Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 02, 2008
Treatment improves walking ability of Parkinson's patients
The use of electrical impulses to stimulate weak or paralyzed muscles, called functional electrical stimulation, is often used to help stroke or multiple sclerosis patients to walk.

Large-scale experiments needed to predict global change
Ecosystems are constantly exchanging materials through the movement of air in the atmosphere and water in lakes and rivers.

LIGO observations probe the dynamics of the crab pulsar
The search for gravitational waves has revealed new information about the core of one of the most famous objects in the sky: the Crab Pulsar in the Crab Nebula.

NWO/Spinoza Prize for literature, microbiology, physics and medicine
On June 2, 2008, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research announced which four researchers will receive the NWO/Spinoza Prize for 2008.

New treatment combination proves safe, effective for head and neck cancer patients
The addition of cetuximab to chemotherapy may benefit patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer, according to a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute phase II study.

Astronomers weigh the coldest brown dwarfs with astronomy's sharpest eyes
Astronomers have used ultrasharp images obtained with the Keck Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope to determine for the first time the masses of the coldest class of

Human Genomics and Proteomics
New open access journal affiliates with FINDbase to further enable the practice of personalized medicine.

Unravelling the mystery of the kitty litter parasite in marine mammals
Researchers at California Polytechnic State University have discovered what may be a clue to the mystery of why marine mammals around the world are succumbing to a parasite that is typically only associated with cats.

CrossFire Beilstein expands content with multi-step reactions
From June 2008, CrossFire Beilstein will incorporate multi-step reactions into its database.

For barn swallows, feathers make the man, says CU-Boulder study
A new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder has shown the testosterone of male North American barn swallows skyrocketed early in the breeding season when their breast colors were artificially enhanced by researchers, indicating the clothes -- or in this case, the feathers -- make the man.

Study: Sad children out-perform happy children in attention-to-detail tasks
Psychologists at the University of Virginia and the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom) have conducted experimental research that contrasts with the belief that happy children are the best learners.

Earthworm detectives provide genetic clues for dealing with soil pollution
The humble earthworm provides a new sensitive and detailed picture of what is going on in our contaminated soil ecosystems.

Western US cordillera expert honored in new GSA book
The Geological Society of America presents a new volume focusing on ophiolites, arcs, and batholiths in the western US cordillera in celebration of the outstanding contributions of Cliff Hopson to earth science, teaching, and student mentoring.

Aggression between nursing-home residents more common than widely believed, studies find
When people hear about elder abuse in nursing homes, they usually think of staff members victimizing residents.

Friends by chance?
Rather than picking our friends based on intentional choice and common values and interests, our friendships may be based on more superficial factors like proximity or group assignments.

New method of managing risk in pregnancy leads to healthier newborns, better outcomes for moms
Penn researchers have found an alternative method for obstetric care that leads not only to healthier newborns, but better outcomes for moms as well.

Complex dynamics underlie bark beetle eruptions
Biological interactions involving fungi as well as trees and competing insects drive bark beetle outbreaks.

JCI online early table of contents: June 2, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, June 2, 2008, in the JCI, including: Molecular changes in brain fluid give insight into brain-damaging disease; It's not a level playing field, your genes determine your levels of glucose; Pinning down a cause of disease in a model of psoriasis; Linking genes to decreased survival in lung cancer patients; and others.

Evolution of an imprinted domain in mammals
A new paper published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology investigates the evolution of genomic imprinting in a specific region of the mammalian genome.

Is tap water safe for expectant mothers?
Drinking water disinfected by chlorine while pregnant may increase the risk of having children with heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects, according to a study published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health.

More than sunblock required to protect kids while mowing lawns
Protecting children during summer activities conjures up thoughts of bike helmets, knee pads and sunblock.

Discovery of new family of genetic mutations involved in inflammatory intestinal disease
The discovery of new genetic mutations involved in inflammatory intestinal disorders could lead to a better understanding of these common conditions, two scientists told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics today.

Heart of the Crab Pulsar probed -- first direct look into the core of a neutron star
New information about the heart of one of the most famous objects in the sky -- the Crab Pulsar in the Crab Nebula -- has been revealed by an international team of scientists searching for gravitational waves.

Mouse model developed at UT Southwestern mimics hyperglycemia, aids in diabetes research
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have genetically engineered a laboratory mouse in which pancreatic beta cells can regenerate after being induced to die.

Kinship care more beneficial than foster care
Children removed from their homes after reports of maltreatment have significantly fewer behavior problems three years after placement with relatives than if they are put into foster care, according to new research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Injuries to high school baseball players becoming more serious
Although the overall rate of high school baseball-related injuries has decreased within the last 10 years, the severity of injuries that occur has increased, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Weizmann Institute scientists find new 'quasiparticles'
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated, for the first time, the existence of

Recent developments at Burnham Institute
The following contains news about recent research developments at the Burnham Institute.

