Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 07, 2009
US space program should align with broader national goals
The US civil space program should be aligned with widely acknowledged national challenges, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Nondrug interventions may comfort children having an anesthetic
Parental acupuncture, clown doctors, hypnotherapy, low sensory stimulation and hand-held video games are promising nondrug interventions that are likely to help reduce children's anxiety during the onset of their anesthetic, is the main conclusion of a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

Wrong dose of heart meds too frequent in children
Infants and young children treated with heart drugs get the wrong dose or end up on the wrong end of medication errors more often than older children, according to research led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center to be published July 6 in Pediatrics.

Protein can help cells or cause cancer, Purdue researcher finds
A Purdue University scientist has discovered a key process in cell growth that can lead to the formation of tumors.

ASPERA-2: Toward a sustainable structure for European astroparticle physics
Funding agencies for astroparticle physics celebrated today the official launch of ASPERA-2, a three-year program funded by the European Commission, which the main challenge is to create a sustainable structure for the coordination of astroparticle physics in Europe.

New NCAR system may guide transoceanic flights around storms and turbulence
NCAR is developing a prototype system to update aircraft about severe storms and turbulence on flights across remote ocean regions.

Nurse leaders selected for prestigious national fellowship to improve health care
A national fellowship program focused on expanding the role of nurses to lead change in the US health care system has named its 2009 cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows.

Cesarean section: Local anesthetic reduces need for painkillers post-op
Giving a local anesthetic during a Cesarean section helps manage pain after the operation and can reduce consumption of painkillers, according to Cochrane researchers.

DOE funds Clemson University clean energy research
Clemson University associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering David Bruce will participate in a multi-university Energy Frontier Research Center funded with $12.5 million from the US Department of Energy.

When it comes to brain damage, blankets take the place of drugs
Have you ever covered yourself with a blanket to stave off the shivers?

Dietary supplements manufacturers gain new tool to help ensure quality products
A first-of-its kind collection of standards designed to assist dietary supplements manufacturers in providing quality products to consumers is being released today by the US Pharmacopeial Convention.

Low birth weight linked to long-term respiratory problems
Infants who weigh less than five and a half pounds at birth often enter the world with a host of medical complications, including respiratory problems.

Adding simehicone to sodium phosphate bowel preparation benefits colonscopy?
Colonoscopy has been considered to be the gold standard investigation for assessing colonic lesions, but many factors, such as the quality of bowel preparation, endoscopist, and patient factors, may affect the diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic safety.

Iron and biological production in the high-latitude North Atlantic
Southampton scientists have demonstrated an unexpected role of iron in regulating biological production in the high-latitude North Atlantic.

Unemployment rate for electrical engineers soars to new record, engineering jobless rate up
The unemployment rate for US electrical and electronics engineers hit a new record in the second quarter, while the rate for all engineers increased for a second straight quarter, according to data released last week by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Health departments get mixed marks for using Web to communicate about flu crisis, study finds
A new study gives state and local health departments get mixed marks for efforts to convey information about the H1N1 virus to the public using their Web sites immediately after US officials declared a public health emergency in April.

Stanford study bolsters case for preventive prostate cancer treatment
For the last six years, doctors have faced a dilemma about whether to treat men at risk of prostate cancer with the drug finasteride.

As health goes awry, doctor-patient relationship more than a nicety
The cornerstone of a good doctor-patient relationship begins with the doctor's ability to clarify a patient's preferences and values, especially during a difficult diagnosis, a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association said.

New culprit behind obesity's ill metabolic consequences
Obesity very often leads to insulin resistance, and now researchers reporting in the July 8 issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have uncovered another factor behind that ill consequence.

Higher levels of a certain protein associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Persons with higher levels of adiponectin, a protein that is produced by fat cells and that has anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties, have an associated lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of previous studies, reported in the July 8 issue of JAMA.

