Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 29, 2013
How would you like your assistant -- Human or Robotic?
In a Georgia Tech study, more than half of healthcare providers interviewed said that if they were offered an assistant, they preferred it to be a robotic helper rather than a human.

Postcode inequality for cancer diagnosis 'costs lives'
Study finds hundreds of lives could be prolonged if women in poorer areas were diagnosed with breast cancer at same stage as those in affluent areas.

Analysis: Emergency care cost estimates are too low
US emergency care costs may be more than twice previously published estimates, according to a new analysis that critiques those estimates, argues for improved accounting, and suggests considering the value of emergency care as well as total spending.

Pregnant women with high celiac disease antibodies are at risk for low birth weight babies
Pregnant women with mid to high levels of antibodies common in patients with celiac disease are at risk for having babies with reduced fetal weight and birth weight, according to a new study in Gastroenterology.

Reading wordless storybooks to toddlers may expose them to richer language
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that children hear more complex language from parents when they read a storybook with only pictures compared to a picture-vocabulary book.

EARTH: Why US energy security is increasing
To what extent is the United States energy independent? In recent years, Americans have heard a lot about the need to be unconstrained from foreign energy sources, but what do the numbers really tell us about our current state of independence?

Feast clue to smell of ancient earth
Tiny 1,900-million-year-old fossils from rocks around Lake Superior, Canada, give the first ever snapshot of organisms eating each other and suggest what the ancient Earth would have smelled like.

Growing new arteries, bypassing blocked ones
Scientific collaborators from Yale School of Medicine and University College London have uncovered the molecular pathway by which new arteries may form after heart attacks, strokes and other acute illnesses bypassing arteries that are blocked.

Frequently used biologic agents might cause acute liver injury
A commonly used class of biologic response modifying drugs can cause acute liver injury with elevated liver enzymes, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Research: Common component strategy could improve profits
Manufacturing using common components can actually reduce product line cannibalization, a finding that could allow firms to improve profits, says research by Dilip Chhajed and Yunchuan

Voter optimism wanes in run-up to election day
Scholars have long known that voters tend to believe that the candidates they support will win, even when victory seems unlikely.

Treatment by naturopathic doctors shows reduction in cardiovascular risk factors
Counseling and treatment with naturopathic care as well as enhanced usual care reduced the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease, by 17 percent over a year for participants in a randomized controlled trial published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Extreme political attitudes may stem from an illusion of understanding
Having to explain how a political policy works leads people to express less extreme attitudes toward the policy, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

First comprehensive analysis reveals long-term effectiveness of SERMs for preventing breast cancer
Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs: tamoxifen, raloxifene, arzoxifene, and lasofoxifene) significantly reduce the risk of developing the most common type of breast cancer among women at both high and average risk of the disease* both during treatment, and for at least 5 years after stopping, according to the first comprehensive analysis of all SERM prevention trials to date published Online First in The Lancet.

Scientists reach the ultimate goal -- controlling chirality in carbon nanotubes
20 years after the discovery of SWNTs, scientists from Aalto University in Finland, A.M.

The world's leading heart failure congress
The Heart Failure Congress 2013 promises more science than ever this year, with a record number of abstracts submitted.

Grocery delivery service is greener than driving to the store
University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store.

Contracted prisons cut costs without sacrificing quality, study finds
As states continue to grapple with aging correctional facilities, overcrowding, underfunded retiree obligations and other constraints, new research from Temple University's Center for Competitive Government finds that privately operated prisons can substantially cut costs -- from 12 percent to 58 percent in long-term savings -- while performing at equal or better levels than government-run prisons.

Study identifies key shift in the brain that creates drive to overeat
A team of American and Italian neuroscientists has identified a cellular change in the brain that accompanies obesity.

Visitors and residents: Students' attitudes to academic use of social media
A University of Leicester-led study shows students display

Engaging online crowds in the classroom could be important tool for teaching innovation
Online crowds can be an important tool for teaching the ins and outs of innovation, educators at Carnegie Mellon University and Northwestern University say, even when the quality of the feedback provided by online sources doesn't always match the quantity.

Northwestern Medicine researchers work to improve heart attack response time
Northwestern Medicine researchers applied performance improvement strategies to lower door-to-balloon times at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, with the goal of creating an approach that could be applied to hospitals across the country.

Added benefit of saxagliptin/metformin combination is not proven
The fixed combination of saxagliptin and metformin has no added benefit compared to the current standard treatment for people with type 2 diabetes, as the drug manufacturer did not submit any suitable data for this comparison.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for April 30, 2013
Below is information about an article being published in the April 30 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

OGI's investment in cytognomix contributes to the Shannon Human Splicing Pipeline's success
Ontario Genomics Institute congratulates Cytognomix on the success of the Shannon Human Splicing Pipeline, which was recently purchased by the National Cancer Institute in the US.

