Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 17, 2008
Women double fruit, veggie intake with switch to Mediterranean diet plan
In a new study led by the University of Michigan Health System, women more than doubled their fruit and vegetable intakes and dramatically increased their consumption of

Modified gene targets cancer cells a thousand times more often than healthy cells
Researchers at the University of Rochester have designed a gene that produces a thousand times more protein in cancer cells than in healthy cells.

Should the Pope be worried that Wales won the rugby Grand Slam this year?
Doctors in the Christmas issue published on today are urging the Vatican's medical team to keep a special watch over the Pope this Christmas, after their research investigating the link between papal deaths and Welsh rugby performance suggests that he has about a 45 percent chance of dying by the end of 2008.

Are power and compassion mutually exclusive?
A new study in Psychological Science reveals that individuals with a higher sense of power experience less compassion and distress when confronted with another's suffering, compared to low-power individuals.

DIAS-2 trial fails to replicate findings of previous trials showing benefit desmoteplase for stroke
Despite the promising results of the DIAS and DEDAS trials of fibrinolytic therapy with the novel drug desmoteplase, the much-awaited follow-up phase III DIAS-2 trial did not show any improvement in clinical response at 90 days between the patients who were given either desmoteplase up to nine hours after the onset of symptoms of stroke or placebo.

Study: Prejudice could cost a black worker thousands
A recent study in the Journal of Political Economy sheds light on the role racial prejudice plays in the wage gap between whites and blacks in the US.

'Hobbit' fossils represent a new species, concludes University of Minnesota anthropologist
Fossilized skeletons resembling a mythical

No quick or easy technological fix for climate change, researchers say
Global warming can be reversed, some are arguing, with a

Monthly shot for holiday drinkers on wagon
For people battling alcoholism who struggle to keep off the hard stuff over the festive season, a monthly injection could keep them off the booze.

Global challenges and global collaborations -- lessons learned from global change
Global challenges need global solutions. The 2nd ESF Science Policy conference held in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov.

Researchers find nature's shut-off switch for cellulose production
Purdue University researchers found a mechanism that naturally shuts down cellulose production in plants, and learning how to keep that switch turned on may be key to enhancing biomass production for plant-based biofuels.

Lean muscle mass helps even obese patients battle cancer
Lean muscle-mass may give even obese people an advantage in battling cancer, a University of Alberta study shows.

Stakeholders and public should use 20 specific health indicators
Policymakers, the media, and the public should focus on 20 specific health indicators as

University of Miami biomedical engineer
University of Miami scientists will develop assistive technology for a device designed to help heal brain aneurysms

Growing income gap among US families suggests increasing economic insecurity
The incomes of American families with children have become increasingly stratified since 1975, with income inequality increasing two-thirds during a 30-year period, according to findings published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed science journal American Sociological Review.

Stem cells drug testing predicted to boom under Obama
Embryonic stem cells could provide a new way of testing drugs for dangerous side effects, according to a leading British researcher.

More can be done to prevent lung disease in Southeast-Asian babies
A simple, effective and low-cost method of preventing lung disease -- and therefore death -- in newborn children is not being practiced widely enough in Southeast-Asian hospitals, according to a major international study involving the University of Adelaide, Australia.

HJF enters cooperative agreement to develop vaccine for staph infections
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Maryland-based Nabi Biopharmaceuticals to develop a vaccine that could prevent life-threatening staph infections.

Ancient soil replenishment technique helps in battle against global warming
Christoph Steiner, a University of Georgia research scientist in the Faculty of Engineering, was a major contributor to the biochar proposal that was submitted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification last week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference meeting in Poland.

Phosphorus-lowering drugs linked to lower mortality in dialysis patients
For patients on dialysis, taking medications to reduce levels of the mineral phosphorus in the blood may reduce the risk of death by 25 to 30 percent, reports a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Ocean acidification could have broad effects on marine ecosystems
Concern about increasing ocean acidification has often focused on its potential effects on coral reefs, but broader disruptions of biological processes in the oceans may be more significant, according to Donald Potts, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz and an expert in coral reef ecology and marine biodiversity.

Einstein researchers find convincing evidence that probiotics are effective
Up to one in five people on antibiotics stop taking their full course of antibiotic therapy due to diarrhea.

Are older antidepressants better for depression in Parkinson's disease?
A new study shows that antidepressant drugs which only affect serotonin, often used as first choice treatments, may not be best for depression in people with Parkinson's disease.

National rates of co-occurring substance use and mental disorders call for better service integration
Two new studies, led by CAMH, found that multilevel integration is needed for mental health and substance use services to adequately address the needs of people diagnosed with co-occurring disorders.

'Smart' surveillance system may tag suspicious or lost people
Engineers here are developing a computerized surveillance system that, when completed, will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost.

Narrative entertainment programming can lead to persuasive outcomes
Entertainment-education is a common strategy for incorporating health and other educational messages into popular entertainment media.

The more you take the more you lose
In everyday social exchanges, being mean to people has a lot more impact than being nice, research at the University of Chicago has shown.

Doctors question standardized training requirements
Doctors lack confidence in their procedural skills after completing the current NHS postgraduate training curriculum.

