Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 15, 2008
Focused Internet services provide better support to breast cancer patients
A new study in the Journal of Communication reveals that access to an integrated system of internet health resources helps patients more than simply providing a list of URLs to accredited sites.

Combination treatment for early rheumatoid arthritis induces remission and prevents progression
Combination treatment with methotrexate and etanercept in patients with active, early, moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis improves both remission and radiographic nonprogression rates within one year compared with the standard treatment of methotrexate alone.

Scientists close in on source of X-rays in lightning
University of Florida and Florida Institute of Technology engineering researchers have narrowed the search for the source of X-rays emitted by lightning, a feat that could one day help predict where lightning will strike.

Kids: Book features inside scoop on soil
A new book from the Soil Science Society of America digs in the dirt to educate kids about the living world of soil.

Improving understanding of cell behavior in breast cancer
The invasion and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body, known as metastasis, is a principal cause of death in patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

As economy slumps, new study highlights tools for avoiding local government fiscal crises
As news reports focus on the shaky footing of the national economy, a researcher from North Carolina State University has released a study laying out several best practices that can be implemented by state governments to prevent or mitigate fiscal distress, such as defaulting on municipal bonds, at the local government level.

Placenta removal -- a safer method after Caesareans
In Caesarean deliveries the placenta is usually removed by hand or by a technique known as 'cord traction'.

Possible link found between X-rays and prostate cancer
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have shown an association between certain past diagnostic radiation procedures and an increased risk of young-onset prostate cancer -- a rare form of prostate cancer which affects about 10 percent of all men diagnosed with the disease.

The epigenetics of increasing weight through the generations
Overweight mothers give birth to offspring who become even heavier, resulting in amplification of obesity across generations, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Houston who found that chemical changes in the ways genes are expressed -- a phenomenon called epigenetics -- could affect successive generations of mice.

LSUHSC study finds high-dose HBO2 therapy extends survival window after cardiopulmonary arrest
A ground-breaking study by researchers at the School of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans published in the August 2008 issue of Resuscitation has major implications for the No.

Regular salmeterol for asthma: More evidence of long-term problems
People with asthma who regularly use salmeterol are at a greater risk of non-fatal serious adverse events than those using placebos.

Pollination habits of endangered Texas rice revealed to help preservation
A type of wild rice that only grows in a small stretch of the San Marcos River is likely so rare because it plays the sexual reproduction game poorly, a study led by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin has revealed.

Kidney transplants less successful at night
Kidney transplants should be carried out during the day if possible.

Y chromosome study sheds light on Athapaskan migration to southwest US
A large-scale genetic study of native North Americans offers new insights into the migration of a small group of Athapaskan natives from their subarctic home in northwest North America to the southwestern United States.

Foot pain: Custom-made insoles offer relief
Custom-made insoles known as foot orthoses can reduce foot pain caused by arthritis, overly prominent big toe joints and highly arched feet, a new systematic review shows.

Emergency response and nanotechnology
The following topics will be presented Wednesday, July 16, at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the David Lawrence Convention Center.

Poll: More than 2/3 of Massachusetts residents support health reform law
Two years after the implementation of a health care reform law aimed at providing health coverage for nearly all Massachusetts residents, public support for the law remains high.

Caesarean section -- no consensus on best technique
Despite the routine delivery of babies by caesarean section, there is no consensus among medical practitioners on which is the best operating method to use.

NOAA and Louisiana scientists predict largest Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' on record
NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University are forecasting that the

Resistance to widely-used antibiotics among inhabitants of remote South American villages
Resistance to ciprofloxacin, a member of one of the most commonly used groups of antibiotics in the world, has been discovered by a team of Canadian researchers among people in remote South American villages who are believed to have never taken this medication.

MRSA and other health-care associated infections to be tackled with new £4.2M project
A new £4.2 million consortium to tackle healthcare associated infections, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, is announced today.

Corneal transplant technique shows promise in children
The issue includes two case reports on the successful use of

Tumor-inhibiting protein could be effective in treating leukemia
Angiocidin, a tumor-inhibiting novel protein, may also have a role as a new therapeutic application in treating leukemia by inducing a differentiation of monocytic leukemia cells into a normal, macrophage-like phenotype.

