Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 10, 2009
Tissue-cultured smallpox vaccine appears promising
Administration of a tissue-cultured smallpox vaccine showed signs of an effective vaccine response with no serious adverse events, according to a study in the March 11 issue of JAMA.

Study finds pay for performance stimulates changes in medical practice
A large group of California physicians given financial incentives to improve the quality of medical care have begun to embrace an array of changes important to advancing quality, according to a new study.

Depression treatment, increased physical activity in African-Americans may reduce heart disease
Depressive symptoms and low physical activity, both risk factors for heart disease, were prevalent in African-Americans.

Rearrangements of multifunctional genes cause cancer in children and young people
A doctoral thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that three genes that lie behind a number of malignant tumor diseases are normally involved in several fundamental processes in the cell.

Study finds folic acid supplements linked to higher risk of prostate cancer
A study led by researchers at the University of Southern California found that men who took a daily folic acid supplement of 1 mg daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer compared with men who took a placebo.

Turning sunlight into liquid fuels
Through photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars they use for fuel.

Disseminating information on climate change
Currently many state and local governments and private organizations are basing decisions -- such as how and where to build bridges or implement zoning laws.

Limited resources, unlimited needs: Americans should ration health care, says MSU ethicist
As health care costs soar past $2.5 trillion and more than 47 million people remain uninsured, Americans must be willing to give up certain medical options to ensure health care reform is successful, argues a Michigan State University medical ethicist.

Diagnostic errors: The new focus of patient safety experts
Johns Hopkins patient safety experts say it's high time for diagnostic errors to get the same attention from medical institutions and caregivers as drug-prescribing errors, wrong-site surgeries and hospital-acquired infections.

Recreational genomics: Will that be a paternity or cancer test today?
Commercial genetic tests, which can verify risks of cancer risks to paternity, have become commonplace in the Western societies.

Perinatal environment influences aggression in children
Even after being socialized, 7 percent of boys will continue to be hyper-aggressive until the age of nine.

Reducing suicidal behaviors among adolescents
Adolescent girls who view themselves as too fat may display more suicidal behaviors than those who are actually overweight, according to a study by Inas Rashad, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University.

The genetics of fear: Study suggests specific genetic variations contribute to anxiety disorders
A new study suggests that individuals with specific polymorphisms may be more susceptible to anxiety disorders by being more prone to developing fear and being less likely to overcome that fear by common cognitive behavioral treatments which are based on the extinction principle.

African-Americans lose weight in 12-week, church-based program
Nearly half of overweight and obese African-Americans who completed a 12-week, faith-based program Fit Body and Soul in Georgia lost 5 percent or more of their body weight.

EUREKA-Celtic sets the standard for TV on the move
EUREKA-Celtic's Wing-TV project has opened the door to the next big development in European telecommunications: digital television for people on the move.

Brighten up! Paint study could save states millions
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that painted road markings, such as the lines separating traffic lanes, are significantly better at reflecting headlights in the direction that the paint was applied.

Geoscientists discuss sea level rise, extreme storm events and more
Geoscientists will gather for the 58th annual meeting of the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America to discuss such topics as geologic maps and digital map publication; geoscience education and literacy; local cave and karst systems; the impacts of sea-level rise, reduced sediment supply, extreme storm events, and human activity on coastal systems; the region's diverse animal and plant fossil record; and the study of volcanoes, with an emphasis on those in the Caribbean region.

Small molecules block cancer gene
Finding molecules that block the activity of the oncogene Stat 3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) required screening literally millions of compounds, using computers that compared the structure of the cancer-causing gene to those of the small molecules, said a Baylor College of Medicine researcher in a report that appears in the current online issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

Talks by Cousteau and P&G Sustainability VP to highlight Green Chemistry conference, June 23-25
Jean-Michel Cousteau, noted explorer, film-producer and environmentalist, and Len Sauers, Ph.D., vice president of global sustainability for the Procter & Gamble Company, are the featured keynote speakers at the upcoming 13th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference on June 23-25 in College Park, Md.

Also in the March 10 JNCI
Also in the March 10 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are a paper suggesting that folic acid supplementation is associated with increased risk of prostate cancer, a study showing how herpes virus may interfere with cell death, mechanistic data linking human papillomavirus to head and neck cancer, and a large epidemiological study suggesting that some blood types are associated with an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.

A 3-D view of remote galaxies
Astronomers have obtained exceptional 3-D views of distant galaxies, seen when the universe was half its current age, by combining the twin strengths of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's acute eye, and the capacity of ESO's Very Large Telescope to probe the motions of gas in tiny objects.

