Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 15, 2008
Proactive care saves lives of seniors, study finds
Can a patient-centered, care management program utilizing nurse care managers and interdisciplinary teams, supported by electronic tracking and care coordination systems reduce the rate of deaths and hospitalizations among chronically ill older adults?

Breast cancer genome shows evolution, instability of cancer
A newly published genome sequence of a breast cancer cell line reveals a heavily rearranged genetic blueprint involving breaks and fusions of genes and a broken DNA repair machinery, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online in the journal Genome Research.

Colonoscopy significantly reduces death from left-sided colon cancer but not from right-sided
A new study finds that colonoscopy is strongly associated with fewer deaths from colorectal cancer.

I'm a believer: Some product claims work better than others
Consumers face a barrage of product claims each day. What makes those claims believable?

SEA announces winners of the Fall 2008 SHARPen it Up Scholarship Contest
Scientists and Engineers for America is announcing the winners of its Fall 2008 SHARPen it Up Scholarship Contest.

Pain hurts more if the person hurting you means it
Psychologists at Harvard University have found that pain hurts more when we think that someone intended to cause hurt.

The virtue of variety: More options can lead to healthier choices
Could longer menus lead people to choose salads over French fries?

Black college students get better grades with white roommate
A new study of college freshman suggests that African-Americans may obtain higher grades if they live with a white roommate.  A detailed study of students at a large, predominantly white university revealed that while living with a white roommate may be more challenging than living with someone of the same race, many black students appear to benefit from the experience. 

Study examines association of race, insurance status with diverticulitis presentation and treatment
Among patients undergoing surgery for diverticulitis, race was associated with a complicated presentation and in-hospital mortality, but not with receiving a colostomy, whereas insurance status was associated with complicated presentation, in-hospital mortality and receiving a colostomy, according to a report in the Dec. issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Forsyth scientist receives major grant to support rapid, accurate, affordable test for tuberculosis
Dr. Antonio Campos-Neto, head of the department of cytokine biology at the Forsyth Institute, has received a major grant from the internationally renowned Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics to continue his work to develop a test to diagnose active tuberculosis, the world's second deadliest infectious disease.

Study reveals antidepressants most common medication for Australian women
A new study has revealed the most commonly prescribed medication for Australian women is antidepressants.

Unmarried dads' involvement with child secured during pregnancy, study says
The best chance of

UC Davis team refines cancer treatments to reduce potential nerve damage
While radiation treatments deliver precise doses of high-energy X-rays to stop cancer cells from spreading or to shrink tumors, oncologists have become increasingly concerned about inadvertent exposures during head and neck cancer treatments to nerves responsible for upper body mobility.

Shared survival mechanism explains why 'good' nerve cells last and 'bad' cancer cells flourish
Cancer cells and nervous system neurons may not look or act alike, but both use strikingly similar ways to survive, according to new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Solar flare surprise
Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in the solar system.

The language of emotion: Ad slogans in native tongues connect to consumers' emotions
In our globalized world, consumers are exposed to marketing messages in many languages.

Diet may cut second breast cancers in women without hot flashes
A secondary analysis of a large, multicenter clinical trial has shown that a diet loaded with fruits, vegetables and fiber and somewhat lower in fat compared to standard federal dietary recommendations cuts the risk of recurrence in a subgroup of early-stage breast cancer survivors -- women who didn't have hot flashes -- by approximately 31 percent.

Turning over a new leaf for future energy supplies
A global energy supply based on biomass grown to generate electricity and produce fuel is a real possibility.

Narrow-band imaging comparable to white light colonoscopy in differentiating colorectal polyps
Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine compared narrow-band imaging (NBI) without high magnification to standard white light colonoscopy in differentiating colorectal polyps during real-time colonoscopy and found that NBI was not more accurate than white light colonoscopy.

Computer system fails the children it was designed to protect
Just days after the head of Ofsted, Christine Gilbert, promised an overhaul of child protection inspection services in the wake of the death of Baby P, a new study claims that the IT-based procedures used by staff working at the

Data mining of inpatient records reveals the disease pattern of obstructive sleep apnea
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is the first to show the full clinical picture of comorbid conditions associated with obstructive sleep apnea, quantify their frequency of occurrence and reveal their possible interrelationships.

