Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2008)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2008

CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
The CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium features the latest findings in laboratory, translational and clinical breast cancer research. This year's meeting focuses on new and promising therapeutic approaches, as well as strides being made in diagnosing and preventing breast cancer.

A new world of research possibilities with 'Emerging Model Organisms'
How can moss help us to treat Alzheimer's disease? What can the lamprey immune system tell us about evolution? To answer these and other questions, scientists are increasing the array of experimental model organisms. These novel species -- some relatively new to the laboratory and others undergoing a recent expansion -- are the focus of

Winning University of Melbourne Ph.D. research boosts the search for sensitive sensors
Research that could lead to brighter LCD screens, more efficient solar panels, improved biomedical imaging and high-tech security sensors has won the University of Melbourne's Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in Ph.D.

UT Southwestern researchers develop new strategy for broad spectrum anti-viral drugs
Bavituximab, an anti-viral drug developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers, shows promise as a new strategy to fight viral diseases, including potential bioterrorism agents.

Greater alcohol outlet density is linked to male-to-female partner violence
Alcohol-outlet density is associated with a number of adverse health and social consequences. New research examines the relationship between AOD and intimate partner violence. Findings show that an increase of 10 alcohol outlets per 10,000 persons was associated with a 34 percent increased risk of male-to-female partner violence.

More than half a million reviewers to receive free access to published research
Elsevier's new reference linking service streamlines peer review.

Quintet of proteins forms new, early-warning blood test before heart attack strikes
A team of Johns Hopkins biochemists has identified a mixed bag of five key proteins out of thousands secreted into blood draining from the heart's blood vessels that may together or in certain quantities form the basis of a far more accurate early warning test than currently in use of impending heart attack in people with severely reduced blood flow, or ischemia.

Dietary sport supplement shows strong effects in the elderly
Beta-alanine, a dietary supplement widely used by athletes and body builders, has been proven to increase the fitness levels of a group of elderly men and women. The research, published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, suggests that BA supplementation improves muscle endurance in the elderly.

The bonsai effect: Wounded plants make jasmonates, inhibiting cell division, stunting growth
Reporting in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE on Nov. 11, Yi Zhang and John Turner at the University of East Anglia found that when leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis are wounded, cell division in the apical meristem is reduced, growth of the plant is arrested within days, and the new leaves grow to only one-half of their normal size although the size of leaf cells is unaffected.

Animal and biological science highlights San Antonio Fluid Dynamics Conference, Nov. 23-25
From dolphins to clams to flying creatures like hummingbirds and bats, many of nature's most fascinating creatures exhibit forms of fluid flow. When the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics takes place from Nov. 23-25 at the San Antonio Convention Center, researchers from across the globe will describe cutting-edge research with applications in astronomy, engineering, alternative energy, biology and medicine.

Lung airway cells activate vitamin D and increase immune response
Essential to good health, vitamin D requires activation to function properly in the body. Until recently, this activation was thought to occur primarily in the kidneys. A new study finds it can occur in lung airway cells. The investigation also links the vitamin D produced in the lung airway cells to activation of infection-fighting genes.

Planetary 'first family' discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
Astronomers using the Gemini North telescope and W.M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the Hawaiian chain, have obtained the first-ever direct images identifying a multiplanet system around a normal star.

University of Miami biomedical engineer wins
Cherie L. Stabler, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Miami College of Engineering and director of the tissue engineering program at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine won the Type 1 Diabetes Pathfinder Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The project for which Stabler won her award is titled

Burroughs Wellcome Fund award creates new Ph.D. path linking laboratory and population sciences
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has selected Emory University for a $2.5 million, five-year award aimed at training new biomedical scientists whose expertise in research and teaching will bridge laboratory and population sciences.

New MacArthur network to examine impact of aging society
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is creating a new inter-disciplinary research network to help America prepare for the challenges and opportunities posed by our aging society.

