Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 10, 2008
Crossing the digital divide
What will motivate the elderly, the chronically ill and the medically underserved to use interactive information technology systems to actively help manage their own health problems?

Stroke patients soon may have fun, high-tech tool
The University of Central Florida will immerse stroke survivors in a virtual world full of flying insects to help expand their range of movement.

Study shows direct link between leptin and obesity-related cardiovascular disease
Obese people who don't have high cholesterol or diabetes might think they're healthy - despite the extra pounds.

November/December 2008 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet profiles highlights from the November/December 2008 issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal.

A perfect bond
A new laser technique from Tel Aviv University seals and heals wounds.

Indigenous Australian patients confused and frustrated by kidney disease
New Australian research has shown that Indigenous Australians with kidney disease are confused, frustrated and feel poorly informed about their illness.

Not Kristallnacht but what followed that brought about 'final solution'
It is not Kristallnacht but what was decided in its wake that launched the series of especially draconian measures against the Jews of Germany, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor contends in a new book that has just been published in connection with the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Daily rhythms in blood vessels may explain morning peak in heart attacks
Daily rhythms in the activity of cells that line blood vessels may help explain why heart attacks and strokes occur most often in early morning hours, researchers have found.

Western Transportation Institute installs one of the country's largest driving simulators
The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University has installed a $915,000 motion-based driving simulator that is one of the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in the country.

Vision screening law for older Floridians associated with lower fatality rates in car crashes
A vision screening law targeting Florida drivers age 80 and older appears to be associated with lower death rates from motor vehicle collisions in this age group, despite little evidence of an association between vision and car crashes, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Maastricht University researchers produce 'neural fingerprint' of speech recognition
Scientists from Maastricht University have developed a method to look into the brain of a person and read out who has spoken to him or her and what was said.

No more searching
In warehouses, tidiness is a flexible term. Storage areas can be rearranged or moved around at any time.

Newborn neurons in the adult brain can settle in the wrong neighborhood
In a study that could have significant consequences for neural tissue transplantation strategies, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies report that inactivating a specific gene in adult neural stem cells makes nerve cells emerging from those precursors form connections in the wrong part of the adult brain.

Getting little sleep may be associated with risk of heart disease
Sleeping less than seven and a half hours per day may be associated with future risk of heart disease, according to a report in the Nov.

New study finds obese women more impulsive than other females
A new study in the November issue of the journal Appetite finds that obese women display significantly weaker impulse control than normal weight women.

Long-term secondary prevention program may help reduce cardiovascular risks after heart attack
An intensive, comprehensive, long-term secondary prevention program lasting up to three years after cardiac rehabilitation appears to reduce the risk of a second nonfatal heart attack and other cardiovascular events, according to a report in the Nov.

New hope for HIV treatment: Cells exhausted from fighting HIV infection can be revitalized
The team lead by Drs. Mario Ostrowski, of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, and Douglas Nixon, of the Division of Experimental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has discovered that a molecule called Tim-3 is present at high levels on poorly functional immune system cells which are

Researchers describe how cells take out the trash to prevent disease
Garbage collectors are important for removing trash; without them waste accumulates and can quickly become a health hazard.

National call for cancer clinical trial system to be more responsive to community needs
Addressing the nation's continuing poor performance in cancer clinical trial participation, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities and low income groups, will require meaningful public involvement in the design and implementation of clinical trials, according to a landmark report released today.

In the absence of sexual prospects, parasitic male worms go spermless
When females aren't around, one species of parasitic nematode worm doesn't even bother to make any sperm, reveals a new report in the Nov.

Can vitamins and minerals prevent hearing loss?
Researchers and physicians at the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute are hoping to reverse a rising trend of noise-induced hearing loss with a cocktail of vitamins and the mineral magnesium that has shown promise as a possible way to prevent hearing loss caused by loud noises.

Victoria Petite, a Stevens art and technology major, presents research at annual iDMAa conference
Victoria Petite, a Stevens Institute of Technology art and technology major, was invited to give a presentation at the annual International Digital Media and Arts Association conference on her Technogenesis Summer Scholars research project, conducted this past summer with Professor H.

Reynolds Foundation awards UT Southwestern grant to expand geriatric training
A grant for nearly $2 million from the Donald W.

High temperatures decrease antifungal properties of contact solution
Exposure to prolonged temperature elevation reduces antifungal activity of a contact lens solution that was implicated in the epidemic of the eye infection Fusarium keratitis that occurred between 2004 and 2006, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Brain imaging study supports the 'cognitive reserve' hypothesis
Individuals with higher education levels appear to score higher on cognitive tests despite having evidence of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Black and south Asian people benefiting less from interventions to reduce blood pressure, says study
People from black and south Asian communities in the UK are not benefiting as much as white people from doctors' interventions to reduce their blood pressure, according to a new study published today in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Almost frictionless
Lubricants in bearings and gear units ensure that not too much energy is lost through friction.

