Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 01, 2007
Obesity drug helps unlock clues about cancer
An approved drug for fighting obesity is helping scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine uncover clues about how to stop the growth of cancerous tumors.

Longevity by a nose (or odorant receptor)
The fruit fly's perception of food may trigger a different metabolic state than one that exists when nutrients are limited, partially counteracting the life-lengthening effects of nutrient restriction.

Calcium lowers cardiovascular risk in people on a weight loss program
Université Laval Faculty of Medicine researchers have discovered that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements while on a weight loss program lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tibetan antelope slowly recovering, WCS says
Returning from a recent 1,000-mile expedition across Tibet's remote Chang Tang region, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) biologist George Schaller reports that the Tibetan antelope -- once the target of rampant poaching -- may be increasing in numbers due to a combination of better enforcement and a growing conservation ethic in local communities.

Conflicting attitudes hinder participation in clinical trials
Women have conflicting attitudes about participating in clinical trials because of uncertainties about trusting the experimenters, fear of the trial itself and hope that the research will result in medical progress, according to a new study at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

First national review of pediatric soccer injuries finds 1.6 million ER visits over 13-year span
In this first national review of visits to US emergency rooms for soccer-related injuries the authors find significant age, gender disparities in injury rates, type and hospitalizations.

Investigating the invisible life in our environment
A new computational method to analyse environmental DNA samples, developed by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, now sheds light on the microbial composition of different habitats, from soil to water.

Capital punishment has no place in the 21st century
Health professionals around the world should speak out against execution, and use their influence to persuade the public and those in power that capital punishment is a cruel and senseless practice that has no place in the 21st century, states this week's lead editorial.

NIST wants comments on proposed 'hash' competition
NIST is planning a competition to develop one or more cryptographic

Peptide vaccine fights off breast tumors with aid of bacteria-mimicking agents
With the help of immune system-stimulating molecules that mimic bacterial components, researchers have used a type of cancer vaccine to both delay and prevent breast tumors in mice.

AkaRx Inc. licenses tetrac patents from Beartownpharma Inc.
AkaRx Inc., a Paramus, N.J.-biopharmaceutical company, announced today that they have licensed from BeartownPharma Inc., of Underhill, Vt., the patents for a new drug being developed for the treatment of patients with thyroid cancer.

Scientists see DNA get 'sunburned' for the first time
For the first time, scientists have observed DNA being damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light.

Changes in amino acids in the 1918 influenza virus cut transmission
Modest changes in the 1918 flu virus's hemagglutinin receptor binding site -- a molecular structure critical for the spread of infection -- stopped viral transmission in ferrets, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Find yields further insight into causes of Parkinson's disease
In the fruit fly Drosophila, the mutated parkin gene causes motor dysfunction and may be key to understanding the cause of familial Parkinson's in humans.

New biomarker test could predict outcome for bladder cancer patients
A set of molecular biomarkers might better predict the recurrence of bladder cancer than conventional prognostic features such as the stage or grade of the malignancy at the time it is discovered, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Bones in motion: Brown scientists to create new 3-D X-ray system
It's straight out of Superman -- the power to peer through flesh and watch bones move in three dimensions.

Resemblance between cataplexy during status cataplecticus, normal REM sleep
A study published in the February 1 issue of the journal Sleep finds that cataplexy during status cataplecticus, a case of prolonged cataplexy, partially resembles normal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep but without the other imaging characteristics of this state.

When lap dogs become attack dogs: UCLA study isolates triggers for DC press
Economic downturns have historically unleashed a torrent of aggression from the White House press corps, turning lap dogs into attack dogs, UCLA researchers found.

U-M researchers identify stem cells in pancreatic cancer
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have discovered the small number of cells in pancreatic cancer that are capable of fueling the tumor's growth.

Articles on animal migration published in BioScience
A special section in the February 2007 issue of BioScience explores animal migration in depth, reporting results from studies that employed new technologies and discussing the complications that global warming raises for migratory species.

