Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 05, 2007
March of Dimes commits additional $3M to prematurity research
The March of Dimes announced support for the innovative research of eight scientists with combined grant awards of $3 million.

RAND study finds few HIV-positive parents make formal custody plans for their children
Few unmarried parents who are HIV-positive have made legally documented arrangements for who would care for their children if the parents die, according to a survey by the RAND Corp. issued today.

Nanoengineering research at UH a magnet for Defense Department grant
Whether you're a soldier navigating a minefield or a doctor examining a tumor, how well you know the territory can make all the difference in the outcome.

Risk of preterm birth appears to vary by season
Women who become pregnant in spring are more vulnerable to preterm birth than those who conceive in other seasons, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

Supplemental therapy can ease pain for people suffering from common jaw disorder
A new supplemental therapy that teaches pain coping and biofeedback skills can reduce pain, the potential for chronic pain and health-care costs for millions of Americans suffering from a common jaw disorder, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

Low birth weight and childhood abuse linked to psychological problems later in life
A recent study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) finds children born with low birth weight (LBW) who suffered child abuse are substantially more likely to develop psychological problems such as depression and social dysfunction in adolescence and adulthood.

Evolutionary influences on proteins
Intron-exon boundaries, once fixed in proteins, are found to be subject to purifying selection, even if they are not optimal for protein function.

Diagnostic 'Divining Rod' for diagnosing limb-threatening bone infection -- reliable or relic?
A transatlantic team of researchers determines that the commonly used

Parents blind to their children's weight
Most parents cannot recognize that their child is overweight, a Deakin University study has revealed, with a majority believing their overweight child is of normal weight.

Medicare payment cuts will accelerate primary care collapse
By not including funds to offset a pending cut in Medicare payments to physicians, the president's FY 2008 budget will accelerate the collapse of primary care, create access problems, and manufacture obstacles to fundamental reform of physician payment policies, the American College of Physicians said today.

European medical research still ignoring women
Despite the European Union's commitment to gender equality, women are still underrepresented on the committees that sanction research while the impact of gender differences continues to be ignored in clinical trials, suggests a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Sea creature's toxin could lead to promising cancer treatment
A toxin derived from a reclusive sea creature resembling a translucent doughnut has inspired UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers to develop a related compound that shows promise as a cancer treatment.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for February 6, 2007
The following articles are featured in the February 6, 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet:

Ancient rocks show how young Earth avoided becoming giant snowball
A greenhouse gas that has become the bane of modern society may have saved Earth from completely freezing over early in the planet's history, according to the first detailed laboratory analysis of the world's oldest sedimentary rocks.

Looking for love on all the right Web sites?
If you're hoping for Cupid's online arrow, then watch out for tall stories and wide fabrications.

Autism may not be the only childhood psychiatric disorder on the rise
The incidence of three childhood neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, increased among Danish children between 1990 and 2004, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Rutgers survey examines public responses to the recent spinach recall
To investigate the public's reactions to recall of spinach in September 2006, a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Americans were interviewed by telephone from November 8 to 29, 2006.

Male-killing bacteria makes female butterflies more promiscuous
A study at University College London finds that a high-prevalence of male-killing bacteria active in many species of insect including the butterfly, actually increases female promiscuity and male fatigue.

CESAR could hail cheaper and greener small aircraft
A £280,000 grant to engineers at the University of Manchester could help spark the development of cheaper, lighter and greener small passenger aircraft.

Human proteins evolving slowly thanks to multitasking genes
Many human proteins are not as good as they might be because the gene sequences that code for them have a double role which slows down the rate at which they evolve, according to new research published in PLoS Biology.

Scientists find why conductance of nanowires vary
A Georgia Tech physics group has discovered how and why the electrical conductance of metal nanowires changes as their length varies.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- January 31, 2007
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 35 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Environmental toxicants like lead, mercury target stem cells
Low levels of toxic substances cause critical stem cells in the central nervous system to prematurely shut down.

Alzheimer's gene raises newborns' cerebral palsy risk
Apolipoprotein E (APOE), a gene associated with heightened risk for Alzheimer's disease in adults, can also increase the likelihood that brain-injured newborns will develop cerebral palsy, researchers at Children's Memorial Research Center have discovered.

