Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 13, 2001
People in low social classes delay seeking treatment for schizophrenia
People born into low social classes are not at increased risk of developing schizophrenia, but they appear to seek treatment at a later age than those in higher social classes, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Gene therapy corrects sickle cell disease in mice, Science authors report
A new gene therapy method corrects sickle cell disease in mice by transferring an anti-sickling version of the faulty gene associated with the disease using a modified viral carrier.

Time to reassess the value of HRT
It may be time to reassess the value of hormone replacement therapy, following evidence that it reduces the effectiveness of breast screening and causes breast cancer in women over the age of 50, says a leading breast surgeon in this week's BMJ.

Apolipoproteins could be better predictor of heart attack than cholesterol
Measurement of lipid components called apolipoproteins could be a better indicator of heart-attack risk than conventional cholesterol assessment, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Researchers investigate mysteries of the African rift
The formation and evolution of the African Rift Valley are shaded in mystery, but geoscientists at Penn State are mapping the history of the Rift through space and time by analyzing the chemistry of ancient lava from Lake Turkana, northern Kenya.

15% injuries fatal from clearance of antipersonnel mines
A research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET describes the burden of injury and mortality resulting from the clearance of antipersonnel mines from seven war zones over the past decade.

Gene linked to sudden cardiac death identified by UCSD School of Medicine researchers
Researchers at UCSD Institute of Molecular Medicine have cloned and identified the role of a regulatory gene that in the presence of underlying heart failure, appears culpable in the occurrence of cardiac arrthythmias, or irregular heart beats, that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

Unique partnership brings new hope for vaccine to combat HIV
Imperial College and Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust will be at the heart of vital worldwide research into vaccines to combat HIV.

FluMist, nasal flue vaccine
Publicly traded biotech firms MedImmune Inc. and Aviron announced Dec.

Diagnostic test should lead to better control of sleeping sickness
A genetic test targeted at cattle could have a substantial impact in controlling sleeping sickness in east Africa, conclude authors of a fast-track study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Researchers find closest living relative of first land plants
Some 470 million years ago, the first land plants emerged from prehistoric waters, put down roots in soil and ended up ruling the plant world.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for November (second issue)
Newsworthy studies in the American Thoracic Society peer-reviewed journal for the second November issue include: research showing that eating at least two or more apples per week and a higher intake of selenium can protect against asthma in adults; and farm life as a child means less risk as an adult for an allergic reaction to cat dander or Timothy grass, plus less nasal congestion from pollen.

Agrobacterium genome sequence is complete
A combined public and private team of microbiologists has completed sequencing the genome of the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

Scientists discover new material that expands under pressure
Most materials get compacted or fall apart under pressure, but scientists working in an international collaboration between the U.S.

Institute to counter agricultural terrorism formalized
Texas A&M University has established an institute aimed at protecting the nation's food and water supply against terrorism.

Gene therapy and sickle cell disease: Religious perspectives
Religious leaders, including prominent African American church leaders, comment on progress toward gene therapy for sickle cell disease, to be reported in

Science Foundation launches special anti-terrorism research initiative; project to engage scientists from former Soviet Union in fight against terrorism
The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation announces the Competition for Research on Minimizing the Effects of Terrorist Acts on Civilian Populations.

Bone strength probed by scientists
The December 13 issue of the journal Nature reports on unique properties of bone revealed in experiments, by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with the atomic force microscope (AFM).

Scientists use gene therapy to correct sickle cell disease in mice
For the first time scientists have corrected sickle cell disease in mice using gene therapy, according to a study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health and published in the December 14 issue of Science.

The past says abrupt climate change in our future
Past climates changed abruptly, suggesting that abrupt changes in the future will also occur, according to a Penn State geoscientist.

Dartmouth researchers link movies to teen smoking
Smoking in movies has been linked to adolescents trying their first cigarette, according to a new study by a team from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School.

NIAMS, NINDS fund multiple research grants in facioscapulohumeral dystrophy
Research on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a genetic disease of skeletal muscle, received a boost from the award of six new grants by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health.

Study finds strong association between problem drinking and gambling, with risk increasing 23-fold
Problem drinkers are 23 times more likely to have a gambling problem than individuals who do not have an alcohol problem, according to a study conducted at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions.

UMass chemist working on sensors that could eventually identify bioterror agents
A chemist at the University of Massachusetts is working on what he calls a

Aquaporins - the perfect water filters of the cell
Water regulation plays a crucial role in the human body.

Man-made hurricane hits S.C. coast Monday
Clemson University engineers destroyed more houses on the U.S. mainland than hurricanes did this summer.Tim Reinhold, a nationally recognized structural engineer, lead a team of students in

URI oceanographers to study spreading and mixing of low oxygen waters off West Africa
Three URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) physical oceanographers have been awarded $1.6 million by the National Science Foundation to determine the processes of stirring and mixing in the ocean on density (horizontal) surfaces in the ocean's interior.

The agony of victory: Girls cured of Hodgkin's face greater risk of breast cancer
Researchers have uncovered a tragic consequence associated with children who develop Hodgkin's disease: After successful treatment, girls, in particular, face a higher risk of getting a second malignancy than boys.

Parents of seriously ill children appear at increased risk for unemployment
Parents of children with serious health problems appear less likely to be employed, according to a study from the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Ancient civilizations shaken by quakes, say Stanford scientists
Archaeology sometimes raises more questions than it answers. How do you explain a city that bustled with activity one day only to be buried under feet of silt the next?

Teenage pregnancy is not a public health problem
Teenage pregnancy is not a public health problem, but is really a reflection of what is considered to be socially, culturally, and economically acceptable in the United Kingdom, argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

Scientists work to prevent recent Ebola outbreak from decimating gorillas and chimps
The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working to prevent the recent Ebola virus outbreak from decimating wild populations of gorillas, chimpanzees and other wildlife in Gabon and neighboring Congo.

Duke study shows size of lung tumor does not always reflect cancer severity
A fundamental assumption of lung cancer screening is that small tumors are less likely to have metastasized -- spreading to other organs -- than large tumors.

USF report grades health performance of Florida's counties
The health status of Florida's counties has been comparatively ranked for the first time in a statewide report published by University of South Florida Researchers.

Engineers create tiny, wiggling fans to cool future electronics
Research engineers at Purdue University are developing tiny, quiet fans that wiggle back and forth to help cool future laptop computers and other portable electronic gear.

Bipolar disorder successfully treated with nutritional supplement
A study which used a nutritional supplement to treat bipolar disorder has yielded positive results.

Seeing smoking in films encourages teenagers to try smoking
The more smoking teenagers see in films the more likely they are to smoke, finds a study in this week's BMJ, providing powerful new evidence that depictions of smoking in films influence adolescents to smoke. 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