Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 01, 2007
Southwest Airlines' last-minute fares not always the best deal, economist finds
It may pay off to spend a little extra time shopping online for that last-minute airfare, according to a UC Irvine economist.

Researchers identify new therapy for patients with Crohn's disease
A study led by Mayo Clinic found that adalimumab (HUMIRA) is an effective treatment for adults with Crohn's disease who do not respond to infliximab (REMICADE) therapy.

Infection takes high toll in young children
A new study has found that infectious diseases are the most common reason that children under two years of age are admitted to hospital.

pHLIP, a novel technology to locate and treat tumors
Research teams at Yale University and the University of Rhode Island have demonstrated a new way to target and potentially treat tumors using a short piece of protein that acts like a nanosyringe to deliver

Prenatal nicotine exposure can lead to cardiac function reprogramming in adult offspring
New study using laboratory rats provides strong evidence that the effects of maternal smoking during the prenatal period of life can lead to cardiac vascular dysfunction beyond the formative years -- and into adulthood.

Urologic diseases cost Americans $11B a year
Bladder, prostate and other urinary tract diseases cost Americans nearly $11 billion a year, according to a new report from the National Institutes of Health.

JCI table of contents: May 1, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, May 1, 2007, in the JCI, including:

Craig Venter, leading scientist and innovator, to get honorary degree
J. Craig Venter, an internationally known scientist who is responsible for developing high volume genome sequencing, will receive an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University on May 10 at a 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony.

OCT1 required for therapeutic effects of diabetes drug Metformin
Metformin is among the most widely prescribed drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Chronic fatigue syndrome impairs a person's slow wave activity during sleep
A study published in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep finds that chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with a blunted slow wave activity response to sleep challenge, suggesting an impairment of the basic sleep drive and homeostatic response.

More recycling on the farm could reduce environmental problems
An analysis argues that semiclosed agricultural systems could enhance global sustainability of biological resources, curtail greenhouse gas emissions and groundwater contamination, and reduce farming's reliance on oil imports and water.

New research disproves belief that group psychotherapy extends the lives of cancer patients
Previously-published research has given credence to the notion that psychotherapy extends the lives of people with cancer.

'Wrapping' Gleevec fights drug-resistant cancer
A study in this week's Cancer Research finds the anti-cancer drug Gleevec is far more effective against a drug-resistant strain of cancer when it wraps the target with a molecular bandage that seals out water from a critical area.

Study raises new treatment possibilities for cognitive disorders
UC Irvine researchers have identified a new class of compounds that could be used for drugs to treat cognitive disorders that accompany schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and ADHD, according to an article published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A rainbow of methods promises insights into biological processes and diseases
This month's release of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features freely available methods for marking molecules to identify gene alterations and metabolic shifts.

US Earth-observing satellites in jeopardy, AAAS Board cautions
As US policy-makers prepare for hearings later this week on space-science and climate-change research, the world's largest general science society today warned that budget cuts are threatening US satellites essential for weather forecasting, hurricane warning, studies of global climate change and more.

Peramivir protects mice from lethal H5N1 infection
The antiviral drug peramivir might offer humans significant protection during a pandemic of the avian influenza virus H5N1, according to results of mouse studies conducted by investigators at St.

Urban sediments after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita contained high levels of contaminants
In the first study to evaluate urban sediments after a natural disaster, scientists have found that floodwaters in New Orleans from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September 2005, contained high levels of fecal indicator bacteria and microbial pathogens.

Engineering Our Future NJ -- Creating a Vision, Implementing Effective Models
Sharing the rationale for K-12 engineering and providing some practical models to introduce engineering to all students is the focus of a one-day summit for 250 K-12 educational leaders,

Climate change a threat to Indonesian agriculture, study says
Rice farming in Indonesia is greatly affected by short-term climate variability and could be harmed significantly by long-term climate change, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University, the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin.

Seniors unfairly stereotyped as grouchy and frail
A study of caregivers of Alzheimer's patients and noncaregivers done by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, revealed that seniors are being stereotyped as grouchy, inflexible to change and mostly living in nursing homes, when the opposite is true.

Doctors ill equipped to confront parent smoking
With the growing number of postpartum mothers reporting they were currently smoking or smoked late in their pregnancy, it has become more critical to involve health care providers such as pediatricians in educating parents about the consequences of secondhand smoke exposure for children.

