Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 10, 2007
IZA Prize in Labor Economics 2007 to Richard Freeman
The IZA Prize in Labor Economics 2007, awarded by the German Institute for the Study of Labor, goes to the US economist Richard B.

NAS report offers new tools to assess health risks from chemicals
Determining how thousands of chemicals found in the environment may be interacting with the genes in your body to cause disease is becoming easier because of a new field of science called toxicogenomics.

Obesity boosts gullet cancer risk 6-fold
Obese people are six times as likely to develop gullet (esophageal) cancer as people of

Stowers Institute's Xie Lab demonstrates dual intrinsic and extrinsic control of stem cell aging
The Stowers Institute's Xie Lab has published recent findings that reveal some of the factors underlying the aging of stem cells.

Mouse mammary tumor virus can replicate in human cells
Mouse mammary tumor virus -- which causes mammary cancer in mice -- can replicate and spread in human cells, research published this week shows.

Endoscopic resection is a safe and effective treatment for gastrointestinal smooth muscle tumors
A 15-year study led by Dr. Xiao-Dong Zhou from the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University investigated 69 patients with gastrointestinal smooth muscle tumors who had accepted endoscopic examination and treatment.

Adult stem cells lack key pluripotency regulator
The protein Oct4, which helps to maintain embryonic stem cells, has been shown to be virtually absent in adult stem cells.

Rapid analysis could cut health risks of volcanic ash
A new, rapid and cheap way of estimating the potential risk posed to human health by volcanic ash has been devised by a Durham University expert.

Researchers reveal repressor protein blocks neural stem cell development
A protein known to repress gene transcription at the molecular level in a variety of processes also blocks embryonic neural stem cells from differentiating into neurons, according to a study by University of California, San Diego and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers published online Oct.

The 'arms' race: Adult steroid users seek muscles, not medals
The majority of nonmedical anabolic-androgenic steroid users are not cheating athletes or risk-taking teenagers.

Increase in ethanol production from corn could significantly impact
If projected increases in the use of corn for ethanol production occur, the harm to water quality could be considerable, and water supply problems at the regional and local levels could also arise, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Environmental setting of human migrations in the circum-Pacific Region
This new study adds insight into the migration of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and into Asia less than 100,000 years before present.

University of Leicester cancer researchers investigate 'smoking gun' trail
The University of Leicester has been selected as the hub of a worldwide network of researchers to investigate one of the causes of cancer.

Fiber optic breakthrough in display sign technology
Incorporation of optical fiber with LCD and LED technology results in brighter, sharper images at a lower cost for indoor electronic display signage

Biometric sensors no dirtier than doorknobs, study finds
While biometric equipment is gaining popularity in a variety of applications, such as ensuring secure access to buildings, industries are finding that many users believe the devices are unsanitary and a potential source of germs that could cause illness.

Nuclear medicine now safer than ever
Hospitals are now able to ensure that the correct dose is administered to the 670,000 patients that undergo nuclear medicine procedures every year due to a new device developed by scientists at the National Physical Laboratory.

Are we asking the wrong questions about global warming?
What we should be talking about when talking about climate change, is no longer if it is occurring but how and where.

18F-DG PET/CT can highly increase the detection of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is currently the most common gastrointestinal malignancy. Recurrence and/or metastasis occurs in 30 to 50 percent of patients after surgery.

Can liver cirrhosis be partially cured?
A new therapeutic schedule of treatment was used with good results when dealing with patients suffering from liver cirrhosis following hepatitis C virus infection.

New isotope molecule may add to Venus' greenhouse effect
Planetary scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have tracked down a rare molecule in the atmospheres of both Mars and Venus.

Why it is impossible for some to 'just say no'
Drug abuse, crime and obesity are but a few of the problems our nation faces, but they all have one thing in common -- people's failure to control their behavior in the face of temptation.

Can a dose of iron supplements improve the health of the ocean and climate?
Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will host a public forum next week to discuss the pros and cons of

Red wine and grape juice help defend against food-borne diseases, according to MU researchers
Red wine is known to have multiple health benefits. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found that red wine may also protect humans from common food-borne diseases.

