Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 05, 2008
Songbirds may hold key to advances in treatment of brain degeneration
Ongoing research at Lehigh University may one day help make strides toward therapeutic advances in the treatment of diseases that involve the loss of memory and brain degeneration such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and stroke.

When neurons fire up: Study sheds light on rhythms of the brain
A new study by neuroscientists at Indiana University and the University of Montreal models the random synchronization of neuron activation.

Risky behaviors must change for HIV prevention to have any chance of success
Radical behavioral change needs to be initiated and sustained in enough people at risk of HIV infection, and these behavioral changes must be part of a comprehensive combination prevention package for the strategies to have any chance of success.

ESA to feature wide range of UW-Madison presentations
The Ecological Society of America will hold its 93rd annual meeting on Aug.

Stanford study finds HIV drug can persist in mothers' milk, increasing risk to them and their babies
A drug commonly used in the developing world to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child persists in the breast milk and blood of the mothers, putting them and their babies at risk for developing drug-resistant strains of the virus, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Back to the Future: psychologists examine children's mental time traveling abilities
Researchers have recently explored how children comprehend the future and ways that this understanding can be affected by, for example, their current physiological state.

'Cosmic ghost' discovered by volunteer astronomer
When Yale astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski and his colleagues at Oxford University enlisted public support in cataloguing galaxies, they never envisioned the strange object Hanny van Arkel found in archived images of the night sky.

VCU Massey Cancer researchers find gene therapy that kills pancreatic cancer cells
Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine have published findings that implicate a new chemoprevention gene therapy for preventing and treating pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal and treatment-resistant forms of cancer.

HIV: Combination prevention is the way ahead and mistakes of mid-1990s must not be repeated
Combination prevention -- a combination of behavioural, medical, and structural approaches based on sound evidence -- offers the best hope for future successful HIV prevention.

Research reveals why some smokers become addicted with their first cigarette
Research from the University of Western Ontario reveals how the brain processes the

New decision model seeks to avert flu vaccine mismatch of 2007-2008 season
To avoid producing vaccines that treat the wrong strains during flu season, the FDA should consider deferring some of its selections as well as other changes to the vaccine composition, according to a study by two decision analysts published in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Revolutionary technique could reduce lifelong drugs for transplant patients
German researchers have made an exciting break-through that could improve the lives of transplant patients, by reducing the drugs they need to take to prevent organ rejection.

Structural factors -- an untapped, yet vital part of HIV prevention
In order to successfully prevent as many HIV infections as possible, attention must be given to structural factors that affect vulnerability and risk, as well as focusing on individual level behaviors.

Foreign threats to US raise tolerance for diversity, study finds
Foreign threats to the United States can encourage tolerance for diversity domestically and a corresponding intolerance for diversity internationally, according to a study by University of British Columbia and Stanford University researchers published this week in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Children's Hospitals Information Services first in the world to receive prestigious certification
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC's Information Services Department, in partnership with Phoenix Health Systems Inc., is the first health care information services provider in the world to achieve Level 2 certification by the eSCM Certification Board of the IT Services Qualification Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

Story tips from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2008
By examining natural variation among cottonwood trees in nature, scientists hope to develop a strategy to maximize production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass.

Stent grafts: a better way to treat blunt trauma injuries
Endovascular repair -- fixing an injury in a blood vessel from inside that vessel -- is a better option for individuals who receive highly lethal injuries from high-speed collisions or falls (together referred to as blunt trauma) and is shown to save more lives and nearly eliminate paraplegia (the loss of the ability to move and/or feel both legs), a complication of surgical repair for thoracic aortic aneurysms.

Tuning in to a new language on the fly: Effects of context and seasonality on songbird brain
Research conducted at Rutgers University has shown that exposure to a changed acoustic and social environment can rewire the way the brain processes sounds.

Rare Antarctic fossils reveal extinction of tundra before full polar climate arrived
An unusual and amazing discovery of fossilized plants and insects in an ice-free region of Antarctica reveals the last traces of tundra before a dramatic and abrupt cooling some 14 million years ago.

UCSB researchers make milestone discovery in quantum mechanics
Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have recently reached what they are calling a milestone in experimental quantum mechanics.

Scientists identify possible cause of endometriosis
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified an enzyme that could be responsible for a condition called endometriosis -- the most common cause of pelvic pain in women.

Vine invasion? UWM ecologist looks at coexistence of trees and lianas
An ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studies how woody vines, or lianas, are affecting tropical forests and atmospheric CO2 levels.

Metabolic insight to illuminate causes of iron imbalance
New insight into key players in iron metabolism has yielded a novel tool for distinguishing among root causes of iron overload or deficiency in humans, the researchers report in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press.

Stevens assists enXco with construction of solar photovoltaic system
On July 29, 2008, enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles company, announced that a Power Purchase Agreement was made with Stevens Institute of Technology to construct a 487 kW solar photovoltaic system in Hoboken, N.J.

Wildlife Conservation Society discovers 'Planet of the Apes'
The world's population of critically endangered western lowland gorillas received a huge boost today when the Wildlife Conservation Society released a census showing massive numbers of these secretive great apes alive and well in the Republic of Congo.

Bacterial persistence in streams
A research team from the University of Tennessee has completed a study on an East Tennessee river to determine the connection between watershed hydrology and fecal bacteria statistical time series analysis.

Whom do we fear or trust?
A pair of Princeton psychology researchers has developed a computer program that allows scientists to analyze better than ever before what it is about certain human faces that makes them look either trustworthy or fearsome.

