Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2009)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2009.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2009

Preserving fertility and origins of disease focus of briefings at international meeting
Chronic diseases in adulthood, causes of infertility, the impact of genetics on reproduction -- all are influenced by what happens in the womb. Research on these and related topics will be presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, July 18 to 22, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Reporters may participate in press briefings on Monday, July 20, and Tuesday, July 21, via telephone conference call.

Crashing comets not likely the cause of Earth's mass extinctions
A likely comet collision on Jupiter last week caused a minor sensation, but new research shows that similar impacts on Earth are most likely not responsible for any of the planet's mass extinctions, nor have they been responsible for more than one minor extinction event.

Gladstone scientists identify genetic factors that hold promise for treatment of vascular diseases
Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have discovered a key switch that makes stem cells turn into the type of muscle cells that reside in the wall of blood vessels. The same switch might be used in the future to limit growth of vascular muscle cells that cause narrowing of arteries leading to heart attacks and strokes, limit formation of blood vessels that feed cancers or make new blood vessels for organs that are not getting enough blood flow.

ACC positions quality at center of health-care reform
The American College of Cardiology -- long at the forefront of quality initiatives -- is taking a leading role in health-care reform. In partnership with patients, lawmakers and payers, the ACC is setting a new standard for health-care delivery, one that centers on increasing the quality of care and ensuring greater patient access and value.

Childhood adversity may affect processing in the brain's reward pathways
Childhood adversity is associated diminished activation in the regions the brain that anticipate reward, according to a new study from psychologists at Harvard University. Using fMRI, researchers examined the brain activity of individuals who had experienced childhood abuse that met state guidelines for maltreatment, and found weaker responses to reward-predicting cues in left hemisphere regions of the basal ganglia.

Overweight kids experience more loneliness, anxiety, MU study finds
As childhood obesity rates continue to increase, experts agree that more information is needed about the implications of being overweight as a step toward reversing current trends. Now, a new University of Missouri study has found that overweight children, especially girls, show signs of the negative consequences of being overweight as early as kindergarten.

Quantum memory and turbulence in ultra-cold atoms
A key step toward the design of quantum information networks and a report on the controllable formation of quantum turbulence in an ultra-cold atom gas are among the advances described in forthcoming papers in Physical Review Letters.

New map hints at Venus's wet, volcanic past
Venus Express has charted the first map of Venus's southern hemisphere at infrared wavelengths. The new map hints that our neighboring world may once have been more Earth-like, with both, a plate tectonics system and an ocean of water.

NYU physicists show way to count sweets in a jar -- from inside the jar
The question of how many sweets are in a jar depends on the shapes and sizes of the sweets, the size of the jar, and how it is filled. Guessing the number of sweets in the jar is difficult because the sweets located at the center of the jar are hidden from view and can't be counted. NYU researchers have now determined how sweets pack from inside the jar, making it easier to more accurately count them.

Who am I? Adolescents' replies depend on others
Ask middle-school students if they are popular or make friends easily, they likely will depend on social comparisons with their peers for an answer. Such reliance on the perceived opinions of others, or reflected self-appraisals, has long been assumed, but new evidence supporting this claim has now been found in the teen brain.

Global team develops tools to unravel diversity of rice
By looking at what different types of rice have in common, a team of international scientists are unlocking rice's genetic diversity to help conserve it and find valuable rice genes to help improve rice production.

Study: Newspapers located closer to the Mexican border slant news coverage of immigration
A new study released by Rice University in Houston finds that California newspapers located closer to the border of Mexico routinely provide a more negative slant on immigration in general news reporting and on their opinion pages than the state's newspapers located further away from the border.

Most women would choose surgical profession again
Most women surgeons would choose their career again, although many would favor more options for part-time or other alternative work schedules, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Sexist jokes favor the mental mechanisms that justify violence against women
These are the conclusions of research work carried out at the University of Granada in a sample of 109 18-26-year-old university male students. The results of this work will be released July 2 in the framework of the International Summer School and Symposium on Humor and Laughter.

Risk of frailty in older women dependent on multisystem abnormalities
A study in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences reports that the condition of frailty in older adults is associated with a critical mass of abnormal physiological systems, over and above the status of each individual system. This research is the first evidence that frailty is related to the number of abnormal physiological systems.

