Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 03, 2007
Compact, wavelength-on-demand Quantum Cascade Laser chip offers ultra-sensitive chemical sensing
Engineers from Harvard University have demonstrated a highly versatile, compact and portable Quantum Cascade Laser sensor for the fast detection of a large number of chemicals, ranging from infinitesimal traces of gases to liquids, by broad tuning of the emission wavelength.

Beetle dung helps forests recover from fire
Beetle droppings -- known in the scientific world as frass -- are crucial to forests recovering from fire.

New ramelteon data presented at AARC
A study presented at the 53rd International Respiratory Congress of the American Association for Respiratory Care showed that ramelteon did not exacerbate respiratory depressant effects in patients (40 years and older) with moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as measured by oxygenation or abnormal breathing events relative to placebo.

Study: Re-engineered Gleevec reduces heart risks
Using a new bottom-up approach for rational drug design, researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas M.

UCSF Medical Center using newest high-tech tool for brain disorders
The most advanced noninvasive, radiosurgery tool for treating a variety of brain disorders -- including tumors -- is now being used by specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Workplace repetitive strain injury likely to be significantly overestimated
The prevalence of workplace repetitive strain injury in Europe is likely to have been exaggerated, suggests research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Cooler, faster, cheaper: Clemson researchers advance process to manufacture silicon chips
The next generation of laptops, desk computers, cell phones and other semiconductor devices may get faster and more cost-effective with research from Clemson University.

Radiation flashes may help crack cosmic mystery
Faint, fleeting blue flashes of radiation emitted by particles that travel faster than the speed of light through the atmosphere may help scientists solve one of the oldest mysteries in astrophysics.

Einstein researchers find that a commonly found contaminant may harm nursing infants
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that perchlorate -- an industrial pollutant linked to thyroid ailments -- is actively concentrated in breast milk.

New smartpen and paper to help teach blind college students
Subjects like physics, calculus and biology are challenging for most students, but imagine tackling these topics without being able to see the graphs and figures used to teach them.

UM researchers find new marker to identify cancer stem cells
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found a marker that can be used to identify stem cells in breast tumors, suggesting a potential simple test that could help determine the best treatment for breast cancer.

Modifying an anti-cancer drug makes it more specific
Imatinib is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors because they are caused by related proteins.

Could hydrogen sulfide hold the key to a long life?
Hydrogen sulfide, the chemical that gives eggs their sulfurous stench, has been shown to significantly increase life span and heat tolerance in the nematode worm, or C. elegans.

Promising approach to a more effective sunscreen
Chronic sun exposure increases the risk of an individual developing skin cancer, because UV light from the sun can cause genetic mutations that enable skin cells to grow in an uncontrolled manner.

UC Irvine awarded grant to launch teaching program
UC Irvine has been awarded up to $2.4 million over five years to improve teacher education in math and science following a competition that included submissions from more than 50 universities nationwide.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Nov. 28, 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.

Rates of anxiety, mood disorders high in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina
Almost half of pre-hurricane residents of New Orleans and one-fourth of those living in other affected areas had evidence of an anxiety or mood disorder five to seven months following Hurricane Katrina, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Toll of climate change on world food supply could be worse than thought
Global agriculture, already predicted to be stressed by climate change in coming decades, could go into steep, unanticipated declines in some regions due to complications that scientists have so far inadequately considered, say three new scientific reports.

Uninsured, others less likely to receive breast cancer test
An American Cancer Society study finds breast cancer patients who lack insurance, who come from areas with lower education levels, who are African-American, or who are older are less likely to get a key diagnostic test to make appropriate treatment decisions.

Genes identified that protect against heart damage from chemotherapy
A series of genes that protect cells from the powerful, common chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin has been identified by researchers working to understand how the drug also can destroy the heart.

Males with a female twin may be at higher risk for anorexia nervosa
Males who have a twin sister appear more likely to develop the eating disorder anorexia nervosa than other males, including those with a twin brother, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A really inconvenient truth: Divorce is not green
The data is in. Divorce is bad for the environment.

