Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2008)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2008

Academy establishes Asia Center to protect the environment
Building on nearly 15 years of biodiversity and climate change research in Mongolia, the Academy of Natural Sciences today announced formation of its Asia Center to forge international partnerships for the study, protection and sustainable use of environmental resources. One of the first partnerships established, and involving St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, is with Nanjing University, one of the most selective universities in China and among the world's oldest institutions of higher learning.

Crowning glory
Research present in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing from Inderscience Publishers suggests that coating dental implants with a synthetic bone material prior to implantation allows such implant to become incorporated much more successfully into the jaw, leading to smiles all round.

Potential drug target identified for diabetes by studying novel gut-brain-liver circuit
Scientists at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute have discovered a novel signaling pathway between three organs -- the gut, the brain, and the liver -- which lowers blood sugar when activated.

Too much technology may be killing beneficial bacteria
For years, scientists have known about silver's ability to kill harmful bacteria. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that silver nanoparticles also may destroy benign bacteria that are used to remove ammonia from wastewater treatment systems. The study was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

IOF calls for concerted support for second EU osteoporosis audit
The International Osteoporosis Foundation has urged all 27 EU countries to continue to seek government recognition and action to overcome the growing burden that osteoporosis places on health systems throughout Europe, as work continues on the second report to measure the status of osteoporosis management across member states.

Cancer researchers receive NIH grant to advance brain tumor therapies from lab to clinical trials
Cancer researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute will further develop novel treatments for brain tumors through a new, five-year, $6.24 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

NIH study reveals incidence, precursors and psychiatric sequelae of major psychiatric disorders
An analysis of NESARC's Wave 2 identifies predictors of first episodes of DSM-IV substance, mood and anxiety disorders. One-year incidence was highest for alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Incidence was significantly greater among men for most substance use disorders, greater among women for most mood and anxiety disorders, decreased among Blacks for alcohol abuse, and decreased among Hispanics for GAD. Age was related inversely to all disorders.

Gene-environment interaction in yeast gene expression
We show that gene-environment interaction is a common phenomenon in the regulation of gene expression, we describe how different classes of genetic variants affect the nature of the interactions, and we provide detailed molecular examples of interactions.

New approach to limiting organ damage in sickle cell disease
The abnormal shape of the red blood cells of individuals with sickle cell disease prevents them passing easily through blood vessels, which can become obstructed, restricting blood flow to an organ and causing organ damage. New data, generated using a mouse model of SCD, have indicated that the drug bosentan prevents blood vessel obstruction and led to the suggestion that bosentan might be of benefit to individuals with SCD.

Harmful algae taking advantage of global warming
You know that green scum creeping across the surface of your local public water reservoir? Or maybe it's choking out a favorite fishing spot or livestock watering hole. It's probably cyanobacteria -- blue-green algae -- and, according to a paper in the April 4 issue of the journal Science, it relishes the weather extremes that accompany global warming.

New research on how season of birth may affect nearsightedness and on cornea donor sources
Does season of birth play a role in the development of nearsightedness? Do corneas from older donors meet quality standards for transplant surgery? These are among the topics explored in the April 2008 issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Barbra Streisand endows program at Cedars-Sinai women's heart center
A bold new resource for women's heart health, the Barbra Streisand Women's Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai, has been created with a philanthropic gift of $5 million. The gift brings to nearly $16 million the money raised from her recent concert tours she has directed to charitable distribution in the areas of education, the environment, women's health, and other key civic concerns.

Tirofiban significantly reduced residual ST-segment deviation after primary PCI in STEMI patients
Tirofiban significantly reduced residual ST-segment deviation after primary PCI in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction in ongoing tirofiban in myocardial infarction evaluation 2 trial.

Galaxies gone wild!
Fifty-nine new images of colliding galaxies make up the largest collection of Hubble images ever released together. As this astonishing Hubble atlas of interacting galaxies illustrates, galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures.

Commercialization of air traffic control greatly improves performance
The air transportation industry is imperative to modern society. This industry depends, in turn, on a network of air navigation service providers to manage the flow of air traffic.

Epigenetic research uncovers new targets for modification enzymes
A consortium of scientists has discovered new non-histone targets for one enzyme previously believed to modify only histones -- the group of proteins that creates tightly bundled packages of DNA strands.

Does the Internet really influence suicidal behavior?
People searching the Internet for information about suicide methods are most likely to come across sites that encourage suicide rather than sites offering help and support, finds a study in this week's issue of the BMJ.

