Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 14, 2008
New study suggests Columbus brought syphilis to Europe from New World
The most comprehensive comparative genetic analysis conducted on the family of bacteria (the treponemes) that cause syphilis and related diseases such as yaws, published Tuesday, Jan.

Low testosterone levels associated with risk of fracture in men over 60
Men over age 60 who have low blood testosterone levels may be at a higher risk for fractures, according to a report in the Jan.

Expert commentary on origins of syphilis study
Next week the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases will publish a new phylogenetic analysis by Kristin Harper and colleagues on the origins of venereal syphilis.

10-fold life span extension reported in simple organism
Researchers achieve record longevity for ordinary baker's yeast through dietary and genetic changes.

Humana Press journals now available on SpringerLink
SpringerLink, Springer's electronic content platform, has integrated the complete journal portfolio of Humana Press.

Oceans Past: A Guide to Oceans Future
This pioneering book demonstrates how an understanding of the past can explain the current state of the seas and inform the management of ocean resources in the future.

Mouse model shows potential efficacy of HIV prevention strategy
A new mouse model shows potential efficacy of HIV prevention strategy.

Wildebeest or malaria parasite -- same rules determine number of offspring
New research published today (Jan. 15) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Fellow shows that the same community ecology principles that determine how different animal species on the savannah affect each other's population sizes through competition for food and hunting by predators also affect parasite species interacting within the microcosm of a single host.

Got carrots? Vegetables may have bone to pick as calcium providers
A specially developed carrot has been produced to help people absorb more calcium.

MESSENGER flyby of Mercury
At 2:04 p.m. EST on Monday, MESSENGER skimmed 200 kilometers (124 miles) above the surface of Mercury in the first of three flybys of the planet.

Psychotherapy should be subject to rigorous regulation just like drug treatments, say academics
Psychotherapies such as cognitive behavior therapy are under-regulated in the UK and should be subject to the same standards of evidence as drugs, assert two experts in psychological medicine writing in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (Jan. issue published today by SAGE).

Genetically modified carrots provide more calcium
Genetically modifying carrots to express increased levels of a gene that enables the transport of calcium across membranes of plant cells can make the vegetables a better source of calcium, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University in a report that appears today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unified national effort needed to save lives by increasing use of CPR
A unified effort by the public, educators and policymakers is needed to reduce deaths from sudden cardiac arrest by increasing the use and effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to a new statement from the American Heart Association.

Anyone can save a life: Penn researchers lead national efforts to improve CPR quality
Studies show that only 15 to 30 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR before emergency personnel arrive.

Texas A&M carrot may help prevent osteoporsis
A specially developed carrot has been produced to help people absorb more calcium.

Starfish outbreak threatens corals
Outbreaks of the notorious crown of thorns starfish now threaten the

AGU Journal highlights -- Jan. 10, 2008
In this issue: Pulses in Saturn's rings, Fluctuating stream flow; Internal waves across the Pacific; Understanding ultraslow mid-ocean ridges; A younger, thinner Arctic ice cover; Windy Mars revealed; Human-generated aerosols affect Southern Hemisphere's atmospheric circulation; and Global change effects in Canada's Mackenzie River Delta.

Trust between doctors and patients is culprit in efforts to cross racial divide in medical research
More than three decades after the shutdown of the notorious Tuskegee study, a team of Johns Hopkins physicians has found that Tuskegee's legacy of blacks' mistrust of physicians and deep-seated fear of harm from medical research persists and is largely to blame for keeping much-needed African Americans from taking part in clinical trials.

Study examines decision-making deficits in older adults
Recent work led by University of Iowa neuroscientist Natalie Denburg, PhD, suggests that for a significant number of older adults, measurable neuropsychological deficits do seem to lead to poor decision-making and an increased vulnerability to fraud.

Doctors conclude UK has committed 'atrocious barbarism' in removing dying Ghanaian woman
An editorial published early online on and in this week's Lancet print issue says the UK government has committed an

New buffer resists pH change, even as temperature drops
Researchers at the University of Illinois have found a simple solution to a problem that has plagued scientists for decades: the tendency of chemical buffers used to maintain the pH of laboratory samples to lose their efficacy as the samples are cooled.

