Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 25, 2007
Females more prone to brain damage from alcohol abuse
Alcoholism has traditionally been considered a male disease because there are many more alcoholic males than females.

Hazards on the road ahead
Learner drivers are being invited to test how good -- or bad -- they are at spotting potential hazards on the road, with the help of University of Nottingham researchers.

New NIH-supported study characterizes social networks of family, friends
Obesity spreads within social networks, and the closer the social connection, the greater the influence on developing obesity, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Springer launches Theoretical Ecology
Springer, one of the leading STM publishers, is launching a new journal, Theoretical Ecology, to be published quarterly from 2008.

Discoverer of Sly Syndrome finds way of delivering medicine to fight rare genetic disorder
Findings by the Saint Louis University doctor who discovered Sly's Syndrome points to a new way to get big molecules, such as certain medications, across the blood-brain barrier.

Steroid medications don't work in treating lower respiratory infections in children
The use of steroid medication to treat bronchiolitis -- a common viral lower respiratory infection in infants -- does not prevent hospitalization or improve their respiratory symptoms, according to a study published in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Obesity spreads through social networks
A study of 12,067 people over a period of 32 years has found that social networks have a marked influence on weight gain.

Thousands of atoms swap 'spins' with partners in quantum square dance
Physicists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology have induced thousands of atoms trapped by laser beams to swap

Learning a second language -- Is it all in your head?
Think you haven't got the aptitude to learn a foreign language?

Call for EU to launch major project to map out all our proteins
Biologists still have no clear idea how many active genes there are coding for proteins in humans and other organisms, even though for some species the genomes have been completely sequenced.

Search for life in Martian ice relies on UK technology
The Martian surface will be explored for conditions favourable for past or present life thanks to micro-machine technology supplied by Imperial College London.

FDA sees nanotech challenges in every product category it regulates
According to Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Director David Rejeski,

Researchers watch antibiotics, bacteria meet at atomic level
A new understanding of an enzyme important for the transfer of genetic information in bacteria may help scientists improve current antibiotics and also create antibiotics that are less vulnerable to resistance.

Smithsonian Fragmentation Project threatened by Amazon Colonization Plan
The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, one of the most important long-term research efforts in the Amazon, is imperiled by new colonization proposed by the Brazilian federal agency SUFRAMA, according to a commentary in the July 26, 2007, journal Nature, co-authored by William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Regina Luiz√£o of Brazil's National Institute for Amazonian Research.

Hand gestures dramatically improve learning
Kids asked to physically gesture at math problems are nearly three times more likely than nongesturers to remember what they've learned.

Carnegie Mellon study says you're not as generous as you think
A new study out of Carnegie Mellon university reveals that people who regard themselves as humanitarians, are even more likely than others to base donations to the poor, on whether they believe poverty is a result of bad luck or bad choices.

Gene-transcription machinery seen poised for action, held in check until needed
For some time, scientists have been tracking down the sequence of biochemical steps required to attract and assemble at the head end of a gene the molecular machinery needed to transcribe that gene to put to work the information it encodes.

Study identifies new gene therapy tools for inherited blindness
An improved approach to gene therapy may one day treat some of the nearly 200 inherited forms of blindness, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Accuracy of thyroid hormone testing improved with state-of-the-art test
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have developed a fast and accurate way to measure a major hormone released by the thyroid gland -- an advance they say may help in the treatment of many women who have overactive or underactive thyroid glands.

Air pollution link to clogged arteries
Should we be watching our exposure to airborne pollution as well as our cholesterol levels?

Unique quantum effect found in silicon nanocrystals
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, collaborating with Innovalight Inc., have shown that a new and important effect called multiple exciton generation occurs efficiently in silicon nanocrystals.

Graphene oxide paper could spawn a new class of materials
Researchers at Northwestern University have fabricated graphene oxide

Advanced therapy offers cure for relapsed cancer patient
Testicular cancer patients who do not respond to traditional therapy can be cured with high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, according to an Indiana University School of Medicine study by Lawrence Einhorn, M.D.; Stephen Williams, M.D.; Rafat Abonour, M.D., and colleagues published in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Differing views of human sex focus of book
Sex refers to biology and reproduction, but the mind offers the most important lesson for humans according to a Penn State scholar in the newest edition of his book

Obesity is 'socially contagious'
Are your friends making you fat? Or keeping you slender?

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation invests in gastroenterology's future
The American Gastroenterological Association and its Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition today announced a three-year grant from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which will benefit high school students who demonstrate high potential for careers in digestive disease research.

Management consultants are often 'more project workers than ideas people'
The popular impression that management consultants are key to spreading new ideas in organisations is exaggerated and misleading, according to a unique fly-on-the wall study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition joins BioMed Central
BioMed Central, the world's largest open access publisher, is pleased to announce that the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition is moving to BioMed Central's open access publishing platform.

20 Kentucky firms share $1.9 million from state to match federal SBIR-STTR awards
Kentucky's Phase 1 matching grants range from $69,999 to $100,000 per company.

FDA Nanotechnology Task Force takes positive step forward
Today's report from the Food and Drug Administration Nanotechnology Task Force is an important and positive step forward in the agency's effort to tackle the new scientific and regulatory challenges posed by nanotechnology.

