Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2007)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2007.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2007

Technical societies call for increase to NASA budget
Leaders from 11 professional science and engineering societies called on Congress today to boost NASA's fiscal year 2008 budget or risk losing the nation's scientific and engineering primacy.

Producing high performance spinel refractory cements using cheaper materials
Spinel containing high alumina refractory cements are in high demand by the glass, cement and metallurgy industries.

Ultra deep sequencing identifies HIV drug resistance at early stage
Rare, previously undetectable drug-resistant forms of HIV have been identified by Yale School of Medicine researcher Michael Kozal, M.D., using an innovative genome sequencing technology that quickly detects rare viral mutations.

Simple hand-washing video for visitors could reduce rapidly increasing hospital infection rates
Families visiting sick children significantly improved their hand-washing technique after being shown a simple and inexpensive video. Most hygiene studies have concentrated on health care staff, so this research is very important says Professor Roger Watson, editor of Journal of Clinical Nursing.

American Thoracic Society publishes new statement on pulmonary function testing in children
The ATS and European Respiratory Society published a new statement on pulmonary function testing in preschool children.

27-year wait for symptoms
The unusual case of a woman whose symptoms of colitis emerged 27 years after she left the country in which she was infected is detailed in a case report in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Benefits of school-based fitness programs fade after summer
A study of 17 middle school students suggests that physical fitness gains made by obese children who participated in a lifestyle-focused physical education class during the school year were lost after the three-month summer break, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Chronic conditions in children will pose future health and welfare challenges
The increased incidence of chronic conditions among American children predicts serious strains on health care and social welfare systems in the future, caution investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health.

Experts predict Tamiflu could halve the pandemic influenza death toll versus no intervention
Treatment with the oral antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and prophylaxis for people exposed to infected patients could be one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing illness and death during an influenza pandemic. According to modelling research presented by Beate Sander, University of Toronto, Canada, a stockpile of Tamiflu sufficient to cover 65 percent of a country's population could cut deaths by approximately half.

Nursing home placement associated with accelerated cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease
People with Alzheimer's disease experience an acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline after being placed in a nursing home according to a new study by Rush University Medical Center. The study, published in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, finds that prior experience in adult day care may lessen this association.

Young smokers want to quit, but don't seek proven treatment
Young adults do not take advantage of proven smoking cessation treatments that can double their chances of quitting, University of Illinois at Chicago public health researchers report.

Community Oncology explores pitched debate over anemia-fighting drugs
The June issue of Elsevier's Community Oncology takes an in-depth look at the charge that ESAs, generally considered vital to cancer patients' quality of life, are overprescribed for profit. Scientists, oncologists and critics of oncologists are in a heated debate now over the use of ESAs, or erythropoiesis-stimulating agents -- drugs that fight anemia by boosting levels of oxygen-carrying red blood cells and the protein hemoglobin.

Car buyers who use the Internet spend less time at the dealership negotiating prices
In one of the first studies to detail how car purchasing has changed since the advent of the Internet, researchers find that online research has largely supplanted time spent at the dealership, time spent negotiating prices, and use of third-party sources such as Consumer Reports. The study, forthcoming in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, also reveals that the overall time buyers spent searching for a car has increased with Internet research.

CPAP improves sleep in patients with Alzheimer's disease, sleep-related breathing disorder
CPAP has been found to reduce the amount of time spent awake during the night, increase the time spent in deeper levels of sleep, and improve oxygenation in patients with both Alzheimer's disease and a sleep-related breathing disorder.

Exercise lowers insulin in breast cancer survivors
Normally sedentary breast cancer survivors who completed an exercise program reduced the levels of insulin in their blood, revealing a likely link between physical activity and better outcomes, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Dietary vitamin B6, B12 and folate, may decrease pancreatic cancer risk among lean people
Researchers exploring the notion that certain nutrients might protect against pancreatic cancer found that lean individuals who got most of these nutrients from food were protected against developing cancer. The study also suggests this protective effect does not hold true if the nutrients come from vitamin supplements.

