Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 22, 2013
Beta carotene may protect people with common genetic risk factor for type-2 diabetes
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found that for people harboring a genetic predisposition that is prevalent among Americans, beta carotene, which the body converts to a close cousin of vitamin A, may lower the risk for the most common form of diabetes, while gamma tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the American diet, may increase risk for the disease.

Scientists discover 'needle in a haystack' for muscular dystrophy patients
Muscular dystrophy is caused by the largest human gene, a complex chemical leviathan that has confounded scientists for decades.

Bacterial supplement could help young pigs fight disease
Weaning is a time of stress and a lack of energy for pigs.

Residents near Chinese e-waste site face greater cancer risk
Residents living near an e-waste recycling site in China face elevated risks of lung cancer.

Postpartum hemorrhage during a first pregnancy does not affect future fertility
First pregnancies complicated by postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) have no detrimental effect on future fertility, but women who have caesarean sections at the time of PPH are less likely to conceive again, finds a new study published today (23 Jan.) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Mayo Clinic and SV Bio enter strategic relationship on genome diagnostics and interpretation
Mayo Clinic and Silicon Valley Biosystems (SV Bio) today announced a strategic collaboration for whole genome diagnostics and interpretation at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and Mayo Medical Laboratories.

Men more likely to commit research misconduct than female counterparts
It's not hard to see that men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than women, or that crime rates are many times higher among men, but this tendency to break the rules also extends to male scientists, according to a study to be published on Jan.

Black patients with hypertension not prescribed diuretics enough
A research study of more than 600 black patients with uncontrolled hypertension found that less than half were prescribed a diuretic drug with proven benefit that costs just pennies a day, report researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York's Center for Home Care Policy and Research.

Mayo Clinic expert suggests proper techniques for newborn bathing and skin care basics
Bathing a tiny newborn can be an exciting experience for parents, but it can also be intimidating.

Immune cell death defects linked to autoimmune diseases
Melbourne researchers have discovered that the death of immune system cells is an important safeguard against the development of diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which occur when the immune system attacks the body's own tissues.

Prediction of Asian summer monsoon rainfall and tropical storm activity close at hand
The amount of rainfall and number of tropical storms during a summer monsoon season greatly impact the agriculture, economy, and people in Asia.

UCLA study first to image concussion-related abnormal brain proteins in retired NFL players
For the first time, UCLA researchers have used a brain-imaging tool to identify the abnormal tau proteins associated with sports concussion in five retired National Football League players who are still living.

Oxygen-free energy designed to fuel brain development spurs on growth of cancer
The metabolic process which fuels the growth of many cancers has its origins in normal brain growth finds a new study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Cancer & Metabolism.

New drug protects against side effects of chemotherapy
A drug developed at Linköping University in Sweden protects against the side effects of cancer treatments while strengthening the effects on the tumor.

Disease outbreaks trackable with Twitter
About 15 percent of Tweets can accurately be connected to state-level location data or better.

Federal budget authority for R&D declined in fiscal years 2011-12
Federal budget authority for research and development (R&D) and R&D Plant (R&D facilities and fixed equipment) declined in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, mostly due to a drop in defense-related R&D, according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation.

Harmful effects of bisphenol A proved experimentally
Weak concentrations of bisphenol A are sufficient to produce a negative reaction on the human testicle.

Business, government can span tech divide for people with disabilities
Forging public and private partnerships that encourage broadband access for people with disabilities may help bridge a technological divide that hinders them from reaching their potential, according to an international team of researchers.

TGen, Scottsdale Healthcare study shows drug combination extends pancreatic cancer patient survival
A multi-center Phase III clinical trial demonstrates that Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) plus gemcitabine is the first combination of cancer drugs to extend survival of late-stage pancreatic cancer patients compared to standard treatment.

Research finds substantial variation in readmission rate among children's hospitals
In a national sample of 72 children's hospitals, 6.5 percent of hospitalized children experienced an unplanned readmission within 30 days, with significant variability in readmission rates across conditions and hospitals.

