Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2002)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2002.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2002

Reactive oxygen generated by Nox1 enzyme triggers angiogenesis
An enzyme called Nox1, which converts oxygen into

High prevalence of malnutrition among patients who enter convalescent hospitals
Inadequate nutrition is often present in patients after discharge from an acute care hospital, and a new study indicates that malnutrition reaches epidemic proportions once patients go from the hospital to a convalescent facility.

Fly cells on the move may reveal clues to cancer metastases
Using neat genetic tricks with fruit flies, scientists from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found the key signal that allows a group of normally stationary cells in the ovary to travel, they report in the current issue of Cell.

Growth factor receptor signaling critical to intestinal tumor development, studies show
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University say they have uncovered a major clue to what causes and promotes development of intestinal tumors.

Surgeons' performance related to visual-spatial ability
A Canadian research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlights how a surgeon's ability to execute a complex procedure is related to their degree of visual-spatial ability. Although some study participants were found to be more competent than others, those with low visual-spatial-ability scores improved their performance with repeated practice.

Computer chips found to possess explosive properties useful for chemical analysis and nanoscale sensors
Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that silicon wafers, the raw starting material for computer chips, can be easily made into tiny explosives that might be used one day to chemically analyze samples in the field or serve as power sources for tiny electronic sensors the size of a speck of dust.

Cloning chip
A chip that will create hundreds of cloned embryos at a time is being developed by a Californian biotech company. The chip, which automates the laborious process of nuclear transfer, could make it easy enough for companies to mass-produce identical copies of prize animals for farmers.

New grant helps UCSD support academic enrichment
The University of California, San Diego is the recipient of a comprehensive $1.4 million federal grant to improve academic achievement and increase the college-going rates of Pauma Elementary School and Valley Center High School students in northeast San Diego County.

NYU scientists advance toward nanorobots
A new device allows for localized movement in molecular scale DNA constructs, advancing the study of nano-scale robotics. Findings are reported in the January 3rd issue of Nature.

Research may lead to jump-starting damaged nerve cells
New research from University of Houston scientists may lead to techniques for jump-starting the faulty

Reining in cancer
A team of Italian researchers has demonstrated in the laboratory for the first time that combining two of the newest anti-cancer targeted agents may produce a powerful new combination against breast cancer - and possibly many other cancers as well.

Engineers develop odour eaters for pulp mills
Drive by a pulp and paper mill and one of the first things you'll almost certainly notice is the unmistakable smell. But give a University of Toronto engineering professor his way and you'll find the only thing assaulting your nose is... nothing.

Intellectual resources may help soldiers stave off post-traumatic stress disorder
Greater intellectual resources may, according to a new study of Vietnam veterans, help buffer soldiers from developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after combat. These findings appear in the January issue of Neuropsychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Pain in the gut? Don't blame stomach acid
When it comes to cooling the burning pain of gastritis or an inflamed stomach lining, reducing the amount of acid in the stomach may seem like a good idea. But two new studies with laboratory mice, conducted by Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School, indicate it could be exactly the wrong thing to do.

New contact-lens materials will revolutionize the industry, UT Southwestern researchers report
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas report that contact lenses, both rigid and soft, made from new hyper-oxygen transmissible materials are expected to reduce the possibility of bacterial infection better than contact lenses currently on the market. Based in part on these findings, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved hyper-oxygen transmissible contact lenses for 30-day continuous wear.

Georgetown University forum to explore scientific approaches for expediting drug development
This workshop, titled

CWRU researchers find snoring associated with head shape
Six researchers at Case Western Reserve University have used the shape of a person's head as one indicator of potential problems with sleep apnea, a chronic form of snoring. Round-headed individuals tend to interrupt a good night's sleep with snoring more than long, thin-faced people. Prior to the study such factors as age, sex and obesity were used as predictors for chronic snoring, says Mark Hans, chair of the department of orthodontics at the CWRU School of Dentistry.

Meteorologists combine diverse weather information for denser coverage
Spurred by the Federal Highway Administration, a two-year effort to combine weather data collected by a variety of government departments in Pennsylvania will eventually provide a dense, real-time assessment of weather throughout the state, according to Penn State researchers.

