Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 24, 2013
Malawi trial saves newborn lives
A five-year program that mobilized communities to improve the quality of care for mothers and newborns reduced newborn mortality by 30 percent and saved at least 1,000 newborn lives in rural Malawi.

Breastfeeding boosts ability to climb social ladder
Breastfeeding not only boosts children's chances of climbing the social ladder, but it also reduces the chances of downwards mobility, suggests a large study published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Vitamin D reduces blood pressure and relieves depression in women with diabetes
In women who have type 2 diabetes and show signs of depression, vitamin D supplements significantly lowered blood pressure and improved their moods, according to a Loyola University Chicago study.

A molecular map to renewable energy?
Harvard researchers today released a massive database of more than 2 million molecules that might be useful in the construction of solar cells that rely on organic compounds that might be useful in the construction of organic solar cells for the production of renewable energy.

Addiction relapse might be thwarted by turning off brain trigger
A new study by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco offers encouraging findings that researchers hope may one day lead to a treatment option for people who suffer from alcohol abuse disorders and other addictions.

Bumpy beast was a desert dweller
During the Permian era, animal and plant life were dispersed broadly across Pangea, and a new study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology supports the idea that there was an isolated desert in the middle of Pangea with its own fauna.

'Singing' rats show hope for older humans with age-related voice problems
New research from University of Illinois speech and hearing science professor Aaron Johnson and his University of Wisconsin colleagues shows training rats to

UCSB sociologist studies issues of privilege from a geographical perspective
For almost everyone in the world, privilege -- financial or otherwise -- derives from who we are, where we are born, where we happen to live at any given time, and how well we can convert those factors into social power.

Oregon chemists moving forward with tool to detect hydrogen sulfide
University of Oregon chemists have developed a selective probe that detects hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels as low as 190 nanomolar (10 parts per billion) in biological samples.

2 mutations triggered an evolutionary leap 500 million years ago
A research team led by a University of Chicago scientist has discovered two key mutations that sparked a hormonal revolution 500 million years ago.

Study sets guidelines for stem cell transplants in older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists provide the first statistically-based guidelines for determining whether stem cell transplant is appropriate for patients older than 60 with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Genetic survey sheds light on Oceans' lean, mean microbial machines: UBC research
A Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study is the first direct evidence of widespread genome reduction -- organisms evolving to cast off superfluous genes and traits in favor of simpler, specialized genetic make-ups optimized for rapid growth.

Going to synagogue is good for health and happiness, Baylor researcher finds
Two new Baylor University studies show that Israeli Jewish adults who attend synagogue regularly, pray often, and consider themselves religious are significantly healthier and happier than their non-religious counterparts.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for June 25, 2013
Below is information about an article being published in the June 25 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Study examines benefits, risks to cognitive function of HRT for women ages 50 to 55 years
Postmenopausal hormone therapy with conjugated equine estrogens was not associated with overall sustained benefit or risk to cognitive function when given to women ages 50 to 55 years, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

ESHRE's annual meeting -- press program
The annual meeting of ESHRE, the world's leading event in reproductive medicine, is only weeks away -- and the press program almost complete.

Novel testing device for detecting toxic blue-green algae
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a fast and affordable testing device for detecting the presence of toxic blue-green algae in water.

Desktop experiment kit improves engineering ed
Washington State University researchers joined forces with Armfield Ltd., a teaching equipment company, to launch a desktop learning module (DLM) that will improve engineering education.

NMR advance brings proteins into the open
A key protein interaction, common across all forms of life, had eluded scientists' observation until a team of researchers cracked the case by combining data from four different techniques of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Giving children non-verbal clues about words boosts vocabularies
The clues that parents give toddlers about words can make a big difference in how deep their vocabularies are when they enter school, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

AcademyHealth recognizes leading health services researchers
Today, AcademyHealth announced the winners of its 2013 awards, each of which recognizes researchers who have made significant contributions to the fields of health services research and health policy.

NASA sounding rocket daytime dynamo launch postponed
The launch of two sounding rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility was scrubbed on Monday, June 24 due to high cirrus clouds.

Farming carbon: Study reveals potent carbon-storage potential of manmade wetlands
The goal of restoring or creating wetlands on agricultural lands is almost always to remove nutrients and improve water quality.

Sabin Vaccine Institute launches International Association of Immunization Managers
The Sabin Vaccine Institute today announced the launch of the newly-formed International Association of Immunization Managers.

Hello, electronic medical records? It's me, unintended consequences
Emergency department information systems (EDIS), a significant focus of both federal legislation and US health care reform, may ultimately improve the quality of medical care delivered in hospitals, but as currently configured present numerous threats to health care quality and patient safety.

