Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 21, 2009
You can't trust a tortured brain: Neuroscience discredits coercive interrogation
According to a new review of neuroscientific research, coercive interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration to extract information from terrorist suspects are likely to have been unsuccessful and may have had many unintended negative effects on the suspect's memory and brain functions.

Experimental drug lets B cells live and lymphoma cells die
An investigative drug deprived non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells of their ability to survive too long and multiply too fast, according to an early study published recently in the journal Experimental Hematology.

More babies born prematurely but survival rates up, study shows
Premature births have increased significantly although survival rates of babies born early have improved dramatically, a study shows.

MIT develops initial step toward carbon sequestration
MIT researchers have developed designs for a new kind of coal-burning power plant, called a pressurized oxy-fuel combustion system, whose carbon-dioxide emissions are concentrated and pressurized so that they can be injected into deep geological formations.

NOAA and partners complete restoration project in Hempstead Harbor
The Applied Environmental Services property, designated as a superfund site in 1986, was used as a petroleum and hazardous waste storage area from the 1930s to the 1970s.

A tiny, tunable well of light, and a string theorist's toolbox
This week in Physics: Photonic devices promise advances in applications ranging from computing to high-speed communication; and a new toolkit of equations will help theorists determine whether a potential agreement between particle physics and string theory is fact or fancy.

Treating depression in pregnancy
A new report from the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is published by Elsevier in the September-October 2009 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry, explores the management of pregnancy and depression.

Image-guided treatment for deep venous thrombosis could improve patients' long-term outcomes
Deep venous thrombosis is a serious condition that involves the formation of a blood clot inside of a deep vein usually in the legs.

Brown professor to advise State Department on cyber affairs
John Savage, professor of computer science at Brown University, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow.

California family honors father with second AGA Foundation Research Scholar Award
The AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition announced that the family of the late businessman and photographer, Bernard Lee Schwartz, has honored his memory by establishing a new three-year Research Scholar Award for pancreatic cancer research.

'The doctor can understand you now'
University of Southern California computer scientists, communication specialists and health professionals are working to create a cheap, robust and effective speech-to-speech translation system for clinics, emergency rooms and even ambulances, and plan to deliver a working prototype within the four-year window of a recently awarded $2.2 million NSF grant for

Researchers identify gene variant linked to glaucoma
An international team, led by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and the National Eye Institute, has discovered gene variants for glaucoma in a black population.

Mild exercise while in the ICU reduces bad effects of prolonged bed rest
Critical care experts at Johns Hopkins are reporting initial success in boosting recovery and combating muscle wasting among critically ill, mostly bed-bound patients using any one of a trio of mild physical therapy exercises during their stays in the intensive care unit.

Moody memories? New study shows that mood has limited effect on memory
Whether we're deciding to return to a restaurant or to purchase a DVD, many consumers rely on memory when they're making decisions.

Ames Laboratory scientist using low-gravity space station lab to study crystal growth
Ames Laboratory metallurgist Rohit Trivedi will soon be studying how crystals grow in the low gravity on board the International Space Station.

Echoes of phlogiston in stem cell biology
Chemists used to explain combustion as the release of a mysterious substance, which they named

New type of sirolimus-eluting stent demonstrates superior results
A new type of sirolimus-eluting stent successfully showed significantly greater neointimal suppression than the paclitaxel-eluting stent with greater vessel wall integrity surrounding the stent, confirming the finding of superiority of the SES over the PES stent for the trial's primary endpoint of in-stent late loss.

K-State biologist to further study of cellular process that plays role in chronic disease
A Kansas State University biologist is collaborating with the Harvard Medical School to create a clearer picture of a certain cellular process that can play a role in chronic diseases like cancer.

Problems managing money may surface shortly before Alzheimer's disease sets in
New research finds poor money management skills may indicate that a person with mild memory problems will soon develop Alzheimer's disease.

Ben-Gurion University Alzheimer's researcher demonstrates specific immune response to vaccine
A BGU researcher who is working on a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease has demonstrated that it is possible to test and measure specific immune responses in mice carrying human genes and to anticipate the immune response in Alzheimer's patients.

