Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 04, 2007
Study explores distinction between 'different' and 'uncool'
Just as some products reveal our aspirations, there are other products that consumers avoid, lest we be associated with a particular group.

Labeling keeps our knowledge organized, study shows
A popular urban legend suggests that Eskimos have dozens of words for snow.

Did life begin between the sheets -- the mica sheets?
A presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology's 47th annual meeting will propose that the narrow, confined spaces between nonliving mica layers could have provided exactly the right conditions for the rise of the first biomolecules.

Test-drive: Using a product before buying it changes what you want
Consumers often decide to buy an item before having a chance to try it out.

Cutting chronic disease: Millions of deaths averted, billions of dollars saved in poorer countries
The global goal of an additional 2 percent yearly reduction in mortality rates for chronic diseases would avert millions of deaths and save billions of dollars of GDP in low- and middle-income countries.

Tel Aviv University gives preemies a fighting chance
Researchers show that brief motion exercises build bone strength for a healthier start for infants and toddlers.

Health education about dengue fever 'insufficient' in Cambodia
Health education regarding the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dengue fever is

Wiley-Blackwell and U. of Penn Health System's Center for Evidence-Based Practice launch InfoPOEMs
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., today announced an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania Health System's Center for Evidence-Based Practice to provide InfoPOEMs with InfoRetriever to University of Pennsylvania Health System-employed primary health physicians starting on Nov.

Pass the popcorn! Study finds that film enjoyment is contagious
Loud commentary and cell phone fumbling may be distracting, but new research from the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the presence of other people may enhance our movie-watching experiences.

Decoy makes sitting duck of superbugs
A DNA-based therapy could slash the development time of new drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

World's most powerful MRI ready to scan human brain
The world's most powerful medical magnetic resonance imaging machine, the 9.4 Tesla at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has successfully completed safety trials and may soon offer physicians a real-time view of biological processes in the human brain.

The evidence supporting intervention in chronic diseases
Data from low-, middle- and high-income countries shows that tobacco control, salt reduction, and the use of multidrug regimens for patients with high-risk cardiovascular disease confirms these measures are cost-effective and should be scaled up.

UBC astronomers discover how white dwarf stars get their 'kicks'
University of British Columbia astronomer Harvey Richer and UBC graduate student Saul Davis have discovered that white dwarf stars are born with a natal kick, explaining why these smoldering embers of sun-like stars are found on the edge rather than at the center of globular star clusters.

Cosmopolitan microbes -- hitchhikers on Darwin's dust
Scientists have analysed aerial dust samples collected by Charles Darwin and confirmed that microbes can travel across continents without the need for planes or trains -- rather bacteria and fungi hitchhike by attaching to dust particles.

Price of lower-calorie foods rising drastically, researchers find
As food prices rise, the costs of lower-calorie foods are rising the fastest, according to a University of Washington study appearing in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Can fruit flies help treat stroke and transplant patients?
Reperfusion injury takes place when an animal or an organ is starved of oxygen, then exposed to oxygen again.

Patients wonder, 'Could this be something serious?'
Nearly 4,800 patient surveys and 100 covertly recorded visits by actors posing as patients revealed that empathy is lacking in many exam rooms around the Rochester, N.Y., area -- however, doctors who do convey empathy are viewed as more trustworthy.

Green morality
We can disguise environmentally harmful practices and dress them up in words to help ease our consciences, argues Albert Bandura of the department of psychology at Stanford University, but such practices will have a negative impact on the planet and the quality of life of future generations, no matter how we label them.

Study finds fitness level, not body fat, may be stronger predictor of longevity for older adults
Adults over age 60 who had higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness lived longer than unfit adults, independent of their levels of body fat, according to a study in the Dec.

Gates Foundation funds new effort to unleash expertise of African women in the agricultural sciences
Confronting the disparity between the role of African women in farming and their limited presence in the agriculture sciences, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Gender & Diversity Program today launched an unprecedented $13 million effort that will support the fast-tracking of careers of at least 360 African women in agricultural research.

New insights into the fate of anti-parasitics in manure and manured soils
The so far available data set on fate and behavior of veterinary medicinal products in manure and manured soils has now significantly been enhanced by a team of researchers around Robert Kreuzig, Braunschweig University of Technology, Institute of Ecological Chemistry and Waste Analysis, Germany.

HIV-infected infants respond poorly to childhood vaccination
A paper published online this week in PLoS ONE describes the results of a cross-sectional study carried out amongst 18-36-month-old children born to HIV-infected mothers and living in Central Africa.

