Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 08, 2007
A bio-inspired flying robot sheds light on insect piloting abilities
Insects and other flying animals are somehow able to maintain appropriate flying heights and execute controlled takeoffs and landings despite lacking the advantage of sophisticated instrumentation available to human aviators.

Lung cancer rates higher among female nonsmokers than previously
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Northern California Cancer Center have taken the first steps toward analyzing why people who never smoked get lung cancer.

Penn study suggests new model for testing and discovery of anti-HIV drugs
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are the first to show that a mouse protein, whose human equivalent is related to defense against HIV-1, inhibits the infection and spread of a mouse tumor virus.

Columbia scientists determine 3-dimensional structure of cell's 'fuel gauge'
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have uncovered the complex structure of a protein that serves as a central energy gauge for cells, providing crucial details about the molecule necessary for developing useful new therapies for diabetes and possibly obesity.

Elderly married couples don't let nursing homes keep them apart
Seniors work hard to keep their marriages alive and well, even after one spouse falls ill and goes into a long-term care facility.

Researchers invent system to control and quarantine worms attacking computer networks
A new anti-worm technology developed by Penn State researchers can not only identify and contain worms milliseconds after a cyber attack, but can also release the information if the quarantine turns out to be unwarranted.

Animal studies in the land of the midnight sun illuminate biological clocks
How do animals living in the continuous light of the Arctic summer know when to sleep and when to be active?

Chemo combination improves survival in asbestos-related cancer
People with mesothelioma -- a form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure -- have a higher survival rate when treated with a combination of two cancer drugs, a large multicenter study finds.

Abortion -- where do we draw the line?
The 40th anniversary in October this year of the passing of the UK Abortion Act is certain to be marked by attempts to reopen the debate about lowering the upper limit for legal terminations.

Scientific Research Highlights -- 23rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine
Pain medicine investigators presented preliminary research findings at poster sessions held during the 23rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel/Morial Convention Center, Feb.

$1M grant supports soil science for mitigating greenhouse gases
A one-year, $1 million dollar grant awarded by the Robertson Foundation continues the work of a national group of researchers and educators from nine universities and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) who are committed to developing innovative and practical solutions for enhancing the role of agricultural soils in climate change mitigation.

Possible solution to Group B streptococci infection in newborn infants
CNRS France and a team of Portuguese researchers at the Istitut Pasteur have just identified a protein in a micro-organism which allows it to colonise a host by modulating its immune system and may show the way to combat Group B Streptococci.

New medications, cancer diagnosis goals of UH engineers with $1M in grants
A tabletop system capable of screening tens of thousands of drug candidates in an hour and a tool that can provide a reliable cancer diagnosis with minuscule quantities of tissue obtained through non-invasive means are possible outcomes of research by a team of engineering professors at the University of Houston.

A simple test permits to distinguish between bipolar disorder and depression
Type II bipolar disorder patients are difficult to diagnose since their manic episodes are not very marked and they are usually diagnosed as depression patients.

Gene elevating breast cancer risk also causes prostate cancer
An international multicenter research effort has identified a new genetic defect as a potential heritable breast cancer susceptibility candidate.

Revealing secret intentions in the brain
Scientists decode concealed intentions from human brain activity.

African-Americans receive fewer stem cell transplants than whites
African-Americans are less likely to receive potentially life-saving stem cell transplants than Caucasians, no matter whether the cells are from an anonymous donor, a relative or are self-donated, according to research being presented here at the 2007 BMT Tandem Meetings of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.

Does a component of niacin point the way to anti-aging drugs?
In recent years, scientists have discovered that a family of enzymes called sirtuins can dramatically extend life in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms and flies.

Climos chief science officer to speak at NJIT about greenhouse gases
Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., chief science officer and vice president of Climos, will discuss at New Jersey Institute of Technology next week the buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases over just two centuries.

Non-invasive, real-time monitoring for sepsis in neonates goes national
Imagine being able to know ahead of time when a baby will get a serious infection and then being able to treat the infection before it can affect his or her tender life.

