Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 30, 2009
Scientists find a biological 'fountain of youth' in new world bat caves
Scientists from Texas are batty over a new discovery which could lead to the single most important medical breakthrough in human history -- significantly longer lifespans.

Finding solutions to the chronic nursing shortage
The Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at the University of Western Ontario has announced a $2 million research chair to address issues surrounding the chronic shortage of registered nurses in Canada and the United States.

Super-size deposits of frozen carbon threat to climate change
The vast amount of carbon stored in the Arctic and boreal regions of the world is more than double that previously estimated, according to a study published this week.

Current search for heart disease treatment may not be fruitful
A protein used by doctors to indicate a patient's risk of coronary heart disease may have drug developers barking up the wrong treatment tree, according to the authors of a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Metabolic factors may play a role in risk for breast cancer
Physiological changes associated with the metabolic syndrome may play a role in the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to study results published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Discovery may provide new treatments for alcohol dependence
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have discovered a new brain mechanism involved in alcohol addiction involving the stomach hormone ghrelin.

New test can detect both genetic and chromosomal abnormalities in embryos
One-step screening for both genetic and chromosomal abnormalities has come a stage closer as scientists announced that an embryo test they have been developing has successfully screened cells taken from spare embryos that were known to have cystic fibrosis.

LSUHSC M.D./Ph.D. student awarded NIH grant for research on protective effects of fish oil in stroke
Tiffany Niemoller, a 5th year M.D./Ph.D. student at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $148,480 over four years by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.

Risk of tuberculosis from arthritis medication examined
Treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor agents is recognized as a risk factor for tuberculosis in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

Princeton professor to receive prestigious prize in mathematics
Weinan E., professor in the Department of Mathematics and Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University will be awarded the Ralph E.

Rotator cuff treatment provides immediate tendonitis relief
A minimally invasive procedure to treat tendinitis in the rotator cuff of the shoulder provides immediate symptom relief to the patient, according to a new study.

Caregivers may benefit from adult day care
Caring for an elderly family member can be stressful and can pose health threats to caregiver givers.

Genetic analysis reveals secrets of scorpion venom
Transcriptomic tests have uncovered the protein composition of venom from the Scorpiops jendeki scorpion.

Loyola University Chicago professor honored
Rafal Goebel, assistant professor from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Loyola University Chicago will be honored with the SIAM Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory Prize.

New findings on Parkinson's disease and effect on patient behavior
A new neuropsychological memory test is helping to uncover how Parkinson's disease can alter people's ability to learn about the consequences of the choices they make.

Your own private global warming
Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey subjected species found in Antarctic waters to increasing levels of water temperature to learn how well they would cope with a warmer ocean.

Researchers unveil whiskered robot rat
A team of scientists have developed an innovative robot rat which can seek out and identify objects using its whiskers.

Findings of genetics study does not support causal association of C-reactive protein with CHD
An analysis of the association between genetic variations of the inflammation biomarker C-reactive protein with coronary heart disease failed to support a causal association, according to a study in the July 1 issue of JAMA.

Brain section multitasks, handling phonetics and decision-making
Scientists from Brown University and the University of Cincinnati found that a portion of the brain that handles decision-making also helps decipher different sounds.

Agent used in spinal surgery linked to higher complications rate, greater inpatient charges
A new study indicates that bone-morphogenetic protein (BMP; a biological agent used to promote bone creation) is used in 25 percent of spinal fusion procedures and is associated with a higher rate of complications than in fusions that did not use BMP, and greater hospital charges for all categories of spinal fusions, according to a report in the July 1 issue of JAMA.

Biomarkers' ability to improve prediction of cardiovascular risk is modest
Measurement of known biomarkers of cardiovascular disease slightly improves the ability to predict future heart attack or stroke in healthy individuals, but not enough to change preventive therapies.

NASA debuts the entire 2008 hurricane season in new online video
Imagine watching all of the tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes of 2008 as they formed in the Atlantic Ocean Basin and either faded at sea or made landfall.

Women with cystic fibrosis can have safe and successful fertility treatment
Women with cystic fibrosis can have fertility treatment to help them have babies without any long-term adverse effects on either themselves or their children, French researchers have found.

Link found between history of periodontitis and cerebrovascular disease in men
The potential role of periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of the gums, in the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly ischemic stroke, has received growing attention during the last decade.