Children's Hospital researchers identify molecular 'switch' that could save very young lives
A team of researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC have identified a molecular

Research forecasts increased chances for stormy weather
Researchers who study severe weather and climate change joined forces to study the effects of global warming on the number of severe storms in the future and discovered a dramatic increase in potential storm conditions for some parts of the US.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
In this issue:

Similar outcomes for patients with ACS treated with different anticoagulant regimens
Patients with acute coronary syndromes such as unstable angina who were undergoing an invasive treatment and received one of three anticoagulant regimens did not have significant differences in the rates of ischemia or death after one year, according to a study in the Dec.

Fighting diseases of aging by wasting energy
By making the skeletal muscles of mice use energy less efficiently, researchers report in the Dec. issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press, that they have delayed the animals' deaths and their development of age-related diseases, including vascular disease, obesity, and one form of cancer.

New form of compound stimulates research on hydrogen storage
Research on hydrogen-fueled cars may be one step closer to application thanks to a new form of hydride discovered by scientists at the ESRF.

Greater parental guidance suggested for noisy toy use
The High School Musical Rockerz Jammin' Guitar and the Cheetah Girls In Concert Collection Doll may be what kids want most this holiday season, but if parents aren't careful about how these and other popular toys are used, a season of joy might turn into a lifetime of hearing loss for their children.

Emergency departments should offer immigrants translation, according to a study
It has been concluded from research carried out in the University of Granada's Department of Medicine that accident and emergency departments in Spanish hospitals are not equipped to cater foreign patients.

Why do high school seniors drink?
This study looks at the different motivators for drinking among high school seniors.

Ethnic discrimination not only based on prejudice
Our belief in power hierarchies is important in how we view and treat people.

Robotics lab helps stroke patients with recovery
Robotics engineers at Rice University are teaming with doctors from Houston's Memorial Hermann/TIRR to develop a PC-based system for stroke rehabilitation.

Survey confirms Americans prefer root canal treatment by endodontists
There may not be a more feared dental procedure than a root canal, but the key to ensuring a positive experience is choosing the right professional to perform the procedure.

Salt reduction/tobacco control are cheap interventions that would avert millions of deaths
Reducing salt intake by 15 percent and implementing key elements of WHO's tobacco control framework would avert millions of chronic disease related deaths for as little as an average $0.36 per person per year.

New hypothesis for origin of life proposed
Life may have begun in the protected spaces inside of layers of the mineral mica, in ancient oceans, according to a new hypothesis.

DFG to establish 10 new collaborative research centers
The topics range from inflammation of the brain, to the distribution of oxygen in the oceans, to nanoscopic structures in the macroscopic world.

A company's good reputation can be a bad thing
Consumers expect a lot from high-equity brands such as Disney or Apple.

Research finds allergic children exposed to peanuts at younger ages despite recommendations to avoid
The age at which children are exposed to peanuts and have an allergic response has dropped significantly over the last decade, despite recommendations that at-risk families avoid exposing children to peanuts during the first three years of life, according to research led by a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC allergist/immunologist.

Holiday shopping: Choosing a favorite may increase the likelihood of purchase
This shopping season, salespeople looking to increase the likelihood of a sale can simply ask the potential buyer which of several items they prefer.

Microbial fuel cells turn on the juice
Lars Angenent, Ph.D., assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, at Washington University in St.

Protein found that may provide relief from neuropathic pain
Research in rodents by scientists from the UC-San Diego School of Medicine has provided evidence that a protein called LRP1 may help to ease neuropathic pain by blocking the response of glial cells that support and protect sensory neurons in the peripheral nervous system.

Some common treatments for sinus infections may not be effective
A comparison of common treatments for acute sinusitis that included an antibiotic and a topical steroid found neither more effective than placebo, according to a study in the Dec.

Featured articles in December issue of BSSA
Two papers in the next issue focus on the maximum amount the ground can move at Yucca Mountain and a new theory that offers a way to resolve an apparent conflict within seismology.

Donors must play catch-up with the reality of chronic diseases
Donors have for too long been tone-deaf to the increasingly robust scientific basis of the global threat caused by chronic diseases, says Dr.

Activating protein enhances average lifespan, limits age-related disease in mice
Metabolism researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Different anti-coagulant regimens yield equal results
Patients with acute coronary syndromes receiving early invasive treatment including angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention have comparable results at 1 year in terms of mortality and ischemic outcomes no matter which of three different anticoagulant regimens they are on, according to a study in the Dec.

Mitochondria defects linked to social behavior and spatial memory
Respiration deficiencies in mitochondria, the cell's powerhouses, are associated with changed social behavior and spatial memory in laboratory mice, report scientists at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting.

Stowers Institute's Hawley Lab identifies factors responsible for restart of meiotic cycle
The Stowers Institute's Hawley Lab has identified a pair of proteins that work in concert to restart the meiotic cycle of oocytes following a natural period of dormancy.

HATS off to combat asthma
Two University of Nottingham studies exploring the causes and treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could lead to the development of drugs to battle these debilitating conditions.

