Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 11, 2007
New clues to breast cancer development in high-risk women
Physicians who treat women with the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 often remove their patients' ovaries to eliminate the source of estrogen they believe fuels cancer growth.

Biological invasions can begin with just 1 insect
A new study by York University biologists Amro Zayed and Laurence Packer has shown that a lone insect can initiate a biological invasion.

Student study bolsters case for adding a rare sunflower to the endangered species list
A native species of sunflower, called the giant whorled sunflower, is only known to exist in four locations in the Southeast United States.

'Fruity vegetables' and fish reduce asthma and allergies
Giving children a diet rich in fish and

Cluster and double star uncover more on bright aurorae
Cluster data has helped provide scientists with a new view of magnetospheric processes, challenging existing theories about magnetic substorms that cause aurorae and perturbations in GPS signals.

Breastfeeding does not protect against asthma, allergies
Breastfeeding does not protect children against developing asthma or allergies, says a new study led by McGill University's Dr.

U of M study: Health food supplement may curb addiction of pathological gamblers
University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that a common amino acid, available as a health food supplement, may help curb pathological gamblers' addiction.

Parental surveys boost diagnosis abilities of pediatricians
A simple questionnaire developed at the University of Oregon and requiring no more than 15 minutes of a parent's time before or after a doctor's appointment is credited with a 224-percent increase in referrals of year-old and 2-year-old children with mild developmental delays in a yearlong study.

The era of global aging: GSA's annual meeting to present new research on hot topics in aging
The Gerontological Society of America is inviting all journalists to attend its 60th Annual Scientific Meeting -- the country's largest multidisciplinary conference in the field of aging.

Glaucoma surgery in the blink of an eye
Prof. Ehud Assia and Dr. Ami Eyel of IOPtima are testing a new laser surgery device specifically designed to make glaucoma procedures safer, simpler and faster.

Call for closer examination of 'brain death' as the end of life
The medical diagnosis of brain death is at odds with our traditional view of when death actually occurs, says a leading academic speaking at an international conference on death, dying and disposal in Bath Sept.

Brain network related to intelligence identified
Researchers have uncovered evidence of a distinct neurobiology of human intelligence.

Personal chaos in HIV patients' lives may be a barrier to regular medical care, UCLA Study Shows
Unstable and unpredictable lifestyles are significant factors in determining access to health care among low-income, HIV-positive people, a new UCLA study has found.

Primate behavior explained by computer 'agents'
The complex behavior of primates can be understood using artificially-intelligent computer

Children who learn heart healthy eating habits lower heart disease risk
A new study in Circulation confirms that when young children learn about heart healthy eating habits, it can strongly influence their heart disease risk later in life.

A child's IQ could be affected by maternal epilepsy
A history of maternal epilepsy and its associated treatment may be linked to impaired intelligence later in life, says a new study published in Epilepsia.

SCAI and ACC announce new interventional cardiology meeting
The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and the American College of Cardiology announced today that they will hold a unified interventional cardiology meeting in Chicago, March 29-April 1, 2008.

Taking the contraceptive pill may reduce the risk of developing cancer
Taking the contraceptive pill does not increase a woman's chances of developing cancer and may even reduce the risk for most women, according to a study published online today.

Springer will publish Journal of Coastal Conservation
Springer will publish the Journal of Coastal Conservation, the official publication of the EUCC-the Coastal Union.

Breastfeeding does not protect children against developing asthma or allergies
Breastfeeding exclusively or for a prolonged period does not protect children against developing asthma and allergies, according to the results of a large randomized trial published online today.

WFU professor designs atomic emission detector
Brad Jones, a professor of chemistry at Wake Forest University, is leading a team of researchers at four institutions to develop the first handheld, field instrument capable of detecting and identifying radioactive particles at the site of potential contamination.

Lowering homocysteine levels does not improve outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease
Patients with end-stage kidney disease treated with high doses of folic acid and B vitamins to lower homocysteine levels did not have improvement in survival or reductions in the incidence of vascular events, according to a study in the Sept.

