Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 18, 2006
Don't care for broccoli? A receptor gene's variation suggests an evolutionary excuse
By testing the bitterness perceived by individuals possessing different versions of the same taste receptor, researchers have obtained new evidence supporting the idea that evolution of the receptor gene has shaped avoidance of certain vegetables that can inhibit thyroid function.

Scientists snap images of first brown dwarf in planetary system
Scientists using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered and directly imaged a small brown dwarf star, 50 times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting with a planet around a sun-like star.

Targeting wolbachia, doxycycline reduces pathology of lymphatic filariasis
The antibiotic doxycycline has been shown to reduce the pathology of lymphatic filariasis, a disfiguring parasitical disease that afflicts over 120 million people worldwide.

New evidence links stellar remains to oldest-recorded supernova
Recent observations have uncovered evidence that helps to confirm the identification of the remains of one of the earliest stellar explosions recorded by humans.

Preeclampsia, fetal development problems may be linked to low levels of hormone
Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ties low levels of a hormone secreted by the uterus and embryos to problems with pregnancy and fetal development.

Moth Man's prophecies at global warming conference
World experts on global warming gathering at the University of Leicester will discuss this week -- amongst other topics -- the danger posed to forests in Siberia by global warming ... and a moth.

Paramecia adapt their swimming to changing gravitational force
Using a high-powered electromagnet, Brown University physicists Karine Guevorkian and James Valles have created a topsy-turvy world for the single-celled paramecium.

Fatty acids and caveolin-1 are essential in liver regeneration
Lipids are the energy source used during liver regeneration. The research group, led by Dr.

Doctors cut repeat LASIK visits dramatically
Ophthalmologists have developed a formula that slashes by nearly two-thirds the likelihood that patients will need repeat visits to an eye surgeon to adjust their vision after their initial LASIK visit.

More New Yorkers with AIDS died of 'common' causes in 2004 than in 1999
An analysis of 68,669 New York City residents with AIDS found that of those who died between 1999 and 2004, 26.3 percent died of non-HIV-related causes.

Sniffing out relatives, bluegill sunfish use self-referencing to recognize kin
Many animal societies involve highly promiscuous mating behavior, making it potentially complicated for individuals to recognize and preferentially help their relatives.

UA awarded $3.3 million to increase participation by women in science and engineering
The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $3.3 million grant to the University of Arizona to increase the participation of women in science and engineering careers.

UC Santa Barbara and Intel develop world's first Hybrid Silicon Laser
Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Intel Corp. have built the world's first electrically powered Hybrid Silicon Laser using standard silicon manufacturing processes.

Early hearing tests improve children's recovery from meningitis
Hearing loss and its impact in social interactions can be potentially minimized in children with bacterial meningitis through early identification.

In new survey, men call themselves straight but have sex with men
A survey of 4,193 men living in New York City conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that nearly 10 percent of male participants who identified themselves as straight reported having sex with at least one man during the previous year.

Road wends its way through stomach
A computer model or

Allergic rhinitis associated with impaired sleep quality
Patients with allergic rhinitis, such as that caused by hay fever and other allergies, have more difficulty sleeping and more sleep disorders than those without allergies, according to a report in the Sept.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Sept. 19, 2006
This issue will include the following articles: More people with AIDS die of

Insufficient sleep associated with poorer blood glucose control in African Americans with diabetes
Getting fewer hours of sleep or lower-quality sleep may be associated with poorer blood glucose control among African Americans with diabetes, according to an article in the Sept.

'No time to exercise' is no excuse
A new study, published in the Journal of Physiology, shows that short bursts of very intense exercise -- equivalent to only a few minutes per day -- can produce the same results as traditional endurance training.

Boat paint to blame for Norfolk Broads' desolation
One of the main culprits behind an environmental catastrophe that desolated one of Britain's most important wildlife habitats has finally been identified in a study led by researchers from UCL (University College London) and Acroloxus Wetlands Consultancy Ltd, Canada.

