Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 19, 2009
Making monster waves
Research into monstrous rogue waves points the way to improved long distance optical communication, and could help us understand how giant, destructive waves form at sea.

Infants able to identify humans as source of speech, monkeys as source of monkey calls
Infants as young as five months old are able to correctly identify humans as the source of speech and monkeys as the source of monkey calls, psychology researchers have found.

New immigrants more likely to be homeless due to economic factors rather than health issues
New immigrants are more likely to cite economic and housing factors as barriers that keep them homeless compared with native-born individuals, according to a new study on the health of homeless immigrants led by St.

PETA's push for changes in USDA testing pays off for animals
Following PETA's call for US Department of Agriculture's Center for Veterinary Biologics to adopt non-animal methods to test the potency of each batch of a vaccine, the CVB has informed PETA that three of the tests involving pigs have been replaced with modern non-animal methods.

Going out on a limb
Professor Meital Zilberman of Tel Aviv University has developed a biologically active

Carol Baker appointed chair of national CDC advisory committee on immunization practices
Carol J. Baker, M.D., the executive director of Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research, has been appointed to serve as chair of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Blood clots in lungs might not always originate in deep veins of legs and pelvis in trauma patients
Few trauma patients who develop potentially deadly blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) also have clots in the deep veins of their pelvis and legs (deep venous thrombosis), challenging commonly held beliefs about the association between the two conditions, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Redefining obesity's health risks
The body mass index has long been the yardstick in deciding who is at risk because of their weight.

Forms of Imagination: University of Utah Symposium in Science and Literature Nov. 5-7
The University of Utah will hold its fifth Utah Symposium in Science and Literature during Nov.

Teach your physicians well
As the national conversation about health-care reform engages millions of Americans, a new Brandeis study sheds light on the values of medical faculty who train the nation's physicians and lead in health care and research in the US.

Ancient bison genetic treasure trove for farmers
Genetic information from an extinct species of bison preserved in permafrost for thousands of years could help improve modern agricultural livestock and breeding programs, according to University of Adelaide researchers.

NASA Satellites and Baja California on watch as Hurricane Rick approaches
NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites flew over Hurricane Rick this weekend, and watched the storm strengthen into a major hurricane.

Children's blood lead levels linked to lower test scores
Exposure to lead in early childhood significantly contributes to lower performances on end-of-grade reading tests among minority and low-income children, according to researchers at Duke University and North Carolina Central University.

Caltech scientists create robot surrogate for blind persons in testing visual prostheses
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have created a remote-controlled robot that is able to simulate the

Is my robot happy to see me?
Scientists at Georgia Tech tested our ability to interpret a robot's

Non-nuclear families function, too
The conventional family has changed over the past decade. According to a new study by the Working Group on Adolescence of the Andalusian Society of Family and Community Medicine, which has been published in the Spanish journal Atención Primaria, adolescents' perception of proper family functioning has little to do with the traditional nuclear structure.

Thyroid surgery safe for older patients, study finds
Thyroid surgery is safe for older patients, say physicians who found only slight differences in rates of complications and hospital readmissions in a multiyear study.

As Greenland melts
Not that long ago -- the blink of a geologic eye -- global temperatures were so warm that ice on Greenland could have been hard to come by.

Tsunami evacuation buildings: another way to save lives in the Pacific Northwest
Coastal towns and cities in the northwest are woefully unprepared for a large-scale natural disaster.

2 NASA satellites see Tropical Storm Neki form in the Central Pacific
Tropical Storm Neki formed today about 830 miles southeast of Johnston Island in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Understanding the brain's natural foil for over-excited neurons
Glutamate is to the brain like coffee is to our bodies.

Mice regain ability to extend telomeres suggesting potential for dyskeratosis congenita therapy
A new study published in Disease Models and Mechanisms, reveals that mice used as a model for the human genetic disease dyskeratosis congenita, have short telomeres for 10 generations when they are interbred.