Human skin harbors completely unknown bacteria
It appears that the skin, the largest organ in our body, is a kind of zoo and some of the inhabitants are quite novel, according to a new study.

FISH-ing for links between cancer and aging
Wielding a palette of chromosome paints, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have taken a step closer to understanding the relationship between aging and cancer by visualizing chromosomes of cells from patients with a heritable premature aging disease known as Werner Syndrome.

High blood pressure during pregnancy may lead to postmenopausal heart disease
Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to develop increased coronary calcification later in life than those who maintained a normal blood pressure.

Concern over safety of commercial ultrasound scans
Expectant parents' desire to see images of their unborn children has given rise to commercial companies offering keepsake ultrasound scans without medical supervision, often referred to as

Loneliness associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease
Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer's disease in late life as those who are not lonely, according to an article in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

SCAI expert panel sets high standards for PCI without on-site cardiac surgical backup
The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, a leading organization for interventional cardiologists, today released a document recommending the adoption of stringent quality standards by those who perform percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in hospitals not equipped for cardiac surgery.

Microprinting technique for patterning single molecules
A new process for creating patterns of individual molecules on a surface, known as

MIT 'microsieve' could aid study of diseases
A new MIT microchip system promises to speed up the separation and sorting of biomolecules such as proteins.

Mayo Clinic surgeons propose new measures for indicating quality of lung surgery
Mayo Clinic surgeons have proposed a system of lung surgery quality indicators for surgeons and the public as a method to demonstrate best practices for obtaining positive patient outcomes.

Yale chemists show that nature could have used different protein building blocks
Chemists at Yale have done what Mother Nature chose not to -- make a protein-like molecule out of non-natural building blocks, according to a report featured early online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Ministers urged to stand firm on folate
Two of Australia's pioneers in folate research have urged the federal government to hold firm in its support for mandatory fortification, despite increasing pressure from vested interests in the food industry.

Is doctors' self-interest endangering the NHS?
Recent newspaper headlines have suggested that doctors' pay is responsible for the financial crisis in the NHS.

Symptoms of depression linked to early stages of artery disease
Depressive symptoms -- especially physical signs, such as fatigue and loss of appetite -- may be associated with thickening arteries, which may reflect an early sign of coronary artery disease, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Stents benefit people at high risk of stroke
People at high risk of stroke due to blocked blood vessels in the brain benefit from successful stent placement, according to a study published in the Feb.

Rong Li Lab demonstrates the process of mammalian egg maturation
The Rong Li lab team has answered an important question about how mammalian eggs undergo maturation through an intricate process of asymmetric cell division.

Scripps research scientists: Compounds show significant promise against potential bioweapon toxins
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin have identified two small molecules with promising activity against neurotoxins produced by the Clostridium botulinum, a compound so deadly it has been labeled one of the six highest-risk bioterrorism agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Severe form of 'enlarged prostate' disease discovered
Millions of middle-aged and older men experience the symptoms of an enlarged prostate multiple times during the day and night.

Contraceptives and the poor; plus new findings on cryptococcosis
Analysis of survey data from 55 developing countries has shown that, although the use of contraception is increasing, its use by the poorest people remains low.

Severely mentally ill have increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
A large British study indicates that individuals with severe mental illnesses are significantly more likely to die from coronary heart disease and stroke, but not cancer, than those without mental illnesses, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Blindness from smoking terrifies teens, but few realize the two are linked
Teenagers fear blindness more than lung cancer or stroke, but nine out of 10 don't know that smoking can rob them of their sight in later life, reveals research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Length of time to rid homes of lead hazards unacceptable, researchers say
The length of time it can take to rid homes of lead hazards is

Bioengineering efficient antibiotic biosynthesis in E. coli
An erythromycin-producing E. coli recombinant strain with an antibiotic-overproducing mutation in the mycarose biosynthesis pathway produced second-generation mutants capable of directed biosynthesis of enhanced precursor macrolide antibiotics.

MU researcher to study volcanism with under-ocean sensors
Earthquakes and volcanic activity occur when the tectonic plates that make up Earth's surface move apart or converge.

MIT develops measures to predict performance of complex systems
Taking a cue from the financial world, MIT researchers along with experts in industry and government have developed a list of 13 measures that engineers can use to predict how well a system -- or project -- will perform before it is even finished.

