Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 13, 2002
Acarbose could delay onset of type-2 diabetes
An international study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests that the drug acarbose could be used to delay the development of type-2 diabetes in patients with slightly raised blood sugar (impaired glucose tolerance).

Natural resistance of pigment cells to sunlight may make deadly skin cancer tough to treat
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered that a gene that enables the skin's pigmented cells to survive harsh sunlight may have a darker side as well: making the deadly skin cancer, malignant melanoma, highly resistant to treatment.

Noah's Flood Hypothesis may not hold water
William Ryan and Walter Pitman published a scientifically popular hypothesis in 1996, titled Noah's Flood Hypothesis, which presented evidence that supports the biblical story of Noah and the flood.

Eye drops delay onset of glaucoma in people at higher risk
Researchers have discovered that eye drops to treat elevated pressure inside the eye can be effective in delaying the onset of glaucoma.

Source of physical performance found in brain
A new study from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggests that the brain's coordination center is not active while we learn new motor skills - but it is active while we use them.

Mooney to receive 2002 Blue Planet Prize in recognition of pioneering ecological research
Harold A. Mooney, a professor of biological sciences, has been named co-recipient of the 2002 Blue Planet Prize - an annual award presented by the Tokyo-based Asahi Glass Foundation in recognition of noteworthy scientific contributions to global environmental conservation.

Tobacco money - Up in smoke?
US authors of a Viewpoint article in this week's issue of THE LANCET are critical of a multimillion dollar research programme financed mainly by New York's Tobacco Settlement fund.

Drought: Air pollution link found
Air pollution is likely to have contributed to the catastrophic Sahel drought in Africa, says an Australian researcher.

Teen alcohol and drug disorders more common than previously thought
- A high proportion of 14-to-18-year-olds have diagnosable disorders related to the use of alcohol or drugs, according to a study to be released this week in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine (APAM).

Teacher-led sex education of limited benefit
Improvements in teacher-delivered sex education have some beneficial effect on the quality of young people's sexual relationships, but do not reduce sexual risk taking in adolescents, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Penn professor solves one-line mystery from 'Hamlet': A Renaissance-era PDA
Curiosity about a line from

U-M artificial lung showing promise, as need grows
An artificial implantable lung that uses tiny hollow fibers and the heart's own pumping power to oxygenate blood is showing promise in pre-clinical studies, and may reach clinical trials in about a year for lung failure patients awaiting a lung transplant.

Aborigine study suggests body mass index guidelines should be lower to block diabetes
The recommended upper limit of a healthy body mass index (BMI) -- the term doctors and others use to indicate how much people weigh for how tall they are -- might need to be revised downward to protect people from becoming glucose intolerant or developing type 2 diabetes, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study suggests.

UC Davis study shows eye drops delay onset of glaucoma in people at higher risk
Research conducted at UC Davis Medical Center and 21 other leading clinical centers in the United States shows that eye drops used to treat elevated pressure inside the eye can be effective in delaying the onset of glaucoma.

Cerebellum's role during motor skill learning
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that the cerebellum, long associated with motor skill learning, does not contribute to learning itself, but is engaged primarily in the modification of performance.

Researchers shed light on mechanisms of voluntary alcohol consumption
Researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, University of California-San Francisco, report in the June 14 issue of Cell that the brain chemical messenger dopamine and ethanol (beverage alcohol) act through independent mechanisms to synergistically produce a common cellular response that sustains voluntary alcohol consumption.

Newfound planetary system has 'hometown' look
After 15 years of observation and a lot of patience, the world's premier planet-hunting team has found a planetary system that reminds them of our home solar system.

Study shows eye drops useful in preventing glaucoma
Eye drops used to treat eye pressure inside the eye have been found to be effective in delaying the onset on primary open-angle glaucoma.

$5.3-million grant to disseminate best treatments for eyes and vision
Brown University researchers have received a seven-year, $5.3-million contract from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health to systematically review data on the best treatments in the field of eyes and vision and to make that information accessible to practitioners and the public.

Penn music professor resurrects Chopin
Jeffrey Kallberg, a professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania, has instilled life to an incomplete sketch of a prelude from Frederic Chopin that has remained silent since 1839.

Oregon chemist and educator receives award for fostering diversity
Chemist and educator Geraldine L. Richmond, Ph.D., of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., will be will be honored June 20 by the American Chemical Society for encouraging women and minorities to study and pursue careers in chemistry.

New Patient Safety Officer Society will help officers reduce hospital errors
More than 200 patient safety officers from 30 states and five countries have joined together to form the nonprofit Patient Safety Officer Society.

Pregnancy prevention programmes are ineffective
Pregnancy prevention programmes for adolescents do not delay sexual intercourse, improve use of birth control among young men and women, or reduce the number of pregnancies in young women, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Salt Lake City-area chemistry teacher wins regional award
Chemistry teacher Nancy Treasure of Layton High School in Layton, Utah, will be honored June 20 by the American Chemical Society for outstanding high school chemistry teaching.