New affordable nutrition index is first measurement tool to evaluate affordable nutrition
Today at the American Dietetic Association's annual conference, a new food rating system, Affordable Nutrition Index, is being unveiled by nutrition expert Adam Drewnowski, PhD.

Innovative line body panels for car assembly
At one of its installations in the Bizkaia Technology Park, TECNALIA Technology Corp. has inaugurated an innovative prototype for vehicle body panels, within the remit of the European PROFORM research Project.

The protein APC slows Lou Gehrig's disease in mice
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease.

New technique paves way for medical discoveries
Researchers have previously been able to analyse which sugar structures are to be found on certain proteins, but not exactly where on the protein they are positioned.

Mangosteen juice could protect health in the obese
Mangosteen juice has anti-inflammatory properties which could prove to be valuable in preventing the development of heart disease and diabetes in obese patients.

Well-educated women hardest hit by breast cancer
Well-educated women and those who live alone are emotionally the hardest hit by breast cancer, according to the findings of a new Australian study announced during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Study finds mercury levels in children with autism and those developing typically are the same
In a large population-based study published online today, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute report that after adjusting for a number of factors, typically developing children and children with autism have similar levels of mercury in their blood streams.

EPA fellow studies effect of mercury in toads
Christine Bergeron of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, a doctoral student in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, received a fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Research for her research on the reproductive success of American toads.

Detecting the undetectable in prostate cancer screening
Northwestern University researchers, using an extremely sensitive tool based on nanotechnology, have detected previously undetectable levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in patients who have undergone radical prostatectomy.

Catching a killer one spore at a time
A workshop at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has nearly doubled the number of people capable of quatitatively testing for chytridiomycosis, dramatically improving the ability of conservationists and regulatory agencies to monitor the spread of one of the deadliest frog diseases on Earth.

Are humans still evolving? Absolutely, says a new analysis of a long-term survey of human health
Although advances in medical care have improved standards of living over time, humans aren't entirely sheltered from the forces of natural selection, a new study shows.

ACP issues guideline on benefits and risks of PDE-5 inhibitor drugs used to treat patients with ED
The American College of Physicians strongly recommends that physicians initiate therapy with an oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor in men who seek treatment for ED unless they have a contraindication to PDE-5 inhibitors, such as nitrate therapy.

Experimental evolution with roundworm wins prestigious European grant
Henrique Teotónio, group leader at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, in Portugal, has just been awarded around 1.8 million euro in one of this year's 240 prestigious European Research Council Awards (out of 2503 applications, from 34 countries), for his proposal to unravel the genetic details underlying the adaptation and evolution of diversity -- a crucial missing piece in the 150 year old theory of adaptation and natural selection, first proposed by Charles Darwin.

Smart rat 'Hobbie-J' produced by over-expressing a gene that helps brain cells communicate
Over-expressing a gene that lets brain cells communicate just a fraction of a second longer makes a smarter rat, report researchers from the Medical College of Georgia and East China Normal University.

A master mechanism for regeneration?
Biologists long have marveled at the ability of some animals to re-grow lost body parts.

1 scan per patient is not always enough
Seven medical imaging groups wrote a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to formally request coverage of two fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scans for a patient during the initial treatment evaluation.

Brandeis psychologist wins Gerontological Society of Ameria's 2009 Baltes Foundation Award
The Gerontological Society of America has chosen Brandeis University Professor Derek M.

Latest diabetes figures paint grim global picture
The International Diabetes Federation released new data today showing that a staggering 285 million people worldwide have diabetes.

Carbon-offsetting and conservation can both be winners in rainforest
Logged rainforests can support as much plant, animal and insect life as virgin forest within 15 years if properly managed, research at the University of Leeds has found.

APC Supports SACGHS' landmark recommendations on DNA patenting exempting caregivers
The Association of Pathology Chairs joins the Association for Molecular Pathology and other leading professional organizations in their support of draft recommendations just published by the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society on DNA patenting.

MIT neuroscientists find neural stopwatch in the brain
MIT researchers have identified populations of neurons that code time with extreme precision in the primate brain.

