Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 30, 2006
Nike+iPod Sport Kit raises privacy concerns
This holiday season, gift-givers may unwittingly give their favorite athlete a workout accessory that can double as a tracking device.

Partner reduction is pivotal for HIV prevention
While HIV prevention witnesses a relentless argument pitting condoms against abstinence, the behavior that really needs addressing -- partner reduction -- is largely ignored, according to the author of a comment in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Complaints about memory are associated with Alzheimer-related brain damage
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center found that having complaints about memory problems is associated with changes in the brain related to Alzheimer's disease.

'Cancer prognosis gene' found to control the fate of breast cells
Scientists have discovered an unsuspected role for a gene known to be one of the best predictors of human breast cancer outcome.

Scientists want to solve puzzle of excess water vapor near cirrus clouds
Researchers in recent years have found water vapor at concentrations as much as twice what they should be in and around cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere, a finding that could alter some conclusions about climate change.

The Scripps Research Institute enters major five-year $100 million collaboration with Pfizer
The Scripps Research Institute today announced it has entered into a five year research collaboration with Pfizer Global Research and Development to advance scientific knowledge of uncured diseases and novel ways to treat them, making full use of emerging technologies and resident talent from both organizations.

Healthy bodies help fight disease? Clues to how diet affects the immune system
Scientists are proposing that dietary fats can affect how well our immune system works and have discovered that one of the earliest steps in immune system activation relies on a molecule that binds fats.

Strontium atomic clock demonstrates super-fine 'ticks'
Using an ultra-stable laser to manipulate strontium atoms trapped in a

Pregnant women with placental infection have doubled risk of recurrence
Pregnant women who develop an infection of the placenta or nearby membranes in their first pregnancy have twice the risk of getting it in their second pregnancy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Springer's eBook collection named Best STM Information Product of 2006
Springer Science+Business Media, the world's largest science, technology and medicine book publisher, won the prize for the Best STM Information Product of 2006 for the Springer eBook Collection.

OHSU surgeon gives patients with lethal cancer reason to hope
Researchers in the OHSU Digestive Health Center are developing a system through which clinicians hope to more easily identify people at increased risk for the disease.

Pakistan's revision of rape laws is a valuable step towards empowering women
Pakistan's recent vote in favor of the Women's Protection Bill, which allows rape cases to be tried under the civil penal code rather than under Sharia law, is a valuable step towards facilitating the empowerment of all women -- the third Millennium Development Goal, states an editorial in this week's issue of the Lancet.

University of Leicester archaeologists unearth ancient curse
An ancient curse aimed at a thief is one of a number of treasures to be unveiled to the public for the first time, following the largest archaeological excavation the city of Leicester has ever seen.

Elsevier announces new journal for 2007
Elsevier and Primary Care Diabetes Europe are set to launch Primary Care Diabetes, an influential new diabetes journal in February 2007.

What is the role of donor breast milk?
More evidence is needed to determine whether donor breast milk is beneficial for babies in intensive care, argues a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

New wide-angle lens produces pictures without distortion
South Korean researchers have designed and built an inexpensive optical lens that collects light from a large area and produces a virtually distortion-free wide-angle image.

Would be rookies face video guantlet
Concerned that their soldiers are not being assessed on real-life situations, the US army is developing a virtual-reality aptitude test for recruits.

ESA's first Swedish astronaut to fly to the ISS
ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang is about to become the first Swedish and the first Nordic astronaut in space.

The pull of bacterial chromosome segregation
A new paper in the Dec. 1 issue of Genes & Development reveals that a mitotic-like motor powers chromosome segregation in prokaryotes.

Exercise when young may reduce risk of fractures later in life
Running and jumping during childhood is more than child's play, it provides lifelong benefits for future bone health and appears to reduce the risk of fractures later in life according to a Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) researchers.

Performance of wide receivers, running backs post-ACL injury falls by one third
The good news for NFL players who sustain an injury to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is that they'll likely play again in the NFL.