'Rosetta Stone' of supervolcanoes discovered in Italian Alps
Scientists have found the

Poor money management may be early indicator of Alzheimer's disease, say UAB researchers
Inability to handle financial transactions or manage money may be an early indicator that a person with mild memory problems soon is likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Heart attack rates drop after smoking bans, continue downward over time
Smoking bans in the United States, Europe and Canada reduce secondhand smoke-related heart attack rates in the community.

New device could more effectively alleviate menstrual cramp pain
New research to be presented at the 2009 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition will reveal initial findings of safety surrounding a new device that may more effectively treat menstrual pain.

International systems conference at CU-ICAR
The 11th International Design Structure Matrix Conference Oct. 11-13 at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research will focus on the complexity of systems that exist in various industries.

New device finds early signs of eye disease in preemies
Tell-tale signs of a condition that can blind premature babies are being seen for the first time using a new handheld device in a study at Duke University Medical Center.

Adding cetuximab to chemotherapy reduces advanced lung cancer death risk by 13 percent
Patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer who are given cetuximab (Erbitux) in addition to chemotherapy are 13 percent less likely to die than those who receive chemotherapy alone, regardless of which chemotherapy drug cocktail is used.

A researcher develops new system to detect and correct syntactic mistakes in Basque
Saroi is a general tool which, apart from dealing with errors, is used for making consultations about structure in the trees of analysis and for undertaking searches for linguistic structures in such trees.

Study of adjuvant endocrine treatment for breast cancer reveals cost of noncompliance
The largest study in the world of treatments for post-menopausal, hormone positive breast cancer has shown that patients who continue to take exemestane or tamoxifen do significantly better than patients who start to take one or other drug (or tamoxifen followed exemestane) but then stop.

Alcohol in bloodstream associated with lower risk of death from head injury
Individuals with ethanol in their bloodstreams appear less likely to die following a moderate to severe head injury, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mitola, 'father of cognitive radio,' to deliver keynote at Conference on RF Measurement Technology
Dr. Joseph Mitola III has been selected as the keynote speaker for this year's Conference on RF Measurement Technology for State of the Art Production and Design.

How scientists think: Fostering creativity in problem solving
Profound discoveries and insights on the frontiers of science do not burst out of thin air but often arise from incremental processes of weaving together analogies, images, and simulations in a constrained fashion.

Watching your weight? Beware of skinny friends with big appetites
Thin friends who eat a lot could put your waistline at risk, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, which examines how other peoples' weight and food choices influence how much we eat.

Ocean observing scientists and marine industries teaming up to sustainably monitor the water column
The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research and International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans have established the OceanScope Working Group to systematically study the oceanic water column.

Study examines treatment and outcomes for nasal fractures
Both minimally invasive and traditional open approaches can successfully repair nasal fractures, provided the procedure is matched to the individual fracture, according to a report in the September/October issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Switching early breast cancer patients to exemestane improves long-term survival
New research has found that switching post-menopausal women with early breast cancer to the drug exemestane (Aromasin) after two or three years of tamoxifen rather than keeping them on tamoxifen for five years improves the chance of remaining cancer free and reduces the risk of death for at least the next six years.

Adolescent alcohol expsoure may lead to long-term risky decision making
Exposure to alcohol during adolescence apparently leads to long-term risky decision making and a new study with rats shows there is a causal link.

Crises lead banks to operate more opportunistically
Financial crises place significant strain on banks, causing them to behave more opportunistically than clients are accustomed to.

Nationwide study examines youth access to indoor tanning
Many indoor tanning businesses require parental consent for teenagers to use their facilities, but most would allow young tanners more than the government-recommended amount of exposure during the first week, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers find drug-eluting stents safe, effective for PCI in diabetics
Results of a multicenter study in Asia, demonstrating that drug-eluting stents are effective with a low rate of complications in diabetic patients, will be presented at the 21st annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Old red blood cells may double mortality in trauma patients
Severe trauma patients requiring a major transfusion are twice as likely to die if they receive red blood cells stored for a month or longer, according to research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care.

Many Australians at risk of cardiovascular disease are not receiving best practice care
Many people are not receiving the best possible care when it comes to managing cardiovascular conditions according to two new Australian research studies.

