Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 15, 2013
Neurosurgical residents improve quality and reduce costs
An incentive program to reduce unnecessary diagnostic laboratory tests performed in neurosurgical patients at UC San Francisco was highly successful.

UT Southwestern reports promising new approach to drug-resistant infections
A new type of antibiotic called a PPMO, which works by blocking genes essential for bacterial reproduction, successfully killed a multidrug-resistant germ common to health care settings, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

How Earth's rotation affects vortices in nature
In a new paper in the journal Physics of Fluids, researchers Junho Park and Paul Billant of the CNRS Laboratoire d'Hydrodynamique in France describe their study of one such geophysical vortex behavior, radiative instability, and how it is affected by two factors, density stratification and background rotation.

Sound preconditioning prevents ototoxic drug-induced hearing loss in mice
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Lisa Cunningham and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health developed a sound preconditioning protocol in mice that did not damage hearing, but induced HSP expression in the ear.

How tiny organisms make a big impact on clean water
Nearly every body of water contains microscopic organisms that live attached to rocks, plants, and animals.

Small bits of genetic material fight cancer's spread
Researchers at Princeton University have found that microRNAs -- small bits of genetic material capable of repressing the expression of certain genes -- may serve as both therapeutic targets and predictors of metastasis, or a cancer's spread from its initial site to other parts of the body.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction helps lower blood pressure, reports study in Psychosomatic Medicine
Blood pressure is effectively lowered by mindfulness-based stress reduction for patients with borderline high blood pressure or

Population Council presents positive results of Phase 3 trial of 1-year contraceptive vaginal ring
The Population Council presented findings from a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial that was designed to demonstrate the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of the Council's investigational one-year contraceptive vaginal ring.

Creating matter that never existed before: American Chemical Society Prized Science video
Imagine creating something completely new -- something improbable and provocative that has never existed on Earth before.

Eye contact builds bedside trust
Doctors who make a lot of eye contact are viewed as more likable and empathetic by patients, according to a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

This week in Molecular Biology and Evolution
On the road to our modern human lineage, scientists speculate there were many twist and turns, evolutionary dead ends, and population bottlenecks along the way.

Women leave their handprints on the cave wall
Plaster handprints from kindergarten, handprint turkeys, handprints outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood -- are all part of modern life, but ancient people also left their handprints on rocks and cave walls.

Research team wins grant to continue development of portable sensor
University of Cincinnati researchers have received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue development of a portable sensor that will be used to measure metal levels in humans.

Researchers estimate 1 in 2,000 people in the UK carry variant CJD proteins
Around one in 2,000 people in the UK may carry variant CJD proteins, concludes a large scale survey published on bmj.com today.

Pain of poverty sticks, despite support of neighbors or spouses
Being married or having the support of neighbors to rely on does little to alleviate the symptoms of depression associated with economic hardship often experienced by poor mothers.

New York Stem Cell Foundation announces partnership with Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative
The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute has entered into a partnership with the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) to build resources for studying Parkinson's disease to accelerate new treatments.

Professor Doug Hilton wins $50,000 Ramaciotti Medal
Blood cell researcher and director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Professor Douglas Hilton has been awarded the 2013 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research.

Acoustical Society of America names Susan E. Fox as its next Executive Director
Susan E. Fox has been selected to be the next Executive Director of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).

Method of recording brain activity could lead to mind-reading devices, Stanford scientists say
A brain region activated when people are asked to perform mathematical calculations in an experimental setting is similarly activated when they use numbers -- or even imprecise quantitative terms, such as

Johns Hopkins-led study shows increased life expectancy among family caregivers
Contradicting long-standing conventional wisdom, results of a Johns Hopkins-led analysis of data previously gathered on more than 3,000 family caregivers suggests that those who assist a chronically ill or disabled family member enjoy an 18 percent survival advantage compared to statistically matched non-caregivers.

What makes telenovelas so popular?
A particular type of consumer enjoys stories with plots, characters, and imagery that allow them to get lost in the narrative, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Moderate to severe psoriasis linked to chronic kidney disease, say experts
Moderate to severe psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease independent of traditional risk factors, such as diabetes and heart disease, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Illinois river otters exposed to chemicals banned decades ago
Researchers report that river otters in Central Illinois are being exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls and pesticides that were banned in the US in the 1970s and '80s.

Unearthed: A treasure trove of jewel-like beetles
The histerid beetle genus Baconia is distinguishable by the peculiar flat shape and the metallic body coloration ranging between beautiful blue, green and violet tones.

Springer expands its publishing portfolio in Korea
Springer is expanding its activities in South Korea by signing new agreements with the renowned Korea Nano Technology Research Society for a new open access journal and KAIST Press for a new book series.

