Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 29, 2008
Improved estrogen reception may sharpen fuzzy memory
Finding ways to boost the brain's estrogen receptors may be an alternative to adding estrogen to the body in efforts to improve cognition in postmenopausal women and younger women with low estrogen levels, according to neuroscientists at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute.

Gaining advantages from childhood experience
It often seems that certain aspects of our personalities are influenced by events that occurred in our childhoods.

N.Y. research team discovers how antidepressants and cocaine interact with brain cell targets
In a first, scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center have described the specifics of how brain cells process antidepressant drugs, cocaine and amphetamines.

Bariatric patients have 65% lower chance of complications at top hospitals: HealthGrades study
Bariatric surgery patients treated at highly rated hospitals have, on average, a 65 percent lower chance of experiencing serious complications compared to patients who undergo surgery at poorly rated hospitals according to a study released today by HealthGrades, the nations leading independent healthcare ratings organization.

Cancer research highlights
Half of all Americans will be diagnosed at some point in their lives with cancer, the number two killer in the United States.

Aging impairs the 'replay' of memories during sleep
Aging impairs the consolidation of memories during sleep, a process important in converting new memories into long-term ones, according to new animal research in the July 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the July 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Alzheimer's disease patients show improvement in trial of new drug
A new drug has been shown to improve the brain function of people with early stage Alzheimer's disease and reduce a key protein associated with the disease in the spinal fluid, in a small study published today.

Searching for shut eye: Penn study identifies possible sleep gene
While scientists and physicians know what happens if you don't get six to eight hours of shut-eye a night, investigators have long been puzzled about what controls the actual need for sleep.

2 different breast cancer screening strategies are equally effective
An organized population-based breast cancer screening program in Norway and an approach to screening that relies on physician- and self-referrals in Vermont are equally sensitive for detecting cancer, researchers report in the July 29 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Caltech astronomers describe the bar scene at the beginning of the universe
Bars abound in spiral galaxies today, but this was not always the case.

Hiring away star performers from competitors? Don't bother, says INFORMS study
Managers seeking to hire star employees away from competitors are likely to be disappointed with their costly new employee's performance -- and the star is likely to be unhappy, too -- according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Alcohol is associated with risk of perennial allergic rhinitis
There is a link between alcohol consumption and increased risk of perennial allergic rhinitis, according to a recent Danish study of 5,870 young adult women.

Georgetown Medical Center collaborates to develop cancer research database
The field of personalized cancer research and treatment grows with each day.

European birds flock to warming Britain
Rare southern species of birds are on the increase in the British Isles as a result of climatic change.

Houston meeting highlights: Physics and the Future of Medicine
Next week in Houston, thousands of scientists and health professionals will meet at the 50th meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the largest association of medical physicists in the world.

Women end up less happy than men
Less able to achieve their life goals, women end up unhappier than men later in life -- even though they start out happier, reveals new research by Anke Plagnol of the University of Cambridge, and University of Southern California economist Richard Easterlin.

Summer heat too hot for you? What is comfortable?
Extreme heat or cold is not only uncomfortable, it can be deadly -- causing proteins to unravel and malfunction.

University of Pennsylvania hosts 34th Annual International Conference on High Energy Physics
As the Large Hadron Collider hums to life, Penn hosts scientists from over 70 countries to discuss the future of high energy physics, string theory, black holes and the

UF study: Isthmus of Panama formed as result of plate tectonics
Contrary to previous evidence, a new University of Florida study shows the Isthmus of Panama was most likely formed by a Central American Peninsula colliding slowly with the South American continent through tectonic plate movement over millions of years.

Mason study shows most health department directors see climate change as looming health threat
A new study from George Mason University reveals that while a majority of US health department directors believe their city or county will have serious public health problems as a result of climate change within the next 20 years, very few of them have planned or implemented activities to detect, prevent or adapt to these health threats.

Scientists race to stay ahead of the drug-taking and genetic manipulation that threatens sport
Performance enhancing drugs and genetic manipulation are a constant threat to international sport and scientists need to be one step ahead of the athletes and their rogue scientific advisers.

Pandemic research receives $1.6M funding boost
A McMaster University researcher is working with isolated Hutterite communities to understand the transmission of pandemic diseases like influenza.

Let the cat keep chasing the mouse
For the first time an international researcher team has developed a model, which identifies potential habitats and corridors for the European wildcat.