Study profiles rate of autism in Wisconsin
A Wisconsin autism surveillance project reported today that approximately five out of every 1,000 Wisconsin children born in 1994 display symptoms indicative of autism.

The love song of male túngara frogs
Male túngara frogs produce two types of calls to attract females: simple and complex.

Pregnancy news -- Preterm delivery risk reduced by high-dose progesterone treatment
The March of Dimes honored the work of Dr. Fabio Facchinetti, of the Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia in Modena Italy, at the 27th annual meeting of the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine.

Vitamin D3 provides skin with protection from harmful microbes
A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine shows that fluctuations in vitamin D3 levels control the body's innate immune response, affecting a skin wound's ability to heal.

Fitness has fallen since the days of Ancient Greece
We may not be as fit as the people of ancient Athens, despite all that modern diet and training can provide, according to research by University of Leeds (UK) exercise physiologist, Dr Harry Rossiter.

Road to college filled with distinctive barriers for Mexican-Americans
Mexican-American high-schoolers and their white peers aspire equally to go on to college to chase their dreams, but the minority students see many more hurdles in their paths, say researchers at the University of Oregon.

Angelman syndrome deficits rescued in mice
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Erasmus Medical Center show that preventing the inhibition of CaMKII reverses the neurological deficits in a mouse model of Angelman syndrome, a rare disorder that causes mental retardation, motor impairments and seizures.

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is a 'cosmic graffiti artist,' astronomers discover
Astronomers from the University of Virginia and other institutions have found that Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, is a

Malaria -- More than 4.3 million medicines tested thanks to calculation grids
CNRS laboratory IN2P3 in an international effort analyzed close to 80,000 medicines for Malaria allowing the calculation of the probability of a particular molecule affecting the proliferation of the parasite.

Vitamin D3 provides the skin with protection from harmful microbes
A new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that wounding of the skin of humans triggers the production (by skin cells known as keratinocytes) of the active form of vitamin D3, which, in turn, induces an immune response that includes the production of antimicrobial peptides, such as cathelicidin, and the upregulation of receptors that recognize microbial components, such as TR2 and CD14.

Detection of Salmonella in 24 hours
In 2002 the Department of Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology at the UPV/EHU together with the company, Laboratorios Bromatológicos Araba, and the Leioa Technological Centre, decided to carry out collaborative work in order to try to develop new, faster methods for Salmonella detection.

MIT: Flowing bubbles mimic computer
In work that could dramatically boost the capabilities of

Study finds endoscopic brain surgery pioneered in Pittsburgh effective in children with tumors
A first-of-its-kind study published in the February issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics suggests endoscopic brain surgery, pioneered by surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has the potential to be safer and often more effective than conventional surgery in children with life-threatening conditions.

Reading hidden intentions in the human brain
By imaging patterns of activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex as subjects concentrated on their choice of two future actions, researchers have been able to distinguish cortical activity patterns that correspond to the subjects' different plans.

Love, not money, inspires immigrants to become US citizens
Love, more than money, inspires legal immigrants to go through the naturalization process to become American citizens, according to new research from UC Irvine.

Decision-making -- Demonstration of a link between cognition and execution
CNRS researchers at the University Victor Ségalen, Bordeaux have revealed the existence of an interaction at the cellular level between cognitive information and motor information.

New smear test policy puts young women at risk, say doctors
Last month, the BMJ reported a fall in the number of young women attending smear tests.

First large-scale HIV vaccine trial in South Africa opens
A large-scale clinical trial of a candidate HIV vaccine -- which previously showed promise in smaller studies in the United States and elsewhere -- has now opened in South Africa.

Study shows causal link between antibiotic prescription and antibiotic resistance
The link between antimicrobial use and increasing resistance is established in an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Master switches found for adult blood stem cells
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have found a set of

Microsurgery and Super Glue show how antennae aid moth navigation
Scientists have wondered how four-winged insects most active at low-light times of the day accomplish complex navigational maneuvers, since they lack the structures that help two-winged insects to navigate.

Nanotechnology meets biology and DNA finds its groove
The object of fascination for most is the DNA molecule.

