Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 15, 2013
Novel herbal compound offers potential to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease
Administration of the active compound tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside derived from the Chinese herbal medicine Polygonum multiflorum Thunb, reversed both overexpression of α-synuclein, a small protein found in the brain, and its accumulation using a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Forget about leprechauns, engineers are catching rainbows
University at Buffalo engineers have created a more efficient way to catch rainbows, an advancement in photonics that could lead to technological breakthroughs in solar energy, stealth technology and other areas of research.

DNDi Latin America receives 2013 Carlos Slim Health Award
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative in Latin America received the 2013 Carlos Slim Health Award in recognition of 10 years of exceptional work in research and development to deliver new, life-saving treatments for neglected patients.

UC research takes a new approach to identifying 'food deserts'
New research takes a new look at an urban area's access to healthier foods.

Universal rules discovered that allow anticipation of critical transitions
Sudden shifts in complex systems such as the climate, financial markets, ecosystems and even the human body can be preceded by surprisingly comparable warning signals.

Society of Toxicology honors members for scientific achievements
The Society of Toxicology will honor a number of exemplary scientists for their important achievements during formal ceremonies at the Society's Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 10-14, in San Antonio, TX.

Data challenges the APB on BPA
A controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make a safer food supply has recently come under attack: bisphenol A.

Evolutionary origins of human dietary patterns
William Leonard has conducted extensive research on the diets and ways of prehistoric populations.

CMRE challenges robots to compete in sea, land and air venues
A new European Union initiative will create an exciting new Grand Challenge for intelligent search and rescue robots.

Statistics help clear fog for better climate change picture
Statistics is an important tool in sorting through information on how human activities are affecting the climate system, as well as how climate change affects natural and human systems, according to a Penn State statistician.

Moffitt researchers find potential new therapeutic target for treating non-small cell lung cancer
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have found a potential targeted therapy for patients with tobacco-associated non-small cell lung cancer.

Chemists develop single molecule sieves to separate complex molecular mixtures
Chemists at the University of Liverpool have created a new technique that could be used in industry to separate complex organic chemical mixtures.

Malnutrition -- Living hungrily ever after
Hunger is a two-sided coin. It refers simultaneously to that which is visible and can be subjectively and objectively viewed, and that which is hidden.

Avoiding virus dangers in 'domesticating' wild plants for biofuel use
In our ongoing quest for alternative energy sources, researchers are looking more to plants that grow in the wild for use in biofuels -- plants such as switchgrass.

Research finds promising approaches to prevent Latino childhood obesity
Guided grocery store trips, menu labeling at restaurants, community gardens, and video-game-based exercise programs are among several promising, culturally appropriate ways to prevent obesity among Latino children, according to a new collection of studies from Salud America!

Research with Yorkshire Water to reduce lead in water supplies
Research at the University of Huddersfield aims to ensure that the risk of lead being found in domestic water supplies as a result of lead plumbing is reduced even further - in line with new regulations which come into force at the end of 2013.

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital test tool for screening cancer patients for malnutrition
Considering the many things a cancer patient has to think about, it's easy to understand why maintaining proper nutrition may not be top of mind.

UTSW researchers identify new enzyme that acts as innate immunity sensor
Two studies by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center could lead to new treatments for lupus and other autoimmune diseases and strengthen current therapies for viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.

The science of uncertainty in genomic medicine
In both translational science and clinical practice, the substantial uncertainty in interpreting genomic information serves as an important barrier to application.

The same genetic defect causes Pompe disease in both humans and dogs
Pompe disease, a severe glycogen storage disease appearing in Lapphunds, is caused by a genetic defect in acid α-glucosidase gene; the same genetic mutation also causes the equivalent disease in humans.

Wild plants are infected with many viruses and still thrive
Researchers have studied viruses as agents of disease in humans, domestic animals and plants, but a study of plant viruses in the wild may point to a more cooperative, benevolent role of the microbe, according to a Penn State virologist.

University of Waterloo researchers propose breakthrough architecture for quantum computers
A team of researchers at the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing has proposed a new computational model that may become the architecture for a scalable quantum computer.

Early education closes achievement gap, brings societal benefits
A decades long scientific study shows carefully designed pre-school programs improve a person's competence through adulthood and provide a good return on investment.

NIH study shows big improvement in diabetes control over past decades
More people are meeting recommended goals in the 3 key markers of diabetes control, according to a study conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers uncover new findings on genetic risks of Behçet's disease
Researchers don't know the exact cause of Behçet's disease, a condition that leads to serious complications such as blindness, but new research brings better understanding to what makes some people more susceptible to being affected.

To feed the world, give women equal rights
To feed a global population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, we will need to increase food production by as much as 70 percent.

This is why it takes so long to get over tendon injuries
The Achilles heel of the body - getting over damage to tendons can be a long and painful process.

Most comprehensive report in 50 years on education of key scientists
In the most comprehensive report in a half century, experts today described fundamental changes needed in the education of the scientists whose work impacts medicine, drug discovery and virtually every other discipline.

Study finds that 'Big Pharma' fails at self-policing ED drug advertising
The pharmaceutical industry's efforts to self-regulate its direct-to-consumer advertising are

MSU launches groundbreaking drug trial in Africa
Determined to bring relief to seizure victims, a Michigan State University research team this month begins a groundbreaking clinical drug trial that could help prevent a quarter-million African children from developing epilepsy each year.

Force is the key to granular state-shifting
Ever wonder why sand can both run through an hourglass like a liquid and be solid enough to support buildings?

Evolutionary biologists urged to adapt their research methods
To truly understand the mechanisms of natural selection, evolutionary biologists need to shift their focus from present-day molecules to synthesized, ancestral ones, says Emory University biologist Shozo Yokoyama.