Attitudes towards assisted reproduction and preimplantation genetic diagnosis
According to an international survey by the BBVA Foundation conducted this year, citizens in advanced societies view assisted reproduction techniques in general and in vitro fertilization in particular as firmly acceptable alternatives for people with fertility problems.

Harnessing microbes to boost plant production
Farmers, home gardeners, golf course managers and others now have access to a new microbial fertilizer that dramatically increases plant size and yield, thanks to a licensing agreement between Michigan State University and Bio Soil Enhancers Inc.

Stevens' professor Lynn receives 2009 Research Publication Award
Stevens Institute of Technology professor Gary S. Lynn was recognized as one of the most prolific scholars in the world for his research on technology innovation by the International Association for the Management of Technology.

Medical myths exposed
Does sugar make kids hyperactive? Do we lose most of our body heat through our head?

Researchers use satellites to measure inland floods
Satellites that were designed to measure sea level over the world's oceans can serve a valuable purpose over land, a new study has found.

Annals colonoscopy study underscores importance of quality standards
A study released this week concluded that while screening colonoscopy is associated with fewer deaths from colorectal cancer, the association is primarily limited to deaths from cancer developing in the left side of the colon.

Medical myths for the holiday season: True, false or unproven?
In new study published in British Medical Journal, Indiana University School of Medicine researchers applied rigorous search methodology to explore the science behind six myths commonly associated with the holidays yet relevant year-round.

VCU survey: US public supports genetic research, testing and government spending on research
The 2008 Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences survey shows that eight in 10 adults nationwide favor making genetic testing easily available to all who want it, and 54 percent say that the benefits of conducting genetic research outweigh the risks.

People more likely to attend cancer screening close to Christmas and birthdays
Cancer screening programs could increase attendance by inviting people for screening close to birthdays or other annual milestones such as Christmas and the New Year, finds a study in the Christmas issue published on today.

Internists ask President-elect Obama to include aid for primary care in stimulus proposal
At the request of the presidential transition team, ideas on advancing health care reform in the stimulus package were provided today by the American College of Physicians.

Experts detail the 3 rules for technological fixes
Technology can do great things, but it also can be over sold as panacea for a host of social ills.

Elsevier announces new partnership between the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and the AAHPM
Elsevier is pleased to announce that, beginning in January 2009, the internationally respected Journal of Pain and Symptom Management will be the official journal of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

A BBVA Foundation project comes up with a system enabling detection of cetacean hearing loss
The device was designed and built in the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics at UPC, under the direction of Michel Andre.

Students show red card to cheating researchers
A group of French research students is launching an online register to flag up scientific papers that have been tainted by fraud and other types of scientific misconduct.

Sex difference on spatial skill test linked to brain structure
Men consistently outperform women on spatial tasks, including mental rotation, which is the ability to identify how a 3-D object would appear if rotated in space.

Fears of promiscuity pose barrier to cervical cancer vaccinations
The public's concerns about costs and increased promiscuity among teenagers appear to be hindering use of a vaccine against the human papilloma virus to prevent life-threatening diseases, according to a study by researchers at Yale School of Public Health.

Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual US men
A new US study has found that being circumcised significantly reduced the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual African-American men known to have been exposed to the virus.

WPI receives key sponsorship, $100,000 pledge for new fire sciences laboratory from RJA
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Mass., has received a $100,000 pledge from Chicago-based Rolf Jensen & Associates to help fund a new, state-of-the-art fire sciences laboratory.

An ESC statement on gender differences in medical care and survival after myocardial infarction
A paper published online by the journal Circulation on Dec.

Cardiac stent patients with diabetes may benefit from drug that counteracts the effects of leptin
The naturally high levels of leptin in diabetic patients may reduce the effectiveness of drug-eluting stents used to treat heart blockages, but using a chemical that differs from the one commonly used to coat stents could counteract this effect.

Fast food meals are smaller, have fewer calories than food served at restaurants
A new study in the Review of Agricultural Economics compares fast food and table service meals at restaurants.

Racial tension in a 'split-second'
Interracial and interethnic interactions can often be awkward and stressful for members of both majority and minority groups.

Selflessness, core of all major world religions, has neuropsychological connection
All spiritual experiences are based in the brain. That statement is truer than ever before, according to a University of Missouri neuropsychologist.

Strange travels
A new series of articles details transport phenomena in highly heterogeneous media, which plays an especially important role in hydrogeology because it may govern migration and dispersion of groundwater contaminants from hazardous waste sites.

Cry me a river: The psychology of crying
We've all experienced a

Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility helps researcher win Sackler Prize
David Baker, University of Washington professor of biochemistry and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute, has been awarded the 2008 Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics.

Weakened RNA interference reduces survival in ovarian cancer
Levels of two proteins in a woman's ovarian cancer are strongly associated with her likelihood of survival, a research team led by scientists at the University of Texas M.

Women prefer prestige over dominance in mates
A new study reveals that women prefer mates who are recognized by their peers for their skills, abilities, and achievements.

