Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 01, 2006
Lack of GBA2: A contraceptive for male mice
Although it had previously been thought that a protein known as GBA2 was important for bile acid metabolism, a new study appearing in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that in mice GBA2 is in fact required for male fertility.

Heel to heal
A new stretch is proving quite effective to help treat and potentially cure plantar fasciitis, a condition that affects nearly 2.5 million Americans each year.

Grace under pressure: FSU researchers analyze the effects of stress on decision-making ability
A nursing student assigned to check a heart patient's vital statistics enters the patient's room.

Stress hormones may play new role in speeding up cancer growth
New research here suggests that hormones produced as during periods of stress may increase the growth rate of a particularly nasty kind of cancer.

Helping muscle regenerate
Blocking a central signal molecule, researchers from the Mouse Biology Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, have found a way to protect muscle from degenerating after injury and to improve muscle healing in mice.

Researchers teach computers how to name images by 'thinking'
Penn State researchers have

Antidepressants linked to lower child suicide rates
UIC researchers report an inverse relationship between antidepressant prescriptions and the rates of suicide in children and adolescents, a finding that contradicts the Food and Drug Administration's

Research linking Ashkenazi Jews and breast cancer genes beset by problems
Genetic research over the past decade has linked Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity to an increased risk for hereditary breast cancer, so much so that certain gene mutations have become known as

Computer scientists track prediction markets in run-up to US elections
As voters prepare for the polls Nov. 7, computer scientists at the University of Chicago and Yahoo!

Mount Sinai receives grant from US Attorney General office
The Office of the US Attorney General announced today the Mount Sinai Medical Center will be one of five recipients of a prescription drug education grant for health-care professionals.

End-of-life care can be improved
Researchers have evaluated improvements in the end-of-life care in intensive care units (ICU) and have shared their findings in a special end-of-life supplement to Critical Care Medicine.

New dementia screening tool detects early cognitive problems missed by commonly used test
A screening tool developed by Saint Louis University geriatricians is more sensitive at detecting mild cognitive impairment than a commonly used clinical instrument.

ASU researchers test antibacterial effects of healing clays
Clay is most commonly associated with the sublime experience of the European spa where visitors have been masked, soaked and basted with this touted curative since the Romans ruled.

HHMI awards $19 million to Latin American, Canadian scientists
Thirty-nine outstanding scientists in Latin America and Canada have been named Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholars.

Shift toward services industries won't end global warming
The shift toward a service-based economy won't automatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, a University of Minnesota researcher has found.

Old leaves need to die in time or they will bring a plant down
In a study from the November issue of the American Naturalist, researchers Alex Boonman and co-workers from the Netherlands show that it is beneficial for plants growing in a dense stand to shed their oldest, lower leaves once these become shaded.

Mechanical 'artificial hearts' can remove need for heart transplant by returning heart to normal

Columbia research explores impact of gum disease therapy on pregnancy
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that treatment for periodontal disease in pregnant women does not result in a lower rate of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight.

HPV test is a better long-term predictor of cervical cell abnormalities than pap smear
The best initial cervical cancer screening tool for younger women is still the traditional Pap smear.

Fossil is missing link in elephant lineage
A pig-sized, tusked creature that roamed the earth some 27 million years ago represents a missing link between the oldest known relatives of elephants and the more recent group from which modern elephants descended, an international team that includes University of Michigan paleontologist William J.

Sildenafil prevents rebound pulmonary hypertension in infants
A single dose of sildenafil, a blood vessel widening vasodilator, prevented rebound pulmonary hypertension and significantly reduced the duration of mechanical ventilation in intensive care unit (ICU) infants being withdrawn from inhaled nitric oxide therapy.

Regular follow-up important during antidepressant treatment
Because individuals can react differently to antidepressant medications, regular follow-up is important during the first few weeks of treatment, according to an editorial by Group Health psychiatrist and researcher Greg Simon, M.D., M.P.H.