Generic biologic drugs unlikely to offer significant savings
Generic versions of a class of medicines called

New study in Sleep finds a high level of negativity towards judicial sleepiness
Sleepiness among judges and other members of the judiciary is viewed unfavorably by the media, society and the judicial system as a whole, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

Recommended doses of ginseng, ginko biloba do not interfere with drug absorption
Dr. Gregory Reed reports a study that found daily use of ginseng or ginkgo biloba supplements at the recommended doses, or the combination of both supplements, are unlikely to alter the pharmacokinetics -- by which drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated by the body -- of the majority of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Topical testosterone cream does not increase sexual drive in female cancer survivors
Increasing the testosterone levels of female cancer survivors using testosterone cream did not improve their libido more than a placebo, according to a randomized controlled clinical trial in the May 2 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Highlights from the May 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The May 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

New study suggests beverage patterns may 'make or break' your diet
Americans are filling their glasses with too many sugary drinks and not enough nutrient-rich beverage choices like lowfat milk, which may be affecting their weight and diet quality, suggests a new study presented today at the Experimental Biology meeting.

Higher calcium and vitamin D intakes positively associated with brain lesions in older men and women
Elderly men and women who consumed higher levels of calcium and vitamin D are significantly more likely to have greater volumes of brain lesions, regions of damage that can increase risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, depression and stroke.

Migraines during pregnancy linked to stroke and other vascular diseases
Migraines during pregnancy are strongly linked to vascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

Ultrashort light pulse blazes new paths for science, industry
Researchers in Italy have created an ultrashort light pulse -- a single isolated burst of extreme-ultraviolet light that lasts for only 130 attoseconds (billionths of a billionth of a second).

Gerontological Society of America awards new Hartford Doctoral Fellowships
Eight outstanding doctoral students have been chosen as the newest recipients of the prestigious Hartford Doctoral Fellowship in geriatric social work.

Gender, ethnic differences may hamper eating disorder diagnosis
Eating disorders may be overlooked in some groups -- boys and some ethnicities -- by physicians accustomed to diagnosing the condition in white teenage girls, say researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Brains scans of symptomatic Gulf War veterans show differences
Veterans of the first Gulf War who returned with multiple health symptom complaints show significant differences in brain structures from their fellow returnees without high numbers of health symptoms, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

Culture sculpts neural response to visual stimuli, new research indicates
Researchers in Illinois and Singapore have found that the aging brain reflects cultural differences in the way that it processes visual information.

Liver stiffness indicates portal hypertension
Measuring liver stiffness using transient elastography can predict severe portal hypertension in patients with hepatitis C-related cirrhosis.

Public health and hurricanes
In the first study ever to evaluate urban sediment after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science have published their findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pointing to the need for rapid environmental assessments.

Forensic pathologists tell physiologists what they know about death and what puzzles them
On television, the medical examiner usually nails down the precise cause of death, identifies the time, or pinpoints the number of pills a person took before dying of an overdose.

New data shows once a day LAMICTAL XR is effective in patients with partial epilepsy
Data from two clinical trials presented today at the American Academy of Neurology meeting suggest that an investigational once daily extended release formulation of Lamictal (lamotrigine) is effective as add-on treatment in patients with partial epilepsy with and without secondary generalization.

New study reports improved treatment and reduced mortality for patients with heart failure
UCLA researchers tracked heart failure in-hospital patient trends from 2002-2004 for 285 hospitals nationwide and found significant changes in treatment patterns and quality-of-care indicators that paralleled improvements in clinical outcomes and mortality.

Secondhand smoke increases risk of dementia
Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing dementia, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

Government fails sleepy Judge Dodd
A review into judicial sleepiness has described the handling of the case of NSW District Court Judge Ian Dodd as a failure on the part of the government to recognize a medical condition that is reversible with appropriate treatment.

National Academy of Sciences elects 2 Brandeis University scientists to membership
The nation's most honored scientific advisory organization, the National Academy of Sciences, announced today the election of two Brandeis University professors to its membership.

UK researchers find new class of nontoxic cancer treatments
Researchers have found a chemotherapy treatment that targets specific cells, reducing discomfort.

