Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 21, 2008
New book gives a human face to children with congenital heart disease
A new photodocumentary volume titled

USC awarded $3.9M for lab under the sea
With a $3.9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, USC researcher Katrina Edwards will lead a first-of-its-kind drilling expedition to study subseafloor life.

Zoologists challenge longstanding theory that 'eyespots' mimic the eyes of predators' enemies
Zoologists challenge longstanding theory that

Salamanders, headwater streams critical in food chain
A collaborative study, with MU graduate student Bill Peterman, recently published in the journal Freshwater Biology, revealed the biomass (total mass of an organism in an area) of the black-bellied salamander far exceeds any previous estimates, and the contribution of the species and its habitat may be critical in the food chain.

Poorer countries need more evidence to shape their policies to transform human resources for health
There is not enough evidence upon which middle- and low-income countries can draw upon to guide their policies on human resources for health.

AACR's Seventh Annual Landon Awards
Scientists whose discoveries have led to fundamental advances in the science and treatment of cancer are the recipients of two prestigious international prizes offered by the Kirk A. and Dorothy P.

Mechanism discovered in worm defecation identifies potentially widespread cell-to-cell communication
The focus of two recent Nobel prizes, a species of roundworm has made possible another advance in the understanding of how cells talk to one another.

NASA co-sponsors ocean voyage to probe climate-relevant gases
More than 30 scientists will embark next week on a research mission to the Southern Ocean.

JCI table of contents: Feb. 21, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Feb.

Genetic tags reveal secrets of memories' staying power in mice
A better understanding of how memory works is emerging from a newfound ability to link a learning experience in a mouse to consequent changes in the inner workings of its neurons.

By color-coding atoms, new Cornell electron microscope promises big advance in materials analysis
A new electron microscope recently installed in Cornell's Duffield Hall is enabling scientists for the first time to form images that uniquely identify individual atoms in a crystal and see how those atoms bond to one another.

Kidney donor age linked to aortic siffening
Transplantation of kidneys from older donors is followed by increased stiffening of the recipient's aorta -- which may help to explain the higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death in patients receiving kidneys from

Novel link between excessive nutrient levels and insulin resistance
For quite some time now, scientists suspected the so-called hexosamine pathway -- a small side business of the main sugar processing enterprise inside a cell -- to be involved in the development of insulin resistance.

Edinburgh astronomers deliver 'origins' camera
Today the Science and Technology Facility Council's UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh shipped its biggest and most complex ever instrument.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to overcome financial constraints to optimize health worker mix
To optimize the distribution and mix of health workers, policy interventions to address their pay and incomes are needed.

Task shifting of anti-retroviral treatment delivery is not a cure-all solution
Task shifting of HIV antiretroviral treatment delivery in sub-Saharan Africa -- i.e., delegation of parts of that strategy to nurses or lay workers -- is welcome, but cannot be considered in isolation.

Ohio State researchers win important global prize
Ohio State University glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and climatologist Ellen Mosley-Thompson are among this year's winners of the prestigious Dan David Prize.

1 million trillion 'flops' per second targeted by new Institute for Advanced Architectures
Preparing groundwork for an exascale computer is the mission of the new Institute for Advanced Architectures, launched jointly at Sandia and Oak Ridge national laboratories.

Journey to the center of the Earth -- Imperial scientists explain tectonic plate motions
The first direct evidence of how and when tectonic plates move into the deepest reaches of the Earth is published in Nature today.

National Lung Cancer partnership
The National Lung Cancer Partnership announced today they are joining three distinguished organizations: the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer in continuing the mission to increase opportunities for lung cancer researchers by co-sponsoring new lung cancer research grants.

A device that measures optimum state of an organ prior to transplanting has been patented
Ikerlan-IK4 has patented a device that enables the verification of the optimum conditions for a human organ prior to its transplant.