Researchers find link between food odors and lifespan in fruit flies
Researchers studying the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, find that exposure to nutrient-derived odors can module lifespan and partially reverse the longevity-extending effects of dietary restriction.

Higher nitric oxide levels increase survival in ALI/ARDS trial
In a large-scale, multicenter trial of patients with acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), researchers showed that higher levels of nitric oxide (NO) in patient urine were strongly associated with improved survival, more ventilator-free days and decreased rates of organ failure.

Prominent US physicists ask Congress to forbid use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states
Twenty-two of the nation's most prominent physicists asked Congress today to restrict the authority of President Bush to order nuclear strikes against non-nuclear-weapon states.

A new index for measuring liver fibrosis
A new study to find a non-invasive alternative to liver biopsy when diagnosing fibrosis found that a series of simple blood tests can accurately diagnose the condition.

Nanomachine of the future captures great scientist's bold vision
An idea conceived by one of the world's greatest scientists nearly 150 years ago has finally been realised with a tiny machine that could eventually lead to lasers moving objects remotely.

SAGE launches American Journal of Men's Health
SAGE, publisher of over 460 scholarly journals, is pleased to announce the launch of the American Journal of Men's Health.

Tumor-reactive T cells boosted by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Treatment for skin cancer by infusion of tumor-reactive T cells requires patients to be pre-treated with agents that transiently decrease the number of immune cells (nonmyeloablative agents).

Standardized house dust aids health researchers
NIST chemists have created a standardized form of common house dust to support environmental scientists studying our everyday exposure to a catalog of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Artificial atoms make microwave photons countable
Using artificial atoms on a chip, Yale physicists have taken the next step toward quantum computing by demonstrating that the particle nature of microwave photons can now be detected, according to a report spotlighted in the Feb.

New report reveals African-Americans may lack key nutrients for optimal health
A new report released today in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveals that African-Americans in all age groups have lower average intakes of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and consume fewer servings of dairy foods than non-African-Americans.

JCI table of contents: Feb. 1, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Feb.

Cloning the smell of the seaside
Scientists from the University of East Anglia have discovered exactly what makes the seaside smell like the seaside -- and bottled it!

Using nanomagnets to enhance medical imaging
Nanoscale magnets in the form of iron-containing molecules might be used to improve the contrast between healthy and diseased tissue in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) according to a new report by NIST researchers.

Keck Foundation awards NYU $1.2 million grant for soft condensed matter physics
New York University's Center for Soft Matter Research has received a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the W.M.

New study in the journal Sleep finds that parasomnias are common and frequent in children
A study published in the February 1 issue of the journal Sleep finds that parasomnias in children are common, and often more frequent than in adults.

ORNL scores hit with National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
An electronic accountability system developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will result in savings of more than $2 million per year at one federal facility alone and will ensure 100 percent accountability of employees.

Sea level on the rise -- in real and virtual worlds
The climate system, and in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to rising carbon emissions than climate scientists have estimated with climate models.

Sentry enzyme blocks two paths to Parkinson's disease
The degeneration of brain cells that occurs in Parkinson's disease may be caused by either externally provoked cell death or internally initiated suicide when the molecule that normally prevents these fatal alternatives is missing, according to studies in mouse models by investigators at St.

Satellite data vital to UN climate findings
The most authoritative report on climate change to date will be released tomorrow in Paris, France, and is expected to warn of rising global sea levels and temperatures.

RAND study finds privately run schools do no better than other schools in Philadelphia
Academic improvement among students attending Philadelphia public schools managed by private operators kept pace, but did not exceed, the achievement gains of students in the rest of the district in the past four years, according to an analysis issued today by the RAND Corporation and Research for Action.

Researchers find substantial wind resource off Mid-Atlantic coast
The wind resource off the Mid-Atlantic coast could supply the energy needs of nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina, plus the District of Columbia -- with enough left over to support a 50 percent increase in future energy demand -- according to a study by researchers at the University of Delaware and Stanford University.

Scientists identify pancreatic cancer stem cells
Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical Center have, for the first time, identified human pancreatic cancer stem cells.