Institute formed at McMaster to advance automotive research
A new research institute has been established at McMaster University to coordinate its increasing involvement in the automotive sector. The McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology, known as MacAUTO, brings together more than 75 researchers in engineering, science, business and other faculties involved in automotive-related research.

New proteomics project to develop technology to detect liver disease via blood test
Washington State's Life Sciences Discovery Fund Board of Trustees announced today that the collaboration between scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington Liver Transplantation Program in Seattle will receive $4.8 million over the next three years to develop a new proteomics technology and apply it in search of biomarkers for liver disease.

Yeast gives rise to new concept: cell fuel is 'brains' behind division
Mitochondria, the fuel of a cell, has been found to be the

OHSU Cancer Institute researchers discover key gene involvement in cancer development
Oregon Health & Science University researchers have identified a gene that is necessary in eliminating cancer cells. The key protein, called ASPP2, works by activating biologic pathways that tell cancer cells to die. This protein is proving that it protects cells from one of the steps on the path to cancer.

Too many choices -- good or bad -- can be mentally exhausting
Each day, we are bombarded with options -- at the local coffee shop, at work, in stores or on the TV at home. Do you want a double-shot soy latte, a caramel macchiato or simply a tall house coffee for your morning pick-me-up? Having choices is typically thought of as a good thing. Maybe not, say researchers who found we are more fatigued and less productive when faced with a plethora of choices

It pays to know your opponent: success in negotiations improved by perspective-taking
From the war room to the board room, negotiations are a part of everyday life. Successful negotiations demand a clear understanding of one's opponent. But what approach should one take to achieve such an understanding of one's opponent in everyday negotiations?

Geometry shapes sound of music
Through the ages, the sound of music in myriad incarnations has captivated human beings and made them sing along, and as scholars have suspected for centuries, the mysterious force that shapes the melodies that catch the ear and lead the voice is none other than math.

Millions of euros could be saved if breast cancer follow-ups were led by specialist nurses
Follow-up care for breast cancer patients costs less if it is conducted by nurses rather than physicians, yet there is no difference in the patients' anxiety, depression, satisfaction or outcome, according to research presented on Friday at the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference in Berlin.

Prostate cancer screening program leads to bigger fall in death rates than surrounding areas
PSA testing can reduce overall death rates from prostate cancer and early, effective treatment reduces the chance of the disease returning and killing people when they get older. A PSA campaign with an 87 percent uptake rate reduced deaths to almost half the rate of surrounding areas not taking part in the program.

New guidelines issued for treating resistant hypertension
For the first time, the American Heart Association has issued guidelines to help patients and healthcare providers tackle resistant high blood pressure that seems to defy treatment.

Prednisone tablets less variable than marketed drugs
The US Pharmacopeial Convention today announced results of a study comparing the dissolution variability of USP Prednisone Lot P Reference Standard tablets to two marketed drugs. Study results clearly show less variability in USP Prednisone Lot P tablets than in the marketed tablets.

Genetic sequencing of protein from T. rex bone confirms dinosaurs' link to birds
Scientists have put more meat on the theory that dinosaurs' closest living relatives are modern-day birds.

iPlant Kickoff Conference at CSHL begins tackling plant biology's grand challenges
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will host the inaugural conference of the iPlant Collaborative, an NSF-funded, $50 million project to create a virtual center in cyberspace for plant sciences researchers and students. The kickoff conference, titled

Do we need alcohol prevention programs for 'tweens?'
Much research has been conducted on the problems caused by alcohol abuse for both adults and teenagers. Recent studies, however, have shown that some kids are starting to drink earlier -- even before sixth grade -- opening up the door to many additional social, behavioral and developmental problems. Research in the current issue of SAGE's Health, Education & Behavior explores alcohol use and prevention possibilities for

Scientists discover how nanocluster contaminants increase risk of spreading
For almost half a century, scientists have struggled with plutonium nanoclusters spreading further in groundwater than expected, increasing the risk of sickness in humans and animals. Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Notre Dame, were able to finally discover and study the structure of plutonium nanoclusters.

Standard chemo works better against metastatic BRCA1/2 breast cancer than against sporadic tumors
The first study to investigate the effects of chemotherapy on metastatic breast cancer in women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has shown that standard chemotherapy works better in these patients than in women without the BRCA1/2 mutation. The study was presented on Thursday at the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference in Berlin.