Does a younger dad mean a healthier child?
A father's age is associated with decreased social abilities in boys, Tel Aviv University researchers say.

Gibbon feet provide model for early human walking
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that early humans could have walked successfully on a

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Summaries of four studies being published in Annals of Internal Medicine and at

Nature, nanotechnology fuse in electric yarn that detects blood
A carbon nanotube-coated

Hopkins-led team solves failed vaccine mystery
Research led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center scientists has figured out why a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine used in 1966 to inoculate children against the infection instead caused severe respiratory disease and effectively stopped efforts to make a better one.

New book offers fresh angle on Franciscan subduction complex
A new Special Paper published by the Geological Society of America on the Franciscan subduction complex of coastal California and its affect on the Coast Range fault zone takes a new tack on explaining how the subduction complex evolved.

We've got your number: Consumers choose products with more technical specs
Many products have numbers attached: megapixels for cameras, wattage ratings for stereos, cotton counts for sheets.

University of Denver uses 'gross' messaging to increases handwashing, fight Norovirus
Research conducted by University of Denver Associate Professor Renée Botta suggests that it takes

Viewing cancer cells in 'real' time
A breakthrough technique that allows scientists to view individually labeled tumor cells as they move about in real time in a live mouse may enable scientists to develop microenvironment-specific drugs against cancer.

Tiny MIT ecosystem may shed light on climate change
MIT researchers have created a microbial ecosystem smaller than a stick of gum that sheds new light on the plankton-eat-plankton world at the bottom of the aquatic food chain.

Nearly 6.4 million Californians lack health insurance, report shows
Nearly a quarter of all Californians under age 65 were without health insurance for all or some of 2007, according to a policy brief drawing on comprehensive new data released today from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Does global warming lead to a change in upper atmospheric transport?
Most atmospheric models predict that the rate of transport of air from the troposphere to the above lying stratosphere should be increasing due to climate change.

High blood pressure may make it difficult for the elderly to think clearly
Adding another reason for people to watch their blood pressure, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that increased blood pressure in older adults is directly related to decreased cognitive functioning, particularly among seniors with already high blood pressure.

Allergies alone not associated with increased risk of nighttime breathing problems
Allergic rhinitis does not appear to be associated with snoring or daytime sleepiness, but individuals with obstructed nasal passages are likely to experience both regardless of whether they have allergies, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

No regrets: Avoiding bad feelings about missing a great sale
Bummer! You meant to get to the mall to buy that discounted leather jacket, but missed the sale.

New insight into birth defect characterized by digit duplication and fusion
Birth defects characterized by malformation of the limbs are relatively common.

Filling in the gaps: Personality types lead people to choose certain brands
Why do Gap brand jeans appeal to people who seek intimacy in relationships?

Building better bones and tissue in the lab
Tissue engineering holds great promise for the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, fibrosis and periodontal disease.

Hospitals using quality improvement program increase compliance to stroke treatment guidelines
A quality improvement program increased hospitals' compliance with national stroke treatment recommendations.

Researchers map new path to colon cancer therapy
Researchers have identified a promising new target in the battle against colorectal cancer -- a biochemical pathway critical to the spread of tumors to new locations in the body.

Study shows an independent relationship between the intensity of snoring sounds and sleepiness
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that objectively measured snoring intensity is correlated with subjective sleepiness independent of the apnea-hypopnea index in patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

New genetic cause of boy in the bubble syndrome
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is an inherited disease sometimes known as

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 15, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

UAF researchers to present at AGU press briefing
University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers Igor Semiletov and Donald 'Skip' Walker will be among four panelists at a press briefing, The Arctic in Flux: New Insights from the International Polar Year, Tuesday, Dec.

NASA instruments document contraction of the boundary between the Earth's ionosphere, space
Observations made by NASA instruments onboard an Air Force satellite have shown that the boundary between the Earth's upper atmosphere and space has moved to extraordinarily low altitudes.

Higher levels of obesity-related hormone found in patients with psoriasis
Patients with the skin disease psoriasis appear more likely to have higher levels of leptin (a hormone produced by fat cells that may contribute to obesity and other metabolic abnormalities) than persons without psoriasis, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Just look: When it comes to art, viewing may be as satisfying as buying
The experience of purchasing art shares much in common with viewing it in exhibits, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

State bicycle survey reveals danger concerns, cycling perceptions
Bicyclists in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are more concerned with being involved in vehicle crashes compared to bicyclists in other Texas cities, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin.

