Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 08, 2009
Nose-spray vaccine against botulism effective in first tests
A pre-clinical study found a new nasal spray vaccine to provide complete protection against a major botulism toxin, according to a study published today in the Nature journal Gene Therapy.

Mortality rates higher for heart disease patients in poorer B.C. neighborhoods
Heart disease patients living in poorer areas of B.C. are up to twice as likely to die from chronic diseases than patients living in better-off areas, a University of British Columbia study has found.

Study reveals surprisingly high tolerance for racism
White people do not get as upset when confronted with racial prejudice as they think they will, a study by researchers at Yale University, York University and the University of British Columbia suggests.

New tool enables powerful data analysis
A powerful new tool that can extract features and patterns from enormously large and complex data sets has been developed by scientists at University of California, Davis, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Findings turn events in early TB infection on their head, may lead to new therapy
Masses of immune cells that form as a hallmark of tuberculosis have long been thought to be the body's way of trying to protect itself by literally walling off the bacteria.

RIT and Lockheed Martin enhance sustainable mobility and economic growth
America's military fleet is on the road to improving performance and environmental quality due to new technology implemented through a partnership between Rochester Institute of Technology and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Novel prostate cancer vaccine taking aim at cancer cell 'sweet spot'
Molecules of sugar sitting on the surface of cancer cells are keys to the development of a new vaccine aimed at both treating and stopping the spread of certain types of cancers called carcinomas, which include prostate, breast, ovarian and lung, among others.

Doctors criticize Israel's human rights abuses against West Bank and Gaza
In correspondence published early online and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet, a group of four UK and one Italian doctors describe the human rights abuses they saw against Palestinian residents on a recent fact-finding mission.

Chemopreventive agents in black raspberries identified
A study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, identifies components of black raspberries with chemopreventive potential.

Ocean treasure stored at Texas A&M's IODP repository
Priceless treasure from the bottom of the sea is locked away at Texas A&M University, stacked on floor-to-ceiling racks and kept secure in 15,000 square feet of refrigerated space.

Hind wings help butterflies make swift turns to evade predators, study finds
New tires allow race cars to take tight turns at high speeds.

Recognizing children's successes in all areas may prevent teenage depression
Students' successes in the first grade can affect more than their future report cards.

Looking through Galileo's eyes
In sync with the International Year of Astronomy, which marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discoveries, a group of astronomers and curators from the Arcetri Observatory and the Institute and Museum of the History of Science, both in Florence, Italy, are recreating the kind of telescope and conditions that led to Galileo's world-changing observations, reports January's Physics World.

Genome-wide study identifies new type of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
A genetic analysis of children with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia has identified a new subtype of this disease that is associated with a poor treatment outcome, according to an article published early online and in the February issue of the Lancet Oncology.

Landmark national study reveals significance of green practices in attractions industry
The results of a national survey released by PGAV Destination Consulting, a planning and design firm in the international entertainment, tourism and hospitality industries, in collaboration with the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden, reveal an important understanding about consumer attitudes and perceptions regarding environmentally sustainable operations in attractions.

Astronomers discover new radio signal using large balloon
A team of NASA-funded scientists, including two from UC Santa Barbara, have discovered cosmic radio noise that they find completely unexpected and exciting.

Spirituality is key to kids' happiness
Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada show that children who feel that their lives have meaning and value and who develop deep, quality relationships -- both measures of spirituality -- are happier.

Research finds older women who are more physically fit have better cognitive function
New research published in the international journal Neurobiology of Aging by University of Calgary researcher Marc Poulin finds that being physically fit helps the brain function at the top of its game.

NSF, NASA successfully flight-test new balloon over Antarctica
The National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have successfully launched and demonstrated a newly designed super pressure balloon prototype that will one day enable a new era of high-altitude scientific research.

How Martian winds make rocks walk
Rocks on Mars are on the move, rolling into the wind and forming organized patterns, according to new research.

Newborn screening test could increase early detection of heart disease and save lives
Routine screening of blood oxygen levels before discharge from hospital improves the detection of life threatening congenital heart disease in newborns and may save lives, according to a study published on today.

Displacing petroleum-derived butanol with plants
As a chemical for industrial processes, butanol is used in everything from brake fluid, to paint thinners, to plastics.

New clues to mystery childhood illness: Kawasaki disease
A study looking at the entire human genome has identified new genes that appear to be involved in making some children more susceptible to Kawasaki disease, a serious illness that often leads to coronary artery disease, according to a new international study published in PLoS Genetics.

McGill researchers discover gene that increases susceptibility to Crohn's disease
Researchers at McGill University, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center and the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Center, along with colleagues at other Canadian and Belgian institutions, have discovered DNA variations in a gene that increases susceptibility to developing Crohn's disease.

'Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Knowledge Here Begins out There'
In advance of the final 10 episodes of this exciting, thought-provoking television series, Wiley-Blackwell's presents its latest installment of its Philosophy and Pop Culture Series,

URMC, Lighthouse Biosciences awarded US patent for diagnostic technology
The University of Rochester Medical Center has received a US patent for a diagnostic technology that can rapidly and accurately screen for organisms such as bacteria and other infectious agents.

Baxter and Northwestern University partner to target new life sciences projects
Northwestern University and Baxter Healthcare Corporation will create a multidisciplinary research and innovation alliance, the two entities announced today.

Particulate emission from natural gas burning home appliances
Natural gas, believed to be among the cleanest forms of fuel, does emit ultrafine airborne particulate matter when burned in home appliances such as stove tops and water heaters.

Heavy pyridine crystallizes differently
As researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, when the hydrogen atoms of pyridine are replaced with deuterium, it adopts a crystalline form that can only be achieved under high pressure with

OHSU School of Dentistry uncovers mechanism for dental pain
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have discovered a novel function of the peptide known as Nerve Growth Factor in the development of the trigeminal nerve.

Maslinic acid provides a natural defense against colon cancer
Scientists have found that the compound, present in olive skin's leaf and wax, inhibits the growth of HT29 colon-cancer cells.

OHSU School of Dentistry team discovers new molecule in blood-pressure control system
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have discovered that the nerve cells controlling heart rate and blood pressure synthesize a molecule known to be critically important for proper nervous system growth.

The quest for specific anti-inflammatory treatment
Anti-inflammatory drugs affect the cells taking part in inflammatory processes, but also those that do not.

Adding high doses of sludge to neutralize soil acidity not advisable
A University of the Basque Country Ph.D. thesis has analyzed the application of waste sludge from EDAR (Estación Depuradora de Aguas Residuales -- Waste Water Purification Plant) to acid soils which have limited capacity for neutralizing the acidity.

Study shows California's autism increase not due to better counting, diagnosis
A study by researchers at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute has found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted -- and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Behavioral difficulties at school may lead to lifelong health and social problems
Adolescents who misbehave at school are more likely to have difficulties throughout their adult lives, finds a 40-year study of British citizens published on today.

Sequence matters in droughts and floods
When extremes of drought and flood come in rapid succession, the extent of damage to vegetation may depend in part on the sequence of those events, according to a new study published in the American Naturalist.

New tests needed to predict cardiovascular problems in older people more accurately
A long-standing system for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease amongst older people should be replaced with something more accurate, according to a study published today on

Antipsychotic use in elderly people with Alzheimer's leads to large increase in mortality
There is a large increased long-term risk of mortality in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who are prescribed antipsychotic medication.

Hormone therapy associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk
The combination of estrogen plus progestin, which women stopped taking in droves following the news that it may increase their risk of breast cancer, may decrease their risk of colorectal cancer, according to a report published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New genetic study sheds light on serious childhood disease
Genetic variations that can predispose children to a serious disease that damages the heart have been identified in a genome-wide association study of Kawasaki disease, published today in PLoS Genetics.

The UK government's obesity initiative and ill-judged partnerships
An editorial in this week's Lancet criticizes the strategy of the three-year anti-obesity initiative launched by the UK government in the new year.

A good night's sleep protects against parasites
Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Concordia University professor honored by Québec Science magazine
Research into the stability of vortex rings by Concordia professor George Vatistas has been chosen as one of the top ten discoveries of 2008 by the magazine Québec Science.

Stanford researchers uncover link between 2 aging pathways in mice
Two previously identified pathways associated with aging in mice are connected, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Antipsychotic drugs double risk of death among Alzheimer's patients
The study, funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust, was led by Prof.

'Stroke Belt' deaths tied to nontraditional risk factors
A new report underscores the notion that stroke risks go beyond geographic and racial differences.

Floods to become commonplace by 2080
Storms across the UK set to increase in intensity by up to 30 percent in the next 75 years, new research shows.

Structure mediating spread of antibiotic resistance identified
Scientists have identified the structure of a key component of the bacteria behind such diseases as whooping cough, peptic stomach ulcers and Legionnaires' disease.

U of Minnesota astronomers help exploded star come alive across time and space
University of Minnesota astronomers led an international team of researchers who have developed a new three-dimensional visualization of the famous Cassiopeia A supernova remnant that gives astrophysicists new clues about how exploding stars form new stars and solar systems.

