Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 18, 2007
Like salty food? Chances are you had low blood sodium when you were born
A new study concludes that low birthweight babies born with low sodium in their blood serum will likely consume large quantities of dietary sodium later in life.

Rotting leaf litter study could lead to more accurate climate models
Bags of decomposing leaf litter have allowed a research team led by scientists at UC Berkeley and Colorado State University to produce an elegantly simple set of equations to calculate the nitrogen released into the soil during decomposition, which in turn could significantly improve the accuracy of global climate change models.

Cetuximab with radiotherapy does not increase side effects for head and neck cancer patients
The addition of Cetuximab (brand name Erbitux) to radiation therapy treatments does not increase the rate or duration of some side effects in the treatment of advanced head and neck cancers, according to a study presented at the plenary session today at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, co-sponsored by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society.

Bats in flight reveal unexpected aerodynamics
Brown University engineers and biologists have joined forces to record the fine details of wing and body movement in bat flight - together with the patterns of air movement that generate lift.

New amfAR research grants aim to advance understanding and prevention of rectal HIV transmission
amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, has awarded nearly $1 million for eight new research grants and fellowships aimed at increasing understanding and prevention of rectal HIV transmission.

Bumblebee house warming -- it takes a village
All bumblebees always aren't as busy as, well, a bee.

Folic acid supplementation may improve cognitive performance
Folic acid supplementation may substantially improve cognitive function for older adults, according to an article in this week's Lancet.

Neural bottleneck found that thwarts multi-tasking
Many people think they can safely drive while talking on their cell phones.

NIH gives PITT $13 million grant for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease research
The University of Pittsburgh has been awarded nearly $13 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to increase our understanding of and improve outcomes for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a degenerative breathing disorder that is the fourth leading cause of death and the second leading cause of disability annually in the United States.

Buckyballs used as 'passkey' into cancer cells
Rice University chemists and Baylor College of Medicine pediatric scientists have discovered how to use buckyballs as passkeys that allows drugs to enter cancer cells.

Recently discovered species gain protection
The chestnut-capped piha is a robin-sized bird restricted to a few tiny remnant forest patches in Colombia, in the Central Cordillera of the Andes.

Active ingredient in common Chinese herb shown to reduce hypertension
Some 50 million Americans have hypertension, that is, blood pressure measuring above the normal range (less than 120/80 mmHg).

Poorer women more likely to get reduced chemotherapy dose, study finds
Breast cancer patients who have a lower household income and less education may be more likely to receive reduced doses of chemotherapy, according to a new study from a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher.

Drug treatment seekers more likely to use needle exchange
In an examination of the connection between Baltimore City's needle exchange program and drug treatment programs, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that individuals who enter treatment programs for drug addiction were more likely to be HIV-positive females who use Baltimore City needle exchange programs.

New way to produce multilayer cobalt thin films for technical and scientific applications
Cobalt based materials have found strong application in areas including sensors, catalysts, energy storage and magneto-optic recording media.

Conceptualizing a cyborg
Investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine describe the basis for developing a biological interface that could link a patient's nervous system to a thought-driven artificial limb.

Integral sees the Galactic center playing hide and seek
ESA's gamma ray observatory Integral has caught the centre of our galaxy in a moment of rare quiet.

A new language barrier -- Why learning a new language may make you forget your old one
Traveling abroad presents an ideal opportunity to master a foreign language.

Many women get less chemo than recommended
Women with breast cancer who are obese or less educated are twice as likely to get reduced doses of chemotherapy than doctors recommended, jeopardizing survival, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Mind over matter: SH2B1 in the brain regulates obesity
Obesity is one of the main risk factors for developing type II diabetes.

Can engineered immune cells stop AIDS?
USC biochemical engineer Pin Wang and team explore new gene therapy to combat Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Re-analysis of cigarettes confirms tobacco companies increased addictive nicotine 11 percent
A re-analysis of nicotine yield from major brand name cigarettes sold in Mass. from 1997 to 2005 has confirmed that manufacturers steadily increased the levels of this addictive agent.

Deep in arctic mud, geologists find strong evidence of climate change
How severe will global warming get? Jason P. Briner is looking for an answer buried deep in mud dozens of feet below the surface of lakes in the frigid Canadian Arctic.

Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses
A tiny whitefly is responsible for spreading a group of plant viruses that cause devastating disease on food, fiber, and ornamental crops, say plant pathologists with the American Phytopathological Society.

JCI table of contents: Jan. 18, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Older Americans not discussing complementary and alternative medicine use with doctors
In spite of the high use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among people age 50 or older, 69 percent of those who use CAM do not talk to their doctors about it, according to a new survey conducted by AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Carbon monoxide protects lung cells against oxygen-induced damage
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated that low-dose carbon monoxide administered in conjunction with oxygen therapy markedly inhibits oxygen-induced damage to lung cells.

Rice breakthrough could prevent multiple fibrotic diseases
A scientific breakthrough at Rice University may lead to the first treatment that prevents the build-up of deadly scar tissue in a broad class of diseases that account for an estimated 45 percent of U.S. deaths each year.

'Speechless' and 'Mute' help break the silence of the leaves
Researchers have discovered two genes that guide land plants to develop microscopic pores that they can open and close as if each pore was a tiny mouth.

