Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 09, 2008
Food soil stuck to surfaces can hold bacteria in food processing factories
Tiny amounts of food soil stuck to surfaces can act as a reservoir for potentially pathogenic bacteria.

Outreach program for troubled college students shows positive results
A pilot program called the College Screening Project, a suicide prevention outreach program, was successful in identifying and treating college students with severe depression and feelings of desperation that may have led to suicide.

Major international prize for Frazer
UQ's cervical cancer vaccine co-creator professor Ian Frazer has won a major international prize worth more than $1.08 million.

Iowa State study finds link between a mother's stress and her child becoming overweight
A mother's stress may contribute to her young children being overweight in low income households with sufficient food, according to a new Iowa State University study published in the September issue of Pediatrics, the professional journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

'Smart' shock absorbers for quake-prone structures
Rice University structural engineering researchers are leading a new $1.6 million research program funded by the National Science Foundation to design a new generation of adaptive,

Receptor activation protects retina from diabetes destruction
Diabetes can make the beautifully stratified retina look like over-fried bacon.

Inaugural Kavli laureates honored in Oslo ceremony
In a ceremony at Oslo Concert Hall in Norway, seven pioneering researchers in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience were honored as the first Kavli Prize laureates, receiving a gold medal and scroll from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon Magnus.

Eating fish while pregnant, longer breastfeeding, lead to better infant development
Higher prenatal fish consumption leads to better physical and cognitive development in infants, according to a study of mothers and infants from Denmark.

Researchers identify best strategies for supporting new science teachers
With a nationwide shortage of science teachers and plummeting student test scores, many school districts are forced to hire teachers with science degrees but little training in education or experience teaching.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

New drug hope for cystic fibrosis patients
A new drug therapy may represent a tremendous step forward in the treatment of some 70,000 cystic fibrosis patients worldwide, Dr.

Springer and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology announce partnership
Springer and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology have signed a partnership agreement to publish the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology.

Molecular biologist honored with $250,000 Heinz Award
An innovative and selfless scientist, whose breakthrough creation of a viral detection platform for malaria and other infectious diseases has helped advance biomedicine's ability to detect both existing and new viruses, has been selected to receive the 14th annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, among the largest individual achievement prizes in the world.

Many cancer patients receive insufficient pain management therapy
Pain is one of the most common symptoms of cancer patients, yet many of them do not receive adequate therapy for the pain caused by their disease or treatments, according to a study in the Sept.

Nanoscale silver: No silver lining?
Widespread use of nanoscale silver will challenge regulatory agencies to balance important potential benefits against the possibility of significant environmental risk, highlighting the need to identify research priorities concerning this emerging technology, according to a new report released today by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

Real-world behavior and biases show up in virtual world
Americans are spending increasing amounts of time hanging around virtual worlds in the forms of cartoon-like avatars that change appearances according to users' wills, fly through floating cities in the clouds and teleport instantly to glowing crystal canyons and starlit desert landscapes.

Genetic region linked to a 5 times higher lung cancer risk
A narrow region on chromosome 15 contains genetic variations strongly associated with familial lung cancer, says a study conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and Caterpillar Inc. to automate large off-highway haul trucks
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute are working with colleagues at Caterpillar Inc. to develop autonomous versions of large haul trucks used in mining operations.

Prize-winning pair of mathematicians
The DFG awards the von Kaven Prize to two researchers in the Year of Mathematics.

Major European program for the environment under the spotlight in Lille, France
On Sept. 16-17, in the context of France's presidency of the EU, Lille will play host to

NYU receives $490k NSF grant to promote women in the sciences
New York University has received a $490,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to bolster its existing campus-wide initiative to promote the representation of women and minorities in the sciences.

Silent streams? Escalating endangerment for North American freshwater fish
Nearly 40 percent of freshwater fish species in North America are now in jeopardy, according to the most detailed evaluation of the conservation status of these fishes in the last 20 years.

Rice political scientists co-author report on ethnic/racial aspects of Taser use by Houston police
A new report co-authored by Rice political scientists Mark Jones and William Reed with colleagues at the University of Houston finds patterns and/or aberrations in the use of Tasers related to ethnicity, gender, race and geography.

Cortisol and fatty liver: Researchers find cause of severe metabolic disorders
Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center discover how the cortisol receptor can disrupt the lipid metabolism in the liver.