U of T's Richard Peltier is first Canadian to win prestigious international science prize
Renowned University of Toronto physicist Richard Peltier has been chosen by the Franklin Institute to receive the 2010 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science.

Aggressive microdermabrasion induces wound-healing response in aging skin
Microdermabrasion using a coarse diamond-studded instrument appears to induce molecular changes in the skin of older adults that mimic the way skin is remodeled during the wound healing process, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pediatricians put proven treatment strategies to work against childhood asthma
With chronic diseases on the rise in children, pediatricians are looking for solutions to improve care and outcomes for these often complex illnesses.

Redesigned documentary standards format improves ease of use
To improve key documentation relied upon by the pharmaceutical industry and others, the US Pharmacopeial Convention announces the release of the redesigned United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary.

Killer algae a key player in mass extinctions
Supervolcanoes and cosmic impacts get all the terrible glory for causing mass extinctions, but a new theory suggests lowly algae may be the killer behind the world's great species annihilations.

Shifting the world to 100 percent clean, renewable energy as early as 2030 -- here are the numbers
Wind, water and solar energy resources are sufficiently available to provide all the world's energy.

Intelligent system to help autistic children recognize emotions
Computer scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are working on the development of an efficient and intelligent facial expression recognition system.

Power at work has payoffs, but not for health
Being at the top has its perks, but new U of T research shows people in positions of authority at work are more likely to experience certain psychological and physical problems that can undermine the health benefits associated with job authority.

Bedrock of a holy city: the historical importance of Jerusalem's geology
Jerusalem's geology has been crucial in molding it into one of the most religiously important cities on the planet, according to a new study.

APIC announces winner of first Healthcare Administrator Award
Deborah Friberg, chief operating officer and executive vice president of WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Raleigh, N.C., has been named the recipient of the first annual Healthcare Administrator Award, presented by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Clemson researchers say algae key to mass extinctionss
Geologist James W. Castle and ecotoxicologist John H. Rodgers have published findings that toxin producing algae were a deadly factor in mass extinctions millions of years ago.

Brain-damaged children often have cold feet
Many wheelchair-using children with neurological disorders have much colder hands and feet than other children, and most receive no special help even though they have had these problems for a long time, is revealed in at thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

No test needed for hand-foot genital syndrome in women without HOXA13 gene mutation
Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, and colleagues have found that women without mutations of the HOXA13 gene do not need to be subjected to X-rays and other tests for a rare condition called hand-foot genital syndrome.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about one article being published in the Oct.

Herbal tonic for radiotherapy
Antioxidant extracts of the leaves of the Gingko biloba tree may protect cells from radiation damage, according to a study published in the International Journal of Low Radiation.

Uloric (febuxostat) demonstrated efficacy for management of hyperuricemia in patients with gout
Data presented at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology highlight effects of baseline characteristics on achievement of serum uric acid (sUA) levels to < 6.0 mg/dL and the frequency of flares with ULORIC (febuxostat) treatment.

The book of life can now literally be written on paper
An insight from the labs of Harvard chemist George Whitesides and cell biologist Don Ingber is likely to make a fundamental shift in how biologists grow and study cells -- and it's as cheap and simple as reaching for a paper towel.

Little words that mean a lot
Little words can be very important for how we understand American films but are rarely translated into Swedish even though this is often possible.

Yale's scan of Turkish infant's genome yields a surprise diagnosis
In a dramatic illustration of the power of emerging genetic technologies, Yale University researchers have reported making a clinical diagnosis for the first time using comprehensive DNA sequencing of all the protein-coding genes in the genome.

Protein may predict heart attack and early death, not stroke
People with high levels of a protein called C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood, may be at higher risk for heart attack and death but not stroke, according to a study published in the Oct.

West Antarctic ice sheet may not be losing ice as fast as once thought
New ground measurements suggest the rate of ice loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet has been slightly overestimated.

