Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (December 2005)

Science news and science current events archive December, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from December 2005

Sandia to conduct regional workshop in Baltimore to help gauge national energy and water concerns
Sandia National Laboratories will conduct a workshop in Baltimore, Md., Dec. 13-14 designed to help gauge the energy- and water-related concerns of water and electric utilities, environmental organizations, policy and regulatory groups, tribal groups, economic development organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, and others.

First analysis of FDA's mifepristone adverse event reports
The abortion drug mifepristone (Mifeprex,TM RU-486), initially touted as a more convenient alternative to surgical abortion, has been linked to serious adverse reactions, including several deaths in otherwise healthy women. In

Getting ready for the 'big one,' researchers make most detailed survey ever of San Adreas Fault
Researchers have completed the most meticulous survey ever made of the San Andreas Fault, and they've found detailed features that nobody could have seen before. Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in geodynamics and professor of civil and environmental engineering and geodetic science at Ohio State University, unveiled the first images from the ambitious new survey Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Dietary intake of antioxidants associated with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration
A diet with a high intake of beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc is associated with a substantially reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration in elderly persons, according to a study in the December 28 issue of JAMA.

Bystanders become good samaritans when the stakes are high
A person is in trouble in a crowded place, but no-one steps over to help. The situation is called the bystander effect, and it appears that the more people watching, the less likely it is that anyone will respond. But new research shows that even when accompanied by another person, individuals are much more likely to intervene if the situation is dangerous or violent, and when they feel empathy for the victim.

Rutgers researchers scientifically link dancing ability to mate quality
Dance has long been recognized as a signal of courtship in many animal species, including humans. Better dancers presumably attract more mates, or a more desirable mate. What's seemingly obvious in everyday life, however, has not always been rigorously verified by science. Now, a study by Rutgers scientists for the first time links dancing ability to established measures of mate quality in humans.

Scripps marine research physiologist pioneer to receive lifetime achievement award
Gerald Kooyman, emeritus professor of biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, will be the first recipient of a new lifetime achievement award bestowed by the Society for Marine Mammalogy during the society's 16th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.

University of Aveiro researchers receive Excellence Stimulation 2005 Award
The Excellence of the Research produced in University of Aveiro was once again recognised. This time, José Maria da Fonte Ferreira, professor and researcher of the Department of Ceramics and Glass Engineering, and Sergey Dorogovtsev, Research Coordinator in the Department of Physics, were awarded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) with the Excellence Stimulation 2005 Award.

As Grid problem solving flows smoothly
Computational Fluid Dynamics, a technique that can be used to measure the flow of water around a ship's hull or the exhaust flow of a car engine, requires complex, processing-intensive software. It is therefore a key candidate to benefit from Grid computing, as the FlowGrid project proved.

Bullying in middle school may lead to increased substance abuse in high school
Over the past decade, parents, educators and policy makers have become increasingly concerned about verbal and physical harassment in schools and the subsequent effects of peer victimization on teens. A recent study by Julie C. Rusby and colleagues from the Oregon Research Institute, published in the November 2005 issue of The Journal of Early Adolescence by SAGE Publications, found significant associations between peer harassment of students in middle school and a variety of problem behaviors, such as alcohol abuse, once these students reach high school.

UQ researchers show traditional Chinese exercises can help combat diabetes
A pilot study for Australia's first clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of traditional Chinese exercises in preventing the growing problem of diabetes has produced startling results

Women who undergo reconstructive breast implantation frequently develop short-term complications
Almost one-third of women who underwent reconstructive breast implantation after mastectomy had at least one short-term complication in the chest or breast area, with one in five women requiring additional surgery, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Male elephants woo females with precise chemistry
The exact chemical blend of a pheromone emitted by older male elephants in musth influences both a female elephant's interest in mating and how other surrounding elephants behave, a new study has found. Oregon and New Zealand researchers say the release of a specific proportion of two mirror images of the pheromone, frontalin, depends on whether the male elephant is mature enough and has reached a particular stage of its annual period of sexual activity.

Cell biologists applaud intelligent design ruling
Zena Werb, President of the American Society for Cell Biology, hailed the ruling Thursday by US District John Jones in 'Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District' that teaching 'intelligent design' would violate the Constitutional separation of church and state. 'The ruling by Judge Jones preserves the notion that science classrooms are solely for the teaching of science,' said Werb. 'Yesterday was a great day for science education.'