Climate change was the cause of Neanderthal extinction in the Iberian Peninsula
Recent studies carried out in Gorham's cave, on Gibraltar, proved to be definitive for this work.

Acrux completes enrollment in key phase 2 trial
Drug delivery company Acrux, announced today that it has successfully completed enrolment of 40 patients in the final Phase 2 trial of its unique testosterone lotion for treatment of testosterone deficiency in men.

How does soy promote weight loss? University of Illinois scientist finds another clue
Research shows that when soy consumption goes up, weight goes down.

Animal BiP levels determine amount of recovery sleep needed following prolonged wakefulness
Immunoglobulin binding protein in animals, a key indicator of endoplasmic reticulum stress, is instrumental in determining the amount of recovery sleep following enforced wakefulness, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

Early onset of poor bone mineralization revealed in children with cystic fibrosis
In a study of children with cystic fibrosis, French researchers found evidence of very early onset defective bone mineration in the lumbar spine that was not caused by either nutritional status or lung disease.

Global survey of lizards reveals greater abundance of animals on islands than on mainland ecosystems
A comprehensive survey of lizards on islands around the world has confirmed what island biologists and seafaring explorers have long observed: animals on islands are much more abundant than their counterparts on the mainland.

Racial disparities in treatment of patients with cirrhosis and complications of portal hypertension
African-American and Hispanic patients hospitalized for complications of portal hypertension were less likely to undergo a palliative shunt, prompt endoscopy, or liver transplantation compared to white patients.

Delayed treatment of childhood-onset bipolar disorder results in negative outcome in adults
Bipolar disorder is estimated to affect approximately 1-3 percent of adults, but also can affect children and adolescents.

No link found between autism and celiac disease
Contrary to previous studies, autistic children are no more likely than other children to have celiac disease, according to new research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

LAP-BAND System surgery improves insulin resistance
A new study examining the overall and gender-related effects of LAP-BAND System surgery on insulin resistance, body composition and metabolic risk markers six months after surgery has found significant improvements in insulin resistance.

Monthly interpersonal psychotherapy prevents relapse of depression in many women
Most women with recurrent depression may be able to prevent subsequent depressive episodes with monthly maintenance interpersonal psychotherapy, say researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Acute coronary syndrome therapy improvements linked with fewer deaths and improved clinical outcomes
Recent changes in the recommended treatments used for patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes, such as a heart attack, are associated with reductions in the rates of heart failure, stroke, heart attack and death, according to a study in the May 2 issue of JAMA.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
Articles included in this issue:

Hurricane Katrina evacuees had deep distrust of public health authorities
While investigating the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans evacuees, a group of UCLA researchers stumbled across something they had not been looking for -- the deep level of distrust the largely minority victims felt toward public health authorities.

New treatments have major impact on heart failure rates
Deaths from severe heart attacks following admission to hospital have nearly halved in six years as a result of advances in medical treatment.

Pancreatic cancer markers identified, may predict survival
Scientists have discovered a way to distinguish pancreatic cancer from non-cancerous tissue, new research shows.

Jefferson pharmacologist says biomarker discovery bodes well for better cancer diagnostics
A pharmacologist at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson says that new findings suggesting a genetic marker can help distinguish between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer and gauge who will do well with cancer treatment have important implications for improved cancer diagnostics and tumor profiling.

$1.5 million awarded for palliative care research
The American Cancer Society and the National Palliative Care Research Center are awarding $1.5 million in research grants to researchers at 10 institutions for studies aimed at reducing suffering for seriously ill patients and their family caregivers.

Green tea extract protects against brain damage in new mouse model of HIV-related dementia
A green tea extract may represent a new and natural compound for preventing and treating HIV-associated dementia, a study using a new mouse model for the devastating disease suggests.

Legal ruling may put endangered species in danger
Ecologists and philosophers across the nation, led by two Michigan scientists, are protesting a new and narrowed definition of

Other highlights in the May 2 JNCI
Also in the May 2 JNCI is a follow-up to the Italian Randomized Tamoxifen Trial, a study on treating breast cancer patients with three HER inhibitor drugs, an increase in survival rates for indolent lymphoma patients using a chemotherapy-rituximab combination, and new lung cancer risk prediction models.

