Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 07, 2008
New training method for hip surgery
A new surgical robot is making medical undergraduates three times more accurate during practice hip operations, according to pilot study to be discussed at a conference this week.

Quality schooling has little impact on teenage sexual activity
A report published in the online open access journal, BMC Public Health, shows that socioeconomic situation and the local high school catchment area have a more powerful influence on reported sexual experience among 15 and 16 year olds than classroom discipline or the quality of relationships within schools.

Mummy lice found in Peru may give new clues about human migration
Lice from 1,000-year-old mummies in Peru may unravel important clues about a different sort of passage: the migration patterns of America's earliest humans, a new University of Florida study suggests.

Madagascar's tortoises are crawling toward extinction, groups say
Madagascar's turtles and tortoises, which rank among the most endangered reptiles on earth, will continue to crawl steadily toward extinction unless major conservation measure are enacted, according to a recent assessment by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups.

deCODE links closer kinship with reproductive success
In a paper published today deCODE scientists establish a substantial and consistent positive correlation between the kinship of couples and the number of children and grandchildren they have.

Coral reefs may be protected by natural ocean thermostat
Natural processes may prevent oceans from warming beyond a certain point, helping protect some biologically diverse coral reefs from the impacts of climate change.

Journal edition dedicated to women's unique hypertension issues
Women face unique risks for developing hypertension and special challenges in keeping their high blood pressure under control, according to new research published in a special themed issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Children born to mothers given multiple micronutrient supplementation are bigger and heavier
Children born to mothers given multiple micronutrient supplementation are bigger and heavier than those born to mothers given iron and folic acid supplementation alone, an effect that extends into the first three years of the children's lives.

Urban ecology: taking measure of the coming megacity's impact
If you are reading this, chances are that you live in a city -- one, perhaps, on its way to becoming a megacity with a population that exceeds 10 million or more.

Close ties between parents and babies yield benefits for preschoolers
Close, mutually responsive relationships between parents and babies have been linked to more self-regulated behavior when children reach preschool age.

Meningitis vaccine study gets £200,000 boost
It can kill in four hours and more than 300 people in the UK die from it every year -- and hundreds more are left with permanent disabilities.

Comatose locusts may help relieve migraines
The way locusts react to stress may provide an important clue to understanding what causes human migraines -- and how to reduce their painful effects, says Queen's University biology professor Mel Robertson.

Sleep duration may play important role in childhood obesity
Less sleep can increase a child's risk of being overweight or obese, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Impaired fat-burning gene worsens diabetes
Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have in collaboration with researchers from Finland, China, Japan and the US discovered new cellular mechanisms that lead to in insulin resistance in people with diabetes.

Study suggests new therapy for lung disease patients
A new study from Northwestern University may change current thinking about how best to treat patients in respiratory distress in hospital intensive care units.

Researchers give new hybrid vehicle its first test drive in the ocean
Taking a page out of a science fiction story, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Webb Research Corporation (Falmouth, Mass.) have successfully flown the first environmentally powered robotic vehicle through the ocean.

Washington University increases fleet of Roche Genome Sequencer FLX Systems
The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University School of Medicine increased its sequencing capacity with an agreement to acquire five additional Genome Sequencer FLX Systems from Roche Diagnostics.

UTMB wins $3.4 million federal grant to study addiction-recovery drugs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers a four-year, $3.4 million grant to develop what may become the first effective drugs to help people conquer cocaine addiction.

Scientists rebuild ancient proteins to reveal primordial Earth's temperature
Researchers reconstruct proteins from ancient bacteria to measure the Earth's temperature over the ages.

MIT's McGovern Institute honors Emory neuroscientist for contributions to psychiatry
The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT announced today that Michael Davis, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., will be the 2008 recipient of the Edward M.

U of Minnesota study: Destroying native ecosystems for biofuel crops worsens global warming
Turning native ecosystems into

Researchers decode genetics of rare photosynthetic bacterium
A bacterium that harvests far-red light by making a rare form of chlorophyll (chlorophyll d) has revealed its genetic secrets, according to a team of researchers who recently sequenced the bacteria's genome.

First documented case of pest resistance to biotech cotton
A pest insect known as bollworm, or Helicoverpa zea, is the first to evolve resistance in the field to plants modified to produce an insecticide called Bt, according to a new research report.

Ecologists must join humanity's rush to the cities
Cities are responsible for so many of the sustainability challenges faced by our urbanizing world, but urban ecologists can help unlock the benefits of city living, say researchers in today's issue of Science.

Taming the data deluge with the new open source iRODS data grid system
In the Information Age, the freedom to easily generate and share digital forms of information is driving life-changing advances in science and medicine; dramatic expansions in communications; big gains in business productivity; and a new flowering in video, music and other cultural expressions.

Europe's Columbus laboratory leaves Earth
Columbus, ESA's advanced science laboratory in space, has just been launched into orbit, and is now on its way to dock with the International Space Station.