Museum-fueled global study shows you can't judge biodiversity by its bird
The canary in the coal mine, the supposed harbinger of threat for all those around it, isn't as true as it seemed for biodiversity conservation, according to a sweeping study in which a Michigan State University ornithologist participated.

Journal Sleep: Psychological, behavioral therapies a reliable treatment for insomnia
This press release contains four studies published in the journal Sleep: The effectiveness of psychological and behavioral therapies for treating insomnia; Insomnia and the different effects it has on older and younger people; The success of modafinil in countering the ill effects of sleep deprivation on working memory; and The reliability of the international classification of sleep disorders in classifying narcolepsy.

Home-based AIDS care program could benefit HIV-infected people in rural Africa
A novel home-based AIDS care programme can achieve good adherence and response to antiretroviral therapy in a rural African setting, according to an Article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Microbes compete with animals for food by making it stink
Microbes may compete with large animal scavengers by producing repugnant chemicals that deter higher species from consuming valuable food resources, a new study suggests.

Study demonstrates improved health, survival in aged overweight male mice on resveratrol
A natural compound found in plants protected aged mice from the negative effects of a high calorie diet, according to a new mouse study by the National Institute on Aging and others.

St. Jude announces breakthrough in eye cancer treatment
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have demonstrated in a mouse model a new, locally applied treatment for the eye cancer retinoblastoma that not only greatly reduces the size of the tumor, but does so without causing the side effects common with standard chemotherapy.

JCI table of contents: Nov. 1, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Nov.

Faith-based youth groups stand out in fostering teens' growth experiences
Of all the organized activities teens participate in, faith-based youth groups provide the highest rates of personal and interpersonal growth experiences, according to a new University of Illinois study published in the September issue of Developmental Psychology.

Florida Tech earns two grants for continuing, new hurricane model work
Florida Tech professor of civil engineering, Jean-Paul Pinelli, has won a $220,000 grant to develop an engineering model to predict hurricane insurance losses for commercial buildings, such as condominiums, office buildings.

Study holds promise for new way to fight AIDS
For years researchers have been trying to understand how a few HIV-infected patients naturally defeat a virus that otherwise overwhelms the immune system.

Highlights from the November 2006 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The November 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Carefully monitored treatment can help two-thirds of those who suffer from depression
More than two-thirds of people who suffer from major depression can become symptom-free if they are willing to work with their doctors and try various treatments to determine which work best for them, which may involve taking different antidepressants or adding cognitive therapy to the mix.

Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, to manage Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, a partnership between the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association Inc., has been chosen by the US Department of Energy to operate Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, effective January 1, 2007.

Pakistani women 30 percent more likely to be blind than men
The odds of a woman in Pakistan being blind are 30 percent higher than for a Pakistani man according to a new survey published in the November 2006 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS).

Global map shows new patterns of extinction risk
The most detailed world map of mammals, birds and amphibians ever produced shows that endangered species from these groups do not inhabit the same geographical areas, says new research published today.

Researchers to study why dead zone returned to Lake Erie
A $2.5-million grant will fund a 5-year study examining why dead zones have returned to Lake Erie, and researchers hope the findings will allow them to detect the cause and stop the spread before the fishery and tourism industries suffer.

New study finds amniocentesis safer for pregnant women
Amniocentesis is the most commonly prescribed invasive test performed during pregnancies in the United States.

Experts warn of the possible collapse of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime
Iraq might not have been hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction, but that hasn't stopped experts worrying that such terrible weapons may spread, and that nuclear weapons are no longer being used for security alone, but for deterrence.

UC San Diego physicists observe new property of matter
Physicists at the University of California, San Diego have for the first time observed the spontaneous production of coherence within

Childhood cancer survivors treated with radiation face increased risk of tumors later in life
University of Minnesota cancer researchers found that children who received radiation treatment for cancer face an increased risk for brain and spinal column tumors later in life.