Study improves recovery for mothers with depression
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a therapy program to treat depression in women in developing countries.

Study confirms increased heart attack deaths in NYC ambulance diversions
Ambulance diversions from nearby, crowded New York emergency rooms to more distant emergency departments are associated with increased deaths among patients suffering from heart attacks, according to a paper presented at a meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Case Western Reserve University uncovers genetic basis for some birth defects
A multidisciplinary research team at Case Western Reserve University led by Gary Landreth, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Medicine's Department of Neurosciences, has uncovered a common genetic pathway for a number of birth defects that affect the development of the heart and head.

National Academies advisory: New report on energy summit
A new workshop report from the National Research Council,

Linking Proteins, Wires, Dots, and Molecules into Useful Devices
Dawn A. Bonnell is the Trustee Professor of Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also serves as director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center.

Doctors should disclose off-label prescribing to their patients
Doctors should be required to disclose when they are prescribing drugs off-label, argues a new article in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Conservation International gets support from Dreamworks Animation to protect giant pandas
Conservation International has received a contribution from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. in support of its conservation efforts to protect the Endangered giant panda.

The 156th Acoustical Society of America Meeting, Nov. 10-14, Miami, Fla.
The 156th Acoustical Society of America meeting convenes next week in Florida at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami.

Protein identified that turns off HIV-fighting T cells
In HIV-infected patients, the body's immune system is unable to fight off the virus.

Genetic blueprint revealed for kidney design and formation
Researchers have generated the first comprehensive genetic blueprint of a forming mammalian organ, shedding light on the genetic and molecular dynamics of kidney development.

When a good nanoparticle goes bad
Researchers at Cornell University recently made a major breakthrough when they invented a method to test and demonstrate a long-held hypothesis that some very, very small metal particles work much better than others in various chemical processes such as converting chemical energy to electricity in fuel cells or reducing automobile pollution.

Blood pressure control inequality linked to deaths among blacks
Racial disparity in the control of hypertension contributes to the deaths of almost 8,000 black men and women in the United States annually, according to a first-of-its-kind study published today in the Annals of Family Medicine by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

Eye conditions linked with obstructive sleep apnea
Numerous studies have shown a connection between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and metabolic disorders, including the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus.

A new approach in tsunami-early warning
The newly implemented Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean, German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System, goes into operation today and with this, the system enters its final phase of optimization

Antibiotic use increases at academic medical centers
Antibacterial drug use appears to have increased at academic medical centers between 2002 and 2006, driven primarily by greater use of broad-spectrum agents and the antibiotic vancomycin, according to a report in the Nov.

Evidence does not support current guidelines for use of beta-blocker therapy
A review of 33 trials has provided evidence that does not support current guidelines for use of β-blocker therapy for prevention of adverse clinical outcomes in patients having noncardiac surgery.

Deep sea expedition sets sail
A University of Delaware-led research team embarks on an extreme adventure plunging deep into the sea to study hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.

Caring for the caregiver: Redefining the definition of patient
One quarter of all family caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients succumb to the stress of providing care to a loved one and become hospital patients themselves, according to an Indiana University study published in the Nov.

3 clinical features identified to avoid misdiagnosis of TIAs
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified three bedside clinical features that can help more accurately distinguish TIAs from disorders that might mimic their symptoms.

McGill professor awarded grant to continue neuropathy research
Dr. Gary J. Bennett, a professor at McGill University's department of anesthesia, has been awarded a scientific research grant by The Neuropathy Association, a US patient-based nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City.

Brain scans demonstrate link between education and Alzheimer's
A test that reveals brain changes believed to be at the heart of Alzheimer's disease has bolstered the theory that education can delay the onset of the dementia and cognitive decline that are characteristic of the disorder.

White vans go green
Research published in the International Journal of Vehicle Design, the team describes how a new vehicle spoiler design can improve fuel consumption as well as vehicle handling.

Limb loss in lizards -- evidence for rapid evolution
Small skink lizards, Lerista, demonstrate extensive changes in body shape over geologically brief periods.

Babies placed in incubators decrease risk of depression as adults
Babies who receive incubator care after birth are two to three times less likely to suffer depression as adults according to a new study published in the journal Pyschiatry Research.

Researchers use chemical from medicinal plants to fight HIV
Immune cells lose the ability to divide as they age because a part of their chromosomes known as a telomere becomes progressively shorter with cell division.

Tillage, rotation impacts peanut crops
A recent study looked at the different effects of tillage and rotation practices on peanut crops in the southern United States to determine if the rising trend towards reduced tillage would have an effect on yields and the occurrence of pests.

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.

