Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 23, 2007
New joint replacement material developed at MGH put to first clinical use
Massachusetts General Hospital surgeons have performed the first total hip replacement using a joint socket lined with a novel material invented at the MGH.

August Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Topics include: first images of an active oceanic detachment fault; new theory of Transantarctic Mountains formation; why western Siberian rivers flow into the Arctic Ocean via estuaries rather than coastal deltas; and the cause of the large earthquake and tsunami that destroyed coastal cities of sixth-century Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon).

Adult survivors of childhood leukemia exercise less, worsening high risk for obesity and illness
Overcoming pediatric cancer may only mark the beginning of a young survivor's lifelong battle to stay healthy.

U of M researchers discover new method to combat HIV
Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Center for Drug Design, have developed a new method to combat HIV/AIDS, potentially replacing the traditional cocktail drug approach.

Laser sets records in power and energy efficiency
Northwestern University researchers have made strides in laser design, material growth and laser fabrication that have greatly increased the output power and wall-plug efficiency of quantum cascade lasers.

N.C. A&T food scientist develops process for allergen-free peanuts
An agricultural researcher at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has developed a simple process to make allergen-free peanuts.

New algorithm matches any tumor cells to best possible anti-cancer treatments
An algorithm that could help rapidly sort molecular information about a cancer patient's particular tumor and could help match this information to the right drug treatment would be a breakthrough of enormous value.

New study explores impact of voting rights act on election of nonwhite officials in the US
New research by political scientists examines the significance of the Voting Rights Act for the political representation of people of color and documents

Obese girls less likely to attend college
Obese girls are half as likely to attend college as non-obese girls, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin.

Do I know you? QBI researchers identify woman's struggle to recognize new faces
A young woman -- who is by every other measure healthy and intelligent but struggles to recognise new faces -- has presented Queensland Brain Institute scientists with fascinating new insights into learning and memory.

Fruit fly gene from 'out of nowhere' is discovered
Scientists thought that most new genes were formed from existing genes, but Cornell researchers have discovered a gene in some fruit flies that appears to be unrelated to other genes in any known genome.

America's 'anti-prostitution pledge' is hindering global HIV control efforts
In order to receive US funding for HIV prevention or control projects, recipient organizations must take a pledge that explicitly condemns prostitution.

Pitt researchers receive funding to recognize and treat heart failure and depression
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a novel intervention strategy for treating both congestive heart failure and major depression simultaneously.

Back to the future: Mastodon extends the time limit on DNA sequencing
The first complete mitochondrial DNA genome for the mastodon extends the age range for genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle, and resolves the relationships among African and Asian elephants and mammoths.

University of Delaware-led team sets solar cell record
A University of Delaware-led consortium has achieved a record-breaking combined solar cell efficiency of 42.8 percent from sunlight at standard terrestrial conditions, and will team with DuPont in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project to transition the lab-scale work to an engineering and manufacturing prototype model.

Limpets reveal possible fate of cold-blooded Antarctic animals
A limpet no bigger than a coin could reveal the possible fate of cold-blooded Antarctic marine animals according to new research published this week in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Studies affirm need for influenza and measles vaccinations in HIV-infected patients
Two new studies emphasize the importance of delivering measles and influenza vaccines to HIV-infected individuals.

Improving TB treatment and more
Tuberculosis is a major killer, causing up to two million deaths worldwide every year.

Study confirms that NSAIDs treatment can reduce colorectal cancer risk
A study of Medicare patients with osteoarthritis provides additional evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Killing only a few animals won't do any harm -- or will it?
Sometimes killing even a few individuals can have dramatic consequences, causing populations to fluctuate wildly.

Brain abnormalities found in people with writer's cramp
People with serious cases of writer's cramp have brain abnormalities, according to a study published in the July 24, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

MIT researchers work toward spark-free, fuel-efficient engines
In an advance that could help curb global demand for oil, MIT researchers have demonstrated how ordinary spark-ignition automobile engines can, under certain driving conditions, move into a spark-free operating mode that is more fuel-efficient and just as clean.

North American energy ministers take further action on energy security and the environment
Energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States took another step toward enhancing North American energy security and environmental protection, announcing concrete actions on energy science and technology, energy efficiency, deployment of clean energy technologies and other cooperative projects.

Graphene nanoelectronics: Making tomorrow's computers from a pencil trace
A key discovery at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could help advance the role of graphene as a possible heir to copper and silicon in nanoelectronics.

Canada's new government standing up against standby power
The Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of Natural Resources, today announced that Canada's new government will put in place standards to limit the amount of power consumed by products in standby mode.

Double trouble: Hopelessness key component of mood disorder
Double depression occurs when an individual who suffers from dysthymia, a persistent case of mild depression marked by low energy, falls into a major depressive state.

Latest drugs improve survival for metastatic breast cancer
Newer drug therapies available since the 1990s, in particular aromatase inhibitors, improve the survival of women with metastatic breast cancer in the general population, according to a new study.

Poor health literacy associated with increased mortality in the elderly
Older adults who cannot read and understand basic health information appear to have increased mortality rates over a five-year period than those with adequate health literacy, according to a report in the July 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Male circumcision for HIV prevention and more
Three clinical trials in Africa found that adult male circumcision reduced the risk of men acquiring HIV infection from heterosexual sex by 51-60 percent.

Should adult male circumcision be recommended for HIV prevention in the US?
Three clinical trials in Africa found that adult male circumcision reduced the risk of men acquiring HIV infection from heterosexual sex by 51-60 percent.

Staying out of jams
What do sand, cereal, ice cubes, gravel, sugar, pills and powders have in common?

Did pterosaurs feed by skimming?
Physical and mathematical models of fossil pterosaurs and a living bird that feeds by skimming refute the hypothesis that pterosaurs would have been able to forage this way.

