Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 07, 2006
Prenatal health strongly influences future economic success
While much attention has been paid to how inherited traits such as skin tone or height influence economic success, a groundbreaking new study from the Journal of Political Economy argues that it is a malleable characteristic -- in utero health -- that most strongly indicates how well a child will fare in adulthood.

Standard developed for collection of suspicious powders
Federal, state and local agencies have reached consensus on the first validated national standard for collecting, packaging and transporting samples of visible powders that are suspected of being biological threat agents, such as anthrax.

Brain stimulation that may boost vision from the corner of your eye
By using simultaneous brain stimulation and activity recording to track the influence of one brain region on another, researchers have developed a new method for boosting brain function that may have implications for treatments of brain disorders and for improving vision.

Study documents marathon migrations of sooty shearwaters
Scientists have long known that sooty shearwaters breed in New Zealand and Chile and migrate to feeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere.

Fitness level affects bariatric surgery outcomes
Morbidly obese patients with poor cardiopulmonary fitness may experience increased complications after bariatric surgery.

Mayo Clinic links allergies to Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Mayo Clinic have discovered that allergic rhinitis is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease later in life.

Robert D. Hatcher, Jr., to receive GSA 2006 Penrose Medal
Dr. Robert D. Hatcher, Jr., University of Tennessee Department of Earth and Planetary Science, is recipient of the 2006 Geological Society of America Penrose Medal.

Appropriateness criteria issued for cardiac computed tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) along with key specialty and subspecialty societies have released Appropriateness Criteria for two relatively new clinical cardiac imaging modalities, cardiac computed tomography (CCT) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).

Insulin pathway component explains insulin resistance, age-associated metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome, an aging-associated group of disorders that includes insulin resistance, heart disease and high lipid levels, may be treatable thanks to a newly discovered role for a regulatory gene, according to a team of scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- August 2, 2006
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package contains reports from the 34 major journals.

Engineer designs system to put wastewater to work
In the midst of the worldwide energy crisis, researchers at Washington University in St.

Meals high in saturated fat impair 'good' cholesterol's ability to protect against clogged arteries
Before you bite into that burger or devour that doughnut, first chew on this: New research shows that just one meal high in saturated fat can affect the body's ability to protect itself against some of the underlying causes of heart disease and stroke.

Groundbreaking studies to be presented at top cancer meeting
Groundbreaking studies to be presented at top cancer meeting. Scientific meeting in Philadelphia to include results of nearly 1,300 new research studies.

New textbook uses real disease outbreaks to teach undergraduate microbiology
A new textbook uses real-world case studies to teach basic foundations of microbiology to students while simultaneously demonstrating how microbiology affects their lives.

Watching wrestling associated with date fighting and other violence
The frequency of adolescents viewing wrestling on TV was positively associated with date fighting and other violent behaviors, according to a study, published by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Ecological effects of Gulf Coast hurricanes
Hurricane Katrina made landfall August 29, 2005, becoming the costliest ($75 billion) and one of the deadliest (nearly 2,000 human lives lost) hurricanes in U.S. history.

Scientists identify gene involved in stem cell self-renewal in planaria
No matter how you slice it, the freshwater planarian possesses an amazing ability to regenerate lost body parts.

Parents of teens more likely than parents of younger children to store firearms unsafely
Even though most youth firearms injuries involve teens, guns are more likely to be stored unsafely in homes with adolescents age 13 to 17 than in those with only younger children, according to an article in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Nicotine found to protect against Parkinson's-like brain damage
Based on these findings, the researchers wondered what compound in cigarette smoke could be causing this effect.

Brain imaging identifies best memorization strategies
Exploring exactly why some individuals' memory skills are better than others has led researchers at Washington University in St.

Cincinnati surgeon's pediatric laparoscopic liver surgery a world first
A University of Cincinnati surgeon recently performed what is believed to be the world's first pediatric laparoscopic liver surgery, a specialized procedure for removing cancerous liver tumors without the need for a major incision.

Scientists solve sour taste proteins
A team led by Duke University Medical Center researchers has discovered two proteins in the taste buds on the surface of the tongue that are responsible for detecting sour tastes.

Ecosystem services and invasive species
Whether determining the value of land changes in rural areas or the value of ecosystem services in a city park, the state of Tennessee has many resources of ecological value.

