Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 10, 2007
MIT sorts cells with beams of light
Separating out particular kinds of cells from a sample could become faster, cheaper and easier thanks to a new system developed by MIT researchers that involves levitating the cells with light.

Karen Beemon wins the 2007 Retrovirology Prize
It was announced today that Dr. Karen Beemon has been awarded the third annual Retrovirology Prize.

FDLI, PEN co-sponsor major conference on nanotechnology
At FDLI's 1st Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, Feb.

Stevens and Nanyang Technological University sign MOI
Stevens Institute of Technology and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, signed a Memorandum of Intent on Nov.

Psychiatrists: Least religious but most interested in patients' religion
Although psychiatrists are among the least religious physicians, they seem to be the most interested in the religious and spiritual dimensions of their patients, according to survey data.

Arsenic contamination lacks one-size-fits-all remedy
Though a worldwide problem, arsenic contamination of drinking water does not have a universal solution.

Abdominal fat distribution predicts heart disease
Abdominal obesity is a strong independent risk factor for heart disease, and using the waist-hip ratio rather than waist measurement alone is a better predictor of heart disease risk among men and women, researchers reported in a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

To catch a panda
Michigan State University's panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas.

Good physical function after age 40 tied to reduced risk of stroke
People who have good physical function after the age of 40 may lower their risk of stroke by as much as 50 percent compared to people who are not able to climb stairs, kneel, bend, or lift as well, according to research published in the Dec.

Scientists develop new measure of 'socioclimactic' risk
Researchers have taken a first step toward quantifying the

Growth factor receptor affects prostate cancer progression
Breeding mice with a gene for a cellular receptor that can be turned on and off-at will-not only enabled researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to show how prostate cancer progresses, but also provides a model for studying when a drug targeting a gene will have an effect on the cancer.

OHSU Cancer Institute researcher discovers what fuels certain cancer mutation
An Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researcher has discovered that a particular hormone is responsible for driving a cancer enzyme to cause an often deadly red blood cell cancer.

Is there a developmental component to the risk for depression?
Psychiatrists remain divided as to how to define and classify the mood and anxiety disorders, the most common mental disorders.

Red sky at night -- astronomers delight
A collaboration of over 50 astronomers, The IPHAS consortium, led from the UK, with partners in Europe, USA, Australia, has released today (Dec.

Mediterranean diet and physical activity each associated with lower death rate over 5 years
Eating a Mediterranean diet and following national recommendations for physical activity are each associated with a reduced risk of death over a five-year period, according to two reports in the Dec.

Methane from microbes: a fuel for the future
Methanogenic micro-organisms could provide a clean, renewable energy source and use up carbon dioxide in the process.

News briefs from the December issue of Chest
In three separate studies researchers have found the following: A new study suggests that patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension could benefit from good continuous positive airway pressure treatment compliance; New research from the Netherlands suggests that oral prednisolone is just as effective in treating COPD exacerbations as its intravenous counterpart; A Japanese study looks at prevalence and predictors of excessive carbon dioxide in the blood during the day.

Lipids in the brain an important factor for Alzheimer's disease?
As the most common form of dementia in the Western world, Alzheimer's disease carries enormous implications for our ageing society.

Constraint-induced movement therapy has significant long-term benefits for stroke patients
Stroke patients with mild to moderate impairments have substantial improvement in upper limb function and quality of life two years after receiving just two weeks of constraint-induced movement therapy, according to an article to be published early online and in the January issue of the Lancet Neurology.

Helping respiratory disease victims breathe easier
Former smokers and miners dealing with the health damage from exposure to fine air particles are among Australians with chronic lung diseases who could benefit from a major study by the University of Queensland to identify the most effective way to manage their conditions.

Morphine: A comfort measure for the dying or pain control for the living?
Cancer patients are suffering unnecessarily because they wrongly believe that morphine and other opioids are only used as

Greenhouse gas from English streams
A common plant in English streams helps methane generated by bacteria in the sediment beneath the plants to escape into the atmosphere.

Survey points out need for education for primary care physicians on rarely seen cancers
Many primary care physicians may lack the necessary knowledge when it comes to recognizing the signs, symptoms and making proper diagnoses in cases of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, a recent survey indicates.

Children with sickle cell disease, silent strokes show some relief with blood transfusions
A group of children who have sickle cell disease and who experience silent strokes showed some relief from the silent strokes with blood transfusion therapy, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

People's reactions to government censorship depend on their views of President Bush
How people respond to the US government's attempts to censor some war-related images comes down to whether or not they are supporters of President Bush, a new study suggests.