Nearly a quarter of children are especially susceptible to respiratory illness if they are exposed to second-hand smoke
Children with a certain genetic makeup are at heightened risk of chest infections and other respiratory illnesses due to second-hand smoke exposure, according to researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

How do boxers differ from poodles? Researchers collar genomes
As any dog lover knows, no two breeds are identical. Some dogs are perfect for sloppy kisses. Others make fierce guardians. Still others resemble tiny, fluffy toys. Now, two new studies by scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and collaborators reveal the genomic differences beneath such canine characteristics.

Parents advised to rethink dummy use
A comprehensive review of scientific studies on the use of baby pacifiers (dummies) has found that they interfere with successful breastfeeding.

Microbes under Greenland Ice may be preview of what scientists find under Mars' surface
The presence of methane in Mars' atmosphere has led some scientists to propose that methane-producing microbes live under the surface. If that's true, UC Berkeley's Buford Price knows just where to look. His study of methane-producing Archaea at the base of Greenland's two-mile thick ice sheet indicates that about one microbe per cubic centimeter a few hundred meters underground could produce enough methane to maintain observed levels in the Martian atmosphere.

Personal fulfillment may motivate adolescents to be physically active
Adolescents are most likely to report personal fulfillment as the strongest motivation to be physically active. Personal fulfillment motivation should be considered when designing physical activity promotion programs for youth, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Patients who trust their doctors more have better outcomes
Patients with higher levels of trust in their regular physicians are more likely than patients with less trust to have better care, a new study finds.

More effective lasers
A group of professors from the departments of Chemistry, Soil Science, Physics and Applied Mathematics of the University of Navarra is working together in the preparation and characterization of a type of material termed

Effective hospital patient 'handoffs' require better training for physicians
Indiana University School of Medicine study reports that the communication necessary for good medical care often does occur when a hospital patient's physician goes off duty and another physician assumes responsibility. The study recommends physician training in this area.

Finally, male water fleas exposed
Male water fleas that scientists have never seen have made their debut in a University at Buffalo laboratory, providing biologists with their first glimpse of these elusive organisms.

Carnegie Mellon to showcase new security research at Taiwanese event
Carnegie Mellon University researchers and members of Taiwan's government-affiliated Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) will unveil new security technology December 6 in Hsinchu, a research-rich area south of Taipei.

From research labs to the schools: Science teachers bring summer science to the classroom
Sixteen science teachers who spent the summer working in research labs with American Physiological Society (APS) scientists are using APS mini-grants to devise unique science lessons and experiments for their classrooms. The teachers, who will post these

High intake of dietary fiber not associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer
In an analysis combining data from 13 studies, high intake of dietary fiber was not associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study in the December 14 issue of JAMA.

First experiments on national ignition facility validate computer simulations on road to ignition
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have successfully conducted an important round of successful laser experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), validating key computer simulations and theoretical projections relevant to the plasma and X-ray environment necessary to achieve ignition.

Common alternative treatment for liver disease is found to be ineffective
Results of high-quality randomized clinical trials have determined that milk thistle extract, a widely used alternative medication, may not have any significant influence on the course of patients with alcoholic liver disease or hepatitis B or C liver disease. These findings are published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

How E. coli bacterium generates simplicity from complexity
In a surprise about E. coli that may offer clues about how human cells operate, the PNAS paper reports that only a handful of dominant metabolic states are found in E. coli when it is computationally

Mental distress due to abortion lasts for years
Women who have had an abortion still experience mental distress related to the abortion years after it happened. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Medicine reveals that five years on, women who have had an abortion suffer higher levels of mental distress than other women and than women who have had a miscarriage.

Changes to land cover may enhance global warming in Amazon, reduce it in midlatitudes
New simulations of 21st-century climate from the National Center for Atmospheric Research show that human-produced changes in land cover could produce additional warming in the Amazon region comparable to that caused by greenhouse gases, while counteracting greenhouse warming by 25 percent to 50 percent in some midlatitude areas.

Evaluation metrics proposed for firefighter thermal imagers
Choosing the most appropriate thermal imager or infrared camera for firefighting can be a difficult decision. No standardized performance guidelines exist for these devices specifically tailored to first responder needs. Last month, researchers submitted recommendations to the National Fire Protection Association that outline evaluation methods for thermal imagers as used in six critical emergency situations.

Nurses key to success of modern hospitals
Nurses are the key to restoring public confidence in UK hospital care, argues an expert in this week's BMJ.

Grids to aid breast cancer diagnosis and research
The millions of mammography exams performed each year in Europe save thousands of women's lives, but if the data from all breast cancer screening procedures was made available to clinicians and researchers across the continent they could save many more. That is the vision behind MammoGrid.

