Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 14, 2005
Obesity common among Chinese adults
Around 18 million adults in China are obese, 137 million are overweight, and 64 million have metabolic syndrome -- a condition where a number of risk factors for heart disease are present, suggests a study published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Green light for Lazio-Sirad
Lazio-Sirad is ready to gather data. The experiment is installed on the International Space Station and its aim is to trace the slight variations of the so-called Van Allen belts that seem to occur before earthquakes.

Carnegie Mellon, Pitt researchers report chemistry textbooks lack connection to real chemistry
Stories of exciting chemistry discoveries in Scientific American and The New York Times paint a better picture of chemistry as it is practiced than do some widely used high school textbooks, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers find new giant amphibian fossils in Africa
Two new 250 million year-old species of large, meat-eating amphibians have been discovered by researchers, including investigators from McGill University.

Low oxygen likely made 'Great Dying' worse, greatly delayed recovery
New research by two University of Washington scientists suggests that a sharp decline in atmospheric oxygen levels was likely a major reason for elevated extinction rates and a very slow species recovery during the

Northwest forest plan research and monitoring to be shared during 2-day conference
About 25 million acres in the range of the northern spotted owl were placed under the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) in 1994.

It's not all in your head
In a four-week study of 1,587 men, researchers report that men who suffer from premature ejaculation (PE) had an average intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) of 1.8 minutes, compared to 7.3 minutes in men who did not.

Molecular fossils uncover link between viruses and the immune system
Researchers from the Viikki Biocenter, University of Helsinki, show that atomic structures can reveal evolutionary history of viruses in a similar fashion as fossils did for the dinosaurs and reptiles.

Cost-effectiveness of drugs may vary across borders
A study published in the journal Value in Health reviews variations in estimates of cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals from country to country.

'The Breda three': Decision-taking postponed by guilt
After the Second World War eighteen German war criminals were sentenced to death in the Netherlands.

College students likely drink much more alcohol than they think they do
Previous research has found that college students underestimate their alcohol consumption.

Ibuprofen may lower risk of Parkinson's disease
Over-the-counter pain relievers may help to prevent or delay the onset of Parkinson's disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Better bubbling slurry
Dutch-sponsored researcher Keshav Ruthiya has made considerable improvements to a so-called slurry bubble column.

Northwestern Memorial researchers release study on smart-pump technology
A research team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital recently published a study showing that while

Third-person perspective is helpful in meeting goals
Using a third-person perspective can help people achieve personal goals better than using first-person perspective when they visual themselves from the past, says Thomas Gilovich, professor of psychology at Cornell, and former graduate students Lisa K.

A big fat contribution to breast tumor growth
Increased adipose mass is associated with breast cancer, but little was known about how fat cells actually contribute to carcinogenesis.

Evidence of short-term changes in sea level found in coral record
Study using new method of dating corals reveals that sea level is more variable over shorter periods of time than previously thought, according to a study published by Science.

The impact of its environment on a quantum computer
Scientists have discovered how the performance of a quantum computer can be affected by its surrounding environment.

Obesity linked to risk of severe headaches
Obesity is linked to a risk of severe headaches, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Nitrite says NO to ischemia/reperfusion injury
In a JCI study David Lefer and colleagues show that nitrite is a potent inhibitor of ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in the liver and heart.

Wind turbine to stir up renewable energy research
A renewable energy research and demonstration center in western Minnesota is showing how to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, utilizing wind, biomass and biodiesel.

Liverpool scientist discovers new layer of the Earth
A University of Liverpool scientist has discovered a new layer near the Earth's core, which will enable the internal temperature of the Earth's mantle to be measured at a much deeper level than previously possible.

$3.5 million grant funds new national center at the University of Oregon
States now need to collect and use data on the postsecondary education and employment status of young adults with disabilities.

Master gene controls healing of 'skin' in fruit flies and mammals
UCSD biologists and their colleagues have discovered that the genetic system controlling the development and repair of insect cuticle -- the outer layer of the body surface in insects -- also controls these processes in mammalian skin, a finding that could lead to new insights into the healing of wounds and treatment of cancer.

Doing a spin with DNA
A Dutch led international team of researchers has unravelled how nature releases the torque built up in DNA at the molecular level.

Stanford gut check shows diversity of intestinal ecosystem
Using molecular techniques that detect all known types of microbes and borrowing statistical techniques from field ecology and population genetics, Paul Eckburg, MD, a postdoctoral scholar in infectious diseases and geographic medicine, conducted the most extensive study to date surveying the inhabitants of the lower digestive tract.

Fatter pigs due to cooling
Dutch-sponsored researcher Thuy Huynh has discovered that pigs get stressed if they become too warm.

