Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2005)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2005

UCSD-Utah team develops mouse model to test therapies for macular degeneration
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the University of Utah have developed a mouse model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55, and Stargardt Macular Degeneration (STGD), a form of the disease that affects children and young adults.

TAT2005 - 3rd International Symposium on Targeted Anticancer Therapies
The 3rd International Symposium on Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT 2005) will provide an update of recent developments concerning the new generation of rationally designed anticancer agents with well defined molecular targets in the cancer cell or the cancer cell's environment: targeted agents.

U of T researchers map role of Epstein-Barr virus in cancer
Researchers at the University of Toronto have mapped the molecular details that show how a viral protein coded in the Epstein-Barr virus immortalizes cells and causes them to continuously grow, thereby predisposing people to certain types of cancer.

News briefs from the journal CHEST, March 2005
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, may help treat children with life-threatening asthma (LTA), according to a new study. In the first-ever study on anemia frequency and its pathophysiology in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers examined data from 101 patients with COPD (35 men and 66 women) and found that 13 patients (13%) had anemia. Physicians and their patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should weigh expected cardiovascular benefits of b-blockers against possible adverse pulmonary effects.

Theories of high-temperature superconductivity violate Pauli principle
Scientists seeking to explain high-temperature superconductivity have been violating the Pauli exclusion principle, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rutgers University report. Any theory that does not embrace the Pauli principle has a lot of explaining to do, they say.

Study shows acrylamide in baked and fried food does not increase risk of breast cancer in women
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have found no association between acrylamide intake in foods and risk of breast cancer among Swedish women. The findings appear in the March 16, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Forsyth scientists find blue light fights gum disease culprits
Scientists at The Forsyth Institute have found that blue light can be used to selectively suppress certain bacteria commonly associated with destructive gum disease. They are currently developing a handheld consumer device. If proved effective in clinical trials, blue light technology

Physicians may not be accurate in their confidence levels of their diagnoses, says Pitt study
Physicians often do not have correct perceptions of the accuracy of their diagnoses at the time they make them, and in significant numbers of cases they may be overconfident-wrong when they believe they are right; or under confident-right when they believe they are wrong-about their diagnostic assessments, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

2005 Geriatric Oral Research Award
The 2005 Geriatric Oral Research Award from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) will be presented today to Professor Jukka H. Meurman, Chair of the Department of Oral Infectious Diseases in the School of Dentistry and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Retirement communities need to do more to help residents cope with loneliness and depression
As the nation's population ages, greater numbers of people will be moving to old-age/retirement communities. Moving to one of these communities can trigger depression in many individuals. Mental health professionals in these communities must become more alert to signs of depression and devise strategies for treating it.

X-Rays signal presence of elusive intermediate-mass black hole
Peculiar outbursts of X-rays coming from a black hole have provided evidence that it has a mass of about 10,000 Suns, which would place it in a possible new class of black holes. The timing and regularity of these outbursts, observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, make the object one of the best candidates yet for a so-called intermediate-mass black hole.

Red wine protects the heart
A review article of the latest studies looking at red wine and cardiovascular health shows drinking two to three glasses of red wine daily is good for the heart.

U-M team makes synthetic mother of pearl
It's possible to grow thin films of mother of pearl in the laboratory that are even stronger than the super-strong material that naturally lines the inside of abalone shells. The trick is to add compounds normally found in insect shells and fungi cell walls to the recipe.

RIT takes eye-tracking research to next level
Scientists at the Visual Perception Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology study the link between eye movements and cognition using wearable eye trackers. Two current research projects include a collaboration with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) to learn how deaf students process information in the classroom and a collaboration with Sharp Research Laboratory of America to track how the human eye perceives high-speed motion on large-scale LCD monitors.

Men with severe sleep breathing disorder have higher risk of heart problems
Men with a severe form of a sleep breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea have an increased risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events, concludes a study published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Finding hidden invaders in a Hawaiian rain forest
Novel techniques from a high-altitude aircraft, have detected two species of invading plants that are changing the ecology of rain forest near the Kilauea Volcano in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The study, led by Dr. Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution, found that the native dominant tree 'ohia' (Metrosideros polymorpha) has been taken over by the invading Canary Islands tree, Myrica faya. They also identified areas where Myrica invasion is in its early stages.

