Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 23, 2009
Impoverished living conditions despite new settlement policy after the genocide in Rwanda
The goal of the new settlement policy for refugees and survivors of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 was to provide new accommodation for all who needed it.

Climate change could boost incidence of civil war in Africa
Using historical data on the relationship between temperature and conflict in Africa, researchers at UC Berkeley, Stanford, New York University and Harvard have estimated the effect of rising temperatures due to global warming.

Consumers choose locally grown and environmentally friendly apples
When asked to compare apples to apples, consumers said they would pay more for locally grown apples than genetically modified (GMO) apples.

Exposure to lead, tobacco smoke raises risk of ADHD
Children exposed prenatally to tobacco smoke and during childhood to lead face a particularly high risk for ADHD, according to research done at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Achieving asthma control in preschoolers
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and a major reason for admissions to hospital, yet inadequate asthma control is present in 26-45 percent of children, states a review in CMAJ.

Diabetics show alarming increase in morbid obesity
One out of five type 2 diabetics is morbidly obese -- approximately 100 pounds or more overweight -- a Loyola University Health System study has found.

We're off then: The evolution of bat migration
Researchers reconstruct the evolution of bat migration with the aid of a mathematical model.

New research shows versatility of amniotic fluid stem cells
For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that stem cells found in amniotic fluid meet an important test of potential to become specialized cell types, which suggests they may be useful for treating a wider array of diseases and conditions than scientists originally thought.

Insect resistance to Bt crops can be predicted, monitored and managed
With Bt crop acreage increasing worldwide, incorporating enhanced understanding of observed patterns of field-evolved resistance into future resistance management strategies can help to minimize the drawbacks and maximize the benefits of current and future generations of transgenic crops.

AIDS research reveals a lack of family-planning programs in Uganda
University of Alberta graduate student Jennifer Heys wants to make her message clear: there needs to be more education in Ugandan communities about contraception.

Clemson University lands $98 million funding to develop next-generation wind turbines
The next-generation wind turbines and drive trains will be tested by the Clemson University Restoration Institute in a move that is expected to create hundreds of jobs and place one of the most important sites for wind energy research and development in South Carolina.

Children who lack continuity with a regular health care provider miss needed services
Low-income children who don't access health care from the same place or provider over the long term are significantly more likely to have unmet health care needs compared with those do, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Exposures to metals and diesel emissions in air linked to respiratory symptoms in children
Exposure shortly after birth to ambient metals from residential heating oil combustion and particles from diesel emissions are associated with respiratory symptoms in young inner city children, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

NIGMS invests in scientific Grand Opportunities with Recovery Act funds
NIGMS has invested $42.3 million in Recovery Act funds for grants in scientific areas it identified as

Medical 'pay for performance' programs help improve care -- but not always, study finds
Everybody likes a raise in pay. Even health care professionals, it appears.

Straightening messy correlations with a quantum comb
Dong Yang and Jens Eisert of the University of Potsdam have shown how to delicately comb out a snarl of entanglements among many qubits while keeping the information intact.

Fat around the middle increases the risk of dementia
Women who store fat on their waist in middle age are more than twice as likely to develop dementia when they get older, reveals a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy.

New computer-developed map shows more extensive valley network on Mars
In a newly published study, scientists used an innovative computer program to produce a more detailed global map of Mars' valley networks.

Donate your text messages to science
A Universite de Montreal researcher has a special request for Canadian texters:

Daycare may double TV time for young children, study finds
In a new study, the amount of television viewed by many young children in child care settings doubles the previous estimates of early childhood screen time, with those in home-based settings watching significantly more on average than those in center-based daycares.

Control of blood clotting by platelets described; provides medical promise
Cell fragments called platelets are essential to promote blood clotting.

Umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant may help lung, heart disorders
Two studies published in Cell Transplantation investigating the use of human umbilical cord blood stem cell (UCB) transplants for lung and heart disorders in animal models found beneficial results.

'Cosmic slot machine' Web site allows citizen scientists to analyze galaxy collisions
A new Web site developed by researchers at George Mason University and Oxford University will give everyone the chance to contribute to science by playing a

Vioxx trial data shows early cardiovascular risk
Evidence of cardiovascular risks associated with taking Vioxx, the popular, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (rofecoxib), could have been identified nearly four years before its manufacturer, Merck & Co.

Menopause-cardiology consensus statement on cardiovascular disease and on HRT
A menopause-cardiology consensus statement has called for direct action to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in menopausal women.

