Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 30, 2008
Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants' learning from speech
A new report describes an increasing emphasis among researchers in studying vocabulary development in infants.

Weight does not affect women's sexual behavior
Oregon and Hawaiian researchers have found that a woman's weight does not seem to affect sexual behavior.

Gene scan of Alzheimer's families identifies four new suspect genes
The first family-based genome-wide association study in Alzheimer's disease has identified the sites of four novel genes that may significantly influence risk for the most common late-onset form of the devastating neurological disorder.

Clock-shifts affect risk of heart attack
Adjusting the clocks to summer time on the last Sunday in March increases the risk of myocardial infarction in the following week.

Ancient mummy has no modern children
The 5,300 year old human mummy -- dubbed Öetzi or

24-hour drinking linked to shift in hospital attendance patterns
Since the UK's move to 24-hour drinking, a large city center hospital in Birmingham has seen an increase in drink-related attendances between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Research shows that the pill does not deserve its reputation for causing weight gain
Research has not proven that the pill causes weight gain.

Spy researcher says once improbable Bond villains now close to real thing
Professor Richard J. Aldrich, professor of International Security at University of Warwick, who has just been awarded a £447,000 grant from UK's Art and Humanities Research Council to examine

MYH9 gene variations help explain high rate of kidney disease in African-Americans
Several recent studies have suggested that common gene variations may be responsible for much of the elevated risk of kidney disease in African-Americans.

Genographic scientists uncover new piece of Phoenician legacy
The Phoenicians gave the world the alphabet and a love of the color purple, and a research study published today by Genographic scientists in the American Journal of Human Genetics shows that they left some people their genes as well.

Presidential candidates' television ads most negative in history
The 2008 presidential campaign, as reflected in candidates' television spots, has been one of the most negative campaigns in history.

New study explores social comparison in early childhood
Previous research has shown that preschoolers maintain positive self-evaluations and high levels of performance even when they see that their peers have out-performed them.

New journal explores the environment in which our genes live
The composition of our DNA is not the only thing that determines how our genes behave.

Ultrafast lasers give CU-Boulder researchers a snapshot of electrons in action
In the quest to slow down and ultimately understand chemistry at the level of atoms and electrons, University of Colorado at Boulder and Canadian scientists have found a new way to peer into a molecule that allows them to see how its electrons rearrange as the molecule changes shape.

Gleevec holds potential as first drug to successfully treat neurofibromatosis, IU scientists report
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine report that the anti-cancer drug gleevec holds out promise to become the first effective treatment for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disease that has resisted treatments until now.

Hubble scores a perfect 10
The Hubble Space Telescope is back in business with a snapshot of the fascinating galaxy pair Arp 147.

Study identifies 3 effective treatments for childhood anxiety disorders
Treatment that combines a certain type of psychotherapy with an antidepressant medication is most likely to help children with anxiety disorders, but each of the treatments alone is also effective, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

Kent State researchers and Barack Obama's 'rope-a-dope' style
Research on nonverbal vocal communication in the presidential debates, published by two Kent State University sociology professors, demonstrates that subtle, nonconsciously perceived cues in candidates' voices may provide a clue to dominance in electoral contests.

OSA's ISP launches with research on breathing disorders and congenital heart defects
Two groups of researchers, one in the United States and one in Australia, are announcing the development of new optical techniques for visualizing the invisible processes at work in several human diseases.

MIT researchers find clues to planets' birth
Meteorites that are among the oldest rocks ever found have provided new clues about the conditions that existed at the beginning of the solar system, solving a longstanding mystery and overturning some accepted ideas about the way planets form.

Tiny fungi may have sex while infecting humans
A fungus called microsporidia that causes chronic diarrhea in AIDS patients, organ transplant recipients and travelers has been identified as a member of the family of fungi that have been discovered to reproduce sexually.

