Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (December 2006)

Science news and science current events archive December, 2006.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from December 2006

Doing it right: New book helps biologists conduct rigorous and reliable research
A new book,

Cellular killer also important to memory
A protein that triggers apoptosis also plays a part in memory formation. Graham R. Huesmann, a lead researcher on the study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had an intuition that growth and memory are linked.

Synthetic cannabinoid may aid fertility in smokers
A reproductive medicine specialist at the University at Buffalo has shown that a new compound may improve the fertility of tobacco smokers who have low sperm count and low percentage sperm motility.

Commercial marketing in schools may discourage healthy nutrition environment for students
Commercial activity permitted in schools, such as soft drink ads; the use of Channel One broadcasts in classrooms; sales incentives from soft drink bottlers; and exclusive beverage contracts, may discourage a

AGI announces publishing agreement with Thompson Delmar Learning
The American Geological Institute has entered an agreement with Thompson Delmar Learning to publish Environmental Science -- Understanding Our Changing Earth, AGI's newest curriculum project.

Malaria may fuel spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa
Malaria may be fueling the spread of HIV in areas of sub-Saharan Africa where there is a substantial overlap between the two diseases, while HIV may be playing a role in boosting adult malaria-infection rates in some parts of the region, according to a new study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.

Friendship Clinic
About half of all children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have difficulty making friends. A new clinical study is helping children with ADHD become better at making friends.

NIH Nanomedicine Center draws on NYU School of Medicine expertise
As part of a new National Institutes of Health nanomedicine grant, David Roth, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Pathology and the Irene Diamond Professor of Immunology, is collaborating with colleagues at academic research institutions around the country to set up a Nanomedicine Center for Nucleoprotein Machines. The center will be headquartered at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Swedish massage benefits osteoarthritis patients
Massage therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce pain and improve function in adults with osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey report in the first clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of this treatment.

Alternative materials for radioactive materials containment
Nuclear operations have left behind a wide variety of radioactive waste that needs long-term containment and safe disposal. Novel and tailored materials for the containment of these waste streams will be explored in this conference, especially that of high-level waste, over a geological time scale, and high activity waste over several decades till the activity of fission products is diminished to an acceptable level.

Other highlights in the December 20 JNCI
Also in the December 20 issue of JNCI -- a report on breast cancer stem cells and radiation; research connecting statin use and advanced prostate cancer; a study of asthma medication and pancreatic cancer cell growth; and a model that predicts the risks of radiation therapy for leukemia patients.

Adenine 'tails' make tailored anchors for DNA
Researchers from NIST, the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland have demonstrated a deceptively simple technique for chemically bonding single strands of DNA to gold. The technique offers a convenient way to control the density of the DNA strands on the substrate, which could be important for optimizing DNA sensor arrays.

Stevens' high-speed towing tank re-commissioning and technical symposium -- December 11-13
Stevens Institute of Technology will celebrate the re-commissioning of the Davidson Laboratory high-speed towing tank with a three-day event starting on December 11, 2006.

Congressional action strengthens internal medicine ACP says
Saturday's Congressional action to avert Medicare payment cuts to physicians will work to strengthen the future of internal medicine, the American College of Physicians said today in a statement of appreciation to lawmakers.

Scientists offer new model for forecasting the likelihood of an earthquake
In assessing the probability of an earthquake, scientists rely on two important pieces of data that are often inconsistent. The past geological record sometimes tells one story, while current measurements from the Global Positioning System tell another. But a new forecasting model designed by Stanford University geophysicists may help close the gap.

Study finds that rich retirees are the main losers from inflation
How would distribution of wealth change if the United States were to enter a period of inflation? A study by researchers from UCLA and NYU finds that even mild inflation can lead to substantial redistribution of nominal assets from lenders to borrowers, specifically, the transfer of wealth from older, wealthier households to younger, middle-class households.