Alcohol and licensing policy could be changing the habits of young drinkers
In a new report published online today in the January issue of Addiction, researchers question whether current licensing policies have contributed to a rise in the phenomenon of

Combining radiotherapy with hormone treatment halves prostate cancer mortality
In patients with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer, combining prostate radiotherapy with the conventional endocrine treatment halves mortality.

Awards to be presented at 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is pleased to announce that the following awards will be presented during the 47th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, January 5-9, 2009, at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando.

CPAP improves sleeping glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients with OSA
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that screening type 2 diabetes patients for obstructive sleep apnea and treating those who have OSA with continuous positive airway pressure therapy could improve the management of their hyperglycemia and might favorably influence their long-term prognosis.

New tool could unpick complex cancer causes and help sociologists mine Facebook
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Department of Statistics and Center for Complexity Science have devised a new research tool that could help unpick the complex cell interactions that lead to cancer and also allow social scientists to mine social networking sites such as Facebook for useful insights.

Gene subnetworks predict cancer spread
The metastasis or spread of breast cancer to other tissues in the body can be predicted more accurately by examining subnetworks of gene expression patterns in a patient's tumor than by conventional gene expression microarrays.

Diverse landscapes are better: Policymakers urged to think broadly about biofuel crops
Research by Michigan State University scientists has found that growing more corn to produce ethanol, creating less diverse landscapes, reduces the ability of beneficial insects to control pests, a loss valued at about $58 million per year in the four states studied.

Diet may cut risk of breast cancer recurrence in women without hot flashes
A secondary analysis of a large, multicenter clinical trial has shown that a diet loaded with fruits, vegetables and fiber and somewhat lower in fat compared to standard federal dietary recommendations cuts the risk of recurrence in a subgroup of early stage breast cancer survivors -- women who didn't have hot flashes -- by approximately 31 percent.

Warming climate signals big changes for ski areas, says University of Colorado study
Rocky Mountain ski areas face dramatic changes this century as the climate warms, including best-case scenarios of shortened ski seasons and higher snowlines and worst-case scenarios of bare base areas and winter rains, says a new Colorado study.

Stopping ovarian cancer by blocking proteins coded by notorious gene
Ovarian cancer cells are

Number of female cardiologists nearly doubles, but under-representation and discrimination remain
The number of female doctors in cardiology nearly doubled in the last decade, according to findings from a 10-year follow-up survey published in the Dec.

Spaceflight for the rest of us
About half a century ago, the satellite Sputnik 1 was launched, and since that time, thousands of satellites have orbited the earth, providing services that support our technological society on the ground while others have flown to far-flung regions of the solar system.

Alcohol and a polymorphism of the monoamine oxidase A gene predict impulsive violence
The monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene is an outer membrane mitochondrial enzyme that breaks down monoamines such as serotonin, noradrenalin and dopamine.

Important new insights into the lives of young adult carers
As Christmas approaches thousands of young adult carers will once again face the emotional turmoil of juggling their commitments at home with going out and sharing in the festive celebrations.

Tracking the molecular pathway to mixed-lineage leukemia
The MLL-AF4 fusion protein, which causes the blood cancer called mixed-lineage leukemia, binds to several genes responsible for early blood cell development.

Single virus used to convert adult cells to embryonic stem cell-like cells
Adult cells, from both humans and mice, can be converted into embryonic stem cell-like cells using a single virus to insert four reprogramming genes into the cells' genomes.

Slippery slope: 1 tiny truffle can trigger desire for more treats
Indulging in just one small chocolate truffle can induce cravings for more sugary and fatty foods -- and even awaken a desire for high-end status products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

FHL1 helps build muscle mass
Cowling et al. report how to build muscle mass with FHL1.

The language of intoxication: The term 'drunk' doesn't really cut it any more
The language that drinkers typically use to describe alcohol's effects on them are quite different from the language used by alcohol researchers, no doubt limiting researchers' understanding of self-reported alcohol use.

