Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 19, 2007
White-knuckle atmospheric science takes flight
University of Toronto Mississauga physicist Kent Moore flies head-on into hurricane-force winds off the southern tip of Greenland.

Primitive yeast yields secrets of human cholesterol and drug metabolism
By first probing the way primitive yeast make cholesterol, a team of scientists has discovered a long-sought protein whose human counterpart controls cholesterol production and potentially drug metabolism.

Spearmint tea -- A possible treatment for mild hirsutism
Women with hirsutism grow hair on their faces, breasts and stomachs.

Potential for malaria transmission higher than previously thought
A new mathematical approach applied to 121 human populations infected with malaria revises the basic reproductive number -- an indication of the transmission intensity -- up by an order of magnitude, with serious implications for effective malaria control.

Cancer is a stem cell issue
There is an urgent reason to study stem cells: stem cells are at the heart of some, if not all, cancers.

Riding the winds of change
Climate change is forcing the Inuit to change the traditional way of doing things.

Colon cancer screening -- Going 'Back To The Future'?
In an editorial in the February 20 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine gastroenterologist and Regenstrief Institute, Inc. researcher Thomas Imperiale, M.D., writes that to increase screening rates for colorectal cancers, we need more convenient and less invasive screening tests.

Scientists warn of climate change risk to marine turtles
North American marine turtles are at risk if global warming occurs at predicted levels, according to scientists from the University of Exeter.

Results of largest ever genome scan for autism out
The genomes of the largest collection of families with multiple cases of autism ever assembled have been scanned and the preliminary results published in Nature Genetics (February 18, 2007).

'Dilbert of academia' brings humor to talk at UH
Known as the

Sick teens in crisis: Organ transplant patients may die when insurance for medicine runs out
A new study from Saint Louis University researchers shows that young transplant patients who lose their federally provided insurance coverage are more likely to stop taking necessary anti-rejection drugs, which can increase the risk of losing the transplanted organs.

Doctors test effort that helps people understand health risk information
Dartmouth/Veterans Affairs researchers have tested whether a primer, which the researchers also wrote, helped people better understand information about health risks and interventions meant to reduce those risks.

Psychiatric and neurologic conditions may underlie many cases of chronic dizziness
Chronic dizziness may have several common causes, including anxiety disorders, migraine, traumatic brain injury and disorders in the part of the nervous system governing involuntary activities, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Diabetes risk factors develop earlier in women than men
The 'diabetes clock' may start ticking in women years in advance of a medical diagnosis of the disease, new research has shown.

Blood marker helps predict prognosis among those with abdominal infection
Monitoring blood levels of a compound known as procalcitonin in patients with peritonitis (a serious intra-abdominal infection) could help identify patients at increased risk of organ failure and death, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Sense and sensibility in short-term memory
More than three centuries ago, Sir Isaac Newton reflected on the similarities between the sense of hearing and the sense of sight.

Good vibrations: Aging bones may benefit from a good shaking
Researchers at Griffith University are investigating a novel, low intensity intervention that they believe may help reduce hip fracture risk in the elderly.

Public wants young offenders tried in juvenile courts despite policymakers' get-tough stance
The juvenile justice system emerged a century ago out of the belief that young offenders were less culpable and more salvageable than their adult counterparts, but today, that system is under attack by get-tough policymakers claiming wide public support that Florida State University criminologists in Tallahassee, Fla. say simply doesn't exist.

Mouse stem cell line advance suggests potential for IVF-incompetent eggs
Researchers have found that mouse oocytes that fail to become fertilized during in vitro fertilization are nevertheless often capable of succeeding as

Surprises from the Sun's South Pole
Although very close to the minimum of its 11-year sunspot cycle, the Sun showed that it is still capable of producing a series of remarkably energetic outbursts - ESA-NASA Ulysses mission revealed.

Computer science trouble lies in education, not jobs, Stanford professor says
Contrary to tales of doom about the decline of America's computer science industry, the biggest problem facing computing today is not a lack of jobs but a shortage of qualified workers to fill those jobs, says Stanford Professor Eric Roberts, who will speak about the crisis in computer science education at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Feb.

