Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 16, 2007
Brain structure changes years before memory loss begins
People who develop dementia or Alzheimer's disease experience brain structure changes years before any signs of memory loss begin, according to a study published in the April 17, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Obesity may be linked to middle ear effusions in children
Childhood obesity may be associated with a condition known as otitis media with effusion, which consists of fluid build-up in the middle ear space without symptoms of acute ear infection, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

University of Alberta researchers unravel intricate animal patterns
New research by University of Alberta scientists shows that one movement started by a single individual ripples through the entire group of animals and helps them form intricate and complicated patterns -- a finding that helps unravel the mystery that has plagued scientists for years.

20-year study shows significant rise in childhood obesity, especially among girls
Obesity levels among Swedish children aged four and ten have shown a signficiant rise over the last 20 years, according to a study of more than 1000 children just published.

Grandparents relate to adopted grandchildren the same as biological grandchildren
Grandparents of adopted grandchildren relate to them as an integral part of the family -- just as they relate to their biological grandchildren.

UCLA engineers set new world record in generation of high-frequency submillimeter waves
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have achieved a new world record in high-frequency submillimeter waves.

Prognosis -- predicting cancer risk in the long term
Every day, people make assumptions, educated and not, about their risk for developing cancer.

Undergraduate paves way for NASA Mars mission
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are paving the way for a smooth landing on Mars for the Phoenix Mission scheduled to launch in August this year by making sure the set-down literally is not a rocky one.

Researchers find 'large is smart' when it comes to cities
A team of researchers, including an economist from Arizona State University, have studied the growth of cities in different parts of the world and have come up with general equations that can foretell their consumption of resources and their contributions to society.

DOE commits $27.5M for uranium contaminant transport field studies
The Department of Energy recently granted Pacific Northwest National Laboratory $27.5 million dollars over five years to investigate the movement of contaminated groundwater at sites in Washington and Colorado.

Cancer tip -- Of asthma and aspirin, 2 studies highlight role of inflammation in cancer
Can reducing inflammation keep cancer at bay? Two novel studies presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that examine use of common anti-inflammatory agents suggest this might be the case.

Researchers setting up observatories to examine changes under the Arctic ice
Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are venturing this month to the North Pole to deploy instruments that will make year-round observations of the water beneath the Arctic ice cap.

Geisinger launches extensive study on obesity and related liver problem
Geisinger Health System researchers in Danville, Pa., are looking at the genetics of obesity through a unique study.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- April 11, 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.

Penn researchers find treatment for MS also reduces vision loss in MS patients
According to a study that appears in the April 17 issue of Neurology, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that natalizumab (TYSABRI) -- a drug that slows disability and reduces relapse rates in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) -- also reduces vision loss in patients with relapsing MS.

Johns Hopkins develops pancreas cancer risk model
People with a family history of pancreas cancer now have a way to accurately predict their chance of carrying a gene for hereditary pancreas cancer and their lifetime risk of developing the disease.

Gender and ethnicity affect court rulings and prison terms
New research in the Department of Sociology at the University of Haifa found that the gender and ethnicity of judges, defendants and victims effect court rulings and prison terms.

Researchers discover gene crucial for nerve cell insulation
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered how a defect in a single master gene disrupts the process by which several genes interact to create myelin, a fatty coating that covers nerve cells and increases the speed and reliability of their electrical signals

From silicon to the sea: Managing heat aboard modern ships
With a major grant from the Office of Naval Affairs, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are collaborating with four other universities to address a hot topic in today's military: how to keep modern ships cool in extreme environments.

Premiere cancer organizations partner to reduce disparities, prevent incidences
Uniting the world's oldest and largest scientific organization dedicated to cancer research with the world's largest network of cancer survivors and activists, the American Association for Cancer Research and Susan G.

Johns Hopkins begins aggressive screening for 'superbugs' in children
Infection control and critical care experts at the Johns Hopkins Hospital have ordered testing for the two most common hospital superbugs for every child admitted to its pediatric intensive care unit.

The cost of long tongues
Orchid bees use their extraordinarily long tongues to drink nectar from the deep, tropical flowers only they can access.

Strong marriage helps couples deal with tempermental baby
Couples with infants who are particularly fussy or difficult typically do just fine as parents -- as long as they have a strong marital relationship.

2007 Communicator Award goes to glaciologists from Bremerhaven
Working Group on Glaciology awarded 50,000 euros for outstanding communication of its research on climate change to the general public.