Recovering Pompeii
Artists in ancient Pompeii painted the town red 2,000 years ago with a brilliant crimson pigment that dominated many of the doomed city's wall paintings.

Salt intake is strongly associated with obesity
The study reports that increasing intakes of sodium (salt) obligatorily produce a progressive increase in thirst.

A simple, noninvasive test measures survival time in adult pulmonary hypertension
Researchers have developed a simple, noninvasive way to measure right ventricular function in the heart to predict survival of adults who suffer from pulmonary hypertension.

Gene therapy a possibility for metachromatic leukodystrophy?
There are currently no therapies for metachromatic leukodystrophy, which causes progressively more severe neurological defects that result in death early in life.

Jefferson scientists find tumor suppressor gene protects against pre-cancerous development
Cell biologists have provided further evidence that a gene thought to play a role in suppressing tumors actually protects against the development of pre-cancerous cell growth as well.

Predicting PET imaging's future: Diagnosing and treating diseases ASAP
Imagine a new world of detecting and diagnosing diseases sooner -- even before any symptoms are present.

Laser treatment not effective in preventing vision loss for people with early AMD
According to a study that appears in the November 2006 issue of the journal Ophthalmology, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and 21 other clinical centers have found that low-intensity laser treatment -- thought to be potentially beneficial in slowing or preventing the loss of vision from age-related macular degeneration -- is ineffective in preventing complications of AMD or vision loss.

MRI analysis could prevent brain damage from stroke, Stanford study finds
Greg Albers, M.D., director of the Stanford Stroke Center, and his team report in the November issue of Annals of Neurology that new magnetic resonance imaging techniques can discriminate between stroke patients who are likely to benefit from a stroke medication -- even when administered beyond the currently approved three-hour time window -- and those for whom treatment is unlikely to be beneficial and may cause harm.

U of MN researchers turn cord blood into lung cells
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have, for the first time, coaxed umbilical cord blood stem cells to differentiate into a type of lung cell.

Rock climbing does not increase risk of osteoarthritis
A study in the US has found there is no greater risk of osteoarthritis in rock climbers compared to non climbers, contrary to previous theory.

Revealing the mysteries of galaxy formation: Infrared images of the Large Magellanic Cloud
As the AKARI satellite nears completion of its All Sky Survey, it has released two stunning images of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Minister Lunn to speak at solar conference
The Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of Natural Resources, will speak at the Canadian Solar Industries Association Conference.

UGA study finds that regular exercise plays a consistent and significant role in reducing fatigue
A new analysis by University of Georgia researchers finds overwhelming evidence that regular exercise plays a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue.

Spin-out company seeks medicines from South American rain forests
Rain forests may yield new drugs to combat global pandemics and other diseases, says a University professor who has developed new technology to search for medicines in the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.

Health care not playing major role in 2006 election but possible factor in close races
Analysis of 11 national opinion surveys finds health care not playing major role in 2006 election, but possible factor in close races.

Federal government needs to take closer look at assisted living facilities
Assisted-living facilities have become the fastest growing segment of residential care for the elderly.

Unique estrogen receptor linked to metastatic breast cancer
Breast cancer awareness month may have passed, but researchers remain focused on the disease with a new study showing that a unique estrogen receptor found in breast cancer tumors is a predictor of tumor size and metastases.

Identification of a key gene required for brain neural circuit formation
An international team of scientists have made a discovery which could help treat spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.

AKARI's view of Large Magellanic Cloud -- star formation at work
The infrared surveyor AKARI, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission with ESA participation, is nearing the completion of its first scan of the entire sky.

SNM: Exploring molecular imaging potential
Experts in the molecular imaging field interacted and explored questions about basic research, instrumentation, drug development, clinical issues and educational needs during SNM's

Using mathematics and computers to understand the world
Undergraduate students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Howard University will now have a chance to pursue research at the intersection of mathematics and computational science, thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Floating lovers count too -- in the health of eagle populations
In a paper from the November issue of the American Naturalist, Vincenzo Penteriani, Fermín Otalora, and Miguel Ferrer, researchers at the Estación Biológica de Doñana (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain), focus on the forgotten and invisible side of animal populations -- the floaters.

