Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 13, 2005
Parents advised to rethink dummy use
A comprehensive review of scientific studies on the use of baby pacifiers (dummies) has found that they interfere with successful breastfeeding.

High intake of dietary fiber not associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer
In an analysis combining data from 13 studies, high intake of dietary fiber was not associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study in the December 14 issue of JAMA.

Mental health of children most harmed before divorce
The most harm to a child's mental health takes place in the years before parents split up, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests staying together for the sake of the kids is not always the right choice.

Riding the ultra wideband communications wave
Europe is helping to push forward the boundaries of current radio technology looking at the next generation of radio devices.

Physicians: Simple 'instrument' allows medical staff to check patients' literacy
Health-care providers soon will have access to a new tool designed to assess patients' health literacy skills quickly and simply, thanks to medical school researchers at the universities of Arizona and North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ancient humans brought bottle gourds to the Americas from Asia
Thick-skinned bottle gourds widely used as containers by prehistoric peoples were likely brought to the Americas some 10,000 years ago by individuals who arrived from Asia, according to a new genetic comparison of modern bottle gourds with gourds found at archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere.

Zeroing in on progeria: How mutant lamins cause premature aging
Children with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) race through life against an unfairly fast clock.

Silicon-germanium microchips may herald new applications from radar to space exploration
Georgia Tech scientists and engineers are pursuing the dictum that

BiNational Sustainability Laboratory opens, hopes to create 'necklace of labs' along Mexican border
After four years of preparation, the BiNational Sustainability Laboratory announced itself ready for business in a 4,000-square-foot facility in Santa Teresa, N.M., a short ride east from El Paso and a few miles from the Mexican border.

Amazon trees much older than assumed, raising questions on global climate impact of region
Trees in the Amazon tropical forests are old. Really old, in fact, which comes as a surprise to a team of American and Brazilian researchers studying tree growth in the world's largest tropical region.

Democratic nation building must overcome natural human behavior
The rapidly rising costs - human and financial -- of our Iraq and Afghanistan adventures make it increasingly imperative that the United States abandon its proclaimed policy of bringing democracy to the nations of the Middle East, whether they want it or not, says a Penn State researcher in a new book.

Parents of children with cancer suffer post-traumatic stress symptoms, both immediate and lingering
Parents of children with cancer commonly suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress, both during treatment and years after their children survive the disease, say researchers.

Peacetime grenades harm environment
Elisabeth Hochschorner and colleagues from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm showed that during peacetime, the mining of metals used in grenade construction and the energy costs needed to produce them cause significant environmental impact.

A pocketful of help for Alzheimer's sufferers and caregivers
Professors receive $200,000 from the Alzheimer's Association (in partnership with Intel Corporation and Agilent Technologies) to study the use of PocketPC and Web technologies to promote quality of life for Alzheimer's patients and caregivers.

UC Santa Barbara researcher tapped by Europeans for design of instrument to test soil on Mars
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced today support of a new program that will include development of an instrument for testing deep soil samples on Mars in a European mission called ExoMars.

New study identifies key gene in development of connections between brain and spinal cord
Researchers have identified a specific gene that is necessary for the development of connections between the brain and the spinal cord.

Evidence links cocaine abuse and Parkinson's disease
Adults who abuse cocaine might increase their risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD), and pregnant women who abuse cocaine could increase the risk of their children developing PD later in life, according to results of laboratory studies performed by investigators at St.

Nanostructured polymeric films dispersed in water with exceptional properties
Over a period of four years, 21 European participants coordinated by the University of the Basque Country, including large and small business enterprises as well as universities, will work on the development of radically new products through the technological process for the production of controlled nanostructured films without organic solvents or residual monomers.

A crucial role for TGFbeta signaling in congenital eye disorders
The lens in the developing eye acts as a TGFbeta signaling center that controls differentiation, survival and formation of multiple eye structures deriving from the neural crest.

National study improves outcome for pediatric AML
A new strategy for treating childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) based on the individual patient's risk of failure, and guided by the results of a highly sensitive technique for identifying leukemic cells, yielded one-year survival rates of almost 90 percent, according to investigators at St.

Marine biology mystery solved: Function of 'unicorn' whale's 8-foot tooth discovered
Today, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) researcher Martin Nweeia, DMD, DDS, answers a marine science question that has eluded the scientific community for hundreds of years: Why does the narwhal, or

TRAF3 protein is a key part of the early immune response to viruses
A protein called TRAF3, with a previously unknown job in immune cells, is actually a key part of a mechanism that triggers release of anti-virus molecules called type I interferons (IFNs) as part of the body's rapid response against these invaders, according to investigators that include a scientist continuing this work at St.

200 proteins which detect diseases of the liver
The biochemist Enrique Santamaría Martínez, a researcher in the area of Genetic Therapy and Hepatology at the CIMA of the University of Navarra, has identified more than 200 proteins which can be considered as indicators of the progression of steatohepatitis and liver hepatitis.