International team gets new award to research the causes of bladder problems
One in six adults over 40 and one in two over 70 feel the constant need to go to the toilet.

Immigrant patients less likely to report family history of cancer
Immigrants in the United States may be less likely to report a family history of cancer, which may lead to inadequate screening and cancer prevention strategies according to a new study.

Cord blood viable option for kids with life-threatening metabolic disorders
Children born with inherited metabolic disorders that cause organ failure and early death can be treated successfully with umbilical cord blood transplants from unrelated donors and, in some cases go on to live for many years, according to a study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new way to seek out specific proteins, including dangerous proteins such as anthrax toxin, and render them harmless using nothing but light.

Calcium in coronary arteries may be linked to increased risk for heart disease in low-risk women
About 5 percent of women considered low-risk for heart disease by current classification standards have evidence of advanced coronary artery calcium and may be at increased risk for cardiovascular events, according to a report in the Dec.

Massive study finds parenting practices don't suffer during divorce
New research is challenging the notion that parents who divorce necessarily exhibit a diminished capacity to parent in the period following divorce.

Decreasing access to cigarettes for youth in the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort Study
New research in the December issue of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier, shows that there was a decline in access to cigarettes from commercial venues from 2000 to 2003.

Physicians seek to improve the quality of sleep in ICU, researchers at UT Southwestern report
The sleep patterns of patients in the intensive care unit are so superficial that they barely spend any time in the restorative stages of sleep that aid in healing, UT Southwestern Medical Center physicians have found.

Vaccine shows promise in preventing mono
A new study suggests that a vaccine targeting Epstein-Barr virus may prevent infectious mononucleosis, commonly known as

Massive dinosaur discovered in Antarctica sheds light on life, distribution of sauropodomorphs
A new genus and species of dinosaur from the Jurassic has been discovered in Antarctica.

OHSU Cancer Institute researcher develops test for targeted therapy in acute myeloid leukemia
Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researcher Jeff Tyner, Ph.D., has created a way to identify proteins that are candidates for targeted therapy in acute myeloid leukemia using an assay that yields results in just four days.

New therapeutic options for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients
Mayo Clinic researchers today presented results of a phase II trial of myeloma induction therapy -- a first step therapy designed to reduce cancer cells numbers -- with cyclophosphamide, bortezomib, and dexamethasone (Cybor-D) showing an improved response over the traditional lenalidomide-dexamethasone (L-Dex) therapy.

NASA at American Geophysical Union Meeting
NASA researchers will present new findings to the media on a wide range of Earth and space science topics during the 2007 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

To keep mouths safe, don't just wear a mouthguard; keep it clean
According to a study that appears in the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal, mouthguards harbor large numbers of bacteria, yeasts and molds that can possibly lead to life and/or health-threatening infectious/inflammatory diseases.

MCA supports scientific approach to setting catch levels
The Marine Conservation Alliance, a coalition of harvesters, processors, and communities involved with Alaska groundfish and crab including the Bering Sea pollock fishery, expressed support today for a decision by federal fishery managers to reduce the Bering Sea pollock catch to 1 million metric tons in 2008.

Keeping at-risk cells from developing cancer
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that cancers arising from epigenetic changes -- in this case the inappropriate activation of a normally silent gene -- develop by becoming addicted to certain growth factors.

NASA satellite reveals unprecedented view of mysterious 'night-shining' clouds
NASA's AIM satellite has provided the first global-scale, full-season view of iridescent polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth's surface.

Cancer risks of eating red and processed meat
New findings provide evidence that people who eat a lot of red and processed meats have greater risk of developing bowel and lung cancer than people who eat small quantities.

Climate gas could disrupt food chain
Levels of the climate cooling gas dimethyl sulphide will change as carbon dioxide increases, affecting food webs along the way.

USDA Forest Service research scientists share in Nobel Prize
The October announcement that several PNW Research Station scientists shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, came as a surprise to many employees.

Ice Ages and rivers may have affected gorilla diversification
Geography and historical climate change may have both played a major role in gorilla evolutionary diversification, according to a new genetic study by Cardiff University and the University of New Orleans.

