Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2013
Genetics Society of America's Genetics journal highlights for April 2013
The selected highlights for the April 2013 issue of Genetics cover a wide array of topics including methods, technology and resources; gene expression; genetics of complex traits; genome integrity and transmission; population and evolutionary genetics; cellular genetics; and, genome system biology.

Prostate cancer risk rises in men with inherited genetic condition
Men with an inherited genetic condition called Lynch syndrome face a higher lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer and appear to develop the disease at an earlier age, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

University of Tennessee professor links massive prehistoric bird extinction to human colonization
Research by Alison Boyer, a research assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an international team studied the extinction rates of nonperching land birds in the Pacific Islands from 700 to 3,500 years ago.

Tests to predict heart problems may be more useful predictor of memory loss than dementia tests
Risk prediction tools that estimate future risk of heart disease and stroke may be more useful predictors of future decline in cognitive abilities, or memory and thinking, than a dementia risk score, according to a new study published in the April 2, 2013, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Varicella vaccine has long-term effectiveness against chicken pox
Chicken pox, the childhood affliction of earlier generations, has been largely neutralized by the varicella vaccine, according to a new study by the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, which appears in the current online issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers discover brain cancer treatment using genetic material from bone marrow cells
In a first-of-its-kind experiment using microvesicles generated from mesenchymal bone marrow cells (MSCs) to treat cancer, neurological researchers at Henry Ford Hospital have discovered a novel approach for treatment of tumor.

Post-ER care for chest pain reduces risk of heart attack, death
Follow-up care after an emergency room visit for chest pain significantly reduced the risk of heart attack or death among high risk patients.

EARTH: Community college at sea
It's 3 a.m., and students from two Oregon community colleges are rocking back and forth through roiling seas.

The metabolic weathervane of cancer
Highly expressed in various cancers and known for its cytoprotective properties, TRAP1 protein has been identified as a potential target for antitumor treatments.

Organic labels bias consumers perceptions through the 'health halo effect'
This study conducted by Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab researchers Lee, Shimizu, Kniffin and Wansink shows that an organic label can influence much more than health views: perceptions of taste, calories and value can be significantly altered when a food is labeled

Sorting out the structure of a Parkinson's protein
Recent findings from MIT could offer a new way to treat Parkinson's.

New technique shows promise in restoring near vision without glasses
By middle age, most people have age-related declines in near vision requiring bifocals or reading glasses.

Mayo Clinic: New multiple myeloma treatment guidelines personalize therapy for patients
Researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have developed new guidelines to treat recently diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who are not participating in clinical trials.

Our internal clocks can become ticking time bombs for diabetes and obesity
If you're pulling and all-nighter to finish a term paper, a new parent up all night with a fussy baby, or simply can't sleep like you once could, then you may be snoozing on good health.

Newly approved blood thinner may increase susceptibility to some viral infections
A study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina indicates that a newly approved blood thinner that blocks a key component of the human blood clotting system may increase the risk and severity of certain viral infections, including flu and myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart and a significant cause of sudden death in children and young adults.

Researchers find link between blood clotting, immune response
Rice researchers have uncovered a surprise link between a protein that triggers the formation of blood clots and other proteins that are essential for the body's immune response.

Drug for erectile disorder show promise in the treatment of obesity
Although sildenafil is best known for promoting erections, it may also serve as a weight loss aid by coaxing our bodies to store more healthy

Personalized brain mapping technique preserves function following brain tumor surgery
In the latest issue of Neurosurgical Focus, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania review research showing that this ability to visualize relevant white matter tracts during glioma resection surgeries can improve accuracy and, in some groups, significantly extend survival (median survival of 21.2 months) compared to cases where DTI was not used (median survival of 14 months).

Deadly effects of certain kinds of household air pollution lead to call for biomarker studies
Almost 4 million people die annually from the household air pollution (HAP) caused by exposure to the combustion of biomass fuels, kerosene, or coal.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for April 2, 2013
Below is information about articles being published in the April 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Unique group for single fathers due to cancer offers support
Faculty in the UNC Department of Psychiatry report on a successful pilot peer support program called

By keeping the beat, sea lion sheds new light on animals' movements to sound
Move over dancing bears -- Ronan the sea lion really does know how to boogie to the beat.