Web-based asthma program dramatically improves disease management for low-income black students
Low-income African-American high school students with asthma who participated in a specially designed, Web-based disease management program reported fewer days and nights with symptoms, fewer school days missed, fewer days of restricted activity, and less hospitalization for asthma during a 12-month follow-up period, as compared to nonparticipating asthmatic students.

Good news on heart attack and chest pain
People who suffer a heart attack or severe chest pain today are much less likely to die, or to experience long-lasting effects, than their counterparts even a few years ago, according to a new international study.

8 plants from South Africa may hold potential for treating high blood pressure
A team of researchers examined the effectiveness of 16 plants growing in South Africa's Kwa-Zulu Natal region and concluded that eight plant extracts may hold value for treating high blood pressure.

Researchers urge caution in using ESAs for cancer-related anemia
Echoing recent FDA warnings, a research group from Northern Ireland cautions against over-aggressive use of a group of drugs called

Serious illness among children with sickle cell disease reduced with vaccine
A vaccine introduced in 2000 has reduced by more than 90 percent the rate of a serious bacterial illness among young children with sickle cell disease (SCD), who are particularly susceptible to it, according to a new study that appears in the June 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and currently is available online.

Eye muscles -- those go-getters of the anatomical world
The extraocular muscles are the six small muscles that move each eye from side to side, up and down and on the slant.

Air-sea surface science
Aided by new observations from the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer -- Hurricane field program, scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have helped to develop and test a new, high-resolution computer model to better understand how air-sea interactions directly affect hurricane intensity, a factor not yet possible in the current operational forecast models.

Young Australian scientist honored at international meeting
Children's Cancer Institute Australia's Ph.D. student Petra Bachmann was bestowed a special honor last week when she carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony of the largest cancer conference in the world.

Combination treatment stymies breast cancer growth
A combination of three different drugs that block the HER-2 receptor, a critical cellular growth signal for some breast cancers, eradicated aggressive breast tumors in mice and could point the way toward developing better treatments in patients, said researchers from the Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Promising drug fails to improve COPD symptoms
A promising anti-inflammatory drug failed to improve symptoms of moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, in a large, multicenter trial.

MNI researchers find a new role for mitochondria in cellular copper regulation
Copper is an essential part of our lives. Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University are studying how copper is processed in our bodies and its distinct role in early development.

Heart failure medication does not improve survival, compared to more widely used medication
The drug levosimendan did not improve survival for patients with decompensated heart failure when compared with a more widely used treatment for this condition, dobutamine, according to a study in the May 2 issue of JAMA.

Eating soup will help cut calories at meals
Eating low-calorie soup before a meal can help cut back on how much food and calories you eat at the meal, a new Penn State study shows.

Inflammatory system genes linked to cognitive decline after heart surgery
Variants of two genes involved in the inflammatory system appear to protect patients from suffering a decline in mental function following heart surgery.

First clinical trial of gene therapy for childhood blindness
The first clinical trial to test a revolutionary treatment for blindness in children has been announced by researchers at UCL (University College London).

Engineering professor receives prestigious NSF Career Award
The National Science Foundation has awarded Hai-Chao Han, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, a five-year $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development Award to study the cardiovascular mechanics associated with artery buckling in humans.

Madagascan tropical forests return thanks to better management and well-defined ownership
A study published in the May 2 issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, shows that although loss of tropical dry forests occurs in southern Madagascar, there are also large areas of forests regenerating.

Brain shows humans break down events into smaller units
Humans breakdown activities into smaller, more digestible chunks, a phenomenon that psychologists describe as

Scientific breakthroughs in optics at CLEO/QELS press-only luncheon
Leading industry experts discuss breakthroughs in cancer detection, the shortest light pulse, homeland security technology and microscopic imaging.

ASU, Walter Reed researchers create prosthesis of the future
Researchers at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus and the Military Amputee Research Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are teaming up to create the next generation of powered prosthetic devices based on lightweight energy storing springs.

Parents can sneak veggies into kids' diet
Parents who want their kids to consume fewer calories and eat more vegetables might find a healthy solution with

Interventional cardiologists assemble in Orlando, Fla., for SCAI Annual Scientific Sessions
Angioplasty, stents and other nonsurgical, catheter-based procedures used by interventional cardiologists to treat cardiovascular disease are increasingly replacing open-heart surgery.