Accelerometer backpacks aid study of gliding behavior in the 'flying' lemur
Among the gliding animals, the colugo or

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 7, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

NRL scientists produce carbon nanotubes using commercially available polymeric resins
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have successfully produced carbon nanotubes in high yields in bulk solid compositions using commercially available aromatic containing resins.

Nature Conservancy study raises major questions on biofuels
A new Nature Conservancy study finds that converting land for biofuel crops results in major carbon emissions, actually worsening the problem of global warming instead of mitigating it.

The key to survival and virulence for a fungal pathogen is autophagy
Autophagy is a process whereby cells recycle material during stress situations, such as when nutrients are scarce.

VEGF-B helps nerve cells cheat death without unwanted side effects
The prototypical member of the VEGF family of proteins, VEGF, protects cells in the nervous system from death and degeneration.

Team treatment for depression cuts medical costs
A team approach to treating depression in older adults, already shown to improve health, can also cut total health-care costs, according to a new study led by the University of Washington.

Cooperation between leading supercomputer centers in Switzerland and US
The Swiss National Computing Center, CSCS, an autonomous unit of The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Energy Research Scienctic Computing Center in the United States.

Aprotinin & ACE inhibitors during off-pump cardiac surgery associated with postop renal dysfunction
The blood saving-drug aprotinin appears safe during on-pump cardiac surgery.

'Good bacteria' in women give clues for slowing HIV transmission
Beneficial bacteria found in healthy women help to reduce the amount of vaginal HIV among HIV-infected women and might make it more difficult for the virus to spread, boosting the possibility that

Team-based approach improves diabetes care
Due to the success of the first three years of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Physicians Foundation Diabetes Initiative, the program has received additional funding from Novo Nordisk Inc. to continue the initiative for an additional two years through December 2009.

European blood researchers receive award to pursue research opportunities in US
The European Hematology Association and the American Society of Hematology have selected Lapo Alinari, MD, and Serena Kimi Perna, MD, as the recipients of the second annual EHA-ASH International Fellowship Award, which was established to help strengthen ties between American and European scientific communities.

New cause identified for necrotic enteritis in chicken
Researchers from Monash University and CSIRO Livestock Industries have demonstrated for the first time that alpha-toxin protein, long thought to be required for necrotic enteritis to develop, is not the main cause of the chicken disease.

4 GBIF-endorsed campaigns underway
Four user-focused initiatives, led by countries or organizations (not by the GBIF Secretariat), are carrying out projects that address issues of global concern, and also contribute to GBIF priorities.

Good parenting helps difficult infants perform as well or better in first grade than peers
First graders who exhibited difficult behaviors as infants, such as frequent crying or trouble adapting to new situations, but who had excellent parenting from their mothers, had as good or better grades, social skills, and relationships compared to peers who were not difficult as infants and who also had excellent parenting.

Women and cigarettes, the causes for consumption
Research carried out at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Granada has examined for the first time the reasons for the increase in the use of cigarettes among women in the last 50 years.

Carnegie Mellon receives $1.85 million
With a $1.85 million grant from the New York-based Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Carnegie Mellon's m.

Might fish provide Lowe-down on boyhood disease?
Scientists have been awarded £72,000 ($140,000) to study zebrafish in a bid to understand the causes of an incurable genetic disorder in humans.

Slow-motion video study shows shrews are highly sophisticated predators
The traditional view that shrews are primitive mammals is challenged by a new study of the hunting methods of an aquatic member of the species, the water shrew, that finds it uses remarkably sophisticated hunting that allow it to catch its prey as readily in the dark as in daylight.

Wind patterns could mask effects of global warming in ocean
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that natural variability in the Earth's atmosphere could be masking the overall effect of global warming in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Lower-income neighborhoods associated with higher obesity rates
Obesity prevalence has increased significantly among adults and children in the US over the last two decades.

Genome-wide survey nets key melanoma gene
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have uncovered a protein that stops the growth of melanoma, a cancer that develops from pigment-producing cells in the skin called melanocytes.

Rutgers center sparks 'liquid bandage,' a new frontline wound treatment
The Center for Military Biomaterials Research, part of the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University, has enabled the development of a breakthrough spray-on dressing for injuries.

The trouble with hybrids
Hybrid electric vehicles are no more than a stop-gap until more sustainable technology is developed, according to a report published recently in the Inderscience publication International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management.

Poor neighborhoods' influence on parents may raise preschool children's risk of problems
New research that examined the influence of poor neighborhoods on parents has linked parental factors to increased risk of verbal and behavioral problems in children.

Johns Hopkins researcher leads international effort to create 'proteinpedia'
A researcher at the Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine has led the effort to compile to date the largest free resource of experimental information about human proteins.

Friends' school achievement influences high school girls' interest in math
Though girls now take as many math courses as boys in high school, new research finds that one's friends have a stronger influence on girls' decisions to take higher level math classes than on boys.

HIV drugs, Abacavir and Didanosine increase the risk of heart attack
A study to assess the adverse effects of anti-retroviral drugs shows that two widely-used HIV drugs are associated with an increased risk of heart attack/the formation of blood clots in the heart.