260 million-year-old reptiles from Russia possessed the first modern ears
In a new study published in PLoS ONE, Johannes Müller and Linda Tsuji, paleobiologists at the Natural History Museum of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, report that these fossil animals, found in deposits of Permian age near the Mezen River in central Russia, possessed all the anatomical features typical of a vertebrate with a surprisingly modern ear.

Penn State supplies NASA to the Schools
Coming soon to a school near you is a shiny, silver Airstream RV, emblazoned with

'Fetal' neurons play role in adult brain
Subplate neurons -- once thought to die after directing the wiring of the cerebral cortex or gray matter -- remain in the white matter of the adult brain in small numbers and maintain activity, communicating with other neurons in the brain said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in a report that appears in today's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Trade-offs reveal no clear favorites in alternative energy market
The nuclear power industry is riding the green wave back into public favor with its promise of a low-carbon solution to our growing energy needs.

Senator, former CIA director, FERC commissioner to speak at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles event
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), former CIA director James Woolsey and federal energy regulatory commissioner Jon Wellinghoff will deliver keynote addresses at a plug-in hybrid electric vehicles symposium at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington on Sept.

Study shows insurance status, not race, linked to complications in patients with acute appendicitis
In what is being described as an

ESMO International Symposium on Immunology
Cancer immunotherapy: how have we got to where we are now?

Higher education is associated with lower cancer death rate
Having at least some education beyond high school is associated with a decreased risk of dying from cancer among black and white men and women, according to a study published online September 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

IVCC launches groundbreaking insecticide projects with Bayer and Syngenta
The Innovative Vector Control Consortium has embarked upon the next phase of its initial five-year strategy with the launch of the first tranche of funded projects to develop new public health mosquito control products.

Shape encoding may start in the retina
New evidence from the University of Southern California suggests that there may be dedicated cells in the retina that help compile small bits of information in order to recognize objects.

QUT study finds staff sacked in sick circumstances
Some employers are exploiting the vulnerability of young unsupported workers, sacking them in unfair circumstances, a new study by Queensland University of Technology has found.

Glycemic control medication appears to have favorable effect regarding risk of cardiovascular events
A meta-analysis of previous research suggests that use of pioglitazone -- a glycemic control medication for patients with type 2 diabetes -- significantly reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and death, but increases the risk for serious heart failure, according to an article in the Sept.

New class of RNA molecules may be important in human cancer
New research shows that an obscure form of RNA, part of the protein-making machinery in all cells, might play an important role in human cancer.

MIT: Leveraging learning for artificial respiration
MIT researchers have found that the body's innate ability to adapt to recurring stimuli could be leveraged to design more effective and less costly artificial respirators.

Customized virus kills brain tumor stem cells that drive lethal cancer
A tailored virus destroys brain tumor stem cells that resist other therapies and cause lethal re-growth of cancer after surgery, a research team led by scientists at the University of Texas M.

New mechanism discovered for DNA recombination and repair
A team led by Andrew H.-J. Wang and Ting-Fang Wang at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica has discovered that the RecA family recombinases function as a new type of rotary motor proteins to repair DNA damages.

Generic prostate drug helps find high-risk cancers early
Finasteride is a well-known generic drug that shrinks an enlarged prostate.

Rhythmic breathing adapts to external beat through 'brain calculus'
A team, led by Chi-Sang Poon, at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, suggests an innate ability to adapt, called nonassociative learning, could be leveraged to design more effective and less costly artificial respirators.

Aspartame is safe, study says
A sweeping review of research studies of aspartame says there is no evidence that the non-nutritive sweetener causes cancer, neurological damage or other health problems in humans.

New HIV diagnoses rising in New York City among young men who have sex with men
New HIV diagnoses among MSM under age 30 have increased by 33 percent during the past six years, the health department reported today, from 374 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2006.

Uninsured community health center patients often have difficulty accessing specialty services
Uninsured patients who receive their primary health care in publicly funded community health centers face significant obstacles accessing specialty services outside of these centers, even after a physician has deemed them necessary.

United States continues to have highest level of health spending
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Princeton University report that the United States continues to spend the most on health care when compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

Nice but naughty -- our addiction to chocolate
Chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food, but our passion for chocolate, and its effects on mood, is due mainly to its principal constituents, sugar and fat, and their related orosensory and nutritional effects, rather than any addictive properties of chocolate.

