Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 31, 2008
Sinus sufferers miss out on work or social activities due to summer allergies
A new survey of more than 1,000 consumers shows that one-third of sinus sufferers say they miss or cut short social outings or business engagements because of their symptoms.

ASM and FIND to partner on strengthening infectious disease diagnosis in developing nations
The American Society for Microbiology and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today confirming their agreement to work in partnership for projects aimed at strengthening infectious disease diagnosis and service integration in resource-poor and transitional countries.

Stanford fruit-fly study adds weight to theories about another type of adult stem cell
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that mature, specialized cells naturally regress to serve as a kind of de facto stem cell during the fruit-fly life cycle.

Physicians ask EPA, 'Antibiotics to cure sick apples, or sick children?'
A federal decision to permit the State of Michigan to spray the state's apple orchards with gentamicin risks undermining the value of this important antibiotic to treat blood infections in newborns and other serious human infections, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Story ideas for health reporters covering the summer Olympic Games
The world-record pace for the marathon continues to improve for both men and women.

UCLA researcher commissions special issue of AIDS journal
With tens of thousands due to gather in Mexico City, Aug.

Baker Institute report proposes strategies to ensure global energy security
A new policy report released by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy suggests strategies to deal with the current turmoil in the global energy markets, including the role of petrodollars in the US credit bubble.

Researchers identify drugs that enhance exercise endurance
HHMI researchers have identified two drugs that mimic many of the physiological effects of exercise.

Ivory poaching at critical levels: Elephants on path to extinction by 2020?
African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at a pace unseen since an international ban on the ivory trade took effect in 1989, but a University of Washington conservation biologist believes there is little outcry because the public seems to be unaware of the giant mammals' plight.

'Small' research at MSU leads to advances in energy, electronics
A researcher has developed a nanomaterial that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger.

Inherited form of hearing loss stems from gene mutation
Researchers have pinpointed a gene mutation that accounts for a previously unidentified form of hearing loss.

New discovery may lead to immunization against cardiovascular disease
Low levels of naturally occurring antibodies may represent an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke in men.

Watching too much TV is causing some university students to pack on the pounds
What's causing some university students to pack on the pounds?

Liver damage in hepatitis C patients could be treated with warfarin, says study
The drug warfarin may help prevent liver failure in thousands of people with hepatitis C, according to new research.

How 'hidden mutations' contribute to HIV drug resistance
One of the major reasons that treatment for HIV/AIDS often doesn't work as well as it should is resistance to the drugs involved.

Biological fathers not necessarily the best, social dads parent well too
Men who marry a child's mother parent just as well, if not better than biological fathers.

New treatment therapy helps inhibit hepatitis C
Two new studies examine the use of the nucleoside polymerase inhibitor, R1626, to the standard therapy for hepatitis C.

Communication gap exists between seniors and surgeons, study finds
In a study published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Richard M.

Brain tweak lets sleep-deprived flies stay sharp
Staying awake slows down our brains, scientists have long recognized.

Gasoline stations set prices to match a small number of other stations
Matched stations are not necessarily the closest.

Dark matter and gas in the early universe
How the first stars formed from dark matter and gas has been a burning question for years, but a state-of-the-art computer simulation now offers the most detailed picture yet of how these first stars in the universe came into existence, researchers say.

Water refineries?
Using a surprisingly simple, inexpensive technique, chemists have found a way to pull pure oxygen from water using relatively small amounts of electricity, common chemicals and a room-temperature glass of water.

GSA announces new journal: Lithosphere to debut in early 2009
The Geological Society of America is pleased to announce the newest addition to its collection of premier peer-reviewed, earth-science journals.

NY Stem Cell Foundation plays critical funding role in major new ALS research announced today
The New York Stem Cell Foundation funded breakthrough ALS stem cell research conducted by Dr.

More acidic ocean could spell trouble for marine life's earliest stages
Increasingly acidic conditions in the ocean -- brought on as a direct result of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere -- could spell trouble for the earliest stages of marine life, according to a new report in the Aug.

Flu vaccine for elderly not effective at preventing community-acquired pneumonia
The effect of influenza vaccination on the risk of pneumonia in immunocompetent elderly people during influenza seasons might be less than previously estimated.

Cancer patients are not given enough information
Two thirds of cancer patients receive little or no information about the survival benefits of having palliative chemotherapy before making a decision about treatment, according to a study published today on

The amazing quantum world of ultra cold matter
Many of us have been fascinated by the concept of absolute zero, the temperature at which everything comes to a complete stop.

Neurons created from skin cells of elderly ALS patients
Less than 27 months after announcing that he had institutional permission to attempt the creation of patient and disease-specific stem cell lines, Harvard Stem Cell Institute Principal Faculty member Kevin Eggan today proclaimed the effort a success -- though politically imposed restrictions and scientific advances prompted him to use a different technique than originally planned.

