Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 22, 2009
Got smell?
As anyone suffering through a head cold knows, food tastes wrong when the nose is clogged, an experience that leads many to conclude that the sense of taste operates normally only when the olfactory system is also in good working order.

2/3 of Australians unlikely to get vaccinated against swine flu
Australia risks a serious swine flu outbreak with 65 percent of unprotected Australians stating they're unlikely to get vaccinated against the disease in the next 12 months, according to an MBF Healthwatch Poll.

Anemia drug not helpful for kidney disease patients
An international study authored by a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher has concluded that the anemia drug darbepoetin alfa works no better than a placebo in several other applications previously thought to be promising.

New compounds may control deadly fungal infections
An estimated 25,000 Americans develop severe fungal infections each year, leading to 10,000 deaths despite the use of anti-fungal drugs.

Novel nanotechnology heals abscesses caused by resistant staph bacteria
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have developed a new approach for treating and healing skin abscesses caused by bacteria resistant to most antibiotics.

How do you improve mammogram accuracy? Add noise
Members of a Syracuse University research team have shown that an obscure phenomenon called stochastic resonance can improve the clarity of signals in systems such as radar, sonar and even radiography, used in medical clinics to detect signs of breast cancer.

An inexpensive 'dipstick' test for pesticides in foods
Scientists in Canada are reporting the development of a fast, inexpensive

High risk of colorectal, endometrial and Lynch syndrome cancers for MSH6 mutation carriers
People carrying the germ-line MSH6 mutation are at high risk by age 80 years for colorectal and endometrial cancers and any cancer associated with Lynch syndrome, according to a new study published online Dec.

Volunteer program provides quality low-risk operative care to patients in need
A new study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that a volunteer program providing low-risk outpatient surgical procedures can deliver safe and effective health care to patients in need.

CT: The first-line imaging choice of physicians for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism
Computed tomography, a highly accurate, readily available medical imaging technique, is the overwhelmingly preferred technique of emergency physicians and radiologists for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Poor face greater health burden than smokers or the obese
The average low-income person loses 8.2 years of perfect health, the average high school dropout loses 5.1 years, and the obese lose 4.2 years, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Rutgers receives national funding toward $17.9 million bridge technology project
The Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation has been awarded US Commerce Department funding toward a $17.9 million project aimed at improving bridge maintenance and safety.

Pot and pop: New research finds stronger link between music and marijuana use among teens
Teens who frequently listen to music that contains references to marijuana are more likely to use the drug than their counterparts with less exposure to such lyrics, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study online now in the journal Addiction.

Poll finds 3/4 of parents who tried to get H1N1 vaccine for their children have gotten it
A new poll by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows the shortage of H1N1 vaccine for children is easing.

Bacteria make the artificial blood vessels of the future
The cellulose produced by bacteria could be used for artificial blood vessels in the future as it carries a lower risk of blood clots than the synthetic materials currently used for bypass operations, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Chemistry makes the natural 'wonder fabric' -- wool -- more wonderful
Scientists in China are reporting an advance that may improve the natural wonders of wool -- already regarded as the

New human reproductive hormone could lead to novel contraceptives
Nearly 10 years after the discovery that birds make a hormone that suppresses reproduction, UC Berkeley neuroscientists have established that humans make it too, opening the door to development of a new class of contraceptive and possible treatments for cancer or other diseases.

Examining diabetes through a new lens
Diabetics may soon be able to wear contact lenses that continuously alert them to variations in their glucose levels by changing colors -- replacing the need to routinely draw blood throughout the day.

High-blood-pressure treatment for the over-80s too aggressive, warns expert
People over 80 years are being treated too aggressively for high blood pressure, warns an expert in an editorial in BMJ Clinical Evidence this week.

Growing evidence suggests progesterone should be considered a treatment option for traumatic brain injuries
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., recommend that progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone found in both males and females that can protect damaged cells in the central and peripheral nervous systems, be considered a viable treatment option for traumatic brain injuries, according to a clinical perspective published in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Could acetaminophen ease psychological pain?
Over-the-counter pain relieving drugs have long been used to alleviate physical pain, while a host of other medications have been employed in the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Teenagers use violence to boost their social standing
A new study looks in depth at the social relationships between male and female teenagers, relational violence and psycho-social adjustment factors such as loneliness, self-esteem and satisfaction with life.

Elevated-risk women refuse MRI breast cancer screening
In a new study, 42 percent of women eligible for breast cancer screening with MRI declined to undergo the procedure.

Hatchery-raised salmon too crowded
Every year, large amounts of hatchery-raised young salmonids are released into Swedish rivers and streams to compensate for losses in natural production.

Routine screening for postnatal depression not cost effective
Routine screening for postnatal depression in primary care -- as recommended in recent guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence -- do not appear to represent value for money for the NHS, concludes a study published on today.

The number of 85-year-olds will increase by a third by 2020
Health and social care provision needs to be put in place for a large increase in the 85-year-old population in the UK by 2020, according to a study published today on

Brown dwarf pair mystifies astronomers
Two brown dwarf-sized objects orbiting a giant old star show that planets may assemble around stars more quickly and efficiently than anyone thought possible, according to an international team of astronomers.

