Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 18, 2008
Alcoholics underestimate the risk of bleeding
Gastrointestinal bleeding can be fatal -- something which is not known to many alcoholics.

New filter clears up fiber optic communications
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed a device which could help guarantee virtually flawless data reception to end users of the Internet and other fiber-based telecommunications systems.

Scientists explore consciousness
New results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers probe a DNA repair enzyme
Researchers have taken the first steps toward understanding how an enzyme repairs DNA.

New laser technique promises better process control in the pharmaceutical industry
Scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, UK, have developed an effective laser based method for the characterization of the bulk chemical content of pharmaceutical capsules -- without opening the capsules.

Heart attack prescription drug strategy may save lives and reduce healthcare costs
Full prescription coverage of heart drugs could help heart attack survivors live longer, better lives and lower the nation's health care costs, according to a new analysis reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Feb. 13, 2008
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major, peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Scientists move towards stem cell therapy trials to mend shattered bones
Scientists are developing a revolutionary way to mend damaged bones and cartilage using a patient's own stem cells.

Unveiling the underwater ways of the white shark
Satellite tracking systems and acoustic sensors are giving researchers insights into the behavior and lifestyles of some very elusive animals in the ocean, including the fabled white shark.

Drug harm-reduction policy must be based on peer-reviewed science, not lobby group Web sites
Politicians must be able to tell the difference between valid peer-reviewed science and essays posted on the websites of lobby groups before advancing evidence-based drug harm reduction and other public health policies.

Huge proportion of maternal deaths worldwide are preventable
A study published in PLoS Medicine this week suggests that of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy.

Cocaine's effects on brain metabolism may contribute to abuse
A new study conducted at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory suggests that cocaine's effects go beyond the dopamine system.

E-mail access may improve patient-surgeon communication
Providing patients with e-mail access to their surgeon appears to improve communication without affecting patient satisfaction, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

LSU researchers challenge analyses on sustainability of Gulf fisheries
While some recent high-profile studies claim that the Gulf of Mexico's ecosystem is near collapse, researchers from LSU and the University of Washington say that fish populations in this area have actually fluctuated very little in the past 50 years.

Oceans, coasts and your health: Reducing risks and reaping rewards
Juli Trtanj in her talk as part of the symposium,

'Internet predator' stereotypes debunked in new study
Contrary to stereotype, most Internet sex offenders are not adults who target young children by posing as another youth, luring children to meetings, and then abducting or forcibly raping them, according to researchers who have studied the nature of Internet-initiated sex crimes.

Study: Before a CT scan or angiogram, many people should take inexpensive drug to protect kidneys
As more and more Americans undergo CT scans and other medical imaging scans involving intense X-rays, a new study suggests that many of them should take a pre-scan drug that could protect their kidneys from damage.

MIT explains spread of 1918 flu
MIT researchers have explained why two mutations in the H1N1 avian flu virus were critical for viral transmission in humans during the 1918 pandemic outbreak that killed at least 50 million people.

PCST-10 International Conference, June 23-27, 2008
The international conference

Nitrous oxide: definitely no laughing matter
Farmers, food suppliers, policy-makers, business leaders and environmentalists are joining forces to confront the threat of the

As depression symptoms improve with antidepressants, hopelessness can linger
People taking medication for depression typically see a lot of improvements in their symptoms during the first few months, but lagging behind other areas is a sense of hopefulness, according to new research from the University of Michigan Health System.

New method for measuring biodiversity
German and Sri Lankan researchers have developed a new method for measuring the impacts of species on local biodiversity.

Human culture subject to natural selection, Stanford study shows
Scientists at Stanford University have shown for the first time that cultural traits affecting survival and reproduction evolve at a different rate than other cultural attributes.

Focus on atrial fibrillation recognizes growing importance of common arrhythmia
When we're young, a racing heart often means love is in the air.