Breathing problems during sleep associated with calories burned at rest
Individuals with sleep-related breathing disorders appear to burn more calories when resting as their conditions become more severe, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Later school start times may improve sleep in adolescents and decrease risk of auto accidents
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that after a one-hour delay of school start times, teens increased their average nightly hours of sleep and decreased their

Scientists find link between inflamed gums and heart disease
The next person who reminds you to floss might be your cardiologist instead of your dentist.

Interruptions in Medicaid coverage linked to increased hospitalization
Interruptions in Medicaid coverage are associated with a higher rate of hospitalization for conditions that can often be treated in an ambulatory care setting, including asthma, diabetes and hypertension, according to a new study in today's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

CU-Boulder study proposes explanation for migration of volcanic activity on Mars
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates a moving, shell-like plate encapsulating Mars may explain explains the volcanic activity in the Tharsis Rise region of the

Physical therapy offers evidence-based solution to musculoskeletal pain
The American Physical Therapy Association is urging patients with musculoskeletal pain to consider treatment by a physical therapist, in light of a new federal survey showing that more than one-third of American adults and nearly 12 percent of children use alternative medicine, with back and neck pain being the top reasons for treatment.

ACS PressPac -- Dec. 10, 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.

Back pain still an issue for over 5 million Australians: Are we treating it right?
A new study by researchers at the George Institute for International Health has found that back pain is a reoccurring problem for five million Australians.

Obama picks Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu for Energy Secretary
President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Steve Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be secretary of energy.

Newly discovered esophagus stem cells grow into transplantable tissue, Penn study finds
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered stem cells in the esophagus of mice that were able to grow into tissue-like structures and when placed into immune-deficient mice were able to form parts of an esophagus lining.

Reducing the damage of a heart attack
In the aftermath of a heart attack, the body's own defenses may contribute to future heart failure.

New report says racial gap growing in colorectal cancer
A new report from the American Cancer Society says despite unprecedented progress in reducing incidence and death rates from colorectal cancer, the gap between blacks and whites continues to grow.

USA's largest ever prostate cancer screening program shows high compliance and consistent results
More than 38,000 men took part in the USA's largest prostate cancer study.

Breathing cycles in Earth's upper atmosphere tied to solar wind disturbances
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study shows the periodic

Study to identify best rehabilitation therapies for patients with traumatic brain injuries
Rush University Medical Center and 10 other health care facilities in the US and Canada have been awarded a $4.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to identify which rehabilitation therapies, or combination of therapies, can best help victims of traumatic brain injuries.

Go for the gold (or silver): Status tiers promote loyalty
How special does that gold card offered by a hotel or airline make you feel?

Researchers create new class of fluorescent dyes to detect reactive oxygen species in vivo
Researchers have created a new family of fluorescent probes called hydrocyanines that can be used to detect and measure the presence of reactive oxygen species -- superoxide and the hydroxide radical -- in cells, tissue and, for the first time, in vivo.

Woodruff Foundation pledges $3 million toward MCG dental building
The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has pledged $3 million toward construction of a new Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry building.

New technique allows simultaneous tracking of gene expression and movement
Flies expressing green fluorescent protein in their retina cells or other tissues can be tracked by specially modified video cameras, creating a real time computer record of movement and gene expression.

Joslin research finds nearly three-quarters of youths with diabetes insufficient in vitamin D
Three-quarters of youths with type 1 diabetes were found to have insufficient levels of vitamin D, according to a study by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center -- findings that suggest children with the disease may need vitamin D supplementation to prevent bone fragility later in life.

Vendee Globe route seen from above
Wind and wave data from ESA's Envisat satellite radar are being used to observe meteorological conditions in the track of the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race.

Blocking proteins coded by notorious cancer-causing gene
Ovarian cancer cells are

U of T scientists solve mystery of Giant's Causeway with kitchen materials
Physicists at the University of Toronto have cracked the mystery behind the strange and uncannily well-ordered hexagonal columns found at such popular tourist sites as Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway and California's Devil's Postpile, using water, corn starch and a heat lamp.

Goose eggs may help polar bears weather climate change
Polar bears -- especially the marginal individuals like some sub-adult males -- could adapt to changes in ice and the ability to hunt seals by eating snow goose eggs.