Diabetic episodes affect kids' memory
Children who have had an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis, a common complication of diabetes, may have persistent memory problems.

RIT scientists use supercomputers to 'see' black holes
Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology have won time on one of the fastest computers in the world in their quest to

UC researchers awarded federal grant to examine the effects of ecstasy use in young adults
University of Cincinnati researchers will examine genetics and brain imaging as they zero in on ecstasy's affects on the still-developing brains of adolescents and young adults.

Research with wood ducks earns graduate student 2 national awards
Sarah DuRant of Saluda, S.C., a fisheries and wildlife sciences doctoral student in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, received Grants-in-Aid of Research awards from both the scientific research society Sigma Xi and the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology for her work and research with wood ducks.

How Chinese firms benefit from the diversity of foreign direct investment
New research from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business shows that the diversity of foreign invested firms' national origin helps businesses in China benefit from foreign direct investment.

Nanosystems institute at UCLA, Photron to collaborate on specialized instrumentation
The California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA has announced a collaboration with Photron USA Inc., a manufacturer of high-speed imaging systems and image analysis software, to develop specialized instrumentation for the CNSI's core laboratory facilities.

3-day course of antibiotics may be sufficient following tonsillectomy
Children who receive a three-day course of antibiotics following tonsillectomy rather than a seven-day course appear to have no differences in pain or how quickly they return to a normal diet and activity level, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Resident physicians seldom trained in skin cancer examination
Many resident physicians are not trained in skin cancer examinations, nor have they ever observed or practiced the procedure, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Global warming may spur increased growth in Pacific Northwest forests
Global warming in the next century could cause a significant increase in the productivity of high-elevation forests of the Pacific Northwest, a new study suggests.

'Superobesity,' chronic disease burden associated with risk of death following bariatric surgery
Veterans classified as superobese and those with a higher chronic disease burden appear more likely to die within a year of having bariatric surgery, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Arctic lake sediments show warming, unique ecological changes in recent decades
An analysis of sediment cores indicates that biological and chemical changes occurring at a remote Arctic lake are unprecedented over the past 200,000 years and likely are the result of human-caused climate change, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Report examines hidden costs of energy production and use
A new report from the National Research Council examines and, when possible, estimates

Queen's scientists on international team discover 'ecologically unique' changes in Arctic lake
Queen's University biologists are part of an international research team whose discovery of a rare sediment core in a remote Arctic lake provides compelling evidence of unprecedented environmental changes occurring over the past few decades.

Novel research deconstruct inner workings of the brain
Research presented today at Neuroscience 2009, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health, provide further insights into brain mechanisms, including those involved in music, social interaction, learning and memory.

32 new exoplanets found
Today, the team who built HARPS, the spectrograph for ESO's 3.6-meter telescope, reports on the incredible discovery of some 32 new exoplanets, cementing HARPS's position as the world's foremost exoplanet hunter.

Super typhoon Lupit heading west in the Philippine Sea
Lupit has joined the ranks of super typhoons in the Western Pacific Ocean, and is currently packing maximum sustained winds near 132 mph, down from a previous peak near 149 mph, but still a Category Four strength typhoon.

Study examines treatment for olfactory loss after viral infection
Treatment with a glucocorticoid medication, either alone or in combination with Ginkgo biloba, appears to significantly improve the sense of smell in individuals with previous olfactory loss due to upper respiratory infections, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researcher honored for experimental work in nanotechnology
Air Force-funded researcher, Dr. Oscar Custance from the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan has been chosen for the 2009 Feynman Prize for Experimental Work in Nanotechnology for his research in atomic-scale precision.

Researchers optimizing progesterone for brain injury treatment
As doctors begin to test progesterone for traumatic brain injury at sites across the country, researchers are looking ahead to optimizing the hormone's effectiveness.