Notre Dame and Harper researchers developing novel method to test for HPV and oral cancers
Research being carried out at the University of Notre Dame and its affiliated Harper Cancer Research Institute may lead to the development of a rapid, cost-effective means of screening for oral cancers and the human papillomavirus.

Kidney cancer progression linked to shifts in tumor metabolism
Investigators in the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network have uncovered a connection between how tumor cells use energy from metabolic processes and the aggressiveness of the most common form of kidney cancer, clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

From minute to massive -- mammal size evolution explained
Scientists have added another piece to the evolutionary puzzle to explain why certain mammal families evolved to be very large, while others remained tiny.

Study reveals uncertainty over the benefits of feeding birds in winter
The results of a new study, carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter and the British Trust for Ornithology, has found that feeding wild blue tits in winter resulted in less successful breeding during the following spring.

Published research shows promise of new device to detect disease with drop of blood
An NJIT research professor known for his cutting-edge work with carbon nanotubes is overseeing the manufacture of a prototype lab-on-a-chip that would someday enable a physician to detect disease or virus from just one drop of liquid, including blood.

4th International Nanomedicine Conference
The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at the University of New South Wales is hosting the fourth International Nanomedicine Conference from 1 - 3 July in Sydney.

Ailanthus tree's status as invasive species offers lesson in human interaction
An exotic tree species that changed from prized possession to forest management nightmare serves as a lesson in the unpredictability of non-native species mixing with human interactions, according to researchers.

Starting on 3 drugs at time of diagnosis benefits Type 2 diabetics
Patients with Rype 2 diabetes fare significantly better if they are started on three medications at the time of diagnosis than if they are prescribed a single drug and have other therapies added later, a San Antonio researcher said June 22 at the 73rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago.

Enhancing RNA interference
Helping RNA escape from cells' recycling process could make it easier to shut off disease-causing genes, says new study from MIT.

Resilience in the wake of Superstorm Sandy
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released results of a major survey exploring resilience of people and neighborhoods directly affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Rates of infection in intensive care units in England show impressive fall
Hospitals across England reduced the rate of serious bloodstream infections in intensive care units during a two-year program, research has shown.

Surprise species at risk from climate change
Most species at greatest risk from climate change are not currently conservation priorities, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature study that has introduced a pioneering method to assess the vulnerability of species to climate change.

€3.9 M project hailed success by the EC
MACHINE tools and manufacturing machinery are set to be revolutionized -- achieving much greater levels of accuracy with the fitting of highly-affordable smart components -- after a multi-million Euro research project in which University of Huddersfield experts played a key role.

Action needed to help tobacco users quit across the globe
More than half of the countries who signed the WHO 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have not formed plans to help tobacco users quit.

Consider a text for teen suicide prevention and intervention, research suggests
Teens and young adults are making use of social networking sites and mobile technology to express suicidal thoughts and intentions as well as to reach out for help, two studies suggest.

Health economics assessment of antimicrobial copper for infection control
A unique health economics assessment of copper's role in preventing healthcare-associated infections is being presented this week at the WHO's International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control in Geneva, demonstrating rapid payback on the capital investment.

New approach for risk screening of contaminated land
Following a century of industrialization, contaminated sites lie abandoned or underutilized all over the world.

Conversations with teens about weight linked with increased risk of unhealthy eating behaviors
Conversations between parents and adolescents that focus on weight and size are associated with an increased risk for unhealthy adolescent weight-control behaviors, according to a study published Online First by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.

Pediatric practices can offer smoking cessation assistance to parents of their patients
A study in the journal Pediatrics shows that it is feasible for pediatric practices to incorporate into their normal routine efforts to inform patients' parents about services available to help them quit smoking.

University of Copenhagen excavations in Qatar named World Heritage Site
In 2009, University of Copenhagen archaeologists signed a contract with the Qatar Museums Authority to excavate the seaport Al Zubarah, which has been hidden under desert sand in northwestern Qatar for hundreds of years.

Lowering costs for higher-cost medicare patients through better outpatient care may be limited
In an analysis that included a sample of patients in the top portion of Medicare spending, only a small percentage of their costs appeared to be related to preventable emergency department visits and hospitalizations, limiting the ability to lower costs for these patients through better outpatient care, according to a study in the June 26 issue of JAMA.

How cholera-causing bacteria respond to pressure
Cholera persists in part because V. cholera, the bacteria that causes the disease, is able to survive in diverse environments ranging from the intestinal lumen, to fresh water, to estuaries, to the sea.

