Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 12, 2002
In Laos, a rare deer is discovered alive and well, despite war and over-hunting
An isolated population of an unusual deer species known for its unique antlers has turned up in northern Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, surprising a team of scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and the Smithsonian National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center, who thought that it had succumbed to over-hunting.

Former insider hits out at FDA's links with pharmaceutical industry
A former senior consultant with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has criticised the American regulator's close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

Hormone replacement therapy may improve breast cancer detection and survival rate
A study of nearly 300 breast cancer patients in Oregon found that the tumors in those women, who had been receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT), were less aggressive and easier to detect on mammograms.

Invasive species: Those who live together invade better
While the spread of imported fire ants has received much public attention, another invader has been quietly sucking the juices from plants in our lawns and fields: a legless mealybug.

Virginia receives high marks for most aspects of life
People in Virginia remain positive in their assessment of the state's qualities, despite the state budget crisis and terrorism, according to the 11th annual Quality of Life Survey conducted by Virginia Tech's Center for Survey Research.

NHGRI adds cow and dog to high priority list for sequencing model organisms
The National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research has recommended adding the cow, the dog and the ciliate Oxytricha to the high-priority list of model organisms that should be considered for genome sequencing as capacity becomes available.

Hospital costs much higher for motorcycle crash victims who don't wear helmets
Motorcycle riders who crash without a helmet rack up far larger hospital bills than those whose heads were protected in a crash, a new study finds.

Rice, Brookhaven physicists decode initial stage of cell fusion
Physicists at Rice University and the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have unraveled one of the most stubborn mysteries of basic biology -- the structure of the initial stage of membrane fusion.

Home-based preschool helps disadvantaged kids later
An in-home program for disadvantaged toddlers can help children be better prepared to learn once they start grade school, new research reveals.

Physics tip sheet #27 - September 12, 2002
Highlights of this issue include why current antivirus software use is ineffective in preventing epidemics and a better strategy, how your nervous system adds random movements to help you balance a stick on your finger, how carbon nanotubes could be used as much faster pollution filters than those currently available, and a new high-precision weighing of gravity.

Angioplasty or medical therapy immediately after heart attack?
Authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that there is no difference in treatment outcome of pre-hospital medical therapy with anti-clotting drugs or emergency angioplasty after severe heart attack.

Evidence shows head start provides leg up to kindergarteners
New research shows that children attending Head Start programs and other center-based child care are better prepared for kindergarten and maintain higher skills throughout the year.

Moffitt Cancer Center receives DoD funds to establish National Functional Genomics Project
The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute has been awarded $3.2 million by the United States Department of Defense to establish the National Functional Genomics Project (NFGP), an innovative partnership between academia, government, and industry.

Bicycle handlebars pose serious health risk to children
Bicycle handlebar-related abdominal or pelvic organ injuries pose a serious health risk to children and result in substantial health care costs, according to a study from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

DNA evidence suggests 3 types of elephants roam Africa
Using DNA extracted from the dung of wild elephants in Africa, biologists at the University of California, San Diego have determined that three different types of elephants exist on the African continent.

UF study: Marriage can reduce life of crime
The bliss of a steady marriage is a strong antidote to a life of crime, a new University of Florida study finds.

Study shows oral contraceptive use by young women does not contribute to weight gain
Young women have lost one excuse in their battle against the post-adolescent bulge.

Tamoxifen for prevention of breast cancer - encouraging results but risks still unclear
Early findings from a randomised trial investigating the effectiveness of tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer are reported in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Poor health of Gulf veterans not related to post-traumatic stress disorder
Most Gulf War veterans do not have a formal psychiatric disorder and rates of post-traumatic stress disorder amongst the group are low, finds a study in this weeks BMJ.

Georgetown to host bioterrorism workshop
Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Health will sponsor a Bioterrorism Workshop to present and discuss the latest developments in our country's effort to combat the threat of bioterrorism, and to develop safe, effective vaccinations.

