Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2008)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2008

Burning incense increases risk of respiratory tract cancers
Long-term use of incense increases the risk of developing cancers of the respiratory tract, according to a new study.

Lab study shows methadone breaks resistance in untreatable forms of leukemia
Researchers in Germany have discovered that methadone, an agent used to break addiction to opioid drugs, has surprising killing power against leukemia cells, including treatment resistant forms of the cancer.

LSUHSC's Lazartigues awarded $1.2 million grant
Dr. Eric Lazartigues, assistant professor of pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has been awarded a $1.2 million grant by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The five-year grant will support his research to advance our understanding of the role of the brain in regulating blood pressure and the development of hypertension and pave the way for the development of new treatments for cardiovascular disease -- America's No. 1 killer.

Highlights from the August 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The August 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Structural biology spin-out tackles major diseases
A spin out company from basic structural biology has led to new technology that provides a way of creating therapeutic proteins to tackle major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and infertility. The research was carried out at the University of Sheffield in laboratories supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. This work is reported in the current edition of BBSRC Business, the quarterly research highlights magazine of BBSRC.

Rock art marks transformations in traditional Peruvian societies
Peru is one of the Latin American countries, like Argentina and Brazil, where rock art is thought to have developed throughout a period stretching from 10,000 BC to 1500 AD. The wealth and diversity of the series of pictorial representations made during this period are now beginning to be appreciated by archaeologists. Recent investigations by an IRD researcher has given insights into the daily lives of human communities who lived in the coastal and mountainous areas of Peru during that era.

How much risk can you handle? Making better investment decisions
Many Americans make investment decisions with their retirement funds. But they don't always make informed judgments. A new study introduces a new tool that investors can use to choose investments based on their financial goals and risk attitudes.

Helping the medicine go down
Children's refusal to swallow liquid medication is an important public health problem that means longer or more serious illness for thousands of kids each year. Researchers are reporting how knowledge from basic research on the chemical senses explains why a child's rejection of bitter medicine and nutritious but bitter-tasting foods like spinach and other green vegetables is a reflection of their basic biology. They will describe their study at the American Chemical Society national meeting.

Scientists overcome nanotech hurdle
When you make a new material on a nano scale how can you see what you have made? This research shows a newly developed technique to examine tiny protein molecules on the surface of a gold nanoparticle. This is the first time scientists have been able to build a detailed picture of self-assembled proteins on a nanoparticle and it offers the promise of new ways to design and manufacture novel materials on the tiniest scale.

Causes for sexual dysfunction change as people age
Sexual dysfunction is not an inevitable part of aging, but it is strongly related a number of factors, such as mental and physical health, demographics and lifetime experiences, many of which are interrelated. People who had an STD are also more likely to have had sexual experiences over their lifetimes that included more risks and multiple sex partners

Songbirds may hold key to advances in treatment of brain degeneration
Ongoing research at Lehigh University may one day help make strides toward therapeutic advances in the treatment of diseases that involve the loss of memory and brain degeneration such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and stroke. Colin Saldanha, associate professor of biological sciences, was named a recipient of a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for

Cervical cancer prevention should focus on vaccinating adolescent girls
The cost-effectiveness of vaccination in the US against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, will be optimized by achieving universal vaccine coverage in young adolescent girls, by targeting initial

University Hospitals Case Medical Center recognized by American Heart Association
University Hospitals Case Medical Center has received the Get With the Guidelines Gold Performance Achievement Award in coronary artery disease, Silver Performance Achievement Award in heart failure, and Bronze Performance Achievement Award for stroke. This level of achievement shows UHCMC's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart disease and stroke patients.

No-nose bicycle saddles improve penile sensation and erectile function in bicycling police officers
A new study examines if no-nose bike seats would be effective in alleviating the harm caused by using a traditional seat.

Emory study of former child soldiers yields new data to guide mental health interventions
Former child soldiers in Nepal are more than twice as likely to suffer from symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as Nepali children who experienced war trauma as civilians, according to a study led by Brandon Kohrt, an Emory University graduate student. It is the first published study of the mental health of child soldiers that includes comparative data with children who were not coerced into military service.

Personalized immunotherapy to fight HIV/AIDS
The main obstacle to creating an AIDS vaccine has been the high genetic variability of the HIV virus. Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy and his team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, in collaboration with Dr. Rafick Sékaly from the Université de Montréal, have overcome this difficulty by designing a personalized immunotherapy for HIV-infected patients. The team's findings were presented on Aug. 5 at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.

