Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 17, 2008
What gets a female's attention -- at least a songbird's
Male songbirds produce a subtly different tune when they are courting a female than when they are singing on their own.

Problems getting around in old age? Blame your brain
New research shows how well people get around and keep their balance in old age is linked to the severity of changes happening in their brains.

Gecko's 'active' tail key to preventing falls and aerial maneuvers
While recent research has focused on geckos' toes as the key to climbing walls and hanging from ceilings, UC-Berkeley biologists have found that their tails play a critical role in preventing falls after a slip.

Understanding teen attitudes critical to quit message
Teen attitudes to smoking need to be re-examined if anti-smoking health campaigns are to be effective, according to Hunter researchers.

Researchers create next-generation software to identify complex cyber network attacks
Researchers in George Mason University's Center for Secure Information Systems have developed new software that can reduce the impact of cyber attacks by identifying the possible vulnerability paths through an organization's networks.

Severe West Nile infection could lead to lifetime of symptoms
Most people who suffer severe infection with West Nile virus still experience symptoms years after infection and many may continue to experience these symptoms for the rest of their lives according to research presented today at the 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

BU's School of Law, Public Health to hold conference on the future of health law
The Future of Health law is the subject of this year's Pike Conference, co-sponsored by Boston University's Schools of Law, and Public Health.

Bonn scientists discover new hemoglobin type
Scientists at the University of Bonn have discovered a new rare type of hemoglobin.

Body mass index higher among bariatric surgery patients with 2 genetic variations
The combination of two obesity-related genetic variations may be associated with an increased body mass index among severely obese patients undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Asia's odd-ball antelope faces migration crisis
Take a deer's body, attach a camel's head and add a Jimmy Durante nose, and you have a saiga -- the odd-ball antelope with the enormous schnoz that lives on the isolated steppes of Central Asia.

Stevens' College of Arts and Letters to host annual symposium on Science, Technology and Values
The College of Arts and Letters at Stevens Institute of Technology will host an annual symposium that will bring together scholars from around the world to discuss various issues at the intersection of science, technology, and values.

Researchers discover how stealthy HIV protein gets into cells
Scientists have known for more than a decade that a protein associated with the HIV virus is good at crossing cell membranes, but they didn't know how it worked.

New insights into the diversity of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agents
Researchers from the United Kingdom and France have identified four separate biochemical subgroups in a selection of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Harald zur Hausen receives American Association for Cancer Research Lifetime Achievement Award
Harald zur Hausen, D.Sc., M.D., internationally recognized for his research demonstrating the role of human papillomavirus as the etiological agent of cervical cancer, will receive the American Association of Cancer Research Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of his life's work devoted to the study of the viruses and cancer.

Chikungunya virus and maternal infection; and more
The articles titled

Breast cancer in black women may be connected to neighborhood conditions
Researchers at the University of Chicago are studying possible connections between living in disadvantaged neighborhoods and the development of early onset breast cancer in a path-breaking project that is the first to use animal models to help determine what the biological factors might be behind the development of certain forms of breast cancer.

USP convention releases new edition of Pharmacists' Pharmacopeia
The US Pharmacopeial Convention today announced the release of a new edition of the Pharmacists' Pharmacopeia, a comprehensive resource containing critical information for advancing the practice of safe and effective pharmacy and veterinary compounding.

Flip-chart book translates complicated medical procedures into easy-to-understand language
Patients and medical staff can now be on the same page with

Tightwads outnumber spendthrifts
We all have a friend who can't seem to save, constantly splurging on new shoes or the latest gadgets.

Holidays -- a right or a privilege?
Holiday memories from childhood are often some of the strongest to remain with us into adult life.

Romanian community provides insight into genetic factors associated with vitiligo
An isolated, inbred Romanian community has a higher than average frequency of the skin disease vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases, suggesting a genetic variation that may indicate susceptibility to the condition in a broader population, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

From Green Luddite to Techspressive: The ideology of consumer technology
When people line up to buy a new iPhone, what is it that they are really buying?

Prize or patent? Innovative ideas for funding medical drug development and access
A March 20 forum at UN headquarters, New York, will examine the use of monetary prizes as an alternative to binding patents as a means of encouraging medical drug development.

Time isn't money: Study finds that we spend the resources differently
Economists usually treat time like money -- as another scarce resource that people spend to achieve certain ends.

Resurgence of syphilis in high-income countries means retraining of doctors is necessary
The resurgence of syphilis in high-income countries, after low incidence for the past two decades, has left many doctors unfamiliar with the many manifestations of the disease.

New insight into the genetics of brain tumor formation
In a G&D paper published online ahead of its April 1 print publication date, Dr.

NASA satellite measures pollution from east Asia to North America
In a new NASA study, researchers taking advantage of improvements in satellite sensor capabilities offer the first measurement-based estimate of the amount of pollution from East Asian forest fires, urban exhaust and industrial production that makes its way to western North America.

