Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 20, 2007
Researchers separate analgesic effects from addictive aspects of pain-killing drugs
For the first time, pain researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Silicon nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells
Placing a film of silicon nanoparticles onto a silicon solar cell can boost power, reduce heat and prolong the cell's life, researchers now report.

Patients with Medicaid and those lacking insurance have higher risk of advanced laryngeal cancer
Individuals with advanced-stage laryngeal cancer at diagnosis were more likely to be uninsured or covered by Medicaid than to have private insurance, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Virginia Tech plant scientists win ASPB 2007 Grant Award
Erin Dolan, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Outreach Director of Tech's Fralin Biotechnology Center along with David Lally, Coordinator of the Partnership for Research and Education in Plants, have won funding from the American Society of Plant Biologists 2007 Grant Awards Program.

Breakthrough promised in detecting atherosclerosis
A study led by a team of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University has demonstrated for the first time that molecular imaging with contrast-enhanced ultrasound and targeted microbubbles is effective in detecting at a very early stage inflammatory processes that lead to atherosclerosis.

Boston Medical Center awarded grant to re-engineer hospital discharge
Researchers from Boston Medical Center received a $1.2 million grant to benefit the ReEngineering Hospital Discharge program and Louise, a computerized workstation that electronically prepares discharge plans for patients.

UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
UK trainee doctors working in emergency care claim they are gaining less experience of common practical procedures, suggests a small study in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Increased distance to physician associated with thicker skin cancer at diagnosis
The farther patients travel to reach the physician who diagnoses their melanoma, the more likely they are to have thicker skin cancer at diagnosis, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study found no drug interference with pomegranate juice
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology finds that pomegranate juice does not interact with medication.

Ancient organisms discovered in Canadian gold mine
Scientists discovered archaea fossils in Ontario that date back some 2.7 billion years and show the organism coexisted with life's two other known domains, bacteria and eukaryotes.

A new molecular zip code, and a new drug target for Huntington's disease
Data reported here shed new lights on this aspect and possibly leading to new therapeutic potential in the future.

Virtual gameworlds as models for real-world epidemics
Online game worlds may be a useful tool for studying the spread of human infectious diseases, according to scientists from Rutgers and Tufts universities.

Brown scientist John P. Donoghue wins major neuroscience award
John P. Donoghue, director of the Brain Science Program at Brown University, will receive the 2007 K.

Ground-breaking research presented at top cancer meeting
Ground-breaking research presented at top cancer meeting. Scientific meeting in Los Angeles to highlight advances in cancer treatment.

Possible closest neutron star to Earth found
Astronomers have identified an object that is likely one of the closest neutron stars to Earth -- and possibly the closest.

Girls prefer pink, or at least a redder shade of blue
A study in the Aug. 21 issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press, reports some of the first conclusive evidence in support of the long-held notion that men and women differ when it comes to their favorite colors.

Elizabeth Theil, Ph.D. selected for prestigious award
Children's Hospital Oakland Scientist recognized for her research contributions and commitment to new areas in chemical education.

Reducing trauma-related stress in military personnel: Building psychological resilience
Presentations will address ways to identify those who may be suffering from traumatic events and ways to build resilience to minimize combat-related stress.

Milestone in the regeneration of brain cells
The research group of Professor Dr. Magdalena Götz at the Institute of Stem Cell Research of the GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, and the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, has achieved an additional step for the potential replacement of damaged brain cells after injury or disease.

HIV therapy in pregnancy-data support WHO recommendations
In an observational cohort study from Côte d'Ivoire, François Dabis and colleagues report on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission among women receiving antiretroviral therapy according to World Health Organization recommendations.

Your gut has taste receptors
Researchers in the Department of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have identified taste receptors in the human intestines.

Tracking feline memories on the move
When a cat steps over an obstacle with its front legs, how do its hind legs know what to do?

Natural chemical found in broccoli helps combat skin blistering disease
Johns Hopkins scientists have found that sulforaphane, a chemical present at high levels in a precursor form in broccoli and related veggies (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.), helps prevent the severe blistering and skin breakage brought on by the rare and potentially fatal genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa simplex.

