Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 24, 2007
Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference
On September 24-25, the Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, Richard Neufeld, British Columbia Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Kevin Krueger, British Columbia Minister of State for Mining will co-chair the annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference in Whistler, British Columbia.

European directive will halt use of MRI scans; cancer diagnosis and treatment will suffer
Implementation of the Physical Agents (Electromagnetic Fields) Directive 2004/40/EC in all member states could effectively halt the use of magnetic resonance imaging, an important tool in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research, a scientist told a press conference at the European Cancer Conference today.

Area deep within the brain found to play role in sensory perception
A new study to be published in Annals of Neurology, the official journal of the American Neurological Association, found that the VL also plays a role in sensory processing and that damage to this area leads to functional and neural changes.

Do static magnets reduce pain?
Static magnets are widely marketed to the public with claims of effectiveness for relieving pain.

Nutrient pollution drives frog deformities by ramping up infections, says CU-Boulder study
High levels of nutrients used in farming and ranching activities fuel parasite infections that have caused highly publicized frog deformities in ponds and lakes across North America, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Potential new approach to treat cognitive impairments in schizophrenia
A new study reports important evidence for a potential new treatment approach for those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Weight gain between first and second pregnancies associated with increased odds of male second child
A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, found that mothers who experienced an increase in weight from the beginning of the first pregnancy to the beginning of the second pregnancy may be slightly more likely to give birth to a baby boy during their second pregnancy.

Victimization for sexual orientation increases suicidal behavior in college students
The film and television series

Cancer cells in blood can identify risk of recurrence in breast cancer
Cancer cells circulating in the blood are known to be associated with a bad prognosis in metastatic breast cancer.

Researchers say lack of sleep doubles risk of death... but so can too much sleep
Researchers from the University of Warwick, and University College London, have found that lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

New acoustic absorber to improve physiotherapy ultrasound machines
Physiotherapy ultrasound machines are commonplace in medicine and sports injury treatment but limitations with current calibration equipment mean they may be producing inaccurate doses that could lead to further injury.

Springer launches BioEnergy Research
Springer is launching BioEnergy Research, a journal dedicated to the rapidly growing area of feedstock biology research related to biomass, biofuels and bioenergy.

Older blacks and Latinos still lag whites in controlling diabetes
Despite decades of advances in diabetes care, African-Americans and Latinos are still far less likely than whites to have their blood sugar under control, even with the help of medications, a new national study finds.

Hormone therapy boosts sexual interest but not memory, study finds
Hormone therapy in early post-menopause increases sexual interest, but does not improve memory, according to a study in the Sept.

U of M researcher finds fairness leads to better profits for manufacturers and retailers
It has long been shown that fairness between business partners yields a better relationship.

Scientists model a cornucopia of Earth-sized planets
In the Star Wars movies fictional planets are covered with forests, oceans, deserts, and volcanoes.

Music training linked to enhanced verbal skills
Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system's ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Incidental findings found when radiologists take a 'broader' look at renal MRA
Radiologists need to look beyond the renal arteries when doing renal MR angiography, a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. suggests.

Fishing for a better bit of batter
Japanese scientists have come up with the perfect recipe to make a crispy batter which is also lower in fat.

Rare albino ratfish has eerie, silvery sheen
A ghostly, mutant ratfish caught in Washington state's Puget Sound is the only completely albino fish ever seen by both the curator of the University of Washington's 7.2 million-specimen fish collection and a fish and wildlife biologist with more than 20 years of sampling fish in Puget Sound, the nation's second-largest estuary in the Lower 48.

Cystic fibrosis patients may breathe easier, thanks to bioengineered antimicrobials
By better understanding how antimicrobials bind and thereby get inactivated in the mucus of air passages, researchers at the University of Illinois may have found a way to help cystic fibrosis patients fight off deadly infections.

School, family and community involvement are all needed to increase the activity levels of adolescen
Programs aimed at increasing physical activity in adolescents need to cover both school and family or community life if they are to be effective, according to a study published today on
Effects of complement inhibition with soluble complement receptor during cardiac surgery
When patients are placed on cardiopulmonary bypass during cardiac surgery, a series of chemicals known as complement are activated, which results in an inflammatory response that can contribute to increased mortality and morbidity.