On airplanes, fiber optics poised to reach new heights
In an effort to provide safer and more reliable components for aircraft, researchers have invented an optical on-off switch that can replace electrical wiring on airplanes with fiber optics for controlling elevators, rudders and other flight-critical elements.

Iowa State researchers developing more powerful solar cells
Iowa State researchers have made discoveries in materials science and plasma chemistry that they hope will boost the performance of thin, flexible solar cells manufactured by an Iowa company.

Cellular traffic backups implicated in skeletal malformations
A defective link in the intracellular protein

Use of helical MDCT better at detecting abnormal airways
Use of helical high-resolution multi-detector CT with one millimeter collimation proves to be better than conventional high-resolution CT in showing the presence and extent of bronchiectasis -- abnormal enlargement of the respiratory passages within the lungs -- according to a study conducted by Vancouver General Hospital's department of radiology in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Planning ahead: Having the healthiest baby possible
Women who improve their own health before pregnancy have a better chance of delivering a robust, healthy baby.

Short-term topical corticosteroid use may offer relief for patients with acute form of psoriasis
Researchers suggest a short-term application of topical corticosteroids and maintenance with a less potent agent for patients with intertriginous psoriasis, according to a study published in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers identify taste receptor responsible for caffeine detection
By studying how taste-receptor mutations impact fruit fly behavior, researchers have identified a taste receptor responsible for the detection of caffeine, a bitter compound known to activate certain taste-receptor neurons, as well as impact various aspects of physiology.

Exercise improves quality of life for patients with severe chronic pulmonary hypertension
Appropriate amounts of exercise offer psychological and physical benefits for patients with severe pulmonary hypertension (PH), according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Symposium will explore science's next great ideas
Three Nobel Prize winners and 10 other leading scientists will come to Duke Medicine's 75th Anniversary Science Symposium on Monday and Tuesday, Sept.

Two-faced protein can stop metastasis or promote it, researchers say
Researchers have found that a protein that normally helps keep cells glued together is also involved in the very first steps of metastasis, the detachment and spread of tumor cells that makes cancer difficult to treat.

MRIs made safe for people with modern defibrillators and pacemakers
The Johns Hopkins Medicine Communications Office is pleased to announce its new health podcast, a lively discussion of the week's medical news.

MIT tames tricky carbon nanotubes
Based on a new theory, MIT scientists may be able to manipulate carbon nanotubes -- one of the strongest known materials and one of the trickiest to work with -- without destroying their extraordinary electrical properties.

Therapeutic role found for carbon monoxide
In a medical case of Jekyll and Hyde, carbon monoxide -- the highly toxic gas emitted from auto exhausts and faulty heating systems -- has proven effective in treating the symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension, an extremely debilitating condition that typically leads to right heart failure and eventual death.

No guts, no worries
Researchers have now characterized the unique lifestyle of a gutless worm that commutes through marine sediments powered by a community of symbiotic microbial specialists harbored just under its skin, obviating the need for digestive and excretory systems.

Brain's action center is all talk
Areas in the premotor cortex involved in specific actions (kicking, biting, etc.) are also active when subjects hear descriptions of those actions.

Envisat Symposium 2007 highlights EO satellite achievements
Several hundred scientists from around the world are expected to attend the Envisat Symposium April 23-27, 2007, in Montreux, Switzerland, to present and review results of ongoing research projects using data from ESA's Envisat, ERS and Third Party Mission satellites.

Is there a relationship between a mother prompting her child to eat and obesity?
The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased significantly since the 1980s.

Staffing Standards for Aviation Safety Inspectors
STAFFING STANDARDS FOR AVIATION SAFETY INSPECTORS, a new report from the National Research Council, examines the effectiveness of the Federal Aviation Administration's models for calculating how many of these workers it needs.

UCSD researchers create roadmap to integrin activation
Calling it an important technical advance in the study of the complex receptors and pathways of the body's cellular system, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have reconstructed the signaling pathways that impact activation of a receptor that is critical to the control of bleeding and to the thrombosis that occurs in heart attacks and strokes.

