Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2005)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2005

Robot walks, balances like a human
If you nudge this robot, it steps forward and catches its balance -- much like a human.

Protein targets tumor vasculature, delays tumor growth in animal study
Treatment with a protein fused to an antibody in tumor-bearing mice led to coagulation of the blood within the tumor blood vessels, tumor tissue death, and tumor growth delay, according to a new study in the May 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Canada lags behind in caregiver support
According to a new study, Canada lags behind other western countries in the level of financial support it gives to family caregivers. Dr. Janice Keefe found that Australia and the United Kingdom do a better job of financially supporting people looking after a sick relative.

Alien woodwasp, threat to US pine trees, found in N.Y.
E. Richard Hoebeke, a Cornell University senior extension associate in entomology, has discovered the first Sirex noctilio Fabricius, an Old World woodwasp, in the Northeast. If it becomes established, it could devastate pine trees nationwide.

US Department of State names UCI atmospheric scientist a Jefferson Science Fellow
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced that Michael Prather, an internationally recognized UC Irvine expert on global climate change, is one of only five 2005-06 Jefferson Science Fellows selected by the U.S. Department of State.

NexMed announces positive Femprox study results at American Urological Association Annual Meeting
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) is a condition that currently has no pharmaceutical product approved for treatment. NexMed's Femprox cream, for treatment of FSAD, is among the front-runners in the race to develop a safe and effective treatment. Preliminary results from a 400 patient study with Femprox showed the primary efficacy endpoint was statistically significant. Patients showed demonstrable improvement in sexual arousal over the course of therapy.

3-D study of immune cell interactions reveals details of an effective antibody response
Research published in the open-access online journal PLoS Biology reveals that interactions between B and T cells in intact thymocytes are monitored with two-photon laser scanning microscopy.

Drug safety in the doctor's office: Nearly half of patients have lapses in monitoring
According to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, only slightly more than half of patients taking chronic medications received the recommended laboratory tests to monitor drug side effects.

Two new retroviruses--transmitted from animals--identified
A team of researchers has discovered two new retroviruses among central Africans who hunt nonhuman primates. They believe the findings demonstrate the need to regularly survey those human populations known to be in contact with animals for new infectious diseases emerging from animals. The study, which was first reported at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, is now published in the May 16, Online Early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ramelteon demonstrates no abuse potential according to study results
Results of a clinical study indicated that ramelteon, an investigational compound currently under review by the FDA for insomnia treatment, had no more potential for abuse than placebo in individuals with a history of polydrug abuse.

Crossing Africa with EGNOS
Flying over Africa using navigation information via satellite is what the European Space Agency (ESA) is undertaking next week between Senegal and Kenya. The aim is to demonstrate methods for safer aviation in the region.

Keeping cancer in check
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified in normal cells that a common metabolic enzyme, which acts as a rheostat of cellular conditions, also controls cell replication. This control is managed through p53, the much-studied protein implicated in many types of cancer. The discovery of the interaction between these two molecules may lead to new ways to fight cancer.

Making states work
What mechanisms make for a successful state? Although much has been written about state failures and the reasons for such occurrences, very little attention has been paid to what constitutes state success and what are the mechanisms for achieving success. Making States Work, a collaboration between the International Peace Academy and the United Nations University goes some way towards addressing the issue.

Embryonic law and order
Soon after fertilization, the cells in an embryo, which have been dividing furiously from the start, begin to take on different forms and to separate into layers that will eventually give rise to the organism's various tissues and organs. But dividing and changing shape, two distinct processes, cannot happen simultaneously.

While on trail of dioxin, scientists pinpoint cancer target of green tea
Green tea appears to protect against cancer by affecting a

Study shows even limited training improves communication with patients from other cultures
Simple classroom lectures about different religious holidays, such as the Muslim tradition of fasting during Ramadan, or Spanish language lessons focused on common medical terms really work to help physicians and nurses connect with patients from different cultures and improve patient satisfaction, according to a pair of reports from Johns Hopkins researchers.

Nature as important as nurture in developing ability for flexible self-control
Your ability to follow the rules of the road when driving on unfamiliar streets exists thanks to the way your pre-teen life experiences influenced the development of your brain. Individuals deprived of normal life experiences may lack this ability to control their behavior in novel situations, a new computer model suggests, providing insight into how nature and nurture may interact in the development of self-control.