The promise of new medical uses for sodium nitrite for heart attack and organ damage
Sodium nitrite, a naturally occurring chemical and common meat preservative, is only used medically to treat cyanide poisoning.

APA applauds new California regulations for inpatient psychological services
California patients suffering from serious mental illness will now have the benefit of having their inpatient care managed by psychologists with full hospital privileges.

JBC study shows that bigger isn't necessarily better for amyloid proteins
Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have found evidence that disputes the popular belief that the long, insoluble amyloid fibrils found in amyloid-related diseases are what causes neurotoxicity.

AGU Journal highlights - 14 April 2005
In this edition: A new take on Martian landslides; From silk to satellite: A half century of ocean color; Aerosols reduce solar radiation over China; Poor estimates of GPS satellite offsets lead to large-scale errors; Role of gas-formed aerosols in cloud formation probed; A better view of mantle magma formation; Denmark Strait currents more dynamic than thought; Accurately modeling the shelf sea pump; Improving accuracy of ozone depletion models; Similarities in early Mars, Earth evolution.

Scientists to meet in Dallas for conference on cytochromes P450
Over 300 leading researchers from around the world will gather in Dallas, Texas from May 31 - June 5 for the 14th International Conference on Cytochromes P450: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Bioinformatics.

Can hospital data detect poor performing doctors?
Can routine hospital data be used to detect poor quality service delivery among surgeons?

Alcohol magnifies the rewarding effects of smoking, even for light smokers
People who drink tend to smoke; people who drink heavily also tend to smoke heavily.

Prostate cancer therapy - study suggests new molecular screening theory
Levels of the Smad7 protein may predict therapeutic response in patients with prostate cancer according to research published today by investigators at the Uppsala Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR).

Women not given same tests for stroke
Women who have strokes are less likely to receive some standard tests to help diagnose the type of stroke and determine treatment, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Pessimism and depression increase dementia risk
Individuals who do not have psychiatric problems but score very high on a personality test pessimism scale have a 30 percent increased risk of developing dementia several decades later.

Special physical therapy technique successful for chronic back pain
A physical therapy method is successful in treating people with severe back pain due to disc disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Cancer research could lead to improved detection methods
Research into the development of cancer at the University of Liverpool could lead to earlier and improved detection methods for the disease.

New treatment for hereditary breast cancer
Researchers at Stockholm University have, together with colleagues in England, discovered a new way of treating and preventing hereditary breast cancer.

Bright arctic light can lead to migraine
The bright light of summer in countries in the arctic area may lead to more headaches for people with migraine, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Fla., April 9 - 16, 2005.

New study explains process leading to many proteins from one gene
New findings from researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center help explain how the 20,000 to 25,000 genes in the human genome can make the hundreds of thousands of different proteins in our bodies.

Psychological reasoning begins earlier than had been thought, study shows
According to conventional wisdom, babies don't begin to develop sophisticated psychological reasoning about people until they are about 4 years old.

One-meter waistline predicts high risk of diabetes and heart disease
People with a waistline of one meter or more are at serious risk of insulin resistance - an early stage in the development of diabetes and heart disease, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

Drug may help MS patients with laughing, crying spells
A new drug may help people with multiple sclerosis who have a condition that leaves them unable to control their emotions, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Physicists demonstrate quantum mechanical nature of heat flow
A hallmark of quantum mechanics is the wave nature exhibited by particles.

ACP and ACP Foundation launch 3-year effort to improve diabetes care
The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American College of Physicians Foundation (ACPF) launched a major initiative to improve diabetes care in the United States.

Scientists discover how Ebola virus infects cells
Ebola virus reproduction in laboratory-grown cells is severely hampered by enzyme-inhibiting chemicals, and these chemicals deserve further study as possible treatments for Ebola virus infections in humans, report scientists supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Drug can reduce bodyweight and cardiovascular risk factors in obese people
A new drug could substantially reduce the bodyweight, waist circumference, and risk factors for heart disease in obese people, according to results of a randomised trial published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Of mice and men's (and women's) contraceptives
Mice lacking a special protein found only in germ-line cells results in infertility in both males and females, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

New treatment 'roadmap' improves odds for unusual brain aneurysm
A six-year study of a special type of brain aneurysm -- the thrombotic aneurysm -- has led to a treatment

Toxic flame retardant accumulates in dolphins
A team led by Dutch researcher Jan Boon from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) has discovered that one isomer of the toxic substance HBCD accumulates in dolphins and porpoises.

Examining the serotonin transporter gene and family function
Alcohol researchers already know that genetic and environmental factors influence drinking.