Immune responses in trachoma, and more
Trachoma, which is caused by ocular infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, remains the leading infectious cause of blindness and in 2002 was responsible for 3.6 percent of total global blindness.

Penn researchers use the abdomen to deliver oxygen to assist ailing lungs
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have helped develop a technique in animal models for using the abdominal cavity to exchange gas, supplementing the function normally performed by the lungs.

Study suggests anesthetic agent may have rapid antidepressant effects
A single intravenous infusion of a drug known as ketamine, which is a general anesthetic agent, may relieve symptoms of depression within two hours and remain effective for up to one week, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Spinoff company based on technology developed at OHSU enters new business phase
A spin-off company based on stroke rehabilitation technology developed by an Oregon Health & Science University researcher has reached an important business milestone.

MetOp to be launched in October
MetOp, the first in the new European series of operational meteorological satellites in polar orbit, is now scheduled for launch on October 7, 2006.

Puerto Rican and African-American children show different patterns of asthma care
Asthma has been on the rise for the past two decades, especially in minority populations.

Tailored HIV-prevention program effective for Latino youth
An HIV-prevention program emphasizing both abstinence and condom use may help decrease risky sexual behavior among Latino adolescents, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exercise important in reducing size of abdominal fat cells
Reducing the size of abdominal fat cells -- which are a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease -- takes more than cutting calories, according to new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Study finds safety intervention increases use of child safety restraints in shopping carts
A study published in the August issue of Pediatrics reports more than 20,000 children were treated in United States hospital emergency departments in 2005 for shopping cart-related injuries.

Rewiring the mammalian brain -- neurons make fickle friends
A new discovery from the Brain Mind Institute of the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) shows that the brain rewires itself following an experience.

IU informatics researchers throttle notion of search engine dominance
Search engines are not biased toward popular Web sites, and may even be egalitarian in the way they direct traffic, say Indiana University School of Informatics researchers.

Epilepsy drug poses high risk for fetal death and birth defects
The epilepsy drug valproate poses a higher risk for fetal death and birth defects than other commonly used epilepsy drugs, according to a study published in the August 8, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Young teens see pregnancy as a way to enhance relationships
Younger teenagers who become pregnant tend to view pregnancy as a way to form or enhance connections with others, and are less likely to think they are unprepared to raise a child.

Uranium 'pearls' before slime
Shewanella oneidensis is a microbe that can convert soluble uranium, a groundwater-contamination threat at nuclear waste sites, to solid uraninite that sticks to soil, preventing contamination from reaching streams.

Study shows escalators as source of injury to children
A study published in the August issue of Pediatrics claims approximately 2,000 children are treated in United States hospital emergency rooms annually for escalator-related injuries.

Elizabeth Cochran to receive GSA 2006 Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award
Dr. Elizabeth S. Cochran of the University of California-San Diego is recipient of the 2006 Geological Society of America Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science Award.

The shape of life: research sheds light on how cells take shape
Brown University physicists have identified a surprising force in pattern formation -- physical force.

Researcher gives hard thoughts on soft inheritance
Eric Richards, Ph.D., professor of biology at Washington University in St.

Stimulation of the semicircular canals can artificially control human walking and balance
By applying electrical currents across the heads of people while they walk, researchers have improved our understanding of how our vestibular system helps us maintain upright posture; at the same time, the researchers found that the stimulus could be applied in a way that allowed a person who was walking straight ahead to be steered by

Nanowire 'barcode' system speeds up bio detection in the field
Detecting biowarfare agents in the field will become a lot easier thanks to a new barcode system based on biosensing nanowires developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers.

Alzheimer's medication shows promise in treating nerve agent and pesticide poisoning
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have shown that a medication used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease can be used to protect people against the toxic effects of nerve agents and certain insecticides.

Three at MIT conceive cell-shaped building
An innovative cell-shaped building will house a new biomedical research institute in Chengdu, China, thanks to an unusual crossdisciplinary collaboration between Shuguang Zhang, a world-renowned bioengineer and scientist at MIT, his former student, architecture major Sloan Kulper, and computer science and electrical engineering major Audrey Roy.

Pitt awarded $2.4 million by U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop computing technology
The University of Pittsburgh will receive $2.4 million over the next three years from the U.S.