Hospitals measure up for Medicare reimbursement
For-profit hospitals are out-performing other hospitals when treating stroke, heart attack and pneumonia patients in emergency departments and, thus, will be more likely to receive bonuses under Medicare's new payment rules, according to a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Adolescents' poor health behaviors raise risk of heart disease as adults
US adolescents' lack of heart-healthy behaviors may increase their chances of heart disease as adults.

Streams stressed by pharmaceutical pollution
Pharmaceuticals commonly found in the environment are disrupting streams, with unknown impacts on aquatic life and water quality.

Feeding corn germ to pigs does not affect growth performance
Inclusion of corn germ in swine diets can reduce diet costs, depending on the local cost of corn germ and other ingredients.

Many emergency department providers don't ask suicidal patients about gun access
Although guns are used in over half of all American suicides, a new study shows many emergency room doctors do not routinely ask suicidal patients about their access to firearms.

Shedding light on early Parkinson's disease pathology
In a mouse model of early Parkinson's disease (PD), animals displayed movement deficits, loss of tyrosine-hydroxylase-positive fibers in the striatum, and astro-gliosis and micro-gliosis in the substantia nigra, without the loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons.

Loss of tumor suppressor SPOP releases cancer potential of SRC-3
Mutations in a protein called SPOP disarm it, allowing another protein called steroid receptor coactivator-3 to encourage the proliferation and spread of prostate cancer cells, said researchers led by those at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Promoting muscle regeneration in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Anton Bennett at Yale University identified the protein MKP-5 as a negative regulator of muscle regeneration.

Researchers are first to use common virus to 'fortify' adult stem cells
Using the same strategy that a common virus employs to evade the human immune system, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine have modified adult stem cells to increase their survival -- with the goal of giving the cells time to exert their natural healing abilities.

JCI early table of contents for April 1, 2013
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 1, 2013, in the JCI: Loss of MKP-5 promotes muscle regeneration in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy; Alternative fuel for your brain; and many more.

New models predict drastically greener Arctic in coming decades
New research predicts that rising temperatures will lead to a massive

Early COPD diagnosis possible with nuclear medicine
In vivo ventilation/perfusion imaging can detect early changes to the lung caused by cigarette smoke exposure and provides a noninvasive method for studying lung dysfunction in preclinical models, according to research published in the April issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Mosquito genetic complexity may take a bite out of efforts to control malaria
A team of scientists from West Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom found that the mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, which was thought to be splitting into two completely new species, may actually have a more complex range of forms due to frequent inter-mating.

Newly identified tumor suppressor provides therapeutic target for prostate cancer
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute found that the enzyme PKCζ controls the activation of a pro-tumor gene called c-Myc.

Can meditation make you a more compassionate person?
Scientists have mostly focused on the benefits of meditation for the brain and the body, but a recent study by Northeastern University's David DeSteno, published in Psychological Science, takes a look at what impacts meditation has on interpersonal harmony and compassion.

Electroencephalography underused investigative tool in hospitals
A retrospective study of patients who had in-hospital electroencephalography (EEG) has established that EEG is a valuable tool that could be deployed more widely to identify treatable causes of impaired consciousness in the hospital setting.

Geosphere adds 2 new special issue themes
Two new themes:

Cash for weight loss? Works better when employees compete for pots of money, study finds
Peer pressure may carry more weight when it comes to weight loss success than cash alone.

Alternative fuel for your brain
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Raimund Herzog and colleagues at Yale University used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure the concentrations and enrichment of different energy substrates and their metabolites in a rat model of recurrent hypoglycemia.

Ag, big data, and traditional knowledge headline the Ecological Society of America's 2013 Meeting
The Ecological Society of America's 98th annual meeting

Successful once, protesters may hesitate to return to streets
As the long-term impact of the Arab Spring continues to take shape, research from political scientists at Princeton University and New York University warns that the protests that swept across the Middle East and North Africa could mark more of an isolated occurrence than a permanent rise of people power in the region.

Feeding the world's future
Researchers at Michigan State University netted a $24.5 million award from the US Agency for International Development, continuing MSU's long-term commitment to helping developing nations find sustainable and secure food sources.

All water pills not equally effective against heart failure
Loop diuretics, more commonly known as water pills, are the most widely prescribed heart failure medications, but few studies had extensively compared their effectiveness until Yale School of Medicine researchers examined three approved loop diuretics and found that even though one of them might offer more benefit, it is rarely prescribed.

