Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 05, 2009
MSU study finds high level of medical mistrust among minority women impacts quality of health care
Nearly 70 percent of minority women agree that health-care organizations sometimes deceive or mislead patients, one of the key findings of a Michigan State University study that researchers say can prevent women from getting breast cancer screenings.

Gut bacteria can manufacture defenses against cancer and inflammatory bowel disease
Bacteria in the human gut could produce substances that protect against colon cancer and provide therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers observe evolution chain reaction
A team of researchers are reporting the ongoing emergence of a new species of fruit fly -- and the sequential development of a new species of wasp -- in the February 6 issue of the journal Science.

Fighting tomorrow's hackers
TAU research is developing a system to keep encryption safe from quantum computers.

Researchers examine role of climate change in disease spread
Concerns have long been raised about the implications of global climate change for the spread of arboviruses.

Pharmaceuticals sold in Sweden cause serious environmental harm in India
Research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that Sweden is a major consumer of pharmaceutical substances from factories that fail to adequately treat their wastewater.

NRL researchers control the spin of semiconductor quantum dot shell states
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have recently demonstrated the ability to control the spin population of the individual quantum shell states of self-assembled indium arsenide quantum dots (QDs).

Fertility drugs do not increase risk of ovarian cancer
The use of fertility drugs does not increase a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer, finds a large study from Danish researchers published on bmj.com today.

'Sister' factors promote survival of blood-system stem cells
Stem cells of any kind are defined by their eternal nature, reproducing themselves and providing a pool of cells from which more differentiated tissues arise.

A natural, alternative insect repellent to DEET
A cheap, natural compound has been found to deter biting of mosquitoes and to repel ticks as effectively as DEET.

Scientists narrow search for genes associated with the ability to 'see' sounds
A new study identifies specific chromosomal regions linked to auditory visual synaesthesia, a neurological condition characterized by seeing colors in response to sounds.

Census of modern organisms reveals echo of ancient mass extinction
Paleontologists can still hear the echo of the death knell that drove the dinosaurs and many other organisms to extinction following an asteroid collision at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago.

Nanotube's 'tapestry' controls its growth
Rice University materials scientists have put a new

A better mesh: Researchers 'tighten' body's protective coating
Fibers in the mucus coatings of the eyes, lungs, stomach or reproductive system naturally bundle together and allow the tiniest disease-causing bugs, allergens or pollutants to slip by.

Impact of narcotics is greater on mentally ill
Narcotics have an irreversible effect on the brains of people already suffering from mental illness, according to Dr.

Study in mice identifies molecular target for treatment of West Nile encephalitis
In animal studies, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Yale University have identified molecular interactions that govern the immune system's ability to defend the brain against West Nile virus, offering the possibility that drug therapies could be developed to improve success in treating West Nile and other viral forms of encephalitis.

Colorectal cancer: Immunological tests for more accurate detection of cancer precursors
The detection of hidden blood in the stool is an important part of the early detection of colorectal cancer.

TECNALIA uses artificial vision to improve recycling of electronic scrap metal
TECNALIA Technological Corporation is studying an innovative method based on multi-spectral artificial vision systems to enhance the value of electronic scrap which currently represent four percent of urban waste in Europe.

National Science Foundation forum to address ecological connectivity and climate in a changing world
On Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, the National Science Foundation will host its 8th annual Mini-Symposium on Long-Term Ecological Research, or LTER.

New biomass charcoal heater: A 'new era' of efficiency and sustainability
Millions of homes in rural areas of far Eastern countries are heated by charcoal burned on small, hibachi-style portable grills.

Molecules help the immune system to detect cells infected with West Nile virus
New research reveals a model of host-pathogen interaction that explains how the immune system finds and destroys cells infected with a potentially lethal brain virus.

Rice U. conference to explore music's role in human cognition and behavior
Rice University's Shepherd School of Music will bring together distinguished scientists, composers and musicians to discuss music's role in human cognition and behavior for the Exploring the Mind Through Music conference March 27-29.

Genetic adaptations are key to microbe's survival in challenging environment
The genome of a marine bacterium living 2,500 meters below the ocean's surface is providing clues to how life adapts in extreme thermal and chemical gradients, according to an article published Feb.

Despite their diversity, pygmies of Western Central Africa share recent common ancestors
Despite the great cultural, physical, and genetic diversity found amongst the numerous West Central African human populations that are collectively designated as

Columbia research shows novel benefits of fatty acids in arteries
A CUMC research team led by Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D., Director of the Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition, has found that a diet rich in fish oils can prevent the accumulation of fat in the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart.

Federal scientists recognized for contributions to knowledge of bird ecology and habitat
Federal scientists recognized for contributions to knowledge of bird ecology and habitat Research and management awards for marbled murrelet and Northern spotted owl.