Marine sponge yields nanoscale secrets
The simple marine sponge is inspiring cutting-edge research in the design of new materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A report about these exciting new results involving the use of gold nanoparticles is the cover story of the current issue of the scientific journal, Advanced Materials, written by UCSB scientists.

The link between physical activity and ovarian cancer
A new study found that regular moderate recreational and work-related physical activity may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Study is first to implicate dietary fat in 'fatty liver'
A University of Minnesota study is the first to show that if you eat too much fat, it can go straight to your liver and damage it. The results indicate that fat buildup in the liver results when the liver loses its ability to manage the various influxes of fat that occur during transitions between the fasted and fed states.

Mailman School shares new virus identification technologies
The recent outbreaks of avian influenza throughout Asia and hemorrhagic fever due to exposure to Marburg virus in Angola highlight the importance of ensuring that as many labs as possible have access to new pathogen identification technologies as they are developed. In an effort to address this, scientists from the Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health will share their newly developed technology platforms.

PNNL seeks maxi space exploration via mini technology
Battelle scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing a lightweight, compact system for NASA that ultimately may provide propellant for a manned mission to Mars.

Dartmouth Medical School researchers identify enzymatic activity of neurological disease gene
Opening a window to understand the molecular basis of a hereditary ataxia, Dartmouth Medical School researchers have identified an enzyme activity that is inactivated in all reported mutant forms of a disease protein. The discovery may lead to therapies to treat the neurological disease.

Common incontinence drug could have an additional topical effect on the bladder itself
Trospium chloride, a commonly prescribed incontinence drug, may benefit patients in more ways than previously thought. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found in animal studies that topical application of tropsium to the bladder walls controlled the symptoms of overactive bladder, indicating that the drug helps control symptoms during storage of urine in addition to having benefit during the voiding phase.

No strong evidence of an increased risk of cancer among personal hair dye users
A meta-analysis of the scientific evidence looking at the association between cancer and hair dye use has found no strong evidence of increased risk, according to an article published in the May 25 issue of JAMA.

Tendency to hair loss inherited from the mother
Scientists from the universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, Germany, have shown that specific changes in the genetic 'construction manual' of the androgen receptor may result in premature balding. The affected gene lies on the x chromosome; men inherit the defect therefore from their mother - supporting the widespread assumption that as far as hair loss is concerned men take after their maternal grandfather rather than their father.

Queen's poll - Ontarians don't want to close institutions for those with intellectual disabilities
A new Queen's University poll measuring the public's attitude toward the provincial government's planned closure of institutions for people with intellectual disabilities suggests an overwhelming number of Ontarians do not want the institutions to close.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for May 17, 2005
The current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet contains the following articles: Antibiotic successfully prevents travelers' diarrhea, study finds; Guidelines now recommend against ht for women with hysterectomy; Slightly elevated blood sugar levels not associated with new heart attacks, study finds; Study of five strategies to treat hbv identifies two strategies cost-effective, depending on health resources.

Decline in major heart disease offset by rise in diagnosed angina among British men
Rates of heart attack and coronary death among British middle aged men have fallen steadily since the late 1970s, but this has been largely offset by an increase in the rate of diagnosed angina, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

NJIT digital poetry expert receives Fulbright to study in Malaysia
Christopher Funkhouser, PhD, an assistant professor in the humanities department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will bring his own brand of digital literature to a cutting edge, technological university in Malaysia next spring. He will arrive at the Multimedia University (
$77 billion in lost income is attributed to ADHD annually in the United States
U.S. household income losses due to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) total nearly $77 billion each year, according to a new analysis of the national large-scale survey,

Survey of academic medical centers' standards for clinical-trial agreements with industry
Michelle Mello, associate professor of health policy and law at the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues examined medical school research administrators' standards for the clinical trial contracts established with industry sponsors.

Blocking COX-1 slows tumor growth in mice
Blocking the COX-1 enzyme - not COX-2 - might lead to a way to prevent and treat the most common and fatal form of ovarian cancer, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported this week. The finding, that COX-1 inhibition slowed the growth of epithelial ovarian tumors in a mouse model of the disease, is surprising, said Sudhansu K. Dey, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and director of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Biology in the Vanderbilt Department of Pediatrics.

€50,000 for German-Polish cooperation in the promotion of young researchers
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (Fundacja na Rzecz Nauki Polskiej, FNP) have established the first-ever Copernicus Award.

