Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 30, 2006
ESMO International Symposium on Prostate Cancer
The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has just launched a new model of meetings, namely ESMO International Symposia (EIS) focusing on organ-based malignancies.

Not all eating habits are made alike. Some routines may even be beneficial, new study says
A new study on eating habits, forthcoming in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, reveals that not all eating habits are made alike.

ACP releases annual report on 'The State of the Nation's Health Care'
Sweeping policy proposals to avert a looming crisis in access to primary care medicine were released today by the American College of Physicians (ACP) at its annual report on The State of the Nation's Health Care.

Sediment could be a major factor in biggest subduction zone earthquakes
New research indicates sediment buildup in tectonic plate deformations could play a major role in determining the severity of subduction zone earthquakes.

Stem cells from muscles can repair cartilage
Researchers designed a study using muscle-derived stem cells genetically engineered with a therapeutic protein in an effort to repair articular cartilage defects in rats.

Infant transplant patients resist infections that kill adult AIDS patients
Investigators have discovered that some type of protective system goes into action in some cases when a baby's immune system is deficient.

New survey indicates preemie parents uninformed about RSV prevention
Although premature infants are at increased risk of hospitalization due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), nearly one half of parents of premature infants are not aware of preventive medicine that can help protect their babies from RSV, according to a recent Internet survey from the National Perinatal Association (NPA).

Birth defects: 8 million annually worldwide
About 8 million children -- 6 percent of total births worldwide -- are born annually with a serious genetic or partially genetic birth defect, according to the

Sediment layer may forecast greatest earthquakes
Researchers at Yale and the University of Washington report that great earthquakes, like the 2004 Sumatra earthquake, may be caused by the build up of sediment on top of subduction zones, suggesting a new way to forecast these most severe earthquakes.

NJIT to receive honor from Newark Preservation Committee
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will receive the highest annual honor from the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee for the restoration of the first building on campus, a 35,000-square foot, three-story gothic Victorian castle.

Fifth VentrAssist implant in US feasibility trial
Ventracor Limited (ASX:VCR) today announced five American patients had been implanted with the VentrAssist cardiac assist system in the United States.

UCSD study finds anthrax toxins also harmful to fruit flies
Deadly and damaging toxins that allow anthrax to cause disease and death in mammals have similar toxic effects in fruit flies, according to a study conducted by biologists at the University of California, San Diego.

Scientists spot solitary stem cells in living bone marrow
A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online early edition provides compelling visual evidence that hematopoietic, or blood-forming, stem cells prefer a solitary life.

Australian medicine again recognised in Australian of the Year
There could be few more deserving winners of Australian of the Year than Professor Ian Frazer, whose breakthrough development of a vaccine for cervical cancer will save the lives of up to 200,000 women every year.

Rensselaer President calls for State of the Union focus on nation's capacity to innovate
In an open letter to President George W. Bush, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson has urged the President to use the State of the Union to outline a national agenda to

Researchers take aim at the causes of heart valve disease
The effects of heart valve disease are well documented -- 100,000 US surgeries per year to repair or replace damaged valves -- but doctors still know very little about the causes.

Contagious obesity? Identifying the human adenoviruses that may make us fat
Accumulating evidence suggests that human adenoviruses viruses may cause obesity, in essence making obesity contagious, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin.

Poor control of diabetes in a large sample of patients
In this study, Woodward and colleagues identified over 63,000 patients in eastern Ontario with diabetes, and examined their control over their blood sugar and how often it was evaluated.

Why offer promotional bonuses? New study shows how (fake) progress can motivate customers
An important new study explores the impact of artificial bonuses on customer loyalty.

Rice student earns top Texas nano honors
The Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas (NFT) has awarded Rice University doctoral student Vinit Murthy its 2006 George Kozmetsky Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Nanotechnology for his co-discovery of a simple method to encapsulate any water-soluble compound easily and without damage.

ACP proposes solutions for America's health care system
A policy paper providing proposals for resolving some of the major problems with the health care system in America was released today by The American College of Physicians (ACP) at its annual report on

U of M researchers unlock mystery of layer encircling the Earth's core
University of Minnesota associate professor of chemical engineering Renata Wentzcovitch and her team of researchers have confirmed the properties of a mineral (post-perovskite) that may form near the Earth's core in a layer called the D'' region.

Warning to government from biotech on PBS changes
Stark warnings that the biotech sector could be damaged and patient health harmed by proposed changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme warrant careful consideration, Medicines Australia said today.