UBC discovery unlocks tree genetics, gives new hope for pine beetle defense
UBC researchers have discovered some of the genetic secrets that enable pine and spruce trees to fight off pests and disease, uncovering critical new information about forests' natural defense systems.

Existing antiretroviral drugs may thwart vaginal HIV transmission, researchers report
Prescription drugs now used to treat human immunodeficiency virus infection in adults may prevent the vaginal transmission of HIV, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Fruit flies all aglow light the way to cancer prevention
A green glow from a fruit fly is giving researchers the green light when they are on the right path in their quest to develop compounds that help prevent cancer.

Lipoic acid could reduce atherosclerosis, weight gain
A new study done with mice has discovered that supplements of lipoic acid can inhibit formation of arterial lesions, lower triglycerides and reduce blood vessel inflammation and weight gain -- all key issues for addressing cardiovascular disease.

Internal Medicine organization issues guidelines to improve care of 3 symptoms at end of life
The American College of Physicians has issued new guidelines to improve palliative care at the end of life.

Molecular evolution of limb length
In the Jan. 15 issue of G&D, a research team led by Dr.

Unique role of cell death protein TRADD in viral signaling
A unique Epstein Barr virus-derived protein interaction domain uses the cellular death domain protein TRADD to assemble its transforming signaling complex and dictates a transferable nonapoptitic phenotype of TRADD signaling.

Genes may interact with obstetric complications to boost schizophrenia risk
Researchers have proposed that such birth traumas may interact with certain gene variants to increase risk for the illness.

University of Utah lands $21.2 million energy software grant
The University of Utah has been given software valued at $21.2 million from Landmark, a product service line of Halliburton's Drilling and Evaluation Division.

Sexually-active gay men vulnerable to new, highly infectious bacteria
Sexually-active gay men are many times more likely than others to acquire a new, highly antibiotic-resistant strain of the so-called MRSA bacteria widely know as the

Neutron stars can be more massive, while black holes are more rare, Arecibo Observatory finds
Neutron stars can be considerably more massive than previously believed, and it is more difficult to form black holes, according to new research developed by using the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Genetic differences may help explain response to multiple sclerosis treatment
By comparing the DNA of patients with multiple sclerosis whose symptoms are reduced by interferon beta therapy to the DNA of those who continue to experience relapses, researchers may have identified important genetic differences between the two, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the March 2008 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

American Chemical Society's weekly PressPac -- Jan. 9, 2008
The American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Smoking related to long-term risk and progression of age-related eye disease
Smokers appear to have an increased long-term risk and greater progression of the eye disease age-related macular degeneration, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Selective restraints and reduced medication could reduce nursing home falls says 4-year study
Analysis of more than 2,300 falls and fractures at 21 Swedish nursing homes quantifies increased fall risks from certain drugs and protective effects of selective restraints.

Identification of a novel neural stem cell type
As published in the upcoming issue of G&D, sesearchers from the Sloan-Kettering Institute, led by Dr.

Arecibo telescope finds critical ingredients for the soup of life in a galaxy far, far away
Astronomers from Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, have detected for the first time the molecules methanimine and hydrogen cyanide -- two ingredients that build life-forming amino acids -- in a galaxy some 250 million light years away.

Toll road privatization may result in indirect impacts
Privatizing toll roads in the US may result in significant diversions of truck traffic from privatized toll roads to

Study helps explain how allergic reactions are triggered
In demonstrating that a group of calcium ion channels play a crucial role in triggering inflammatory responses, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have not only solved a longstanding molecular mystery regarding the onset of asthma and allergy symptoms, but have also provided a fundamental discovery regarding the functioning of mast cells.

What are the causes and consequences of childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity in America has reached near epidemic proportions, with recent studies showing a tripling of the number of overweight children since the 1970s.

January/February 2008 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Highlights from the January/February 2008 issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal, including articles on mental health and care management, health behavior change and a special resident research supplement.

New method developed to identify genetic determinants of Alzheimer's disease
A rapid and accurate DHPLC assay for determination of apolipoprotein E genotypes has been developed by researchers from the Department of Medical Genetics, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.

Sea otter study reveals striking variability in diets and feeding strategies
Ecologists have long observed that when food becomes scarce, animal populations exploit a wider range of food sources.

