Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2007)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2007.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2007

Rise of obesity exacerbated by 'social multiplier' effects
According to a new study in Economic Inquiry, an individual's body weight depends not just on physiology and economic circumstances, but also on average body weight of the population at large. The study is the first to quantitatively model body weight distribution based on the combined outcome of economic, biological and social influences.

T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
T. rex may have struggled to chase down speeding vehicles as the movie Jurassic Park would have us believe but the world's most fearsome carnivore was certainly no slouch, research out today suggests.

Multinational research: protecting ecology means understanding people, too
Talking to a biologist about one's feelings could produce the same reaction as, say, telling a sociologist about molecules. Yet if the problems confronting conservation of the world's biodiversity are to be fixed, then science and people must mix. So say Drs. Lee Fitzgerald and Amanda Stronza of Texas A&M University who will lead a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to cut down barriers between biological and social science to help conserve the world's biodiversity.

Using life's building blocks to control nanoparticle assembly
Using DNA, researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are studying how to control both the speed of nanoparticle assembly and the structure of its resulting nanoclusters. Mathew Maye, a chemist in Brookhaven's newly opened Center for Functional Nanomaterials, will present the latest findings in this field at the 234th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Ivermectin is causing genetic selection in river blindness parasite
Recent reports of patients failing to respond to ivermectin, the standard drug for treating river blindness (onchocerciasis), have suggested the emergence of drug-resistant Onchocerca volvulus (the parasite that causes river blindness). According to a new study by Roger Prichard of McGill University, Canada, Ivermectin is causing genetic changes in the parasite.

Frigid Enceladus: An unlikely harbor for life
A new model of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may quell hopes of finding life there. Developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, the model explains the most salient observations on Enceladus without requiring the presence of liquid water.

First biomarker discovered that predicts prostate cancer outcome
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified the first immune molecule that appears to play a role in prostate cancer development and in predicting cancer recurrence and progression after surgery.

Watson to receive ARVO special recognition award
Andrew B. Watson, PhD, has been selected to receive ARVO's Special Recognition Award, which is presented periodically to honor outstanding service to ARVO or the vision research community. Watson is being recognized for his foresight, energy and dedication in launching and editing ARVO's first electronic scientific journal, the Journal of Vision.

U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Brain Sciences Center at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center have identified a noninvasive and painless way to diagnose complex brain diseases.

U of M researchers find that the words of a CEO can foretell a company's future innovation
Many stockholders wish they could look into a crystal ball to forecast a firm's performance. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that they need something far less mystical to predict future innovations of firms.

Taking a supplement of glycine helps prevent degenerative diseases such as arthrosis or osteoporosis
A doctoral thesis presented in the UGR has established that these diseases are due to a lack of this amino acid which is present in food such as fish, meat or dairy products. The research, which was carried out at the Cellular Metabolism Institute in Tenerife, studied the effect of the glycine supplement in the diet of a group of 600 volunteers affected by different diseases related to the mechanical structure of the organism.

Stem cell transplantation procedure results in long-term survival for amyloidosis patients
Researchers from the Stem Cell Transplant Program and the Amyloid Treatment and Research Program at Boston University Medical Center have found that high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplantation can result in long-term survival for patients diagnosed with primary systemic light chain Amyloidosis.

New guidelines address treatment of dangerous infection
The American Journal of Gastroenterology has published medical guidelines for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, one of the most common worldwide infections and an important factor linked to the development of peptic ulcer disease, gastric malignancy and dyspeptic symptoms.

GI concept tested in children
A new study provides encouraging evidence that a low-GI start to the day may be a good option to keep obesity at bay in the young.

UIC researchers to develop new drugs to fight bioterrorism
The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy has received a grant from the US Department of Defense to develop new drugs to combat agents of bioterrorism.

Amber specimen captures ancient chemical battle
It appears that chemical warfare has been around a lot longer than poison arrows, mustard gas or nerve weapons -- about 100 million years, give or take a little. A new study by researchers at Oregon State University has identified a soldier beetle, preserved almost perfectly in amber, which was in the process of using chemical repellants to fight off an attacker when an oozing flow of sap preserved the struggle for eternity.