The abortion pill compound prevents breast tumor growth
The chemical compound for the abortion pill has been found to prevent the growth of mammary tumors caused by the mutant gene responsible for a majority of breast and ovarian cancers, according to UC Irvine scientists.

Increase in carbon dioxide emissions accelerating
New research shows the rate of increase in carbon dioxide emissions more than doubled since the 1990s.

New study suggests speakers of different languages perceive rhythm differently
Do the sounds of our native languages affect how we hear music and other non-language sounds?

One firm controls costs while maintaining employee preventive health care
Differential cost-sharing approaches in employee health benefits encourage use of preventive care services while controlling a firm's overall health-care costs, according to a study published recently in Health Affairs by researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

Steering clear of icy skies
Beginning next week, the aviation industry will receive detailed updates on potentially hazardous in-flight icing conditions.

Knee function reduced following surgery due to decreased quadriceps strength
A new study examined muscle strength, performance and outcomes perceived by patients several years after undergoing a meniscectomy.

Invasive ants territorial when neighbors are not kin
A study led by University of California, San Diego biologists shows that invasive Argentine ants appear to use genetic differences to distinguish friend from foe, a finding that helps to explain why these ants form enormous colonies in California.

Media advisory five: AGU 2006 Fall Meeting
Eighteen press conferences at the Fall Meeting will cover topics ranging from climate change to Mars to tsunamis to the solar cycle.

Major Wellcome Trust award to take science from the bench to the bedside
Clinicians and scientists studying how a variety of human diseases arise have received a major boost today.

Flu jabs for care home staff prevents deaths
Vaccinating care home staff against influenza can prevent illness, deaths and health service use during periods of moderate influenza activity, concludes a study published online by the BMJ today.

Youth smoking prevention programs common, yet few youth seek help
A survey conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers found that programs to help teens stop smoking are common, yet few youths seek treatment.

Caregiver support key to improved health, fewer nursing home placements, Jefferson researchers find
Helping caregivers take care of themselves is key to enabling them to better deal with family members with dementia, a recent study by Thomas Jefferson University researchers shows.

Special ES&T issue examines effects of emerging contaminants on people, planet
More than 40 scientific papers on an array of emerging contaminants -- including pharmaceuticals, detergent by-products and fluorochemicals -- are highlighted in the Dec.

Study of gene transfer for erectile dysfunction shows promise
The first human study using gene transfer to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) shows promising results and suggests the potential for using the technology to treat overactive bladder, irritable bowel syndrome and asthma, according to the researchers.

Magnets may pose serious risks for patients with pacemakers and ICDs
Magnets may interfere with the operation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, according to a study published in the December 2006 edition of Heart Rhythm.

New data on Vesicare show significant improvements in urgency for patients with overactive bladder
Patients with overactive bladdertreated with Vesicare (solifenacin succinate) experienced statistically significant reductions in episodes of urgency (the sudden, compelling need to urinate), according to a new study presented today at the 36th annual Meeting of the International Continence Society.

It's a gamble: UH econophysicists meld science, economics
Predicting financial markets is more of a gamble than traditional economists will admit, and making sense of such numbers is more like trying to decipher noise blasting from a loudspeaker, says one University of Houston econophysicist.

Safer sex campaigns need to promote condoms as offering pleasure as well as protection
Promotion of pleasure in use of male and female condoms -- alongside safer sex messages -- can facilitate consistent use of condoms, state the authors of a viewpoint in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans totaled $5.2 billion over fee-for-service costs in 2005
Private Medicare Advantage plans were paid an average 12.4 percent more per enrollee in 2005 compared with what the same enrollees would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

Baby boomers value caring for aging parents more than earlier generation
Researchers at the University of Southern California's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology found that baby boomers are more committed to caring for their aging parents than their own parents were.

Tea helps treat damaged skin in cancer patients
Tea extracts work as an effective treatment for patients who suffer from damaged skin following radiation treatment for cancer.

Asymmetric ashes
Astronomers are reporting remarkable new findings that shed light on a decade-long debate about one kind of supernovae, the explosions that mark a star's final demise: Does the star die in a slow burn or with a fast bang?

