Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 21, 2009
Electronic nose created to detect skin vapors
A team of researchers from the Yale University and a Spanish company have developed a system to detect the vapors emitted by human skin in real time.

Australia discovered by the 'Southern Route'
Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia.

First national study to examine rock climbing-related injuries
The popularity of rock climbing has increased in the last 10 years, and so have the number of injuries.

New research finds possible genetic link to cause of pregnancy loss and disorders
Scientists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have published new findings about a cause of a condition at the root of genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, pregnancy loss and infertility.

New report: Individual health insurance market failing consumers
The individual health insurance market is not a viable option for the majority of uninsured adults, a new report from the Commonwealth Fund finds.

Scientists capitalize on extended solar eclipse
Scientists at this observatory outside Hangzhou joined residents and tourists across China and India in observing the longest total solar eclipse in a century and probably the most-viewed ever.

For horned lizard, horns alone do not make the species
Counting the horns of California's horned lizard, or coast horned lizard, is one way to try to distinguish separate species, but a new study shows that to be unreliable.

Columbia leads national effort to develop early intervention for schizophrenia
Columbia University Medical Center's Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., a renowned expert in the field of schizophrenia, has been selected by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health as principal investigator of a nationwide effort to develop an optimal early intervention strategy for treating people experiencing a first episode of the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.

Nature or nurture? New epigenetic model blurs the line in the debate
A report published in the July 2009 issue of the journal Genetics complicates the debate over whether nature or nurture plays the most important role in complex diseases such as psychiatric disorders, heart disease and cancer.

University of Minnesota research leads to new technology to protect human health
University of Minnesota researchers work with business partner to respond to the World Health Organization's call for a simple, inexpensive method to detect melamine.

'Go to the doctor? Only if I'm really sick ...'
African-American men could be putting their health at risk by avoiding disease screening, in the belief that the results might threaten their masculinity.

New book explores post-emancipation education of blacks in Mississippi
Christopher M. Span, a professor of educational policy studies at Illinois, has written a new book,

Scripps research studies lead to a promising first-in-class drug candidate
Discoveries by Scripps Research Institute scientists have led to a promising new drug candidate -- the first in its class -- for patients with a genetic protein-misfolding disease.

A genetic basis for schizophrenia
Two recent publications focus on the role of Disc1 in development, particularly the migration of cells to their proper location in the brain and subsequent differentiation into their intended fate.

Reducing p38MAPK levels delays aging of multiple tissues in lab mice
Partial inactivation of p38MAPK was sufficient to prevent age-induced cellular changes in multiple tissues, as well as improve the proliferation and regeneration of islet cells, without affecting the tumour suppressor function of p16 in mice.

Fecal incontinence and quality of life
Fecal incontinence (FI) is the involuntary discharge of liquid or solid stools.

Purer water made possible by Sandia advance
By substituting a single atom in a molecule widely used to purify water, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have created a far more effective decontaminant with a shelf life superior to products currently on the market.

MSU researcher creates weight-gain guidelines for women pregnant with twins
Healthy, normal-weight women pregnant with twins should gain between 37 and 54 pounds, according to research from a Michigan State University professor who helped shape the recently released national guidelines on gestational weight gain.

Jupiter pummeled, leaving bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean
UC Berkeley astronomer Paul Kalas took advantage of previously scheduled observing time on the Keck Telescope to check out a new bruise on the planet Jupiter, and found indications of a recent impact that left a scar the size of the Pacific Ocean.

NIH funds $10M Einstein program to study enzyme motion in sub-milliseconds
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University a five-year, $10 million grant to study how the motion of atoms on both extremely small and long time scales contribute to enzyme function.

New method for HIV testing holds promise for developing world
A new technique that detects the HIV virus early and monitors its development without requiring refrigeration may make AIDS testing more accessible in sub-Saharan Africa.

Pre-chewed food could transmit HIV
Researchers have uncovered the first cases in which HIV almost certainly was transmitted from mothers other caregivers to children through pre-chewed food.

Aerospace leaders to discuss how space technology stimulates national and global economy
Aerospace industry leaders will meet on July 27 to discuss how the development of space technology has stimulated the national and global economy, and how space technology can drive future economic growth.

A child's IQ can be affected by mother's exposure to urban air pollutants
A mother's exposure to urban air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can adversely affect a child's intelligence quotient or IQ, a study reports.

Large abdominal wall lipoma causes bowel obstruction
Proteus syndrome is an extremely rare disorder characterized by postnatal overgrowth of multiple tissues derived from different cell lineage.

ASTRO selects neurosurgeon as 2009 honorary member
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected world-renowned neurosurgeon Philip H.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may pose neurological risks
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has helped many couples conceive healthy children and is generally considered a safe practice.

Mayo Clinic researchers find first potential pathogenic mutation for restless legs syndrome
An international team of researchers led by scientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have found what they believe is the first mutated gene linked to restless legs syndrome, a common neurologic disorder.