Scientists identify brain circuits used in sensation of touch
The ability to tactually recognize fine spatial details, such as the raised dots used in braille, is especially important to those who are blind.

Application of adult stem cells to regenerate hearts having suffered attacks by means of catheter
A team of cardiologists at the University Hospital of Navarre, in collaboration with the Area of Cell Therapy at the same center, and with the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, have carried out clinical trials on 50 patients in order to test the efficacy of adult stem sell transplants (in this case, myoblasts), in the heart of persons who have suffered a myocardial attack.

Advaxis, Inc. phase I/II results of lovaxin C in cervical cancer study released
A first-in-man trial of a live Listeria vaccine was reported by Advaxis Inc. at the World Vaccine Conference in Lyon, France.

Hypertime -- why we need 2 dimensions of time
We've heard theorists talk about extra dimensions of space before now, but one physicist has dropped a bombshell by suggesting that there is not one, but two dimensions to time.

How shyness and other normal human traits became sickness
Making use of American Psychiatric Association archives, a new book explains how shyness and other normal traits became sicknesses treatable with powerful, possibly dangerous drugs.

The highs and lows of drug cravings
The anticipation of a cocaine fix and the actual craving to abuse the drug are two closely related phenomena, according to new evidence published today in the online open access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

Severe heart defect likely caused by genetic factors
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a severe cardiovascular malformation that is difficult to treat and often lethal, is caused primarily by genetic factors, according to a new study by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Electroacupuncture at PC6 may decrease frequency of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation
New research shows that electroacupuncture at PC6 may decrease the frequency of transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, which is the main mechanism underlying gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Mount Sinai recognized as Center of Excellence for Research in Alzheimer's disease
Mount Sinai School of Medicine has just received a major grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health and lead Federal agency for research on complementary and alternative medicine.

Potent peptides inhibit HIV entry into cells
Based in part on protein structures determined at the National Synchrotron Light Source at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, scientists at the University of Utah have developed new peptides that appear to be significantly more effective at blocking HIV's entry into cells than other drugs in their class.

Terrorism risk insurance program benefits taxpayers, policyholders, RAND study finds
Taxpayers save money and businesses are better protected with the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act in place than if the act is allowed to expire.

Swedish lifestyle stops women working
Elements of work and family life, especially traditional family circumstances and inequality in the workplace, are associated with long-term sick leave taken by Swedish women, reveals research published in the online open access journal BMC Public Health.

Harvard scientists predict the future of the past tense
Verbs evolve and homogenize at a rate inversely proportional to their prevalence in the English language, according to a formula developed by Harvard University mathematicians who've invoked evolutionary principles to study our language over the past 1,200 years, from Beowulf to Canterbury Tales to Harry Potter.

ACS and Mount Sinai to collaborate on new children's trauma institute
The Mount Sinai Medical Center and New York City's Administration for Children's Services have received a $2.4 million federal grant to establish the ACS-Mount Sinai Children's Trauma Institute.

Feline virus, antiviral drug studied to understand drug resistance
Researchers at Ohio State will spend the next two years testing their theories about just how an AIDS-like virus in cats is able to resist the powerful medicines that are thrown against it.

Vanderbilt Medical Center chosen as Evidence-based Practice Center
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been chosen as one of 14 Evidence-based Practice Centers in the United States and Canada, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced today.

Storing data on atomic roundabouts
Scientists at the University of Bonn have demonstrated the existence of right-handed and left-handed

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, October 2007
The following are story ideas from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Landmark modeling study at Penn reveals how ferroelectric computer memory works
A collaboration of University of Pennsylvania chemists and engineers has performed multiscale modeling of ferroelectric domain walls and provided a new theory of behavior for domain-wall motion, the

The difference between fish and humans: scientists answer century-old developmental question
Embryologists at UCL have helped solve an evolutionary riddle that has been puzzling scientists for over a century.

Folic acid lowers blood arsenic levels in Bangladesh
A new study conducted in Bangladesh finds that folic acid supplements can dramatically lower blood arsenic levels in individuals chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated drinking water.