Treatment corrects severe insulin imbalance in animal studies
Researchers have used a drug to achieve normal levels of blood sugar in animals genetically engineered to have abnormally high insulin levels.

Genetic data promises new future for kiwi fruit
Researchers at New Zealand-based fruit science company HortResearch and listed New Zealand biotech company Genesis Research and Development Corporation Limited have released the world's most extensive collection of kiwi fruit DNA sequences.

Doctors must be held accountable for complying with torture
Doctors who assist in torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment should face prosecution and licensing punishments, says an editorial on today.

Simian foamy virus found in several people living and working with monkeys in Asia
A research team led by University of Washington scientists has found that several people in South and Southeast Asian countries working and living around monkeys have been infected with simian foamy virus, a primate virus that, to date, has not been shown to cause human disease.

Exercise in a pill
Trying to reap the health benefits of exercise? Forget treadmills and spin classes, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found a way around the sweat and pain.

The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, ASTRO partner to raise awareness of cancer survivorship
As part of its continued effort to give back to the cancer communities in the cities visited during its annual scientific meeting, the Fairfax, Va.-based American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology is partnering with the Kenneth B.

Carbon capture milestone for CSIRO in China
Just weeks out from the Olympics, the CSIRO and its Chinese partners have officially launched a post-combustion capture pilot plant in Beijing that strips carbon dioxide from power station flue gases in an effort to stem climate change.

Brian May, guitarist for rock band Queen, completes Ph.D. thesis following 30-year hiatus
Brian May, the guitarist and founding member of the legendary rock band Queen, earned his Ph.D. in astronomy last year from Imperial College London.

Living with a partner reduces risk of Alzheimer's
Living with a spouse or a partner decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases.

FSU, Magnet Lab researchers license critical petroleum data
As gas prices soar, scientists at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University are marketing research that will enable petroleum companies to locate, analyze and process crude oil much faster, cheaper and more accurately.

New study shows compounds from soy affect brain and reproductive development
Two hormone-like compounds linked to the consumption of soy-based foods can cause irreversible changes in the structure of the brain, resulting in early-onset puberty and symptoms of advanced menopause, according to a new study by researchers at North Carolina State University.

NSF announces partnership with industry, academia to further explore data-intensive computing
The National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate announces a grant award to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to help establish an experimental computing cluster at the UIUC campus.

Flu vaccine may not protect seniors well
A Group Health study in the Aug. 2 Lancet fuels the growing controversy over how well the flu vaccine protects seniors.

Removing H. pylori bacteria from stomach reduces risk of stomach cancer redeveloping
Removing Helicobacter Pylori bacteria from the stomachs of post-operative stomach cancer patients can massively reduce the odds of such cancer redeveloping.

'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution
Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology devotes special issue to AIDS
The editors of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology are pleased to announce the July issue, highlighting AIDS and AIDS research.

Spanish researchers take part in the discovery of a new immune disease
An international study, which involved the participation of Hospital Germans Trias (pediatrics and immunology), Hospital Clínic (immunology) and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (pediatrics) in Barcelona and Hospital Dr.

UNC study: Common vaginal infection may increase risk of HIV infection
A common vaginal infection may make women more susceptible to contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health researchers have found.

New uses for old-line diabetes monitoring test: Screening and diagnosis
A blood test currently used as the gold standard for monitoring people already under care for diabetes may have far wider use in identifying millions with undetected diabetes, a team led by a Johns Hopkins physician suggests.

First performance-enhancing drugs for exercise endurance?
While steroids can help build the bulky muscles that lend athletes and body builders power and speed, there hadn't been a drug capable of building the endurance needed to run a marathon or to ride a bike through the Alps.

Cold and ice, not heat, episodically gripped tropical regions 300 million years ago
Geoscientists have long presumed that, like today, the tropics remained warm throughout Earth's last major glaciation 300 million years ago.

In lean times, flies can't survive without their sense of smell
Working with fruit flies reared under laboratory conditions, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Rockefeller University show that in times of plenty, the sense of smell is irrelevant for survival.

Improving the prognosis for schizophrenic disorders
Throughout the world, scientists are attempting to recognize and treat schizophrenic disorders at an earlier stage.

Endoscopic circumferential ablation promising for Barrett's esophagus with high-grade dysplasia
A multi-center US registry study examining the treatment of Barrett's esophagus with high-grade dysplasia showed that in 92 patients treated with endoscopic circumferential ablation who had at least one follow-up biopsy session, 90.2 percent were free of HGD at an average of one-year follow-up.

Monash fuels the next generation of hybrid cars
Monash University scientists have revolutionized the design of fuel cells used in the latest generation of hybrid cars which could make the vehicles more reliable and cheaper to build.