Bayhill Therapeutics and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation announce research collaboration
Bayhill Therapeutics, Inc., a leading developer of therapies for autoimmune diseases, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the world's leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, today announced a partnership to support Bayhill's ongoing Phase I/II human clinical trial of BHT-3021, a DNA vaccine to reverse the immune response that causes type 1 diabetes.

Researchers characterize potential protein targets for malaria vaccine
Researchers from Nijmegen and Leiden have now characterized a large number of parasite proteins that may prove useful in the development of a human malaria vaccine.

Dramatic fall in number of malaria deaths along Kenyan coast
A study out today shows a dramatic fall in the number of people dying from malaria infection in coastal Kenya.

Odor ID not disguised by diet
Reporting in the Oct. 31 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE, scientists from the Monell Center present behavioral and chemical findings to reveal that an individual's underlying odor signature remains detectable even in the face of major dietary changes.

UC San Diego biologists discover a motor protein that rewinds DNA
Two biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered the first of a new class of cellular motor proteins that

Without glial cells, animals lose their senses
Rockefeller University scientists show that while neurons play the lead role in detecting sensory information, a second type of cell, the glial cell, pulls the strings behind the scenes.

Optimal dose of vitamin E maximizes benefits, minimizes risk
Excess vitamin E can promote bleeding by interfering with vitamin K.

Research on Priceline-style Web sites favors package deals, says Management Insights
Allowing joint bidding helps reduce potential mismatch between an e-tailer's costs and the consumer's bids on name-your-own-price websites like Priceline, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Survey reveals extent of Hurricane Ike's underwater damage to galveston
A rapid response research mission after Hurricane Ike found the hurricane significantly reshaped the seafloor and likely carried an enormous amount of sand and sediment out into the Gulf, changes that could help coastal communities gauge the effectiveness of their sometimes controversial efforts to replenish eroding sand along shorelines.

Case Western Reserve University professors call for regulation of electronic health records
Cost and security concerns about bringing health care record keeping into the 21st century through electronic health records have led to a call for an effective regulatory and oversight system from a pair of Case Western Reserve professors who are responsible for one of the first scholarly studies to assess the need for federal regulation of EHR systems.

Much of malaria burden alleviated in the Gambia
Malaria incidence and mortality has fallen substantially in the Gambia between 1999 and 2007, largely thanks to huge increases in malaria funding and interventions to pregnant women and young children since 2003.

UC Davis researchers discover a key to aggressive breast cancer
In trying to find out why HER2-positive breast cancer can be more aggressive than other forms of the disease, UC Davis Cancer Center researchers have surprisingly discovered that HER2 itself is the culprit.

Study reveals marriage dowry as major cause of poverty in Bangladesh
More than 35 million people in Bangladesh, around a quarter of its population, face acute poverty and hunger.

Dramatic fall in malaria in the Gambia raises possibility of elimination in parts of Africa
The incidence of malaria has fallen significantly in the Gambia in the last 5 years, according to a study carried out by experts there with support from scientists based in London.

New mouse mutant contains clue to progressive hearing loss
Researchers have defined a mutation in the mouse genome that mimics progressive hearing loss in humans.

Conclusive proof that polar warming is being caused by humans
New research by the University of East Anglia has demonstrated for the first time that human activity is responsible for significant warming in both polar regions.

Pre-election surveys show deep concern about state of health care
With only a few days remaining before Election Day, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation, writing for the Nov.

Bee smart, bee healthy
Bumblebee colonies which are fast learners are also better able to fight off infection, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Leicester.

Small islands given short shrift in assembling archaeological record
Small islands dwarf large ones in archaeological importance, says a University of Florida researcher, who found that people who settled the Caribbean before Christopher Columbus preferred more minute pieces of land because they relied heavily on the sea.

Personality shapes perception of romance, but doesn't tell the whole story
Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that measuring the quality of romantic relationships is more complex than earlier studies suggest.

Repair and healing of osteoporotic fractures a focus of upcoming IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis
Three specially focused sessions at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis will offer orthopaedic surgeons a unique opportunity to discuss the specific clinical challenges of fracture healing and repair, and learn how best practice is applied in different regions of the world.