IOF and EU panel prepare osteoporosis audit
The EU Osteoporosis Consultation Panel, supported by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, is meeting on April 18 in Brussels, Belgium, to begin preparations for a second EU-wide audit on the status of osteoporosis in Europe.

Tennessee researcher earns Komen grant to study depression and breast cancer
A new grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation will allow a University of Tennessee professor to conduct a groundbreaking study into how best to treat well diagnosed depression in breast cancer patients.

Ancient amphibians evolved a bite before migrating to dry land
Ancient aquatic amphibians developed the ability to feed on land before completing the transition to terrestrial life, researchers from Harvard University report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Massive coral death atrributed to earthquake
Scientists have reported what is thought to be one of the world's greatest mass death of corals ever recorded as a result of the earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia, on March 28, 2005, which researchers say heaved over 300 kilometers of coastline more than a meter upwards, exposing and killing corals in unprecedented numbers.

Detection of melanoma by dermatologists linked with earlier tumor stage, higher survival rates
Individuals whose melanoma is diagnosed by a dermatologist may be more likely to have early-stage cancer and to survive five years than those with melanoma diagnosed by a nondermatologist, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Rhode Island Hospital study identifies high-risk patient populations for MRSA carriage
A Rhode Island Hospital study found that patients in long-term elder care and HIV-infected outpatients appear to be high-risk groups for carriage of MRSA.

Winter flounder on the fast track to recovery
Winter flounder -- sold in markets as flounder or lemon sole -- in the Gulf of Maine went into serious decline in the 1980s, taking with it a major commercial and recreational fishery.

Treatment costs fall and quality improves when patients use self-treatment tools
Encouraging patients to become involved in providing their own care can reduce the cost and improve the quality of long-term medical treatment, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in PLoS Medicine this week.

Research director to be honored at international congress
The director of the University of Nottingham's new £25M Center for Biomolecular Sciences has been honored by the Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress for his research.

Presidents from 13 universities worldwide to gather at Washington University in St. Louis
For the first time in the United States, the presidents of 13 premier universities from Asia and the Middle East will gather at Washington University in St.

Chromosomes tell tale of patient's risk for new, future cancer
Hodgkin's disease survivors who have greater genetic instability in their white blood cells are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop another type of cancer, researchers from the University of Texas M.

Global Fund must fund salaries of health workers to deliver HIV, TB and malaria treatments
In this week's PLoS Medicine, a team of international health experts issue a bold call to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria: fund the salaries of health workers or else risk a situation in which medicines for these three diseases are made available in poor countries but there are no health professionals to deliver them.

Breastfeeding reduces risk of breast cancer for women who delay childbirth
Breastfeeding can offset the increased risk of invasive breast cancer for women who had their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 25, a study led by researchers at the University of Southern California suggests.

MS drug helps reduce vision loss
A drug that slows disability and reduces relapse rates in multiple sclerosis has been found to also reduce vision loss in patients with relapsing MS.

Earth's dirty little secret -- Slowly but surely we are skinning our planet
A new book examines how past civilizations have worn out their soil and says the same thing is happening now, with few places left to find new fertile soil.

Eating cured meats frequently can lead to lower lung function and potential COPD
Frequent consumption of cured meats results in lower lung function test scores and increases the odds of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a large cross-sectional survey of adults in the US.

AGU Journal Highlights -- April 16, 2007
In this issue: Earthquake-induced gravity field changes recover to initial conditions; Recent trends in Arctic Ocean mass distribution; Ice-associated algal blooms and their impact on biological production in the Bering Sea; Seismic studies could help identify areas saturated with toxic liquid contaminants; Coralline alga gives first marine record of subarctic climate change in North Pacific; Northern Hemisphere air cycles between tropics and poles; Fractal topography and groundwater flow; and Stress before and after Alaska's 2002 Denali Fault Earthquake -- all topics covered in the April issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Scientists find major susceptibility genes for Crohn's disease
A consortium of Canadian and American researchers led by Dr.

Stem cells provide new tool for studying disease and identifying ALS drugs
Results of two studies funded by Project A.L.S. and appearing in today's advance online publication of Nature Neuroscience demonstrate that embryonic stem cells may provide a new tool for studying disease mechanisms and for identifying drugs to slow ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Smoking ban dramatically reduces air pollution in Irish pubs
A total workplace ban on smoking in Ireland resulted in an 83 percent reduction in air pollution in pubs, an 80 percent decrease in airborne carcinogens for patrons and staff and an improvement in the respiratory health of bar workers, according to a one-year follow-up study.

