Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 01, 2007
Initial reaction to nicotine can dictate addiction
Study finds that adolescents who felt relaxed when first exposed to nicotine from a cigarette were more likely to get hooked.

Census of protein architectures offers new view of history of life
A new study appearing this month in Genome Research reveals that protein architectures -- the three-dimensional structures of specific regions within proteins -- provide an extraordinary window on the history of life.

Genes influence people's economic choices
An international team of researchers including an MIT graduate student has demonstrated for the first time that genes exert influence on people's behavior in a very common experimental economic game.

Great Plains' historical stability vulnerable to future changes
A survey of long-term trends in population, farm income and crop production in the agricultural Great Plains finds that technological advances, such as improved crop varieties, irrigation and fertilizer use, have greatly increased production of major crops and allowed rural populations to remain stable over the past 50 years even as metropolitan populations have soared.

Building blocks of life
The £140 million construction of the ISIS Second Target Station at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire is nearing completion.

Early family intervention alters preschoolers' biological response to stress
Researchers have been studying family interventions that prevent young children from following in the footsteps of their older delinquent siblings.

ACP and APS issue comprehensive guidelines for treating low-back pain
The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society today released joint guidelines on diagnosing and treating low back pain.

Clean Cities program saves 375 million gallons of gas in 2006
Clean Cities coalitions around the nation displaced the equivalent of 375 million gallons of gasoline in 2006, according to a recent report from the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Native language governs the way toddlers interpret speech sounds, according to Penn study
Toddlers are learning language skills earlier than expected and by the age of 18 months understand enough of the lexicon of their own language to recognize how speakers use sounds to convey meaning.

Not finishing high school may lead to memory problems
People who don't finish high school are at a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease compared to people with more education, regardless of lifestyle choices and characteristics such as income, occupation, physical activity and smoking, according to a study published in the Oct.

Mini-strokes linked to uric acid levels
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that high-normal uric acid levels may cause barely-detectable mini-strokes that potentially contribute to mental decline in aging adults.

Multicountry review shows that Bug Buster Kits reduce head lice and social stigma
Bug Buster Kits that use over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners, rather than expensive lice killing medication, are helping to reduce social stigma and health inequalities.

Botched production of insulin molecule may lead to diabetes
A glitch in the production and folding of molecules deep within the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas may be responsible for the death of those cells and the onset of diabetes, new animal research suggests.

New USAID grant helps Georgetown meet unmet family planning needs worldwide
Building upon two decades of developing highly effective, easy-to-use fertility awareness-based methods of family planning and introducing them worldwide, the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University Medical Center has been awarded a five-year, $38 million grant by the US Agency for International Development to expand access to these methods and ensure their sustainability in developing countries.

Depression, aging, and proteins made by a virus may all play role in heart disease
Researchers here have linked an increase in two immune system proteins essential for inflammation to a latent viral infection and proposed a chain of events that might accelerate cardiovascular disease.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 26, 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.

Lower metabolism, eating behavior possibly explain the cause of overweight in narcolepsy
A lower metabolism, as well as slight changes in eating behavior, could explain the positive energy balance leading to being overweight in narcolepsy.

Beyond a 'speed limit' on mutations, species risk extinction
Harvard University scientists have identified a virtual

Both short and long sleep is associated with increased mortality
The first study to assess the stability of three aspects of sleep behavior in relation to long-term mortality finds an increased risk of mortality in short sleep, long sleep and frequent use of medications.

Childhood TV viewing a risk for behavior problems
Daily television viewing for two or more hours in early childhood can lead to behavioral problems and poor social skills, according to a study of children 2.5 to 5.5 years of age.

Dilaton could affect abundance of dark matter particles
The amount of dark matter left over from the early universe may be less than previously believed.

New treatment for stroke works up to a day after symptoms start
People treated with the drug minocycline within six to 24 hours after a stroke had significantly fewer disabilities, according to a study published in the Oct.

Weight-based dosing of ribavirin improves outcomes for patients with hepatitis C
Patients with hepatitis C treated with combination therapy of pegylated interferon and ribavirin had better outcomes when taking a weight-based dosage of ribavirin compared to a flat dosage.

