Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2004)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2004.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2004

Digital mammography longer to interpret
Interpretation times for screening mammography are significantly longer for full-field digital mammography (FFDM) than for screen-film mammography (SFM), says a new study by researchers from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.

EU-US workshop on performance assessment of public RTD programmes
The European Commission (EC), DG Research, in collaboration with the Washington Research Evaluation Network (WREN) and the Office of Science of the United States (US) Department of Energy will hold a workshop on

New research reveals head injury in children has lasting impact
New research from the University of Warwick reveals that children with even mild head injury may be at risk of long-term complications, including personality changes, emotional, behavioural and learning problems. The examined more than 500 children aged 5-15 years at head injury over a 6-year period. Even after a mild head injury, one in five children had a change in personality according to their parents.

Medical residents report sleep loss and fatigue take toll on learning, work and personal lives
In a new study, sleep researchers report sleep loss and fatigue affect medical residents in several ways, including learning, job performance and personal relationships. In addition, the study says 84 percent of the residents studied fall into a range calling for clinical intervention for sleep problems, based on a self-reporting scale measuring their likelihood of falling asleep. Using a combination of focus groups and a questionnaire, the researchers obtained information from 149 residents in six medical specialties from five U.S. academic health centers.

Elan and Biogen Idec announce results from Phase III maintenance trial of Antegren®
Elan Corporation, plc and Biogen Idec announced that in a Phase III maintenance study, ANTEGREN® (natalizumab) maintained clinical response and remission rates throughout six months among patients with Crohn's disease (CD) who had previously achieved clinical response. Additionally, a majority of natalizumab-treated patients who were also on chronic corticosteroid therapy were able to withdraw from corticosteroids and maintain response in contrast to those patients on placebo.

MDCT angiography may help risk-stratify patients in danger of stroke
MDCT angiography can aid in risk assessment based on plaque vulnerability, a finding that would be valuable in deciding how to manage carotid artery stenosis (a narrowing of the carotid artery that can lead to stroke) that shows no symptoms, says a new study by researchers from the University of Virginia Health Sciences in Charlottesville, VA.

Scents will not rouse us from slumber, says new Brown University study
Smells do not wake people, according to Brown University researchers who studied responses to the scents peppermint and pyridine - a common byproduct of fire. The findings indicate a significant alteration of perceptual processing as a function of sleep.

More young black men have done prison time than served in the military or earned a college degree
Being jailed in federal or state prisons has become so common for African Americans today that more young black men in the United States have done time than have served in the military or earned a college degree, according to a new study.

Women and heart disease: The role of diabetes and hyperglycemia
In a special article in the May 10 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues explore the role of diabetes among women with cardiovascular disease (CVD).

New study raises questions about the number of people in the UK who could be incubating vCJD
A team of UK scientists found that 3 out of 12,674 stored appendix and tonsil samples showed evidence of the prion protein associated with vCJD, but urge caution about the way these results are interpreted. The research is published this week in The Journal of Pathology.

'Dissecting sleep' by studying the strange phenomenon of cataplexy
Measuring brain cell activity in dogs with a genetic form of narcolepsy, neurobiologists Jerome Siegel and his colleagues have presented evidence that wakefulness is maintained by the activity of neurons triggered by the neurotransmitter histamine. The discovery will be appreciated by anyone in whom antihistamines in allergy or over-the-counter sleep drugs cause drowsiness.

New asthma program in Detroit public schools may improve student grades and decrease absences
A new study in the journal CHEST shows that Detroit public school children living with asthma may have fewer absences and improve their grades with the help of a new comprehensive asthma program.

Duke scientists identify new way to block blood vessels that feed cancer growth
Scientists from Duke University Medical Center have identified the

Are nanobacteria alive?
After four years' work, an American team has come up with the best evidence yet that nanobacteria - a possible new life form - do actually exist. The team isolated these nanobacteria-like structures from diseased human arteries and observed them self-replicating in culture. The particles have previously been implicated in a range of human diseases. Many remain unconvinced by the research though, dismissing it as

Janet Jackson's 'accidental' exposing of her breast was the height of fashion in the 1600s
New research from the University of Warwick reveals that Queens and prostitutes bared their breasts in the media of the 1600s to titillate the public, and that the exposure of a single breast in portraits and prints was common in portrayals of court ladies. While Janet Jackson's action of baring her right breast at the Super Bowl was considered outrageous, such exposure in 17th century media wouldn't have raised so much as an eyebrow.

Chemical reaction in birds provides sense of direction during migratory flights
Migrating birds stay on track because of chemical reactions in their bodies that are influenced by the Earth's magnetic field, a UC Irvine-led team of researchers has found.

