Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 05, 2005
Bystanders become good samaritans when the stakes are high
A person is in trouble in a crowded place, but no-one steps over to help.

Scripps marine research physiologist pioneer to receive lifetime achievement award
Gerald Kooyman, emeritus professor of biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, will be the first recipient of a new lifetime achievement award bestowed by the Society for Marine Mammalogy during the society's 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

Personal fulfillment may motivate adolescents to be physically active
Adolescents are most likely to report personal fulfillment as the strongest motivation to be physically active.

Carnegie Mellon to showcase new security research at Taiwanese event
Carnegie Mellon University researchers and members of Taiwan's government-affiliated Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will unveil new security technology December 6 in Hsinchu, a research-rich area south of Taipei.

Warming could free far more carbon from high Arctic soil than earlier thought
Scientists studying the effects of carbon on climate warming are very likely underestimating, by a vast amount, how much soil carbon is available in the high Arctic to be released into the atmosphere.

National experts to examine effectiveness of public campaign funding
Campaign finance experts from around the nation will meet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Jan.

Research: Autistic children's brains grow larger during first years of development, why is not clear
By age 2, children with the often-devastating neurological condition physicians call autism show a generalized enlargement of their brains, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University medical schools study concludes.

Leading experts confront global burden of chronic disease 8 Dec. at Abelson Science Seminar
Reporters are invited to AAAS 8 December, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., for the Philip Hauge Abelson Advancing Science Seminar, 'New Directions in Health: The Global Burden of Chronic Disease.' The seminar presents the newest understandings for preventing, treating, and managing chronic disease, and features a global chronic disease specialist, leading scientists, and a global policy strategist.

A salty tale: New bacterial genome sequenced from ancient salterns
Tourists in Spain often stop to ogle the country's many saltwater lagoons, used to produce salt since Roman times.

San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth reveals new insights into the 'earthquake machine'
The San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) -- the first underground observatory to provide physical samples and real-time seismological data from deep inside an active fault zone -- is yielding surprising new clues about the origin of earthquakes.

UCSD researchers report results of children's backpack study
As long as children have carried their books and belongings in backpacks they have complained of shoulder and back pain.

Preclinical study of a new brain tumor therapy
A non-viral vector delivers double-stranded RNA predominantly to tumor cells overexpressing EGFR.

Chemists detect toxic emissions linked to catalytic converters in US
Researchers found high concentrations of platinum, palladium, rhodium and osmium in air over the Boston metropolitan area.

Performance of PVD coated high speed steel tools and the effect of deposited layers
Non-metallic deposits on the rake face of high speed steel (HSS) tools have a considerable effect on tool life.

Threat of avian influenza pandemic grows, but people can take precautions
An editorial in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings paints a picture of a world population very susceptible to an avian flu pandemic, but also offers suggestions to physicians that could help answer questions presented by patients who may be feeling anxious about the

Modern forests suffer from century-old logging legacy
By the early 20th century, loggers had harvested more than 90 percent of the forests covering the upper Great Lakes region.

Precise measurement of physics theory proves true even under extreme conditions
A new measurement in quantum electrodynamics - an extension of quantum mechanics - is 10 times more precise than any recent measurements.

Ethnic minorities and health research
Minorities in the US are as willing as non-Hispanic whites to participate in health research.

Sooner is better with cochlear implants, Stanford scientist shows
A Stanford neurobiologist teamed with child-development specialists at the University of Maryland to see if children with cochlear implants were able to meld their newly acquired hearing capability with their ability to read lips.

Research review finds tobacco scenes in movies boost teen smoking
The first complete review of research on the link between teenagers viewing on-screen smoking and then taking up smoking themselves finds that one leads to the other.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Dec. 6, 2005
Highlights from the Annals of Internal Medicine include: Heart attack patients have high risk for subsequent stroke, study finds; Botulinum toxin relieves pain of tennis elbow in small study; and Hospital care at home is feasible and cost-effective, study finds.

Team care more cost-effective than usual care for depression
A team care model for treating depression in adults aged 60 years and older is more cost-effective than standard treatment options, according to a University of Washington study that appears in the Dec.

Cedars-Sinai medical tipsheet for December 2005
The December tipsheet from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center includes tips on holiday safety for kids, as well as story ideas on drug-eluting stents, Apo A-1 Milano research, IBS, and more.

New book observes how US/UK urban families live and work
New research explores the complex interaction of working and home life in different types of families living in the cities of Portland, Seattle and San Francisco in the USA and London and Edinburgh in the UK.

Animal research suggests perimenopause is a critical time for women's health
Research in monkeys suggests that the perimenopause - the five to 10 years before a woman's menopause - is a critical time for preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.

Psychosocial disability fluctuates in parallel with bipolar symptom changes
With every increase or decrease in depressive symptom severity, there is a corresponding significant and stepwise increase or decrease in psychosocial disability among patients with bipolar disorder, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Stress substantially slows human body's ability to heal
The stress a typical married couple feels during an ordinary half-hour argument is enough to slow their bodies' ability to heal from wounds by at least one day, a new study has shown.