How we view ourselves affects perception of products and brands
A forthcoming article in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research compares the attitudes of American and Singaporean subjects toward well-known brands in order to assess how a consumer's self-view influences perception of consumer goods.

Hot-spring bacteria flip a metabolic switch
Researchers have found that photosynthetic bacteria in scalding Yellowstone hot springs have two radically different metabolic identities: as the sun goes down, these cells quit their day job of photosynthesis and unexpectedly begin to fix nitrogen gas (N2) into biologically useful compounds.

Bones from blood: Scientists aim to break new ground on fractures
Scientists at the University of York have launched a new research project which aims to develop ways of making bones from blood.

Marsupial genome reveals insights into mammalian evolution
Opossum genomic sequence data permit researchers to fill gaps in our knowledge of how the major histocompatibility complex evolved within the mammalian lineage in a paper published in the open access journal PLoS Biology.

New study reveals that ads comparing two brands are frequently ineffective
We've all seen ads claiming that one car outperforms another one, that one paper towel holds more water than another, or that one beer tastes better than another.

UQ staff honoured in 2006 Australia Day awards
Two senior members of The University of Queensland have been honoured in this year's Australia Day Honours List.

St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix offers special test for children with stroke risk
Children's Rehabilitative Services (CRS) at St. Joseph's Children's Health Center in Phoenix is using a special ultrasound to identify the risk for stroke in children who have sickle cell disease.

Mad-cow culprit maintains stem cells
Whitehead Institute scientists have found that the same protein that causes neurodegenerative conditions such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) is also important for helping certain adult stem cells maintain themselves.

University of Kentucky researcher identifies key to macular degeneration progression
Ambati's research concludes that the presence of the C3a and C5a components in drusen are not only markers of AMD that will develop into the late-stage form of the disease, but that they are in fact causal.

Argonne researchers contribute 1000th structure
Researchers at the Structural Biology Center at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have contributed their 1,000th structure to the Protein Data Bank.

Using statins to potentially treat rheumatoid arthritis
A study examined whether statins are able to induce apoptosis in synovial cells of patients with RA and found that they have potential as a novel way of treating the disease.

Yale findings hold promise for stopping progression of bipolar disorder
Changes in the brain that are important indicators of bipolar disorder are not prominent until young adulthood and are reduced in persons taking mood-stabilizing medications.

SNM experts focus on advances in molecular imaging for cancer, addiction, Alzheimer's, heart disease
Leading medical investigators will present recent developments in the diagnosis of cancer and heart and brain diseases during the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Mid-Winter Educational Symposium Feb.

The Alzheimer patient who sang 'Oh, what a beautiful morning!'
Medical Hypotheses, an Elsevier publication, has announced the winner of the 2005 David Horrobin Prize for medical theory.

Hope for arthritis stems from within
Leeds bioengineers have developed an innovative technique for cartilage repair combining the self-healing powers of the body with stem cell science to help young people avoid debilitating knee problems and give hope to arthritis sufferers.

NASA satellite catches a hurricane transforming itself
Hurricanes can completely re-structure themselves inside, and that presents forecasters with great uncertainty when predicting their effects on the general population.

You don't say: Patient-doctor nonverbal communication says a lot
What patients don't say can be just as important as what they do, according to a study of nonverbal behavior published in a January issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Study finds mass behavioral health plan is a good value
A study released by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corporations of Massachusetts, Inc., a statewide organization representing over 100 community-based mental health and substance abuse service providers, found that the MassHealth behavioral health carve-out provides efficient and effective mental health and substance abuse services and is of good taxpayer value to the Commonwealth.

'A bias for the whole': Study proves we're more willing to part with small bills
A new study, forthcoming in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research explores our definite preference for big bills over small ones - and explains our marked reluctance to part with a larger bill when compared to an equivalent dollar amount of small bills.

Human trial proves ricin vaccine safe, induces neutralizing antibodies; further tests planned
Scientists have completed the first human clinical trial of a recombinant vaccine for the deadly toxin ricin - a potential bioterror threat - and the results indicate the vaccine is safe and effective in eliciting ricin-neutralizing antibodies, the UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

Even a mile of forest can make a difference in water quality
Results from a small-scale experiment in western North Carolina illustrate the importance of National Forest lands in ensuring high water quality in the Southern Appalachian region.

Australian of the Year award to Ian Frazer salutes important win in the war against cancer
Professor Ian Frazer's selection as Australian of the Year 2006 recognises that while cancer is an increasingly serious global health issue, scientists can significantly reduce cancer mortality through hard work and innovation, the President of The Cancer Council Australia, Mrs Judith Roberts AO, said today.

