Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 19, 2007
Benefits of hospitalist care confirmed in new study
In the largest study to date evaluating the outcome of in-hospital care by various physician types, findings show that care by hospitalists resulted in shorter stays and lower costs to patients.

MIT corrects inherited retardation, autism in mice
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have corrected key symptoms of mental retardation and autism in mice.

Twins study shows genetic basis for face and place recognition
New evidence suggests our brains are hardwired before birth to recognize faces and places.

Scientists discover a connection between active galactic nuclei and cosmic rays
'Science' has published the results of this research. The so-called Pierre Auger Collaboration, with headquarters in Argentina and participation from the UGR, has proved that there is an anisotropy in the arrival directions of the most energetic particles ever detected, correlated with areas in which there are galaxies with active nuclei in the centre.

Manomet Center awarded major NFWF grant to foster shorebird conservation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently approved a $743,000 grant to the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences to sustain the development and implementation of conservation programs that address the decline of shorebird populations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

'Hybrid' semiconductors show zero thermal expansion; Could lead to hardier electronics
The fan in your computer is there to keep the microprocessor chip from heating to the point where its component materials start to expand, inducing cracks that interrupt the flow of electricity -- and not incidentally, ruin the chip.

Skatepark injuries can incur economic pain
Anyone heading out to the local skatepark with dreams of becoming the next Tony Hawk may want to take some precautions.

'Jekyll and Hyde' bacteria offer pest control clue
New research at the University of York has revealed so-called 'Jekyll and Hyde' bacteria, suggesting a novel way to control insect pests without using insecticides.

Walking and moderate exercise help prevent dementia
People age 65 and older who regularly walk and get other forms of moderate exercise appear to significantly lower their risk of developing vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Dec.

St. Jude finds link between cellular defense processes, showing how cancer cells survive
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have discovered that immune system cells that engulf and destroy germs in the body enlist help for this task from a common housekeeping mechanism that most cells use to keep their interiors healthy.

Dr. Lewis Drusin receives American College of Physicians James D. Bruce Memorial Award
In recognition of his distinguished contributions in preventive medicine, epidemiologist Dr.

Breath test can discriminate between a bacterial overgrowth and IBS
An overgrowth of intestinal bacteria is often present in adult population of Westernized countries, because of poor daily intake of fibres and faecal stasis; such an overgrowth contributes to a chronic inflammation on intestinal mucosa and development of symptoms that look like those of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS).

Fragile X retardation syndrome corrected in mice
Researchers working with mice have significantly alleviated a wide range of abnormalities due to fragile X syndrome by altering only a single gene, countering the effects of the fragile X mutation.

Receptor protein appears to be key in breakdown of kidney filtration
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have identified a new molecular pathway that appears to be involved in urinary protein loss, an early-stage kidney disease thet affects 100 million people around the world, and is caused by a breakdown in the kidney's filtering structures.

New brain mechanism identified for interpreting speech
In conversation, humans recognize words primarily from the sounds they hear.

Obese patients wait longer for kidney transplants, research suggests
New research from Johns Hopkins specialists suggests that obese kidney disease patients face not only the usual long odds of a tissue match and organ rejection, but also are significantly less likely than normal-weight people to receive a kidney transplant at all.

iNOS expression may links chronic biliary inflammation to malignant transformation
A study by Dr. Kitasato and colleagues demonstrated that cytokine stimulation induced iNOS expression and NO generation, which was sufficient to cause DNA damage in normal hamster gallbladder epithelial cells.

If you don't want to fall ill this Christmas, then share a festive kiss but don't shake hands
We've all heard people say 'I won't kiss you, I've got a cold'.

ESA and EC take major step forward in GMES
ESA and the European Commission have signed a 48 million euro grant that will allow the space agency to ensure the coordinated and timely supply of satellite-based Earth Observation data for the preoperational phase of GMES from 2008 to 2010.

New gene prediction method capitalizes on multiple genomes
A new approach to computationally predicting the locations and structures of protein-coding genes in a genome has been published in the online open access journal, Genome Biology.

Microchip-based device can detect rare tumor cells in bloodstream
A team of investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital BioMEMS Resource Center and the MGH Cancer Center has developed a microchip-based device that can isolate, enumerate and analyze circulating tumor cells from a blood sample.

The GABAA receptor -- a memory bane?
When fruit flies lack a receptor for the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid, their ability to learn or remember is enhanced, the first time scientists have been able to induce this effect in the insects, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears today in the journal Neuron.

Snake venoms share similar ingredients
Venoms from different snake families may have many deadly ingredients in common, more than was previously thought.

Farmers and ranchers pay top dollar for inadequate health insurance protection
A new report issued today by the Access Project and Brandeis University found that farm and ranch operators, like many Americans, are seriously challenged by the cost of health care.

NIH launches Human Microbiome Project
Many microbes maintain our health, while others cause illness. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the role this astounding assortment of bacteria, fungi and other microbes play in human health and disease.

Drug aimed at 2 bioterror agents blocks live viral infection, Weill Cornell team reports
Two deadly and highly infectious viruses -- both potential bioterror threats -- may have met their match in a new drug developed by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Premenstrual symptoms getting on your nerves?
New findings published in the online open access journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine suggest not only that PMS is tied to decreased nerve activity each month, but also that those with extreme symptoms may have a permanently depressed nervous system.

UCLA scientists working to create smaller, faster integrated circuits
Integrated circuits are the

Researchers discover protein that controls bone growth
A research team led by Dr. Pierre Moffatt of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Montreal and McGill University's Department of Human Genetics has uncovered the molecular mechanism by which the protein osteocrin controls bone growth -- a discovery that may have important implications for people suffering from bone diseases affecting skeletal growth.

