Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 20, 2007
Low vitamin D linked to higher risk of hip fracture
Women with low levels of vitamin D have a significantly increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Honolulu.

Velociraptor had feathers
Finding of quill knobs on fossilized velociraptor bone demonstrates that even large dinosaurs were feathered and may have descended from animals capable of flight.

New tarpon, bonefish compendium published
With a career devoted to understanding how best to manage some of Florida's most popular sport fish, UM Rosenstiel School faculty member Dr.

Computer program traces ancestry using anonymous DNA samples
A group of computer scientists, mathematicians, and biologists from around the world have developed a computer algorithm that can help trace the genetic ancestry of thousands of individuals in minutes, without any prior knowledge of their background.

Power switch
The wisest energy strategy for the United States and other countries facing similar challenges is to move away from their reliance on large-scale centralized coal and nuclear plants, and instead, invest in renewable energy systems and small scale decentralized generation technologies.

New discovery leaves blood-doping athletes scratching their heads
A stunning discovery may make blood doping and the treatment of severe anemia as easy as washing your hair.

When it comes fighting to C. difficile, the Palme d'Or goes to soap and warm water
Hospitals world-wide battle nosocomial infections on a daily basis. One of the most difficult bacteria to combat is Clostridium.difficile.

Smart insulin nanostructures pass feasibility test, UT study reports
Biomedical engineers at the University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston have announced pre-clinical test results in the September issue of the International Journal of Nanomedicine demonstrating the feasibility of a smart particle insulin release system that detects spikes in glucose or blood sugar levels and releases insulin to counteract them

NIH-funded scientists solve genetic code of parasitic worm that causes elephantiasis
More than 150 million people worldwide are infected with filarial parasites -- long, thread-like worms that can live for years inside the human body and cause severe, debilitating diseases such as elephantiasis.

Pedophilia patients are found to have deficits in brain activation
A new study being published in the Sept. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry is the first of its kind to use functional brain imaging to describe neural circuits contributing to pedophilia.

Noninvasive prenatal testing by analyzing mother's blood
Currently, prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases and genetic monitoring of fetal development require invasive procedures.

Flu virus trots globe during off season
The influenza A virus does not lie dormant during summer but migrates globally and mixes with other viral strains before returning to the Northern Hemisphere as a genetically different virus, according to biologists who say the finding settles a key debate on what the virus does during the summer off season when it is not infecting people.

Pathway to cell death redefined in landmark study
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have determined that an intracellular protein called serpin-6 is crucial to the repair and survival of cell injury.

UCSD study reveals the regulatory mechanism of key enzyme
Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine has shed new light on the structure and function of one of the key proteins in all mammalian cells, protein kinase A, an enzyme which plays an essential role in memory formation, communication between nerve cells, and cardiac function.

Brain system serves as 'remote control' for fat metabolism
A system in the brain already known to regulate food intake also serves as a direct

Study shows insecticide-treated bednet coverage reduces child mortality by 44 percent
The use of insecticide-treated bednets leads to a 44 percent reduction in child mortality.

Researchers locate mantle's spin transition zone, leading to clues about Earth's structure
Researchers have located the spin transition zone of iron in Earth's lower mantle, a discovery which has profound geophysical implications.

Secondhand smoke increases teen test failure
Teens exposed to secondhand smoke at home are at increased risk of test failure in school, suggests a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Key to longer life (in flies) lies in just 14 brain cells
Fruit flies live significantly longer when the activity of the protein p53 is reduced in just 14 insulin-producing cells in their brains, new Brown University research shows.

Catheter angiography may be an unnecessary follow-up to CT angiography
Even in challenging cases, CT angiography offers an accurate and rapid diagnosis for blunt trauma victims who may have aortic or great vessel injury negating the need for more invasive procedures, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists at the University of Washington and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle.

Scientists decipher mechanism behind antimicrobial 'hole punchers'
In the battle against bacteria, researchers have scored a direct hit.

NASA researchers find snowmelt in Antarctica creeping inland
In a new NASA study, researchers using 20 years of data from space-based sensors have confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland from the coast over time, melting at higher altitudes than ever and increasingly melting on Antarctica's largest ice shelf.

Orphan stars found in long galaxy tail
Astronomers have found evidence that stars have been forming in a long tail of gas that extends well outside its parent galaxy.

