Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 2011)

Science news and science current events archive October, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 2011

Never too old to donate a kidney?
Healthy individuals over 70 years old can safely donate a kidney. Kidneys from elderly donors do not last as long as those from younger living donors, but they last just as long as organs from younger deceased donors. Nearly 90,000 people in the US are waiting for a kidney transplant, and many will die before a suitable organ becomes available.

Video games used in new treatment that may fix 'lazy eye' in older children
A new study conducted in an eye clinic in India found that correction of amblyopia, also called

Free health care: Yes, but with caution
Over the last years, many low and middle-income countries have removed user fees in their health care sector. Researchers from Africa, Asia, Northern America and Europe have studied these policies; their findings are gathered in a supplement of the scientific journal Health Policy & Planning, coordinated by Bruno Meesen from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical medicine. Experiences from Afghanistan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nepal , Rwanda and Uganda, among others, are documented in this supplement. Conclusion: it is possible, but should not be done ill-advised.

West Nile virus transmission linked with land-use patterns and 'super-spreaders'
After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well-established throughout North and South America.

Race to nerve regeneration: faster is better
Researchers have now identified a way to accelerate the regeneration of injured peripheral nerves in mice such that muscle function is restored in situations where it normally would not be. It is hoped that these data might one day translate into strategies that increase the rate of nerve growth to enhance functional recovery in patients after peripheral nerve damage.

Perinatal antidepressant stunts brain development in rats
Rats exposed to an antidepressant just before and after birth showed substantial brain abnormalities and behaviors, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. After receiving citalopram, a serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor, during this critical period, long-distance connections between the two hemispheres of the brain showed stunted growth and degeneration. The animals also became excessively fearful when faced with new situations and failed to play normally with peers.

Alternating training improves motor learning
Learning from one's mistakes may be better than practicing to perfection, according to a new study appearing in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that forcing people to switch from a normal walking pattern to an unusual one -- and back again -- made them better able to adjust to the unusual pattern. The findings may help improve therapy for people relearning to walk following stroke or other injury.

Entomological Foundation announces 2011 award winners
The Entomological Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build a future for entomology by educating young people about science through insects, has announced the winners of its 2011 student and professional awards.

NYUCN receives $299 thousand from NCSBN to study patient safety in nursing homes
New York University College of Nursingreceived a two-year, $299,990.00 grant from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Grant (NCSBN) to research the

Study in Lancet finds use of hormonal contraception doubles HIV risk
University of Washington researchers found that women using hormonal contraception -- such as a birth control pill or a shot like Depo-Provera -- are at double the risk of acquiring HIV, and HIV-infected women who use hormonal contraception have twice the risk of transmitting the virus to their HIV-uninfected male partners, according to their study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Piecing together the priceless 'Cairo Genizah'
The Cairo Genizah is an irreplaceable repository for information about 1,000 years of human history. But the 350,000 fragments that make up the Genizah are scattered worldwide. Professors Lior Wolf and Nachum Dershowitz of Tel Aviv University are putting all these pieces back together with a computer program based on facial recognition technology.

$3.6 million nursing research project promotes exercise for girls
With the help of a $3.6 million federal grant, a Michigan State University nursing researcher is expanding a pilot program statewide to help middle school girls -- particularly minority girls in urban, low socioeconomic settings -- increase their physical activity. The five-year Girls on the Move project, led by Lorraine Robbins and funded by the National Institutes of Health, focuses on individual and web-based counseling sessions with school nurses and an after-school club.

Ohio State organizes research sharing between Brazil, US
Scientists from Brazil and the United States will discuss scientific studies of mutual interests and explore future partnerships at a three-day symposium in Washington on Oct. 24-26.

CAMH study confirms genetic link to suicidal behavior
A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found evidence that a specific gene is linked to suicidal behavior, adding to our knowledge of the many complex causes of suicide. This research may help doctors one day target the gene in prevention efforts.

Statin therapy fails to slow progression of atherosclerosis in pediatric lupus patients
Atorvastatin therapy was found to be ineffective in reducing atherosclerosis progression in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Results of the Atherosclerosis Prevention in Pediatric Lupus Erythematosus Trial, now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology, report that the statin therapy did trend toward positive effect of treatment and may benefit patients with more severe SLE who were not included in the trial.

