Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 26, 2007
Genomics throws species definition in question for microbes
With the advent of genomic sequencing and genetic analysis in the 1990s, our understanding of the relationships between different microorganisms fundamentally changed.

Pain control after surgery reduces days of hospitalization
Effective postoperative pain control using continuous peripheral nerve block reduced hospitalization by nearly a day, University of Pittsburgh physicians reported today during the 81st Clinical and Scientific Congress of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Autistic children can interpret mental states when facial expressions are animated
Findings from a new study reveal that autistic children can interpret information around a person's eyes in order to interpret the person's mental state.

Iowa State to unveil the most realistic virtual reality room in the world
Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center will unveil improvements to C6, its six-sided virtual reality room.

Mayo Clinic says new process to treat heart patients quickly saves lives, heart damage
Mayo Clinic has designed a new system to speed critical care to acute heart attack patients that dramatically reduces the time that elapses before patients undergo a life-saving procedure -- by as much as 45 percent in some cases.

Drug does not reduce risk of death for heart attack patients with refractory shock
The medication tilarginine, a drug that was believed could be beneficial for patients who develop cardiogenic shock (low blood pressure due to impaired cardiac function) after a heart attack, did not reduce the risk of death up to six months after a heart attack, according to a JAMA study published online March 26.

Computerized reminders boost mammography screening rates
Findings of a new Mayo Clinic study published this week in Archives of Internal Medicine show that a computerized mail and phone reminder program can significantly increase the percentage of patients receiving preventive health services and improve the value of health care.

Lack of a protein in lung tumors may increase risk of death
A study of human lung tumors indicates that lung cancer patients who lack a particular protein may do more poorly than those with normal levels of that same protein.

Contrast agent puts new light on diagnosing breast cancer
Scientists in the laboratory of Dr. John Frangioni, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and radiology at Harvard Medical School, have developed a contrast agent that selectively targets and highlights malignant micro-calcifications in the breast, while ignoring similar micro-calcifications found in benign breast conditions.

Global warming forecasts creation, loss of climate zones
A new global warming study predicts that many current climate zones will vanish entirely by the year 2100, replaced by climates unknown in today's world.

Light-based probe 'sees' early cancers in first tests on human tissue
In its first laboratory tests on human tissue, a light-based probe built by researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering almost instantly detected the earliest signs of cancer in cells that line internal organs.

Cerebral embolic protection and carotid stent systems
High-risk surgical patients in community hospital settings can safely benefit from the use of new embolus-removing and stent-inserting systems, according to a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology's Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit.

Too much water, fertilizer bad for plant diversity
Too much of multiple good things -- water or nutrients, for example -- may decrease the diversity of plant life in an ecosystem while increasing the productivity of a few species, a UC Irvine scientist has discovered.

LA Times reporters receive Public Communications Award from American Society for Microbiology
Los Angeles Times reporters Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling have been named recipients of the 2007 American Society for Microbiology Public Communications Award.

Johns Hopkins researchers examine why people eat the foods they do
Previous research has shown that people purchase foods based on their income level, their belief in a food's health benefit and cost.

Sodium hydration therapies equally effective
In patients undergoing cardiac catheterization, contrast dye injection can sometimes cause contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN), otherwise known as acute renal failure.

Jefferson scientists find that drug-eluting stents are disappointing in bypass grafts -- sometimes
While drug-eluting stents are effective in keeping open bypassed heart veins that aren't too diffuse (filled with cholesterol plaque), a new study by cardiologists at Jefferson Medical College shows that they fare less well in keeping open bypassed veins with longer blockages.

Cornell researcher helping develop quick, cheap HIV/AIDS test
A Cornell researcher is working to help develop a quick, simple and cheap immune-system test for people in the developing world.

Battlefield and terrorist explosions pose new health risks
Scientists are reporting new evidence from experiments with laboratory rats that high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide gas -- inhaled for even very brief periods following fires, explosions of military munitions or detonations of terrorist devices.

Quantum cryptography
Throughout history, sophisticated codes have been developed in an attempt to keep important data from prying eyes.

Preschool teacher education alone unlikely to improve classroom quality or learning
An analysis of seven major studies of early childhood education has found that neither the level of teacher education nor teachers' degree increased classroom quality or children's learning.

Pairing medical therapy with coronary intervention fails to reduce heart disease deaths
Results of research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session showed that percutaneous coronary interventions combined with optimal medical therapy (OMT) was no more effective than OMT alone in preventing heart attacks and other cardiac events among patients with coronary artery disease.