Arizona State University geophysicists detect a molten rock layer deep below the American Southwest
A sheet of molten rock roughly 10 miles thick spreads underneath much of the American Southwest, some 250 miles below Tucson, Ariz. From the surface, you can't see it, smell it or feel it. But Arizona geophysicists Daniel Toffelmier and James Tyburczy detected the molten layer with a comparatively new and overlooked technique for exploring the deep Earth that uses magnetic eruptions on the sun.

New research spares children the pain of the needle
Children suffering from pneumonia could be spared the pain of the doctor's needle, thanks to new research funded by the British Lung Foundation.

Potent possibilities for parasite attack
A comparison of three parasite species that cause Leishmaniasis has identified a small number of genes, many new to biology, that will provide a framework to target the search for new treatments. Leishmaniasis is a devastating disease that affects about two million people each year and threatens one-fifth of the world's population and new treatments are desperately needed.

Duetting birds with rhythm present a greater threat
Birds that sing duets with incredible rhythmic precision present a greater threat to other members of their species than those that whistle a sloppier tune, according to a study of Australian magpie-larks reported in the June 5th issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

UW-Madison engineers develop higher-energy liquid-transportation fuel from sugar
Reporting in the June 21 issue of the journal Nature, University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineering Professor James Dumesic and his research team describe a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), a liquid transportation fuel with 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.

Sleep-related breathing disorder common among aggressive, bullying schoolchildren
Aggressive behavior and bullying, common among schoolchildren, are likely to have multiple causes, one of which may be an undiagnosed sleep-related breathing disorder.

Penn researchers find potential new target for Type 2 diabetes
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered a potential new target for treating type 2 diabetes. The target is a protein, along with its molecular partner, that regulates fat metabolism.

College students who pull 'all-nighters' and get no sleep more likely to have a lower GPA
A common practice among many college students involves

EPA ozone pollution standards 'unhealthy for America,' says American Thoracic Society president
David H. Ingbar, M.D., president of the American Thoracic Society, today called the proposed standards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency for ozone pollution -- commonly known as smog --

New clues to stroke role in Alzheimer's
Researchers have discovered key details of how stroke or traumatic brain injury can trigger Alzheimer's disease by enhancing formation of brain-clogging amyloid plaques. Their experiments established that

Pavlov's cockroach: Classical conditioning of salivation in an insect
A new study, led by Makoto Mizunami and colleagues at Tohoku University in Japan, demonstrates classical conditioning of salivation in cockroaches, for the first time in species other than dogs and humans, and its underlying neural mechanisms remain elusive because of the complexity of the mammalian brain.

New evidence points to oceans on Mars
Scientists have found new evidence to support the presence of large oceans on Mars in the past. The research suggests that changes in Mars' orientation with respect to its axis might be responsible for large variations in the topography of shoreline-like features on the planet. Scientists have studied these features for more than 30 years, and the current study presents a new, alternative explanation for how they formed.

New study reports hotel guests at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning kills over 200 people every year in the United States. Although inexpensive CO detectors have been available since 1989, their use in hotels, motels and resorts is not widespread. While every guest room in the US must contain a smoke detector, there is no federal mandate for CO detectors. A study in the July American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from LDS Hospital report on the incidence and impact of CO poisoning of hotel guests.

Alcohol abuse is in the genes
Researchers state that

Motor neurone disease: Devastating, mysterious and few treatments available
Motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a degenerative disease of unknown cause which causes patients to lose basic motor functions and has a devastating effect on them and their families. But work is ongoing on new treatments to prolong life expectancy and raise quality of life for patients, say the authors of a seminar published in this week's edition of the Lancet.

More than half of infertile couples may be willing to donate unused embryos to stem cell research
In a survey of over a thousand patients who have created and frozen embryos as part of fertility treatment, 60 percent said they would be likely to donate unused embryos for stem cell research, according to a study led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University.

Archaeologists rescue clues to ancient kingdom from the rising Nile
Archaeologists from the University of Chicago have discovered a gold processing center along the middle Nile, an installation that produced the precious metal sometime between 2,000 and 1,500 B.C. The center, along with a cemetery they discovered, shows that first sub-Saharan kingdom, the kingdom of Kush, controlled a larger area than previously thought. In another year, the area where they are working will be covered with water because of the damming of the Nile.