Preventive health examinations account for approximately 1 in 12 outpatient visits among US adults
An estimated 63.5 million US adults visited a physician for a preventive health or gynecological examination each year between 2002 and 2004, at an annual cost of approximately $7.8 billion, according to a report in the Sept.

September/October 2007 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
The following are highlights from the September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal, including studies on care management and risk assessment.

Influence of drug companies on medical literature
In this issue: Physician awareness of drug cost: a systematic review; Bladder cancer decision analysis; and How much of the medical literature is shaped behind the scenes by drug companies?

Scientists discover how cancer may take hold
A team, led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution, has found a key biochemical cycle that suppresses the immune response, thereby allowing cancer cells to multiply unabated.

Collaboration shines possible light on objects 'weirder than black holes'
Researchers from Duke University and the University of Cambridge think there is a way to determine whether some black holes are not actually black.

Carnegie Mellon computer scientist wins European Science Prize
Anastasia Ailamaki, associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, is one of 20 scientists chosen for this year's highly selective European Young Investigator Awards.

Breath analysis offers potential for noninvasive blood sugar monitoring in diabetes
Breath-analysis testing may prove to be an effective, noninvasive method for monitoring blood sugar levels in diabetes, according to a University of California, Irvine study.

Lab-on-chip testing for 'bird flu' developed by Singapore scientists
Singapore scientists have developed a minature device that, if successfully commercialized, could be deployed in affected regions for preemptive surveillance of a nascent avian flu epidemic.

Mortality benefits of vaccine program for the elderly greatly exaggerated
The mortality benefits of vaccinating elderly people against the influenza virus have been greatly exaggerated, conclude authors of a review published in the October edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

USC receives $7.5M for Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Minority Health
NewIn an effort to stem the rise of childhood obesity and related health risks, the University of Southern California has received a $7.5 million grant to launch a Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Minority Health.

Scientists get first look at nanotubes inside living animals
Rice University scientists have captured the first optical images of carbon nanotubes inside a living organism.

A search for biomarkers for early detection of colorectal cancer
Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, 27 differentially expressed proteins were identified in colorectal adenoma, compared with individual-matched normal mucosa and cancer tissue.

If you want more babies, find a man with a deep voice
Men who have lower-pitched voices have more children than do men with high-pitched voices, researchers have found.

Ragweed research is nothing to sneeze at
To a person with a pollen allergy, an 18-acre ragweed field sounds like a sneezy, red-eyed zone of misery.

Diet and medications may assist prevention of prostate cancer
Recent investigations of medications, diet and the molecular understanding of prostate cancer are defining potential prevention strategies for the disease, and herald a new stage in the management of this cancer, according to a new review.

New partnership offers outsourced R&D in membrane biology
One of the UK's most successful academic entrepreneurs has teamed up with the University of Leeds to offer outsourced research and development in membrane biology to pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical companies.

Simple, personalized interventions improve colorectal cancer screening rates
Different types of personalized interventions can improve colorectal cancer screening rates in primary care practices, according to a new study.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol appears to be popular among Italian university students
Energy drinks have become more and more popular in recent years.

Study: children of immigrants form ethnic identity at early age
Brown University researchers have published the one of the first longitudinal studies demonstrating that children of first-generation immigrants develop their ethnic identity at an earlier age than previous research has shown.

Novel strategy under study for aggressive leukemia
A novel strategy to hopefully beat into oblivion one of the most aggressive forms of acute myelogenous leukemia combines the strengths of some of the newest leukemia agents, researchers say.

Hospitalist care associated with shorter hospital stays for patients
Patients at an academic medical center who are cared for by a hospital-based general physician may have a shorter length of hospital stay than those who are not, especially if the patients require close monitoring or complex discharge planning, according to a report in the Sept.

Internal radiotherapy better than external for quality of life in endometrial cancer patients
Quality of life after treatment for endometrial cancer can be significantly improved by the use of vaginal brachytherapy.

