Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 20, 2008
New $11 million center to speed production of new compounds for drug discovery
Scientists from three Chicago-area universities have joined forces to develop new ways of building state-of-the-art chemical libraries that will help identify new compounds for future drug development and basic biomedical research.

MU scientist uses tracer to predict ancient ocean circulation
Measuring a chemical tracer in samples of ancient fish scales, bones and teeth, University of Missouri and University of Florida researchers have studied circulation in the Late Cretaceous North Atlantic Ocean.

Stem cell research to benefit horse owners and trainers
In a potential breakthrough for the performance horse industry (such as racing and polo), Melbourne scientists are aiming to harness stem cells to repair tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone damage in horses.

Running on rocket fuel
Because African wild dogs face bigger competitors like lions, whose larger stomachs handle large irregular meals, the African wild dog evolved a runner's metabolism (lithe, smaller stomachs) and formed large packs.

Tick-borne encephalitis virus reveals its access code
Fritz et al., reporting in the Journal of Cell Biology, have identified an amino acid switch that flaviviruses flip to gain access to cells.

Revolutionary operation performed live for heart rhythm congress
A revolutionary heart operation technique using cutting edge technology will be performed on Monday 20 October and broadcast live to delegates at the Heart Rhythm Congress 2008 taking place in Birmingham.

Nanoscale coating protect products -- and the economy
A UWM professor's unique nanolaminate coatings adjust to protect products from a wide range of adverse conditions.

The AVS 55th International Symposium & Exhibition, Oct. 19-24
The AVS 55th International Symposium and Exhibition this month in Boston will showcase advances in technology, materials research, nanotechnology, alternative energy and medicine.

Mercury pollution causes immune damage to harbor seals
Methylmercury, the predominant form of mercury found in the blood of marine mammals and fish-eating communities, could be more damaging to seals than has previously been thought.

American Chemical Society Weekly PressPac Oct. 15, 2008
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

ESA leads the way to map boreal forest
How best to map

Research identifies type of vaccine that holds promise in protecting against TB
A recombinant vaccine against tuberculosis shows promise, Saint Louis University researchers find.

Penn State researcher wins Entomological Society of America award
Consuelo M. De Moraes, associate professor of entomology, Penn State, is the first recipient of the Early Career Innovation Award from the Entomological Society of America.

Can exercise prevent a severe stroke?
A new study shows that people who are physically active before suffering a stroke may have less severe problems as a result and recover better compared to those who did not exercise before having a stroke.

Evidence-based drug therapy in acute heart attacks
Patients who received treatment from noncardiologists and physicians with 29 or more years of experience had significantly lower use of evidence-based drug therapies compared with cardiologists and physicians with fewer than 14 years of experience, found a retrospective, population-based cohort study of heart attack patients.

Aerospace sciences meeting to be held Jan. 5-8 in Orlando
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will hold the 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, including the New Horizons Forum, and Aerospace Exposition, Jan.

Light-activated therapy may change skin at molecular level
Photodynamic therapy -- which involves a light-activated medication and exposure to a light source -- appears to produce changes at the molecular level in aging skin, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

T cell response to new melanoma antigen linked to relapse-free survival
Melanoma patients infused with a special type of tumor-fighting T cell are more likely to survive without relapse, suggests a new study by researchers in France.

Sandia, SES win Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Innovator Award
Chuck Andraka, Sandia National Laboratories engineer, and Bruce Osborn, chief operating officer of Stirling Energy Systems, were honored with a Popular Mechanics magazine Breakthrough Innovator Award Oct.

Is tobacco use a disease?
New approaches to reducing smoking prevalence and incidence are needed, such as involving sectors outside of health care, as the current approaches do not work for everyone, writes Dr.

'A dinosaur dance floor'
University of Utah geologists identified an amazing concentration of dinosaur footprints and tail-drag marks that they call

Study finds creating unique health ID numbers would improve health care quality, efficiency
Creating a unique patient identification number for every person in the United States would facilitate a reduction in medical errors, simplify the use of electronic medical records, increase overall efficiency and help protect patient privacy, according to a new study.

Low-carb diets alter glucose formation by the liver
A new study shows that a low-carbohydrate diet changes hepatic energy metabolism.

Quality of care indicators for heart attack patients
An updated set of quality of care indicators for heart attack patients, developed by a 12 member panel of experts from across Canada, reflects new evidence and practice guidelines for optimal heart attack care.

South Africa in grip of strangulation spate
Murder of women by strangulation is a serious problem in South Africa.

