Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 2009)

Science news and science current events archive October, 2009.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 2009

Retired Arizona nurse among 10 Americans chosen to receive national award
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today announced its selection of Frances Stout, a retired registered nurse and chairperson of the Tohono O'odham Nursing Care Authority in Sells, Ariz., to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Symposium highlights communal living by micro-organisms
The US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is hosting a special symposium on microbial communities research Friday, Oct. 9, at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. It will be webcast live at PNNL has organized the symposium to launch its new research focus on exploring the ins and outs of microbial communities, known as the Microbial Communities Initiative.

New designs for smarter buildings
After two years of design, experimentation, fund-raising and building, the University of Arizona's Solar Decathlon team has completed construction of its 800-square-foot solar-powered house on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Scripps research scientists find missing puzzle piece of powerful DNA repair complex
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have found, crystallized, and biologically characterized a poorly defined component of a key molecular complex that helps people to avoid cancer, but that also helps cancer cells resist chemotherapy.

Large-scale cousin of elusive 'magnetic monopoles' found at NIST
Researchers working at the NIST Center for Neutron Research have created a molecular magnetic

Statins show dramatic drug and cell dependent effects in the brain
A study in the October Journal of Lipid Research finds that similar statin drugs can have profoundly different effects on brain cells -- both beneficial and detrimental. These findings reinforce the idea that great care should be taken when deciding on the dosage and type of statin given to individuals, particularly the elderly.

Grant brings real-world science to Boston classrooms
A science curriculum will introduce students from Boston Public Schools to diseases that threaten global health. Developed jointly by scientists from Tufts University School of Medicine and teachers from Boston Public Schools,

NIEHS awards Recovery Act funds to address bisphenol A research gaps
Researchers studying the health effects of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) gathered in North Carolina to launch an integrated research initiative to produce data that will allow for a comprehensive assessment of its possible human health effects.

Stanford researchers awarded $6.27 million to study energy efficiency and human behavior
A Stanford University research team has been awarded $6.27 million to develop an interactive software system that encourages people to be more energy efficient at home.

Study reveals possible link between IBD therapy and skin cancer
Findings from a new retrospective cohort study indicate that patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, especially those receiving the thiopurine class of medications to treat IBD, may be at risk for developing nonmelanoma skin cancer.

National Institutes of Health award Clemson $9.3 million for tissue regeneration center
Clemson University has received a $9.3 million, five-year National Institutes of Health grant to establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for Tissue Regeneration.

Vaccination is essential to prevent world's leading child killer: Pneumonia
Marking the first international World Pneumonia Day on Nov. 2, the GAVI Alliance plans to immunize 130 million children in poor countries against pneumonia, the world's leading child killer.

Higher folates, not antioxidants, can reduce hearing loss risk in men
Increased intakes of antioxidant vitamins have no bearing on whether or not a man will develop hearing loss, but higher folate intake can decrease his risk by 20 percent, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, Calif.

Strategy for mismatched stem cell transplants triggers protection against graft-vs.-host disease
A technique being tested in stem cell transplants from imperfectly matched donors has revealed an unforeseen response that can suppress graft-versus-host disease, report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers. The previously unrecognized specificity of regulatory T cells helps explain why the patients treated with the new strategy -- known as

Toward bold new anti-cancer medicines
Bold new strategies in the battle against cancer may turn forms of the disease that presently are incurable into manageable conditions that can be controlled for long periods of time, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

New NIST method reveals all you need to know about 'waveforms'
NIST has unveiled a method for calibrating entire waveforms -- graphical shapes showing how electrical signals vary over time -- rather than just parts of waveforms as is current practice. The new method improves the accuracy of common test instruments used in communications and electronics.

DOE to explore scientific cloud computing at Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories
Scientists will examine cloud computing as a cost-effective and energy-efficient computing paradigm to accelerate discoveries in biology, climate change and physics. A program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy will examine cloud computing as a way to accelerate discoveries in a variety of disciplines.

European astroparticle physicists to celebrate 100 years of cosmic ray experiments
Four hundred years ago, Galileo was the first one to look at the sky with a telescope. About 100 years ago a new era for astrophysics began with the first astroparticle physics experiments that led to the discovery of cosmic rays. European physicists take the opportunity of the International Year of Astronomy to celebrate this anniversary.

