Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 22, 2007
People with genetic predictors of colorectal cancer are not getting screened
Even when diagnosed with a condition that is a strong genetic predictor of colorectal cancer, many patients do not seek out genetic counseling or cancer screening.

Low-cost Parkinson's disease diagnostic test a world first
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have developed a cost-effective diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease (PD), which will also assist researchers to understand the genetic basis of PD and to undertake large-scale studies to identify the genes that cause this debilitating condition.

Climate changes, Cod collapse have altered North Atlantic ecosystems
Climate change plays a role in ecosystem changes along the continental shelf waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, reports a Cornell oceanographer in the Feb.

New measure of sexual arousal found for both men and women
According to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and conducted in the Department of Psychology of McGill University, thermography shows great promise as a diagnostic method of measuring sexual arousal.

What is wrong with intelligent design?
In a thought-provoking paper from the March issue of the Quarterly Review of Biology, Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin) clearly discusses the problems with two standard criticisms of intelligent design: that it is unfalsifiable and that the many imperfect adaptations found in nature refute the hypothesis of intelligent design.

JCI table of contents -- February 22, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, February 22, 2006, in the JCI, including: Drug blocks lethal motor-neuron disease in mice; Akt makes melanomas grow downward; PKC-epsilon links fat to insulin resistance; Neutrophils need glucose-6-phosphatase-beta; Unique cell population involved in granuloma formation in the intestine; and others.

Scientists gear up for ESA's 2007 Envisat Symposium
More than 800 scientists from around the world will gather in Montreux, Switzerland, to attend the 2007 Envisat Symposium from 23 to 27 April to present and review results from ESA Earth observation satellites.

Greater deficits in emotional facial expression can indicate more severe alcoholism
Recognition of emotional facial expressions (EFEs) is a key form of non-verbal communication that is lacking among alcoholics.

Understanding occupational safety and health issues of nanotechnology
The earliest and most extensive exposures to engineered nanoparticles are most likely to occur in the workplace.

Standardized diagnostic test for learning disabilities
Researchers from the Center for Brain Research and Learning Disabilities at the University of Haifa have developed a standardized diagnostic test for learning disabilities for administration in the classroom to all students.

US Launches International Polar Year on February 26
The United States will mark the start of International Polar Year (IPY) with an event hosted by the National Academies and the National Science Foundation on February 26, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

The Lancet publishes details on two studies of adult male circumcision to prevent HIV
Two papers in the February 24 issue of The Lancet provide detailed analyses of two NIAID-funded clinical trials of adult male circumcision in Kenya and Uganda.

New act could give rise to more complaints against doctors
The NHS Redress Act should make clinical negligence cases simpler and less costly, but it may create more, not fewer, complaints warn experts in this week's BMJ.

Expanded AIDS research and microbicide trials to include HIV positive and uninfected people
The National Institutes of Health has awarded multi-year, multi-million dollar grants to the Case Clinical Trials Unit centered at University Hospitals Case Medical Center for expanded research options in HIV treatment development and pioneering advances of the Microbicides Trials Network.

Lower carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fueled power plants possible with technology development
A more economical technology for a 90 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fueled power plants is being developed by a chemical engineer and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin as part of the TXU Carbon Management Program.

Scientists identify specific enzymes that make meningitis hard to fight
Two enzymes in meningitis bacteria which prevent the body from successfully fighting off the disease, and make the infection extremely virulent, have been identified in new research published today.

Stress and alcohol cues appear to target the brain differently to produce craving
Both stress and

2007 ARVO Annual Meeting draws spotlight on aging eye
Age-related eye diseases, their treatment, and the latest research to find cures will take center stage at the 2007 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting to be held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 6-10, 2007.

How stem cells are regulated
Stem cells are capable of developing into any other type of cell.

New evidence -- Clovis people not first to populate North America
The belief that the Clovis People were the first to populate North America some 11,500 years ago has been widely challenged in recent years, and a Texas A&M University anthropologist has found evidence he says could be the final nail in the coffin for the Clovis first model.

Killing the messenger RNA -- But which one?
Tiny molecules called microRNAs are able to effectively silence large sets of genes.

NASA scientists detect spectrum of planets orbiting other stars
For the first time, scientists at Goddard have obtained a spectrum, or molecular fingerprint, of a planet orbiting another star.

