Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 05, 2002
Feeding your fat
The growing prevalence of obesity represents a critical public health concern yet the factors controlling the buildup of fat within our bodies are not completely understood.

Animal studies prove hormone replacement therapy improves memory, report Pitt researchers
For estrogen to enhance learning and memory, cholinergic neurons, which are nerve cells in the brain, play an important role in those skills, suggest animal studies performed by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and reported in the November issue of Hormones and Behavior, the official journal of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

NIH supports expansive, multimillion-dollar drug abuse prevention research effort at USC
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has awarded the Keck School of Medicine of USC $6.5 million to establish a Transdisciplinary Drug Abuse Prevention Research Center to translate basic research in memory and peer group dynamics into drug abuse prevention programs for adolescents.

NIDA grants will improve knowledge about inhalant abuse
NIDA has awarded more than $2 million to fund seven grants focusing on issues related to inhalant abuse.

DARE for planetary exploration
Balloons outfitted with innovative steering devices and robot probes could be the future of planetary exploration.

Estrogen linked to more efficient regulation of a woman's heartbeat
A research study of 480 men and women finds a link between estrogen, heart health, and life span.

$3.5 million DARPA grant supports research on chip-scale wavelength division multiplexing
A team of five University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) researchers has been awarded a four-year, $3.5 million grant by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to investigate how to pipe digital and analog information through a photonic circuit on a single compound semiconductor chip.

New tool for studying animal models of neurological and psychiatric diseases
Scientists at Brookhaven Lab have demonstrated that a miniature positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, known as microPET, and the chemical markers used in traditional PET scanning are sensitive enough to pick up subtle differences in neurochemistry between known genetic variants of mice.

Food pathogen vector shows promise against cancer
Listeria and certain strains of E. coli are the scourge of picnics, but researchers at Harvard Medical School and London's Hammersmith Hospital show in the November Gene Therapy that combining bacterial components of these bad bugs can create a powerful vector against melanoma challenged mice.

Jefferson scientists show neural stem cells can become dopamine-making brain cells in laboratory
Biologists at Jefferson Medical College have shown for the first time in the laboratory that they can convert some human neural stem cells to brain cells that can produce dopamine, the brain chemical missing in Parkinson's disease.

Herpes simplex virus-2 may increase risk of cervical cancer
The herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) appears to be an accomplice to the human papillomavirus (HPV) in causing some cases of cervical cancer, according to a study in the November 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Study describes second kind of heart failure
A new study by scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine further characterizes a second and distinct type of heart failure, a progressively debilitating condition common among older people.

$4.5 million awarded to create community drug abuse prevention trials network
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded four grants totaling more than $4.5 million to conduct clinical trials that will test science-based drug abuse prevention interventions.

Dispersin' Escherichia coli all over the gut
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli is an emerging pathogen that causes endemic and epidemic diarrhea in developing and industrialized countries.

Beating pneumonia by a nose
According to a team of researchers from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an electronic nose - a relatively new version of a sensor previously used in the food, wine and perfume industries - can quickly and accurately diagnose pneumonia in critically ill, mechanically ventilated patients.

High-than-average fiber consumption does not affect results of wheat bran fiber trial
The higher-than-average amount of dietary fiber consumed by participants in the Wheat Bran Fiber (WBF) trial even before they began taking fiber supplements did not account for the results of the trial, which found that fiber intake does not affect the recurrence rate of polyps in the colon.

Researchers propose breakthrough devices to control the motion of magnetic fields
Researchers from the University of Michigan and RIKEN, a research institute in Japan, say the biological motors that nature uses for intracellular transport and other biological functions inspired them to create a whole new class of micro-devices for controlling magnetic flux quanta in superconductors that could lead to the development of a new generation of medical diagnostic tools.

American Thoracic Society news tips for November (first issue)
Newsworthy articles feature studies showing that: the efficacy of treatment for sepsis with anti-inflammatory agents depends on disease severity and risk of death; and spiral computed tomography of the chest in middle-aged smokers can detect two to four times more early lung cancer than can chest x-ray.