Leadership emerges spontaneously during games
Video game and augmented-reality game players can spontaneously build virtual teams and leadership structures without special tools or guidance, according to researchers.

Cancer studies often lack necessary rigor to answer key questions
Fueled in part by an inclination to speed new treatments to patients, research studies for cancer therapies tend to be smaller and less robust than for other diseases.

Many stressors associated with fracking due to perceived lack of trust, Pitt finds
Pennsylvania residents living near unconventional natural gas developments using hydraulic fracturing, known by the slang term

Comparing proteins at a glance
A revolutionary X-ray analytical technique enables researchers at a glance to identify structural similarities and differences between multiple proteins under a variety of conditions and has already been used to gain valuable new insight into a prime protein target for cancer chemotherapy.

UNC research uncovers molecular role of gene linked to blood vessel formation
University of North Carolina researchers have discovered that disrupting a gene that acts as a regulatory switch to turn on other genes can keep blood vessels from forming and developing properly.

Patterned hearts
A team of bioengineers at Brigham and Women's Hospital is the first to report creating artificial heart tissue that closely mimics the functions of natural heart tissue through the use of human-based materials.

NYU and NYU Langone researchers devise method for enhancing CEST MRI
Researchers at NYU and NYU Langone Medical Center have created a novel way to enhance MRI by reducing interference from large macromolecules that can often obscure images generated by current chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) methods.

US a surprisingly large reservoir of crop plant diversity
North America isn't known as a hotspot for crop plant diversity, yet a new inventory has uncovered nearly 4,600 wild relatives of crop plants in the United States, including close relatives of globally important food crops such as sunflower, bean, sweet potato, and strawberry.

Warning system predicts outbreaks of dengue fever
With the help of a warning system which measures the risk of dengue incidence using precipitation and air temperature, it is possible to forecast the outbreak of dengue fever up to 16 weeks in advance.

Silicone liquid crystal stiffens with repeated compression
Rice University scientists find liquid crystalline silicone stiffens significantly when compressed repeatedly for hours on end.

Food dye could provide 'blueprint' for treatment of Panx1-related diseases
The food dye Brilliant Blue FCF could be a useful tool in the development of treatments for a variety of conditions involving the membrane channel protein Pannexin 1, according to a study in the Journal of General.

Scripps Research Institute scientists discover how a protein finds its way
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have uncovered how an enzyme co-factor can bestow specificity on a class of proteins with otherwise nonspecific biochemical activity.

New subtype of ataxia identified
Researchers from the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation, the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, and the Sant Joan de Déu de Martorell Hospital, has identified a new subtype of ataxia, a rare disease without treatment that causes atrophy in the cerebellum and affects around 1.5 million people in the world.

No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved
Forecasting volcanic eruptions with success is heavily dependent on recognizing well-established patterns of pre-eruption unrest in the monitoring data.

Team finds markers related to ovarian cancer survival and recurrence
Illinois animal sciences professor Sandra Rodriguez-Zas and graduate student Kristin Delfino identified biomarkers that are used to determine ovarian cancer survival and recurrence and showed how the interactions between these biomarkers affect these outcomes.

Sharing examination questions threatens trust in medical profession
Unethical behavior among physicians-in-training threatens to erode public trust and confidence in the medical profession, say two academic physicians in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Do you obsess over your appearance? Your brain might be wired abnormally
New research at UCLA has discovered that people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have abnormal connections throughout their brain.

Targeting prescribers can reduce excessive use of antibiotics in hospitals
Giving prescribers access to education and advice or imposing restrictions on use can curb overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.

What happened to dinosaurs' predecessors after Earth's largest extinction 252 million years ago?
Predecessors to dinosaurs missed the race to fill habitats emptied when nine out of 10 species disappeared during Earth's largest mass extinction 252 million years ago.

Revolutionary shape-changing phone curls upon a call
Researchers at Queen's University's Human Media Lab have developed a new smartphone -- called MorePhone -- which can morph its shape to give users a silent yet visual cue of an incoming phone call, text message or email.

Katherine L. Knight wins Lifetime Achievement Award from AAI
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Professor Katherine L.

Rare, lethal childhood disease tracked to protein
Scientists have identified how a defective protein plays a central role in a rare, lethal childhood disease known as giant axonal neuropathy, or GAN.