NASA data show some African drought linked to warmer Indian Ocean
A new study, co-funded by NASA, has identified a link between a warming Indian Ocean and less rainfall in eastern and southern Africa.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund awards health research project grants
Life Sciences Discovery Fund of Washington State announces latest research awards.

Antarctic fossils paint a picture of a much warmer continent
National Science Foundation-funded scientists working in an ice-free region of Antarctica have discovered the last traces of tundra -- in the form of fossilized plants and insects -- on the interior of the southernmost continent before temperatures began a relentless drop millions of years ago.

NSF issues solicitation for basic, human sciences research on social and behavioral dimensions
The National Science Foundation has issued a solicitation that represents a partnership between NSF and the Department of Defense to support basic research projects that can address areas of strategic importance to national security as one part of DoD's Minerva Initiative launched in the spring by the Secretary of Defense.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Chest Journal: August news briefs
News briefs from the August issue of the journal Chest feature studies on obesity and asthma, how chronic cough affects quality of life, and how chronic cough in children adds to parental stress.

Exposure to Agent Orange linked to prostate cancer in Vietnam veterans
UC Davis Cancer Center physicians today released results of research showing that Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange have greatly increased risks of prostate cancer and even greater risks of getting the most aggressive form of the disease as compared to those who were not exposed.

Context and personality key in understanding responses to emotional facial expressions
It is well-appreciated that facial expressions play a major role in nonverbal social communication among humans and other primates, because faces provide rapid access to information about the identity and the internal states and intentions of others.

Reducing infectiousness of HIV-infected individuals is among key biomedical prevention strategies
With no HIV vaccine available for the foreseeable future, focus must be on proven biomedical HIV prevention methods such as male condoms, male circumcision and prohphylactic antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Sesame seed extract and konjac gum may help ward off Salmonella and E. coli
A new study in SCI's Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that konjac gum and sesame seed extract may offer protection against different strains of E. coli and Salmonella bacteria.

Duck-billed dinosaurs outgrew predators to survive
With long limbs and a soft body, the duck-billed hadrosaur had few defenses against predators such as tyrannosaurs.

Black girls who use marijuana engage in riskier sex, have higher STD rate
Researchers found that black girls who used marijuana had significantly higher rates of incident STDs than non-marijuana users (32 percent compared to 23 percent).

Consumer Reports survey: 44 percent of Americans are 'Problem Sleepers'
According to a new Consumer Reports survey to be published in the September issue, 44 percent of Americans are

Explosions and blast related injuries
International researchers and clinicians share their insights and experience with blast related injuries.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Region: A Geological Cornucopia
Follow in the footsteps of these 15 field trips from the Geological Society of America and see firsthand a multitude of geological processes, ancient ecosystems, and Paleoindian settlements.

Study: Spices may protect against consequences of high blood sugar
Herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants, and a new University of Georgia study suggests they are also potent inhibitors of tissue damage and inflammation caused by high levels of blood sugar.

Computation Institute to bulk up data analysis capability with $1.5 million grant
The Computation Institute, a joint effort of the University of Chicago and the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a computer system that will enable researchers to store, access and analyze massive datasets.

Combination HIV prevention: 12 million infections could be averted by 2015
Governments, communities and scientists must fully implement combination HIV prevention, and the international community must mobilize all the support necessary for this effort.

Globular clusters tell tale of star formation in nearby galaxy metropolis
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has identified thousands of more than 5 billion year-old globular clusters in the Virgo cluster of galaxies.

Evaluating ecosystem services
Environmental conservation efforts have traditionally focused on protecting individual species or natural resources.

Most countries are not targeting their HIV resources effectively and new strategies must be tried
While many national HIV program managers operate in a fog of uncertainty due to insufficient information on HIV interventions, most are also not using the available data to target their resources effectively.

Arctic Map plots new 'gold rush'
Researchers at Durham University have drawn up the first ever

Different motives sustained US flag-dipping refusal at Olympics, historian says
The 2008 Beijing Olympics will mark the centennial of the American legend of

Exercise pill is no replacement for exercise
Frank Booth, a University of Missouri expert on inactivity, says the

ICS presents prestigious Digby McLaren Medal to Cincinnati's Carl Brett
The Digby McLaren Award recognizes a significant body of internationally important contributions to stratigraphy.

U of M study shows why treatment isn't effective for HIV
University of Minnesota researchers have answered a key question as to why antiretroviral therapy isn't effective in restoring immunity in HIV-infected patients.

Adults who eat eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight
A study published online today in the International Journal of Obesity shows that eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helps overweight adults lose more weight and feel more energetic than those who eat a bagel breakfast of equal calories.

Spiders who eat together, stay together: UBC research
The ability to work together and capture larger prey has allowed social spiders to stretch the laws of nature and reach enormous colony sizes, UBC zoologists have found.

Key site in iron metabolism aids in diagnosing anemia of chronic disease
University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have developed a new tool that facilitates diagnosis of anemia related to chronic illness, as well as diseases of iron overload.

Novel method to create personalized immunotherapy treatments
Argos Therapeutics and Université de Montréal today announced the presentation of new information on Argos'process for developing dendritic cell-based immunotherapies for HIV.

The drivers of tropical deforestation are changing, say scientists
A shift from poverty-driven to industry-driven deforestation threatens the world's tropical forests but offers new opportunities for conservation, according to an article coauthored by William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Entomologists play matchmakers for cerambycid beetles
Pest cerambycids can cause severe damage to standing trees, logs and lumber.

Remedial instruction rewires dyslexic brains, provides lasting results, study shows
A new Carnegie Mellon University brain imaging study of dyslexic students and other poor readers shows that the brain can rewire itself and overcome reading deficits, if students are given 100 hours of intensive remedial instruction.
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