WHO funding does not match global disease burdens
The money distributed by WHO, either through its regular budget or extra budgetary funds, does not match the relative burdens of different diseases globally.

Study of learning disabled mice shows balance in the brain is key
A new study in the Oct. 31 issue of Cell, a Cell Press journal, has revealed the molecular and cellular underpinnings of one of the most common, single gene causes for learning disability in humans.

Searching for primordial antimatter
Scientists are on the hunt for evidence of antimatter -- matter's arch nemesis -- left over from the very early Universe.

Virginia Tech engineers identify conditions that initiate erosion
A team of Virginia Tech College of Engineering faculty members and graduate students have demonstrated that sustained spikes in turbulence are responsible for dislodging particles, whether on land or in the water.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation awards grant for imaging-agent research
Clemson University researchers developing imaging agents to allow a new method of detecting breast cancers have received $180,000 from the Susan G.

Transplantation: 'molecular miscegenation' blurs the boundary between self and non-self
A new discovery by London biologists may yield new ways of handling transplant rejection.

Cancer requires support from immune system to develop, UT Southwestern researchers report
Tumors that grow around nerves in a rare genetic disease need cooperation from cells from the immune system in order to grow, reports a team of scientists, including researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Eastern Pacific tuna hang in the balance
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the international body charged with the conservation and management of tuna and associated species in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, will meet in San Diego from Nov.

First evidence that prenatal exposure to famine may lead to persistent epigenetic changes
A study initiated by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health suggests that prenatal exposure to famine can lead to epigenetic changes that may affect a person's health into midlife.

Study shows difficult to read instructions decrease motivation
A new study from the University of Michigan shows that if directions for a task are presented in a difficult-to-read style, the task will be viewed as being difficult, taking a long time to complete and lead to decreased motivation for completing the task.

MU expert releases new book that examines human rights violations in the US
After years of the United States pointing fingers at other countries -- Iran, China, Darfur -- for human rights violations one sociologist at the University of Missouri says it might be time for US officials to look at themselves.

Following the Phoenicians: Genetic methodology complements historical record
A new study uses a sophisticated genetic strategy to reveal new roads past an apparent dead end in the historical record of a distinctive civilization that dominated the Mediterranean Sea during the first millennium BC.

Vigorous activity protects against breast cancer
Normal-weight women who carry out lots of vigorous exercise are approximately 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don't exercise vigorously.

Stem cell therapies for heart disease -- 1 step closer
New research from the University of Bristol brings stem cell therapies for heart disease one step closer.

Simple blood test predicts obesity
According to new research from the Monell Center, the degree of change in blood triglyceride levels following a fatty meal may indicate susceptibility to diet-induced obesity.

Researchers at UH explore patient preferences for personalized medicine
While a growing number of doctors are introducing personalized medicine into their practices, it remains largely unclear how receptive patients are to employing genomic diagnostics to tailor-make drugs.

Drinking milk to ease milk allergy?
Giving children with milk allergies increasingly higher doses of milk over time may ease, and even help them completely overcome, their allergic reactions, according to the results of a study led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and conducted jointly with Duke University.

Severe gestational hypertension may protect against testicular cancer
Women who experience severe gestational hypertension may give birth to boys at lower risk for testicular cancer, although the exact reasons why are still unclear, according to a paper published in the Nov.

UNC Lineberger launches 44-county study of breast cancer in black women
A new study seeking to improve scientists' understanding of breast cancer, including why the disease's fatality rate is higher in African-American women, is getting underway in 44 counties in North Carolina.

'New' estrogen receptor found to be key player in tamoxifen resistance
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered a novel way in which breast cancer cells become resistant to tamoxifen, the world's largest-selling breast cancer prevention and treatment drug.

Type-1 diabetes not so much bad genes as good genes behaving badly, Stanford research shows
Investigators combing the genome in the hope of finding genetic variants responsible for triggering early-onset diabetes may be looking in the wrong place, new research at the Stanford University School of Medicine suggests.