Discovery at UAB brings us nearer to making the dream of invisibility true
A group of researchers from the Department of Physics at UAB have designed a device, called a dc metamaterial, which makes objects invisible under certain light -- very low frequency electromagnetic waves - by making the inside of the magnetic field zero but not altering the exterior field.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: Psychological treatments may not prevent PTSD
Psychological interventions intended to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in the early stages after a traumatic experience have not been shown to be effective, Cochrane researchers have concluded.

New monkey discovered in Brazil
The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the discovery of a new monkey in a remote region of the Amazon in Brazil.

Scientists track chemical changes in cells as they endure extreme conditions
How do some bacteria survive conditions that should kill them?

Regulation and oversight of gun sales reduces trafficking to criminals
Comprehensive regulation of gun sellers appears to reduce the trafficking of guns to criminals, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Johns Hopkins leads first 16-patient, multicenter 'domino donor' kidney transplant
Surgical teams at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St.

Q is for quantum and 'Q-life'
As the world celebrates Charles Darwin, who was born 200 years ago, physicists can be forgiven a certain jealousy at the spotlight being placed on his profound legacy.

Recognition at last
A rapid but superior method for computerized face recognition could revolutionize security systems especially if it can see through disguises, according to research published in this month's issue of the International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications.

Coralline algae in the Mediterranean lost their tropical element between 5 and 7 million years ago
An international team of researchers has studied the coralline algae fossils that lived on the last coral reefs of the Mediterranean Sea between 7.24 and 5.3 million years ago.

Playing it safe
Max Planck researchers have succeeded for the first time in reprogramming clearly defined adult cells into pluripotent stem cells -- directly and without viruses.

Pitt team first to profile genes in acutely ill idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients
The first findings from a one-of-a-kind, patient-driven effort to provide lung tissue for research might help doctors predict when patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are becoming dangerously ill and also could point the way to interventions that could sustain them until life-saving transplants can be performed.

Progressive resistance strength training helps older people in daily life
Progressive resistance strength training not only helps older adults become stronger but also makes their everyday life easier, a Cochrane Review suggests.

Economic crisis increases suicides and murders
Rises in unemployment akin to those during the existing economic crisis increase the rates of suicides and murders in the population, while at the same time reducing the numbers of road-traffic accidents.

New strategies to improve treatment and ultimately prevent heart failure in children
New basic science and clinical research to improve treatment of, and ultimately to prevent, the congenital defects and damage acquired after birth that cause heart failure in children presented at inaugural Riley Heart Center Symposium on Cardiac Development is focus of July issue of Pediatric Cardiology.

Brown professor continues debate over recovered memory
Two years after two Harvard psychiatrists published a controversial paper on repressed memory, Brown University political scientist Ross Cheit is engaged in an academic dispute over that paper's integrity and its implications.

Give children iron supplements: They don't increase malaria risk
Iron supplements do not increase the likelihood of contracting malaria and should not be withheld from children at risk of the disease, despite World Health Organization guidelines to the contrary, a new review by Cochrane Researchers suggests.

UTSA psychologist awarded $1 million for memory research
University of Texas at San Antonio Assistant Professor of Psychology Rebekah Smith has been awarded a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study adult memory.

'Normal' cells far from cancer give nanosignals of trouble
A new Northwestern University-led study of human colon, pancreatic and lung cells is the first to report that cancer cells and their noncancerous cell neighbors, although quite different under the microscope, share very similar structural abnormalities on the nanoscale level.

Influenza monitoring by the US military
The recent global swine flu outbreak has underscored the critical need for good surveillance and rapid access to epidemiological data.

UT Southwestern researcher named HHMI Early Career Physician-Scientist
Dr. Nima Sharifi, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has received a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Physician-Scientist Award.

Is molecular adsorbent recirculating system effective for all the liver failure patients?
A research group from Finland investigated prognostic factors for survival in patients with liver failure treated with adsorbent recirculating system.

News briefs from the July issue of Chest
New research from the July issue of Chest highlights smoking cessation and its benefit on the heart; the benefits of electrical muscle stimulation on patients with COPD; how the seasons affect mortality in patients with pulmonary fibrosis; and how long-acting beta-agonists may not benefit asthma patients.