Tell children racial prejudice is wrong: They'll be less likely to be prejudiced
When children under 10 are aware that racial prejudice is wrong, they are more likely to suppress it in their peer group. New evidence shows that once children are older than 10, they are less likely to suppress such prejudice. The studies explored in this paper show different results in controlling racial bias when children are held accountable for their actions, and underscore the need to reduce children's racial prejudice before the age of 10.

New evaluation tool reliably predicts recovery from coma
A Department of Veterans Affairs and Northwestern University researcher has developed the first reliable measure of neurobehavioral functioning that will help physicians predict the likelihood of a patient recovering consciousness during coma from severe brain injury within the first year of injury--with up to 86 percent certainty.

Leslie Roberts of Science wins ASM Public Communications Award
Leslie Roberts has been named the winner of the 2005 ASM Public Communications Award. Roberts' award-winning entry,

See yourself as outsiders do to measure progress toward goals, study says
When people feel they've hit a roadblock in reaching a personal goal, such as losing weight, a change in perspective may give them the help they need to move forward, a new study suggests. The research found that picturing memories from a third-person perspective - as if looking at one's past self in a movie - can lead people to perceive more personal change in their lives.

Environmental crisis forging strange bedfellows
New partnerships bridging the boundaries between religion and science must be forged if the world is to avoid ecological collapse because of pollution and human interference, says a University of Toronto professor.

Use of potentially inappropriate medications among elderly common in some European countries
There are substantial differences between European countries in the potentially inappropriate use of medications among elderly home care patients, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Alcohol intervention attempted for violent males
Alcohol intervention attempted for violent males will be discussed at the upcoming 83rd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research conference.

MRI better than current standard in assessing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer
More breast cancer patients with large palpable tumors are now undergoing chemotherapy before surgery in an effort to reduce the size of their tumor, and MRI is the best way to predict if the chemotherapy is working, preliminary results of a study show. If the chemotherapy is successful, then the woman may be able to undergo breast-conservation surgery rather than a mastectomy.

Houston meeting kicks off collaboration to advance cancer research
Researchers from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Imperial College London met today to launch a joint initiative aimed at advancing scientific discovery of novel cancer therapies.

Binge drinking can impair both mood and cognitive performance
Binge drinking by young people is on the rise in several countries. Previous research suggests that binge drinking may have implications for the development of alcohol dependence. New findings demonstrate that binge drinking itself has negative behavioral consequences, affecting mood and cognitive performance.

The power of pride
A shopping experience can be a good thing. So good, in fact, that you might leave a store with a level of pride at having found a good deal. It would seem logical that you would certainly return to that store for more, right? Well, not necessarily, say the authors of an article in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Mood elevating hormone may trigger depression and heart problems
Impaired function of a receptor that regulates release of a mood elevating hormone in the brain may be responsible for causing depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disorders.

Researchers discover link between insulin and Alzheimer's
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School have discovered that insulin and its related proteins are produced in the brain, and that reduced levels of both are linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Emory scientists find new prostate cancer suppressor gene
A gene named ATBF1 may contribute to the development of prostate cancer through acquired mutations and/or loss of expression, according to research at Emory University School of Medicine and its Winship Cancer Institute.

Dropping nano-anchor
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., and the University of Washington say they can control the deposition of anchor molecules on a carbon nanotube, 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, without muting the nanotube's promising physical properties.

New system for the analysis of facial movement in three dimensions
Navarre University Hospital has launched a novel system for capturing facial movement that enables such movement to be monitored and quantified in a precise manner.

DOE provides $12 million to advance separation technologies
The Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, a multi-university and industry consortium lead by Virginia Tech, has received a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory. The advanced separation technologies developed in the proposed work can be used for producing high-quality solid fuels with maximum recovery without adversely impacting the environment.

UCSF study offers insight into human circadian rhythms
Scientists have identified a gene and mutation within it that causes a rare sleep behavior, in which individuals have a

First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
Scientists have believed that neurons need a long period of fine-tuning and training with other neurons before they take on their adult role. But after using new technology for the first time to watch these cells develop, a team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that neurons come into this world with a good idea about what they'll become as adults.

Teenage highs and lows
What risk factors influence teenagers to start experimenting with marijuana or to move from experimental to regular use? Involvement with other substances (alcohol and cigarettes), delinquency and school problems have been established as the three most important risk factors in identifying teenagers at risk of continued involvement with marijuana by a Cardiff University scientist, in collaboration with a colleague in the USA.

