Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 19, 2013
EORTC study opens for elderly patients with HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer
Although the incidence of cancer is higher in persons over 65 years old, we still have an inadequate understanding on how best to treat elderly cancer patients.

Brain re-training may improve memory, focus in schizophrenia
Much like physical exercise can re-chisel the body, researchers hope targeted mental workouts can sharpen the memory, focus and function of adults with schizophrenia.

Genetics of cervical cancer raise concern about antiviral therapy in some cases
A new understanding of the genetic process that can lead to cervical cancer may help improve diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions for some women, and also raises a warning flag about the use of anti-viral therapies in certain cases -- suggesting they could actually trigger the cancer they are trying to cure.

Scientists date prehistoric bacterial invasion still present in today's cells
How long ago did bacteria invade the one-celled ancestors of plants and animals to become energy-producing mitochondria and photosynthesizing chloroplasts?

Pearly perfection
The mystery of how pearls form into the most perfectly spherical large objects in nature may have an unlikely explanation, scientists are proposing in a new study.

Sequentially expressed genes in neural progenitors create neural diversity, NYU biologists find
A team of NYU biologists has found that a series of genes sequentially expressed in brain stem cells control the generation of neural diversity in visual system of fruit flies.

Stroke symptoms associated with developing memory and thinking problems
People who experience any stroke symptoms -- but do not have a stroke -- may also be more likely to develop problems with memory and thinking, according to new research published in the June 19, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Higher strength statins do not increase risk of kidney injury
A higher strength of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins did not increase the risk of kidney injury after heart attack.

Distracted walking: injuries soar for pedestrians on phones
More than 1,500 pedestrians were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking, according to a new nationwide study.

Yield trends insufficient to double global crop production by 2050
Crop yields worldwide are not increasing quickly enough to support estimated global needs in 2050, according to a study published June 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Deepak Ray and colleagues from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

Microbial diversity course designated as a 'Milestones in Microbiology' site
The Microbial Diversity Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has been named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology.

The contribution of particulate matter to forest decline
Air pollution is related to forest decline and also appears to attack the protecting wax on tree leaves and needles.

High blood pressure among blacks and young adults is focus of $11 million stroke prevention project
A new $11 million grant to Kaiser Permanente Northern California and UC San Francisco will support a multifaceted research program aimed at lowering stroke risk among black populations and younger stroke victims by targeting high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Researchers report first entanglement between light and an optical atomic coherence
Using clouds of ultra-cold atoms and a pair of lasers operating at optical wavelengths, researchers have reached a quantum network milestone: entangling light with an optical atomic coherence composed of interacting atoms in two different states.

Looking at sachet water consumption in Ghana
A new study by Justin Stoler, assistant professor of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences examines the demographics of sachet water usage in Ghana's capital Accra and analyzes the roles that poverty, environment, and social justice play in relation to urban water security.

Evolution of an outbreak: Complications from contaminated steroid injections
UC Davis assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology George R.

Hundreds of linguists to gather in Ann Arbor for biennial Linguistic Institute
Nearly 600 linguistic scholars and students from across the US and around the world will gather in Ann Arbor, Michigan next week for a month-long program of courses, lectures, workshops, professional development, social activities, and more.

U of M researchers identify risk and protective factors for youth involved in bullying
New research out of the University of Minnesota identifies significant risk factors for suicidal behavior in youth being bullied, but also identifies protective factors for the same group of children.

No danger of cancer through gene therapy virus
The first modified adeno-associated virus was recently approved for clinical gene therapy in the Western world.

Drug shows surprising efficacy as treatment for chronic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma
Two clinical studies published online in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the novel, targeted agent ibrutinib shows real potential is a safe, effective, treatment for adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and for patients with mantle cell lymphoma.

Better guidance urgently needed for 'epidemic' of sleep apnea in surgical patients
Although as many as 25 percent of patients undergoing surgery suffer from sleep apnea, few hospitals have policies to help manage the risks of this condition during surgery, and there is little evidence to help guide anesthesiologists and surgeons caring for these patients.

HIV-derived antibacterial shows promise against drug-resistant bacteria
A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has developed antibacterial compounds, derived from the outer coating of HIV, that could be potential treatments for drug-resistant bacterial infections and appear to avoid generating resistance.

