Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2001
Oscar winning screenwriters have shorter lives than nominees
Oscar winning screenwriters have shorter lives than losing nominees, even though greater success is usually linked to better health, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

New book distills essence of gene regulation (and more)
With his remark,

Rochester neurologist to lead biggest clinical trial ever of Parkinson's disease
Physicians are planning the largest study ever of patients with Parkinson's disease.

'Scared to death,' more than just an expression
In the legendary Sherlock Holmes story

National lottery could teach us how income improves health
Most people in the United Kingdom have taken part in a world-leading, multi-billion pound trial of a major health determinant.

URI researcher receives park service grant to identify environmental threats to wetlands in the northeast park system
URI research associate Mary-Jane James-Pirri has been awarded a $46,000 two-year grant by the National Park Service to identify threats to specific wetlands in the eight Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network Parks and two parks on the immediate coast.

Prizes awarded in the 2002 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Programme
Twelve scientists receive Germany's most highly endowed promotional prize.

Insufficient yellow fever vaccine stocks in Africa
A research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET which describes a recent yellow fever outbreak in Guinea, Africa, highlights that there are insufficient stocks of yellow fever vaccine to cope with future outbreaks of the disease.

Penn team finds 'molecular chaperones' can halt progress of Parkinson's disease in fruit flies and possibly humans
Using fruit fly models of Parkinson's disease, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a class of proteins known as

Heart deaths increase on 'unlucky' days
Chinese and Japanese people are more likely to die from heart disease on the fourth day of the month because the number 4 evokes superstitious stress among this group, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for December (first issue)
Newsworthy topics include: 1) victims of sarcoidosis were almost 5 times more likely than controls to have a sibling or parent with a history of the disease; 2)a study revealed that exposure to air pollution during adolescence has a measurable and potentially important effect on lung function growth and performance; and 3) a workshop report details clinical advances against pulmonary complications associated with human immunodeficiency virus, plus research needs.

Effective clinical practice, Nov/Dec 2001 highlights
1.) Is it Worthwhile to Screen High-Risk Patients for Diabetes?

Rare squid found in Gulf of Mexico
Texas A&M University oceanographer William Sager spotted and photographed an unusual squid while investigating natural oil seeps deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

UW research boosts understanding of how hydrogen transfer works
During the last 40 years, chemists have developed an understanding of how an electron transfers from one group to another to create new compounds.

Kavli gives $7.5 million to Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara
Fred Kavli, through the auspices of the recently established Kavli Foundation, has given $7.5 million to the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), which will be named at a future ceremony in honor of the donor.

Long-term soy consumption does not effect hormones in postmenopausal women
Publishing in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Perksy et al. examined the effects of soy protein containing varying amounts of isoflavones on serum hormone levels in a group of postmenopausal women, and found that soy had no clinically significant effect on endogenous hormone balance.

Engineers develop new chemical sensor based on experimental physics breakthrough
For the first time, scientists have found evidence of a long-suspected phenomenon; tiny electrical currents produced when molecules interact with metal surfaces.

Mentally ill patients more likely to die by homicide
Mentally ill patients are six times more likely to die by homicide than the general population, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Protein protects against degeneration of neurons in fruit flies
HHMI researchers have genetically manipulated fruit flies so that the flies produce a human protein that protects against the degeneration of neurons similar to those affected in Parkinson's disease.

Neuroscientist wins presidential award
UC Davis neuroscientist Martin Usrey has won a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering for his research on vision.

Record in research dollars: UH receives $12.3 million in November
A record $12.3 million in research grants was received at the University of Houston in November, the largest one-month total in the institution's 75-year history.

Giant's causeway
A pair of physicists, working on the cusp between physics and geology, have developed an explanation for these splendid formations.

Asymmetrical dimethylarginine - a new way of assessing cardiovascular risk?
Authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET conclude that increased concentrations of the naturally occuring organic compound asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA) is a strong predictor of death and cardiovascular disease in haemodialysis patients.

Diets high in red meat linked to stomach and esophageal cancers
Chen et al. examined overall dietary patterns among patients diagnosed with distal stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, or cancer-free controls.

Protein discovery tied to DNA master switch
A new cellular protein discovered by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill appears to be a crucial molecular component of a master switch that turns genes on and off.

Science's Top Ten: nanoscale computing circuits named top scientific advance of 2001
Molecular-scale circuits that link together tiny transistors, wires, and switches to carry out basic computing operations were named this year's top scientific achievement by the journal Science and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Researchers discover how body's internal clock generates daily rhythms
Harvard Medical School researchers have gained one of the first glimpses of how the body's circadian clock--a tiny cluster of nerve cells behind the eyes--sends out the signals that control natural daily rhythms.

New insight into sudden infant death syndrome
In 1997 professor Lars Wiklund and his co-workers at Uppsala University published results that demonstrated that victims of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) had an enteric microflora incapable of metabolising urea to ammonium ion.

Connection between specific unsaturated fats and vascular inflammation
Inflammation of the endothelial cells that line arterial walls is an early event in the development of cardiovascular disease.

White Christmases becoming more a dream than a reality
Bing Crosby crooned about a white Christmas, and a dream is just what a snowy Dec.

18th Century Reverend enlightens evolutionary biologists
Large numbers of genes can now be sequenced quickly. To analyse even moderately large data sets under realistic evolutionary models, researchers have been forced to use supercomputers.

International study highlights health risks associated with passive smoking
An international population study in this week's issue of THE LANCET reports that passive smoking is a widespread problem in many countries, especially in the work environment, and increases the risk of respiratory symptoms.

Stanford researchers develop system for field testing mechanisms of evolution
Evolutionary biology has always faced a major hurdle - how to test a process that takes place over thousands, if not millions, of years.

Required activation 'cascade' identified for p53 tumor-suppressor protein
Mutants of the p53 tumor-suppressor protein have been found in more than half of human cancers.

Sensor, molecular device development focus of NSF funded research
Virginia Tech researchers explore the nanoscale world through computer simulations of molecular electronics and a combination of optics, thin-film technology, and analytical biochemistry to develop new sensor approaches for detecting DNA.

Reciting Ave Maria linked to a healthy heart
Reciting the rosary prayer or yoga mantras enhance some aspect of heart and lung function and might be viewed as a health practice as well as a religious practice, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

NIAID and Merck to collaborate on HIV vaccine development
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the leading HIV research component of the United States government, has entered into an agreement with Merck & Co. to carry out human testing of promising candidate HIV vaccines developed by the company.
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