New generation deep ocean vehicle begins science operations for US researchers
A new generation of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of routine operation to depths of 6,500 meters (21,320 feet) and communicating its data back to shore via the Internet has been developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Raleigh chemist receives award for ecologically safe product
Chemist Clair Claiborne, Ph.D., of ABB Inc. in Raleigh, N.C., will be honored Nov.

UPS fleet study quantifies the reliability, low emissions of CNG trucks
A large study comparing trucks fueled by natural gas with others fueled by diesel found the natural gas vehicles produced only a quarter of the carbon monoxide emissions and half the oxides of nitrogen emissions of their diesel counterparts.

Marked crosswalks may pose risk to older pedestrians
A marked crosswalk is designed to guide pedestrians to a safe path across the street and to alert motorists to areas where pedestrians may be encountered.

The three-and-a-half pound microchip: Environmental implications of the IT revolution
Microchips may be small, but a new study shows that their

The brain uses the same neural networks to engage in conscious and unconscious learning
How do we learn? At the same time, when learning is conscious, does the brain engage in learning based on experience?

Other highlights in the November 6 issue of JNCI
Other highlights include a study suggesting that the herbal extract PC-SPES may compromise chemotherapy, a study suggesting that garlic and other allium vegetables may decrease prostate cancer risk, a study showing that clinical trial results are disseminated quickly, a study showing that a sluggish SULT1A1 gene may reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen, and a study that the Epstein Barr virus may be used to predict survival of patients with nasopharyngeal cancer.

Evidence supports two types of heart failure
New evidence supports the existence of a second type of congestive heart failure in which the heart contracts normally but doesn't fill with enough blood, report researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Intensive care specialists reduce hospital death rates by 30 percent
Patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) whose care is managed by

Screening certain infants can be lifesaving, Wake Forest study shows
Investigators at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have demonstrated for the first time that screening newborn infants for a particular genetic defect can be lifesaving when their mothers develop a rare complication of pregnancy.

European seal plague may threaten population survival
Scientists from Göteborg University in Sweden and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) report in an upcoming issue of the journal Ecology Letters that the 2002 outbreak of phocine distemper virus, or PDV, in European harbor seals may reduce the population by more than half and that future outbreaks with similar characteristics would significantly increase the risk of population declines.

Surgeons perform nation's first Zeus® robotics system-assisted gastric bypass surgery
Although a casual observer in the operating room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Oct.

How HIV outmaneuvers the immune system
Throughout the course of disease, AIDS patients have high levels of HIV-specific killer T cells.

Chattanooga chemistry teacher wins regional award
Chemistry teacher Joey Hatcher Gaby of Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., will be honored Nov.

Intensivists reduce mortality and length of stay in ICU patients
The greater use of intensivists, physicians who specialize in the management of critically ill patients, in intensive care units (ICUs) significantly reduces ICU mortality, hospital mortality and length of stay, according to a study published by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers in the Nov.

NIDA initiative designed to make substance abuse treatment more 'community friendly'
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded 7 grants totaling almost $2 million to support research that will identify ways to ease the adaptation of effective behavioral therapies into community-based treatment settings.

Testing method improves management of Johne's disease in cows
A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine has developed a testing method that more precisely describes a cow's level of Johne's disease infection, thereby enabling farmers to make more informed decisions about disease management that could improve herd productivity.

FDG PET reassures and reveals high risk multiple myeloma
Whole body FDG PET scans were able to identify previously undetected disease and also confirm that pre-cancerous conditions had not become active disease for 66 patients with multiple myeloma and related conditions studied by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles California.

NIDA leads research network to improve substance abuse treatment in criminal justice settings
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has taken the lead in building a multi-agency consortium to improve drug treatment services for drug-using offenders.

Transition from El Nino to La Nina affected vegetation
NASA scientists using satellite data have shown that shifts in rainfall patterns from one of the strongest El Nino events of the century in 1997 to a La Nina event in 2000 significantly changed vegetation patterns over Africa.

Lower insulin sensitivity found In Mexican-Americans, regardless of behavioral and metabolic factors
Mexican-Americans are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) two to three times more frequently than are non-Hispanic white (NHW) Americans.
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