New, flexible computers use displays with any shape
The shape of things to come in the computer world will be anything but flat, predicts Queen's University Computing professor Roel Vertegaal, who is now developing prototypes of these new

Genes may determine which smoking cessation treatment works best
Kicking the habit may soon become easier for the nation's 45 million smokers.

USC researchers identify gene that regulates glucose levels
In an effort to understand how genes work, a collaborative study which includes the University of Southern California has identified a gene that regulates glucose levels.

Study finds circumcision safe in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men
Adult circumcision is safe in HIV-infected men without advanced HIV disease, according to research published in PLoS Medicine.

Mouse ovaries and testes age in unique ways
Aging leads to large changes in gene activity in the ovaries of mice, but only limited changes in testes, according to research published in the open-access journal, BMC Biology.

Physicists at CCNY determine density limit for randomly packed spherical materials
The problem of how many identical-sized spheres can be randomly packed into a container has challenged mathematicians for centuries.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- May 28, 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.

Weizmann Institute scientists show quantum systems could flout physics law
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have shown how quantum systems might disobey a hard and fast rule of physics: While an ensemble of small systems in a larger heat bath should eventually reach thermal equilibrium, repeated measuring of quantum systems could interfere with the process, causing them to heat further or lose energy to the heat bath.

New data show patients using AVONEX reported less sick leave and short-term disability costs
Results from an analysis assessing the differences in health benefits costs and lost time among employees suffering from multiple sclerosis being treated with injectable disease modifying therapies were presented and announced by Biogen Idec as poster presentations at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center annual meeting in Denver, May 28-31, 2008.

A genetic marker for nearsightedness? Update on vitamins and AMD
The June 2008 issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, includes a groundbreaking study on genetic factors and nearsightedness, a cautionary tale on age-related macular degeneration patients' vitamin use and good news for people who have had an acute attack of optic neuritis.

2007 chemistry graduates find job market healthy, C&EN reports
The percentage of 2007 chemistry graduates with full-time jobs as of early last October was relatively high, extending an upturn in employment rates of the past several years, according to the June 2 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
A led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are an increasingly large part of children and teens' diets.

Improved foster care reduces risk of adult mental and physical illness, study finds
Alumni of private foster care programs have lower rates of mental and physical disorders when compared with alumni of public foster care programs.

Adverse events in hospitals occur 3 times more among patients with communications problems
Preventable adverse events in hospitals occur three times more often among patients with communication problems, such as deafness, blindness, psychiatric disorders and multiple health issues or comorbidities, found researchers in this study of nearly 2,400 patient records from 20 hospitals in Quebec.

BP funds energy scholarships for K20 scholars
BP, one of the world's largest energy companies, announced a $135,000 contribution to the University of Oklahoma's K20 Center to support a program aimed at encouraging new students to pursue energy-related degrees.

UC Irvine to lead statewide program on green materials research
UC Irvine has been awarded $1.62 million to lead a University of California program on development of nontoxic alternatives to everyday products, such as electronics, plastics, lighting products, fuels and pesticides.

Report confirms increased risk of smoking, substance abuse in bipolar adolescents
A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital supports previous reports that adolescents with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for smoking and substance abuse.

New barn swallow study reveals image makes the bird
In the world of birds, where fancy can be as fleeting as flight, the color of the bird apparently has a profound effect on more than just its image.

More girls than boys benefit from breastfeeding, Hopkins Children's research shows
Challenging the long-standing belief that breast-feeding equally protects all babies against disease, research led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center investigators suggests that when it comes to respiratory infections, the protective effects of breast milk are higher in girls than in boys.

A computer that can 'read' your mind
For centuries, the concept of mind readers was strictly the domain of folklore and science fiction.

Surgical conditions in Africa are given low priority despite causing death and disability
Two surgeons are calling on the international health community to recognize that surgical conditions account for a huge burden of disease in the developing world, and that the human right to health must include access to essential surgical care.

Study finds healthy intestinal bacteria within chicken eggs
The conventional wisdom among scientists has long been that birds acquire the intestinal bacteria that are a necessary for good health from their environment, but a new University of Georgia study finds that chickens are actually born with those bacteria.

New kidney protein speeds/improves the diagnosis of failing kidneys
To tackle the gap between damage, diagnosis and treatment of acute kidney injury, a unique team of scientists, physicians, and medical students from Columbia University Medical Center is focusing on a small protein found in the urine at the time of sudden kidney failure.

Certain potato preparation guidelines for kidney dialysis patients ineffective
Boiling small potato pieces, not leaching, resulted in larger loss of nutrients.