Nothing fishy about it: Fish oil can boost the immune system
Fish oil rich in DHA and EPA is widely believed to help prevent disease by reducing inflammation, but until now, scientists were not entirely sure about its immune enhancing effects.

Record-breaking 2011 Lake Erie algae bloom may be sign of things to come
The largest harmful algae bloom in Lake Erie's recorded history was likely caused by the confluence of changing farming practices and weather conditions that are expected to become more common in the future due to climate change.

Soils in newly forested areas store substantial carbon that could help offset climate change
Surface appearances can be so misleading: In most forests, the amount of carbon held in soils is substantially greater than the amount contained in the trees themselves.

Over-diagnosis of reflux in infants leads to needless medication
Calling gastroesophageal reflux a disease increases parents' wish for medication, symptoms are frequently over-treated in infants, according to new research.

'RNA sponge' mechanism may cause ALS/FTD neurodegeneration
The most common genetic cause of both ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and FTD (frontotemporal dementia) was recently identified as an alteration in the gene C9orf72.

Study examines change in cognitive function following physical, mental activity in older adults
A randomized controlled trial finds that 12 weeks of physical plus mental activity in inactive older adults with cognitive complaints was associated with significant improvement in cognitive function, but there was no difference between intervention and control groups, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Extreme algal blooms: The new normal?
A research team, led by Carnegie's Anna Michalak, has determined that the 2011 record-breaking algal bloom in Lake Erie was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures.

Research deciphers HIV attack plan
A new study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania scientists defines previously unknown properties of transmitted HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS.

Is guided self-help effective in treating childhood obesity?
Initial studies at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine indicate that a self-help treatment program for overweight children and their parents, guided by clinical experts, may be an effective solution.

Understanding statin discontinuation
In a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital, researchers examined the role adverse reactions play in statin discontinuation and found that more than 90 percent of the patients who stopped taking a statin due to an adverse reaction, were able to tolerate it when they tried again.

Antibiotic studied to reduce hemorrhagic stroke damage
A new study will help determine if an antibiotic is a partial antidote for the poisonous effect blood has on the brain following a hemorrhagic stroke, researchers say.

Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, UCI study finds
California sagebrush in the southern part of the state will adjust better to climate change than sagebrush populations in the north, according to UC Irvine researchers in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology affiliated with the Center for Environmental Biology.

Watching fluid flow at nanometer scales
New research carried out at MIT and elsewhere has demonstrated for the first time that when inserted into a pool of liquid, nanowires naturally draw the liquid upward in a thin film that coats the surface of the wire.

Mechanism of mutant histone protein in childhood brain cancer revealed
Researchers have shown how a mutated histone protein inhibits an enzyme, which normally keeps cell growth in check, and causes a rare form of pediatric brain cancer called DIPG.

Phone app for managing heart disease created by Rutgers-Camden nursing student
A new smart phone app that helps patients manage heart disease and stay out of the hospital has been developed by a team led by a Rutgers-Camden nursing student.

Growing shorter: Adult health habits influence how much we shrink with age
Even if you didn't eat your veggies or drink your milk as a child, your height is still in your hands.

Models will enable safer deepwater oil production
Rice scientists are part of an effort to help make ultra-deepwater development safer and more successful by creating models of scale and corrosion.

Body mass index and coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease increases with BMI, as well as with age, finds an article published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine.

Crucial step in human DNA replication observed for the first time
An elusive step in the process of human DNA replication has been observed, for the first time, by scientists at Penn State University.

Geckos keep firm grip in wet natural habitat
Geckos' ability to stick to trees and leaves during rainforest downpours has fascinated scientists for decades, leading a group of University of Akron researchers to solve the mystery.

Putting a human face on a product: When brand humanization goes wrong
When companies put a human face on their brand, the public usually responds positively.

Eating fish associated with lower risk of dying among older adults
Older adults with higher levels of blood omega-3 levels -- fatty acids found in fish and seafood -- may be able to lower their mortality risk by as much as 27 percent and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35 percent, report researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington.

Princess Margaret breast cancer research finds new drug target companion prognostic test for hormone therapy resistance
A team of international cancer researchers led by Dr. Mathieu Lupien at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, has identified the signalling pathway that is over-activated in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells that are resistant to hormone therapies such as tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors or fulvestrant. 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