Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 26, 2008
Drug for anemic cancer patients raises risk of death
Millions of cancer patients take drugs to boost their red blood cells and health when they become anemic after chemotherapy.

Killer military robots pose latest threat to humanity
A robotics expert at the University of Sheffield will today (February 27, 2008) issue stark warnings over the threat posed to humanity by new robot weapons being developed by powers worldwide.

Youngest patient worldwide to have auditory implant in the brain stem
A team at the University Hospital of Navarra have successfully operated on a 13 month-old girl from Murcia, who had been born deaf due to the lack of auditory nerves.

Brain stress system presents possible treatment target for alcohol dependence
A brain circuit that underlies feelings of stress and anxiety shows promise as a new therapeutic target for alcoholism, according to new studies by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Despite popularity, researcher finds not everyone can successfully learn through online courses
Since the 1990s, online courses have provided an opportunity for busy adults to continue their education by completing courses in the comfort of their own homes.

Research at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source reveals structure and behavior of collagen
The structure and behavior of one of the most common proteins in our bodies has been resolved at a level of detail never before seen, thanks to new research performed at the Advanced Photon Source at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

UT Southwestern researchers find depressed teens respond well to combination therapy
More than half of teenagers with the most debilitating forms of depression that do not respond to treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) show improvement after switching to a different medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and their colleagues in a multicenter study have found.

MBL develops infrastructure and portal for Encyclopedia of Life
A team at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole has successfully developed the

New method ranks quality of scientific journals by field
Worldwide, the number of scientists is increasing as is the number of scientific journals and published papers.

Galileo satellite GIOVE-B presented at ESA/ESTEC
Europe is building its own satellite navigation system, Galileo, which will deliver a new, advanced global civil positioning service for the benefit of citizens in Europe and throughout the world.

LSU researchers study coastal community bounce back
Two LSU researchers are taking what might be the most comprehensive approach ever to determine how some coastal communities bounce back from disaster.

Heart attack rates fall following national smoking bans
French researchers announced a striking 15 percent decrease in admissions of patients with myocardial infarction to emergency wards since the public ban on smoking came into effect last January.

Animal magnetism provides a sense of direction
Researchers have discovered that bats use a magnetic substance in their body called magnetite as an

Specialty European Pharma launches plenaxis in Germany
Plenaxis represents significant advancement in treating hormone responsive prostate cancer and offers patients fast and sustained control of disease symptoms.

Brain activity linked to the parental instinct
A possible brain basis for parental instinct is reported in this week's PLoS ONE.

INFORMS congratulates members elected to National Academy of Engineering
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today congratulated INFORMS members who were elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Minimally invasive fibroid treatment fares well in multicenter trial
A new multicenter trial found that uterine artery embolization is a good alternative to hysterectomy in women with symptomatic fibroids.

Researchers identify and shut down protein that fuels ovarian cancer
A protein that stimulates blood vessel growth worsens ovarian cancer, but its production can be stifled by a tiny bit of RNA wrapped in a fatty nanoparticle, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M.

Teens with treatment-resistant depression more likely to improve with combination therapy
Teens with difficult-to-treat depression who do not respond to a first antidepressant medication are more likely to get well if they switch to another antidepressant medication and add psychotherapy rather than just switching to another antidepressant, according to a large, multisite trial funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

What women think during their first pregnancy
Pregnant women who perceive having had a well-balanced relationship with their parents during their childhood will experience fewer difficulties in the transition to motherhood, as opposed to women whose relationship with their parents was characterized by unresolved anger or rejection, reveals a new study conducted at the University of Haifa.

Energy conference to highlight role of ethics, responsibility
As global energy consumption rises, the ethical stakes of environmental action -- or inaction -- may be rising with it.

NASA's Swift satellite images a galaxy ablaze with starbirth
Combining 39 individual frames taken over 11 hours of exposure time, NASA astronomers have created this ultraviolet mosaic of the nearby

NIH awards OHSU researcher $1.2 million to determine causes of, risk factors for pelvic floor injury
The National Institutes of Health grants will support this first-of-its-kind study using technology developed for neurophysiologists.

Voyage to Southern Ocean aims to study air-sea fluxes of greenhouse gases
Scientists will embark this week from Punta Arenas, Chile, on the tip of South America, to spend 42 days amid the high winds and waves of the Southern Ocean.