Bacterial vaginosis treatments: Probiotics can increase effectiveness of some antibiotic therapies
Antimicrobial treatments for bacterial vaginosis are effective, but taking lactobacillus tablets alongside metronidazole antibiotic therapy increases effectiveness over taking this antibiotic alone, according to a Cochrane Systematic Review.

Worries about paying bills can cause people to pack on pounds
Stressing out can cause people to gain weight, according to a study appearing in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Remote-control closed system invented for inserting radio-active atoms inside fullerenes
A hands-off process for filling fullerenes with radioactive material is being tested to see if it will produce multimodality material for better imaging and targeting of treatment of brain tumors.

Government-backed youth program pilot didn't reduce teenage pregnancies
A government-backed youth development pilot program in England, aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies, drunkenness or cannabis use, didn't reduce teenage pregnancies and other outcomes and might have increased pregnancies, according to research published on today.

Cholesterol control genes found that may point to heart disease risk
Using a combination of innovative genomic tools, researchers have turned up twenty genes that have important roles in controlling cholesterol within cells.

Single gene mutation responsible for 'catastrophic epilepsy'
Catastrophic epilepsy -- characterized by severe muscle spasms, persistent seizures, mental retardation and sometimes autism -- results from a mutation in a single gene, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Pluronic L-81 is a potential anti-diabetic drug?
Pluronic L-81 has been proved to effectively prevent absorption of dietary lipids.

Hitting cell hot spot could help thwart Parkinson's disease
The latest work to

Link between obesity and diabetes discovered
A Monash University study has proven a critical link between obesity and the onset of Type 2 diabetes, a discovery which could lead to the design of a drug to prevent the disease.

Are breast cancer patients being kept in the dark?
Despite the increase of breast reconstruction procedures performed in 2008, nearly 70 percent of women who are eligible for the procedure are not informed of the reconstructive options available to them, according to a recently published report.

Study finds job programs protect public health during periods of recession
A rapid rise in unemployment can be linked to an increase in suicides, homicides, and alcohol abuse, but job programs can successfully mitigate these rates, according to a new study reported in the Lancet medical journal.

A search engine for TV programs
The journalist recalls more or less what Ulla Schmidt said regarding the health reform, but needs the exact wording to be able to cite her.

Student drinking: Changing perceptions reduces alcohol misuse
Giving students personalized feedback on their drinking behavior and how it compares to social norms might help to reduce alcohol misuse, according to a Cochrane Systematic Review.

Food crisis and global health workshop July 14-16
The Institute of Medicine will convene top experts at a three-day workshop to explore the implications of the food crisis on nutrition and health.

1 step closer to an artificial nerve cell
Scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet and Linkoping University are well on the way to creating the first artificial nerve cell that can communicate specifically with nerve cells in the body using neurotransmitters.

International conference on reproductive science to be held in Pittsburgh July 18-22
Many of the diseases that we develop as adults likely began in our mothers' wombs.

2 studies shed light on racial disparities in cancer survival
Black women diagnosed with breast cancer have a greater chance of dying from the disease than white women, according to a new study published online July 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

New heart disease risk score should be recommended in the UK, say experts
A new score for predicting a person's risk of heart disease performs better than the existing test and should be recommended for use in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, say researchers in a paper published on today.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to lead Opennotes study
Patients across the country are voicing a growing desire for greater engagement in, and control over, their own medical care.

Scientists identify cholesterol-regulating genes
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the University of Heidelberg, Germany, have come a step closer to understanding how cholesterol levels are regulated.

Intensive management can improve blood pressure in nonadherent hypertensive patients
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have shown that patients with uncontrolled hypertension respond to treatment intensification regardless of their degree of adherence to anti-hypertensive medications.

Dartmouth College researchers help set security standards for the Internet
Secure Internet activity requires being able to prove who you are, and experts agree that the traditional approach of passwords is not always effective.