PETA awards $120,000 to Duluth Foundation for advancing non-animal tests
Tomorrow, PETA will donate $120,000 to the Duluth-based International QSAR Foundation to Reduce Animal Testing to further its important work aimed at improving toxicity testing and saving the lives of millions of animals who are routinely maimed and killed in laboratory experiments.

Hormone therapy in early post-menopause has no effect on memory
Hormone therapy taken in the first few years after menopause does not appear to affect a woman's memory, but may lead to increased sexual interest, according to a study published in the Sept.

Extraterrestrial impact likely source of sudden Ice Age extinctions
What killed the wooly mammoths? An international team of scientists, including Peter Schultz of Brown University, suggests that a comet or meteorite exploded over the planet roughly 12,900 years ago, causing the abrupt climate changes that led to the extinction of the wooly mammoth and other giant prehistoric beasts.

Global corporate climate change report released
The Carbon Disclosure Project, a collaboration of over 315 institutional investors managing more than $41 trillion of assets, releases new global reports, the largest and most comprehensive database of strategies from the world's largest corporations regarding the impact of climate change on shareholder value.

Risk of venuous thrombosis in long-haul flights
In a paper published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine Frits Rosendaal and colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam and Nestlé Medical Services, provide the first absolute estimate of risk of venous thrombosis after air travel.

Genetic update: the ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1 gene may influence alcoholism
The neurotransmitter dopamine is believed to influence the development and/or maintenance of alcoholism.

Acupuncture treatment may be more effective than conventional therapy in treating lower back pain
Six months of acupuncture treatment appears to be more effective than conventional therapy in treating low back pain, according to a study in the Sept.

New study questions the validity of publishing hospital mortality rates
A previous study of mortality rates for congenital heart surgery used routinely available hospital data that were misleading, according to a report published today on
Lymph nodes can be key in spreading prion infectivity
Lymph nodes can be crucial for spreading low doses of infective prion agents -- the pathogens responsible for conditions such as scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- into the nervous system, according to new research published in the online open access journal BMC Veterinary Research.

New paper examines dams' effects on California salmon
Spring-run Chinook salmon and other fish in the rivers of California's Central Valley could be harmed by more water-storage dams, according to researchers at Duke University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What gives us sunburn protects crayfish against bacteria
The production of melanin gives us sunburns, but it also helps invertebrate animals to encapsulate attacking fungi and parasites.

Political decisions harming cancer treatment in Europe
Recent political decisions have had serious consequences for European oncology, professor John Smyth said today at the European Cancer Conference.

Cancer control in Europe works; now it is time to extend it to poorer countries
Only a few years ago cancer was considered to be a disease of Westernized, developed countries, but now the burden is increasingly falling on less-developed countries.

Out of the woods: Physicians get urban disaster training in forests, gorges and waters
Cornell University will host more than 200 physicians and emergency medicine technicians at its Ithaca campus for the Northeast Wilderness Medical Conference, Sept.

University and state agencies to forecast local health effects of climate change
University of Washington medical experts and earth scientists have joined with state agencies to predict and prepare for human health effects of climate change

Researchers find eye movement can affect problem-solving, cognition
A pair of Beckman Institute researchers has discovered that by directing the eye movements of test subjects they were able to affect the participants' ability to solve a problem, demonstrating that eye movement is not just a function of cognition but can actually affect our cognitive processes.

Research team says extraterrestrial impact to blame for Ice Age extinctions
A team of international researchers, including two Northern Arizona University geologists, reports evidence that a comet or low-density object barreling toward Earth exploded in the upper atmosphere and triggered a devastating swath of destruction that wiped out most of the large animals, their habitat and humans of the Ice Age 13,000 years ago.

New study discovers why few people are devoid of racial bias
Why are some individuals not prejudiced? New research investigates how some individuals are able to avoid prejudicial biases despite the pervasive human tendency to favor one's own group.

HFES 51st Annual Meeting features work on making systems
Human factors/ergonomics professionals will present their work on diverse topics, including driver distraction, patient safety, aging and computer use, warnings and safety symbol effectiveness, motion sickness in virtual reality and much more.

