Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 18, 2008
Survey compares views of trauma professionals, the public on dying from injuries
Most trauma professionals and members of the general public say they would prefer palliative care following a severe injury if physicians determined aggressive critical care would not save their lives, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study outlines teens' preferences and trade-offs for freedom from acne
Teens report that they would pay about $275 to have never had acne, and are willing to pay considerably more to be acne-free than to have 50 percent clearance of their acne or to have clear skin with acne scars, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers link cocoa flavanols to improved brain blood flow
Cocoa flavanols, the unique compounds found naturally in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, according to new research published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal.

Good long-term prognosis after West Nile virus infection
The long-term prognosis of patients infected with West Nile virus is good, according to a new study appearing in the Aug.

Pitt receives $10 million from Gates Foundation
To help select new vaccines that will have the best chances of stopping global infectious disease outbreaks, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has received $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Future impact of global warming is worse when grazing animals are considered, scientists suggest
The impact of global warming in the Arctic may differ from the predictions of computer models, according to new research, which shows that grazing animals will play a key role in reducing the anticipated expansion of shrub growth in the region, thus limiting the shrubs' predicted and beneficial carbon-absorbing effect.

Allow local health facilities, not hospitals, to treat child pneumonia in developing countries
Allowing children with severe pneumonia to be treated at local, first-level facilities instead of hospitals means much higher proportions of children are treated correctly.

Children's national co-leads nationwide study of landmark sickle cell treatment
Children's National Medical Center will join more than 20 institutions in a first-ever Phase II clinical trial of unrelated donor marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants for severe sickle cell disease.

Signals from the Atlantic salmon highway
For years scientists have struggled to understand the decline and slow recovery of Atlantic salmon, a once abundant and highly prized game and food fish native to New England rivers.

Many US public schools in 'air pollution danger zone'
One in three US public schools are in the

New method to overcome multiple drug resistant diseases developed by Stanford researchers
Many drugs once considered Charles Atlases of the pharmaceutical realm have been reduced to the therapeutic equivalent of 97-pound weaklings as the diseases they once dispatched with ease have developed resistance to them.

Johns Hopkins scientists discover what drives the development of a fatal form of malaria
In a study described in the Aug. 14 issue of Cell Host and Microbe, Johns Hopkins researchers reveal that when red blood cells are infected with the malaria parasite, they activate platelets to secrete the PF4 protein, which triggers the immune system to inflame blood vessels and obstruct capillaries in the brain; both are hallmarks of cerebral malaria.

Epilepsy linked to higher risk of drowning
People with epilepsy appear to have a much higher risk of drowning compared to people without epilepsy, according to a study published in the Aug.

Fish cancer gene linked to pigment pattern that attracts mates
Though skin cancer is deadly to male fish, it also has one perk: The black melanoma splotches arise from attractive natural markings that lure female mates.

New speed record for magnetic memories
An experiment carried out at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt has realized spin torque switching of a nanomagnet as fast as the fundamental speed limit allows.

Indigenous children don't need number words to 'count', says new study
Indigenous Australian children who speak languages that have few number words are still able to count, according to a new international study.

Chemical liberated by leaky gut may allow HIV to infect the brain, Einstein scientists find
A chemical released by the gut in HIV-infected patients appears to help the virus evade the blood brain barrier and infect the brain, Einstein researchers show.

NSF announces Expeditions in Computing Awards
The Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation has established four new Expeditions in Computing.

When the patient can't decide
Researchers led by Alexia Torke, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute Inc., studied how physicians treating patients who are unable to make medical decisions interacted with surrogate decision-makers.

Aboriginal kids can count without numbers
Knowing the words for numbers is not necessary to be able to count, according to a new study of aboriginal children by UCL (University College London) and the University of Melbourne.

Elderly patients less likely to be transported to trauma centers than younger patients
Elderly trauma patients appear to be less likely than younger patients to be transported to a trauma center, possibly because of unconscious age bias among emergency medical services personnel, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Food, health get top billing at national chemistry meeting
Well beyond the advice to drink enough H2O and not eat too much NaCl, the nation's chemists will get elemental with grapefruit, onions, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and watermelons this week at the American Chemical Society meeting.