Physicists describe strange new fluid-like state of matter
University of Chicago physicists have created a novel state of matter using nothing more than a container of loosely packed sand and a falling marble.

Modified Atkins diet effectively treats childhood seizures
A modified version of a popular low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is nearly as effective at controlling seizures as the highly restrictive ketogenic diet, Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers report.

Elevated atmospheric CO2 increases soil carbon
An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology indicates that soils in temperate ecosystems might contribute more to partially offsetting the effects of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations than earlier studies have suggested.

Speedier NIH review of research applications planned
The National Institutes of Health has taken an important step to shorten its grant application review cycle in an effort to speed biomedical research and medical advances.

New nanosensor uses quantum dots to detect DNA
Using tiny semiconductor crystals, biological probes and a laser, engineers have developed a new method of finding specific sequences of DNA by making them light up beneath a microscope.

Mayo Clinic researchers: Stroke risk significant in month following heart attack
A Mayo Clinic research team discovered that heart attack patients have a 44-fold increased risk of stroke in the 30 days following the heart attack, compared with the general population, according to findings published in the current Annals of Internal Medicine.

Evidence for expanded color vision for some colorblind individuals
Some forms of colorblindness may actually afford enhanced perception of some colors, according to findings reported this week in Current Biology by John Mollon and colleagues at the University of Cambridge.

Brain enlargement may be characteristic of autism
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has found evidence of brain enlargement in a relatively large sample of children with autism, compared with children who do not have the disorder, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Medical College of Wisconsin study
Community-based case managers are much more effective than traditional government outreach and enrollment programs in obtaining insurance coverage for uninsured Latino children, according to a study authored by a physician at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Think political spending got 'reformed?' Just try running for Senate
The minimum price tag for most US Senate seats has risen to $10 million, according to political researchers.

Sea urchins' unexpectedly diverse 'innate' immune capability points to new research avenue
Inside that seemingly docile sea urchin there's a surprisingly active innate immune system, probably utilizing previously unrecognized immune mechanisms that may also actively function in vertebrates, including humans, researchers at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., say.

Iconic language teaches kids to program
A 22-year-old computer engineer from the University of New South Wales has devised a simple iconic language that will help teach the basics of programming.

Food practices and using food incentives in middle schools associated with overweight students
Schoolwide food practices and policies that allow frequent snacking and consumption of foods and beverages high in calories and low in nutrients throughout the school day, and that permit use of food as incentives and rewards, were associated with higher body mass index in middle school students, according to an article in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Children with heart defects found to benefit from exercise
A small but compelling pilot study indicates that many children with serious congenital heart disease, who are typically urged to restrict their activity, can improve their cardiovascular function and exercise capacity through a cardiac rehabilitation program.

What is a cloud? Scientists still searching for a clear-sky definition
All through the ages, humans have dreamily gazed at those shape-shifting cotton-balls floating gently across the sky-the clouds.

As Montreal Conference considers deforestation issues, ESA presents space solution
Negotiating a post-Kyoto strategy to combat global warming is one of the agendas discusssed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Mathematician's insight helps unravel knotty problem
New research published in the mathematical journal Geometry and Topology describes a useful pattern of numbers that has lain hidden for almost 100 years in one of the most notable classification schemes for twisted knots.

Scientist measures role of science's coolest player: The snow
What would the Earth be like if one fine day all the snow melted away?

New technology for new exploration of hydrothermal vents
Advances in undersea imaging systems, the development of new vehicles and instruments, and improved seafloor mapping capabilities have enabled scientists to explore areas of the deep sea in unprecedented detail.

NASA & NSF create unprecedented view of upper atmosphere
Scientists from NASA and the National Science Foundation discovered a way to combine ground and space observations to create an unprecedented view of upper atmosphere disturbances during space storms.

Texas scientists discover how a hepatitis C protein promotes liver cancer
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have identified a key biochemical connection between the hepatitis C virus and liver cancer.

New Stanford tool for genetic data analysis may improve cancer treatment
Statistics isn't what normally comes to mind what people think of cancer research, but a new statistical tool developed at the Stanford University School of Medicine could smooth out some of the fits and starts that have plagued the effort to understand and treat the disease.

A century after 1906 earthquake, geophysicists revisit 'Big One' and come up with new model
Almost a century after the 1906 earthquake, Stanford geophysicists have revisited San Francisco's ''Big One'' and now paint a new picture of a fault that was ready to go and that ruptured farther and faster than previously supposed.

Rivers on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, resemble those on Earth
Recent evidence from the Huygens Probe of the Cassini Mission suggests that Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, is a world where rivers of liquid methane sculpt channels in continents of ice.