Scripps scientists develop new tests that identify lethal prion strains quickly and accurately
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., have developed two new tests for prions, infectious proteins that cause a number of diseases including

Liver transplant offers survival benefits for patients of all sizes
Patients with high BMIs experience a significant survival benefit from liver transplantation and had similar rates of mortality after transplant compared to patients with normal BMI.

Transcendental meditation effective in reducing high blood pressure, study shows
This study is unique in that it shows transcendental meditation to be effective in reducing high blood pressure compared to other stress reduction programs.

Spanish ecologists discover a novel route of viral transmission
In a paper published in PLoS ONE on Dec. 5, a group of avian ecologists, led by Jaime Potti, at the Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC reports on the discovery that avian polyomaviruses, known potential pathogens producing disease in a number of vertebrate species, follow an

Bone marrow cell transplants help nerve regeneration
Researchers inserted bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) into 15mm silicon tubes and subsequently implanted into animal models at sites intended for nerve regeneration.

Neanderthal bearing teeth
Tooth growth suggests rapid maturation in a Neanderthal child.

Waistline growth on high-carb diets linked to liver gene
Experts have been warning for years that foods loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and other processed carbohydrates are making us fatter.

Kidney donation after cardiac death may expand donor pool, research shows
New research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that transplanting kidneys from donors who died after cardiac arrest -- which used to be considered taboo -- offers a promising approach to increase the donor pool.

Linking players in blood pressure control to metabolic syndrome
A new study elucidates the connection between an enzyme involved in blood pressure control and symptoms of the metabolic syndrome.

K-State researchers findings on E. coli
Recent research at Kansas State University has found that cattle fed distiller's grain have an increased prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their hindgut.

FSU researcher lands $3.3 million grant to help smokers kick habit
A Florida State University professor will share a $3.3 million federal grant with a colleague from the University of Vermont to develop an innovative method that will help smokers with anxiety disorders extinguish the habit.

NCI renewal grant to develop new cancer therapies
A Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center research team has received a renewal grant totaling nearly $1.3 million from the National Cancer Institute to improve the activity of a novel class of agents, known as histone deacetylase inhibitors, in the treatment of leukemia and other blood malignancies.

Protein controls blood vessel formation, offers new drug target
A protein called CIB1 discovered by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine appears to play a major role in controlling new blood vessel growth, offering a target for drug treatments to help the body repair itself after injury and control unwanted blood vessel growth.

It's not just a kid thing: Fluoridated tap water benefits older adults even more
Gerardo Maupomé, of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and colleagues report in a study published in the fall issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry that older adults benefit even more significantly from fluoridation than children.

Refuted claims from observational studies often persist despite strong evidence against them
Prominent claims from observational studies of the cardiovascular benefits of vitamin E often continue to be supported in medical literature despite strong contradictory evidence from randomized trials, according to a study in the Dec.

Smaller babies more prone to depression, anxiety later on
Turns out there might be some truth to the popular wisdom that plump babies are happy babies.

ESA receives American Astronautical Society award
ESA and its ISS partners have just been given the Advancement of International Cooperation Award in recognition of the significant contribution made by the ISS.

Multidrug regimen for patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease could avert millions of deaths
Targeting individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease with a multidrug regimen would avert millions of deaths with a moderate increase in expenditure.

Violent sex acts boost insect's immunity system
The long-held idea that only vertebrates have sophisticated adaptive immune systems that can protect them for life against many pathogens after being infected by them just once has been revised in recent years.

Honor for UK-Japanese research
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have won a prestigious international award for collaborative research with a Japanese university.

Computer calls can talk couch potatoes into walking, Stanford study finds
Computer-generated phone calls may be an effective, low-cost way to encourage sedentary adults to exercise, according to a recent study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

A call to action to prevent chronic diseases
Achievement of the global goal of reducing mortality rates due to chronic diseases by an additional 2 percent per year would avert 36 million deaths by 2015 and deliver major economic benefits.

Technique controls nanoparticle size, makes large numbers
Pratim Biswas of Washington University in St. Louis conducts research on nanoparticles, which are the building blocks for nanotechnology.

AACR introduces Cancer Prevention Research
In response to the growing body of research in the field of cancer prevention, the American Association for Cancer Research announces the launch of a major peer-reviewed scientific journal Cancer Prevention Research, and invites submissions of papers.

Optimism isn't always healthy
People are generally optimistic, believing they'll do better in the future than they've done in the past.

Studies review smoking among college freshmen and tobacco use by adolescents with ADHD
Supplement of Nicotine & Tobacco Research focuses on four studies: Smoking among college freshman students; Smoking and ADHD; First cigarette of the day and nicotine dependence; and Reduced exposure cigarettes. 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