SNPs affect folate metabolism in study of Puerto Rican adults
Tufts researchers have linked several single nucleotide polymorphisms in the DNA of Puerto Rican adults to altered concentrations of blood homocysteine and folate and the content of uracil in blood DNA.

CU-Boulder to launch butterfly, spider K-12 experiments Nov. 14 on space shuttle
A NASA space shuttle mission carrying a University of Colorado at Boulder payload of web-spinning spiders and wannabe butterflies will be closely monitored by hundreds of K-12 students from Colorado's Front Range after Endeavour launches from Florida for the International Space Station Nov.

First trial of gene therapy for advanced heart failure shows promising results
Phase I results of the first clinical trial of gene therapy for patients with advanced heart failure show the approach to be promising, with improvements in several measures of the condition's severity.

Workshop on environmental nanoparticles at UD, Nov. 10-11
The University of Delaware will host

Pollinator decline not reducing crop yields just yet
The well-documented worldwide decline in the number of bees and other pollinators is not, at this stage, limiting global crop yields, according to the results of an international study published in the latest edition of the respected science journal, Current Biology.

U of T professor first Canadian woman to win prestigious international science prize
The L'Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science prize -- only one of five awarded each year -- is being awarded to Kumacheva for her work in designing and developing new materials with many applications that included targeted drug delivery for cancer treatments and materials for high density optical data storage.

Lead-flapping objects experience less wind resistance than their trailing counterparts
It is commonly known that racing cars and bicyclists can reduce air resistance by following closely behind a leader, but researchers from NYU and Cornell University have found the opposite is true with flapping objects, such as flags.

Prototyping with industrial robots
A shipping company must exercise patience whenever it needs a new a ship's propeller: its production is time consuming because a foundry workers must first fashion a model and a mold based on it.

Umbilical cord blood may help build new heart valves
In the future, babies with heart defects may receive new heart valves created from cells in the blood from their umbilical cords, saved at birth.

Liquid or solid? Charged nanoparticles in lipid membrane decide
Patchiness in phospholipid membranes is fundamental to their use as biomolecules and biosensors.

Chandrayaan-1 now in lunar orbit
Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organization's lunar orbiter, was captured into orbit around the moon on Nov.

Pittsburgh Compound B finds Alzheimer's-associated plaques in symptom-free older adults
In the largest study of its kind, Pittsburgh Compound B, an imaging agent that could facilitate the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, has been used to identify amyloid deposition in the brains of clinically older adults.

Malinovskaya's research featured in Optics Letters
In a recent publication in the high impact journal Optics Letters, Svetlana Malinovskaya, Associate Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology, proposes to use femtosecond, chirped laser pulse trains to reduce decoherence.

Marine invasive species advance 50 km per decade, World Conference on Marine Biodiversity told
A rapid, climate change-induced northern migration of invasive marine species is one of the research results announced Nov.

Signaling between protein, growth factor is critical for coordinated cell migration
The mysterious process that orchestrates cells to move in unison to form human and animal embryos, heal wounds, and even spread cancer depends on interaction between two well-known genetic signaling pathways, two University of Utah medical school researchers have discovered.

Diuretic reduces risk for a type of heart failure that is more common among women
New research by the University of Texas School of Public Health shows that a medication for high blood pressure called a diuretic or water pill is particularly effective at reducing the risk for a type of heart failure that affects women more often than men.

Nature's own chemical plant
Crude oil is getting more and more expensive, a fact clearly felt by the chemical industry.

Study doubles species diversity of enigmatic 'flying lemurs'
Colugos, the closest living relatives of primates most notable for their ability to glide from tree to tree over considerable distances, are more diverse than had previously been believed, according to a new report published in the Nov.

Urea tanks on diesel trucks -- that's the law in the United States starting in 2010
Urea tanks will be standard equipment for most new diesel trucks, buses, cars and sport utility vehicles manufactured in the United States after Jan.

AAO-SOE Joint Meeting research highlights
Today's scientific program at the 2008 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) and European Society of Ophthalmology includes presentations of broad public interest: contamination of contact lens storage cases among refractive surgery candidates; and evolving physician practices regarding LASIK and other refractive surgery for people with HIV/AIDS.

Researchers aim to over-stress already taxed mantle cell lymphoma cells
Cancer cells are already stressed by the fast pace they require to grow and spread and scientists believe a little more stress just may kill them.

Forced evolution: Can we mutate viruses to death?
Can scientists create a designer drug that forces viruses to mutate themselves out of existence?

2008 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture
The Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture emphasizes to the general public the positive role that the chemical and molecular sciences play in our lives.

New performance measures refine tools for improving care of heart attack patients
A new set of clinical performance measures will help doctors and hospitals give the best possible care to heart attack patients by providing up-to-date tools for gauging how closely they're sticking to guideline recommendations and where they need to improve.

