Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2008)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2008

Male births are more likely to reduce quality of life and increase severe post-natal depression
Women who give birth to boys are more likely to suffer from post-natal depression and reduced quality of life. What marks this study out is that, unlike previous research, the women who took part didn't face any cultural pressures over the sex of their baby. And women reported lower quality of life following the birth of a boy, even if they didn't suffer from depression.

Liquid water found flowing on Mars? Not yet
Liquid water has not been found on the Martian surface within the last decade after all, according to new research. The finding casts doubt on the 2006 report that the bright spots in some Martian gullies indicate that liquid water flowed there sometime since 1999. The researchers took advantage of the detailed topographic data derived from images of Mars taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Poor recognition of 'self' found in high functioning people with autism
Contrary to popular notions, people at the high end of the autism spectrum disorder continuum suffer most from an inability to model

RNA-based methods for developmental studies are featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights two methods to understand developmental processes in plants and flies. Both methods involve work with RNA and are freely accessible on the Web site for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols.

Mock CPR 'codes' expose weaknesses in hospital emergency response for children
Staging mock cardiac and respiratory arrests --

Predicting the radiation risk to ESA's astronauts
European scientists have developed the most accurate method yet for predicting the doses of radiation that astronauts will receive aboard the orbiting European laboratory module, Columbus, attached to the ISS this week.

Surgery improves quality of life for children with sleep apnea
For children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can provide dramatic relief and is successful in solving sleep problems for 80 to 90 percent of children, a Saint Louis University study found.

Study identifies reasons patients referred late to nephrologists
Some patients with kidney disease aren't referred to kidney specialists in time to delay disease progression and improve their prognosis for a variety of reasons, according to researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues.

From 2-D pictures to 3 dimensions
Your pictures of the Grand Canyon, Times Square or other destinations may be pretty good, but wouldn't it be nice to show them off in three dimensions? An award-winning 3-D reconstruction algorithm designed by a team of computer science researchers from UC-San Diego brings this dream within the grasp of reality.

Ancient mystery solved
Geologists at University of Leicester solve puzzle found in rocks half a billion years old.

Geisinger and Celera to collaborate on liver disease test
Geisinger Health System and Celera are announcing a new research collaboration to develop a diagnostic assay for the increased risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The condition occurs when fat accumulates on the liver and leads to significant inflammation and scarring of the liver. Geisinger and Celera have formed an academic entrepreneurial collaboration to investigate this key health problem.

Scientists discover new species of giant elephant-shrew
Although there is unquestionably much left to be discovered about life on Earth, charismatic animals like mammals are usually well documented, and it is rare to find a new species today -- especially from a group as intriguing as the elephant-shrews, monogamous mammals found only in Africa with a colorful history of misunderstood ancestry.

Blacks awaiting lung transplants more likely to die or be denied than whites
Blacks with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were less likely to receive a lung transplant and more likely to die or be removed from the transplant list than whites, according to Columbia University Medical Center researchers.

Worried about family or friends falling? New guideline identifies those most at risk
A new guideline developed by the American Academy of Neurology finds certain neurology patients are at a high risk of accidental falls and should be regularly screened to help prevent the high number of fall-related injuries and deaths in the United States each year. The guideline is published in the Feb. 5, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New training method for hip surgery
A new surgical robot is making medical undergraduates three times more accurate during practice hip operations, according to pilot study to be discussed at a conference this week.

ADVANCE diabetes trial results confirm no evidence of safety risk
Data from the ADVANCE Study, involving 11,140 high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes, provides no evidence of an increased risk of death among those patients receiving aggressive treatment to lower blood glucose.

Dartmouth researchers part of the team to discover similar planetary system to our solar system
Two Dartmouth researchers are part of the team that has discovered a planetary system where the two largest planets are very similar to Jupiter and Saturn, in terms of mass and distance from their host star. The study appears in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science.