Survey samples life scientists' views on 'dual use' research and bioterrorism
Rapid advances in the biological sciences over the last several decades have yielded great benefits such as medical therapies and vaccines.

Internationally acclaimed researcher joins UH faculty thanks to $5.5 million grant
Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the awarding of a $5.5 million grant to the University of Houston through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).

Statin therapy ineffective in breast cancer prevention
Laboratory work in animals showed limited activity when statins were given to prevent breast cancer, according to a report in the February issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Classified -- the lonely heart's long road to respectability
Today friendship, even love, can be just one click away and there's a growing army of couples who met and married thanks to Internet dating.

Outstanding promoters of understanding between Japan and Germany
DFG to award the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize to a Japanologist from Heidelberg and a law professor from Tokyo.

Laser-sculpted optical devices for future giant telescopes
Future telescopes, with mirrors half the size of a football field, will need special components to deal with the light they collect.

Hepatitis C is killing liver cells
It has long been thought that liver disease in hepatitis C patients is caused by the patient's immune system attacking the infected liver, ultimately killing the cells.

Carnegie's Doug Koshland elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
Douglas E. Koshland, staff scientist at Carnegie's Department of Embryology, has been elected one of 72 Fellows by the American Academy of Microbiology.

Wolf in dog's clothing? Stanford study reveals twist in fur color
Slipping through trees or across snow, the wolf has glided into legend on paws of white, gray or -- in North America -- even black.

Predicting diversity within hotspots to enhance conservation
Hotspots of threatened biodiversity comprise a huge chunk of the Earth, presenting a daunting challenge to governments and scientists who want to study them, let alone protect them from development.

Constant compressions critical to CPR
Interrupting chest compressions during resuscitation reduces the chances of heartbeat return after defibrillation.

New treatment hope for prostate cancer
Scientists at Melbourne's Burnet Institute have developed a potential new treatment for patients with prostate cancer.

Engineering technology pinpoints earliest signs of animal life
Scientists using revolutionary new technology developed at the University of Nottingham have recorded the earliest evidence of animal life so far.

Sea level rise could be worse than anticipated
If global warming some day causes the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to collapse, as many experts believe it could, the resulting sea level rise in much of the United States and other parts of the world would be significantly higher than is currently projected, a new study concludes.

Origin of claws seen in 390-million-year-old fossil
A missing link in the evolution of the front claw of living scorpions and horseshoe crabs was identified with the discovery of a 390-million-year-old fossil by researchers at Yale and the University of Bonn, Germany.

Measuring molecules to improve drug design
CSIRO has patented an improved microscopy method for measuring the shapes and sizes of proteins which could help scientists create new pharmaceuticals that are a better match for the proteins they target.

On the threshold of a new chapter in biological imaging
The Springer journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (ABC) has chosen the chemist Wei Sun as the recipient of its Best Paper Award 2008.

Leukemia stem cells have more in common with embryonic stem cells than adult stem cells
Research using a mouse model of human leukemia has provided critical insight into the genetic factors related to the generation and maintenance of myeloid leukemia stem cells.

NJIT history professor receives national endowment for humanities
Richard B. Sher, Ph.D., a professor of history at NJIT and a former Guggenheim Fellow, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to edit a volume of the correspondence of James Boswell, the eighteenth-century Scottish writer.

Are we selling personalized medicine before its time?
We may be a long way off from using genetics to reliably gauge our risks for specific diseases, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in a study published on Feb.

Medical research community needs to speak louder to prevent another Canadian brain drain
Canada may not be able to compete globally in tomorrow's economy, and may repeat the brain drain of the mid-90s as a result of the recent federal budget, states an editorial in CMAJ published online today.

Landmark textbook on strokes in children and young adults updated in second edition
In 1994, a neurology textbook edited by Dr. Jose Biller became the standard reference work for the treatment and prevention of strokes in young people.

Survey samples life scientists' views on 'dual use' research and bioterrorism
Rapid advances in the biological sciences over the last several decades have yielded great benefits such as medical therapies and vaccines.

OSA's review journal, Advances in Optics and Photonics, launches inaugural issue
The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to announce that the premiere issue of its review journal, Advances in Optics and Photonics, was published last week.

Black wolves: The first genetically modified predators?
Emergence of black-colored wolves is the direct result of humans raising dogs as pets and beasts of burden, according to new research published in Science.

Exceptionally deep view of strange galaxy
A spectacular new image of an unusual spiral galaxy in the Coma Galaxy Cluster has been created from data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

UCSB scientists make headway in understanding Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered that a protein called BAG2 is important for understanding Alzheimer's disease and may open up new targets for drug discovery.

Poor people suffer disproportionately from chronic infections
Kids from low-income families are much more likely to suffer from serious infections such as herpes or hepatitis A than their counterparts in wealthier households.

