Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2005)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2005

VCU study: Low-dose oral contraceptives may increase risk for heart attack or stroke
Women using low-dose oral contraceptives are at an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke while taking the pill - however the risk disappears after discontinuation, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Discovery of T-cell 'traffic control' boosts new drug promise
Scientists have begun to clarify how one of the body's molecules controls the trafficking of T cells through the blood, lymph nodes and on to tissues to fight infection -- a crucial response that sometimes goes awry, attacking the body's own tissues and causing autoimmune diseases.

AGU 2005 Fall Meeting - media advisory 1
Some 11,000 scientists from all over the world are expected to assemble for this premier meeting of the Earth and space sciences. For journalists, it is an opportunity to learn the latest research in climate change, space weather, planetary exploration, volcanism and seismology, and Earth's magnetic field (for starters). International reporters from any country must have a visa. A field trip is planned, keyed to the upcoming centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Gene found in 90 percent of breast cancers may be cancer vaccine target
A gene that appears to help regulate normal embryonic development is found at high levels in virtually all forms of breast cancer, according to a new study led by Laszlo Radvanyi, Ph.D., an associate professor of breast and melanoma medical oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Environment and genetic influences play different roles in boys' and girls' gender-role behavior
While boys' enjoyment of masculine-typical toys seems to be the effect of environmental factors, genetics seem to be more important in influencing girls' choices of feminine-typical toys. This study employed a classic twin-design examining the differences between identical twins' behaviors versus fraternal twins' behaviors in a longitudinal study. There is little research that has examined the extent to which genetic versus social-environment factors contribute to gender-role behavior; this study suggests that both play a role.

Scientists make breakthrough in understanding muscle contraction
New research into muscle contraction will give scientists a better understanding of bladder problems and pain during childbirth.

Plankton can run, but can't hide from basking sharks
Basking sharks are much more canny predators than previously thought, ecologists have discovered. According to new research published online in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Animal Ecology, basking sharks are able to reverse their normal pattern of diving at dawn and surfacing at dusk in order to foil the attempts of zooplankton trying to evade capture. Whilst shedding new light on basking shark behaviour, the results have important implications for population monitoring methods.

New footwear reduces falls in the elderly population
A new gait-stabilizing device called the Yaktrax Walker has shown to reduce the risk of injurious falls during winter months in older adults who are fall-prone, reports a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

How major lenders could help hard-up borrowers avoid the slide into debt
Mainstream financial service providers should help their rejected borrowers improve credit ratings and avoid sinking deeper into debt, by collaborating with high-interest lenders, many of which they own, argues a new report sponsored by the ESRC.

One of the fastest phenomenon of electronic dynamics
The journal Nature publishes this week a study of electronic dynamics (

Carnegie Mellon statistics professors captures statistics award
The American Statistical Association has bestowed its 2005 Outstanding Statistical Application Award on a paper written by Christopher Genovese and Larry Wasserman, professors of statistics at Carnegie Mellon University, that provides a new analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the radiation left over from about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Genovese will accept the award at the 2005 Joint Statistical Meeting, August 7-11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Girls' confidence in math dampened by parents' gender stereotypes
A survey of middle-school girls reveals that their self-confidence in math suffers when their parents believe the gender stereotype that holds that math is a male domain and when the parents give unsolicited help with homework.

Blink, and the brain misses it
Why are we not aware of the frequent mini-blackouts caused by blinks? In the 1980s, scientists discovered that visual sensitivity begins decreasing immediately before a blink, but the brain mechanisms underlying this process have until now remained unclear. A team of scientists may now have found a reason for why blinks go unnoticed.

Bioagent detector guide aids first responder purchasing
Ever since envelopes containing anthrax bacteria were mailed to Congressional and media offices in 2001 causing several deaths, many first responder departments have worked to improve their ability to quickly detect toxic biological agents. To help them make informed decisions about which biological agent detection devices best meet their needs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently developed a two-volume guide for the emergency response community.