Breaking up may not be as hard as the song says
A new Northwestern University study shows that lovers, especially those madly in love, do much better -- almost immediately -- following a breakup than they imagined they would.

Coal and black liquor can produce energy from papermaking
Adding a little coal and processing the papermaking industry's black liquor waste into synthesis gas is a better choice than burning it for heat, improves the carbon footprint of coal-to-liquid processes, and can produce a fuel versatile enough to run a cooking stove or a truck, according to a team of Penn state engineers.

Emergency treatment may be only skin deep
Doctors' unconscious racial biases may influence their decisions to treat patients and explain racial and ethnic disparities in the use of certain medical procedures, according to Alexander Green from Harvard Medical School and his team.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
In this issue:

Dense breasts, hormone levels are 2 separate, independent risk factors for breast cancer
The density of a woman's breast tissue and her level of sex hormones are two strong and independent risk factors for breast cancer, according to a team of researchers from Harvard and Georgetown universities.

Age alone does not increase risk of death following liver transplant among selected septuagenarians
Advanced age alone does not appear to be associated with the risk of death following liver transplant, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Frontiers of Astronomy With the World's Largest Radio Telescope
Cornell University's National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center will host astronomers from around the world to discuss plans for research -- over a five- to 15-year time frame -- at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Eye-staining technique offers early detection for dry eye syndrome
Lissamine green sounds like the latest cleaning sensation being hawked on television and probably not something you would want to get in your eyes.

Coal-based fuels and products hit the refinery
A variety of end products including jet fuel, gasoline, carbon anodes and heating oil may be possible using existing refineries and combinations of coal and refinery by-products, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

BioMed Central announces open access publishing agreement with HHMI
BioMed Central and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute today announced a membership agreement under which HHMI will pay the article processing charges for all research published by HHMI investigators in BioMed Central journals.

Geologists search for prehistoric high
Not all areas of the Tibetan Plateau rose at the same time, according to researchers who are determining the past elevation of plateau locations by studying the remains of terrestrial plants that once grew there.

Compound in broccoli could boost immune system, says new study
A compound found in broccoli and related vegetables may help boost the immune system, according to a new UC-Berkeley-led study.

Bacteria genome research could save orchards and assist blood transfusions
Research led by the University of Warwick into the genomes of two bacteria could save orchards from a previously almost incurable disease, and also assist in treating complications arising from human blood transfusions.

Helping the carbon nanotube industry avoid mega-mistakes of the past
A new analysis of byproducts discharged to the environment during production of carbon nanotubes -- expected to become the basis of multibillion dollar industries in the 21st century -- has identified cancer-causing compounds, air pollutants and other substances of concern.

Scientists verify predictive model for winter weather
Scientists have verified the accuracy of a model that uses October snow cover in Siberia to predict upcoming winter temperatures and snowfall for the high- and mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk among Chinese men
Heavy drinking may increase the risk of stroke in Chinese men, and should be targeted for prevention strategies, according to a new study to be published online in the Annals of Neurology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons.

Does playing the brain/memory game really help?
Brain and memory training programs are popular, but they don't work well for everyone, says a Universitiy of Michigan psychologist.

Researcher finds amorous avian anointment protects mates
University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Hector Douglas has found that, for crested auklets, chemistry has both amorous and practical applications.

As autism diagnoses grow, so do number of fad treatments, researchers say
Ineffective or even dangerous fad treatments for autism, always a problem, seem to be growing more pervasive, according to researchers who studied the problem.

Rutgers scientists preserve and protect foods naturally
Chemists and food scientists at Rutgers joined forces to develop natural approaches to the prevention of food contamination and spoilage.

Working toward new energy with electrochemistry
In an effort to develop alternative energy sources such as fuel cells and solar fuel from

Coker, Ellis and Williams awarded ASPB foundation grant for science education public outreach
Mary Williams, Associate Professor of Biology at Harvey Mudd College along with two colleagues from other institutions has collaborated to win funding from the American Society of Plant Biologists 2007 Grant Awards Program.