Molecular Solomon's knot
A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (USA), and Nottingham Trent University (UK) led by J. Fraser Stoddart have used a self-organization process to get molecular building blocks to weave themselves into a Solomon-type knot, and describe their results in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

The message in advertising is irrelevant, new research shows
Creativity and emotion are what makes advertising successful, not the message it is trying to get over, new research shows. Dr Robert Heath, from the University of Bath's School of Management, found that advertisements with high levels of emotional content enhanced how people felt about brands, even when there was no real message.

Epigenetic drugs, promising for breast cancer treatment
Worldwide, cancer persists as one of the most important diseases that affect the human being. The knowledge on the molecular bases of cancer generated during the last decades has been successfully translated into small but significant gains in overall cancer survival rates due to better primary prevention measures, improved diagnostic methods and the development of more effective and specific therapies, collectively termed

Cease and desist -- genome stability and epithelial carcinogenesis
Dr. Leonard Zon and colleagues at The Children's Hospital (Boston) have identified a mutated gene in zebrafish that increases susceptibility to epithelial cancers.

Effective HIV control may depend on viral protein targeted by immune cells
An effective response of the immune system's

Quality not quantity important for immune response to HIV
When it comes to an immune response against HIV, research funded by the Wellcome Trust in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US has found that bigger is not necessarily better, contrary to conventional medical wisdom. The research may have a profound impact on the development of a vaccine against the disease.

Changes in brain density can help predict schizophrenia
Changes in brain density could be used to predict whether an individual who is at risk for schizophrenia is likely to develop the condition or not. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Medicine reveals that monitoring changes in grey matter density over time using brain scans could help early detection of individuals who are likely to develop schizophrenia, when used in combination with other prediction methods.

UGA granted $1.9 million for natural gas education
The UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences was granted a $1.9-million grant to educate Georgians on using natural gas in their homes.

Fear of migraine destroys quality of life for men
The unpredictability of symptoms and apprehension associated with living with migraine is limiting mens' lives, according to research from Griffith University's Genomics Research Centre.

Consortium of international hospitals receives $11 million to conduct study of genetic brain tumors
The National Cancer Institute recently awarded the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center an $11 million grant to lead the largest genetic study ever conducted on the causes and risk factors of adult and pediatric gliomas, or malignant, primary brain tumors.

USC-led researchers use stem cells to regenerate parts of teeth
Researchers have successfully regenerated tooth root and supporting periodontal ligaments to restore tooth function.

What it means to be human
Approximately 6 percent of human and chimp genes are unique to those species, report scientists from the University of Bristol and three other institutions. The new estimate takes into account something that other measures of genetic difference do not -- the genes that are no longer there.

Oldest animal fossils may have been bacteria
Fossils publicized as the oldest animal eggs and embryos when discovered in 1998 may actually represent giant bacteria, says a study in this week's Nature

Shotgun sequencing finds nanoorganisms
UC Berkeley scientists Jill Banfield and Brett Baker have found some of the smallest organisms known in a sample of slime from a California mine. Their discovery proves the value of a technique called

Brain's fear center likely shrinks in autism's most severely socially impaired
The brain's fear hub likely becomes abnormally small in the most severely socially impaired males with autism spectrum disorders. Teens and young men who were slowest at distinguishing emotional from neutral expressions and gazed at eyes least -- indicators of social impairment -- had a smaller than normal amygdala. Siblings of people with autism share some of the same differences in amygdala volume, and in the way they look at faces and activate social/emotional brain circuitry.

High levels of vitamin D in the body may decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis
In the first large-scale, prospective study to investigate the relationship between vitamin D levels and MS, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found an association between higher levels of vitamin D in the body and a lower risk of MS.

Doubts cast on organophosphate poisoning as cause of Gulf War Syndrome depression
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health casts doubt on the belief that organophosphate poisoning causes symptoms of depression among Gulf War veterans and farmers, who are exposed regularly to these chemicals.