UCSF faculty receive $13.7M from CIRM for stem cell research
Five UCSF stem cell scientists have received New Faculty grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, support that will allow them to pursue lines of investigation ultimately aimed at developing treatment strategies for such conditions as cancer, heart disease, tooth regeneration, liver disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Potential diabetes treatment selectively kills autoimmune cells from human patients
In experiments using blood cells from human patients with diabetes and other autoimmune disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have confirmed the mechanism behind a potential new therapy for type 1 diabetes. A team led by Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, showed that blocking a metabolic pathway regulating the immune system specifically eliminated immune cells that react against a patient's own tissues.

AGU journal highlights -- August 6, 2008
In the issue: Recent African drought heralds drier conditions to come; Is climate change reducing hail over China?; Mapping Venus's winds; Deep evidence shows past and present warming; Climate models may underestimate heat stored in ground; and Soot from ships worse than expected.

Certain HIV treatment less effective when used with anti-TB therapy
Patients receiving rifampicin-based anti-tuberculosis therapy are more likely to experience virological failure when starting nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy, an HIV treatment that is widely used in developing countries because of lower cost, than when starting efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy, according to a study in the Aug. 6 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on HIV/AIDS.

Health risk behaviors associated with lower prostate specific antigen awareness
According to a study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, health risk behaviors such as smoking and obesity are associated with lower awareness of the prostate specific antigen, which could lead to a lower likelihood of undergoing actual prostate cancer screening. Although previous studies have explored predictors of PSA test awareness, this is the first research to focus on health risk behaviors.

New white paper examines economic payoff of proposed streetcars in Cincinnati
Cities across the US and even other countries turn to University of Cincinnati economics researcher George Vredeveld to help sort out pressing economic issues. When it wanted to gauge the latest research regarding streetcars in Cincinnati, the university did the same.

94 percent of doctors surveyed are aware of relationship between type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea
Most doctors and diabetes educators are aware of the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, however little has been done in clinical practice to take the steps needed to diagnose and treat sleep apnea in T2D patients. In response, diabetes clinical educator Virginia Zamudio-Lange will be presenting

Campus diversity important predictor of interracial friendships
Campus racial diversity predicts diversity in future friendships, and it's generally higher for minorities than whites.

Army personnel show increased risk for migraine
Two new studies show that migraine headaches are very common among US military personnel, yet the condition is frequently underdiagnosed. The studies, appearing in Headache, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Headache Society, examine the incidence among soldiers within 10 days of returning from a 1-year combat tour in Iraq , as well as US Army officer trainees.

Survey compares views of trauma professionals, the public on dying from injuries
Most trauma professionals and members of the general public say they would prefer palliative care following a severe injury if physicians determined aggressive critical care would not save their lives, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, trauma care professionals and other individuals differ in their opinions regarding patients' rights to demand care and the role of divine intervention in recovery from an injury.

A first in integrated nanowire sensor circuitry
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have created the world's first all-integrated sensor circuit based on nanowire arrays, combining light sensors and electronics made of different crystalline materials. Their method can be used to reproduce numerous such devices with high uniformity.

Toxoplasmosis found more severe in Brazil compared to Europe
Newborns in Brazil are more susceptible to toxoplasmosis than those in Europe, according to a recent study. Researchers based in Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom studied the disease's ocular effects in children from birth to four years of age. Details are published Aug. 13 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Hubble sees magnetic monster in erupting galaxy
The Hubble Space Telescope has found the answer to a long-standing puzzle by resolving giant but delicate filaments shaped by a strong magnetic field around the active galaxy NGC 1275. It is the most striking example of the influence of these immense tentacles of extragalactic magnetic fields, say researchers.

Low level cadmium exposure linked to lung disease
New research suggests that cadmium is one of the critical ingredients causing emphysema, and even low-level exposure attained through second-hand smoke and other means may also increase the chance of developing lung disease.

Analysis of past glacial melting shows potential for increased Greenland ice melt and sea level rise
Researchers have yet to reach a consensus on how much and how quickly melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to sea level rise. To shed light on this question, scientists at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research analyzed the disappearance of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the last ice sheet to melt completely in the Northern Hemisphere and the closest example of what can be expected to happen to the Greenland Ice Sheet in the next century.

True properties of carbon nanotubes measured
Carbon nanotubes' atomic structure should, in theory, give them mechanical and electrical properties far superior to most common materials. Unfortunately, theory and experiments have failed to converge on the true mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes. Northwestern University researchers recently made the first experimental measurements of the mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes that directly correspond to the theoretical predictions. They used a nanoscale material testing system based on MEMS technology.