Antibacterial agent used in common soaps found in increasing amounts in freshwater lakes
A new University of Minnesota study determined that the common antibacterial agent, called triclosan, used in soaps and many other products is found in increasing amounts in several Minnesota freshwater lakes.

Children with egg allergies can safely receive flu vaccine, U-M study says
Egg allergic children did not have adverse reactions to a single dose of influenza vaccine in a multi-center study.

2013 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium reveals new advances for GI cancers
New research into the treatment and prognosis of gastrointestinal cancers was released today in advance of the tenth annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium being held Jan.

Bioethics leader calls for bold approach to fighting obesity
Arguing that obesity

UTSA engineer Ruyan Guo named 2013 IEEE Fellow
Ruyan Guo, Robert E. Clarke Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for her contributions

Paradise found for Latin America's largest land mammal
Wildlife Conservation Society scientists have documented a thriving population of lowland tapirs -- the strange forest and grassland-dwelling herbivore with the trunk-like snout -- living in a network of remote national parks spanning the Peru-Bolivia border.

Controlling spine metastases with tumor 'separation surgery' and high-dose stereotactic radiosurgery
Researchers found that tumor

A brain protein called vimentin can indicate damage to the hippocampus following binge drinking
Binge drinking is known to increase the risk of developing dementia and/or brain damage.

A closer look at chromosomes
Biologist Erica Larschan, Ph.D., was named by The Pew Charitable Trusts as the

Observations to help astrophysicist understand sun's Alfvén waves
UT Arlington physics professor Zdzislaw E. Musielak has been awarded a three-year, $301,339 National Science Foundation grant to investigate Alfvén waves in the sun.

The Nurse Practitioner marks 25th Annual Legislative Update
The most comprehensive review of new legal and regulatory issues affecting advanced nursing practice across the United States is now available in the

Emergency department use within 30 days of hospital discharge common
In a study that included more than 4 million patients, nearly 20 percent of hospitalizations resulted in at least 1 acute care encounter within the 30 days following discharge, with emergency department visits accounting for about 40 percent of post-discharge hospital-based acute care use.

SEC-mandated XBRL data at risk of being irrelevant to investors and analysts
The authors, early proponents of interactive data, from Columbia Business School's Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis recently completed a review of the state of XBRL, with a focus on its usefulness and usability for security analysis.

Alcohol use from adolescence to adulthood follows different, complex pathways
Adolescence is often a time of novelty seeking and risk taking, including the initiation of drinking.

The skin aging regulator
Despite progress in regenerative medicine, with age, the skin loses its properties in an irreversible manner.

How can evolutionary biology explain why we get cancer?
Over 500 billion cells in our bodies will be replaced daily, yet natural selection has enabled us to develop defenses against the cellular mutations which could cause cancer.

Reducing the impact of a terrorist attack on our trains and metros
A team led by Newcastle University has examined the impact of a terrorist attack on our trains and metros and developed a new generation of carriages that reduce the impact of a blast and could potentially save lives.

Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria
Children with eczema have a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts than non affected children, finds a new study in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Microbiology.

Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change
Glaciers in the tropical Andes have been retreating at increasing rate since the 1970s, scientists write in the most comprehensive review to date of Andean glacier observations.

New test predicted presence of harmful BRCA mutations
A new multiple gene expression profile test was able to predict the presence of harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations in otherwise healthy women carrying the mutations, according to data published in Cancer Prevention Research.

The 'Mente e Cervello' Prize goes to Tim Shallice
Tim Shallice, neuroscientist and professor at Trieste's International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA), was assigned the

When will we all live to 100?
An article from John Appleby, Chief Economist at the Kings Fund, published on today brings attention to the rising amount of those expected to live to 100 and asks where it will end.

USDA studies confirm plant water demands shift with water availability
Plants can adapt to extreme shifts in water availability, such as drought and flooding, but their ability to withstand these extreme patterns will be tested by future climate change, according to a study by USDA scientists and their cooperators.

A diffusion trap
Sticky spots on cell membranes hold onto the master regulator of cell polarity, helping to ensure that the regulatory protein accumulates in high enough concentrations to trigger cell polarity.