Livermore Lab hosts conference on Bioterrorism for the Courts
More than 100 justices from state supreme courts and federal courts and scientists from across the nation will gather at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A conference on

Is there a link between alcohol and allergies?
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a molecule involved in allergic diseases. Serum IgE levels are influenced by genetics, allergen exposure, and some environmental factors. A new study investigates if alcohol may be one such environmental factor. Low to moderate alcohol consumption was found to be associated with increased IgE levels.

Blood sugar control partially a function of beliefs
Young adults who believe they can adhere to the regimen required to control their Type I diabetes have better blood sugar control than those who don't, according to a study appearing in the January issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. The study also suggests that their

DNA arrays give clues to better vaccines
Scientists in Richard Young's lab of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research are eavesdropping on the cross talk between invading microbes and the immune cells of our body, using DNA microarrays. They studied the response human macrophages have to a variety of bacteria, and as a result, have found clues to making safer, more potent vaccines.

Unusual patient cases help UCSD researchers link toxin to development of 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
Three unusual patient cases of severe streptococcal (strep) infection have provided clues that allowed researchers at UCSD School of Medicine to prove that a potent bacterial toxin plays an important role in producing necrotizing fasciitis (NF), the rapid infection of tissue referred to as

Astronomers offer simple explanation for mysterious X-ray galactic ridge
Astronomers led by Farhad Zadeh of Northwestern University have imaged in great detail X-ray emission from the mysterious X-ray galactic ridge, in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The results could explain, in a simple fashion, the origin of this ridge, which was discovered nearly 30 years ago. Zadeh will present a report of the team's findings Jan. 9 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Findings link disease specific anitbodies to activation of T cells for the first time
Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute (REI) announced new findings indicating that antibodies specific to Graves' disease bind to cell surface receptors distinct from thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors. This interaction leads to activation of key genes and T cell activation. It is believed that antibody/receptor complex initiates a cascade of events culminating in T cell activities and thyroid growth. This research was recently published in The Journal of Immunology, 168:942-950,2002.

Sudan - a war against the people
Two Health and Human Rights articles in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlight the ongoing and forgotten war in Sudan.

Brain protein tied to sleep and feeding also involved in bodily sensations
A brain protein linked to narcolepsy, the sudden, uncontrollable and inexplicable onset of sleep, helps regulate bodily sensations. The new findings may help clarify mechanism in this link.

Genetic imbalance could help predict colorectal cancer prognosis
Results of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that an imbalance in specific genetic material on chromosomes 8 and 18 could be a better predictor of colorectal cancer prognosis than conventional histopathological assessment.

New technology detects lying, paves way for increased security
A Mayo Clinic-led study that appears in the Jan. 3, 2002 edition of Nature found that a new high-definition technology that involves measurement of the heat patterns created by the face accurately detected lying in more than 80 percent of cases studied.

Genetic marker tells squash domestication story
In the January 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), The Cucurbit Network and the University of Puerto Rico establish mitochondrial DNA analysis as a powerful tool for understanding relationships among flowering plants. A comparison of mtDNA from cultivated squash, pumpkins, gourds and their wild ancestors strongly supports hypotheses based on archeological and ethnobotanical evidence for six independent domestication events in the New World.

Images reveal how body regulates salt uptake in cells
Using x-ray crystallography, a team of scientists has determined the three-dimensional structure of the chloride ion channel. The images reveal an entirely new type of protein architecture designed to be an efficient conductor of chloride ions across the membrane of cells.

MR angiography can see heart bypass grafts, look for blockage
High-resolution magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) may offer a risk-free way to identify narrowed vein grafts after bypass surgery, according to a report in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In harshest environments, some proteins protected by 'alternate' folding mode
Beset by peers trying to tear them apart, proteins known as proteases constantly risk destruction. UCSF scientists have determined how a nearly impregnable design protects some of the most besieged proteases, a design that contradicts a basic assumption of chemistry.

Researchers find gene involved in pain relief
Researchers at the University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Amgen Institute have discovered a genetic mechanism involved in pain modulation that could lead to an entirely new approach to pain control. The results of their research are published in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Cell.