World Food Prize goes to a Belgian for the first time: The scientist Marc Van Montagu
The Flemish plant scientist Marc Van Montagu is being awarded the

Are we pushing animals over the edge?
Species of mammals and birds are threatened with extinction as a result of rising human population density, according to a study published in Springer's journal, Human Ecology.

Unusual supernova is doubly unusual for being perfectly normal
Type Ia supernovae are indispensable milestones for measuring the expansion of the universe.

Validating maps of the brain's resting state
A team of Vanderbilt researchers has provided important validation of maps of the brain at rest that may offer insights into changes in the brain that occur in neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify genetic variants predicting aggressive prostate cancers
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at Louisiana State University have developed a method for identifying aggressive prostate cancers that require immediate therapy.

Scientists undertake extensive field campaign to study US southeast atmospheric chemistry
In the largest US atmospheric chemistry field project in decades, researchers sponsored by the National Science Foundation and other organizations are working to study tiny particles and gases in the air over the southeastern United States.

Scientists use DNA from a museum specimen to study rarely observed type of killer whale
In a scientific paper published in the journal Polar Biology, researchers report using DNA from tissues samples collected in 1955 to study what may be a new type of killer whale (Orcinus orca).

Flu shot likely prevented 13 million illnesses, 110,000 hospitalizations from 2005-2011
Approximately 13 million illnesses and over 110,00 hospitalizations may have been averted by the flu vaccine over the last 6 years in the US, according to calculations published June 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Deliana Kostova and colleagues from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NCAR joins massive field campaign to examine summertime air in Southeast
Taking part in the largest US air quality field project in decades, the National Center for Atmospheric Research is working with partners to study pollution in the Southeast.

Maturitas publishes 2013 update on diagnosis and management of osteoporosis
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the publication of the National Osteoporosis Guideline Group (NOGG) Update 2013 on diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and older men in the journal Maturitas.

'Ugly' finding: Unattractive workers suffer more
People who are considered unattractive are more likely to be belittled and bullied in the workplace, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University business scholar.

Researchers explain how neural stem cells create new and varied neurons
A new study examining the brains of fruit flies reveals a novel stem cell mechanism that may help explain how neurons form in humans.

Scientists find new source of versatility so 'floppy' proteins can get things done
Many proteins work like Swiss Army knives, fitting multiple functions into their elaborately folded structures.

Fate of the heart: Researchers track cellular events leading to cardiac regeneration
In a study published in the June 19 online edition of the journal Nature, a scientific team led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine visually monitored the dynamic cellular events that take place when cardiac regeneration occurs in zebrafish after cardiac ventricular injury.

Outlook is grim for mammals and birds as human population grows
The ongoing global growth in the human population will inevitably crowd out mammals and birds and has the potential to threaten hundreds of species with extinction within 40 years, new research shows.

Long-term study reports deep brain stimulation effective for most common hereditary dystonia
In what is believed to be the largest follow-up record of patients with the most common form of hereditary dystonia -- a movement disorder that can cause crippling muscle contractions -- experts in deep brain stimulation report good success rates and lasting benefits.

U-M researcher and colleagues predict possible record-setting Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone'
Spring floods across the Midwest are expected to contribute to a very large and potentially record-setting 2013 Gulf of Mexico

British women 50 percent less likley to receive treatment for common menopausal symptoms
A new study in reveals how the sex lives of post-menopausal women in Britain are under threat from a common and simple-to-treat symptom of the menopause.

New technology reduces, controls CT radiation exposure in children
Patients at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are being exposed to significantly less radiation during CT scans because of new technology that allows doctors to more tightly control radiation doses.

GHIT Fund celebrates historic beginning of Japanese R&D initiative in global health
Leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies, along with the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged their commitment to bolster Japan's contribution to global health through the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, at a press conference held as a side event to the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development on June 1.

1 in 4 stroke patients suffer PTSD
One in four people who survive a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) suffer from symptoms of PTSD within the first year post-event, and one in nine experience chronic PTSD more than a year later.

Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4,000 million years ago
Differences between Martian meteorites and rocks examined by a NASA rover can be explained if Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4,000 million years ago -- well before the rise of atmospheric oxygen on Earth 2,500 million years ago.

University of Tennessee professor finds prehistoric rock art connected; maps cosmological belief
Recently, the discoveries of prehistoric rock art have become more common.

What do memories look like?
Scientists develop a way to see the structures that store memories in a living brain.

New data on islet autoantibodies in young children defines early type 1 diabetes development
A decade-long JDRF-funded study led by the Institute of Diabetes Research in Helmholtz Zentrum M├╝nchen, Germany, is providing a deeper understanding of the link between autoantibodies and the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, highlighting the importance of pre-diabetes research into possible preventions for the disease.

Less is more: Novel cellulose structure requires fewer enzymes to process biomass to fuel
Improved methods for breaking down cellulose nanofibers are central to cost-effective biofuel production and the subject of new research from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

Dr. W. Steven Holbrook selected as 2013 recipient of the Walter Munk Award
Dr. Steve Holbrook has been selected as the 2013 recipient the Walter Munk Award for Distinguished Research in Oceanography Related to Sound and the Sea.

Recent progress in gene-sensing strategies for rapid detection of foodborne pathogens
Recent years, the problems of food safety caused by foodborne pathogens have attracted a great deal of attention.

Carnegie Mellon researchers identify emotions based on brain activity
For the first time, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have identified which emotion a person is experiencing based on brain activity.

Extended primary care office hours might help keep kids out of the emergency department
Children had half as many emergency department visits if their primary care office had evening office hours on five or more days a week, according to new research from child health experts at C.S.

Cheap, color, holographic video
A practical new approach to holographic video from MIT could also enable 2-D displays with higher resolution and lower power consumption.

Dietary fructose causes liver damage in animal model, study finds
The role of dietary fructose in the development of obesity and fatty liver diseases remains controversial, with previous studies indicating that the problems resulted from fructose and a diet too high in calories.

Natural underwater springs show how coral reefs respond to ocean acidification
Ocean acidification due to rising carbon dioxide levels reduces the density of coral skeletons, making coral reefs more vulnerable to disruption and erosion.

Patients with early arthritis consume less alcohol than controls, regardless of type of arthritis
Patients who have early arthritis consume less alcohol than controls, regardless of the type of arthritis, according to a new study published online in the journal Rheumatology.

Antioxidant shows promise in Parkinson's disease
Diapocynin, a synthetic molecule derived from a naturally occurring compound (apocynin), has been found to protect neurobehavioral function in mice with Parkinson's Disease symptoms by preventing deficits in motor coordination.

Scientists awarded $1.4 million to develop new therapeutic approaches to chronic leukemia
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have been awarded more than $1.4 million from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to create a potential new drug to attack the malignant cells that cause chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most common leukemia in the Western world.

Staging system in ALS shows potential tracks of disease progression, Penn study finds
The motor neuron disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, progresses in a stepwise, sequential pattern which can be classified into four distinct stages, report pathologists with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the Annals of Neurology.

Neurosurgery publishes findings of 3 important studies in June issue
The results of three important studies have been published in the June issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Expressly unfit for the laboratory
A new Berkeley Lab study challenges the orthodoxy of microbiology, which holds that in response to environmental changes, bacterial genes will boost production of needed proteins and decrease production of those that aren't.

States vary widely on success rates for minorities in drug treatment programs
A University of Iowa study reveals significant disparities between minority and white clients in success rates for completing substance abuse treatment programs.

Hartford consensus aims to improve survival after mass shootings
In early April, senior leaders from medical, law enforcement, military, and fire/rescue agencies met in Hartford, Connecticut, to discuss one question: How can first responders improve survival after a mass casualty event?

PETA International Science Consortium disappointed in denial of Dow appeal
The PETA International Science Consortium is extremely disappointed that the European Chemicals Agency Board of Appeal has upheld a decision that requires Dow Benelux B.V. to conduct a prenatal developmental toxicity study in rats.