Algorithm finds the network -- for genes or the Internet
In a recent paper in Physical Review E, Weixiong Zhang, Ph.D., Washington University associate professor of computer science and engineering and of genetics, and his Ph.D. student, Jianhua Ruan, published an algorithm, a recipe of computer instructions, to automatically discover communities and their subtle structures in various networks.

First 'rule' of evolution suggests that life is destined to become more complex
Scientists have revealed what may well be the first pervasive

Genetic counselors turn to unconventional counseling to meet demand for genetic testing
Imagine receiving genetic test results for a disease you could develop later in life without having anyone with whom to discuss your options for managing the risk.

Curbing teen drinking difficult in urban areas
A prevention program did little to keep Chicago middle schoolers from drinking or using drugs, despite its prior success in rural Minnesota, where the program reduced alcohol use 20 to 30 percent, report University of Florida and University of Minnesota researchers.

Zebrafish enables cell regeneration studies to help understand, treat human disease
One aquarium fish's uncanny ability to regenerate essentially any cell type has given scientists a way to mimic cell loss that occurs in diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes then watch how the fish make more of them.

When does context matter in product evaluations?
In most real world settings, consumers encounter and evaluate products in mixed environments -- aspirin and deodorant shelved side-by-side at a pharmacy, or an ad for a tropical vacation next to fashion spread in a magazine.

Medical College of Wisconsin discovery alters longstanding concept of fixed protein structure
The thousands of proteins found in nature are simply strings of amino acids, assembled by genes, and scientists have long believed that they automatically fold themselves into uniquely fixed, 3-dimensional shapes to fire the engine of life.

Renewable energy heats tomato greenhouse
The official opening of a new environmentally friendly greenhouse of Les Serres du Saint-Laurent was done by Jacques Gourdes, Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, on behalf the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honorable Gary Lunn.

Fake diamonds help jet engines take the heat
Engineers are developing a technology to coat jet engine turbine blades with zirconium dioxide -- commonly called zirconia, the stuff of synthetic diamonds -- to combat high-temperature corrosion.

Wine labels with animals: Why they work
Traditional brand research argues that logos should be highly relevant to the product they represent in order to be successful.

Improved foam for varicose veins found to be safe in preliminary results from phase II trial
A small group of patients with a common heart defect who were treated for varicose veins with an injectable microfoam experienced no neurological, visual or cardiac changes as a result of the treatment, according to preliminary results from a phase II trial.

New portrait of Earth shows land cover as never before
A new global portrait taken from space details Earth's land cover with a resolution never before obtained.

Novel spots found on Jupiter
Among luminous spots on Jupiter akin to Earth's Northern lights, scientists have observed a new type of spot.

Foodborne outbreaks from leafy greens on rise
Over the past 35 years the proportion of foodborne outbreaks linked to the consumption of leafy green vegetables has substantially increased and that increase can not be completely attributed to Americans eating more salads according to research presented today at the 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Mercury's shifting, rolling past
Patterns of scalloped-edged cliffs or lobate scarps on Mercury's surface are thrust faults that are consistent with the planet shrinking and cooling with time.

Carbon Disclosure Project and Merrill Lynch enter 3-year global partnership
The Carbon Disclosure Project, a collaboration of 385 institutional investors with assets under management of US $57 trillion, announce a three-year global partnership with Merrill Lynch & Co.

Fungi can tell us about the origin of sex chromosomes
Fungi do not have sexes, just so-called mating types. A new study being published today in the prestigious journal PLoS shows that there are great similarities between the parts of DNA that determine the sex of plants and animals and the parts of DNA that determine mating types in certain fungi.

Controlling a sea of information
Curators at one of the world's most widely used biological databases, The Arabidopsis Information Resource, or TAIR, have joined forces with the journal Plant Physiology, to solve the

Work with power grids leads to cell biology discovery
Gene therapy is a promising experimental technique for the prevention and treatment of disease.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for March 18, 2008, issue
The March 18 issue of the Annal of Internal Medicine includes

Loss of egg yolk genes in mammals and the origin of lactation and placentation
The major egg yolk genes, those that express vitellogenins, appear to have progressively lost their functionality during mammalian evolution, probably due to the emergence of the mammalian-specific developmental nourishment resources, lactation and placentation.

Does touch affect flavor? Study finds that how a container feels can affect taste
Does coffee in a flimsy cup taste worse than coffee in a more substantial cup?

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- March 12, 2008
The American Chemical Society's News Service Weekly PressPac contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

MIT: Rx for high drug prices
The mounting US drug price crisis can be contained and eventually reversed by separating drug discovery from drug marketing and by establishing a non-profit company to oversee funding for new medicines, according to two MIT experts on the pharmaceutical industry.

New study: Pycnogenol improves memory in elderly
New research accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, demonstrates Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, improves the memory of senior citizens.

New FDA drug trial regulations could strangle life out of new antibiotics market
New drug trial regulations proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration could discourage pharmaceutical companies from developing new antibiotics for both serious and mild infections.