Major funding boost for the next generation of arts and humanities researchers
Today, a consortium led by Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded a grant of £13.5 million to fund approximately 176 postgraduate students, in order to address the national need for highly skilled researchers in disciplines across the arts and humanities.

Attend the third Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference
Join the American Society for Nutrition Dec. 5-7 in Washington, DC, for the third annual Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference.

1 in 10 women drink a little alcohol while pregnant
Researchers in Norway found that negative affectivity is linked to light alcohol use and binge drinking during pregnancy.

UCLA, USC get $2M to develop stroke center network in Southland
A three-way partnership between the UCLA Stroke Center at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center, the University of Southern California (USC) Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center at Keck Medicine of USC, and UC Irvine has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to address those three stroke priorities.

Amy Wagers receives New York Stem Cell Foundation-Robertson Stem Cell Prize
The New York Stem Cell Foundation announced today that Amy Wagers, Ph.D., professor at Harvard University, will be the 2013 recipient of the NYSCF-Robertson Stem Cell Prize, which has been awarded since 2011 for extraordinary achievements in translational stem cell research by a younger scientist.

Beyond antibiotics: 'PPMOs' offer new approach to bacterial infection, other diseases
Researchers today announced the successful use of a new type of antibacterial agent called a PPMO, which appears to function as well or better than an antibiotic, but may be more precise and also solve problems with antibiotic resistance.

Documenting, reporting & researching health effects of CEWs inadequate, finds expert panel
A newly released report by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled, The Health Effects of Conducted Energy Weapons (commonly referred to as stun guns), is one of the most comprehensive assessments of national and international evidence regarding the health effects of CEWs.

Iraqi death toll from 2003-2011 war and subsequent conflict estimated at half a million
A scientific study calculating Iraqi deaths for almost the complete period of the US-led war and subsequent occupation published in PLOS Medicine this week reports that close to half a million Iraqi deaths are directly or indirectly attributable to the conflict.

For patients with diabetes, angioplasty and bypass surgery lead to similar long-term benefits for quality of life
For patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease in more than one artery, treatment with coronary artery bypass graft surgery provided slightly better health status and quality of life between six months and two years than procedures using drug-eluting stents, although beyond two years the difference disappeared, according to a study in the Oct.

BrainGate wins $1M B.R.A.I.N. prize in Israel
For their work to develop a brain-computer interface that could help restore independence for people with severe paralysis, Brown University's BrainGate team has won the $1-million Moshe Mirilashvili Memorial Fund B.R.A.I.N.

Iron supplementation can provide cognitive and physical benefits to anemic children
Giving daily iron supplements to anemic primary-school-aged children can have cognitive and physical benefits, according to a study published in CMAJ.

Baylor College of Medicine researchers find community-based weight loss intervention yields greater weight loss than self-help approach
A new randomized controlled trial conducted by Baylor College of Medicine researchers and published today as an article in press in the American Journal of Medicine finds that overweight and obese adults following a community-based weight loss intervention, namely Weight Watchers, lost significantly more weight than those who tried to lose weight on their own (10.1 lbs. vs.

Adding citrus fiber to meatballs improves nutritional quality, does not affect taste
A research team at the University of Missouri is addressing the US fiber deficit by including citrus fiber in ground beef while retaining the quality and taste of the meat.

An optical switch based on a single nano-diamond
A recent study led by researchers of the ICFO (Institute of Photonic Sciences) demonstrates that a single nano-diamond can be operated as an ultrafast single-emitter optical switch operating at room temperature.

New evidence on lightning strikes: Mountains a lot less stable than we think
Lightning strikes causing rocks to explode have for the first time been shown to play a huge role in shaping mountain landscapes in southern Africa, debunking previous assumptions that angular rock formations were necessarily caused by cold temperatures, and proving that mountains are a lot less stable than we think.

Restoring surgeons' sense of touch during minimally invasive surgeries
A team of engineers and doctors has developed a new wireless capsule that can give surgeons back their sense of touch when performing minimally invasive surgery.

Drug activates virus against cancer
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have discovered that a drug called valproic acid increases the effectiveness of parvoviruses that are used against cancer.

World ocean systems undermined by climate change by 2100
An ambitious new study describes the full chain of events by which ocean biogeochemical changes triggered by manmade greenhouse gas emissions may cascade through marine habitats and organisms, penetrating to the deep ocean and eventually influencing humans.

New blood test could help millions of patients with gastrointestinal disorders
For the first time, a simple blood test may be the best way to determine if a patient is suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or another serious condition such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, according to Cedars-Sinai physician researcher Mark Pimentel, M.D., lead author of a multicenter clinical trial.

