Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 18, 2008
Burroughs Wellcome Fund award creates new Ph.D. path linking laboratory and population sciences
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has selected Emory University for a $2.5 million, five-year award aimed at training new biomedical scientists whose expertise in research and teaching will bridge laboratory and population sciences.

Baker Institute expert says America needs Obama leadership in technology security, advancement
The United States needs to act swiftly and sufficiently under an Obama presidency to secure the government's technology infrastructure and to re-establish America's standing as a leader in technology advancements, according to Christopher Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Scientists find facial scars increase attractiveness
Men with facial scars are more attractive to women seeking short-term relationships, scientists at the University of Liverpool have found.

Young Hungarian researchers receive prestigious Scopus Award
The Scopus Young Scientist Awards were awarded to the best young researchers under 30 years old, in ten scientific disciplinary areas.

Home-based diet and exercise intervention improves elderly cancer survivors' physical function
A home-based program to improve exercise and diet led to significant, clinically meaningful improvement in body weight and physical function among older long-term cancer survivors in preliminary findings from the RENEW trial, according to Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., from the University of Texas M.

Widely used cancer drug associated with significantly increased risk of blood clots
An analysis of randomized controlled trials indicates that use of the cancer drug bevacizumab is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or in the lungs), according to an article in the Nov.

Crafting your image for your 1,000 friends on Facebook or MySpace
Students are creating idealized versions of themselves on social networking websites -- Facebook and MySpace are the most popular -- and using these sites to explore their emerging identities, UCLA psychologists report.

Anti-same-sex marriage amendments spark distress among GLBT adults and families, says new research
Amendments that restrict civil marriage rights of same-sex couples, such as Proposition 8 that recently passed in California, have led to higher levels of stress and anxiety among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults, as well as among their families of origin, according to several new studies to be published by the American Psychological Association.

The government's obesity strategy, more of the same rhetoric
Nigel Hawkes chronicles a decade of the UK Government's attempts to tackle obesity, including its latest bid to turn the tide on obesity

A postcode lottery still exists for cancer patients with 'exceptional circumstances'
A study of patients, at the Christie Hospital, Manchester, has shown that the decision to fund patient care depends more on where the patient lives, than the patient's health circumstances, raising public concern regarding a

Canadian and Brazilian synchrotrons sign agreement
Developing innovative, state-of-the-art synchrotron instrumentation is the purpose of an agreement signed today between the Canadian Light Source and the Brazilian Association of Synchrotron Light Technology, operator of the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory.

The psychology of deja vu
All of us have experienced being in a new place and feeling certain that we have been there before.

Adult stem cell breakthrough
The first tissue-engineered trachea (windpipe), utilizing the patient's own stem cells, has been successfully transplanted into a young woman with a failing airway.

Hospital visits for respiratory illnesses spiked during Southern California wildfires
Raging wildfires that engulfed Southern California earlier this decade not only destroyed neighborhoods laying in their path, they also caused significant health problems for many who lived outside the fires' reach.

LLNL teams with computing industry leaders to develop an advanced technology cluster testbed
The National Nuclear Security Administration's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has teamed with 10 computing industry leaders to accelerate the development of powerful next-generation Linux clusters in a project dubbed Hyperion.

Primate disease field guide covers critical gap in global health
The first trench-to-bench field guide for tracking wild primate infectious diseases provides integrated information that could help scientists identify infection patterns and prevent epidemics, says Emory University scientist and lead author.

New CT technology shows anorexia impairs adolescent bone development
Children and teenagers with even mild cases of anorexia exhibit abnormal bone structure, according to a new study.

Favorite Thanksgiving dish gets 'upscale' breeding
Families gathering around the Thanksgiving table this year will enjoy a traditional side dish that's been given some

Can China's future earthquakes be predicted?
According to ShaoCheng this tragedy could have been avoided.

Study investigates Gore-tex-type device to stop strokes and mini-strokes
A study is under way at Rush University Medical Center using a small, soft-patch device made of a Gore-tex-type material -- often used to make durable outerwear -- to close a common hole found in the heart called a patent foramen ovale in order to prevent recurrent strokes and transient ischemic attacks in adults.

Antibiotics can cause pervasive, persistant changes to microbiota in human gut
Using a novel technique developed by Mitchell Sogin of the Marine Biological Laboratory to identify different types of bacteria, scientists have completed the most precise survey to date of how microbial communities in the human gut respond to antibiotic treatment.

Study shows how social support may protect brain during stroke
New research in mice suggests that high levels of social support may provide some protection against strokes by reducing the amount of damaging inflammation in the brain.