Should the NHS curb spending on translation services?
In December it was reported that the NHS was spending £55 million (€82m; $107m) each year on translation services.

Caffeine may prevent heart disease death in elderly
Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against heart disease mortality in the elderly.

Peanut-shaped nanostructures
Tiny acorns that fuse together in pairs to form miniature peanuts -- Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing peanut-shaped nanoparticles comprised of two different sulfur-containing substances.

New tools for exploiting flight test data
Developing today's new generations of airplanes means cautiously and methodically exploring the aero-elastic behaviour of aircraft structures.

E. coli bacteria migrating between humans, chimps in Ugandan park
Scientists from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have found that people employed in chimpanzee-focused research and tourism in a park in western Uganda are exchanging gastrointestinal bacteria -- specifically Escherichia coli -- with local chimpanzee populations.

Experimental evolution in robots probes the emergence of biological communication
Using an ingenious approach involving virtual robots that possess evolvable genomes, researchers have identified key factors that may play important roles in determining the manner in which communication arises during the evolution of social organisms.

Circumcision: A proven strategy to prevent HIV
Male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of acquiring HIV in young African men, according to a UIC study published in the Feb.

New engine helps satellites blast off with less fuel
Georgia Tech researchers have a created a new satellite technology that allows satellites to blast off with less fuel, opening the door for deep space missions, lower launch costs and more hardware on board.

African scientists will train at Emory University in latest drug discovery techniques
African scientists will soon begin training at Emory University as part of a unique partnership between Emory and the Republic of South Africa.

Doubts over studies raise serious implications for patients
Doubts over three influential head injury studies mean that patients are receiving treatment that may be unsound, warn doctors in this week's BMJ.

EUROGIA completes its energy portfolio by building a new partnership with Tenerrdis
EUROGIA announced the start of an exciting new partnership agreement between this EUREKA energy Cluster and the French 'Pôle de Compétitivité' (competitiveness cluster*) Tenerrdis, which focuses on new energies.

XMM-Newton reveals a magnetic surprise
ESA's X-ray observatory XMM-Newton has revealed evidence for a magnetic field in space where astronomers never expected to find one.

Scholl's Armstrong in Spain keynote: 'Amputations worse than cancer'
Dr. David Armstrong of Rosalind Franklin University's Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine delivered the keynote address last week at the Spanish National Symposium on the Diabetic Foot, where he suggested that diabetes-related amputations can be likened to high-grade cancers, and where he and his colleagues demonstrated new technologies via video conference.

Grant aims to ignite inspiration and interest in science
Through a grant from the Ohio Board of Regents, three universities will collaborate to provide a unique learning experience to talented high school students and science teachers.

Researchers study the possible relationship between myopathies and coeliac disease
Inflammatory myopathies are immunological diseases that lead to inflammations in muscular tissue.

Growing prominence of older Americans spurs civic engagement debate
At a time when many Americans are alleged to have become increasingly isolated and apathetic, a

Handheld 'smart' museum guide unveiled
In a cooperative project, researchers from the Caesarea Rothschild Institute at the University of Haifa and The Center for Scientific and Technological Research (ITC-irst) of Trento, Italy developed a

Genetic hearing loss may be reversible without gene therapy
A large proportion of genetically caused deafness in humans may be reversible by compensating for a missing protein.

VA researcher finds way to identify which men need a second biopsy
A researcher in the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute and Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center has found a way to identify which men need a second prostate biopsy because they may be harboring life-threatening prostate cancer even though they were given a clean bill of health after their first biopsy.

Brandeis and Brigham and Women's Hospital license technology for Gaucher's to Amicus Therapeutics
Brandeis University and Brigham and Women's Hospital today agreed to grant a license option to Amicus Therapeutics for a jointly-developed novel pharmaceutical technology that could be instrumental in finding new treatments for Gaucher disease.

Drug blocks lethal motor-neuron disease in mice
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a motor-neuron disease caused by mutations in the gene SMN1 that prevent it producing the protein SMN.

Cord blood bank at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center receives $9 million grant
In a move that could dramatically increase the nation's supply of stem cells for transplantation, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U.

Youth activities help teens gain independence with less family conflict
Organized youth activities help teens develop independence without the conflict and distancing from their families that parents have come to anticipate during adolescence, says a new University of Illinois study.