Expert panel diagnosis for diagnostic test poorly described, experts not blinded to test under study
Evaluation of diagnostic studies is often a challenge in diseases that are not defined by a specific test.

Size matters in the giant magnetoresistance effect in semiconductors
In a paper appearing in Nature's Scientific Reports, Dr. Ramesh Mani, professor of physics and astronomy at Georgia State University, reports that a giant magnetoresistance effect depends on the physical size of the device in the GaAs/AlGaAs semiconductor system.

Scientists unravel mechanisms in chronic itching
New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Home away from home: What makes consumers support their favorite businesses?
When a shop is authentic and the workers are friendly, it can feel like a second home for consumers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Honors for HFSP
Last week's announcement of the Nobel Committee in Stockholm has proven again the importance of basic research.

Why do discounts backfire when you make consumers wait?
Consumers like to reap the benefits of discounts immediately -- not later -- according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

When time has a will of its own, powerless consumers don't have the will to wait
When consumers assign human characteristics to time, it makes it more difficult to wait for things (especially for people who don't feel powerful), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Halloween candy spooks aging digestive systems! Research in fruit flies helps explain why
Halloween candy spooks aging digestive systems! Research in fruit flies helps explain why.

Astronomers find clues to decades-long coronal heating mystery
Columbia University scientists found evidence that magnetic waves in a polar coronal hole contain enough energy to heat the corona and moreover that they also deposit most of their energy at sufficiently low heights for the heat to spread throughout the corona.

More than 40 percent of men over 75 undergo PSA screening despite national recommendations
Many primary care doctors continue to administer the prostate-specific antigen test to even their oldest patients despite the fact that no medical organization recommends prostate cancer screening for men older than 75, according to new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Lung infections offer clue to unlocking the mystery of life-saving heart drug
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered ground breaking clues as to how the pioneering heart drug ticagrelor might reduce the risk of dying following a heart attack, in comparison to previous standard treatments.

Study finds high variability among primary care physicians in rate of PSA screening of older men
The authors examined whether PSA screening rates would vary substantially among primary care physicians (PCPs) and if the variance would depend on which PCP patients used.

Medication taken for nausea during pregnancy not associated with increased risk of major malformations
In an analysis that included more than 40,000 women exposed to the nausea medication metoclopramide in pregnancy, use of this drug was not associated with significantly increased risk of major congenital malformations overall, spontaneous abortion, and stillbirth, according to a study in the Oct.

Rice scientists create a super antioxidant
Scientists at Rice University are enhancing the natural antioxidant properties of an element found in a car's catalytic converter to make it useful for medical applications.

New estimates give updated count of Iraq war deaths between 2003 and 2011
During the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, for every three people killed by violence, two died as a result of the collapse of the infrastructure, according to new estimates in a study from the University of Washington Department of Global Health published in PLOS Medicine.

Heart attack care -- Whilst STEMI are getting optimal care, care of nSTEMI is uncertain
The Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP), the largest of the national clinical audits (over 1.25 million records), seeks to assure that patients admitted to hospitals in England, Wales & Belfast with a heart attack receive the best possible care.

Ghrelin, a stress-induced hormone, primes the brain for PTSD
MIT study finds that ghrelin, produced during stressful situations, primes the brain for post-traumatic stress disorder.

New 3-D method used to grow miniature pancreas
An international team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen have successfully developed an innovative 3-D method to grow miniature pancreas from progenitor cells.

Elsevier announces the launch an open access journal: Case Studies in Fire Safety
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions announces the launch of a new open access journal, Case Studies in Fire Safety.

Recovery from childhood ADHD may depend on the pattern of brain development
Some people grow out of their childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some don't.

Willpower alone is not enough
How do we motivate ourselves when studying for an exam or working to a tight deadline?

2013 Ocean Health Index shows food provision remains an area of great concern
In the 2013 Ocean Health Index -- an annual assessment of ocean health lead by Ben Halpern, a research associate at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management -- scientists point to food provision as the factor that continues to require serious attention.

Zoomable holograms pave the way for versatile, portable projectors
Imagine giving a presentation to a roomful of customers when suddenly the projector fails.

Brief memory test 'ages' older adults
You're only as old as you feel, or so the saying goes.

VIP loyalty programs: Consumers prefer awards they can share
Consumers appreciate being able to share their perks with others, and will sacrifice exclusivity to do so, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Einstein and Montefiore receive $25 million NIH grant to support clinical and translational research
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have received a $25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore.

Alcohol-related violence: Is 'glassing' the big issue?
Contrary to public perception,

First randomized trial of Liverpool Care Pathway finds little clinical benefit for dying patients
The first randomized trial to test the effectiveness of the Liverpool Care Pathway program, developed and implemented widely to support patients as they near death, has found little clinical benefit compared with standard care for cancer patients dying in hospital.

