Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2008)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2008

Region hit hard by 1993 floods showed economic resiliency, study indicates
With the first wave of clean-up efforts behind them, residents of communities affected by this year's Midwest floods may find hope in a University of Illinois study on the economic impact of the 1993 flood that devastated much of the same region.

Book's plea: Save the bonobos
A biologist at Washington University in St. Louis is the mastermind behind a project that has led to an informative book, aimed at children but appealing to all, on an endangered species of ape. Ursula Goodenough, Ph.D., professor of biology, is the driving force behind

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation awards $950,000 in seed grants
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation is pleased to announce awards of $950,000 toward its 2008-2009 International Research Grants and Fellowship Program. The funding will support the research of 19 Parkinson's scientists around the world. The IRGFP is part of PDF's four-pronged approach to funding Parkinson science. In fiscal year 2009, PDF will contribute more than $4.8 million to support Parkinson's disease research.

90 billion tons of microbial organisms live in the deep biosphere
Biogeoscientists show evidence of 90 billion tons of microbial organisms -- expressed in terms of carbon mass -- living in the deep biosphere, in a research article published online by Nature, July 20, 2008. This tonnage corresponds to about one-tenth of the amount of carbon stored globally in tropical rainforests. This finding is in stark contrast to previous reports, which suggest that Bacteria dominate the subseafloor ecosystem.

Arizona State University research team working to decode TB
Among those trying to decipher the origins and trajectory of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for TB, are three Arizona State University researchers who are trying to establish a credible evolutionary timeline for TB. Their research suggests that the disease migrated from humans to cattle -- not the reverse, as has long been assumed.

NIAID announces revised priorities for HIV vaccine research
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, is reshaping its research enterprise to broaden HIV vaccine discovery activities. Many of the initiatives have evolved from ideas and opinions recently expressed by scientists either at NIAID's HIV Vaccine Summit on March 25 or in response to two Requests for Information that NIAID issued in April.

Has cancer spread? Research identifies best way to find answers so treatment can begin
New Saint Louis University research has found that the PET-CT scanner can be used as a stand-alone tool to detect secondary cancers, which occur in 5 to 10 percent of head and neck cancer patients.

DARPA awards research team $1.2M grant to study surface enhanced Raman scattering
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded a $1.2 million grant to an interdisciplinary team of Harvard University researchers to study surface enhanced Raman scattering for the first phase of a potential three-year effort. If all phases of the development program are completed, researchers could receive up a total of up to $2.9 million in funding.

Breast asymmetry after cancer treatment affects quality of life, U-M study finds
Nearly one-third of women reported pronounced asymmetry between their breasts after breast cancer surgery, and that perceived disfigurement greatly affects a woman's quality of life after treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Sinus sufferers miss out on work or social activities due to summer allergies
A new survey of more than 1,000 consumers shows that one-third of sinus sufferers say they miss or cut short social outings or business engagements because of their symptoms. With ragweed season right around the corner, sinus problems will flare for the millions of Americans suffering with seasonal allergies.

Focused Internet services provide better support to breast cancer patients
A new study in the Journal of Communication reveals that access to an integrated system of internet health resources helps patients more than simply providing a list of URLs to accredited sites.

Long-term care fraught with uncertainties for elderly baby boomers
The continued decline of the nursing home -- once the mainstay care for the frail elderly -- and an upsurge in popularity of assisted living will lead to many dramatic changes in long-term care, according to a University of Florida expert and editor of a new book on the subject.

ASM and FIND to partner on strengthening infectious disease diagnosis in developing nations
The American Society for Microbiology and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today confirming their agreement to work in partnership for projects aimed at strengthening infectious disease diagnosis and service integration in resource-poor and transitional countries.

A new biomarker for early cancer detection? Research reveals that 'microRNA' may fit the bill
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that microRNAs -- molecular workhorses that regulate gene expression -- are released by cancer cells and circulate in the blood, which gives them the potential to become a new class of biomarkers to detect cancer at its earliest stages.

Students who use 'clickers' score better on physics tests
Hand-held electronic devices called clickers are helping college students learn physics, according to a series of research studies. Ohio State University students who used the devices to answer multiple-choice questions during physics lectures earned final examination scores that were around 10 percent higher -- the equivalent of a full-letter grade -- than students who didn't.