New probe to detect skin cancer receives more funding for clinical trials
Assistant professor James Tunnell has been awarded a Phase II Early Career Award from the Wallace H.

Caltech researchers awarded $10M for molecular programming project
The National Science Foundation's Expeditions in Computing program has awarded $10 million to the Molecular Programming Project, a collaborative effort by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington to establish a fundamental approach to the design of complex molecular and chemical systems based on the principles of computer science.

Barrow scientists work their magic
Two neuroscientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center are turning magic tricks into science.

Groundbreaking research shows DEET's not sweet to mosquitoes
Mosquitoes flee from DEET-based insect repellents because they intensely dislike the smell of the chemical, not because their sense of smell is jammed, report researchers at the University of California, Davis.

UNC study: 'chilling' hardship rates among families raising disabled children
Families with disabled children are struggling to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and to pay for needed health and dental care.

Poor teen sleep habits may raise blood pressure, lead to CVD
Poor sleep quality and shorter sleep periods in teens may increase the odds of elevated blood pressure.

Chewing gum associated with enhanced bowel recovery after colon surgery
Chewing gum is associated with enhanced recovery of intestinal function following surgery to remove all or part of the colon, according to an analysis of previously published studies in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Genes and nutrition influence caste in unusual species of harvester ant
Researchers trying to determine whether nature or nurture determines an ant's status in the colony have found a surprising answer.

UCSD researchers' new algorithm significantly boosts routing efficiency of networks
A time-and-money-saving question shared by commuters in their cars and networks sharing ever-changing Internet resources is:

Study shows how daughter is different from mother
Northwestern University scientists know how mother and daughter can be so different.

Study: Starting kindergarten later gives students only a fleeting edge
New research challenges a growing trend toward holding kids out of kindergarten until they're older, arguing that academic advantages are short-lived and come at the expense of delaying entry into the workforce and other costs.

Urologists report success using robot-assisted surgery for urinary abnormality
Ashok Hemal, M.D., a urologic surgeon from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and colleagues have reported success using robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery to repair abnormal openings between the bladder and vagina known as fistulas.

Green catalysts provide promise for cleaning toxins and pollutants
Tetra-Amido Macrocyclic Ligands are environmentally friendly catalysts with a host of applications for reducing and cleaning up pollutants, and a prime example of

Molecular sleuths track evolution through the ribosome
A new study of the ribosome, the cell's protein-building machinery, sheds light on the oldest branches of the evolutionary tree of life and suggests that differences in ribosomal structure between the three main branches of that tree are

New planning grants to fund research on freshwater issues
The Woods Institute for the Environment has awarded five faculty planning grants to develop long-term research programs at Stanford University that help solve the world's urgent demands for fresh water.

Switching it up: How memory deals with a change in plans
How do our brains switch so elegantly and quickly from one well-entrenched plan to a newer one in reaction to a sudden change in circumstances?

Chemists make beds with soft landings
Bedsprings aren't often found in biology. Now, chemists have secured a layer of tiny protein coils onto a thin surface, much like miniature bedsprings in a frame.

Dirty smoke from ships found to degrade air quality in coastal cities
Ah, nothing like breathing clean coastal air, right? Think again.

Embargoed clinical news from Annals of Internal Medicine
This release contains highlights on three studies being published in the Aug.

Piling on the homework -- Does it work for everyone?
While US students continue to lag behind many countries academically, national statistics show that teachers have responded by assigning more homework.

UTSA Minority Basic Research Support Score Program awarded $9 million
The UTSA Minority Basic Research Support SCORE MBRS/SCORE program has been awarded a five-year $9 million grant to support 10 faculty research projects.

Poor sleep in teens linked to higher blood pressure
The first study to look at the relationship between not getting enough sleep and blood pressure in healthy adolescents, has found that teens who slept less than 6.5 hours a night were 2.5 times more likely to have elevated blood pressure compared to those who slept longer.