Teenage stress has implications for adult health
In a study of otherwise healthy, normal teens who self-reported various negative interpersonal interactions, UCLA researchers found that a greater frequency of such stress was associated with higher levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein, or CRP.

Journal of American College of Surgeons finds lung transplantation should be used in older patients
New research published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests that lung transplantation should be used with caution in patients older than 60 years and that the procedure is associated with high rates of mortality after one year in patients 70 and older.

College best option for young people during times of high unemployment
From a health perspective, going to college is the best option for young people during times of mass unemployment, says a senior researcher in an editorial published on today.

Dr. Arun Sreekumar lectures on new candidate biomarker at Annual EAU Congress
At the Annual EAU Congress, which will be held March 17-21, 2009, in Stockholm, Sweden, Dr.

The perils of ageism
The researchers examined the health histories of all the volunteers, focusing on cardiovascular disease, and they discovered that there was a striking link between ageism early in life and poor heart health later on.

New York State health IT strategy may be model for the nation
Health information technology programs implemented in New York state are active and functioning a full two years after being established, and could serve as models for new federal initiatives, according to a study by investigators at Weill Cornell Medical College.

'Suspending asthma treatment a bad option for expectant mothers': Study
Pregnant women suffering from asthma run a greater risk of giving birth prematurely if they suspend their asthma treatments.

The Agulhas Current, in the southern hemisphere, may influence climate in Europe
The Ph.D. project presented by Gema Martínez-Méndez from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona focuses on the Agulhas Current and the ensuing warm water transports from the tropical Indian Ocean to the southern tip of Africa.

Scripps research team identifies key molecules that inhibit viral production
A team from the Scripps Research Institute has found a way to inhibit viral production of the hepatitis C virus.

Interventional treatment can be recommended as first-line treatment for 'silent killer'
Endovascular or endograft repair, a minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment that uses stent grafts to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms, has low re-intervention rates that are comparable to those reported for open surgical repair -- and can be recommended as first-line treatment, according to a study released at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting.

Pay it forward: UH prof helps advance science in developing countries
Carlos Ordonez is on a quest to advance science in Third-World countries, receiving an award that recognizes physicists who have contributed to this cause.

Tall tale of giant stingray circles the globe
A huge freshwater stingray (Himantura chaophraya) caught, tagged and released in Thailand, was reported to be a world record size fish at 771 pounds.

Seaweed and fireflies brew may guide stem cell treatment for peripheral artery disease
An unlikely brew of seaweed and glow-in-the-dark biochemical agents may hold the key to the safe use of transplanted stem cells to treat patients with severe peripheral arterial disease, according to a team of veterinarians, basic scientists and interventional radiologists at Johns Hopkins.

Migraines increase stroke risk during pregnancy
Women who suffer migraines are at an increased risk of stroke during pregnancy as well as other vascular conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots, concludes a study published on today.

Reducing gun violence by addressing heavy drinking and off-premise alcohol outlets
New research has found that heavy drinking and being near off-premise alcohol outlets, such as take-out establishments and delis, can increase the risk of gun violence.

Monarch Labs announces first wound dressing in US specifically for maggot therapy
Monarch Labs announced today the market launch of its new, proprietary wound dressing specifically designed to make maggot therapy more easy, quick and simple to administer.

Brain damage found in cognitively normal people with Alzheimer's marker
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have linked a potential indicator of Alzheimer's disease to brain damage in humans with no signs of mental impairment.

COST 298 training school on researching social media
In the context of COST Action 298 Participation in the Broadband Society, COST is organizing a training school for early stage researchers that focuses on researching social media.

APS commends President Obama's memorandum on scientific integrity
The American Physical Society today commends President Obama's decision to sign a Memorandum on Scientific Integrity that will ensure that fact-based, scientific evidence is used in the development of solutions to the nation's most pressing challenges.

What I was doing vs. what I did: How verb aspect influences memory and behavior
If you want to perform at your peak, you should carefully consider how you discuss your past actions.

Motivational readiness for alcohol/drug treatment is more about self-evaluation than consequences
People entering treatment for alcohol or drug problems have different motivations for entering treatment and wanting to change their drinking habits.

Why we hate politics
The blame for the rise of an anti-political culture in Britain rests with politicians not voters, two leading experts will argue at a debate at the forthcoming Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science.

Who was Jesus?
The historical person Jesus of Nazareth -- beyond the accounts in the creeds and the Gospels, which are all characterized by religious belief -- is the focus of Tobias Hagerland's dissertation from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Simple test helps predict heart attack risk
The use of common and readily available screening tests -- like the ankle brachial index -- along with traditional risk scoring systems -- such as the Framingham Risk Score -- has the potential to prevent devastating heart attacks in thousands of individuals who are not originally thought to be at high risk (according to Framingham alone), say researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting.

