Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 08, 2010
Fresh findings about chickenpox could lead to better blood tests
Fresh understanding of the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles could lead to improved vaccines and diagnostic tests, a study suggests.

A good CHAP reduces rates of heart disease and stroke in communities
A community-based health promotion program delivered by peer volunteers is the recipient of the Canadian Stroke Congress Co-Chairs' Award for Impact.

Study is first to show that highly variable sleep schedules predict elevated suicide risk
In actively suicidal young adults, highly variable sleep schedules predicted an elevated risk for suicide at one week and three weeks independent of depression.

Importance of insulin delivery devices for diabetes management
The growing use of insulin delivery devices such as pens and pumps may help individuals with diabetes optimize blood glucose control and minimize their risk for chronic health problems associated with diabetes, as described in a special supplement to Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Momentum builds after 4th International Symposium on Pet Contraception
Scientists and others from 25 countries convened in April to focus on advancing new tools to humanely manage populations of pet and un-owned cats and dogs.

Protein could heal erectile dysfunction after cancer surgery
After men have surgery to remove a cancerous prostate gland, up to 80 percent of them will lose the ability to have an erection because of damage to a critical nerve that runs along the prostate.

Fire may be key to reviving dogwood trees in eastern US forests
Proper and timely burning of some eastern US forests could help revitalize flowering dogwood trees, which benefits a wide range of species, a Purdue University report shows.

Exercise may slow progression of ALS
Exercise showed a positive impact on mice, genetically altered to present familial ALS, slowing the disease significantly and converting fast twitch muscle, shown to be more vulnerable to degeneration in ALS patients, to slow twitch muscle.

Video study finds risky food-safety behavior more common than thought
How safe is the food we get from restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service providers?

Forsyth scientists support the Human Microbiome Project
Scientists from the Forsyth Institute are making a significant contribution to the Human Microbiome Project, which is seeking to identify and sequence the thousands of species of bacteria that inhabit human body surfaces.

Success with 'cisgenics' in forestry offers new tools for biotechnology
Forestry scientists at Oregon State University have demonstrated for the first time that the growth rate and other characteristics of trees can be changed through

FDA approves first human neural stem cell clinical trial to treat brain tumors
City of Hope researchers received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct the first-in-human study of a neural stem cell-based therapy targeting recurrent high-grade gliomas, the most aggressive type of brain tumor.

Short people are more likely to develop heart disease than tall people
Short people are at greater risk of developing heart disease than tall people, according to the first systematic review and meta-analysis of all the available evidence, which is published online on Wednesday, June 9 in the European Heart Journal.

NASA'S TRMM Satellite provides rainfall estimate for Cyclone Phet
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, known as TRMM is a

Research shows personality can predict fertility
The reproductive success of both men and women is influenced by our personality traits, according to new research from the University of Sheffield.

Cadmium investigated as cause of endometrial cancer
McDonald's announced a recall recently of 12 million

Computational model sheds light on how the brain recognizes objects
Researchers at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research have developed a new mathematical model to describe how the human brain visually identifies objects.

Gestational age at delivery has relationship with the risk of special educational needs
Research published this week in PLoS Medicine shows that there is an association between gestation of a baby at delivery and the risk of special educational needs in later life.

Drug that restricts blood supply to prostate tumors delays disease progression
A blood vessel-blocking drug called tasquinimod slowed the rate of disease progression in a clinical trial of 200 prostate cancer patients, according to experts at Johns Hopkins, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Duke University.

Harnessing the immune system's diagnostic power
Bart Legutki, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has pioneered a method to track an individual's state of health by profiling the immune system.

Government funding for synthetic biology on the rise
A new analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center found that the US government has spent around $430 million on research related to synthetic biology since 2005, with the US Department of Energy funding a majority of the research.

UIC psychologist aims to reduce risky sexual behavior among African-American girls
UIC clinical psychologist Dr. Chisina Kapungu has been awarded a $795,000 career development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop and evaluate a faith-based, HIV-prevention program for African-American mothers and their daughters.

More adults report excessive sleepiness in the US than in Europe
Results indicate that 19.5 percent of US adults reported having moderate to excessive sleepiness, which was comparable between men and women.

New national telescope at La Silla
A new robotic telescope has had first light at ESO's La Silla Observatory, in Chile.

New research examines care practices in place for dialysis patients
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center have received funding to study the care processes that lead to placement of arteriovenous fistulas in patients beginning dialysis.

