Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 06, 2008
Portable imaging system will help maximize public health response to natural disasters
Researchers have developed a low-cost, high-resolution imaging system that can be attached to a helicopter to create a complete and detailed picture of an area devastated by a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Pediatricians more likely to disclose medical errors that are apparent to families, survey finds
A survey of pediatricians found wide variation in whether and how they would disclose medical errors to patients and their families, and may be less likely to share information about errors that are less obvious to parents, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pneumococcal vaccine associated with 50 percent lower risk of heart attacks
Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccination was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of heart attacks two years after vaccination, suggests a large hospital-based case-control study published in CMAJ.

Mayo Clinic collaborates to advance Crohn's treatment
A study led by Mayo Clinic has found that infliximab (Remicade) administered alone (monotherapy) or in combination with azathioprine is a more effective treatment for patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease than azathioprine alone.

Mayo researchers explore issues related to multiple myeloma treatment
In the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, two articles authored by Mayo researchers address the issue of how to balance the risks and benefits associated with Multiple myeloma treatments.

Traumatic brain injury common amongst homeless people
Traumatic brain injury is common amongst homeless people and is associated with poorer health, found a study of more than 900 homeless men and women in Toronto.

Extinction by asteroid a rarity
Results presented at 2008 Joint Annual Meeting argue in favor of a

New blood test for Down syndrome
HHMI researchers have devised an ingenious way to the scan fetal DNA present in the mother's blood to determine whether the fetus' cells contain extra chromosomes associated with several types of severe birth detects, including Down syndrome.

Most Alaskan glaciers retreating, thinning and stagnating
Most glaciers in every mountain range and island group in Alaska are experiencing significant retreat, thinning or stagnation, especially glaciers at lower elevations, according to USGS research.

Mayo Clinic study tackles labeling errors
With a long-held commitment to continuously improving the quality and safety of patient care, Mayo Clinic researchers are recommending a new technologically-advanced labeling system aimed at reducing specimen labeling errors in a high-volume gastrointestinal endoscopy center.

Mayo Clinic study shows stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer has potential, but challenges remain
The first generation of a stool DNA test to identify early colorectal cancer has limitations, according to a Mayo Clinic-led study published in the Oct.

Researchers discover that SLC2A9 is a high-capacity urate transporter in humans
An international team of researchers from the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry with Chris Cheeseman at the University of Alberta in Canada and Kelle Moley at the University of Washington in the US, have shown that the SLC2A9 gene, which encodes a glucose transporter, is also a high-capacity urate transporter, and thus possibly a new drug target for gout.

CRC screening before Medicare age could save millions in federal health-care dollars
A screening program for colon cancer in patients starting ten years prior to Medicare eligibility, at age 55 instead of Medicare's 65, would save at least two dollars for every dollar spent, according to a new study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando.

NSF launches third generation of engineering research centers with awards totaling $92.5 million
The National Science Foundation announces the establishment of five new NSF Engineering Research Centers for the development of interdisciplinary research and education programs in partnership with industry.

Unmet need common among patients with advanced illness
There is often a lack of adequate communication between health care providers and those facing terminal conditions, according to a series of articles in the latest issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (Vol.

Flu vaccine not associated with reduced hospitalizations or outpatient visits among young children
Use of the influenza vaccine was not associated with preventing hospitalizations or reducing physician visits for the flu in children age 5 and younger during two recent seasons, perhaps because the strains of virus in the vaccine did not match circulating strains, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Field Museum provides gold standard for mammal survey
Several mamalogists at Chicago's Field Museum participated in the IUCN survey of the world's mammals, using the Museum's extensive mammal collections for reference.

UC San Diego bioengineers fill holes in science of cellular self-organization
The chemical and biological aspects of cellular self-organization are well-studied; less well understood is how cell populations order themselves biomechanically -- how their behavior and communication are affected by high density and physical proximity.

Surface tension drives segregation within cell mixtures
What does a mixture of two different kinds of cells have in common with a mixture of oil and water?

