Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 12, 2006
Congressional action strengthens internal medicine ACP says
Saturday's Congressional action to avert Medicare payment cuts to physicians will work to strengthen the future of internal medicine, the American College of Physicians said today in a statement of appreciation to lawmakers.

HIV burden in India may be much lower than official estimates
Official figures might over-estimate the number of HIV-positive individuals in India.

Treating prostate cancer in elderly men associated with longer survival, compared to non-treatment
New findings from an observational study suggest that elderly men who received treatment for localized prostate cancer survived significantly longer than men who did not receive treatment, according to a study in the December 13 issue of JAMA; however, the investigators emphasize the importance of validating these results in randomized trials.

IEEE-USA commends Sen. Collins for seeking answers on flawed H-1B program
IEEE-USA commends Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), outgoing chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, for her recent letter questioning the effectiveness of workplace safeguards in the H-1B temporary guest worker program.

Mayo Clinic -- Collaborating to move treatment research forward
Novel therapies are greatly improving the long-term outlook for patients with multiple myeloma, say researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, who have led efforts in testing these treatments and moving them quickly into first-line therapies.

Binghamton University researcher to study declining US fertility rates
In the United States, the total fertility rate -- the number of children a woman has in her lifetime -- fell from seven or eight in 1800 to slightly more than two today, says J.

'Lessons learned' highlighted as global politics of HIV/AIDS examined in new research
Even as the world commemorated World Aids Day 10 days ago, scholars are still coming to grips with the complex politics that have characterized the response of states and societies across the world to the HIV/AIDS pandemic since 1981.

Price comparison sites and competition
Just as the Christmas shopping season gets into full swing, new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that consumers can reap big benefits from shopping online as Internet retailers change their prices far more frequently than traditional stores, and are more likely to cut them than to increase them.

Prescribing inconsistencies in prostate cancer treatment in the UK when using LHRHAs
Majority of healthcare professionals surveyed agree that patients with prostate cancer should receive a licensed treatment wherever possible.

Natural, soy-based substance might help fight MS, Jefferson neuroscientists find
A natural substance made from soy appears to have amazing restorative powers when given to animals with a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like disease.

Analysis: Older men treated for early prostate cancer live longer than those not treated
An analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare records for 44,630 older men suggests surgery or radiation therapy for early-stage prostate cancer increased the lifespan of men between 65 and 80 years old compared to observation, sometimes known as

Robotics, laser and wireless technologies make driving safer for wheelchair users
The Automatic Transport and Retrieval System, developed with help from engineers at Lehigh and Carnegie Mellon universities, also allows wheelchair users to drive without reconfiguring their vehicles.

Ape-man skeleton is 2.2 million years old, say scientists
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have dated an ape-man skeleton at 2.2 million years old suggesting that it may not have been part of the ancestral tree leading to humankind as originally thought.

Cassini's infrared camera sees tall mountains on Saturn's moon Titan
The infrared-sensitive camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft photographed a 93-mile unbroken range of nearly mile-high mountains on Saturn's moon Titan last Oct.

Research offers hope for alcoholics
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have discovered a system in the brain that stops an alcoholic's craving for alcohol, as well as prevent relapse once they have recovered from alcohol addiction.

Hairpins for switches
How does an organism know when it must produce a protein and in what amount?

Burnham Institute for Medical Research announces affiliation with UC Santa Barbara
The Burnham Institute for Medical Research has established an affiliation with the University of California, Santa Barbara led by internationally-renowned medical researcher Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D, the campus and the Institute announced today.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

High risk of chronic health conditions plagues those with schizophrenia
Both men and women with schizophrenia are significantly more likely to have one or more of 46 common chronic health conditions than individuals without mental illness, according to study led by Caroline Carney Doebbeling, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

Coral stress 'like never in history'
Large scale coral die-offs are now occurring more frequently than at any time in the last 11 000 years, according to a new study by Australian-based scientists.

Law professor finds home health-care workers have few legal protections
A University of Iowa law professor has found that most home health-care workers are protected by few of the federal labor standards that other Americans take for granted.

Frankincense trees overexploited for Christmas scent
Current rates of tapping frankincense -- which according to the Bible was given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men at Christmas and which will feature in thousands of Nativity plays in coming days -- are endangering the fragrant resin's sustained production, ecologists have warned.

Chikashi Toyoshima to present National Lecture at the Biophysical Society 51st Annual Meeting
The 7,800-member Biophysical Society is pleased to announce that Chikashi Toyoshima will deliver the National Lecture at the Biophysical Society 51st Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md., March 3-7, 2007.

Two ESA astronauts meet in space
Last night Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station and Christer Fuglesang was welcomed to the orbital facility by his fellow ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who is completing his five-month stay on board as ESA's first permanent ISS crew member.

Drop in acid rain altering Appalachian stream water
Appalachian hardwood forests may be getting a respite from acid rain but data from a long-term ecological study of stream chemistry suggests that the drop in acid rain may be changing biological activity in the ecosystem and hiking dissolved carbon dioxide in forest streams.

'Asian haze' impacts on Australian rainfall
Elevated particle emissions resulting from increased economic activity in Asia may have increased Australia's CSIRO scientist posits a link between atmospheric pollution in Asia and increased rainfall in Australia.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you -- Why the brain just can't help itself
Laughter is truly contagious, and now, scientists studying how our brain responds to emotive sounds believe they understand why.

