Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2007)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2007.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2007

People with genetic predictors of colorectal cancer are not getting screened
Even when diagnosed with a condition that is a strong genetic predictor of colorectal cancer, many patients do not seek out genetic counseling or cancer screening. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, counseling and screening rates could be improved if physicians provided stronger encouragement and more complete information about the benefits of screening to their patients.

A new line of treatment discovered for acute lymphoblastic leukemia
A study undertaken by a group of Spanish scientists, amongst which were members of the University Clinic of the University of Navarra and the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the same university, have recently discovered a new line of treatment for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The conclusions of the research have been published in the official journal, Blood, of the American Hematology Association.

Obesity drug helps unlock clues about cancer
An approved drug for fighting obesity is helping scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine uncover clues about how to stop the growth of cancerous tumors.

USC-led study suggests exercise reduces risk of developing invasive breast cancer
Significant findings have emerged from the California Teachers Study (CTS) that suggest long-term recreational physical activity plays a protective role against invasive and in situ breast cancer.

Argonne National Laboratory plays key role in new climate simulations
The Model Coupling Toolkit created by the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory played a key role in the climate simulations used in preparing the new U.N. report

Computer program bridges gap between scientists, water policy makers
A computer visualization tool developed by Arizona State University researchers can simulate the effects environmental and policy factors have on the future of water availability in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The program, called WaterSim, will be demonstrated on February 17 by ASU geography professor Patricia Gober at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.

Breakthrough in understanding type 2 diabetes as key genes identified
The most important genes associated with a risk of developing type 2 diabetes have been identified, scientists report today in a new study. The research, published online in Nature, is the first time the genetic makeup of any disease has been mapped in such detail. It should enable scientists to develop a genetic test to show an individual their likelihood of developing diabetes mellitus type 2, commonly known as type 2 diabetes.

Conscience, religion alter how doctors tell patients about options
Many physicians feel no obligation to tell patients about legal but morally controversial medical treatments or to refer patients to doctors who do not object to those treatments. While 86 percent felt obliged to present all options, only 71 percent said they felt obligated to refer the patient to a doctor who did not object to the requested procedure, and 63 percent believed it is permissible for doctors to describe their objections to the patient.

New cardiovascular risk prediction models developed for women
Researchers have developed a more accurate way to predict the risk of developing cardiovascular disease among women, according to a study in the February 14 issue of JAMA.

Mellow in Europe, crazy in America
Reed canarygrass stays put in Europe where it's native, but is aggressively expanding into wetlands across North America. Using this grass as a model, University of Vermont researchers have revealed a new way that some plants become invasive: Multiple introductions of the same species from numerous regions lead to new strains which grow more aggressively than the original plants. With climate change, this kind of invader may become increasingly successful.

Do you hear what I see?
New research pinpoints specific areas in sound processing centers in the brains of macaque monkeys that shows enhanced activity when the animals watch a video.

Psychologist explains the neurochemistry behind romance
The Beatles' George Harrison wondered in his famous love song about the

Longevity by a nose (or odorant receptor)
The fruit fly's perception of food may trigger a different metabolic state than one that exists when nutrients are limited, partially counteracting the life-lengthening effects of nutrient restriction.

Introducing the 'coolest' spacecraft in the universe
The European Space Agency's Planck mission, which will study the conditions present in our universe shortly after the Big Bang, is reaching an important milestone with the integration of instruments into the satellite at Alcatel Alenia Space in Cannes, France.

White-knuckle atmospheric science takes flight
University of Toronto Mississauga physicist Kent Moore flies head-on into hurricane-force winds off the southern tip of Greenland.

Calcium lowers cardiovascular risk in people on a weight loss program
Université Laval Faculty of Medicine researchers have discovered that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements while on a weight loss program lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

March of Dimes commits additional $3M to prematurity research
The March of Dimes announced support for the innovative research of eight scientists with combined grant awards of $3 million. The third annual March of Dimes Prematurity Research Initiative grants, part of an ongoing effort to predict and prevent premature birth, were awarded for a three-year period. More than half of the researchers will explore the role immune and inflammatory responses to infections may play in triggering labor.

Prehistoric origins of stomach ulcers uncovered
Scientists have discovered that the ubiquitous bacteria that causes most painful stomach ulcers has been present in the human digestive system since modern man migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. They compared DNA sequence patterns of humans and the Helicobacter pylori bacteria now known to cause most stomach ulcers and found that the genetic differences between human populations that arose as they dispersed from Eastern Africa over thousands of years are mirrored in H.pylori.