Younger doctors recommend kidney transplantations earlier
Compared with veteran doctors, recent medical school graduates are more likely to refer chronic kidney disease patients for kidney transplantation before their patients require dialysis, according to a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego, Calif. These findings suggest that more recent medical training is associated with early referral. This is potentially due to a lack of knowledge about preemptive kidney transplantation among more veteran physicians.

Study supports possible role of urate in slowing Parkinson's disease progression
By examining data from a 20-year-old clinical trial, a research team based at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Harvard School of Public Health, has found evidence supporting the findings of their 2008 study -- that elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

Major improvements made in engineering heart repair patches from stem cells
Researchers have engineered more viable heart repair patches from mixed stem cells. The patches beat spontaneously, can be electronically paced and have pre-formed blood vessels that connect to a rodent's heart circulation.

Making monster waves
Research into monstrous rogue waves points the way to improved long distance optical communication, and could help us understand how giant, destructive waves form at sea.

How should mental, neurological and substance use disorders be treated where resources are scarce?
How should mental, neurological and substance use disorders be treated where resource are scarce? Over 90 percent of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders in low and middle income countries go untreated, an inequity known as the mental health

UCSF to lead new NIH-funded consortium for studying immune disorders
The University of California, San Francisco, has been designated to lead a new consortium that will study a group of severe immune disorders known as primary immunodeficiencies and aims to improve treatment for these often life-threatening diseases. The Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium comprises 13 centers throughout the United States and has a $6.25 million funding commitment over five years from the National Institutes of Health.

Texas women's health activist among 10 Americans chosen to receive national leadership award
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today announced its selection of Claudia Stravato, board member and retired executive director of the Texas Panhandle Family Planning and Health Centers in Amarillo, Texas, to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Health information exchange conquers new frontier: Emergency medical services
Regenstrief Institute research scientists are the first in the nation to link emergency medical services providers in the field to patients' preexisting health information, a link enabling emergency workers to make more informed treatment decisions and to transport patients to the most appropriate facility.

IOM Annual Meeting Oct. 12 features election of members, awards and public symposium
The Institute of Medicine's 39th annual meeting will include the announcement of new members and a public symposium that explores the role of the environment.

Wild pigs and deer do not spread GM corn via feces or accumulate transgenic residues in meat
The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation funded a study to address two controversial questions: When wild boar and deer, traditional menu items in the fall, eat genetically modified corn, do transgenic residues accumulate in their meat? Do they spread GM corn via their feces? The answer in each case is no, according to scientists at TUM, the Technische Universitaet Muenchen. They recommend, however, that such studies be conducted separately for all GM plants.

Infants able to identify humans as source of speech, monkeys as source of monkey calls
Infants as young as five months old are able to correctly identify humans as the source of speech and monkeys as the source of monkey calls, psychology researchers have found. Their finding, which appears in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides the first evidence that human infants are able to correctly match different kinds of vocalizations to different species.

Biofield therapies: Helpful or full of hype?
Biofield therapies are promising complementary interventions for reducing the intensity of pain in diverse conditions, anxiety for hospitalized patients and agitated behaviors in dementia. Dr. Shamini Jain and Dr. Paul Mills, and the Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Diego, publish their review of the science behind biofield therapies online this week in Springer's International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Expert to discuss phosphorus' impact on Gulf 'dead zone'
Dr. Curtis Richardson, an internationally acclaimed ecologist and wetland soil scientist at Duke University, will share his perspectives on current phosphorus research as part of the William H. Patrick Jr. Memorial Lectureship at the 2009 Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Healthy neighborhoods may be associated with lower diabetes risk
Individuals living in neighborhoods conducive to physical activity and providing access to healthy foods may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a five-year period, according to a report in the Oct. 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Scientists identify common HPV genotypes in northern India, encourage vaccination
Although a wide spectrum of human papillomavirus is seen across the population of India, HPV-16 and HPV-18 are the most common types and a vaccination targeting these types could eliminate 75 percent of the cervical cancers in the region, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research Meeting.

