Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 01, 2007
Rise of obesity exacerbated by 'social multiplier' effects
According to a new study in Economic Inquiry, an individual's body weight depends not just on physiology and economic circumstances, but also on average body weight of the population at large.

Digital archive casts new light on Apollo-era moon pictures
Nearly 40 years after man first walked on the moon, the complete lunar photographic record from the Apollo project will be accessible to both researchers and the general public on the Internet.

Mapping mountains from space with GOCE
How high is Mount Everest exactly? Recent surveys have come up with heights that differ by more than five meters.

Progesterone treatment does not prevent preterm birth in twin pregnancy
Progesterone therapy does not reduce the chances of preterm birth in women pregnant with twins.

Violent behavior that occurs during disorders of arousal is provoked
A preliminary review of possible triggers for violence during disorders of arousal finds that violent behavior most frequently appears to follow direct provocation by, or close proximity to, another individual.

American Political Science Association announces 2007 awards
The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce its 2007 awards for excellence in the study, teaching and practice of politics.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs don't offset healthy choices, study finds
Within the medical field, it is often assumed that patients view cholesterol-lowering medications (or statins) as a license to eat whatever they like -- they figure their medication has them covered, so a steak here and there won't hurt.

Worldwide distribution of cervical cancer virus is consistent with vaccine targets
The variety of human papilloma viruses that cause invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide, are largely consistent across continents, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Impact craters in Tyrrhena Terra
The High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA's Mars Express obtained images of the Tyrrhena Terra region on Mars.

Plants and stress -- key players on the thin line between life and death revealed
Scientists from VIB, associated with the K. U. Leuven, have revealed a mechanism demonstrating the ways in which plants deal with stress.

First case of successful ovarian tissue transplantation between two, nonidentical sisters
A woman, whose ovaries had failed due to damage caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, has received a successful ovarian transplant from her genetically nonidentical sister.

Scientists find why red beans and rice can be nauseating
People cry foul when fowl is undercooked, but what about red beans and rice?

Molecule blocks gene, sheds light on liver cancer
New research shows how a particular small molecule blocks the activity of a cancer-suppressing gene, allowing liver cancer cells to grow and spread.

Automated technique paves way for nanotechnology's industrial revolution
In an assist in the quest for ever smaller electronic devices, Duke University engineers have adapted a decades-old computer-aided design and manufacturing process to reproduce nanosize structures with features on the order of single molecules.

JCI table of contents: August 1, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published August 1, 2007, in the JCI, including: Developing a more effective vaccine for tuberculosis; Identifying the mechanism behind a genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes; Identifying where genes can successfully integrate; The protein FoxO3 helps determine when red blood cells die; and others.

How a pain in the neck could be bad for your blood pressure
A chance discovery in the lab has helped University of Leeds scientists to show how the treatment for a stiff neck could do wonders for your blood pressure.

Aggressive therapy best for certain AML patients
A new study suggests that acute leukemia patients whose cancer cells show a genetic change that usually predicts a swift return of the disease following remission may remain disease-free longer when given aggressive therapy.

Taming the anthrax threat
University of Michigan scientists have developed the first complete picture of how anthrax-causing bacteria survive and grow inside immune cells during the first moments of infection, the key stage at which the disease can be halted.

COX-2 inhibitors delay pancreatic cancer precursors in mice
Nimesulide, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, delays the progression of precancerous pancreatic lesions in mice, according to an article in the Aug.

Molecular mechanism of common forms of kidney disease identified
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have identified a key mechanism underlying proteinuria -- excess protein in the urine which signifies a breakdown in the kidney's filtering process.

The memory of water is a reality
A special issue of Homeopathy, the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy which is published by Elsevier, on the

Handicapping tuberculosis may be the way to a better vaccine
Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator William R. Jacobs and colleagues have produced a genetically altered strain of tuberculosis, that elicits a stronger immune response than the current vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guérin.

Colon cancer a disease of hormone deficiency, Jefferson team finds
Researchers have found new evidence suggesting that colon cancer is a disease of missing hormones that could potentially be treated by hormone replacement therapy.

Pollution amplifies greenhouse gas warming trends to jeopardize Asian water supplies
Scientists have concluded that the global warming trend caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases is a major contributor to the melting of Himalayan and other tropical glaciers.