Resisting peer pressure -- New findings shed light on adolescent decision-making
The capacity to resist peer pressure in early adolescence may depend on the strength of connections between certain areas of the brain, according to a study carried out by University of Nottingham researchers.

The future of medicine -- Insert chip, cure disease?
Imagine a chip, strategically placed in the brain, that could prevent epileptic seizures or allow someone to control an artificial arm just by thinking about it.

New low-cost technology counters deadly aflatoxin, increases agricultural exports
Scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, have devised a fast, simple and affordable test kit for detecting the poison, which is known as aflatoxin.

Three-pronged nuclear attack
A trio of security vulnerabilities surrounding the use of nuclear power are highlighted today in research papers online with Inderscience Publishers.

Biologics valuable treatment option for patients with inflammatory bowel disease
The use of biologic agents for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease may benefit patients, but doctors need to consider the potential associated side effects in determining treatment course, according to a consensus paper published in this month's issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute.

Polar expeditions -- Bad and good for the mind
People on polar expeditions can undergo serious negative psychological changes as they struggle to adapt to their isolated, extreme and confined environment; but also positive changes due to sense of achievement after having coped with such a stressful situation.

Study finds 30-minute CPR classes just as effective as multihour courses
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that a user-friendly, 30-minute, video-based cardiopulmonary resuscitation training session is just as effective as the traditional three- to four-hour course in teaching basic life-saving techniques to laypersons.

Korean mummies may provide clues to combat hepatitis B
Mummies that have recently been unearthed in South Korea may provide clues on how to combat hepatitis B, according to Prof.

Study points to new way to predict death risk from torn aorta
Each year, thousands of Americans suffer a sudden tear in the body's largest blood vessel, the aorta.

A new century of Alzheimer's disease research
Imagine the day when a routine visit to the family doctor includes a simple blood test to predict the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Treating HIV-infected infants early helps them live longer
Hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born each year with HIV -- more than half a million in 2006 alone.

White blood cell booster may help cancer patients avoid deadly complications
Cancer patients who receive a drug that stimulates the growth of infection-fighting white blood cells may be significantly less likely to die from a chemotherapy-related complication characterized by fever and low white blood cell levels, according to a multi-institutional study led by researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Rising surface ozone reduces plant growth and adds to global warming
Scientists have today released new findings that could have major implications for food production and global warming in the 21st century.

ATRX -- Too much or too little underlies sex abnormalities
ATRX is a protein pivotal for producing healthy blood. Mutations in this protein are linked to the blood disease thalassemia, which while rare, has one of the world's highest rates of incidence right here in Melbourne.

UCLA study links air pollution to clogged arteries
Got high cholesterol? Better stay away from air pollution. So says a new study linking diesel exhaust to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which significantly increases one's risk for heart attack and stroke.

Scratch no more: Gene for itch sensation discovered
Itching for a better anti-itch remedy? Your wish may soon be granted now that scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Combination therapy stops loss of kidney function in rare genetic disease
A combination of two types of blood pressure-lowering drugs -- an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) plus an angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB), added to enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with agalsidase-beta (Fabrazyme, Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, Mass.) -- is the first treatment shown to stop progressive loss of kidney function in patients with severe kidney involvement due to the rare genetic disorder Fabry disease, reports a study in the September Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Embryos get better start with IVF on a chip
Can conception be replaced by an automated artificial uterus? Researchers in Japan are building a tiny womb-on-a-chip in which an egg and sperm are fed in at one end and an early embryo comes out the other, ready to implant in a real mother.

Carnegie Mellon scientists find key HIV protein makes cell membranes bend more easily
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have made an important discovery that helps to explain why HIV enters immune cells with ease.

Humboldt squid on the move
Over the last five years, large, predatory Humboldt squid have moved north from equatorial waters and invaded the sea off Central California, where they may be decimating populations of Pacific hake, an important commercial fish.

How to manipulate perceptual focus in advertisements
In a new study, researchers from Northwestern University demonstrate how advertisements can be manipulated to cause overemphasis of a particular feature, and increase the likelihood that a certain product is chosen.

Asia Pacific Family Medicine moves to BioMed Central's open access platform
BioMed Central, the world's largest publisher of online open access scientific journals, today announced that the journal Asia Pacific Family Medicine will join BioMed Central's family of independent, open access journals.

New book applies agent-based modeling to business decisions
A new book,

Support for Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act given to House leaders by ACP
In a letter to leaders of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce committees, the president of the American College of Physicians today expressed support for the Children's Health and Medicare Preotection Act of 2007 (H.R.

Why do people love horror movies? They enjoy being scared
A bedrock assumption in theories that explain and predict human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.

A brother for the Milky Way's black hole
Is a second black hole lurking at the heart of the Milky Way?

GPs antibiotic prescribing practices are still contributing to resistance
GPs are still prescribing antibiotics for up to 80 percent of cases of sore throat, otitis media, upper respiratory tract infections, and sinusitis, despite the fact that official guidance warns against this practice, according to an analysis of the world's largest primary care database of consultations and prescriptions, published this week in a supplement to the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 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