Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 30, 2006
First evidence to show elephants, like humans, apes and dolphins, recognize themselves in mirror
Elephants have joined a small, elite group of species -- including humans, great apes and dolphins -- that have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror, according to a new research finding.

Towards predicting late-stage radiation toxicity
Radiation is a brutal and in many cases necessary part of cancer therapy.

New species and new records of marine species discovered in NW Hawaiian Islands
A three-week scientific expedition to French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument returned to Honolulu on Sunday with the discovery of many new species and a better understanding of marine biodiversity in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Lost in space no more
A day that separated the old world from the new: On October 4, 1957, Sputnik, the first spacecraft, was launched.

Mary Frances Lyon to receive Rockefeller's Pearl Meister Greengard Prize
The third annual Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, an international award to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding women scientists, will be presented to British geneticist Mary Frances Lyon on November 2.

Hair samples show babies can be exposed to 'crystal meth' while in the womb
Babies can be exposed to methamphetamine or

Connection between depression and osteoporosis shown by Hebrew University researchers
Depression can cause a loss of bone mass, leading to osteoporosis and fractures, say researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Test reveals effectiveness of potential Huntington's disease drugs
A test using cultured cells provides an effective way to screen drugs against Huntington's disease and shows that two compounds -- memantine and riluzole -- are most effective at keeping cells alive under conditions that mimic the disorder, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

Research for a better old age: Launch of the 'New Dynamics of Aging'
The New Dynamics of Ageing Program (NDA), the most ambitious research program on aging ever mounted in the UK, will be launched today in partnership with the UK Funders Forum for Research on Aging and Older People, at a conference entitled the Future of Aging Research.

New study shows teenage girls' use of diet pills doubles over five-year span
A study released today by the University of Minnesota's

Dementia on the rise in aging populations
Life expectancy continues to rise in most countries around the world, and in industrialized nations it is not uncommon for people to live well into their 90s.

The power behind insect flight: Researchers reveal key kinetic component
Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Vermont have discovered a key molecular mechanism that allows tiny flies and other

Worcester Polytechnic Institute receives $2 million in federal funds for biomedical research centers
Two groundbreaking research programs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute will each receive $1 million in federal funding through a US Senate Defense Appropriations Bill, setting the stage for the university to further its leadership in two key areas of biomedical research.

Regular exercise can stave off degenerative eye disease
Regular exercise can cut the likelihood of developing the degenerative eye disease, age related macular degeneration by 70 percent, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Adults who go to bed lonely get stress hormone boost next morning
A study that takes a rare look at the physiological, social and emotional dynamics of day-to-day experiences in real-life settings shows that when older adults go to bed lonely, sad or overwhelmed, they have elevated levels of cortisol shortly after waking the next morning.

Regular exercise helps obese youths reduce, reverse risk for heart disease, study shows
Regular exercise can help obese children shrink more than just their waistlines, new research shows.

Faculty of 1,000 biology launch Pharmacology & Drug Discovery Faculty
Faculty of 1,000 Biology, the award-winning literature awareness service for the life sciences, today launches its much anticipated Pharmacology & Drug Discovery Faculty.

Language center of the brain is not under the control of subjects who 'speak in tongues'
Glossolalia, otherwise referred to as

Turmeric supplements show promise in treating arthritis
A new study published in the November 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism examined the effect and mechanism of turmeric, a botanical supplement long thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, on arthritis.

New mutation that causes atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome identified
Researchers from the University of Newcastle, UK, have identified a novel genetic change that causes one form of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) a rare, chronic disease that causes kidney failure and which can run in families.

Ralph J. Cicerone, president, NAS, to speak at Chemical Heritage Foundation
On Nov. 16, 2006, at 6 p.m., Ralph J. Cicerone, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, will deliver the 2006 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture at Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Analysis of breast-cancer gene role offers promising target
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have for the first time described how multiple copies of a gene are responsible for metastases in early-stage breast cancer and poor prognosis for patients.

Scientists discover two-component lantibiotic with therapeutic potential
The discovery and preparation of a naturally occurring antibiotic could open the door to new therapeutic drugs for treating nasty infections.

MIT engineers probe spiders' polymer art
A team of MIT engineers has identified two key physical processes that lend spider silk its unrivaled strength and durability, bringing closer to reality the long-sought goal of spinning artificial spider silk.

