Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 26, 2009
Researchers identify 4 genetic hotspots associated with psoriasis
A genomewide scan of millions of genetic mutations has revealed four new DNA

Major immune system branch has hidden ability to learn
Half of the immune system has a hidden talent, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

'Birth control' for centrioles
Like DNA, centrioles need to duplicate only once per cell cycle.

Cell phones dangerous for child pedestrians, UAB study finds
Children who talk on cell phones while crossing streets are at a higher risk for injuries or death in a pedestrian accident, said psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in a new study that will appear in the February issue of Pediatrics.

Statins may treat blood vessel disorder that can lead to fatal strokes
In a finding that could save thousands of lives a year, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have shown that a blood vessel disorder leading to unpredictable, sometimes fatal, hemorrhagic strokes, seizures, paralysis or other problems is treatable with the same statin drugs that millions of people take to control high cholesterol.

Caution: Lose more than weight with imported diet pills
Americans who use illegal diet pills from South America are taking amphetamines without knowing it and seriously risking both their health and their jobs.

Scientists identify bacteria that increase plant growth
Through work originally designed to remove contaminants from soil, scientists have identified plant-associated microbes that can improve plant growth on marginal soil.

JCI table of contents: Jan. 26, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Jan.

George Preston chosen for 2009 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship
Dr. George W. Preston of the Carnegie Observatories has been selected by the American Astronomical Society to be the 2009 recipient of its highest distinction: the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship.

Astronauts on International Space Station lose alarming amounts of hipbone strength
Astronauts spending months in space lose significant bone strength, making them increasingly at risk for fractures later in life.

Study examines loop diuretic use and fractures in postmenopausal women
The use of loop diuretics does not appear to be associated with changes in bone mineral density, falls or fractures in postmenopausal women, according to a report in the Jan.

Aspirin can prevent liver damage that afflicts millions, Yale study finds
Simple aspirin may prevent liver damage in millions of people suffering from side effects of common drugs, alcohol abuse and obesity-related liver disease, a new Yale University study suggests.

Natural selection is not the only process that drives evolution
Why have some of our genes evolved rapidly? It is widely believed that Darwinian natural selection is responsible, but research led by a group at Uppsala University, suggests that a separate neutral (nonadaptive) process has made a significant contribution to human evolution.

New findings on old kidneys could enhance transplants, Stanford study shows
The older the kidney, the worse it works -- though exactly how much worse isn't known.

Mental shortcuts: New study examines consumer choice process
When we use a mental shortcut to decide which product we want, we don't always end up with our ideal choice, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Study examines risk factors for cancer in unaffected breast of breast cancer patients
A new study identifies certain patient and tumor characteristics that may help indicate which breast cancer patients would be the most likely to benefit from preventive surgery to remove the unaffected breast.

First world Young Earth Scientists Congress to be held Oct. 25-28, 2009
The Young Earth Scientists for Society network, an association of earth scientists under the age of 35 years representing geological societies from around the world, in collaboration with the International Year of Planet Earth, is organizing a world congress for young earth scientists, policy makers, advisors and decision makers.

Gene-engineered flies are pest solution
For the first time, male flies of a serious agricultural pest, the medfly, have been bred to generate offspring that die whilst they are still embryos.

From molecules to populations: Fighting the epidemics of obesity and diabetes
A $2.5 million grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund will establish a new Ph.D. program devoted to the understanding of metabolic diseases.

Omega-6 fatty acids: Make them a part of heart-healthy eating
The American Heart Association recommends that people consume at least 5 percent to 10 percent of calories from omega-6 fatty acids.

Daily school recess improves classroom behavior
School children who receive more recess behave better and are likely to learn more, according to a large study of third-graders conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

New study sheds light on higher adherence to HIV drugs in Africa than in North America
Levels of near-perfect adherence to life saving anti-retroviral drugs among African HIV patients should be understood as a means of preserving key social relationships, says a new study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

Remember that time? New study demystifies consumer memory
If a vacation starts out bad and gets better, you'll have a more positive memory than if it starts out good and gets worse -- if you're asked about it right afterward, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Rationale for deciding which glucocorticoid to use to treat preterm babies
Although drugs known as glucocorticoids are used clinically to treat mothers at risk of preterm delivery and infants with life-threatening lung conditions, there are ongoing concerns about the therapy because it adversely affects brain development.