Droughts and reservoirs: Finding storage space underground
Odd as it sounds, in some places the smartest way to safeguard the water supply is to let it drain out of the reservoirs and soak into the ground.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 13, 2006
Special edition of the American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco.

Wiley-VCH and EFIS expand collaboration
Wiley-VCH Verlag, the Executive Committee (ExCo) of the European Journal of Immunology (EJI), and the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) announced today that they have entered into an expanded new publishing agreement, designed to make the European Journal of Immunology the foremost international immunology journal published in Europe.

International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics announces 2007 prizewinners
The International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics awards prizes for applied mathematics to Ingrid Daubechies, Heinz Engl, Felix Otto, Joseph Keller, Peter Deuflhard and Gilbert Strang.

About 5 percent of adults with insomnia use alternative therapies
More than 1.6 million U.S. adults are estimated to use complementary and alternative therapies to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping, according to the results of a national survey published in the Sept.

Survey: Caregivers of people with mental illness say treatment disruption has serious consequences
The disruption of a family member's treatment for mental illness and subsequent worsening of psychiatric symptoms can have harsh financial, physical and emotional consequences for families, according to results from an international survey of caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.

Karolinska Institutet prize for innovations in medical pedagogics
Professor Ronald M. Harden, Britain, has been awarded the 2006 Karolinska Institutet prize for research into the field of medical pedagogics.

Prostate cancer treatment increases risk of diabetes and heart disease
A treatment mainstay for prostate cancer puts men at increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a large observational study from Harvard Medical School published in the September 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Space, defense and European security discussed at Europe's spaceport
The WEU Assembly and the European Interparliamentary Space Conference are jointly holding a conference on space, defense and European security in Kourou, French Guiana, Sept.

Metals in China: Protecting the environment
A new international collaborative research project that seeks to protect the environment from metal contaminants will be launched Monday, Sept.

Kidney disease increases risk of sudden cardiac death for ICD patients
End-stage kidney disease significantly increases the risk of life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators, according to a study published in the October 2006 edition of Heart Rhythm.

MIT designs 'invisible,' floating wind turbines
An MIT researcher has a vision: Four hundred huge offshore wind turbines are providing onshore customers with enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes, and nobody standing onshore can see them.

Study adds to links between sleep loss and diabetes
Short or poor quality sleep is associated with reduced control of blood-sugar levels in people with diabetes, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the September 18, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nasal plastic surgery improves airway function
Nasal plastic surgery appears to improve nasal airway function in patients with severe nasal obstructions, according to a report in the September/October issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Psst! Coffee drinkers: Fruit flies have something to tell you about caffeine
In their hunt for genes and proteins that explain how animals discern bitter from sweet, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers began by testing whether mutant fruit flies prefer eating sugar over sugar laced with caffeine.

Republic of Congo announces two massive protected areas
The Minister of Forestry Economy of the Republic of Congo announced today plans to create two new protected areas that together could be larger than Yellowstone National Park, spanning nearly one million hectares (3,800 square miles).

Sports medicine journal available to journalists
Journalists are invited to review upcoming articles in the American Journal of Sports Medicine to glean story ideas on basic research in orthopaedic sports medicine, injury prevention, treatment techniques and sports-specific subjects.

'Safe' blood lead levels linked to risk of death
Blood lead levels generally considered safe may be associated with an increased risk of death from many causes, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a report in Circulation.

AGU Journal highlights -- Sept. 18, 2006
In this issue, the following articles are featured: Plasmaspheric drainage plumes can affect down auroral activity; Due to increased air conditioning needs, carbon emissions will increase as climate changes; Remote wind forcing contributed to the recovery of the California Current in summer 2005; Anomalous physical and biological spring conditions in the waters off Oregon in 2005; The effecting of UV scattering on sulfur dioxide emission rate measurements; and Perennial sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has reduced rapidly.

Bitter taste identifies poisons in foods
Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center report that bitter taste perception of vegetables is influenced by an interaction between variants of taste genes and the presence of naturally-occurring toxins in a given vegetable.

