Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 25, 2005
US Department of State names UCI atmospheric scientist a Jefferson Science Fellow
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced that Michael Prather, an internationally recognized UC Irvine expert on global climate change, is one of only five 2005-06 Jefferson Science Fellows selected by the U.S.

Study shows even limited training improves communication with patients from other cultures
Simple classroom lectures about different religious holidays, such as the Muslim tradition of fasting during Ramadan, or Spanish language lessons focused on common medical terms really work to help physicians and nurses connect with patients from different cultures and improve patient satisfaction, according to a pair of reports from Johns Hopkins researchers.

Survey of academic medical centers' standards for clinical-trial agreements with industry
Michelle Mello, associate professor of health policy and law at the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues examined medical school research administrators' standards for the clinical trial contracts established with industry sponsors.

Decoding the logic of olfaction
Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have succeeded in mapping the unique patterns of neural activity produced by a wide range of odors, including vanilla, skunk, fish, urine, musk, and chocolate.

The evolutionary triumph of flower power
While flowers originally came on the scene to attract potential pollinators like bugs and birds, it is their appeal to humans that accounts for the incredible variety of shapes and colors we see in domesticated flowers today.

Personalized immunosuppression with leading organ transplant therapy may optimize patient care
Monitoring the level of CellCept® (mycophenolate mofetil) in a patient's blood in the months following an organ transplant may enable physicians to identify the precise amount of drug needed by each patient to prevent organ rejection without increasing toxicity, thereby optimizing efficacy and tolerability of the drug over time.

Polymer grid technology a boon for bridges
When the long-awaited Highway 151 bypass around Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, opens later this year, vehicles traveling northbound will cross DeNeveu Creek on a bridge like no other in the country.

Statins decrease risk of colon cancer
People who took a type of cholesterol-lowering drug for five years had nearly half the risk of developing colon cancer, even when they had a family history of the disease or other risk factors, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Researchers discover underwater volcano
A team of scientists, led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has discovered an active underwater volcano near the Samoan Island chain.

The Bcl-2 family tree
In the June 1 issue of G&D, Dr. David Huang and colleagues reveal how members of the Bcl-2 protein family interact to regulate apoptosis.

ARVO Foundation and Alcon announce significant gift
The ARVO Foundation, a supporting non-profit of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), announced today that Alcon Laboratories committed $500,000 to the Foundation to sponsor several programs designed to advance the progress of vision research.

What's really making you sick? Plant pathologists offer the science behind Sick Building Syndrome
Science-based identification of mold and other causes of Sick Building Syndrome may improve its management, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Study is first to show side-stream smoking is as damaging to IVF success as being a smoker
It has been known for some time that smoking can affect a woman's fertility, but Canadian research published (Thursday 26 May) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction suggests that exposure to side-stream smoking - smoke given off by a smouldering cigarette - is just as damaging.

Study links brain fatty acid levels to depression
A group of researchers from Israel has discovered that rats exhibiting the signs of depression have increased levels of the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, in their brains.

DFG approves additional six research training groups
Following the meeting of the Grants Committee for Research Training Groups on 22 April 2005, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) has approved funding for an additional six new Research Training Groups.

Adaptive antenna array could improve access to NASA's Earth observing satellites
Sophisticated signal processing techniques and simple proof-of-principle antenna arrays built from PVC pipe, aluminum foil and copper wire could revolutionize the way NASA obtains data from its Earth observing satellites.

Habitat use by North Pacific right whales, Eubalaena japonica, in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska
The small population of North Pacific right whales is one of the most critically endangered whale populations in the world.

Northwestern Memorial participates in trial to test effectiveness of drug to treat endometriosis
Doctors at Northwestern Memorial and Northwestern University are testing the effectiveness of an investigational drug, ERB-041, to relieve pelvic pain and inflammation due to endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects more than 5.5 million American women.

Major losses projected for earthquake on little-known fault under Los Angeles
A major earthquake on the Puente Hills fault under Los Angeles would cause 3,000 to 18,000 deaths and up to $250 billion in damages.

Bones don't pay a price when fat is lost through exercise
Debunking the myth that exercising to lose excess body fat, unlike dieting alone, comes at a cost to bone health, researchers at Johns Hopkins have determined that for those age 55 to 75, a moderate program of physical exercise generally maintains bone mass and, in some cases, offers modest improvements.

Google's successful advertising model has roots in mathematics
This year, predicts Advertising Age, the combined advertising revenues of Google and Yahoo! will rival the combined prime-time ad revenues of America's three major television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC.