Combination treatment for early rheumatoid arthritis induces remission and prevents progression
Combination treatment with methotrexate and etanercept in patients with active, early, moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis improves both remission and radiographic nonprogression rates within one year compared with the standard treatment of methotrexate alone. This treatment also increases the ability of patients to remain in employment. These are the conclusions of authors of an article published early online and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet.

End in sight for the dreaded dentist drill
A new technology that spots tooth decay almost as soon as it's begun promises to reduce the need for drilling and filling

Alcoholism-associated molecular adaptations in brain neurocognitive circuits
Professor Georgy Bakalkin from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences of the Uppsala University, Sweden, will present a novel mechanism and understanding of cognitive deficit in human alcoholics. Thereby an emerging concept that proposes a new target for pharmacotherapy will be discussed, which might lead to innovative therapeutic interventions to improve or prevent alcohol-induced cognitive impairment in patients with alcohol dependence, and may be generalized to other learning and memory disorders.

Money makes the heart grow less fond... but more hardworking
Money is a necessity: it provides us with material objects that are important for survival and for entertainment, and it is often used as a reward. But recent studies have shown that money is not only a device for gaining wealth, but a factor in personal performance, interpersonal relations and helping behavior, as well.

Dramatic increase in 'Tommy John' surgery in young patients cause for concern
According to a new study, 83 percent of athletes who had

Studies refute common stereotypes about obese workers
New research led by a Michigan State University scholar refutes commonly held stereotypes that overweight workers are lazier, more emotionally unstable and harder to get along with than their

Scientists close in on source of X-rays in lightning
University of Florida and Florida Institute of Technology engineering researchers have narrowed the search for the source of X-rays emitted by lightning, a feat that could one day help predict where lightning will strike.

Weeding out the highs of medical marijuana
Research exploring new ways of exploiting the full medicinal uses of cannabis while avoiding unwanted side-effects will be presented to pharmacologists today by leading scientists attending the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies Congress, EPHAR 2008.

AUA Foundation to team up with NFL Player Care Foundation
The AUA Foundation and the NFL Player Care Foundation are teaming up to conduct a research project focused on prostate health in retired NFL players. The initiative will use data collected from prostate health screenings provided to retired NFL alumni in cities nationwide to assess prostate health among this population. In addition, prostate health education will be provided to participants.

URI researcher: China can't fully fix air quality problem for Olympics
The outlook for air quality in Beijing during the Olympics is borderline, and there's little that the Chinese government can do to improve it. That's the conclusion drawn by a University of Rhode Island atmospheric chemist who analyzed pollution data collected regularly for the last five years by Chinese scientists.

Control switches found for immune cells that fight cancer, viral infection
Medical science may be a significant step closer to climbing into the driver's seat of an important class of immune cells, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report in Nature Immunology.

It takes nerves for flies to keep a level head
The nerve connections that keep a fly's gaze stable during complex aerial maneuvers, enabling it to respond quickly to obstacles in its flight path, are revealed in new detail in research published today.

Low-gravity training machine reduces joint, muscle impacts, says CU-Boulder study
A University of Colorado at Boulder study of a space-age, low-gravity training machine used by several 2008 Olympic runners showed it reduced impacts on muscles and joints by nearly half when subjects ran at the equivalent of 50 percent of their body weight.

Women with gestational diabetes at risk of type 2 diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with almost 20 percent of women developing the condition within 9 years of pregnancy, found a large, population-based study of 659,000 women published in CMAJ.

China's policies treasure both environment and people
Two of the world's largest environmental programs in China are generally successful, although key reforms could transform them into a model for the rest of the world, according to new research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kids: Book features inside scoop on soil
A new book from the Soil Science Society of America digs in the dirt to educate kids about the living world of soil. Soil! Get the Inside Scoop explores how soil is part of our life -- the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the houses we live in and more.

Local elite rule over small villages in Indonesia
Dutch-sponsored researcher Y. Argo Twikromo has investigated how the local ruling elite have retained their political control over the local population. He has tried to understand and analyse the dynamic processes of state formation and the interaction between national states and local communities.

Milkweed's evolutionary approach to caterpillars: Counter appetite with fast repair
The adage that your enemies know your weaknesses best is especially true in the case of plants and predators that have co-evolved: as the predators evolve new strategies for attack, plants counter with their own unique defenses.