Study finds nerve damage in previously mysterious chronic pain syndrome
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found the first evidence of a physical abnormality underlying the chronic pain condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome-I.

Ray of hope for vultures facing extinction
Phased testing reveals that the anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam is less toxic to endangered Gyps vultures than diclofenac and, if used as an alternative, could potentially reverse the catastrophic decline of these species in South Asia according to a paper published in PLoS Biology.

Love of the unknown: Revealing live television's appeal
Contrary to several other explanations of live television's appeal, impatience and desire for camaraderie are relatively inconsequential when compared to a sense of indeterminacy, argue researchers from Carnegie Mellon and INSEAD.

Significant number of emphysema patients would find lasting benefit from lung surgery
Tens of thousands of Americans living with emphysema would benefit from a surgical procedure that removes part of the lung, according to national research to be presented Monday by a Saint Louis University cardiothoracic surgeon.

Amputation among patients with diabetes mellitus: Is height a factor?
In this study, the authors looked at rates of amputation among close to 100,000 patients with diabetes mellitus and found that height was a strong predictor of amputation.

Improved diagnostic technology for Crohn's disease
The diagnostic value of CT enteroclysis is superior to conventional enteroclysis, previously considered the gold standard, as an imaging method for the evaluation of the small bowel in patients with Crohn's disease, a new study shows.

Dog owners hide the truth from shelters about their pets' behavioral problems
Many dog owners who relinquish their pets to animal shelters are not entirely honest about their dogs' behavioral problems - probably for fear that their pets will be put to sleep, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania and University of California veterinary schools.

Research shows brain's ability to overcome pain and thirst
Researchers at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have discovered how the brain prioritises pain and thirst in order to survive - a mechanism that helps elite athletes to 'push through the pain barrier.'

Pollution puts fat rats at heart attack risk
Obese individuals at risk of diabetes are in danger of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, when exposed to pollution from diesel exhaust or power plant emissions, says a University of Alberta researcher who is sounding the alarm in a study offering the first direct proof of that relationship.

Baboons in mourning seek comfort among friends
According to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, baboons physiologically respond to bereavement in ways similar to humans, with an increase in stress hormones called glucocorticoids.

Converging satellites unlock Hurricane Lili's sudden demise
Using a fleet of NASA and other satellites as well as aircraft and other observations, scientists were able to unlock the secret of Hurricane Lili's unexpected, rapid weakening as she churned toward a Louisiana landfall in 2002.

Maternal death rates in Canada are too high
Although Canada has relatively few deaths related directly to childbirth, Donna Stewart points out that the rate can still be reduced.

Common molecular 'signature' identified in solid tumors
Scientists have discovered that a wide variety of different cancers actually share something in common - a molecular

Think your friends know you pretty well? Think again
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Columbia University recently compared how well people think their friends know them to their actual taste in movies and restaurants.

An early lead: New study reveals consumer inclination to bias information in favor of market leader
A groundbreaking new study explores a previously unexposed market phenomenon: the powerful influence of

Controlling neglected tropical diseases will boost fight against HIV, TB, and malaria
Hotez et al. argue in a paper in the open access journal PLoS Medicine that achieving success in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria may well require a concurrent attack on the neglected tropical diseases.

Identifying the source of negative emotions greatly reduces their influence on unrelated decisions
People who feel sad or anxious without knowing the source of their sulkiness will let negative feelings affect their decision-making on unrelated issues.

Giving déjà vu a second look
Psychologists from Leeds' memory group are working with sufferers of chronic déjà vu on the world's first study of the condition.

New study shows that variety is overrated, especially in our choices for others
Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, not as much as we expect it to be.

Simulator for fork-lift trucks
Researchers at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energetics and Materials at the Public University of Navarre are working on the implementation of a fork-lift truck simulator for training purposes and aimed at minimising the risks involved in their use in the workplace.

Flap over fishes: Who's the smallest of them all?
The authors of a paper in last week's Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Section B, who say their 7.9 mm-long fish from a peat swamp in Southeast Asia is the smallest fish and vertebrate known, have failed to make note of work published last fall that describes sexually mature, male anglerfishes measuring 6.2 mm to 7.4 mm in length.

State of the Union health care proposals must include provisions for preventive care, U-M experts say
The 2006 State of the Union address may include plans to increase the consumer's role in health spending. 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