Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 22, 2008
Has cancer spread? Research identifies best way to find answers so treatment can begin
New Saint Louis University research has found that the PET-CT scanner can be used as a stand-alone tool to detect secondary cancers, which occur in 5 to 10 percent of head and neck cancer patients.

Milkweed's evolutionary approach to caterpillars: Counter appetite with fast repair
The adage that your enemies know your weaknesses best is especially true in the case of plants and predators that have co-evolved: as the predators evolve new strategies for attack, plants counter with their own unique defenses.

Training future scientists at the Ecological Society of America's 93rd Annual Meeting
In a world in which some of the most pressing international issues -- such as renewable energy and climate change -- are steeped in ecology, it is more pressing than ever that an informed public be capable of understanding and making decisions based on ecological science.

Small birth size linked to changes in the cardiovascular system that predispose to later disease
Research published in the European Heart Journal has found the first evidence that smaller size at birth is associated with specific alterations in the functioning of the heart and circulation in children and that these changes differ between boys and girls.

Parasitic worm infections increase susceptibility to AIDS viruses
Persons infected with schistosomes, and possibly other parasitic worm infections, may be more likely to become infected with HIV than persons without worm infections, according to a study published July 23 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Scientists find new clues to explain Amazonian biodiversity
Ice age climate change and ancient flooding -- but not barriers created by rivers -- may have promoted the evolution of new insect species in the Amazon region of South America, a new study suggests.

STAR*D study leaders at UT Southwestern test two-drug approach to depression in new CO-MED trial
Hoping to answer a question raised by the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have designed the Combining Medication to Enhance Outcomes of Depression trial to test multiple-medication treatment of depression.

Pandemic flu: Most nursing homes don't have a plan
If an influenza pandemic hits the United States, acute care hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed.

Tuberculosis presents major challenges to HIV treatment in developing countries
Human immunodeficiency virus care and treatment programs in resource-limited settings must aggressively address tuberculosis and the emerging multidrug-resistant TB epidemic to save patient lives and to curb the global TB burden, a major cause of death for persons with HIV, according to an article in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Checking more lymph nodes linked to cancer patient survival
Why do patients with gastric or pancreatic cancer live longer when they are treated at cancer centers or high-volume hospitals than patients treated at low-volume or community hospitals?

CHEST 2008 Philadelphia: Media registration open
Media registration is now open for CHEST 2008, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held Oct.

Using nanotechnology to create high-performance materials
The polymer researchers at the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht expected about 30 scientists to attend the kick-off meeting of the new EU project HARCANA.

How carrots help us see the color orange
One of the easiest ways to identify an object is by its color -- perhaps it is because children's books encourage us to pair certain objects with their respective colors.

Teamwork cuts out unnecessary biopsies, researchers find
New Saint Louis University research found that when nuclear medicine clinicians and treating physicians work together to interpret PET-CT scan results, the accuracy dramatically improves, sparing patients unnecessary pain and suffering.

Measuring the stress of forested areas
Plants undergo stress because of lack of water, due to the heat or the cold or to excess of light.

Bovine tuberculosis in wildlife threatens endangered lynx and cattle health
In an epidemiological survey of Spain's Doñana National Park Christian Gortázar and colleagues studied the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis infection among populations of wild boar, red deer and fallow deer.

Seeding the future: SNM grants grow molecular imaging and nuclear medicine research
SNM -- an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the practical applications, technology and science of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine -- has awarded $170,000 in research grants to support nuclear medicine and molecular imaging research.

Everolimus provides hope for kidney cancer patients who have failed on other treatments
Treatment with everolimus prolongs progression-free survival relative to placebo in patients with metastatic kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) who have experienced treatment failure on other regimens.

Action needed now for Minnesota to reach goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2015
The state of Minnesota must act now if it wants to reach its Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2015, according to a team of University of Minnesota transportation and public policy researchers.

