Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 29, 2001
Island study suggests predators key to healthy ecosystem
A study of animals and plants isolated since 1986 on small islands in Venezuela has yielded strong evidence that predators play a key role in perpetuating the diversity of plants and animals.

Keck grant launches Gulf Coast Consortia
Six public and private institutions--Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, University of Houston, The UT Health Science Center, UT Medical Branch at Galveston, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center -- collaborate to address the national shortage of researchers and to enrich the biomedical research enviornment.

New details of earth's internal structure emerge from seismic data
The boundary between Earth's molten outer core and the solid mantle may not be as sharply defined as scientists once thought.

Infertility clinics are biased against patients with HIV
Infertility clinics are biased against patients infected with HIV, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Fat children do not necessarily become fat adults
Most fat adults are not overweight as children, concludes a study in this week's BMJ, casting doubt on the widespread popular belief that fat children become fat adults.

UCSD researchers identify protein with dual role in regulation of cellular processes
The unique dual-action role of a natural regulatory protein that controls cellular function has been described by researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine in a study published in the November 30, 2001 issue of the journal Science.

Comprehensive set of vision genes discovered: Identification could help in diagnosing and treating blinding diseases
Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered nearly all the genes responsible for vision, which could help in diagnosing and treating blinding diseases.

Internet use takes a toll on television viewing
Americans with Internet access are watching less television, according to the UCLA Internet Report 2001.

NIAID takes next genome step
For the first time in history, infectious diseases researchers are armed with the complete genetic blueprints for many of the world's most common or deadly microbes.

Stanford researcher rebukes study that claims little ill-effect of childhood sexual abuse
Citing questionable research methods and misleading reporting of data, Stanford researchers and other national experts have debunked a controversial 1998 study that said sexual abuse may not cause long-term harm to children.

Thin babies are vulnerable to heart disease if they are poor as adults
Men who are thin at birth and have poor living standards in adult life are at highest risk of coronary heart disease, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Scientists study how the lobster's nose knows
For a lobster living on the ocean floor, the chemical trails left by prey, predators, mates and competitors must make a confusing tangle - each filament of odor intertwining with the others until discovering the source of any one of them starts to seem as impossible as untangling a ball of liquid yarn.

Illuminating how plants adapt to light
HHMI researchers have found that plants appear to adapt to differing light conditions by subtle variations in genes that encode proteins that respond to light.

Sexual behaviour in Britain at the millennium
Three articles and a Commentary in this week's issue of THE LANCET detail and analyse the results of the UK National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal 2000), and provide a comparison with the last survey done a decade ago (Natsal 1990).

American Thoracic Society Journal News Tips for November (First Issue)
Newsworthy research in the first ATS peer-reviewed journal for November show that: 1) the first research project to study sexual activity in patients on noninvasive mechanical ventilation found that 34 percent average over 5 episodes of intercourse per month; 2) a risk of allergic illness comes from kerosene used for cooking and heating; and 3) exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are caused by respiratory virus infection.

Chandra captures Venus in a whole new light
Scientists have captured the first X-ray view of Venus using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Women at greater risk of brain-cell damage from long-term ecstasy use
Authors of a Dutch study in this week's issue of THE LANCET conclude that long-term ecstasy use-especially among women-could have serious negative effects on specific cells in the brain.

Under-reporting of adverse drug reactions by UK family doctors
A research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlights how family doctors in England under-report suspected adverse drug reactions (from newly marketed drugs) to the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM).

How do we remember? Memory research wins grand prize from Amersham biosciences and Science
Life-long learning and memory research--described by 27-year-old Song-Hai Shi, now working in San Francisco, California--earned this year's $25,000 Young Scientist Prize, awarded by Science and Amersham Biosciences (formerly Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).

Packard, Stanford researchers uncover gene family critical to asthma development
A novel gene family that appears critical to the development of asthma in mice has been identified by researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

Trophy fish in Florida and doubled catches in the Caribbean attributed to nearby marine reserves
A study in the November 30 issue of Science provides two key pieces of new evidence that fully protected marine reserves can replenish fisheries beyond their boundaries.