Older people should have the flu jab this winter, warn experts
Despite recent doubts about its effectiveness, the influenza vaccine does give valuable protection against illness, hospital admission and death caused by influenza, and people over 65 should have the flu jab this winter, say experts on bmj.com today.

International team discovers gene associated with epilepsy
A University of Iowa-led international research team has found a new gene associated with the brain disorder epilepsy.

Space waste: Handling garbage when your dumpster is 100 million miles away?
In space, no one takes out the trash. Garbage can pile up, spoil and become a health hazard for astronauts in the cramped living quarters of a space station.

Black holes are the rhythm at the heart of galaxies
The powerful black holes at the center of massive galaxies and galaxy clusters act as hearts to the systems, pumping energy out at regular intervals to regulate the growth of the black holes themselves, as well as star formation, according to new data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

New imaging technique tracks cancer-killing cells over prolonged period
Coaxing a patient's own cells to hunt down and tackle infected or diseased cells is a promising therapeutic approach for many disorders.

Bed net usage increases, but 90 million African children still exposed to malaria
The use of insecticide-treated bed nets to protect children from malaria has risen six-fold in the past seven years, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Texas A&M anthropologist discovers long-lost primate in Indonesia
A team led by a Texas A&M University anthropologist has discovered a group of primates not seen alive in 85 years.

National and international doctoral training
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is intensifying the international training of doctoral researchers.

K-State helps nursing home staff become comfortable with residents' sexual expression
Research assistants at the K-State Center on Aging studied nursing home staff attitudes about sexuality.

New filtering technology has environmental, industrial applications
Materials engineers have created a new type of membrane that separates oil from water and, if perfected, might be used for environmental cleanup, water purification and industrial applications.

GUMC research summaries for AACR Cancer Prevention Meeting
Researchers from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center/Georgetown University Medical Center will present numerous scientific findings at the Seventh Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Washington, D.C., Nov.

Rutgers Center for Behavioral Health Services, Criminal Justice Research gets NIMH grant
Rutgers Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, which focuses on mental health services issues that arise when persons with mental illness encounter the criminal justice system, has received an $8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Risk of maternal and newborn complications may be lower after bariatric surgery
A review of previously published studies suggests that rates of adverse outcomes for mothers or pregnant women and newborn babies, such as gestational diabetes and low birth weight, may be lower after bariatric surgery compared with pregnant women who are obese, according to an article in the Nov.

Individuals with HIV have higher risk of non-AIDS cancers
The risk of non-AIDS cancer is higher for individuals infected with HIV than for the general population, according to a meta-analysis presented here at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

Nontoxic nanoparticle can deliver and track drugs
A nontoxic nanoparticle developed by Penn State researchers is proving to be an all-around effective delivery system for both therapeutic drugs and the fluorescent dyes that can track their delivery.

Precise measurement of phenomenon advances solar cell understanding
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shed light on a basic process that could improve future solar cells.

A good ear: Rats identify specific sounds in noisy environments
Alex Martin placed rats in a partially echo-free, sound-proof chamber and simultaneously played two types of sounds: Gaussian sound (containing all frequencies) of 25 decibels and a pure sound (made up of one frequency).

Case Western Reserve University study examines working couple's retirement patterns
When retiring, men are more likely than women to move directly from work to retirement, but overall the retirement patterns for dual-income married couples are complex and call for additional considerations in planning for the future, according to a new study from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Study to make public roads safer for farmers, drivers
Population growth and significant increases in development across the country are leading to changes in traffic and driving behavior in many areas where motorists share the road with farmers moving their equipment -- changes that worry some members of the agriculture community.

Surgical study highlights pros and cons of gastric bypass surgery for severe obesity
Severely obese patents who underwent gastric bypass surgery had lost up to 31 percent of their BMI after four years.

Illinois researchers help Hollywood get the science right
Two University of Illinois researchers are among a national group of scientists selected to help leaders in the entertainment industry improve the accuracy of the scientific content of their productions.

Overuse of narcotics and barbiturates may make migraine worse
A team of researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has determined that certain commonly-prescribed medications may have the unintended consequence of increasing the frequency of migraine attacks.

Dancing droplets
A group of physicists from the University of Liege, Belgium, is publishing research in the New Journal of Physics today, Tues.

Brain compound 'throws gasoline onto the fire' of schizophrenia
New research has traced elevated levels of a specific compound in the brain to problem-solving deficits in patients with schizophrenia.

Issues at intersection of climate change and health impact global well-being
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine special issue on climate change (November 2008), will be featured at the

Can renewable energy be sustained?
Coordination is lacking in development of alternative power sources, warns Rutgers researcher.