Latest advances in DNA sequencing highlighted at DOE Joint Genome Institute User Meeting
Four hundred researchers tapping the massive flow of DNA sequence information will gather March 28-30 to share their recent developments at the 2nd Annual U.S.

LED array signals successful binding of drug-delivery molecules to DNA
Biology and chemistry researchers from Virginia Tech are creating molecular complexes to bind to and disrupt the DNA of diseased tissues, such as tumors or viruses.

Common fungicide causes long-term changes in mating behavior
Female rats avoid males whose great-grandfathers were exposed to a common fruit crop fungicide, preferring instead males whose ancestors were uncontaminated, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have discovered.

Removing a hydrogen fuel-cell roadblock
Researchers at Ames Laboratory are looking for a substitute for the precious metal palladium that can filter hydrogen gas for use in commercial scale hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

Sequence variation in the alpha synuclein gene contributes to alcohol craving
The protein alpha synuclein (SNCA) plays an important role in the regulation of dopamine function.

Wealth of new results from AKARI infrared sky-surveyor
Fantastic new images and clues about stars at different stages of their evolution, and interstellar material hosting black holes, are just a few of the latest results obtained by AKARI, the newest infrared sky-surveyor mission on the scene.

Studies highlight 'real world' use, safety of drug-eluting stents
Research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit 2007 in New Orleans, La., paints a picture of the

Reading problems are emotionally difficult for disadvantaged children
New findings from a longitudinal study of the emotional development of disadvantaged children found that reading problems in the fifth grade were associated with increases in emotional stress from third to fifth grade.

Ultrathin films deliver DNA as possible gene therapy tool
Gene therapy -- the idea of using genetic instructions rather than drugs to treat disease -- has tickled scientists' imaginations for decades, but is not yet a viable therapeutic method.

Drug and procedural interventions offer better quality of life
Emergency and nonemergency care of cardiovascular disease have continually improved over the past decade, thanks to improved quality of care, novel procedures and better therapies.

Drug that mimics 'good' cholesterol has mixed effect on coronary atherosclerosis
The results of a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session showed that CSL-111, a drug that mimics HDL, did not significantly reduce plaque in coronary arteries in patients with a recent episode of ACS.

Women of all sizes feel badly about their bodies after seeing models
The rail-thin blonde bombshell on the cover of a magazine makes all women feel badly about their own bodies despite the size, shape, height or age of the viewers.

Physicians may be obstacles to breast reconstruction
A new study suggests that only one quarter of general surgeons refer most breast cancer patients for a reconstruction consultation at the time of treatment planning.

Heart pumping variations revealed among African- and Chinese-Americans
Generally healthy African-Americans may be at higher risk of heart failure because of racial variations in heart muscle's pumping ability, a Johns Hopkins study suggests.

Migratory birds: Innocent scapegoats for the dispersal of the H5N1 virus
A review, soon to be published in Ibis, critically examines the arguments concerning the role of migratory birds in the global dispersal of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1.

'Triple negative' breast cancers linked to the young, minority
A new study suggests that triple negative tumors are more common among women who are African-American and Hispanic, under 40 years old, and who have lower socioeconomic status (SES).

Most first-time offenders for driving while intoxicated need help for more than just alcohol
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a significant public-health problem in the US.

Study shows many mental health needs go unmet
Psychiatrists' first large-scale assessment of the general population shows nearly 30 percent need mental health care and about one-third of them get it.

Researchers find a new way to read nanoscale vibrations
Cornell University researchers have come up with a simple, inexpensive way to measure the vibration of nanomechanical oscillators by 'tapping' with an atomic force microscope.

General physicals prompt needed cancer screenings
If you're 50 or older, seeing your doctor every year or two for a checkup may be a good defense against cancer.

Embargoed March/April Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet provides a summary of the research studies in the upcoming issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Severe dengue infections may go unrecognized in international travelers
Severe cases of a common travelers' infection may not be recognized if doctors rely on the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines for identifying it, according to a new study published in the April 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Studies highlight advances in diagnosis, medical therapy
Three studies being presented today at the American College of Cardiology's Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit 2007 highlight the breadth of research propelling advances in clinical cardiology.

Community-based measures fail to reduce HIV levels, new study shows
Interventions that target individuals with a high risk of contracting HIV have a negligible impact on HIV transmission in the general population, according to a new study of communities in Zimbabwe, published today.