Using a fan during sleep associated with lower risk of SIDS
Fan use appears to be associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome in rooms with inadequate ventilation, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New studies highlight the importance of bowel prep and effectiveness of colonoscopy
New research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando emphasizes the importance of adequate bowel preparation prior to colonoscopy, and highlights the remarkable effectiveness of colonoscopy in detecting and removing pre-cancerous polyps, particularly tiny, flat, potentially pre-cancerous growths in the colon known as

Complete Genomics launches, becomes world's first large-scale human genome sequencing company
Complete Genomics launched today as the world's first provider of large-scale human genome sequencing services.

Proteins involved in blood vessel dysfunction in type 2 diabetes are identified
Using precise microscopes, University of Missouri researchers are dissecting coronary microvessels and testing which proteins are responsible for inflammation that causes blood-vessel dysfunction.

H. Pylori bacteria may help prevent some esophageal cancers
Some bacteria may help protect against the development of a type of esophageal cancer, known as adenocarcinoma, according to a new review of the medical literature.

Study: Bird diversity lessens human exposure to West Nile Virus
This one's for the birds. A study by biologists at Washington University in St.

Metastatic movements in 3-D
Caswell et al. report in the Journal of Cell Biology how the altered behavior of integrins can prompt metastatic movement in tumor cells.

ADHD stimulant treatment may decrease risk of substance abuse in adolescent girls
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found that treatment with stimulant drugs does not increase and appears to significantly decrease the risk that girls with ADHD will begin smoking cigarettes or using alcohol or drugs.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists trace a novel way cells are disrupted in cancer
A research team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is clarifying a previously unappreciated way that cellular processes are disrupted in cancer.

U of T researchers reveal Epstein-Barr virus protein contributes to cancer
Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that the EBNA1 protein of Epstein-Barr virus disrupts structures in the nucleus of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells, thereby interfering with cellular processes that normally prevent cancer development.

Individuals with social phobia see themselves differently
Magnetic resonance brain imaging reveals that patients with generalized social phobia respond differently than others to negative comments about themselves, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Future looks bleak for 1 of world's smallest seal species
One of the smallest seals -- the Caspian -- has joined a growing list of mammal species in danger of extinction.

Endoscopic therapy may offer an alternative to surgery
New research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando evaluated the long-term efficacy of endoscopic mucosal resection, or EMR, in the treatment of patients with early stage esophageal cancer or Barrett's esophagus.

New studies examine the effectiveness of probiotics in IBS
Several studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando highlight the safety and efficacy of probiotics in improving symptoms and normalizing bowel movement frequency in patients suffering from constipation or diarrhea related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

MSU scientists find new gene that helps plants beat the heat
Michigan State University plant scientists have discovered another piece of the genetic puzzle that controls how plants respond to high temperatures.

Implementation of breast health guidelines for developing countries published
A special supplement of the Oct. 15 journal Cancer for the first time details guidelines for low- and middle-income countries to implement breast cancer programs to detect and treat the most common disease among women worldwide.

New therapeutic treatment approach improves survival in esophageal cancer patients
A study released at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando found that a new therapeutic treatment, when delivered endoscopically and used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, improved survival rates in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer.

Using a fan during sleep may reduce infants' SIDS risk, Kaiser Permanente study shows
A study by Kaiser Permanente found infants who slept in a bedroom with a fan had a 72 percent lower risk of SIDS compared to infants who slept in a bedroom without a fan.

Cassini flyby of Saturn moon offers insight into solar system history
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is scheduled to fly within 16 miles of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Oct.

Battling cancer, one cell at a time
New research suggests that the identification and examination of key cell signaling events required for initiation and progression of cancer might be best accomplished at the single cell level.

Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia
People with mild to moderate dementia are cared for largely by family physicians as well as the patient's own family, and management of care can be complex and challenging.

Occasional memory loss tied to lower brain volume
People who occasionally forget an appointment or a friend's name may have a loss of brain volume, even though they don't have memory deficits on regular tests of memory or dementia, according to a study published in the Oct.

African-Americans may be at higher risk of stroke-causing brain lesions
Cerebral microbleeds, which are small bleeds within the brain, appear to be more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians, increasing the likelihood of having a stroke, according to a study published in the Oct.

Privatizing Canada's health care is not the answer: Lessons from the United States
Investing in Canada's public health system is the best way to improve it, rather than privatization, writes Dr.

