Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 29, 2008
New research explains link between smoking and SIDS
A new study from McMaster University in Hamilton sheds light on the relationship between women who smoke while pregnant -- or are exposed to secondhand smoke -- and an increased risk of SIDS to their babies.

UC scientists awarded $1.7 million for low back pain research
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has awarded $1.7 million to University of Cincinnati anesthesiology researchers to study a condition that costs Americans $50 billion a year -- low back pain.

Creative and noncreative problem solvers exhibit different patterns of brain activity, study reveals
Why do some people solve problems more creatively than others?

E.coli a future source of energy?
Thomas Wood, a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University has

Using the safety belt in the rear seats of the car reduces death risk by almost a half
A study carried out at the University of Granada reveals that women and children younger than three years old who travel in the rear seats of the car are ore likely to die in the event of a road crash than men.

Digital mammography superior to film mammography in some cases
For some women, digital mammography may be a better screening option than film mammography, according to newly published results from a national study led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher.

Stem cell therapy studies for stroke, cerebral palsy prepare for clinical trials
Finding answers about optimal dosage and timing for stem cell therapy in adults with strokes and newborns with ischemic injuries is a goal of two new federally funded studies.

River plants may play major role in health of ocean coastal waters
Recent research at MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering suggests how aquatic plants in rivers and streams may play a major role in the health of large areas of ocean coastal waters.

Heart transplants: Do more or do none, Johns Hopkins study suggests
Heart surgeons at Johns Hopkins have evidence to support further tightening rather than easing of standards used to designate hospitals that are best at performing heart transplants.

Secondhand smoke exposure is linked to worsening of lung function for persons with cystic fibrosis
Exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with adverse effects on lung function among persons with cystic fibrosis, with this effect being worse for persons with certain gene variations, according to a study in the Jan.

Nigerian children at government schools suffer high burden of intestinal worms
Intestinal worms are more common in Nigerian children attending government-owned schools than those attending private school, and the water supply and sanitation are worse in the government schools, according to a new study published Jan.

Potential cause of age differences in stimulant response identified
In young children, psychostimulants relieve symptoms of attention deficit disorder, yet in adolescents and adults, those same medications can cause euphoria and are often abused.

Elsevier's WiserWiki allows physicians to update evidence-based medical information
Elsevier, the world's leading publisher of science and health information, announced today the beta launch of WiserWiki, a wiki that allows board-certified physicians to collaboratively contribute and update medical information online.

Severe asthma may be a different form of the disease
A multicenter research project to investigate severe asthma has found a key physiological difference between severe and nonsevere forms of the disease, a finding that could help explain why those with severe asthma do not respond well to treatment.

Do you want fries with that, Mickey?
Using mice as models, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology traced some of the differences between humans and chimpanzees to differences in our diet.

Media highlights in the January issues of Biophysical Journal
The Jan. 1 and 15 issues of Biophysical Journal, published by the Biophysical Society, is now available online.

Microbes as climate engineers
We might think we control the climate but unless we harness the powers of our microbial co-habitants on this planet we might be fighting a losing battle, according to an article in the February 2008 issue of Microbiology Today.

Anna's hummingbird chirps with its tail during display dives
Many of the world's smallest hummingbirds, including the West Coast's Anna's and the East Coast's ruby-throated, execute display dives to seduce females and drive away intruders.

New decontamination system kills anthrax rapidly without lingering effects
Researchers have developed prototypes of a rapid, non-disruptive and less expensive method to decontaminate bioterrorism hazards.

Smithsonian study: Sediment prediction tools off the mark
A recent study led by Smithsonian ecologist Kathy Boomer suggests it is time for a change in at least one area of watershed management.

Kosovo's future hangs in the balance
The international community

With a jolt, 'nanonails' go from repellant to wettable
Sculpting a surface composed of tightly packed nanostructures that resemble tiny nails, University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and their colleagues from Bell Laboratories have created a material that can repel almost any liquid.

Lungs' mast cells could provide new treatment target for asthma, other respiratory disease
An enzyme released by mast cells in the lungs appears to play a key role in the tightening of airways that is a hallmark of asthma -- pointing to a potential new target for treatment against the illness.

Archaeologist 'strikes gold' with finds of ancient nasca iron ore mine in Peru
A Purdue University archaeologist discovered an intact ancient iron ore mine in South America that shows how civilizations before the Inca Empire were mining this valuable ore.