Socrates Fellows Program teams high school teachers with UCSD grad students
Building upon the success of its BioBridge science education outreach program, the University of California, San Diego has this summer launched an enhanced initiative to further bring the excitement of scientific research directly into area high school classrooms.

U of T discovers environmental factors linked to sex ratio of plants
Environmental factors can transform the ratio of females to males in plant populations according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

Gray and Green together: Older adults can play role in creating healthier environment
Volunteering for environmental protection activities can be physically and mentally sustaining for older people, according to the latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report.

Grant will help patients with schizophrenia who smoke
A £200,000 grant has been awarded to researchers at Queen's to help establish why people with schizophrenia are three times more likely to smoke than the general population.

No need for gene screens in breast cancer families
Research reported today should provide relief to women who are worried after a relative's breast cancer diagnosis.

Gladstone scientists create Wikipathways to foster research collaboration
New wiki tool enables open collaboration.

New breast cancer test under study
Whether a painless, portable device that uses electrical current rather than X-ray to look for breast cancer could be an alternative to traditional mammograms is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

Reflecting on values promotes love, acceptance
In a new experiment, Jennifer Crocker and Yu Niiya from the University of Michigan and Dominik Mischkowski from the University of Konstanz, suggest that writing about important values doesn't reduce defensiveness by boosting the self; instead, it enables people to transcend the self by focusing on people or things they care about beyond themselves.

Robot playmates may help children with autism
Preliminary studies by researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering studying interactions of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with bubble-blowing robots confirm what has been widely reported anecdotally: that ASD children in many cases interact more easily with mechanical devices than with humans.

Study suggests past climate changes may have promoted the formation of new species in the Amazon
Today, the Amazon basin is home to the richest diversity of life on earth, yet the reasons why this came to be are not well understood.

Commercial bees spreading disease to wild pollinating bees
Bees provide crucial pollination service to numerous crops and up to a third of the human diet comes from plants pollinated by insects.

Minimally invasive treatment improves male fertility
A minimally invasive treatment for a common cause of male infertility can significantly improve a couple's chances for pregnancy, according to a new study.

Phil and Amy Mickelson receive GSA President's Medal for advancing science/math education
The Geological Society of America presented professional golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy with the GSA President's Medal during a Town Hall Forum on July 21 at the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in Jersey City, New Jersey.

MSU researcher uses grant to study little-known but largely useful microbes
Montana State University microbiologist Matthew Fields is using a $1.65 million Department of Energy grant to study how interactions on a microscopic scale could change how we think of energy production, climate change and even soil contamination.

WUSTL to lead new international Alzheimer's disease research network
The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New chlorine-tolerant, desalination membrane hopes to boost access to clean water
A chemical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin is part of a team that has developed a chlorine-tolerant membrane that should simplify the water desalination process, increasing access to fresh water and possibly reducing greenhouse gases.

Identification of protein able to stimulate production of T-cells
A team of Canadian and Finnish scientists has identified a protein that stimulates the production of T-cells, the white blood cells involved in the recognition and the elimination of infectious agents.

Mars Sample Return: Bridging robotic and human exploration
The first robotic mission to return samples to Earth from Mars took a further step toward realization with the recent publication of a mission design report by the iMARS Working Group.

Transit systems are not well-integrated into local emergency plans
Millions of people each day rely on transit, yet few urban area emergency plans have focused on its role in an emergency evacuation.

Use of sildenafil associated with improvement in antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction in women
Women with sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressants experienced a reduction in adverse sexual effects with use of sildenafil, commonly known as the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra, according to a study in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Security flaws in online banking sites found to be widespread
More than 75 percent of the bank Web sites surveyed in a University of Michigan study had at least one design flaw that could make customers vulnerable to cyber thieves after their money or even their identity.

Building a better telecom system
University of Texas professor, Alexis Kwasinski, maintains that a microgrid-based power plant with its own local power sources and independent control would be more dependable, efficient, and cost effective than traditional telecom power systems.