Drugs used for cancer-associated anemia linked with increased risk of blood clots, death
Treating anemia with a class of drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or in the lungs) and death among patients with cancer, according to an article in the Feb.

Adult stem cells may be beneficial for certain cardiovascular disorders and autoimmune diseases
A review of previously published research suggests that stem cells harvested from an adult's blood or marrow may provide treatment benefit to select patients for some autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disorders, according to an article in the Feb.

In jazz improv, large portion of brain's prefrontal region 'takes 5' to let creativity flow
Scientists have found that, when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly creative and spontaneous activity known as improvisation, a large region of the brain involved in monitoring one's performance is shut down, while a small region involved in organizing self-initiated thoughts and behaviors is highly activated.

Polluted prey causes wild birds to change their tune
Considerable attention has been paid to the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals in aquatic environments, but rather less attention has been given to routes of contamination on land.

Study looks at new bladder cancer therapy for patients unresponsive to standard treatment
As many as half of patients with superficial bladder cancer do not respond to the standard first-line chemotherapy placed into the bladder, according to current multicenter outcomes data.

Cell Culture Engineering
Since the 1980s, animal cell culture technology has become essential for the production of an ever-increasing number of human and veterinary biopharmaceuticals.

From detainee facility to health advocacy center: A new role for Guantanamo?
A new article suggests that the United States government should convert the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility in Cuba into a biomedical research institute dedicated to combating diseases of poverty.

From delicious to death: Understanding taste
Despite the significance of taste to both human gratification and survival, a basic understanding of this primal sense is still unfolding.

Breast cancer patients suffer considerable wage losses in first year after diagnosis
Canadian women diagnosed with early breast cancer lose, on average, more than a quarter of their typical income during the first 12 months after their diagnosis, according to a study published online Feb.

Switching medications, adding psychotherapy may help teens with ineffective depression medication
For adolescents with depression not responding to an initial treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, switching medications and adding cognitive behavioral therapy resulted in an improvement in symptoms, compared to just changing medications, according to a study in the Feb.

Destruction of Sumatra forests driving global climate change and species extinction
Turning just one Sumatran province's forests and peat swamps into pulpwood and palm oil plantations is generating more annual greenhouse gas emissions than the Netherlands and rapidly driving the province's elephants into extinction, a new study by WWF and partners has found.

AGU journal highlights -- Feb. 26, 2008
Articles in the Feb. 26 issue of Geophysical Reearch Letters include

Other highlights in the Feb. 26 JNCI
Also in the Feb. 26 JNCI are reports that blocking one protein can slow ovarian cancer growth and that personalized mailings do not increase the fraction of women who get regular mammograms, and a report and editorial on the most cost-effective screening approaches for cervical cancer.

Taking the fight against cancer to heart
Hormones produced by the heart eliminated human pancreatic cancer in more than three-quarters of the mice treated with the hormones and eliminated human breast cancer in two-thirds of the mice.

Unique 3-way partnership for ATV ground control
Shortly after its planned March 8 launch to the ISS, ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle will make the first-ever laser-guided docking in space.

Shining light on science's 'dark data:' New venture ensures a fuller scientific record
Not all scientific research leads to groundbreaking conclusions. Valuable research data all over the world is hidden away in lab drawers, unexposed to the light of day, and unused by the scientific community.

Combination vaccine protects monkeys from ebola and Marburg viruses
An experimental, combination vaccine against ebola and Marburg viruses using virus-like particles provides complete protection against infection in monkeys.

Creation of a new material capable of eliminating pollutants by the hydrocarbon industry
A research team of the University of Granada has produced a monolithic carbon aerogel which absorbs benzene, toluene or xylene.

New standards needed for radiation therapy
Modern radiation techniques result in substantial variation between the prescribed dose and the actual dose of radiation delivered to the tumor, according to a study published online Feb.

Arctic seed vault opens doors for 100 million seeds
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened today on a remote island in the Arctic Circle, receiving inaugural shipments of 100 million seeds that originated in over 100 countries.