Math used as a tool to heal toughest of wounds
Scientists expect a new mathematical model of chronic wound healing could replace intuition with clear guidance on how to test treatment strategies in tackling a major public-health problem.

What are you getting? Consumer behavior in restaurants
Consumers follow a predictable pattern when it comes to ordering food and drinks, according new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Healing badly damaged lungs: Distinct set of white blood cells found to set the pace of wound repair
After more than 50 experiments in mice, medical scientists at Johns Hopkins have mapped out the basic steps taken by a particular set of white blood cells in setting the pace of recovery after serious lung injury.

Magnetic moments of 33Mg in the time-odd relativistic mean field approach
Nuclear magnetic moment is one of the most important physical observables.

Pediatrics: Kids need specialized care in hospital emergency departments
According to a recent IOM report, only 6 percent of US hospital emergency departments are fully equipped to properly care for children.

Large fat cells may increase risk of type 2 diabetes in women
Middle-aged women with large abdominal fat cells have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life compared to women with smaller fat cells.

Allergies among youth on the rise
Asthma, nasal symptoms and eczema are major public health problems in Sweden, not least among young people.

Early results: In children, 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine works like seasonal flu vaccine
Early results from a trial testing a 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in children look promising.

Racial disparities in diabetes prevalence linked to living conditions
The higher incidence of diabetes among African-Americans when compared to whites may have more to do with living conditions than genetics, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Seasonality of mortality: Summer vacation link?
Mortality rates in several Mediterranean countries decline in September, due in part to environmental factors but possibly linked to summer vacations, suggests a new study in CMAJ.

Growing outcomes evidence spurs renewed interest in unique heart valve procedure
Elite cardiovascular surgeons from around the world will attend the Ross Summit (Sept.

Study of hospital relocation provides insights to aid in disaster planning
Restricting elective surgeries, limiting incoming transfers and enhancing the efficiency of the discharge process helped one major hospital reduce capacity before a relocation without interrupting emergency or trauma services, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Perceptual learning relies on local motion signals to learn global motion
have ample evidence that individuals use a variety of cues to identify their own kin.

DARPA awards Duke $19.5 million to detect viral infection before symptoms appear
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research arm of the US Department of Defense, has awarded Duke University $19.5 million for an effort led by the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy to design a portable, easy-to-use diagnostic device that can reveal who is infected with an upper respiratory virus before the first cough or sneeze.

MDC researchers discover molecule responsible for axonal branching
The human brain consists of about 100 billion neurons, which altogether form about 100 trillion synaptic connections with each other.

Insufficient levels of vitamin D puts elderly at increased risk of dying from heart disease
A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital shows vitamin D plays a vital role in reducing the risk of death associated with older age.

Cancer predisposition from genetic variation shows strong gender bias
Cancer predisposition resulting from the presence of a specific gene variant shows a strong gender bias, researchers at the University of Cincinnati have demonstrated.

Drug-eluting stents safe, effective for treatment of chronic total occlusions
A multicenter study in Asia found drug-eluting stents effective with a low rate of acute complications in patients with chronic total occlusions undergoing PCI.

$453,000 NSF grant funds Florida Tech scientist
Climate change, warming the waters of Antarctica, is creating an environment for predatory crabs to return to an area they inhabited millions of years ago.

Ozone layer depletion leveling off
By merging more than a decade of atmospheric data from European satellites, scientists have compiled a homogeneous long-term ozone record that allows them to monitor total ozone trends on a global scale -- and the findings look promising.

Hummer owners claim moral high ground to excuse overconsumption
Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Radiological treatment method spares patients surgery and offers 89 percent cost savings
Pericardial effusion, the collection of fluid around the heart, typically occurs in patients following heart surgery and is usually treated using an invasive surgical drainage technique.

November/December 2009 GSA Bulletin highlights
New GSA Bulletin articles are available now

Third Global Vaccine Congress in Singapore to also feature virtual component
Elsevier announced today that its journal Vaccine, the most comprehensive and pre-eminent journal for those interested in vaccines and vaccination, will organize the 3rd Vaccine Global Congress from Oct.

Stock graphs can mislead: People prefer stocks with shorter runs
Can the way stock information is presented lead investors to make the wrong decisions?