New guidelines for treating rheumatoid arthritis
Updated rules add new anti-arthritic drugs and proven combinations to the arsenal for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Leading-edge data analytics, visualization set for world's fastest open science supercomputer
The IBM Blue Gene/P Intrepid at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, located at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, will soon have the data analytics and visualization capability to complement its distinction as the fastest computer in the world for open science and the third fastest overall computer in the world.

Cancer drug delivery research at Case Western Reserve University cuts time from days to hours
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a technique that has the potential to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to diseased areas within hours, as opposed to the two days it currently takes for existing delivery systems.

Biology enters 'The Matrix' through new computer language
A new computer language for modeling biological phenomenon can

Carnegie's Alan Cutler receives James H. Shea Award for science writing
The National Association of Geoscience Teachers has awarded the 2008 James H.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the July 23 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Drug abuse accounts for a third of the deaths behind Scotland's higher mortality rate
Drug abuse accounts for a third of the deaths behind Scotland's higher mortality rate, according to a study published on today.

Unique fossil discovery shows Antarctic was once much warmer
Rare find has implication for tracking polar ice cap.

End of life physician-patient communication
Doctors, including oncologists and other specialists who frequently care for terminal patients, do not routinely receive training in end-of-life conversations.

Outflow from world's largest river -- the Amazon -- powers Atlantic Ocean carbon 'sink'
Nutrients from the Amazon River's outflow spread well beyond the continental shelf and drive carbon cycling in the tropical ocean, say scientists who conducted a multi-year study.

Age-old magic tricks can provide clues for modern science
Revealing the science behind age-old magic tricks will help us better understand how humans see, think, and act, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia and Durham University in the U.K.

Study helps identify which populations of foreign-born persons living in US at higher risk of TB
The relative yield of finding and treating latent tuberculosis is particularly high among higher-risk groups of foreign-born persons living in the US, such as individuals from most countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to a study in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA.

'Stuffy nose' mouse: A promise to help treat 31 million with sinusitis
Mice with inflamed nasal tissue being tested at a Johns Hopkins laboratory may be unable to tell if something smells bad or good, but their sensory deficit is nothing to turn up a nose at.

Scientists test system to forecast flash floods along Colorado's front range
People living near vulnerable creeks and rivers along Colorado's Front Range may soon get advance notice of potentially deadly floods, thanks to a new forecasting system being tested this summer by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Does too much sun cause melanoma?
We are continuously bombarded with messages about the dangers of too much sun and the increased risk of melanoma, but are these dangers real, or is staying out of the sun causing us more harm than good?

New population of highly threatened greater bamboo lemur found in Madagascar
Researchers in Madagascar have confirmed the existence of a population of greater bamboo lemurs more than 400 km from the only other place where the critically endangered species is known to live, raising hopes for its survival.

Serious school failure turns out to be a real bummer for girls, but not boys
Adolescent girls who had a serious school failure by the 12th grade -- being expelled, suspended or dropping out -- were significantly more likely to have suffered a serious bout of depression at the age of 21 than girls who did not have these problems.

Heart disease is linked to worse mental processes that, in turn, predict the onset of dementia
Coronary heart disease is associated with a worse performance in mental processes such as reasoning, vocabulary and verbal fluency, according to a study of 5,837 middle-aged Whitehall civil servants published in the European Heart Journal.

Sugar study is sweetener for stem cell science
Scientists at the University of Manchester are striving to discover how the body's natural sugars can be used to create stem cell treatments for heart disease and nerve damage -- thanks to a £370,000 funding boost.

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar receives Soil Stewardship Award
Recognizing his strong support for agriculture and the conservation of Colorado's and the nation's lands, Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), received the 2008 Excellence in Soil Stewardship Award presented by the Soil Science Society of America on July 17.

Over-the-counter anesthetic gel puts the squeeze on mammogram pain
The simple application of a pain-relieving gel may reduce the breast discomfort some women experience during mammography exams, according to the results of a clinical trial published in the online edition of Radiology. 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