Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 30, 2001
Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, May 1, 2001
(1) ACP-ASIM says physicians can negotiate but not strike (2) When do symptoms become a disease?

Reducing polypharmacy among seniors
The administration of many drugs together to elderly patients is a well-known problem in geriatrics.

Monitoring clinical research
In this issue of CMAJ, Jane McCusker and colleagues report on 3 years of monitoring experience by the research ethics board of a 313-bed university-affiliated hospital in Montreal.

Nicaragua's adolescents struggle with post-traumatic stress and depression caused by death, destruction of 1988's Hurricane Mitch
The staggering death toll and massive destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 left tens of thousands of Nicaragua's adolescents with chronic and severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and few options for care, according to a new UCLA study published in the May edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Two billion year old carbon signature of Wyoming rocks helps to reveal shape of ancient ocean in middle America
Discoveries by a Virginia Tech doctoral student have provided missing information about how oxygen was able to build up in the earth's atmosphere two billion years ago, and is helping to trace the history of the ocean between Wyoming and Minnesota.

Ultrasonic microprobe may rapidly detect, identify cancer
Surgical biopsies can be painful, and waiting for lab results unnerving.

Sick Kids scientists discover 'off-swith' for cancerous cell growth
Scientists at The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) have identified an 'off-switch' for cancerous cell growth, opening the door for new targets in the development of anti-cancer drugs.

Majority of patients in point-of-service health plans never use self-referral option for specialty care
A new study finds the majority of patients enrolled in point- of-service (POS) health insurance plans never use their self- referral option.

Theologians oppose human cloning but warn of dangers of a ban
Recent claims that reproductive human cloning is about to begin have raised questions about public policy in this area, including the prospect of legislation to ban cloning.

MSU study considers unequal pain treatment
Cultural differences, language barriers and a

Remote-sensing lab aims to foster growth of precision farming
It is 5 a.m. A Midwest farmer sips coffee in front of a computer.

Disadvantaged children perceive more hostility, damaging their hearts
A new study shows that children of parents with low education and low-status jobs are more likely to perceive ambiguous situations as threatening and thereby place added stress on their hearts.

Antibiotic-resistant genes traced from farms to groundwater
Genes resistant to tetracycline have been found in groundwater as far as a sixth of a mile downstream from two swine facilities that use antibiotics as growth promoters.

URI acquires coastal monitoring equipment with $250,000 Navy grant
Two URI scientists have been awarded $250,000 by the Navy to purchase a Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS (REMUS), an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will be used to map chemical sources in coastal marine waters.

Ear drops may reduce need for antibiotics to treat ear infections
Selected use of eardrops may prevent overprescription of antibiotics for childhood ear infections while satisfying the desire of parents to treat the illness, says a new study by Brown Medical School researchers.

New application technique improves efficiency of thermal barrier coatings
Penn State researchers have pioneered a new thermal barrier coating application technique that they say can extend - up to 12 percent -- the life and/or efficiency of coated components vital to the energy, vehicle, microelectronics and aerospace industries.

Molecule reduces Alzheimer plaques in brain, researchers report
Cells thought to be detrimental to Alzheimer's patients may actually help improve their situation, researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease have found.

Colliding galaxies provide clues to star formation in early universe
By comparing computer simulations of a galaxy collision with actual observations, astronomers at the University of Illinois have found discrete star-formation episodes that may help explain the prodigious star-formation rates that occurred in the early universe.

How cells know when to stop wound-healing
Researchers have found that an integrin -- a protein that helps cells stick to surfaces -- also tells cells when they should stop healing a wound and settle down.

Smart polymers provide size-selective switches to turn proteins on, off
Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a new method of regulating how proteins bind with specific molecules, a finding that gives scientists a size-selective

Cigarette smoking magnifies breast cancer risk for women with family history of the disease
Smoking cigarettes significantly increases the risk of breast cancer for women with three or more relatives who have had breast or ovarian cancer, according to a new Mayo Clinic study published in the current edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (
Alzheimer's disease gene appears to reduce risk of developing age-related macular degeneration
After combining the data from three independent studies, an international group of researchers has shown that a genetic variant implicated in Alzheimer'sdisease appears to reduce by half the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that destroys central vision of patients over the age of 55.

New treatment may bolster the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy
Scientist at MGH, UNC, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals have found that using an agent called a proteasome inhibitor in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy can enhance the power of these therapies.

Chickens succumbing to virus formerly avoided by vaccination
A virus common to poultry is outfoxing a long-used vaccine, apparently through natural genetic engineering and by using strategies to survive environmental insults, says a University of Illinois researcher who has been tracking new outbreaks around the world.

$100,000 prize to pioneers in neural research
Two renowned neuroscientists whose discoveries have helped revolutionize the understanding of brain

UCLA geneticists identify cause of malformed genitalia, finding will improve sex assignments in ambiguous newborns
A duplicated sex gene can convert a human embryo from male to female, often resulting in ambiguous genitalia, report UCLA researchers in the May edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

New study locates genes that may predict alcoholism, depression
It has long been known that a direct link exists between alcohol and depression.