Mathematical modeling offers new approaches to fight dual-resistant hospital infections
A mathematical model that looks at different strategies for curbing hospital-acquired infections suggests that antimicrobial cycling and patient isolation may be effective approaches when patients are harboring dual-resistant bacteria. In an era of

Authors, illustrator Win AAAS/Subaru SB&F
Four authors and an illustrator of children's science books have won the 2008 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, a prize intended to promote science literacy by drawing attention to the importance of good science writing and illustration. AAAS and Subaru co-sponsor these prizes for recently published works that are scientifically sound and foster an understanding and appreciation of science in readers of all ages.

New book gives a human face to children with congenital heart disease
A new photodocumentary volume titled

Unique whey protein is promising supplement for strict PKU diet
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists is assessing a unique protein found only in whey, the liquid byproduct of cheese-making, that appears to hold promise as a dietary supplement for individuals with a rare genetic condition known as phenylketonuria, or PKU.

Down with the dams: Unchaining US rivers
Dam removal is gaining popularity across the country and the March issue of Geotimes explores this new trend, and what happens when the dams come down.

Video games activate reward regions of brain in men more than women, Stanford study finds
In a first-of-its-kind imaging study, the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have shown that the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings is more activated in men than women during video-game play.

'T-ray' breakthrough signals next generation of security sensors
A new generation of sensors for detecting explosives and poisons could be developed following new research into a type of radiation known as T-rays, published today (Feb. 3) in Nature Photonics.

'Brains R Us': Neuroscience and education town hall
As the nation grapples with issues facing its troubled educational system, can neuroscience provide insights and solutions? On March 3, the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center at UC San Diego and the Science Network will hold an interactive daylong discussion of the possibilities.

Big Mac: The whole world on your plate
A burger and fries may be the quintessential North American meal but it can also be viewed as the perfect example of humanity's increasingly varied diet, according to researchers who conducted the first ever study of the phylogenetic distribution of the plants used around the world for food.

Scripps research scientists devise approach that stops HIV at earliest stage of infection
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have developed a new two-punch strategy against HIV and they have already successfully tested aspects of it in the laboratory.

Stanford researchers say living corals thousands of years old hold clues to past climate changes
Stanford researcher Brendan Roark to talk at AAAS meeting about discovery that deep-water corals off Hawaii are as old as 4,000 years. Coral may hold clues to ocean and climate changes of past centuries, and must be protected from devastation from fishing ships and coral harvesters.

Powerful yet reliable proteomics techniques are the focus of a new methods book
Conventional approaches to proteomics have recently been augmented with a new generation of technologies unfamiliar to many life science researchers. A new methods book,

Of mice and men ... and kidney stones
Kidney stones are very common -- and painful -- in men. About three in 20 men (one in 20 women) in developed countries develop them at some stage. Mice, however, rarely suffer though the precise reasons are unknown. Jeffrey S. Clark and colleagues, writing in the Journal of Physiology, have come up with some answers.

Alcoholics underestimate the risk of bleeding
Gastrointestinal bleeding can be fatal -- something which is not known to many alcoholics. This was the conclusion reached by the Leipzig gastroenterologist Niels Teich and his colleagues, on the basis of a survey in the current edition of Deutsches Ă„rzteblatt International.

Globetrotting black rat genes reveal spread of humans and diseases
DNA of the common black rat has shed light on the ancient spread of rats, people and diseases around the globe. Studying the mitochondrial DNA of 165 black rat specimens from 32 countries around the world, an international team of scientists has identified six distinct lineages in the black rat's family tree, each originating from a different part of Asia.

UNH-NOAA ocean mapping expedition yields new insights into arctic depths
New Arctic sea floor data released today by the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that the foot of the continental slope off Alaska is more than 100 nautical miles farther from the US coast than previously assumed. The data, gathered during a recent mapping expedition north of Alaska, could support US rights to natural resources of the sea floor beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast.