5- and 10-year survival continues to improve for US children with hematologic malignancies
Five- and 10-year survival rates continue to improve for children under the age of 15 who are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States, researchers report in the Sept.

Putting a 'Korset' on the spread of computer viruses
A Tel Aviv University invention stays one step ahead of anti-virus software.

A reputation for innovation
Louisiana Tech University continues to outpace the national average in several measures of innovation productivity and delivering new ideas to the marketplace.

Penn researchers identify natural tumor suppressor
Researchers have identified a key step in the formation -- and suppression -- of esophageal cancers and perhaps carcinomas of the breast, head and neck.

Light-activated treatments could solve MRSA problems after surgery
Killer dyes that can wipe out bacteria could help solve the superbug problems faced by surgical patients, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Palin, religion, the 2008 election
UAB political communication professor's study examines the

Research at the University of Haifa identified a protein essential in long term memory consolidation
New research at the University of Haifa identified a specific protein essential for the process of long term memory consolidation.

Lighting research center develops framework for assessing light pollution
Balancing public and private interests for nighttime lighting has been a difficult undertaking, as too little lighting may increase safety and security issues, while too much lighting may cause problems for the environment and for human well being.

Giant honeybees use Mexican waves to repel predatory wasps
In a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE this week, researchers at the University of Graz, Austria, and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, report the finding that shimmering -- a remarkable capacity of rapid communication in giant honeybees -- acts as a defensive mechanism, which repels predatory hornets, forcing them to hunt free-flying bees, further afield, rather than foraging bees directly from the honeybee nest.

Oil-eating microbes give clue to ancient energy source
Microbes that break down oil and petroleum are more diverse than we thought, suggesting hydrocarbons were used as an energy source early in Earth's history, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

UCLA study finds medical student diversity has educational benefits
A new UCLA study disputes controversial legislation like Prop. 209 that claimed campus policies to promote student-body diversity were unnecessary and discriminatory.

Nation's top experts in psychoneuroimmunology to gather Sept. 18-21 in Tampa, Fla.
Some of the nation's leading experts in psychoneuroimmunology will gather Sept.

Professor-turned-producer learns the movie biz
It's not every day that a research scientist and university professor gets to see his work on the silver screen.

Protein found that regulates gene critical to dopamine-releasing brain cells
Researchers have identified a protein they say appears to be a primary player in maintaining normal functioning of an important class of neurons -- those brain cells that produce, excrete and then reabsorb dopamine neurotransmitters.

Increased on-call workload associated with various negative effects for medical interns
Medical interns who experience an increase in their on-call workload are more likely to get less sleep while on call, have longer shift durations and participate less in educational activities, according to a study in the Sept.

Physicists harness effects of disorder in magnetic sensors
University of Chicago scientists have discovered how to make magnetic sensors capable of operating at the high temperatures that ceramic engines in cars and aircraft of the future will require.

Oil seed rape grown for biofuel can help clean up toxic soils
Oil seed rape grown for biofuel in Ireland could help clean up contaminated soils, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

An accurate speedometer for astronomy
There is now a new method for determining the velocities of stars and other celestial bodies which is a thousand times more accurate than previous methods.

Teens' failure to use condoms linked to partner disapproval, fear of less sexual pleasure
A new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center in Providence, R.I., provides insight into some of the factors that influence condom use among teenagers.

Bacteria stop sheep dip poisoning fish and bees
Bacteria can be used to break down used sheep dip, preventing bees and fish from dying because of soil and river contamination, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

MU anthropologist develops new approach to explain religious behavior
Without a way to measure religious beliefs, anthropologists have had difficulty studying religion.

Scientists form alliance to develop nanotoxicology protocols
A team of materials scientists and toxicologists announced the formation of a new international research alliance to establish protocols for reproducible toxicological testing of nanomaterials in both cultured cells and animals.

Racial diversity among medical students appears to better prepare them to care for minority patients
White medical students who attend schools with greater racial and ethnic diversity among the student body are more likely to rate themselves as highly prepared to care for minority populations, according to a study in the Sept.

Number of residents training in graduate medical education programs increases in recent years
Edward Salsberg, M.P.A., of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined, in an article published in the Sept.

Troubled kids hurt classmates' test scores, behavior
Troubled children hurt their classmates' math and reading scores and worsen their behavior, according to new research by economists at the University of California, Davis, and University of Pittsburgh.