Genetic disorders common among hospitalized children
New research indicates that a vast majority of children admitted to hospitals have a genetically determined underlying disorder.

RNA splicing study aids understanding of breast cancer, cystic fibrosis and other diseases
Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory explains the mechanism of a BRCA1 splicing defect.

Transplanted human neural stem cells improve memory in rats
Laboratory-grown human neural stem cells, the building blocks of the brain, were successfully transplanted for the first time into the brains of aged rats and dramatically improved the animals' cognitive function, according to a study by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.

Mistaken attachments cause cancer-promoting chromosome distribution errors
Some chromosomes are not properly distributed to dividing cells because both of the two newly forming cells try to pull the chromosome their way, a new study says.

Investigational oral contraceptive reduces premenstrual and menstrual symptoms
Yasmin (R) (drospirenone 3 mg and ethinyl estradiol 0.030 mg), an investigational low-dose, monophasic oral contraceptive, provides relief from some of the most common physical and emotional symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, including negative mood, water retention and increased appetite, according to results from a study presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2001 Annual Clinical Meeting.

Study finds depressed employees take twice as many sick days
A just-released longitudinal study - adding to the growing body of scientific evidence on employee productivity - confirms that depression is common in the workplace and detrimental to employee performance.

Vaccine helps prevent children from becoming carriers of associated pneumococcal bacteria
Two separate studies concluded that the new conjugated pneumococcal vaccine, which is sold under the brand name Prevnar, effectively protects Native American children from seven types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria and helps protect vaccinated children from becoming carriers of those types.

Vaccine safety concerns up among parents and physicians
In the wake of recent publicity surrounding vaccine safety issues, parents and the physicians who treat their children are reporting more concern about some vaccines, and even refusing certain vaccines for their children.

Quitting smoking harder for women than for men
A review of numerous research studies focusing on smoking cessation has concluded that while women may suffer greater relative risks of smoking-related diseases than do men, they tend to have less success than men in quitting smoking.

Viruses concentrate
Many reproducing viruses need to concentrate all of their components in one area of the cell, called a viral factory, so that all of their parts are present in sufficient quantities to allow assembly.

Expert scientific panel releases national assessment of climate change and health in the United States: impact could be far-reaching
A research team composed of health scientists from academia, government, and private industry has released its assessment on the impacts of climate in the United States.

UCSD biologists discover new class of genes responsible for embryonic development
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered in the roundworm C. elegans a new class of genes necessary for the normal development of the earliest stages of embryonic development in animals.

Journalists awarded fellowships to attend the 2001 Metcalf Institute Workshop at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography
The third annual Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting fellowships have been awarded to twelve journalists in broadcast, print, and electronic media.

UC Davis study finds breastfeeding may protect bones in teen-age mothers
Teen-age mothers are in no danger of sacrificing their own nutritional health if they choose to breastfeed their babies, according to a study by UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center pediatricians.

Tai Chi good way for elderly people to return to exercise
The low-impact Chinese exercise, Tai Chi, can help older people regain some of the physical functioning that they may have lost to inactivity.

Operation of self-aiming camera modeled on how part of brain works
By recognizing visual and audio cues, a self-aiming camera being developed at the University of Illinois can tell the difference between an airplane and an albatross.

DNA gene chips and novel software used to describe kidney development
The step-by-step development of a mammalian kidney, from its early beginnings in the embryo to its adult role as a vital filtration system, has been described by UCSD School of Medicine researchers using DNA gene-chip technology and novel software.

Chemical education in the United States and Germany: a look into the 21st century
Experts from Germany and the United States discuss successes and challenges in chemical education, Thursday, May 3, 1 p.m., Boston University.

Drugs and stress management together best manage chronic tension headache: Clinical trial proves benefit of combined therapies
Stress management techniques such as relaxation and biofeedback can help treat chronic tension headaches, especially in combination with medicine, according to research funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Carnegie Mellon University receives $1 million to create biosensor tool kit
The W. M. Keck Foundation will give Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to begin development of a biosensor tool kit that will enable scientists to more fully understand cellular activity as it occurs in living organisms.

Saving life and limb in children with bone, muscle and tissue cancer at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Limb-sparing procedures are a growing option for children with bone tumors of the arms or legs, thanks to MRI technology, improved chemotherapy and other medical advances.

Book catalogs panoply of African maps to beginning of 20th century
As Plutarch observed 2 millennia ago, mapmakers aren't nearly as accurate as they claim to be.

Johns Hopkins experts launch Palm OS™ version of digital antibiotics and infectious disease guide for physicians
Johns Hopkins today announced the introduction of the Palm OS™ version of its digital Guide to Antibiotics and Infectious Disease - the ABX Guide -- designed to give physicians free and up-to-the-minute information on antibiotics and their proper use.

Low-achieving children benefit when moms help with schoolwork
Teachers constantly call on parents to be more involved with their children's schoolwork.

The older you are, the less the chance of thrombolytic therapy
Recent guidelines have acknowledged that thrombolytic therapy reduces the risk of death after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), independently of age.
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