Small planet, small star
Astronomers have discovered an extrasolar planet only three times more massive than our own, the smallest yet observed orbiting a normal star.

Hayfever hope
Scientists at the Institute of Food Research have found that a daily drink containing probiotic bacteria can modify the immune system's response to grass pollen, a common cause of seasonal hay fever.

Vaccine may double survival in patients with deadly brain tumors
A vaccine aimed at inducing immunity to the most common and deadly type of brain tumor may stave off recurrence and more than double survival in patients, according to a new study led by researchers in Duke's Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

Metformin increases pathologic complete response rates in breast cancer patients with diabetes
Metformin, the common first-line drug for type 2 diabetes, may be effective in increasing pathologic complete response rates in diabetic women with early stage breast cancer who took the drug during chemotherapy prior to having surgery, paving the way for further research of the drug as a potential cancer therapy, according to researchers at the University of Texas M.

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for analyzing genomes and plant cells
This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features a new method for detecting copy number variation.

Low vitamin D levels appear common in healthy children
Many healthy infants and toddlers may have low levels of vitamin D, and about one-third of those appear to have some evidence of reduced bone mineral content on X-rays, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Astonomers find tiny planet orbiting tiny star
An international team of astronomers led by David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame has discovered an extra-solar planet of about three earth masses orbiting a star with a mass so low that its core may not be massive enough to maintain nuclear reactions.

First study to examine vitamin D insufficiency in pediatric patients with low bone density
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in adults and is emerging in the world of pediatrics.

PKG-mediated gametogenesis in malaria parasites
New work, by David Baker and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, has identified one of the molecules required for the activation of the sexual cycle of the Plasmodium pathogen within the mosquito.

Large study identifies most costly adverse events in children's hospitals
A large study of health records from 38 American children's hospitals has measured adverse events that most increase length of stay and overall cost.

Men fighting over women? It's nothing new, suggests research
Men may usually settle it over a drunken brawl in the pub or perhaps a verbal spat -- but new evidence has shown for the first time that fighting over women in prehistoric times could have been worse than that.

Hip and knee replacement patients not receiving treatment to reduce blood clot risk
Hip and knee replacement surgery patients -- who are often elderly -- are at increased risk of developing potentially life-threatening thrombosis, or blood clots.

Gene therapy involving antibiotics may help patients with Usher syndrome
A new approach to treating vision loss caused by type 1 Usher syndrome (USH1), the most common condition affecting both sight and hearing, will be unveiled by a scientist at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics Tuesday, June 3.

Study examines risk factors for development of eating disorders
Risk factors for binge eating and purging may vary between boys and girls and by age group in girls, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New model predicts whether patients will be free of renal cancer 12 years after initial treatment
A UT Southwestern Medical Center physician and other researchers have developed a unique statistical model that predicts the probability of a patient being cancer free 12 years after initial surgical treatment.

Long-term cannabis users may have structural brain abnormalities
Long-term, heavy cannabis use may be associated with structural abnormalities in areas of the brain known as the hippocampus and amygdala, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CCNY psychology professor develops new model for collaboration between clergy and clinicians
Many of the clergy who lead America's 260,000 religious congregations turn to psychologists who share their religious values when they refer congregants to social workers.

Knowing looks: Using gaze aversion to tell when children are learning
People use eye contact in a variety of ways every minute of every day but how often do you find yourself staring into space with concentrating on an issue or problem?

Study of anti-CD20 therapy effective B cell depletion
B cells, precursors of autoantibody-secreting cells, have emerged as promising new therapeutic targets in autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

UQ's needle free vaccine delivery research recognized
University of Queensland researcher Professor Mark Kendall has been awarded the 2008 Amgen Medical Research Award for his excellence in translational medical research studies.

Waiting room gadget may prove to be a life-saver
Texting, IM, email -- most kids are comfortable using computers to communicate.

Expressing feelings after trauma not necessary, research shows
Talking it out has long been considered essential to recovering from a trauma.

The good news in our DNA: Defects you can fix with vitamins and minerals
As DNA sequencing becomes cheaper, it will become common for people to have their complete genomes sequenced.

Children who live with relatives may have fewer behavioral problems than those in foster care
Children who leave their homes because of maltreatment appear to have fewer behavioral problems three years later if they are placed with relatives than if they are placed in foster care, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure therapy may help prevent post-traumatic stress disorder
Exposure-based therapy, in which recent trauma survivors are instructed to relive the troubling event, may be effective in preventing the progression from acute stress disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Bunk beds pose dangers to kids and adults
What would sleepovers and summer camps be without bunk beds?

Obesity and depression may be linked
New research indicates people who are obese may be more likely to become depressed, and people who are depressed may be more likely to become obese.