Scripps-led study shows ocean health plays vital role in coral reef recovery
A new study shows that bleached corals bounce back to normal growth rates more quickly when they have clean water and plentiful sea life at their side.

More evidence in favor of a healthy lifestyle in the prevention of cardiovascular disease
As the ESC Congress 2009 draws ever closer, the evidence in favor of a healthy lifestyle for the prevention of cardiovascular disease grows ever stronger.

Brain's center for perceiving 3-D motion is identified
Neuroscientists have now pinpointed where and how the brain processes 3-D motion using specially developed computer displays and an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine to scan the brain.

Ancient humans left evidence from the party that ended 4,000 years ago
The party was over more than 4,000 years ago, but the remnants still remain in the gourds and squashes that served as dishware.

Rice University wins stimulus funding for physics building
Rice University today was awarded $11.1 million in federal stimulus funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for construction of the Brockman Hall for Physics, a new research facility.

$2 million grant aids study of lung cancer in people who never smoked
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are among an elite group of cancer scientists to share a $2 million grant to find biomarkers for lung cancer that develops in people who have never smoked.

Researchers design first model motor nerve system that's insulated and organized like the human body
Researchers from the University of Central Florida report on the first lab-grown motor nerves that are insulated and organized just like they are in the human body.

Corn yield stability varies with rotations, fertility
A recent study investigated the effects of long-term cropping systems on corn grain yields, yield trends, and yield stability over the last 16 years of a long-term fertility and cropping systems experiment at the Pennsylvania State University.

Adopting low-risk dietary and lifestyle factors related to lower incidence of high blood pressure
Adherence to modifiable lifestyle and dietary factors including maintaining normal weight, daily vigorous exercise, eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and low in sodium and taking a folic acid supplement was associated with a significantly lower incidence of self-reported hypertension among women, according to a study in the July 22-29 issue of JAMA.

Twinkling nanostars cast new light into biomedical imaging
Researchers have created magnetically responsive gold nanostars that may offer a new approach to biomedical imaging.

Tires made from trees -- better, cheaper, more fuel efficient
Automobile owners around the world may some day soon be driving on tires that are partly made out of trees -- which could cost less, perform better and save on fuel and energy.

When children have breathing problems
Researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research and the University of Leipzig carried out research in this area together with colleagues from the University of La Plata and can now confirm that air pollution caused by industry has even more grave effects than vehicle exhaust fumes.

Genetic tests advertised directly to the consumer
Genetic testing services have recently begun to be advertised directly to the patient, and the results of the consumers' response can affect public health, as well as the future adoption of pharmacogenetic/genomic testing, according to a position paper from the American College of Clinical Pharmacology to be published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Warming climate threatens California fruit and nut production
Winter chill, a vital climatic trigger for many tree crops, is likely to decrease by more than 50 percent during this century as global climate warms, making California no longer suitable for growing many fruit and nut crops, according to a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington.

Biomarkers may help predict risk of Alzheimer's disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment
Several cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers showed good accuracy in identifying patients with mild cognitive impairment who progressed to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study in the July 22-29 issue of JAMA.

Are we what our mothers ate?
Mothers' health in the days and weeks prior to becoming pregnant may determine the health of offspring much later in life, according to results of studies reported at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, July 18-22.

Study aims to induce recovery from ankylosing spondylitis
Chinese patients will soon have the opportunity to take part in a study of a novel therapy aimed at reversing the autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis.

Fighting disease atom by atom
Researchers at Rice University and their international colleagues have for the first time described the atomic structure of the protein shell that carries the genetic code of hepatitis E (HEV).

More than meets the eye: New blue light nanocrystals
Berkeley Lab researchers have produced nontoxic nanocrystals that efficiently emit blue light and could also play a role in long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

This article will self-destruct: A tool to make online personal data vanish
Private information scattered all over the Internet and impossible to control.

Peptide linked to glucose metabolism and neuronal cell survival
A cellular protein that may prevent nerve cells from dying also helps to improve insulin action and lower blood glucose levels, according to a study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in collaboration with scientists at University of California, Los Angeles.

Genetic marker linked to problem behaviors in adults with developmental disabilities
A common variation of the gene involved in regulating serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain may be linked to problem behaviors in adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, new research indicates.

Ethiopian government celebrates rinderpest eradication
A menace to the African cattle population for more than a century, the World Organization for Animal Health has declared rinderpest eradicated in Ethiopia.

Major NIMH research project to test approaches to altering the course of schizophrenia
The National Institute of Mental Health is launching a large-scale research project to explore whether using early and aggressive treatment, individually targeted and integrating a variety of different therapeutic approaches, will reduce the symptoms and prevent the gradual deterioration of functioning that is characteristic of chronic schizophrenia.

Ovary removal may increase lung cancer risk
Women who have premature menopause because of medical interventions are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer.

UC Davis study highlights work-life issues of female surgeons
Even with the demands of surgical careers, most surgeons would still choose their profession again.

No crystal ball necessary: New tool IDs predictable economic variables
You don't need a crystal ball to tell you what is going to happen next in the economy.