A simple balance test may predict cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease
A simple balance test may predict cognitive decline in Alzheimer's Disease, according to a study published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Inadequacy of current guidelines for sexually transmitted infections
Adolescent girls reveal alarmingly high rates of sexually transmitted infections which remain largely undetected by recommended screening guidelines.

Nice guys can finish first and so can their teams!
A person who gives his or her

Fishing for microdeletions that predispose an embryo to develop cancer syndromes in later life
Researchers have used a common laboratory technique for the first time to detect genetic changes in embryos that could predispose the resulting children to develop certain cancer syndromes.

Study suggests salt might be 'nature's antidepressant'
Most people consume far too much salt, and a University of Iowa researcher has discovered one potential reason we crave it: it might put us in a better mood.

Children's National research links platelets to sepsis-related organ failure
Scientists at Children's National Medical Center have identified a previously unknown contributor to organ failure in patients suffering from sepsis: platelets.

'Seeing' stem cells helps in fight against peripheral arterial disease
Interventional radiologists are fitting together the puzzle pieces of how to use stem cells to create new or more blood vessels to treat peripheral arterial disease in those individuals with extensively narrowed or clogged arteries.

NSF 'net-centric' research group links Texas universities, industry
SMU and two other North Texas Universities join 11 industry partners in a newly designated NSF consortium working to link people, devices, information and services through technology integration.

Researchers identify new way the malaria parasite and red blood cells interact
Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences researchers have discovered a new mechanism the malaria parasite uses to enter human red blood cells, which could lead to the development of a vaccine cocktail to fight the mosquito-borne disease.

Synthetic gene circuit allows precise dosing of gene expression
Researchers have crafted a gene circuit that permits precise tuning of a gene's expression in a cell, an advance that should allow for more accurate analysis of the gene's role in normal and abnormal cellular function.

Indian schools to benefit from new computer chips
A new initiative between Rice University computer scientists and Indian educators ensures that schools in rural India will be some of the first to benefit from Rice's revolutionary, low-energy computer chips.

Nurse practitioners don't realize how much their prescribing is being influenced by drug marketing
Research has shown that family nurse practitioners need to evaluate their personal attitudes and practices when it comes to accepting gifts, meals, educational events and trips from drug companies.

Is that your final answer? Study suggests method for improving individual decisions
What if there is no one else around to consult with before making a judgment -- how can we be confident that we are giving a good answer?

Study of protein structures reveals key events in evolutionary history
A new study of proteins, the molecular machines that drive all life, also sheds light on the history of living organisms.

Immune-based drug approved in Europe for pediatric cancer patients
The European Commission, which oversees legislation and regulation for the European Union, has approved a therapy for pediatric patients with non-metastatic, resectable osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Teenage stress has implications for adult health
UCLA researchers say that even stressful times from the teenage years extracts a physical toll that could have later implications for health during adulthood.

Tiny samples could yield big predictive markers for pancreatic cancer
A handful of proteins, detected in incredibly tiny amounts, may help doctors distinguish between a harmless lesion in the pancreas and a potentially deadly one, say researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Barriers to adoption of electronic personal health records outlined
Interest in personal health records as an electronic tool to manage health information is increasing dramatically.

This is your brain ... on dreams and sleep
Ever wonder what happens when we sleep and dream? As part of Montreal Brain Awareness Week, top neuroscientists will examine those questions during an informal public talk called,

Promising 3-year data: Saving limbs with drug-eluting stents
Attempts to treat critical limb ischemia in peripheral arterial disease patients with below-the-knee angioplasty are still thwarted by restenosis (the re-narrowing of the artery at the site of angioplasty or stenting), the need for repeat treatments and the continued progression of atherosclerotic disease, leading to tissue death (gangrene) and amputation.

Twin nanoparticle shown effective at targeting, killing breast cancer cells
Brown University chemists have developed a novel way to treat a class of breast cancer cells.

Prairie dog research promotes caring, conservation
Con Slobodchikoff is giving a voice to prairie dogs. The Northern Arizona University biology professor states the case for protecting the species in Prairie Dogs: Communication and Community in an Animal Society, recently published by Harvard University Press.

Nanotech coating could lead to better brain implants to treat diseases
Biomedical and materials engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a nanotech coating for brain implants that helps the devices operate longer and could improve treatment for deafness, paralysis, blindness, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

U of Minnesota researchers examine the value of health information technology
University of Minnesota researchers found that the use of health information technology, a popular health policy initiative, has had little or no effect on patient safety.