Steiner symposium brings together leading diabetes experts
On Friday, July 15, 2005, 28 of the world's leading diabetes researchers will gather at the at the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th Street, to discuss their latest research and to celebrate the 75th birthday of Donald F. Steiner, M.D., the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

News briefs from the journal Chest, July 2005
News briefs from the medical journal Chest highlight studies related to GERD and asthma, wood smoke and lung cancer, and sarcoidosis and environmental risk factors.

MCG faculty contribute to textbooks on geriatric, pediatric hypertension
Dr. L. Michael Prisant, cardiologist and hypertension expert who directs the Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology Unit at the Medical College of Georgia, is editor of the new textbook,

Geologically produced antineutrinos provide a new window into the Earth's interior
For more than a century, geophysicists have had only one tool with which to peer into our planet's heart -- seismology, or analysis of vibrations produced by earthquakes and sensed by thousands of instrument stations worldwide. But now, geophysicists have a new tool for studying the Earth's interior, reported in the July 28 issue of Nature.

Jefferson Lab's FEL wins R&D100 Award
Researchers and engineers at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) have been awarded an R&D 100 Award, R&D Magazine's picks for the 100 most technologically significant new products of 2005. This is Jefferson Lab's second R&D 100 Award.

Dew point causes discomfort by exceeding AC designs
During last week's enervating hot spell in the Northeast, the discomfort was not entirely due to the heat or the relative humidity. The real culprit, say Cornell University climatologists, was the high dew point.

APS physics tip sheet #50
Highlights in this issue include the science of selling Harry Potter, and understanding how spaghetti breaks.

Stem cell therapy successfully treats heart attack in animals
Final results of a study conducted at Johns Hopkins show that stem cell therapy can be used effectively to treat heart attacks, or myocardial infarction, in pigs.

Deadly parasites show common genetic core
Scientists have deciphered and closely compared the genomes of three parasites that threaten half a billion people, causing Chagas disease, African sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis. The findings may aid the development of new drugs to fight these

Not enough is known about treating malaria in pregnancy, researchers say
Despite the fact that pregnant women are more vulnerable to malaria, a disease that can also pose serious risks to the health of a fetus, there is little information on which drugs are best, according to a new review of recent studies.

NASA satellites measure and monitor sea level
For the first time, NASA has the tools and expertise to understand the rate at which sea level is changing, some of the mechanisms that drive those changes and the effects that sea level change may have worldwide.

Only 51 per cent of hospital staff followed hand washing guidelines before hygiene campaign
Survey of hand washing at a large urban hospital in Ireland found that rates rose from 51% to 83% after a six week hygiene campaign. But even after the campaign, only 75% of staff washed their hands after coming into contact with bodily substances.

Student satellite makes use of facilities at ESA ESTEC
The SSETI Express educational space mission received vital assistance with spacecraft integration and testing at ESA ESTEC. The student project to design, build and launch a satellite would not have been possible without the use of the ESTEC facilities and the technical assistance provided by personnel from ESA's Directorate of Technical and Quality Management.

Carnegie Mellon psychologist receives NIH grant
Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, has received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his cutting-edge research into the connection between physical health and social factors, such as relationships and family upbringing.

Study reveals trigger for insulin resistance in liver, potential drug targets
In the July issue of Cell Metabolism, researchers report the discovery of a trigger for insulin resistance in the liver. Hepatic insulin resistance is a silent condition that increases the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease. The team's findings also identify a potential target for drugs to prevent or treat the condition, the researchers said.

Highlights of the 2005 July Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The July 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles. For more information or to receive a faxed copy of a Journal article, e-mail
Small farmers are key to easing poverty - G8 advised
Small farmers can be a driving force in cutting hunger and poverty worldwide. This was the key message to G8 leaders from an international gathering of leading development specialists this week.

A solution on paper
One wouldn't expect paper to be a major source of pollution: after all, it's made from wood, which in nature breaks down into tiny components that re-enter the plant growth cycle. Yet without proper dampness and other conditions that are often missing in garbage dumps, paper fails to decompose for dozens of years. As a result, billions of tons of wastepaper cram the planet's landfills, creating an enormous environmental problem worldwide.