Young chimps top adult humans in numerical memory
Young chimpanzees have an

Complementary medicines training provides balance, not bias
Complementary and alternative medicines training for students in the health professions improves their ability to provide balanced, evidence-based advice to patients.

Fate might not be so unpredictable after all, TAU study suggests
A new theory on

Brain abnormalities discovered in people who have trouble reading fast
Some people who have problems reading quickly appear to have abnormalities in the white matter of their brains, according to research published in the Dec.

Job picture for 2006 chemistry grads reasonably good, C&EN reports
The job situation for 2006 chemistry graduates remained reasonably good and similar to what it was in the previous two years, but full-time jobs remained less plentiful than they were for graduates during the second half of the booming 1990s, reports the American Chemical Society.

Horphag's Prelox provides over-the-counter solution
A new published study reveals that Prelox a patented and proprietary blend of Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, combined with L-Arginine aspartate, an amino acid, is the natural answer to enhancing erectile quality.

'Mini-transplant' patients' outcomes similar using related and unrelated donor cells
People who undergo nonmyeloablative stem-cell transplants, or

UCSF launches 'action tank' to advance promising global health strategies
UCSF Global Health Sciences is launching an

Giving asthma T(he)SL(i)P by blocking OX40
Inflammatory disorders such as asthma and eczema are overzealous immune responses by the body to otherwise innocuous environmental conditions.

Understanding the origin of rubies and sapphires to improve prospecting strategies
A joint research team from the IRD, the CNRS and the University of Antananarivo has recently discovered a primary deposit of rubies in Madagascar.

Humans not the major target of Shiga toxin
Food poisoning victims -- as a result, for example, of consuming Shiga-packing E.coli in a contaminated bag of spinach -- have always had the cold comfort of being told that not all common bacteria make humans extremely sick, only the strains that have integrated the Shiga gene into their DNA.

Best treatment identified to reduce deadly Staph infections
One type of over-the-counter product for topical wound care is more effective than others in killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA, which is potentially deadly and in recent years has moved from its historic hospital setting to a much broader public concern.

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 3, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Feinstein researchers develop new genetic method and identify novel genes for schizophrenia
Scientists at the Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have identified nine genetic markers that can increase a person's risk for schizophrenia.

Rise in serious head injuries among snowboarders and skiers
Serious head injuries among alpine skiers and snowboarders have risen over the past 15 years, reveals research in Injury Prevention.

Tip sheet, Annals of Internal Medicine, Dec. 4, 2007, issue
The following articles are in the upcoming issue of Annals of Internal Medicine:

James Webb Space Telescope marks successful completion
A preliminary design review has concluded and verified the integrated performance of all subsystems in the Optical Telescope Element on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

Proposed federal rule threatens 2 decades of established law
The Society for American Archaeology has condemned a proposed rule by the US Department of the Interior that would jeopardize a compromise reached 17 years ago that resulted in passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Exercising our immune system
Elite athletes -- often perceived as the epitome of health and fitness -- may be more susceptible to common illness and are therefore proving useful in helping scientists understand more about the immune system.

Choosing dry or wet food for cats makes little difference
The causes of diabetes mellitus in cats remain unknown although there has been a strong debate about whether a dry food diet puts cats at greater risk for diabetes.

Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
The following papers are featured in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Lipid Research:

NRL generates, modulates, and electrically detects pure spin currents in silicon
NRL scientists have generated, modulated and electrically detected a pure spin current in silicon, the semiconductor used most widely in the electronic device industry.

MIT sculpts 3-D particles with light
MIT engineers have used ultraviolet light to sculpt three-dimensional microparticles that could have many applications in medical diagnostics and tissue engineering.

Strategic, flexible, transparent, excellent
New DFG white paper presents prospects for research and research funding.

Distorted self-image due to visual brain glitch, UCLA research finds
Although they look normal, people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder perceive themselves as ugly and disfigured.

Relatives of patients with Parkinson's disease face increased risk of depression/anxiety disorders
Immediate relatives (brother, sister, mother, father, son or daughter) of people who have Parkinson's disease are at increased risk for developing depression and anxiety disorders, according to a new study by Mayo Clinic.