Ibrutinib continues strong showing against mantle cell lymphoma
In a major international study led by researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the targeted therapy ibrutinib continues to show remarkable promise for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

New canary seed is ideal for gluten-free diets in celiac disease
A new variety of canary seeds bred specifically for human consumption qualifies as a gluten-free cereal that would be ideal for people with celiac disease, scientists have confirmed in a study published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Carbon nanotube harpoon catches individual brain-cell signals
Neuroscientists may soon be modern-day harpooners, snaring individual brain-cell signals instead of whales with tiny spears made of carbon nanotubes.

Children from the poorest families are twice as likely to contract malaria than the least poor
New research has found that wherever malaria occurs, the poorest children within the world's most impoverished communities are twice as likely to contract malaria than the least poor, suggesting that poverty alleviation will protect children from malaria.

A synthesis of the 36451 specimens from the UNEX Herbarium in a new data paper
A new peer reviewed open access data paper published in Phytokeys offers a comprehensive synthesis of the 36451 specimens preserved in the herbarium of the University of Extremadura (UNEX Herbarium) in an attempt to disseminate the data contained, and promote their multiple uses.

Breakthrough research of essential molecule reveals important targets in diabetes and obesity
A research team led by Assia Shisheva, Ph.D., professor of physiology in Wayne State University's School of Medicine, has made breakthrough advancements on a molecule that may provide more answers to the mystery of the molecular mechanisms by which insulin regulates glucose uptake in fat and muscle cells.

Sound waves precisely position nanowires
The smaller components become, the more difficult it is to create patterns in an economical and reproducible way, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers who, using sound waves, can place nanowires in repeatable patterns for potential use in a variety of sensors, optoelectronics and nanoscale circuits.

Making memories: Practical quantum computing moves closer to reality
Researchers at the University of Sydney and Dartmouth College have developed a new way to design quantum memory, bringing quantum computers a step closer to reality.

'Waterlust' whets appetite of Florida outdoor writers
University of Miami Applied Marine Physics graduate student and creator/director of Waterlust, Patrick Rynne is the 2013 recipient of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) Scholarship for Outdoor Communicators.

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans take prescription drugs, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center find
Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic researchers say.

New microfluidic chip can help identify unwanted particles in water and food
Virginia Tech researchers developed a new microfabrication technique to develop three-dimensional microfluidic devices in polymers.

Renewed hope in a once-abandoned cancer drug class
Could drugs that block the body's system for repairing damage to the genetic material DNA become a boon to health?

Restoring appropriate movement to immune cells may save seriously burned patients
Patients who survive the immediate aftermath of major burns are at greatest risk from infections -- particularly the overwhelming, life-threatening immune reaction known as sepsis.

UTSA student wins American Heart Association fellowship for nanosystems engineering research
University of Texas at San Antonio biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Anand Srinivasan has been awarded a $25,000, one-year doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association.

Tyrone Duncan to be awarded SIAM's W. T. and Idalia Reid Prize
The W. T. and Idalia Reid Prize in Mathematics, first awarded in 1994, recognizes outstanding work in, or other contributions to, the broadly defined areas of differential equations and control theory.

Laughing gas does not increase heart attacks
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is one of the world's oldest and most widely used anesthetics, but concerns that it raises the risk of a heart attack during surgery or soon afterward are unfounded, according to a new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Biological fitness trumps other traits in mating game
When a new species emerges following adaptive changes to its local environment, the process of choosing a mate can help protect the new species' genetic identity and increase the likelihood of its survival.

An environmentally friendly battery made from wood
Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source.

Metamorphosis of moon's water ice explained
Using data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, scientists believe they have solved a mystery from one of the solar system's coldest regions -- a permanently shadowed crater on the moon.

Unexpected behavior of well-known catalysts
Industrial palladium-copper catalysts change their structures before they get to work, already during the activation process.

Elsevier launches open access journal: GeoResJ
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce the launch of a new open access journal, GeoResJ.

Detour ahead: Cities, farms reroute animals seeking cooler climes
Half a dozen regions could provide some of the Western Hemisphere's more heavily used thoroughfares for mammals, birds and amphibians on their way to cooler environments in a warming world.

Lexing Ying to receive SIAM's James H. Wilkinson Prize
Stanford University's Lexing Ying will receive the 2013 James H.