In the land of the free, interdependence undermines Americans' motivation to act
Public campaigns that call upon people to think and act interdependently may undermine motivation for many Americans, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Tiny fossils hold answers to big questions on climate change
A new study reveals a unique 12,000 year record of marine algae fossils that may hold clues about past climate change.

Cross-arms could speed up connection of new electricity supplies
A revolutionary device developed by engineers at the University of Manchester and EPL Composite Solutions Ltd. could dramatically increase the capacity of the UK's electricity network, enabling rapid increases in renewable generation and lower bills for consumers.

Study of how eye cells become damaged could help prevent blindness
A study published by Cell Press on Jan. 22nd in the Biophysical Journal provides new insight into the mechanical properties that cause the outer segment of light-sensing cells in the eye to snap under pressure.

Circadian rhythms can be modified for potential treatment of disorders
UC Irvine-led studies have revealed the cellular mechanism by which circadian rhythms -- also known as the body clock -- modify energy metabolism and also have identified novel compounds that control this action.

Novel gene-searching software improves accuracy in disease studies
A novel software tool, developed at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, streamlines the detection of disease-causing genetic changes through more sensitive detection methods and by automatically correcting for variations that reduce the accuracy of results in conventional software.

Synchrotron infrared unveils a mysterious microbial community
A cold sulfur spring in Germany is the only place where archaea are known to dominate bacteria in a microbial community.

People seek high-calorie foods in tough times
Bad news about the economy could cause you to pack on the pounds, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

First global assessment of land and water 'grabbing' published in national journal
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science provides the first global quantitative assessment of land and water

EARTH: The dangers of solar storms
Throughout history, humanity has steadily increased its dependence upon technology.

Evidence mounts for role of mutated genes in development of schizophrenia
Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a rare gene mutation in a single family with a high rate of schizophrenia, adding to evidence that abnormal genes play a role in the development of the disease.

Will proposed DSM-5 changes to assessment of alcohol problems do any better?
The upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will likely change the criteria used to assess alcohol problems.

UT MD Anderson scientists find protein that reins in runaway network
Marked for death with molecular tags that act like a homing signal for a cell's protein-destroying machinery, a pivotal enzyme is rescued by another molecule that sweeps the telltale targets off in the nick of time.

Scientists find gene interactions that make cocaine abuse death 8 times more likely
Scientists have identified genetic circumstances under which common mutations on two genes interact in the presence of cocaine to produce a nearly eight-fold increased risk of death as a result of abusing the drug.

2013 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
The 2013 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine is awarded to the geneticist, Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, and jointly to the German biochemists Peter Hegemann, researcher at the Department of Experimental Biophysics at the Humboldt University, Berlin, and Georg Nagel, researcher at the Institute Julius-von-Sachs at the Biocenter, University of Wurzburg.

Sex of early birds suggests dinosaur reproductive style
In a paper published in Nature Communications on Jan. 22, 2013, a team of paleontologists including Dr.

Study: Odd biochemistry yields lethal bacterial protein
While working out the structure of a cell-killing protein produced by some strains of the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis, researchers stumbled on a bit of unusual biochemistry.

Follow-up to REDUCE study shows low rate of prostate cancer diagnosis
The four-year REDUCE (REduction by DUtasteride of prostate Cancer Events) clinical study evaluated prostate cancer risk reduction in men taking dutasteride, a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor typically used to treat enlarged prostate.

Binge drinking can dramatically amplify damage to the liver
A new review examines studies addressing the effects of binge drinking on the liver.

Gay African-American youth face unique challenges coming out to families
Coming out to one's family can be stressful, but gay black males face a unique set of personal, familial and social challenges, according to Michael C.

NREL teams up on 3 ARPA-E projects to optimize electric vehicle battery management and controls
The US Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has joined DOE and research partners in launching the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices program with a kick-off meeting in San Francisco.

Brain structure of infants predicts language skills at 1 year
Using a brain-imaging technique that examines the entire infant brain, researchers have found that the anatomy of certain brain areas - the hippocampus and cerebellum - can predict children's language abilities at one year of age.