Certain biomarkers may have limited benefit for predicting cardiovascular events
Use of several older and newer biomarkers appears to offer minimal added benefit in the prediction of cardiovascular events compared to conventional risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, according to a study in the July 1 issue of JAMA.

Barriers hinder EMS workers from using best resuscitation practices
Cardiac arrest patients may not be getting the best care by EMS personnel due to a number of external factors.

Single-thawed embryo transfer after PGD does not affect pregnancy rates
Transferring just one embryo at a time to a woman's womb after embryos have undergone preimplantation genetic diagnosis and freezing at the blastocyst stage has become a real option after British researchers achieved pregnancy rates that were as good as those for blastocysts that had not had a cell removed for PGD before freezing.

Professor honored with prestigious award for work in computational mathematics
Professor Assyr Abdulle, of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, will be honored with the James H.

Study to see if video games can boost thinking skills in elderly
Researchers at North Carolina State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study whether and how video games can boost memory and thinking skills in the elderly -- and then to use their findings to develop a prototype video game to do just that.

Accelerated fertility treatment leads to shortened time to pregnancy and cost savings
A major new trial recently published in the journal Fertility and Sterility shows that for couples beginning infertility treatments, an accelerated path to in-vitro fertilization can offer a shorter time to pregnancy, cost savings of nearly $10,000, and a lowered risk of multiple births.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards $2.7M to 7 top young clinical investigators
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named four new Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators at its April 2009 Clinical Investigator Award Committee review.

IOM CER Committee releases recs to Congress for health-care priorities, funding
The IOM Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research released its recommendations today for setting health-care priorities for research and funding by the US government.

Imaging study shows decrease in empathic responses to outsiders
The Society for Neuroscience announces a news release for a paper in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

AIUM announces management agreement with the International Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine has reached a management agreement with the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound effective July 1, 2009.

Oral health center has focus on disease as a whole
Australia's premier research center for all aspects of oral health will be established at the University of Adelaide thanks to a $2.4 million federal government grant announced today.

The tiny difference in the genes of bacteria
Every year, diarrhea causes around 5 million fatalities worldwide. Most people die due to pathogenic micro-organisms, such as bacteria or viruses, which were ingested into the gastro-intestinal tract through contaminated drinking water or food.

Improving math education in early childhood
Though many consider teaching math to young children to be unnecessary or inappropriate at this stage in their educational development, research shows that as early as infancy, children start to think about the world in mathematical ways

Researchers survey Mid-Atlantic ridge looking for new life forms, clues to deep-sea communities
An international team of researchers is surveying the Mid-Atlantic Ridge halfway between Iceland and the Azores to determine its biodiversity and perhaps discover new species and clues to deep-sea food webs.

Daily sex helps to reduce sperm DNA damage and improve fertility
Daily sex (or ejaculating daily) for seven days improves men's sperm quality by reducing the amount of DNA damage, according to an Australian study presented to the ESHRE conference.

Computational scientist receives prestigious honor
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics will honor Franco Brezzi, one of the leading computational mathematicians of our day, as the 2009 John von Neumann Lecturer during the SIAM Annual Meeting in Denver, July 6-10.

New statistical technique improves precision of nanotechnology data
A new statistical analysis technique that identifies and removes systematic bias, noise and equipment-based artifacts from experimental data could lead to more precise and reliable measurement of nanomaterials and nanostructures likely to have future industrial applications.

Risky business: Stressed men more likely to gamble
Stressed out, dude? Don't go to Vegas. New research, to be in the journal PLoS One, shows that men under stress may be more likely to take risks, correlating to such real-life behavior as gambling, smoking, unsafe sex and illegal drug use.

Vitamin D deficiency is widespead and on the increase
A new report, issued by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and published in the scientific journal Osteoporosis International, shows that populations across the globe are suffering from the impact of low levels of vitamin D.

Study provides greater understanding of lyme disease-causing bacteria
Lyme disease in the US is caused by the tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, and usually begins with a skin lesion, after which the bacteria spread throughout the body to the nervous system, heart or joints.

IOM comparative effectiveness research priorities report
A new report from the Institute of Medicine recommends 100 health topics that should get priority attention and funding from a new national research effort to identify which health-care services work best.