Vampires beware: Scripps scientists describe molecular basis of raw garlic's pungency
Cooked or raw, garlic has been a favorite ingredient of cooks for thousands of years, but almost any cook will tell you there's a major difference: raw garlic is much more pungent than cooked.

Odd spot on Titan baffles scientists
Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists mystified.

A warning for women on HRT - don't skip your next mammogram
Melbourne researchers are urging women on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to be extra vigilant about having regular two-yearly mammograms.

Winners of first Trieste Science Prize announced
An Indian physicist and a Brazilian biologist will each receive US$50,000 for their significant contributions to international scientific research.

Success for the first trans-African flight with EGNOS
A pioneering flight from Dakar to Mombasa using the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the European satellite navigation system that corrects and improves GPS data, was a complete success.

Post-marketing analysis examines cholesterol-lowering drugs' side effects
A post-market analysis of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins indicates that some of the most serious side effects may be higher in one of the newest drugs, rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Researchers find where brain learns to make decisions
Researchers have pinpointed a circuit in the brain responsible for encoding decision-making behavior, a circuit that -- if damaged -- appears to prevent a person from altering that behavior when circumstances change.

Energy-efficient companies celebrated
Canadian companies that excel at saving energy are being recognized by the Government of Canada.

VCR - First implant in Europe
Ventracor Limited today announced the first European implant of its leading heart assist system.

First technology to remove prions that cause vCJD from blood launched
The risk of receiving blood contaminated with variant Cruetzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) prions may no longer be a concern for the thousands of people who require a transfusion.

Why 911 callers are left hanging
New regulations in the US will require Internet phone companies to ensure their lines provide callers with access to the emergency services.

Jefferson Lab builds first single crystal single cell accelerating cavity
Jefferson Lab scientists have, for the first time, successfully fabricated and tested a single cell accelerating cavity made from a single crystal of niobium in the same shape as the low-loss design proposed as an improvement to the baseline for the International Linear Collider (ILC).

BioMed Central applauds Wellcome's leadership on Open Access
Publisher BioMed Central today congratulated the Wellcome Trust on its move to require researchers receiving Wellcome funding to deposit copies of resulting research articles in an Open Access archive.

Patients' favorite music during surgery lessens need for sedative
Patients listening to their favorite music required much less sedation during surgery than did patients who listened to white noise or operating room noise.

Nuclear approach may help climate researchers pinpoint volcanic eruptions
There's gold in them thar rings. Tree rings that is, and Penn State researchers are using the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor to measure gold and link the rings to volcanic eruptions.

Applied NeuroSolutions biomarker may predict Alzheimer's disease progression
A biomarker pioneered by Applied NeuroSolutions (OTC BB: APNS, and exclusively utilized in its Alzheimer's diagnostic assay, shows great promise in predicting brain atrophy in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a group of researchers in the US, Canada, and Europe led by Dr.

Increase in heart surgery mortality from SSRIs or depression?
Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that patients who were using a class of anti-depression drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) prior to undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery have significantly higher death and rehospitalization rates up to five years after the procedure than patients who were not on SSRIs.

Studies suggest that donation criteria can be expanded
What makes a donated kidney or pancreas

Drink less rather than shower less to save water
Balancing Act, a world first that has been developed for the Australia economy by scientists from CSIRO and the University of Sydney, looks across 135 industry sectors of the Australian economy and quantifies the impacts and contributions across ten social, environmental, and financial indicators.

Researchers study natural products that may prevent certain cancers
Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have been awarded a $1 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study properties of a folk medicine and a food spice that show promise in reducing the risk of some cancers, including prostate, colorectal and breast, and enhancing cancer treatment.

Seventeenth-century Islamic brassmakers were far ahead of European peers, engineers say
Lehigh University graduate student, utilizing the Advanced Photon Source Synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratories, says the the high zinc content in astrolabes fabricated in Lahore (now in Pakistan) proves that brass made there in the early 1600s was produced by a co-melting technique that was not developed in Europe until the 19th century.

First-ever dictionary aids campaign to save Native American languages
A campaign to save some of the world's most complex group of languages - spoken in North America - has been given new hope by the publication of the first-ever dictionary in up to 5,000 years of the languages' existence.

Toxic substances in the oxidation of fats and oils
Consumers' food health and safety may be affected by the presence of micro-organisms and toxic substances in foodstuffs.

Study finds research participants concerned about genetic discrimination
A new study - the largest to date of public attitudes about genetic discrimination - finds that 40 percent of people already undergoing genetic testing are worried that participation might affect their future insurance coverage.

Prejudices evolved, says ASU study
Contrary to what most people believe, the tendency to be prejudiced is a form of common sense, hard-wired into the human brain through evolution as an adaptive response to protect our prehistoric ancestors from danger.