New chemically activated antigen could expedite development of HIV vaccine
Scientists working to develop a vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus report they have created the first antigen that induces protective antibodies capable of blocking infection of human cells by genetically diverse strains of HIV.

Is nitrogen the new carbon?
A new book,

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation helps fund Field Museum conservation efforts in Peru
The Field Museum announced today that it has received 409,416 euro (approximately $537,344 US dollars) from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for a three-year project: Establishing new conservation landscapes in Amazonian Peru.

Incomplete radiation therapy common among medicare recipients with head and neck cancer
Medicare recipients with head and neck cancer commonly do not complete radiation therapy without interruptions or at all, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

JCI table of contents: Sept. 21, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published September 21, 2009, in the JCI: New drug targets for spinal cord injury?; Distinguishing breast cancer-causing mutations from those that are harmless; Understanding a cause of a major complication of chronic kidney disease; The thymus stops the immune system aging prematurely; Immune cells known as Tregs promote recovery from acute lung injury; and others.

How proteins talk to each other
Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research have identified novel cleavage sites for the enzyme caspase-3 (an enzyme that proteolytically cleaves target proteins).

Building energy efficiency programs in Europe and Australia
The United States can become more energy efficient and create more

Race has little effect on people's ability to spot family resemblances
Scientists have ample evidence that individuals use a variety of cues to identify their own kin.

New species discovered on whale skeletons
When a whale dies, it sinks to the seafloor and becomes food for an entire ecosystem.

University of Iowa scientists use blood-brain barrier as therapy delivery system
The blood brain barrier is generally considered an obstacle to delivering therapies from the bloodstream to the brain.

Junk DNA may prove invaluable in quest for gene therapies
Scientists have identified how a protein enables sections of so-called junk DNA to be cut and pasted within genetic code -- a finding which could speed development of gene therapies.

Banning smoking in public places and workplaces is good for the heart
Public smoking bans appear to significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks, particularly among younger individuals and nonsmokers, according to a new study published in the Sept.

New species of ghostshark from California and Baja California
Academy scientists recently named a new species of chimaera, an ancient and bizarre group of fishes distantly related to sharks, from the coast of Southern California and Baja California, Mexico.

1-year results from Horizons-AMI trial reported at TCT 2009
Two subset analyses from the landmark HORIZONS-AMI trial show that the anticoagulant bivalirudin lowers major bleeding and cardiac death versus the combination of heparin and a GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor in patients with ST-segment myocardial infarction who have disease of the left anterior descending artery, while in STEMI patients at highest risk for death, bivalirudin also confers the greatest mortality benefit.

Despite ongoing safety concerns, study finds adverse reactions from contrast agents rarely occur
Iodinated and gadolinium-based contrast agents, frequently used during computed tomography and MRI scans to aid in the imaging process, are associated with a very low rate of adverse effects, according to a large cohort study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Tanning may be associated with moles in very light-skinned children
Very light-skinned children without red hair who tan appear to develop more nevi (birthmarks, moles or other colored spots on the skin) than children who do not tan, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Flu triggers heart attacks, but vaccination may offer protection
Flu can trigger heart attacks and cause cardiovascular death, but the influenza vaccine may offer protection for cardiac patients.

Minimal training saves lives with airway mask
Virtually anyone has the skills to safely insert a laryngeal mask airway to keep a patient's airway open during resuscitation, and medical expertise isn't required -- perhaps just a familiarity with ER, House or Grey's Anatomy.

Experimental approach may reverse rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
Researchers have identified a mechanism that may keep a well known signaling molecule from eroding bone and inflaming joints, according to an early study published online today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Consumers dictate their own 'rules of engagement' with retailers online
Consumers are taking back control of their personal data as more businesses are proactively seeking detailed information.

Breathing technique can reduce frequency, severity of asthma attacks
Researchers at Southern Methodist University are expanding a study that shows promise for reducing both the expense and suffering associated with chronic asthma.

Short-term stress enhances anti-tumor activity in mice, Stanford study shows
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that, at least in laboratory mice, bouts of relatively short-term stress can boost the immune system and protect against one type of cancer.