Calculators okay in math class, if students know the facts first
Calculators are useful tools in elementary mathematics classes, if students already have some basic skills, new research has found. The findings shed light on the debate about whether and when calculators should be used in the classroom.

Treadmill exercise retrains brain and body of stroke victims
People who walk on a treadmill even years after stroke damage can significantly improve their health and mobility, changes that reflect actual

'Seed Wars: Controversies and Cases on Plant Genetic Resources and Intellectual Property'
Book examines intellectual property rights issues related to plant genetic resources.

AACR hosts Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development Meeting
The AACR Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutics Development Meeting features the latest findings in laboratory, translational and clinical cancer research. This year's meeting focuses on new biologic markers and imaging methods.

New evidence debunks 'stupid' Neanderthal myth
Research by UK and American scientists has struck another blow to the theory that Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) became extinct because they were less intelligent than our ancestors (Homo sapiens). The research team has shown that early stone tool technologies developed by our species, Homo sapiens, were no more efficient than those used by Neanderthals. Published today in the Journal of Human Evolution, their discovery debunks a textbook belief held by archaeologists for more than 60 years.

Study sees need for standardized evaluation of antibody response to HIV-1
US Military HIV Research Program researcher Victoria R. Polonis, Ph.D., and colleagues released findings on a study of cross-clade neutralization patterns among HIV-1 strains from six major clades in the June 5, 2008, issue of Virology.

CSHL neuroscientists glimpse how the brain decides what to believe
New research by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory suggests that the estimation of confidence that underlies decisions may be the product of a very basic kind of information processing in the brain, shared widely across species and not strictly confined to those, like humans, that are self-aware.

Pre-school age exercises can prevent dyslexia
A typical characteristics of children's linguistic development are early signs of the risk of developing reading and writing disabilities, or dyslexia.

Textbook for one of most-taught community college courses available free
Rice University's Connexions, one of the most-visited online sites for open-educational resources, today announced it is making a popular textbook available free this fall for one of the country's most-attended transfer-level community college courses -- elementary statistics. The book,

How 'secondary' sex characters can drive the origin of species
The ostentatious, sometimes bizarre qualities that improve a creature's chances of finding a mate may also drive the reproductive separation of populations and the evolution of new species, say two Indiana University Bloomington biologists.

Study outlines teens' preferences and trade-offs for freedom from acne
Teens report that they would pay about $275 to have never had acne, and are willing to pay considerably more to be acne-free than to have 50 percent clearance of their acne or to have clear skin with acne scars, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Brain surgery is getting easier on patients
Dr. Edward Duckworth is part of a new generation of neurosurgeons who are making brain surgery a lot easier on patients. Rather than cutting out large sections of the skull or face, Duckworth is reaching the brain through much smaller openings. And in certain cases, he goes through the nose to get to the brain.

Bone marrow stem cells may help control inflammatory bowel disease
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that infusions of a particular bone marrow stem cell appeared to protect gastrointestinal tissue from autoimmune attack in a mouse model.

NASA grant funds space radiation research
To increase understanding of SEP transport, Ming Zhang, Ph.D., Florida Tech professor of physics and space sciences and his collaborators Hamid K. Rassoul, Ph.D., from Florida Tech and Gang Qin, Ph.D., from State Key Laboratory of Space Weather in China, have received NASA funding of just under $400,000 for a three-year project.

Professional sports stadiums sell alcohol to pseudo-underage and -intoxicated buyers
Alcohol and sports do not mix well. Recent findings show that individuals appearing to be underage and intoxicated can purchase alcohol at professional sports stadiums. Location was key: the odds of a sale to pseudo-underage and -intoxicated buyers in the stands were 2.9 times larger than the odds of a sale at the concession booths.

Young man scarred for life by steroid abuse
The case of a 21-year-old man left with hideous scarring from steroid abuse is highlighted in a clinical picture in this week's edition of the Lancet, authored by Dr. Peter Arne Gerber, department of dermatology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany, and colleagues.

Stick with simple antibiotics for pneumonia to avoid super bugs, says researcher
Australian hospitals should avoid prescribing expensive broad-spectrum antibiotics for pneumonia to avoid the development of more drug-resistant super bugs, according to a University of Melbourne study.

University of Pennsylvania scientists move optical computing closer to reality
Scientists at Penn have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light that bound across chains of tiny metal particles to past the speed of light by altering the particle shape. Application of this theory would use nanosized metal chains as building blocks for novel optoelectronic and optical devices. 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