Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 01, 2008
Book's plea: Save the bonobos
A biologist at Washington University in St. Louis is the mastermind behind a project that has led to an informative book, aimed at children but appealing to all, on an endangered species of ape.

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation awards $950,000 in seed grants
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation is pleased to announce awards of $950,000 toward its 2008-2009 International Research Grants and Fellowship Program.

New technique produces genetically identical stem cells
Cells from mice created using genetically reprogrammed cells can be triggered via drug administration to enter an embryonic-stem-cell-like state without the need for further direct genetic manipulation.

Political participation is partially rooted in genetic inheritance
The decision to vote is partly genetic, according to a new study published in the American Political Science Review.

Researchers coat titanium with polymer to improve integration of joint replacements
Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that coating a titanium implant with a new biologically inspired material enhances tissue healing, improves bone growth around the implant and strengthens the attachment and integration of the implant to the bone.

Flaws in the barcoded technology used to reduce medication administration errors identified
In the first study of its kind, researchers led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Ross Koppel, Ph.D., studied how hospital nurses actually use bar-coded technology that matches the right patient with the right dose of the right medication.

Sleep problems associated with menopause vary among ethnic groups
Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep increase as women go through menopause according to research by Rush University Medical Center.

Don't count on long-term success in climate policy, warns paper in Decision Analysis
Long-term climate change policy in the US and abroad is likely to change very slowly, warns a researcher who calls for stronger short-term goals to reduce carbon emissions, according to a study published in Decision Analysis, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Best treatment for MS may depend on disease subtype
Relatively new drugs now help some patients, but not others, with the most common form of multiple sclerosis.

Plants in the fourth dimension
Dr. C. Robertson McClung and his colleagues are investigating the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of circadian cycling and regulation in plants.

Editors' leadership role impacts on quality of biomedical research journals
The factors allowing a journal to achieve high quality are not fully understood, but good editorial practices such as accurate and author-helpful peer review and in-house editing are thought to be important.

Mobile users make same mistakes as disabled PC users
Mobile phone owners make similar mistakes to physically impaired computer users when using the technology, according to new research from the University of Manchester.

Life-extending protein can also have damaging effects on brain cells
Proteins widely believed to protect against aging can actually cause oxidative damage in mammalian brain cells, according to a new report in the July Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press.

Procurement of full Galileo system begins
Today, the European Commission -- with the support of ESA -- is launching the procurement of Galileo, a global navigation system composed of 30 dedicated navigation satellites and a ground infrastructure with the main control centers in Europe and a network of dedicated stations deployed around the world.

BioScience tip sheet July/August 2008
This issue of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, includes eight research articles described briefly below.

New 'everyday cognition' scale tracks how older adults function in daily life
As more adults age into the high-risk period for cognitive impairment, clinicians need simple and reliable methods to identify where they may have problems in everyday life that reveal underlying changes in the brain.

Crossed (evolutionary) signals?
View a video interview of University of California, San Francisco researchers Wendell Lim and David Pincus.

UNEP: Clean energy investments charge forward despite financial market turmoil
Climate change worries, growing support from world governments, rising oil prices and ongoing energy security concerns combined to fuel another record-setting year of investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in 2007, according to an analysis issued Tuesday, July 1, by the UN Environment Program.

Penguins setting off sirens over health of world's oceans
Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, penguins are sounding the alarm for potentially catastrophic changes in the world's oceans, and the culprit isn't only climate change, says a University of Washington conservation biologist.

Taking action against hospital acquired infection
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute Inc., the Roudebush VAMC and the IUPUI School of Engineering and Technology have been tapped by AHRQ to serve as the national resource center for its multiple collaborative work to prevent hospital acquired infection.

JCI online early table of contents: July 1, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, July 1, 2008, in the JCI, including: Calpain inhibitors never forget: improving memory in Alzheimer disease mice; Bringing stability to the protein defective in phenylketonuria; New way to predict prostate cancer spreading; Understanding the genetics of congenital hyperinsulinism; and others.

New combination of tests measures child's ability to taste and smell
Researchers have developed a series of tests that for the first time accurately measure the normality of taste (gustatory function) and smell (olfactory function) in young children, according to a new study published in the July 2008 edition of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Designer diet for prostate cancer
For the first time, a research group at the Institute of Food Research led by Professor Richard Mithen has provided an explanation of how eating broccoli might reduce cancer risk based upon studies in men, as opposed to trying to extrapolate from animal models.