Interim data suggest major response with Aranesp(R) in anemic patients with MDS
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced new interim data from a Phase 2 study evaluating the use of 500 mcg of Aranesp(R) (darbepoetin alfa) every three weeks to treat anemia in patients with a bone marrow disorder known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The data were presented at the 17th International Symposium of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) in Geneva.

Agreement signed for European instruments on Chandrayaan-1
The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed an agreement on 27 June 2005 for including European instruments on board India's first scientific mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1.

The Gerontological Society of America announces 2005 Hartford Pre-Dissertation Award winners
The Gerontological of America is pleased to introduce the twenty recipients of the 2005 Hartford Doctoral Fellows Pre-Dissertation Award. With funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, the program provides this cohort with the opportunities for successful careers in gerontological social work.

Habit leads to learning, new VA/UCSD study shows
Humans have a

New model may better predict outcomes for children with autism and autistic spectrum disorders
A new classification tool may allow healthcare professionals treating children with autism and autism-related disorders to more systematically sort out the combination of traits in the condition, and to better predict how children may improve over time. If the model holds up to further study, it may also allow researchers to gauge the effectiveness of different autism treatments.

Ethanol: Government of Canada announces second round of funding
On Wednesday, July 6, the Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, will announce the second round of funding of the Government of Canada's Ethanol Expansion Program.

Speed and endurance are doled out by the pound
The conspicuous size differences between beefy sprinters and lithesome distance runners are dictated by simple rules of form and function, according to new research from Rice University and the Texas Medical Center's National Center for Human Performance. The findings explain why sprinters need greater bulk: They need to hit the track harder to attain their faster speeds. The research appears in the July 15 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Household dust is main source of flame retardants in humans
Household dust is the main route of exposure to flame retardants for people, followed by eating animal and dairy products, according to a report in the July 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology. The study is based on a computer model developed by Canadian researchers.

Heterochromatin assembly in S. pombe
Dr. Craig Peterson and colleagues have identified an S. pombe ubiquitin ligase that is required for heterochromatin formation and gene silencing.

Research may provide new link between soft drinks and weight gain
A University of Cincinnati (UC) study provides new evidence that drinking large amounts of beverages containing fructose adds body fat, and might explain why sweetening with fructose could be even worse than using other sweeteners.

Halt NSAIDs use before gum surgery, Case researchers say
Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine recommend the discontinuation of ibuprofen prior to surgery to correct gum disease because blood loss is two times greater for those using the medication than those not taking it.

New UC study shows 'stop and go' traffic increases infant wheezing
University of Cincinnati (UC) environmental health researchers have found that 17 percent of infants living near

Child early intervention programs make for healthier adults
A 25-year follow-up study of a comprehensive early health and education intervention program begun in the early 1970s shows that inner-city children who participated not only did better educationally, but had better physical and mental health in adulthood. The findings, published in the July Pediatrics, add to evidence that programs like Early Head Start, which was modeled on this intervention, provide good value to society.

Ability, not disability, at heart of yacht trek
A crew of six sailors challenged by such physical disabilities as quadriplegia and blindness -- and their able-bodied skipper -- embarked today on a 2,225-mile competitive race from Calif. to Hawaii, the sailing crucible known as the Transpac.

Carbon monoxide: Poison gas or anti-inflammatory drug?
Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that kills thousands of Americans every year, could turn out to be a life-saver for patients recovering from organ transplants, strokes or heart attacks, according to a new research from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

The XXth Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis
The XXth Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis is to be held in Sydney, Australia from the 6 - 12 August 2005.

Women report various symptoms after stopping hormone therapy
Over half of women who began menopausal hormone therapy because of symptoms such as hot flashes or night sweats experience those symptoms when they discontinue hormone therapy, according to a study in the July 13 issue of JAMA.

UCF tops $100 million milestone in research funding for 2004-05
University of Central Florida professors received a record $103.6 million in research funding in 2004-05, exceeding the $100 million milestone for the first time in the university's history. 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