Type 2 diabetes: Culturally-tailored education can improve blood sugar control
Using community-based health advocates, delivering information within same-gender groups or adapting dietary and lifestyle advice to fit a particular community's likely diet can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, certainly for up to six months, following health education.

Men and women are programmed differently when it comes to temptation: McGill researchers
Men may not see their flirtations with an attractive woman as threatening to the relationship while women do, according to findings from a study in the July issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, conducted by researchers from McGill University.

Meeting to highlight health impacts of smell and taste
From nutrition and obesity to aging and mental health, the senses of smell and taste have impacts on health that researchers are just beginning to understand.

Parents should limit young children's exposure to background TV
Research conducted among 50 children ages 1, 2, and 3 found that background TV disrupted children's play and may be an environmental risk factor for most American children.

Combating urinary schistosomiasis: Both metrifonate and praziquantel can be used
In 2000 the World Health Organization stopped recommending metrifonate for treating urinary schistosomiasis because the drug did not appear to be as effective as the treatment of choice, praziquantel.

Researchers generate hydrogen without the carbon footprint
A greener, less expensive method to produce hydrogen for fuel may eventually be possible with the help of water, solar energy and nanotube diodes that use the entire spectrum of the sun's energy, according to Penn State researchers.

Scattered nature of Wisconsin's woodlands could complicate forests' response to climate change
If a warmer Wisconsin climate causes some northern tree species to disappear in the future, it's easy to imagine that southern species will just expand their range northward as soon as the conditions suit them.

Immigrant youths explore identity in high school
Research conducted among 380 high school students from Asian and Latin American immigrant families revealed that many adolescents change the labels used to describe themselves from year to year.

Full-day kindergarteners' reading, math gains fade by 3rd grade
A new analysis of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 found that the reading and math benefits experienced by full-day kindergarteners versus part-day kindergarteners diminished soon after kindergarten.

The university of the future
In a world where economies are increasingly dependent upon high-level knowledge, higher education is a key national resource.

Study: Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk
Older adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Bees go 'off-color' when they are sickly
Bumble bees go

Corporations can profit from being environmentally friendly
Though many policymakers have argued that environmental regulations can negatively impact an organization's bottom line, a new study by George Mason University shows that companies that develop green production processes can not only offset the costs of regulations, but can also reap further benefits.

Brain cancer study: Magnitude of post-vaccine immune response linked to clinical outcomes
Researchers conducting a clinical trial of a dendritic cell vaccine designed to fight malignant brain tumors called glioblastoma multiforme have found a correlation between the

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the July 16 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

After ankle surgery: Mobilize with care
People recover faster after surgery for ankle fracture if they are given a cast or splint that can be removed to let them exercise the ankle, than if their foot is placed in an immobilizing plaster cast.

Study shows paradoxical relationship between dengue hemorrhagic fever and its carrier mosquitoes
A study by researchers in Thailand, Japan and the UK has shown a negative correlation between dengue hemorrhagic fever and the density of the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

Fuel subsidies better spent re-training fishers: UBC researchers
Skyrocketing fuel costs could lead to long-term sustainable fisheries if governments redirect fuel subsidies currently given to fishing fleets and use them to invest in re-training for fishers, says University of British Columbia fisheries economist Rashid Sumaila.

'Smothered' genes combine with mutations to yield poor outcome in cancer patients
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers have identified a set of genes in breast and colon cancers with a deadly combination of traditional mutations and

Gaining ground on sickle cell disease
Although sickle cell disease is a single-gene disorder, its symptoms are highly variable.

Touch can trump taste, says Rutgers retail scholar
The role of touch is significant in retailing, according to research by a Rutgers business scholar.

Newly described 'dragon' protein could be key to bird flu cure
Scientists and researchers have taken a big step closer to a cure for the most common strain of avian influenza, or

Study: Future snowmelt in West twice as early as expected; threatens ecosystems and water reserves
global warming could lead to larger changes in snowmelt in the western United States than was previously thought, possibly increasing wildfire risk and creating new water management challenges for agriculture, ecosystems and urban populations.

Breast self-exams do not appear to reduce breast cancer deaths
A review of recent studies says there is no evidence that self-exams actually reduce breast cancer deaths.