MicroRNA helps prevent tumors
Researchers have found that when a single mircoRNA molecule is unable to regulate a specific cancer-related gene, tumors result.

Medicalize me: Experts look at how our perceptions of illness are shaped
Do prescription drug ads make people think they're sick when they're not, or create

David H. Baker to be honored for work in animal and nutritional science
This spring David H. Baker, professor emeritus of animal sciences and nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois, will receive the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology's Charles A.

Chimpanzees found to use tools to hunt mammalian prey
Reporting findings that help shape our understanding of how tool use has evolved among primates, researchers have discovered evidence that chimpanzees, at least under some conditions, are capable of habitually fashioning and using tools to hunt mammalian prey.

The Genesis of Relativity
New insights into the premises, assumptions and preconditions that underlie Einstein's Relativity Theory, as well as the intellectual, and cultural contexts that shaped it, are the subject of a comprehensive study published this month by Springer.

Scientists produce neurons from human skin
Scientists from Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine have succeeded in producing neurons in vitro using stem cells extracted from adult human skin.

University of Nevada professor demonstrates new hydrogen fuel system
With energy costs soaring, Nevada professor has the answer to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and completely renewable form of energy through a $3 million grant -- work to make hydrogen energy a reality.

Treatment extends survival in mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy
Drug therapy can extend survival and improve movement in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), new research shows.

LA region's garages suffering identity crisis, say UCLA researchers
From their clutter-strewn garages to their mostly lovely but abandoned yards, busy Southern California parents who own their homes rarely use residential outdoor spaces for the purposes for which they were designed, said a UCLA anthropologist who participated an in-depth study of how the average dual-income family really lives in Los Angeles.

Liposuctioned fat stem cells to repair bodies
Expanding waistlines, unsightly bulges: people will gladly remove excess body fat to improve their looks.

How campaign contributions improve policy analysis in Congressional committees
Do hard money contributions by interest groups to members of Congress contribute to better quality policy deliberations and outcomes in congressional committees?

L'oréal-Unesco Awards honor female MIT nanotech pioneer
Carbon nanotubes. Bio-medical applications of plants. Medicinal chemistry. The properties of polymers in solution.

Health application for cell phones
Mayo Clinic and Digital Cyclone launch health application for wireless phones.

Pigs arrived in biosecure facility
Spring Point Project, a nonprofit organization created to expedite the widespread availability of islet tissue for diabetes care, has now conducted the first animal population of its biosecure animal facility in Western Wisconsin to breed and maintain high-health, pathogen-free pigs.

Alcohol interventions that teach practical skills work best with high-risk university students
Heavy drinking among university students appears to be a universal problem.

Children should not be left unsupervised with dogs, say experts
Children should not be left unsupervised to play with a dog, say experts in this week's BMJ.

Eye movement tasks can be used to assess fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) refers to a wide array of adverse developmental outcomes in children due to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Medieval Islamic architecture presages 20th-century mathematics
Intricate decorative tilework found in medieval architecture across the Islamic world appears to exhibit advanced decagonal quasicrystal geometry -- a concept discovered by Western mathematicians and physicists only in the 1970s and 1980s.

UCSB marine biologist to present talk at opening ceremony for the International Polar Year
The U.S. Opening Ceremony for the International Polar Year, 2007-2008, will be held in Washington, D.C., Monday, February 26, at 10:00 a.m. at the National Academy of Sciences auditorium, 2100 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

CSHL research ties harmless viruses to cancer
Research led by CSHL may link viruses that have been considered harmless to chromosomal instability and cancer.

Opening and closing the genome
A dynamic cast of gatekeeper enzymes controls access to the DNA for gene transcription, adding and removing particular molecules to open or close the genome as needed.

Medieval Islamic designs reveal breakthrough in tiled pattern-making
Medieval Islamic artisans developed a pattern-making process for designing ornate tiled surfaces that allowed them to produce sophisticated patterns not seen in the West until centuries later, a new study suggests.

Study to look at aspirin as aid to conception, healthy pregnancy
Researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Utah are beginning a clinical trial to test whether aspirin can improve a woman's chances of becoming pregnant and of maintaining a pregnancy to term. 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