Musculoskeletal center wins $2.2 million for drug safety
The UAB Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics has won a $2.2 million federal grant to study the risks and benefits of a class of drugs called

Astronomers detect matter torn apart by black hole
Astronomers have used two different telescopes simultaneously to study the violent flares from the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way.

NWO and Academy launch research program with China
The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences have joined forces with colleagues in China to launch a new research program: the Joint Scientific Thematic Research Program.

NIH grant lets ASU researchers determine effects of carpal tunnel on hand dexterity
Grasping an object is as easy as reading a newspaper for most people.

Home-based interventions improved elderly cancer survivors' ability to function
Climbing stairs, carrying groceries, taking a shower -- these are activities that we take for granted; however, after a cancer diagnosis, many survivors are unable to function as they used to.

Cancer survival rates impact type of Web communities used by patients
Online support communities for high survival rate cancers contain a greater amount of emotional support content than online support communities for cancers with low survival rates, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Bound by attention: Bringing rats and humans together
When picking through a basket of fruit, it doesn't seem very difficult to recognize a green pear from a green apple.

Pitt researchers use fluorescence to develop method for detecting mercury in fish
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a simple and quick method for detecting mercury in fish and dental samples, two substances at the center of public concern about mercury contamination.

Ginkgo biloba does not reduce dementia risk according to Pitt-led study in JAMA
The medicinal herb Ginkgo biloba does not reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease development in either the healthy elderly or those with mild cognitive impairment, according to a large multicenter trial led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

New approach to screen individuals for early Alzheimer's disease
With millions of baby boomers entering late adulthood, the number of patients with Alzheimer's disease is expected to drastically rise over the next several decades.

First operation for transplantation of a tissue-engineered airway is successful
The first operation for transplantation of a tissue-engineered airway has been successful, and has massively improved the quality of life of the 30-year-old Colombian female recipient, a mother of two, who needed the transplant after contracting tuberculosis.

New tool trains athlete brains to react 53 percent faster
Two researchers from the School of Optometry of the Universite de Montreal have discovered how to train the brain of athletes to improve their overall athletic performance.

Nanocoatings boost industrial energy efficiency
Reducing friction in industrial machinery can save substantial amounts of energy and researchers at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are working to develop nanoscale coatings for machine parts that not only reduce friction but extend tool life as well.

Alcohol sponsorship linked to hazardous drinking in sportspeople
A new study provides the first evidence of a link between alcohol-industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking among sportspeople.

Carbon dioxide already in danger zone, warns study
A group of 10 prominent scientists says that the level of globe-warming carbon dioxide in the air has probably already reached a point where world climate will change disastrously unless the level can be reduced in coming decades.

Poor understanding of medicare leads to worse healthcare access
A study appearing in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that Medicare beneficiaries' understanding of their healthcare benefits may affect their ability to access needed care effectively and could lead them to the delay or avoid seeking care.

Weight loss surgery may help obese women avoid pregnancy-related health complications
Obese women who have weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant have a lower risk of pregnancy-related health problems and their children are less likely to be born with complications, according to a new study.

Funerary monument reveals Iron Age belief that the soul lived in the stone
Archaeologists in southeastern Turkey have discovered an Iron Age chiseled stone slab that provides the first written evidence in the region that people believed the soul was separate from the body.

JDRF funded research shows promise for prevention, reversal of type 1 diabetes
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have reported that two common cancer drugs have been used to block and reverse type 1 diabetes in mice.

Gingko biloba does not appear to prevent dementia, Alzheimer's disease
Use of the herb Ginkgo biloba, claimed to have beneficial effects on memory and cognition, was not effective in reducing the rate of dementia or Alzheimer's disease among more than 1,500 elderly study participants after several years of use, according to a study in the Nov.

Study documents what may be first cases of certain tick-borne disease in China
It appears that for the first time human granulocytic anaplasmosis, an emerging tick-borne infectious disease found in the US and Europe, has been identified in China and apparently was transmitted from person to person, according to a study in the Nov.

Cold Spring Harbor science teams identify 13 new tumor-suppressor genes in liver cancer
Five research groups at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have developed a means of speeding up the discovery of cancer-related genes and validating their function in living animals.

Stress hinders rats' decision-making abilities
A single exposure to uncontrollable stress impairs decision making in rats for several days, making them unable to reliably seek out the larger of two rewards.

Scientists discover new planet orbiting dangerously close to giant star
A team of astronomers from Penn State and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland has discovered a new planet that is closely orbiting a red-giant star, HD 102272, which is much older than our own sun.

Teaching breast health early to reduce breast cancer mortality in D.C.
Early breast health education may be the key to lowering breast cancer mortality rates in Washington, D.C., which has the highest rates in the country, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

Duke study pinpoints potential 'green collar' job growth in US
During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama proposed an economic plan that would create 5 million jobs in environmental industries.