Centuries-old Maya Blue mystery finally solved
Anthropologists from Wheaton College and The Field Museum have discovered how the ancient Maya produced an unusual, widely studied blue pigment that was used in offerings, pottery, murals and other contexts across Mesoamerica from A.D.

Children's Hospital 1 of 10 pediatric hospitals in US selected to study liver disease in kids
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been selected to join an effort among select centers in the United States and Canada to collect and study information necessary to understand the possible causes and treatment of a destructive liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Nanoemulsion vaccines show increasing promise
A nasal vaccine made of ultra-small particles of soybean oil, alcohol, water and detergents has produced effective immunity against smallpox and HIV in mice, two new studies by University of Michigan researchers show.

Uncharged organic molecule can bind negatively charged ions
Indiana University Bloomington chemists have designed an organic molecule that binds negatively charged ions, a feat they hope will lead to the development of a whole new molecular toolbox for biologists, chemists and medical researchers who want to remove chlorine, fluorine and other negatively charged ions from their solutions.

Overtaking assistant could help prevent many traffic-related deaths
Overtaking on two-lane roads is easier if drivers use what is known as an overtaking assistant, a system which indicates when it is safe to overtake.

Out-of-whack protein may boost Parkinson's
University of Florida scientists studying rats induced to display a form of Parkinson's disease discovered that a protein commonly found in brain cells can be toxic if -- at one pinpoint location in its amino acid structure -- it lacks a chemical compound called a phosphate.

Bacterial 'battle for survival' leads to new antibiotic
MIT biologists have provoked soil-dwelling bacteria into producing a new type of antibiotic by pitting them against another strain of bacteria in a battle for survival.

Supercomputer unleashes virtual 9.0 megaquake in Pacific Northwest
On Jan. 26, 1700, at about 9 p.m. local time, the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the ocean in the Pacific Northwest suddenly moved, slipping some 60 feet eastward beneath the North American plate in a monster quake of approximately magnitude 9, setting in motion large tsunamis that struck the coast of North America and traveled to the shores of Japan.

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

Spread of bird flu strains slowed at some borders
Several strains of the bird flu virus that raged across southern China were blocked from entering Thailand and Vietnam, UC Irvine researchers have discovered.

Yale scientists create artificial 'cells' that boost the immune response to cancer
Using artificial cell-like particles, Yale biomedical engineers have devised a rapid and efficient way to produce a 45-fold enhancement of T cell activation and expansion, an immune response important for a patient's ability to fight cancer and infectious diseases, according to an advance on line report in Molecular Therapy.

New U of C research examines commonly used toxin
New research at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology suggests that Botulinium type-A toxin passes easily to surrounding muscles and is more difficult to control once injected than many people suspect.

Federal toxics disclosure law could help inform public of nanotechnology risks
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is releasing a first-time legal analysis that finds a key federal toxics reporting statute could be applied to production and commercialization of nanotechnology, providing the public with more information about these revolutionary -- yet still potentially risky -- technologies.

Invasion of the cane toads
Researchers discover that cane toads invaded different regions of Australia at dramatically different rates.

The human and economic cost of heart disease in Europe
New figures published this month, highlighted the significant differences in cardiovascular disease across Europe.

Penn researchers engineer first system of human nerve-cell tissue
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have demonstrated that living human nerve cells can be engineered into a network that could one day be used for transplants to repair damaged to the nervous system.

ESRC supports new research into population change and climate change
Today sees the latest new funding announcement by the Economic and Social Research Council, including funding for two new research centers and continuing support for another.

Facial asymmetry persists despite surgery to correct congenital deformity
Adults and teens that underwent surgery as infants to correct a congenital condition -- known as unilateral coronal synostosis -- that causes the forehead and face to appear uneven still have a degree of facial asymmetry years later, according to new research led by a Hasbro Children's Hospital surgeon.

Federal poverty line grossly underestimates the needs of California's seniors says new UCLA report
The new Elder Economic Security Standard Index for California, developed at UCLA, shows that the Federal Poverty Line, used to determine income eligibility for most public programs, covers less than half of the basic costs experienced by adults age 65 and older in the state.

Does artificial intelligence help clinicians to recognize atrophic gastritis with thyroid disease?
An Italian study shows artificial intelligence tools can help the physician in predicting the presence of thyroid disease in patients with atrophic gastritis. 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