Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2004)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2004.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2004

Stress tests may miss latent heart disease
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that stress tests may not adequately screen for latent atherosclerosis - a hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up - and the leading cause of heart disease. Their findings, published in the August 18th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, indicate that many patients who have normal stress tests could benefit from additional screening for coronary calcium with x-ray computed tomography, or CT scanning technology.

Study highlights benefits of drug-eluting stents in coronary revascularisation
A pooled analysis of 11 previously published trials provides evidence that drug-eluting stents (DES)--increasingly used in coronary angioplasty--have benefits over bare-metal stents (BMS) by reducing the need for later revascularisation and reducing the risk of cardiac events. However the study did not find that the use of DES reduced the risk of death or heart attack compared with BMS.

Innovative 'ceramic-on-metal' hip replacements to undergo clinical trials
A new type of artificial hip, more robust and longer lasting than conventional artificial joints, is to undergo clinical trials and could be available for patients within five years.

Traveling fellowships for journalists to attend CASW's 42nd Annual New Horizons in Science briefing
The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of science reporting, is offering traveling fellowships of up to $1,000 each to cover the cost of attending the 2004 New Horizons in Science Briefing for Journalists, hosted by the University of Arkansas.

Clever surgery turns an ankle into a 'knee' after removing child's bone tumor
While limb-sparing surgery for bone cancer is becoming more common, very young children with bone cancer face significant challenges and have limited surgical options.

Longevity protein may slow many neurodegenerative disorders
A protein linked to increased lifespan in yeast and worms also can delay the degeneration of ailing nerve cell branches, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

New England forests at greater risk from air pollution
When it comes to forests, air pollution is not an equal opportunity hazard. While dirty air spreads across large areas of the New England region, it's more scattered in the southeastern part of the United States.

New model can aid in understanding immune system diseases
Epstein-Barr is a common virus that is often harmless but likely contributes to malignancies and autoimmnune disease in people with compromised immunity. A research team has engineered a mouse that provides new insights into the virus.

University of Alberta researchers offer physical evidence for chronic fatigue syndrome
A University of Alberta study has verified that there is physical evidence for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), giving new weight to the often stigmatized and misdiagnosed disorder.

Best approach to taking out thyroid may be under the arm, study shows
The best approach to removing a diseased thyroid, the endocrine gland just under the Adam's apple that controls the body's metabolic rate, amazingly may be from under the arm, according to a study published in the August issue of the journal Laryngoscope.

Virginia Tech's Geospatial Center serves government, business
Virginia Tech structured its statewide program to allow for large cost savings, widespread availability of the full spectrum of ESRI software, and building synergistically on the expertise across Virginia so that the state and businesses can take advantage of the many uses of spatial data from flood control to making 911 operations seamless.

NSF funds Clemson model
Chemistry students are putting down periodic tables and picking up personality tests in a Clemson program designed to bridge the college-career gap

Study narrows search for genes placing men at increased risk for prostate cancer
Scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, National Institutes of Health, University of Michigan, and five other research institutes world-wide announced today the findings from the largest study of the genetics of prostate cancer undertaken to-date.

Denying NHS care to overseas visitors is unethical
Current UK regulations for treatment of overseas visitors or people of uncertain residential status are unethical, argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

Good news for anti-cancer drug designers
Pharmaceutical companies seeking to design more effective cancer chemotherapy agents may have an easier road ahead than was previously believed. A team of researchers has shown that two of the most promising anti-cancer drug families, the taxanes, which include Taxoltm, and the epothilones, have their own unique and independent mechanisms for combating the spread of tumors.

Eos Chasma, part of Valles Marineris
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the southern part of Valles Marineris, called Eos Chasma.

Northeastern professor warns big backpacks cause big back pains
According to the American Physcial Therapy Association, backpacks should weigh no more than 15 percent of the carriers' total body weight. However, Mary Hickey, a professor of physical therapy at Northeastern University in Boston, is an expert on the subject and recommends that backpacks weigh in at no more than a tenth of a child's body weight.