New prenatal test for down syndrome less risky than amniocentesis, Stanford/Packard scientists say
Pregnant women worried about their babies' genetic health face a tough decision: get prenatal gene testing and risk miscarriage, or skip the tests and miss the chance to learn of genetic defects before birth.

Health care and the US presidential election
Health care is playing a bigger role in this election than in any presidential contest in the past.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Pediatric study finds alternatives for radiation of low-grade brain tumors
A multi-institutional study led by researchers at the University of Texas M.

Food for thought
What goes into making the food we eat? From sliced bread for sandwiches to shredded lettuce for salads, food takes us an incredible journey before it even reaches our plate, and along the way it has been processed and packaged for our convenience.

Research finds customers' fixation on minimum payments drives up credit card bills
New research by the University of Warwick reveals that many credit card customers become fixated on the level of minimum payments given on credit card bills.

Vitamin D deficiency common in patients with IBD, chronic liver disease
The 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando found patients with inflammatory bowel disease or chronic liver disease were at increased risk of developing Vitamin D deficiencies.

CERN openlab boosts the performance of LHC computing
The LHC Grid Fest, held last Friday at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and at several sites around the world, commemorated the readiness of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.

Seeing race and seeming racist? Whites go out of their way to avoid talking about race
White people -- including children as young as 10 -- may avoid talking about race so as not to appear prejudiced, according to new research.

Research shows Brazilian acai berry antioxidants absorbed by human body
A Brazilian palm berry, popular health food though little research has been done on it, now may have its purported benefits better understood.

Boston University partners in NSF challenge to create wireless network using visible light
Researchers at Boston University are developing a new generation of wireless communications based on visible light instead of radio waves.

Hopkins children's experts say doctors and parents can sort out symptoms with a checklist
A young child arrives at the emergency room after several days of abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea and is sent home with a diagnosis of viral gastritis and treatment for the symptoms.

Air pollution may increase risk of appendicitis
Could there be a link between high levels of air pollution and the risk of appendicitis?

Researchers document world's mammals in crisis
From majestic African elephants to tiny and often unappreciated rodents, mammals on Earth are in a state of crisis.

Lives of women shoplifters, sex workers explored
A new book by a Rutgers University -- Camden criminologist reveals the profound impact of shoplifting and prostitution on both a region and the lives of the women who depend on these illegal acts.

Anti-cancer drug prevents, reverses cardiovascular damage in mouse model of premature aging disorder
An NIH team led by Drs. Francis Collins and Elizabeth Nabel finds an anti-cancer drug can reverse cardiovascular disase in mice with progeria.

Vitamin D deficiency common in patients with IBD, chronic liver disease
New research presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando found patients with inflammatory bowel disease or chronic liver disease were at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiencies.

Brookhaven scientists take off for southeastern Pacific climate study
During October and November 2008, some 150 scientists from 40 institutions in eight nations -- including scientists from the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory -- will take part in an international field experiment designed to make observations of critical components of the climate system of the southeastern Pacific.

New study examines effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening tests
New findings from a decision analysis for the US Preventative Services Task Force suggest that routine colorectal cancer screenings can be stopped in patients over the age of 75.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
This release contains information about four studies being published in the Oct.

NASA study finds rising Arctic storm activity sways sea ice, climate
A new NASA study shows that the rising frequency and intensity of arctic storms over the last half century, attributed to progressively warmer waters, directly provoked acceleration of the rate of arctic sea ice drift, long considered by scientists as a bellwether of climate change.

LSUHSC awarded patent for compound inhibiting cancer and other diseases
Dr. Eugene Woltering, the James D. Rives Professor of Surgery and Neurosciences at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, and Dr.

The Science Coalition's '10 questions' for the presidential debate
As the ongoing financial crisis has clearly illustrated, the top priority for the next president will be addressing the nation's severe economic crisis.

Racial differences for brain bleeds suggest stroke risk greater than thought for blacks
Small, clinically silent areas of bleeding in the brain appear to be more common in black versus white stroke patients hospitalized for new brain bleeds, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Metabolic syndrome ups colorectal cancer risk
In a large US population-based study presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, metabolic syndrome patients had a 75 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer compared to those without metabolic syndrome.

Post-term pregnancies risk infant's life and health, UCSF studies show
Infants born more than one week past their due dates have a higher risk of both impaired health and death, according to two new studies by authors from the University of California's San Francisco and Berkeley campuses.