Extreme irritability -- is it childhood bipolar disorder?
Measurements of brainwaves in kids with extreme irritability suggest that different brain mechanisms are at play, depending on the disorders the kids have.

Grafts against cancer
A research team led by Université de Montréal Professor Claude Perreault published this week in the Public Library of Science Medicine (PLoS Medicine) a major discovery in Genomics.

The psychology of skin cancer
Thousands of people are jetting off for a week of sun, snow and après-ski.

Researchers predict future of federal climate change policy
The future of federal climate change policy is likely to include a host of strategies such as a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions, mandatory standards on renewable energy, mandatory efficiency standards on vehicles and products, and a national carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme, according to new research conducted by the University of New Hampshire.

Highlights from the February 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The February 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Adult stem cells to repair hearts damaged by severe coronary artery disease investigated
Rush University Medical Center is one of the first medical centers in the country, and currently the only site in Illinois, participating in a novel clinical trial to determine if a subject's own stem cells can treat a form of severe coronary artery disease.

Neutron probe yields break in superconductor mystery
US and Canadian researchers report a major step toward solving a two-decades-old materials science mystery and progress toward the ultimate goal of engineering materials optimized for magnetic and electric properties.

Elsevier set to launch first journal on greenhouse gas control
Elsevier announced today that it is launching a new journal titled

New study finds genetic link between women and heart disease
Scientists at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, the University of Iowa and Roche Molecular Systems are the first to identify a new gene variant that makes women more susceptible to developing heart disease.

Gut research yields new anti-cancer approach
Researchers believe they have discovered by chance a new way to fight colorectal cancer, and potentially cancers of the esophagus, liver and skin.

Researchers develop marker that identifies energy-producing centers in nerve cells
A protein that causes coral to glow is helping researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine to light up brain cells that are critical for the proper functioning of the central nervous system.

Prosthetic arm acts like a real limb
A new technique -- targeted muscle reinnervation -- that allows a neuro-controlled prosthetic arm to move as if it is a real limb, is reported in an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Slow-wave activity during sleep affected by quality, intensity of wakefulness
A study published in the February 1 issue of the journal Sleep provides a first direct demonstration that the

Ancient genes used to produce salt-tolerant wheat
Two recently discovered genes from an ancient wheat variety have led to a major advance in breeding new salt-tolerant varieties.

Sexual history should be an integral component of medical assessment
Physicians should make taking a sexual history an integral part of medical assessment as sexual symptoms can be a sign of serious underlying disease, according to the first paper in a Series which begins in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Early promise of non-invasive test for prenatal diagnosis
A new method for non-invasive prenatal testing is described in an Online Article published today (Friday, February 2, 2007) by the Lancet.

Lighting up life: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols presents tips for creating glowing plants
The current issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols provides advice on choosing appropriate plant tissues, designing test proteins for maximal GFP detection and setting up microscope equipment for imaging in plants.

Scientists should adopt codes of ethics, scientist-bioethicist says
The time is ripe for scientific organizations to adopt codes of ethics, according to a scientist and bioethicist from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the current issue of Science and Engineering Ethics.

AGU journal highlights -- Feb. 1, 2007
In this issue: Astrobiology and Martian radiation; Decontaminating tide gauge records for glacial isostatic adjustments; Using seismic noise to image volcanoes in 3-D; Autonomous underwater vehicle maps cold-water coral; Intensification, eyewall contraction and breakdown of Hurricane Charley; Predicting geomagnetic storms from solar wind; Typhoon kicked up solitary waves off Korea; Gas cloud near Saturn squelches electron intensity; Mapping Martian nighttime clouds; Will earthquakes cause big breaks?; and Plasma waves and newly formed ions near Jupiter.

Americans fear decline in US performance in math and science
More than half of Americans (52 percent) don't believe the US is performing well in science and math education compared to other nations, but they know science is very important (85 percent), according to a recent poll commissioned by Research!America.