Surgeons with video game skill appear to perform better in simulated surgery skills course
In a study involving 12 surgeons and 21 surgical residents, video game skill was correlated with laparoscopic surgery skill as assessed during a simulated surgery skills course, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The connector rotation hypothesis? Phage do not pack their DNA by rotation
dsDNA compaction into bacteriophage capsids is observed in packaging complexes.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- February 14, 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.

46-year-old man receives first temporary total artificial heart in Northeast US from Penn
A 46-year-old former fitness instructor, suffering from biventricular end-stage heart failure and in irreversible cardiogenic shock, has become the first to receive a new temporary Total Artificial Heart in the Northeast US by cardiac surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

U of M study shows teens become less active as they grow older
As they grow older, teenagers are spending more time in front of the computer and television and less time participating in physical activities, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Scientists will discuss creating a culture of sustainability February 19 at AAAS
Addressing climate-change impacts is often more about ethics than economics, and universities have an especially important role to play in helping humans ensure the planet's sustainability, according to Stanford University environmental researchers participating in a symposium on climate and public policy at the annual AAAS meeting of in San Francisco.

The quality of a father-child relationship affects intimate relationships in adulthood
A study of orphans, children of divorced parents and children of intact marriages conducted at the University of Haifa School of Social Work revealed a definitive connection between the quality of the father-child relationship and interpersonal relationships later in life.

The science behind a wrinkle-filler: Researchers discover for the first time how product works
The current battle between the makers of anti-wrinkle products - widely compared with the Coke and Pepsi struggle for superiority - is receiving an injection of scientific understanding with the release of a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.

AAAS Oceans Panel examines advances in science and technology to boost fishery sustainability
A fisheries panel at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual conference in San Francisco will look at whether advances in science and innovations in technology can produce a spectrum of sustainable fisheries and minimize environmental degradation within an ecosystem.

DNA analysis reveals rapid population shift among Pleistocene cave bears
Studying DNA obtained from teeth of ancient cave bears, researchers have been able to identify a shift in a particular population of the bears inhabiting a European valley in the late Pleistocene era.

Germany & Portugal come near bottom of new blood pressure based happiness league
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found a direct connection between a nation's overall happiness and its citizens' blood pressure problems.

University and health science center in San Antonio collaborate to find chlamydia vaccine
The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have had success in early trials to discover a vaccine that will prevent chlamydia -- the most common bacteria-related sexually transmitted disease in the United States.

New test for most virulent HPV strains under study
A test for the two strains of human papillomavirus responsible for most cervical cancers is under study.

International Heliophysical Year begins
A year of scientific collaboration and public engagement events aimed at understanding space weather and the Sun's true effects throughout the Solar System starts today.

Emerging libraries will be focus of De Lange Conference at Rice University
With the traditional concept of a library rendered obsolete by the Internet and digital library projects, a conference at Rice University March 5-7 aims to describe how knowledge will be accessed, discovered and disseminated in the Age of Digital Information.

Scholar explores the question of who speaks for science
What role can scientists play in public decisions about the development and deployment of weapons systems?

Rosetta all set for Mars swing-by
Rosetta, the European Space Agency's (ESA) spacecraft en route to comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko, is gearing up for a swing-by of Mars on 25th February 2007, which will help set it on the correct path to its final destination.

The mysterious case of Columbus's silver ore
What was thought to be the first evidence of successful prospecting for precious metals in the New World turns out to be something completely different, according to a UA-led research team.

Problem forgetting may be a natural mechanism gone awry
It may turn out the reason some people grow increasingly forgetful as they age is less about how old they are and more about subtle changes in the way the brain files memories and makes room for new ones.

MUHC-led research identifies risk-factor genes for type 2 diabetes
A new study led by researchers at the McGill University Health Centre has identified four genes that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Learning to prevent medical mistakes in caring for stroke patients
Medical errors and adverse events can happen in patients with stroke, and hospital procedures need to be modified to reduce the likelihood of error and patients getting hurt, according to a study published in the February 20, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Multislice CT speeds the diagnosis of chest pain in the emergency room
According to research reported in the February 27, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), a computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart can quickly detect whether there are fatty blockages or pockets of rock-hard calcium in the arteries of the heart -- clues that coronary artery disease may be the cause of the chest pain.