Supply of board-certified emergency physicians unlikely to meet projected needs
The number of physicians with board certification in emergency medicine is unlikely to meet the staffing needs of US emergency departments in the foreseeable future, if ever; according to a study from a research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Patient consent forms should educate not intimidate
The way current patient consent forms are written -- as formal, legal documents -- plants a litigious relationship in both the patient's and the surgeon's mind even before treatment has begun.

Primary cilium as cellular 'GPS system' crucial to wound repair
The primary cilium, the solitary, antenna-like structure that studs the outer surfaces of virtually all human cells, orients cells to move in the right direction and at the speed needed to heal wounds, much like a global positioning system helps ships navigate to their destinations.

Male circumcision may decrease risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer
Two new studies suggest that male circumcision may assist in the prevention of human papillomavirus infection, particularly infection with the high-risk subtypes associated with cervical, penile, and other cancers.

Study finds optimal type of dialysis treatment differs among kidney disease patients
For kidney disease patients who need to undergo dialysis, one type of treatment is not best for all, according to a study appearing in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Traditional Dutch landscape under threat
Current government policy is failing to protect traditional Dutch landscapes says Dutch researcher Evelien van Rij.

High blood sugar's impact on immune system holds clues to improving islet cell transplants
A biological tit for tat may hold clues to improving the success of islet cell transplants intended to cure type 1 diabetes, according to a Medical College of Georgia scientist.

MIT finds climate change could dramatically affect water supplies
It's no simple matter to figure out how regional changes in precipitation, expected to result from global climate change, may affect water supplies.

It's a shocker for rockers
Head banging increases the risk of head and neck injury, but the effects may be lessened with reduced head and neck motion, head banging to lower tempo songs or to every second beat, and using protective equipment such as neck braces, finds a study in the Christmas issue published on today.

Most women report satisfaction with egg donation; some claim problems
Two-thirds of women who donated eggs to fertility clinics reported satisfaction with the process, but 16 percent complained of subsequent physical symptoms and 20 percent reported lasting psychological effects, according to the first study to examine the long-term effects of donation.

'Seeing' the quantum world
Barry Sanders, director of the University of Calgary's Institute for Quantum Information Science, is hoping computer animation can help the public better understand quantum physics.

Decreased activity of basal ganglia is the main cause of abnormal muscle constrictions in dystonia
Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary abnormal muscle constrictions.

Ex-terrorists may be key to reducing militancy
The scourge of modern terrorism can be tackled more effectively by understanding how and why certain individuals give up their violent ways, according to a counter-terrorism expert who says information gleaned from ex-terrorists could provide clues to checking the growth of militant organizations.

Springer and FIZ Karlsruhe set the course for the future
Springer and FIZ Karlsruhe are to continue their publishing partnership on the mathematics journal/database Zentralblatt fuer Mathematik/Zentralblatt MATH.

Autism and schizophrenia share common origin
Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesizes Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study.

Researchers compile 'molecular manual' for 100s of inherited diseases
An international research team has compiled the first catalog of tissue-specific pathologies underlying hundreds of inherited diseases.

Earth's original ancestor was LUCA, not Adam nor Eve
An evolutionary geneticist from the University of Montreal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on Earth, LUCA (last universal common ancestor).

The birds of Spain, in a digital ornithological encyclopedia
This new guide, presented recently in Madrid, brings together 1,600 photographs, 1,200 drawings, 370 sound recordings, 200 videos and 400 maps in a single DVD-book.

Migraines: Help for a common problem in children and teenagers
Chocolate, excitement and the stress of Christmas: these are not just a headache for parents.

Engineering algae to make fuel instead of sugar
In a paper in a special energy issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society's open-access journal, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, describe a method for using microalgae for making biofuel.

A microscale system to study frustration in buckled monolayers of microspheres at Penn
A team of University of Pennsylvania physicists has demonstrated a simple system based on micron-sized spheres in water to study and control geometric frustration.

Lower-dose fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy results in better hearing preservation
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have found that a lower dose of fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy for acoustic neuromas results in better hearing preservation and has the same tumor local control rate as a higher dose of therapy.

New anti-cancer components of extra-virgin olive oil revealed
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil contains health-relevant chemicals, 'phytochemicals,' that can trigger cancer cell death.

The Green (and blue, red and white) lights of the future
A revolution in energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and powerfully flexible lighting is coming to businesses and homes, according to a paper in latest special energy issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society's open-access journal.

New scientific knowledge on juvenile diabetes
Finnish scientists have reported a breakthrough in the attempts to understand the development of type 1 diabetes.

Moon's polar craters could be the place to find lunar ice, scientists report
Scientists have discovered where they believe would be the best place to find ice on the moon.

Molecular marker identifies normal stem cells as intestinal tumor source
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have answered a central question in cancer biology: whether normal stem cells can give rise to tumors.

Cap and trade policies limiting CO2 can increase value of some electricity generating firms
A new study explores ways to target the compensation provided by the free allocation of emission allowances under a CO2 cap and trade policy.

Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

Kidnapped senior needed IU-patented home security system
Family and friends of a 75-year-old California grandmother beaten and kidnapped from her home last week might have known of the crime within moments if a device patented by an Indiana University researcher had been in use. 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