Researchers find evidence linking stress caused by the Sept. 11 disaster with low birth weights
Researchers have found evidence of an increase in low birth weights among babies born in and around New York City in the weeks and months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Expensive trainers are a waste of money
Expensive trainers are not worth the money, finds a small study published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Study reveals how stem cells decide to become either skeletal or smooth muscle
Researchers have discovered that a key protein controls how stem cells 'choose' to become either skeletal muscle cells that move limbs, or smooth muscle cells that support blood vessels.

Cancer conflict with chemotherapy treatment
Women under the age of 40 with breast cancer who are given drugs in addition to lumpectomies or radiotherapy, known as adjuvant chemotherapy, may not be benefiting from these drugs.

Tooth loss, dementia may be linked, JADA study suggests
Tooth loss may predict the development of dementia late in life, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

UT researcher earns $1.3M grant to study toxic cleanup at DOD sites
University of Tennessee research professor Jack Parker and Peter Kitanidis of Stanford University have been awarded $1.3 million over three years to find the best methods to analyze and clean up contaminated DOD sites effectively while keeping costs to a minimum.

Marines land at UO, leave with plans to wear Oregon-made training suits
A few came. They ran. They left. As a result of their August visit the US Marine Corp begins training in 2008 in new running suits chosen after tests of competing products in the University of Oregon's environmental chamber.

Neighborly care keeps stem cells young
A stem cell's immediate neighborhood, a specialized environment also known as the stem cell niche, provides crucial support needed for stem cell maintenance.

Data on life expectancy show many countries clustered in high mortality traps
Growing recognition of the importance of health as a contributing factor to economic development and societal change has prompted the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to add a new subsection in Sustainable Health to its existing section on Sustainable Development.

Software overcomes major problems for scientists who operate research tools over the Internet
Software under development at Ohio State University is helping scientists operate big-budget research instruments -- such as high-powered microscopes and telescopes -- over the Internet, more safely and efficiently than was possible before.

IOM workshop on less confusing drug labeling, Oct. 12
More than 90 million Americans have difficulty understanding and acting on health information, according to a 2004 health literacy report from the Institute of Medicine.

Microgrid allows simultaneous study of multiple variables
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a method for correlating the results of microscopic imaging techniques in a way that could lead to improved understanding, diagnosis and possibly treatment of a variety of disease conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.

Genetically engineered corn may harm stream ecosystems
A new study shows that a popular type of corn, call Bt corn, that is genetically engineered to kill some pests gets washed into streams, may travel long distances in these streams and may harm nontarget organisms.

Report highlights inadequate pandemic planning as a threat to EU security
A report to be published in an upcoming issue of the World Health Organization Bulletin will call for urgent attention to the politically sensitive issue of border control, and the need for coherent and robust national plans in the face of a catastrophic flu pandemic.

Of mice and men: similarities between skeletons of both
A new book by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that details the skeletal structure of the mouse demonstrates a surprising similarity between mice and humans.

Israeli scientists identify: Genes that affect responses of multiple sclerosis patients to copaxone
Getting the drug dosage correct can be a tricky exercise in trial and error in a disease like multiple sclerosis.

A gene divided reveals the details of natural selection
Writing today in the journal Nature, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Sean B.

NHGRI funds new Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research
Over the next five years, grants totaling more than $12 million will be awarded as part of the Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research initiative, launched by NHGRI in 2004.

Researcher wins national funding to explore why young children are stumped by science
Child's play is investigating how children develop their ideas about science and how one game is 'sinking' their perceptions.

Protein enhances lethality of influenza virus
The 1918 influenza virus pandemic was responsible for more than 40 million deaths across the globe.

Potential early warning system for lung cancer identified.
An immune system protein could act as an early warning system for lung cancer, reveals research published ahead of print in the journal Thorax.

New hope for horse lovers as effective control for killer ragwort is proposed
An effective natural control alternative for ragwort -- a weed that the British Horse Society has warned

HER-2 status predicts success of chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment, study finds
Researchers have found they can potentially target chemotherapy for breast cancer to only those women most likely to benefit, sparing the majority of patients from unnecessary side effects. 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