Using the Internet to help young smokers quit
The University of Illinois at Chicago is leading a $2.9 million National Cancer Institute project to increase demand for evidence-based, Internet-based smoking cessation treatment among young adults.

Joint replacement treatment: Using clinical pathways works
Clinical pathways have been used in surgeries since the 1980s, but their nature and usefulness are still subjects of much debate, especially as procedures such as hip and knee joint replacement represent a significant cost to hospitals.

Reduced ovarian reserve associated with increased risk of trisomic pregnancy
Women who have a diminished number of eggs in their ovaries, either because they are older or for some other reason such as ovarian surgery, may be more at risk of a trisomic pregnancy than women with an ovarian reserve within the normal, fertile range, Dutch researchers have found.

Bad medicine
Are individuals, families, communities and employers getting their money's worth from US health care?

HealthGrades study: Top hospitals for women's health/maternity care have lower mortality/morbidity
Wide gaps in quality outcomes for women persist, not only when compared to men, but among hospitals and states, according to a new study released today by HealthGrades, the leading independent health-care ratings organization.

New fossil primate suggests common Asian ancestor, challenges primates such as 'Ida'
According to new research published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) on July 1, 2009, a new fossil primate from Myanmar (previously known as Burma) suggests that the common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes evolved from primates in Asia, not Africa as many researchers believe.

OJ worse for teeth than whitening says Eastman Institute researchers
Eastman Institute for Oral Health determined that the effects of 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, the common ingredient in professional and over-the-counter whitening products, are insignificant compared to acidic fruit juices.

The decision about the incision: Is midline or transverse better for abdominal surgery?
An unusual study at the department of surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital examined for the first time whether the incision technique used in major abdominal surgery had an effect on the results.

NASA and NOAA's GOES-O satellite successfully launched
The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-O, soared into space June 27 after a successful launch from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

July 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Geology articles extract information on forces shaping Earth's surface; solve the puzzle of LIPs on land; trace the leading edges of dispersing continents; expose magmatic plumbing; argue over gold deposits; show how fungi break down rocks; unveil tightly kept secrets about the Amazon River; investigate deep geological structures associated with the 2004 Sumatran earthquake; settle the debate over porphyroblasts; and define neptunian eruptions.

Cosmetic surgery appeals to men, women with appearance-based rejection sensitivity
Researchers have found that men and women who feel sensitive to rejection based on their physical appearance are more likely to express interest in having cosmetic surgery than those who are less sensitive to appearance-based rejection.

University of Leicester researchers discover new fluorescent silicon nanoparticles
Researchers in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Leicester have developed a new synthesis method, which has led them to the discovery of fluorescent silicon nanoparticles, and may ultimately help track the uptake of drugs by the body's cells.

Relationships improve student success
When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful and less expensive way to improve students' success.

Largest ever survey of very distant galaxy clusters completed
An international team of researchers led by Gillian Wilson, an astronomer at the University of California, Riverside, has completed the largest ever survey designed to find very distant clusters of galaxies.

Gadolinium-based contrast agents alone don't cause patients to develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
Even at very high doses, gadolinium-based contrast agents alone are not sufficient to cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients with kidney problems, according to a study performed at the Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.

New lab-on-a-chip measures mechanics of bacteria colonies
Researchers at the University of Michigan have devised a microscale tool to help them understand the mechanical behavior of biofilms, slimy colonies of bacteria involved in most human infectious diseases.

Possible benefit from online genetic testing for lung cancer
As scientists continue to decode the human genome and the information becomes publicly available, private companies that offer online genetic testing are multiplying.

UB geologists to help communicate the dangers of Colombian volcano
During the past decade, residents of Pasto, Colombia, and neighboring villages near Galeras, Colombia's most dangerous volcano, have been threatened with evacuation, but compliance varies.

Researchers find a way to reduce patient radiation dose during pulmonary CT angiography
While screening for possible pulmonary emboli using pulmonary CT angiography, a new study shows that radiologists can effectively lower the patient radiation dose by approximately 44 percent, and improve vascular enhancement without deterioration of image quality, according to a study performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

UT Austin professor to receive prize for distinguished service
J. Tinsley Oden will receive the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession on Tuesday, July 7, during the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in Denver.