Buildup of damaged DNA in cells drives aging
A study being published today in the journal Nature found that mice completely lacking a critical gene for repairing damaged DNA grow old rapidly and have physical, genetic and hormonal profiles very similar to mice that grow old naturally. Furthermore, the premature aging symptoms of the mice led to the discovery of a new type of human progeria, a rare inherited disease in which affected individuals age rapidly and die prematurely.

Study explains how NSAIDs halt cancer growth
Scientists have discovered that induction of a gene known as MDA-7/IL-24 is the molecular mechanism that enables nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to halt the growth of cancer cells, a finding that could eventually lead to the development of targeted cancer treatments.

New Inteleos features gives users the ability to tailor information
Elsevier, a world-leading healthcare and scientific publisher, announced today new features for its drug tracking and analysis tool, Inteleos. These features enable users to search drug records by Mechanism of Action and Drug Class, graphically chart competitor drugs using a new analysis tool, and search and review clinical trial reports from ClinicalTrials.gov. Users can increase productivity and improve results by specifically tailoring information to meet their business needs.

Development of gene therapy
DFG senate commission presents second memorandum.

New instrumentation helps scientists better predict space weather
New instrumentation and observing techniques, being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are helping scientists better understand and predict space weather.

New highways carry pathogens and social change in Ecuador
Logging roads have brought a higher incidence of diarrheal disease and new social problems among communities along the Ecuadorian coast, according to a new study by an international research team led by Joseph Eisenberg, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

New study finds treatment with certain anti-hypertensive drugs may reduce Alzheimer's disease
A new cardiovascular drug screening has identified existing anti-hypertensive agents capable of preventing cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

This party doesn't start until the hosts arrive
Disease-causing organisms can be present in some areas where their hosts are not. If their hosts arrive, novel disease outbreaks may result. In the first comprehensive genetic analysis of an invasive marine host and its parasites, researchers trace invasion pathways of snails and trematodes from Japan to North America.

Cancer drug side effect caused by cell 'pump' problem
A troublesome side effect caused by some cancer drugs appears to be caused by a broken

New study links western wildfires to Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures
Western US wildfires are likely to increase in the coming decades, according to a new tree-ring study led by the University of Comahue in Argentina and involving the University of Colorado at Boulder that links episodic fire outbreaks in the past five centuries with periods of warming sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic.

Male circumcision reduces HIV risk, study stopped early
A University of Illinois at Chicago study has been stopped early due to dramatic preliminary results indicating that medical circumcision reduces the risk of acquiring HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 53 percent.

Henry Ford health system: New and strict vendor policies begin Jan. 1
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, Henry Ford Health System will implement a series of strict and unique policies -- including the nation's first certification of vendors for medical facilities -- aimed at eliminating potential conflict of interest between relationships with vendors and employees.

Why we 'never forget a face'
Are you one of those people who never forgets a face? New research from Vanderbilt University suggests that we can remember more faces than other objects and that faces

Study offers window into human behavior, brain disease
UCSF scientists have identified a cell population that is a primary target of the degenerative brain disease known as frontotemporal dementia, which is as common as Alzheimer's disease in patients who develop dementia before age 65.

Cyberspace may overcome ethical constraints in experiments
By repeating the Stanley Milgram's classic experiment from the 1960s on obedience to authority -- that found people would administer apparently lethal electrical shocks to a stranger at the behest of an authority figure -- in a virtual environment, the UCL (University College London) led study demonstrated for the first time that participants reacted as though the situation was real.

Rochester study rolls out RU-486 to treat uterine fibroids
Low doses of the drug mifepristone shrink uterine fibroid tumors and greatly improve the quality of life in women who suffer from pain and heavy bleeding, according to a University of Rochester study published in the December Obstetrics and Gynecology journal.

Plant a tree and save the Earth?
Can planting a tree stop the sea level from rising, the ice caps from melting and hurricanes from intensifying?

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