Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 30, 2000
Food and the circadian clock
Dr. Ueli Schibler and his team at the University of Geneva in Switzerland report on their exciting discovery about how the body sets its own time.

Breast cancer susceptibility gene
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and the second leading cause of mortality from cancer.

Science and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech grand prize: "jumping DNA" discovery explains immune system evolution
By discovering jumping DNA's role in creating our modern-day immune system, Alka Agrawal earned this year's $25,000 Young Scientist Prize, awarded by Science and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech (APBiotech).

Who cares for the carers?
New research shows carers at risk of mental illness themselves According to a new study from the Institute of Psychiatry, schizophrenia affects the mental and physical well being of caregivers from its earliest stages.

Mayo Clinic study shows suicide rates overstated in people with depression
A Mayo Clinic study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry debunks the commonly held notion that about 15 percent of people diagnosed with depression will commit suicide.

Texas A&M University biologists are developing genetically modified rice resistant to insects and microbes
Texas A&M University biologists are developing genetically modified rice resistant to insects and microbes, which could revolutionize the food and agriculture industries and help alleviate hunger in developing countries.

Amazing light emission properties of gold lead to many applications
The discovery of unexpected light emission properties of gold by a Texas A&M University chemist is leading to a wide range of applications in medicine, genetics, and chemistry.

Short term psychological therapy more effective than general practitioner care for depression
Two studies in this week's BMJ show that psychological therapy is a more clinically and cost effective treatment for patients with depression than usual general practitioner care in the short term, but that these advantages are lost after one year.

First gene therapy to calm pigs' out-of-sync hearts
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have developed a gene therapy that, within a week, quells abnormal rhythms in pig hearts, the animal hearts most similar to human.

Job stress may lead to back injury for some people, study finds
On-the-job stress doesn't just strain the nerves -- it can strain the back, too.

Differences in brain function make it hard for people with schizophrenia to interpret other people's feelings
A new brain imaging study from the Institute of Psychiatry shows for the first time that brain abnormalities and social difficulties in schizophrenia are related.

New schizophrenia drugs may be no more effective than conventional therapy
There is no clear evidence that new antipsychotic drugs are any more effective or better tolerated than conventional drugs for patients with schizophrenia, despite being considered superior, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

RNA editing process plays essential role in embryo development
Scientists report the first direct evidence that RNA editing is essential to embryo development.

Auxin takes root
Dr. Nam-Hai Chua and his team at Rockefeller University in New York have begun to unravel the molecular mechanisms by which plants develop roots.

Increased consumption of soy protein may help lower cholesterol
People with total cholesterol levels exceeding 240 could benefit substantially by eating 25 to 50 grams of soy protein daily, according to an American Heart Association advisory written by a University of Illinois nutritionist and directed to health-care professionals across the United States.

Should DDT for malaria control be banned?
Malaria kills more than one million people every year, yet the United Nations Environment Programme will meet in Johannesburg next week to discuss phasing out DDT, which is still used by many countries to control the mosquitoes that spread malaria.

Immunotherapy slows disease progression and lowers PSA levels in some men with prostate cancer, UCSF study finds
A novel therapy that employs the immune system to attack and kill prostate cancer cells has been found to slow disease progression in some men and decrease levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein in the blood that often indicates prostate cancer, a UCSF study has found.

Penn study links underlying bone to spread and chronicity of sinusitis
University of Pennsylvania researchers have completed an animal model study that strongly confirms, for the first time, that bone is actively involved in the process of sinus disease.

Doctors and patients collude to maintain 'false optimism' about recovery
Many cancer patients develop a

Smart spacecraft will provide smoother ride
As experimentation takes place on the International Space Station, one prominent goal is to develop the next generation of smart spacecraft, able to make decisions and solve problems without human intervention.

New research aims to help rowers take the strain off their backs
Researchers at Imperial College, London report today that they have developed a technique which will allow rowers to measure and visualise how well the different sections of their lower back are moving together whilst they are rowing.

Estrogen deprivation leads to death of dopamine cells in the brain
Estrogen deprivation leads to the death of dopamine cells in the brain, a finding by Yale researchers that could have implications for post-menopausal women.

Cell degradation is topic of science review
Autophagy, the process of self-digestion of cell components through the action of enzymes within a cell, plays a vital role in cell maintenance and development, but in recent years has also been linked to a growing number of human diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

UC Davis study shows spirulina boosts immune system
Adding spirulina to cultured immune system cells significantly increases the production of infection fighting cytokines, say immunologists at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center.

Study takes close look at how teens and young adults share secrets
A new University of Illinois study finds that the secrets teens and young adults tell are remarkably similar - regardless of the family structure in which they live: original, single-parent or

Microbes make mine-waste drinkable, Science researchers report
A family of bacteria can clean water contaminated by elements such as zinc, arsenic, and selenium and offer potential to help remediate mine-waste and wetlands.

The importance of social connections as people age
A new book,

Any physical activity, at any age, is better than remaining sedentary
The new year awaits, but many senior citizens, along with their younger counterparts, have given up on any resolution to start an exercise program.

'Smart' flaps could improve efficiency of supersonic engines
Small flaps mounted in jet-engine inlet ducts may allow supersonic aircraft to fly faster and farther at less cost, say researchers at the University of Illinois.

First measurement of the long searched for nitric acid crystals in polar stratospheric clouds
A comprehensive investigation of polar stratospheric clouds was performed onboard a balloon gondola on 25 January 2000 above Northern Scandinavia.

Seven decades of management virtually wipes out life from the tidal flats of the Colorado River Delta
The biological productivity of the Colorado River Delta is only 5 percent of what it was before the mighty Colorado's water was diverted for human uses, researchers from four universities have determined.

Like a dimmer switch, turning a nanotube can control electrical flow
Scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University have found that by rotating a carbon nanotube, they can control its ability to conduct electrical current to another material.

Direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads get poor grades for educating consumers
Proponents of consumer drug ads say the promotions do more than sell pills, they also help educate people about medical conditions and treatments.

X-rays from the most distant quasar captured with the XMM-Newton satellite
A new record for the most distant X-rays ever found has been achieved with the detection of X-rays from the farthest known quasar.

Fighting Fungi
Scientists from Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan have made a discovery that may help us win the biomedical war against fungal pathogens.
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