Prematurity more accurately predicted by advances in proteomic technology
Abnormal proteins in amniotic fluid that signal a higher risk of delivering prematurely are being detected with increasing accuracy by Yale School of Medicine researchers who presented their work in two abstracts at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference February 8 in San Francisco.

Penn Study based on Abu Ghraib suggests military veterans highly tolerant of detainee abuse
In a study that appears in the current issue of Military Medicine, William C.

New protein inhibitor impedes growth of cancerous cells
Researchers have developed a small-molecule inhibitor of a protein that plays key roles in the control of cell division, and they show that the inhibitor can halt the growth of tumors in mice and cancer-derived cells growing in culture.

The multi-tasking reovirus
There is accumulating data that suggests in addition to directly killing tumor cells, reoviruses may prime the immune system to mount a separate, powerful and long lasting defense against cancer.

Africa's first large-scale HIV vaccine study launches
The launch of the first large-scale study to evaluate a candidate HIV vaccine on the African continent was announced today by study collaborators in the United States and South Africa.

Elsevier partners with American Society of Hypertension to launch new journal
World-leading scientific and medical publisher Elsevier is pleased to announce the formation of a partnership with the American Society of Hypertension Inc.

Second gene discovered for recessive form of brittle bone disease
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions have found a second genetic defect that accounts for previously unexplained forms of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a disorder that weakens bones, sometimes results in frequent fractures and is sometimes fatal.

Trial comparison will help in treatment of arthritis
Incidence of upper gastrointestinal clinical events in patients with arthritis on the COX-2 inhibitor etoricoxib are fewer than in those patients on the NSAID diclofenac, according to an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Which genome variants matter?
Findings published in Science will accelerate the search for genes involved in human disease.

UTSA researchers examine effects of global warming on Antarctic
UTSA Earth and Environmental Science Researchers Hongjie Xie and Burku Cicek were a part of an international group of scientists and educators that traveled from Chile to the Antarctica last month to measure the polar ice caps and determine if they are affected by global warming.

Reversal of symptoms in an autism spectrum disorder
The Rett Syndrome Research Foundation announces results of a landmark study reversing the symptoms of Rett Syndrome in a genetic mouse model.

Umbilical cord blood banking Richard Branson's way
Any attempt to increase the available pool of umbilical cord blood cells, which are otherwise just discarded, should be enthusiastically praised, states the lead editorial in this week's issue of the Lancet.

The code of codes -- Scientists discover parallel codes in genes
Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science report the discovery of two new properties of the genetic code.

Study offers treatment hope for Rett syndrome
The symptoms of a severe autism spectrum disorder affecting at least 10,000 children in the UK could be reversed following research by Scottish scientists.

FEMMSS2: Knowledge that Matters
The Association for Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics and Science Studies holds a national conference at Arizona State University February 8-10 to look at how knowledge is produced, distributed and taken up in the context of questions of equality, ethics, sustainability, power, identity, voice and social change.

Unpeaceful co-existence: How strengths and weaknesses maintain biodiversity in an ant community
Many species of ants scavenge for the same food, but the single most efficient species doesn't drive the others to extinction.

Plant-grazing fish boost resilience of coral reefs facing stress
By using cages to experimentally control the access of fish to coral reefs, researchers have assessed the role of fish

2007 Joint Assembly -- Acapulco, Mexico
Reporters, editors, and public information officers are invited to register for 2007 Joint Assembly, which takes place at the Acapulco Convention Center in Acapulco, Mexico, May 22-25.

Study finds young Africans suffering advanced HIV disease from delayed diagnosis
A new study suggests the effects of long-standing, undiagnosed HIV infection are hanging over a generation of adolescents in Zimbabwe, causing organ damage, chronic ill health, stunted growth, and other problems.

3-D ultrasound identifies women at risk for impending preterm birth
To help physicians non-invasively identify women at risk for preterm birth, 3-D ultrasound was used to measure the size of fetal adrenal glands, according to an abstract presented by Yale School of Medicine researchers at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference February 8 in San Francisco.

