Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2007
Myth of a cultural elite -- education, social status determine what we attend, listen to and watch
There have been a number of theories put forward to explain how our tastes in cinema, theatre, music and the fine arts relate to our position in society.

Why exertion leads to exhaustion
Researchers have discovered the dramatic changes that occur in our muscles when we push ourselves during exercise.

Sulfur dioxide may have helped maintain a warm early Mars
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) may have played a key role in the climate and geochemistry of early Mars, geoscientists at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggest in the Dec.

Researchers solve first structure of a key to intact DNA inheritance
Researchers have solved the structure of a DNA-protein complex that is crucial in the spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria.

Status quo of the tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean
The German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean runs on track.

The Library of Congress in your wrist watch?
Every advance in memory storage devices presents a new marvel of just how much memory can be squeezed into small spaces.

The devil in the dark chocolate
Eating dark chocolate rich in flavanols might be good for your heart, but gaining this potential health benefit can be tricky, according to an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Making hospitals safer from infection
International Legionella expert Janet Stout, Ph.D., is urging public health and infection control officers to be proactive against Legionella and other waterborne microbes that contribute to soaring hospital infection rates.

A new treatment option for patients with renal cancer
Treatment with bevacizumab plus interferon improves progression-free survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma compared with interferon alone, and will provide a new first-line treatment option for patients with renal cancer, according to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Many common medical beliefs are untrue
Should we drink at least eight glasses of water a day?

Certain diseases, birth defects may be linked to failure of protein recycling system
A group of signaling proteins known as Wnt -- which help build the human body's skin, bone, muscle and other tissues -- depend on a complex delivery and recycling system to ensure their transport to tissue-building cell sites.

A search for protection against chemotherapy cardiotoxicity
The use of several chemotherapeutic agents in oncology is limited by their cardiac toxicity.

The midnight ride of the CMS tracking detector
Scientists of the US CMS collaboration today joined their international colleagues in announcing the successful installation of the world's largest silicon tracking detector at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

A key enzyme helps keep the synapse on track
At its core, healthy neurological function hinges on the efficient passage of information between brain cells via the synapse.

Top doctors call for tougher measures to reduce alcohol-related harm
Doctors writing in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ call on the government to introduce tougher measures to reduce alcohol related harm.

Surgery without stitches
A thin polymer bio-film that seals surgical wounds could make sutures a relic of medical history.

Boston College physicists find new explanation for superconductivity's 'glue'
A team of Boston College researchers led by Asst. Professor Vidya Madhavan has identified an alternative explanation for the microscopic origins of the

U-M researchers reveal missing link in a heart disease pathway
University of Michigan scientists and their colleagues have helped characterize a previously unknown link in the chain of biochemical reactions implicated in some forms of heart disease.

Stevens' Center for Maritime Systems acquires advanced research equipment from DURIP
The Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology recently acquired three pieces of advanced research equipment through a $522,450 grant from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program.

International scientists tackle obstacles to treating brain disorders
A research team led by scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Oregon Health & Science University have outlined the challenges and made suggestions on how to advance research and improve treatments for brain disorders.

Mechanical bowel preparation should not be done before elective colorectal surgery
Colorectal surgery can be done safely without mechanical bowel preparation, and the practice is unnecessary and should be abandoned, according to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

UC Riverside physicists contribute to state-of-the-art detector installed in Switzerland
UC Riverside physicists led by Gail Hanson are part of a collaboration of approximately 2300 international physicists who announced Dec.

UAB microbiologist wins top Czech science honor
Jiri Mestecky, M.D., Ph.D, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor of microbiology and medicine, has been awarded the 2007 Czech Mind prize.

SLU researchers show how to stop muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis
Severe muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis -- a highly debilitating autoimmune disorder -- can be prevented or reversed by blocking a key step in the immune response that brings on the disease, researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have found.

Global warming and other research from UCLA summit featured in journal
Global warming and other human-caused ecological changes are outpacing the ability of species to adapt, resulting in greater threats of disease, reduced diversity in plant and animal communities, and an overall loss of natural heritage, according to research presented at a University of California, Los Angeles, summit and published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Ecology.

High altitude football teams have significant advantage over lowland teams
Football teams from high altitude countries have a significant advantage when playing at both low and high altitudes, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

It is important to demonstrate the influence of the microenvironment in the process of metastasis
In the work defended at the University of the Basque Country, an in vitro culture model of human colon cancer was created in order to reproduce the gene regulation that is expressed in these cancer cells during their growth as metastasis in the liver of patients.