New focus on the moon
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera has taken and received its first images of the moon, kicking off the year-long mapping mission of Earth's nearest celestial neighbor. The LROC imaging system is under the watchful eyes of Arizona State University professor Mark Robinson, the principal investigator.

New chemical imaging technique could help in the fight against atherosclerosis, suggests research
A new chemical imaging technique could one day help in the fight against atherosclerosis, suggests research published in the August 2009 edition of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Orangutans unique in movement through tree tops
Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Birmingham have found that orangutans move through the canopy of tropical forests in a completely different way to all other tree-dwelling primates.

Injection reverses heart-attack damage
Injured heart tissue normally can't regrow, but researchers at Children's Hospital Boston now offer a groundwork for regenerating heart tissue after a heart attack, in patients with heart failure, or in children with congenital heart defects. In this week's Cell, they show that a growth factor involved in the development of the heart and nervous system can spur heart-muscle growth and recovery of cardiac function when injected systemically into animals after a heart attack.

UCLA researchers discover new molecular pathway for targeting cancer, disease
A UCLA study has identified a way to turn off a key signaling pathway involved in physiological processes that can also stimulate the development of cancer and other diseases. The findings may lead to new treatments and targeted drugs using this approach.

US space program should align with broader national goals
The US civil space program should be aligned with widely acknowledged national challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Stop and smell the flowers -- the scent really can soothe stress
Feeling stressed? Then try savoring the scent of lemon, mango, lavender or other fragrant plants. Scientists in Japan are reporting the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels. Their study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a biweekly publication.

UCR scientists manipulate ripples in graphene, enabling strain-based graphene electronics
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, report the first direct observation and controlled creation via simple thermal manipulation of one- and two-dimensional ripples in graphene sheets. The result has important implications for controlling thermally induced stress in graphene electronics and represents the first step towards strain-based graphene engineering. The thermal contraction of graphene had been predicted theoretically, but the UC Riverside lab is the first to demonstrate and quantify the phenomenon experimentally.

Muscular protein bond -- strongest yet found in nature
As reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists in Munich and Hamburg have shed new light on the roots of mechanical strength in muscle tissue by probing -- through single-molecule experiments -- a super-stable protein bond, the titin-telethonin complex.

Regular moderate alcohol intake has cognitive benefits in older adults
A glass of wine here, a nightcap there -- new research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggests that moderate alcohol intake offers long-term cognitive protection and reduces the risk of dementia in older adults.

Chasing tiny vehicles
In future therapies, synthetic nanoparticles may well be able to ferry medicines and even genes to targets inside the body. These nanovehicles can now be directly tested and optimized using a highly sensitive microscopic method that can trace single particles all the way into a cell.

Could science use the common cold to cure cystic fibrosis?
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine scientists have found what may be the most efficient way to deliver a corrected gene to lung cells derived from CF patients, renewing hope that gene therapy for CF lung disease could be a successful future treatment.

American Chemical Society describes important publication changes to its journals
With its customers expressing strong preferences for accessing research advances online, rather than in print, the American Chemical Society Publications Division is pursuing a series of product, platform and pricing initiatives in 2009-2010 designed to meet the information demands of scientific readers and the research libraries that support them.

Springer launches SpringerImages
Springer Science and Business Media has launched SpringerImages, a growing collection that now includes over 1.5 million scientific images, tables, charts and graphs, spanning all scientific subject areas. SpringerImages includes the high-quality image collection from Images.MD, as well as images from Springer journals and books, including Open Access content. The database contains photos, graphs, histograms, tables and figures, and is available by subscription to libraries and research institutions.

Electronic nose created to detect skin vapors
A team of researchers from the Yale University and a Spanish company have developed a system to detect the vapors emitted by human skin in real time. The scientists think that these substances, essentially made up of fatty acids, are what attract mosquitoes and enable dogs to identify their owners.

Nanophysics: Serving up Buckyballs on a silver platter
New measurements conducted on C60 molecules (carbon Buckyballs) adhered to silver substrates push the limits of surface science.

USC study finds links between obesity and adolescents' social networks
Researchers from the Institute of Prevention Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California found in a recent study that overweight youth were twice as likely to have overweight friends.

Stem cells' 'suspended' state preserved by key step, scientists report
UCSF scientists have identified a gene that is essential for embryonic stem cells to maintain their all-purpose, pluripotent state. Exploiting the finding may lead to a greater understanding of how cells acquire their specialized states and provide a strategy to efficiently reprogram mature cells back into the pluripotent state, an elusive step in stem cell research but one crucial to a range of potential clinical treatments.

