Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 23, 2006
'Mercury sponge' technology goes from lab to market
A material designed to capture and remove mercury and other toxic substances from industrial waste streams is now available for commercial use.

Characteristics of caregivers may increase symptoms in dementia patients
Troublesome symptoms that accompany dementia - including wandering, hallucinations and restlessness - may increase if the patients' caregivers are young, less educated, over-burdened or depressed, according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues.

Medical response to Hurricane Katrina focus of 2006 European eHealth Conference and Exhibition
The creation of electronic medical records in the wake of Hurricane Katrina serves as a model for utilization of e-Health technology in future U.S. emergencies, according to a panel of industry experts and government officials who met recently at the 2006 European eHealth Conference and Exhibition in Malaga, Spain.

Hubble captures a 'quintuple' quasar
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first-ever picture of a distant quasar lensed into five images.

Lowering blood pressure doesn't prevent cognitive impairment, dementia
Lowering blood pressure does not appear to prevent cognitive or dementia-related disorders, a desired effect in light of the large number of elderly adults who suffer from both cognitive impairment and hypertension.

Spacers have advantages over nebulizers for childhood asthma
Two treatment methods for asthma attacks -- spacers and nebulizers -- are equally effective in staving off hospital admissions, a new review shows.

New data show OAB therapy Enablex® does not impair memory function compared to alternative
Data from a head-to-head clinical study looking at the effects of two prescription medications used to treat overactive bladder (OAB) showed that treatment with Enablex® (darifenacin) did not result in impaired memory function in healthy adults age 60 and older .

MIT 'seeing machine' offers hope to blind
An MIT poet has developed a small, relatively inexpensive

Robotic joystick reveals how brain controls movement
By training a group of human subjects to operate a robot-controlled joystick, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that the slower the brain

Carbon-based quantum dots could mean 'greener,' safer technology in medicine and biology
Chemists at Clemson University say they have developed a new type of quantum dot that is the first to be made from carbon.

Utah hosts steel bridge contest
Almost 500 students from 45 colleges and universities will build strong, lightweight, scale-model bridges as the University of Utah hosts the 15th Annual National Student Steel Bridge Competition on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27.

UCI to host conference on ancient knowledge
Organizers for the 3rd annual

Sweet success for pioneering hydrogen energy project
Bacteria that can munch through confectionery could be a valuable source of non-polluting energy in the years ahead, new research has shown.

Live via satellite: Scientists to track Caspian Sea sturgeons
Scientists working in the Ural River, Kazakhstan, have successfully attached Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags to four sturgeons and have released the animals into the Caspian Sea, hoping to get a clear picture of Caspian Sea sturgeon movement and behavior never before available.

DOE JGI finishes 100th microbial genome
Microbes, thriving in even the world's most extreme environments, are capable of performing myriad biological functions, learned over the billions of years they have inhabited the planet.

Living in poverty associated with increased risk for teens to be overweight
Adolescents aged 15-17 years who live in poverty are more likely to be overweight than those not living in poverty, a difference that has emerged in the past decade, according to a study in the May 24/31 issue of JAMA.

US ports vulnerable to devastating earthquake damage
US ports serve as crucial gateways for international trade, but they're particularly vulnerable to damage in an earthquake.

Genetic tug of war determines sexual differentiation
Whether or not a fertilized mammalian egg ultimately develops into a male or female is determined by the winner of a tug of war between two different genes encoding signaling proteins and the divergent pathways they control, according to a new study led by Duke University Medical Center cell biologists.

Canadian Blood Services scientist invents potential alternative for high-demand blood product
Patients suffering from a life-threatening bleeding disorder are closer to having access to a more effective treatment.

Life's harsh lessons 'make you more gullible'-study
Psychologists discover adversity makes people more susceptible to suggestion and lies

Springer acquires Obesity Surgery from FD-Communications
Springer, one of the world's leading scientific, technical and medical publishers, has acquired Obesity Surgery, the leading periodical in the field of bariatric surgery, from FD-Communications, Inc.

New techniques ease colon cancer procedures for patients
Developing superior screening options is paramount in the treatment of colon cancer, as it has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers when detected early.