Be alert to blind cord strangulation risk, parents of young children warned
Window blind cords pose a particular risk of accidental strangulation for young children, doctors have warned in Archives of Disease of Childhood.

Cochrane review finds no benefit of evening primrose oil for treating eczema
Research into the complementary therapies evening primrose oil and borage oil shows little, if any, benefit for people with eczema compared with placebo, according to a new systematic review.

Cat and mouse: A single gene matters
A Northwestern University study involving olfactory receptors provides evidence that a single gene is necessary for a mouse to avoid a cat.

Older is wiser: Study shows software developers' skills improve over time
There is a perception in some tech circles that older programmers aren't able to keep pace with rapidly changing technology, and that they are discriminated against in the software field.

'Super-resolution' microscope possible for nanostructures
Researchers have found a way to see synthetic nanostructures and molecules using a new type of super-resolution optical microscopy that does not require fluorescent dyes, representing a practical tool for biomedical and nanotechnology research.

Dinosaur predecessors gain ground in wake of world's biggest biodiversity crisis
Newly discovered fossils from 10 million years after Earth's greatest mass extinction reveal a lineage of animals thought to have led to dinosaurs taking hold in Tanzania and Zambia in the mid-Triassic period, many millions of years before dinosaur relatives were seen in the fossil record elsewhere on Earth.

New stats: Plastic surgery trend has women armed for spring and summer
Plastic surgery for better arms in women is surging. New statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that arm lifts in women have skyrocketed a staggering 4,378 percent in just over the last decade.

Thymus teaches immune cells to ignore vital gut bacteria
The tiny thymus teaches the immune system to ignore the teeming, foreign bacteria in the gut that helps you digest and absorb food, researchers say.

Medicaid-insured children have limited access to dermatologists, SLU researchers find
Only 19 percent of dermatologists in 13 metropolitan areas across the United States accept Medicaid-insured children.

Inventive: 102 bold new global health ideas win Grand Challenges Canada funding
59 innovators in 13 low and middle income countries and 43 in Canada will share $10.9 million in Canadian seed funding to pursue bold, creative ideas for tackling health problems in resource-poor parts of the world.

Carnegie Mellon neuroscientists use statistical model to draft fantasy teams of neurons
This past weekend teams from the National Football League used statistics like height, weight and speed to draft the best college players, and in a few weeks, armchair enthusiasts will use similar measures to select players for their own fantasy football teams.

Big data analysis identifies prognostic RNA markers in a common form of breast cancer
An analysis that integrates three large sets of genomic data available through The Cancer Genome Atlas has identified 37 RNA molecules that might predict survival in patients with the most common form of breast cancer.

Commentary calls for greater transparency in highlighting social value of research
In a commentary published in the May issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, UC Davis bioethicist Mark Yarborough proposes that more information about the social value of individual research studies be made available to prospective research participants during the informed consent process so they are more aware of the degree to which a study has the potential to improve health for all.

New methods to explore astrocyte effects on brain function
A study in the Journal of General Physiology presents new methods to evaluate how astrocytes contribute to brain function, paving the way for future exploration of these important brain cells at unprecedented levels of detail.

Surgery for nonfatal skin cancers might not be best for elderly patients
Surgery is often recommended for skin cancers, but older, sicker patients can endure complications as a result and may not live long enough to benefit from the treatment.

Power of cloud computing harnessed by Imperial collaboration
Realizing the potential of cloud computing for businesses will be the focus of research carried out by a European consortium, led by researchers from Imperial College London.

Rear seat design -- a priority for children's safety in cars
There is great opportunity for the United States to further reduce child occupant injury and death by focusing on rear seat safety design.

Sniffing out schizophrenia
Professor Noam Shomron of Tel Aviv University has developed an innovative method for diagnosing schizophrenia by collecting neural tissues from the nose.

VEGF may not be relevant biomarker for advanced prostate cancer
The well-studied protein VEGF does not appear to have any prognostic or predictive value for men with locally advanced prostate cancer, researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and other institutions found in a retrospective study published online April 25 in the journal BMC Radiation Oncology.

Microchip proves tightness provokes precocious sperm release
Sperm cell release can be triggered by tightening the grip around the delivery organ, according to a team of nano and microsystems engineers and plant biologists at the University of Montreal and Concordia University.

SSRIs in perioperative period associated with higher risk for adverse events
A study by Andrew D. Auerbach, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that receiving selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the perioperative period was associated with a higher risk for adverse events.

Family-friendly tenure policies result in salary penalty for professors
Well-intentioned policies to make achieving tenure more family-friendly actually have negative consequences for the salaries of college faculty, says a study co-written by University of Illinois labor and employment relations professor Amit Kramer.