Smithsonian experts put a name to a face in pre-Civil War era forensic case
A team of researchers led by Doug Owsley, forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution, has determined the identity of a pre-Civil War era individual buried in a cast iron coffin that was discovered in Washington, D.C., in 2005 by a utility crew.

Penn Veterinary Medicine report new strategy to create genetically modified animals
Researchers at Penn Vet have demonstrated a new strategy for genetic modification of large animals by employing a virus that transfers genetic modifications to male reproductive cells, which passes naturally to offspring.

Scientists launch deep-sea scientific drilling program to study volatile earthquake zone
Scientists begin exploring the origins of earthquakes at their source with the launch of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment.

ESA celebrates 100 years of insect science journals
At ESA's 55th Annual Meeting in San Diego this December, where over 2,000 entomologists will gather, the 100-year anniversaries of two of the oldest entomology journals will be celebrated.

Delft researchers unravel the working of the bicycle
For nearly 150 years, scientists have been baffled by the bicycle.

Arctic sea ice minimum shatters all-time record low, report University of Colorado scientists
Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center said today that the extent of Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its minimum for 2007 on Sept.

Murder mystery solved
Thousands of people die from strokes and heart attacks within 24 hours of a spike in microscopic pollution.

Teen girls report abusive boyfriends try to get them pregnant
In a new qualitative clinical study published in the September-October issue of the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics, pediatrician Elizabeth Miller and her research colleagues report that a quarter of the teenage girls interviewed for the study -- all of whom had histories of abusive relationships -- say their partners were actively trying to get them pregnant.

Quick-burning carbs may cause fatty liver
The obesity epidemic has spawned not just diabetes, but another serious public health problem: a surge in fatty liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

Carnegie Mellon building robot for lunar prospecting
Researchers in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science are building a robotic prospector for NASA that can creep over rocky slopes and then anchor itself as a stable platform for drilling deep into extraterrestrial soils.

Researchers reveal genetic secrets of devastating human parasite
An international team of researchers has revealed the genetic secrets of one of the world's most debilitating human parasites, Brugia malayi, which the World Health Organization estimates has seriously incapacitated and disfigured more than 40 million people around the globe.

Diet support helps chronic kidney patients
Regular counseling on diet and lifestyle offers significant benefits to people with chronic kidney disease, according to new Queensland University Technology research.

Experiments challenge models about the deep Earth
In the first experiments able to mimic the crushing, searing conditions found in Earth's lower mantle, and simultaneously probe telltale properties of iron, scientists have discovered that material there behaves very differently than predicted by models.

New research sheds light on 'hobbit'
An international team of researchers led by the Smithsonian Institution has completed a new study on Homo floresiensis, commonly referred to as the

Major differences revealed in how local authorities in the UK support disabled people
Diverse local authority policies and practices throughout the UK are making big differences to the uptake and operation of

The science of collective decision-making
Why do some juries take weeks to reach a verdict, while others take just hours?

ASPB announces Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship 2007 recipients
Fifteen students mentored by members of the American Society of Plant Biologists were selected to receive the 2007 ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

Pursuing the future of personal genomics
Giving Nobel Laureate James Watson his personal genome was just the beginning.

Millennium development goal on child mortality unlikely to be met
The target for reducing mortality of children under-5 worldwide, which is incorporated into Millennium Development Goal 4, is unlikely to be met.

Mental disorders more prevalent in rural than urban settings in Mozambique
Psychoses, mental retardation and seizure disorders are all more common in rural than urban settings in Mozambique.

Controlling for size may also prevent cancer
Scientists at Johns Hopkins recently discovered that a chemical chain reaction that controls organ size in animals ranging from insects to humans could mean the difference between normal growth and cancer.

Modulating fat levels essential for successful pregnancy
A new mouse study has provided a potential reason for early pregnancy loss in humans.

Decision-making by residents on-call has 'miniscule' negative impact on patient care
Well-trained residents, regardless of their year of training, can interpret imaging studies while on overnight call safely and with minimal discrepancy rates, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J.

When proteins, antibodies and other biological molecules kiss, a new kind of biosensor can tell
When biological molecules kiss, a new kind of biosensor can tell: a new and deceptively simple technique has been developed by chemists at Vanderbilt University that can measure the interactions between free-floating, unlabeled biological molecules including proteins, sugars, antibodies, DNA and RNA.