AAO-SOE Joint Meeting Nov. 9 glaucoma research highlights
Glaucoma-related highlights of today's scientific program of the 2008 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and European Society of Ophthalmology include a study that correlates optic nerve damage in glaucoma patients with carotid artery narrowing and potentially elevated risk for stroke, and a survey that looks at how the practice of fasting, common to the world's seven major religions, may affect patient compliance with treatment for glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Medical Simulation Corp. announces partnership with University of South Florida
Medical Simulation Corp. announces a new partnership with the University of South Florida to provide simulation training and education for health professionals, with the aim of reducing medical errors and promoting patient safety.

Award-winning researcher says relationships with news media, public are critical
Relationships between scientists and the news media have evolved tremendously over the past 25 years, and scientists should continue to improve communications with both the media and the lay public, according to a Wake Forest University researcher whose commentary appears this month in a major scientific journal.

Clicking knees are antelopes' way of saying 'back off'
Knee clicking can establish mating rights among antelopes. A study of eland antelopes, published in the open access journal BMC Biology, has uncovered the dominance displays used by males to settle disputes over access to fertile females, without resorting to genuine violence.

Gene chips accurately detect pneumonia in ICU patients on ventilators
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have validated the use of gene chip technology to rapidly and accurately detect pneumonia associated with ventilator use in hospitalized patients.

MCG receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant for innovative global health research
The Medical College of Georgia announced today that it has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Dr. Pandelakis A. Koni titled

Baker Institute expert says America needs Obama leadership in technology security, advancement
The United States needs to act swiftly and sufficiently under an Obama presidency to secure the government's technology infrastructure and to re-establish America's standing as a leader in technology advancements, according to Christopher Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Folic acid, B vitamins do not appear to affect cancer risk
A daily supplementation combination that included folic acid and vitamin B6 and B12 had no significant effect on the overall risk of cancer, including breast cancer, among women at high risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the Nov. 5 issue of JAMA.

Scientists find facial scars increase attractiveness
Men with facial scars are more attractive to women seeking short-term relationships, scientists at the University of Liverpool have found.

Halas wins high-profile national security award
Rice University nanophotonics pioneer Naomi Halas has been named a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow by the Department of Defense. Halas is one of just six fellows chosen from more than 650 nominees this year for the prestigious program. The NSSEFF program provides grants of approximately $3 million in direct costs over five years for long-term, unclassified basic research.

Where there's wildfire smoke, there's toxicity
Detailed particulate analysis of the smoke produced by previous California wild fires indicates that the composition posed more serious potential threats to health than is generally realized, according to a new paper analyzing particulate matter from wildfires in Southern California.

Stopping germs from ganging up on humans
Evolutionary theory points to a new approach to combat drug resistance in disease-causing organisms and in cancer, according to new research. Keeping germs from cooperating can delay the evolution of drug resistance more effectively than killing germs one by one with traditional drugs such as antibiotics.

Study is first to link viewing of sexual content on TV to subsequent teen pregnancy
Adolescents who have high levels of exposure to television programs that contain sexual content are twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy over the following three years as their peers who watch few such shows, according to a new RAND Corp. study.

Young Hungarian researchers receive prestigious Scopus Award
The Scopus Young Scientist Awards were awarded to the best young researchers under 30 years old, in ten scientific disciplinary areas.

MDCT: Noninvasive alternative to bronchoscopy in patients with airway stent complications
Multidetector CT scans are highly accurate in detecting airway stent complications according to a recent study performed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

Racialized communication met with silence in the classroom
White privilege enables racially laden communication that regenerates, albeit unintentionally, the social exclusion of American Indian students. Moreover, as the essay argues, this exclusion results not only in myriad unearned stresses for American Indian students but sometimes also in their ultimately abandoning their academic objectives.

Response rates to antidepressants differ among English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanics
In the first-ever study of its kind, Spanish-speaking Hispanics took longer to respond to medication for depression and were less likely to go into remission than English-speaking Hispanics.

Scientists present 'moving' theory behind bacterial decision-making
Biochemists at North Carolina State University have answered a fundamental question of how important bacterial proteins make life-and-death decisions that allow them to function, a finding that could provide a new target for drugs to disrupt bacterial decision-making processes and related diseases.

Light triggers a new code for brain cells
Brain cells can adopt a new chemical code in response to cues from the outside world. Dark tadpoles blanch when exposed to bright light. Cells in the tadpole brain respond to illumination by making dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is recognized by the system that controls pigmentation. The discovery opens the possibility that brain chemistry could be selectively altered by stimulating specific circuits to remedy low levels of neural chemicals that underlie some human ailments.