Speedy 3-D X-rays in the operating room
Having an operation always places strain on patients, and this is especially true of complicated operations. Surgeons use 3-D X-rays to check the results before the patient has left the operating room. This does help to avoid possible complications, but it also means interrupting the surgery.

UCLA researchers develop new way to screen for brain cancer stem cell killers
Researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed and used a high-throughput molecular screening approach that identifies and characterizes chemical compounds that can target the stem cells that are responsible for creating deadly brain tumors.

Analgesics use associated with increased risk for renal cell carcinoma
Use of acetaminophen and nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was associated with a significantly increased risk for developing renal cell carcinoma, according to data presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 22-25, 2011.

Psychological traumas experienced over lifetime linked to adult irritable bowel syndrome
The psychological and emotional traumas experienced over a lifetime -- such as the death of a loved one, divorce, natural disaster, house fire or car accident, physical or mental abuse -- may contribute to adult irritable bowel syndrome, according to the results of a study unveiled today.

Scripps florida scientist awarded $4.2 million for type 1 diabetes research
A scientist at The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded $4.2 million from the National Institutes of Health in a program to advance what the agency calls

Fighting breast cancer early, one cell at a time
Researchers at Tufts University will develop ultra-sensitive techniques at the single-molecule and single-cell levels designed to detect breast cancer earlier, and treat it with greater precision, through a $6.6 million Innovator Award from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. By developing more sensitive and biologically precise tools for detecting cancer, patients can be diagnosed earlier and tumors better characterized.

Distinct AIDS viruses found in cerebrospinal fluid of people with HIV dementia
Scientists led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have discovered that some people diagnosed with HAD have two genetically distinct HIV types in their cerebrospinal fluid, the clear fluid found in the spaces around and inside the brain and spinal cord.

Home of the free - land of the fat?
Richard McKenzie's

The 2012 Olympic surveillance legacy
The Olympic and Paralympic Games are one of the most prestigious events in the world and in 2012 all eyes will be on London. The well published post - 2012 Games legacy includes world class sports facilities, a woodland park, new homes, shops and restaurants. What isn't clear is what will happen to the high level security measures that will be left behind after the Games.

Men win humor test (by a hair)
UC San Diego researchers used New Yorker cartoons to explore the gender stereotype that men are funnier than women. While men won the experimental contest, they won just barely and they scored better with other men. Also, the team finds that memory bias may perpetuate the stereotype.

B-lymphocyte depletion using the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab in chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may be alleviated by the anti-cancer drug Rituximab, suggesting that the source of the disease could lie in the immune system, according to a new study published Oct. 19 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Angel investor market stabilizes in first half of 2011, UNH Center for Venture Research finds
The angel investor market in the first two quarters of 2011 showed signs of stabilization since the 30 percent market correction in the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009, with total investments totaling $8.9 billion, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2010, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

Bacteria associated with stomach ulcers not detected in enlarged adenoids in children
Bacteria that cause stomach inflammation and ulcers were not detectable in tissue from inflamed and enlarged adenoids in children, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

SUNY receives $4.3 million for research in neuroscience, pediatric pharmacology and vision
The State University of New York has received two grants totaling more than $4.3 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support neuroscience and pediatric pharmacology and vision research as part of SUNY REACH, a collaborative research network of SUNY's four academic health centers and the College of Optometry. The lead researchers on both grants will be headquartered at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

X-ray camera makes A-grade particle detector
Combining an off-the-shelf X-ray camera with a thin piece of carbon foil yields a device that can detect high-energy organic atoms and heavy molecules better than the typical devices used for these jobs, with potential benefits ranging from the science of cancer treatment to star chemistry.

Link shown between environmental toxicants and atherosclerosis
Environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease. For the first time a link has been demonstrated between atherosclerosis and levels of long-lived organic environmental toxicants in the blood. The study, carried out by researchers at Uppsala University, is being published online this week in ahead of print in the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

'Non-invasive' cultivar? Buyer beware
Cultivars of popular woody ornamental plants that have reduced viable seed production and are being advertised as

Interventional radiologists: Tough on liver cancer, kind to patients
Finding innovative, minimally invasive ways to treat liver cancer -- and being able to tailor that treatment individually to patients -- are hallmarks of interventional radiologists. Advances in yttrium-90 radioembolization for liver cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, are reported in studies in the October Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

$8.4 million grant supports health information exchange and research on Alzheimer's drugs
An $8.4 million award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is enhancing the infrastructure of the Indiana Network for Patient Care, the nation's largest and most sophisticated health information exchange. The grant simultaneously supports a ground-breaking comparative effectiveness research study using real world data to be acquired by an augmented INPC to compare the benefits and harms of three drugs commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Smart city, smart village proposals progress as Malaysia's global advisory council meets
The integration of information and communications technologies in urban and rural energy management, health care and other areas will increase Malaysia's efficiency, advance its human capacity, and promotes entrepreneurship and innovation, according to national and international experts meeting in Kuala Lumpur this week.