Latinas more likely to regret breast cancer treatment decisions
Latina women who prefer speaking Spanish are more likely than other ethnic groups to express regret or dissatisfaction with their breast cancer treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

U of Minnesota finds that corporate culture is most important factor in driving innovation
Corporate culture is, above all, the most important factor in driving innovation.

Patients with depressive disorders or schizophrenia more likely to re-attempt suicide
Men and women who have tried to kill themselves and are suffering from unipolar disorder (major depression), bipolar disorder (manic depression) or schizophrenia are at a very high risk of committing suicide within a year of their first attempt, concludes a study published today on bmj.com.

Alpine rivers hold important clues for preserving biodiversity and coping with climate change
Marginal plants, particularly trees, play a crucial role in sustaining the biodiversity of Europe's big river systems, according to a recently held workshop organized by the European Science Foundation.

Routine testing after aneurysm coiling carries low risk
A very low risk of complication is associated with a routine test that determines whether a brain aneurysm treated with endovascular coiling has started to recur, a study led by the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute has shown.

Richard Tremblay receives prestigious Rene-Joseph Laufer Prize
Richard E. Tremblay has received the prestigious Rene-Joseph Laufer Prize from the Academie des Sciences morales et politiques of the Institut de France.

Lower socioeconomic status decreases chances of early detection and survival of colorectal cancer
An abstract presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research shows that lower socioeconomic status reduced the chance of early stage diagnosis and survival of colorectal cancer in Colorado.

Falling home ownership, equity, affect college enrollment
Sagging college enrollments may be the next symptom of the sub-prime mortgage mess, according to a University of Michigan economist.

Exercise increases brain growth factor and receptors, prevents stem cell drop in middle age
A new study confirms that exercise can reverse the age-related decline in the production of neural stem cells in the hippocampus of the mouse brain, and suggests that this happens because exercise restores a brain chemical which promotes the production and maturation of new stem cells.

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex, smoking and drinking
Teens who have never done drugs, but engage in other risky behaviours such as drinking, smoking and being sexually active, are more likely to use crystal meth, medical researchers at the University of Alberta have concluded.

MSU scholars help lead national effort for education reform
The United States does not have enough effective teachers -- a problem that could be corrected partly by improving working conditions at low-income schools and determining the best forms of teacher recruitment, according to a national panel of experts led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Calorie restriction and exercise show breast cancer prevention differences in postmenopausal women
Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have identified pathways by which a reduced-calorie diet and exercise can modify a postmenopausal woman's risk of breast cancer.

Second life, podcasting, mobiles, PDAs -- the technology of education
University of Leicester professor asks: Who will survive? Who will change?

Ginkgo proves ineffective in preventing dementia, Alzheimer's disease
One of the most widely used herbal supplements for improving memory and cognition has no impact on the development of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to new results from a $30 million, multicenter study.

Study finds association between male birth defect and certain genetic mutations
A small percentage of males born with cryptorchidism (failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum), the most frequent congenital birth defect in male children, are more likely to have genetic mutations, including for a syndrome that is a common genetic cause of infertility, according to a study in the Nov.

The smart way to study
Combine the aphorisms that

New technologies gearing up to meet rising demand for vital malaria drugs
Three emerging technologies have the potential to significantly improve supplies of drugs to combat malaria, according to a report published today.

ER/PR negative tumors associated with insurance status
African-American women are at a higher risk for ER/PR negative breast cancer.

Broccoli may lower lung cancer risk in smokers
The cancer preventive properties of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables appear to work specifically in smokers, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

26 percent of sleepless children become overweight
The research team analyzed a sample of 1,138 children and found: 26 percent of kids who didn't sleep enough were overweight, 18.5 percent carried extra weight or a body mass index of 25 to 30, while 7.4 percent were obese with a body mass index greater than 30.

Crohn's disease surgeries make steady advances
Thousands of Americans suffering from the chronic inflammatory bowel condition known as Crohn's disease are leading longer, healthier lives due to innovative new surgeries, according to experts at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Missing radioactivity in ice cores bodes ill for part of Asia
When Ohio State glaciologists failed to find the expected radioactive signals in the latest core they drilled from a Himalayan ice field, they knew it meant trouble for their research.

New national survey says public reveres bison
Americans are woefully out of touch with the fact that the American bison, or buffalo, is in trouble as a wild, iconic species, but they do love them as an important symbol of their country -- and as an entree on the dinner table.

Kids from juvenile justice system 7 times more likely to commit criminal acts
The study showed that kids who went through the system were seven times more likely to commit criminal acts as adults that correlated with the severity of their sentence.
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