Botox: Its not just for wrinkles anymore
Injecting botulinum toxin A, or Botox, into the prostate gland of men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition commonly referred to as enlarged prostate, eases symptoms and improves quality of life.

Despite acidity, orange juice could still be a source of foodborne disease
Orange juice and other foods traditionally not associated with foodborne disease outbreaks can still be a source of disease, although rare.

Proteus mirabilis will give up its genetic secrets at ASM meeting
Scientists now have inside information to use in the fight against Proteus mirabilis - a nasty bacterium that can cause kidney stones, as well as hard-to-treat urinary tract infections.

Benefits of screening colonoscopy in very elderly may be limited
Even though the prevalence of colon tumors increases with age, screening colonoscopy in patients over 80 years of age results in smaller gains in life expectancy, compared to younger patients, according to a study in the May 24/31 issue of JAMA.

Inconsistent access to food in low-income households may contribute to weight gain
New research suggests that, for women, the risk of weight gain over time is increased when access to food is uncertain or inconsistent.

How did continents split? Geology study shows new picture
Like pieces in a giant jigsaw puzzle, continents have split, drifted and merged again many times throughout Earth's history, but geologists haven't understood the mechanism behind the moves.

Treatment for anorexia nervosa appears to have improved outcome
A series of papers published today in European Eating Disorders Review finds: a peak season of birth in March/April among people with anorexia; although there are similarities, there are also differences, between anorexia in males and females.

Hubble captures a 'five-star' rated gravitational lens
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first-ever picture of a distant quasar lensed into five images.

When it comes to privacy, gender matters
At a time when some say privacy has gone the way of the Dodo bird, University of Washington researchers find evidence that a significant minority cling to an expectation of privacy even in public places.

RNA interference stops colon cancer spread in mice
Using one of the newest and most powerful tools of biomedical science, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) researchers have scored a dramatic success in the battle against colorectal cancer.

Beyond the hype and the scare stories, how safe are nanoparticles?
The May issue of Nano Today (
News tips from The Journal of Neuroscience
The current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience include the following studies:

Immune signals of variations of a single gene linked to more severe Crohn's disease
A recent study has shown that immune signals given by variations of a single gene can trigger different immune responses and, when combined, are associated with increased severity of Crohn's Disease, particularly in Ashkenazi Jews.

Study finds no link between marijuana use and lung cancer
People who smoke marijuana -- even heavy, long-term marijuana users -- do not appear to be at increased risk for developing lung cancer, according to a study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 23.

Mary-Claire King to receive the 2006 Weizmann Women & Science Award
The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science has announced that Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., who is internationally known for her contributions to the field of genetics, will receive the 2006 Weizmann Women & Science Award.

Blood pressure drugs associated with reduced risk of esophageal, pancreatic and colon cancers
Thousands of individuals currently taking angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, a type of medication commonly used to lower blood pressure, may be doing more than treating their hypertension.

Alcohol abuse increases the risk of suffering from pneumonia
As published in the journal Chest, a decrease of the activity of the immune system, which affects both alcoholic and ex-alcoholic individuals, would be responsible for the increase of risk of suffering from pneumonia.

Late-breaking Digestive Disease Week news
Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PGNX) and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE), today announced that late-breaking news was presented during the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) conference in Los Angeles, CA, about phase 3 data of methylnaltrexone, a drug subcutaneously delivered in patients with advanced illness.

Virtual colon screenings examined
With more than 100,000 people in the US diagnosed each year with colon cancer, doctors are working to improve screening techniques through more accurate technologies and more comfortable procedures.

Selenium-protein deficiency raises prostate cancer risk
UIC researchers report new findings that suggest the level of selenium-containing proteins in the body plays an instrumental role in preventing cancer, and that dietary selenium plays a role in stimulating the body's level of these proteins.

Researchers release draft final report on New Orleans levees
Following an eight-month study of the New Orleans levee system and its performance during Hurricane Katrina, a 30-person team of researchers led by Raymond Seed and Robert Bea of the University of California, Berkeley, released a near-complete draft of their findings today in a

UF addiction medicine chief honored for lifetime achievements
Mark Gold, M.D., a distinguished professor and chief of addiction medicine at the McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida, received the Nelson J.