Gene implicated in stress-induced high blood pressure
Do stressful situations make your blood pressure rise? If so, your phosducin gene could be to blame according to new research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, that indicates a role for the protein generated by the phosducin gene in modulating blood pressure in response to stress in both mice and humans.

Research reveals exactly how coughing is triggered by environmental irritants
Scientists have revealed how environmental irritants such as air pollution and cigarette smoke cause people to cough, in research published today in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Why not mashed paper towels on the Thanksgiving menu?
The American Chemical Society is releasing a special Thanksgiving video on the chemistry behind the foods that make up our traditional holiday feasts.

Direct-to-consumer ads associated with higher Medicaid costs
Direct-to-consumer advertising for a commonly prescribed antiplatelet drug does not appear associated with increased use, but may be associated with increased drug costs and Medicaid pharmacy expenditures, according to a report in the Nov.

Multiple health concerns surface as winter, vitamin D deficiences arrive
A string of recent discoveries about the multiple health benefits of vitamin D has renewed interest in this multi-purpose nutrient, increased awareness of the huge numbers of people who are deficient in it, spurred research and even led to an appreciation of it as

Experiencing our heritage by recreating authentic sounds of the past
What would a ritual at Stonehenge have sounded like 4,000 years ago?

Synthetic biology offers new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration
More than 160 participants gathered this week for the seventh annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conference.

Scientists watch as peptides control crystal growth with 'switches, throttles and brakes'
By producing some of the highest resolution images of peptides attaching to mineral surfaces, scientists have a deeper understanding how biomolecules manipulate the growth crystals.

Evaluating eHealth: How to make evaluation more methodologically robust
This week PLoS Medicine publishes the third in a series of articles evaluating eHealth.

Upending textbook science on Alzheimer's disease
In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience, Dr. Inna Slutsky of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine finds that the amyloid-beta protein, currently the target of Alzheimer's drug research, is essential for normal information transfer through nerve cell networks in the brain.

UNH prof. receives nearly $500,000 to research environmentally significant plants
University of New Hampshire microbiologist Louis Tisa has received two grants totaling $498,115 to advance understanding of the actinorhizal plants, widespread woody plants with potential to enrich nutrient-poor and contaminated soils.

University of Minnesota invention will help speed development of drug treatments for heart failure
Research conducted by University of Minnesota scientists, in collaboration with Celladon Corporation, has led to the invention of technology to more rapidly identify compounds for the treatment of heart failure.

Time of day matters to thirsty trees, U of T researcher discovers
The time of day matters to forest trees dealing with drought, according to a new paper produced by a research team led by Professor Malcolm Campbell, University of Toronto Scarborough's vice-principal for research and colleagues in the department of cell and systems biology at the St.

UT Southwestern receives continued NIH funding for Inner City Asthma Consortium
UT Southwestern Medical Center is among 10 institutions selected by the National Institutes of Health to share $56 million over five years as part of the Inner City Asthma Consortium.

The unanticipated results of aid
Despite decades of improvements, the outcome of development assistance is rarely as intended.

It's time for a 'third wave' of malaria activism to tackle drug shortages
In this week's PLoS Medicine, the journal's editors call for concerted international action to address the crisis of malaria drug shortages across Africa.

10 x '20: ID experts call for 10 new antibiotics by 2020
The Infectious Diseases Society of America has asked for a commitment from the Obama administration and the European Union to further the Society's mission to achieve the development of 10 new antibiotics within the next 10 years, known as the 10 x '20 Initiative.

Children unaffected by smoking ban consequences
The smoking ban in Wales has not displaced secondhand smoke from public places into the home.

Using new technique, scientists find 11 times more aftershocks for 2004 quake
Using a technique normally used for detecting weak tremor, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that the 2004 magnitude 6 earthquake along the Parkfield section of the San Andreas fault exhibited almost 11 times more aftershocks than previously thought.

Predicting the fate of underground carbon
A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a new modeling methodology for determining the capacity and assessing the risks of leakage of potential underground carbon-dioxide reservoirs.

Racial disparity in colon cancer survival not easily explained, UAB researchers say
For colon and other cancers, African-Americans have lower survival rates than whites.

Factors from common human bacteria may trigger multiple sclerosis
Current research suggests that a common oral bacterium may exacerbate autoimmune disease.

Killer fungus threatening amphibians
Amphibians like frogs and toads have existed for 360 million years and survived when the dinosaurs didn't, but a new aquatic fungus is threatening to make many of them extinct, according to an article in the November issue of Microbiology Today.

Lose the fat: Targeting grease to curtail sewer overflows
Sewer overflows are a nasty business, posing dangers to human health and the environment.