Consequences of online HIV denial; and more
The following articles are in the next PLoS Medicine:

New 'chemically-sensitive MRI scan' may bypass some invasive diagnostic tests in next decade
A new chemical compound which could remove the need for patients to undergo certain invasive diagnostic tests in the future has been created by scientists at Durham University.

Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed tiny, spherical nanogels that uniformly release encapsulated carbohydrate-based drugs.

Columbia researchers identify brain network that may help prevent or slow Alzheimer's
Columbia University Medical Center researchers, led by principal investigator Yaakov Stern, Ph.D., a professor at the Taub Institute for the Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, have identified a brain network within the frontal lobe that is associated with cognitive reserve, the process that allows individuals to maintain function despite brain function decline due to aging or Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz awarded ASPB foundation grant for science education public outreach
Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz, Professor of Biology and Chair, Division of Biology at California Institute of Technology has won funding from the American Society of Plant Biologists 2007 Grant Awards Program.

Genetic predisposition increases childhood asthma risk
Children who carry variations in specific genes that metabolize vehicle emissions are more susceptible to developing asthma, particularly if they live near major roadways, a study led by researchers at the University of Southern California suggests.

Frog plus frying pan equals better antibiotic
What do you get when you cross a frog with a frying pan?

Longer ambulance journeys boost death risk for seriously ill patients
The further seriously ill patients have to travel by ambulance to reach emergency care, the more likely they are to die, reveals research in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Nanoreactors for reaction cascades
Researchers from the Netherlands, led by Jan C. M. van Hest and Alan E.

Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
Compared with Caucasians, African-Americans are exposed to more pro-tobacco advertising, according to a Pitt School of Medicine study.

CU-Boulder team discovers first ancient manioc fields in Americas
A University of Colorado at Boulder team excavating an ancient Maya village in El Salvador buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has discovered an ancient field of manioc, the first evidence for cultivation of the calorie-rich tuber in the New World.

Princeton scientists confirm long-held theory about source of sunshine
Physicists have made the first real-time observation of low-energy solar neutrinos, providing long-sought proof of the theory regarding how these fundamental particles are produced in the sun's core.

Survey reveals disparities in skin cancer knowledge, protection among high school students
In a survey of Florida high school students, white Hispanic teens were more likely to use tanning beds and less likely to consider themselves at risk for skin cancer or protect themselves from the sun than white non-Hispanic teens, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New study examines memory, learning and aging
In a recent Psychology and Aging study funded by the National Institute on Aging, Dr.

Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of anti-rejection drugs
People with organ transplants, resigned to a lifetime of antirejection drugs, may now have reason to hope for a respite, say researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Peggy Lemaux awarded ASPB foundation grant
Dr. Peggy Lemaux of UC-Berkeley's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology has won funding from the American Society of Plant Biologists 2007 Grant Awards Program.

Study shows link between alcohol consumption and HIV disease progression
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found a link between alcohol consumption and HIV disease progression in HIV-infected persons.

Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
As US policy experts continue to search for ways to re-engineer the country's health-care system, a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that a case-management approach helped a diverse group of patients reduce their overall risk of heart disease by roughly 10 percent, and did so in a cost-effective way.

Women lose weight at least a decade before developing dementia
Women who have dementia start losing weight at least 10 years before the disease is diagnosed, according to a study published in the Aug.

Babies' brains to be monitored using light scans
Researchers hoping to better understand the development of the infant brain have long been stymied by a formidable obstacle: babies just don't want to sit still for brain scans.

FDA approves Reclast -- the first and only once-yearly treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Reclast (zoledronic acid) Injection, the first and only once-yearly treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis.

High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk, Tulane study says
In a study likely applicable to men of other ethnicities, Tulane University researchers found that heavy drinking (more than 21 drinks per week) may increase the risk of stroke in Chinese men.

Rocket-powered mechanical arm could revolutionize prosthetics
Combine a mechanical arm with a miniature rocket motor: The result is a prosthetic device that is the closest thing yet to a bionic arm.