Levin's paper selected for presentation at MLA convention, Dec. 30
A paper by Stevens Institute of Technology Professor Susan Levin has been selected for presentation at the Modern Language Association's 123rd annual convention in Chicago on Dec.

Biologists find unusual plant gene: abstinence by mutual consent
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered a gene in plants that disrupts fertilization only when mutations in the gene are present in both the female and male reproductive cells.

Anatomy of a cosmic bird
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has discovered and imaged a stunning rare case of a triple merger of galaxies.

El NiƱo affected by global warming
A team of IRD scientists and chilean researcher made some unexpected findings about the recent evolution of the ENSO system.

Nevada company, ORNL develop potential lifesaver
A Las Vegas business and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving the odds for people medically at risk from dehydration or congestive heart failure.

UC Irvine scientists find new way to sort stem cells
UC Irvine scientists have found a new way to sort stem cells that should be quicker, easier and more cost-effective than current methods.

Airport security measures not backed by solid evidence
There is no solid evidence that the huge amounts of money spent on airport security screening measures since Sept.

You can teach an old dog new tricks: anti-malarial prevents cancer in mice
New data to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, have indicated that the antimalarial drug chloroquine effectively prevents cancer in mouse models of two distinct human cancer syndromes, Burkitt lymphoma and ataxia telangiectasia.

EUREKA's role in the ERA debated at Slovenian EU Permanent Representation
At the dawn of Slovenia's EU Presidency, EUREKA and its Slovenian Chairmanship team have emphasised the important role the initiative plays within the European Research Area, particularly responding to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

McGill researchers report breakthrough in rapid malaria detection
A research team led by Dr. Paul Wiseman of the departments of physics and chemistry at McGill University has developed a radically new technique that uses lasers and non-linear optical effects to detect malaria infection in human blood, according to a study published in the Biophysical Journal.

News from Earth's magnetic field
Brochure gives latest results about Earth's magnetic field.

Artificial skin system can heal wounds
A new study in Artificial Organs tested the effects of a wound dressing created with hair follicular cells.

Mental health linked to amputation risk in diabetic veterans
For US veterans with diabetes, lower scores on a test of mental health functioning are associated with an increased risk of major amputations, reports a study in the November/December issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

Insect gut detects unhealthy meal
Plant leaves and surfaces are teeming with microbial life, yet the insects that feed on plants lack adaptive immune systems to fend off any intruding microorganisms they eat along with their greens.

Top10 research advances include studies on genetics and stem cell research, stents
Several new studies on genetics and stem cell research, along with studies that continue to debate the use of stents to clear coronary artery blockages are among the top research advances in heart disease and stroke for 2007.

Gloomy forecast for Nobel Direct after 3 years
Three years after patients were given Nobel Direct dental implants, the risk of the implant loosening has increased even more.

Hormone may be new drug target for preventing lymphedema, tumor spread
A hormone secreted by cells throughout the body and known to play a role in cardiovascular disease and other cell functions is also critical for proper formation of the lymphatic system in mice, according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Medical myths even doctors believe
In a study entitled

Active computer games no substitute for playing real sports
New generation active computer games stimulate greater energy expenditure than sedentary games, but are no substitute for playing real sports, according to a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

Study says 2000 tigers possible in Thailand
Thailand's Western Forest Complex -- a 6,900 square mile (18,000 square kilometers) network of parks and wildlife reserves -- can potentially support some 2,000 tigers, making it one of the world's strongholds for these emblematic big cats, according to a new study by Thailand's Department of National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

JCI table of contents: Dec. 20, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Dec.

The physiology of champions
What could be a greater test of the limits of human physiology than the Olympics?

Marathons cut risk of fatal vehicle crashes
Organized marathons are not associated with an increased risk of sudden death, despite the media attention they attract.

Life's 6-legged survivors -- evolutionary study shows beetles are in it for the long run
Most modern-day groups of beetles have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and have been diversifying ever since, says new research out in Science today, Friday, Dec.

COROT surprises a year after launch
The space-borne telescope, COROT (Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits), has just completed its first year in orbit.

Sea cucumber protein used to inhibit development of malaria parasite
Scientists have genetically engineered a mosquito to release a sea-cucumber protein into its gut which impairs the development of malaria parasites, according to research out today (Dec.

A link between greenhouse gases and the evolution of C4 grasses
In an article published online on Dec. 20, evolutionary biologists provide strong evidence that changes in global carbon dioxide levels probably had an important influence on the emergence of a specific group of plants, termed C4 grasses.

Results promising for computational quantum chemical methods for drug development
New research, led by a Virginia Tech chemist, may someday help natural-products chemists decrease by years the amount of time it takes for the development of certain types of medicinal drugs.