Brain can plan actions toward things the eye doesn't see
People can plan strategic movements to several different targets at the same time, even when they see far fewer targets than are actually present, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

A shot in the arm for old antibiotics
Slipping bacteria some silver could give old antibiotics new life, scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University reported June 19 in Science Translational Medicine.

The rhythm of the Arctic summer
Our internal circadian clock regulates daily life processes and is synchronized by external cues, the so-called Zeitgebers.

Current global food production trajectory won't meet 2050 needs
Crop yields worldwide are not increasing quickly enough to support estimated global needs in 2050 according to a study published June 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by research associate Deepak Ray and colleagues from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

DNDi receives the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Development Cooperation
Coinciding with its tenth anniversary year, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has been granted the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category.

Why are some college students more likely to 'hook up'?
A new study by researchers with The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine suggests there are certain factors and behaviors associated with sexual hookups, particularly among first-year college women.

Stanley Osher delivers the John von Neumann Lecture
Stanley Osher of University of California, Los Angeles, is awarded the 2013 John von Neumann Lecture in recognition of his extraordinarily influential and wide-ranging contributions to the computational sciences and engineering.

UMass Amherst researchers develop powerful new technique to study protein function
The advance should allow deeper insights into protein function, Chase says,

Biologists identify the chemical behind cancer resistance in naked mole rats
Two researchers at the University of Rochester have discovered the chemical that makes naked mole rats cancer-proof.

Researchers identify 'master coordinator' for aortic rupture
Inflammation caused by angiotensin II has come to be regarded as a crucial factor in aortic dissections.

Mindfulness can increase wellbeing and reduce stress in school children
Mindfulness -- a mental training that develops sustained attention that can change the ways people think, act and feel -- could reduce symptoms of stress and depression and promote wellbeing among school children, according to a new study published online by the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Some parents want their child to redeem their broken dreams
Some parents desire for their children to fulfill their own unrealized ambitions, just as psychologists have long theorized, according to a new first-of-its-kind study.

New research backs theory that genetic 'switches' play big role in human evolution
A Cornell University study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off.

Snail genetic tracks reveal ancient human migration
Some snails in Ireland and the Pyrenees are genetically almost identical, perhaps because they were carried across the Atlantic during an 8000-year-old human migration.

Forest Service study finds urban trees removing fine particulate air pollution, saving lives
In a study recently published on-line by the journal Environmental Pollution, researchers David Nowak and Robert Hoehn of the US Forest Service and Satoshi Hirabayashi and Allison Bodine of the Davey Institute in Syracuse, N.Y., estimated how much fine particulate matter is removed by trees in 10 cities, their impact on PM2.5 concentrations and associated values and impacts on human health.

Group-based child care is linked to reduced emotional problems in children of depressed mothers
Child care is linked to fewer emotional problems and symptoms of social withdrawal among children exposed to maternal depression, according to a new study of nearly 2,000 children conducted by researchers in Montreal, Canada, at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, and University of Montreal.

A new model -- and possible treatment -- for staph bone infections
Osteomyelitis -- a debilitating bone infection most frequently caused by Staphylococcus aureus (

Bullying and suicide among youth is a public health problem
Recent studies linking bullying and depression, coupled with extensive media coverage of bullying-related suicide among young people, led to a CDC-assembled expert panel to synthesize the latest research about the complex relationship between youth involvement in bullying and suicide-related behaviors: 1) Bullying among youth is a significant public health problem, with widespread and often harmful results; 2) There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors; and 3) Public health strategies can be applied to prevent bullying and suicide.

Study shows probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 significantly increased vitamin D levels
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is the first report of an oral probiotic supplement significantly increasing circulating vitamin D levels in the blood.

A battery made of wood?
A sliver of wood coated with tin could make a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery, say scientists from the University of Maryland.

Paralysed with fear: The story of polio
Thanks to vaccination, polio has been pushed to the brink of extinction-- but can we finish the job?

Genetic 'off switch' linked to increased risk factors for heart disease
People with a gene that has been turned off through a natural process maybe at higher risk of heart and blood-vessel disease.

Margaret Cheney to deliver the AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture
The Association for Women in Mathematics and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics are pleased to announce Margaret Cheney of Colorado State University and Naval Postgraduate School as the 2013 AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecturer. 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