Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 18, 2007
Gene variant increases risk of blindness
Researchers have found a gene variant that can more than double the risk of developing the degenerative eye disease, age-related macular degeneration.

Jefferson scientist's patent dramatically improves
A basic scientist at Jefferson Medical College and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, has shared a patent on what may someday be a ubiquitous tool in DNA analysis.

New tool to measure speeding nuclei is a fast-beam first
An international collaboration at the Michigan State University National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, has demonstrated a new technique for studying particles traveling at one-third the speed of light.

The end of barroom brawls -- study shows alcohol can reduce aggression
New study examines the link between alcohol and aggression.

Children and young people show elevated leukaemia rates near nuclear facilities
International review shows leukaemia death rates in children aged zero to nine were elevated by up to 24 percent near nuclear facilities and incidence rates by up to 21 percent.

Harry Potter and the terrorist attacks
Could Harry Potter be guarding the secrets of the British government's post Sept.

'SCHIP funding levels too low' ACP tells Senate Finance Committee Leaders
The chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians today commended Senate Finance Committee Leaders for working on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program but expressed concern that funding levels are too low and that pending Medicare cuts are not addressed.

Catastrophic flooding changes the course of British history
A catastrophic megaflood separated Britain from France hundreds of thousands of years ago, changing the course of British history, according to research published in the journal Nature today.

World conference on research integrity -- fostering responsible research
The issue of research integrity has emerged in recent years as a critical topic in policy research.

Student results show benefits of math and science partnerships
Students' performance on annual math and science assessments improved in almost every age group when their schools were involved in a program that partners K-12 teachers with their colleagues in higher education.

X-ray satellites discover the biggest collisions in the universe
The orbiting X-ray telescopes XXM-Newton and Chandra have caught a pair of galaxy clusters merging into a giant cluster.

Enzyme eliminated by cancer cells holds promise for cancer treatment
An enzyme that cancer cells eliminate, apparently so they can keep proliferating, may hold clues to more targeted, effective cancer treatment, scientists say.

RAND study finds senior drivers less likely than youngest drivers to cause accidents
Drivers 65 and older are just one-third as likely as drivers 15 to 24 to cause auto accidents, and not much more likely than drivers 25 to 64 to cause accidents, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Masquerading in murky waters
An increase in nutrient input in the Baltic is compromising water clarity by promoting algal blooms.

PET scan shows during treatment if radiation is shrinking lung tumor, U-M study shows
Lung cancer patients may not need to wait till their radiation treatment is over to know if it worked.

Low hospital staff levels increase infection rates
Decreasing the number of nurses on duty in an intensive care unit (ICU) increases the risk of serious infection, according to a report published in the open access journal Critical Care.

Charon -- An ice machine in the ultimate deep freeze
Frigid geysers spewing material up through cracks in the crust of Pluto's companion Charon, and recoating parts of its surface in ice crystals, could be making this distant world into the equivalent of an outer solar system ice machine.

50 years and counting: The Wisconsin Longitudinal study
More than 10,000 graduates from Wisconsin's high school class of 1957 have been participating for a half-century in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, one of the longest and most respected sociological investigations ever undertaken.

Links between food cravings, types of cravings and weight management
Researchers have found a commonality in food cravings among people in the CALERIE trial at Tufts University.

A brain chemical that battles despair
Researchers have identified a gene-regulating protein in the brains of mice that triggers the animals' ability to cope with the

Brain region central to placebo effect identified
Researchers have pinpointed a brain region central to the machinery of the placebo effect -- the often controversial phenomenon in which a person's belief in the efficacy of a treatment such as a painkilling drug influences its effect.

UK scientists lift lid on genetics of coronary artery disease
Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding how our genetic make-up can lead us to develop heart disease and to predicting who is most at risk.

UK licensing law changes have trebled overnight alcohol related visits to emergency care
Changes to the UK licensing laws have trebled the number of overnight visits to emergency care for alcohol related problems, reveals research in Emergency Medicine Journal.

New mechanism found for memory storage in brain
Our experiences -- the things we see, hear, or do -- can trigger long-term changes in the strength of the connections between nerve cells in our brain, and these persistent changes are how the brain encodes information as memory.

Exercise, exercise, rest, repeat -- how a break can help your workout
Taking a break in the middle of your workout may metabolize more fat than exercising without stopping, according to a recent study in Japan.

Assessing levies for by-catch could fund conservation measures
Fishing industry lines accidentally catch so many seabirds and turtles that their populations are being threatened.

Fedoroff, of Penn State, named Science and Technology Advisor to the US Secretary of State
Nina V. Fedoroff, of Penn State, has been named by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State.

Study reveals surge in male-factor infertility technique
A national study reveals that intracytoplasmic sperm injection, an assisted reproductive technology used to treat male-factor infertility, has increased dramatically in the United States since 1995.

Simvastatin -- for hearts and minds?
Statins are not all equal when it comes to their potential to guard against dementia, according to a study published in the online open access journal BMC Medicine.

Bird sized airplane to fly like a swift
Nine Dutch Aerospace Engineering students at the Delft University of Technology, together with the Department of Experimental Zoology of Wageningen University, designed the RoboSwift.