Monitoring of biological markers of passive smoking key to establishing level of cancer risk
While the link between lung cancer and second-hand smoke has been established for many years, the extent of the risk remains a subject of much debate.

Bringing stability to the protein defective in phenylketonuria
Phenylketonuria is an inherited disease characterized by progressive mental retardation and seizures because the individual is deficient in the protein PAH.

Spanish engineers design a new model of slope marine dock
Scientists from the UGR have designed a new

Once a shy monkey, always a shy monkey?
New research by the Health Emotions Research Institute and department of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and published in PLoS ONE indicates that the brains of those suffering from anxiety and severe shyness in social situations consistently respond more strongly to stress, and show signs of being anxious even in situations that others find safe.

Smokers suffer more back pain
Smokers suffer more chronic back pain. This was the result of the analysis of a questionnaire performed by Monique Zimmermann-Stenzel and her colleagues and published in the current edition of Deutsches Ă„rzteblatt International.

New paper offers insights into 'blinking' phenomena
A new paper by University of Notre Dame researchers offers a progress report on research aimed at unlocking the mysteries of fluorescent molecules or fluorophones.

Where is your soil water? Crop yield has the answer
Crop yield is highly dependent on soil plant-available water, the portion of soil water that can be taken up by plant roots.

Relaxation response can influence expression of stress-related genes
How could a single, nonpharmacological intervention help patients deal with disorders ranging from high blood pressure, to pain syndromes, to infertility, to rheumatoid arthritis?

A bitter pill to swallow
Two reports from TRAFFIC, the world's largest wildlife trade monitoring network, on traditional medicine systems in Cambodia and Vietnam suggest that illegal wildlife trade, including entire tiger skeletons, and unsustainable harvesting is depleting the region's rich and varied biodiversity and putting the primary health care resource of millions at risk.

Resuscitation technique after brain injury may do more harm than good
The current standard practice of giving infants and children 100 percent oxygen to prevent brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation may actually inflict additional harm, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the July 2 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Post-exercise caffeine helps muscles refuel
Glycogen, the muscle's primary fuel source during exercise, is replenished more rapidly when athletes ingest both carbohydrate and caffeine following exhaustive exercise, new research from the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology shows.

Violence declines with medication use in some with schizophrenia
Some schizophrenia patients become less prone to violence when taking medication, but those with a history of childhood conduct problems continue to pose a higher risk even with treatment, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Minimum drinking age of 21 saves lives
One of the most comprehensive studies on the minimum drinking age shows that laws aimed at preventing consumption of alcohol by those under 21 have significantly reduced drinking-related fatal car crashes.

Annelids matter: Going beyond furry and scaly megafauna in educating future conservationists
In a study published in PLoS ONE, researchers at the University of Cambridge investigated children's perceptions of rainforest biodiversity by asking young museum visitors to draw their ideal rainforest, as part of a competition, and found that while children have a sophisticated understanding of rainforest ecosystems, they tend to overestimate the relative numbers of some taxa (mainly

Shrinking carbon footprints
Would shrinking your carbon footprint, recycling more, and going green be easier if you could monitor your household's environmental impact?

Asthma risk increases in children treated for HIV
Children whose immune systems rebound after treatment with potent anti-viral drugs for HIV infection face an increased risk of developing asthma, said a federally funded consortium of researchers led by those from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Integrated Fuel Technologies gets worldwide license for Argonne-developed Diesel DeNOx Catalyst
A new, patented catalyst developed by scientists at Argonne National Laboratory that can reliably and economically reduce between 95 and 100 percent of the nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel-fueled engines has been licensed to Integrated Fuel Technologies Inc., a Washington state start-up company with offices in Spokane and Kirkland.

Gender differences and heart disease
Women may respond less favorably than men to cardiovascular disease drug-treatments for enlarged heart, according to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center physician-scientists.

Effects of healing touch therapy being studied
University of Cincinnati researchers are pairing a complementary therapy known as Healing Touch with mild sedation to see if the technique truly calms patients undergoing minor procedures.

Archaeologists find silos and administration center from early Egyptian city
A University of Chicago expedition at Tell Edfu in southern Egypt has unearthed a large administration building and silos that provide fresh clues about the emergence of urban life.