Early parents didn't stand for weighty kids
Scientists investigating the reasons why early humans -- the so-called hominins -- began walking upright say it's unlikely that the need to carry children was a factor, as has previously been suggested.

Incorporating health and safety concepts in building plans reduces accident rates and costs
Incorporating health and safety concepts into building plans reduces accident rates and safety costs, according to the Ph.D. defended by engineer Juan Pedro Reyes at the University of the Basque Country.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center opens patient trial of virus that attacks brain cancer cells
A common, naturally occurring virus that attacks cancer cells but appears to be harmless to normal cells is being studied as a possible treatment for malignant, highly aggressive and deadly brain tumors called gliomas. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are among a few in the United States evaluating this experimental therapy.

Georgetown researchers find stem cell marker controls 2 key cancer pathways
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that a gene associated with human breast stem cells can stimulate development of mammary cells by activating two critical cancer pathways. They say this finding, reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, provides new evidence that breast cancer can arise from stem cells and that targeting this gene might provide a new way to treat cancers of the breast as well as other tumor types.

Scientists form International Cancer Genome Consortium
Scientists join together to form the International Cancer Genome Consortium, one of most ambitious biomedical research efforts since the Human Genome Project. The consortium will help to coordinate current and future large-scale projects to understand the genomic changes involved in cancer. This genomic information will accelerate efforts to develop better ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing many types of cancer.

Crime scene investigations: Gunshot residue analysis on a single gunpowder particle
Scientists in Texas report development of a highly dependable, rapid and inexpensive new method for identifying the presence of gunshot residue. The test fills a GSR-detection gap that results from wider use of

'Connecting the dots' in path that leads to fat
Researchers report the discovery of a critical early player in the path that turns cells to fat. Given that obesity is a major health concern, such a fuller understanding of the molecular processes governing fat tissue formation could ultimately hold clinical importance.

Penn researchers discover 'modus operandi' of heart muscle protein
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that a protein called leiomodin promotes the assembly of an important heart muscle protein called actin. What's more, Lmod directs the assembly of actin to form the pumping unit of the heart.

Leading HIV researchers to collaborate on vaccine development
Two global research organizations dedicated to designing a vaccine against HIV -- the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology -- have signed an agreement to work together to address major biological questions that have slowed development of a safe, effective and affordable AIDS vaccine.

Futuristic robots, friend or foe?
A leading robotics expert will outline some of the ethical pitfalls of near-future robots to a Parliamentary group today (April 22, 2008) at the House of Commons. Professor Noel Sharkey from the University of Sheffield will explain that robots are in many ways beneficial to mankind, but there are limitations and we should proceed with caution.

Major discovery in the treatment of aortic valve stenosis
A team of scientists from the Université de Montréal and the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre, led by Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, has completed an important study that show how a new type of medication can lead to an improvement in the aortic valve narrowing. Study results have been published online in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Children with migraine at increased risk of sleep disturbances
Children with migraine are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and lack of sleep, than children without migraine, according to research on the effects of headaches on children's sleep patterns that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Abstracts online for 2008 Joint Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale
Rev up our online search engines to find the most exciting research to be presented at AGU's 2008 Joint Assembly in Fort Lauderdale next month. Listings of sessions and abstracts are now searchable via keywords.

Study: Treating post-traumatic stress first helps children overcome grief
Post traumatic stress disorder is commonly thought to effect victims of major trauma and those who witness violence, but a new University of Georgia study finds that it also can affect children who have lost a parent expectedly to diseases such as cancer. The finding, scheduled to be published in the May issue of the journal Research on Social Work Practice, has major implications for helping children cope with grief, said lead author Rene Searles McClatchey.

Medical errors cost US $8.8B, result in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths: HealthGrades study
Patient safety incidents cost the federal Medicare program $8.8 billion and resulted in 238,337 potentially preventable deaths during 2004 through 2006, according to HealthGrades' fifth annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study. HealthGrades' analysis of 41 million Medicare patient records found that patients treated at top-performing hospitals had, on average, a 43 percent lower chance of experiencing one or more medical errors compared to the poorest-performing hospitals.

Graphene used to create world's smallest transistor
Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create the world's smallest transistor, one atom thick and ten atoms wide.

Veterinary college researchers explore function of biofilm in bovine respiratory disease
Bacteria that form a biofilm have enhanced resistance to antibiotics and host defenses. USDA funded researchers are studying the role of biofilm in a disease that accounts for over 60 percent of all deaths in feedlot cattle.

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