Phys ed class more effective when there's more talking
A new approach to traditional high school gym class dramatically increases how often teens exercise outside of school.

Researchers determine why wolves not dispersing as fast as expected in Yellowstone
The slow dispersal rate of wolves in Yellowstone National Park had stumped researchers across North America until a team of mathematical biologists at the University of Alberta recently solved the puzzle.

Nap a day makes doctors OK, Stanford study finds
Give emergency room doctors a nap, and not only will they do a better job, they'll also be nicer to you, according to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine.

U of M study shows treatment of periodontal disease does not decrease risk for preterm birth
Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry have found treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women does not significantly alter rates of preterm birth, low birth weight or fetal growth restriction.

Patients who recover from hepatitis C have lower risk of reinfection
A new study found that individuals who had tested positive for hepatitis C (HCV) but later tested negative for the virus were significantly less likely to become infected again compared to those who had never been infected, even though they had the same exposure risks.

Institute for OneWorld Health awarded $46 million grant to combat diarrheal disease
The Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH) announced today that it has been awarded a grant of $46 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its unique research on new treatments to complement traditional approaches for fighting diarrhea.

Study finds pay-for-performance now common among US HMOs
Until now, there hasn't been a systematic study of how much national penetration pay-for-performance plans have among commercial HMOs in the US.

Decreased TGF-beta signaling might make you demented
The physical changes that occur in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, have been well-characterized, but the cause(s) of this disease and the development of therapies has remained elusive.

Healthier preemies and parents, thanks to a new early intervention program
A program designed to help parents care for their premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can lead to healthier babies and parents, and save more than $2 billion in US healthcare costs annually.

Information on bird flu cases poorly recorded, scientists say
Critical information about cases of infection of wild birds by H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza is being recorded inaccurately or not recorded at all, according to scientists writing in BioScience.

Math animations illustrate research, herald new era in visualization
A collaboration between a mathematician and an artist-geometer has resulted in some of the most mathematically sophisticated and aesthetically gripping animations ever seen in the field.

Interaction between lymph and liver cells may affect immune response
A new study on the ability of liver cells to interact with T cells (lymph cells that play a role in regulating the immune response) found that such interactions do occur and demonstrated the mechanism by which they may take place.

Promising target for new atherosclerosis therapies linked to leukemia
In recent years, scientists studying inflammation and atherosclerosis have seen their respective fields converging, with research findings showing chronic inflammation as a driver of the atherosclerotic process.

Study finds periodontal treatment does not lower preterm birth risk
Scientists report in this week's New England Journal of Medicine that pregnant women who received non-surgical treatment for their periodontal, or gum, disease did not also significantly lower their risk of delivering a premature or low-birthweight baby.

Student's summer software success gets Big Blue buzzing
A computer program created by a University of Manchester student during his summer holidays is being developed further by industry giant IBM.

More species in the tropics because species have been there longer
Why are there more species in the tropics than in the temperate regions of the globe?

Single molecule extends fat mice lives by reversing gene pathways associated with disease in obese
Researchers have used a single compound to increase the lifespan of obese mice, and found that the drug reversed nearly all of the changes in gene expression patterns found in mice on high calorie diets -- some of which are associated with diabetes, heart disease and other significant diseases related to obesity.

Poor readers have higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior
Teenagers with reading problems are at significantly higher risk for suicide and for dropping out of school than typical readers, according to a study by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researchers.

79 percent of carers use humor to cope, but 30 percent say their emotional well-being has suffered
The emotional consequences and family tensions created by caring for someone over 75 can prove a much greater problem than the practical support carers give. 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