MIT instrument finds surprises at solar system's edge
The Voyager 2 spacecraft's Plasma Science instrument, developed at MIT in the 1970s, has turned up surprising revelations about the boundary zone that marks the edge of the Sun's influence in space.

Most adults with conditions that increase cardiovascular disease risk have high blood pressure
Nearly three-fourths of American adults with conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes or others that raise their risk for cardiovascular complications also have hypertension (high blood pressure), according to a report in the Dec.

RAND study finds evidence disease management programs
Disease management programs that help guide the care of patients with chronic health problems appear to improve the quality of health care, but there is little evidence that such efforts actually save money, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation.

The development of a language in space -- Israeli Sign Language
Because of its particular history, Israeli Sign Language is a creole language -- the only creole sign language that has been described to date.

Belief, disbelief and uncertainty activate distinct brain regions
A new study found that belief, disbelief and uncertainty activate distinct regions of the brain, with belief/disbelief affecting areas associated with the pleasantness/unpleasantness of tastes and odors.

Substance abuse in Somali combatants; and more
An alarming rise in drug-related problems amongst militia in southern and central Somalia, which has not been under the control of any type of government for more than a decade, is reported in a study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

Are humans evolving faster?
University of Utah researchers discovered genetic evidence that human evolution is speeding up -- and has not halted or proceeded at a constant rate, as had been thought -- indicating that humans on different continents are becoming increasingly different.

Silencing small but mighty cancer inhibitors
Researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania have uncovered another reason why one of the most commonly activated proteins in cancer is in fact so dangerous.

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

Doctors trained on patient simulators exhibit superior skills
Senior internal medicine residents who are trained in critical resuscitation skills on patient simulators become more skilled than residents who undergo traditional training, according to new research.

Waterborne carbon increases threat of environmental mercury
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and a worrisome environmental contaminant, but the severity of its threat appears to depend on what else is in the water.

Chemicals used as fire retardants could be harmful, UC-Riverside researchers say
Margarita Curras-Collazo's lab at the University of California-Riverside has done research that shows that polybrominated diphenyl ethers, chemicals used as fire retardants, disrupt mechanisms that are responsible for releasing hormones in the body.

Extracellular protein sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy
Scientists have uncovered critical new details about the mechanisms that modulate the response of ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy.

Employees with workplace flexibility have healthier lifestyle habits
If companies provide workplace flexibility and if employees perceive that flexibility as real, then healthier lifestyle habits are put into action by those employees, according to new research by lead author Joseph G.

SDSC, NCAR, LLNL, IBM Team Sets US records in weather simulation
A team of researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and IBM Watson Research Center has set US records for size, performance and fidelity of computer weather simulations, modeling the kind of

Many Medicare beneficiaries not receiving colorectal cancer screening
A new study finds significant underuse of colorectal cancer screening procedures among Medicare beneficiaries.

The birth and death of dopamine neurons: A new model for neurodegeneration
The connection between development and neurodegeneration is emphasized via a new mouse knockout of a transcription factor that is critical for dopamine neuron specification, which produces a late-onset, asymmetric degenerative condition in a manner very similar to human Parkinson's disease.

Depression screening for cancer patients too often falls between the cracks
Depression is known to be associated with cancer yet too many cancer patients are not screened for this mental disorder, according to researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute and the Roudebush VA Medical Center.

For the fruit fly, everything changes after sex
The females of many insect species change their behavior right after mating: mosquitoes look for a meal of fresh blood and flies begin to lay eggs.

Researchers combat slowing yields with targeted fertilizer applications
Scientists at Punjab Agricultural University, IRRI, and Virginia Tech report in Agronomy Journal their success in increasing rice yields using site-specific nutrient management strategies.

West Antarctic to be covered with scientific instruments; network to watch through dark polar night
In a mission of unprecedented scale, scientists are about to cover West Antarctica with a network of sensors to monitor the interactions between the ice and the earth below -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Patients, dentists differ on smile ratings, JADA study
People rate their smiles higher than dentists do, according to a new study.

Combination therapy including antibiotics may be beneficial for multiple sclerosis
A preliminary study suggests that combining a medication currently used to treat multiple sclerosis with an antibiotic may slow the progress of the disease, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the February 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Explosives at the microscopic scale produce shocking results
US troops blew up enemy bridges with explosives in World War II to slow the advance of supplies or enemy forces.

CSHL scientist recognized for accelerating cancer gene research
Dr. Lars Zender, a senior clinical postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was recently awarded a $40,000 grant for his seminal contributions in the field of cancer biology and epigenomics.