Climate Change Science Program issues report on climate models
The US Climate Change Science Program today announced the release of the report

Study reveals cost of stabbings to Britain's health service
Injuries caused by gun and knife crime are costing the British National Health Service in excess of 3 million pounds a year, new research reveals.

Male fish deceive rivals about their top mate choice
When competitors are around, male Atlantic mollies try to hide their top mate choice, reveals a new study published online on July 31 in Current Biology, a Cell Press journal.

Microbe diet key to carbon dioxide release
As microbes in the soil break down fallen plant matter, a diet

Mother Earth naked -- a modern masterpiece
Earth and computer scientists from 79 nations are working together on a global project called OneGeology to produce the first digital geological map of the world.

Viterbi Algorithm goes quantum
The Viterbi Algorithm, the elegant 41-year-old logical tool for rapidly eliminating dead end possibilities in reception of digital data, has a new application to go alongside its ubiquitous daily use in cell phone communications, bioinformatics, speech recognition and many other areas of information technology.

Mars Express acquires sharpest images of martian moon Phobos
Mars Express closed in on the intriguing martian moon Phobos at 6:49 CEST on July 23, flying past at 3 km/s, only 93 km from the moon.

Like eavesdropping at a party
Cells rely on calcium as a universal means of communication.

Factors that influence whether people define unwelcome sexual joking in the workplace as harassment
A new study in Law & Social Inquiry shows that how people define sexual harassment is directly related to the extent to which they view sexual harassment rules as ambiguous and threatening to workplace norms.

Syracuse University scientists discover how some bacteria may steal iron from their human hosts
While humans obtain iron primarily through the food they eat, bacteria have evolved complex and diverse mechanisms to allow them access to iron.

UNH researchers tag first-ever free-swimming leatherback turtles in New England
University of New Hampshire researchers have tagged one male and two female leatherback turtles off Cape Cod.

Harvard-Columbia team creates neurons from ALS patient's skin cells
Harvard and Columbia scientists have for the first time used a new technique to transform an ALS patient's skin cells into motor neurons, a process that may be used in the future to create tailor-made cells to treat the debilitating disease.

Free articles get read but don't generate more citations
When academic articles are

The travel industry should inform travelers about malaria, say doctors
Tour operators and airlines are wasting an ideal opportunity to warn travelers about the risk of contracting malaria in specific countries, say infectious disease experts on today.

Antiviral therapy helps children at risk for post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease
The antiviral drug, valganciclovir, can lower the levels of Epstein-Barr virus in children with liver transplants, according to a new study.

Working time regulations are failing doctors and patients
Recent changes to working regulations in the UK are seriously damaging the working life and education of junior doctors and patients are also suffering, warn senior doctors on today.

EPA funds ground-breaking Lyme disease research
In the U.S, Lyme disease is the most frequently reported disease that can be passed from animals to humans.

Alcohol binges early in pregnancy increase risk of infant oral clefts
A new study by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, shows that pregnant women who binge drink early in their pregnancy increase the likelihood that their babies will be born with oral clefts.

X-ray diffraction looks inside aerogels in 3-D
The first high-resolution x-ray diffraction imaging of an aerogel, performed at beamline 9.0.1 of the Department of Energy's Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has revealed the aerogel's nanoscale three-dimensional bulk lattice structure down to features measured in nanometers, suggesting that changes in methods of preparing aerogels might improve their strength.

Water refineries?
Using a surprisingly simple technique, chemists have found a way to pull pure oxygen from water using relatively small amounts of electricity, common chemicals and a room-temperature glass of water.

ORNL researchers analyze material with 'colossal ionic conductivity'
A new material characterized at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could open a pathway toward more efficient fuel cells.

Unusual chromosomal changes increase the risk of schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia have an increased number of unusual chromosomal changes, particularly structural changes that have the potential to alter the function of the genes.

University of South Florida receives new multimillion award to assess juvenile diabetes treatments
The latest major National Institutes of Health grant to USF's Jeffrey Krischer and his team -- $128 million -- will coordinate worldwide studies looking for ways to prevent and treat childhood diabetes

DOE and USDA announce more than $10 million in bioenergy plant feedstock research
DOE and USDA today announced plans to award 10 grants totaling more than $10 million to accelerate fundamental research in the development of cellulosic biofuels.

Schizophrenia researchers welcome new blood
Researchers from UQ's Queensland Brain Institute are set to conduct a world-first trial into the link between prenatal vitamin D levels and schizophrenia prevalence.

First disease-specific stem cells from human skin cells
A team of researchers in a collaboration catalyzed by the Project A.L.S. has demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells generated from a patient with ALS

ESA prepares for November's ministerial meeting
In November 2008, the ministers responsible for space activities in ESA's member states and Canada will gather in The Hague to set the course of Europe's space program over the period ahead. 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