USC law professor battles schizophrenia
Elyn Saks was valedictorian at Vanderbilt University, graduated with honors from Yale Law School, was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford and today is a respected legal scholar at University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Discovery of active genes reveals new clues on ALS
A University of California, Irvine neurologist is part of a national group of scientists who have identified the active genes in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a discovery that provides expanded opportunities for developing therapies to treat this chronic, incurable disease.

New pregnancy labeling rules should be approved without delay
A position paper published online in Birth Defects Research Part A, the official journal of the Teratology Society, reviews the history and rationale behind the effort to change pregnancy labeling, and calls for the immediate approval of new rules that have been proposed by the FDA.

Identifying the mechanism behind a genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the developed world.

Progesterone therapy and preterm birth: More evidence helps identify women who can benefit
Progesterone suppositories reduced the rate of premature birth for women with short cervix, but without a history of preterm birth, helping doctors better identify women who could benefit from the treatment.

AASM to school-bound: Sleep is the right ingredient for academic success
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises children and teens that sleep habits adopted over the summer will need to be changed when school starts in order to ensure proper sleep.

A low expression of MX2 gene exists in the white blood cells of narcoleptics
The first report to identify the biological markers of narcolepsy using gene expression in white blood cells finds that the MX2 gene, which is relevant to the immune system, is significantly less expressed in narcoleptics compared with normal subjects.

Early warning for acute kidney injury
Clinicians currently lack advance warning of acute kidney injury for patients where kidney injury timing is unknown.

Alaskan earthquake in 2002 set off tremors on Vancouver Island
Tremors rippled the landscape of Vancouver Island, the westernmost part of British Columbia, during a major Alaskan earthquake in 2002, and geoscientists at the University of Washington have found clear evidence that the two events were related.

AWASH supports American Medical Association in the international dispute over salt
The Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health commends a new report from the American Medical Association calling for a major reduction in the salt content of processed and restaurant foods.

Anorexia nervosa -- more common and transient than previously thought
Anorexia nervosa is a disorder with a grim reputation -- even experts say that it is often devastatingly chronic and carries high mortality rates.

Orangutans' communication resembles a game of 'charades'
When orangutans use gestures to get their point across, they rely on the same basic strategy that people follow in playing the game of charades.

Native fruits bear sweet antioxidants
Twelve native Australian fruits that are exceptional sources of antioxidants have been identified in research published in the journal Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies.

New book explores impact of nanotechnology on society
Nanotechnology is a broad new technology that promises many beneficial uses but also raises a host of ethical and social questions.

How language relates to use of mental health services for California Latinos
An examination of usage of publicly sponsored mental health services by Spanish-speaking Latinos in San Diego revealed significant differences from use patterns by either English-speaking Latinos or Caucasians.

Study shows radiofrequency ablation highly effective in treating kidney tumors
Radiofrequency ablation, a relatively new, minimally invasive treatment, was 100 percent successful in eradicating small malignant kidney tumors in a study of more than 100 patients, report researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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

Forsyth scientists gain new understanding of adult stem cell regulation
Forsyth Institute scientists have discovered an important mechanism for controlling the behavior of adult stem cells.

Phase II study of therapeutic vaccine shows efficacy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer
A therapeutic cancer vaccine has shown effectiveness when given alongside chemotherapy to patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in a phase II trial, according to research published in the Aug.

New grants bolster efforts to generate faster and cheaper tools for DNA sequencing
Looking ahead to a future in which each person's genome can be sequenced as a routine part of medical research and health care, the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, today awarded more than $15 million in grants to support development of innovative technologies with the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing.

Shining light on pancreatic cancer
Using novel light-scattering techniques, researchers have found the first evidence that early stage pancreatic cancer causes subtle changes in part of the small intestine.

Altering a protein makes mice less fearful
A University of Iowa study shows that loss or chemical inhibition of a protein, known as acid sensing ion channel protein, reduces innate fear behavior in lab animals, making normally timid mice relatively fearless.

Schizophrenia improved by mental and physical exercise
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have shown that mental and physical exercise can improve behavioral deficits in schizophrenia and repair damaged chemical transmitter pathways in the brain.

Diagnosing obesity prompts action, report Mayo Clinic physicians
Mayo Clinic physicians have identified that simply being diagnosed as obese increases a patient's likelihood of establishing a treatment plan with their physician, a crucial step in improving health.