Human influences challenge penguin populations
Warming in Antarctica, as well as mining, commercial fishing, and oil and gas development at lower latitudes, threaten Penguin populations throughout the Southern Hemishere, according to an assessment published in the July/August 2008 issue of BioScience.

Newborns in ICUs often undergo painful procedures, most without pain medication
An examination of newborn intensive care finds that newborns undergo numerous procedures that are associated with pain and stress, and that many of these procedures are performed without medication or therapy to relieve pain, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

Predicting TB outbreaks based on the first 2 cases
Outbreaks of tuberculosis may be able to be identified by looking at certain characteristics of the first two patients, according to new research.

Super atoms turn the periodic table upside down
Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands have developed a technique for generating atom clusters made from silver and other metals.

A microsatellite-guided insight into the genetic status of the Adi tribe
In a new study published in PLoS ONE, researcher at the Indian Statistical Institute examine, for the first time, the genetic status of sub-tribes of a remotely located tribal cluster -- the Adi, a Tibeto-Burman-speaking tribe of Arunachal Pradesh in the north-east of India.

Attitudes toward consumption and conservation of tigers in China
The potential market for tiger products in China is enormous, but a vast majority of the Chinese public would rather have wild tigers than tiger-bone wine, according to new research published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Laser spectrometer developed by Rutgers-Newark researchers
Dr. Daniel Murnick, professor of physics at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, along with research associate Ozgur Dogru and graduate student Erhan Ilkmen, has developed a new ultra-sensitive laser-assisted ratio analyzer that is capable of measuring even slight changes in carbon 14, an isotope of carbon.

Wood density explains sound quality of great master violins
The advantage of using medical equipment to study classical musical instruments has been proven by a Dutch researcher from the Leiden University Medical Center.

Cancer cells revert to normal at specific signal threshold, Stanford researchers find
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine report that lowering levels of one cancer signal under a specific threshold reverses this process in mice, returning tumor cells to their normal, healthy state.

Pesticides persist in ground water
Numerous studies over the past four decades have established that pesticides, which are typically applied at the land surface, can move downward to reach the water table at detectable concentrations.

'Hibernation-on-demand' drug significantly improves survival after extreme blood loss
For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that the administration of minute amounts of inhaled or intravenous hydrogen sulfide, or H2S -- the molecule that gives rotten eggs their sulfurous stench -- significantly improves survival from extreme blood loss in rats.

Medical check-ups for intestinal cancer are hardly used
Only 20 percent of persons aged over 55 use colonoscopies for early detection of cancer, even though the statutory health insurance funds have covered the costs since 2002.

Discovery of gene mechanism could bring about new ways to treat metastatic cancer
Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers have uncovered how a gene, melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), induces a bystander effect that kills cancer cells not directly receiving mda-7/IL-24 without harming healthy ones, a discovery that could lead to new therapeutic strategies to fight metastatic disease.

NASA Goddard has more than a dozen exciting missions in next year
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Md., has the lead on many exciting space missions launching in the next year.

Stanford researchers find way to predict IVF success
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a method that can predict with 70 percent accuracy whether a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment will become pregnant.

Fungi the cause of many outbreaks of disease but mostly ignored
Many people, scientists among them, are largely unaware of the roles fungi play in the world around us.

Personal information in E-mail marketing can backfire, study indicates
Businesses risk chasing away prospective customers when they send chummy E-mails that bandy around people's names, hobbies and other personal information to pitch sales, according to a new study of the popular marketing tool.

Does this make me look fat?
The peer groups teenage girls identify with determine how they decide to control their own figure.

15 human genomes each week
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has sequenced the equivalent of 300 human genomes in just over six months.

Study says cut to junior doctors' hours does not compromise patients' safety
Research led by a team at the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School has found that reducing the hours of junior doctors does not compromise patients' safety and could even dramatically cut mistakes on wards, but there are some concerns about reduced educational opportunities for junior doctors which it affords.

Penn animal study identifies new DNA weapon against avian flu
By delivering vaccine via DNA constructed to build antigens against flu, along with a minute electric pulse, researchers have immunized experimental animals against various strains of the virus.