Joslin Diabetes Center scientists find 'brown fat cells' hold clues for possible obesity treatments
Joslin Diabetes Center scientists have discovered a group of genes that govern the genesis of calorie-burning fat cells.

Breathing disorders during sleep are common among asthmatics, may help predict severe asthma
When asthmatics sleep, many of them continue to struggle with breathing - and an understanding of their sleep-related problems may help doctors better diagnose and treat their patients' asthma, according to new University of Michigan Health System research.

Stem cell research in New York City receives pivotal boost from The Starr Foundation
New York City biomedical research institutions --The Rockefeller University, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)--will receive $50 million over three years from The Starr Foundation to develop new resources and expertise in stem cell research.

What types of physicians are best to treat patients with HIV?
Physicians with expertise or a specialty in HIV deliver better quality of care to patients with active HIV, reports Bruce Landon, Harvard Medical School associate professor of health care policy, and colleagues in the May 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Enhancing innate immunity improves Crohn's disease symptoms
Like throwing oil on a fire or prescribing a high cholesterol diet for heart patients, gastroenterologists traditionally have believed that it would not be a good idea to stoke up the body's immune system to treat Crohn's disease.

Government and industry celebrate 30 years of energy-efficency success
Canadian industry and the Government of Canada are celebrating 30 years of energy-efficiency improvements.

Astronomers, amateur skywatchers find new planet 15,000 light years away
An international collaboration featuring Ohio State University astronomers has detected a planet in a solar system that, at roughly 15,000 light years from Earth, is one of the most distant ever discovered.

Bankers could lead the sustainability revolution
Scientists from CSIRO and University of Sydney have made the link through a detailed analysis of Australia's triple bottom line in a revolutionary report on sustainability.

New Illinois coalition supports cigarette tax increase
The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), an international medical society with over 650 members in Illinois, along with more than a dozen Illinois-based public health, education, and environmental groups, today announced their support of a statewide increase on cigarette tax.

Cure for common cold will need to wiggle to work, scientists say
Using computer simulations, a team of scientists led by Carol B.

Is robotic technology reducing health care costs for cardiac patients?
While potential benefits of robotic technology include decreased morbidity and improved recovery, some have suggested a prohibitively high cost.

Edible bivalves as a source of human pathogens: signals between vibrios and the bivalve host.
Clams, mussels and oysters are important vehicles for the transmission of enteric diseases when consumed raw or undercooked.

Bad metabolism in blood vessels linked to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis
An experiment that turned out very differently than expected led scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Emory study finds health care use, work productivity linked to health levels
While most American adults may not be patently sick, a vast majority of them still lack full health and vitality.

Immune factor GM-CSF significantly improves Crohn's disease symptoms
A multi-institutional research team reports that treatment with the growth factor GM-CSF, which stimulates the innate immune system, significantly reduced symptom severity and improved quality of life for patients with Crohn's disease.

Penn study points to how COX-2 inhibitors can eventually lead to heart disease
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers have found additional evidence that may help explain how selective inhibitors of COX-2 might predispose individuals to heart disease and stroke.

Children develop cynicism at an early age
By the time children are in second grade, they know to take what people say with a grain of salt, particularly when the statement supports the speaker's self-interest.

Harvard Medical School and Project A.L.S. join forces to target ALS research
Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Project A.L.S., a non-profit organization that funds research seeking effective treatments and a cure for ALS, have agreed to join forces to advance ALS research.

Severe sleep apnea may be a risk factor for liver damage
In the first study to examine liver injury in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), researchers tested liver function in patients being evaluated for OSA in order to determine if sleep apnea by itself was a risk factor for liver disease and if so, the mechanism involved.

Does a family dinner guarantee slimmer kids?
One trend that has paralleled the rise of obesity in the last two decades has been the decline in frequency of children eating dinner with their families.

At long last, scientists figure out how plants grow
It has been one of the great mysteries in plant science.

National Academy advisory: Nanotechnology conference summary available June 1
Last November, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative held a conference at which researchers from science, engineering and medicine discussed recent developments in nanotechnology, directions for future research, and possible biomedical applications.

Protein helps regulate the genes of embryonic stem cells
New research from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows how a protein may be crucial to the regulation of genes in embryonic stem cells.

New data show the efficacy of EQUETRO in patients with Bipolar I Disorder
Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPGY, TSX: SHQ) announced today that EQUETROTM (carbamazepine extended-release capsules) are effective in significantly reducing the manic symptoms in patients with Bipolar I Disorder previously taking valproate or lithium, according to a pooled analysis of two phase 3 trials, one of two posters about carbamazepine extended-release capsules presented today at a major medical meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

CSIRO shines a light on mining's triple bottom line
A new report by CSIRO and University of Sydney has opened up the full production chain for Australian industries to reveal that some industries, like mining, are more sustainable than generally assumed.