Analysis of Copernicus putative remains support identity
Swedish and polish researchers now publish results from the analysis of the putative remains of Copernicus.

Finding the constant in bacterial communication
The Rosetta Stone of bacterial communication may have been found.

New SunCatcher power system unveiled at National Solar Thermal Test Facility
Stirling Energy Systems and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories' National Solar Thermal Test Facility.

New portrait of Omega Nebula's glistening watercolors
The Omega Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant stars illuminate and sculpt a vast pastel fantasy of dust and gas, is revealed in all its glory by a new ESO image.

Newer, minimally invasive surgery to treat sciatica does not result in better outcomes
A comparison of surgical treatments for sciatica finds that the minimally invasive procedure known as tubular diskectomy does not provide a significant difference in improvement of functional disability compared to the more common surgery, conventional microdiskectomy, according to a study in the July 8 issue of JAMA.

Combating heart disease and stroke: Planning for a healthier Europe
The one day conference, organized by the European Heart Network and the European Society of Cardiology, is part of Work Package 5 of the EuroHeart Project.

Cardia resection for perforated gastroesophageal cancer
A research team from Germany reported a case of 82-year-old man with iatrogenic perforation of cancer of gastroesophageal junction.

Low-cost solution processing method developed for CIGS-based solar cells
In a new study to be published in Thin Solid Films on July 7, Yang Yang, a professor of material science and engineering and his research team at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, show how they have developed a low-cost solution processing method for their CISS (copper-indium-diselenide) solar cells which have the potential to be produced on a commercial scale.

Financial crisis increases suicides and homicides
Market crashes could lead to rises in homicides and suicides, unless governments invest in labor market protections, according to a study published in today's Lancet.

Reduced-dose schedule for pneumococcal vaccine in infants shows effectiveness
Infants who received two or three primary doses of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine both had a decreased rate of carrying pneumococcal micro-organisms that can cause pneumonia and other infections, compared to infants who were not vaccinated, according to a study in the July 8 issue of JAMA.

Why do African-Americans fare worse with cancer? Access, economics only part of the story
An analysis of clinical trial data implicates biological factors behind worse outcomes for African-Americans with breast, ovarian or prostate cancer.

Scientists explore the physics of bumpy roads
Just about any road with a loose surface -- sand or gravel or snow -- develops ripples that make driving a very shaky experience.

Muscle rubs: Use for pain is questionable
There is not enough evidence to support using gels and creams containing rubefacients for chronic and acute pain, according to a systematic review by Cochrane Researchers.

Physicists find way to control individual bits in quantum computers
Physicists at NIST have overcome a hurdle in quantum computer development, having devised a viable way to manipulate a single

Severe COPD may lead to cognitive impairment
Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with lower cognitive function in older adults, according to research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Operation for aneurysm yields nearly normal longevity
Preventive operations are being used more and more often to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms.

New impact factor of European Urology underlines journal's outstanding position
European Urology, the official journal of the European Association of Urology, has a newly released impact factor of 6.512.

Male seahorses like big mates
Male seahorses have a clear agenda when it comes to selecting a mating partner: to increase their reproductive success.

Erythropoietin boosts brainpower
Healthy young mice treated with erythropoietin show lasting improved performance in learning and other higher brain functions.

UH team analyzes Hurricane Ike's effects on waterways, fish contamination
A long-term environmental research project being conducted at the University of Houston may offer important information about the effects of Hurricane Ike on pollution levels and help regulators determine whether existing fish-consumption advisories remain appropriate.

UAB study reveals bone coupling factor key to skeletal health
Previously, scientists had searched for but missed the biological link between bone growth and bone remodeling -- a natural give-and-take system that is crucial to skeletal health.

Why are African-Americans less likely to survive certain cancers?
African-Americans are more likely than other races to die from breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, but this disparity is not due to poverty or inferior health care, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

A comprehensive review of addiction to prescription painkillers among patients and physicians
Chemical dependency and recovery in patients and physicians are closely examined in a series of articles and editorials in the July 2009 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Canada joins international effort to provide access to health research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Research Council's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, and the US National Library of Medicine have announced a three-way partnership to establish PubMed Central Canada.