Thyroid disease raises risk for birth defects
Women with thyroid disease are more likely to give birth to babies with heart, brain and kidney defects even if the thyroid function tests are normal during the pregnancy, according to new research from Johns Hopkins.

Can weight loss decrease heart disease in type 2 diabetes?
More than 40 men and women from the Boston area - ranging from nurses to accountants to retirees - have already put their New Year's resolutions to lose weight and exercise more to the ultimate test by enrolling in the first long-term study to look at the effects of weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes in a nationwide study conducted locally at Massachusetts General Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center.

Strong relationship between peasant farmers and city-dwellers in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe farmers are highly dependent on family members in cities for their income. City-dwellers feel a strong link with the rural area from which they originate. According to Jens Andersson, a development sociologist from Wageningen University, this results in very few political contrasts between urban and rural areas.

Adult bone marrow stem cells can become blood vessels
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (SCI) have demonstrated, for the first time, the ability of adult bone marrow stem cells to expand in vitro as endothelial cells (which line blood- and lymphatic vessels) and then engraft in vivo and contribute to new growth of blood vessels (neoangiogenesis).

Breathing support reduces blood pressure for people with sleep apnoea
A reduction in blood pressure--and in the probable risk of stroke and other cardiovascular disease--could be possible for patients treated with nocturnal breathing support for sleep apnoea, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Giving patients more information reduces antibiotic use
General practitioners prescribe antibiotics to three-quarters of UK adults with acute bronchitis each year, even though there is little evidence to justify it. Yet, a study in this week's BMJ finds that reassuring these patients and sharing the uncertainty about prescribing in an information leaflet reduces antibiotic use.

Special interests undermine objectivity of scientific research
Objective scientific research, often used as the basis for policy decisions, is increasingly under attack by vested interests attempting to control the outcome or impact of research, reports a peer-reviewed study published by UCLA Public Health Dean Linda Rosenstock in January's American Journal of Public Health.

Not enough telling in telemedicine
Telemedicine - the delivery of health related services via remote telecommunications - is valuable for delivering health-related services to remote areas, but the dynamics of the interactions associated with it can increase the likelihood of uncertainty, frustration and unmet expectations for all involved, says Richard L. Street, who has spent more than 15 years studying health communication.

Air pollution may trigger asthma in young athletes
Children who compete in sports in communities with more heavily polluted air are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma than other children, according to research from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Grant extends economist's study of out-of-wedlock births
A Johns Hopkins economist will be able to continue his groundbreaking study of the relationship between welfare and out-of-wedlock child bearing with a prestigious MERIT grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The SMART way to fight AIDS
A critical long-term study to determine which of two common HIV treatment strategies ultimately is better began last week at 21 national locations and several sites in Australia. SMART, or Strategies for Management of Anti-Retroviral Therapies, will eventually enroll 6,000 people who will be monitored for up to nine years. The study is being conducted by the Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS, a network of community-based researchers funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Antimicrobial peptides: new weapons to fight infection
In a review article published in the January 24 issue of the journal Nature, Michael Zasloff, MD, PhD, Georgetown University Medical Center's Dean of Research and Translational Science, describes how antimicrobial peptides, molecules that exist throughout the plant and animal kingdoms, are inspiring the design of new antibiotics that may help conquer the growing problem of resistance to conventional antibiotics.

Dead leave stain of distress on mortuary workers
Survivors of wars, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are at particular risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder, but similar signs of distress may appear in those who handle the human consequences of these events, according to a new study. Military personnel who were assigned to mortuary duty during the Gulf War experienced an increase in the physical signs of distress, finds the study published in the January issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

UC Riverside scientists discover wound-healing substance
New research with chickens at the University of California, Riverside has identified a protein pivotal in healing the animals' injuries. The discovery may help researchers understand how wound-healing can be accelerated in humans.

Patients consider dropping doctors who are poor communicators
A new study shows that good communication is the most important consideration for building patients' trust in their physician.

More accurate digital tunes, images may result from new mathematical theory
Digital music may be clearer, digital pictures may be sharper and MRI scans more precise in the near future due to a new mathematical theory developed by mathematicians Akram Aldroubi from Vanderbilt University and Karlheinz Gröchenig from the University of Connecticut.

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