Study links attempted suicide with genetic evidence identified in previous suicide research
A Johns Hopkins-led study has found evidence that a genetic tendency toward suicide has been linked to a particular area of the genome on chromosome 2 that has been implicated in two additional recent studies of attempted suicide.

MIT study shows genetic link for schizophrenia
Gene mutations governing a key brain enzyme make people susceptible to schizophrenia and may be targeted in future treatments for the psychiatric illness, according to MIT and Japanese researchers.

Are scientists making progress in being able to regenerate bone tissue?
In an article in PLoS Medicine, Gert Meijer (University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands) and colleagues discuss what kind of progress there has been in restoring the function of diseased or damaged bone by bone tissue regeneration.

Sexualization of girls is linked to common mental health problems in girls and women
A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising and media is harmful to girls' self-image and healthy development.

Epigenetics to shape stem cell future
Everyone hopes that one day stem cell-based regenerative medicine will help repair diseased tissue.

CRP liver protein induces hypertension, UT Southwestern researchers have found
C-Reactive Protein, widely regarded as a risk factor for hypertension and other forms of cardiovascular disease, plays a direct role in the onset of hypertension, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Practice of farming reaches back farther than thought
Microscopic residues of plants recovered from stone tools that people were using in Panama 3,000 to 7,800 years ago show that people were engaged in the practice of agriculture much earlier than previously thought.

First molecular evidence of body's internal clock in controlling blood pressure
It has been known for decades that heart attacks and strokes occur most frequently in the early-morning hours.

Health professionals would prioritize spending on the young over the old
In prioritizing health-care spending, health professionals rank childhood immunization highest and cancer treatment for smokers lowest, according to a new international survey published in PLoS Medicine.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Feb. 20, 2007, issue
The following articles are featured in the February 20, 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet:

Study to forecast side effects of pollution policy
The University of Michigan is leading a four-university team in a large-scale project to develop software to help analysts craft greenhouse gas reduction policies in the transportation industry.

Multiple low-energy plasma skin treatments may help diminish facial wrinkles
A study involving eight patients suggests that multiple low-energy treatments with a plasma skin regeneration tool may help to reduce wrinkles and improve facial appearance with minimal healing time, according to an article in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Computer scientist reveals the math and science behind blockbuster movies
On February 19 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, movie lovers get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the physics-based simulations that breathe life into fantasy.

Bulging bumper could speed journey to computerised carriageways
Investigations by engineers at The University of Manchester into an extendable car bumper could help speed along the arrival of computer-controlled motorways.

Antibody signal may redirect inflammation to fuel cancer
As evidence mounts that the body's normally protective inflammation response can drive some precancerous tissues to become fully malignant, UCSF scientists report discovering an apparent trigger to this potentially deadly process.

Model helps explore patterns of urban sprawl and implicaitons for quality of life
About 81 percent of the United States' population now lives in urban areas, as does almost half of the world's total population.

Why is the heart heart-shaped?
Cardiac function depends upon properly shaped heart chambers. Here the authors show that blood flow and contractility independently regulate cell shape changes in the emerging ventricle.

Updated guidelines advise focusing on women's lifetime heart risk
Health care professionals should focus on women's lifetime heart disease risk, not just short-term risk, according to updated American Heart Association guidelines.

Healthy women with high cholesterol at increased risk of stroke
Healthy women with no history of heart disease or stroke significantly increase their chances of having a stroke if they have high cholesterol, according to a study of more than 27,000 women published in the February 20, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Plant-derived omega-3s may aid in bone health
Plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may have a protective effect on bone health, according to a team of Penn State researchers who carried out the first controlled diet study of these fatty acids contained in such foods as flaxseed and walnuts.

Scientist advocates increased fisheries data gathering
Fisheries management decisions are often based on population models. However, those models need quality data to be effective.

AAAS panel will focus on the impact of livestock production on the planet
The harmful environmental effects of livestock production are becoming increasingly serious at all levels -- local, regional, national and global -- and urgently need to be addressed, according to researchers from Stanford University, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other organizations.

Injection of 'skin filler' material appears to stimulate collagen production
Injections with
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