Social problems dominate concerns in neighborhoods with unsatisfied residents
A new study reveals that the general appearance of a neighborhood is the single most important factor affecting how satisfied residents are about the area where they live.

APS sets aside $50,000 to help students, post-docs, in wake of Hurricane Ike
The American Physiological Society has established the Hurricane Ike Relief Fund to provide unrestricted grants of up to $2,000 to support physiology graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Ike.

New book rethinks the relationship between sulfur and crops
Sulfur is often overlooked as a nutrient in favor of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but a new book from the Soil Science Society of America explains its crucial role in soil condition, plant growth and nutrition.

Free drug samples carry risks for children
Free prescription drug samples distributed to children may be unsafe, according to a study by physicians from Cambridge Health Alliance and Hasbro Children's Hospital.

MSU study: Girls have harder time than boys adjusting in language-learning environment
Girls who don't share a common language may have more difficulty adjusting socially than boys, according to surprising new Michigan State University research looking at language acquisition among young children.

Outshining Edison: New NSF engineering research center to advance 'smart lighting'
A new research center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, funded by a five-year, $18.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to supplant the common light bulb with next-generation lighting devices that are smarter, greener and ripe for innovation.

Graduate Medical Education Leadership Summit
Medical educators, health care executives and policy-makers from across Georgia and the nation will gather in Atlanta Oct.

Soothing music significantly reduces stress, anxiety and depression during pregnancy
A study of 236 pregnant women has found that listening to relaxing music for just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce psychological stress during pregnancy.

Oral vitamin D may help prevent some skin infections
A study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, suggests that use of oral vitamin D supplements bolsters production of a protective chemical normally found in the skin, and may help prevent skin infections that are a common result of atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema.

Why current publication practices may distort science
The current system of publishing medical and scientific research provides

Women require less tobacco exposure than men to increase colon cancer risk
While smoking poses a health threat to both men and women, women require less tobacco exposure than men to have a significant increased risk for colorectal cancer, according to new research presented at the 73rd Annual ACG Scientific Meeting in Orlando.

Lichens function as indicators of nitrogen pollution in forests
Scientists have found lichens can give insight into nitrogen air pollution effects on Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino mountain ecosystems, and protecting them provides safeguards for less sensitive species.

University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
With the US Supreme Court due to review a series of lower court rulings that restrict the Navy's use of sonar in submarine detection training exercises off the coast of Southern California, George Mason University professor Chris Parsons discusses the links between mass strandings and military exercises worldwide in a paper published by the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Shire announces results from an analysis of LIALDA and Asacol for the treatment of UC
Shire plc, the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, announced the results from a multidisciplinary analysis of in vitro and in vivo data of LIALDA (mesalamine) versus Asacol (mesalamine) that investigated factors including transit and disintegration of tablets along with tablet coating thickness that may affect a consistent release of 5-aminosalicylate acid (5-ASA) in both therapies.

Age-related macular degeneration: New gene association identified
A new genetic association with the condition age-related macular degeneration is reported in an article published early online and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet, written by Dr.

7 Texas mammals listed as threatened on Global Mammal Assessment
The Global Mammal Assessment project results announced todayat the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, include at least seven Texas species on the globally threatened list.

Bipolar disorder in children appears likely to continue into young adulthood
About 44 percent of individuals who had bipolar disorder as children continue to have manic episodes as young adults, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Children's asthma affected by parental expectations
Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition.

NASA spacecraft ready to explore outer solar system
The first NASA spacecraft to image and map the dynamic interactions taking place where the hot solar wind slams into the cold expanse of space is ready for launch Oct.

JDRF funded study links 'hygiene hypothesis' to diabetes prevention
A research study funded by JDRF suggests that a common intestinal bacteria may provide some protection from developing type 1 diabetes.

Nanoscopic screening process to speed drug discovery
Researchers at Wake Forest University are using nanotechnology to search for new cancer-fighting drugs through a process that could be up to 10,000 times faster than current methods.

Consumer electronics and society: economic, environmental and cultural connections
An AT&T Industrial Ecology grant will fund work by Arizona State University researchers to study the economic, environmental and cultural ripple effects created by rapid advances in consumer electronics.

