Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 24, 2007
A unique experiment with chlorine -- and a new way of teaching
Imagine turning up to an undergraduate class, being given a dissertation by one of your student predecessors and told to improve on it.

New technique improves purity of medicines
Dutch researcher Roelof Mol has investigated possibilities for more accurately determining the composition of medicines.

Combination targets: some drugs may work best when they work together
While some targeted therapies -- drugs developed to attack specific molecules in the critical chemical pathways occurring within cancer cells -- work well by themselves, increasingly researchers are finding that they work better when teamed with other targeted and conventional therapies.

New data shows benefits of MitraClip for patients with mitral regurgitation
The vast majority of patients who had a successful result with the percutaneous MitraClip device did not need mitral valve surgery three years after their procedure, and many benefited from significantly improved function of the left ventricle (commonly known as reverse remodeling), according to data presented this week at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation's nineteenth annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics symposium in Washington, D.C.

African-American and Hispanic alcohol abusers need more residential alcohol treatment
In the US, minority-group drinkers are more likely to develop alcohol-related dependence problems but less likely to receive treatment.

Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute releases special report
'Breaking the Cycle' chronicles five years of scientific discovery conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

New research about smoking/addiction
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Colorful view for first land animals
When prehistoric fish made their first forays onto land, what did they see?

Clinical trials nebulized formoterol fumarate: Long-term and cardiovascular safety COPD
Data from two Phase III clinical trials were presented today in Chicago at CHEST 2007, the annual scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, supporting the use of Perforomist Inhalation Solution as a safe and effective maintenance treatment for COPD patients.

Scientists discover a direct route from the brain to the immune system
It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system, shielded from the outside forces of nature.

New research about PAH
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Chang'e-1 -- new mission to Moon lifts off
A bold new mission to the Moon was launched today by the Chinese National Space Administration.

GABRA2 genotype may moderate alcohol-psychotherapy outcomes
Previous studies have shown that the GABRA2 gene is related to the risk for alcohol dependence.

New Scandinavian collaboration boosts nanotech development
The nano centers of the universities in South West Scandinavia enter a strategic collaboration to promote the development and commercialization of nanotechnology.

Trouble deciding?
The co-author of

Electricity grid could become a type of Internet
In the future everyone who is connected to the electricity grid will be able to upload and download packages of electricity to and from this network.

Location, location, location
As housing developments sprout across the United States, smart growth proponents have urged communities to cluster developments in concentrated pockets, instead of the more standard and familiar

Contamination from depleted uranium found in urine 20 years later
Inhaled depleted uranium oxide aerosols are recognised as a distinct human health hazard and DU has been suggested to be responsible in part for illness in both military and civilian populations that may have been exposed.

Meteor no longer prime suspect in great extinction
New study looks to the deep ocean for cause of history's biggest extinction (NOT the one that killed the dinosaurs).

Intergroup attitudes among youth addressed by leading development and social psychologists
Cross-group friendships have a positive effect on intergroup attitudes among children and adolescents, according to a new issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Development, published this month.

Designing new piezoelectric materials
Polymer-based piezoelectric materials are currently the object of great interest in the world of industry because they enable their use in new applications in sectors such as transport and aeronautics, amongst others.

New CU-Boulder study detects first known belt of moonlets in Saturn's rings
A narrow belt harboring moonlets as large as football stadiums discovered in Saturn's outermost ring probably resulted when a larger moon was shattered by a wayward asteroid or comet eons ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Hearing changes how we perceive gender
Think about the confused feelings that occur when you meet someone whose tone of voice doesn't seem to quite fit with his or her gender.

Promising new TB drug given special status by US and European regulators
SQ109, an antimicrobial agent developed through a partnership between the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the biotech company Sequella, Inc., has recently been granted 'orphan drug' status by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for development against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB.

Role of a key enzyme in reducing heart disease identified
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have identified the role of a key enzyme called CEH in reducing heart disease, paving the way for new target therapies to reduce plaques in the arteries and perhaps in the future, help predict a patient's susceptibility to heart disease.

Researchers view swimming tactics of tiny aquatic predators
By applying state-of-the-art holographic microscopy to a major marine biology challenge, researchers have identified the swimming and attack patterns of two tiny but deadly microbes linked to fish kills in the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways.