Extinct sabertooth cats were social, found strength in numbers, study shows
The sabertooth cat, one of the most iconic extinct mammal species, was likely to be a social animal, living and hunting like lions today, according to new scientific research.

NIH funds 16 Science Education Partnership Awards
The National Institutes of Health announced today it will provide up to an estimated $17 million to fund 16 Science Education Partnership Awards.

In decision to grow, bacteria follow the crowd
When it comes to the decision to wake up and grow, bacterial spores

Studies of small water fleas help ecologists understand population dynamics
A study of populations of tiny water fleas is helping ecologists to understand population dynamics, which may lead to predictions about the ecological consequences of environmental change.

Delay between decrease in malaria transmission and decrease in malaria mortality
Data from Kenya shows there is a delay between decreased malaria transmission and decreased mortality from the disease.

Complete mitochondrial genome of 5,000-year-old mummy yields surprise
Researchers have revealed the complete mitochondrial genome of one of the world's most celebrated mummies, known as the Tyrolean Iceman or Ötzi.

Conclusive vote on cause of Indonesian mud volcano
Two years' of global public debate over the cause of the Java mud volcano, Lusi, has concluded.

Study: 2004 tsunami was not first of large scale, awareness may improve future tsunami estimates
The deadly Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, which claimed more than 200,000 lives, was not the first of its size to hit the region, according to new research by an international research team led by Dr.

Researchers identify mechanism, possible drug treatment for tumors in neurofibromatosis
Researchers studying neurofibromatosis type 1 -- a rare disease in which tumors grow within nerves -- have found that the tumors are triggered by crosstalk between cells in the nerves and cells in the blood.

Newly identified fungus implicated in white-nose syndrome in bats
This release describes a disease that is decimating bat populations in the northeast US.

Scientists identify machinery that helps make memories
Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified a missing-link molecule that helps to explain the process of plasticity in the brain during memory creation and that could lead to targeted therapies.

Friend or foe? How the body's clot-busting system speeds up atherosclerosis
Scientists have been puzzled by the fact that high levels of plasmin in blood and high levels of urokinase in artery walls are linked to high risk for rapid progression of atherosclerosis and heart attacks.

Cleaning heavily polluted water at a fraction of the cost
Eureka project E!2962 Euroenviron Biosorb-Tox has succeeded in developing a water treatment system for industrial oil polluted water at a tenth of the cost of other commercially available tertiary treatments, leaving water so clean it can be pumped safely back out to sea without endangering flora or fauna.

Gender biases in leadership selection during competitions within and between groups
New research has revealed that a gender bias occurs when selecting leaders during various group competition scenarios.

IZA Prize 2008 goes to British economists Layard and Nickell
The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, has selected Richard Layard and Stephen J.

A pretty face can make a difference in whom you vote for
According to a Northwestern University study, it's not surprising that everyone is talking about the great looks of Sarah Palin.

Engineer creating more sensitive, safer landmine detectors
According to the United Nations, there are more than 100 million landmines buried in 68 countries around the world.

Weill Cornell Medical College receives 2 $100,000 grants for innovative global health research
Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it has received two $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Halpin Foundation and the ASN announce recipient of Halpin Foundation-ASN research grant
The Halpin Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology proudly announce the recipient of the Halpin Foundation-ASN Research Grant for 2008, which was created to provide funding for young faculty to foster evolution to an independent research career by providing transition funding toward successful application for an RO1 grant.

World's rarest big cat gets a check-up
The world's rarest big cat is alive and well. At least one of them, that is, according to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society who captured and released a female Far Eastern leopard in Russia last week.

Seattle subject of new landslide hazard volume
This latest Reviews in Engineering Geology volume from the Geological Society of America brings together a wide range of approaches to the application of state-of-the-art geologic engineering methods to landslide hazard analysis in and around Seattle, Wash. 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