Major study of opiate use in children's hospitals provides simple steps to alleviate harm
Hospitalized kids with painful ailments from broken bones to cancer are often dosed with strong, painkilling drugs known as opiates.

New screening technologies improve detection of polyps during colonoscopy
Two studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando highlight new technologies with the potential to improve the detection of colorectal polyps and flat lesions during colonoscopy.

Early-stage gene transcription creates access to DNA
An international team of researchers, probing how a yeast cell senses its cellular environment and makes decisions about whether or not to express a gene, finds the process of transcribing noncoding RNAs is required for the eventual production of the protein-encoding RNA.

Neurotransmitter defect may trigger autoimmune disease
A potentially blinding neurological disorder, often confused with multiple sclerosis, has now become a little less mysterious.

New Stanford diagnostic test for rare leukemia appears to give faster results, study finds
A new twist on a well-known cell sorting technique may allow physicians to diagnose rare leukemias in hours instead of weeks, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and UC-San Francisco.

New study finds summer is peak season for diagnosis of esophagus disorder
Two new studies presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology examined eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition that can mimic symptoms of GERD, in a small proportion of people.

2008 SNM Wagner-Torizuka Fellowships announced
Four Japanese researchers were awarded the 2008 SNM Wagner-Torizuka Fellowship, and are currently studying in the United States through 2010 as part of the two-year program.

Study finds genetic variant plays role in cleft lip
Researchers have found, in a previously identified gene, a variation that likely contributes to one in five cases of isolated cleft lip.

Microwave ovens need added safety controls
Curious toddlers and pre-schoolers are all-too-often scalded by foods heated in microwave ovens, but a locking mechanism could prevent these severe injuries that require hospitalization.

AACR hosts Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting
To stop cancer before it has a chance to take root and spread, scientists are increasingly turning their attention to new discoveries in cancer prevention.

Takeda's investigational PPI TAK-390MR demonstrated higher healing rates compared to lansoprazole
Combined results from two Phase 3 studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Fla., demonstrated that TAK-390MR resulted in higher healing rates than lansoprazole among patients with more severe grades of erosive esophagitis.

Study examines how and why some children become chronically abused by peers
As soon as children are old enough to interact socially, some become entrenched in chronic and increasing patterns of victimization by their peers, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CRC screening before medicare age could save millions in federal health care dollars
A screening program for colon cancer in patients starting ten years prior to Medicare eligibility, at age 55 instead of Medicare's 65, would save at least two dollars for every dollar spent, according to a new study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando.

C. difficile infection not always associated with antibiotic use
Community-acquired Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection occurred in a significant proportion of people with no recent exposure to antibiotics, with 53 percent having no exposure in the 45 days preceding hospitalization and 46 percent having no exposure in the preceding 90 days, according to a new study published in CMAJ.

Parents foster significant misperceptions of children's weight
Results of a survey presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando revealed that many parents do not accurately perceive their children as overweight or at risk for adulthood obesity.

Receptor could halt blinding diseases, stop tumor growth, preserve neurons after trauma
Researchers have discovered what promises to be the on-off switch behind several major diseases.

Fuzziness on the road to physics' grand unification theory
Leave it to hypothesized gravity to weigh down what physicists have thought for 30 years.

News from Cancer: Disparities in head and neck cancer patients
A new analysis finds considerable disparities in survival related to race and socioeconomic status among patients with head and neck cancer.

'Color My Pyramid' nutrition education program battles obesity in DC schools
An online game might be the secret weapon for winning the war against childhood obesity.

School vending machines dole out excess calories, fat
Recent figures from the HEALTHY Study, a nationwide effort led by Temple University to curb obesity and type 2 diabetes in middle school students, found vending machines beverages had added sugars, high calorie 100 percent fruit juices, and snacks over 200 calories.

New test could help catch serious infections in babies
A new blood test may help detect serious bacterial infections (such as meningitis and bloodstream infections) in infants with fevers that have no clear cause -- and may spare many infants from unnecessary spinal taps and antibiotics, which are typical in routine evaluations.

C. difficile and antibiotics not necessarily linked
The latest study by Dr. Sandra Dialquestions the assumption held by a vast majority of medical professionals that Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) infections are essentially always preceded by antibiotic use. 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