Bio-archaeologists pinpoint oldest northern European human activity
Scientists at the University of York used a 'protein time capsule' to confirm the earliest record of human activity in northern Europe.

Gladstone study links Alzheimer's with toxic protein fragments
New research from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease details exactly how a mutant form of the protein apolipoprotein E, also known as apoE, is a causative factor for Alzheimer's disease. It pinpoints mitochondria, the organelles within cells designed to turn glucose into energy, as a key site that specific fragments of a particular form of apoE attack, leading to the neuronal death characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Accentia Biopharmaceuticals announces that follow-up data
Accentia Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABPI), announced that its subsidiary, Biovest International, Inc (OTCBB: BVTI.OB), is presenting an abstract on December 11 at the American Society for Hematology in Atlanta, Ga., presenting long term follow-up data from its BiovaxID Phase II clinical trial.

High energy physics team captures network prize at SC|05
Researchers from the US Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center recently joined an international team in shattering the world network speed record. To capture first place in the SC|05 Bandwidth Challenge, the team of high energy physicists, computer scientists and network engineers led by the California Institute of Technology transferred physics data at a rate of over 150 gigabits per second.

Mental health of children most harmed before divorce
The most harm to a child's mental health takes place in the years before parents split up, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests staying together for the sake of the kids is not always the right choice.

No evidence that hangover cures work
No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any complementary or conventional intervention is effective for treating or preventing alcohol hangover, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Investigational boosted protease inhibitor, TMC114, works better with FUZEON
Exciting interim data presented at the annual ICAAC conference show that adding FUZEON (enfuvirtide) to the investigational boosted protease inhibitor (PI), TMC114/r, more than doubles the proportion of patients reaching undetectable levels of the virus.

Fish gene sheds light on human skin color variation
With help from a common aquarium pet and a recently released online database of human genetic variation, a collaborative team of Penn State researchers has found what could be the most important skin color gene identified to date.

The cosmic Christmas ghost
Just like Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol takes us on a journey into past, present and future in the time of only one Christmas Eve, two of ESO's telescopes captured various stages in the life of a star in a single image.

CYPHER® Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent benefits from clinical success, worldwide growth in 2005
New data from a Spanish study presented at the 2005 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions found that patients with bifurcation lesions fared significantly better when treated with the CYPHER® Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent compared with the Taxus stent in the areas of late loss, re-treatment (total lesion revascularization or TLR) and re-blockage (restenosis). This study was one of many clinical successes in 2005 for the CYPHER® Stent.

Riding the ultra wideband communications wave
Europe is helping to push forward the boundaries of current radio technology looking at the next generation of radio devices. A whole new Ultra WideBand (UWB) communications industry is emerging and once all phases of a major European research effort into UWB are complete, Europe will be in a stronger position to exploit this new technology.

Rafael Hervada Prize for Biomedical Research
The article, entitled Myocardial Regeneration with Autologous Myoblasts: An Experimental and Clinical Study, whose first author is Dr. Juan José Gavira, of the department of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery of the University Hospital of the University of Navarra, has received the Rafael Hervada Prize for Biomedical Research.

Flexible drug dosing produces less side-effects in people with epilepsy
For the first time, researchers compared dosing regimens of an antiepileptic drug used for treatment of partial epilepsy in adults, in conjunction with other antiepileptic drugs. They looked at dosing used in clinical everyday life (flexible dosing) and that used in classical clinical trials (fixed dose) and discovered that the flexible dosing method was superior. The study is published in Epilepsia, the official journal of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Chemical used in food containers disrupts brain development
Widely used in products such as food cans, milk container linings, water pipes and even dental sealants, bisphenol has now been found to disrupt important effects of estrogen in the developing brain. A University of Cincinnati (UC) research team, headed by Scott Belcher, PhD, reports in two articles in the December 2005 edition of the journal Endocrinology that BPA shows negative effects in brain tissue

Pular antidepressants boost brain growth, Hopkins scientists report
The beneficial effects of a widely used class of antidepressants might be the result of increased nerve-fiber growth in key parts of the brain, according to a Johns Hopkins study being published in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry.

REVLIMID improves overall survival and delays disease progression in multiple myeloma patients
Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) announced updated clinical data from two Phase III pivotal studies evaluating REVLIMID (lenalidomide) plus dexamethasone in previously treated multiple myeloma patients. The updated clinical data from the pivotal International Phase III trial (MM-010), demonstrated that the combination of REVLIMID plus dexamethasone led to a statistically significant improvement in median time to disease progression (p=0.001).

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