Post-9/11 foreign policy: traditional and dangerous
Bush Foreign Policy is using traditional means with dangerous implications to mobilize public support.

Liver transplant patients gain same benefits from CellCept® as kidney transplant patients
New data reported in over 90 abstracts presented at the American Transplant Congress in Seattle show that liver transplant patients taking the immunosuppressant CellCept® are gaining the same positive benefits already demonstrated in kidney transplant patients.

Double triumph in stem cell quest
Last week a South Korean team announced to great fanfare that it had derived human embryonic stem cells using therapeutic cloning.

K-State professor studies how landscape dynamics affect extinction risk for migratory songbirds
Research by a Kansas State University biology professor on how chronic habitat loss increases the extinction risk of migratory songbirds may provide some insight about how other animals might respond to a similar loss of habitat.

Risk factors in contracting cancer of the endometrium
The risk of having endometrial cancer increases with obesity, thyroid alterations, hypercholesterolemia and mellitus diabetes.

Risk factors associated with elderly hospital deaths: Dependence on others and being too thin
Elderly patients are at the greatest risk of dying in the hospital if they can't care for themselves, a new study finds.

A 'mind-reading' mum - rich or poor - is key to baby's progress
For a mother, being able to 'read' her baby's emotions or state of mind can be more important for the child's development than who she is and what she has, according to important new research sponsored by the ESRC.

Protein essential for hearing also vital for pain perception
The same protein that

Population Action International to premiere award-winning film in Washington, D.C. on May 31
With 90 percent of its forests already destroyed, the need for balance in Madagascar's fragile ecosystem is great.

Don't believe the hype - mineral oil won't give you zits
A recent study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reports that mineral oil, a common ingredient in many skin care products, does not cause breakouts on the face as was previously thought.

Solar fireworks signal new space weather mystery
The most intense burst of solar radiation in five decades accompanied a large solar flare on January 20.

UW-Madison professor weaves Wisconsin idea into the chemistry of cloth
To paraphrase a popular advertising line, Majid Sarmadi doesn't make the products you use every day.

Horseradish, peroxide mixture dampens swine farm odors
As cities expand, encroaching suburbanites are raising a stink about unpleasant odors emanating from neighboring hog farms.

Psychologist: Make culture part of the new collaborative science
Cultural considerations are increasingly vital in multidisciplinary research as more scientists stray from narrowly focused studies to expansive, boundary-blurring questions, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologist will announce to attendees (May 27) at the 17th Annual Convention of the American Psychology Society in Los Angeles.

When it comes to politics, reactions are often instant
Political concepts appear to create an instant, positive or negative reaction.

Corticosteroids do not help head injuries
Corticosteroids should not be used in the treatment of head injuries, conclude the final results of a randomised trial published online today (Thursday May 26, 2005) by The Lancet.

UI's Don Gurnett says Voyager 1 reaches milestone on journey to interstellar space
University of Iowa space physicist Don Gurnett says that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft -- the most distant manmade object at some 94 astronomical units (AU) or more than 8.7 billion miles from the sun -- has crossed a boundary called the

High blood pressure causes pathological scars in the heart
Fibrosis (scar tissue formation) is the determinant lesion in the subsequent evolution of the heart in a patient with high blood pressure.

Mayo Clinic creates 'Office of the Future'
Most visitors think they've walked into a gym. The creator of the

New method for imaging Dec. 26 Indian Ocean earthquake yields unprecedented results
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD and their colleagues at UCLA have developed a new method for imaging how the earth ruptured during the massive Dec.

Spiritual DNA? BGSU researchers seek sacred building block to family life
Marriage has been known as

Transplanting kidneys which have stones poses little risk to organ's viability
Results from a Mayo Clinic study suggest that using kidneys which have kidney stones for living donor transplant has little impact on the organ's function one year later.

Masters' students in pharmacology do exciting research testing equipment and purifying DNA
Using chemistry and chemical engineering to discover better ways to improve healthcare recently catapulted the research of two doctoral students at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to the attention of the pharmaceutical industry.

Medical privacy vs. health care quality?
New research reveals a clash between two of the biggest issues in health care today: protecting individual patients' privacy and improving the quality, safety and cost of medical care for all patients.

International committee of medical journal editors updates requirements for clinical trials registry
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) today issued a follow-up joint editorial regarding its goal to foster a comprehensive, publicly available database of clinical trials. 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