Experiencing auras? You may be a good candidate for epilepsy surgery
People with epilepsy who experience multiple auras, sensations such as a cold breeze or bright light before they have a seizure, may be good candidates for epilepsy surgery because their seizures seem to be coming from one area of the brain, according to a study published in the Aug.

New finding bubbles to surface, challenging old view
Chemical engineers have discovered a fundamental flaw in the conventional view of how liquids form bubbles that grow and turn into vapors, which takes place in everything from industrial processes to fizzing champagne.

Use of insulin pen may save diabetics thousands of dollars
Diabetics who need to switch from oral medications to insulin could reduce their annual health care costs up to $17,000 by using an insulin pen instead of a syringe to deliver their daily dose of medication.

University of Oregon researcher finds that on water's surface, nitric acid is not so tough
Nitric acid is a notoriously strong and chemically destructive compound found in water on earth and in our atmosphere.

Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
A recent study from the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Sarah Canon Cancer Center in Nashville have identified an unusually high rate of allergic reaction in cancer patients living in the middle South who received a common drug used for treating their cancer.

HIV denialists spread misinformation online -- consequences could be deadly; and more
The Internet is serving as a fertile medium for

Revealing estrogen's secret role in obesity
Research on the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen in the brain lend credence to what many women have suspected about the hormonal changes that accompany aging: Menopause can make you fat.

Common virus may contribute to obesity in some people, new study shows
A common virus may cause obesity in some people, according to new evidence in a controlled laboratory study.

Learning center in southeast San Diego housing project joins new partnership with UCSD/SDSC
In southeast San Diego, the

Emory and Georgia State researchers study long-term effects of pediatric brain tumors and treatment
A team of researchers from Emory and Georgia State universities has been awarded a four-year, nearly $850,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to study risk factors for long-term social and cognitive problems in adult survivors of pediatric brain tumors.

New nanoparticle could provide simple early diagnosis of many diseases
Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers have created a new nanoparticle that could someday act as a virtually all-purpose diagnostic tool to detect many inflammatory diseases in their earliest stages, including heart disease, Alzheimer's, heart disease and arthritis.

St. Jude influenza survey uncovers key differences between bird flu and human flu
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have found key features that distinguish influenza viruses found in birds from those that infect humans.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Aug. 21, 2007, issue
A systematic review finds that implantable cardioverter defibrillators are safe and significantly reduce death for adults with left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

AIDS not the downfall of African families; MU study finds poverty is the prevailing issue
The media's message is clear: the AIDS epidemic will be the downfall of families in Africa.

Mailman School of Public Health study examines link between racial discrimination and substance use
In one of the first studies to focus on the relationship between racial discrimination and health risk behaviors, researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health with colleagues from the Universities of Minnesota, Alabama (Birmingham), and California (San Francisco), and Harvard University found African-Americans experiencing racial discrimination were more likely to report current tobacco use or recent alcohol consumption and lifetime use of marijuana and cocaine.

Scientists: Polar ice clouds may be climate change symptom
As the late summer sun sets in the Arctic, bands of wispy, luminescent clouds shine against the deep blue of the northern sky.

If air gets scarce -- new gene causes asthma in children
Usually harmless external stimuli like animal hair, pollen and house dust cause a life-endangering narrowing of the bronchi in asthma patients.

Follow your nose: Houston air quality study finds a few surprises
As a frequent addition to the list of America's most polluted cities, Houston is no stranger to having more than just oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air.

NHRI funds 2 Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science
The National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced grants expected to total approximately $30 million to establish one new Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and continue its support of the center at Stanford University.

Exhaust fumes boost asthma risk in genetically susceptible children
Exhaust fumes heighten the risk of asthma in children who are already genetically susceptible to respiratory disease, indicates research published ahead of print in the journal Thorax.

UGA study finds common component of fruits, vegetables kills prostate cancer cells
A new University of Georgia study finds that pectin, a type of fiber found in fruits and vegetables and used in making jams and other foods, kills prostate cancer cells. 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