Genetic factor underlies weight gain after use of antipsychotic drugs
Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that there is a genetic basis for the weight gain associated with the use of antipsychotic drugs.

Eye drops can delay onset of glaucoma
A study led by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Preserving options: Short-term action required to avoid long-term climate damage
The world still has a realistic chance of avoiding some, although not all, of the more disruptive effects of global warming, according to a new analysis.

Futuristic system brings vision to blind
Dr. Kenneth Smith, a neurosurgeon at Saint Louis University, has become the first U.S. doctor to implant an electronic eye in a blind patient -- giving him simulated vision.

Experts to discuss artificial organs and bionic technology at ASAIO meeting
The American Society for Artificial Internal Organs has long been the home of next-generation medicine.

Zebrafish: Drug discovery of a different stripe holds promise in COX research
University of Pennsylvania researchers have discovered that zebrafish produce enzymes analogous to the two human cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes - COX-1 and -2 - proteins that have a role in a variety of ailments including cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, and arthritis.

Angiogenesis reduces leg pain from clogged arteries
In the first demonstration of the therapeutic benefit of an agent that stimulates blood vessel growth, a group of cardiologists have improved the functional abilities of patients with painful blockages in the blood vessels in their legs.

More children at risk of heart disease
The prevalence of Kawasaki disease, a condition affecting the hearts of young children, has significantly risen over the past decade according to research published today.

Angiogenic therapy offers promise for reducing claudication
Results of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlight the potential for angiogenic therapy--the use of genes, proteins, and other molecular agents to stimulate growth of new blood vessels--to improve peripheral blood flow for people with intermittent claudication caused by atherosclerosis.

Study: Over $100 million spent on political ads in 2002
Contestants in gubernatorial primaries in four big states -- Texas, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania -- accounted for more than $64 million of the $107 million spent on political television advertising so far in 2002.

Mechanism that enables fetus to survive in mother under study
When the National Institutes of Health requested proposals for innovative ideas in immune system suppression from scientists who aren't immunologists, Dr.

Wyoming chemist receives award for improving asphalt manufacturing process
Chemist A. Troy Pauli of the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyo., will be honored June 20 by the American Chemical Society for developing a new tool used in asphalt mixing and petroleum refining.

Astronomers discover first planet in Jupiter-like orbit plus smallest planet outside solar system
The world's premier planet-hunting team has discovered 15 new planets, including the smallest ever found and also the planet most distant from its star.

Americans lack knowledge of ocular hypertension
A national survey of 2,037 Americans sponsored by Santen Incorporated found that only 27% have heard of ocular hypertension, a generally symptomless condition that can be a precursor to glaucoma.

Urine test predicts Alzheimer's disease
University of Pennsylvania Medical School Researchers have determined that a urine test can reliably detect free radical damage associated with people with Mild Cognitive Impairment - a recognized precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

Protein essential for switching on T-cell response
A minor change in a cell protein impairs the ability of a key type of immune cell to marshal the body's defenses against disease, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

New device removes drinking water contaminants
A Northwestern University environmental engineer has received a U.S. patent for a treatment device that renders perchlorate -- a thyroid-damaging ingredient of rocket fuel and a drinking water problem -- harmless.

Scientists identify brain mechanism that boosts response to alcohol
Neuroscientists at UCSF's Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center (EGCRC) have discovered that a molecule in neurons boosts the brain's response to alcohol, triggering in minutes chemical changes that maintain an urge to drink alcohol.

Stress not linked to breast cancer relapse
Women with breast cancer need not fear that stressful experiences in life will bring about the return of their disease, conclude researchers in this week's BMJ.

Dartmouth researchers question use of tobacco funds
Dartmouth Medical School and Veterans Affairs physicians criticize the $10 million research program financed mainly by New York's tobacco settlement fund in The Lancet June 15.

Smart solutions for clearer vision
Australian scientists have developed a permanent contact lens to improve poor vision.

UC Riverside scientists report molecular switch assists plant survival in floods
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, studying plant tolerance of low oxygen stress, report in the June 14th, 2002, issue of the journal Science that plants use a rheostat-like mechanism at the cellular level to balance the production of an enzyme with the consumption of stored carbohydrates.

Hairy treatments for winter ills
Australian scientists are investigating new ways to mass-produce the active ingredients found in the herbal medicines - Echinacea, Ginseng and Gynostemma.

Research into rare disease leads to discovery of six new breast cancer-susceptibility genes
A decade of research into one of the world's least-known diseases has resulted in a major advance against one of the best-known: the discovery of six genes linked to inherited breast cancer.

Bandage could repair damaged tissues
Engineer John Kao's invention is sort of like a molecular version of Jell-O salad -- it's made from gelatin.
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