Computer models shed new light on sickle cell crisis
Sickle cell crisis, a painful blood blockage common in people with sickle cell disease, isn't just about sickle-shaped red blood cells that block capillaries.

New 'biowire' technology matures human heart by mimicking fetal heartrate
A new method of maturing human heart cells that simulates the natural growth environment of heart cells while applying electrical pulses to mimic the heart rate of fetal humans has led researchers at the University of Toronto to an electrifying step forward for cardiac research.

U-shaped curve revealed for association between fish consumption and atrial fibrillation
The observational study, presented today at EHRA EUROPACE in Athens, found a U-shaped association between consumption of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) and the risk of developing AF.

SDSC GeoComputing Lab named winner of HPC Innovation Excellence award by IDC
The High Performance GeoComputing Laboratory at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, an organized research unit at the University of California, San Diego, was named a winner of the HPC Innovation Excellence Award by the International Data Corporation for developing a highly-scalable computer code that promises to dramatically cut both research times and energy costs in simulating seismic hazards throughout California and elsewhere.

Meeting of philosopher, astronaut and author
Astronauts often speak of feelings of transcendence after space travel.

Rare pregnancy condition programs babies to become overweight in later life
Babies born to mothers who suffer from a rare metabolic complication during pregnancy are programmed to be overweight, according to a study part-funded by the Wellcome Trust.

700 women with urinary cancers missing out on prompt diagnosis every year
Around 700 women in England with symptoms of kidney or bladder cancer are missing out on prompt diagnosis and treatment of their condition every year, reveals research in the online only journal BMJ Open.

America will never be gay and lesbian friendly, says researcher
The relationship between church, state and the international crisis facing welfare finance is the root cause of why some countries are friendlier to same-sex couples than others, says a University of Manchester researcher.

JCI early table of contents for June 24, 2013
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy releases to be published online, June 24, 2013, in the JCI: A prenatal trigger for postnatal obesity; Gene dysregulation underlies preeclampsia; The inflammatory consequences of chronic cannabis use; and many more.

Brain cancer: Hunger for amino acids makes it more aggressive
An enzyme that facilitates the breakdown of specific amino acids makes brain cancers particularly aggressive.

A prenatal trigger for postnatal obesity
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Catherine Williamson and colleagues at Imperial College London studied the long term impact of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy in a cohort of Finnish families.

New study says a person's physical environment affects their likelihood of dishonest behavior
A new study from researchers at leading business schools reveals that expansive physical settings can cause individuals to feel more powerful, and in turn these feelings of power can elicit more dishonest behavior such as stealing, cheating, and even traffic violations.

NRL receives Navy Acquisition Excellence Award for global weather prediction model
Representing a significant milestone in the advancement of Numerical Weather Prediction systems, the NRL team receives the award for the development of NAVGEM, a high-resolution global weather prediction system.

New optical metrics can identify patients on 'fast track' to decreased vision
Sophisticated new optical quality metrics can identify older adults likely to have more rapid age-related declines in vision, suggests a study,

Revealed -- the mystery of the gigantic storm on Saturn
The Planetary Sciences Group of the University of the Basque Country has managed to explain the behavior of the giant storms on Saturn.

1 in 10 female German or British tourists holidaying in southern Europe suffers sexual harassment
The European Institute of Studies on Prevention surveyed more than 6,000 people in various airports in Mediterranean countries during summer 2009 to find out the levels of harassment and sex against one's will that had occurred.

Risk of death from ischemic stroke appears to have decreased in US black children
The excess risk of death from ischemic (due to reduced blood flow), but not hemorrhagic (due to bleeding), stroke in US black children has decreased over the past decade, according to a study by Laura L.

Stray gases found in water wells near shale gas sites
Homeowners living within one kilometer of shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of having their drinking water contaminated by stray gases, according to a new Duke University-led study.

It's all in the genes -- including the tracking device
According to the article published today in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences:

Physician honored by ACOG
Patrick Sweeney, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., a long-time member of the medical staff at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, was recently presented with the Outstanding District Service Award by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

One man's tall is another man's small
Portions -- such as 8, 12 or 16 ounces -- are given different labels -- small, medium or large -- at different restaurants.

'Nerdy' mold needs breaking to recruit women into computer science
The 'computer nerd' is a well-known stereotype. While this stereotype is inaccurate, it still has a chilling effect on women pursuing a qualification in computer science, according to a new paper by Sapna Cheryan from the University of Washington in the US, and colleagues.

Part-time graduate enrollment in science and engineering growing at a higher rate
From 2010 to 2011, enrollment of part-time graduate students in science and engineering (S&E) fields grew at a higher rate than that of full-time S&E graduate students for the first time since 2005.