Long-term aspirin use associated with reduced risk of dying in women
Women who take low to moderate doses of aspirin have a reduced risk of death from any cause, and especially heart disease-related deaths, according to a report in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Johns Hopkins housing and testing only 256-slice CT scanner in North America
Johns Hopkins Medicine has installed for three months of initial safety and clinical testing a 256-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner, believed to be the world's most advanced CT imaging software and machinery.

Immune response to cancer stem cells may dictate cancer's course
Mounting evidence shows that a tumor's growth and spread may depend on

Toddlers engage in 'emotional eavesdropping' to guide their behavior
Little children never cease to amaze. University of Washington researchers have found that 18-month-old toddlers engage in what they call

Infants learn from observing others' emotional behavior
Results from two new studies of 18-month olds show that infants can learn to guide their own behavior by watching others' emotional reactions.

Magnetic system could be key to surgery without scars
Physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center and engineers at UT Arlington have collaborated to invent a groundbreaking system that could be key to delivering on the promise of surgery without scars.

FNSNA awards $25,000 grant to Rutgers College of Nursing
The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association awarded a $25,000 promise of nursing for New Jersey Nursing School grant to the College of Nursing at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, one of seven New Jersey nursing schools to receive this grant.

Gene linked to increased risk of stroke
One of the most common genetic defects passed on through families significantly increases a person's chance of having a stroke, according to a study published in the March 27, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Few surgeons routinely refer breast cancer patients for reconstruction, U-M study finds
Forty-four percent of surgeons do not refer the majority of their breast cancer patients to a plastic surgeon prior to the initial surgery when the woman is choosing her treatment course, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Transplanting organs from animals to humans -- what are the barriers?
Given the huge shortage of donor organs, researchers have been trying to find ways to transplant animal organs across different species (known as

Center-based care yields more behavior problems; in other types of care, problems short-lived
New data from a federally-funded longitudinal study show that that children who spent more time in center-based childcare exhibited more problem behavior through sixth grade.

Nanoparticles can track cells deep within living organisms
Flourine-labeled nanoparticles could soon allow researchers and physicians to directly track cells used in medical treatments using unique signatures from the nanoparticle beacons.

Preventive health exams may provide opportunities for cancer screening
Health plan members who receive preventive health examinations, as opposed to going to a physician only when they are sick, appear more likely to undergo testing for colorectal, breast and prostate cancers, according to a report in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Government's reliance on free market economics makes essential drug prices too high for the poor
Research in Malaysia, published in the latest PLoS Medicine, has established that drugs considered essential for adequate health care are often priced beyond the reach of the poorer members of society.

Researchers identify key protein in immune response to malaria and TB
An international team of researchers has identified a key protein involved in the immune system's response to malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and a number of other infectious diseases.

'Shrug off' shoulder surgery myth, study suggests
Contrary to widespread belief, total surgical replacement of arthritic shoulder joints carries no greater risk of complications than replacement of other major joints, a Johns Hopkins study suggests.

Scripps oceanography professor honored for Antarctic field research
New York City's Explorers Club, a century-old international professional society, has awarded Gerald Kooyman of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego its highest honor for accomplishments in polar field research.

New metal crystals, formed on a cotton assembly line
Appropriating cellulose fibers from cotton and crystallizing them, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., have grown never-before-seen configurations of metal crystals that show promise as components in biosensors, biological imaging, drug delivery and catalytic converters.

Combination HDL/LDL therapy has no effect on plaque build-up
Two RADIANCE studies presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session assessed the effects of adding torcetrapib to atorvastatin among patients to improve their cholesterol levels.

NJIT research team to study creativity in studio-based learning
Wassim Jabi, PhD, an assistant professor in the New Jersey School of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology, will lead a research team to apply the traditional studio model of teaching and learning to computing sciences.

Improving outcomes in premature births
The costs due to complications from preterm birth are staggering.

Rabies treatment team urges veterinary schools to scientifically define the Milwaukee protocol
The Medical College of Wisconsin pediatrician and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin staff member who led a team that saved the world's first unimmunized rabies patient, has issued a call for veterinary collaborators to help define which aspects of their treatment accounted for her miraculous survival

2-photon absorbing molecules fabricate polymer features just 65 nanometers wide
Producing three-dimensional polymer line structures as small as 65 nanometers wide just became easier with new two-photon absorbing molecules that are sensitive to laser light at short wavelengths, allowing researchers to create them without highly sophisticated fabrication methods.

U of M researchers study homeless people's attitudes and concerns about death and end-of-life care
Health care providers should directly address issues surrounding death and dying with homeless patients, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics.