More evidence for new species hidden in plain sight
Two articles published today in the online open access journals BMC Evolutionary Biology and BMC Biology provide further evidence that we have hugely underestimated the number of species with which we share our planet.

Gene neighbors may have taken turns battling retroviruses
A cluster of antiviral genes in humans has likely battled retroviral invasions for millions of years.

CWRU School of Medicine has evidence vaccine against malaria will reduce disease
Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine's Center for Global Health & Diseases published data potentially impacting the three billion people exposed to malaria every year.

How one pest adapted to life in the dark
A type of beetle that lives its entire life burrowing through stored grain has been found to lack full-color vision, and what's more the vision it does have breaks the rules.

Sticky questions tackled in gecko research
Velcro, Superglue and Post-It Notes ... three things that started out as obscure inventions but are now indispensable for everyday life.

New insights into deadly heart rhythm disorder
Every year, 300,000 Americans die suddenly when, out of the blue, a

Fisheries should be regarded as a part of the maritime environment
Professional fishery is in many sea areas a serious ecological threat to the maritime environment.

Metal foam has a good memory
A new class of materials known as

Low-income countries now have free, one-click access to Cochrane Library
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., and the Cochrane Collaboration, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare decision-making globally, today announced that they had made the Cochrane Library available with free one-click access to all residents of countries in the World Bank's list of low-income economies (countries with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of less that $1000).

How an Atkins-like diet can treat epilepsy: Leptin attenuates rodent seizure severity
Not all individuals who have epilepsy respond to traditional treatments.

First look at an enzyme target for antibacterial and cancer drugs
The veil has finally been lifted on an enzyme that is critical to the process of DNA transcription and replication, and is a prime target of antibacterial and anticancer drugs.

MCG receives second-time designation from National Cancer Institute
The Medical College of Georgia has again been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program.

Human embryonic stem cell lines created that avoid immune rejection
In a groundbreaking experiment published in Cloning & Stem Cells, scientists from International Stem Cell Corp. derived four unique embryonic stem cell lines that open the door for the creation of therapeutic cells that will not provoke an immune reaction in large segments of the population.

Tufts researchers update their food guide pyramid for older adults
Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the USDA food pyramid, now known as MyPyramid.

Human genetic variation -- Science's 'Breakthrough of the Year'
In 2007, researchers were dazzled by the degree to which genomes differ from one human to another and began to understand the role of these variations in disease and personal traits.

Nonhospital health-care workers at substantial risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens
In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health assessed the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens among nonhospital based registered nurses, and found that nearly one out of 10 of the more than 1100 nurse participants reported at least one needlestick injury in the previous 12 months.

Cardiovascular disease death rates decline, but risk factors still exact heavy toll
Cardiovascular disease death rates are declining, but CVD is still the No.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
In this issue: Herpesvirus may play role in central nervous system diseases and Novel virus identified in endangered species may represent evolution of two major virus families.

Predator pressures maintain bees' social life
The complex organization of some insect societies is thought to have developed to such a level that these animals can no longer survive on their own.

Link uncovered between variation in humans with extreme body mass and abnormal splicing
Today researchers report new insights into how genetic variation may create phenotypic differences between individuals.

The UN declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy
Early this morning, the United Nations 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.

Scientists find good news about methane bubbling up from the ocean floor
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted in great quantities as bubbles from seeps on the ocean floor near Santa Barbara.

Exposure to terrorist attacks increases mental health problems in children
A new report published in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice reveals that children exposed to terrorist attacks show elevated symptoms of mental health problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety disorder and general anxiety disorder.

Kaiser Permanente -- Group Health study shows depression worsens HIV treatment
The largest study to examine the effect of depression on HIV treatment appears in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Humor develops from aggression caused by male hormones
Humor appears to develop from aggression caused by male hormones, according to a study published in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

Suzaku explains cosmic powerhouses
By working in synergy with a ground-based telescope array, the joint Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/NASA Suzaku X-ray observatory is shedding new light on some of the most energetic objects in our galaxy, but objects that remain shrouded in mystery.

Insurance status linked to cancer outcomes
A new report from the American Cancer Society finds substantial evidence that lack of adequate health insurance coverage is associated with less access to care and poorer outcomes for cancer patients.

The quest for a new class of superconductors
Fifty years after the Nobel-prize winning explanation of how superconductors work, a research team from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Edinburgh and Cambridge University are suggesting another mechanism for the still-mysterious phenomenon.

Scientists identify brain abnormalities underlying key element of borderline personality disorder
Using new approaches, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City has gained a view of activity in key brain areas associated with a core difficulty in patients with borderline personality disorder -- shedding new light on this serious psychiatric condition. 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