INFORMS names Craig Kirkwood winner of Ramsey Medal
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today announced that Professor Craig W.

Kids of depressed moms more prone to behavioral problems and injury
Young children whose mothers are depressed are more prone to behavioural problems and injury, suggests US research published in Injury Prevention.

Internists say pay-for-performance programs must put patients first
The American College of Physicians says that pay-for-performance programs that provide incentives for good performance on a few specific elements of a single disease or condition may lead to better health care for some patients but may also neglect the complexity of patient care, especially for elderly patients and those with many chronic conditions.

Jefferson neuroscientists find early lead exposure impedes recovery from brain injury
Exposure to lead can hinder the brain's ability to recover from injury, a recent study shows.

JCI table of contents: Dec. 3, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Dec.

A gene implicated in human language affects song learning in songbirds
The FoxP2 gene, which is essential for human speech and language, is also required for proper song development in songbirds, raising the possibility that songbirds and humans share molecular pathways for learned vocalizations.

Rising food prices threaten world's poor people
Income growth, climate change, high energy prices, globalization and urbanization are all converging to transform food production, markets and consumption, according to a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Fossils excavated from Bahamian blue hole may give clues of early life
Long before tourists arrived in the Bahamas, ancient visitors took up residence in this archipelago off Florida's coast and left remains offering stark evidence that the arrival of humans can permanently change -- and eliminate -- life on what had been isolated islands, says a University of Florida researcher.

Study finds genetic testing may help people with severe type of migraine
People with a severe type of migraine in which one side of the body becomes weak should consider genetic testing, according to research that has found familial genes for this type of migraine in people who did not have family members experiencing the problem.

Study on toxin that tainted spinach reveals treatment possibility
A discovery by University at Buffalo biologists that may explain the evolution of a lethal toxin is providing new information that could lead to more effective treatments for humans who fall victim to it.

'Magma P.I.' unearths clues to how crust was sculpted
Scientist says that Earth's magma delivery system fractured the planet's crust to provide a sort of

Slow reading in dyslexia tied to disorganized brain tracts
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that difficulty in reading smoothly, or fluently, which occurs in some types of dyslexia, may be caused by disorganized, meandering tracts of nerve fibers in the brain.

Climate change predicted to drive trees northward
A study based on an extensive data-gathering effort concludes that expected climate change this century could shift the ranges of 130 North American tree species northward by hundreds of kilometers and shrink the ranges by more than half.

Tethered to chip, energy supply that drives sperm could power 'nanobot'
The biological pathway that powers sperm to swim long distances could be harnessed to nanotech devices, releasing drugs or performing mechanical functions inside the body, according to a presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology's 47th Annual meeting.

Report finds deforestation offers very little money compared to potential financial benefits
Deforestation in tropical countries is often driven by the perverse economic reality that forests are worth more dead than alive.

Hepatitis B vaccine not associated with childhood multiple sclerosis
Vaccinating against the hepatitis B virus does not appear to be associated with the risk of developing multiple sclerosis in childhood, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

QUT researcher eyes off a biometric future
It is not science fiction to think that our eyes could very soon be the key to unlocking our homes, accessing our bank accounts and logging on to our computers, according to Queensland University of Technology researcher Sammy Phang.

New upper limit defined for normal ALT in adolescent males
A new cohort study of adolescent offenders in Australia has identified an upper limit for ALT that is more sensitive for the diagnosis of liver disease.

Treating patients with psychiatric disorders for hepatitis C
People with severe mental illnesses are far more likely to be infected with hepatitis C virus compared to the general population.

Cancer patients to be treated by qualified professionals
The European Society for Medical Oncology is calling on European politicians to voice their support for a decisive step to help ensure cancer patients receive the best possible treatment.

New map outlines risk of zebra mussel invasion
The spread of two invasive alien freshwater mussel species -- the zebra mussel and the quagga mussel -- appears to be controlled in part by calcium levels in streams and lakes, and a new risk assessment based on water chemistry suggests the Great Plains and American Southwest could be next in line for invasion.