Revealing bizarre deep-sea secrets
On Saturday, Aug. 7, Harbor Branch marine biologists and others will set out from Panama City, Fla. on an expedition called Operation Deep Scope to study the fantastic life forms of four alien landscapes in the deep reaches of the Gulf of Mexico. The team will be using the most advanced array of imaging tools ever deployed in the deep sea with the goal of revealing never before seen animals, behaviors, and phenomena.

ESC Congress 2004: Trial supports early, aggressive statin use after heart attack
Patients suffering from acute coronary syndromes should be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins early and aggressively, according to the results of an international clinical trial led by a team of investigators at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, to be presented this afternoon at the ESC Congress 2004.

Carnegie Mellon develops robot that successfully explored gas mains in NY
Carnegie Mellon University robotics researchers, in conjunction with the Northeast Gas Ass'n, DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory and NASA, have developed a remote-controlled, untethered, wireless prototype crawling robot, designed to inspect underground gas mains. Con Edison recently supported the first deployment in Yonkers.

Study estimates probability of death after breast cancer diagnosis
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die from that cancer than from all other causes of death combined if they are diagnosed with advanced stages of disease at any age or with less advanced stages of disease at a young age, according to a new study in the September 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Media giants don't always lead to less diverse content
Just because a big company owns all the media outlets in town doesn't necessarily mean newspapers and broadcast stations will look and sound alike, according to a review of the research in this area published in the summer issue of the journal Contexts.

Substance use and mood and anxiety disorders among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders
Substance abuse and mood and anxiety disorders that arise independently of substance abuse and withdrawal are some of the most common psychiatric disorders in the United States, according to an article in the August issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Columbia, Stony Brook, Guidant to develop biological pacemaker based on gene & cell therapies
Guidant Corporation, Columbia University and Stony Brook University will collaborate to study a new gene and cell therapy that may ultimately provide better understanding of how genetically-engineered cells can help pace the heart and lead to development of better treatment options for people with heart disease. Research suggests the possibility of developing a biological pacemaker that can vary the heart's beats to fit the body's needs, as is required during variations in exercise or emotion.

First clinical study of new pediatric croup vaccine shows safety, tolerability in adults
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are investigating in adults the use of a vaccine given by nose drops that might ultimately protect children against human parainfluenza virus-type 1 (hPIV-1). This virus is the most common cause of croup, a pediatric respiratory disease that causes almost 30,000 hospitalizations each year and many more emergency room visits. These findings are published in the current issue of Vaccine.

Family-dominated business sectors bad omens for economic health
If a few wealthy families control many of the large businesses in the country where you live, chances are the economy is in the dumps.

Nanoscale chemical sensors
New types of chemical sensors for environmental monitoring, food safety or security applications could be based on nanotechnology.

UC Davis rises in NSF rankings
Figures for fiscal year 2002-03 show UC Davis ranking 14th in the nation in R&D expenditures.

Gene duplication allowed pigs to have more babies
With increasing numbers of whole genomes being sequenced, researchers are keen to analyse the functions of the genes they contain and the proteins these genes encode. Yet, according to researchers writing in BMC Biology, to fully understand any genome, researchers must use palaeontology, geology and chemistry to help them discover the reasons why specific genes evolved.

Scientists closer to finding genes that affect prostate cancer risk
Scientists believe they are on track for finding a gene, or genes, that can increase prostate cancer risk for some men - and have new evidence that a particular gene variant can reduce risk for others - putting researchers one step closer to being able to predict disease risk in individual men.

Education, monitoring vital for sport-fish eaters
Men and women who routinely eat Great Lakes fish should pay attention to fish advisories and make appropriate species selection, especially if they are of reproductive age, says a U of T researcher.

Simple method may improve computer memory, catalysts, ceramic/metal seals, and nanodevices
A method that creates smooth and strong interfaces between metals and metal oxides without high-temperature brazing has been patented by researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and University of North Texas.

Home computers aid efforts to develop new medications, Stanford researcher reports
Could your home computer help cure Alzheimer's disease? Vijay Pande, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and of structural biology at Stanford University, believes the answer may be yes. He's devised a way to identify potential drug compounds by using a network of more than 150,000 home computers and some innovative algorithms. He said the method accurately predicts how well molecules will bind to a given protein.

CompSci expert Wetzel spots weaknesses in Wi-Fi security
A research team led by Dr. Susanne Wetzel, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology, has produced a study of the weaknesses of Wi-Fi networks.