Invasive treatment appears beneficial for men and high-risk women with certain coronary syndromes
An analysis of previous studies indicates that among men and high-risk women with a certain type of heart attack or angina an invasive treatment strategy (such as cardiac catheterization) is associated with reduced risk of rehospitalization, heart attack or death, whereas low-risk women may have an increased risk of heart attack or death with this treatment, according to an article in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

UC research shows employer-based weight loss programs are helpful
A new review of studies from the University of Cincinnati shows that a little shove from the workplace may actually be the ticket to dropping weight.

Erectile dysfunction lower in men who have intercourse more often
Having intercourse more often may help prevent the development of erectile dysfunction.

Sunburn alert: UVB does more damage to DNA than UVA
As bombs burst in air this July 4, chances are that sunburn will be the red glare that most folks see -- and feel.

Spiritual effects of hallucinogens persist, Johns Hopkins researchers report
In a follow-up to research showing that psilocybin, a substance contained in

Calpain inhibitors never forget: Improving memory in Alzheimer's disease mice
Overactivation of proteins known as calpains, which are involved in memory formation, has been linked to Alzheimer disease.

Prestigious sociology award goes to Springer book
Jan E. Stets and Jonathan H. Turner are the winners of the Outstanding Recent Contribution Award 2008 for their

Smokeless tobacco -- not risk free, but probably lower cancer risk than for smoking
The use of smokeless tobacco products increases the risk of a range of cancers.

Do the hyper-coordinate planar transition metal atoms exist?
Quantum chemical methods are generally useful and versatile for discovering new compounds having particular chemical bonding configurations.

Raising a child with arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation announces the publication of a new book for parents of children with juvenile arthritis.

Researcher receives $4 million from RWJ Foundation to study health quality reform project
Dr. Dennis Scanlon, associate professor of health policy and administration in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, has been awarded a three-year, $4 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand an evaluation of a RWJF national initiative,

Analysis of cancer incidence, mortality and survival combined reveals encouraging European trends
The first research to look at recent trends in European cancer incidence, mortality and survival together has shown that cancer prevention and management in Europe is moving in the right direction.

Following traumatic brain injury, balanced nutrition saves lives
Clinician-scientists from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center are suggesting an immediate and important change to guidelines used in the care of patients with traumatic brain injury.

Pediatric researchers find possible 'master switch' gene in juvenile arthritis
Researchers have found that a gene region known to play a role in some varieties of adult rheumatoid arthritis is also present in all types of childhood arthritis.

Toys and technology for rehabilitation in cerebral palsy patients
What began as a college course project to design therapeutic toys has resulted in the first toys of their kind, designed as therapy for children with cerebral palsy.

Gift of $100 million to transform energy and environment research at Princeton
International business leader Gerhard R. (Gerry) Andlinger has made a gift, which will total $100 million, to accelerate research on effective and sustainable solutions to problems of energy and the environment.

Death, division or cancer? Newly discovered checkpoint process holds the line in cell division
Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, have discovered a novel biochemical activity involved in controlling cell division, which they've called the mitotic checkpoint factor 2.

Small protein may have big role in making more bone and less fat
A small protein may have a big role in helping you make more bone and less fat, researchers say.

Dietary adherence associated with better glucose control in children with type 1 diabetes
A study by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center has shown that adherence to prescribed dietary recommendations is associated with better glucose control in children with type 1 diabetes.

New oral angiogenesis inhibitor offers potential nontoxic therapy for a wide range of cancers
The first oral, broad-spectrum angiogenesis inhibitor, specially formulated through nanotechnology, shows promising anticancer results in mice, report researchers from Children's Hospital Boston.

Patriotic new lilacs introduced
The word evokes memories of promising spring days and visions of colorful, perfumed blooms.

Weekends slow weight loss, researchers find
Saturday can be the worst enemy for our waistlines, according to researchers at the School of Medicine.

Special topics in environmental mechanics
The contents of Special Topics in Environmental Mechanics include researches of mechanical problems in environment and disasters related to water, soil, atmospheres and biology.

Since introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, HIV death rate has decreased
In industrialized countries, persons infected sexually with HIV now appear to experience mortality rates similar to those of the general population in the first 5 years following infection, though a higher risk of death remains as the duration of HIV infection lengthens, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

Highlights from the July 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The July 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

New discovery a step towards better diabetes treatment
In today's issue of the prestigious journal Cell Metabolism Uppsala scientists are presenting new findings that shed light on the processes that determine the release of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin.
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