Very large array retooling for 21st-century science
An international project to make the world's most productive ground-based telescope 10 times more capable has reached its halfway mark and is on schedule to provide astronomers with an extremely powerful new tool for exploring the Universe.

UBC scientist invokes future generations to save tuna populations from collapse
Balancing short- and long-term fisheries benefits could have prevented the collapse of the cod populations in Atlantic Canada, and is the last best chance for tuna, says University of British Columbia fisheries economist Rashid Sumaila.

Learning from cod collapse to save tuna
Continued mismanagement could force some tuna populations to quickly go the way of cod, a highly threatened fishery that once helped shape economies of whole nations, leading scientists said in the symposium

MIT creates gecko-inspired bandage
MIT researchers and colleagues have created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Feb. 19, 2008, issue
Featured in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb. 19, 2008, issue are

Amazon corridors far too narrow, warn scientists
Protected forest strips buffering rivers and streams of the Amazon rainforest should be significantly wider than the current legal requirement, according to pioneering new research by scientists at the University of East Anglia.

Antibiotic-resistant hospital E coli infections could soon be prevalent in community, as with MRSA
Doctors could, in the near future, be regularly confronted with hospital types of Escherichia coli bacteria causing infections in patients in community settings, a scenario similar to that of community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Herpes virus link to complications in pregnancy
Researchers at Adelaide's Women's & Children's Hospital and the University of Adelaide, Australia, have made a world-first discovery that links viral infection with high blood pressure during pregnancy and preterm birth.

Child obesity seen as fueled by Spanish language TV ads
Spanish-language television is bombarding children with so many fast-food commercials that it may be fueling the rising obesity epidemic among Latino youth, according to research led by pediatricians from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Survival rates appear to differ among level I trauma centers
Trauma centers designated as level I may have significantly different results when treating patients with similar injuries, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Vaccine/antibody therapy effective, milder side effects in melanoma and ovarian cancer
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers shows that giving periodic infusions of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies to patients with advanced melanoma or ovarian cancer who have been immunized with a GVAX vaccine unleashes a strong immune response to tumors, with less-harsh side effects.

Arthritis sufferers fund arthritis research
The Queensland and Northern New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation, long time supporters of the Brisbane research community, have confirmed funding of $1.2 million for scientists at UQ's Diamantina Institute.

MGH study identifies enzyme that protects against intestinal bacterial toxin
How the lining of the small intestine, through which nutrients are absorbed, also prevents intestinal bacteria from entering the bloodstream has been a mystery.

Politics has taken notice of science
The DFG appreciates the seriousness of the Parliamentary debate on the Stem Cell Act.

Education programs may boost teens' knowledge about acne
Both written handouts and computerized presentations with audiovisual components may be effective in teaching adolescents about acne, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Building brains: Mammalian-like neurogenesis in fruit flies
A new way of generating brain cells has been uncovered in Drosophila.

Stanford researchers make first direct observation of 3-D molecule folding in real time
Since the discovery of RNA clumps called

First wind turbines on Galapagos Islands will halve diesel imports, reduce risk of future oil spills
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa today launched his country's programme to rid the use of fossil fuels on the Galapagos by 2015, an initiative led by the San Cristobal Wind Project -- three giant wind turbines that will halve the island's diesel fuel imports and pave the way for further renewable energy development elsewhere in the archipelago.

Novel organic metal hybrids that will revolutionize materials science and chemical engineering
A novel class of hybrid materials made from metals and organic compounds is changing the face of solid state chemistry and materials science just 10 years after its discovery, with applications already in safe storage of highly inflammable gases such as hydrogen and methane.

Imitating monkey's 'jumping genes' could lead to new treatments for HIV
UCL scientists have taken a significant step in understanding how retroviruses such as HIV can move between species and the biological mechanisms behind the

Scientists using laser light to detect potential diseases via breath samples, says new study
By blasting a person's breath with laser light, scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder have shown that they can detect molecules that may be markers for diseases like asthma or cancer.