Bird moms manipulate birth order to protect sons
Protecting her kids from peril is the job of every good mom.

MBL scientists to present results of long-term ecological research at NSF meeting
The importance of fungi in the Arctic nitrogen cycle, an acoustic tracking program to monitor striped bass movements in a Massachusetts estuary, and a new method of assessing carbon dioxide flux from a temperate Massachusetts forest are among the topics to be presented by MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Ecosystems Center scientists at the 6th Long-Term Ecological Research All-Scientists Meeting, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UCI scientists use near real-time sensor data to detect coastal ocean pollution
A discovery by UC Irvine scientists could help public health officials know instantly when pollution has moved into the coastal ocean -- a breakthrough that could enable authorities to post warnings or close beaches in minutes rather than days.

Evolutionary software to be released free of charge
New software developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows scientists to more effectively analyze and compare both sequence and structure data from a growing library of proteins and nucleic acids.

Breathing problems during sleep increase risk of depression
Individuals who have sleep-related breathing disorder appear significantly more likely to develop depression, with odds of depression increasing as breathing disorders becomes more severe, according to a study in the Sept.

Transfusion-free surgical program reduced use of blood products for all liver transplant patients
Development of a transfusion-free surgical program for Jehovah's Witness patients undergoing liver transplantation also has helped reduce the overall use of blood products for nonJehovah's Witnesses undergoing the procedure, according to a study in the September issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Global view shows strong link between kidney cancer, sunlight exposure
Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence to map cancer rates in relation to proximity to the equator, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and kidney cancer.

Mirrors in the mind: New studies elucidate how the brain reflects onto itself the actions of others
In three new independent studies, researchers have deepened our understanding of the remarkable ability of some specialized areas of the brain to activate both in response to one's own actions and in response to sensory cues, such as sight, of the same actions perpetrated by another individual.

Editorial: Incorporate sleep evaluation into routine medical care
Sleep is an integral part of health, and assessment of sleep habits should be a standard part of medical care, according to an editorial in the Sept.

Cabernet sauvignon red wine reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease
A new study directed by Mount Sinai School of Medicine has found that moderate red wine consumption in a form of cabernet sauvignon may help reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

Cardiologist's 'living chip' changes science of disease monitoring
A University of Rochester Medical Center cardiologist is developing implantable biosensors -- integrating living cells with electronics -- to create a

'Safe' blood levels need redefining, Tulane University study says
Blood lead levels currently considered safe by the U.S. government have been found to be associated with increased risk of death from many causes, including heart disease and stroke, according to a report in Circulation.

NSF awards Subbalakshmi a grant for cryptography research
The National Science Foundation's Cyber Trust Program has awarded Stevens Professor K.P.

Over 1.6 million Americans use CAM for insomnia or trouble sleeping
A recent analysis of national survey data reveals that over 1.6 million American adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping according to scientists at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Implanted wireless device alerts patients and physicians to dangerous conditions
Boston Scientific's LATITUDE Patient Management System allows doctors to remotely monitor specific information about the patients' condition to determine if the heart is showing signs of decline.

UCLA mathematician Terence Tao, chemist Omar Yaghi named to the 'Brilliant 10'
Terence Tao, UCLA professor of mathematics, and Omar Yaghi, UCLA professor of chemistry, are among

Risk factors identified for hearing loss in children with bacterial meningitis
Researchers have identified several risk factors that are associated with the development of hearing loss in children with bacterial meningitis, according to a study in the September issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Professor earns carbon sequestration research grant
Dr. Mark Bush, Florida Tech professor of biological sciences is sharing an $860,000 award to investigate the historic carbon balance of Andean vegetation and soils.

Michio Kaku and Stevens panel to debate 'The End of Science'
The Center for Science Writing at Stevens Institute of Technology will host a debate,

Metal deformation studies lead to new understanding of materials at extreme conditions
By combining very large-scale molecular dynamics simulations with time-resolved data from laser experiments of shock wave propagation through specific metals, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are now able to better understand the evolution of high-strain-rate plasticity. 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