Impulsivity may especially vex alcoholics with antisocial and borderline personality disorders
Impulsivity is a problem common to many different personality and psychiatric disorders, including alcoholism.

New pediatric research
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Parkinson's Institute research shows that nicotine reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesias
Research shows that intermittent nicotine treatment reduces medication-induced dyskinesias by as much as 50 percent.

Dwarf galaxies need dark matter too, U-M astronomers say
Stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies behave in a way that suggests the galaxies are utterly dominated by dark matter, University of Michigan astronomers have found.

Dietary supplement boosts IVF hopes
A number of women undergoing IVF are self-medicating with a supplement called dehydroepiandrosterone to improve the chances of using their own eggs to conceive with IVF instead of using a donor.

Inhaled steriods used as preventive treatment post-Sept. 11
New research, presented at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, examined the effectiveness of ICS in preventing asthma and other respiratory illness due to inhalation exposures experienced by NYC firefighters after the World Trade Center collapse.

Texel paleothermometer for climate reconstruction perfected
Spanish researcher Carme Huguet further refined the recently developed TEX 86 paleothermometer during her doctoral research at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

Researchers study potential health benefits of natural chemicals in muscadine grape seeds
Could some of the natural chemicals found in plants be powerful enough to improve cardiovascular health?

Animal behavior study overturned
An international team of scientists has overturned an ecological study on how some animals search for food.

Humans and monkeys share Machiavellian intelligence
When it comes to their social behavior, people sometimes act like monkeys, or more specifically, like rhesus macaques, a type of monkey that shares with humans strong tendencies for nepotism and political maneuvering, according to research at the University of Chicago.

New research about gender differences
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

University of Pennsylvania receives $4M for Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics
The University of Pennsylvania Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics will receive $4 million over the next four years to continue and expand its work on improving the use of therapies for infections.

Decline in uptake of carbon emissions confirmed
A decline in the proportion of carbon dioxide emissions absorbed by land and oceans is speeding up the growth of atmospheric CO2, according to a paper published today in the US Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A family history of alcoholism is linked to greater sweet preferences among women
Ad campaigns have capitalized on women's concerns about their waistlines and marketed cigarettes as a fat-free alternative to diminish sweet cravings and satisfy hunger.

Researchers discover important tool in understanding differentiation in human embryonic stem cells
Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute have used an existing genetic tool to study how human embryonic stem cells self-renew.

Epilepsy drugs may cause sexual disorders
The use of antiepileptic drugs can lead to decreased fertility and increased incidence of reproductive endocrine disorders in both men and women.

Procedure helps to eliminate sleep apnea
A procedure known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty may help some patients improve or even eliminate their obstructive sleep apnea, according to a new study.

Hearing 'messages' embedded in noise could be early sign of schizophrenia
A tendency to extract messages from meaningless noise could be an early sign of schizophrenia, according to a Yale study in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Guilt, far loneliness afflict families and caregivers after medical error
Guilt, fear and loneliness often afflict both the caregiver and the family in the aftermath of a medical error, feelings that can be overcome if all parties try to build bridges and develop solutions that not only can prevent error but lead to forgiveness.

U-M scientists find new causes for neurodegeneration
Diseases that cause neurons to break down, such as Alzheimer's, continue to be elusive to scientists and resistant to treatments.

Child health psychologists need to promote adult disease prevention
Many of the lifestyle habits that children and adolescents develop -- eating a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables, being physically inactive or sedentary, and experimenting with tobacco and alcohol use -- can have a major impact on their health later in life.

Large avian flu outbreaks more likely to involve duck meat industry, experts find
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that 73 percent of avian flu outbreaks in the UK would not spread beyond the initial infected farm, but larger outbreaks are more likely to involve the duck meat industry.

BASF and Harvard University announce extensive research collaboration
Harvard University's Office of Technology Development and BASF today announced an agreement to jointly establish the BASF Advanced Research Initiative.

New research about critical care
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Early predictive model may be new 'weapon' against leading cause of death on battlefield
Combat physicians in war-torn areas like Iraq and Afghanistan may be able to accurately predict which casualties require massive blood transfusions, and thereby increase a soldier's chances of survival, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Study reveals how the brain generates the human tendency for optimism
A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University.