NIST issues draft IPv6 technical profile
NIST yesterday issued a draft profile that will assist federal agencies in developing plans to acquire and deploy products that implement Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

Cutting-edge projects awarded computing time on Blue Gene/L
Nine computing projects ranging from predicting protein structure to simulating the formation of foams have been awarded large amounts of time on IBM Blue Gene/L computer systems at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and IBM's T.J.

Helium helps patients breathe easier
It makes for bobbing balloons and squeaky voices, but now helium is also helping people with severe respiratory problems breathe easier.

South Asian immigrants at higher risk for heart disease, researchers say
South Asian immigrants in America have a higher risk of heart disease than any other American population.

National Academy of Engineering announces winners of $1M challenge
The National Academy of Engineering announced today the winners of the 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability.

New forecasting tool could reduce drug development costs
It now costs more than $800 million to develop a new drug.

Genetic fingerprints identify brain tumors' origins
Genetic fingerprints that reveal where a brain cell came from remain distinct even after the cell becomes a brain tumor, an international coalition of scientists will report in the Feb.

Pills or papayas? Survey finds Americans want healthful foods, not more medicines
If you thought Americans would rather pop a pill to treat illness than make major diet changes, think again.

Educational programs designed to encourage co-existence have very little effect on Israeli youth
Research conducted at the University of Haifa reveals that educational programs for Jewish and Arab youth that are designed to encourage peaceful co-existence do not change accepted stereotypes and basic understandings.

NIST develops rapid method for judging nanotube purity
Researchers at NIST have developed a sensitive new method for rapidly assessing the quality of carbon nanotubes.

New role in asthma for old drug
Iloprost is an inhaled drug currently used to treat individuals with pulmonary arterial hypertension (raised blood pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs that leads to shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting).

Traveling in the right direction -- lessening our impact on the environment
As concern about climate change increasingly focuses on the environmental damage caused by travel, new research shows that there are huge variations in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for which individuals' travel patterns are responsible.

Researchers earn $200,000 prize for filtering arsenic from water wells
The honor culminates a 10-year effort to provide safe drinking water to villages in Eastern India, where, together with Bangladesh, tens of millions of people drink water with toxic levels of arsenic.

Mayo Clinic proposes 'pay for value' for health care quality improvement
Mayo Clinic proposes

What does it mean to have a mind? Maybe more than you think
Through an online survey of more than 2,000 people, psychologists at Harvard University have found that we perceive the minds of others along two distinct dimensions: agency, an individual's ability for self-control, morality and planning; and experience, the capacity to feel sensations such as hunger, fear and pain.

Lifestyle changes can improve male sexual function, according to new study
In a study published in the February 2007 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, researchers report that erectile dysfunction was significantly and independently associated with age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lack of physical activity.

Targeting tau: Inflammation study suggests new approach for fighting Alzheimer's
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have shown that impaired function and loss of synapses in the hippocampus of a mouse form of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is related to the activation of immune cells called microglia, which cause inflammation.

Stanford-led study closes in on genes that may predispose some people to severe depression
Now, a specific region rife with promise has been located on one chromosome by a consortium of researchers working under Douglas Levinson, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

2 brains -- 1 thought
Max Planck researchers in Göttingen have developed a method to identify possible wiring diagrams of a network based on its dynamics.

18 million men in the United States affected by erectile dysfunction
More than 18 million men in the United States over age 20 are affected by erectile dysfunction, according to a study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pneumococcal vaccination cost effective and should substantially reduce child mortality
Routine vaccination of infants against Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) in the world's poorest countries should substantially reduce childhood mortality and be cost effective according to an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Study finds flaws in cancer clinical trials
Cancer research and drug development are yielding more sophisticated candidate therapies, but investigators' methods to test them haven't kept pace, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Electrons travel through proteins like urban commuters
For Duke University theoretical chemist David Beratan, the results of his 15 years of studying how electrons make their way through some important protein molecules can be summed up with an analogy: How do big city dwellers get from here to there?

Female lacrosse players at higher risk than males for head, face and eye injuries
Despite playing a game with less physical contact, female lacrosse players in high school and college suffer more injuries about the head than males. 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