University of Washington receives $25 million to create Northwest Genomics Center
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute announced Oct. 1 that the University of Washington will receive two of the six

Microchips result in higher rate of return of shelter animals to owners
Animals shelter officials housing lost pets that had been implanted with a microchip were able to find the owners in almost three out of four cases in a recently published national study. According to the research, the return-to-owner rate for cats was 20 times higher and for dogs 2.5 times higher for microchipped pets than were the rates of return for all stray cats and dogs that had entered the shelters. 

Research continues on secure, mobile, quantum communications
Researcher Dr. David H. Hughes of the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y., is leading a team investigating long-distance, mobile optical links imperative for secure quantum communications capabilities in theater.

Princeton paleomagnetists put controversy to rest
Princeton University scientists have shown that, in ancient times, the Earth's magnetic field was structured like the two-pole model of today, suggesting that the methods geoscientists use to reconstruct the geography of early land masses on the globe are accurate. The findings may lead to a better understanding of historical continental movement, which relates to changes in climate.

News brief: Effects of aspirin and folic acid on inflammation markers for colorectal adenomas
Unexpectedly, inflammation markers do not appear to be involved with the chemopreventative effect of aspirin on colorectal adenomas, according to a brief communication published online Oct. 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

NIH recognizes engineering professor's innovative research with major award
Imagine a cell phone that can be used to monitor diseases like HIV or malaria and can be used to test water quality after a major disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA professor of electrical engineering, is working to make his cell phone-turned-mobile medical lab a reality.

New immigrants more likely to be homeless due to economic factors rather than health issues
New immigrants are more likely to cite economic and housing factors as barriers that keep them homeless compared with native-born individuals, according to a new study on the health of homeless immigrants led by St. Michael's Hospital researcher Dr. Stephen Hwang.

Scientists identify a cellular pathway by which alcohol may promote cancer progression
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is essential for numerous developmental processes involving biological cells. New findings indicate that alcohol may promote cancer progression by stimulating EMT. This has implications for both cancer prevention and therapy.

Internet fuels virtual subculture for sex trade, study finds
The Internet has spawned a virtual subculture of

BU School of Medicine CityLab program awarded grant from NIH Center for Research Resources
Boston University School of Medicine's CityLab program has received a five year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources.

Married with children the key to happiness?
Having children improves married peoples' life satisfaction and the more they have, the happier they are. For unmarried individuals, raising children has little or no positive effect on their happiness. These findings by Dr. Luis Angeles from the University of Glasgow in the UK have just been published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.

Research indicates vegetable juice can be an easy, enjoyable way to increase daily intake
Decades of studies have documented the link between eating a diet rich in vegetables and multiple health benefits, yet nearly eight out of 10 people worldwide fall short of the daily recommendation. Research presented at the International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables suggests the best approach may be to focus on the factors that are often behind this vegetable gap: convenience and enjoyment.

Childhood risk factors for developing substance dependence
There is ample evidence for the genetic influence of alcohol dependence, and ongoing studies are actively looking for specific genes that may confer this increased susceptibility.

The European project, Eurofleets
The project Eurofleets funded by the European Commission in the 7th Framework program was recently launched with a meeting in Paris. Twenty-four partners from 16 member states of the European Union or associated countries participated to further advance the networking of the European research fleets. The European Commission finances Eurofleets during the coming four years with 7.2 million euros.

Child burn injuries down significantly
A new study finds burn injuries in children under age 21 are down significantly -- 31 percent. That's the good news. However, more than 300 children are still being treated in the hospital every day for thermal, chemical or electrical burns.

Latest analysis confirms suboptimal vitamin D levels in millions of US children
A new study appearing in the upcoming Pediatrics suggests that children between the ages of 1 and 11 may suffer from optimal levels of vitamin D, and black and Hispanic children are particularly at risk. The research builds on growing evidence that levels have fallen below what has been considered healthy.

Unnatural selection: Birth control pills may alter choice of partners
Is it possible that the use of oral contraceptives is interfering with a woman's ability to choose, compete for and retain her preferred mate? A new paper published by Cell Press in the October issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution reviews emerging evidence suggesting that contraceptive methods which alter a woman's natural hormonal cycles may have an underappreciated impact on choice of partners for both women and men and, possibly, reproductive success. 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