Europeans' understanding of science, evolution, more advanced than Americans
When it comes to scientific literacy, Americans aren't nearly as evolved as they may think. In fact, only about 40 percent of American adults accept the basic idea of evolution, a figure much lower than any European country.

Springer Science+Business Media acquires complete journal program from Transaction Publishers
In a move that will significantly expand its social sciences offering, Springer Science+Business Media (Springer) has acquired twenty-nine journals from Transaction Publishers in an asset deal. The titles, including the flagship journal Society, are at the forefront of contemporary thought in established disciplines such as political science, history, sociology, anthropology and psychology.

Low-cost Parkinson's disease diagnostic test a world first
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have developed a cost-effective diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease (PD), which will also assist researchers to understand the genetic basis of PD and to undertake large-scale studies to identify the genes that cause this debilitating condition.

Researchers create new super-thin laser mirror
Engineers at UC Berkeley have created a new high-performance mirror that packs the same 99.9 percent reflective punch as current high-grade mirrors, but in a package that is 20 times thinner and easier to manufacture. The new mirror could dramatically improve the design and efficiency of next generation laser optics for such devices as high-definition DVD players, computer circuits and laser printers.

What recognizes what in plant disease resistance?
How do plant resistance gene recognize the cognate pathogen? These authors dissect the interaction of a resistance gene and a viral pathogen.

Data show significant asthma control and improved lung function with Symbicort
Data show significant asthma control and improved lung function with Symbicort.

Primitive yeast yields secrets of human cholesterol and drug metabolism
By first probing the way primitive yeast make cholesterol, a team of scientists has discovered a long-sought protein whose human counterpart controls cholesterol production and potentially drug metabolism.

When God sanctions killing, the people listen
New research sheds light on possible origins of violent religious fundamentalism.

Neuroscientists explain inner workings of critical pain pathway
Morphine and other opioids are among the most potent painkillers around. For the first time, Brown University neuroscientists explain why these drugs work so well on the calcium channels in the pain pathway, in new research in Nature Neuroscience. The findings not only break ground in basic science, they may aid in the effort to develop safer pain-relieving drugs.

Tibetan antelope slowly recovering, WCS says
Returning from a recent 1,000-mile expedition across Tibet's remote Chang Tang region, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) biologist George Schaller reports that the Tibetan antelope -- once the target of rampant poaching -- may be increasing in numbers due to a combination of better enforcement and a growing conservation ethic in local communities.

From volunteering and social activism to civic participation
If increasing antagonism towards traditional democratic practices and institutions is to be reversed, local political authorities must be willing and able to move beyond consumer satisfaction and public consultation to more deliberative and participatory politics, says a new booklet

Scientists use nanoparticle to discover disease-causing proteins
A complex molecule and snake venom may provide researchers with a more reliable method of diagnosing human diseases and developing new drugs.

New pan-European guidelines on the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular and VHD published
The first, pan-European guidelines to be published on the treatment of valvular heart disease, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have made a series of new recommendations which experts hope will contribute to improving the outcome of patients with these diseases.

Mobile phones facilitate romance in modern India
Indians -- like young people everywhere -- are integrating technology into their romantic lives. Cell phones allow long-distance relationships and arranged marriages to flourish in a modern high-tech boomtown, according to a new study.

Scientists convert heat to power using organic molecules, may lead to new energy source
UC Berkeley researchers have successfully generated electricity directly from heat by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles, an achievement that could pave the way toward the development of a new, cheaper source for energy.

Common blood pressure drug reduces progressive muscle degeneration in mice
Scientists supported in part by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have found that that the commonly prescribed blood pressure medication losartan improves muscle regeneration and repair in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a devastating disease characterized by rapid progression of muscle degeneration in boys and young men.

Spearmint tea -- A possible treatment for mild hirsutism
Women with hirsutism grow hair on their faces, breasts and stomachs. This can cause great distress. The hair grows because they have abnormally high levels of the

Steering atoms toward better navigation, physicists test Newton and Einstein along the way
''Navigation problems-how to get from point A to point B-tell us about space-time,'' says Kasevich, a professor in the departments of Physics and Applied Physics who will speak about atomic sensors February 17 in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ''When we build these de Broglie wave navigation sensors, we're also building sensors that can test these fundamental laws about space-time.''