Deadly hypoxic event finally concludes
The longest, largest and most devastating hypoxic event ever observed in marine waters off the Oregon Coast has finally ended, researchers at Oregon State University say.

Staph vaccine shows promise in mouse study
By combining four proteins of Staphylococcus aureus that individually generated the strongest immune response in mice, scientists have created a vaccine that significantly protects the animals from diverse strains of the bacterium that cause disease in humans.

Women testing negative for familial breast cancer gene still at increased risk
Women testing negative for the two inherited breast cancer genes are still at increased risk of developing the disease, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Control measures fail to stop spread of new H5N1 virus
A new variant of the bird flu virus H5N1 emerged in late 2005 and replaced most of the previous variants across a large part of southern China, despite an ongoing program to vaccinate poultry, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong in collaboration with scientists at St.

Tweedle coat fashions stocky flies
University of California, San Diego biologists have discovered that disruptions in genes they call Tweedles make fruit flies short and stout like Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland.

Oral contraceptives increase risk for breast cancer in some women, meta-analysis finds
A meta-analysis published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, especially women who use them prior to having a child.

Order of chemotherapy, radiation has no effect on breast cancer survival
For women who have had surgery for early breast cancer, it may not matter whether they receive follow-up chemotherapy before, after or during radiation therapy, according to a new review of studies.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- Oct. 25, 2006
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package offers reports from 35 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

New cost-benefit model will aid efforts to conserve wilderness: UBC researcher
A new conservation model that measures the value of ecosystem services benefiting humans -- ranging from flood control to crop pollination -- can foster more win-win solutions between wilderness advocates and landowners, according to University of British Columbia researcher Kai Chan.

Chemical Heritage Foundation to present first Roy G. Neville Prize to Robert E. Schofield
The Chemical Heritage Foundation is pleased to honor

Iowa State researchers improving plastics made from corn and soy proteins
Iowa State researcehers are using ultrasonics and nanotechnology to improve plastics made from corn and soy proteins.

Authors of obesity/gas consumption study to speak at Pittsburgh meeting of operations researchers
The authors whose study links obesity to American driving habits and gas consumption will be speakers at the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) annual meeting in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, November 7, 2006.

Tastes great! Study shows brain's response to pleasing -- and changing -- tastes
We all have tastes we love, and tastes we hate.

MRSA vaccine shows promise in mouse study
By combining the four bacterial surface proteins that generate the strongest immune response in mice, researchers at the University of Chicago have created a vaccine that significantly protects immunized animals from multiple disease-causing, drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections and a rapidly spreading source of community-associated illness.

Ohio University researchers discover evolutionary oddity in flamingos
With their spindly legs, long necks and bright plumage, flamingos are a curiosity of nature.

ACP re-launches magazine for hospitalists
Beginning with the January 2007 issue, the American College of Physicians' (ACP) magazine

Researchers cast doubt on hypothesis that stigma fuels HIV epidemic
The dominant view in the public health community is that the stigma of being HIV positive fuels the HIV epidemic, and yet there is a lack of evidence to support this view, say two researchers in a provocative essay in PLoS Medicine.

Turmeric prevents experimental rheumatoid arthritis, bone loss, University of Arizona study shows
Turmeric, a spice long used in traditional Asian medicine, may hold promise for the prevention of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, according to a recently completed study at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Insect population growth likely accelerated by warmer climate
New University of Washington research suggests insects' ability to adapt to warmer temperatures carries an unexpected consequence -- more insects.

Making headway against hepatitis C: SLU study shows new drug combo effective in nonresponders
Saint Louis University scientists are presenting research today on a more effective way to treat hepatitis C patients who have been unresponsive to current drug therapies.

3-D ultrasound scanner could guide robotic surgeries
Duke University engineers have shown that a three-dimensional ultrasound scanner they developed can successfully guide a surgical robot.

New drug helps hepatitis C patients start antiviral therapy
A new drug that stimulates the production of blood platelets can enable patients infected with hepatitis C virus to take other antiviral medications they previously could not take to fight the disease, according to the results of a clinical trial led by a Duke University Medical Center researcher.