Body weight influenced by thousands of genes
Researchers from the Monell Center have for the first time attempted to count the number of genes that contribute to obesity and body weight.

Tip sheet Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 15, 2008 issue
The following articles will be featured in the Jan. 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine:

Heavy metal slips down UK air quality charts
Twenty-five years of pollution monitoring shows a fall in the presence of toxins in ambient air.

T. rex had teen pregnancies
Dinosaurs had pregnancies as early as age 8, far before they reached their maximum adult size, a new study finds.

Diets high in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E associated with decreased risk of cataracts
Women who have higher dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin -- compounds found in yellow or dark, leafy vegetables -- as well as more vitamin E from food and supplements appear to have a lower risk for developing cataracts, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Plague remains a threat; and more
In the upcoming edition of PLoS Medicine, featured articles highlight investigating Staphylococcus aureus and the plague remaining a threat in many parts of the world.

Researchers find new way to block destructive rush of immune cells
Researchers have found a way to selectively block the ability of white blood cells to

Fish oil -- helpful or harmful?
Fish oil supplements may help some cardiac patients while harming others, suggests a new review of evidence compiled by St.

Rapid growth, early maturity meant teen pregnancy for dinosaurs
Now that scientists have identified the fossil bones of three female dinosaurs, each a different species, it has become clear that dinosaurs exhibited rapid growth and early maturity, probably because they had a high early mortality rate.

Study: weight-loss tips differ in African-American, mainstream magazines
Magazines catering to African-Americans may be falling short in their efforts to educate readers about weight loss, a new University of Iowa study suggests.

Norman P. Neureiter to receive Public Welfare Medal
The National Academy of Sciences has selected Norman P. Neureiter to receive its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal.

Sickle cell disease pain can occur daily and is much more severe than previously thought
A new prospective study of pain in adults with sickle cell disease finds that daily pain is far more prevalent and severe than previous large studies have indicated.

Critically endangered porpoise is focus of new research report
An international research team reported in the scientific journal Conservation Biology, that the estimated population of vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of California, is likely two years away from reaching such low levels that their rate to extinction will increase and possibly be irreversible.

Team of chemists receives $5 million grant to develop enzyme mimics
Mother Nature regulates critical cellular activities in plants and animals by using enzymes, catalysts that bring about specific biochemical reactions.

Story ideas from the Journal of Biological Chemistry
COX-2 inhibitors like Celecoxib have come under scrutiny lately due to adverse cardiovascular side-effects stemming from COX-2 reduction.

Medical error reporting by doctors to hospitals seems underused
Actual medical error reporting by doctors to hospitals seems to occur less than it should when compared to physicians' views on whether they should report such errors.

Simple online methods increase physician disease reporting
Low-cost methods such as e-mail, a Web site, and a PDA program significantly increased spontaneous disease reporting by physicians according to a study led by Temple University's Lawrence Ward, M.D., and published in the January issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

Aggression as rewarding as sex, food and drugs
New research from Vanderbilt University shows for the first time that the brain processes aggression as a reward -- much like sex, food and drugs -- offering insights into our propensity to fight and our fascination with violent sports like boxing and football.

Minor leg injuries associated with risk of blood clots
Muscle ruptures, ankle sprains and other common minor leg injuries appear to be associated with a higher risk for blood clots in the legs or lungs, according to a report in the Jan.

Durham University leads UK research project into cheaper solar energy
A national team of scientists led by experts at Durham University are embarking on one of the UK's largest ever research projects into photovoltaic solar energy.

Academy volunteer wins national paleontology award
His friends used to think he was eccentric, crawling like Spiderman along a rocky sandstone road cut in north-central Pennsylvania, hauling dental tools and a jackhammer.

Undernourished stroke patients may have more complications, worse outcomes
Patients who are undernourished when they enter the hospital with an acute ischemic stroke -- the most common type of stroke, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked -- are likely to remain undernourished in the hospital and may have worse clinical outcomes, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Vitamin D2 supplements may help prevent falls among high-risk older women
Vitamin D2 supplements appear to reduce the risk of falls among women with a history of falling and low blood vitamin D levels living in sunny climates, especially during the winter, according to a report in the Jan. 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