Genetic discovery could dramatically reduce need for liver transplants in children
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation opens the door to the possibility of new treatments for children who suffer from biliary atresia, a deadly disease of infancy and the most common reason for liver transplantation in children. The new treatments could dramatically reduce the number of liver transplants performed on children every year.

Women with breast cancer detected by mammography screening have better outcomes
Women who have breast cancer detected by mammography screening have a reduced risk of distant tumor recurrence than women with breast cancer detected outside of screening, according to a study in the September 1 issue of JAMA.

Second probable case of CJD infection from blood transfusion
A research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET details the second case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) infection that was probably caused by blood transfusion. The rogue prion responsible for vCJD was identified at post-mortem five years after an elderly person received a blood transfusion from a donor who later developed vCJD.

ASU researchers demonstrate new technique that improves the power of atomic force micrscopy
A team of researchers have developed a method that could vastly improve the ability of atomic force microscopes to

New study to show how rheumatoid arthritis patients rate improvement change
A new clinical study to determine how people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) evaluate improvements in disease symptoms will be carried out by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The study will examine how much of an improvement in pain, stiffness, function and other symptoms is needed before patients consider the change important.

McGill researchers develop new carbon nanotube production method
McGill University researchers have developed a new method for producing carbon nanotubes that has great commercial promise. The work of Professor Jean-Luc Meunier and doctoral student David Harbec, both of the Department of Chemical Engineering, is the subject of a patent application, and the findings of their team have recently been published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

Why your knees and quads hurt more after running than walking: You're only human
When humans switch from walking to running, our unique posture, locomotion and gait put additional pressure on the knees. Because the knees bend a lot more during running, the change in limb kinematics increases the active muscle volume of the quadriceps almost five-fold. But the extra energy cost in running is offset by the fact that we're one of the few two-legged animals that have a choice of running or walking. Score one for evolution.

Physicists discover dramatic difference in behavior of matter versus antimatter
The BaBar experiment at SLAC, a DOE laboratory operated by Stanford, submitted exciting new results demonstrating a dramatic difference in the behavior of matter and antimatter to Physical Review Letters. SLAC's PEP-II accelerator collides electrons and positrons to produce an abundance of B and anti-B mesons. BaBar experimenters discovered striking matter-antimatter asymmetry by a phenomenon known as direct charge parity (CP) violation.

Highlights of the September Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The September 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Under-recognized condition important in treatment of high blood pressure
An under-recognized and usually asymptomatic condition called subclavian artery stenosis - an obstruction of arteries located under the clavicle, or collarbone - is important in the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

APA psychologists mobilize for Red Cross response to Hurricane Charley
Psychologists from across the nation are responding to a call by the American Psychological Association to help victims of Hurricane Charley.

Plant pathologists meeting in Anaheim, CA to discuss agricultural security, food safety, and more
Plant pathologists (plant disease experts) from around the world are meeting in Anaheim, CA for the 2004 Annual Meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) that runs through August 4. Over a five-day period, these plant scientists will present more than 30 different sessions on agricultural issues, new research discoveries, and more.

Nevada researcher re-ignites mammal reproduction debate
One of the most debated hypotheses in evolutionary biology received new support today, thanks to a study by a scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno. Elissa Cameron, a mammal ecologist in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, has helped to disprove critics of the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, which was developed in 1973.

Common call for action on European Research Council (ERC)
'Science magazine' today published a letter co-signed by over 50 European scientific organisations calling for urgent action on the establishment of a European Research Council (ERC) - a pan-European funding organisation for basic research at a European level. A mass petition of this kind on science policy is almost unheard of in Europe and indicates the importance these organisations attach to the ERC debate.

First solid evidence that the study of music promotes intellectual development
The idea that studying music improves the intellect is not a new one, but at last there is incontrovertible evidence from a study conducted out of the University of Toronto.

Combination of erection pill and testosterone gel may benefit men who fail treatment with pill alone
For men with erectile dysfunction and low testosterone who do not respond to Viagra® (sildenafil) alone, the supplemental use of AndroGel®(testosterone gel) improves erectile function and overall sexual satisfaction, according to a New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center study.

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