New study supports major change in diet treatment for diabetes
A low-fat vegan diet treats type 2 diabetes more effectively than a standard diabetes diet and may be more effective than single-agent therapy with oral diabetes drugs, according to a study in the August issue of Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.

Voluntary household interventions can reduce death and disease burden from pandemic influenza
A scientific study suggests that the number of infected individuals and deaths from influenza during the first year of a pandemic could be substantially reduced by a combination of voluntary household-based quarantine and isolation of actively infected individuals in a location outside the household.

Metal homeostasis research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher yielding crops
Deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron and zinc commonly limit plant growth and crop yields.

Study demonstrates successful HIV-prevention program for Latino youth
A culturally tailored HIV-prevention program can help reduce risky sexual behaviors among Latino adolescents, even a year after students attended the training, according to a study led by University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania researchers.

Researchers find new learning strategy
Central to being human is the ability to adapt: we learn from our mistakes.

Imaging study may help point toward more effective smoking cessation treatments
Results of a new imaging study, supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that the nicotine received in just a few puffs of a cigarette can exert a force powerful enough to drive an individual to continue smoking.

National Science Board to meet August 9-10
The National Science Board (NSB) will hold its 393rd meeting Aug.

UC San Diego cognitive scientist wins $100,000 Rumelhart Prize
Jeff Elman of the University of California, San Diego has been named 2007 recipient of the David E.

Researchers devise new tools to help pinpoint treatments for heart failure
In a paper in PNAS, researchers at UC San Diego describe the use of an engineered protein partly derived from a jelly fish that fluoresces within heart cells in tandem with activation of PKA (protein kinase A).

Moving wildlife detrimental to oral rabies vaccination project
On August 8, 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services will begin releasing approximately 300,000 Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) baits from low-flying aircraft and by car in southwestern Virginia as part of a project that spans 14 other states.

Straus Family Creamery receives award for ecological practices
On Monday August 7, 2006, at its 91st Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tenn., the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its Corporate Award to the Straus Family Creamery of California.

Polynesia explorers created worldwide web of scientific knowledge
Scientific travelers of the 18th and 19th centuries led waves of daring expeditions into Polynesia, netting oceans of discoveries about its geography, flora and fauna and people.

Patent laws and US trade agreements are hindering access to HIV treatment
International patent laws and U.S.-negotiated trade agreements are impeding access to life-saving HIV medicines (antiretroviral therapy, ART), say researchers in a policy paper in PLoS Medicine.

Ultrasound affects embryonic mouse brain development
The prolonged and frequent use of ultrasound on pregnant mice causes brain abnormalities in the developing mouse fetus, Yale School of Medicine researchers report August 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study finds firearms are stored less safely in homes with older children
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed parents about household firearm storage practices and found that those with adolescents are more likely to store guns loaded and/or unlocked than those with younger children.

Test drive your e-type
People in Great Britain can be assigned to one of 23

Hunt for DNA amplified in cancers uncovers important target gene
Researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered a new cancer-promoting role for a gene potentially involved in breast, liver and other kinds of cancers.

Deep-sea sediments could safely store man-made carbon dioxide
An innovative solution for the man-made carbon dioxide fouling our skies could rest far beneath the surface of the ocean, say scientists at Harvard University.

Scientists reverse evolution
University of Utah scientists have shown how evolution works by reversing the process, reconstructing a 530-million-year-old gene by combining key portions of two modern mouse genes that descended from the archaic gene.

Study shows lawn mowers injure thousands of US children annually
A study published in the August issue of Pediatrics claims despite current safety efforts, thousands of U.S. children need emergency medical care for preventable lawn mower-related injuries each year.

Researcher studies sleep deprivation's effect on decisions
Everyone needs sleep, but temporary periods with no sleep can be a reality of military operations.

New bird flu drug promises to beat the problem of resistance
A new kind of drug to fight bird flu that will not suffer from the same kind of resistance problems as current treatments should begin clinical trials within the next three years, thanks to a new research grant.

Snakes' virtual glasses, leopard spots and all-optical transistors
Virtual lenses for infrared snake sight, how the leopard gets (and changes) its spots, a major breakthrough in optical micro-circuitry, and the advantages of multiple choice testing in college.

Researchers find 'secret weapon' used by SARS virus
In a discovery that suggests a possible new route by which scientists might fashion a vaccine against SARS, researchers have discovered one of the weapons the SARS coronavirus uses to sabotage the immune defenses of infected cells.