Early childhood stress has lingering effects on health
Stressful experiences in early childhood can have long-lasting impacts on kids' health that persist well beyond the resolution of the situation.

New asthma research opposes current drug treatment, says UH prof
Just as the FDA is reconsidering the use of stimulants to treat asthma, a new study offers evidence to support a theory that an opposite approach to asthma treatment may be in order.

Scientists uncover new genetic variations linked to psoriasis
Two international teams of researchers have made significant gains in understanding the genetic basis of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that can be debilitating in some patients.

Statewide study confirms 'paperless' hospitals are better for patients
Results from a large-scale Johns Hopkins study of more than 40 hospitals and 160,000 patients show that when health information technologies replace paper forms and handwritten notes, both hospitals and patients benefit strongly.

New catalyst paves the path for ethanol-powered fuel cells
A team of scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Delaware and Yeshiva University, has developed a new catalyst that could make ethanol-powered fuel cells feasible.

Appointment of new PEPFAR head should be merit based
Last week saw the sudden departure of Mark Dybul as the US Global AIDS Coordinator, in charge of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

'Happiness gap' in the US narrows
The American population as a whole is no happier than it was three decades ago.

Protecting the nest egg: Special gifts have symbolic value
Gifts passed on from one generation of family members to the next are worth more than their monetary value, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Shaken self-confidence? Certain products and activities can fix it
Someone who has momentarily lost confidence in her intelligence is more likely to purchase a pen than a candy bar, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Interactive virtual training at European Urology Forum in Davos
The Congress Centre of Davos is -- for the 18th time -- the venue for the European Urology Forum 2009, a urological challenge and very enjoyable educational interactive forum.

Shoulder injuries in US high school athletes occur more often in boys
Although shoulder injuries accounted for just 8 percent of all injuries sustained by high school athletes, shoulder injuries were relatively common in predominately male sports such as baseball (18 percent of all injuries), wrestling (18 percent) and football (12 percent).

New survey results show huge burden of diabetes
In the United States, nearly 13 percent of adults age 20 and older have diabetes, but 40 percent of them have not been diagnosed, according to epidemiologists from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose study includes newly available data from an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.

PSEG's Ralph Izzo to explore at NJIT the impacts of climate change, more
Ralph Izzo believes that our society is steering a very unsustainable course when it comes to energy -- and he speaks with authority.

Rational or experiential? New study highlights differences in thinking styles
Consumers approach problems, products, and websites differently according to distinct thinking styles, says a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

CSHL scientists find a new class of small RNAs and define its function
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory announced today the discovery of a new class of small RNAs and the presence of a strikingly novel biochemical pathway for RNA processing in which these and possibly other small RNAs are produced.

Health information technologies associated with better outcomes, lower costs
Patients at Texas hospitals that have automated some aspects of their health information systems appear to have fewer complications, lower death rates and reduced costs, according to a report in the Jan.

Unmasked and vulnerable
Donning a face mask is an easy way to boost protection from severe respiratory illnesses such as influenza and SARS, new research from the University of New South Wales has found, but convincing a reluctant public and health workers is proving a struggle.

The genes in your congeniality: Researchers identify genetic influence in social networks
Our genes partly influence our place within our social network, according to new research from Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego.

We're not buying it: Product add-ons influence consumer judgment
Charging extra for

First comprehensive paper on statins' adverse effects released
A paper co-authored by Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of UC San Diego's Statin Study group cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.

Frequent sex and masturbation in 20s and 30s linked to higher prostate cancer risk
A study of 840 men shows that men who developed prostate cancer were more likely to have engaged in frequent sexual activity in their 20s and 30s, particularly masturbation.

Ocean research officials hail completion of modernization for US scientific ocean drilling vessel
Senior officials from the US National Science Foundation and the US Implementing Organization for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program today marked the occasion of the research vessel JOIDES Resolution sailing off from Singapore for science sea trials and transit to Honolulu, after a complete transformation to modernize and upgrade the ship in a Singapore shipyard.

'Chain of survival' saves lives, lessens damage in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients in Japan
In an eight-year study, Japanese citizens were trained in CPR and procedures were changed to allow emergency service personnel to deliver shocks and intubate patients in the field.