Study identifies antihypertensive drugs least likely to lead to diabetes
Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE) are the antihypertensive agents least associated with incident diabetes according to an article in this week's Lancet.

Winner of the Japan Prize
The Japan Prize has been awarded this year to Albert Fert, Professor of the Université Paris-Sud 11, Scientific director at the Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS/THales winner of the cnrs Golden Medal in 2003.

Can engineered immune cells stop AIDS?
Researchers in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering are exploring a way to manipulate the body's natural defense system, using modified

ROV discovers Antarctic seafloor fauna
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) remain an efficient technology to uncover the secrets of Antarctic seafloor fauna.

Internationally adopted children shed light on how babies learn language
Study offers insights into language development.

NIH grant to develop rapid outpatient device to detect bird flu and bioterror agents
In response to the federal government's high priority for accelerated research to combat bird flu and bioterrorism, the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has been awarded a five-year, $8.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a rapid, miniaturized, automated diagnostic device to test for avian flu and the majority of potential bioterrorism agents.

Tracing the pathways of neurofibromatosis
New research into the mechanisms of neurofibromatosis finds that flaws in the gene Nf1 can lead to a biochemical domino effect that results in tumors.

LSU provides mental health therapy for children traumatized by Hurricane Katrina
After a successful pilot run, the LSU School of Social Work received $100,000 from the AmeriCares Mental Health Grant Program to continue its study,

Walking molecule now carries packages
A research team, led by UC Riverside's Ludwig Bartels, was the first to design a molecule that can move in a straight line on a flat surface.

Minister Lunn to announce new clean energy initiative
On Sunday, Jan. 21, the Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of Natural Resources, will make an important announcement about new funding for energy-efficiency programs, as part of the government of Canada's ecoENERGY initiatives.

UCF scientists' molecular discovery could help drugs target unhealthy cells
University of Central Florida and University of California Riverside professors are a step closer to being able to deliver life-saving drugs through tiny molecules that would travel through the bloodstream and destroy only cancer-ridden cells.

MU scientists discover way to order polar molecules in crystals
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found a way to organize molecules in a crystal so that the poles align in the same direction.

Bright white beetle dazzles scientists
An obscure species of beetle could teach us how to produce brilliant white ultra-thin materials, according to a research team led by the University of Exeter.

Time to revise policy on self-testing for HIV
A review of government policy about self-testing for HIV is needed in the UK in order to increase the uptake of HIV testing, according to a viewpoint in this week's Lancet.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2007
The following stories are featured by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for January 2007.

Statin plus cancer drug deliver combo punch to brain cancer cells
Building on newly discovered genetic threads in the rich tapestry of biochemical signals that cause cancer, a Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center team has dramatically killed brain cancer cells by blocking those signals with a statin and an experimental antitumor drug.

Simple diagnostic test detects genetic signs of lung cancer in a patient's sputum
DNA coughed up along with phlegm could point to lung cancer, say researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who are developing an inexpensive and non-invasive gene probe to help diagnose early stage lung cancer in current and former smokers.

Are women seeing the most experienced breast cancer surgeons?
Women who took more control over choosing their breast cancer surgeon were more likely to be treated by more experienced breast surgeons and at a hospital affiliated with an accredited cancer program, compared to women who were referred by another doctor or their health plan, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Tumor cells evade death through autophagy
Autophagy (a process that enables cells to turnover their contents) is initiated in tumor cells by chemotherapy and radiation, but it is not known if this causes tumor cell death or helps tumor cells survive.

Springer to introduce new journal NanoEthics
Springer has announced the launch of a new peer-reviewed journal called NanoEthics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale.

Immunization strategy reduces worldwide measles mortality by more than half
The goal to halve worldwide measles mortality during the past six years has been met with a 60 percent decrease, according to an article published in this week's Lancet.

Rutgers anthropologist to receive Crafoord Prize, biology's equivalent of Nobel Prize
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today announced that it will award the 2007 Crafoord Prize in Biosciences to Robert Trivers, professor of anthropology and biological sciences at Rutgers University.

Most fertility clinic Web sites do not conform to ad guidelines
The majority of fertility clinic Web sites do not adhere to their own association's advertising guidelines, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study published in Fertility and Sterility.

The 2006 hurricane season was near normal
After the record setting season of 2005 with 27 named tropical cyclones, many meteorologists and hurricane specialists were forecasting another above average hurricane season for 2006, but it didn't happen.

Cetuximab may prolong survival for head and neck cancer patients
Preliminary findings show adding the chemotherapy drug cetuximab (brand name Erbitux) to radiation therapy and chemotherapy may help some patients with head and neck cancer live longer, according to a study presented at the plenary session of the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, co-sponsored by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the American Head and Neck Society.

Nitrogen study may improve ecological predictions
The pattern of nitrogen release from decaying plant material is remarkably similar and predictable across the planet, researchers have concluded in a new study, which should make it easier to understand nutrient dynamics, vegetation growth, estimate carbon release and sequestration and better predict the impacts of climate change.

There is a dark side to the humble raindrop
Rain splatter is a primary cause of water erosion. But there is much that scientists don't know about the basic physics involved, making it difficult for them to assess the accuracy of the empirical equations used to predict water erosion.

Elderly's ability to manage the cold may be due in part to some aging processes of the body
Hypothermia -- when the body's temperature drops significantly below normal -- is especially deadly for the elderly. 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