Studies suggest investigational agent reduces disease activity in MS
A new drug under investigation shows a reduction in disease activity in multiple sclerosis, according to two studies that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

New prostate cancer treatment wins operations research award for Sloan-Kettering
The unique application of operations research to the treatment of prostate cancer allowed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to better Fortune 500 companies last night and win an international competition for best project by an organization.

Global package race puts major carriers to the test
How hard is it to deliver a package to Ouagadougou?

Urbanization favors sedentary males
Urbanization changes landscapes and local environments, which can alter the life histories and traits of the creatures living in and around these areas.

Why losing money may be more painful than you think
Losing money may be intrinsically linked with fear and pain in the brain, scientists have discovered.

Unstable leukemia stem cells may predispose patients to drug resistance
The BCR-ABL gene in chronic myeloid leukemia stem cells has a tendency to quickly mutate, and this may help explain why patients are predisposed to resistance to drugs like imatinib that target that gene, according to a study in the May 2 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Laser-trapping of rare element gets unexpected assist
Argonne researchers have successfully laser-cooled and trapped atoms of radium -- the first time this rare element has been captured in a magneto-optical trap -- with an assist from an unexpected source.

Psychology professor elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Illinois psychology professor Renée Baillargeon, whose work on infants' physical and psychological reasoning has stirred debate in the behavioral sciences, was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Why do oysters choose to live where they could be eaten?
According to an article in the May edition of Ecological Monographs, a team of scientists has found that despite the risk of being eaten by cannibalistic adults, oyster larvae choose to settle in areas of high oyster concentrations to take advantage of future benefits of increased reproductive capacity when they mature.

Research demonstrates link between domestic violence and asthma
The link between environmental exposures and asthma has been clearly described, but a new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health finds a strong association between domestic violence and asthma.

72 new members chosen by academy
The National Academy of Sciences today announced the election of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 12 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Assumption of function not always correct
A protein called RecQ takes on a totally opposite function in the bacteria Escherichia coli to the one it fulfills in yeast and in humans, indicating that people seeking to understand the role of different forms in human cells and disease need to consider both possibilities, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the current issue of Molecular Cell.

MU researchers find statin drugs also may help reduce risk of heart failure, sudden cardiac death
Statin drugs, known primarily for their ability to lower cholesterol, also may reduce the overactive sympathetic nervous system response that contributes to the worsening of heart failure and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death, two University of Missouri-Columbia researchers have found.

Sleep deprivation can threaten competent decision-making
A study published in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep finds that sleep deprivation can adversely affect a person's decision-making at a gambling table by elevating the expectation of gains and making light of one's losses following risky decisions.

Salk scientist Ursula Bellugi elected to National Academy of Sciences
Salk Institute professor Ursula Bellugi, who pioneered the study of the biological foundation of language, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Assessment model based on medical history gauges lung cancer risk
Clinicians may be one step closer to having a critical tool in identifying which smokers are at higher risk for developing lung cancer, the deadliest of all cancers, thanks to an assessment model generated by researchers at the University of Texas M.

Alum donates $300K to establish new endowment at UAlbany's CNSE
UAlbany alumnus Dr. Clinton Ray Carpenter today established an endowment to support UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Impact of a chemical component of diesel exhaust particles
A new study finds that exposure to a chemical component of diesel exhaust particles can compromise the ability of resistance arteries to regulate blood flow to bone marrow.

Amphibians in losing race with environmental change
Even though they had the ability to evolve and survive for hundreds of millions of years -- since before the time of the dinosaurs and through many climatic regimes -- the massive, worldwide decline of amphibians can best be understood by their inability to keep pace with the current rate of global change, a new study suggests.

Who receives a kidney transplant first?
While the field of transplantation is quite young, substantial advancements and success have led to the current imbalance between the supply of organs and the demand for them.

Alien plants attack using 'resource conservation' as weapon, researchers say
Biologists have long assumed that alien plant species pose less of a threat in resource-poor environments because they are less able to compete with indigenous plants, which have adapted to their habitats over thousands of years.

Molecular marker may help identify pancreatic cancer, and possibly predict survival time
Preliminary research suggests that the expression pattern of microRNA (a short RNA molecule) may be useful in differentiating between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer and may be able to distinguish long and short term survival time for patients with pancreatic cancer, according to an article in the May 2 issue of JAMA. 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