Seeing how evolutionary mechanisms yield biological diversity
A international team of scientists has discovered how changes in both gene expression and gene sequence led to the diversity of visual systems in African cichlid fish.

Efficient new wireless system developed by SU scientist can save 10 percent of bandwidth
A Syracuse University scientist has invented a new technology for handling wireless traffic that significantly reduces bandwidth use.

Course and Aging director publishes book examining impact of natural disasters on lifespan
Director of LSU's Life Course and Aging Center, or LCAC, Katie Cherry, along with several LSU colleagues, has published a book titled

Nanoscale changes in collagen are a tipoff to bone health
Using a technique that provides detailed images of nanoscale structures, researchers at the University of Michigan and Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital have discovered changes in the collagen component of bone that directly relate to bone health.

Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections may help treat severe hip pain
Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections may be an effective treatment method for gluteus medius tendinopathy, a common, painful condition caused by an injury to the tendons in the buttocks that typically affects middle-aged to elderly women and young active individuals, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Deadly infection more common than realized
Staphylococcus aureus causes far more serious infections than previously realized, with more than 3,000 Swedes affected every year, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Spider web glue spins society toward new biobased adhesives
With would-be goblins and ghosts set to drape those huge fake spider webs over doorways and trees for Halloween, scientists in Wyoming are reporting on a long-standing mystery about real spider webs: It is the secret of spider web glue.

Attention demands may explain why texting while driving is so dangerous
A timely study in the journal Human Factors suggests why texting while driving is riskier than talking on a cell phone or with another passenger.

Climate debate: What's warming us up? Human activity or Mother Nature?
A major analysis of the climate debate concludes that the majority of scientists agree that global warming is primarily man-made, although a vocal minority of skeptics is holding onto the idea that Mother Nature is the cause.

Conservation areas threatened nationally by housing development
Conservationists have long known that lines on a map are not sufficient to protect nature because what happens outside those boundaries can affect what happens within.

Physiologic factors linked to image quality of multidetector computed tomography scans
A large multicenter international trial found that the image quality of multidetector computed tomography scans, used for the noninvasive detection of coronary artery disease, can be significantly affected by patient characteristics such as ethnicity, body mass index and heart rate, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Disproportionate effects of global warming and pollution on disadvantaged communities
Global warming, pollution, and the environmental consequences of energy production impose a greater burden on low-income, disadvantaged communities, and strategies to prevent these inequities are urgently needed.

New direction for NATO must make alliance relevant in current security environment
NATO is rethinking its future direction for the first time since the Sept.

Canopy giants and miniature fungi among 250 new species discovered in Kew's 250th anniversary year
Kew botanists announce more than 250 new plant and fungi species discovered in 250th anniversary year.

Adverse consequences of obesity may be greater than previously thought
The link between obesity and cardiovascular mortality may be substantially underestimated, while some of the adverse consequences of being underweight may be overstated, concludes a study published on today.

Study redefines placebo effect as part of effective treatment
Researchers used the placebo effect to successfully treat psoriasis patients with one quarter to one half of their usual dose of a widely used steroid medication, according to an early study published online today in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Scott & White Healthcare researcher finds success with new anti-cancer drug
A study conducted at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, found that a new drug stopped the growth of breast tumors in mice.

Combined lithium plus valproate or lithium monotherapy better at preventing relapse in bipolar patients than valproate monotherapy (Balance study)
For people with bipolar I disorder, for whom long-term therapy is clinically indicated, both combination therapy with lithium plus valproate and lithium monotherapy are more likely to prevent relapse than is valproate monotherapy.

New pathway discovered that may prevent tissue damage resulting from inflammation
Interferon gamma is a protein secreted by lymphocytes that is used to fight the bacteria in white blood cells that cause tuberculosis.

SNM calls Congress' passage of fix for sustainable growth rate a short-term solution
SNM is pleased that the US Congress has passed a fix to freeze the conversion factor at the 2009 rate for physicians, which will ensure that millions of patients continue to receive medical coverage for critical diagnostic imaging tests and therapeutics.

UAB will carry out an in-depth study of the effects olive oil has on the prevention of breast cancer
Ana Ripoll, rector of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Pedro Barato, president of Organización Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español, signed a research agreement to carry out an in-depth study on how the intake of olive oil can work towards preventing and fighting against breast cancer.

Fungal footage fosters foresight into plant, animal disease
Mold and mildew may be doomed. Researchers are closer to understanding how these and other fungi grow.

Michigan State University study sheds light on microscopic flower petal ridges
Microscopic ridges contouring the surface of flower petals might play a role in flashing that come-hither look pollinating insects can't resist.

Researchers to investigate the genetics of congenital heart disease
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women's Hospital have received a $4.19 million, six-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to support their search for undiscovered gene defects that cause congenital heart disease.

New, virulent strain of MRSA poses renewed antibiotic resistance concerns
The often feared and sometimes deadly infections caused by MRSA -- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- are now moving out of hospitals and emerging as an even more virulent strain in community settings and on athletic teams, and raising new concerns about antibiotic resistance.

Adding a genetic supertool
Tel Aviv University now has its own deep sequencer -- one of the first in Israel -- a Genome Analyzer housed in a new Genome Facility. 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