M.I.N.D. Institute researchers call for fragile X testing throughout the lifespan
Writing in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute researchers urge physicians to test for mutations of the fragile X gene in patients of all ages. That's because, after decades of research, it is clear that mutations in this gene cause a range of diseases, including neurodevelopmental delays and autism in children, infertility in women and neurodegenerative disease in older adults.

Damage inflicted during cardiac attacks more widespread, MSU researchers find
Cholesterol crystals released in the bloodstream during a cardiac attack or stroke can damage artery linings much further away from the site of the attack, leaving survivors at greater risk than previously thought.

Crossing the digital divide
What will motivate the elderly, the chronically ill and the medically underserved to use interactive information technology systems to actively help manage their own health problems? The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University searched the scientific literature for answers.

Home-based diet and exercise intervention improves elderly cancer survivors' physical function
A home-based program to improve exercise and diet led to significant, clinically meaningful improvement in body weight and physical function among older long-term cancer survivors in preliminary findings from the RENEW trial, according to Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's Department of Behavioral Science. The data are being presented at the seventh annual American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Conference.

ThruVision wins Grand Security Product Award 2008
An innovative security screening system from ThruVision that can detect hidden explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics and ceramics from a distance, has received the grand security product award in the

Mineral oil contamination in humans: A health problem?
From a quantitative standpoint, mineral oil is probably the largest contaminant of our body. That this contaminant can be tolerated without health concerns in humans has not been proven convincingly. The current editorial of the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology reflects on this and concludes that this proof either has to be provided or we have to take measures to reduce our exposure from all sources, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and the environmental contamination.

To make better MRI images, let the atoms spin out of control
Scientists here and in France have made a new theoretical advance in atomic behavior that could lead to sharper magnetic resonance imaging pictures. The discovery could one day help enable the development of portable MRI machines.

Grant awarded to study self-efficacy and retention of female undergraduate engineering students
Researchers will investigate the hypothesis that women in formal engineering programs who participate in work related to their field of study during their undergraduate education have higher self-efficacy and are more likely to graduate with a degree in their chosen field.

Stroke patients soon may have fun, high-tech tool
The University of Central Florida will immerse stroke survivors in a virtual world full of flying insects to help expand their range of movement. Researchers in UCF's Media Convergence Lab are teaming up with the California-based Virtual Reality Medical Center to create the program and software that can track patients' progress. VRMC obtained a contract last year from the National Science Foundation to develop the virtual program.

Research-based undergraduate course expands beyond Washington University
Washington University in St. Louis is in the spotlight for its pivotal role in the Genomics Education Partnership, a collaborative effort to provide research experience in genomics to undergraduate classrooms across the country. The GEP currently consists of over 40 faculty members from a variety of schools, including a number of historically black and Hispanic-serving institutions. Sarah C.R. Elgin, Ph.D., Washington University Professor of Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher heads the mission.

UK study shows kids are active but not eating their '5-a-day'
Most children are still failing to eat five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, though their levels of physical activity do meet current government recommendations, according to the SPEEDY study. The original results for the study are published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Med school discovery could lead to better cancer diagnosis, drugs
A Florida State University College of Medicine research team led by Yanchang Wang has discovered an important new layer of regulation in the cell division cycle, which could lead to a greater understanding of the way cancer begins.

Annuals converted into perennials
Scientists from VIB at Ghent University have succeeded in converting annual plants into perennials. They discovered that the deactivation of two genes in annuals led to the formation of structures that converted the plant into a perennial. This was most likely an important mechanism in plant evolution, initiating the formation of trees.

MIT analysis shows how cap-and-trade plans can cut greenhouse emissions
Researchers at MIT's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research have produced a report concerning key design issues of proposed

Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation is not associated with a reduced breast cancer risk
Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements does not reduce breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women, according to data from a randomized, doubled-blind, placebo-controlled trial published online Nov. 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Gemini releases historic discovery image of planetary 'first family'
Astronomers using the Gemini and Keck observatories obtain first direct images of a planetary family around a normal star. 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