Simple questions may determine children's exposure to smoke
Pediatricians can reliably identify children at risk for environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure (secondhand smoke) by asking parents just three questions, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New test for early detection of prostate cancer shows promise
In the first clinical study of a new blood protein associated with prostate cancer, researchers have found that the marker, called EPCA or early prostate cancer antigen, can successfully detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. At the same time, the marker successfully avoids the problem of false positive results that plagues prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

BC scientists coax gold particles to emit light strong enough to view single nanoparticles
Boston College scientists have demonstrated that gold particles comparable in size to a molecule can be induced to emit light so strongly that it is possible to observe a single nanoparticle. Unlike fluorescent molecules commonly used in multiphoton imaging, the gold particles do not blink or burn out, even after hours of observation, can be prepared easily, have low toxicity and can readily be attached to molecules of biological interest.

Man, chimp difference may have made us prone to cancer
The one percent of the human and chimpanzee genomes that differ from each other reveal how evolution has individually shaped the two species' genes since sharing a common ancestor five million years ago, according to a study led by Cornell University researchers Rasmus Nielsen, Andrew Clark and Carlos Bustamante.

Lack of sleep can affect athletic performance in teens
Adolescents who don't get enough sleep might be jeopardizing their athletic performance, and high school sports teams on the west coast may be at a disadvantage if they play east coast rivals, says Mary Carskadon, PhD, of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center.

NASA's rovers continue Martian missions
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is trying to escape from a sand trap, while its twin, Spirit, has been busy finding new clues to a wet and violent early Martian history. Rover-team scientists described the robot explorers' activities today at the spring meetings of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.

Secret of smallpox's success may lead to bioterror cure
ASU virologist Bertram Jacobs has received a grant to develop an effective post-exposure vaccine for smallpox as part of Project Bioshield. The grant is based on past efforts to manipulate a devastating trick in cellular weaponry of pox viruses like smallpox and turn it against the viruses themselves. The end result may be not just a new smallpox vaccine, but also a powerful tool that could be applied to fighting other viral pathogens, including HIV.

Soft drinks consumption may increase the risk of childhood obesity
Excessive consumption of sugar sweetened drinks may be a key factor in the rise of childhood obesity. A commentary in the May issue of The Journal of Pediatrics reviews research to provide perspective about the role of soft drinks.

Concurrent radiation, chemo, followed by surgery lengthens lung cancer patients survival
Patients whose lung cancer has spread to the lymph nodes have a better chance of long-term survival if they receive combined modality therapy, such as concurrent radiation and chemotherapy followed by surgery.

Scientists use meteors to investigate climate change and giant waves at the 'edge of space'
A new research radar based in Antarctica is giving scientists the chance to study the highest layer of the earth's atmosphere at the very edge of space.

To stop evolution: New way of fighting antibiotic resistance demonstrated by Scripps scientists
A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin have demonstrated a new way of fighting antibiotic resistance: by stopping evolution.

Decoding the logic of olfaction
Researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have succeeded in mapping the unique patterns of neural activity produced by a wide range of odors, including vanilla, skunk, fish, urine, musk, and chocolate. The studies showed that found that, despite very complex patterning of neural activity, the odor representations are very similar among individuals.

Kids at risk for lead poisoning don't get necessary testing
In the first population-based study of its kind, researchers from the University of Michigan Health System's Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit found that only 53.9 percent of children in Medicaid with elevated blood lead levels identified through screening got the necessary follow-up testing to prevent lead poisoning, and of those children, nearly half still had elevated blood lead levels.

Researchers discover mechanism for multiplying adult stem cells
Although adult stem cell research isn't fraught with the controversies that surround embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells are extremely difficult to isolate and then to multiply in a lab dish. Now, as reported in the May 6 issue of the journal Cell, researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member Rudolf Jaenisch have discovered a mechanism that might enable scientists to multiply adult stem cells quickly and efficiently.

Sustainable energy technologies: Efford announces national panel members
The Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), today announced the formation of a panel of distinguished experts in the field of energy science and technology (S&T). The panel will provide advice on Canada's energy S&T priorities that will help Canada develop sustainable energy solutions for the future.

Governor's distinguished CEBAF Professorship Awarded to Jefferson Lab chief scientist
Five Virginia universities unanimously approved the nomination of Anthony W. Thomas, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Va., to a distinguished professorship at The College of William and Mary. Thomas is a theoretical nuclear physicist and the Chief Scientist, and he also heads the Lab's Theory Group. 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