Physician characteristics are associated with quality of cancer care
Whether a woman receives radiation after breast cancer surgery may be associated with certain characteristics of her surgeon, including sex and medical training, according to a study published online Jan.

Helios Education Foundation invests $6.5 million
Helios Education Foundation today awarded $6.5 million to the Translational Genomics Research Institute as part of a new partnership that extends the Helios Scholars Program at TGen for the next 25 years.

New threat to Lake Victoria?
Two hydroelectricity dams appear to be threatening the health of Lake Victoria -- and of the people living along its shores who depend on the lake for food.

Why don't chimpanzees like to barter commodities?
A study published in PLoS ONE on Jan. 30 and led by Sarah Brosnan at Georgia State University examines the circumstances under which chimpanzees, our closest relatives, will exchange one inherently valuable commodity (an apple slice) for another (a grape), which is what early humans must have somehow learned to do.

California lags nation in tracking students' educational progress, RAND study finds
While California has basic tracking system architecture in place to allow the state's educators to closely follow the progress of students from kindergarten to post-secondary education, officials must overcome political and financial barriers, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following papers are featured in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Neuroscience:

The eyes have it
Using the radiocarbon dating method and special proteins in the lens of the eye, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus can now establish, with relatively high precision, when a person was born.

The pitter patter of little feet ... climbing straight up a wall
Building upon several years of research into the gecko's uncanny ability to climb sheer walls, researchers at UC Berkeley, have developed an adhesive that is the first to master the easy attach and easy release of the reptile's padded feet.

Using DNA, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato
More than 99 percent of all modern potato varieties planted today are the direct descendents of varieties that once grew in the lowlands of south-central Chile.

The growing-up of a star
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, astronomers have probed the inner parts of the disc of material surrounding a young stellar object, witnessing how it gains its mass before becoming an adult.

Huge drop in preterm birth-risk among women taking folic acid 1 year before conception
Pre-conceptional folate supplementation of at least one year reduced early premature delivery rates of 50 to 70 percent, regardless of age, race or other factors according to a study unveiled at the 28th Annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Meeting.

CSHL scientists make progress in determining how the brain selectively interprets sound
Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have reported new findings about how the mammalian brain interprets and fashions representations of sound that may help explain how we are able to focus on one particular sound among many in noisy environments such as offices or cocktail parties.

Unusual supernovae may reveal intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters
A strange and violent fate awaits a white dwarf star that wanders too close to a moderately massive black hole.

Breakdown of kidney's ability to clean its own filters likely causes disease
The kidney actively cleans its most selective filter to keep it from clogging with blood proteins, scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Destined to cheat? New research finds free will can keep us honest
It is well established that changing people's sense of responsibility can change their behavior.

New therapy effectively treats deep vein thrombosis
A novel treatment for blood clots in the legs appears to be safe and effective, according to a pilot study.

The technology transformers
Revolutionary technology developed at the University of Leicester aims to

Virtual human in HIV drug simulation
The combined supercomputing power of the UK and US

Magnetism loses under pressure
Scientists discovered that the magnetic strength of magnetite -- the most abundant magnetic mineral on Earth -- declines drastically when put under pressure.

Gene discovery made easier with powerful new networking technique
The identification of disease-causing genes will be much easier and faster using a powerful new gene-networking model developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sex hormones unrelated to prostate cancer risk
Sex hormones circulating in the blood do not appear to be associated with prostate cancer risk, according to data from 18 prior studies.

NIDA research reveals subconscious signals can trigger drug craving
Using a brain imaging technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging, scientists have discovered that cocaine-related images trigger the emotional centers of the brains of patients addicted to drugs -- even when the subjects are unaware they've seen anything.

Reviving African fruit species
One resource that could help combat malnutrition and rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is largely untapped, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Explaining chemotherapy-associated nausea
A new study from the Monell Center increases understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for the nausea and vomiting that often afflict patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Lab on a chip developed at University of Alberta for cheap, portable medical tests
University of Alberta researchers have developed a portable unit for genetic testing about the size of a shoebox, which has the same capability as a lab full of expensive equipment.

IQWiG presents a concept for cost-benefit assessment methods in the German health care system
German legislature has expanded the responsibilities of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care with the latest Health Care Reform.

FATRONIK-Tecnalia experts say new robotics will revolutionize industry and services world
In the past few years industrial processes have monopolized practically all robotic developments and applications.