A hitchhiker's guide to the Galápagos: co-evolution of Galápagos mockingbirds and their parasites
Along with the famous finches the Galápagos mockingbirds had a great influence on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Now, 176 years later, three of the four mockingbird species are among the rarest birds in the world. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology untangles the evolutionary relationships between Galápagos mockingbirds and provides information about their parasites to help ensure the birds survival.

Research highlights training to improve colorectal cancer detection
The first study to assess improvements in detection of pre-cancerous growths in the colon through intensive physician training was presented today at ACG 2011, where CRC detection was an important focus of the scientific presentations.

Small molecules can starve cancer cells
Researchers from BRIC at University of Copenhagen have found that a small molecule in our cells can block autophagy in cancer cells making them more sensitive for treatment.

Is chivalry the norm for insects?
The long-standing consensus of why insects stick together after mating has been turned on its head by scientists from the University of Exeter. This study shows that, contrary to previous thinking, females benefit from this arrangement just as much as males. Instead of dominating their female partners through bullying and aggressive behavior, males were revealed to be protective, even laying their lives on the line when their mates faced danger.

UM College of Engineering receives $1 million grant from the Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy has awarded the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center a $1 million grant to be distributed over five years. The funding will help train engineering students to assist small and medium size local manufacturers to manage their energy requirements, reduce waste and increase productivity associated with manufacturing processes.

Transfusion not always best treatment for anemia, age of stored blood may play a role
University of Kentucky researchers have recently published a paper suggesting that transfusion may not always be the best treatment for hospitalized patients with anemia.

Compound found in common wart treatment shows promise as leukemia therapy
A new potential leukemia therapy targets only cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. Many current chemotherapy treatments affect cancer cells and healthy cells, causing significant side effects, such as fatigue, hair loss, nausea, anxiety and depression. This research is being presented at the 2011 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23 - 27.

Immune peacekeepers discovered
There are more bacteria living on our skin and in our gut than cells in our body. We need them. But until now no-one knew how the immune system could tell that these bacteria are harmless. Centenary Institute researchers in Sydney have discovered a set of peacekeepers -- immune cells in the outer layers of our skin that stop us from attacking friendly bacteria.

BU presents approach to access biorelevant structures by 'remodeling' natural products
BU researchers present a new approach to accessing biorelevant structures by

Future-Directed Therapy helps depression patients cultivate optimistic outlook
Patients with major depression do better by learning to create a more positive outlook about the future, rather than by focusing on negative thoughts about their past experiences, researchers at Cedars-Sinai say after developing a new treatment that helps patients do this.

Some link between CCSVI and MS but quality of evidence prevents definitive conclusion
Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) appears to be more common in people with multiple sclerosis than in people without the condition, states a review of published studies in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). However, there are not enough high-quality studies to allow definitive conclusions.

Presenting research findings to global audiences
Ensuring free and easy access to scientific knowledge and research data is the goal of open-access publishing. The open-access concept has gained ground on the international stage, particularly in Europe and the USA. In Germany, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft actively supports the growth of open-access publishing across the scientific disciplines.

'Sweet Stuff: An American History of Sweeteners from Sugar to Sucralose'
Each year, the average American consumes around 150 pounds of sugars and substantial amounts of artificial sweeteners. In her new book, National Museum of American History curator Deborah Jean Warner presents the story of America's love affair with sugar and how sweeteners have affected key aspects of the American experience.

Natural compound helps reverse diabetes in mice
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have restored normal blood sugar metabolism in diabetic mice using a compound the body makes naturally. The finding suggests that it may one day be possible for people to take the compound much like a daily vitamin as a way to treat or even prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Removal of restrictions can decrease music piracy
Contrary to the traditional views of the music industry, removal of digital rights management restrictions can actually decrease piracy, according to new research from Rice University and Duke University. 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