Interpreting a climate record from 10,000-year-old migrating waters
Scientists applied super computers to study the effect of climate on water movement through the soil from the surface to the water table, a section of the earth called the vadose zone.

Alzheimer's-associated enzyme elevated in key brain areas
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found that the amount and activity of an enzyme associated with the creation of amyloid-beta protein, the sticky fragments making up the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, are elevated in parts of the brain where those plaques most frequently occur.

Examining Kenyan agriculture and poverty structure
The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.67 million to Cornell University over five years to examine the complex relationship between Kenyan small farmers, their communities and the land on which they depend for their livelihoods.

Enzyme discovery to benefit homeland security, industry
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have successfully immobilized enzymes while simultaneously enhancing their activity and stability, opening up new possibilities for using tailored nanoporous materials.

Surgery using mesh patch eliminates recurrence
Surgeons at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago are the first to show that using a mesh patch to repair a hernia of the diaphragm significantly reduces the recurrence of the hernia compared to traditional surgery.

Virtual friend helps young asthma sufferers
Young people with chronic health problems can benefit from text message services, say researchers this week's BMJ.

Breast cancer gene repairs damaged DNA
Structural studies of the protein produced by the BRCA2 gene, which is implicated in the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, reveal that the protein is intimately involved in repairing damaged DNA.

UMass researcher studies head lice using artificial 'scalp'
Head lice, which crop up on the heads of six-to-12 million people in the U.S. every year, are becoming increasingly resistant to the special shampoos used to treat them, says University of Massachusetts Amherst toxicologist John Clark.

Biological serendipity: molecular details of cell membrane fusion revealed
For the first time, scientists have observed the molecular details of biological cells fusing together, a fleeting event never before observed at this scale.

Earthquake study by Scripps scientists produces new depiction of fault zones
On Oct. 16, 1999, approximately 37 miles from Palm Springs, Calif., a magnitude 7.1 earthquake ripped through 28 miles of faults in the Mojave Desert.

Optical microsystems emerge in industrial applications
Applications are growing in strength for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), which merge electronic and mechanical features.

Scientists identify 'genetic signature' of stem cells
Princeton University scientists have taken a major step toward identifying the

Memorial Sloan-Kettering scientists uncover function of BRCA2 protein
Structural biologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) have discovered the function of the protein BRCA2.

Effect of diet on cancer risk
A review in this week's issue of The Lancet assesses the research which has investigated possible links between diet and cancer.

HPV linked to cervical lesions
Infection with humanpapillomavirus (HPV) is linked to an increased likelihood of cervical lesions in women, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

OHSU researchers discover toxicity risks for widely used chemicals
Research at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has revealed that certain chemical ingredients of gasoline, jet fuel and other solvents may pose a greater health hazard than first thought.

'Don't think about it too much' - Psychological healing in Angola
A Health and Human Rights article in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how displaced people cope with psychological trauma associated with death and displacement as a result of Angola's recent civil conflict.

From married woman to independent widow
Women who are widowed in later life undergo a change in identity that can turn out be very positive in terms of personal growth, says new research that will be presented to the British Society of Gerontology conference in Birmingham from September 12-14.

Gene profiling reveals the essence of 'stemness'
An extensive genetic comparison of different types of stem cells and terminally differentiated cells has revealed that hundreds of genes are likely to be involved in shaping the characteristic properties of stem cells.

Los Alamos key player in new neutrino experiment
A major experiment that could change how we understand the universe - designed in part by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists - has recorded its first neutrino events at the U.S.

Chlorine dioxide gas kills dangerous biological contaminants
The same sanitizing agent used to rid federal office buildings of anthrax -- chlorine dioxide gas -- can effectively eliminate deadly bacteria from apples and other fruits and vegetables, according to Purdue University researchers.

New insights into cause of stomach cancer
Australian scientists have discovered a vital clue to the causes of stomach cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.

Study sheds light on cause of an AIDS treatment side effect
Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, or HAART, is the standard of care for HIV/AIDS patients and has prolonged the lives of countless persons with the disease.
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