Giardia loses its hold on intestinal tissue after 'tonic shock'
The single-celled intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia colonizes the upper small intestine by fastening to the microvillus brush border of intestinal cells.

Heavy drinking, conduct disorder linked to high-risk sexual behavior
Psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Penn talks at ASCB touch on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and MD
Among the 72 posters, lectures, and mini-symposia given by University of Pennsylvania researchers at the ASCB annual meeting are talks that present new research findings on the molecular workings of several types of diseases.

Matrimony inhibits Polo kinase
The restart of the meiotic cycle in Drosophila depends on both the controlled expression of Polo kinase and a protein called Matrimony (Mtrm), which binds to and physically inactivates Polo.

Internists diagnose health-care system ills, show how to achieve universal coverage
In a new evidence-based paper, the American College of Physicians analyzes health care in the US and 12 other industrialized countries and identifies eight lessons that could be applied to the political and social culture of the United States to achieve a high performing health care system, including achieving universal health insurance coverage for all Americans.

Implications of the new HIV estimate for India
The 2007 UNAIDS/WHO AIDS epidemic update released last week has revised the global estimate of HIV/AIDS primarily due to a major reduction of the estimate for India to 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, which is less than half of the previous official estimate of 5.7 million people.

Present-day species of piranha result from a marine incursion into the Amazon Basin
A research team involving IRD scientists has acquired a better understanding of the evolutionary history of piranhas.

Aerosol launches immune response in lungs to wipe out lethal infections
An inhaled immune system stimulant protects mice against lethal pneumococcal pneumonia and other deadly bacterial, viral and fungal infections of the lungs, a research team led by scientists at the University of Texas M.

Got sugar? Glucose affects our ability to resist temptation
New research from a lab at Florida State University reveals that self-control takes fuel -- literally, and it turns out to be one of the same things that fuels our muscles: sugar, in the form of glucose.

CU-Boulder technology used to identify unexpected bacteria in cystic fibrosis patients
Molecular technology developed by a University of Colorado at Boulder professor to probe extreme life forms in undersea hydrothermal vents has been used to identify unexpected bacteria strains in the lung fluid of Denver children suffering from cystic fibrosis, findings that may lead to more effective therapies.

Child mental health experts issue psychiatric medication treatment guidelines for preschoolers
The number of preschool-age children being treated with stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs is on the rise, despite limited research and a lack of clinical practice guidelines.

Simple two-in-one test signals high risk after a heart attack
Everyone loves a two-fer, but a two-in-one heart test that has the potential to save lives is the real deal.

Government of Canada calls on industry to participate in new biofuels initiative
More Canadians will soon be putting cleaner biofuels in their vehicles such as ethanol and biodiesel.

LA BioMed researchers find few emergency rooms fully equipped for pediatric patients
In the first survey to specifically measure hospital pediatric preparedness, a team of Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute researchers found few US emergency rooms are properly equipped for children.

UIC chemists characterize Alzheimer's neurotoxin structure
A team of UIC chemists has characterized the molecular structure of the intermediate stage of plaque-forming amyloid fibrils, believed to cause Alzheimer's disease.

New studies on schizophrenia, depression, trauma and autism highlight annual meeting
The 2007 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting will feature hundreds of new studies on brain and behavior from the world's leading scientists.

Purified bacterial extract sprayed into lungs ramps up innate immune system
A purified extract prepared from a common microbe and delivered to the lungs of laboratory mice in a spray set off a healthy immune response and provided powerful protection against all four major classes of pathogens including those responsible for anthrax and bubonic plague, according to a presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology's 47th Annual Meeting.

Study suggests honey may help relieve children's cough, improve sleep during colds
A single dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime provided the greatest relief from cough and sleep difficulty compared with no treatment and an over-the-counter cough medicine in children with upper respiratory tract infections, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mapmaking for the masses
Sites such as Wikimapia and OpenStreetMap are empowering citizens to create a global patchwork of geographic information.