International conference to release new findings on smell and taste
The Association for Chemoreception Sciences, a US-based scientific organization devoted to basic and clinical research on taste, smell and the perception of chemical irritation, is hosting the International Symposium on Taste and Smell in San Francisco, July 21-26.

Removing ovaries during hysterectomy: Effects remain unknown
During hysterectomy operations, surgeons often remove a woman's ovaries as well as her uterus.

The emerging story of plant roots
An international group of European and US scientists led by the Center for Plant Integrative Biology at the University of Nottingham have uncovered a fascinating new insight into the unseen side of plant biology -- the root.

Vitamin A pushes breast cancer to form blood vessel cells
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells.

Study shows 28,000-year-old Europeans' DNA was like ours
40,000 years ago, the Cro-Magnoid people -- the first people who had a skeleton that looked anatomically modern -- entered Europe, coming from Africa.

Aggressive preschoolers found to have fewer friends than others
Research has shown that as early as preschool, aggressive and inattentive children have fewer friends and difficulty establishing relationships with peers.

Diabetes could be a hidden condition for heart disease patients
Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered diabetes could be a hidden condition for some patients with coronary heart disease.

Caltech and UNC research finds further evidence for genetic contribution to autism
Some parents of children with autism evaluate facial expressions differently than the rest of us -- and in a way that is strikingly similar to autistic patients themselves, according to new research by neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs of the California Institute of Technology and psychiatrist Joe Piven at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Culture and depression
A new study from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health examines the widely held expectation that East-Asian people emphasize physical symptoms of depression, and offers clinicians valuable insight into cultural context when assessing a patient, leading to more accurate diagnosis.

UCLA study identifies mechanism behind mind-body connection
Immune cells end in protective caps called telomeres that are shorter in the elderly -- and in persons suffering chronic stress.

Management practices key to watershed condition
Animals thrive on the banks of waterways. And those same tree-covered, green grassy areas are keys to maintaining healthy watersheds for creeks and rivers.

Amount of physical activity by children steadily declines as they get older
New research documents the decline in physical activity among children, with less than a third meeting recommended physical activity guidelines by the time they are 15 years old, according to a study in the July 16 issue of JAMA.

Children's physical activity drops from age 9 to 15, NIH study indicates
The activity level of a large group of American children dropped sharply between age 9 and age 15, when most failed to reach the daily recommended activity level, according to the latest findings from a long-term study by the National Institutes of Health.

Forensic patients with tattoos more likely to have antisocial personality disorder
The presence of tattoos on forensic psychiatric inpatients should alert clinicians to a possible diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder, and also about the potential for histories of suicide attempt, substance abuse and sexual abuse, according to research published today in Personality and Mental Health.

Consumption of nut products during pregnancy linked to increased asthma in children
Expectant mothers who eat nuts or nut products like peanut butter daily during pregnancy increase their children's risk of developing asthma by more than 50 percent over women who rarely or never consume nut products during pregnancy, according to new research from the Netherlands.

UT pathologists believe they have pinpointed Achilles heel of HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston believe they have uncovered the Achilles heel in the armor of the virus that continues to kill millions.

Family resources, parenting quality influence children's early cognitive development
Mothers with greater social and economic resources were found to be more supportive parents than those with fewer resources, which in turn affected young children's cognitive performance.

GeoEarthScope Northern California Airborne LiDAR topography data now available
The GeoEarthScope Northern California LiDAR project acquired high resolution topography data starting in spring 2007, along major active geologic faults in the western United States as part of the EarthScope Facility project funded by the National Science Foundation.

Statin does not appear helpful for children with learning disabilities caused by genetic disorder
Use of simvastatin by children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disorder that can cause learning disabilities, did not result in improved cognitive function, according to a study in the July 16 issue of JAMA.

Oxygen therapy might ease pain of migraine, cluster headaches
Two types of oxygen therapy could some help for adults who suffer from disabling migraine and cluster headaches.

Scientists demonstrate means of reducing Alzheimer's-like plaques in fly brain
Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are part of a collaboration that has succeeded in demonstrating that overexpression of an enzyme in the brain can reduce telltale deposits causally linked with Alzheimer's disease.

For toy-like NASA robots in Arctic, ice research is child's play
Several snowmobiles navigated speedily over arctic ice and snow in Alaska's outback in late June.