Early rice harvests ease annual famine in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi farmers are benefiting from research that allows farmers to harvest rice earlier, giving them more time to grow a second crop to provide desperately needed food and ease hunger during monga -- the hunger months.

Modest fisheries reduction could protect vast coastal ecosystems: UBC research
A reduction of as little as 5 percent in fisheries catch could result in as much as 30 percent of the British Columbia coastal ecosystems being protected from overfishing, according to a new study from the UBC Fisheries Center.

1 step at a time: Motor molecules use random walks to make deliveries in living cells
Cells rely on tiny molecular motors to deliver cargo, such as mRNA and organelles, within the cell.

International research team seeks to unravel flatworm regeneration
Planarian flatworms are only a few millimeters up to a few centimeters in length, live in freshwater and are the object of intense research, because they possess the ability to regenerate lost tissue with the help of their stem cells and even grow an entirely new worm out of minute amputated body parts.

Rates of secondhand smoke exposure high among college students
Secondhand smoke is not only a nuisance, but a potential health concern for many college students, and administrators should be taking steps to reduce students' exposure, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Tiny diamonds on Santa Rosa Island give evidence of cosmic impact
Nanosized diamonds found just a few meters below the surface of Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara provide strong evidence of a cosmic impact event in North America approximately 12,900 years ago, according to a new study by scientists.

Screening for childhood depressive symptoms could start in second grade
New research indicates that screening children for symptoms of depression, the most common mental health disorder in the United States, can begin a lot earlier than previously thought, as early as the second grade.

Economic and social science community addressing the challenges ahead for the UK
Social science research is essential to tackling UK and global security challenges, getting to grips with reforming the financial markets and helping households adapt to climate change.

Experts support national public reporting of health-care-asociated infections
Five organizations representing the nation's experts in infectious diseases medicine, infection prevention in health-care settings and public health and disease prevention announced their support for a provision requiring national reporting of health-care-associated infection (HAI) rates.

Is somatic hypersensitivity a predictor of irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, which classically manifests with chronic abdominal pain associated with alternation in bowel movement habits.

Researchers turn cell phones into fluorescent microscopes
UC Berkeley researchers have developed a cell phone microscope that not only takes color images of malaria parasites, but of tuberculosis bacteria labeled with fluorescent markers.

DNA of ancient lost barley could help modern crops cope with water stress
Researchers at the University of Warwick have recovered significant DNA information from a lost form of ancient barley that triumphed for over 3,000 years seeing off: five changes in civilization, water shortages and a much more popular form of barley that produces more grains.

Geoengineering climate requires more research, cautious consideration and appropriate restrictions
Geoengineering -- deliberately manipulating physical, chemical or biological aspects of the Earth system to confront climate change -- could contribute to a comprehensive risk management strategy to slow climate change but could also create considerable new risks, according to a policy statement released by the American Meteorological Society today.

Need for at-home blood pressure monitoring underscored by high-profile cardiac deaths
Even when there's a heightened focus on heart health after the untimely passing of a celebrity from a cardiac event, a recent survey uncovered that only 14 percent of people would be inclined to start regularly monitoring their blood pressure at home -- a preventive measure highly recommended by the American Heart Association since it can help signal impending cardiac distress caused by high blood pressure.

Skin-like tissue developed from human embryonic stem cells
Tufts researchers have used pluripotent human embryonic stem cells to create three-dimensional tissues that mimic human skin and the oral mucosa.

Misdiagnosis of disorders of consciousness still commonplace
A 16-month study of consensus-based diagnosis of patients with disorders of consciousness has shown that 41 percent of cases of minimally conscious state were misdiagnosed as vegetative state, a condition associated with a much lower chance of recovery.

A drug-dispensing contact lens
Taking eye drops multiple times a day can be difficult to do, and as little as 1 to 7 percent of the dose is actually absorbed by the eye.

Adhering to healthy lifestyle habits associated with reduced lifetime risk of heart failure
Men who exercised regularly, drank moderately, did not smoke, who were not overweight and had a diet that included cereal and fruits and vegetables had a lower lifetime risk of heart failure, according to a study in the July 22-29 issue of JAMA.

Daily potassium citrate wards off kidney stones in seizure patients on high-fat diet
Children on the high-fat ketogenic diet to control epileptic seizures can prevent the excruciatingly painful kidney stones that the diet can sometimes cause if they take a daily supplement of potassium citrate the day they start the diet, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Anti-epilepsy drug risk on cognitive function for unborn children
Interim results of a study being conducted by scientists at the University of Liverpool suggest that children aged 3 years and younger, who are born to women taking the anti-epileptic drug sodium valproate whilst pregnant, are likely to have an IQ of six to nine points lower than average.

Review provides new insights into the causes of anorexia
New imaging technology provides insight into abnormalities in the brain circuitry of patients with anorexia nervosa (commonly known as anorexia) that may contribute to the puzzling symptoms found in people with the eating disorder. 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