U of M study finds national blood donor pool significantly smaller than previously thought
University of Minnesota research indicates the number of individuals eligible to donate blood in the United States, is much smaller than previously thought.

Using a magnet to tune a magnet
An international research team, led by scientists at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, has found a way to switch a material's magnetic properties from

Rotating shift workers have lower levels of serotonin
People who work rotating shifts have significantly lower levels of serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter in the central nervous system believed to play an important role in the regulation of sleep.

Marijuana component opens the door for virus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma
The major active component of marijuana could aid the Kaposi's sarcoma virus in infecting cells and multiplying, according researchers at Harvard Medical School.

Study shows cigarette additives could be making it
A new UCLA study shows that at least 100 of the 599 documented cigarette additives have

BLUElink: A triumph of scientific collaboration
Users of the vast ocean areas around Australia will be able to obtain broad-scale information on ocean currents, temperature and salinity for the first time following today's launch of BLUElink -- a new ocean forecast system.

Music moves brain to pay attention, Stanford study finds
Using brain images of people listening to short symphonies by an obscure 18th-century composer, a research team from the Stanford University School of Medicine has gained valuable insight into how the brain sorts out the chaotic world around it.

Purdue 'milestone' a step toward advanced sensors, communications
Engineers at Purdue University have shown how to finely control the spectral properties of ultrafast light pulses, a step toward creating advanced sensors, more powerful communications technologies and more precise laboratory instruments.

Diabetic ethnic minorities lose out in the UK
Patients from ethnic minorities are not only more likely to suffer from diabetes, but also receive lower quality care from the National Health Service, claims a paper published in the online open access journal, International Journal for Equity in Health.

Success or failure of antidepressant citalopram predicted by gene variation
Depressed people with a SNP in the GRIK4 gene were more likely to respond to the antidepressant medication citalopram (Celexa) than were people without the SNP.

Synchrotron could help save the Tassie devil
Australia's new $200 million synchrotron in Melbourne could contribute to the fight to save the Tasmanian devil from the outbreak of facial tumor disease currently decimating devil populations, according to Dr.

3-D brain centers pinpointed
In studies with monkeys, researchers have identified in detail the brain regions responsible for the unique ability of primates, including humans, to process visual 3-D shapes to guide their sophisticated manipulation of objects.

Coelacanth fossil sheds light on fin-to-limb evolution
A 400 million-year-old fossil of a coelacanth fin, the first finding of its kind, fills a shrinking evolutionary gap between fins and limbs.

Developing a more effective vaccine for tuberculosis
Although the current tuberculosis vaccine protects young children, it is not effective at preventing the type of tuberculosis most adolescents and adults suffer from.

U-M researchers find family of 'on switches' that cause prostate cancer
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered how genes turn on the switch that leads to prostate cancer.

Chickadee, nutchatch presence in conifers increases tree growth, says CU-Boulder study
Chickadees, nuthatches and warblers foraging their way through forests have been shown to spur the growth of pine trees in the West by as much as one-third, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Study compares specialty orthopedic and general hospitals
Specialty orthopedic hospitals serve a healthier population of Medicare patients compared to general hospitals, according to a new study by investigators at the University of Iowa and Department of Veterans Affairs Iowa City Health Care System.

AGU journal highlights -- Aug. 1, 2007
The following articles are featured in the upcoming issue of the Geophysical Research Letters:

NAU researchers develop new device for finding bacteria
Infection-causing bacteria can't hide from researchers at Northern Arizona University, who recently helped develop the first diagnostic tool to detect them.

Medical residents unclear about TB guidelines
US medical residents are not proficient at diagnosing and managing tuberculosis, according to a report published in the online open access journal, BMC Infectious Diseases.

Cost-effective method for gene silencing is featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
The August, 2007 issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols includes a cost-effective approach for generating silencing RNAs, called esiRNAs, to efficiently target virtually any gene in mammalian cells.

Einstein researchers' prototype vaccine could provide improved protection against tuberculosis
Using a novel approach, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have developed a prototype vaccine against tuberculosis, that works better in animal models than the only TB vaccine now available.

New study demonstrates important role of glia in circadian timing
Glial cells are gaining recognition as regulators of neuronal cell function.