BioMed Central bolsters radiology image collection
BioMed Central has partnered with the American Roentgen Ray Society to add more journals and images to GoldMiner, the ARRS radiology search engine.

Viruses for a healthy pregnancy
Sequences of DNA in the human genome that originated from ancient viral infections have some surprising effects on our bodies and are even essential for a healthy pregnancy, according to an article in the February issue of Microbiology Today.

Secondhand smoke exposure worsens cystic fibrosis
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered the first genetic evidence that secondhand smoke can worsen lung disease.

Nanomedicine research for prostate cancer supported by $5 million gift
The Prostate Cancer Foundation, largely through the generosity of David H.

Common drug-releasing coronary stents appear to have similar clinical outcomes
A comparison of use of the first two commercially available drug-releasing coronary stents (for the medications sirolimus and paclitaxel) among patients in

Biodegradable film reduces surgical scarring
A new, biodegradable film designed to reduce the severity of scarring following open heart surgery in young children appears to be safe and effective, according to researchers attending the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Ft.

Digital mammography superior to film mammography in some cases
For some women, digital mammography may be a better screening option than film mammography, according to newly published results from the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial.

Kidney cancer drug attacks a major type of acute myeloid leukemia
A drug used to treat kidney cancer also targets a genetic mutation active in about one third of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, the most common and lethal form of adult leukemia, researchers at The University of Texas M.

Professor's video series explains all facets of Earth
Videos have been the bailiwick of rock stars at least since the days of Bob Dylan.

DNA (driver of nicotine addiction)
One in eight US adults smokes a pack of cigarettes each day.

Agriculture is changing the chemistry of the Mississippi River
Midwestern farming has introduced the equivalent of five Connecticut Rivers into the Mississippi River over the past 50 years and is adding more carbon dioxide annually into its waters, according to a study published in Nature by researchers at Yale and Louisiana State universities.

Prison study to investigate link between diet and behavior
Trials will soon be underway in three UK prisons to investigate the link between nutrition and behavior.

New Swedish science prize awarded to leading US cancer researcher
The American cancer research pioneer Professor Robert A. Weinberg is the first recipient of the science prize inaugurated by the foundation set up by Swedish scientists Georg and Eva Klein.

Other highlights in the Jan. 29 JNCI
Also in the Jan. 29 JNCI are a protein associated with breast cancer prognosis, a study that refutes the idea that personality traits are linked to cancer, a study confirming the accuracy of pathology reports used in breast cancer trials, and an article demonstrating sorafinib's potential for treating some leukemias.

Art and medicine meet to make the world's first 'operation' gown
Medical students will be helped to understand what it is like to go under the knife thanks to a world-first project that brings together art and science.

Ontario Council of University Libraries expands its resources with Springer eBooks
Springer Science+Business Media has signed an agreement with the Ontario Council of University Libraries to provide all of its member libraries with the complete Springer eBook Collection, 2005-2008.

U. of I. librarian launches comprehensive Web database of field guides
Journeying to Johannesburg to survey bat colonies? To Kenya to count monkeys?

New vaccine against deadliest strain of avian flu tested by University of Pittsburgh scientists
A vaccine against the most common and deadliest strain of avian flu, H5N1, has been tested by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Vaccine Research.

EPA and research efficiency
The White House Office of Management and Budget evaluates R&D programs at the US Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies using a questionnaire that asks about many aspects of their research, including its efficiency.

IEEE-USA commends president for asking Congress to double support for critical research
IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre commends President George W. Bush for asking

Carbon monoxide may cause long-lasting heart damage
Findings of a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital suggests that heart damage caused by carbon monoxide may have long-lasting effects even after the toxic gas has been eliminated from the blood.

Why your fertility cells must have 'radio silence'
Researchers in Kobe, Japan and Montreal, Canada, have uncovered a previously unknown mechanism which causes embryonic germ cells -- which later develop into sperm or ova -- to go through a period of

Expression patterns of microRNAs appear altered in colon cancer, and associated with poor outcomes
Preliminary research has found an association between certain microRNA expression patterns and poor survival and treatment outcomes for colon cancer, according to a study in the Jan.

A new generation of artificial vision systems
Developing a fully functional artificial vision system is the aim of Frankfurt's new Bernstein Center.

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 2008 Conference
The 2008 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners national conference will be held June 26 through July 1 at the Gaylord National on the Potomac. 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