Calcium during pregnancy reduces harmful blood lead levels
Pregnant women who take high levels of daily calcium supplements show a marked reduction in lead levels in their blood, suggesting calcium could play a critical role in reducing fetal and infant exposure.

Food poisoning bacteria prefer duck to beef on meat factory surfaces
The food poisoning bacterium Listeria could survive on surfaces in meat processing factories if certain other bacteria are present, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Engineers develop a laser solution to power plants slowed by slagging
The system relies on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to provide instant analysis of the elemental composition of coal as it is being burned.

Evaluation of quality measure for colon cancer care suggests considerable improvements needed
Pathology examination of 12 or more lymph nodes is associated with improved staging and survival in colon cancer patients, yet just 38 percent of US hospitals were compliant with this guideline in 2004-2005, according to a study published in the Sept.

Study in JAMA study links primary care shortage with salary disparities
The nation's shortage of primary care physicians has been linked to a host of poor health outcomes, and a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that salary disparities play a major role in the shortage.

Human embryonic stem cell secretions minimized tissue injury after heart attack
A novel way to improve survival and recovery rate after a heart attack was reported in the journal Stem Cell Research.

M.D.-Ph.D. graduates look more towards career in research
Dorothy A. Andriole, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine, St.

US hospitals 'flunk' colon cancer
A Northwestern University study has found the majority of hospitals don't check enough lymph nodes after a patient's colon cancer surgery to determine if the disease has spread.

BUSM lecture to honor victim of 9/11 tragedy
Boston University School of Medicine will present the 7th Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture in Immunology on Friday, Sept.

70 years old and going strong with Down syndrome and no dementia
In the world of Down syndrome,

Landmark study reports breakdown in biotech patent system
The world's intellectual property system is broken. It's stopping lifesaving technologies from reaching the people who need them most in developed and developing countries, according to the authors of a report released in Ottawa today by an international coalition of experts.

PTB unites magnetic resonance and radar technology in 1 prototype
With the aid of an ultra-broadband radar device, vital movements during MRT measurement can be taken into consideration and the MRI measurements can be corrected.

Breast cancer screening may lower mortality and disease burden in India
Regular screening of women between the ages of 40 and 59 could substantially reduce breast cancer mortality in India, according to a study in the Sept.

Early stage colon cancer characterized by inactivation of gatekeeper gene
The absence or inactivation of the RUNX3 gatekeeper gene paves the way for the growth and development of colon cancer, Singapore scientists report in the September issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

Unique animal species can survive in space
Water bears are the first animals in the world to have survived exposure to the vacuum and radiation of space.

Off-label medicine combinations are the predominant treatment in survey of schizophrenics
In a new PLoS ONE paper, Gabriel Sciences researchers report that 74.5 percent of 200 community-based schizophrenic patients, who were interviewed and evaluated (including a review of clinical records), were treated with off-label medication treatments.

Five new studies at major medical meeting further demonstrate clinical experience for JANUVIA™ (sitagliptin)
New data analyses presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes showed initial combination therapy with the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, Januvia (sitagliptin), and metformin provided improvements in blood sugar levels (as measured by A1C) over two years of treatment and was generally well tolerated.

Scientists form alliance to develop nanotoxicology protocols
A team of materials scientists and toxicologists announced the formation of a new international research alliance to establish protocols for reproducible toxicological testing of nanomaterials in both cultured cell and animals.

Study finds amount of work for residents -- not just hours -- need review
The first objective study on the effect that on-call workloads have on the quality of the education medical residents receive found that the complexity of care patients require has just as much impact on residents' training as the number of hours they work.

Fuel-saving designs improve efficiency of hydraulic systems
Researchers at Purdue University have shown how to reduce fuel consumption and dramatically improve the efficiency of hydraulic pumps and motors in heavy construction equipment.

Titanium work surfaces could cut food poisoning cases say scientists
Food factory work surfaces coated in titanium could cut the number of food poisoning cases every year, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Dance to the music: Learning and exercising at YMCA can prevent diabetes
Community-based exercise organizations, such as the YMCA, are an effective tool in the fight against diabetes, according to a study by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers in the October 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

New way to help schizophrenia sufferers' social skills
Researchers from the University of Newcastle are investigating a new way to help schizophrenia patients develop their communication and social skills.

