls for advances in restoration sedimentology
Rapid advances in the new and developing field of restoration sedimentology will be needed to protect the world's river deltas from an array of threats, Indiana University Bloomington geologist Douglas A.

Teaching the blind to read and recognize objects with sounds
Areas of the brain in blind people can learn to process visual input through the use of sound, even after years or perhaps even lifelong blindness, according to new research reported in the November issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron.

Setting national goals to bolster patient safety with electronic health records
Electronic health records are expected to improve patient safety, but they themselves can present challenges for which health care providers must be prepared.

Sugar boosts self-control, UGA study says
To boost self-control, gargle sugar water. According to a study co-authored by University of Georgia professor of psychology Leonard Martin published Oct.

New study finds majority of pregnant women require an average of 2 months sick leave from work
Three quarters of pregnant women take sick leave from work but employers can help reduce this through flexible work adjustments, suggests a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Register now! San Diego meeting will showcase latest aging discoveries
America's premier authorities on aging will share the most up-to-date news on the election, Social Security, human longevity, family caregiving, and other current topics at The Gerontological Society of America's upcoming 65th Annual Scientific Meeting.

Caffeine improves recognition of positive words
Caffeine perks up most coffee-lovers, but a new study shows a small dose of caffeine also increases their speed and accuracy for recognizing words with positive connotation.

New method could help communities plan for climate risk
MIT researchers have developed a new tool to help policymakers, city planners and others see the possible local effects of climate change.

Protein reveals diabetes risk many years in advance
When a patient is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the disease has usually already progressed over several years and damage to areas such as blood vessels and eyes has already taken place.

Acute care model improves surgical care quality, lowers costs for 2 procedures
An acute care surgery model led to improvement in the quality of surgical patient care and reduced the cost of emergency surgical care at a California medical center.

Historic coral collapse on Great Barrier Reef
Australian marine scientists have unearthed evidence of an historic coral collapse in Queensland's Palm Islands following development on the nearby mainland.

Anti-fat bias may be equally prevalent in general public and medical community
Medical doctors are as biased against obesity as the general public is, according to a study published Nov.

Patients with aberrations in two genes respond better to drugs blocking a well-known cancer pathway
Cancer patients with mutations or variations in two genes -- PIK3CA and PTEN -- who have failed to respond to several, standard treatments, respond significantly better to anti-cancer drugs that inhibit these genes' pathways of action, according to research presented at the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland.

Teva to present new Phase III data for QNASL® Nasal Aerosol at the 2012 ACAAI Meeting
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced today that additional data from the Phase III clinical program for QNASL® Nasal Aerosol will be presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Anaheim, CA on Nov.

Tom Bowman seeks to engage 30 million small businesses in climate response
Tom Bowman, chairman-Bowman Design Group and president-Bowman Global Change, presents his session

Sweet diesel! Discovery resurrects process to convert sugar directly to diesel
Nearly 100 years ago, chemist Chaim Weizmann discovered that Clostridium bacteria efficiently ferment sugar or starch into alcohols and acetone.

New portable device enables RNA detection from ultra-small sample in only 20 minutes
A new power-free microfluidic chip developed by researchers at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute enables detection of microRNA from extremely small sample volume in only 20 minutes.

Researchers test solution to fungal disease of ash trees
Imperial's Silwood Park Campus to carry out field trials for solution it is hoped can control Chalara fungal disease threatening the UK's ash trees.

NJIT professor promotes building material of millennium: Autoclave aerated concrete
Although widespread rebuilding in the hard-hit New York metro region from Super Storm Sandy has not yet begun, NJIT Assistant Professor Mohamed Mahgoub, PhD, PE, says when the hammers start swinging, it's time to look at autoclaved aerated concrete.

Hebrew SeniorLife study finds no link between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification
Researchers at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have published a study that shows no evidence of a link between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification, reassuring adults who take calcium supplements for bone health that the supplements do not appear to result in the development of calcification of blood vessels.

Lack of vitamin D contributes to pain in black Americans with knee osteoarthritis
A new study reveals that black Americans display lower levels of vitamin D and greater pain sensitivity compared to white Americans.

Small lethal tools have big implications for early modern human complexity
On the south coast of South Africa, scientists have found evidence for an advanced stone age technology dated to 71,000 years ago at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay.

Penn research reveals new aspect of platelet behavior in heart attacks: Clots can sense blood flow
Atherosclerosis involves the build up of fatty tissue within arterial walls, creating unstable structures known as plaques.

Cedars-Sinai research: Preclinical muscular dystrophy data shows promise
Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute researchers have found that an experimental compound may help stem the debilitating effects of muscular dystrophy by restoring normal blood flow to muscles affected by the genetic disorder.

Why fish talk
Clownfish produce sounds to establish and defend their breeding status in social groups, but not to attract mates, according to research published Nov.

Longer use of hormonal contraception during midlife predicts better cognitive function later
Premenopausal use of hormonal contraceptives may improve the cognitive abilities of women in midlife and for years afterward.

MRI and EEG could identify children at risk for epilepsy after febrile seizures
Seizures during childhood fever are usually benign, but when prolonged, they can foreshadow an increased risk of epilepsy later in life.

New insight into why haste makes waste
Neural study provides new insights into how neuron activity changes when the brain is forced to make hasty decisions.

City birds adapt to their new predators
Faced with the same threat, city and country birds do not react in the same way despite being from the same species.

Stem cells + nanofibers = Promising nerve research
Using polymer nanofibers thinner than human hairs as scaffolds, researchers have coaxed a particular type of brain cell to wrap around nanofibers that mimic the shape and size of nerves found in the body.

Synthetic biofilter wins through to the top 'Sweet 16' in Boston
Months of painstaking work in the laboratory at Bielefeld University's Center for Biotechnology have paid off: the 15 students participating in this year's 'international Genetically Engineered Machine competition' at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have good reason to celebrate.
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