Cardiac CT Conference to be held Feb. 9 and 10 in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Cardiologists from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center and John Hopkins University School of Medicine will speak on cardiac computed tomography angiography (cardiac CTA) on Feb.

Women have played major role in history -- from the start, authors assert
The authors of 'The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in History' reveal that women have always been major players -- not simply baby-machines who tended to the children, rustled up roots, collected nuts and berries, and relied on macho male hunters to bring home the bacon.

Doctors' own fear of death linked to hastening death of very sick newborns
Doctors who fear their own death say they are more prepared than other doctors to hasten death in sick newborns for whom further medical treatment is considered futile, reveals research published ahead of print in the Fetal & Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Loneliness associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease
Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer's disease in late life as those who are not lonely, according to a study by researchers at the Rush Alzheimer's disease Center.

No more seizures? New drug holds promise for epilepsy patients
People with newly diagnosed epilepsy experienced few, if any, seizures while taking the drug levetiracetam as a single therapy, giving hope to epilepsy patients who don't respond to or can't tolerate existing treatments, according to a study published in the Feb.

Cataract scheme 'expensive over-reaction' say doctors
The independent sector treatment center (ISTC) scheme for NHS cataract services was an expensive over-reaction to the need to increase rates of cataract surgery, say senior doctors in this week's BMJ.

Sedentary teens more likely to have higher blood pressure
Teenagers who spend a lot of time planted in front of the TV are more likely to have higher blood pressure, regardless of whether they are overweight.

Gene found for rare disorder may reveal new pathway in mental retardation
Studying mutations that give rise to a rare genetic disease, genetics researchers have identified a novel biological pathway that may have a broader role during human development, potentially in cases of mental retardation and autism.

MIT 'optics on a chip' may revolutionize telecom, computing
In work that could lead to completely new devices, systems and applications in computing and telecommunications, MIT researchers are bringing the long-sought goal of

European Federation of Biotechnology and Elsevier announce launch of biotechnology journal
Elsevier will launch Biotechnology, the Journal, as the official publication of the European Federation of Biotechnology in September 2007.

Pediatricians willing to disclose medical errors but consider current reporting systems inadequate
Most pediatricians support both reporting medical errors to hospitals and disclosing them to patients' families, but believe formal error reporting systems are inadequate and struggle with personal disclosure, according to survey results published in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

For some species, an upside to inbreeding
Although breeding between close kin is thought to be generally unfavorable from an evolutionary standpoint, in part because harmful mutations are more easily propagated through populations in this way, theory predicts that under some circumstances, the benefits of inbreeding may outweigh the costs.

Two-thirds of nursing students believe it's wrong to lie to patients, twice as many as in 1983
Sixty-six percent of nurses today believe it's wrong to lie to patients, compared with 33 percent in 1983.

Survey identifies teen online behaviors associated with online interpersonal victimization
Teens who talk to strangers online are more likely to become victims of online harassment than those who share their personal information on the Internet, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

World's oldest rocks show how Earth may have dodged frozen fate of Mars
Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that has become a bane of modern society, may have saved Earth from freezing over early in the planet's history, according to a detailed laboratory analysis of the world's oldest sedimentary rocks by University of Chicago and University of Colorado at Boulder researchers.

Scientists identify molecular cause for one form of deafness
Scientists exploring the physics of hearing have found an underlying molecular cause for one form of deafness, and a conceptual connection between deafness and the organization of liquid crystals, which are used in flat-panel displays.

Allergy to hair dye increasing
Allergic reactions to hair dye are increasing as more and younger people dye their hair, warn researchers in this week's BMJ.

National Science Foundation requests $6.43B for FY 2008
Today, National Science Foundation Director Arden L. Bement Jr., proposed an investment of $6.43 billion in fiscal year 2008 for agency programs to advance frontiers of research and education in science and engineering.

Nanomicroscopy reveals the collective transport of gold atoms in real-time
Researchers at Delft University of Technology used a High Resolution Electron Microscope to observe in real-time the collective transportation of gold atoms in a thin layer.

Gaps identified in understanding Aboriginal children's health
A Deakin University-Flinders University research team who reviewed all research on Aboriginal child health, development and well-being in Australia has found major gaps in knowledge, with significant implications for health service policy and delivery. 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