Experimental medication kicks depression in hours instead of weeks
Current antidepressants take weeks to work. Aiming at a different brain-cell target than the ones current medications hit, scientists kicked depression in treatment-resistant patients in hours.

Wildlife Conservation Society joins Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has joined the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), a partnership of research institutions, corporations and environmental groups promoting the development of high-quality climate change mitigation projects that also support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Children and teens taking antidepressants might be more likely to attempt, complete suicide
Antidepressant medications may be associated with suicide attempts and death in severely depressed children and adolescents but not in adults, according to an article in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Socially isolated children may become unhealthy adults
Social isolation in childhood may be associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

MIT: Kayaks adapted to test marine robotics
MIT researchers are working toward the day when robots could be put into action like a team of Navy SEALs - doing such dangerous work as searching for survivors after devastating hurricanes or sweeping harbors for mines.These engineers are taking small steps toward the holy grail of robotics - cooperative autonomy - making machines work together seamlessly to complete tasks with a minimum of human direction.

Ancient bison teeth provide window on past Great Plains climate, vegetation
Scientists have devised a way to use the fossil teeth of ancient bison as a tool to reconstruct historic climate and vegetation changes in America's breadbasket, the Great Plains.

Salaries higher for new chemistry grads, but job market still soft, C&EN reports
Starting salaries are up for new chemistry graduates, though not as high as in the past, and the job market continues to be tight, according to the American Chemical Society's (ACS) latest annual salary survey, reported in the Aug.

American Egg Board responds to proposed USDA rule to revise WIC food package
The Egg Nutrition Center and American Egg Board respond to proposed reduction of eggs in WIC food packages.

Surprise finding for stretched DNA
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley used a combination of microscopic beads and magnetic tweezers to observe that when a DNA molecule is stretched, it actually begins to overwind.

JitterBugs could turn your keyboard against you, warn UPenn engineers
Engineers from the University of Pennsylvania warn against an entirely new threat to computer security: bugs implanted in peripheral devices, such as keyboards or mice.

The influence of money on medical science
Because of the importance of the issue of the influence of money in science and in light of recent incidents involving authors failure to disclose all of their potential conflicts of interest to JAMA, Dr.

UCSB's Tony Evans elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Tony Evans, a professor of Materials and Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his internationally-renowned research leadership in the micro-mechanics of advanced materials for aerospace and ship structures, including composites, multi-layers, sandwich panels, lattice solids, ceramics and interfaces.

Doing one's duty: Why people volunteer in a deprived community
In recent years the government has been pushing volunteering as a way of reconnecting people with the labor market.

ORNL hybrid lighting technology gaining momentum around nation
With five hybrid solar lighting systems already in place and another 20 scheduled to be installed in the next couple of months, the forecast is looking sunny for a technology developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Infants, as early as six months, do see errors in arithmetic
Using advanced brain sensor technology developed at the University of Oregon, researchers have confirmed often-debated findings from 1992 that showed infants as young as six months know when an arithmetic solution is wrong.

Laccetti and Agere Systems technical expert to present at prestigious Oxford Round Table
Silvio Laccetti, a professor in Stevens Institute of Technology's Humanities and Social Sciences Department, and Chris Hamilton, a member of the executive vice president's technical staff with Agere Systems and a Stevens alumnus, will unveil a new global technology leadership paradigm,

CVD patients should be tested for chronic kidney disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients and those at risk for CVD should consider getting blood and urine tests that can detect chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a new American Heart Association Science Advisory.

Dominant meerkats render rivals infertile
When pregnant, dominant female meerkats subject their subordinates to escalating aggression and temporary eviction causing them to become overly stressed and as a result infertile, a new study finds.

Newsbriefs from the journal Chest, August 2006
News briefs from the August issue of the journal CHEST cover topics related to patient perspectives about resuscitation during end-of-life care; occupational asthma; surgery for

Making heart surgery intervention safer
EUREKA project E! 2654 VIACORTIS has developed new techniques to monitor the viability of heart tissue during heart surgery so that cardiac surgeons have a real-time, comprehensive indication of how the heart is reacting.

College women at risk for eating disorder may benefit from online intervention
A long-term, large-scale study has found that an Internet-based intervention program may prevent some high risk, college-age women from developing an eating disorder. 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