Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 21, 2002
Once big bad wolf, now man's best friend: Science studies trace dogs' origins
Domesticated dogs first appeared in East Asia, spread across Asia and Europe, and then accompanied their two-legged companions into the New World 12,000-14,000 years ago.

UT Southwestern scientist helps identify gene that may lead to treatments for sleep disorders
A researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has helped uncover key information in the treatment of sleep disorders by identifying a gene that controls the rhythmic behavior of animals.

Versatile immunosuppressant drug may have new role in radiotherapy for cancer
The versatile immunosuppressant drug rapamycin may have yet another role - boosting the effectiveness of radiotherapy in cancer patients, a US doctor tells a joint European-US cancer conference in Frankfurt on Thursday 21 November.

Discovery may dramatically reduce liver transplants in children
A discovery being published this week in

Phase transition in bilayers could affect their performance
Phospholipid bilayers that mimic cell membranes in living organisms are of interest as substrates for biosensors and for the controlled release of pharmaceuticals.

Too many turtles may end up as roadkill
Turtles and roads are a bad combination. Nearly half of the 55 turtle species native to the U.S. are declining and new research suggests that car and truck collisions are partly to blame.

Researcher earns prestigious Fernbach Award
Robert Harrison of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been named recipient of the Sidney Fernbach Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Warming study indicates water problems in the West
New simulations by a group of leading global warming and climate change researchers suggest earlier melting of mountain snow packs and spring flooding could have a devastating impact on water resources in some parts of the U.S.

White flight: Property values, neighborhood quality most often cited
More than one in three whites interviewed in Detroit, Boston, and Atlanta said they would move if their neighborhoods reached varying levels of racial integration, according to a study published in the November issue of the journal Demography.

Employers are slow to adopt family-friendly and employee-friendly policies
This is a major conclusion of an independent survey of managers in 2,000 establishments in Britain, establishments representative of every sector, small and large organisations, public services and private companies, which was carried out between July and September 2002.

Black holes in a double pack
For the first time ever, scientists have discovered a pair of supermassive black holes in the same galaxy.

Unearthing the San Andreas fault zone
An in-depth analysis of major long-term research on the San Andreas fault indicates that parts of the fault are likely to experience a major temblor sooner than previously believed, including the section near Palm Springs and the San Bernardino-Riverside areas, and the Hayward Fault in the Bay Area.

Brain's method of merging input depends on which senses supply it
When the human brain is presented with conflicting information about an object from different senses, it finds a remarkably efficient way to sort out the discrepancies, according to findings reported in the Nov.

UCSF study finds no cases of HIV transmission from receptive oral sex
No cases of HIV transmission through unprotected receptive oral sex were found by researchers at UCSF's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) in a new study.

Indiana University researchers present new tools at supercomputing conference
Indiana University information technology experts working with others from the state's leading educational institutions presented several new tools in high-performance computing, networks and visualization this week to colleagues at the international Supercomputing2002 conference.

First clinical trial of intravenous rViscumin under way in Germany and France
First clinical trial of an analogue of a mistletoe component is under way in Germany and France, a joint European-US cancer conference in Frankfurt hears on Thursday 21 November.

Pesticides linked to amphibian declines
California is a hotspot of amphibian decline - half of the state's frogs and toads are in trouble -- and new research suggests that agricultural pesticides may be one of the biggest reasons.

NIH funds new brain imaging center at San Francisco VA Medical Center
A $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to use towards the purchase of the latest in brain-imaging equipment has been received by the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Deliberate self harm is common in adolescents
Deliberate self harm is common in adolescents, especially females, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Serving method and portion size affect the amount of food consumed at a single meal
Rolls et al. studied the effects of portion size on overall food intake, and concluded that large portions typically served in American restaurants or self-service during family meals may significantly affect the risk of obesity.

