Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2006
Epigenetic drugs, promising for breast cancer treatment
Worldwide, cancer persists as one of the most important diseases that affect the human being.

USC-led researchers use stem cells to regenerate parts of teeth
Researchers have successfully regenerated tooth root and supporting periodontal ligaments to restore tooth function.

Oldest animal fossils may have been bacteria
Fossils publicized as the oldest animal eggs and embryos when discovered in 1998 may actually represent giant bacteria, says a study in this week's Nature

Doubts cast on organophosphate poisoning as cause of Gulf War Syndrome depression
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health casts doubt on the belief that organophosphate poisoning causes symptoms of depression among Gulf War veterans and farmers, who are exposed regularly to these chemicals.

Buildup of damaged DNA in cells drives aging
A study being published today in the journal Nature found that mice completely lacking a critical gene for repairing damaged DNA grow old rapidly and have physical, genetic and hormonal profiles very similar to mice that grow old naturally.

Cyberspace may overcome ethical constraints in experiments
By repeating the Stanley Milgram's classic experiment from the 1960s on obedience to authority -- that found people would administer apparently lethal electrical shocks to a stranger at the behest of an authority figure -- in a virtual environment, the UCL (University College London) led study demonstrated for the first time that participants reacted as though the situation was real.

Researchers find stem-cell therapy effective in targeting metastatic cancer
Patients with advanced cancer that has spread to many different sites often do not have many treatment options, since they would be unable to tolerate the doses of treatment they would need to kill the tumors.

Astronomers discover new kind of black-hole explosion
Scientists have discovered what appears to be a new kind of cosmic explosion -- a

Arrest deters 'johns' from further prostitution activity
New research indicates that men arrested for buying sex from prostitutes are much less likely to continue their prostitution activity than clients of prostitutes not arrested for such behavior.

Risk of spina bifida associated with choline metabolism genes, but unrelated to choline intake
A new study finds an association between two genes involved in choline metabolism and the risk of spina bifida.

Bungee-powered backpack can lighten your load, University of Pennsylvania researcher says
Penn researchers have announced details for a suspended-load ergonomic backpack that reduces the force of a backpack's load on the wearer by 86 percent, allowing wearers to run far more comfortably with heavy loads.

Dinosaurs -- stones did not help with digestion
The giant dinosaurs had a problem. Many of them had narrow, pointed teeth, which were more suited to tearing off plants rather than chewing them.

How blood flow dictates gene expression
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have pinpointed a key regulatory protein that translates blood flow into gene expression.

Tweaking the treatment for restless legs
Newly approved medications for restless leg syndrome may only be effective for a time, suggest movement disorder neurologists from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Cyberspace may overcome ethical constraints in experiments
Psychological experiments that stopped 40 years ago because of ethical concerns could instead be conducted in cyberspace in the future.

Scanning the brain for transference
A unique new study that aims to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in the brain when transference occurs is the subject of a symposium at the American Psychoanalytic Association's 2007 Winter Meeting.

Paying attention sets off symphony of cell synchronization
A Northwestern University study uses a new strategy to show precisely how paying attention alters brain activity.

Exercise enhances seniors' physical, mental functioning
For older Americans, reversal of the brain shrinkage that occurs as people age is just one benefit of greater physical activity, according to research published in the latest issue of the Journal of Gerontology -- Medical Sciences (Vol.

Tidal motion influences Antarctic ice sheet
New research into the way the Antarctic ice sheet adds ice to the ocean reveals that tidal motion influences the flow of the one of the biggest ice streams draining the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

New imaging technique identifies people-at-risk for Alzheimer's disease
UCLA researchers used innovative brain scan technology with a new imaging molecule, invented at UCLA, to show that abnormal brain protein deposits that define Alzheimer's disease can be detected in people with mild cognitive impairment, a condition affecting 15-20 million Americans that increases risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

UCLA multiculturalism advocate selected for richest prize in humanities
A UCLA English professor and former administrator renowned for his study of the role of racial and ethnic minorities in American literature has been selected to receive the richest prize in the humanities.

NYC tadpoles fly to Puerto Rico
While many of New York's snow birds head south to Puerto Rico for time in the sun, a recent batch of first-time fliers -- born and raised in the city -- are heading down for a different reason -- to save their own species.