Sedimentary records link Himalayan erosion rates and monsoon intensity through time
Throughout history, the changing fortunes of human societies in Asia have been linked to variations in the precipitation resulting from seasonal monsoons.

Eliminating soda from school diets does not affect overall consumption
With childhood obesity increasing, school administrators and public health officials are reducing availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in schools.

Medicare coding for maggots and maggot therapy
Today, the BioTherapeutics, Education & Research Foundation was notified that the American Medical Association, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued reimbursement coding guidelines for medicinal maggots and maggot therapy.

Research hightlights, AAO-SOE Joint Meeting, Nov. 9 sessions
The Nov. 9th scientific program includes reports on a potential biomarker for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that may also imply common biological signaling mechanisms for general aging and AMD, and on positive results in keratoconus patients treated with a promising technique, corneal-collagen crosslinking.

Battling bacteria in the blood: Researchers tackle deadly infections
It's a leading cause of death, but no one knows for sure how and why it happens.

Wake Forest Baptist to receive nearly $2 million to expand geriatrics program
Wake Forest University School of Medicine will receive nearly $2 million over the next four years in a grant that will help to maintain the Medical Center's position as a leader in geriatric medicine and medical training.

International Journal of Social Robotics debuts at Springer
Starting in Jan. 2009, Springer will publish the International Journal of Social Robotics, an important addition to its growing engineering publishing program.

What makes an axon an axon?
Inside every axon is a dendrite waiting to get out.

Trailblazing pain pioneer Ronald Melzack to be inducted into Medical Hall of Fame
Dr. Ronald Melzack O.C., a McGill University psychologist who revolutionized the study and treatment of pain from the 1960s onward, has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Bone cancer treatment ineffective, despite promising laboratory data
Ewing sarcoma is the second most common type of primary bone cancer seen in children and young adults.

Sexual intimacy and breast cancer survivors: New research
An Indiana University study found that young, female breast cancer survivors often suffer from sexual and intimate relationship issues and are interested in using sexual enhancement products to treat these problems.

Ethanol will curb farm income until economy rebounds, economist says
Ethanol helped drive two years of record profits for grain farmers, but also will hold income down during a looming recession that has already sliced crop prices in half, a University of Illinois economist says.

New performance measures on performance measurement and reperfusion therapy
The statement clarifies key issues in the measurement of reperfusion therapy for patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

Energy Biosciences Institue named 'Deal of Distinction' by tech-transfer group
The landmark $500 million biofuels research partnership that created the Energy Biosciences Institute has been named a

Only half of patients with multiple sclerosis achieve and maintain response to interferon treatment
Regular magnetic resonance imaging evaluations show that only about half of patients with multiple sclerosis achieve and sustain a response to treatment with interferon beta over three years, according to a study posted online today that will appear in the January 2009 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Heart's surplus energy may help power pacemakers, defibrillators
In an experimental study researchers show a beating heart may produce enough energy to power a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Study finds rise in rate of diagnostic imaging in managed care
Use of radiology imaging tests has soared in the past decade with a significant increase in newer technologies, according to a new UCSF study that is the first to track imaging patterns in a managed care setting over a substantial time period.

USC researchers identify key mechanism that regulates the development of stem cells into neurons
Researchers at the University of Southern California have identified a novel mechanism in the regulation and differentiation of neural stem cells.

No drop in IQ seen after bypass for child heart surgery
The use of cardiopulmonary bypass does not cause short-term neurological problems in children and teenagers after surgery for less complex heart defects, according to pediatric researchers.

Researchers discover method for mass production of nanomaterial graphene
Graphene sheets have an array of attractive benefits in electronics but research on them has been restricted due to the difficulty of creating single layer samples.

Rice-African partnership is open-education blockbuster
Houston-based Rice University and Cape Town, South Africa-based Shuttleworth Foundation today announced plans to jointly develop one of the world's largest, most comprehensive sets of free online teaching materials for primary and secondary school children.

Cornell researchers' study showing evidence of a major environmental trigger for autism
The American Medical Association journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has published a new study by researchers at Cornell University indicating evidence of an environmental trigger for autism among genetically vulnerable children.

OHSU finds association between Epstein-Barr virus, inflammatory diseases of the mouth
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have found that a significant percentage of dental patients with the inflammatory diseases irreversible pulpitis and apical periodontitis also have the Epstein-Barr virus.

DOE's Oak Ridge supercomputer now world's fastest for open science
The latest upgrade to the Jaguar supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has increased the system's computing power to a peak 1.64

Schools' resources important for helping children of immigrant families succeed in the classroom
Children of immigrants who enter school with low math and reading skills have a better chance of catching up with their peers if they attend a school with high-performing students, well-supported teachers and services to families of English as a second language children, according to a new study. 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