Long-term use of diabetes drug increases heart attack risk by more than 40 percent
An analysis of four studies involving more than 14,000 patients found that long-term use of the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) increased the risk of heart attack by 42 percent and doubled the risk of heart failure, according to a new report from researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues.

Neuronal conduction of excitation without action potentials based on ceramide production
A study published in the journal PLoS ONE in July reporting the first discovery of conduction of excitation without action potentials, opens up new perspectives for research by breaking away from the classic concept of neuronal functioning.

A POX on syn
A way to convert natural gas into raw materials for the chemical industry and generate power as a by-product could lead to more environmental benign manufacturing processes.

Drug used for treatment for heart failure in adults may not be beneficial for children and teens
Preliminary findings indicate a heart failure medication used by adults, carvedilol, may not significantly improve heart failure outcomes for children and adolescents, according to an article in the Sept.

Scientists fear rare dolphin driven to extinction by human activities
An international research team, including biologists from NOAA Fisheries Service, has reported in an online scientific journal that it had failed to find a single Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, during a six-week survey in China.

Keck Foundation funds study of biological interactions with nanomaterials
The University of Oregon has received a $1.6 million grant from the W.M.

Study links education to risk of cancer death
A new American Cancer Society study finds having at least some education beyond high school is associated with a decreased risk of cancer death.

Was ability to run early man's Achilles heel?
The earliest humans almost certainly walked upright on two legs but may have struggled to run at even half the speed of modern man, new research suggests.

Lecture to honor victim of Sept. 11 tragedy
Boston University School of Medicine will present the sixth annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture in Immunology at noon Friday, Sept.

Study shows wild male chimpanzees use stolen food to win over the opposite sex
They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and the same could be said for female chimpanzees.

Effective action could eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus
The renewed worldwide commitment to the reduction of maternal and child mortality, if translated into effective action, could help to provide the systemic changes needed for long-term elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
In this issue:

OHSU is part of national effort to preserve, restore fertility in women with cancer
OHSU has been named to a national team of institutions hoping to preserve or restore fertility in women battling cancer.

Prescription labels geared toward pharmacies, not patients
The labels on most prescription drug containers highlight the pharmacy's name or logo rather than instructions on how to take the medication, reports a new study in the Sept.

Welch Foundation gives $1.6 million for drug discovery research
Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Welch Foundation, a coalition of six Gulf Coast institutions is launching a new initiative to develop innovative computational and chemical techniques intended to speed the development of new drugs and molecular tools for biomedical science.

Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
Many seniors quit taking drugs for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure when they exceed their drug plan's yearly spending limits, according to a RAND Corp. study.

Parking spaces outnumber drivers 3-to-1, drive pollution and warming
From suburban driveways to the sprawling lots that spring up around big retailers, Americans devote lots of space to parking spaces -- a growing land-use trend that plays a role in heating up urban areas and adding to water pollution, according to a recent study.

Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? Coyotes
While the wily coyote reigns as top dog in much of the country, it leads a nervous existence wherever it coexists with its larger relative, the wolf, according to a new study from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Minister Lunn to address Calgary Chamber of Commerce
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, will address the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and will make a funding announcement with Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Finasteride unlikely to induce high grade prostate cancers
An increase in high-grade prostate cancer among men taking the drug finasteride is likely caused by an increased detection of cancers, and not by the development of more high-grade cancers, according to two studies published online September 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

RAND researchers offer options to improve immigrant health care quality, access
Expanding opportunities for immigrants to obtain legal residency and citizenship may be the best option to offer them better access to health care, according to an article published today by the RAND Corp. in the journal Health Affairs.

Soft drinks alone do not affect children's weight
Soft drink consumption has increased in both the USA and the UK over the years and this has often been blamed for a rise in childhood body mass index.

Takeda statement on ACTOS meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. is aware of the review of ACTOS (pioglitazone HCl) data conducted by A.

Other highlights in the September 11 JNCI
Also in the September 11 JNCI, a study on how multiple prostate biopsies effect cancer diagnosis, an immune system gene that may be linked to lung cancer survival, and a cancer-killing virus that targets stem 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