Blue bananas
Under UV light, ripening bananas appear in a bright blue color, which is is connected to the degradation of chlorophyll.

Research around the North Pole
RV Polarstern has returned today to Bremerhaven from the Arctic Sea.

Study compares safety and effectiveness of laser therapies for hair removal
Laser therapies commonly used for removal of unwanted hair appear to be safer and remove leg hair more effectively when used separately than when used as a combination treatment, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study links inflammation and coagulation to non-AIDS deaths in people with HIV
In an analysis of deaths occurring during a large international trial of treatments for HIV-positive patients, researchers have found a strong association between markers of inflammation and coagulation and increased risk of death from non-AIDS diseases, including cardiovascular problems.

Researchers estimate lives lost due to delay in antiretroviral drug use for HIV/AIDS in South Africa
More than 330,000 lives were lost to HIV/AIDS in South Africa from 2000 and 2005 because a feasible and timely antiretroviral treatment program was not implemented, assert researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in a study published online by the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Getting to grips with the complexity of disease proteins
New research into how proteins in human cells interact and

Do cell phones increase brain cancer risk?
Major research initiatives are needed immediately to assess the possibility that using cellular phones may lead to an increased risk of brain tumors, according to an editorial in the November issue of the journal Surgical Neurology.

Educational materials can alter young women's attitudes about tanning, may reduce skin cancer
A new study indicates that educational literature can influence young women's use of indoor tanning, not by raising their fear of skin cancer but by changing their attitudes about indoor tanning and promoting healthier alternatives for changing appearance.

Study: Wildlife need more complex travel plans
A new UC Davis study says that people trying to help nature by designing corridors for wildlife need to think more naturally.

What do Obama and Snapple have in common?
Presidential candidate Barack Obama and Snapple Iced Tea share traits that are associated with the spread of unsubstantiated rumors, according to a University of California, Davis, expert on rumor in popular American culture.

New TB test reveals patients at risk, says study
A recently introduced blood test can reveal which patients may develop active tuberculosis much more precisely than the 100-year old TB skin test, according to a new study published today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Scientific hunch poised to save thousands from toxic fish poisoning
A neuroscientist at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute has found a way to combat a debilitating illness that affects an estimated 50,000 people a year in tropical regions.

New book provides unique view into jihadist mind
David Aaron, a veteran US diplomat and director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, has compiled a wide range of writings by Islamic terrorists that offer an unusual window into their mentality.

Birth control has long-term effect on hormone exposure
Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine may be one step closer to understanding why past oral contraceptive use dramatically lowers the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers later in life.

Heart failure patients have higher risk of fractures
Heart failure patients have four times the risk of fractures and 6.3 times the risk of hip fracture as other heart patients.

Education protects against pre-Alzheimer's memory loss
People with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Oct.

Inmates conduct ecological research on slow-growing mosses
Nalini Nadkarni of Evergreen State College currently advises a team of researchers who sport shaved heads, tattooed biceps and prison-issued garb rather than the lab coats and khakis typically worn by researchers.

Ruthenium in a clinch
David Milstein and Chidambaram Gunanathan at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a new catalyst that allows the selective synthesis of primary amines directly from alcohols and ammonia under mild conditions.

A potential new way to make a good anti-leukemia drug even better
A recently identified cancer-causing protein makes the anti-leukemia drug imatinib, less effective.

Engineering nanoparticles for maximum strength
Individual nanocrystals are remarkably strong. But under stress, complex nanostructures often fail because of large internal strains.

Snakes, salamanders and other creatures thrive in areas with higher deer populations
Reducing the number of deer in forests and parks may unexpectedly reduce the number of reptiles, amphibians and insects in that area, new research suggests.

Using electronic postcards to notify partners about sexually transmitted diseases
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Andrew Woodruff (Internet Sexuality Information Services, Oakland, Calif.) and colleagues describe the impact of a project called inSPOT, an Internet-based STD partner notification system that uses electronic postcards (e-cards) to assist people in disclosing an STD diagnosis to their sexual partners.

Sandia aids cleanup of Iraqi nuclear facilities, rad waste
Sandia scientists are helping train Iraqi scientists and technicians to clean up radioactively contaminated sites and safely dispose of the radioactive wastes as part of the Iraqi Nuclear Facility Dismantlement and Disposal Program.

Scientists map soils on an extinct American volcano
A new article details an unprecedented sampling of soils taken from the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field in Union County New Mexico, detailing the dynamic conditions of the soil that was a result of lava flow.