Genes and environment interact in first graders to predict physical but not social aggression
Research with 400 pairs of 7-year-old twins assessed the genetic and environmental effects on children's physical and social aggression (behaviors such as spreading rumors).

Cell Stem Cell named 'Best New Journal' of 2007
After just seven months in print, Cell Stem Cell, a Cell Press journal, has been named the

World's best analysts compete to win Edelman Prize in operations research and analytics
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today announced six finalists that will compete for the 2008 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in Baltimore and Washington, DC this year.

Discovery of new gene locus associated with LDL-cholesterol levels could lead to new treatments
The discovery of a new gene locus associated with levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood could aid the development of new drugs to fight cardiovascular disease.

Fishermen and UCSB scientists explore ways to improve management of California spiny lobsters
Unique, collaborative ways to manage fisheries are emerging in Southern California.

Natural secretion marks difference between mole and melanoma
A protein naturally produced and secreted by the body can make the difference between your average mole and melanoma, which killed more than 8,000 people in the United States last year, reveals a new study in the Feb.

Springer author Carlos M. Duarte awarded Spanish science prize
The marine scientist Carlos M. Duarte was awarded the Premio Nacional de Investigacion in Madrid at the end of 2007 for his outstanding research along with four other laureates.

Discrimination against blacks linked to dehumanization, study finds
Crude historical depictions of African Americans as ape-like may have disappeared from mainstream US culture, but research presented in a new paper by psychologists at Stanford, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California-Berkeley reveals that many Americans subconsciously associate blacks with apes.

Novel compound may lessen heart attack damage
A novel drug designed to lessen muscle damage from a heart attack has passed initial safety tests at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Bone complications due to cystic fibrosis have a genetic cause, according to an MUHC study
A recent study by Dr. Christina Haston, a researcher of the McGill University Health Centre research Institute, sheds some new light on the bone problems that generally accompany cystic fibrosis.

Elderly more likely to deny smoking when asked, says Case Western Reserve University researcher
More elderly adults are lighting up cigarettes and not reporting their nicotine habits to doctors and others, according to findings from one of the first studies to examine the accuracy of self-reported smoking habits by age, race and gender of adults 18 years and older.

New cements for vertebral lesions
A number of researchers at the Department of Polymer Science and Technology at the Chemistry Faculty from San Sebastian at the University of the Basque Country, led by Ms Isabel Goni and Ms Marilo Gurrutxaga, are studying new formulae for acrylic copolymers and compounds in order to obtain efficacious, multiuse bone cements with reduced side effects.

Moderate prenatal exposure to alcohol and stress in monkeys can cause touch sensitivity
A new study that exposed monkeys to moderate levels of alcohol and stress in pregnancy found increased sensitivity to touch in the monkeys' babies.

Physics breakthroughs on tap at New Orleans conference
Thousands of scientists will attend the American Physical Society meeting in New Orleans to discuss the latest developments in condensed matter physics, industrial applications, new materials, chemical and biological physics, fluids, polymers, and computation.

PARP-1 rules! Cornell scientists find how a protein binds to genes and regulates human genome
Out of chaos, control: Cornell University molecular biologists have discovered how a protein called PARP-1 binds to genes and regulates their expression across the human genome.

What gives us fingertip dexterity?
Quickly moving your fingertips to tap or press a surface is essential for everyday life to, say, pick up small objects, use a BlackBerry or an iPhone.

Root or shoot? EAR calls the shots
Controlled by a tightly regulated choreography that determines what should go up and what should go down, plants develop along a polar axis with a root on one end and a shoot on the other.

Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
Treatment with the antibiotic myriocin can halt the growth of established arterial plaques in mice, researchers report.

Knee brace generates electricity from walking
A new energy-capturing knee brace can generate enough electricity from walking to operate a portable GPS locator, a cell phone, a motorized prosthetic joint or an implanted neurotransmitter, research involving the University of Michigan shows.

Eat up all of your Brussels sprouts -- unless you're an aphid
Aphids that eat Brussels sprouts are smaller than normal and live in undersized populations, which has a negative knock-on effect up the food chain according to new research published today in Science.

CIESE awarded $500K grant from Edison Venture Fund
The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology has received a $500,000 grant from the Edison Venture Fund to develop a series of global and systems engineering curriculum modules for high school students.

Gene variant predicts medication response in patients with alcohol dependence
Patients with a certain gene variant drank less and experienced better overall clinical outcomes than patients without the variant while taking the medication naltrexone, according to an analysis of participants in the National Institutes of Health's 2001-2004 COMBINE (Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions for Alcohol Dependence) Study.

Asian women at risk for arterial defect
A seemingly random arterial abnormality that can cause heart attack and sudden death in adults with no previous symptoms may not be so random after all.

DFG introduces Reinhart Koselleck Projects
Up to 1.25 million euros for outstanding researchers with especially innovative projects. 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