Energy industry leaders commit $1.6M to UH petroleum program
Two Fortune 500 oil companies have committed major funding to the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston.

2 Springer authors win important awards from the Ecological Society of America
The Springer authors Monica Turner and Stuart Chapin will receive two prestigious awards from the Ecological Society of America.

Michael J. Fox Foundation funds $1.1 million for cutting-edge approaches to Parkinson's disease
Gene silencing techniques and induced pluripotent stem cell technology are among the cutting-edge approaches to Parkinson's drug development funded through the Michael J.

New disease-fighting nanoparticles look like miniature pastries
Ultra-miniature bialy-shaped particles -- called nanobialys because they resemble tiny versions of the flat, onion-topped rolls popular in New York City -- could soon be carrying medicinal compounds through patients' bloodstreams to tumors or atherosclerotic plaques.

The buzz of the chase
Geographic profiling is a technique used by police forces around the world to help them prioritize lists of suspects in investigations of serial crimes.

Also in the July 29 JNCI
Also in the July 29 issue of the JNCI are a study that identifies patient characteristics associated with the risk of developing heart disease after anthracycline therapy, a study of lapatinib's ability to control brain metastases in a model of metastatic breast cancer, the association between mitochondrial DNA content and risk of renal cell cancer, and an experiment testing the ability of genetically modified Salmonella bacteria that express the FAS ligand to inhibit tumor growth.

This old healthy house
The age of your neighborhood may influence your risk of obesity, according to a new study from the University of Utah.

Deportation linked to higher risk of HIV infection in male injection drug users
Male injection drug users deported from the United States to Tijuana have fourfold higher odds of HIV infection compared to those living in Tijuana who were not deported there, according to a study to be presented at the International AIDS Conference on Aug.

Researchers discover cell's 'quality control' mechanism
Researchers in Japan and Canada have discovered a key component of the quality control mechanism that operates inside human cells -- sometimes too well.

U of M researchers find cerebral malaria may be a major cause of brain injury in African children
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that cerebral malaria is related to long-term cognitive impairment in one of four child survivors.

Mucous breakthrough in mice holds promise for cystic fibrosis
A London, Canada, scientist studying cystic fibrosis has successfully corrected the defect which causes the overproduction of intestinal mucous in mice.

New study finds healthy children of Alzheimer patients show early brain changes
Medical College of Wisconsin researchers in Milwaukee have reported that children of Alzheimer's patients who are carriers of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease have neurological changes that are detectable long before clinical symptoms may appear.

Evolution of skull and mandible shape in cats
In a new study published in the online-open access journal PLoS ONE, Per Christiansen at the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, reports the finding that the evolution of skull and mandible shape in sabercats and modern cats were governed by different selective forces, and the two groups evolved very different adaptations to killing.

Scientists in Hungary and Portugal get research boost
Two talented life scientists will receive EMBO Installation Grants, assisting them to establish their research groups in Hungary and Portugal.

August 2008 GEOSPHERE media highlights
GSA's August GEOSPHERE articles are all about technology and modeling: how geographical information systems increase understanding of shear-zone growth; fault structures as fingerprints for rockslide motion and direction; a reconstruction of the Cenozoic geologic history of the southern Tobin Range, Nevada; thermal infrared and visible/short-wave infrared sensing help map metamorphic and igneous terrains in Morocco; and CT scans provide insight into the evolutionary traits of foraminifera, possibly leading to improved reconstructions of past environments.

1/5 of British adult survivors of childhood cancer smoke despite hazards
One-fifth of British adult survivors of childhood cancers are current smokers, and nearly a third have been regular smokers at some point in their lives, according to a study in the July 29 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Frankincense provides relief to arthritis sufferers
An enriched extract of the

Nanoparticles + light = dead tumor cells
Medical physicists at the University of Virginia have created a novel way to kill tumor cells using nanoparticles and light.

Obesity predisposition traced to the brain's reward system
New research links overeating and obesity with the brain system implicated in pleasure and addictive behaviors strengthening the argument that obesity could be approached as an addictive disorder.

New research challenges notion that dinosaur soft tissues still survive
Paleontologists in 2005 hailed research apparently showing that soft tissues had been recovered from dissolved dinosaur bones, but new research suggests the supposed recovered tissue is really just biofilm -- or slime.

Early study reveals new drug could improve executive function in Alzheimer's patients
An early study has shown that the new drug PBT2 improves two indicators of executive function in patients with Alzheimer's disease, and reduces the levels of the Alzheimer's-associated protein amyloid β in the spinal fluid in these patients.