IOM 'Evaluation of PEPFAR' to release Feb. 20
Evaluation of PEPFAR, a new report from the Institute of Medicine, presents the results of an assessment of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

A closer look at life: X-ray microscopy hits the sweet spot for chemical and elemental imaging
Berkeley Lab's Janos Kirz, who pioneered the development of soft x-ray microscopy and spectromicroscopy, will describe 2-D and 3-D x-ray chemical imaging of biological systems in a presentation at the 2013 AAAS annual meeting in Boston titled

Breast cancer risk prediction model for African American women underestimates risk
A breast cancer risk prediction model developed for African Americans tends to underestimate risk in certain subgroups, according to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University.

Spectacular forcepfly species discovered for the first time in South America
Austromerope is a genus of forcepflies, whose representatives are rare and mostly restricted in distribution.

Researcher at UPNA develops 3-D reconstruction algorithms less complex and more accurate
In his Ph.D. thesis, Leonardo de Maeztu-Reinares is proposing 3-D reconstruction algorithms; they are on a par with the results of the best available techniques and can be executed more rapidly on a computer.

A smoking gun in lung cancer epigenetics
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, David Schrump and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD, measured miRNA expression in normal human lung cells exposed to cigarette smoke condensate and lung cancer cells derived from smokers and non-smokers.

Open-source software can help find the right space for offshore wind turbines
A Stanford economist pitches open-source software for evaluating potential offshore wind turbine sites for optimal energy production and minimal disruption of other marine industry.

Is there a Neanderthal in the house?
Bunions bothering you? How about lower back pain, or impacted wisdom teeth?

Major grant for research on healthy aging
Carsten Wrosch, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development, was recently awarded a major grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, worth $757,722.

Genetic components of political preference
Rose McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University, will explain the role that genes play in political preferences, an area of study that has begun to draw significant attention in the last decade.

Not your conventional nucleic acids
Northwestern University's Chad Mirkin has invented and developed a powerful nanomaterial that could revolutionize biomedicine: spherical nucleic acids (SNAs).

Playing quantum tricks with measurements
A team of physicists at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, performed an experiment that seems to contradict the foundations of quantum theory -- at first glance.

Increased heart attack-related mortality in diabetics linked to protein oxidation
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Min Luo and colleagues at the University of Iowa used a mouse model of diabetes to determine if ox-CAMKII was an essential component of the molecular pathway that increases heart attack-related mortality in diabetic patients.

Neuronal activity induces tau release from healthy neurons
Researchers from King's College London have discovered that neuronal activity can stimulate tau release from healthy neurons in the absence of cell death.

Rutgers physicists test highly flexible organic semiconductors
Rutgers University physicists have demonstrated extremely flexible organic semiconductors that withstood multiple bending cycles in which the devices were rolled to a radius as small as 200 micrometers.

Artificial platelets could treat injured soldiers on the battlefield
When it comes to healing the terrible wounds of war, success may hinge on the first blood clot -- the one that begins forming on the battlefield right after an injury.

Can hospital readmission rates be trusted?
A study of spine surgery patients has found that the standard method used to calculate readmission rates is a misleading indicator of hospital quality.

Nano-machines for 'bionic proteins'
Physicists of the University of Vienna together with researchers from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna developed nano-machines which recreate principal activities of proteins.

Climate change's costly wild weather consequences
University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Donald Wuebbles will present a talk about how climate change is increasing the number of severe weather events at the 2013 AAAS meeting.

Study finds possible link between diabetes and increased risk of heart attack death
Having diabetes doubles a person's risk of dying after a heart attack, but the reason for the increased risk is not clear.

Quantum devices: Building an innovative future for Canada
Quantum information processing promises not only breakthroughs for computing, communications and cryptography, but it can also help us devise tools for navigating and controlling the nano-scale world.

Climate change is not an all-or-nothing proposition, researcher says
An Ohio State University statistician says that the natural human difficulty with grasping probabilities is preventing Americans from dealing with climate change.

The discovery of a new genus of crustacean and 5 new species
On recent expeditions to Madagascar and the French Polynesia, two Spanish researchers have discovered five new species of crustacean and a new genus named Triodonthea.

JCI early table of contents for Feb. 15, 2013
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Research uncovers a potential link between Parkinson's and visual problems
The most common genetic cause of Parkinson's is not only responsible for the condition's distinctive movement problems but may also affect vision, according to new research by scientists at the University of York.

Scientists find promising new approach to preventing progression of breast cancer
Doctors currently struggle to determine whether a breast tumor is likely to shift into an aggressive, life-threatening mode -- an issue with profound implications for treatment.

Deja vu all over again? Cultural understanding vs. horrors of eugenics
Scientific efforts to explain feeblemindedness, delinquency and racial inferiorities date to the Spanish Inquisition.

'The Scars of Human Evolution' briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking
From sore feet to backaches, blame it on human evolution.

Mari's presentation tops ANZFSS International Symposium
A forensic science breakthrough at the University of Huddersfield has received extra stimulus after winning the award for Best Oral Presentation in Biological Criminalistics at the 21st International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, which took place in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Stanford ecologist uses social media data to gauge recreational value of coastal areas
A Stanford ecologist advocates using social media data to determine the recreational value of coastal ecosystems in order to better direct conservation efforts and funds.

Einstein researchers present on imaging advances
John Condeelis, Ph.D., and Robert Singer, Ph.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will describe their imaging research at the AAAS Annual Meeting.

Extreme winters impact fish negatively
Ecologists from Umeå University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have studied fish communities and fish habitat and reviewed the importance of winter conditions for fish in streams and rivers in cold regions. 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