Science and Innovation Awards
The recipients of the third round of Science and Innovation Awards have been announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The National Academies' Distinguished Speaker Series runs Jan. 17-March 21, 2007
The National Academies announce today the winter 2007 program for Distinctive Voices at the Beckman Center, held at the Academies' Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center, 100 Academy Drive, Irvine, Calif.

What light from yonder neutron breaks?
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and four universities have made the first experimental observation of rare particles of light emitted during the radioactive decay of the neutron, a key building block of matter.

Kevin Groark, Ph.D. wins American Psychoanalytic Association CORST Prize
The Committee on Research and Special Training (CORST) of the American Psychoanalytic Association has announced Kevin Groark, Ph.D. as the recipient of its 2006 Essay Prize.

Cluster of journals publish findings on dangerous parasite, Toxoplasma gondii
Three major journals have recently published papers describing findings of Montana State University researchers and their collaborators on a common parasite that can threaten everyone from babies to AIDS patients.

Antenatal fish oil supplements boost kids' hand-eye coordination
Fish oil supplements given to pregnant mums boost the hand-eye coordination of their babies as toddlers, reveals a small study published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal and Neonatal Edition).

Mayo researcher discovers target site for developing mosquito pesticides
A Mayo Clinic researcher has discovered a target site within malaria-carrying mosquitoes that could be used to develop pesticides that are toxic to the Anopheles gambiae mosquito and other mosquito species.

Doubts cast on organophosphate poisoning as cause of Gulf War Syndrome depression
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health casts doubt on the belief that organophosphate poisoning causes symptoms of depression among Gulf War veterans and farmers, who are exposed regularly to these chemicals.

Wolves are suffering less from inbreeding than expected
Increasing levels of inbreeding is a threat against the viability of the Scandinavian wolf population.

New type of massive stellar death
So far we have thought that the signature of the death of a massive star was an energetic explosion called a

Ability of biomarkers to predict risk of heart disease, stroke appears limited
A study of the use of biomarkers to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease and death in an apparently healthy population has found that, even though some measurements are associated with future cardiovascular events, their usefulness for predicting risk in individuals may be limited.

PLoS ONE is launched by the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Sciences launches PLoS ONE. A new era begins for scientific publishing on the Internet.

New neurons could act to alleviate epilepsy
The new neurons generated as a result of neural damage due to epilepsy show a reduced excitability that could alleviate the disorder, researchers have found.

New imaging compound might 'see' Alzheimer's earlier
A new imaging molecule that can map plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease could eventually lead to earlier diagnosis of the devastating disease, according to a study funded by the National Instiutute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

How learning influences smell
The smell of an odor is not merely a result of chemical detection but is also influenced by what the smeller learns about the odor.

Mayo researcher discovers target site for developing mosquito pesticides
A Mayo Clinic researcher has discovered a target site within malaria-carrying mosquitoes that could be used to develop pesticides that are toxic to the Anopheles gambiae mosquito and other mosquito species.

Treatments for urinary infections leave bacteria bald, happy and vulnerable
A different approach to treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) could defeat the bacteria that cause the infections without directly killing them, a strategy that could help slow the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Snake-like robot and steady-hand system could assist surgeons
Engineers are designing new high-tech medical tools to equip the operating room of the future, in an effort to help doctors treat patients more safely and effectively and allow them to perform surgical tasks that are nearly impossible today.

Two cosmic bursts upset tidy association between long gamma-ray bursts and supernovae
Only in the past decade have astronomers been able to make sense of the bright flashes of cosmic light known as gamma-ray bursts, which are the brightest explosions in the universe.

Numbers, sequences pose problems for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome children
Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) have particular difficulty understanding numbers and sequences, a University of Alberta study shows.

Ho! Ho! Huh? Binghamton University researchers measure holiday spirit
The holidays just wouldn't be the same without the decorations.

Abnormal proteins linked to schizophrenia found in body tissue
A new study suggests biochemical changes associated with schizophrenia aren't limited to the central nervous system and that the disease could have more encompassing effects throughout the body than previously thought.

Corot space mission ready to search out new planets and map the interior of stars
The Corot mission is scheduled for launch on Dec. 27, 2006, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Education -- the best pill of all for preventing Alzheimer's
A study published in PLoS ONE today addresses the impact of neuroprotection on Alzheimer's disease.