If you can't measure the heat ...
Accurate measurement of thermal performance is crucial if new government legislation aimed at producing dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions is to be successful.

New study finds smoking predicts increased stroke risk for your spouse
Although secondhand smoke is widely accepted as a risk factor for coronary heart disease, there have been few studies investigating the association of SHS and stroke risk.

Scientists determine strength of 'liquid smoke'
Researchers have created a 3-D image of a material referred to as

UT Southwestern digestive specialists freeze out esophagus cancer with new therapy
UT Southwestern Medical Center gastroenterologists are using a new method to freeze damaged cells in the esophagus, preventing them from turning cancerous.

Findings on bladder-brain link may point to better treatments for problems in sleep, attention
Bladder problems may leave a mark on the brain, by changing patterns of brain activity, possibly contributing to disrupted sleep and problems with attention.

Science highlights of the 50th AAPM Meeting in Houston, July 27-31
Whether X-rays for CT scans, sound waves for ultrasound, magnetic fields for MRI, or antimatter for PET scans, the

Elan, Wyeth present encouraging bapineuzumab Phase 2 trial results at ICAD
Elan and Wyeth present encouraging results from phase 2 clinical trial of bapineuzumab at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.

Right place and right time can trigger drinking
Strong cravings for alcohol can be sparked by the mere sight, smell and taste of a person's favorite drink.

Jackson Laboratory scientists announce mouse sperm cryopreservation breakthrough
A team of Jackson Laboratory scientists have figured out a simple, cost-effective process to freeze mouse sperm and get it to achieve high fertilization rates with mouse eggs.

Preterm birth contributes to growing number of infant deaths
Babies born too soon and too small accounted for a growing proportion of infant deaths, 36.5 percent of infant deaths in 2005, up from 34.6 percent in 2000.

Killer pulses help characterize special surfaces
Detecting deadly fumes in subways, toxic gases in chemical spills, and hidden explosives in baggage is becoming easier and more efficient with a measurement technique called surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Most generalists reluctant to provide primary care for young adults with chronic illness
The majority of general internists and pediatricians in the United States are not comfortable serving as primary care providers for young adults with complex chronic illnesses that originate during childhood, according to findings from a new national survey conducted by researchers at UCSF.

Carnegie Mellon researcher says China's export trade impacts climate
Carnegie Mellon University's Christopher L. Weber argues that China's new title as the world's larget greenhouse gas emitter is at least partly due to consumption of Chinese good in the West.

Say goodbye to virtual bureaucracy
Getting tired of filling in endless forms on the internet when you just want to make a simple purchase or find some information?

UCSF researchers identify virus behind mysterious parrot disease
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have identified a virus behind the mysterious infectious disease that has been killing parrots and exotic birds for more than 30 years.

Mud pots signal possible extension of San Andreas Fault
A linear string of mud pots and mud volcanoes suggest surface evidence for a southern extension of the San Andreas Fault that runs through the Salton Sea, according to a paper published in the August issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Acidification of the sea hampers reproduction of marine species
Within 100 years, it is reckoned that the world's seas will be three times as acidic as they are now.

San Diego Supercomputer Center director urges academia to make cyberinfrastructure 'real'
SDSC's Berman says cyberinfrastructure is essential to advancing research and education in the information age.

Note to people with scarred and stiffened lungs: Monitor your sleep before severe fatigue sets in
Family, friends and neighbors remember Lisa Sandler Spaeth as an active mother of two in Potomac, Md., with a lot on the go, juggling her son's baseball games and her daughter's horseback-riding lessons with numerous committee obligations, organizing women's activities at her local synagogue.

Ante-partum bed rest moms get active in Case Western Reserve University study
After weeks of bed rest during pregnancy, new mothers need to rebuild muscles and strengthen their stamina.

Fish with temperature-dependent sex determination face global warming
In a study directed by Francesc Piferrer, from the Institute of Marine Sciences in Barcelona, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE on July 30, the Spanish researchers used field and laboratory data to critically analyze the presence of temperature dependent sex determination in the 59 species of fish where this type of sex determining mechanism had been postulated.

Europe and Japan join forces to map out future of intelligent robots
The field of robotics could be poised for a breakthrough, leading to a new generation of intelligent machines capable of taking on multiple tasks and moving out of the factory into the home and general workplace. 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