Experts predict high mortality rates from pulmonary fibrosis will continue to rise
Mortality rates from pulmonary fibrosis have increased significantly in recent years, and are predicted to continue to rise, according to researchers from the University of Colorado.

ESA announces 2007 award recipients
The Ecological Society of America is proud to announce the following winners for ecological achievement.

Music hath charms to probe the brain's auditory circuitry
In what has to be one of the most pleasant brain studies on record, researchers asked subjects to listen to symphonies in order to probe one of the central talents of the brain -- its ability to segment the continual stream of sensory information into perceptual chunks to extract meaning.

Method shows promise for early detection of pancreatic cancer
Optical technology developed by a Northwestern University biomedical engineer shown to be effective in the early detection of colon cancer now appears promising for detecting pancreatic cancer.

'Wake-Up Pill' under study to treat patients with bipolar disorder
A preliminary study of 85 patients with bipolar disorder shows that a drug used to treat patients with sleep disorders might also control the depressive symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.

MPH improves vigilance performance of ADHD children with poor sleep
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and whose sleep efficiency is poor, experience significant improvement on some measures of the Continuous Performance Test if they are treated with methylphenidate.

Spinning a new horizon for electronics
Spintronics has the potential to have as profound an impact on electronics as the development of the transistor had 50 years ago.

Medical residents score poorly in diagnosing and managing tuberculosis
When quizzed about their knowledge in diagnosing tuberculosis and deciding on the best treatment, medical residents in Baltimore and Philadelphia get almost half the answers wrong, according to a survey by TB disease experts at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.

Penn researchers discover pathway that eliminates genetic defects in red blood cells
Researchers have discovered a unique molecular pathway that detects and selectively eliminates defective messenger RNAs from red blood cells.

Interplanetary networking: ESA's Mars Express will keep an eye on NASA's Phoenix
ESA's Mars Express will keep an eye on NASA's Phoenix lander as it makes its way to the Martian surface, setting an example for international cooperation and interplanetary networking.

New strategy for treating allergic disorders
Oral intake of allergens via lactic acid bacterium Lactococcus lactis might be new strategy for treating auto-immune and allergic disorders.

Robots with a sense of humor
Despite advances in artificial intelligence, robots have so far remained humorless due to the difficulty in trying to mimic the complex human sense of humor.

New treatment for glaucoma shows promise in laboratory, say Iowa State researchers
Iowa State University researchers developed a new technique that successfully treated rats for blindness caused by glaucoma.

Ibuprofen restores learning ability in rats with liver failure
Cognitive impairment is one of the neurological effects in patients with hepatic encephalopathy (abnormal brain function due to severe liver disease).

Medications are frequently prescribed for children with sleep problems
Physicians frequently prescribe medications for sleep difficulties in children in US outpatient settings.

Growing the next generation of geoscientists: Rutgers reaches out to school children
Launching this fall in three Newark high schools with a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Newark Geoscience Scholars program is designed to expose city students to the current-day wonders of and career possibilities in geoscience.

Neurosciences and music meet in Montreal
The Fondazione Mariani announces the third edition of the Neurosciences and Music international conference which will be held in Montreal June 26-28, 2008.

Monkeys learn in the same way as humans, psychologists report
Monkeys seem to learn the same way as humans, UCLA and Columbia University psychologists report in the August issue of the journal Psychological Science.

New minimally invasive sampling technique allows for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
According to an article in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research, new optical technology, coupled with routine endoscopy, may enable doctors to detect the subtle tell-tale traces of early pancreatic cancer.

Persons with narcolepsy with cataplexy have low levels of CSF hypocretin-1
Persons with narcolepsy with cataplexy have low levels of cerebrospinal fluid hypocretin-1, a protein thought to help regulate sleep and wakefulness.

Progesterone injections do not prevent preterm birth in twin pregnancies
Weekly progesterone injections do not prevent premature births in women pregnant with twins, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study has found.

JRRD releases volume 44, issue 3
This press release contains a list of articles featured in the current issue of Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.

Coffee drinking related to reduced risk of liver cancer
A new study on the relationship between coffee drinking and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma confirmed that there is an inverse association between coffee consumption and HCC, although the reasons for this relationship are still unresolved.

Sex differences found in COPD
In the first study to directly compare men and women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe emphysema, researchers have found that there are marked differences between the sexes. 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