'Speaker's cramp', a new type of involuntary mouth-, lip-muscle movement
One of the topics -- 'speaker's cramp', a new type of involuntary mouth-, lip-muscle movement -- will be discussed at the upcoming 83rd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research conference.

NHS target driven culture is failing patients
The new tick box, target driven culture of the NHS is neglecting the quality of patient care, warns a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

Determining the fate of cells in the human body
Anthony Firulli, Ph.D. of the Indiana University School of Medicine and colleagues studied how two proteins, Twist1 and Hand2, which are antagonists, couple to determine the number of digits on a hand, paw or wing, and whether these digits are webbed or not. In addition to limb abnormalities, these proteins are associated with cardiac and placental tissue defects.

New insights into skin blistering disease pop up
Pemphigus is a skin blistering disease caused by production of autoantibodies that attack desmogleins, causing lesions and blisters that don't heal. In a JCI study, scientists engineered antibodies like those found in a pemphigus patient, showed that the antibodies inactivate desmogleins, have harmful effects on skin cells in culture, and cause blisters when transferred to mice. This is the first successful cloning of human antibodies that reproduce pemphigus, and offer an opportunity for development of therapies to treat this deadly disease.

A bacterial genome reveals new targets to combat infectious disease
In a paper published in the premier open-access online journal PLoS Biology, analysis of the Wolbachia genome, which resides within filarial parasites, offers insight into endosymbiont evolution and the promise of new strategies for the elimination of human filarial disease.

Leading experts weigh-in on the interpretation of quantum theory: Lectures available on-line
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in conjunction with the University of Waterloo, is offering a technical but pedagogical lecture series on the problems associated with developing a consistent understanding of the nature of objective reality in light of quantum theory.

New studies show mixed results on epilepsy drugs and birth defects
March 22 Neurology: New studies show mixed results on the effects of epilepsy drugs taken during pregnancy. With a newer drug, lamotrigine, the risk of birth defects was similar to that in women without epilepsy. But long-time epilepsy drug valproic acid, or sodium valproate, does increase the risk of birth defects. A third study found that children ages 6 to 16 who had been exposed to valproic acid during pregnancy had lower verbal IQ scores.

Fossil records show biodiversity comes and goes
A detailed and extensive new analysis of the fossil records of marine animals over the past 542 million years has yielded a stunning surprise. Biodiversity appears to rise and fall in mysterious cycles of 62 million years for which science has no satisfactory explanation. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, has withstood thorough testing so that confidence in the results is above 99-percent.

Histamine, anxiety and alcoholism
In the brain, histamine regulates a wide variety of physiological processes, including water and food intake, sleep-wake cycles, endocrine homeostasis, locomotion, and memory and learning. In a new study, researchers have found that decreased levels of brain histamine, which are associated with a functional polymorphism of histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) called Thr105 allele, may also result in higher levels of anxiety which may, in turn, confer vulnerability to alcoholism. Results are published in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Cancerous or harmless? Three genes might tell the tale
New research suggests that physicians can distinguish between a type of thyroid cancer and an identical-looking, non-cancerous thyroid condition by simply determining the activity of three genes. The findings could lead to a test that will prevent the needless loss of the thyroid gland in people with the noncancerous condition.

Researchers recognize 'lower-energy' varieties of coastal islands
A different style of coastal barrier islands that forms under lower-energy conditions than classic ocean-facing barriers, such as North Carolina's Outer Banks, has been identified by coastal geological researchers at Duke University and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. The new style of islands is typically found in protected bays and lagoons.

Indigenous initiation ceremonies in Catholic Papua community
Indigenous initiation ceremonies and Catholicism can happily coexist according to Dutch researcher Louise Thoonen. During her anthropological research she investigated how individual Papuan women experience and use initiation ceremonies and Catholicism to form their own identity.

Wiley forms book publishing partnership with American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers today announced that they have signed a multi-year agreement to jointly publish books in chemical engineering and industrial chemistry under a new, co-branded imprint, effective April 2005.

Treatment of cardiac lesions without anaesthesic
Navarre University Hospital has introduced a novel technique for the treatment of congenital heart defects and involving the percutaneous closure of the patent foramen ovale (PFO) with monitoring through intracavernous ecography.

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