Internists note 'close alignment' with policies in America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
The president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) today told the chairmen of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees that America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3200, is

Nondrug interventions may comfort children having an anesthetic
Parental acupuncture, clown doctors, hypnotherapy, low sensory stimulation and hand-held video games are promising nondrug interventions that are likely to help reduce children's anxiety during the onset of their anesthetic, is the main conclusion of a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

New technique could sustain cancer patients' fertility
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have completed a critical first step in the eventual development of a technique to retain fertility in women with cancer who require treatments that might otherwise make them unable to have children.

Stem cells not the only way to fix a broken heart
Researchers appear to have a new way to fix a broken heart. They have devised a method to coax heart muscle cells into reentering the cell cycle, allowing the differentiated adult cells to divide and regenerate healthy heart tissue after a heart attack, according to studies in mice and rats reported in the July 24 issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication.

How the carrot approach facilitates learning
People who are rewarded for making correct decisions learn quickly. While the

Geoengineering: The promise and its limits
Four expert speakers attended an event organized by the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Academy of Engineering on July 15 at the House of Commons to address an audience curious about geoengineering the planet to combat the effects of global warming; the solutions it offers and the concerns it raises.

Wrong dose of heart meds too frequent in children
Infants and young children treated with heart drugs get the wrong dose or end up on the wrong end of medication errors more often than older children, according to research led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center to be published July 6 in Pediatrics.

Australia discovered by the 'Southern Route'
Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers writing in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.

Study identifies biomarker that safely monitors tumor response to new brain cancer treatment
A specific biomarker, a protein released by dying tumor cells, has been identified as an effective tool in an animal model to gauge the response to a novel gene therapy treatment for glioblastoma mulitforme.

Trade liberalization linked to obesity in Central America
Since trade liberalization between Central and North America, imports and availability of processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods have increased dramatically. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open-access journal Globalization and Health link this influx of American junk food to a

Young men living at home with parents are more violent
Young men who stay at home with their parents are more violent than those who live independently, according to new research at Queen Mary, University of London. Men still living at home in their early twenties have fewer responsibilities and more disposable income to spend on alcohol. This group makes up only four percent of the UK's male population but they are responsible for 16 percent of all violent injuries in the last five years.

Research reveals what drives lung cancer's spread
A new study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reveals the genetic underpinnings of what causes lung cancer to quickly metastasize, or spread, to the brain and the bone -- the two most prominent sites of lung cancer relapse. The study will be published online in the journal Cell on July 2.

Intimate abuse study finds clear links with poor health and calls for holistic primary care approach
Nearly a quarter of married and cohabiting women who took part in a survey said that they had been sexually, psychologically or physically abused by their partner. Researchers who studied the 2,746 responses found a clear link between abuse and poor health. 18.2 percent of the respondents had been psychologically abused, 3.3 percent had been physically abused and 1.3 percent had been sexually abused.

SNM and coalition of professional organizations call for action
SNM and a coalition of eight other organizations have issued a white paper urging Congress to take steps to maintain adequate supplies of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), a radioactive substance that is the basis for a common medical isotope used in more than 80 percent of all nuclear medicine procedures.

Laser technology creates new forms of metal and enhances aircraft performance
AFOSR-funded researchers at the University of Rochester are using laser light technology that will help the military create new forms of metal that may guide, attract and repel liquids and cool small electronic devices.

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease once again achieves significant impact factor increase
IOS Press and the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease are pleased to announce that once again there has been a significant increase in the Journal's Impact Factor, from 4.081 to 5.101 for 2008 according to Thomson Reuters' Journal Citation Reports 2009. With an Impact Factor of over 5, JAD is now on par with or exceeds the ranking of some of the most established and highly regarded journals in the neurosciences, pathology and biochemistry.

New silver nanoparticle skin gel for healing burns
Scientists in India are reporting successful laboratory tests of a new and potentially safer alternative to silver-based gels applied to the skin of burn patients to treat infections. The researchers describe gel composed of silver nanoparticles -- each 1/50,000th the width of a human hair -- that appears more effective than these traditional gels. Their study is scheduled for the Aug. 3 issue of ACS' Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bimonthly journal.

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