Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 21, 2008
End in sight for the dreaded dentist drill
A new technology that spots tooth decay almost as soon as it's begun promises to reduce the need for drilling and filling

It takes nerves for flies to keep a level head
The nerve connections that keep a fly's gaze stable during complex aerial maneuvers, enabling it to respond quickly to obstacles in its flight path, are revealed in new detail in research published today.

Tongue drive technology
Researchers have developed an experimental tongue-based system that may allow individuals with debilitating disabilities to control wheelchairs, computers and other devices with relative ease and no sophistication.

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing may reduce wrinkles over long term
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing appears to be an effective long-term treatment for facial wrinkles, according to a report in the July/August issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study outlines measures to limit effects of pandemic flu on nursing homes
The greatest danger in a pandemic flu outbreak is that it could spread quickly and devastate a broad swath of people across the United States before there is much of a chance to react.

Gene panel predicts lung cancer survival, study finds
Researchers from four leading cancer centers have confirmed that an analysis involving a panel of genes can be used to predict which lung cancer patients will have the worst survival.

Predicting acute GVHD by gene expression could improve liver stem cell transplant outcomes
Acute graft-versus-host disease occurs when an immune response is elicited by the grafted cells against a recipient, resulting in tissue damage for the treated individual.

Caltech scientists offer new explanation for monsoon development
Geoscientists at the California Institute of Technology have come up with a new explanation for the formation of monsoons, proposing an overhaul of a theory about the cause of the seasonal pattern of heavy winds and rainfall that essentially had held firm for more than 300 years.

MIT researchers offer glimpse of rare mutant cells
MIT biological engineers have developed a new imaging system that allows them to see cells that have undergone a specific mutation.

A virtual toothache helps student dentists
Masha, a middle-aged avatar from Second Life, is an integral part of a new research project at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences department of communication sciences to teach and give students practice time to communicate with mock patients.

Study reveals air pollution is causing widespread and serious impacts to ecosystems
If you are living in the eastern United States, the environment around you is being harmed by air pollution.

Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago receives a grant from BioMarin to support adult PKU outreach
Children's Memorial received a grant of $102,000 from BioMarin to conduct outreach to PKU patients who are no longer being treated at PKU clinics.

Cranberry juice creates energy barrier that keeps bacteria away from cells, study shows
People have long consumed cranberry juice to ward off urinary tract infections, though the exact nature of its action has not been clear.

Closing the hydrogen economic loop
The inventor of the nickel metal hydride technology used in batteries believes the hydrogen economy is already upon us.

New project to develop GPS-like system for moon
The same Ohio State University researcher who is helping rovers navigate on Mars is leading a new effort to help humans navigate on the moon.

Researchers find key to saving the world's lakes
After completing one of the longest running experiments ever done on a lake, researchers from the University of Alberta, University of Minnesota and the Freshwater Institute, contend that nitrogen control, in which the European Union and many other jurisdictions around the world are investing millions of dollars, is not effective and in fact, may actually increase the problem of cultural eutrophication.

New evidence of battle between humans and ancient virus
Human ancestors fought back against an ancient retrovirus with a defense mechanism that our bodies still use today.

Beijing pollution may trigger heart attacks, strokes
The heavily polluted air in Beijing may trigger serious cardiovascular problems for some spectators.

Field guide travels the backbone of the Americas
With over 150 maps, diagrams, photographs and satellite images, this new field guide from the Geological Society of America truly illustrates the Andes of Argentina and Chile on a detailed and intimate level.

Blood-related genetic mechanisms found important in Parkinson's disease
What does the genetics of blood cells have to do with brain cells related to Parkinson's disease?

Milestone for cannabinoid MS study
The CUPID study at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth has reached an important milestone with the news that the full cohort of 493 people with multiple sclerosis has been recruited to the study.

Outdoor enthusiasts scaring off native carnivores in parks
Even a quiet stroll in the park can dramatically change natural ecosystems, according to a new study by conservation biologists from the University of California, Berkeley.

Pond scum could be key to new cancer therapies
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy are collaborating with the Ohio State University and two other organizations to discover new cancer therapies derived from natural sources such as pond scum and plants from tropical rainforests.

Researchers probe geographical ties to ALS cases among 1991 Gulf War veterans
Researchers from Duke University, the University of Cincinnati and the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center are hoping to find a geographical pattern to help explain why 1991 Gulf War veterans contracted the fatal neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at twice the normal rate during the decade after the conflict.

Teaching in a disruptive classroom
Marvin Druger, Syracuse University, shares his college teaching experiences and how to deal with inappropriate behavior in an article published in the 2008 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Group A rotavirus in Kenyan children and using the best evidence to guide TB diagnosis
The following are stories in PLoS Medicine.

Mangroves key to saving lives
The replanting of mangroves on the coasts of the Philippines could help save many of the lives lost in the 20-30 typhoons that hit the islands annually.

Epilepsy drug may increase risk of birth defects
Taking the epilepsy drug topiramate alone or along with other epilepsy drugs during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, according to a study published in the July 22, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

MIT identifies cells for spinal-cord repair
A researcher at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has pinpointed stem cells within the spinal cord that, if persuaded to differentiate into more healing cells and fewer scarring cells following an injury, may lead to a new, nonsurgical treatment for debilitating spinal-cord injuries.

'Nutrition Agenda 2008' is focus of Tufts Friedman School Symposium
Eileen T. Kennedy D.Sc., Dean of Tufts University's Gerald J.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- July 16, 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.