Focus on families aims to curb diabetes spread
Family lifestyles and their impact on the health of individual family members will be the focus of a new approach to preventing diabetes.

Young children's taste preferences may be influenced by fast-food branding
Preschool children preferred the taste of foods and drinks in McDonald's packaging to the same foods and drinks in unbranded packaging, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New catalysts may create more, cheaper hydrogen
A new class of catalysts created at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory may help scientists and engineers overcome some of the hurdles that have inhibited the production of hydrogen for use in fuel cells.

Experiment suggests limitations to carbon dioxide 'tree banking'
While 10 years of bathing North Carolina pine tree stands with extra carbon dioxide did allow the trees to grow more tissue, only those pines receiving the most water and nutrients were able to store significant amounts of carbon that could offset the effects of global warming, scientists told a national meeting of the Ecological Society of America.

Disabling a sensory organ prompts female mice to act like male mice
By short-circuiting the sensory organ that detects the chemical cues mice use to attract mates, a team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers has prompted female mice to behave like male mice in the throes of courtship. The finding suggests that the neural circuits that govern gender-specific behaviors, such as aggression and courtship, are similar in the male and female brain.

WPI wins $1M to develop system to locate and monitor emergency workers in buildings
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has received nearly $1 million from the federal US Department of Homeland Security to develop a system that can precisely locate and track the movement of emergency workers inside buildings and monitor their health and physiological status. The system will address two of the three leading causes of firefighter deaths: stress-related heart attacks, and getting lost, trapped or disabled inside buildings.

Updated WHO bird flu (H5N1) management guidance reinforces Tamiflu as first line treatment
The World Health Organization has reinforced that Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is the primary recommended antiviral of choice in managing patients infected with H5N1 in updated guidance published on the WHO website today. Experts believe that a human influenza pandemic is imminent and could be triggered by the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, which, as of Aug. 16 2007, has infected 321 humans, causing 194 deaths worldwide.

Researchers separate analgesic effects from addictive aspects of pain-killing drugs
For the first time, pain researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that it's possible to separate the good effects of opiate drugs such as morphine (pain relief) from the unwanted side effects of those drugs (tolerance, abuse and addiction).

Eureka prize recognizes pioneering research replacing use of animals
Scientists who developed a breakthrough research method which reduces the use of animals in the laboratory have been awarded this year's esteemed Voiceless Eureka Prize.

Health care disparities start at the local pharmacy, study shows
Despite years of effort in reaching out to their local communities, the role pharmacists play as health-care providers still remains unclear to the people who need them the most -- elderly Americans with multiple medications for chronic diseases.

Infection contributes to the high rates of oropharyngeal cancers
A review finds an increasing trend in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers, particularly among men under 45 years old, for which HPV infection is the likely cause.

Silicon nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells
Placing a film of silicon nanoparticles onto a silicon solar cell can boost power, reduce heat and prolong the cell's life, researchers now report.

New light-sensing ability discovered in disease-causing bacteria
The bacteria that cause brucellosis can sense light and use the information to regulate their virulence. The discovery comes after 120 years of research into the disease, which causes abortions in livestock and fevers in humans. Researchers found that two other bacteria, including a species that attacks plants, sense light using the same type of protein structure, and at least 94 more species possess the code for it in their DNA.

Patients with Medicaid and those lacking insurance have higher risk of advanced laryngeal cancer
Individuals with advanced-stage laryngeal cancer at diagnosis were more likely to be uninsured or covered by Medicaid than to have private insurance, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Relapse from antidepressant medication may be lack of response to medication in the first place
A new study by Rhode Island Hospital researchers indicates that a relapse during antidepressant continuation treatment may be due to a relapse in patients who were not true drug responders. The loss of drug response may be due to loss of placebo response.

MC Strategies will host webinar to help hospitals navigate IPPS changes
MC Strategies announced today it will host a free webinar, at 10 a.m., Sept. 11, 2007, addressing the upcoming changes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' inpatient prospective payment system.

Human rights for the elderly in care: just lip service?
Seven years after the implementation of the UK Human Rights Act, little more than lip service is being paid to human rights of elderly people in the UK and worldwide. The issues are discussed in an Editorial in this week's edition of The Lancet.