Physical oceanographer chosen to receive Ketchum Award for Coastal Science
Dr. Richard Garvine, a physical oceanographer who has specialized in the circulation of coastal waters and estuaries, has been named the 14th recipient of the Bostwick H.

Parasites a key to the decline of red colobus monkeys in forest fragments
Forest fragmentation threatens biodiversity, often causing declines or local extinctions in a majority of species while enhancing the prospects of a few.

Pregnant women at risk for unnecessary operations due to misdiagnosis of appendicitis
New research published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests that pregnant women suspected of having appendicitis are often misdiagnosed and undergo unnecessary appendectomies (removal of the appendix) that can result in early delivery or loss of the fetus.

Everglades phosphorus limits on the right track, but more is needed
State and federal standards for phosphorus releases into the Everglades seem sufficient to protect the huge wetland's resident plants and animals from damage, but pollutant levels still reach double or triple safe levels near some of the Everglades' outer edges.

Decoding effects of toxins on embryo development
Changes in gene expression patterns in zebrafish embryos resulting from exposure to environmental toxins can identify the individual toxins at work, according to research published in the online open access journal Genome Biology.

Researchers discover discrepancies between dysphagia diet guidelines and prepared foods
Research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is leading to potentially lifesaving changes for patients suffering from dysphagia, or swallowing difficulty.

A new key to detecting deadly aortic aneurysms
Yale scientists have discovered a way to use a simple blood test that may accurately detect thoracic aneurysm disease -- which is often fatal.

New research about DVT
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

'Twinkle' eye test could improve AMD diagnosis
Scientists at UCL have developed a more reliable test for detecting vision loss in people with age-related macular disease, the leading cause of blindness in the UK and US.

Oncolytics Biotech Inc. announces approval for UK clinical trial
Oncolytics Biotech to begin a clinical trial using intravenous administration of Reolysin in combination with cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapeutic agent as well as immune modulator, in patients with advanced cancers.

The conservation lens
An interdisciplinary team of US, UK and Chilean taxonomists, ecologists and philosophers explored the world's southernmost forest and tundra ecosystems to estimate the diversity of the dominant vegetation, namely tiny bryophytes and lichens.

Canadians welcome HPV vaccine -- but not at any price
Canadians would welcome a vaccine against the human papillomavirus if it were introduced at no charge, a Quebec, Canada survey suggests.

Living with lions
A research team have found that people living closer to the Waza National Park enjoy better access to pastures and water points, but bear the heaviest losses when it comes to lion predation.

Bird flu finds children's lungs faster
New findings, reported in today in the online open-access journal Respiratory Research, about how the virus binds to the respiratory tract and lungs suggest children may be particularly susceptible to avian influenza.

New research about cough
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

$2.8 million for research into the impact of climate change on tundra wildlife
Professor Gilles Gauthier of Université Laval's Centre d'études nordiques has been awarded close to $2.8 million to set up the ArticWOLVES project as part of International Polar Year.

Screeners' hands quicker than eyes
That fleeting moment of regret between clicking the wrong icon and seeing an unwanted web page pop onto the screen could make a huge difference in improving the accuracy of visual searches in medicine and homeland security.

Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be studied by University of Texas at Austin marine scientists
University of Texas at Austin marine scientists have been awarded $781,000 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to better understand how nutrient pollution from the Mississippi River affects the large area of low oxygen water called the

Researchers find signal that switches on eye development -- could lead to 'eye in a dish'
Researchers at the University of Warwick, funded by Wellcome Trust, have uncovered a crucial signal that switches on eye development.

Fossil record supports evidence of impending mass extinction
Global temperatures predicted for the coming centuries may trigger a new 'mass extinction event.' where over 50 percent of animal and plant species would be wiped out, warn scientists at the Universities of York and Leeds.

Nanoballs deliver drugs
Dutch researcher Cristianne Rijcken has developed a new type of biodegradable nanoparticle.

Maynard Olson receives $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize
The human genome would have been an impossible jigsaw puzzle without the work of Maynard Olson.