Researchers aim to prevent global prematurity and stillbirths
Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study ways to prevent global prematurity and stillbirth.

Missing chromosome predicts brain tumor patients' response to treatment
People with a highly aggressive type of brain tumor who are missing a specific chromosome live longer and respond better to the chemotherapy drug temozolomide than people without this genetic abnormality, according to research published in the Feb.

Giant frog jumps continents
A giant frog fossil from Madagascar dubbed Beelzebufo or

Tropical winter habitat drives natal dispersal of young migratory birds
A new study by scientists at the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian's National Zoo shows that the factors determining where birds settle and nest in the first breeding season depends on the habitat they used during their first winter in the tropics.

Early environment may be key to determining bird migration location
A new University of Maryland/National Zoo study suggests that environmental conditions migratory birds face in their first year may help determine where they breed for the rest of their lives, a factor that could significantly affect the population as climate change makes their winter habitats hotter and drier.

The introduction of ICTs in classrooms has not changed the model of teaching
The thesis, defended by researcher Sergio Monge Benito at the University of the Basque Country, analyzes the process of the introduction of ICTs in secondary education in the Basque Autonomous Community over the period 1999 to 2004.

Aussie neuroscientist tests addiction drug
UQ pharmacy graduate Dr. Selena Bartlett is starting clinical trials of a new drug that could potentially curb addictions such as smoking, drinking, gambling even depression.

Into the abyss: Deep-sixing carbon
Imagine a gigantic, inflatable, sausage-like bag capable of storing 160 million tons of CO2 -- the equivalent of 2.2 days of current global emissions.

Conference to highlight latest in permafrost research
More than 800 international researchers are expected to attend the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, scheduled for June 29-July 3, 2008 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Where will we find the next generation of engineers?
A new study that examines the number of engineering graduates coming out of our nation's engineering schools reveals a mixed picture of how prepared each state is for meeting the need for high-tech workers in the coming years.

Optimal band imaging with endoscopy facilitates the diagnosis of depressed-type early gastric cancer
A study from the Jichi Medical University in Japan shows that optimal band imaging used with an endoscope provided images that clearly identified depressed-type early gastric cancer without magnification in 96 percent of study participants.

Laser light may be able to detect diseases on the breath
A team of scientists at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder, has shown that by sampling a person's breath with laser light they can detect molecules in the breath that may be markers for diseases like asthma or cancer.

Craniosynostosis minimally invasive surgery holds more promise than old procedure
Craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of the skull, is estimated to affect one out of every 2,000 babies.

Credit-card-sized platform for volatile compound analysis CAREER project goal
Using MEMS technology, Masoud Agah is developing gas chromatographic columns with heaters, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, and thermal conductivity detectors that can fit on micro-chips.

To save or savor? It's decision time for Atlantic bluefin tuna
Giant bluefin tuna are in trouble, primarily because the powerful muscles that propel their extensive ocean migrations come with an Achilles' heel: They're tasty.

Is transgenic cotton more profitable?
Cotton growers must choose between transgenic cotton cultivars featuring pest-management traits and nontransgenic, high-yield cultivars.

Research uncovers the social dynamics of yellow jackets
New research uncovers the social dynamics of yellow jackets, which includes multiple sex partners, extreme cooperation and a caste system.

Antibiotics do not appear helpful in preventing fluid buildup in children with ear infections
When prescribed to children with middle ear infections, antibiotics are not associated with a significant reduction in fluid buildup in the ear, according to a meta-analysis of previously published studies in the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Why recovery from flu may increase odds of bacterial infection
Successfully fighting off the flu can leave you more vulnerable than usual to other lung infections.

CD36 deficiency and age-related macular degeneration
In research published in this week's PLoS Medicine, Florian Sennlaub and colleagues show that CD36 deficiency leads to choroidal involution, a key feature of
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