Vicente Fox Center and RAND launch joint program to find policies to combat poverty
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox and RAND Corp. Executive Vice President Michael Rich today signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint research program that will study ways to fight poverty and aid vulnerable groups in Mexico and Latin America. The signing took place at the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico. The new research program announced today will be based at the Fox Center.

Digital archive casts new light on Apollo-era moon pictures
Nearly 40 years after man first walked on the moon, the complete lunar photographic record from the Apollo project will be accessible to both researchers and the general public on the Internet. A new digital archive -- created through a collaboration between Arizona State University and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston -- is making available high-resolution scans of original Apollo flight films.

ODP scientists say no large Northern Hemisphere ice sheets 41 million years ago
New research to test global ice volume approximately 41.6 million years ago shows that ice caps at this time, if they existed at all, would have been small and easily accommodated on Antarctica.

Eureka prize for Terry
Professor Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University, last night won one of the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka prizes: the Sherman Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

Virginia Tech plant scientists win ASPB 2007 Grant Award
Erin Dolan, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Outreach Director of Tech's Fralin Biotechnology Center along with David Lally, Coordinator of the Partnership for Research and Education in Plants, have won funding from the American Society of Plant Biologists 2007 Grant Awards Program. Dolan and Lally will use the funds to develop and disseminate a series of four interactive, video-integrated, web-based flash animation modules.

See what you're spewing as you speed along
In the future, drivers may only have to glance at the dashboard to see the pollution spewing out of their vehicle's exhausts.

CU-Boulder signs $92 million contract for space weather instrument package
The University of Colorado at Boulder signed a contract today worth an estimated $92 million with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA to build a satellite instrument package to help forecast solar disturbances that affect communication and navigation operations in the United States.

New report on smoking shows who's quitting, who's not
Two-thirds of the New York City's smokers -- almost 800,000 adults -- tried to quit in the past year, but only 17 percent of those succeeded. What are the obstacles?

Battling bitter coffee -- chemists vs. main source of coffee bitterness
Bitter taste can ruin a cup of coffee. Now, chemists in Germany and the United States say they have identified the chemicals that appear to be largely responsible for java's bitterness, a finding that could one day lead to a better tasting brew. Their study, one of the most detailed chemical analyses of coffee bitterness to date, will be presented in August at the American Chemical Society national meeting in Boston.

AASM encourages those student-athletes at risk for developing osa to visit a sleep clinic
More research is emerging that sheds light on a serious problem affecting student-athletes nationwide: the number of children and teens who are considered obese is rising dramatically. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, obesity raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems, and also increases the likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

Men choose romance over success
Men may be more willing than women to sacrifice achievement goals for a romantic relationship, according to a new study by Catherine Mosher of Duke Medical Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg from the University of Albany. Their findings challenge our preconceptions that women are more likely to prioritize people and relationships while men are more focused on themselves and their achievements. Their paper will be published in the next issue of the Springer journal, Gender Issues.

International counter-terrorism/bio-preparedness partnership formed
New partnership to expand research and training opportunities in the areas of biopreparedness and counter-terrorism.

Using MRI for diagnosis could help prevent breast cancer progression
Using magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose breast cancer in its intraductal stage could help prevent the development of invasive cancer, conclude authors of an article in this week's edition of the Lancet. And an accompanying comment says that the findings show that MRI should now be used as a distinct method in its own right to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage.

Scuppering pirates improves Internet audio
A new digital watermarking system published today in Inderscience's International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication not only protects music and media files from online pirates, but also ensures that the quality for legitimate users is as good as it gets.

Irrigation may not cool the globe in the future
Expansion of irrigation has masked greenhouse warming in California's Central Valley, but irrigation may not make much of a difference in the future, according to a new study in the Aug. 13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sports medicine physicians brace for the injuries of football season
Football fever is upon the nation once again. The soaring of the pigskin signals the start of the

UCF research links proteins, stem cells and potential Alzheimer's treatment
UCF researcher finds link between protein and stem cells, which may lead to a new way to treat Alzheimer's disease. 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