Wood on the seafloor -- an oasis for deep-sea life
Sunken woods promote the dispersal of rare deep-sea animals, forming hotspots of biodiversity at the deep seafloor.

LSUHSC research provides new drug target for Her-2 related breast cancer
Research led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, the Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans and its Stanley S.

Study: Viral reactivation a likely link between stress and heart disease
A new study could provide the link that scientists have been looking for to confirm that reactivation of a latent herpes virus is a cause of some heart problems.

Genomic sequencing identifies mutant 'drivers' of common brain tumor
Large-scale genomic sequencing has revealed two DNA mutations that appear to drive about 15 percent of meningiomas report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute scientists.

Vitamin D holds promise in battling a deadly breast cancer, Saint Louis University researchers say
Saint Louis University researchers have discovered a molecular pathway that contributes to triple-negative breast cancer, an often deadly and treatment resistant form of cancer that tends to strike younger women.

Researchers attack HIV's final defenses before drug-resistant mutations emerge
With a new $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the University of Missouri is leading a team of researchers who want to stay a step ahead of HIV by finding new pathways for shutting down the virus.

Image sensors out of a spray can
Researchers from Technische Universität München have developed a new generation of image sensors that are more sensitive to light than the conventional silicon versions, with the added bonus of being simple and cheap to produce.

Lower drinking ages can have an impact on later drinking patterns
Lower minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws have been associated with short-term effects such as more traffic fatalities and teen suicides.

Society of Interventional Radiology's new IR Quarterly focuses on features, in-depth news
The Society of Interventional Radiology announces the launch of IR Quarterly -- a new magazine that communicates updates critical to the practice of interventional radiology, augmented with stories, interviews and in-depth analysis in each four-color, 40-page issue.

From dark hearts comes the kindness of mankind
The kindness of mankind most likely developed from our more sinister and self-serving tendencies, according to Princeton University and University of Arizona research that suggests society's rules against selfishness are rooted in the very exploitation they condemn.

New study examines on/off relationships and 'sex with an ex' among teenagers and young adults
A new study finds that nearly half of older teenagers and young adults break up and get back together with previous dating partners and over half of this group have sex as part of the reconciliation process.

Innovative sensor technology for efficient and portable gas detection devices
Gas sensors developed in a European project now enable the implementation of cheaper and smaller instruments with equal or higher speed and sensitivity than current laboratory-grade instruments.

Helping healthy cells could be key to fighting leukemia, research suggests
Instead of focusing on the elimination of cancer cells, maintaining a stable population of healthy blood cells in the bone marrow could be the most effective way to fight against leukemia.

Men more likely than women to commit scientific fraud
Male scientists are far more likely to commit fraud than females and the fraud occurs across the career spectrum, from trainees to senior faculty.

Plants adapt to drought but limits are looming, study finds
Plants can adapt their water use according to how much water is available, a team of scientists including University of Arizona rangeland ecologists reports in the journal Nature.

South Americans want policy makers to put ethics above price
Researchers at Royal Holloway University have found that Brazilians and Chileans want the state to buy on social and environmental criteria, not just on price.

UA's Marwan Krunz chalks up another engineering honor with IEEE Award
As an IEEE distinguished lecturer, Marwan Krunz, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will share the University of Arizona's work in dynamic spectrum access with other universities worldwide.

Just add water: How scientists are using silicon to produce hydrogen on demand
Super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogen almost instantaneously, without the need for light, heat or electricity, according to new University at Buffalo research.

University of Arizona grad student sends research into space and back; Earns top professional honors
Not many students can say they had to wait for their radiation-hardened optical fibers to come back from space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour's final mission before they could collect their doctorate degrees.

Public acceptance of climate change affected by word usage
Public acceptance of climate change's reality may have been influenced by the rate at which words moved from scientific journals into the mainstream, according to anthropologist Michael O'Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri.

UT Dallas researchers awarded $4.3 million to create next-generation technologies
Two teams of researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas are investigators in a $194 million national network to create the technologies of the next generation.