MU research team establishes family tree for cattle, other ruminants
Pairing a new approach to prepare ancient DNA with a new scientific technique developed specifically to genotype a cow, an MU animal scientist, along with a team of international researchers, created a very accurate and widespread

Study examines complications of thyroid surgery in older patients
In a study of patients undergoing thyroid surgery performed by a single surgeon, older adults did not appear to have more complications than younger patients, according to a report in October issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

International glass institute receives second 5-year grant from NSF
The institute, a partnership also involving Penn State University, seeks a greater role for glass in meeting the National Academy of Engineering's 14

The unicycling clown phenomenon: Talking, walking and driving with cell phone users
Everyone tends to float off into space once in a while and fail to see what is sitting there right in front of them.

GSA showcases groundbreaking aging research slated for Atlanta meeting
America's foremost authorities on aging will share the latest information on

Compound shows potential for slowing progression of ALS
A chemical cousin of a drug currently used to treat sepsis dramatically slows the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, in mice.

All-in-one computerized scheduling will make airports greener and more efficient
A new computerized approach to airport operations is being developed that will reduce delays, speed up baggage handling and decrease pollution.

Popping the cork on biofuel agriculture
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified a novel enzyme responsible for the formation of suberin -- the woody, waxy, cell-wall substance found in cork.

Review: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines effective at preventing child deaths
A study published in the Cochrane Review this month concludes that pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, already known to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and X-ray defined pneumonia, were also effective against child deaths.

Checkered history of mother and daughter cells explains cell cycle differences
New research reveals that regulatory differences between mother and daughter cells during cell division are directly linked to how they prepare for their next split.

Eutrophication affects diversity of algae
Eutrophication of the seas may have an impact on genetic variation in algae, research at the University of Gothenburg shows.

New neuroscience journal debuts at Springer
Springer is launching a new quarterly journal Translational Stroke Research, which aims to help translate scientific discoveries from basic stroke research into the development of new strategies for prevention, assessment, treatment and repair after stroke and other forms of neurotrauma.

Clots traveling from lower veins may not be the cause of pulmonary embolism in trauma patients
A report from Massachusetts General Hospital physicians calls into question the longstanding belief that pulmonary embolism -- life-threatening blockage of a major blood vessel in the lungs -- is caused in trauma patients by a blood clot traveling from vessels deep within the legs or lower torso.

Pella Corporation earns FSC certification
Pella Corporation has been awarded the Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody Certification, by Scientific Certification Systems -- accredited by the FSC to certify companies to its international standards -- further demonstrating the company's commitment to using resources responsibly.

50 active years after 50: Increasing the quality of our second half-century
A £50 million research initiative, aimed at giving people

Study: Added oxygen during stroke reduces brain tissue damage
Scientists have countered findings of previous clinical trials by showing that giving supplemental oxygen to animals during a stroke can reduce damage to brain tissue surrounding the clot.

New AIAA book highlights stealth technology, development of Lockheed blackbird
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announces the publication of a new book,

JCI table of contents: Oct. 19, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published October 19, 2009, in the JCI:

Hormone mix could cut breast cancer risk and treat symptoms of menopause
The right combination of estrogen and a selective estrogen receptor modulator, which blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue, could relieve menopause symptoms and cut breast cancer risk, Yale researchers report in an abstract presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine scientific meeting in Atlanta, Ga., Oct.

Use of microbicide-soaked vaginal and infant wipes does not prevent neonatal sepsis
Use of vaginal and infant wipes soaked with the microbicide chlorhexidene does not prevent neonatal sepsis, or prevent mother-infant transmission of disease-causing bacteria.

First-time Internet users find boost in brain function after just 1 week
UCLA scientists found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web.

New IOF report explains importance of FRAX in osteoporosis management
The International Osteoporosis Foundation will issue a new 16-page report on FRAX to mark World Osteoporosis Day on Oct.

Researchers reveal mechanism for neuron self-preservation
Tsuruta et al. find that a lipid kinase directs a voltage-gated calcium channel's degradation to save neurons from a lethal dose of overexcitement.

UD to host conference on 'Ethics of Climate Change'
The University of Delaware will host a conference on 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