Frogs with disease-resistance genes may escape extinction
As frog populations die off around the world, researchers have identified certain genes that can help the amphibians develop resistance to harmful bacteria and disease.

Risk assessment of vessel accidents and spills in the Aleutian Islands
A new report from the Transportation Research Board of the National Research Council,

Female monkeys more dominant in groups with relatively more males
Female monkeys are more dominant when they live in groups with a higher percentage of males.

Amniotic fluid measurements: Single deepest pocket is best test of fetus at risk
Women often undergo early Caesareans or induced labor following detection of decreased amniotic fluid volume, because this is seen as a sign of fetal distress.

Childhood diarrhea: Treat with zinc over 6 months of age
Zinc supplementation benefits children suffering from diarrhea in developing countries, but only in infants over six months old, Cochrane researchers have found.

Chronic fatigue patients benefit from cognitive behavior therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy is effective in treating the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a recent systematic review carried out by Cochrane researchers.

Tunguska catastrophe: Evidence of acid rain supports meteorite theory
The Tunguska catastrophe in 1908 evidently led to high levels of acid rain.

TG2 identified as potential therapeutic target in chemo-resistant ovarian cancer
M. D. Anderson researchers connect overexpression of tissue type transglutaminase with poor prognosis in ovarian cancer, identify the relevant pathway, and shut TG2 down with an siRNA liposomal nanoparticle.

For your eyes only: Custom interfaces make computer clicking faster, easier
Personalized computer interfaces that adapt to each user's vision and motor abilities significantly speeds up computer tasks, especially in disabled users.

Dartmouth researchers discover gene signatures for scleroderma
Distinct genetic profiles can discern different groups of patients with scleroderma, a vexing autoimmune disease in which the body turns against itself, Dartmouth Medical School researchers report.

Improved culture system for hepatitis C virus infection
A University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researcher has developed the first tissue culture of normal, human liver cells that can model infection with the hepatitis C virus and provide a realistic environment to evaluate possible treatments.

New study replicates association between genetic variation and antidepressant treatment response
Pharmacogenetics, the study of genetic variation that influences an individual's response to drugs, is an important and growing focus in all of medical research, including psychiatry.

AMS July science highlights
Following are story ideas and tips about upcoming AMS meetings, papers in our peer-reviewed journals, and other happenings in the atmospheric and related sciences community.

Growing up amid war affects children's moral development
Research among 96 war-affected children and adolescents in Colombia examined how war affects children's moral development.

Turning on hormone tap could aid osteoporosis fight
A potential new drug that

Peers important for nutrition education among Latinos
A systematic literature review assessed the impact of peer education/counseling on nutrition and health outcomes among Latinos living in the United States.

Pfizer inks global license to Genomatix Software and databases
Genomatix Software, Inc. the US branch of Munich-based Genomatix Software GmbH, announced that it has reached an agreement with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals to provide Genomatix software and data content to Pfizer sites across the globe.

Can diet alone control type 2 diabetes? No evidence yet
Despite strong evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed by a combination of lifestyle changes and good dietary advice, a team of Cochrane researchers found that there is no indication whether dietary advice alone can prevent the disease.

Freeing light shines promise on energy-efficient lighting
The latest bright idea in energy-efficient lighting for homes and offices uses big science in nano-small packages to dim the future Edison's light bulb.

Low-sodium advice for asthmatics should be taken with a pinch of salt
Following a low-sodium diet does not appear to have any appreciable impact on asthma control, according to new research.

Low-sodium advice for asthmatics should be taken with a grain of salt
Following a low-sodium diet does not appear to have any appreciable impact of asthma control as once thought, according to new research.

How birds spot the cuckoo in the nest
It's not always easy spotting the cuckoo in the nest, but it seems that UV appearance is key to blackcaps spotting an impostor.

The exotic side of veterinary science
The last 10 years has seen a huge increase in the popularity of exotic pets.

Stomach bug appears to protect kids from asthma, says NYU study
A long-time microbial inhabitant of the human stomach may protect children from developing asthma, according to a new study among more than 7,000 subjects led by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers.

Environmental pollutant has sex-skewing effect
Women exposed to high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls -- a group of banned environmental pollutants) are less likely to give birth to male 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