Dry run for the 2020 Mars Mission
This month, under the auspices of NASA, a rover named Zoe set out into the Atacama Desert in Chile to test a suite of instruments intended for future space missions under Mars-like conditions.

Rotation-resistant rootworms owe their success to gut microbes
Researchers say they now know what allows some Western corn rootworms to survive crop rotation, a farming practice that once effectively managed the rootworm pests.

Penn psychologists show that quality matters more than quantity for word learning
A new study by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania now shows that early vocabulary improvement is likely to have more to do with the

Rural women less likely to get radiation therapy after lumpectomy for breast cancer
Rural women with breast cancer are less likely than their urban counterparts to receive recommended radiation therapy after having a lumpectomy, a breast-sparing surgery that removes only tumors and surrounding tissue, a study by Mayo Clinic and others found.

Changing minds about climate change policy can be done -- sometimes
Some open-minded people can be swayed to support government intervention on climate change -- but only if they are presented with both the benefits and the costs, a new study suggests.

Migrating animals add new depth to how the ocean 'breathes'
Research begun at Princeton University found that animals ranging from plankton to small fish consume vast amounts of what little oxygen is available in the deep ocean, and may reveal a crucial and unappreciated role that animals have in ocean chemistry on a global scale.

Resourceful microbes reign in world's oceans
Using cutting-edge technology on a large scale for the first time, researchers led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have discovered that marine microbes are adapted to narrow and specialized niches, a finding pivotal to detecting and mitigating human impacts in the ocean.

Pleasure response from chocolate: You can see it in the eyes
The brain's pleasure response to tasting food can be measured through the eyes using a common, low-cost ophthalmological tool, according to a Drexel University-led study just published in the journal Obesity.

Northwestern researchers examine mechanical bases for the emergence of undulatory swimmers
How do fish swim? It is a simple question, but there is no simple answer.

Genes involved in birth defects may also lead to mental illness
Gene mutations that cause cell signaling networks to go awry during embryonic development and lead to major birth defects may also cause subtle disruptions in the brain that contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder, according to new research by UC San Francisco scientists.

No evidence of increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome following vaccination
Patients are not at increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome in the six-week period after vaccination with any vaccine, including influenza, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Reading DNA, backward and forward
MIT biologists reveal how cells control the direction in which the genome is read.

Modified immune cells seek and destroy melanoma
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Scott Pruitt at Duke University and Merck Research Laboratories report on a human clinical trial in which modified dendritic cells, a component of the immune system, were tested in patients with melanoma.

Results of landmark 11-year study on weight loss's effect on heart disease risks published today
A landmark study investigating the long-term effects of weight loss on the risks of cardiovascular disease among patients with Type 2 diabetes has now concluded, with significant results to be published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Targeted viral therapy destroys breast cancer stem cells in preclinical experiments
A promising new treatment for breast cancer has been shown in cell culture and in animal models to selectively kill cancer stem cells at the original tumor site and in distant metastases with no toxic effects on healthy cells, including normal stem cells.

NASA satellite sees Jaroso fire, New Mexico
On June 22, 2013, the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 captured this image of the Jaroso fire burning in northern New Mexico.

New research points to potential treatment strategies for multiple sclerosis
Myelin, the fatty coating that protects neurons, is destroyed in diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

SMU researcher receives Hogg Foundation grant to study childhood depression
An SMU psychology researcher has received a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to examine childhood depression.

Hospital mortality rates may be linked to performance on publicly reported medical conditions
Hospital performance on publicly reported conditions (acute myocardial infarction [heart attack], congestive heart failure, and pneumonia), may potentially be used as a signal of overall hospital mortality rates, according to a study by Marta L.

MARC travel awards announced for the June 2013 FASEB Science Research Conferences
FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipient for the FASEB Science Research Conferences held in June, 2013.

Precise thickness measurement of soft materials by means of contact stylus instruments
Thanks to Researchers of Germany's Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, industrial enterprises which measure the thickness of soft polymer layers on hard substrates will be able to correct their measurement results by means of a formula.

Massive Online Open Courses could revolutionize university education
Massive Online Open Courses could revolutionize current university teaching. This is one of the conclusions drawn from research done by eMadrid, a project coordinated by the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, which gathers the main groups doing research on Technology Enhanced Learning, and which has just held a conference aimed at analyzing the future of this type of teaching.

NASA sees West Fork complex fires, Colorado
On June 22, 2013, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the West Fork fire complex burning in the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests of southwestern Colorado.

Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue
Bacterial DNA may integrate into the human genome more readily in tumors than in normal human tissue, scientists have found. 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