Infants wheeze less in homes with multiple dogs
Living in a home with multiple dogs may help reduce an infant's risk for developing wheezing in the first year of life, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC).

Study shows interruption of antiretroviral therapy increases risk of disease and death
Findings from one of the largest HIV/AIDS therapy studies show that a specific strategy of interrupting antiretroviral therapy more than doubles the risk of AIDS or death from any cause.

World's oldest ritual discovered
A new archaeological find in Botswana by an archaeologist from the University from Oslo shows that our ancestors in Africa engaged in ritual practice 70,000 years ago -- 30,000 years earlier than the oldest finds in Europe.

Blacks, Whites divided on end-of-life treatment
Black patients are more likely than white patients to prefer life-sustaining care when confronted with an incurable illness or serious mental and physical disabilities, according to a study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

Nobel Laureate finds 'elegant' explanation for DNA transcribing enzyme's high fidelity
Last month, Roger Kornberg of Stanford University won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his efforts to unravel the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription, in which enzymes give

Recording neo-natal consultations is helpful to parents
Parents with infants needing neo-natal care find recordings of consultations with their consultants helpful, finds a study published online today.

Counter defense strategy of virus
In the Dec. 1 issue of Genes & Development, a team of NYC scientists, led by Dr.

Iowa State researchers developing software to improve colon exams
Two Iowa State University computer scientists are developing image-analysis software and related hardware that will measure the quality of colonoscopy procedures.

Found -- the apple gene for red
CSIRO researchers have located the gene that controls the color of apples -- a discovery that may lead to bright new apple varieties.

BMJ raises concerns over sudden infant death study
This week, the BMJ reveals serious concerns about a study on sudden infant deaths which was used as evidence in several high profile murder appeals.

Thorium poised to meet world's energy needs
At a forum held today at the National Press Club, a group of leading nuclear scientists examined the potential of thorium to meet the world's growing energy needs.

Asian immigrants report fewer mental health problems
Immigrants from Asia have lower rates of psychiatric disorders than American-born Asians and other native-born Americans, according to the first national epidemiological survey of Asian Americans in the United States.

Genomic 'firestorms' underlie aggressive breast cancer progression
The first high-resolution analysis of genomic alterations in breast tumors is reported in the scientific journal Genome Research.

New finding points way to foiling anthrax's tricks
Anthrax, when inhaled, is nearly always fatal, in part because the bacteria have a very effective way of stealing iron from human cells to reproduce.

Living view in animals shows how cells decide to make proteins
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have visualized in a living animal how cells use a critical biological process to dice and splice genetic material to create unique and varied proteins.

P(acman) takes a bite out of deciphering Drosophila DNA
A new method of introducing DNA into the genome of fruit flies promises to transform the ability of scientists to study the structure and function of virtually all the fly's genes, and the method may be applicable to other frequently studied organisms such as mice.

Evolution of influenza A virus
An understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of the influenza virus determines scientists' ability to survey and control the virus.

Stores -- Don't lock horns with e-tailers, says study in November Management Insights
A study recommending that brick-and-mortar retailers not challenge Internet retailers at their own game is the subject of a paper in the Management Insights section of the November issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMSĀ®).

Protein protects against nerve degeneration
A protein called NMNAT protects against nerve cell degeneration in fruit flies and mice.

Einstein researchers discover how a key dietary vitamin is absorbed
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found the mechanism by which the B vitamin folate -- a crucially important nutrient -- is absorbed by the intestinal tract.

With fruit fly sex, researchers find mind-body connection
The fruit fly gene

One-off treatment to stop back pain -- Using patients' own stem cells
A University of Manchester researcher has developed a treatment for lower back pain using the patient's own stem cells, which could replace the use of strong painkillers or surgery that can cause debilitation, neither of which addresses the underlying cause.

Newly discovered immune defense may be impaired in CF airways
A recent University of Iowa study reveals a new immune defense mechanism in normal airways and may help explain why people with cystic fibrosis are particularly susceptible to bacterial lung infections. 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