Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 17, 2007
New microsensor measures volatile organic compounds in water and air on-site
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a miniature sensor that uses polymer membranes deposited on a tiny silicon disk to measure pollutants present in aqueous or gaseous environments.

Women more depressed and men more impulsive with reduced serotonin functioning
A new study being published in the Sept. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry now reports on important sex and genetic differences in the way that men and women react to reductions in serotonin function, specifically in terms of their mood and impulsivity

Scientists learn structure of enzyme in unusual virus
Biologists have determined the three-dimensional structure of an unusual viral enzyme that is required in the assembly of new viruses.

Homeland Security awards 2 grants to Rutgers for nuclear threat detection
Rutgers University has received two grants to lead research on detecting smuggled nuclear materials.

Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
Story ideas from the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research include the study of the health effects of a relatively recent diet called alternate-day fasting; how atorvastatin reduces cholesterol and fat in blood vessels; how nutrition affects the breakdown of fats; and a review of intriguing structures on the surface of fat cells called caveolae.

Gene abnormality tied to getting Parkinson's disease at a younger age
People with a certain gene mutation are more likely to get Parkinson's disease before the age of 50 compared to those without the gene abnormality, according to a study published in the Sept.

UT-ORNL governor's chair unlocks secrets of protein folding
A team led by biophysicist Jeremy Smith of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has taken a significant step toward unraveling the mystery of how proteins fold into unique, three-dimensional shapes.

Rating your pain from 0 to 10 might not help your doctor
The most commonly used measure for pain screening -- which asks patients in primary care to rate their current pain from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain) -- may only be modestly accurate, according to researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina.

New research seeks to enhance quality and security of wireless telemedicine
A team of researchers led by Fei Hu, assistant professor of computer engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, is working to advance the integration of radio frequency identification technology, also known as RFID, into cardiac sensor networks, a new wireless technology for telemedicine delivery.

Can't take my eyes off you: FSU study shows the power of attraction
Whether we are seeking a mate or sizing up a potential rival, good-looking people capture our attention nearly instantaneously and render us temporarily helpless to turn our eyes away from them, according to a new Florida State University study.

Films of Mitchell and Kenyon illuminate lefties' decline in Victorian England
By mining evidence from the classic films made by Mitchell and Kenyon, researchers have confirmed that the left-handed minority suffered something of a setback in Victorian England, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Cell death in sparrow brains may provide clues in age-related human diseases
A remarkable change takes place in the brains of tiny songbirds each year, and some day the mechanism controlling that change may help researchers develop treatments for age-realted degenerative diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's and dementia.

NIH awards Einstein multimillion dollar grant to extend studies of exceptional longevity
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has been awarded a grant of more than $9.25 million from the National Institutes of Health to further the medical school's study of centenarians and the biology of aging.

If you think cancer genes are simple, you don't know JAK
Cancer-causing genes can work in more powerful and sneaky ways than have been realized.

New genetic research into nicotine addiction shows promise for personalized treatment
New genotyping research from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health found that the enzyme known to metabolize both the smoking cessation drug bupropion and nicotine is highly genetically variable in all ethnicities and influences smoking cessation.

Cyprian honeybees kill their enemy by smothering them
For the first time, researchers have discovered that when Cyprian honeybees mob and kill their arch enemy, the Oriental hornet, the cause of death is asphyxiation.

Advance by chemists may lead to better displays on laptop computers, cell phones
UCLA chemists working at the nanoscale have developed a new, inexpensive means of forcing luminescent polymers to give off polarized light and of confining that light to produce polymer-based lasers.

Researchers using NSF grant to study how scientists can communicate ethically with lay audiences
Scientists have to adhere to certain ethical standards in their research, but what happens when they talk about that research with the public?

Women prescribed drugs linked to birth defects not often advised to use birth control
Although prescription medications that may increase the risk of birth defects are commonly used by women in their childbearing years, only about half receive contraceptive counseling from their health-care providers, according to a large-scale study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Patients with head and neck cancer may have impairment of some driving skills
A preliminary study suggests that patients with cancer in the head and neck region may have inferior performance in some driving skills compared with individuals without the disease, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

EUREKA communicates its position on EU Green Paper
The EUREKA Secretariat has communicated to Research Commissioner Janez Potoènik its response on the European Commission's Green Paper on the European Research Area.

CCMR gets $2.9M for training grad students in nanoscale science
The Cornell Center for Materials Research is administering a new $2.9 million Cornell graduate student training program, funded by the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program.

Scientists identify fundamental brain defect, probable drug target in fragile X syndrome
Scientists have discovered how the gene mutation responsible for fragile X syndrome -- the most common inherited form of mental retardation -- alters the way brain cells communicate.

IGERT fellows to design biodevices using flexible electronics
Growing interest in using flexible electronics for next-generation biomedical devices has prompted the creation of a new graduate student research program at Cornell, funded by the National Science Foundation.

IMPACT initiative looks to improve patient participation in clinical trials
In a new initiative, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have teamed up to develop strategies to better understand and enhance patient participation in clinical trials.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 12, 2007
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

International team shows mercury concentrations in fish respond quickly to increased deposition
A joint Canadian-American research team have, for the first time, demonstrated that mercury concentrations in fish respond directly to changes in atmospheric deposition of the chemical.

ER episode impacts viewers' health knowledge and behavior
University of Southern California researchers found that a storyline on the primetime NBC network drama ER that dealt with teen obesity, hypertension and healthy eating habits had a positive impact on the attitudes and behaviors of viewers, particularly among men.

Canada's government funds $1.6M in modern geography to support public health decisions
Decision makers are now able to use maps, satellite images and other location-based or

Teaching adolescents about condoms
Teaching condom use as a backup to abstinence may prevent HIV.