Hospital readmission for older patients often for different illness
Among approximately three million Medicare patients hospitalized for heart failure, heart attack, or pneumonia, re-admissions were frequent throughout the 30 days following the hospitalization, and resulted from a wide variety of diagnoses that often differed from the cause of the index hospitalization.

BPA substitute could spell trouble
Researchers found that like BPA, BPS disrupts cellular responses to the hormone estrogen, changing patterns of cell growth and death and hormone release.

NYUCN's Drs. Shedlin and Anastasi publish in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Complementary and alternative medicines and therapies are often used to improve or maintain overall health and to relieve the side effects of conventional treatments or symptoms associated with chronic illnesses such as HIV infection.

New research on military traumatic brain injury
Researchers are making new strides in understanding the health consequences, treatment and rehabilitation needs of combat veterans and other service members affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Analysis of fracking wastewater yields some surprises
Hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are producing less wastewater per unit of gas recovered than conventional wells would.

Research to kick-start the UK economy
What will it take put the UK back on the path of sustained economic growth?

The ability to 'hold one's liquor' indicates risk of developing alcohol problems
The ability to

Researchers map emotional intelligence in the brain
A new study of 152 Vietnam veterans with combat-related brain injuries offers the first detailed map of the brain regions that contribute to emotional intelligence - the ability to process emotional information and navigate the social world.

Emergency room redux for many patients after hospitalization
Following a hospitalization, patients face many challenges as they transition home.

Immune system molecule with hidden talents
Researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Hannover Medical School have discovered that dendritic cells are dependent upon the support from a class of immune system molecules, which have never before been associated with dendritic cells: Antibodies, best known for their role in vaccinations and diagnostics.

Less tau reduces seizures and sudden death in severe epilepsy
Deleting or reducing expression of a gene that carries the code for tau, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, can prevent seizures in a severe type of epilepsy linked to sudden death, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine.

Lavender Languages Conference celebrates 20 years at American University
The Lavender Languages Conference, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year at American University in Washington, D.C., has grown to be North America's longest-running academic conference with a queer focus.

Readmissions frequent in month after hospital discharge
Following hospitalization for heart attacks, heart failure, or pneumonia, patients are at high risk of being readmitted for a broad spectrum of medical conditions in the month following hospital discharge, research at Yale School of Medicine shows.

CSIRO telescope takes temperature of Universe
Astronomers using a CSIRO radio telescope have taken the Universe's temperature, and have found that it has cooled down just the way the Big Bang theory predicts.

Study explores whether sleeping pills reduce insomniac's suicidal thoughts
Researchers want to know whether a sleeping pill reduces suicidal thoughts in depressed patients with insomnia.

Immune cells engineered in lab to resist HIV infection, Stanford study shows
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Stem cell research helps to identify origins of schizophrenia
New University at Buffalo research demonstrates how defects in an important neurological pathway in early development may be responsible for the onset of schizophrenia later in life.

Are antidepressants overused?
Antidepressant prescriptions in the UK have increased by 9.6 percent in 2011, to 46 million prescriptions.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Oswald weaken over Queensland's Cape York Peninsula
NASA's Aqua satellite documented the formation of Tropical Storm Oswald in the Gulf of Carpentaria on Jan.

New information on binding gold particles over metal oxide surfaces
The strong binding of gold on electronically modified calcium oxide can now be understood in detail.

A call to prevent unsafe high-risk medical devices from reaching the marketplace
Technological advancements in medicine have allowed patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions such as hip and knee pain to regain mobility and live relatively pain-free.

Study reveals long-term effects on child IQ of epilepsy drug valproate during pregnancy
Research published today in the Lancet Neurology shows that taking the antiepileptic drug valproate during pregnancy affects the IQ of children up to the age of six.

Reviewing alcohol's effects on normal sleep
Sleep cycles between two states: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep.

Hypertension during pregnancy increases risk of end-stage renal disease
Women with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are at higher risk of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease compared with women without the disorders, according to a study in Canadian Medical Association Journal. 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