Mirror self-recognition in magpies
Self-recognition, it has been argued, is a hallmark of advanced cognitive abilities in animals.

Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan plays a pivotal role in the repair of spinal cord injury
Michal Schwartz (from the Weizmann Institute of Science) and colleagues describe the role of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan in the repair of injured tissue and in the recovery of motor function during the acute phase after spinal cord injury.

Limbs saved by menstrual blood stem cells
Cells obtained from menstrual blood, termed 'endometrial regenerative cells' are capable of restoring blood flow in an animal model of advanced peripheral artery disease.

Novel fungus helps beetles to digest hard wood
A little known fungus tucked away in the gut of Asian longhorned beetles helps the insect munch through the hardest of woods according to a team of entomologists and biochemists.

College cocktails lead to science career
Dr. Jim Sacchettini does

UT Southwestern researchers uncover attack mechanism of illness-inducing bacterium
An infectious ocean-dwelling bacterium found in oysters and other shellfish kills its host's cells by causing them to burst, providing the invader with a nutrient-rich meal, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

'Stereotype threat' could affect exam performance of ethnic minority medical students
The underperformance in examinations of UK medical students from ethnic minorities could be partly down to a psychological phenomenon called

Study examines association of smoking with hemorrhage after throat surgery
Smoking appears to be associated with an increased rate of hemorrhage in patients who undergo uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP, a surgical procedure used to remove excess tissue from the throat) with tonsillectomy (a surgical procedure in which the tonsils are removed), but not in those who undergo tonsillectomy alone, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Otolaryngology−Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pesticide build-up could lead to poor honey bee health
Honey bees industriously bring pollen and nectar to the hive, but along with the bounty comes a wide variety of pesticides, according to Penn State researchers.

UNC trial: oral contraceptives may ease suffering of women with severe PMS
A new clinical trial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill using a popular low-dose contraceptive could uncover a more effective treatment for the 5 to 10 percent of women who suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Mathematical model allows estimation of minimal detectable tumor sizes
Sanjiv Gambhir (Stanford University Medical Center) and colleagues describe a linear one-compartment mathematical model that allows estimation of minimal detectable tumor sizes based on blood tumor biomarker assays.

How daughter is different from mother in yeast cells
The mother-daughter relationship can be difficult to understand. Why are the two so different?

2007 hurricane forecasts took blow from winds and Saharan dry, dusty air
A new analysis of environmental conditions over the Atlantic Ocean shows that hot, dry air associated with dust outbreaks from the Sahara desert was a likely contributor to the quieter-than-expected 2007 hurricane season.

Researchers study facial structures, brain abnormalities to reveal formula for detection of autism
Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder.

Congress launches the first national research program focused on technology and learning
Congress has authorized a major new research center, the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, that will bring the same focused, sustained research funding to technology and learning that the federal government has funded for years in technology for health care at the National Institutes of Health and technology for energy at the Department of Energy.

Restoring Alabama's coast
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Lands Division and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab have partnered to conduct extensive habitat restoration, monitoring and research along the Alabama coast.

Catalyst mystery unlocked
Different keys are not supposed to fit the same lock, but in biological systems multiple versions of a catalyst all make a reaction go, according to a new study in PNAS that explains the phenomenon.

Lack of tuberculosis trials in children unacceptable
Ensuring the involvement of children in the evaluation of tuberculosis treatment is critical as we move forward in developing effective responses to active and drug-susceptible tuberculosis, argues a new essay in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Immune response to human embryonic stem cells in mice suggests human therapy may face challenge
Human embryonic stem cells trigger an immune response in mice, researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine report.

Studies of dynamic past Ice Age may help prepare society for future changes
This new special paper from the Geological Society of America brings together a wealth of recent work to understand the longest icehouse period in Phanerozoic Earth history, the late Paleozoic ice age.

USGS news: August science picks
Discover new information on the Arctic's oil and gas resources, learn about a magnitude-5.4 earthquake that rattled Los Angeles, and find out about recent explosive eruptions of volcanoes in Alaska. 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