Harvard scientists solve mystery about why HIV patients are more susceptible to TB infection
Harvard scientists took an important first-step toward the development of new treatments to help people with HIV battle Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.

Spain hosts the most renowned international symposium on sense of humor and its applications
The 9th annual International Summer School and Symposium on Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications is taking place June 29-July 4 at the University of Granada.

The European Association for the Study of the Liver renews publishing partnership with Elsevier
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, is pleased to announce its renewed publishing partnership with the European Association for the Study of the Liver, the leading European association in the field of liver research.

Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden professor to receive prestigious prize in mathematics
The W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize in Mathematics will be awarded to Anders Lindquist at the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in Denver, July 6-10.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome: New light on its causes and its effect on brothers
Australian researchers have found evidence that chronic disease in either a mother or father can create unfavourable conditions in the womb that are associated with the development of polycystic ovarian syndrome in daughters.

Patients with moderate to severe periodontitis need evaluation for heart disease risk
Additional research is called for and patients with moderate to severe periodontitis should receive evaluation and possible treatment to reduce their risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to a special consensus paper by editors of the American Journal of Cardiology and Journal of Peridontology in the July 1, 2009, issue of the American Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier.

Ketamine safe and valuable alternative sedative for inserting tubing for emergency airway control in critically ill patients
Critically ill patients often need tubing inserted into their airways to help control their breathing during treatment.

Scientists create first working model of a 2-qubit electronic quantum processor
A team led by Yale University researchers has successfully implemented simple algorithms using a quantum processor based on microwave solid-state technology -- similar to that found in computers and cell phones.

Police work undermines cardiovascular health, comparison to general population shows
It is well documented that police officers have a higher risk of developing heart disease: The question is why.

A thirst for blood sparks toxic algal blooms
The blooming of toxic algae that occurs during the summer conceal a fight for life and death.

Recent news reports of sweetener reformulations raise questions about motivations
The misleading

The sound of light: Innovative technology shatters the barriers of modern light microscopy
Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen and the Technische Universitat Munchen are using a combination of light and ultrasound to visualize fluorescent proteins that are seated several centimeters deep into living tissue.

Peer pressure plays major role in environmental behavior
People are more likely to enroll in conservation programs if their neighbors do -- a tendency that should be exploited when it comes to protecting the environment, according to a pioneering study from Michigan State University.

Colorado professor recognized for outstanding published work in public health systems research
AcademyHealth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have recognized the research of Danielle Varda, Ph.D., as the best scientific work that the field of public health systems research has produced and published in 2008.

University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomers discover pair of solar systems in the making
Two University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomers have found a binary star-disk system in which each star is surrounded by the kind of dust disk that is frequently the precursor of a planetary system.

Neural stem cell differentiation factor discovered
Neural stem cells represent the cellular backup of our brain.

Anti-biotech groups obstruct forest biotechnology
The potential of forest biotechnology to help address significant social and environmental issues is being

Spanish scientists develop echo-location in humans
A team of researchers from the University of Alcala de Henares has shown scientifically that human beings can develop echolocation, the system of acoustic signals used by dolphins and bats to explore their surroundings.

A bird's eye view of art
Pigeons could be art critics yet, according to a new study which shows that like humans, pigeons can be trained to tell the difference between

Warmer climate can direct flow of tourists northwards
For over half a century, Northern Europeans have been heading south for our holidays.

UT Austin professor honored with prestigious mathematics award
Mary F. Wheeler, of the University of Texas at Austin, will be awarded the Theodore von Kármán Prize at the SIAM Annual Meeting for her seminal research in numerical methods for partial differential equations, her leadership in the field of scientific computation and service to the scientific community, and for her pioneering work in the application of computational methods to the engineering sciences, most notably in geosciences.

Intense heat killed the universe's would-be galaxies, researchers say
Millions of would-be galaxies failed to develop after being exposed to intense heat from the first stars and black holes formed in the early universe, according to new research.

Measurements fail to identify TB patients who could benefit from shorter treatment course
Testing whether two simple clinical measurements might help identify which TB patients could benefit from shorter treatment, researchers report that these measurements failed to work in a study published online by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Stirred, not shaken: Bio-inspired cilia mix medical reagents at small scales
Engineers used a novel underwater manufacturing technique to successfully build biomimetic cilia. 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