Scripps study sets high economic value on threatened Mexican mangroves
Mangrove destruction not only comes with ecological cost, but monetary as well: $37,500 per hectare each year, researchers say.

NSF awards grant to track 'space weather' in Earth's near-space environment
Global and real-time

Study: Common wisdom about troubled youth falls apart when race considered
One of the most widely accepted beliefs about the differences between troubled boys and girls may need to be revised, according to new research.

Plants make vaccine for treating type of cancer in Stanford study
Plants could act as safe, speedy factories for growing antibodies for personalized treatments against a common form of cancer, according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Scientists identify how gastric reflux may trigger asthma
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center appear to have solved at least a piece of a puzzle that has mystified physicians for years: why so many patients with asthma also suffer from GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

WikiPathways gives the people the power to curate
In a new article published this week in PLoS Biology,

Microbes beneath sea floor genetically distinct
Tiny microbes beneath the sea floor, distinct from life on the Earth's surface, may account for one-tenth of the Earth's living biomass, according to an interdisciplinary team of researchers, but many of these minute creatures are living on a geologic timescale.

Chinese earthquake provides lessons for future
The May 12 Sichuan earthquake in China was unexpectedly large.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Wrigley Science Institute executive director receives prestigious food technology career award
Gilbert A. Leveille, PhD, executive director of the Wrigley Science Institute has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Institute of Food Technologists' Nicholas Appert Award, one of the highest honors in food science and technology.

Montreal researchers prove that insulin-producing cells can give rise to stem-like cells in-vitro
The question of whether insulin-producing cells of the pancreas can regenerate is key to our understanding of diabetes.

A phonon floodgate in monolayer carbon
The first scanning tunneling spectroscopy of graphene flakes equipped with a

Ultrasonic frogs can tune their ears to different frequencies
Researchers have discovered that a frog that lives near noisy springs in central China can tune its ears to different sound frequencies, much like the tuner on a radio can shift from one frequency to another.

Broad Institute earns grant to support pathbreaking diabetes study
Broad Institute researchers have received a grant to support research aimed at finding ways to encourage the human body to replenish the cells that are missing in type 1 diabetes.

Malaria Millennium Development Goal 'unlikely to be met'
The Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria globally is unlikely to be met, according to Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow Professor Bob Snow.

Nanotechnology: Learning from past mistakes
A new expert analysis in Nature Nanotechnology questions whether industry, government and scientists are successfully applying lessons learned from past technologies to ensure the safe and responsible development of emerging nanotechnologies.

Memory impairment associated with sound processing disorder
Mild memory impairment may be associated with central auditory processing dysfunction, or difficulty hearing in complex situations with competing noise, such as hearing a single conversation amid several other conversations, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Older liver donors not associated with negative outcomes in transplant recipients with hepatitis C
Receiving a liver from a donor older than age 60 does not appear to be associated with transplant failure, death or recurrent disease in the next five years among transplant patients with the hepatitis C virus, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A dash of lime -- a new twist that may cut CO2 levels back to pre-industrial levels
A workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation

Once suspect protein found to promote DNA repair, prevent cancer
An abundant chromosomal protein that binds to damaged DNA prevents cancer development by enhancing DNA repair, researchers at the University of Texas M.

Social taboos make controlling HIV epidemic in Pakistani men who have sex with men very challenging
Social taboos in Pakistan make the controlling the HIV epidemic in men who have sex with men very difficult.

Exotic materials using neptunium, plutonium provide insight into superconductivity
Physicists have gained new insight into the origins of superconductivity -- a property of metals where electrical resistance vanishes -- by studying exotic chemical compounds that contain neptunium and plutonium.

Cancer centers and high-volume hospitals may examine more lymph nodes in cancer patients
Patients with gastric or pancreatic cancer appear to have more lymph nodes examined for the spread of their disease if they are treated at hospitals performing more cancer surgeries or those designated as comprehensive cancer centers, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Amazon powers tropical ocean's carbon sink
Nutrients from the Amazon River spread well beyond the continental shelf and drive carbon capture in the deep ocean, according to the USC-led authors of a multi-year study.

Study examines motivations for tattoo removal
Individuals who visit dermatology clinics for tattoo removal are more likely to be women than men, and may be motivated by the social stigma associated with tattoos and negative comments by others, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Fishing ban guards coral reefs against predatory starfish outbreaks
No-take marine reserves where fishing is banned can have benefits that extend beyond the exploited fishes they are specifically designed to protect, according to new evidence from Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Glazed America: IUPUI anthropologist examines doughnut as symbol of consumer culture
Few things say as much about our culture as the food we eat.

Viral recombination another way HIV fools the immune system
When individuals infected with HIV become infected with a second strain of the virus, the two viral strains can exchange genetic information, creating a third, recombinant strain of the virus that can evade immune system control.

Scientists figure out how the immune system and brain communicate to control disease
A new anatomical path through which the brain and the spleen communicate.

New research links International Monetary Fund loans with higher death rates from tuberculosis
International Monetary Fund loans were associated with a 16.6 percent rise in death rates from tuberculosis in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern European countries between 1992 and 2002, finds a study in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Malaria control goals are likely to be unachievable
For malaria control goals to be achieved, we must in the future tie funding commitments closer to level of need, says new research by Bob Snow and colleagues from the Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Oxford University-Wellcome Trust Collaborative Program.

Promising results in deep brain stimulation for patients with treatment-resistant depression
New data from a study of patients with treatment-resistant depression who underwent deep brain stimulation in the subcallosal cingulate region of the brain shows that this intervention is generally safe and provides significant improvement in patients as early as one month after treatment. 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