Elsevier announces significant increases in impact factors
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced that more than 65 percent of its journals improved in impact factor, as reported in the 2006 Journal Citation Reports.

UD scientists invent novel hydrogels for repairing, regenerating human tissue
University of Delaware scientists have invented a novel biomaterial with surprising antibacterial properties, that can be injected as a low-viscosity gel into a wound where it rigidifies nearly on contact -- opening the door to the possibility of delivering a targeted payload of cells and antibiotics to repair the damaged tissue.

Gene identified for Crohn's disease in children
Pediatrics researchers have identified a gene variant that raises a child's risk of Crohn's disease, a chronic and painful condition attributed to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Long-term antiretroviral therapy could restore normal CD4 cell counts in HIV positive patients
HIV positive patients who take combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) to combat HIV infection could see the numbers of CD4 cells in their immune system rise to concentrations found in HIV negative individuals.

Fruit fly research may 'clean up' conventional impressions of biology
The metamorphosis of biology into a science offering numerically precise descriptions of nature, has taken a leap forward with the elucidation of a key step in the development of fruit fly embryos -- discoveries that could change how scientists think not just about flies, but about life in general.

Research shows new therapy is effective for patients with Crohn's disease
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that Certolizumab pegol is an effective treatment for adults with Crohn's disease, according to two new studies.

Purdue-IU researchers explore new method for early disease diagnosis
Purdue University researchers worked with the Indiana University School of Medicine to establish a technique that provides a new approach for detecting a number of genetic disorders found in infants and young children.

Nature's secrets yield new adhesive material
Scientists report they have merged two of nature's most elegant strategies for wet and dry adhesion to produce a synthetic material that one day could lead to more durable and longer-lasting bandages, patches and surgical materials.

New research proves single origin of humans in Africa
New research published in the journal Nature July 19 has proved the single origin of humans theory by combining studies of global genetic variations in humans with skull measurements across the world.

Researchers JAZ(zed) about plant resistance discovery
The mystery of how a major plant hormone works to defend plants against invaders has now been revealed, thanks to collaborative research efforts by Michigan State University and Washington State University.

Researchers find specific statin significantly reduces Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease risk
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that the statin, simvastatin, reduces the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease by almost 50 percent.

Intensive training of young tennis players causes spinal damage
The intensive training given to young elite tennis players damages their spines, shows research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Helicopter flight trials for EGNOS
Successful trials have recently been conducted at Lausanne, Switzerland, using the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service to guide a helicopter as it approached and touched down at an emergency medical service landing pad in the city.

'Disquieting' slow down in heart disease deaths among under 55s
The fall in deaths from heart disease among younger Britons is slowing down, pointing to a

Great expectations -- study looks at why placebo effect varies from person to person
Why do some people experience a

NJIT researchers develop inexpensive, easy process to produce solar panels
Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology, have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets.

Kathryn Abel wins American Society for Engineering Education's Best Paper Award
Kathryn Abel, director of the engineering management program at Stevens Institute of Technology, was honored with the Best Paper Award from the Engineering Management Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Researchers discover gene responsible for Restless Legs Syndrome
An international team of researchers has identified the first gene associated with Restless Legs Syndrome, a common sleep disorder affecting tens of millions of people worldwide.

President Bush announces 2005 and 2006 Laureates of National Medals of Science and Technology
President George W. Bush announced the recipients of the nation's highest honor for science and technology, naming the recipients of the 2006 National Medals of Science and Technology.

The end of barroom brawls
Why do drunks get belligerent? And do all intoxicated people get more aggressive?

Overseas doctors should not face discrimination because of terror attacks
The vital role played by overseas doctors in the NHS should not be forgotten in light of recent headlines, says an editorial in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Speed of light computing
Researchers say they have developed the first workable suggestion for building an optical computer, which would be hundreds of times faster than today's supercomputers.

RAND study finds wind insurance costly and scarce on Gulf of Mexico coast
Many businesses along the Gulf of Mexico coast have had a difficult time obtaining wind insurance coverage since Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma hit in 2005 and have often ended up paying more than twice as much for the insurance as they did previously, according to a RAND Corp. study issued today.

Synthetic adhesive mimics sticking powers of gecko and mussel
Northwestern University biomedical engineers have married the gecko's adhesive ability with that of an animal well known for its sticking power underwater: the mussel.

Very young babies vulnerable to sudden death while seated
Very young babies are vulnerable to sudden death, when seated, warns a study published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Study explains how pathogens evolve to escape detection
In the evolutionary battle in which plants are trying to beef up their defenses against pathogens, Cornell researchers have discovered a bacterium that infects tomatoes by injecting a special protein into the plant's cells and undermines the plant's defense system.

Species detectives track unseen evolution
New species are evading detection using a foolproof disguise -- their own unchanged appearance.

Vitamin D deficiency: Common and problematic yet preventable
In a review article to appear in the July 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr.

Looking for something? Surprising number of neurons help find it, research shows
A person searching for a ripe tomato at the grocery store is more likely to notice apples, strawberries and other red fruits as well, according to a new study that measured changes in blood flow in the brain. 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