Aspirin counteracts new mechanisms of acetaminophen-induced liver damage
Overdoses of acetaminophen (paracetamol), which account for most drug overdoses in the United States, damage the liver, causing potentially fatal acute liver failure.

An individualized approach to breast cancer treatment
Tel Aviv Univerisity develops MRI-and-ultrasound application to recognize malignant tumors before they metastasize.

The Evolution of Human Aggression: Feb. 25-27 conference
As scientists celebrate 2009 as the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth, experts in anthropology, biology, psychology and other fields will gather at the University of Utah Feb.

A little parity is a good thing: You don't always have to be the best
We are all used to advertisers showing their products as superior among competitors.

What's a little mold? Why consumers have different freshness standards at home
Why is it acceptable for someone who would never purchase

Researchers identify risk factors for contralateral breast cancer
A preventive procedure to remove the unaffected breast in breast cancer patients with disease in one breast may only be necessary in patients who have high-risk features as assessed by examining the patient's medical history and pathology of the breast cancer, according to researchers at the University of Texas M.

GKSS to invest 12 million euros ($15.48 million) in a new observation system for the North Sea
With the major COSYNA project (Coastal Observation System for Northern and Arctic Seas), a comprehensive observation system is being created in the area of the German North Sea for the collection, prediction and scientific analysis of the current condition and development of the coastal sea.

Patients starting Parkinson's drug rasagiline earlier do better
A new study looking at the long-term effects of rasagiline on newly diagnosed patients indicates that people who began the drug earlier continued to do better than those for whom treatment was delayed six months.

Climate change enhances grassland productivity
More frequent freeze-thaw cycles in winter can increase biomass production according to the results of a recent study conducted by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, the University of Bayreuth and the Helmholtz Center in Munich.

Rape in war demands more attention from medical editors and health professionals
Rape in war is common, devastating, and too often ignored, says a new editorial in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

Emperor penguins march toward extinction?
Popularized by the 2005 movie

US scientific ocean drilling vessel sets sail for science sea trials
After a complete transformation to modernize and upgrade the research vessel JOIDES Resolution (JR, for short), the ship has set sail from the Singapore shipyard where the work was done, for science sea trials and transit to Honolulu.

'Great speciators' explained: It's intrinsic
New molecular research shows that white eye birds (family Zosteropidae) form new species at a faster rate than any other known bird.

Human induced plurtipotent stem cells reprogrammed into germ cell precursors
For the first time, UCLA researchers have reprogrammed human induced pluripotent stem cells into the cells that eventually become eggs and sperm, possibly opening the door for new treatments for infertility using patient-specific cells.

NIH awards Case Western Reserve University $1.33M
Case Western Reserve University has been awarded a two-year contract for $1.33 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund a pilot project that will expand informatics support for investigators, providing improved collaboration and sharing of information between investigators from multiple disciplines.

UT to develop fracture putty for traumatic leg injuries
Biomedical engineers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are leading a multi-institution initiative to produce a bio-compatible compound designed to mend serious leg fractures.

Physician use of HIT in hospitals linked to fewer deaths and complications, lower costs
A study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds when physicians in hospitals use health information technology to its full potential there are fewer deaths, fewer complications, and lower health care costs.

Hypertension and cholesterol medications present in water released into the St. Lawrence River
A study conducted by Universite de Montreal researchers on downstream and upstream water from the Montreal wastewater treatment plant has revealed the presence of chemotherapy products and certain hypertension and cholesterol medications.

Safely fixed hip prostheses
Artificial hip joints are firmly anchored to the patient's damaged bone by screws.

Was it the chicken salad or the swim?
A new study finds swimming, having a private well or septic system, and other factors not involving food consumption were major risk factors for bacterial intestinal infections not occurring in outbreaks.

Research identifies risk factors that affected World Trade Center evacuation
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have released findings identifying factors that affected evacuation from the World Trade Center Towers on Sep.

Contagious products: For good luck, stay close to a winner
Is luck contagious? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research sheds light on why, at a casino, people seem to gather around machines and people on a winning streak.

New study: Short coverage lapses limit children's access to health care services
Children's access to health care suffers when they spend any time -- even a few months -- without health care coverage, according to a new study appearing in the February 2009 issue of Medical Care Research and Review.

Controlling neglected tropical diseases may be key to US foreign policy
Stating that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) not only promote poverty but also destabilize communities, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Sabin Vaccine Institute President Peter Hotez call upon the public-health and foreign-policy communities to embrace medical diplomacy and NTD control as a means to combat terrorism in an article published Jan.