The physics of information: From entanglement to black holes
Do ideas about information and reality inspire fruitful new approaches to the hardest problems of modern physics?

China's new high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat boosting domestic production as world prices soar
An intensive domestic research effort to bolster China's wheat production has over the last four years produced new high-quality, high-yielding varieties that already have added 2.4 million tons to Chinese harvests and generated an extra $411 million in farm income.

The American Journal of Nursing honors Ralph Nelles
The American Journal of Nursing, the largest circulating nursing journal in the world, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, is pleased to announce that this year's AJN-Beatrice Renfield Caring for the Caregiver Award is being granted to businessman, civic leader and philanthropist, Ralph Nelles for his incredible history of compassion and generosity to nursing at St.

Researchers discover possible markers for mental illness
Researchers have discovered natural genetic differences that might help predict the most effective antipsychotic drugs for particular patients with mental disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's and drug addiction.

Do medical schools affect the way future doctors interact with drug companies?
Bulk of the approximately $21 billion dollars that pharmaceutical companies spend annually to market their products is targeted to physicians, doctors in training and medical students.

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features innovative methods for embryology research
Two methods that permit scientists to examine critical stages in early embryogenesis are featured in this month's release of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols.

sLRP1-alpha provides relief from neuropathic pain
Injury to peripheral nerves causes neuropathic pain. Normal pain relief therapies do not effectively provide relief from neuropathic pain.

Stop smoking services are reducing the UK's health gap, shows study
Poorer people in the UK are quitting smoking in larger numbers than their better-off neighbors, according to a new study.

New chimeric mouse model for human liver diseases, drug testing
Cells cultured in the lab are like a fish out of water.

New national map shows relative risk for zebra and quagga mussel invasion
Based on published reports of the zebra and quagga mussels preferred habitats and needs for survival, Thomas Whittier, Paul Ringold, and colleagues created a map to better determine where the species may appear next, in their paper

How to help baby like fruits and veggies
According to new research from the Monell Center, if you're breast feeding, you can help baby learn to like fruits and veggies by eating them yourself.

China embraces agricultural innovations through partnership with India-based international center
Chinese agricultural scientists and rural communities have embraced diverse agricultural innovations through a partnership with the India-based International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, resulting in higher incomes and better living conditions for rural people.

Pneumococcal vaccine linked to less hospitalizations, costs for children under age 2
Vaccinating children younger than age 2 with the pneumococcal vaccine appears to be associated with decreased hospitalizations from pneumonia and reduced health care expenses, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Honey a better option for childhood cough than OTCs
A new study by a Penn State College of Medicine research team found that honey may offer parents an effective and safe alternative than over the counter children's cough medicines.

WHRC releases 4 key reports
As UNFCCC negotiations move towards powerful new mechanisms for compensating tropical countries for their reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, important questions remain: How much will REDD cost?

Looking through the eyes of a mouse, scientists monitor circulating cells in its bloodstream
A team of researchers from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have developed an optical device that allows them to peer through the eyes of a mouse and monitor the cells passing through its bloodstream.

INFORMS names Leon Schwartz winner of Fellows Award and Moving Spirit Award
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today announced that veteran member Leon Schwartz, a visiting associate professor at Yeshiva University's Sy Syms School of Business and resident of Monsey, N.Y., is the winner of two awards, the INFORMS Fellow Award and the New York Chapter's Moving Spirit Award.

Replacing the cells lost in Parkinson disease
Parkinson disease is caused by the progressive degeneration of dopamine brain cells.

Wiggle room: Cornell researcher borrows idea from sperm to provide energy for nanoscale robots
In order to deliver medicine inside the human body, nanoscale medical devices need energy to carry out tasks, such as releasing drugs.

Planning made easier: MU engineers develop software solution for complex space missions
Sending an unmanned spacecraft to the outer fringes of the solar system requires extensive planning.

Researchers present unique program aimed at HIV prevention in runaway youth
Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are the first in the US to develop an HIV prevention and intervention program for adolescent runaways that focuses on their strengths. 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