Stuart Parkin first 'distinguished professor' at Eindhoven University of Technology
Eindhoven University of Technology has appointed professor Dr. Stuart Parkin as its first

Asthma prevalence and deaths in Australia still high by world standards, despite declining trends
Asthma remains a significant health problem in Australia, with prevalence and death rates that are high by international standards despite declines, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Respiratory rhythms can help predict insomnia
The breathing and heart rates and cortisol levels of women with metastatic breast cancer can be used to predict if they'll suffer from chronic insomnia and sleep disruptions, a common complaint from patients who want to maintain their quality of life, according to a study by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Socioeconomic and treatment factors affect non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients' survival
Socioeconomic factors and the type of treatment received have an impact on a non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient's risk of dying.

Johns Hopkins researchers detect sweet cacophony while listening to cellular cross-talk
Johns Hopkins scientists were dubious in the early 1980s when they stumbled on small sugar molecules lurking in the centers of cells; not only were they not supposed to be there, but they certainly weren't supposed to be repeatedly attaching to and detaching from proteins, effectively switching them on and off.

Contact lenses are home to pathogenic amoebae
Contact lenses increase the risk of infection with pathogenic protozoa that can cause blindness.

Crossing 'a bridge to nowhere'
Tel Aviv University describes a bubbly universe in Earth's backyard.

Seemingly suicidal stunt is normal rite of passage for immune cells
Researchers have shown that self-induced breaks in the DNA of immune cells known as lymphocytes activate genes that cause the cells to travel from where they're made to where they help the body fight invaders.

SNM hails CMS decision to consider expanding reimbursement for cancer
In response to a successful data collection effort by the National Oncologic PET Registry showing that positron emission tomography scans help save the lives of thousands of cancer patients annually, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is weighing an expansion of coverage of PET for all types of cancer.

Nerve repair, biodetectors, proton therapy, microscopic medical devices
Medical highlights of papers from among the 1,300 talks at the AVS 55th International Symposium next month in Boston are described below.

'Western' diet increases heart attack risk globally
A study that examined various dietary patterns suggests that the typical Western diet -- fried foods, salty snacks and meat -- accounts for about 30 percent of heart attack risk across the globe.

Study examines link between beta-blocker use and risks of death and heart attack after surgery
Some patients who received beta-blockers before and around the time of undergoing non-cardiac surgery appear to have higher rates of heart attack and death within 30 days of their surgery, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pesticide concentrations decreasing
The use of pesticides in the United States has been widespread for decades, and a new study shows the effects they have had as a contaminant in the nation's groundwater.

Orange appeal to clean up dirty water
Highly colored industrial waste water is a serious environmental problem as it seriously discolors waterways as well as blocking sunlight for photosynthesizing plant species in the water.

2007-08 RCUK Business Plan Competition winner announced
A mind-boggling variety of business ideas from some of the UK's brightest researchers today competed for the prize of being crowned this years RCUK Business Plan Competition winner.

Sun-damaged skin responds well to laser treatment
Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System Department of Dermatology have found scientific evidence that the appearance of sun-damaged skin may be improved by treatment with a topical product that increases the skin's sensitivity to light, followed by laser therapy.

Race and insurance status associated with death from trauma
African American and Hispanic patients are more likely to die following trauma than white patients, and uninsured patients have a higher death risk when compared with those who have health insurance, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New study finds first inhabitants of Caribbean brought drug heirlooms with them
A new study led by North Carolina State University's Dr.

AERA, NAEd launch assessment of education research doctorate programs with NSF support
The American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education announce a groundbreaking study in the field of education research.

Cosmic lens reveals distant galactic violence
Nature provides a magnifying glass that scientists cleverly decipher to gain a rare look at the violent processes at work in a young galaxy in the early universe.

Penn State-Drexel team wins visual analytics competition
A team of Penn State researchers representing the North-East Visualization and Analytics Center was one of three winners in the 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Visual Analytics Science and Technology Grand Challenge.

Extra cash from government program linked to higher risk of adult obesity
Adults are not seeing the same benefits as children in a popular poverty-alleviation program that gives cash to impoverished families in exchange for participation in health-promoting activities, according to a new UC Berkeley study.

New candidate genes for schizophrenia identified
A collaborative study by researchers from UCLA and the Netherlands have identified three new candidate genes for schizophrenia that may contribute to a better understanding of how the disease evolves.

