Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 21, 2006
New methods for screening nanoparticles
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a screening method to examine how newly made nanoparticles -- particles with dimensions on the order of billionths of a meter -- interact with human cells following exposure for various times and doses.

LIAI scientists identify immune system trigger for fighting Lyme disease
Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI) today announced an important finding on Lyme disease that could eventually lead to the development of a new vaccine to prevent this tick-borne disorder.

NASA finds direct proof of dark matter
Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies.

Survivors of childhood polio do well decades later as they age
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that years after experiencing childhood polio, most survivors do not experience declines greater than expected in their elderly counterparts, but rather experience only modest increased weakness which may be commensurate with normal aging.

Elsevier sponsors a year of ScienceDirect and Scopus for Qinghai University and Tibet University
Elsevier (, a leading scientific, technical and medical publisher, today announced the sponsorship of Qinghai University and Tibet University in China with 12-month complimentary use of ScienceDirect (, Elsevier's online platform including over 2,000 STM full-text journals.

A third of the world population faces water scarcity today
One in three people is enduring one form or another of water scarcity, according to new findings released by the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture at World Water Week in Stockholm.

ACS news service Weekly PressPac -- August 16, 2006
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package contains reports from the 34 major journals.

Use of stone hammers sheds light on geographic patterns of chimpanzee tool use
In a finding that challenges a long-held belief regarding the cultural spread of tool use among chimpanzees, researchers report that chimpanzees in the Ebo forest, Cameroon, use stone hammers to crack open hard-shelled nuts to access the nutrient-rich seeds.

Imaging technique helps predict breast cancer spread before surgery
Whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scans could help physicians determine whether breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit prior to surgery, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Insulin resistance in early teens may predict diabetes, heart disease for adults
The body's decreased response to insulin beginning as early as age 13 may mean increased cardiovascular disease risk by age 19, according to research reported in Hypertension.

Researcher brings space age to surgery equipment, procedures
Though robots were once the stuff of Star Wars and The Jetsons, commercially available systems have made robotic surgeries common in hospitals.

Constant lighting may disrupt development of preemies' biological clocks
Keeping the lights on around the clock in neonatal intensive care units may interfere with the development of premature babies' biological clocks.

Positive parenting helps encourage healthy sun habits in children
A program that helps parents talk to their children about skin cancer risks may promote sun-safe behaviors, especially when parents and children have a high-quality relationship, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Scripps research team reverses Friedreich's ataxia defect in cell culture
A team from the Scripps Research Institute and the University of California School of Medicine has developed compounds that reactivate the gene responsible for the neurodegenerative disease Friedreich's ataxia, offering hope for an effective treatment for this devastating and often deadly condition.

Cooling analgesia harnessed to relieve chronic pain
By experimentally activating a special protein involved in mediating sensations of coolness, researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how the body's nervous system can be stimulated to relieve chronic pain.

Evolving defenses rapidly suppress male killers
Within Southeast Asian populations, a nymphalid butterfly has recently evolved a zygotically acting suppressor that prevents the killing of its male offspring by a Wolbachia parasite, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

Everyday beliefs about food refuse to give way to scientific evidence
Marieke Saher's recent doctoral dissertation for the Department of Psychology at the University of Helsinki analyses everyday beliefs about food and health.

New ultrasonic technology could help prevent train derailments
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new technique they said is better able than currently used technology to find defects in steel railroad tracks, including hard-to-find internal cracks that can break under the weight of passing trains.

Researchers discover brain abnormality in kids with autism
Children with autism have altered brain anatomy thought to be due to abnormal brain development, according to a study published in the August 22, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Daytime light exposure dynamically enhances brain responses
Exposure to light is known to enhance both alertness and performance in humans, but little is understood regarding the neurological basis for these effects, especially those associated with daytime light exposure.

Combined liver-kidney transplant beneficial for patients with dual organ disease
Combined liver and kidney transplant appears to benefit patients with diseases in both organs, including those with a condition known as hepatorenal syndrome who have been receiving dialysis for more than two months, according to an article in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Latest enhancements to the free Access Grid Toolkit are now available for download
A new version of the free and popular Access Grid Toolkit developed at the U.S.

Virus has 'catastrophic' affect on red squirrels, research shows
New research reveals for the first time the catastrophic effect of a deadly virus on Britain's native red squirrels.