Brain waves pattern themselves after rhythms of nature
The same rules of physics that govern molecules as they condense from gas to liquid, or freeze from liquid to solid, also apply to the activity patterns of neurons in the human brain. University of Chicago mathematician Jack Cowan will offer this and related insights on the physics of brain activity this week in Boston during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute awards Rush nearly $125,000 for new patient-safety project
The Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute has awarded Rush University Medical Center a $124,633 grant to support a first-of-its-kind patient-safety project. The pilot program will use Rush's mediation program to foster the development of interventions to avoid or modify activities and procedures that may have adverse effects on patients. This innovative program has the potential to serve as a model for similar mediation programs throughout Chicago and the nation.

Quality schooling has little impact on teenage sexual activity
A report published in the online open access journal, BMC Public Health, shows that socioeconomic situation and the local high school catchment area have a more powerful influence on reported sexual experience among 15 and 16 year olds than classroom discipline or the quality of relationships within schools.

Maternal love: How a mother's brain responds to her infant
The distinctive ability of mothers to identify the cries of their offspring is widely evident in nature, where it is critical to the survival of these offspring.

AAAS symposium to address significant effects of the male parent in reproductive success
A multidisciplinary symposium, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, entitled

Logistical information for the 2008 International Stroke Conference
Here is some logistical information about the conference. If you have any questions, please contact Bridgette McNeill, Wynette Randolph, Carrie Thacker or Julie Del Barto (broadcast).

7th Annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences Awarded to Dr. Richard P. Lifton
Deborah E. Wiley, chairman of the Wiley Foundation, and senior vice president, John Wiley & Sons Inc., announced today that the seventh annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences will be awarded to Dr. Richard P. Lifton of the Yale University School of Medicine.

'Hot' oxygen atoms on titanium dioxide motivated by more than just temperature
Catalysts typically break down an oxygen molecule into two identical atoms that behave the same. But on a titanium oxide catalyst, the two atoms of a split oxygen molecule act differently: one fills a vacant spot on the catalytic surface and the other acquires extra energy and can move away. If the finding turns out to be important to reactivity, it might also be useful in hydrogen production or to break down pollutants.

First global malaria map in decades shows reduced risk
About 35 percent of the world's population is at risk of contracting deadly malaria, but many people are at a lower risk than previously thought, raising hope that the disease could be seriously reduced or eliminated in parts of the world.

Drug for anemic cancer patients raises risk of death
Millions of cancer patients take drugs to boost their red blood cells and health when they become anemic after chemotherapy. But a new study by Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine shows these drugs, called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, actually raise patients' risk of death by 10 percent, possibly by stimulating the growth of cancer cells.

USC awarded $3.9M for lab under the sea
With a $3.9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, USC researcher Katrina Edwards will lead a first-of-its-kind drilling expedition to study subseafloor life. The little understood

NASA MidSTAR-1 successful technologies may be revolutionary
Two new technologies launched onboard a US Naval Academy satellite called MidSTAR-1 have proven successful in their tests in space. One technology is a sensor that can check for harmful chemicals and the other is a special

Appropriate timing in the use of breast shields in children can further reduce MDCT radiation dose
Using breast shields during pediatric chest MDCT reduces radiation dose and minimally increases image noise, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

Killer military robots pose latest threat to humanity
A robotics expert at the University of Sheffield will today (February 27, 2008) issue stark warnings over the threat posed to humanity by new robot weapons being developed by powers worldwide.

Does socializing make us smarter?
Humans are social animals; we spend much of our time with others in groups. We are also wise. It is not our size, speed, or strength that distinguishes us from other mammals, but our intelligence. How might these two features -- being social and being smart -- go together? Research published by SAGE in the February 2008 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin provides novel information about the relation between being social and being smart.

New study shows extent of harmful human influences on global ecosystems
More than 40 percent of the world's oceans are heavily impacted by human activities, including overfishing and pollution, according to a new study that will appear in tomorrow's peer-reviewed journal Science.

Impact of electronic personal health record on hypertension under study
Whether patients with an electronic handle on their health are more successful at beating one of the nation's leading chronic diseases is under study. 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