Radiologists find a technique to significantly reduce patient radiation dose during CT angiography
Radiologists have discovered that prospective electrocardiogram gating allows them to significantly reduce the patient radiation dose delivered during computed tomography angiography, a common noninvasive technique used to evaluate vascular disease, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

1 million euro EU grant for MDC diabetes researcher Dr. Francesca M. Spagnoli
A European Research Grant worth more than a million euros over the next five years has been awarded to Dr.

Radiologists and engineers develop a modified catheter to reduce contrast material injuries
Though rare, IV contrast material administration can sometimes result in patient injury.

Immune response to spinal cord injury may worsen damage
After spinal cord injury, B lymphocytes collect in the spinal fluid and release high levels of antibodies.

'Evolutionary forecasting' for drug resistance
Rice University biochemists are developing a system of

Comfort food fallacy: Upheaval leads to less-familiar choices
You'd think in times of uncertainty, people would gravitate toward familiar favorites.

Whole-brain radiotherapy after surgery or radiosurgery not recommended for brain metastases
Whole-brain radiotherapy should not be given routinely to all patients whose cancer has spread to the brain.

Science Coalition commends President's 'strategy for innovation'
The Science Coalition strongly supports President Barack Obama's efforts to increase investment in basic research as a means to spur innovation and fuel the economy.

Home-help staff stretch the rules for the good of the service
A new thesis from the University of Gothenburg reveals that out of loyalty to the people for whom they provide care, groups of home-help staff sometimes break the rules dictating how their work should be performed.

Distinguishing breast cancer-causing mutations from those that are harmless
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, describes an assay that can be used to distinguish mutations in the BRCA1 gene that cause breast cancer from those that are harmless.

Few complications 1 year after aortic valve implantation
Research presented at the 21st annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics scientific symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, demonstrated an

Diagnosis of adult asthma -- part 2
The second article in CMAJ's series on asthma provides practical guidance for the diagnosis of adult asthma, including occupational asthma.

Uncertain climate regulations -- why corporations still invest
Firms and corporations frequently need to take investment decisions without knowing if future regulation will support or threaten their investment.

RU kidding? Research finds that chatspeak has no impact on children's spelling ability
This will prolly comes as a bit of a shock to UR system, but findings from a group of University of Alberta researchers show that language commonly used in instant messaging has no effect on your child's spelling abilities.

Spontaneous and medically induced preterm births contribute equally to the rising rate of preterm births
Research published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine shows that the rising rate of preterm birth in Scotland is as much a result of an increase in spontaneous preterm birth as it is of preterm birth that is medically induced to avoid risking the lives of the mother and child.

Nanoresearchers challenge dogma in protein transportation in cells
New data on signaling proteins, called G proteins, may prove important in fighting diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer.

Herding leads to wrong decisions in the stock market
One reason for extreme fluctuations in the stock market is herding.

Zooming to the center of the Milky Way -- GigaGalaxy Zoom phase 2
The second of three images of ESO's GigaGalaxy Zoom project has just been released online.

Fighting disease outbreaks with 2-way health information exchange
Building upon four decades of research and real world operation of electronic medical records and health information exchange, Regenstrief Institute researchers are demonstrating, on Sept.

IRSF announces funding of first clinical trial with disease-modifying therapy for Rett syndrome
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation announced that it will provide $200,000 to support a newly proposed clinical trial with a growth-factor based treatment for Rett syndrome.

Can an over-the-counter vitamin-like substance slow the progression of Parkinson's disease?
Rush University Medical Center is participating in a large-scale, multi-center clinical trial in the US and Canada to determine whether a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10, in high doses, can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.

New drug targets for spinal cord injury?
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has determined that immune cells known as B cells worsen outcome following traumatic spinal cord injury in mice, indicating that therapeutics that remove B cells or the molecules they produce (antibodies) or that inhibit B cell responses might be of benefit to individuals who experience traumatic spinal cord injury.

LLNL technology cleans up Visalia Superfund 100 years ahead of schedule
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's technology was instrumental in cleaning up Southern California Edison's Visalia Pole Yard, which is scheduled to be taken off the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list this week.

Study: Speaking, eating possible after tonsil cancer surgery with reconstruction
A new technique for reconstructing the palate after surgery for tonsil cancer maintained patients' ability to speak clearly and eat most foods, a new study shows. 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