Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 08, 2001
Mutant proteins may be key to defeat chemical warfare
Enzymes -proteins commonly used to speed up chemical reactions - can render chemical warfare agents and insecticides harmless by breaking them apart.

Drug regimen adherence key in keeping babies virus-free, study suggests
The best available defense against serious lower respiratory infections in infants is a drug that can cost the consumer more than $2,000 a treatment.

Women with low levels of HIV in blood may still harbor virus in genital tract
HIV-positive women may risk transmitting HIV to sexual partners and new-born infants through virus released in the genital tract, even if blood levels of the virus are low, according to a study by a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher and colleagues.

Geological myth busting: Extraterrestrials really don't impact volcanoes?
The idea that volcanoes can erupt when the Earth is smacked by a large comet or meteorite has become a popular idea in geology.

New sensor upgrades artificial bomb sniffers
Researchers have developed a disposable plastic sensor to enhance efficiency of the artificial nose, a high-tech sniffing device they hope will improve detection of bombs and landmines.

Zambian women support mass nevirapine distribution
Pregnant women in Zambia-a country with high HIV-1 prevalence-would support a mass distribution campaign for the HIV drug nevirapine, according to a survey detailed in a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

APS awards more than $160,000 to minority students of physiology
The American Physiological Society announces the winners of its Porter Physiology Fellowships.

Female genital shedding of HIV-1 poses infection risk
A study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests that heterosexual women with HIV-1-including those who have had successful antiretroviral therapy-are at risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners and newborn infants as a result of viral shedding in the genital tract.

Framingham heart study enters new phase
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS)--which helped give the world the term

Thanksgiving meals: Cooking with chemistry
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, offers insight on some of the science behind popular holiday foods, including the antioxidant benefits of cranberries, how to bake a browner turkey, berries that lower LDL cholesterol, and a new white wine with health benefits similar to red wine.

Scientists announce creation
Autism experts around the world will establish the first and only scientific organization dedicated to researching autism spectrum disorders.

Simple risk index for assessing heart-attack outcome
Paramedical and clinical staff could use a straightforward risk-assessment model to estimate the likely outcome of heart-attack patients outside the hospital environment and immediately after admission to emergency departments, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Despite need for more shots, immunization
Recent changes in routine infant vaccination procedures that require a greater number of shots do not appear to reduce immunization rates in low-income communities, a new study reports.

Much gold, silver, other metals may lie undiscovered in Saudi Arabia
Oil may not be the only valuable commodity buried beneath the sands of Saudi Arabia.

Computer graphic technology to help low-vision sufferers
A researcher at Cornell's Program of Computer Graphics, is developing computer simulations of the ways in which people with several kinds of low vision see the world.

Current NHS appointment systems "are stale, at best"
More flexible appointment systems at NHS outpatient clinics and general practices are needed to reduce rates of non-attendance, particularly among deprived populations, suggest researchers in this week's BMJ.

Virginia Tech study may help develop more effective clean up of gasoline spills
Underground storage tanks such as those at service stations sometimes leak, allowing cancer-causing chemicals to enter the groundwater.

Study finds beauty can be its own reward
A group of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital has shown that, while heterosexual men recognize attractiveness in both female and male faces, they will expend effort to increase their viewing of attractive female faces only.

Therapeutic drug blocks nicotine's effects on brain chemistry
Nicotine is widely believed to trigger dependence by elevating certain brain chemicals associated with pleasure and reward.

Intensive treatment does not reduce violence in psychotic patients
Increasing the intensity of treatment does not reduce the level of violence in patients with severe mental illness, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Discoveries in radiation oncology and cancer treatment presented at annual ASTRO meeting
Following are highlights from research presented by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) during this week's annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology (ASTRO).

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for October (second issue)
Newsworthy studies in the ATS journal show that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) victims demonstrated more frequent episodes of airway obstruction during a sleep test taken in the days prior to their fatal attack; that siblings who smoke have a significant risk of airway obstruction if their parents suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and that an anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) monoclonal antibody is an effective new treatment for patients with moderate to severe allergic asthma.

Finding life in the solar system: A new synthesis
Astrobiology is a new interdisciplinary science with cosmic import. It incorporates such disciplines as biology, microbiology, ecology, molecular biology, biochemistry, geology, paleontology, space and gravitational biology, planetology, and astronomy.

Small bone could solve bluefin mystery
Texas A&M University at Galveston researchers are studying the otolith - the ear bone about the size of a dime in the bluefin tuna - to see why the numbers of the great fish have been dwindling for the past 25 years.

Parasitic worms 'read' the body's immune condition and reproduce accordingly
Tiny parasitic worms that infect 250 million people worldwide and cause the debilitating disease schistosomiasis can thrive undetected in the blood for years.

Early critters in microbial mats: Evolution or just a strange environment?
For many billions of years, the only life that existed on Earth was microbial, that is, microscopic organisms that we generally call bacteria.

Volcanoes still active on Mars? New evidence for ongoing volcanism and water release
In their search for water and possible life on Mars, scientists are turning to new data generated by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) topography from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft.

New liver cancer treatment; the current picture
In June, 2000, the Adelaidean reported on promising trials of a new technique to treat patients suffering from cancers of the liver.

Large river once flowed in south Florida
Evidence recently obtained by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that an ancient sand delta in South Florida, discovered in 1999 by scientists from the USGS and the University of South Florida, rivals the size of deltaic lobes of the modern-day Mississippi River.

All in the family: Scientists find mother-daughter asteroids
There are asteroids and there are asteroids. Most were once part of larger

Prenatal and postnatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls linked to poor infant cognitive development
A study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls-from maternal blood and breastmilk, respectively-can hinder early childhood cognitive development.

Foodborne infections in the home linked to social functions
Although there has been a downward trend in outbreaks of infectious intestinal diseases in the home, food is the predominant transmitter of infection, and seems to be linked to social functions such as barbecues and dinner parties, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Jefferson scientists aim to flush HIV out of hiding
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College think they can flush HIV out of its cellular hiding places and into the grasp of powerful drugs and the body's immune system.

Chickenpox deaths in adults are increasing
Chickenpox causes considerable death in adults and may be increasing in importance, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Dead sea environment helps sufferers of heart conditions, cystic fibrosis
A study by an Israeli researcher from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has confirmed that the oxygen-rich environment of the Dead Sea can help patients with heart problems.

Discovery of buried impact craters on Mars widens possibility of ancient Martian ocean
Soon after Mars was formed, it was bombarded by numerous large meteorites and asteroids.

Active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide should be legalised
Last month Diane Pretty was refused the legal right to choose the circumstances of her own death.
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