Deep-sea technology is put to the test in campus tank
In a new indoor tank filled with almost 43,000 gallons of water, engineers are developing and testing computer control systems to serve as the

Low childhood socioeconomic status closely linked to poor adult health
Authors of a New Zealand population study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how adult health is directly related to socio-economic status in childhood--poorer children are more likely to be affected by adverse health outcomes later in life.

Natural radioactivity used to determine seasonal changes in groundwater supply
In a journal article published in a recent issue of Limnology and Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography chemical oceanographers Roger P.

Expert panel publishes new guidelines for physicians who treat the elderly
New guidelines published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society show that doctors should consider physical and mental condition -- as well as age -- in treating geriatric patients.

Inhibitor of novel cancer target, LPAAT-beta, demonstrates selective anti-cancer effects
Novel enzyme cloned by US scientists shows anti-cancer effect in animal studies, a joint European-US cancer conference in Frankfurt hears on Thursday 21 November.

48-week results for the SOLO trial comparing GW433908/r QD to nelfinavir BID
Results of the SOLO trial, an open-label, multi-center study evaluating the safety and efficacy of once-a-day (QD) dosing of the investigational protease inhibitor GW433908 (908) boosted with ritonavir (908/r) QD in antiretroviral therapy-naïve patients versus twice-a-day (BID) nelfinavir (NFV, Viracept), were presented today at the 6th International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection.

Envisat's ASAR reveals extent of massive oil spill off Spanish coast
Oil from the wrecked tanker off the northwest coast of Spain had already reached the Spanish coast when ESA's Envisat satellite acquired this radar image of the oil slick, stretching more than 150 km, on Sunday, 17 November, at 10.45 UTC.

Enbrel only TNF receptor with five years sustained data in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
New data from multiple studies evaluating the use of ENBREL® (etanercept), the only fully human TNF receptor, in patients with long-standing disease, as well as newly diagnosed patients, will be presented this week as part of the 66th American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.

Statins benefit older people
Elderly people at high risk of cardiovascular disease could benefit substantially by treatment with statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs with known effectiveness among middle-aged people at risk of heart disease and stroke, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Outbreak of native oak borers threatens Ozark forests
Preliminary results from biomonitoring studies by USDA Forest Service researchers confirm an unprecedented outbreak of red oak borers in the upland hardwood forests of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Norwegian study demonstrates targeted coxibs may prevent oral cancer
Norwegian researchers are planning the world's first major randomised trial to prevent head and neck cancer.

Photosynthesis analysis shows work of ancient genetic engineering
Over the past few decades, biochemistry has deciphered most of the complex chemical systems involved in photosynthesis, but the question has remained how such a complex process could evolve.

Folic acid could prevent heart disease
Folic acid could dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and stroke if levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) were reduced, according to researchers in this week's BMJ.

Arsenic in Bangladesh drinking wells may be linked to crop irrigation, MIT study finds
A ruthless killer in Bangladesh's drinking water is making millions of people sick and may be causing as many as 3,000 deaths each year.

Hatchery salmon may endanger wild cousins
Wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest are in trouble -- 26 populations are listed as threatened or endangered -- and many conservationists fear hatcheries are a big part of the problem.

UMass team to study bioremediation of acid, heavy metals from collapsed mind
Highly acidic drainage from an abandoned sulfide mine in Rowe is slowly cleaning itself over time, and an interdisciplinary research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is studying why.

Coffee drinking elevates plasma homocysteine and risk factors for coronary heart disease
In a study of the effects of caffeine alone and in brewed coffee on homocysteine concentrations, brewed coffee increased homocysteine levels within hours of consumption and seemed to have a particularly strong effect when taken after meals.

Non-native earthworms may be wiping out rare plants
Most of us don't pay much attention to earthworms but maybe we should.

Very long term effects of Botox still unknown
The use of botulinum toxin for facial cosmetic enhancement has established its new image as a glamour drug, but its unlicensed use is increasing dramatically for certain conditions, ahead of clear scientific evidence.