Group bragging betrays insecurity, study shows
Groups that boast, gloat and denigrate outsiders tend to be of low social status or vulnerable to threats from other groups, University of California, Davis, research shows.

Exposing chicks to maternal stress leads to long-term reproductive success
Exposure to maternal stress during pre-natal development has negative impacts, so why doesn't natural selection work to block it?

Study compares results of allergy patch tests between children and adults
Adults and children who are referred for patch testing of allergens appear equally likely to have allergic contact dermatitis, although they tend to react to different allergens, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

'Dry cleaning effect' explained by forgetful Yale researcher
Yale researchers have described how dueling brain systems may explain why you forget to drop off the dry cleaning and may point to ways that substance abusers and people with obsessive compulsive disorder can overcome bad habits.

New book covers 16 years of MSU research in Yellowstone
A new book describes 16 years of Montana State University research in Yellowstone National Park.

NJIT professor sees 59 percent chance of Rays win over Phillies in World Series
NJIT's Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to elucidate the dynamics of scoring in baseball, has computed the probability of the Rays and Phillies winning the World Series now that the Rays have defeated the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

Increased rate of hemangiomas linked to rise in number of low birth weight infants in US
Low birth weight is the most significant factor for the development of infantile hemangiomas, a common birthmark, according to a new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Research Institute.

How neuronal activity leads to Alzheimer's protein cleavage
Amyloid precursor protein, whose cleavage product, amyloid-b, builds up into fibrous plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, jumps from one specialized membrane microdomain to another to be cleaved, report Sakurai et al in the Journal of Cell Biology.

The genetic explanation for moles' poor eyesight
Due to their underground habitats, moles' eyes have been modified by natural selection in ways very different from those of surface-dwelling animals.

Markers of kidney dysfunction are associated with coronary heart disease
In a paper published by PLoS Medicine, Vlado Perkovic and colleagues from the George Institute for International Health (Sydney, Australia) show, in a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published cohort studies, that there is a strong and continuous association between proteinuria and subsequent risk of coronary heart disease.

Study: Immigrants close earning gap more slowly than previously thought
Immigrants whittle into a broad earnings gap with American-born workers only about half as fast as long-accepted estimates suggest, according to new research by a University of Illinois economist.

Rare corals breed their way out of trouble
Rare corals may be smarter than we thought. Faced with a dire shortage of mates of their own kind, new research suggests they may be able to cross-breed with certain other coral species to breed themselves out of a one-way trip to extinction.

Tip sheet for Oct. 21, 2008, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about three studies being published in the Oct.

Study sheds new light on dolphin coordination during predation
Spinner dolphins have long been known for their teamwork in capturing prey but a new study using high-tech acoustics has found that their synchronization is even more complex than scientists realized and likely evolved as a strategy to maximize their energy intake.

Asbestos mortality: A Canadian export
Canada continues to export asbestos to developing countries, despite limiting its use in Canada, write Dr.

Hypertension disparity linked to environment
Social environment may play a greater role in the disparity between the numbers of African-Americans living with hypertension compared to non-Hispanic whites with the disease.

Caste in the colony
In colonies of social insects the struggle for the spoils is embodied by a reproductive division of labor.

Diabetes researcher gets $5M boost
A respected Queensland University of Technology researcher and his team have received $5 million from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, the third-biggest grant they have ever given to an Australian research team.

INFORMS recognizes Saaty with Impact Prize
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today announced that Professor Thomas L.

Current mass extinction spurs major study of which plants to save
The Earth is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of both plants and animals, with nearly 50 percent of all species disappearing, scientists say.

The nose knows: 2 fixation points needed for face recognition
Many of us are bad at remembering names but we are very quick to point out that at least we never forget a face.

Hepatitis C treatment is cost-effective for the US prison population
Treating all US prisoners who have hepatitis C with the standard therapy of pegylated-interferon and ribavirin would be cost-effective, says a new study in the November issue of Hepatology.

Chest scans may help monitor spread of head and neck cancer in high-risk patients
Among high-risk patients with head and neck cancer, chest computed tomography may help detect disease progression involving the lungs, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study: Voters in battleground states more ambivalent about presidential candidates
Heavy advertising by both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates may actually make voters in battleground states more confused about which candidate to vote for, a new study suggests.

McMaster University unveils world's most advanced microscope
The most advanced and powerful electron microscope on the planet -- capable of unprecedented resolution -- has been installed in the new Canadian Center for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University. 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