Torture, ill-treatment, and sexual identity
A Health and Human Rights article in this week's issue of THE LANCET comments on a recent Amnesty International (AI) report on the torture and ill-treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Stanford researcher shows selenium may help prevent prostate cancer
Men with low blood levels of selenium - a trace element supplied in certain foods and supplements - are four to five times more likely to contract prostate cancer, according to a federally sponsored study published by a Stanford University urologist and colleagues.

Single virus tracing sets the stage for new infection-fighting drugs and gene-therapy strategies, Science authors say
A single virus, tagged with one fluorescent dye molecule, rapidly bumps against a living cell before suddenly being engulfed.

New application of imaging technique can change how scientists look at proteins
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new technique for observing large proteins that gives scientists the most detailed pictures yet of the biological workhorses in action and promises to shed light on a wide range of issues, including the biocompatibility of medical implants, blood-clotting processes and how cancer spreads.

After hooking toxin behind seafood poisoning, Science researchers may tackle prevention
Preventing the occurrence of 20,000 annual cases of seafood poisoning may get easier, thanks to Science researchers who have invented a way to make ciguatoxin, a large and complex neurotoxin, in a laboratory for the first time.

Is NICE providing faster access to modern treatments?
Despite the hostile publicity it receives when it tries to deny new drugs, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) approves many more treatments than it bans, at a net cost to the NHS of around £200m, according to James Raftery, Professor of Health Economics, in this week's BMJ.

Earth's 'last edens' receive $20 million boost
The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today a $20 million challenge grant from philanthropist Robert W.

Science historian predicts one billion deaths from tobacco by end of century
In the October issue of the journal Nature Cancer Reviews, Penn State science historian Robert Proctor predicts that, left unchecked, tobacco products will cause up to one billion deaths by the end of the 21st century.

New clues to how RNA exits the nucleus
HHMI researchers have developed a new technique that selectively blocks the export of messenger RNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of living mammalian cells.

Pictures reveal how nerve cells form connections to store short- and long-term memories in brain
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have produced dramatic images of brain cells forming temporary and permanent connections in response to various stimuli, illustrating for the first time the structural changes between neurons in the brain that, many scientists have long believed, take place when we store short-term and long-term memories.

Colon cancer test points to most effective treatments
Cancer researchers have added a valuable tool to oncologists' tumor-fighting toolbox: a way to find more effective medicines to give advanced colon cancer patients after their first round of chemotherapy failed.

2001 UCLA Internet report finds declines in e-commerce, major concerns about online privacy and credit card security
UCLA's year-to-year report on the impact of the Internet released today leaves little doubt that going online is now a mainstream activity in American life that continues to spread among people across all age groups, education levels and incomes.

Eating more often can reduce cholesterol levels
Eating frequently is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations, finds a study in this week's BMJ, suggesting that we need to consider not just what we eat but how often we eat.

Scholar: hurricanes helped shape Cuban culture, history
Hurricanes are a fact of life in Cuba, which has historically been hard-hit during the annual four-month Caribbean season.

Insufficient prescriptions and poor adherence are key factors in poor cancer pain management
Many cancer patients are not achieving adequate pain relief because they do not adhere to pain medication regimens and do not receive adequate pain medication prescriptions, according to a new UCSF study.

Discover the latest advances in stem cell therapy
Learn about the basic biology and potential clinical applications of cellular therapies.

Reduced risk of recurrent heart attack with anticoagulant drug
Results of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET show that patients given the anticoagulant drug, bivalirudin, had a reduced risk of recurrent heart attack compared with patients given conventional treatment with heparin.

Fighting the battle of the bulge in children
In an attempt to decrease the incidence of obesity, as well as establish a diet that is protective against cancer, the National Cancer Institute has awarded researchers at Saint Louis University School of Public Health a four-year, $2,406,828 grant to implement

Genetic vaccine for metastatic breast cancer shows promise in mice studies
Scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center have developed a genetic vaccine for metastatic breast cancer and other tumors, which shows great promise in early studies in mice.

'Made to order' crystal opens new door in optics
University of Minnesota researchers have created an organic crystal lattice that forms in exact predetermined architecture--a rare feat--and exhibits polarity, which is as difficult as coaxing magnets to line up with all the north poles facing the same way. 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