Drug tests will prevent repeat of Northwick Park trial
Scientists investigating the 2006 Northwick Park drug-trial disaster that left six healthy volunteers hospitalized say they have developed new preclinical tests that could have stopped the trial from ever going ahead.

New psychotherapy has potential to treat majority of cases of eating disorders
Wellcome Trust researchers have developed a new form of psychotherapy that has been shown to have the potential to treat more than eight out of ten cases of eating disorders in adults, a study out today reports.

God or science? A belief in one weakens positive feelings for the other
A person's unconscious attitudes toward science and God may be fundamentally opposed, researchers report, depending on how religion and science are used to answer

Over 1,000 species discovered in the Greater Mekong in past decade
A rat thought extinct for 11 million years and a hot-pink, cyanide-producing dragon millipede are among a thousand new species discovered in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia in the last decade, according to a new report launched by World Wildlife Fund.

Columbia University scientist devises new way to more rapidly generate bone tissue
Using stem cell lines not typically combined, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have designed a new way to

New gene variants present opportunities in nutrigenomics
A new study uncovers 11 gene variants associated with three blood lipids measured to determine cardiovascular disease risk: low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides.

GUMC researchers find gene function 'lost' in melanoma and glioblastoma
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found a gene they say is inactivated in two aggressive cancers -- malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, and glioblastoma multiforme, a lethal brain tumor.

For best results, ask a few thought-provoking questions
The next time a telemarketer opens with a friendly question, you might stop and wonder why.

New method of scoring IQ tests benefits children with intellectual disabilities
Parents of children with intellectual disabilities have long been frustrated by intelligence quotient testing that tells them little to nothing about the long-term learning potential of their children.

Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation: More freedom for COPD patients
The latest study by Dr. Francois Maltais of the Laval Hospital in Quebec and Dr.

Culture: The new insanity defense?
A taxi driver refuses to pick up a blind woman with a companion dog.

Root system architecture arises from coupling cell shape to auxin transport
What determines the pattern of root growth has until now been a mystery, but a new paper published this week in PLoS Biology shows that the shape of the existing root can determine how further roots branch from it because shape determines hormone concentration.

Ancient magma 'superpiles' may have shaped the continents
Two giant plumes of hot rock deep within the earth are linked to the plate motions that shape the continents, researchers have found.

Prostaglandin receptor key to atherosclerosis development
Atherosclerosis -- a disease that includes the buildup of fatty, cholesterol-laden lumps of cells inside the artery wall -- is the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Multiple axons and actions with PSD-95
Nitric oxide gets neurons together. And it seems to do it backward.

Church effort sharply increases first-time African-American blood donors
A program at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

People with blindness from cataract are poorer than those with normal sight
A new study conducted in three developing countries -- Kenya, the Philippines, and Bangladesh -- finds that people with cataract-induced visual impairment are more likely to live in poverty than those with normal sight.

Authors find social networking technology helps reveal what matters most in campus culture
A survey of more than 500 students reveals online social networking sites are replacing bricks-and-mortar campus social spaces and providing around-the-clock opportunities for self-definition.

Ocean acidification from CO2 emissions will cause physiological impairment to jumbo squid
The elevated carbon dioxide levels expected to be found in the world's oceans by 2100 will likely lead to physiological impairments of jumbo squid.

Depression, anxiety spur poor health habits, damaging heart and blood vessels
New research published in the Dec. 16-23, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology offers some answers.

Moving in for the winter toxic brown recluse spiders pose danger
As the cold weather creeps in, so do brown recluse spiders.

University of Virginia to probe Milky Way history in Sloan Digital Sky Survey III
A new project, the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment, or APOGEE, will survey more than 100,000 Milky Way red giant stars -- bright, bloated stars in a late stage of their evolution.

You decide: Making a good decision or avoiding a bad one?
We feel good about a purchase if we believe we've made a decision that's in line with our goals.

Certain factors associated with attrition during graduate medical education training
Graduates from a single medical school who began graduate medical education (residency) programs appear more likely to change specialty or discontinue graduate medical education training if they are academically highly qualified or are pursuing training in general surgery or a five-year surgical specialty, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The 'Dirty War Index': A new tool to identify rates of prohibited or undesirable war outcomes
Researchers in this week's PLoS Medicine present a new tool called the 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