Computational microscope peers into the working ribosome
Two new studies reveal in unprecedented detail how the ribosome interacts with other molecules to assemble new proteins and guide them toward their destination in biological cells.

Team-based care involving a pharmacist improves blood pressure control
Patients whose hypertension is managed by a physician-pharmacist team have lower blood pressure levels and are more likely to reach goals for blood pressure control than those treated without this collaborative approach, according to a report in the Nov.

Amid the flu epidemic, don't forget RSV in young children
An analysis of emergency department visits at Children's Hospital Boston shows that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) takes a substantially greater disease toll among young children than does seasonal flu.

Springer launches SpringerMaterials at London Online Information 2009
Springer Science+Business Media has announced the launch of SpringerMaterials -- the Landolt-Boernstein Database.

Initiative could result in paradigm shift in the care of sickle cell patients
The Medical College of Georgia is leading an initiative that could result in a paradigm shift in the care of patients with sickle cell disease.

JCI table of contents: Nov. 23, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Nov.

Water droplets direct self-assembly process in thin-film materials
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a technique for fabricating 3-D, single-crystalline silicon structures from thin films by coupling photolithography and a self-folding process driven by capillary interactions.

Johns Hopkins researchers track down protein responsible for chronic rhinosinusitis with polyps
A protein known to stimulate blood vessel growth has now been found to be responsible for the cell overgrowth in the development of polyps that characterize one of the most severe forms of sinusitis, a study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Burnout and mental distress strongly related to errors by US surgeons
Major medical errors self-reported by American surgeons are strongly related to both burnout and depression.

ACS applauds Obama's 'National Lab Day' as a boost for science education
The American Chemical Society today commended President Obama for announcing the establishment of National Lab Day, a major new science education initiative designed to increase community-based collaborations between scientists, engineers, teachers and students.

Polymer with honeycomb structure
Two-dimensional carbon layers, so-called graphenes, are regarded as a possible substitute for silicon in the semiconductor industry.

Intensive land management leaves Europe without carbon sinks
A new calculation of Europe's greenhouse gas balance shows that emissions of methane and nitrous oxide tip the balance and eliminate Europe's terrestrial sink of greenhouse gases.

Sedatives, mood-altering drugs related to falls among elderly: UBC study
Falls among elderly people are significantly associated with several classes of drugs, including sedatives often prescribed as sleep aids and medications used to treat mood disorders, according to a study led by a University of British Columbia expert in pharmaceutical outcomes research.

Turkey Genome Sequencing Consortium awarded $0.9 million from USDA
Turkey is the fourth most economically important source of meat for consumers in the United States.

A quantum leap forward?
The dusty boxes that line the walls of Jeff Barrett's UC Irvine office mark a high point in his academic career.

New discovery about the formation of new brain cells
The generation of new nerve cells in the brain is regulated by a peptide known as C3a, which directly affects the stem cells' maturation into nerve cells and is also important for the migration of new nerve cells through the brain tissue, reveals new research from the Sahlgrenska Academy published in the journal Stem Cells.

Home-based HIV care strategy is as effective as clinic-based strategy in Uganda
Home-based care results in similar outcomes as clinic-based strategies for HIV patients in Africa, concludes an article published online first and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet.

Adoption: Every child deserves a home
Finding a permanent home for children and youth who are in the care of welfare agencies should be a priority for all Canadians, write Laura Eggertson, Dr.

Supervolcano eruption -- in Sumatra -- deforested India 73,000 years ago
A new study provides

Drug side effects a key factor in reduced quality of life for kidney transplant patients
Researchers surveyed 55 patients who had received a kidney transplant in the last year and 105 who had had surgery in the last one to three years to assess their quality of life.

Flaxseed oil and osteoporosis
Animal studies suggest that adding flaxseed oil to the diet could reduce the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and women with diabetes, according to a report to be published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health.

Fish food fight: Fish don't eat trees after all, says new study
Recent theories suggesting that half of fishes' food comes from from land-based ecosystems may not hold water.

Lessons for HIV learned from monkey control of SIV infection
The HIV-related virus SIV does not cause disease in some strains of monkey (its natural hosts), whereas it does in others (susceptible hosts).

The Center for Science Writings presents 'The Evolution of God,' Dec. 2
The Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology will present

Why circumcision reduces HIV risk
The decreased risk of HIV infection in circumcised men cannot be explained by a reduction in sores from conditions such as herpes, according to research published in PLoS Medicine.

Competitive, trade-friendly nations weather volatile crop yields best
Richer nations with competitive crop production and few trade barriers would fare the best if climate change, weather events or other factors cause yields of grain and oilseed crops to become more volatile, a new study has found.