Nitrous oxide from ocean microbes
A large amount of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide is produced by bacteria in the oxygen poor depths of the ocean.

Relevance of rice research recognized
Rice researchers and scientists have been recognized for the impact of their work with the awarding of several major prizes.

Review and critique of NASA's elementary and secondary education programs
Given concerns about the future of the US science and technology work force, federal science agencies are increasingly being looked to as a resource for educating students about science, technology, and engineering, and motivating young people to pursue careers in these fields.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Dec. 5, 2007
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Genome study places modern humans in the evolutionary fast lane
Countering a common theory that human evolution has slowed to a crawl or even stopped in modern humans, a new study examining data from an international genomics project describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change, driven by exponential population growth and cultural shifts.

Clemson researcher studies carbon fibers for nuclear reactor safety
Carbon fibers that are only one-tenth the size of a human hair, but three times stronger than steel, may hold up to the intense heat and radiation of next generation nuclear power generators, providing a safety mechanism.

IOS Press congratulates IPCC with Nobel Peace Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, represented by Dr.

Voyager 2 proves solar system is squashed
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has followed its twin Voyager 1 into the solar system's final frontier, a vast region at the edge of our solar system where the solar wind runs up against the thin gas between the stars.

MDs' reactions to pharma marketing influenced by brand, side effects: Management Insights
A study of pharmaceutical companies' marketing to physicians shows that doctors are most influenced by brand preference and marketing that addresses the problems of drugs with many side effects, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Evidence links anemia drugs with leukemic transformation in patients with primary myelofibrosis
Mayo Clinic researchers today reported the discovery of a link between erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and leukemic transformation (conversion to leukemia) of the blood disorder myelofibrosis.

Food source threatened by carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide increasing in the atmosphere may affect the microbial life in the sea, which could have an impact on fish, a major food source.

Scientists find how bacteria in cows' milk may cause Crohn's disease
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found how a bacterium, known to cause illness in cattle, may cause Crohn's disease in humans.

New drug candidate knocks out resistant form of chronic myeloid leukemia
Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers have found a new, experimental drug candidate it to be effective against a highly resistant mutation in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Living longer with obesity means heavier burden for hospitals
Living longer with obesity can lead to both longer hospital stays and more avoidable trips to the hospital, according to two new studies from Purdue University.

Gentler chemotherapy before stem cell transplant causes long-term remission of follicular lymphoma
Treating relapsed follicular lymphoma patients with a milder chemotherapy regimen before they receive a blood stem cell transplant from a donor resulted in long-term complete remission for 45 of 47 patients in a clinical trial, researchers at the University of Texas M.

High blood pressure associated with risk for mild cognitive impairment
High blood pressure appears to be associated with an increased risk for mild cognitive impairment, a condition that involves difficulties with thinking and learning, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Far flung food: Europe's distant diets
Across the European Union, food is travelling more, and not always in ways that make sense.

When she's turned on, some of her genes turn off
When a female is attracted to a male, entire suites of genes in her brain turn on and off, show biologists from the University of Texas at Austin studying swordtail fish.

Light sheds on new fiber's potential to change technology
Photonic crystal fiber's ability to create broad spectra of light, which will be the basis for important developments in technology, has been explained for the first time in an article in the leading science journal Nature Photonics.

New study shows world's protected areas threatened by climate change
Climate change will affect national parks, forest reserves and other protected areas around the world, in some cases altering conditions so severely that the resulting environments will be virtually new to the planet, according to a study presented Monday at the UN climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

Researchers led by Penn vet uncover the delicate protein balance behind the immune system response
A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has identified the protein interactions involved in the immune system process that fights infection yet, in certain inflammatory diseases, runs amok and attacks friendly tissue.

Editorial: Better science, more rigorous studies characterize field of ophthalmic plastic surgery
Collaboration between the fields of ophthalmology and facial plastic surgery has led to fresh approaches to clinical problems, according to an editorial in the December issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, a theme issue on orbital and ophthalmic plastic surgery.

Threatened birds may be rarer than geographic range maps suggest
Geographic range maps that allow conservationists to estimate the distribution of birds may vastly overestimate the actual population size of threatened species and those with specific habitats, according to a study published online this week in the journal Conservation Biology.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 2007
The following news tips from the ORNL cover materials, neutron science and technology transfer.
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