Imaging for low-back pain without serious underlying conditions does not improve clinical outcomes
The routine use of radiography, MRI or CT scans in patients with low-back pain but no indication of a serious underlying condition does not improve clinical outcomes.

Single factor converts adult stem cells into embryonic-like stem cells
The simple recipe scientists earlier discovered for making adult stem cells behave like embryonic-like stem cells just got even simpler.

Sea level rise around North America upon collapse of Antarctic ice sheet to be higher than expected
University of Toronto geophysicists have shown that should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse and melt in a warming world -- as many scientists are concerned it will -- it is the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean that will face the greatest threats from rising sea levels.

Psychological impact found in adolescents with kidney transplants
A new study describes the psychological profile of adolescents who have received kidney transplants and compares them to those of healthy peers.

Researchers shake up scientific theory on motor protein
An international team of scientists led by the University of Leeds has shed new light on the little-understood motor protein called dynein, thought to be involved in progressive neurological disorders such as motor neuron disease.

Silencing of jumping genes in pollen
Scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, in Portugal, are to date the only research group in the world capable of isolating the sperm cells in the pollen grain of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Journal Chest: February news briefs
Studies in the February issue of Chest highlight new research about the effect of the World Trade Center disaster on lung function, how arm span: height ratio may be linked to lung problems, and debunking the myth that children with asthma miss more school than those without the condition.

Governments must focus on price, availability and affordability to tackle alcohol misuse
Following on from the seminar on alcohol-use disorders published in Online First last week, the lead editorial in this week's Lancet says that education and persuasion are not effective interventions on their own -- and they must be accompanied by government strategies which focus on price, availability and affordability of alcohol.

World first initiative improves global mental health
An international observatory led by the University of Melbourne, Australia, will help eradicate human rights abuses against people suffering mental illness in developing countries.

Scientists can predict nano drug outcome
Scientists including one from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston successfully predicted the outcome of a nano drug on breast tumors in a pre-clinical study.

AIBS teams with University of Oklahoma on introductory biology experience project
The United States National Science Foundation has awarded a $398,020 Research Coordination Network grant to the University of Oklahoma to help university and college faculty members improve instruction in introductory biology courses.

The countdown for Planck has started
The Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics completes ten years of work on the software for the European satellite mission.

Gambia takes on as National Program UAB project to abolish FGM
The government of Gambia has decided to create a National Program based on the

Angiogenesis linked to poor survival in patients with rare type of ovarian cancer
Researchers from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that increased angiogenesis, or blood vessel formation, and vascular endothelial growth factor expression are associated with poor survival in women with sex cord-stromal ovarian tumors.

Carnegie's Donald Brown receives lifetime achievement award from Society for Developmental Biology
Donald D. Brown, of Carnegie's Department of Embryology, will receive the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology.

Infant galaxies -- small and hyperactive
When galaxies are born, do their stars form everywhere at once, or only within a small core region?

Alcohol adverts attract the young
Alcohol advertising and marketing may lead to underage drinking. A large systematic review of more than 13,000 people, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, suggests that exposure to ads and product placements, even those supposedly not directed at young people, leads to increased alcohol consumption.

Multi-teraflop computer system targets large-scale discovery projects
Penn State's Institute for CyberScience will target large-scale modeling, simulation and data analysis with a terascale advanced computing system, funded by the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program.

Color boosts brain performance and receptivity to advertising, depending on task: UBC study
A new University of British Columbia study reconciles a debate that has long raged among marketers and psychologists: What color most improves brain performance and receptivity to advertising, red or blue?

Inner workings of photosynthesis revealed by powerful new laser technique
Instant pictures showing how the sun's energy moves inside plants have been taken for the first time, according to research out Feb.

New GP computer software to help prevent heart disease
New computer software that will allow GPs to more accurately assess which patients are most at risk of developing heart disease has been released for clinical use.

Alternative and complementary medicine should have role in new era of health care reform
With the Obama Administration's call for change comes new momentum for health care reform, which at its core should encompass universal coverage along with evidence-based methods of prevention, chiropractic, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Heart failure linked to cognitive impairment
Memory and other problems may affect care of heart failure patients, suggests study in Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Voluntary vaccination programs shown effective for some diseases
In this new study, Bauch and Perisic analyze

Rot's unique wood degrading machinery to be harnessed for better biofuels production
An international team led by scientists from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory have translated the genetic code that explains the complex biochemical machinery making brown-rot fungi uniquely destructive to wood.

New equation of state of seawater
For 30 years, scientists have relied on a series of equations called International Equation of State of Seawater in their calculations.

Biologists solve mystery of black wolves
Why do so many North American wolves have black coats (nearly half), while so few European wolves do (the overwhelming majority are gray or white)?