IEEE-USA innovation forum will help prepare US tech leaders to prosper in a global marketplace
IEEE-USA will host its first IEEE-USA Innovation Forum at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va., on Nov.

Journal Sleep: disturbed sleep linked to poorer daytime function in older women
One of the first large-scale studies to examine the association of sleep behaviors, neuromuscular performance and daytime function in a community dwelling of older women finds that poorer sleep is associated with worse physical function in older women during the daytime.

Poor health care access common among youth leaving foster system
Youth who have been homeless for any period of time after leaving the foster care system appear to have more problems accessing health care than those with stable housing situations, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

NASA satellite sees solar hurricane detach comet tail
A NASA satellite has captured the first images of a collision between a comet and a solar hurricane.

Almost one-third of US children regularly take dietary supplements
More than 30 percent of American children age 18 and younger take some form of dietary supplement, most often multivitamins and multiminerals, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Depressed adolescents respond best to combination treatment
A combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication appears to be the most effective treatment for adolescents with major depressive disorder -- more than medication alone or psychotherapy alone, according to results from a major clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

New test could help consumers avoid surprise headaches from chocolate, wine
Researchers in California are reporting development of a fast, inexpensive test suitable for home use that could help millions of people avoid those

Virtual colonoscopy -- a new technology for colorectal cancer screening?
Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest but most preventable causes of death in the United States.

Standard treatment for prostate cancer may encourage spread of disease
A popular prostate cancer treatment called androgen deprivation therapy may encourage prostate cancer cells to produce a protein that makes them more likely to spread throughout the body, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Technology could enable computers to 'read the minds' of users
Tufts researchers are developing techniques that could allow computers to respond to users' thoughts of frustration or boredom (too much or too little work) by applying functional near-infrared spectroscopy technology, which uses light to monitor brain blood flow as a proxy for user workload stress.

Nanotube forests grown on silicon chips for future computers, electronics
Engineers have shown how to grow forests of tiny cylinders called carbon nanotubes onto the surfaces of computer chips to enhance the flow of heat at a critical point where the chips connect to cooling devices called heat sinks.

Chemical compound found in tree bark stimulates growth, survival of brain cells
Researchers have identified a compound in tree bark that mimics the chemical reactions of a naturally occurring molecule in the brain responsible for stimulating neuronal cell signaling.

Block-play may improve language development in toddlers
Playing with toy blocks may lead to improved language development in middle- and low-income children, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Alcohol and sleep restriction can affect young men's alertness and driving performance
Combining low-dose alcohol with moderate sleep restriction can have a significant adverse effect on young men's subjective alertness and performance behind the wheel.

Study examines correlation between race and police force size
Empirical studies have long shown that crime rate and budget alone do not account for the size of an area's police force.

File sharing does worst damage to lower ranked billboard albums, says Management Insights
File sharing is taking its worst toll on smaller albums,

Minister Lunn to speak at Wind Energy Conference
On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Honorable Gary Lunn, minister of natural resources, will speak at the Canadian Wind Energy Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow.

UC Irvine receives $2.18M to explore nano advancements in DNA sequencing
UC Irvine's Henry Samueli School of Engineering has been awarded $2.18 million to blend traditional DNA sequencing techniques with cutting-edge nanotechnology to develop a faster and less costly method of analysis.

Studies lend insights into colorectal cancer screening
Two studies in the October issue of the journal Gastroenterology may help in refining recommendations for the use of colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer.

Innovator Award to Berkeley Lab's Joe Gray for improved breast cancer screening
An Innovator Award totaling almost $8 million has been awarded to Joe Gray, director of the life sciences division of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

More reports of children having trouble falling asleep than maintaining sleep
Children have more difficulty initiating sleep than maintaining sleep. Further, parents tend to underestimate their children's sleep problems.

Cognitive deficits lead to 'loss of self' among cancer patients
According to a new survey, the cognitive impairment experienced by 14 to 45 percent of cancer patients can be long-lasting and severely affect their personal and professional lives.

Women with severe PMS perceive their sleep quality to be poor
Women with severe premenstrual syndrome perceive their sleep quality to be poorer in association with their symptoms in the late luteal phase, despite there being no specific alterations in sleep structure associated with premenstrual symptoms.