Last chance for media to register for ECCO 14 -- the European Cancer Conference
The European Cancer Conference starts in Barcelona on Sept. 23.

Bone-growing nanomaterial could improve orthopaedic implants
Bone-forming cells grow faster and produce more calcium on anodized titanium covered in carbon nanotubes compared with plain anodized titanium and the non-anodized version currently used in orthopaedic implants, new Brown University research shows.

Genes in rheumatoid arthritis
There is strong evidence that region on chromosome 9 is associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

New cell death pathway involved in sperm development
New research from Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute uncovers a new pathway that regulates caspase activity in Drosophila sperm, a finding that may provide new opportunities to develop drugs that can alter cell death for therapeutic purposes.

New way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease promises earlier treatment
Physicians may be able to detect and treat Alzheimer's in its earliest stages, when patients are experiencing only mild degrees of cognitive impairment, thanks to new diagnostic criteria proposed by an international group of researchers.

UT researcher sheds new light on hybrid animals
What began more than 50 years ago as a way to improve fishing bait in California has led a University of Tennessee researcher to a significant finding about how animal species interact and that raises important questions about conservation.

Hospital comparison Web sites may offer inconsistent results
A review of six publicly available hospital comparison Web sites suggests that they display inconsistent results and use inappropriate or incomplete standards to measure quality, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

NIH awards $10.8M to Columbia to study connection between diabetes and heart disease
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center has received a $10.8 million, five-year Program Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate why people with type 2 diabetes are dangerously susceptible to heart disease, the leading cause of death for people suffering from diabetes.

Skin cooling associated with increased risk of discoloration after laser treatment
A cooling technique intended to protect the skin may actually increase the risk of discoloration in dark-skinned patients undergoing laser treatments for mole-like skin lesions, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Bad news for Hispanic teens: parents' marital disruption hurts them least
Compared to teens from other racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic adolescents don't experience nearly the level of problems during the process of their parents' divorce or separation.

Surgeons successfully remove gall bladder without outer incisions
French surgeons successfully removed a woman's gall bladder through her vagina, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Nanotech could make solar energy as easy and cheap as growing grass
A new podcast looks at how Dr. Lewis and his CalTech research team are trying to imbed tiny nanoparticles into simple, inexpensive everyday products like house paint and roof tiles to revolutionize the way solar energy is produced.

Increase in atmospheric moisture tied to human activities
Observations and climate model results confirm that human-induced warming of the planet is having a pronounced effect on the atmosphere's total moisture content.

University of Minnesota study refutes belief that black men have more aggressive prostate cancer
A University of Minnesota study of prostate cancer tumors from Caucasian and African-American men has shown no evidence that the cancer is more aggressive in black men.

Study finds limiting work hours for surgical residents enhances training
Contrary to concerns that restricting work hours for surgical residents negatively affects the quality of patient care or the residents' education, a study in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that limiting work hours does not compromise education or the quality of care.

UCSD Goals in Action program reports promising results in helping academically at-risk students
What can colleges and universities do to help their low-performing students set and attain higher academic goals while transitioning successfully to campus life?

Shaking may cause brain damage and serious long-term effects to infants
A group of interns of the Teaching Maternity Unit of the University College of Health Care of the UGR has carried out a bibliographic review of the shaken baby syndrome.

Nasal surgery creates feminine profiles in male-to-female transsexuals
Nasal surgery appears to effectively create feminine facial profiles in patients undergoing male-to-female gender reassignment, according to a report in the September/October issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Rising surface temperatures drive back winter ice in Barents Sea, Rutgers researchers find
Rising sea-surface temperatures in the Barents Sea, northeast of Scandinavia, are the prime cause of the retreating winter ice edge over the past 26 years, according to research by Jennifer Francis, associate research professor at Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Hygiene habits stall: Public handwashing down
When it comes to washing with soap and water, some Americans seem be slipping up.

Research overturns accepted notion of neutron's electrical properties
New research finds the neutron actually carries a negative charge at its center and outer edge, with a positive charge in between.

Groundbreaking Canada-US study proves link between emissions and mercury pollution in fish
A Canada-US study to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proves mercury emissions will end up in fish in as little as three years.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Sept. 18, 2007
The following press releases are attached to the upcoming issue of Annals of Internal Medicine:

Both aerobic and resistance exercise improved blood sugar control in people with diabetes
In a new randomized controlled trial, both aerobic and resistance exercise improved glycemic/blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Life on Mars 'pregnancy test' successfully launched
Key components of a new approach to discover life on Mars were successfully launched into space Friday as part of a 12-day, low-Earth orbit experiment to assess their survivability in the space radiation environment -- a prelude future journeys to Mars.

Health-related spam
It is easy to purchase prescription drugs and controlled substances through spam messages on the Internet.

Mechanism for the in-vivo transport of siRNA
RNA interference, a natural mechanism that inhibits the gene expression of individual genes in eukaryotic cells, is a major topic in modern biology.

Certain tonsil removal technique associated with reduced postoperative pain, bleeding
Patients who have a tonsillectomy using an

GPS-like technology helps pinpoint best methods for moving injured players
The 15 minutes it took to remove Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett off the field after he suffered a spinal cord injury may seem like a long time for someone needing acute medical care, but in fact, those minutes underscore how critical it is to carefully move a player with a suspected spinal cord injury off the field.

To change a company practice, argue in language of target group
When it is time to sell a change in your company, know the culture of your organization, especially of the group you need to impress, and tailor your argument in the language and metrics of your target group so your message will resonate.

Scientists reveal DNA-enzyme interaction with first ever real time footage
For the first time scientists have been able to film, in real time, the nanoscale interaction of an enzyme and a DNA strand from an attacking virus. 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