How do consumers create markets? The case of the minimoto
Consumers have the power to do more than just respond to products that companies put on the market; they can actually change and develop new markets, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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

The musical ages of modern man: How our taste in music changes over a lifetime
Research shows that musical tastes shift as we age are in line with key

Mayo Clinic study: Teachers more likely to have progressive speech and language disorders
Mayo Clinic researchers have found a surprising occupational hazard for teachers: progressive speech and language disorders.

How do consumers see a product when they hear music?
Shoppers are more likely to buy a product from a different location when a pleasant sound coming from a particular direction draws attention to the item, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Penn researchers take first step toward a macular dystrophy gene therapy
With a new study, University of Pennsylvania researchers report

Individuals genetically predisposed to anxiousness may be less likely to volunteer and help others
A University of Missouri researcher has found that prosocial behavior, such as volunteering and helping others, is related to the same gene that predisposes individuals to anxiety disorders.

UCSB researcher reveals the brain connections underlying accurate introspection
The human mind is not only capable of cognition and registering experiences but also of being introspectively aware of these processes.

3 new special papers produced for The Geological Society of America's 125th anniversary
The Geological Society of America (GSA) announces the publication of three Special Papers in conjunction with its 125th Anniversary this year.

New article reveals why people with depression may struggle with parenthood
An article by researchers at the University of Exeter has shed light on the link between depression and poor parenting.

World ocean systems undermined by climate change by 2100
An ambitious new study publishing Oct. 15 in the open access journal PLOS Biology describes the full chain of events by which the ocean biogeochemical changes that are predicted to be triggered by man-made greenhouse gas emissions over the next 100 years may cascade through marine habitats and organisms, penetrating to the deep ocean and eventually influencing humans.

Bone loss associated with increased production of ROS
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Katrin Schröder and colleagues at Goethe-University identify a relationship between NADPH oxidase 4, an enzyme that promotes reactive oxygen species formation, and bone resorption.

Newly discovered mechanism propels micromotors
Scientists studying the behavior of platinum particles immersed in hydrogen peroxide may have discovered a new way to propel microscopic machines.

22nd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, June 23-26, 2014, CCH Congress Center Hamburg
The particular quality of the EU BC&E combines one of the largest biomass science and technology conference with a leading Biomass industry and technology exhibition, attracting the entire professional Biomass community from around the globe.

Milk-maker hormone may help liver regenerate
Prolactin has an important function in the liver, but how important?

Towards a better understanding of inherited hearing loss
A team of researchers led by Dr. Michel Cayouette at the IRCM made an important discovery, published online yesterday by the scientific journal Developmental Cell, that could better explain some inherited forms of hearing loss in humans.

Poorest areas of England will lose out under proposed new NHS funding formula, warn experts
A new formula for NHS funding in England currently out for consultation

Veterans with Gulf War Illness show brain changes linked to memory deficits
New research from Clinical Psychological Science illuminates definitive brain alterations in troops with Gulf War Illness thought to result from the exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, including sarin gas, during the first Persian Gulf War.

New imaging technique can identify breast cancer subtypes and early treatment response
An optical imaging technique that measures metabolic activity in cancer cells can accurately differentiate breast cancer subtypes, and it can detect responses to treatment as early as two days after therapy administration, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Grant helps researchers study 'turbocharger effect' in skeletal muscle
University of Cincinnati researchers have been awarded a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study an isoform that plays a critical role in human resistance to fatigue.

To live and learn: Making memories has to be a speedy business
In a new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, the Neuro, McGill University with colleagues at the University of Montreal, researchers have discovered that nerve cells have a special

Protective pathway identified to counter toxicity associated with Alzheimer's disease
New research led by Marco Prado, Ph.D., of Western University has identified a pathway used by the brain to try to protect itself from toxicity that occurs with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Licensing deal marks coming of age for University of Washington, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Researchers, led by University of Washington (UW) physicist Jens Gundlach, have developed a nanopore sequencing technology that is capable of reading the sequence of a single DNA molecule.

Intellectual property project lands govt. award
SFU-led global group researching intellectual property issues in cultural heritage wins federal research-funding agency's Partnership Award.

Sisters serve as confidants, sources of support and mentors during intimate conversations
Sisters often take on key roles of confidants, sources of support and mentors during conversations about romantic relationships, a University of Missouri researcher has found.

Crystal methamphetamine use by street youth increases risk of injecting drugs
The use of crystal methamphetamine by street-involved youth is linked to an increased risk of injecting drugs, with crystal methamphetamine being the drug most commonly used at the time of first injection, found a study published in CMAJ.
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