Road rage
Outrageous prices may not be the only thing causing anger at the petrol pumps.

How green is your house?
Seventy percent of households always separate their rubbish for recycling, but only 2 percent buy their energy on a green tariff, according to the early findings of a major new annual household survey, called

Stable plaque or heart attack plaque? USC researcher builds new sensor to tell which is which
Biomedical engineer and cardiologist Tzung

Genome-wide association studies in developing countries raise important new ethical issues
Typically conducted in richer, developed countries but now increasingly done in the developing world, genome wide association studies raise a host of ethical issues that must be addressed, argues a Policy Forum article published this week in PLoS Medicine.

Research and legislation should go hand in hand, as much as possible
Mr. Carlos Maria Romeo Casabona, from the Faculty of Law of the University of the Basque Country is researching into law focused on science and technology to do with genetics and, above all, with human health.

A mechanical model of vocalization
When people speak, sing or shout, they produce sound by pushing air over their vocal folds -- bits of muscle and tissue that manipulate the air flow and vibrate within it.

New chameleon species discovered in East Africa
A new species of chameleon has been discovered in a threatened forest in Tanzania.

The cause behind the characteristic shape of a long leaf revealed
Applied mathematicians dissected the morphology of the plantain lily, a characteristic long leaf with a saddle-like arc midsection and closely packed ripples along the edges.

News brief: Arsenic biomethylation required for oxidative DNA damage
Biomethylation of arsenic compounds appears to cause oxidative DNA damage and to increase their carcinogenicity, according to a new study published online Nov.

Wind farm design borrows strategy from schooling fish
Last year, the United States overtook Germany to become the largest producer of wind energy in the world.

Iowa State researcher produces, ships only H1N1 vaccine available for swine
Iowa State University's Hank Harris has developed the only swine vaccine available for the H1N1 virus.

Diabetes surgery summit consensus lays foundation for new field of medicine
A first-of-its-kind consensus statement on diabetes surgery is published online today in the Annals of Surgery.

Visual assistance for cosmic blind spots
Information field theory enables astronomers, medical practitioners and geologists to look into places where their measuring instruments are blind.

Switchgrass produces biomass efficiently
A US DOE and USDA study concluded that 50 million US acres of cropland, idle cropland, and cropland pasture could be converted from current uses to the production of perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, from which biomass could be harvested for use as a biofuel feedstock.

Is global warming unstoppable?
In a provocative new study, a University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions -- the major cause of global warming -- cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.

Psychotropic medications associated with risk of falls in older adults
Older adults who take several types of psychotropic medications -- such as antidepressants or sedatives -- appear more likely to experience falls, according to an analysis of previous studies reported in the Nov.

A year after discovery, Congo's 'mother lode' of gorillas remains vulnerable
A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society says that western lowland gorillas living in a large swamp in the Republic of Congo -- part of the

Insomnia prevalent among cancer patients who receive chemotherapy
In a study of cancer patients and survivors, three-quarters report having insomnia or sleep problems following chemotherapy.

Moderate-to-heavy exercise may reduce risk of stroke for men
Men who regularly take part in moderate-to-heavy intensity exercise such as jogging, tennis or swimming may be less likely to have a stroke than people who get no exercise or only light exercise, such as walking, golfing or bowling, according to a study published in the Nov.

Rescuing male turkey chicks
A novel approach to classify the gender of six-week-old turkey poults could save millions of male chicks from being killed shortly after birth, according to Dr.

Study highlights from November issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
In the November issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, a study out of Stanford University found that Barrett's esophagus was detected in six percent of asymptomatic women undergoing endoscopic screening.

Exploring the boundaries of turbulence wins honors for Caltech researcher
An Air Force Office of Scientific Research-funded researcher is exploring the physics of turbulence, including the potential impact of turbulence on flows, which are of interest to the Air Force.

5-day delivery no sure cure for postal woes, economist says
Scaling back mail delivery from six days a week to five may be the best bet to stem mounting US Postal Service losses, but could still be a gamble, says a University of Illinois economist who has studied the agency's persistent financial decline.

Drug ads ineffective for boosting sales, could cost taxpayers: UBC-Harvard study
US taxpayers may be on the hook for the high cost of drug advertising that does little to boost sales, according to a new study led by a University of British Columbia health policy researcher.

Adverse heart effects of rofecoxib may have been identified years earlier
Clinical trial data indicated an association between the anti-inflammatory medication rofecoxib and cardiovascular risk as early as December 2000, before the product was taken off the market in September 2004, according to a report in the Nov. 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