Bacteria from hot springs reveal clues to evolution of early life and to unlock biofuels' potential
A bacteria that lives in hot springs in Japan may help solve one of the mysteries of the early evolution of complex organisms, according to a study publishing next week in PLoS Biology.

Early consumption of soda indicator of unhealthy diet
Young girls who drink soda have less healthy diets through adolescence than their peers who do not drink soda, according to a Penn State study.

East African human ancestors lived in hot environments, says Caltech-led team
East Africa's Turkana Basin has been a hot savanna region for at least the past 4 million years -- including the period of time during which early hominids evolved in this area -- says a team of researchers led by scientists at Caltech.

A mountain bird's survival guide to climate change
Researchers at Yale University have found that the risk of extinction for mountain birds due to global warming is greatest for species that occupy a narrow range of altitude.

Invasive tallowtree spreading rapidly across Gulf coast
A study by a USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station scientist shows the numbers of nonnative Chinese tallowtree in Louisiana, Mississippi and east Texas grew by about 370 percent over a 16-year period.

Will the new World Cup soccer ball bend?
Physics experts at the University of Adelaide believe the new ball created for the 2010 World Cup, called the Jabulani, will play

Income, race combine to make perfect storm for kidney disease
African-Americans with incomes below the poverty line have a significantly higher risk of chronic kidney disease than higher-income African-Americans or whites of any socioeconomic status, research led by scientists at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging shows.

96 percent of vasectomy patients cleared without need for multiple semen samples
Having to provide repeated semen samples following a vasectomy could soon be a thing of the past, after 96 percent of men were given the all-clear based on a single test three months after surgery.

Bird book with ties to Philadelphia natural history museum wins international award
A book on tropical birds that won the 2010 International Book Award relied heavily on the scientific expertise and hundreds of bird images from the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Sleep problems are common in US soldiers returning from wartime deployment
Study shows that 86 percent of participants had sleep disturbances upon return from deployment and 45 days later even though the majority of them had no signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

Norwegian Institute of Public Health receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced today that it has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

FRAX now available as an iPhone application
The WHO Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) is now easily accessible via iPhone, making the calculation tool independent of internet access and easy to use in any clinical setting.

Cycad plant depends on insect for multiple services
When a plant endemic to several islands in the Western Pacific Ocean taps the services of a helpful insect, a double-dose of benefits comes its way.

HJF research psychologist receives Sleep Research Society's Young Investigator Award
Tracy Rupp, Ph.D., research psychologist in the Behavioral Biology Branch of the Army's Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, has won the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Sleep Research Society.

A view of the Lake Mead region inside and out
This new Special Paper from the Geological Society of America begins with an overview of Lake Mead and the eastern Central Basin and Range and then sharpens to a focus on various details of the area, including its stratigraphy, volcanism, geophysics, geohydrology, tectonics and faulting.

Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood
Defects in insulin action -- which occur in diabetes and obesity -- could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Some like it hot: Site of human evolution was scorching
If you think summer in your hometown is hot, consider the Turkana Basin of Kenya, where the average daily temperature has reached the mid-90s or higher, year-round, for the past 4 million years.

Geolocation, next phase of the social media revolution, focus of June 14 workshop at WPI
Like the rapid evolution of social media, mobile geolocation is expected to grow dramatically and radically change how people interact and shop, and how businesses connect with and market to consumers.

The best and worst work schedules: Shift start times can impact sleep and alertness
Mathematical modeling showed that estimated sleep durations varied from 4.5 hours to eight hours according to the start time of the work shift.

Psychological intervention provides enduring health benefits for women with breast cancer
Intervention improves survival rates following breast cancer recurrence. Benefits were evident years after intervention ended.

Few health reform options would have covered more people at lower cost than new law, study finds
The recently enacted federal health-care reform law provides health insurance coverage to the largest number of Americans while keeping federal costs as low as reasonably possible, according to a new analysis.

Sleep-deprived nurses may struggle to remain vigilant during 12-hour shifts
Among nurses working successive 12-hour shifts, 39 percent had moderate lapses of attention on a vigilance test and 7 percent had frequent lapses.

Limited long-term effects of school based sexual health education
An intensive sexual health education program in schools had only a small effect on reported sexual behaviors among African adolescents and no effect on the prevalence of HIV and genital herpes nine years after the start of the intervention.