Study shows endoscopic surgery as effective open surgery for nasal cancer
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have shown that endoscopic surgery is a valid treatment option for treating esthesioneuroblastoma (cancer of the nasal cavity), in addition to traditional open surgery and nonsurgical treatments.

First cGMP feeder-independent pluripotent stem cell banks released for distribution
The WiCell Research Institute and the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility announced July 6 the release of the first current Good Manufacturing Practices feeder-independent pluripotent stem cell banks available for sale and distribution to researchers worldwide.

Continued vigilance against drug-resistance malaria is needed
Current combination malaria therapies recommended by the World Health Organization provide adequate treatment for mild malaria, according to a Cochrane Systematic Review of the evidence.

Mystery of bat with an extraordinary nose solved
Soon to be published research explains a 60-year mystery behind a rare bat's nose that is unusually large for its species.

Chinese herbs for endometriosis
Chinese herbal medicine may relieve symptoms in the treatment of endometriosis.

Hormone clue to root growth
Plant roots provide the crops we eat with water, nutrients and anchorage.

LSUHSC's Kolls awarded $1.8 million to improve vaccine strategies for P. carinii pneumonia
Jay K. Kolls, M.D., professor and chairman of genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has been awarded $1.8 million over five years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study whether antibodies that recognize carbohydrates (sugars) and proteins on the surface of the fungus that causes Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia can be used to prevent the infection.

Kenya's national parks not free from wildlife declines
Long-term declines of elephants, giraffe, impala and other animals in Kenya are occurring at the same rates within the country's national parks as outside of these protected areas, according to a study released this week.

Fish on the menu of our ancestors
The isotopic analysis of a bone from one of the earliest modern humans in Asia, the 40,000 year old skeleton from Tianyuan Cave in the Zhoukoudian region of China, has shown that this individual was a regular fish consumer

MRI accurately depicts deep endometriosis
Using magnetic resonance imaging, radiologists may be able to diagnose deep endometriosis and accurately locate lesions prior to surgery, according to a new study.

2 dietary oils, 2 sets of benefits for older women with diabetes
A study comparing how two common dietary oil supplements affect body composition suggests that both oils, by themselves, can lower body fat in obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes.

Robo-bats with metal muscles may be next generation of remote control flyers
Tiny flying machines can be used for everything from indoor surveillance to exploring collapsed buildings, but simply making smaller versions of planes and helicopters doesn't work very well.

US-Mexico border wall could threaten wildlife species
A 700-mile security wall under construction along the United States' border with Mexico could significantly alter the movement and

NTU receives S$30 million Competitive Research Program grants
Three proposals from Nanyang Technological University have won up to S$30 million ($20.6 million) in research fund from the National Research Foundation following its fourth call for proposals under its Competitive Research Program Funding Scheme.

Blood pressure targets: Aiming lower offers no benefit
Aiming for lower than standard blood pressure targets offers no known clinical benefit, according to a Cochrane Review.

New national adolescent weight control registry will recognize successful teen weight loss efforts
Pediatric obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

Larger hospital units have lower miscarriage rates after invasive pregnancy tests
A study of more than 64,000 pregnant women has found that miscarriage rates following amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling were 1.4 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Rice University team's award-winning device could benefit treatment of hand injuries
A team of Rice University bioengineering students who invented a device to measure intrinsic hand muscle strength has won two prestigious honors for their patent-pending creation, PRIME.

UTSA infectious disease researchers advancing vaccine against Valley fever
Medical mycologists in the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas at San Antonio have genetically engineered a live, attenuated vaccine that successfully protects mice against coccidioidomycosis.

Scientists closer to developing salt-tolerant crops
An international team of scientists has developed salt-tolerant plants using a new type of genetic modification, bringing salt-tolerant cereal crops a step closer to reality. 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