Cetuximab and irinotecan combination increases survival in metastatic colorectal cancer
A phase III trial of 1,298 colorectal cancer patients has found that a combination of the drugs cetuximab and irinotecan showed a significant improvement in progression-free survival over just irinotecan alone, according to an international team of researchers.

Resident work hour restrictions may be costly for teaching hospitals
An analysis based on a computer model suggests that recent educational mandates that resident physicians work fewer hours may cost teaching hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars -- or more -- if they replace surgical residents with other clinicians, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tip sheet Annals of Internal Medicine, April 17, 2007
The following articles are in the April 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet:

Cetuximab increases survival in advanced colorectal cancer patients, study shows
Research presented today at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research confirmed that there is now an effective treatment option for colorectal cancer patients for whom all other treatment options have been exhausted -- cetuximab.

Rotavirus can spread beyond the intestine
A new study in PLoS Medicine has shown that children who have rotavirus, a very common cause of diarrhea in children, and who have antigens (protein fragments from the surface of the virus) in their blood, also have infectious virus in their blood.

Climate change could trigger 'boom and bust' population cycles leading to extinction
Climate change could trigger

Innovators bridge the gap between web and library resources
A Virginia Tech librarian and a computer science researcher have created an open source browser extension that delivers library resources to users by seamlessly integrating them into the browser.

Should primary care doctors assess safety of older drivers?
In an editorial published in the April issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H., of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute Inc., writes that assessing the safety of older drivers is not a responsibility that should reside with the primary care physician.

Study produces conflicting findings on the use of anti-anemia drug in cancer patients
Results from a phase III drug trial indicate that an anti-anemia drug did not significantly decrease the need for blood transfusions in patients not on chemotherapy, and decreased overall patient survival when compared to placebo, according to researchers from the UCLA Medical Center at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Homework -- Keeping children, parents and teachers together
A new interactive learning system which helps parents keep in touch with what their children are doing at school is proving to be a great success with children, parents and teachers, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Was Einstein right? Scientists provide first public peek at Gravity Probe B results
At the American Physical Society meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., Professor Francis Everitt, a Stanford University physicist and principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B Relativity Mission, a collaboration of Stanford, NASA and Lockheed Martin, provided the first public peek at data that will reveal whether Einstein's theory has been confirmed by the most sophisticated orbiting laboratory ever created.

No sign that ethnic groups' genes cause diabetes, international research team says
A study by US and Australian researchers is helping dispel the 40-year-old

Change in neuroticism tied to mortality rates, researcher says
While mellowing with age has often been thought to have positive effects, a Purdue University researcher has shown that doing so could also help you live longer.

Pimp my meatballs -- collagen injections safeguard nutrients
Injecting meatballs with collagen can help the meat to retain the important nutrients iodine and thiamine.

Study shows that indigenous people are not genetically prone to diabetes
The high rate of diabetes among indigenous people is not due to their genetic heritage, according to a recently published study.

Ebola outbreaks killing thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees
Direct encounters between gorilla or chimpanzee social groups are rare, so, though Ebola has killed thousands, vaccination did not seem to be a solution.

UCSF brain tumor vaccine trial shows promising results
A vaccine for treating a recurrent cancer of the central nervous system that occurs primarily in the brain has shown promise in preliminary data from a clinical trial at the University of California, San Francisco.

Clinical studies evaluate potential treatments for mouth ulcers
The drug pentoxifylline appears to have limited benefit in the first-line treatment of mouth ulcers due to recurrent apthous stomatitis, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Wireless sensors limit earthquake damage
An earthquake engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has successfully performed the first test of wireless sensors in the simulated structural control of a model laboratory building.

Having elevated risk factors in young adulthood raises risk of coronary calcium later on
Having above optimal levels of risk factors for heart disease between the ages of 18 and 30 can mean a two to three times greater risk of later developing coronary calcium, a strong predictor of heart disease, according to results of a new study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

US Senate introduces bill to train more preventive medicine doctors
US Sens. Harkin (D-IA), Isakson (R-GA), Bingaman (D-NM), and Lieberman (I-CT) introduced a bipartisan bill today dedicating $43 million to help reverse the nation's critical shortage of preventive medicine and public health doctors.

Massey researchers induce cell death in leukemia
Researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center today presented preclinical research at the American Association of Cancer Research's annual meeting suggesting the potential of a new combination treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

MS patients not receiving medications to slow disease progression, research shows
Neurologists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have found that many patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are not taking or being prescribed drugs approved to treat the disease. 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