Initiative to improve heart failure care at nation's hospitals makes major gains
A national initiative designed to improve heart-failure patient care in hospitals proved effective at increasing hospital adherence to key quality-of-care performance measures and reducing the length of hospital stays for patients.

Group therapy fails to improve breast cancer survival
A follow up to a previous study on group therapy in breast cancer patients finds group therapy does not prolong the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer.

Sperm banking before treatment preserves fertility in young male cancer patients
A recent Canadian study proves that sperm freezing and banking, is an effective way to preserve fertility in adolescents and young adult males with cancer.

Medical students respond positively to simulated patient experience
When a vomiting, simulated patient mannequin was rolled into the lecture hall last fall to teach large numbers of first- and second-year Wake Forest University School of Medicine students about the brain and nervous system, Michael T.

Patients with TB should be more involved in decisions about their treatment
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major killer, causing up to two million deaths worldwide every year.

Contributing membership in the biomarkers consortium surges to 30 companies and nonprofits
Contributing membership in the Biomarkers Consortium now totals 30 companies and nonprofit trade associations and advocacy groups, it was announced today.

Study sheds light on why humans walk on two legs
Studying chimpanzees trained to use treadmills, a team of anthropologists have gathered new evidence suggesting that our earliest apelike ancestors started walking on two legs because it required less energy than getting around on all fours.

Toxic milk
In the August 1 issue of G&D, Dr. Ronald Evans (Salk Institute) and colleagues, report on their discovery that mutations in the mouse gene encoding PPARã adversely affect lactation milk quality, and have serious health consequences for nursing pups.

Scientists unravel feeding habits of flying reptiles
Scientists at the University of Sheffield, collaborating with colleagues at the Universities of Portsmouth and Reading, have taken a step back in time and provided a new insight into the lifestyle of a prehistoric flying reptile.

Ethnicity plays a role in neonatal deaths
Researchers have uncovered ethnic differences in the risk of neonatal mortality and morbidity (disease) in the neonatal intensive care units (NICU).

Study examines faculty's beliefs on the effects of decreased resident duty hours
Internal medicine faculty heavily involved in residency programs believe that resident duty-hour limitations negatively affect aspects of residents' patient care, education and professionalism, but improve residents' well-being, according to a report in the July 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Brain's 'hearing center' may reorganize after implant of cochlear device
Cochlear implants -- electronic devices inserted surgically in the ear to allow deaf people to hear -- may restore normal auditory pathways in the brain even after many years of deafness.

Low literacy equals early death sentence
Low literacy impairs people's ability to obtain critical information about their health and can dramatically shorten their lives.

1 in 4 NYC adults has elevated blood mercury levels
A quarter of adult New Yorkers have elevated blood mercury levels, according to survey results released today by the Health Department, and the elevations are closely tied to fish consumption.

Childhood sun exposure may lower risk of MS
People who spent more time in the sun as children may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) than people who had less sun exposure during childhood, according to a study published in the July 24, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Diet and regular soft drinks linked to increase in risk factors for heart disease
Drinking more than one soft drink daily -- whether it's regular or diet -- may be associated with an increase in the risk factors for heart disease, Framingham researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Unintended pregnancy predicts feelings that parenting is a burden
The relationship between a mother and her infant is believed by many to be the foundation of healthy childhood development, but researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found pregnancy acceptance to be the first step in forming the mother/child bond.

Studies assess blood clot prevalence outside hospital, prevention in hospital
More cases of venous thromboembolism are diagnosed in the three months following hospitalization than during hospitalization, but less than half of inpatients receive medications to prevent blood clots from occurring, according to a report in the July 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Effects of aging in stem cells
In highly purified hematopoietic stem cells from mice aged 2 to 21 months, gene expression analysis indicates a deficit in function, yet an increase in stem cell number with advancing age.

Exposure to smoking-cessation product ads helps smokers quit
The more magazine ads smokers see for the nicotine patch and other quit-smoking aids, the more likely they are to try to quit smoking and be successful -- even without buying the products, finds a new Cornell study presented at the American Marketing Association's recent meeting in Washington, D.C.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- July 18, 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.

Study finds association between low cholesterol levels and cancer
Millions of Americans take statins to lower their cholesterol, but how low should you go?

UB scientist discovers novel iron-copper alliance
Iron is the workhorse of trace minerals. Life cannot be sustained without it.

Polymer opal films shed new kind of light on nature
Imagine cleaning out your refrigerator and being able to tell at a glance whether perishable food items have spoiled, because the packaging has changed color, or being able to tell if your dollar bill is counterfeit by stretching it to see if it changes hue.

Bumblebees make bee line for gardens, National Bumblebee Nest Survey finds
Britain's gardens are vital habitats for nesting bumblebees, new research has found.

Carnegie's Dave Mao awarded AGU's Inge Lehmann Medal
The American Geophysical Union has awarded Carnegie's Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao the Inge Lehmann Medal for

'Closing the front door' on homelessness
Experts are urging a new focus on prevention to address the plight of millions who are homeless in the US and Europe.

Steroids, not songs, spur growth of brain regions in sparrows
A species of sparrow uses testosterone to trigger the seasonal growth of song production areas of its brain.

Neurons for numerosity: Parietal neurons 'sum up' individual items in a group
Neurons in the lateral intraparietal area in monkeys respond in a graded fashion to the number of items in a visual array during a delayed saccade task, suggesting that the neurons

Support groups don't extend survival of metastatic breast cancer patients, Stanford study finds
A new study from a team of Stanford University School of Medicine researchers led by David Spiegel, M.D., shows that participating in support groups doesn't extend the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer. 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