Allowing body checking in youth hockey may increase risk of injury, including severe concussions
A comparison of hockey leagues in Canada for 11-12-year-old players finds that compared with leagues that do not allow body checking, those that do have an associated three-fold increased risk of game-related injuries, including severe injuries and severe concussions, according to a study in the June 9 issue of JAMA.

Ecological Society of America explores global warming at its 95th Annual Meeting
Registration is now open to the press for the Ecological Society of America's 95th Annual Meeting which will be held Aug.

Delay in surgery not likely to worsen tumors in men with low-risk prostate cancer
Johns Hopkins experts have found that men enrolled in an active surveillance program for prostate cancer that eventually needed surgery to remove their prostates fared just as well as men who opted to remove the gland immediately, except if a follow-up biopsy during surveillance showed high-grade cancer.

Man-made aurora to help predict space weather
For more than 25 years, our understanding of terrestrial space weather has been partly based on incorrect assumptions about how nitrogen, the most abundant gas in our atmosphere, reacts when it collides with electrons produced by energetic ultraviolet sunlight and

Study finds lapses in infection control practices at ambulatory surgical centers
An assessment of nearly 70 ambulatory surgical centers in three states found that lapses in infection control were common, including for practices such as hand hygiene, injection and medication safety and equipment reprocessing, according to a study in the June 9 issue of JAMA.

Intervention program helps breast cancer patients live longer after recurrence
A psychological intervention program designed for breast cancer patients reduces the risk of dying if the cancer recurs, new research shows.

Tracking coral larvae to understand Hawai'i reef health
From June 11-16, 2010, the US Geological Survey, the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Kewalo Marine Laboratory, and Malama Maunalua will use satellite-tracked drifters to track the coral larvae's dispersal along O'ahu's south shore in an effort to better understand why certain reefs in Maunalua Bay are doing well and others are doing poorly.

Under 50? Silent duo could put you at risk for a big stroke
Silent or covert strokes in young adults with first-ever ischemic stroke are associated with recurrent stroke.

Arsenic hyperaccumulating ferns: How do they survive?
Although arsenic is an extremely toxic compound, some ferns accumulate 1-3 percent of their dry weight as arsenic without adverse affects.

Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance of collegiate football players
Football players' sprint times improved significantly after seven to eight weeks of sleep extension.

Healthy diet could slow or reverse early effects of Alzheimer's disease
Patients in the early to moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease could have their cognitive impairment slowed or even reversed by switching to a healthier diet.

NASA's FASTSAT satellite readies for shipment to Alaska
NASA has successfully completed a comprehensive pre-shipment review of the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, a small, microsatellite class spacecraft bus that will carry six experiment payloads to low-Earth orbit.

Helping hearts, spinal cords and tendons heal themselves
Queen's University Brian Amsden is hoping that in about 10 years a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve will be able to regenerate itself after an injury or disease.

Side effects explained: Why common drugs can lead to broken bones
New research helps to explain why some commonly used drugs come with a serious downside: They up your odds of breaking a bone.

RWJF and Pew award 6 grants to examine the impact of policy on people's health
The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, today announced more than $1 million in grants to six projects that will conduct health impact assessments at the state and local levels.

Study examines icu outbreak of staph aureus with resistance to methicillin and linezolid
An outbreak of infection due to linezolid and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LRSA) in 12 intensive care unit patients in Spain was associated with transmission within the hospital and extensive usage of the antibiotic linezolid, often used for the treatment of serious infections, with reductions in linezolid use and infection-control measures associated with resolution of the outbreak, according to a study in the June 9 issue of JAMA.

Bodychecking triples injury risk in Pee Wee hockey
Bodychecking in Pee Wee hockey (with players aged 11-12) more than triples the risk of concussion and injury, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Calgary.

Study links long sleep duration to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome in older adults
Participants reporting a daily sleep duration of eight hours or more including naps were 15 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome.

Hebrew University invention provides quicker, more efficient use of surveillance videos
How to condense many hours of video surveillance viewing into just short sessions of observing key segments has been developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Poor health? Easier for some to blame bad genes than change lifestyle
Does knowing that genes are partly responsible for your health condition mean you are less likely to be motivated to find out about the benefits of behavioral changes?

New type of human stem cell may be more easy to manipulate
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have a developed a new type of human pluripotent stem cell that can be manipulated more readily than currently available stem cells.

Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood
Defects in insulin function -- which occur in diabetes and obesity -- could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

When screen time becomes a pain
The amount of time teenagers spend in front of TV screens and monitors has been associated with physical complaints.

Shortcut through eyelid gives surgeons less-invasive approach to fix brain fluid leaks
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins have safely and effectively operated inside the brains of a dozen patients by making a small entry incision through the natural creases of an eyelid to reach the skull and deep brain.

Getting a grip on stroke treatment
When someone suffers a stroke, time is critical -- more than a million brain cells die each minute, starved of nourishment due to critical damage in a cerebral blood vessel.

'Knowledge translation' keeps treatment current
Though guidelines for best treatment practices are common, they are only partially effective without standardized, routine exposure to them in clinical practice, according to a study conducted by University of Cincinnati emergency medicine researchers.

Stop or speed through a yellow light? That is the question
Transportation engineering Ph.D. student Zhixia Li was attracted to the University of Cincinnati because of the real-world education and experience the university provides.

A launchpad for stem cell research
Dr. Yechiel Elkabetz of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has identified a special class of stem cells called

After critical illness, long-term acute care hospitalization common, increasing
From 1997 to 2006, the number of long-term acute care hospitals doubled, the number of Medicare patients who were transferred to a long-term acute care hospital after a critical illness tripled, and the one year survival for these patients was poor, according to a study in the June 9 issue of JAMA.

Cost of caring for stroke patients double that of earlier estimates
Care in first six months post stroke in Canada soars to more than $2.5 billion annually according to new study.

VARI findings could help diagnose and treat liver cancer
In collaboration with the National Cancer Center, Singapore, Van Andel Research Institute researchers have identified an enzyme that could help diagnose and treat cholangiocarcinoma, a form of liver cancer that strikes up to 3,000 new patients each year in the United States.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation must implement payment reforms rapidly
The new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation must be inclusive and flexible in developing and implementing payment initiatives, continuously monitor their impact, and rapidly disseminate them if they appear to be successful, in order to realize the potential for improved health care delivery and reduced spending, according to a new Health Affairs article by Commonwealth Fund researchers.

Researchers capture first images of sub-nano pore structures
Moore's law marches on: In the quest for faster and cheaper computers, scientists have imaged pore structures in insulation material at sub-nanometer scale for the first time.

Study finds young men more vulnerable to relationship ups and downs than women
Contrary to popular belief, the ups and downs of romantic relationships have a greater effect on the mental health of young men than women, according to a new study by a Wake Forest University sociology professor.

Thyroid ultrasound takes center stage at Caesars Palace
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists are collaborating to present Thyroid and Parathyroid Imaging and Update on Thyroid Disorders, July 31-Aug.

Vacuum cleaner sucks up strokes
This potentially paradigm-shifting procedure may successfully salvage brain cells for more than just the first three hours following a major stroke, with fewer risks.

Planes, trains and automobiles: Traffic noise disturbs sleep, affects morning performance
Mean reaction time on a morning psychomotor vigilance task slowed significantly by 3.6 ms after exposure to recorded traffic noise during sleep, and slowed reactions were directly and significantly related to increases in both the frequency and sound-pressure level of the nightly noise events.

Americans want self-respect, more than ever
Americans want self-respect, and that desire has risen significantly in the last two decades, say marketing researchers at the University of Oregon.

Poll: American opinion on climate change warms up
Public concern about global warming is once again on the rise, according to a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

FDA should adopt risk-based approach to food safety
The US Food and Drug Administration's abilities to discover potential threats to food safety and prevent outbreaks of food-borne illness are hampered by impediments to efficient use of its limited resources and a piecemeal approach to gathering and using information on risks.

Study links sleep apnea in children and teens to lower academic grades
Moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea was linked to lower academic grades and behavioral concerns expressed by parents and teachers.

Biogen Idec and Elan initiate first-of-its-kind patient-reported outcomes research program in MS
Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN), in collaboration with EPI-Q Inc. and Avatar International LLC, today announced the launch of My MS Health, a first-of-its-kind, Web-based, patient-reported outcomes research program.

New shortcut to cell growth
According to a new study published in the journal Cell, scientists from the Harvard Medical School, the University of Montreal and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found a new way by which nerve cells relay information that tell them to grow from millimeters to meters in length. 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