Anxiety before surgery complicates recovery in children
Children who are anxious before surgery experience a more painful, slow and complicated postoperative recovery.

Alcohol increases sleep intensity in young women
While numerous studies have linked alcohol abuse to sleep disruption, especially in males, there has been little research on alcohol and its effects on sleep in females.

Just breathe: Ozone forecaster unveiled at University of Houston, available via Web
People with asthma or other respiratory problems can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to University of Houston professors who unveiled a forecasting system providing air quality data on ozone conditions.

Facial resurfacing treats precancerous skin lesions, may help prevent skin cancer
A program that helps parents talk to their children about skin cancer risks may promote sun-safe behaviors, especially when parents and children have a high-quality relationship, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

On the track of tiny larvae, a new model elucidates connections in marine ecology
A computer model newly developed by researchers combines ocean current simulations and genetic forecasting to help scientists predict animal dispersion patterns and details of the ecology of coral reefs across the Caribbean Sea.

Valve disease study suggests new public health concern, say Mayo Clinic researchers
Research from Mayo Clinic estimates that about 5 million adult Americans have moderate or severe heart valve disease as a consequence of aging, according to a Mayo Clinic study published online in The Lancet.

Study aims to identify schizophrenics at risk for type 2 diabetes
Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-scientists reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

Pam Henderson receives plant pathology journalism award
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) named Pam Henderson, crops and issues editor, Farm Journal Media, the recipient of the society's first Plant Pathology Journalism Award.

Burning wetlands unleash sequestered mercury in wake of climate change
Climate change appears to be contributing to the waking of a dangerous sleeping giant in the most northern wetlands of North America -- mercury.

Parents who punish antisocial kids penalize themselves
An evaluation of a child-management training program for parents reveals that four to eight year-old boys who have a

Montreal researchers make a major strategic breakthrough in controling the AIDS virus
Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly and his team succeed in preventing the HIV virus from making immune system cells dysfunctional.

Neurological effects of childhood sleep apnea
Children with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have lower IQs, decreased problem solving skills, and changes in neuronal metabolites of the brain, similar to those seen in diseases in which there is damage to brain cells according to a study, published in the international open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine.

Consensus reached on new guidelines for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death
The 2006 Guidelines for Management of Patients with Ventricular Arrhythmias and the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) were released today by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA), and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in collaboration with the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS).

'Frozen' natural gas discovered at unexpectedly shallow depths below seafloor
An international team of research scientists has reported greater knowledge of how gas hydrate deposits form in nature, subsequent to a scientific ocean-drilling expedition off Canada's western coast.

Researcher hits bulls-eye for antibiotic target
A Purdue University researcher has opened the door for possible antibiotic treatments for a variety of diseases by determining the structure of a protein that controls the starvation response of E. coli.

Acne medication associated with abnormal blood test results
Elevated cholesterol levels and liver enzyme levels appear to be more common than previously thought among patients taking the acne medication isoretinoin, including those who had normal blood test results before beginning therapy, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Major genetic risk factor found for prostate cancer
Harvard Medical School researchers have identified a DNA segment on chromosome 8 that is a major risk factor for prostate cancer, especially in African American men.

Venous thrombosis after travel
Traveling for more than 4 hours by air, car, bus or train is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis.

Announcing the launch of Open Access Central
Open Access Central was launched today at Open Access Central is brought to you from the team that created BioMed Central, the leading biomedical open access publisher.

New approach assesses risk of water-borne pathogen disease
UCSD School of Medicine, along with the University Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, have developed a novel approach for assessing the risk to humans of acquiring leptospirosis -- a severe, water-borne disease that is the common cause of severe jaundice, renal failure and lung hemorrhage in urban areas throughout the developing world -- from environmental water exposure.

Beyond science and economics: conference to examine the ethical dimensions of climate change
Most of the discussion and debate about climate change centers on scientific scenarios, such as struggling eco-systems, violent storms and melting glaciers, or economic factors which range from the cost of alternative fuels to impact on gross domestic product.

Study identifies molecular process underlying leukemia
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified a molecular process in cells that is crucial to the development of two common leukemias.

U of Penn researchers identify gatekeeper involved in chronic inflammatory diseases
The road to many an inflammatory disease is guarded by a cytokine messenger protein called interleukin-27, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

NSF awards $75.3 million for five new engineering research centers
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded $75.3 million for five new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) that will develop cross-disciplinary research programs to advance technologies that address major societal problems and provide the basis for new industries.