New book brings upper US Gulf Coast climate change and sea-level rise into focus
Climate change and sea-level rise in the upper US Gulf Coast and across the globe are two of the greatest concerns of our time.

Photos reveal Myanmar's large and small predators
Using remote camera traps to lift the veil on Myanmar's dense northern wild lands, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have painstakingly gathered a bank of valuable data on the country's populations of tigers and other smaller, lesser known carnivores.

Bacteria's sticky glue is clue to vaccine says scientist
Sticky glue secreted by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus could be the clue scientists have been searching for to make an effective vaccine against MRSA, medical researchers heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Wellcome Trust and Indian Government announce £80 million partnership to boost biomedical research
The Wellcome Trust and the Government of India have announced a major new partnership to boost biomedical research in India.

Switched-on new nanotechnology paints for hospitals could kill superbugs
New nanotechnology paints for walls, ceilings, and surfaces could be used to kill hospital superbugs when fluorescent lights are switched on, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Moderate quantities of dirt make more rain
An international team of scientists sums up the current effects of aerosols on precipitation.

Treatment for Parkinson's examined
The Ph.D. defended by Juan Carlos Gómez-Esteban at the University of the Basque Country analysed the results of the clinical research undertaken at the Movement Disorders Unit at Cruces Hospital since 1998.

2 major grants support creation of Chicago Center for Systems Biology
The NIGMS has awarded more than $15 million over 5 years to the University of Chicago to support a new research center -- the Chicago Center for Systems Biology -- to study how networks of genes work together to enable cells and organisms to respond to environmental and genetic change.

Advanced blood analysis may speed diagnosis of heart attacks
Someday doctors may be able to use a blood test to confirm within minutes, instead of hours, if a patient is having a heart attack, allowing more rapid treatment that could limit damage to heart muscle.

Mayo Clinic chest surgeons propose measures for indicating quality of lung surgery
Even though 30,000 patients in the United States undergo lung surgery each year, no standard criteria exist to measure the quality of their care.

Fuel emissions from marine vessels remain a global concern
The forecast for clear skies and smooth sailing for oceanic vessels has been impeded by worldwide concerns of their significant contributions to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that impact the Earth's climate.

Older adults can take medicines more safely and effectively by charting their daily routines
Older adults may be better able to comply with medication regimens by working with providers to fill out simple paper tables that track what they take and when they take it.

Gender of supervisor influences workers' mental and physical health
U of T research shows that a person's gender in a leadership role is associated with their subordinate's mental and physical health.

Copper-bottomed guarantee for safe shellfish in restaurants
Putting brass where your money is could be a guarantee of safety according to researchers looking at the dangers of eating raw fish and shellfish in seafood restaurants, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Community-based diabetes prevention program shows promise
With over 60 million Americans diagnosed with pre-diabetes, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular events and other obesity-related ailments, finding ways to help large populations avoid these complications is an important initiative.

Also in the Sept. 9 JNCI
The Sept. 9 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also features a study suggesting that the risk associated with familial melanoma may be higher than previously thought, a summary from a National Cancer Institute-sponsored summit on neuroendocrine tumors, and evidence that a chromosome locus previously reported to be associated with sporadic lung cancer is also associated with familial lung cancer.

How to differentiate benign from malignant bile duct strictures?
The differentiation of benign and malignant strictures is difficult. Recently, a group of clinical specialists in Netherlands attempted to find possible criteria for differentiation of malignant from benign bile duct strictures.

Why delaying gratification is smart
If you had a choice between receiving $1,000 right now or $4,000 ten years from now, which would you pick?

UIC leads multi-center study to evaluate blood flow and stroke risk
The University of Illinois at Chicago has been awarded a five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to lead a multi-center study to assess blood flow and stroke risk.

2 Rutgers College of Nursing professors conduct mentoring study
Rutgers College of Nursing faculty members, Elise Lev and Lucille Sanzero Eller, are conducting a study to test assumptions regarding interventions intended to increase students' preparedness for careers in biomedical and behavior research.

Report reveals communication needs, recreation use during fires
The effectiveness of the media to inform the public during evacuations and wildland fire effects on recreation are some topics addressed in a US Forest Service report published this month that is a compilation of 17 studies on the social science aspects of fires.

Reasons vary for decline by medical students in choosing internal medicine as career choice
Medical students express reservations about internal medicine as a career because of patient complexity, the practice environment and the lifestyle, compared with other specialties, according to a study in the Sept.
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