Call for doctors to lead the way on 'greener' healthcare
Clinicians have an important role to play in reducing hospital waste and should not be discouraged by lack of knowledge or the threat of legal liability, according to a paper published on today.

Research is essential in nursing education
From preventing bedsores to helping patients quit smoking, optimal nursing care depends on research.

Study shows that maintenance rituximab is useful for advanced indolent lymphoma
A new study has found for the first time that maintenance therapy with the novel antibody, rituximab following cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone therapy improves progression-free survival in patients with stage III-IV indolent lymphoma, according to Howard S.

Breath or urine analysis may detect cancer, diabetes
A University of Missouri researcher is developing a device that will analyze breath or urine samples for volatile markers inside the body that indicate disease.

What's in a name? Perhaps more (or less) money
Before employers have a chance to judge job applicants on their merits, they may have already judged them on the sound of their names.

Nanotubes find niche in electric switches
Researchers in the United States and Finland have found that carbon nanotubes can significantly improve the performance of electrical contacts that are common in millions of motors used in a variety of electrical applications.

Should breast tissue be screened for cancer after cosmetic surgery?
Young women undergoing cosmetic breast reduction surgery are being screened for cancer without their informed consent, according to a paper published on today.

Screening tests show promising results for the early detection of ovarian cancer
Both the CA125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound screening strategies are feasible on a large scale and are capable of detecting early stage ovarian cancers, with almost half of all cancers detected in stage I/II.

Noisy workplaces can make workers deaf
According to a new study from the University of Montreal, the Universite Laval and the Institut national de sante publique du Quebec, extra workplace decibels increase the risks of both work-related accidents and road collisions.

COST Action IE0601 training school
In the scope of the COST Action IE 0601 (WoodCultHer), COST is organizing a training school to bring together younger and experienced researchers, conservators and other scientists working in the field wood science.

Study methods influence estimates of lead time and overdiagnosis in prostate cancer
In prostate cancer, estimates of lead time (how long screening advances diagnosis of cancer) and overdiagnosis (the fraction of cancers detected by screening that would not have been diagnosed during the patient's lifetime without screening) vary widely, depending on the definition of lead time used, the population, and the estimation methodology, according to a report in the March 10 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Termite killer lingers as a potent greenhouse gas
Fumigant pumped into tented houses to kill pests remains in atmosphere six to 10 times longer than previously thought, Scripps-led study shows.

New study identifies risk factors in severity of 'flat head syndrome' in babies
A new study by physician researchers from Hasbro Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston identifies risk factors for the severity of asymmetrical head shapes, known as deformational plagiocephaly, or more commonly as flat head syndrome.

Phylonix to present at 2009 Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting
Phylonix Pharmaceuticals Inc., the leading contract research organization for preclinical testing in zebrafish, will present data about the company's in vivo zebrafish-based assays at the 48th Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting being held March 15-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md.

Feeling blue? University of Minnesota Study finds new insight to predicting consumer emotions
Whether choosing between a movie and a play, deciding whether to attend a sporting event shortly before an important event or selecting an indulgent breakfast treat in anticipation of a tough day at work, consumers' choices are often guided by how they expect their purchase will make them feel.

Systematic estimation of breast cancer risk appears justified in postmenopausal women
Screening for breast cancer risk in all postmenopausal women, using a combination of risk factors and breast density, can identify women at high risk of disease, according to systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses reported in the March 10 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Rising sea levels set to have major impacts around the world
Research presented today at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen shows that the upper range of sea level rise by 2100 could be in the range of about one meter, or possibly more.

UM study reveals demographic trend of the Jewish population in Broward County
Broward has the largest Jewish community in Florida. Nonetheless, the once growing Jewish population of Broward County is now declining in numbers.

Oh baby, interventional radiology makes childbirth safer
Innovative, interventional radiology treatments are making childbirth safer for women who have cesarean sections that are complicated by massive bleeding and for those who suffer from the pregnancy condition of

Greatest thing since sliced bread: New data offer important clues toward improving wheat yields
Breed a better crop of wheat? That's exactly what a team of researchers from Kansas State University and the US Department of Agriculture hope their research will lead to.

Difficult balance between play and learning
If the teacher is not capable of understanding the perspective of six-year olds, then the child's learning becomes unnecessarily difficult, or in some cases the child's interest in learning may not be aroused at all.

The changing roles of mothers and fathers
In Quebec, relationships between men and women are on more of an equal footing than anywhere else in North America, according to sociologist Germain Dulac.

An age-old story
Growing older is a fact of life, but people's hopes, fears, preconceptions and experiences surrounding the aging process are richly diverse. 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