Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 02, 2008
Winemaking waste proves effective against disease-causing bacteria in early studies
A class of chemicals in red wine grapes may significantly reduce the ability of bacteria to cause cavities, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Insect attack may have finished off dinosaurs
Asteroid impacts or massive volcanic flows might have occurred around the time dinosaurs became extinct, but a new book argues that the mightiest creatures the world has ever known may have been brought down by a tiny, much less dramatic force -- biting, disease-carrying insects.

Resilience concepts poised to aid management of coastal marine ecosystems
Insights into the processes that drive changes in coastal areas have yielded new directions for research, monitoring and management of such regions, which are prone to sudden ecological shifts.

JCI online early table of contents: Jan. 2, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Researchers seek to make cavity-causing bacteria self-destruct
Bacteria that eat sugar and release cavity-causing acid onto teeth may soon be made dramatically more vulnerable to their own acid.

How actin networks are actin'
The Arp2/3 complex is essential for actin assembly and motility in many cell processes, and a large number of proteins have been found to bind and regulate it in vitro.

Oral osteoporosis meds appear to reduce the risk of jaw degradation
Contrary to recent reports, oral osteoporosis medications that inhibit bone breakdown reduce the risk of jaw problems, based on an analysis of medical claims.

The risk of osteoarthritis and index to ring finger length ratio
The study suggests that having uncommonly long ring fingers raises the risk for developing OA of the knee, independent of other risk factors and particularly among women.

Einstein researchers discover important clue to the cause of Parkinson's disease
A glitch in the mechanism by which cells recycle damaged components may trigger Parkinson's disease, according to a study by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Smoking rate among New York City teens was lowest on record in 2007
New data from the 2007 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that cigarette smoking among NYC teens declined by 20 percent between 2005 and 2007.

Insects' 'giant leap' reconstructed by founder of sociobiology
Biologist Edward O. Wilson argues that natural selection acting on emergent traits of nascent colonies, rather than on individual organisms, best explains the evolution of eusociality in insects and possibly other species.

National Nanotechnology Initiative releases new strategic plan
A new strategic plan for the work of the National Nanotechnology Initiative has just been released.

Just 4 months of hormone therapy can delay prostate cancer growth by up to 8 years
Researchers report that just four months of hormonal therapy before and with standard external beam radiation therapy slowed cancer growth by as much as eight years -- especially the development of bone metastases -- and increased survival in older men with potentially aggressive prostate cancer.

Carnegie Mellon study identifies where thoughts of familiar objects occur inside the human brain
Carnegie Mellon University researchers, using machine learning and brain imaging, have found a way to identify where people's thoughts and perceptions of familiar objects originate in the brain by identifying the patterns of brain activity associated with the objects.

Research explores role of hydrogen peroxide in cell health
Hydrogen peroxide, the same mild acid that many people use to disinfectant their kitchens or treat cuts and abrasions, is also produced by the body to keep cells healthy.

New strategies work to put cancer on the firing line
Dr. Yukai He wants to put cancer in the bull's eye.

White dwarf pulses like a pulsar
New observations from Suzaku, a joint Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency NASA X-ray observatory, have challenged scientists' conventional understanding of white dwarfs.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings provides forum for debate about capital punishment
In a commentary and two editorials published in the September 2007 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, three anesthesiologists and a medical ethicist discussed whether doctors should participate in capital punishment executions.

Vitamin D2 is as effective as vitamin D3 in maintaining concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that vitamin D2 is equally as effective as vitamin D3 in maintaining 25-hydroxyvitamin D status.

Purdue wind tunnel key for 'hypersonic vehicles,' future space planes
By using the only wind tunnel capable of running quietly at

Model is first to compare performance of 'biosensors'
Researchers have developed a new modeling technique to study and design miniature

Jefferson scientists studying the effects of high-dose vitamin C on non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients
Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center have received approval for a first-of-its kind study on the effect high dose vitamin C has on non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients.

Scripps Research scientists discover remarkable editing system for protein production
Even small mistakes made by cells during protein production can have profound disease effects, but the processes cells use to correct mistakes have been challenging to decipher.

For hospital patients, defibrillation delays mean lower survival
Hospitalized patients who suffer a cardiac arrest are more likely to survive if their hearts are shocked back into rhythm within two minutes, but 30 percent of such patients aren't getting help fast enough.

Daily alcohol use causes changes in sexual behavior, new study reveals
A physiological basis for the effect on male sexual behavior of chronic alcohol exposure has been demonstrated in an animal model for the first time.

New discovery could reduce the health risk of high-fat foods
Just as additives help gasoline burn cleaner, a research report published in the January 2008 print issue of The FASEB Journal shows that the food industry could take a similar approach toward reducing health risks associated with fatty foods.