Setting the record right: species diversity less dramatic than previously believed
The new fossil data also indicate that the current pattern of distribution of life -- with low species diversity in the poles and a very high diversity in the tropics -- was established some 450 million years ago.

Stanford fruit-fly study adds weight to theories about another type of adult stem cell
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that mature, specialized cells naturally regress to serve as a kind of de facto stem cell during the fruit-fly life cycle.

New technique produces genetically identical stem cells
Cells from mice created using genetically reprogrammed cells can be triggered via drug administration to enter an embryonic-stem-cell-like state without the need for further direct genetic manipulation. This technical advancement enables creation of large numbers of genetically identical cells that can be reprogrammed to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state simply by exposure to a drug. Researchers can exploit such cells to decipher and improve the reprogramming process.

Mayo Clinic spearheads research to discover unsuspected gene for atrial fibrillation
Mayo Clinic researchers have found a gene mutation linked to one family's hereditary form of atrial fibrillation.

Study examines anti-clotting therapy following cardioembolic stroke
The common practice of administering heparin soon after cardioembolic stroke is associated with an increased risk for serious bleeding, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the September 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, it appears that anticoagulation with warfarin therapy may safely begin shortly after stroke.

First human use of new device to make arrhythmia treatment safer
On June 16, 2008, Barbara Ganschow of Palatine, Ill., became the first person in the world to be successfully treated with a new device designed to make it safer and easier for heart specialists to create a hole in the cardiac atrial septum. The hole, created by the NRGTM Transseptal Needle, allows cardiac catheters to cross from the right side of the heart to the left side.

'Nanonet' circuits closer to making flexible electronics reality
Researchers have overcome a major obstacle in producing transistors from networks of carbon nanotubes, a technology that could make it possible to print circuits on plastic sheets for applications including flexible displays and an electronic skin to cover an entire aircraft to monitor crack formation.

Mimic molecules to protect against plague
Bacteria that cause pneumonic plague can evade our first-line defences, making it difficult for the body to fight infection. In fact, a signature of the plague is the lack of an inflammatory response. Now, scientists have discovered a way to protect against death following infection with plague bacteria, by using molecules that can mimic the pathogens. According to research published in the July issue of Microbiology, these molecules make antibiotics more effective and can even be used to protect against other diseases.

Make your own microfluidic device with new kit from U-M
A type of device called a

Training future scientists at the Ecological Society of America's 93rd Annual Meeting
In a world in which some of the most pressing international issues -- such as renewable energy and climate change -- are steeped in ecology, it is more pressing than ever that an informed public be capable of understanding and making decisions based on ecological science. The Ecological Society of America's 93rd Annual Meeting, held Aug. 3-8 in Milwaukee, Wis., will emphasize the importance of using a broad range of tools to educate future generations about ecology.

James Briscoe awarded 2008 EMBO Gold Medal
The European Molecular Biology Organization announced that James Briscoe of the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research will receive the prestigious EMBO Gold Medal for 2008. Briscoe receives the award in recognition of his discovery that cells integrate time of exposure and concentration of a morphogen to subsequently mount a graded response.

Improved estrogen reception may sharpen fuzzy memory
Finding ways to boost the brain's estrogen receptors may be an alternative to adding estrogen to the body in efforts to improve cognition in postmenopausal women and younger women with low estrogen levels, according to neuroscientists at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute.

Vaccine for koala chlamydia close
Eighteen female koalas treated with an anti-chlamydia vaccine are showing positive results, giving QUT scientists hope they have an answer to the disease that is threatening the survival of koalas in the wild.

First worldwide analysis of cancer survival finds wide variation between countries
Cancer survival varies widely between countries according to a worldwide study published online today in Lancet Oncology. More than 100 investigators contributed to the study.

American Society for Microbiology honors Jeffrey C. Pommerville
The 2008 American Society for Microbiology Carski Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award is being presented to Jeffrey C. Pommerville, professor of biology and microbiology, Glendale Community College, Arizona. This award recognizes an educator for outstanding teaching of microbiology to undergraduate students.

Physicians ask EPA, 'Antibiotics to cure sick apples, or sick children?'
A federal decision to permit the State of Michigan to spray the state's apple orchards with gentamicin risks undermining the value of this important antibiotic to treat blood infections in newborns and other serious human infections, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Kidney damage caused by iodinated contrast material thought to be overestimated, study shows
The use of iodinated contrast material may be less damaging to the kidneys than previously recorded, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY. 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