Most patients who have male-to-female sex-change surgery are happy, despite complications
A study just published in BJU International has found high satisfaction rates among male to female sex-change patients.

Sensitivity of brain center for 'sound space' defined
While the visual regions of the brain have been intensively mapped, many important regions for auditory processing remain

Mathematicians working to unravel mysteries surrounding 'knot theory'
Three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to look into

Researchers find connection between caloric restriction and longevity
Scientists at Harvard Medical School, Cornell Medical School and the National Institutes of Health have discovered how caloric restriction enables cells -- and many higher mammals -- to live longer and healthier lives.

SNM seeks novel approaches to molecular imaging to showcase at annual meeting
Attention scientific researchers: SNM invites you to present your molecular imaging studies -- especially those involving nonradioactive molecular imaging techniques and agents -- at the society's 55th Annual Meeting June 14-18, 2008, in New Orleans, La.

Radiation therapy technique reduces length of prostate cancer treatment
Breihan Bridgewater suffers from emphysema. He sleeps on his side because when he lays flat on his back it feels like there's a boulder resting on his chest.

Heat shock proteins are co-opted for cancer
The HSF1 transcription factor is the master regulator of cells' protective

As personal genomics stands poised to go mainstream, researchers urge caution
Imagine this: you visit your clinician, undergo genetic testing and then you are handed a miniature hard drive containing your personal genome sequence, which is subsequently uploaded onto publicly accessible databases.

SNM applauds NAS study showing need to restore federal nuclear medicine research funding
Based on the results of a recent National Academy of Sciences report, federal funding for basic molecular imaging/nuclear medicine research should be restored to the US Department of Energy, says SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.

Asia-Pacific nations urged to study biofuels more carefully
Scientists say there is an urgent need to support the current rush toward major decisions on biofuel policies in Asia and the Pacific with solid research and unbiased information about their potential benefits, impact and risks.

Dealing with threatening space rocks
Every now and then a space rock hits the world's media -- sometimes almost literally.

UGA Odum School of Ecology professor receives grant to study West Nile Virus in NYC
Although West Nile virus has been widely studied, there is still little known about how the ecology of mosquito-borne diseases differs between urban and rural areas.

The science behind the food we eat and the earth on which it grows
Come hear what soil scientists, crop scientists, and agronomists from around the world have to say about soil clean up and agricultural impacts post-Hurricane Katrina.

'Deep concern and disappointment' with exclusion of Medicare from SCHIP legislation
Expressions of

Cell-surface sugar defects may trigger nerve damage in multiple sclerosis patients
Defects on cell-surface sugars may promote the short-term inflammation and long-term neurodegeneration that occurs in the central nervous system of multiple sclerosis patients, according to University of California, Irvine researchers.

Brandeis neuroscientist wins NIH director's Pioneer Award
Brandeis neuroscientist Gina Turrigiano has been awarded a National Institutes of Health director's Pioneer Award, a five-year grant totaling $2.5 million.

Cancer patients, spouses report similar emotional distress, U-M study finds
A cancer diagnosis affects more than just the patient. A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds spouses report similar physical and emotional quality of life as the patient.

Genetic variation affects smoking cessation treatment
A new study being published in the Sept. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry reports that genetic variation in a particular enzyme affects the success rates of treatment with bupropion, an anti-smoking drug.

Linking air pollutants and blood clotting in mice
Air pollution is caused by any particulate matter, chemical or biological agent that changes the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.

The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive
Researchers have discovered that even the gruesome and brutal lifestyle of the Evarcha culicivora, a blood gorging jumping spider indigenous to East Africa, can't help but be tempted by that

JCI table of contents: Sept. 20, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept.

Ancient mechanism for coping with stresses also gives cancer a boost
An ancient mechanism for coping with environmental stresses, including heat and toxic exposures, also helps cancerous tumors survive, reveals a new report in the Sept.

Human ancestors more primitive that once thought
A team of researchers, including Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical anthropology at Washington University in St.

Research to shed new light on how statins benefit heart patients
A scientist at Leeds whose research is challenging conventional thinking on how the cholesterol-reducing drugs statins benefit cardiac patients, has secured funding to further investigate her findings. 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