Mosquitoes create harmonic love song before mating, study finds
That pesky buzz of a nearby mosquito is the sound of love, scientists have known for some time.

First Americans arrived as 2 separate migrations, according to new genetic evidence
The first people to arrive in America traveled as at least two separate groups to arrive in their new home at about the same time, according to new genetic evidence published online on Jan.

Sea level rise of 1 meter within 100 years
New research indicates that the ocean could rise in the next 100 years to a meter higher than the current sea level -- which is three times higher than predictions from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.

Study finds more effective treatment for pneumonia following influenza
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have demonstrated a more effective treatment for bacterial pneumonia following influenza.

How cheating ants give themselves away
In ant society, workers normally give up reproducing themselves to care for their queen's offspring, who are their brothers and sisters.

UT Southwestern scientist honored among best in Texas research
Dr. Rama Ranganathan, professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was recognized today as one of the state's top rising stars in research by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.

Rice University psychologist finds women's brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
A new Rice University study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that socioemotional meanings, including sexual ones, are conveyed in human sweat.

Obesity starts in the head? 6 newly discovered genes for obesity have a neural effect
Obesity is known to increase the risk of chronic disorders, such as diabetes (type 2).

Whole genome study reveals clues to solving the mystery behind Kawasaki disease
A study looking at the entire human genome has identified new genes that appear to be involved in making some children more susceptible to Kawasaki disease, according to a new international study published Jan.

Spirituality may help adolescents cope with chronic illness
Chronic illness can lead to poorer quality of life -- particularly for adolescents.

A life with pain -- new study examines the experiences of older people
It's debilitating, isolating and can lead to severe depression -- yet pain is widely accepted as something to be expected and regarded as

For fats, longer may not be better
Researchers have uncovered why some dietary fats, specifically long-chain fats, such as oleic acid (found in olive oil), are more prone to induce inflammation.

Reactions to racism not as strong as we think
One reason racism persists is that many people imagine they would respond strongly to a racist act but actually respond with indifference, a new study led by York University (in Toronto) shows.

Case Western Reserve professor explores schistosomiasis elimination in NEJM perspective
In the Jan. 8, 2009, issue of the New England Journal of Medicin, schistosomiasis expert Charles H.

Why bladder cancer is deadlier for some
Bladder cancer is much more likely to be deadly for women and African-Americans, but the reasons long believed to explain the phenomenon account for only part of the differences for such patients compared to their white and male counterparts, according to results published in the Jan.

Growth of new brain cells requires 'epigenetic' switch
New cells are born every day in the brain's hippocampus, but what controls this birth has remained a mystery.

New drug development still takes 8 years despite faster FDA review, according to Tufts CSDD
While the US Food and Drug Administration Drug has quickened review and approval of new medicines, the complex nature of diseases for which new therapeutics are being developed has resulted in longer clinical development times, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.

Identification of genetic markers for ulcerative colitis could lead to treatment
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, relapsing disorder that causes inflammation and ulceration in the inner lining of the rectum and large intestine.

Springer expands its portfolio in plant sciences with Phytoparasitica
Beginning in February 2009, Springer will publish the journal Phytoparasitica, both electronically and in print starting with Vol.

January Geology media highlights
Geology topics include

Scientists call up stem cell troops to repair the body using new drug combinations
Scientists have tricked bone marrow into releasing extra adult stem cells into the bloodstream, a technique that they hope could one day be used to repair heart damage or mend a broken bone, in a new study published today in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Decline of carbon-dioxide-gobbling plankton coincided with ancient global cooling
The evolutionary history of diatoms -- abundant oceanic plankton that remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year -- needs to be rewritten, according to a new Cornell study.

Help for the overweight could be at the end of a phone
Counselling via the phone and internet can help weight management in overweight individuals, according to a Dutch study published in the open access journal, BMC Public Health.

Online racial discrimination linked to depression, anxiety in teens
Educational psychologist Brendesha Tynes says adolescents are increasingly experiencing both individual and vicarious discrimination online, which in turn triggers stress, depression and anxiety.

Scientists discover an ancient odor-detecting mechanism in insects
A newly discovered family of receptors in the fly nose fills in a missing piece of the insect olfactory system -- and also suggests a new role for a class of receptors long believed to be confined to the depths of the brain.

Researchers control the assembly of nanobristles into helical clusters
From the structure of DNA to nautical rope to distant spiral galaxies, helical forms are as abundant as they are useful in nature and manufacturing alike.

Half of world's population could face climate-induced food crisis by 2100
New research shows that rapidly warming climate is likely to seriously alter crop yields in the tropics and subtropics by the end of this century and, without adaptation, will leave half the world's population facing serious food shortages. 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