Study outlines risk of treatment-resistant infection following facelift surgery
About one-half percent of patients undergoing facelift surgery at one outpatient surgical center between 2001 and 2007 developed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, according to a report in the March/April issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

On the trail of rogue genetically modified pathogens
Bacteria can be used to engineer genetic modifications, thereby providing scientists with a tool to combat many challenges in areas from food production to drug discovery.

Eco-friendly pyrotechnics
In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Klapötke and his co-author Georg Steinhauser give an overview of how nitrogen-rich compounds and other new strategies could help to limit the polluting effects of pyrotechnics.

Surprising discovery from first large-scale analysis of biodiversity and biogeography of viruses
Viruses and bacterial viruses are among the planet's most abundant life forms.

Neighborhoods play key role in how much people exercise, study says
The neighborhoods people live in can help inspire -- or discourage -- their residents to exercise and keep physically active, new research suggests.

Key to using local resources for biomass may include waste
The Northwest can have a sizeable biofuels industry based primarily on local resources -- if non-traditional feedstocks, such as municipal waste, and new conversion technologies are used, according to a report issued today by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

USP announces revised glycerin monograph
The US Pharmacopeial Convention today announced a revised Glycerin monograph in the United States Pharmacopeia, an official compendium of the United States.

Home workers fear being 'out of sight, out of mind'
Working from home reduces stress in office workers but leads to fears about career progression, according to new research announced Tuesday, March 18.

Blood disease protects against malaria in an unexpected way
Children with an inherited blood disorder called alpha thalassemia make unusually small red blood cells that mostly cause a mild form of anemia.

Chemical engineers discover new way to control particle motion
Chemical engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a new way to control the motion of fluid particles through tiny channels, potentially aiding the development of micro- and nano-scale technologies such as drug delivery devices, chemical and biological sensors, and components for miniaturized biological

Egyptian foot care center recieves International Diabetes Federation grant
International Diabetes Federation's translation grant program, BRIDGES announces grant recipient in Egypt.

Hissing cockroaches are popular, but they also host potent mold allergens
Their gentle nature, large size, odd sounds and low-maintenance care have made Madagascar hissing cockroaches popular educational tools and pets for years.

Clovis-age overkill didn't take out California's flightless sea duck
Clovis-age natives, often noted for overhunting during their brief dominance in a primitive North America, deserve clemency in the case of California's flightless sea duck.

Like sweets? You're more like a fruit fly than you think ...
According to researchers at the Monell Center, fruit flies are more like humans in their responses to many sweet tastes than are almost any other species, including some species of monkeys.

Dr. John Polanyi wins Canada's most prestigious science award
Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, on behalf of the Honorable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Dr.

Botox for newborns
Botox, is best known as one of the most commonly used molecules to reduce wrinkles.

NYU chemist Seeman recognized for founding, establishing the field of structural DNA nanotechnology
New York University chemistry professor Nadrian Seeman has received the American Chemical Society's Nicholas Medal for his founding and establishing the field of structural DNA nanotechnology.

Trauma patients likely to experience moderately severe pain 1 year after injuries
Most patients have moderately severe pain resulting from their injuries one year after sustaining major trauma, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Testicular cancer gauge often not used
A standard part of testicular cancer care isn't used in more than half of all patients who have the condition, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found.

The big gamble
In an article on the ongoing banking crisis recently published in the Springer journal International Economics and Economic Policy, he writes that the leading finance centers are responsible for the shocking international crisis characterized by a loss of confidence in major markets.

Researchers develop method to rapidly ID optimal drug cocktails
UCLA researchers have developed a feedback control scheme that can search for the most optimal and effective drug combinations to treat various diseases, including cancers and infections, a discovery that could significantly facilitate clinical drug cocktail trials.

An anti-inflammatory response to the vegan diet
Rheumatoid arthritis patients who eat a gluten-free vegan diet could be better protected against heart attacks and stroke.

Online technical support forums build social capital
Consumers in search of product related information and technical support often turn to virtual communities for help.

National Lung Cancer Partnership announces winner of 2008 Career Development Award
National Lung Cancer Partnership is pleased to announce that Adam Marcus, Ph.D., of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University is the winner of the organization's 2007 Career Development Award.

Making protected areas pay biodiversity dividends
Current classifications of IUCN protected areas are based on management objectives.

Study examines changes in quality of life after head and neck cancer treatment
In the year following their first treatment, patients with head and neck cancer report declines in their physical quality of life but improvements in their mental health quality of life, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

National Lung Cancer Partnership and LUNGevity Foundation
National Lung Cancer Partnership, in partnership with the LUNGevity Foundation, is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual research grant competitions.

London's HIV epidemic was driven by clusters of sexual contacts
The rapid growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in London during the late 1990s was driven in part by transmission of the AIDS virus within clusters of sexual contacts, with individuals frequently passing the virus to others within months after becoming infected themselves, according to research published in PLoS Medicine by Andrew Leigh Brown and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Younger age, involvement on neck or arms associated with abnormal scarring after burn injury
Sex, age, burn site, number of surgical procedures and the type of skin graft are associated with abnormal scarring following burns, according to a report in the March/April 2008 issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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