Attack on computer memory reveals vulnerability of widely used security systems
Researchers have demonstrated a new class of computer attacks that compromise the contents of

IOF hails WHO report and FRAXtm Web site as milestones in osteoporosis prevention and treatment
The International Osteoporosis Foundation has welcomed the launch of the World Health Organization technical report

Immune deficiency and balance disorder result from single gene defect
A genetic defect that causes a severe immune deficiency in humans may also produce balance disorders, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Iowa, the Jackson Laboratory and East Carolina University.

Gladstone and UCSF scientists reactivate immune
Researchers have discovered a way to reactivate the thymus to create new T-cells in adults with HIV.

Jekyll-Hyde neutron star discovered by researchers
Like something out of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel, researchers at NASA and McGill University discovered an otherwise normal pulsar which violently transformed itself temporarily into a magnetar, a stellar metamorphosis never observed before.

New understanding of how big molecules bind will lead to better drugs, synthetic organic materials
Biological and medical research is on the threshold of a new era based on better understanding of how large organic molecules bind together and recognize each other.

Wiley-Blackwell renews carbon neutral commitment
John Wiley & Sons Inc., today announced that it is renewing the commitment to neutralize the carbon impact of its worldwide operations that were formerly part of Blackwell Publishing, which Wiley acquired in February 2007.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Atherosclerosis solution is likely many years away
While advances have been made in understanding how genetics, metabolism of HDL and LDL cholesterol, the inflammatory process, blood clots, and blood pressure regulation all play a part in the atherosclerosis disease process, a solution is likely many years away and will require huge -- but worthwhile -- investments of time, money and collaboration across fields of study.

University of Denver bullying victimization study
A University of Denver study shows a curriculum-based bullying prevention program reduced incidents of bullying by 20 percent, twice as much as in the study control group.

Researchers explore the antidepressant effects of ketamine
Drug treatments for depression can take many weeks for the beneficial effects to emerge.

Paving the way for green roads
The new Recycled Materials Resource Center at the University of New Hampshire is working to establish a green roads program that develops criteria for what makes a roadway green.

Richer countries can no longer be allowed to exploit health resources from poorer countries
The Lancet's lead editorial in this week's Human Resources for Health Special Issue focuses on the crisis faced by sub-Saharan Africa, and says that

Moderate level of aerobic fitness may lower stroke risk
A moderate level of aerobic fitness can significantly reduce stroke risk for men and women, according to a large, long-running study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2008.

Astronomers discover largest-ever dark matter structures spanning 270M light-years
A University of British Columbia astronomer with an international team has discovered the largest structures of dark matter ever seen.

Comparison of venlafaxine and SSRIs in the treatment of depression
There are numerous antidepressant medications currently on the market, but sadly, many patients still experience the debilitating symptoms of depression even with treatment.

Daytime dozing linked to increased stroke risk in elderly
Regular daytime dozing forewarns of a significantly increased risk of stroke in older Americans, researchers reported at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2008.

Lack of political will and the subordination of women are major barriers to tackling AIDS
Denial, myths, complacency, lack of political will and the subordination of women are major obstacles in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

UC study: New devices less effective in thwarting brain aneurysm recurrence
A retrospective analysis of 100 patients suffering from a ruptured brain aneurysm has found that expensive new coiling devices are no more effective than bare platinum coils at preventing aneurysms from recurring.

Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research recognizes Axel Ullrich
Axel Ullrich, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2008 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research for his pioneering work in the translation of genomics-based discoveries into novel approaches for cancer therapy.

Children who do not get enough sleep sustain more injuries
Lack of adequate sleep can lead to increased injuries among preschool children, new research shows.

Astronomy missions involving CU-Boulder selected for further study by NASA
NASA has awarded the University of Colorado at Boulder $1 million to lead the study of a space observatory to find Earth-like planets in distant solar systems and open the search for life outside our solar system.

Purging the plantain pests in Africa
A tiny pest threatening the staple diet of millions in Africa could soon be eradicated in a project announced today, bringing together plant experts from Leeds and Uganda.