New approach to vaccine development provides potent, long-lasting immunity
The field of vaccine development is getting a boost from new research that has identified a promising vaccine delivery approach, which in animal studies produced long-term immune protection after just one immunization.

APS physics tip sheet #62
Tips include modeling how changing social ties may offer some protection from epidemics; designing for quantum computers; and Brownian refrigerators for keeping things cool on the molecular level.

Poor adolescents more likely to be overweight today than 30 years ago
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions report that the percentage of adolescents aged 15-17 who are overweight today is about 50 percent higher in families below the poverty line in comparison to those at or above it.

Research reveals control of potent immune regulator
A new study reveals how the production of a potent immune regulator called interferon gamma (IFNg) is controlled in natural killer (NK) cells, immune cells that typically defend the body against cancer and infections.

Use of breast MRI can be cost-effective for some women at high-risk of breast cancer
A computer model simulation suggests that adding breast MRI screening may be cost-effective for women of certain ages who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, according to a study in the May 24/31 issue of JAMA.

Lava tubes on Pavonis Mons
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express, show Pavonis Mons, the central volcano of the three 'shield' volcanoes that comprise Tharsis Montes.

New genetic test for breast cancer
Researchers at the Montefiore Medical Center are leading a nationwide clinical trial to determine whether a new genetic test can be used to personalize treatment for early-stage breast cancer.

ST. John's Wort relieves bladder pain in animal models
St. John's Wort, an herbal supplement used for centuries, may be effective in relieving pain that occurs in hypersensitive bladder disorders such as interstitial cystitis (IC), according to animal model study results presented today at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

APS Comparative-Evolutionary Physiology Conference showcases relevance of animal diversity
Broad range of environmental and animal model studies will highlight the translational benefits to human and animal biomedical advances at American Physiological Society's fourth quadrennial intersociety conference, October 8-11 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Worsening anemia signals poorer outcomes in men treated for advanced prostate cancer
Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute and Southwest Oncology Group have identified a new method of determining how men with advanced prostate cancer will respond to treatment.

Early treatment favored for multiple sclerosis
An editorial accompanying a published debate on the pros and cons of starting treatment early in the course of multiple sclerosis comes down in favor of early treatment for this potentially devastating disease.

The University of Helsinki to co-ordinate a major research project funded by the EU Commission
The Centre for Research on Networked Learning and Knowledge Building at the Department of Psychology of the University of Helsinki is to co-ordinate an extensive international research and development project called Knowledge Practices Laboratory (KP-Lab).

Sleeping less linked to weight gain
Women who sleep 5 hours or less per night weigh more on average than those who sleep 7 hours, according to a study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 23.

Prestigious award for the generation of attosecond pulses
On May 24, the IEEE Laser and Electro-Optics Society will confer its Quantum Electronics Award on Professor Ferenc Krausz.

U of M researchers find immune-activating cells in intestines
University of Minnesota researchers have found a group of cells in the intestinal system of mice that are proven to turn on T-cells, cells that help fight infection.

Penn researcher uses computer-based screening to help identify domestic violence victims
Although victims of domestic violence frequently seek out care in hospital emergency departments, the abuse is rarely identified by department staff and the issue is often not broached.

Diabetes, heart disease can herald early GI cancers
Heart disease and diabetes are among the most common conditions plaguing Americans today, and they are related to a host of other diseases.

Mayo Clinic studies find association between acid reflux and esophageal cancer
Two new Mayo Clinic studies draw attention to the risk factors and possible genetic basis for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma).

U-M scientists target key cells and signals that trigger pulmonary fibrosis
Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have identified biochemical signals that attract pathogenic cells to damaged lung tissue - one of the first steps in a chain of events leading to a lethal disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF.

Study provides evidence supporting recommended 10 year interval for colonoscopies for most patients
Patients with a negative colonoscopy examination have a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer for more than 10 years, compared to the general population, according to a study in the May 24/31 issue of JAMA.

Cure for reading glasses may be in view
It's 10 p.m., and you've finally relaxed into your favorite comfy chair to browse the day's newspaper.

Harvard Medical signs agreement with Merck to develop potential therapy for macular degeneration
Harvard Medical School announced today that is has signed a multimillion-dollar license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. to develop potential therapies for macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects older people and can lead to blindness. 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