Early child care linked to increases in vocabulary, some problem behaviors in 5th and 6th grades
The most recent analysis of a long-term NIH-funded study found that children who received higher quality child care before entering kindergarten had better vocabulary scores in the fifth grade than did children who received lower quality care.

Clinical trial for diabetic macular edema
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the world's largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, announced that the Ranibizumab for Edema of the mAcula in Diabetes Phase 2 Study (READ 2) is now enrolling patients.

Low-tech operation could dramatically reduce maternal deaths
Teaching doctors in Africa a low-tech operation to cut the cartilage of the symphysis pubis could save the lives of women in obstructed labor and their babies, according to an Essay in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Women without regular medical care at increased risk of ovarian cancer
In this case-control study, Abenhaim and colleagues examined whether the frequency of medical visits and pelvic examinations and the type of health care provider visited had an effect on the risk of ovarian cancer.

Chemists create healthier pizza by boosting antioxidants in dough
Attention pizza lovers: Researchers at the University of Maryland has discovered how to boost the antioxidant content of pizza dough by optimizing baking and fermentation methods, a finding that could lead to healthier pizza, they say.

Place more than race tied to heart disease risk
Where you live might play a bigger role in your risk for heart disease than your ethnicity or race.

Community and clinic-based HIV-1 control program fails to decrease incidence of HIV-1 in Zimbabwe
A trial in Zimbabwe has shown that a programme of integrated peer education, condom distribution, and management of sexually transmitted infections did not reduce the overall incidence of HIV-1.

Study identifies steps to improve safety of renal artery stenting
High blood pressure is the most common chronic medical condition in the US, and the most common identifiable cause is renal artery stenosis.

New 'biofuel cell' produces electricity from hydrogen in plain air
A pioneering

Despite significantly raising HDL, torcetrapib failed to slow the progression of coronary plaques
Investigators reported today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session that torcetrapib, a drug that substantially raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL (the

Birth, death and rebirth: AKARI sees life-cycle of stars in a new light
Scientists using the AKARI infrared satellite, launched in 2006, are releasing their initial results at a conference on March 28-30.

Value of stent-coating drugs questioned
New research about possible additive drugs to help reduce the reclosing of an artery after a metal stent has been inserted to keep it open was presented today at the American College of Cardiology's Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit in New Orleans, La.

Trans-Atlantic Healing Collaborative gets underway at DFCon 07
An international

School achievement, perceptions of ability and interest change as children age
A new study shows that children's academic interests increasingly match the subjects in which they get the best grades as they progress from elementary through high school.

Bacterial response to oxidation studied as toxin barometer
Many environmental toxins in water, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and PCBs, kill through oxidative stress mechanisms.

Researchers figure out what makes a simple biological clock tick
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Vanderbilt University has analyzed the simplest known biological clock and figured out what makes it tick.

Dual renin system blocking drug combo provides additional blood pressure-lowering effects
A combination of two medicines that act against the effects of the enzyme renin are more effective in lowering blood pressure than either of the medicines alone, according to a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session.

March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute launch prematurity prevention partnership
The March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute and the Kentucky Department for Public Health launched

National Academies advisory: Annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences
From April 28 to May 1 the National Academy of Sciences will hold its 144th annual meeting, at which new academy members will be elected.

Infusion with reconstituted HDL may have some benefit for atherosclerosis
Preliminary research suggests that use of reconstituted HDL may have some benefit in coronary atherosclerosis, according to a JAMA study published online March 26.

New blood thinner may work without bleeding risk
Clinical trial of new blood thinner shows promise of significantly reducing the risk of heart attack and death with no statistical increase in major and minor bleeding events.

Cellulose nanocrystal research could lead to new vaccines, computer inks
A wood scientist is attaching antibodies to the surface of cellulose crystals.

Self-regulation abilities, beyond intelligence, play major role in early achievement
Young children's

Smithsonian-led Amazon research team wins scientific prize
A research team led by William Laurance, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, will be honored for their

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at risk for alcohol problems
Prior research has shown that children with ADHD can develop alcohol problems later in life.

Drug/intervention combinations offer benefit in severe CVD
While millions of Americans suffer from severe cardiac dysfunction, only about 3,000 heart transplants are possible each year.

Loperamide therapy for acute diarrhea in children
The drug loperamide is widely used as a treatment for diarrhoea in adults, but most authorities, including the World Health Organization recommend that it should not be given to young children. 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