Debilitating jaw and neck pain targeted through $19 million NIH support, multidisciplinary center
One of the most stubborn and debilitating pain syndromes will come under intense and unprecedented scrutiny over the next seven years as researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fulfill a new $19 million cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Titania nanoparticles could lead to improved sensors and solar energy
Nanostructured titania (TiO2) has been extensively studied as a very promising material for applications in sensors, photocatalysis, solar energy conversion and optical coatings.

New biomimetic process used to grow artificial bone for better implants and prosthetics
Biomimetic processes mimic the bodies own bone formation and deposition processes.

Satellites capture first-ever gravity map of tides under Antarctic ice
Ohio State University scientists have used minute fluctuations in gravity to produce the best map yet of ocean tides that flow beneath two large Antarctic ice shelves.

New maps reveal true extent of human footprint on Earth
As global populations swell, farmers are cultivating more and more land in a desperate bid to keep pace with the ever-intensifying needs of humans.

'Survival' genes hold key to healthy brains in babies and the elderly
Completing a daily crossword and enjoying a range of activities and interests has long been accepted as a recipe for maintaining a healthy brain in older age, but the reasons for this have never been clear.

A leap forward in understanding cholera
Adjusting cholera models to take into account a short-lived hyperinfectious state proposed by recent experimental data shown in PLoS Medicine improves their fit with real outbreak data.

Molecule links Down syndrome to Alzheimer's
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London have identified a molecule that could be targeted to treat the cognitive impairment in people with Down syndrome.

Climate models need deeper roots, scientists say
Researchers need to dig to deeper into soils to harvest enough data that would make climate models more fruitful, according to scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Obesity before pregnancy linked to childhood weight problems
A child's weight may be influenced by his mother even before he is actually born, according to new research.

Sydney researchers explain how stress can make you sick
Garvan Institute scientists have discovered how a hormone, known as neuropeptide Y (NPY), can prevent our immune system functioning properly, paving the way for two new major opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Case researchers discover methods to find 'needles in haystack' in data
Case Western Reserve University researchers have recently created statistical techniques that improve the chances of detecting a signal in large data sets.

Research suggests making exercise more fun might boost fitness levels of US adolescents
By now, most Americans probably realize that US teens exercise too little.

Jungle discovery opens new chapter in Maya history
A University of Calgary archaeologist and her international team of researchers have discovered the earliest known portrait of a woman that the Maya carved into stone, demonstrating that women held positions of authority very early in Maya history - either as queens or patron deities.

Teen weight control behavior may reflect mothers' attitudes on weight
Teenagers are more likely to think about wanting to be thin, and to be frequent dieters, if they accurately perceive that being thin is important to their mothers, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Low-level exercise delays heart failure, markedly extends lives, even with hypertension
University of Colorado researchers reported that low intensity exercise training markedly improved survivability and delayed the onset of overt CHF.

NASA satellites yield best-ever Antarctic maps
Scientists using satellite data have now created the most detailed maps ever produced of the vast snow-covered Antarctic continent.

Chemotherapy after surgery extends survival for patients with advanced endometrial cancer
A new study has shown for the first time that giving two chemotherapy drugs to women with advanced endometrial cancer after surgery reduced the risk of recurrence by 29 percent and extended survival by 32 percent compared with women who received whole abdominal irradiation.

Comforting behavior mistaken for movement disorder
Infantile masturbation can be mistaken for a motor disorder, leading to unnecessary invasive procedures and expensive tests.

Telephone-based care improves quality of life for those with anxiety disorders
A better life for people with general anxiety and panic disorders may only be a phone call away, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Hubble movies show traffic jam in stellar jets
Using highly resolved images from the Hubble Space Telescope, a international team of astronomers at Rice University and four other institutions has created the first moving pictures of a stellar jet.

Drunken elephants: The marula fruit myth
Dispelling years of anecdotes in travelogues, the popular press, and scholarly works, biologists from the University of Bristol argue that it is nearly impossible for elephants to become intoxicated from eating the fruit of the marula tree.

The end of aging? New study examines evolutionary explanations for 'biological immortality'
Though getting older may seem inevitable, a major new study from the forthcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology examines the point in human life when your body simply stops aging.

Global meeting identifies cost-effective approaches to cervical cancer prevention
Health ministries, US government agencies, clinical experts and reproductive health professionals will convene in Bangkok through Dec.

Why the Amazon rainforest is so rich in species
Tropical areas of south and central America such as the Amazon rainforest are home to some 7,500 species of butterfly compared with only around 65 species in Britain.

NASA's Mars rovers continue to explore & amaze
NASA's twin Mars rovers keep finding new variations of bedrock in areas they are exploring on opposite sides of Mars.

Dr. Tallie Z. Baram wins nation's top epilepsy research award
Dr. Tallie Z. Baram, whose groundbreaking studies on childhood seizures have fundamentally altered medicine's understanding of epilepsy, will receive the nation's top award for research on this brain disorder.
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