Scientists convert modern enzyme into its hypothesized ancestor
By making a single substitution in the amino acid sequence of a modern enzyme, scientists at Brookhaven Lab have changed its function into that of a theoretical distant ancestor, providing the first experimental evidence for the common origin of the two distinct enzyme types.

Energy science and technology: National advisory panel releases report
A report from a national advisory panel created by the government of Canada calls for an increased focus on energy science and technology to ensure long-term growth and sustainability in the Canadian economy.

Phoenix rising: Scientists resuscitate a 5 million-year-old retrovirus
A team of scientists has reconstructed the DNA sequence of a 5-million-year-old retrovirus and shown that it is able to produce infectious particles.

Modeling alien invasions: Plasticity may hold the key to prevention
The ability of an organism to respond adaptively to environmental variation -- phenotypic plasticity -- can have profound and unexpected effects on species interactions and the probability that a species will invade.

OHSU School of Dentistry team discovers potential new target for treating craniofacial pain problems
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University's School of Dentistry have uncovered an interaction between two proteins in the nerve cells that carry pain information from the head and neck to the brain.

Fathers influence child language development more than mothers
In families with two working parents, fathers had greater impact than mothers on their children's language development between ages 2 and 3, according to a study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and UNC's School of Education.

Hope remains for Alzheimer's sufferers
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), who last week rejected appeals to allow patients with mild Alzheimer's to receive the life-changing medication donepezil (AriceptĀ®), will hopefully re-appraise their decision in three-years time, according to neurologist Professor Robert Kerwin in an article published in the November issue of the medical journal Future Neurology.

Three new lung tumor subtypes identified in DNA profiling study
A new study has identified three subtypes of non-small-cell lung cancer tumors, a finding that may provide valuable clinical information about patient survival in early- or late-stage disease, how likely the cancer is to spread and whether the tumor will prove resistant to chemotherapy.

Osteoarthritis patients treated with acupuncture show improvement
A new study published in the November 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism examined the use of acupuncture as an extension of routine medical care and whether the effects of treatment last after therapy is discontinued.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: Harnessing the measles virus to attack cancer
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has opened a new clinical study using a vaccine strain of the measles virus to attack recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a largely untreatable brain tumor.

Former Treasury Secretery O'Neill will urge scientists in Pittsburgh to speed social change
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will urge operations researchers and systems analysts to help speed much-needed social change during an address to the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences annual meeting in Pittsburgh on Monday, Nov.

Assessing ecosystem services to identify conservation priorities
A spatially explicit assessment of the economic costs and benefits of conservation in Paraguay highlights the challenges and potential utility of such an approach for understanding the value of biodiversity.

Soccer referees do favor home teams, study shows
Academics have proved what football (soccer) managers in the English Premiership have been complaining about for years -- that referees are inconsistent and favor home teams.

Inventor helps grasslands go native
A breakthrough in native grass seed harvesting may dramatically change the native grass seed market and help restore wildlands.

Study reveals religious leader's silent secret
For more than a decade, John de Ruiter's taciturn ways have managed to attract thousands of people from around the world to join his religious movement.

Shopping still costs the Earth
There is still no such thing as a truly green consumer despite the increase in the range of green and

Computing catches up with theory
New computing tools have allowed Peter Richardson, a professor of engineering and physiology at Brown University, to test ideas about blood flow and clotting that he first proposed over 30 years ago.

Developing better methods of 'blinding' doctors and patients in clinical trials
When trials are carried out to assess the effectiveness of a drug, it is an important to have a control group of patients who are not given the drug.

Faulty gene linked to prostate cancer risk
Missing sections of a gene, which programs the manufacture of a chemical to alert the body to DNA damage, almost doubles the risk of prostate cancer, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

U-M study offers new perspective on nitric oxide signaling in rheumatoid arthritis
Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have found evidence that challenges current thinking about the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease that damages joints, causes pain, loss of movement and bone deformities in 2.1 million Americans

Mount Sinai receives $5 million NCI grant to study impact of palliative care programs
The National Palliative Care Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has been awarded a $5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Ghost protein leaves fresh tracks in the cell
Spectrin and ankyrin, two essential proteins, shape and fortify cell membranes.

Herbal medicine silymarin may help sugar-control in people with type II diabetes
Diabetes is a growing health problem. Giving antioxidants is recognised as one way of helping people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. 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