UT Southwestern secures $5 million NIH grant for lupus research
The division of rheumatic diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund the Center of Research Translation, which will investigate the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus.

The appeal of the underdog
Do people root for the clear winner or the underdog when they watch competitions?

New workout 'paradigm' promises to preserve value in financially troubled companies
With the recent wave of highly leveraged private equity deals and the current problems in credit markets, market observers are now predicting a sharp increase in corporate defaults, with possibly serious spillover effects.

Grant for solar cell work
The US Department of Energy has awarded a grant of up to $768,000 over three years to Adam Moule, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at UC-Davis, for work toward cheaper, more efficient solar cells.

Elevated carbon dioxide changes soil microbe mix below plants
A detailed analysis of soil samples taken from a forest ecosystem with artificially elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide reveals distinct changes in the mix of microorganisms living in the soil below trembling aspen.

What's the rush? Taking time to acknowledge loss is not that bad
There are two guarantees in every person's life: happiness and sadness.

Chicago Journals announces inaugural issue of the Journal of Human Capital
The University of Chicago Press Journals Division is pleased to announce the launch of the Journal of Human Capital, the first publication of its type in this important field.

'Speedy Mic's' photograph
Using observations from ESO's VLT, astronomers were able for the first time to reconstruct the site of a flare on a solar-like star located 150 light years away, a feat comparable at looking from the Earth at the footprints left by an astronaut on the Moon.

Domestic violence identified as stressor associated with smoking
Using a large population survey in India, a new study from Harvard School of Public Health researchers has found an association between domestic violence and adult smoking.

Physician-scientists seek solutions to reproductive problems related to chromosomal variations
Approximately one in every 500 to 650 baby boys is born with an extra X chromosome, a variation in their genetic code that until a few years ago was thought to result in infertility in all cases.

Traffic jam mystery solved by mathematicians
Mathematicians from the University of Exeter have solved the mystery of traffic jams by developing a model to show how major delays occur on our roads, with no apparent cause.

Where the brain makes sense of speech
Researchers have identified regions of the brain where speech sounds are perceived as having abstract meaning, rather than as just a stream of sensory input.

Northwest hospitals unprepared for chemical emergencies
Many hospitals in the northwest of England are ill-prepared to deal with a major chemical incident.

Simple push filling wins crown in battle against tooth decay
A simple technique using a preformed crown offers an improved and effective method to fight tooth decay in children's molars, according to research published in the online open access journal, BMC Oral Health.

Why don't we get cancer all the time?
To replace worn-out cells, having the neighboring cell split into two identical daughter cells would seem to be the simplest way to keep bodies from falling apart.

Firefly genes allow testing of new therapy against lymphoma
Researchers here have figured out a way to use a firefly gene to let them see just how effective a new drug combination actually is against some forms of cancer and its serious complication.

New edition of a classic molecular biology textbook from CSHL Press and Benjamin Cummings
A new edition of the most widely used undergraduate textbook in molecular biology,

Parents show bias in sibling rivalry, says study
Most parents would hotly deny favoring one child over another but new research suggests they may have little choice in the matter.

Top scientists meet for global conference on stem cell therapy for cardiovascular diseases
The Cardiovascular Research Foundation brings experts to New York City from around the world for the Fourth Annual International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Diseases.

Who is the arch-criminal in the development of hepatopulmonary syndrome?
Employing a rat model, Dr. Hui-ying Zhang et al. found that dynamic alterations of plasma endotoxin were closely associated with eNOS, iNOS, HO-1, number of capillaries and histological changes, and that exhibition of pulmonary vascular abnormalities is not only in vascular dilatation but in increased number, and that HO-1/CO and NOS/NO pathways may interrelate in pathogenesis of intra-pulmonary vascular abnormalities.

Study shows immigrant children are at increased risk of lead poisoning
Immigrant children are five times as likely as US-born children to suffer from lead poisoning in New York City, according to a new Health Department study, and the risk is highest among the most recent immigrants.

NASA'S GLAST satellite gets unwrapped for the holidays
Everyone likes getting high-tech presents for Christmas and Hanukkah, and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington received a wonderful present this year -- NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope.

Earliest stage of planet formation dated
UC-Davis researchers have dated the earliest step in the formation of the solar system -- when microscopic interstellar dust coalesced into mountain-sized chunks of rock -- to 4,568 million years ago, within a range of about 2,080,000 years.

Some temper tantrum styles may be associated with clinical problems in preschool children
Temper tantrums are common among preschool children 3 to 6 years of age.

Improving quality of life for indigenous peoples
Further efforts are needed to improve the health and wellbeing of indigenous peoples in developed countries all over the world, according to a report published today in the online open access journal, BMC International Health and Human Rights.

Jingle bells not merry for tone-deaf individuals
A new neuroimaging study conducted by researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University and the Université de Montréal, has found that tone-deaf or amusic individuals have more grey matter in specific regions of the brain related to processing musical pitch (the right interior frontal gyrus and the right auditory cortex), as compared to those who are musically intact.

Heart attack risk from smoking due to genetics
Heart attacks among cigarette smokers may have less to do with tobacco than genetics.

Squirrels use snake scent
California ground squirrels and rock squirrels chew up rattlesnake skin and smear it on their fur to mask their scent from predators, according to a new study by researchers at UC-Davis.

Widespread support for nonembryonic stem cell research, VCU Life Sciences Survey shows
The VCU Life Sciences Survey is the first poll to reflect the discovery reported internationally in November that human skin cells can be used to create stem cells or their near equivalents.

Loma Prieta fault not so weak?
A new study adds to evidence that the fault responsible for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake is not as unusually weak as had been thought. 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