Salmonella in garden birds responsive to antibiotics
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that salmonella bacteria found in garden birds are sensitive to antibiotics, suggesting that the infection is unlike the bacteria found in livestock and humans.

Toad research could leapfrog to new muscle model
The deceptively simple, remarkably fast feeding action of toads and chameleons offers a new look at how muscles work.

People more likely to overestimate their credit quality
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs found that respondents were likely to overestimate their credit score.

New fingerprint breakthrough by forensic scientists
University of Leicester and Northamptonshire police research reveals new techniques for identifying prints on metal.

Microrobots dance on something smaller than a pin's head
Microscopic robots crafted to maneuver separately without any obvious guidance are now assembling into self-organized structures after years of continuing research led by a Duke University computer scientist.

6 Nobel Prize Winners at International Congress of Genetics
For the first time in 81 years the International Congress of Genetics takes place in Germany again.

Fewer than 1 in 5 patients receive treatment to prevent life-threatening blood clots
Fewer than 1 in 5 patients received post-discharge therapy to prevent life-threatening blood clots -- venous thrombosis -- after hip- or knee-replacement surgery, report Rahme and colleagues in a retrospective cohort study.

Private foster care program leads to better long-term health
Adults who were placed in a private, enhanced foster care program as teenagers appear to have significantly fewer mental disorders, ulcers and cardiometabolic problems (diabetes, hypertension or heart disease) but more respiratory disorders than those who were placed in public programs, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Reshaping pharmaceutical quality
The first scientific papers outlining the progress made on the Product Quality Lifecycle Implementation initiative are being published in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Innovation.

Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach to treating autoimmune disease
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a new approach to treating such autoimmune diseases as irritable bowel syndrome using genetically-engineered regulatory T cells.

Researchers identify proteins making up mechanosensitive ion channels
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are the first to identify two proteins responsible for mechanosensitive ion channel activities in plant roots.

OHSU Cancer Institute finds that drug stimulated immune system in prostate cancer
In a multi-site study, Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers have found that a drug called Ipilimumab, also known as MDX-010, works to stimulate the body's own immune system to fight prostate cancer.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for June 3, 2008
The tip sheet for the June 3 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine includes the following articles:

Scientists edge closer to unlocking secrets of mysterious Crab Pulsar
Like a celestial top, the spinning neutron star known as the Crab Pulsar is slowing, a phenomenon that astronomers have yet to fully understand.

Meniscal damage and joint malalignment predictors of cartilage loss
Progressive knee osteoarthritis is believed to result in part from a combination of several local mechanical factors.

Scientists demonstrate feasibility of preventing malaria parasite from becoming sexually mature
Researchers have demonstrated the possibility of preventing the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which is responsible for more than a million malaria deaths a year, from becoming sexually mature.

Drinking polyphenol-rich Concord grape juice may improve memory in older adults
Results from a recent pilot human study suggest that including Concord grape juice in the diet may provide benefit for older adults with early memory decline.

Study findings show infection control intervention helps keep kids in school
A study from researchers at Children's Hospital Boston published in Pediatrics found that a simple infection control intervention in elementary schools -- disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers -- helped reduce illness-related student absenteeism.

New treatment combination safe for pancreatic cancer patients
Treating pancreatic cancer with a combination of chemotherapy, biotherapy and radiotherapy prior to surgery is safe and may be beneficial for patients, according to a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute study presented at the 44th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

MIT confirms link between inflammation, cancer
Chronic inflammation of the intestine or stomach can damage DNA, increasing the risk of cancer, MIT scientists have confirmed.

More than issues, candidates hurt Democratic presidential ambitions in 2000, 2004
It's the candidate, stupid. A new book analyzing the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections in the United States provides some of the clearest evidence to date about why George W.

Shopping is a way of interacting with the world around us
Our relationship with objects is multi-layered and often very emotional, and this is expressed in the way we shop.

Molecular changes in brain fluid give insight into brain-damaging disease
Researchers have developed a new approach to identify molecular changes in the fluid bathing the central nervous system and used it to obtain insight into the mechanisms of central nervous system damage in a monkey model of the dementia and encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain) that can occur during the late stages of HIV/AIDS.

Globalization exposes food supply to unsanitary practices
As the United States continues to import increasingly more of its food from developing nations, we are putting ourselves at greater risk of foodborne disease because many of these countries do not have the same sanitary standards for production, especially in the case of seafood and fresh produce, say scientists today at the 108th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

Drinking juice not associated with being overweight in children
Children who drink 100-percent juice are no more likely to be overweight and may have a better overall nutrient intake than children who do not drink juice, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Synergy between biology and physics drives cell-imaging technology
Developing techniques to image the complex biological systems found at the sub-cellular level has traditionally been hampered by divisions between the academic fields of biology and physics. 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