New research relating to lung function
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Stanford/Packard researchers find disease genes hidden in discarded data
Previously hidden obesity-related genes have been uncovered from old experiments by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Home computers to help researchers better understand universe
Want to help unravel the mysteries of the universe? A new distributed computing project designed by a University of Illinois researcher allows people around the world to participate in cutting-edge cosmology research by donating their unused computing cycles.

Daylight savings time disrupts humans' natural circadian rhythm
When people living in many parts of the world move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight savings time, their bodies' internal, daily rhythms don't adjust with them, reports a new study appearing online on Oct.

Test gives insight into prognosis in patients with plasma cell malignancies, finds Mayo Clinic study
A new Mayo Clinic study due to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in San Diego this week shows that a chromosome test called 'FISH' is better than conventional methods in identifying chromosomal genetic abnormalities associated with plasma cell malignancies.

Severely restricted diet linked to physical fitness into old age
Severely restricting calories leads to a longer life, scientists have proved.

New research about COPD
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Not just humans benefit from animal biotechnology
Laboratory animals are the source of major discoveries and breakthroughs in biology, not just in tackling disease but also unravelling fundamental molecular processes.

A fresh look at existing therapies: Researchers explore ways to teach approved drugs new tricks
Although all cancers are not alike, most share common causes, whether it is the result of a genetic mutation or faulty biochemical signaling pathway.

Clinical trial data: Safety/efficacy of concomitant formoterol fumarate/tiotropium treating COPD
Data presented today at CHEST 2007, the annual scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, demonstrate concomitant use of nebulized formoterol fumarate and tiotropium provided improved bronchodilation over tiotropium monotherapy and was well-tolerated in this clinical study.

Gauging parent knowledge about teens' substance use
New research results from the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions suggest that most parents are aware of and accurately evaluate the extent of their teenager's cigarette smoking, marijuana use, drinking and overall substance use.

Mandate for public access to NIH-funded research poised to become law
The US Senate last night approved the FY2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1710), including a provision that directs the National Institutes of Health to strengthen its Public Access Policy by requiring rather than requesting participation by researchers.

Three first-ever atomic nuclei created at NSCL; new super-heavy aluminum isotopes may exist
Researchers at Michigan State University's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, have created three never-before-observed isotopes of magnesium and aluminum.

Smoked cannabis proven effective in treating neuropathic pain
Smoked cannabis eased pain induced in healthy volunteers, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego Center for Medical Cannabis Research However, the researchers found that less may be more.

UMass Medical School researchers receive $8.5M grant award to fight AIDS
Celia Schiffer, PhD, awarded a renewal of the Program Project Grant,

NIEHS awards outstanding new environmental scientists
Five-year grants totaling $3.5 million will go to seven exceptionally talented and creative investigators in the early stages of their careers, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today.

New sleep medicine research
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

Canadian authors struggle with stardom, professor finds
An English professor's research finds that Canadian authors experience tension when it comes to coping with fame.

University ranking systems seriously flawed
Thousands of high school students are currently deliberating over which university to attend next year.

Phase I pharmacokinetic study of ECO-4601, a novel bifunctional targeting agent
A first-in-class, targeted investigational therapy specifically designed to inhibit a single protein that functions only during cell division shows potent activity in a broad range of cancer cell lines, say researchers presenting at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.

New research about new treatments/methods
The following news briefs are embargoed until the date/time listed below each title.

HORIZONS AMI trial data will help set guidelines
Late-breaking data presented at TCT 2007, the scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, show that the use of the anticoagulant bivalirudin following angioplasty in heart attack patients reduces net adverse clinical events by 24 percent compared to the standard treatment, and significantly reduces major bleeding that occurs after angioplasty by 40 percent.

Natural product discovery by Cleveland medical researchers blocks tissue destruction
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine have published in the Journal of Inflammation a remarkable discovery with a natural product derived from the Amazon rainforest.

Georgetown leads major effort to combat disparities in DC stroke care
More than three quarters of adults living in the District of Columbia have at least one risk factor for stroke, but those who are poor do not receive the same level of care as their wealthier counterparts.

JAMA study shows what works in treating HIV-infected African children
Zambian children enrolled in a study experienced a more than doubling of their CD4 cell counts after one year of antiretrovirals, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham study. 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