USC-led researchers use stem cells to regenerate parts of teeth
A multi-national research team headed by USC School of Dentistry researcher Songtao Shi, D.D.S., Ph.D., has successfully regenerated tooth root and supporting periodontal ligaments to restore tooth function in an animal model.

Singing for survival
The primatologists at the University of St. Andrews discovered that wild gibbons in Thailand have developed a unique song as a natural defense to predators.

Tuberculosis: The bacillus takes refuge in adipose cells
A team from the Institut Pasteur has recently shown that the tuberculosis bacillus hides from the immune system in its host's fat cells.

A surprise award to George Smoot: The Daniel Chalonge Medal
George Smoot of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been awarded the Daniel Chalonge Medal by the International School of Astrophysics

Neurobiological insights for psychoanalysts working with autistic children
Psychoanalysts seeking a greater understanding of autism will participate in the

The dark side of nature: The crime was almost perfect
Nature has again thrown astronomers for a loop. Just when they thought they understood how gamma-ray bursts formed, they have uncovered what appears to be evidence for a new kind of cosmic explosion.

A laser uncovers the logic of the stomata function
What you do is sometimes determined by what your neighbors do.

Newer biomarkers add small improvement in cardiovascular risk prediction to established risk factors
Results of a Framingham Heart Study investigation of multiple biomarkers for the prediction of first major cardiovascular events and death are published in the December 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Single protein can determine severity of toxoplasma infections
Now, a team of Stanford University School of Medicine researchers, led by John Boothroyd, Ph.D., has shown for the first time how toxoplasma manages to be so effective: They documented how it injects a particular protein into the cell it infects and how that protein then travels to the cell's nucleus -- where it blocks the cell's normal response to invasion.

Inflammatory bowel disease doubles risk of pregnancy complications
Inflammatory bowel disease roughly doubles the chances of pregnancy complications, reveals research published ahead of print in Gut.

Relative abundance of common microbes living in the gut may contribute to obesity
A link between obesity and the microbial communities living in our guts is suggested by new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Watching with intent to repeat ignites key learning area of brain
Watch and learn. Experience says it works, but how? University of Oregon researchers have seen the light, by imaging the brain, while test subjects watched films of others building objects with Tinker Toys.

On the golf tee or pitcher's mound, brain dooms motion to inconsistency
If you've ever wondered why your golf swings, fastballs or free throws don't quite turn out the same way each time, even after years of practice, there is now an answer: It's mostly in your head.

New study shows promise of toxicogenomics in environmental monitoring
A new study led by UC Berkeley researchers identifies specific genetic changes in a species of water flea in response to contaminants, lending new support for the role of toxicogenomics in environmental monitoring.

U of MN researchers find novel genes critical in organ development
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a group of novel genes that are critical in organ development.

NASA data helps pinpoint wildfire threats
NASA data from earth observation satellites is helping build the capability to determine when and where wildfires may occur by providing details on plant conditions, according to a recent study.

New ergonomic backpack lightens the load
An MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) biomechanics expert has invented an ergonomic backpack that uses rubber bands to reduce the effects of heavy loads on shoulders and joints and permits wearers to run more comfortably with heavy loads.

High doses of lithium-like drugs may impair neuronal function
New laboratory research suggests that lithium and other drugs that inhibit a particular enzyme, GSK-3 beta, should be used with caution in treating Alzheimer's disease because too high a dose can impair, rather than enhance, neuronal function.

Mystery cosmic explosions
Scientists have discovered what appears to be a new kind of cosmic explosion, the subject of four articles in this week's issue of Nature.

Male contraception -- UVa discovery stirring interest among basic scientists and drug developers
In a study recently published online by Developmental Biology, members of Dr.

Restoring tamoxifen sensitivity in resistant breast cancer cells
The widely used breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex), which can become less effective over time, might retain its full strength indefinitely if used along with a second drug, according to new research in mice conducted by investigators from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and their partners.

Contrary to common wisdom, scientist discovers some mammals can smell objects under water
A Vanderbilt researcher has discovered that some stealthy mammals have been doing something heretofore thought impossible -- using the sense of smell under water. 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