Even slight holiday weight gain can set stage for obesity, health risks
Although some Americans gain five to seven pounds with a diet of big meals and sweets between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, most people only gain a pound or two during the holidays, according to a UT Southwestern Medical Center registered dietitian.

NASA ice images aid study of Pacific walrus arctic habitats
Changes in climate are causing alterations in sea ice formation resulting in a changing habitat for Pacific walrus.

Positive clinical trial results of investigational thrombocytopenia agent
At the American Society of Hematology meeting in Orlando, AkaRx Inc. presented the positive results from two Phase I studies of AKR-501, an investigational compound for the treatment of thrombocytopenia.

Obesity linked to acid reflux disease
According to a new article in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD), more commonly known as, acid reflux, is linked to obesity.

University of Washington-led team discovers a gene that causes familial pancreatic cancer
An international group of researchers has discovered that the mutated form of a gene called Palladin causes familial pancreatic cancer.

Case Western Reserve University biologists suspect lightning fires help preserve oak forests
Oak forests may be approaching extinction, but lightning fires may play a vital role in their regeneration, according to Case Western Reserve University biologists.

Nano-devices hold promise for early-stage cancer detection
Engineering researchers at McMaster University will be escalating efforts to develop micro- and nanotechnology-based bio-sensors and imaging devices through the support of a recently announced $4.25 million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Folic acid supplementation does not appear to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases
An analysis of previous studies suggests that for people with a history of vascular disease, folic acid supplementation does not decrease the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, as has been suggested in some research, according to a review article in the December 13 issue of JAMA.

Mandarin language is music to the brain
It's been shown that the left side of the brain processes language and the right side processes music; but what about a language like Mandarin Chinese, which is musical in nature with wide tonal ranges?

Older men treated for early prostate cancer live longer than those who are not
Recent findings of an observational study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggest that men between 65-80 years of age who received treatment for early stage, localized prostate cancer lived significantly longer than men who did not receive treatment.

More people in US dealing with financial burden of health care costs
An estimated 50 million people younger than 65 years in the US live in families that spend more than 10 percent of their family income on health care, an increase of more than 10 million people in the past decade, according to a study in the December 13 issue of JAMA.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Featured articles in the upcoming issue of the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology include:

Hospital performance measures may not make much difference when it comes to mortality
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have found that hospitals with high and low performance on Medicare quality measures had little difference in the rate of death for three common conditions at the hospitals, indicating that the performance measures may not accurately reflect patient outcomes.

For Pacific white shrimp, gender matters when competing for food
A new study in Journal of the World Aquaculture Society suggests that, while larger shrimp consistently win over smaller shrimp of the same gender when competing for food, male shrimp will almost always beat female shrimp -- even though adult males of the species are typically much smaller than the adult females of the same age.

Squid-inspired design could mean better handling of underwater vehicles
Inspired by the sleek and efficient propulsion of squid, jellyfish and other cephalopods, a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher has designed a new generation of compact vortex generators that could make it easier for scientists to maneuver and dock underwater vehicles at low speeds and with greater precision.

Incontinence a common postnatal problem
Almost a quarter of all mothers have problems with exertion incontinence one year after childbirth, according to a new doctoral thesis from Karolinska Institutet.

Clemson alumnus 'nails' top innovation honor
Clemson University civil engineering alumnus Ed Sutt, a fastening engineer with Bostitch, has designed a nail that could save thousands of lives and homes in the event of a hurricane or earthquake.

Tiny bones rewrite textbooks
Small but remarkable fossils found in New Zealand will prompt a major rewrite of prehistory textbooks, showing for the first time that the so-called

Protein 'fingerprint' in spinal fluid could spot Alzheimer's disease
Scientists collaborating at Cornell University in Ithaca and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City have identified a panel of 23 protein biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a neurochemical

Phylonix awarded National Science Foundation Phase II SBIR for zebrafish screening
Phylonix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced it has received a $500,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Grant from the National Science Foundation to assess potential toxic effects of chemicals on the development of human organs and tissues using a panel of assays performed in zebrafish.

42-meter giant will probe the universe
The future of European astronomy is poised to enter a new era of discovery with the decision announced today by ESO's governing body to proceed with detailed studies for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

Field Museum scientists solve riddle of mysterious faces on South Pacific artifacts
Experts have long viewed the faces sometimes sketched by ancient potters on

Hospital performance measures may not accurately reflect quality of care or predict patient outcomes
A comparison of hospitals with high and low Medicare performance measures found little difference in the rate of death for three common conditions at the hospitals, indicating that the measures may not accurately reflect patient outcomes, according to a study in the December 13 issue of JAMA.

Combination of technologies works best against E. coli
No one weapon in the food-safety arsenal will take out E. coli 0157:H7, a nasty little pathogen that's becoming far too familiar to Americans, say University of Illinois scientists Scott Martin and Hao Feng.

Drug combination slows progression of treatment resistant bone marrow cancer
Combining a newly formulated drug with one that is already a standard treatment slows the progression of multiple myeloma, an advanced cancer of the bone marrow cells, according to a clinical trial led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine researcher. 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