Lifestyle risks for cardiovascular disease differ between men and women
Publishing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Mennen et al. examined the effects of lifestyle on tHcy concentrations in a group of middle-aged French men and women and developed different recommendations for each gender.

A possible role for honey in the treatment of wounds
New research carried out by scientists at partner institutions UWIC (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff), University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) in Cardiff and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has found sensitivity to honey of wound infecting bacteria.

Spanish-speaking children in California increasingly concentrated in low-income schools, study finds
Hispanic children in California who have limited ability to speak English attend schools with growing concentrations of low-income, minority students, according to a study to be published this month in the journal Demography.

'Immediate and long-term health benefits' from reduction in sulphur emissions
Reducing the sulphur content of pollutants can have a substantial impact in reducing death from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet which describes the effect of a public-health initiative in Hong Kong.

Cannabis increases risk of depression and schizophrenia
Frequent cannabis use increases the risk of developing depression and schizophrenia in later life, according to three studies in this week's BMJ.

Enbrel(R) is first therapy shown to inhibit bone and joint damage in PsA
Results from a study of ENBREL® (etanercept), the only fully human TNF receptor, were presented today demonstrating significant inhibition in the progression of structural damage in patients with psoriatic arthritis.

High iron stores and possible increased health risks in the elderly
Much recent research suggests that iron repletion may increase the risk of several chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, but the extent to which dietary factors contribute to high iron stores is still unclear.

To thin or not to thin
Recent studies show that thinning of young forests can benefit the development of old-growth characteristics and the diversity of plants and animals, but only if methods are used that protect and promote the development of shrubs, hardwoods, and large or old trees.

Joint-custody arrangements good for children of divorce -- but only if there is no parental conflict
A new study suggests children of divorced parents benefit when they split time between their parents' homes -- but the positive impact can be offset by conflicts between the parents.

High-quality child care returns much more than it costs: report
For every dollar spent on high-quality early education programs, taxpayers can expect four dollars in benefits, according to a new analysis of data from a long-running research project at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Healthy diet index study discloses dramatic reductions in chronic disease risk
In an analysis of these studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, McCullough et al. found that men and women whose diets most closely matched healthy dietary guidelines had a significant reduction in risk for all chronic diseases.

Calling the pharmaceutical industry to account
The final article in The Lancet's series about the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and medicine is published this week--the author concluding that there is still some way to go before industry can truly be deemed accountable to global public-health needs.

Concord grape juice is a potent antioxidant that compares favorably to supplements
O'Byrne et al. compared the effects of Concord grape juice (CGJ) and antioxidant supplements in a group of healthy subjects, and found that CGJ is a potent, long-lasting antioxidant that compares favorably to supplements.

Exercise barriers seen for spinal cord injury survivors
Most Americans don't get enough exercise, but the problem is even worse for those with spinal cord injuries, and their inactivity is killing them.

Banerjee case highlights institutional corruption in medicine
The finding by the General Medical Council that Mr Anjan Kumar Banerjee and Professor Timothy John Peters were guilty of serious professional misconduct for research fraud committed a decade earlier is not just a case of one doctor covering up for another but of corruption at a senior level in academic institutions, argues Consultant Cardiologist, Peter Wilmshurst in this week's BMJ.

High iron stores in women of reproductive age may increase cardiovascular risk
An increasing proportion of women of reproductive age are iron replete, rather than iron deficient, and iron overload has been implicated as a possible source of increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

Nuclear probe may be new weapon against acid mine drainage, salinity
A nuclear probe developed by CSIRO for minerals exploration and mining may soon be used to combat some of the world's biggest environmental problems.

'Here's looking at you' has new meaning
Noting that the eyes have long been described as mirrors of the soul, a Queen's computer scientist is studying the effect of eye gaze on conversation and the implications for new-age technologies, ranging from video conferencing to speech recognition systems.

Brain's method of creating mental images differs with the source of cues received
Research conducted at UC Berkeley reveals new insights into how the human brain processes the sensory cues it receives. 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