Conflicting attitudes hinder participation in clinical trials
Women have conflicting attitudes about participating in clinical trials because of uncertainties about trusting the experimenters, fear of the trial itself and hope that the research will result in medical progress, according to a new study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Canada's new government releases list of fuel-efficient vehicles for 2007
Shopping for a new vehicle that saves money on fuel and also helps the environment just got easier. The Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of Natural Resources, today announced the release of Natural Resources Canada's 2007 Fuel Consumption Guide and the 2007 EnerGuide winners for the most fuel-efficient new vehicles sold in Canada.

Scripps research study reveals structural dynamics of single prion molecules
Using a combination of novel technologies, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have revealed for the first time a dynamic molecular portrait of individual unfolded yeast prions that form the compound amyloid, a fibrous protein aggregate associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease -- the human version of mad cow disease.

A bio-inspired flying robot sheds light on insect piloting abilities
Insects and other flying animals are somehow able to maintain appropriate flying heights and execute controlled takeoffs and landings despite lacking the advantage of sophisticated instrumentation available to human aviators. By characterizing the behavior of a specially designed flying robot, researchers have now been able to test a theory that helps explain how visual cues are used by insects during flight to ensure appropriate distance from the ground.

Elsevier congratulates its award winning authors and editors
Elsevier is pleased to announce that six of its professional and scholarly books were honored by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) at the 2007 Awards for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing this week.

Newborns with respiratory distress potentially have rare genetic disease
Newborns with respiratory distress should be evaluated for primary ciliary dyskinesia, a rare genetic disease that has features similar to cystic fibrosis, says Thomas Ferkol from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He reports finding that about 80 percent of patients with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) have a history of newborn respiratory distress.

Climate changes, Cod collapse have altered North Atlantic ecosystems
Climate change plays a role in ecosystem changes along the continental shelf waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, reports a Cornell oceanographer in the Feb. 23 issue of Science.

RAND study finds few HIV-positive parents make formal custody plans for their children
Few unmarried parents who are HIV-positive have made legally documented arrangements for who would care for their children if the parents die, according to a survey by the RAND Corp. issued today. RAND, a nonprofit research organization, analyzed interviews with 222 unmarried parents with a total of 391 children from a nationally representative sample of HIV-infected adults. Of those parents, only 28 percent had prepared legal documentation of their guardianship choice.

Nanoengineering research at UH a magnet for Defense Department grant
Whether you're a soldier navigating a minefield or a doctor examining a tumor, how well you know the territory can make all the difference in the outcome. That's why military and medical personnel increasingly rely on magnetic field sensors to help map their respective terrains. The US Department of Defense has awarded University of Houston researchers a grant worth up to $1.6 million to build the most powerful magnetic field sensor to date.

First national review of pediatric soccer injuries finds 1.6 million ER visits over 13-year span
In this first national review of visits to US emergency rooms for soccer-related injuries the authors find significant age, gender disparities in injury rates, type and hospitalizations. Girls suffer more injuries than boys, and the youngest players (ages two-four years) are hospitalized more often than older players. Recommendations are made to improve youth soccer safety.

Researcher to study astronaut bone loss for space biology agency
Long's research project will focus on the relationship between three substances: insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a chemical produced in bone and other organs that promotes the growth of bone and cartilage; IGF-1 receptor, which resides in bone cells and enables them to respond to IGF-1; and beta-3 integrin, a protein that among other roles promotes the function of IGF-1 receptor.

Chemistry journal co-editor wins national energy award for quantum dots work
A. Paul Alivisatos, co-editor of the American Chemical Society peer-reviewed journal Nano Letters, is among eight winners of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award named by U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman this week. The Lawrence Award honors scientists and engineers at mid-career for

New measure of sexual arousal found for both men and women
According to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and conducted in the Department of Psychology of McGill University, thermography shows great promise as a diagnostic method of measuring sexual arousal. It is less intrusive than currently utilized methods, and is the only available test that requires no physical contact with participants. Thermography is currently the only method that can be used to diagnose sexual health problems in both women and men.

Lung cancer rates higher among female nonsmokers than previously
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Northern California Cancer Center have taken the first steps toward analyzing why people who never smoked get lung cancer. 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