Engineers study brain folding in higher mammals
Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis are finding common ground between the shaping of the brain and the heart during embryonic development.

New particles get a mass boost
A sophisticated, new analysis has revealed that the next frontier in particle physics is farther away than once thought.

Americans consider global warming an urgent threat, according to poll
A growing number of Americans consider global warming an important threat that calls for drastic action, and 40 percent say that a presidential candidate's position on the issue will strongly influence how they vote, according to a national survey conducted by Yale University, Gallup and the ClearVision Institute.

Kidney research points to ways to more effectively use organs
Several new studies suggest how transplant surgeons can make more effective use of kidneys from deceased donors -- even those that are at the outer limits of acceptance criteria -- according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Manchester researchers announce new methods of beating breast cancer
University of Manchester researchers will reveal new ways of controlling and treating breast cancer at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Birmingham today Monday, Oct.

Noninvasive tests for cirrhosis may help to avoid liver biopsy
Newer ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging tests yield encouraging initial results in diagnosing fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, according to three studies in the October issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Arctic sea ice shatters record low: diminished ice leads to Northwest Passage opening
Arctic sea ice during the 2007 melt season plummeted to the lowest levels since satellite measurements began in 1979, according to researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The dark matter of the universe has a long lifetime
New research from the Niels Bohr Institute presents new information that adds another piece of knowledge to the jigsaw puzzle of the dark mystery of the universe -- dark matter.

Extended wakefulness, combined with alcohol, severely impairs driving performance
The combination of extended wakefulness and low-dose alcohol has significant adverse effects on a person's ability to drive, and elevates the risk of getting into a vehicular accident.

CU-Boulder worm study sheds light on human aging, inherited diseases
Microscopic worms used for scientific research are living longer despite cellular defects, a discovery that is shedding light on how the human body ages and how doctors could one day limit or reverse genetic mutations that cause inherited diseases, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

USC software on the anti-terror beat at LAX
Security officials at Los Angeles airport are experimenting with a system developed by USC Viterbi School of Engineering computer scientists to make their operations harder for the bad guys to predict and defeat.

Scientists say sabercat bit like a pussycat
The fearsome sabercat might have been a formidable predator but innovative computer modelling shows it had a wimpy bite.

Sign of 'embryonic planets' forming in nearby stellar systems
Astronomers at the University of Rochester are pointing to three nearby stars they say may hold

Stanford researchers find way to fight treacherous hepatitis B
A team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has identified the most cost-effective way of fighting hepatitis B.

Mental disorders cause 1.3 billion annual days of lost role performance
A general population survey found that in US adults mental disorders result in more than 1.3 billion days each year out of role--unable to work or carry out usual activities.

Combination of medication and psychotherapy appears most effective for treatment of depressed teens
The combination of the antidepressant medication fluoxetine and cognitive behavior therapy appears more effective than either strategy alone for the long-term treatment of adolescents with depression, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

'In Search Of Memory' wins 2007 Best Book Award from the National Academies
The National Academies today announced the recipients of its 2007 Communication Awards.

Highlights from the October 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The October 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Humans MIFfed by West Nile Virus
Infection with West Nile Virus can cause lethal encephalitis and there are currently no vaccines or specific therapeutics for use in humans.

Low maternal cholesterol tied to premature birth
Pregnant women who have very low cholesterol may face a greater risk of delivering their babies prematurely than women with more moderate cholesterol levels, a team led by the National Human Genome Research Institute reported today.

Leaders in addiction treatment announce national 'ACTION' campaign
A cadre of private and public entities in the addiction treatment field announced the launch of the National Adopting Changes to Improve Outcomes Now campaign for the improvement of addiction treatment services.

Great debate and quantum physics to be explored by leading scientist visiting Perimeter Institute
Alain Aspect of the Institute d'Optique and Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France, will be speaking at a Perimeter Institute public lecture to be held on Wednesday, Oct.

Genetic differences in clover make one type toxic
That clover necklace you make for your child could well be a ring of poison.