Renewed volcanic activity at the Phlegrean Fields tracked by Envisat
Satellite images acquired by ESA's Envisat satellite have revealed the volcanic region of the Phlegrean Fields, located in southern Italy near the city of Naples, has entered a new uplift phase.

First study to show how immune cells 'speak' to each other in vivo
Researchers at the Board of Governors' Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have confirmed the existence of anatomical structures that channel information exchanges between a T cell and its target, an antigen-presenting brain cell, in laboratory rats.

Announcing the launch of Chemistry Central
Chemistry Central, launched today at, is a new open access website for chemists.

Rapid-fire jaws propel ants to safety
Move aside, mantis shrimp; trap-jaw ants now hold the world record for fastest moving body parts.

BGSU biologist trying to crack microscopic code
Dr. Ray Larsen is trying to learn a second language.

Treating chest pain in the average woman tops $1 million over lifetime
Treating chest pain associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) could cost a woman more than $1 million during her lifetime; and even the chest pain associated with mild artery blockage (nonobstructive CAD) could reach $750,000 for an average woman, according to a study published in Circulation.

Renowned astronomer, Dr. Geoff Marcy, to give rare presentation at UCI, October 13-15, 2006
Distinguished professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley, Dr. Geoff Marcy, will be a keynote speaker at the Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (CPAK) at UCI this fall.

Researchers find nicotine withdrawal begins quickly
The craving for cigarettes kicks in within 30 minutes of abstaining, suggesting the burden of nicotine withdrawal may doom many attempts to quit smoking, researchers at H.

Bumble bees can estimate time intervals
In a finding that broadens our understanding of time perception in the animal kingdom, researchers have discovered that an insect pollinator, the bumble bee, can estimate the duration of time intervals.

'Mint' pain killer takes leaf out of ancient medical texts
A new synthetic treatment inspired by ancient Greek and Chinese remedies could offer pain relief to millions of patients with arthritis and nerve damage, a new University of Edinburgh study suggests.

Liver-kidney transplant reduces organ rejection, boosts recovery
New UCLA research shows that combined liver-kidney transplants appear to benefit patients with diseases in both organs, including patients with potentially reversible kidney failure who have been receiving dialysis for longer than two months.

UK Biobank gets unanimous backing from international experts after piloting phase
The multimillion pound medical project to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases that kill, disable or cause widespread misery (such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, mental illness, joint disease and other debilitating conditions) -- announced (August 22) it has received the go-ahead to roll out its program nationwide.

Protein found to protect breast cancer tumors from chemotherapy
About half of women whose breast cancer is treated with standard chemotherapy have their cancer return within five years.

No hobbits in this shire
The skeletal remains found in a cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia, reported in 2004, do not represent a new species as then claimed, but some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today, according to an international scientific team.

Astronomers report first direct evidence for dark matter
Astronomers have discovered the first direct evidence that dark matter exists.

Genetic variant is associated with higher rate of premature delivery in African-American women
A team of researchers have identified a genetic variant that may account for the higher rates of premature delivery experienced by African-American women compared to European-American women, according to findings to be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UCI scientists first to predict air quality impact of small-scale power sources
As California searches for more sources of power, researchers at UC Irvine have created the first scientific method for predicting the impact of small-scale generators on air quality -- a tool that could help the state develop environmentally sound policies to regulate and promote their use.

Survey shows many teens injured on the job
A new survey of 6,810 teens showed that more than half of them work, and 514 of them had been injured on the job.

Researchers discover genetics markers to help predict risk for preterm birth
Working separately, two researchers found two different inherited traits that can help predict the risk of premature birth.

Childhood sleep apnea linked to brain damage, lower IQ
In what is believed to be the first study showing neural changes in the brains of children with serious, untreated sleep apnea, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that children with the disorder appear to suffer damage in two brain structures tied to learning ability.

Exposure to toxins reduces the effectiveness of immunisation and more
Researchers have found that when children have been accidentally exposed to a group of chemicals widely used in industry (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs) vaccination against infections provides them with less protection than is the case for unexposed children.

New objective criteria improve PET scan reliability in detecting breast cancer metastasis
To begin to standardize PET scanning techniques to detect the spread of breast cancer to the lymph nodes, researchers at the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have developed objective criteria that can be used to complement clinical observations. 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