Drug industry spends nearly twice as much on marketing than on research and development
The pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on the marketing and promotion of drugs than on research and development, according to a new analysis in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Brown named Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University has been designated a Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training by the John A.

The prevalence and impact of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States
The study presents its latest report on the troubling state of arthritis in America.

Shorter HCV treatment shows notable success
Two new randomized controlled trials show that treating Hepatitis C with peginterferon and ribavirin for shorter durations can yield success rates similar to those from longer treatment lengths, with cost-savings and lower risk of serious side effects.

Losing more than we gain from autumn warming in the north
An international study investigating the carbon sink capacity of northern terrestrial ecosystems discovered that the duration of the net carbon uptake period has on average decreased due to warmer autumn temperatures.

Evolution education is a 'must' says coalition of scientific and teaching organizations
A coalition of 17 organizations is calling on the scientific community to become more involved in the promotion of science education, including evolution.

Tips to prevent adverse drug events in older adults
For many older Americans, another candle on their birthday cake means another prescription in their medicine cabinet.

Protein a possible key to allergy and asthma control
Activating a protein found on some immune cells seems to halt the cells' typical job of spewing out substances that launch allergic reactions, a study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Carbon sink capacity in northern forests reduced by global warming
An international study investigating the carbon sink capacity of northern terrestrial ecosystems discovered that the duration of the net carbon uptake period has on average decreased due to warmer autumn temperatures.

MRI techniques evolving towards better assessment of liver fibrosis
MRI imagery is emerging as a noninvasive way to determine the existence and extent of hepatic fibrosis.

Language centers revealed, brain surgery refined with new mapping
Neurosurgeons from the University of California, San Francisco are reporting significant results of a new brain mapping technique that allows for the safe removal of tumors near language pathways in the brain.

Epilepsy and brain pathology linked together by the protein ADK
The brain of individuals who suffer from epilepsy is characterized by pathologic changes to brain cells known as astrocytes.

Creator of Kalman filter and founders of renowned education program win highest engineering honors
The engineering profession's highest honors awarded in 2008, presented by the National Academy of Engineering, recognize a revolutionary contribution to the field of decision and control engineering whose applications have become ubiquitous, and an achievement in engineering education that builds leaders through experience and service.

Il-22 gene delivers the goods and decreases intestinal inflammation
There are two major types of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis.

Protein's new role discovered in autoimmune disease
A chemical messenger has been shown to have a previously unknown major role in autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus.

Multiple species of bacteria may cause trachoma: Implications for treatment
In a study published in this week's PLoS Medicine, researchers have found that more than one species of bacteria may be causing the infectious eye disease trachoma.

Smaller is stronger -- now scientists know why
As metal structures get smaller -- as their dimensions approach the micrometer scale or less -- they get stronger.

Older surgical patients at greater risk for developing cognitive problems
Patients over the age of 60 who have elective surgeries such as joint replacements, hysterectomies and other nonemergency, inpatient procedures, are at an increased risk for long-term cognitive problems, according to a new study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

'Electronic switch' opens doors in rheumatoid joints
A breakthrough in understanding the way atoms move across cell membranes in the human body could pave the way for the development of new treatments for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Colon cancer risk in US traced to common ancestor
A married couple who sailed from England to America around 1630 may be the ancestors of hundreds of people alive today who are at risk for a hereditary form of colon cancer.

Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
The crystal structure of a molecule from a primitive fungus has served as a time machine to show researchers more about the evolution of life from the simple to the complex.

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for visualizing protein dynamics
The January 2008 issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights methods that permit scientists to observe protein dynamics in chromosomes and embryos.

Obesity linked to decreased seatbelt use
Obese people are less likely to use their seatbelts than the rest of the population, adding to the public health risks associated with this rapidly growing problem.

SETI@home ramps up to analyze more data in search of extraterrestrial intelligence
The longest-running search for radio signals from alien civilizations is getting a burst of new data from an upgraded Arecibo telescope, which means the SETI@home project needs more desktop computers to help crunch the data.

HIV isolate from Kenya provides clues for vaccine design
Two simple changes in its outer envelope protein could render the AIDS virus vulnerable to attack by the immune system, according to research from Kenya and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in PLoS Medicine.

American College of Physicians receives grant to study cost of patient-centered medical home
The American College of Physicians has received a Commonwealth Fund grant of nearly $225,000 to study the cost of a patient-centered medical home.

First autism prevention study launched by University of Washington
Autism researchers at the University of Washington will take the initial step in attempting to prevention the developmental disorder when they launch an $11.3 million study this week.

Live operators crucial factor for public health department disease-reporting hotlines
Public health departments that staff disease-reporting hotlines with live operators at all times are more likely to meet federal guidelines designed to help stop the spread of infectious diseases, according to a RAND Corp. study issued today. 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