UT Southwestern researchers identify compound that frees trapped cholesterol
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified in mice a compound that liberates cholesterol that has inappropriately accumulated to excessive levels inside cells.

Helium rains inside jovian planets
Models of how Saturn and Jupiter formed may soon take on a different look.

Precious coatings for plastic parts
Bearings are universal components. Few devices can do without them.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Gene may lead to early onset of brain tumor
People with a particular gene variant may be more likely to develop brain tumors, and at an earlier age, than people without the gene, according to a study published in the Jan.

Move over, sponges
New and comprehensive molecular research from the American Museum of Natural History, Tieraeztliche Hochschule Hannover and Yale University confirms a deep evolutionary division among animals.

Substance use common among patients with TB, associated with treatment difficulties
About one in five US tuberculosis patients reports abusing alcohol or using illicit drugs, and those who do appear more contagious and difficult to treat, according to a report in the Jan.

Leeds-China collaboration to tackle energy issues
The University of Leeds has announced a strategic research alliance with one of China's leading universities, Zhejiang University, to focus on some of today's key energy challenges.

Elsevier Foundation announces $500,000 in grants for nursing, libraries and diversity in academia
Elsevier Foundation has announced today that it has committed a total of $555,000 in grants to ten institutions from around the world in support of initiatives that promote the work of libraries and scholars in science, technology and medicine.

Mysteries of categorization: How consumers think about new products
Why did the first PDAs released to the market fail while subsequent brands took off?

How does a dog walk? Surprisingly, many of us don't really know
Despite the fact that most of us see our four-legged friends walking around every day, most of us -- including many experts in natural history museums and illustrators for veterinary anatomy text books -- apparently still don't know how they do it.

Unmet medical needs are most common among vulnerable children
Children without insurance and children without a regular source of health care are the most likely to report unmet medical needs, suggesting that improvements are essential in government efforts to address the health of vulnerable children, according to a new study from the University of Michigan C.S.

Cutting salt isn't the only way to reduce blood pressure
Most people know that too much sodium from foods can increase blood pressure.

Roadkill study could speed detection of kidney cancer
Large-scale data mining of gene networks in fruit flies has led researchers to a sensitive and specific diagnostic biomarker for human renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer.

Preferential treatment: How what we like defines what we know
According to results published in Psychological Science, preference by itself can influence categorization.

Insulin therapy for seriously ill children reduces mortality and length of intensive care stay
Critically ill infants and children often develop hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar), which is associated with mortality and secondary infections.

Common medication associated with cognitive decline in elderly
A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that the use of certain medications in elderly populations may be associated with cognitive decline.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor receives prestigious early career award
Diana Lados, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and director of the university's Integrative Materials Design Center, has received the Orr Early Career Award from the Materials Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Gene therapy demonstrates benefit in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers have reported the first clinical evidence that gene therapy reduces symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an important milestone for this promising treatment which has endured a sometimes turbulent past.

Genome Medicine: Bridging the gap between research and clinical practice
Today, BioMed Central's premier open access medical journal Genome Medicine has officially launched with the publication of its January 2009 issue.

3 new informatics pilot projects to aid clinical and translational scientists nationwide
The National Institutes of Health has awarded three contracts for pilot projects to improve informatics support for researchers conducting small- to medium-sized clinical studies.

Trust your gut: Too much thinking leads to bad choices
Don't think too much before purchasing that new car or television.

Comet impact theory disproved
New data, published today, disproves the recent theory that a large comet exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, causing a shock wave that traveled across North America at hundreds of kilometers per hour and triggering continent-wide wildfires.

Security blankets: Materialism and death anxiety lead to brand loyalty
Materialistic people tend to form strong connections to particular product brands when their level of anxiety about death is high, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Study compares exercise regimens for obese older adults
Sedentary, obese older adults appear to improve their functional abilities and reduce insulin resistance through a combination of resistance and aerobic exercises, according to a report in the Jan.

Consumers desire more genetic testing, but not designer babies
A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center found a high desire for additional genetic testing among consumers for life altering and threatening medical conditions including mental retardation, blindness, deafness, cancer, heart disease, dwarfism and shortened lifespan from death by 5 years of age. 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