Safety guide launched for new 3-D dental scans
Important new guidelines for dentists using the latest 3-D imaging system in their surgeries have been established for UK and European practitioners.

Hope for preventative treatment for cystic fibrosis lung disease
Heidelberg researchers have succeeded in preventing cystic fibrosis lung disease in an animal model by spraying amiloride into the lungs of young mice.

CSHL scientists discover how 'companion' cells to sperm protect them from genetic damage
In plant pollen grains, sperm cells, which carry the genetic material to be passed on to progeny, are cocooned within larger

24th Annual EAU Congress highlights many new developments
The 24th Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology (EAU) will be held from March 17-21, 2009 in the Stockholm International Fairs.

Mathematical models reveal how organisms transcend the sum of their genes
Molecular and cellular biologists have made tremendous scientific advances by dissecting apart the functions of individual genes, proteins, and pathways.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a wise investment
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums may reduce stress and help save money on health care costs.

Inbreeding insects cast light on longer female lifespans
Inbreeding can unexpectedly extend male lifespan. Insect experiments described in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have shown that, in seed beetles, inbreeding causes males to live longer, while shortening female lifespan.

Building trust, increasing awareness among minorities
As science continues to show an increasing lack of access and poor outcomes among minority patients with cancer, the American Association for Cancer Research is working toward understanding the fundamental issues of trust and awareness among these populations.

Rural areas able to increase screening capacity for colorectal cancer
Arizona has the ability to expand colorectal cancer screening capacity; this potential increase was more pronounced in rural as compared to urban regions, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

Mutant rats resist warfarin
A new series of mutations have been discovered that allow rats to resist the effects of the popular poison warfarin.

ABC publishes monograph on scientific and clinical research of Sinupret
The nonprofit American Botanical Council has just published a monograph summarizing the scientific and clinical studies of Sinupret, a clinically-tested herbal combination for upper respiratory tract health, including conditions associated with sinusitis and bronchitis.

Georgia State researchers shed light on fat burning
Researchers at Georgia State University have found that fat cells give feedback to the brain in order to regulate fat burning much the same way a thermostat regulates temperature inside a house.

CSHL scientists discover link between control of chromosome duplication and segregation
A dividing cell duplicates its chromosomes and its centrosome, an organelle that helps divide the two sets of chromosomes equally to daughter cells, just once.

AAAS and EurekAlert! deepen engagement with Latin America through journalism fellowships
EurekAlert!, the global science news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is happy to announce the recipients of the 2009 Fellowships for Science Reporters from Developing Regions, sponsored by Elsevier.

GEN reports on strategies to overcome blood-brain barrier
The blood-brain barrier remains a major obstacle to the successful delivery of drugs to treat central nervous system disorders, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

Scientists propose new direction in the search for genetic causes of schizophrenia
A new study shows that schizophrenia is caused, at least in part, by large, rare structural changes in DNA referred to as copy number variants -- not the tiny, single letter alterations (single nucleotide polymorphisms that scientists have pursued for years.

Software could save organizations $19,000 each month
Software designed by the University of Liverpool which automatically shuts down computer systems after usage, is saving large organizations up to $19,000 in electricity costs each month.

Spanish scientists confirm extra virgin olive oil helps to combat breast cancer
Researchers of the Catalonian Institute of Oncology and the University of Granada have verified the bioactivity of the polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil in breast cancer cell lines.

New study identifies economies that will suffer most as climate change imperils fisheries
With climate change threatening to destroy coral reefs, push salt water into freshwater habitats and produce more coastal storms, millions of struggling people in fishery-dependent nations of Africa, Asia and South America could face unprecedented hardship, according to a new study published today in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Fish and Fisheries.

Genetic study shows direct link between vitamin D and MS susceptibility 'gene'
Researchers have found evidence that a direct interaction between vitamin D and a common genetic variant alters the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).

Rapidly evolving gene contributes to origin of species
A gene that helped one species split into two species shows evidence of adapting much faster than other genes in the genome, raising questions about what is driving its rapid evolution.

Professor analyzes if Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team or religion
Since January 2009, Olivier Bauer has pioneered the world's first course examining the link between hockey and religion.

Office of Naval Research delivers technology that integrates Marine infantryman and combat equipment
Engineers with the Office of Naval Research's warfighter-focused TechSolutions Program delivered cutting-edge technology to the Marine Corps Systems Command Gruntworks facility in Stafford, Va. on Feb.

The nonsense in our genes
A study of the genetic code of more than 1,000 people, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, has found that at least one in 200 human genes can be inactivated in apparently healthy people.

New paper offers key insights into how new species emerge
A new paper by University of Notre Dame reseaarchers on the apple fly and the apple wasp reveals important new clues to solving Darwin's
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