The politics of climate change
US residents who believe in the scientific consensus on global warming are more likely to support government action to curb emissions, regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat, according to a study led by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Sea turtles benefiting from protected areas
Nesting green sea turtles are benefiting from marine protected areas by using habitats found within their boundaries, according to a US Geological Survey study that is the first to track the federally protected turtles in Dry Tortugas National Park.

Smoke signals: How burning plants tell seeds to rise from the ashes
In the spring following a forest fire, trees that survived the blaze explode in new growth and plants sprout in abundance from the scorched earth.

U Pittsburgh and U South Florida scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
ASNTR awards 2013 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Michel M.

Cicadas get a jump on cleaning
As cicadas on the East Coast begin emerging from their 17-year slumber, a spritz of dew drops is all they need to keep their wings fresh and clean.

More evidence suggests eating omega 3s and avoiding meat, dairy linked to preserving memory
The largest study to date finds that eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, chicken and salad dressing and avoiding saturated fats, meat and dairy foods may be linked to preserving memory and thinking abilities.

Personalized leadership key for keeping globally distributed teams on task
Ravi S. Gajendran, a professor of business administration at Illinois, says companies with employees located around the globe can mitigate their isolation by taking a relationship-based approach in the form of a

Antidepressants linked with increased risks after surgery
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- among the most widely prescribed antidepressant medications -- are associated with increased risk of bleeding, transfusion, hospital readmission and death when taken around the time of surgery, according to an analysis led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.

Obesity in early 20s curbs chances of reaching middle age
Young men who are obese in their early 20s are significantly more likely to develop serious ill health by the time they reach middle age, or not even make it that far, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Smoking prevention in schools: Does it work?
Smoking prevention in schools reduces the number of young people who will later become smokers, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

World's longest-running plant monitoring program now digitized
Researchers have digitized 106 years of growth data on the birth, growth and death of individual plants on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Ariz., making the information available for study by people all over the world.

Merck Animal Health announces Vetsulin
Merck Animal Health today announced that Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension), the only FDA-approved insulin for use in both dogs and cats is now available to veterinarians throughout the United States.

Will green tea help you lose weight?
Evidence has shown that green tea extract may be an effective herbal remedy useful for weight control and helping to regulate glucose in type 2 diabetes.

How we decode 'noisy' language in daily life
People use an array of strategies to make sense of confusing statements.

Researchers track singing humpback whales on a Northwest Atlantic feeding ground
Male humpback whales sing complex songs in tropical waters during the winter breeding season, but they also sing at higher latitudes at other times of the year.

SAGE to publish Canada's pre-eminent International Journal
SAGE has begun a partnership with the Canadian International Council and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History to publish Canada's pre-eminent journal of global policy analysis, International Journal.

People with congenital heart disease need physical activity
People born with a heart defect need physical activity. Some irregular heart beat conditions may require activity restrictions but for most patients physical activity is unlimited.

Relationship of medical interventions in childhood and prevalence of later intellectual disability
A study by Jeffrey P. Brosco, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Miami, Florida, and colleagues examines the relationship between medical interventions in early childhood and the increasing prevalence of later intellectual disability.

Retirement expert: Medicare already means-tested
The Obama administration's controversial proposal to means-test Medicare recipients has one small problem -- the Medicare program is already means-tested, says law professor Richard L.

Fertilizers provide mixed benefits to soil in 50-year Kansas study
In a Kansas study, 50 years of inorganic fertilization increased soil organic carbon stocks but seemingly failed to enhance soil aggregate stability -- a key indicator of soil structural quality that helps dictate how water moves through soil and the soil's resistance to erosion.

Study explains what triggers those late-night snack cravings
A study co-authored by an Oregon Health and Science University researcher finds that the circadian system increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings.

Adults lack stem cells for making new eggs
Mammalian females ovulate periodically over their reproductive lifetimes, placing significant demands on their ovaries for egg production.

Foul-smelling gas shows health benefits in reducing joint swelling
Scientists at the University of Exeter Medical School have discovered that a novel drug molecule, which slowly generates the gas hydrogen sulfide, effectively reduces swelling and inflammation in arthritic joints.

Template for peace
Focused between 1972 and 1975, the most violent and polarized years of the Northern Ireland conflict, this book challenges a number of persistent myths, including those concerning the role of the Irish government in the Northern Ireland conflict.

UCSB researchers successfully treat autism in infants
Most infants respond to a game of peek-a-boo with smiles at the very least, and, for those who find the activity particularly entertaining, gales of laughter.

Study suggests US children born outside the United States have lower risk of allergic disease
A study by Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of St. 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