Pregnancy-related heart failure explained, symptoms reversed by simple hormone blocker
A new study reveals the mechanism responsible for a rare but potentially devastating form of heart failure that sometimes afflicts women late in pregnancy or shortly following childbirth, researchers have reported in the Feb.

Possible genetic link to schizophrenia identified
Several neurological and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, are associated with changes in the brain that affect nerves that communicate with each other using dopamine.

Kansas State study finds new vaccine effective against deadly viral disease affecting swine
Researchers from Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine have completed a study showing that a newly-developed vaccine is effective against a deadly viral disease that is affecting swine herds in Kansas.

Common gene version optimizes thinking -- but with a possible downside
Most people inherit a version of a gene that optimizes their brain's thinking circuitry, yet also appears to increase risk for schizophrenia, a severe mental illness marked by impaired thinking.

Newborn brains grow vision and movement regions first
The regions of the brain that control vision and other sensory information grow dramatically in the first few months following birth, while the area that controls abstract thought experiences very little growth during the same period, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have found.

Medical therapy for restless legs syndrome may trigger compulsive gambling
A new Mayo Clinic study is the first to describe this compulsive gambling in RLS patients who are being treated with medications that stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain.

Canada's new government invests in forest competitiveness
Canada's new government understands that a strong forest sector is vital to a strong Canadian economy.

Study recommends greater attention to spiritual needs of people with advanced cancer
People with advanced cancer felt they received little or no spiritual support from religious communities and the medical system, according to a new survey.

Combination of drugs should be stockpiled to fight flu pandemic, say experts
A combination of antiviral drugs should be stockpiled for use in an influenza pandemic, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Surprising airbag hazards among research findings at hearing safety conference
At the National Hearing Conservation Association's 32nd annual conference, top experts in the field will reveal new findings related to automobile airbags, military hearing protection, and farm-work related trauma.

Research aims to calm your car's rattling
Researchers at Purdue University are getting close to eliminating those rattling and squeaking noises in your car's headrest and other components, major sources of consumer dissatisfaction that automakers would like to eliminate.

NARVAL -- The first observatory dedicated to stellar magnetism
CNRS-Insu France in collaboration with the Research Council of Canada and the University of Hawaii have recently installed a stellar spectropolarimeter on the Bernard Lyot Telescope In France.

JCI table of contents -- February 8, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, February 8, 2006, in the JCI, including: Vitamin D3 provides the skin with protection from harmful microbes; Possible genetic link to schizophrenia identified; Efficient consumption of copper allows fungus to infect the brain; Don't stop here: why only some cystic fibrosis patients respond to treatments that prevent the generation of truncated proteins; and others.

National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2007 inductees
Continuing its commitment to honor invention and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has recognized the next group of world-class inventors who will be inducted into its ranks.

International study points to new breast cancer-susceptibility gene
A gene whose existence was detected only a couple of years ago may increase women's risk of breast cancer when inherited in a mutated form, and may contribute to prostate cancer as well, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and colleagues in Finland report in a new study.

New recommendations against a major opportunistic infection -- cryptococcosis
CRNS and the Institut Pasteur conducted research in France on patients diagnosed with cryptococcosis which ranks second among fatal opportunistic infections in patients infected by HIV and who are profoundly immunosuppressed.

BioMed Central announces winners of first open access research awards
BioMed Central, the world's largest publisher of peer-reviewed, open access research journals, is proud to announce the winners of the first BioMed Central Research Awards.

Fifth annual conference on college depression
Every year, more than 1,000 college students die by suicide, and thousands more attempt to kill themselves.

Architectural plan revealed of doomsday arctic seed vault
The Norwegian government has revealed the architectural design for the Svalbard International Seed Vault, to be carved deep into frozen rock on an island not far from the North Pole.

Robotic exoskeleton replaces muscle work
A robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system could help users regain limb function, which is encouraging news for people with partial nervous system impairment, say University of Michigan researchers.

Robotic therapy helps restore hand use after stroke
A robotic therapy device may help people regain strength and normal use of affected hands long after a stroke, according to a University of California, Irvine study. 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