Human brain works heavy statistics learning language
A team at the University of Rochester has found that the human brain makes much more extensive use of highly complex statistics when learning a language than scientists ever realized. The research, appearing in a recent issue of Cognitive Psychology, shows that the human brain is wired to quickly grasp certain relationships between spoken sounds even though those relationships may be so complicated they're beyond our ability to consciously comprehend.

First data from deep underground experiment narrow search for dark matter
With the first data from their underground observatory in Northern Minnesota, scientists of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search have peered with greater sensitivity than ever before into the suspected realm of the WIMPS. The sighting of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles could solve the double mystery of dark matter on the cosmic scale and of supersymmetry on the subatomic scale.

COX-2 inhibitor could be safest anti-inflammatory drug for older people
A Canadian study involving over 130,000 older people in this week's issue of The Lancet shows how the anti-inflammatory cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor celecoxib may have a lower risk of congestive heart failure compared with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

UCI Tobacco research center reports why teens are most vulnerable to smoking addiction
Teenagers have long been regarded as the age group most vulnerable to the addictive lure of cigarettes, and a new report compiling five years of studies from a UC Irvine tobacco research program provides details why this is very likely true.

Baby born from sperm frozen for record 21 years
UK researchers writing in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, report (Tuesday 25 May) what they believe to be a world record - a baby born using sperm that had been frozen for 21 years.

Cutting-edge science offers improved care for liver diseases
The liver is the largest organ in the human body, and proper functioning is critical for health and well being. Promising research in the identification, treatment and prevention of liver disease is being presented today at Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans. Digestive Disease Week (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

Yellowstone hot spot a hot topic at GSA meeting in Boise this week
Geoscientists are gathering May 3-5 in Boise, ID, for a joint meeting of the Cordilleran and Rocky Mountain Sections of the Geological Society of America. Approximately 700 geoscientists are expected to attend the meeting at the Boise Centre on the Grove, hosted by the Department of Geosciences, Boise State University.

Anaesthesia guidance system can reduce awareness during surgery
An Australian study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how the neuromonitoring of brain patterns of patients during surgery could help guide the use of anaesthesia and reduce the risk of patients becoming aware during surgery-thought to occur in around 0.1-0.2% of patients.

Mathematics leads way to better golf swing, health and more at NJIT international conference
If you're interested in learning how to improve a golf swing, create a better baseball bat or combat sepsis, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is the place to be. More than 200 mathematicians and scientists will attend NJIT's first international research conference May 21-22. The event will shed light on 40 unusual and important research activities such as the ones above. Conference sponsors are NJIT's Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Center for Applied Mathematics and Statistics.

Research into cetacean reproduction leads to birth of killer whales by artificial insemination
Research into the reproductive physiology of killer whales has led to the first live births by artificial insemination of any whale species. The scientists who conducted these studies of killer whales say that their work will help ensure the genetic vitality of marine mammals in zoological facilities.

New theory suggests people are attracted to religion for 16 reasons
People are not drawn to religion just because of a fear of death or any other single reason, according to a new comprehensive, psychological theory of religion. There are actually 16 basic human psychological needs that motivate people to seek meaning through religion, said Steven Reiss, author of the new theory and professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University.

World's oldest modern hummingbirds described in Science
The world's oldest known modern hummingbird fossils have been discovered in Germany. The tiny skeletons are also the first modern-type hummingbird fossils ever found in the Old World. These creatures, with strikingly similar resemblances to today's hummingbirds, lived in present-day Germany more than 30 million year ago. Although hummingbirds are currently restricted to the Americas, their long-extinct Old World

NSF launches Discovery Corps fellowship program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named the first six fellows of its new Discovery Corps: a pilot program that is exploring innovative ways for scientists to combine their research expertise with service to society as a whole.

Transvaginal ultrasound superior to transrectal ultrasound for staging rectal cancer in women
Transvaginal ultrasound surpasses the capabilities of transrectal ultrasound in evaluating women with rectal tumors, as shown by a new study performed at the Toronto General Hospital in Canada.

Interventional procedures significantly improve quality of life for obese patients
As the prevalence of obesity in the United States continues to rise, so does the need for safe, effective services and surgical procedures to treat sufferers. Interventional obesity-related surgeries are extremely beneficial with regard to incidence of related conditions and health care costs, according to studies presented today at Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans. Digestive Disease Week (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

Full moon exerts no pull on frequency of epileptic seizures
Werewolves notwithstanding, the full moon does not influence the frequency of epileptic seizures, reports a University of South Florida College of Medicine study.

New interpretation of satellite measurements confirms global warming
Researchers have used satellite data in a new and more accurate way to show that, for more than two decades, the troposphere has actually been warming faster than the Earth's surface. Previous interpretations of satellite data did not show the same tropospheric warming and became a major sticking point in climate change debate.