JCI table of contents May 1, 2005
This press release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published in the JCI: Nitrite says NO to ischemia/reperfusion injury; A big fat contribution to breast tumor growth; EBV inflames multiple sclerosis; High-fat diets hard on (and harden) the vessels; BH4 rescues a bruised heart B4 breaking; Keeping inflammation at bay; and Organ-specific iron transport.

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners hosts 20th Annual National Conference
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) will host its 20th Annual National Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL, June 17 - 21.

Adolescent health ill-catered for in the NHS
The NHS must overhaul its approach to adolescent health if it is to meet the health needs of young people in the UK, says a paper in the BMJ this week.

Purdue miniature cooling device will have military, computer uses
Mechanical engineers at Purdue University have new findings offering promise for modifying household refrigeration technology with small devices to cool future weapons systems and computer chips.

Independent voice rises to help consumers navigate health care
Patients have had few places to turn-other than their own health plans-for help if they receive unexpected medical bills or refusals for much-needed medical equipment.

Execution by lethal injection is not humane or painless suggests study
Prisoners executed by lethal injection in the US may have experienced awareness and unnecessary suffering because they were not properly sedated, concludes a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Vitamin E loss through smoking increases health risks
New studies in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have shown that vitamin E disappears more quickly in smokers than in non-smokers - findings that may help explain how smoking can cause cancer.

Medical journal editors condemn ghostwriting
An editorial in the March issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine examines the issue of drug companies commissioning medical education companies to ghostwrite scientific articles in support of the company's product.

Hormone aids recovery in rats with hemorrhagic stroke
Erythropoietin, a glycoprotein hormone that stimulates bone marrow to produce red blood cells, has shown a therapeutic effect on rats who have suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Exercise variety - not intensity - appears to reduce some Alzheimer's disease risk
The variety of leisure and physical activity one engages in -- and not its intensity in terms of calories expended - may reduce dementia risk in older people, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins.

NYU chemist wins Watson Young Investigator award
New York University's Yingkai Zhang, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded a $200,000 James D.

Extensive Dutch nano cooperation launched
NanoNed was officially launched with the approval of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Steady rise in allergic diseases over quarter of a century
The rate of allergic diseases (atopy) in adults has steadily increased over the last quarter of the 20th century, but the reason for the increase is still unknown, according to a study published online by the BMJ today.

Study shows surprising decreased surgical infection risk after age 65
Contrary to what you might think, advanced age does not increase the risk of surgical-site infections, according to a large long-term study reported in the April 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

NY Academy of Sciences reveals how scientists plan to combat bioterrorism & deadly pathogens
The New York Academy of Sciences has released an eBriefing, Biodefense: Risk, Reality and Solutions: the Trans-RCE Biodefense Seminars (
Seattle inventor to receive Henry Heimlich Award
Seattle entrepreneur and businessman Christopher Toly, president and chief executive of Simulab Corporation, will be honored with the first Henry J.

NMDP welcomes IOM recommendation for fully integrated cord blood system
The National Marrow Donor Program agreed with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) recommendation today calling for an integrated national cord blood and adult donor program.

UmeƄ researchers have mapped the dams of the world
More than half of the world's large rivers are fragmented and regulated by dams.

Extending genetic associations with risk for alcohol dependence to a Russian population
Highlights include Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) is the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain; Previous research had identified an association between genetic variations in the GABA a2 receptor subtype (GABRA2) and risk for alcohol dependence in a U.S. population; and New research extends those findings to a Russian population.

OneWorld Health receives multimillion dollar grant for next steps in control of deadly disease
The Institute for OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the U.S., today announced that it has received a grant of nearly US $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue advancing its promising drug for visceral leishmaniasis (VL), paromomycin, through the approval and post-approval process.

Golfers' yips may be movement disorder
Yips -- a condition among some golfers that describes the inability to appropriately complete a golf stroke, usually during putting or chipping and worsening with anxiety -- may be a task-specific movement disorder similar to writer's cramp and musician's cramp, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 -16, 2005.

Fat may affect electrical impulses in brain, heart
Fatty molecules may modulate the electrical characteristics of nerve and heart cells by regulating the properties of key cell pores, according to research conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Report proposes structure for national network of cord blood stem cell banks
A new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies proposes structure for national network of cord blood stem cell banks.

The chemistry of popcorn: It's all about 'pop-ability'
Good news for microwave popcorn lovers: Researchers are closing in on the elusive dream of consistently producing batches with no unpopped kernels.

Cleveland physician to receive Benjamin Spock Award
Cleveland physician and surgeon Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., will be honored with the first Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. 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