Explorer completes the map ... for the body's blueprint
An Australian researcher has completed some pioneering work which is the cellular equivalent of the human genome project.

Magnetic snakes control fluids, gravity-defying droplets, and solving a dragonfly mystery
Highlights in this issue: magnetic snakes control fluid flow, gravity-defying droplets, and solving a dragonfly mystery.

Jefferson researchers find personalized interventions key to improving colon cancer screening rates
One of the best ways to encourage an individual to get screened for colorectal cancer is to use a personalized approach, according to researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 19, 2007
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Molecular fingerprint of breast-cancer drug resistance can predict response to treatment
A way of predicting which patients will respond well to treatment with a common chemotherapy drug used in breast cancer was unveiled at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) today (Monday 24 September).

New treatment effective for patients with shoulder pain
Inflammation of a tendon triggered by calcium deposits, or calcific tendinitis, can effectively be treated with a simple and cost effective percutaneous method according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the Hospital de Basurto in Bilbao, Spain.

ETH Zurich professor Ari Helenius awarded Benoist Prize
ETH Zurich professor Ari Helenius has been awarded the 100,000 Swiss francs Marcel Benoist Prize 2007 for his groundbreaking research in biochemistry.

Canada's new government funding mineral exploration in areas impacted by mountain pine beetle
The Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of natural resources, today announced steps to aid new mine and energy projects in British Columbia as part of Canada's Mountain Pine Beetle Program, a multipronged approach to address the economic impacts of the beetle infestation.

New study suggests cause of debilitating skin condition
New findings from researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues suggest why some people with kidney failure can develop a rare tightening and swelling of the skin and other organs, including the lungs and heart.

Binge drinking appears to be on the rise in Mediterranean countries
Binge drinking has traditionally been more common in Anglo-Saxon and northern European countries than Mediterranean countries.

Black patients with asthma may fare worse regardless of disease severity
Patients with asthma who are black appear more likely to visit the emergency department or be hospitalized for the condition than those who are white, even in a managed care setting that provides uniform access to care, according to a report in the Sept.

NIH scientists describe ways to better assess benefits of influenza vaccine in the elderly
Each year, seasonal flu kills approximately 36,000 people in the United States, most over age 70.

National Academy of Sciences highlights UCSB study on visual attention
Now a team of researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara has identified a nonconscious attention system, which still exists in the human brain, that maintains awareness of nonhuman animals and tracks changes in their location, behavior and trajectory.

New cell culturing method pumps up the volume
In a breakthrough that will likely accelerate research aimed at cures for hearing loss, tinnitus and balance problems, scientists have perfected a laboratory culturing technique that provides a reliable new source of cells critical to understanding certain inner-ear disorders.

New study likely to fuel debate over annual physical exams
While most patients and physicians believe it's important for adults to have an annual physical exam, there's growing debate about this conventional wisdom.

Computerized craniofacial anthropometry can help identify patients with fetal alcohol syndrome
Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most extreme expression of alcohol's adverse effects on the fetus.

Bacteria join ranks of lazy cheaters
A new study has discovered that one type of bacteria has mutants that shut down certain communication systems so they don't have to share the communal burden of obtaining nutrients.

Racial categories in medical practice and research
Is it good medical practice for physicians to

Physiotherapy has short-term benefits for patients after knee surgery
Physiotherapy can improve the daily lives of patients who have had knee replacement surgery due to osteoarthritis in the short term, according to a study published on
Spaceflight shown to alter ability of bacteria to cause disease
Space flight has been shown to have a profound impact on human physiology as the body adapts to zero gravity environments.

Primate sperm competition: speed matters
Sperm cells from the more promiscuous chimpanzee and rhesus macaque species swim much faster and with much greater force than those of humans and gorillas, species where individual females mate primarily with only one male during a reproductive cycle.

7th International Conference on Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials
Elsevier, world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services is pleased to announce that it will hold the 7th International Conference on Fatigue Damage of Structural Materials on Sept.
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