Domesticated tree crops may be the 'future of forestry'
The trees of the future may stem from advances in gene discovery research at Purdue University that could lead to domesticated trees, the forestry equivalent of crop plants like corn and soybeans.

Minimally invasive colon cancer surgery is effective
Getting treated for a common type of cancer just became easier: An international team of surgeons including two at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has determined that minimally invasive surgery is as safe and effective as standard open surgery for most patients with cancer confined to the colon.

Inhibition of cathepsin proteases inhibits tumor formation in transgenic mice
A new research study provides evidence that inhibition of cathepsin cysteine proteases may be a viable strategy for treatment of human cancers. The researchers demonstrated that cathepsins are elevated in tumors that form in a mouse model of a rare form of pancreatic cancer and a mouse model of cervical cancer. Cathepsins are shown to be involved in multiple stages of tumor development in transgenic mouse models of cancer, and pharmacological inhibition of cathepsins impairs tumor growth and progression.

Center for AIDS Research grant renewed with $8 million NIH award
The Center for AIDS Research (Case CFAR)at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland has received an $8 million five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health. This is a 39 percent increase in funding over the CFAR's previous award from the NIH. The center conducts HIV/AIDS research with more than 130 researchers.

Laser technique used to build micro-polymeric structure on a human hair, without harming it
A scientific team led by Boston College Chemistry Professor John Fourkas has demonstrated the fabrication of microscopic polymeric structures on top of a human hair. These results show for the first time that a multiphoton-absorption photopolymerization (MAP) technique can be used to fabricate structures nondestructively on biomaterials, and point the way towards applications of MAP in the creation of miniature biodevices, which could include micromanipulators for cells or even individual protein or DNA molecules.

Biologists uncover genetic links to broad range of human disorders resulting from cilia dysfunctions
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered a number of key genes that humans, mice, fruit flies and roundworms all need to produce hair-like cellular protrusions known as cilia--a structure that when absent or defective in certain cells has been linked to human infertility, blindness, kidney disease and lung dysfunction.

Landmark conference for United Nations on human cloning and stem cell research
The Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) will host a landmark event for delegates of the United Nations focusing on the science of reproductive and therapeutic cloning.

People with low incomes more likely to develop brain tumors
People with low incomes are more likely to develop brain cancer, according to a study published in the May 25 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study compared the rate of brain cancer among people with low income to all other people who developed brain cancer in the state of Michigan.

New era of colon screening emerging
There is good news for the aging population of Americans whose doctors are recommending periodic colonoscopies - it is getting easier. New research presented today at Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans shows that improved technologies are heading for the market, which means more accurate testing, easier processes and possibly, less frequent screenings for patients.

Conservation in Canada
Conservation actions could be more efficient if there is similarity among taxa in the distribution of species. In Ecology Letters, May, an international research team, introduces patterns in the geographic distribution of five taxa used to identify nationally important regions for conservation in Canada. Congruence appeared in geographic distribution of taxa and a measure of the conservation value of areas for taxa. However, few large protected areas exist in the sites of highest conservation value.

Genomic imprinting in disruptive spermatogenesis
Low sperm counts could be associated with genomic imprinting disease and could carry a raised risk of transmitting imprinting defects following assisted reproductive technologies, claim researchers in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Concern about pain reliever side effects, many patients take more than recommended
Despite increasing evidence of the serious side effects associated with indiscriminate use of over-the-counter analgesics called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), U.S. adults continue to use the medications incorrectly, putting themselves at risk for life-threatening side effects.

Eating some types of fish during pregnancy may protect baby from future asthma
Pregnant women with asthma who eat oily fish, such as salmon or trout, may help protect their children against developing asthma, according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society International in Orlando. The study also found that children whose mother ate fish sticks during pregnancy might be at increased risk of developing asthma.

Highlights summarized for movement disorders research at 56th annual meeting
Among the largest of subspecialties within neurology, movement disorders are also the subject of some of the most intense research. At the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, these were some of the highlights of new research presented in movement disorders.

Study raises concerns about tablet splitting
Back and neck pain sufferers who divide the most frequently prescribed muscle relaxant may be getting anywhere from half to one-and-a-half times the amount of medicine they believe they are taking, suggests a new study examining the practice of tablet splitting. This may place them at an increased risk of encountering side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue from too much medication, according to the study's primary investigator.

Specialized care from hospital to home improves the health of elderly with heart failure
A new study shows that when elderly heart-failure patients receive specialized nursing care throughout their hospital stay and at home following hospital discharge, the patients have a better quality of life and have fewer hospital readmissions. Instead of costing more money for this specialized care, the study showed that the care resulted in a nearly 38% savings in Medicare costs.

ORNL-state partnership lauded at dedication of computational facility
Touting potential economic benefits to Tennessee, the state's head of economic development helped dedicate a new $10 million facility Friday to house the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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