South African geraniums effective in treatment of adults with acute bronchitis
A recent clinical trial in Europe showed that EPs® 7630, a remedy made from the roots of Pelargonium sidoides - a species of geranium unique to South Africa, is an effective alternative treatment of acute bronchitis.

Increasing norepinephrine stabilizes breathing patterns in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome
Gérard Hilaire of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Laurent Villard of the French National Institutes of Health (INSERM) and Jan-Marino Ramirez of the University of Chicago and colleagues report in the December 14, 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience that the breathing disturbances in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome originate, at least in part, from a deficiency in norepinephrine and serotonin in a specific brain region called the medulla.

Generics group spinout takes aim for Christmas list
The Generics Group spinout, CMR Fuel Cells Ltd, announces it's seeking admission to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM).

£6m to develop new class of light alloys
The University of Manchester has been awarded £5.98m to develop a new class of light alloy solutions that will transform the way aircraft, trains and automobiles are built.

Technology for successful aging shown at White House conference
A pill box that keeps track of the medications taken and knows when the user is nearby is one of a handful of innovative devices Oregon Health & Science University researchers are developing to unobtrusively monitor how seniors go about their day-to-day lives in their homes.

Take a deep breath: UVA health system opens clinical trial of emphysema treatment
Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have opened a new clinical trial to try and help people with emphysema breathe better.

Elsevier collaborates with MIT to increase access to scientific web across the developing world
Elsevier announces a special collaboration with researchers at MIT to bring the benefits of the scientific web to researchers around the world.

ESA accelerates towards a new space thruster
ESA has confirmed the principle of a new space thruster that may ultimately give much more thrust than today's electric propulsion techniques.

New antidepressant drug increases 'brain's own cannabis'
Researchers have discovered a new drug that raises the level of endocannabinoids -- the 'brain's own cannabis' -- providing anti-depressant effects.

Insulin levels and resistance linked to risk of pancreatic cancer
Higher insulin concentrations and insulin resistance are associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in men, according to a study in the December 14 issue of JAMA.

Astronomers use Hubble to 'weigh' Dog Star's companion
White dwarfs are important to theories of both stellar and cosmological evolution.

Kidnapped: Colon cancer seizes hapless nerve growth protein
No form of cancer is better at flipping normal cell mechanisms for growth and movement into sinister contraptions for evasion and invasion than aggressive colorectal tumors.

UCI receives major grant to develop 'gene signature' for prostate cancer prognosis
A UC Irvine pathologist who studies cancer cells has received a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a genetic method for predicting the outcome of prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Bone quality regulator identified, suggests drug target
UCSF scientists have determined that the quality of bone matrix, a key component of bone, is regulated by a molecule known as transforming growth factor beta.

Growth factor protects brain against damage from stroke
A naturally occurring growth factor called neuregulin-1 protects brain cells from damage resulting from stroke, according to an animal study conducted by researchers at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the Atlanta-based Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN).

Mayo clinic reports some chronic leukemia patients may improve by taking an extract of green tea
A new case study by Mayo Clinic researchers provides preliminary evidence to suggest a component of green tea may lead to clinical improvement in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

NIH launches comprehensive effort to explore cancer genomics
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today launched a comprehensive effort to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, especially large-scale genome sequencing.

Bacteria that cause tooth decay able to survive without important biochemical pathway
Streptococcus mutans, the decay-causing organism that thrives in many a mouth, can do just fine without a certain biochemical pathway thought to be essential for survival.

Progress slow in improving hospitals' patient safety systems
While there has been some improvement in patient safety systems at hospitals, progress has been slow and the current systems are not close to meeting certain recommendations, according to a study in the December 14 issue of JAMA.

New study finds common herbal supplement helps to reduce cocaine cravings
A new study suggests that a common over-the-counter herbal supplement, N-acetylcysteine, can reduce the cravings associated with chronic cocaine use.

Enhancement in the precision of high-speed milling of complex parts
The research team led by Norberto López de La Calle at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of the Basque Country, have designed a new model for optimising the high-speed, 3- or 5- axis milling of complex parts.

High performance computing in the UK
First Anglo-German review of research using high performance computing in the UK, co-ordinated by the DFG, is published in a report entitled

Flatworm genes may provide insights into human diseases, researchers say
Could vital information about many human diseases be deciphered from genes inside freshwater flatworms?

News tips from The Journal of Neuroscience
Highlights from the Journal of Neuroscience include

New study finds anabolic steroids may be addictive
A new study designed to test whether androgenic-anabolic steroids may be addictive found that hamsters exposed to the compounds demonstrated addictive behavior over time.

Anyway you slice it, tomatoes cut through drought with new gene
New tomato research has its roots in yielding more food to feed more people.

Univ. of Chicago scientists find potential cause of breathing problems in Rett Syndrome children
A multi-institutional team, led by University of Chicago researchers, has taken a crucial step toward understanding and treating Rett Syndrome (RS), a rare and often-misdiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 1 in 10,000 children, mostly females. 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