Deficiency in the protein MBL2 linked to increased cystic fibrosis severity
Although it is known that mutations in the CFTR gene cause the hereditary disorder cystic fibrosis disease, variations in other genes between individuals with CF modify the severity of the disease.

Combined immunosuppression therapy better than conventional treatment for Crohn's disease
Combined immunosuppression therapy is more effective than conventional treatment using corticosteroids for inducing remission in and management of patients recently diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

A regular dip could benefit fibromyalgia sufferers
Patients suffering from fibromyalgia could benefit significantly from regular exercise in a heated swimming pool, a study published today in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy shows.

Computers could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease
Computers are able to diagnose Alzheimer's disease faster and more accurately than experts, according to research published in the journal Brain.

Space tourism to rocket in this century, researchers predict
Seeking an out-of-this-world travel destination? Outer space will rocket into reality as

Genetic mutation found in peripheral artery disease
A tiny handful of genes appears to hold important clues to understanding why some patients with peripheral artery disease face high rates of amputation and early death while others are spared those consequences, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Modified electron microscope identifies atoms
A new type of scanning transmission electron microscope recently installed at Cornell is enabling scientists for the first time to form images that uniquely identify individual atoms and see how those atoms bond to one another.

Catalysis discovery takes aim at NOx emissions
A discovery in molecular chemistry may help remove a barrier to widespread use of diesel and other fuel-efficient

Patients' relatives are ignored by the health system and suffer emotional stress
A research work carried out at the Department of Social Anthropology of the University of Granada reveals that Spanish hospitals are not adapted to caregivers who look after their sick relatives.

Major scientific push to tackle agricultural productivity and food security in developing world
£7 million of new research is being launched today to tackle some of the most damaging and widespread pests, diseases and harsh environmental conditions which can devastate crop yields across the developing world.

Premature births linked to physical abuse
Premature birth can have serious effects on the development and growth of children.

Biochemists reveal details of mysterious bacterial microcompartments
UCLA biochemists have answered an important question about the structure of microcompartments -- mysterious molecular machines that seem to be present in a wide variety of pathogens and other bacteria.

Active recruitment of health workers from sub-Saharan Africa should be viewed as a crime
Active recruitment of health workers from African countries is a systematic and widespread problem throughout Africa and a cause of social alarm; the practice should, therefore, be viewed as an international crime.

Powerful explosions suggest neutron star missing link
Observations from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have revealed that the youngest known pulsing neutron star has thrown a temper tantrum.

Researcher investigates new developments in laser and sensor technology
Scientists hope that research being conducted in Binghamton University's Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy will create lasers that work at wavelengths currently inaccessible.

Speaking of politics
The Democracy Fellows Project at Wake Forest University helped students learn a new way of talking about politics without the polarizing debate that turns so many young people off about politics.

Expressive writing appears to change thoughts and feelings about cancer
Expressive writing -- writing about one's deepest thoughts and feelings -- may help change the way cancer patients think and feel about their disease.

Guidelines for evaluation of psychological side-effects of brain injury
In her Ph.D., defended at the University of the Basque Country, Maria Luisa de Francisco Maiz provided a clinical-forensic evaluation of brain injuries and also a study on the variables that influence the length of

In a swashbuckling and daring new article for the Journal of Political Economy,

The light and dark of Venus
Venus Express has revealed a planet of extraordinarily changeable and extremely large-scale weather.

Safer and more effective way to treat Crohn's disease
An international research study, published in the Lancet, has thrown into question the current method of treating Crohn's disease -- opening the door to a safer and more effective treatment option for sufferers of the chronic disease.

Vitamin E may increase tuberculosis risk in male smokers with high vitamin C intake
Six-year vitamin E supplementation increased tuberculosis risk by in male smokers who had high dietary vitamin C intake, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Empty nest syndrome may not be bad after all, study finds
A new study by a University of Missouri professor explored the differences in how mothers and fathers interacted with their young adult children. 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