The bee that would be queen
A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Purdue University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences has discovered evidence that honeybees have adopted a phylogenetically old molecular cascade -- TOR (target of rapamycin), linked to nutrient and energy sensing -- and put it to use in caste development. They found that queen-fate can be blocked, and that workers develop, when TOR activity is reduced during development.

Parents of chronically ill kids are helped by better access to federal and employer leave
Working parents are more able to care for their chronically ill children when given greater access to federal and employer-provided time off from their jobs, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

JCI table of contents: June 7, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online June 7, 2007, in the JCI, including:

Massive herds of animals found to still exist in Southern Sudan
Aerial surveys by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society confirm the existence of more than 1.2 million white-eared kob, tiang antelope and Mongalla gazelle in Southern Sudan, where wildlife was thought to have vanished as a result of decades-long conflict.

Children of smokers have more than 5 times higher levels of a nicotine toxin
Children who have at least one parent who smokes have 5.5 times higher levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their urine, according to a study by researchers from Warwick Medical School at the the University of Warwick, and the University of Leicester, published online ahead of print in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Nepalese researchers identify cost-effective treatment for drug-resistant typhoid
New research carried out by researchers in Nepal has shown that a new and affordable drug, gatifloxacin, may be more effective at treating typhoid fever than the drug currently recommended by the World Health Organization. The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, has implications for the treatment of typhoid particularly in areas where drug resistance is a major problem. The results are published in the June 27 issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Super fruit fly may lead to healthier humans
Researchers at USC and Caltech slow aging dramatically in fruit flies with a new technique that shows general promise in pharmaceutical development.

UGR researchers design an alternative to blood test to detect drugs in the body
The department of Legal Medicine and Psychiatry has developed a new technique based on the analysis of pericardial fluid, a plasma ultrafiltered which surrounds the heart. Their work has determined for the first time that this fluid, easier to test than blood, presents a narcotic concentration similar to blood.

Drug derived from sea squirt shows potent anti-tumor activity
The sea-squirt derived drug trabectedin (ecteinascidinin-743) shows anti-tumor activity in more than half of patients with a specific type of cancer, conclude authors of an article published early online and in the July edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Bigger horns equal better genes
According to a team of international researchers, mature, male alpine ibex demonstrate a correlation between horn growth and genetic diversity. The researchers believe their study offers evidence to support the mutation accumulation theory of ageing, which is the idea that, because natural selection weakens with age, genetic mutations have effects that accumulate over time.

Dasatinib shows high early response rate as first treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia
An established second-line drug for chronic myelogenous leukemia has high response rates when given to newly diagnosed patients as their first therapy for the disease, according to early results from a phase II clinical trial at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Michael R. Zalutsky receives SNM's 2007 Paul C. Aebersold Award
Michael R. Zalutsky, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at Duke University in Durham, N.C., received the 2007 Paul C. Aebersold Award for outstanding achievement in basic nuclear medicine science from SNM, the largest international society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals. SNM is holding its 54th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Conference to investigate basis of parental behavior
Nearly 150 basic and clinical scientists will assemble in Boston this week to better understand the role of the central nervous system in conditions such as postpartum depression and female anxiety at the Parental Brain Conference at Boston's Back Bay Hilton. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7.

First prospective study shows improvement of rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy
Disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is significantly reduced during pregnancy, according to new data presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain. In the study, RA improved significantly from the first trimester to the third trimester of the participants' pregnancy and this effect extended into the postpartum stage.

Chemotherapy may enhance the effectiveness of brain tumor vaccines
Chemotherapy temporarily hinders the body's immune response, creating a concern that it may interfere with the promising new cancer vaccines being used against brain tumors. But a new study led by researchers at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has found that the opposite is true: chemotherapy may actually enhance the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Turning the tables in chemistry
What do glowing veggies have to do with a career in science? It just so happens that electrified pickles swimming in metal ions are one example of the type of undergraduate chemistry class demonstration that helps make a future in science a bright possibility, rather than a total turn-off, for many students.

Satellite images show destroyed and threatened villages in Darfur
A pioneering AAAS program that provides technical expertise to human rights groups is helping Amnesty International USA with a new online effort to monitor threatened settlements in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan and provide evidence of destroyed villages. 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