Low level of conscientiousness may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease
Individuals who are more conscientious -- in other words, those with a tendency to be self-disciplined, scrupulous and purposeful -- appear less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Progress Against Malaria: Developments on the Horizon
The Malaria Research Institute at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the New York Academy of Sciences present 'Progress Against Malaria: Developments on the Horizon,' a half-day symposium to highlight the latest research developments in the fight to combat malaria.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Oct. 2
The following press releases are attached to the upcoming issue of Annals of Internal Medicine:

Moving on up? Study examines social mobility in the US
In a recent study funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, Dr.

Book on weeds and invasive plants discusses how to manage them using ecological approaches
How people can manage and control weeds and invasive plants is addressed in a newly revised book authored by Jodie S.

Panic attacks associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and death in older women
Older women who experience at least one full-blown panic attack may have an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke and an increased risk of death in the next five years, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Early treatment of children with bilateral amblyopia essential, according to multisite study
When a child is farsighted or has astigmatism or has both conditions in both eyes, bilateral amblyopia may develop.

Chance encounter with comet nets surprising results
Comets are made of the most primitive stuff in the solar system.

JCI table of contents: Oct. 1, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Oct.

Scripps research study reveals mechanism behind nicotine dependency
Many more people try to quit smoking than succeed in giving up this nicotine-delivering habit.

EGEE announces 3 new business associates
EGEE, the Enabling Grids for E-ScienceE project, today announced collaborations with three new Business Associates -- Avanade, Excelian and Hitachi -- reflecting the increasing significance of grid technology in the commercial sector.

Three-way mating game of North American lizard found in distant European relative
An intricate three-way mating struggle first observed in a species of North American lizard has been discovered in a distant relative, the European common lizard.

From brains to behavior: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for neuroscience research
Two neuroscience methods are featured in this month's release of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols.

IVF technique enables pregnancy without multiple births, Stanford researchers find
An in vitro fertilization technique that can avoid multiple births appears to be effective for women older than 35, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Amazon rainforest at risk from initiative to connect South American economies
An unprecedented development plan to link South America's economies through new transportation, energy and telecommunications projects could destroy much of the Amazon rainforest in coming decades, according to a new study by Conservation International scientist Tim Killeen.

Conference to address autism throughout the lifespan
Florida Institute of Technology School of Psychology will host the 2007 Autism Conference, 'Autism Throughout the Life Span,' Oct.

New technology identifies warped fingerprints at warp speed
Researchers at the University of Warwick have devised a means of identifying partial, distorted, scratched, smudged or otherwise warped fingerprints in just a few seconds.

Fighting the spread of food poisoning
A Queensland University of Technology researcher has developed a new technique that can help scientists and clinicians quickly and cheaply diagnose the bacteria which causes the most common bout of food poisoning in Australia.

Joslin researchers uncover potential role of leptin in diabetes
Joslin researchers uncover potential role of leptin in diabetes.

Residual fetal cells in women may provide protection against breast cancer
Fetal cells that persist in a woman's body long after pregnancy -- a common occurrence known in scientific circles as fetal microchimerism -- in some cases may reduce the woman's risk of breast cancer, according to researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Combination therapy reverses effects of portal hypertension in rats
A combined treatment with rapamycin and Gleevec might reverse the effects of portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease.

Stop eating for two: obese moms-to-be should gain less weight than currently recommended
A new St. Louis University study suggests current guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy should be revised.

UVA researchers explain cell response to skin-damaging UV rays
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have published a new study that helps scientists around the world expand the body of knowledge on how cells protect themselves (or not) from DNA damage caused by UV rays.

Running shipwreck simulations backwards helps identify dangerous waves
Big waves in fierce storms have long been the focus of ship designers in simulations testing new vessels.

Scientists uncover Inca children's countdown to sacrifice
Hair samples from naturally preserved child mummies discovered at the world's highest archaeological site in the Andes have provided a startling insight into the lives of the children chosen for sacrifice.

UT Southwestern scientist receives NIH Director's New Innovator Award
Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been named one of the inaugural winners of the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award.

UMass Medical School study identifies the best weight-loss plans for heart health
A new study by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School reveals that popular weight-loss plans vary significantly in their ability to positively affect heart health.

Genes may hold the keys to how humans learn
New research is giving scientists fresh insights into how genetics are a prime factor in how we learn. 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