Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 12, 2002
Significant improvements in disease free survival reported in women with breast cancer
New data from a large phase III study of 2005 women with node-positive breast cancer show that when Taxol® (paclitaxel) (T) is given with standard chemotherapy, doxorubicin (A) and cyclophosphamide (C), in a 2-weekly dose-dense regimen the rate of recurrence is significantly reduced by 26% (p=0.010) and the rate of death is reduced by 31% (p=0.013), compared to standard 3-weekly administration, with an acceptable toxicity profile.

Rush begins use of magnetic guided navigation system
Neurosurgeons at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center have become the first in the Chicago area to use a radically new, magnetically controlled system to enter the brain and its vascular system to treat a variety of diseases without surgically opening up the skull and brain.

Female bypass patients experience fewer complications when spouses know what to expect
Female coronary bypass surgery patients whose husbands viewed an optimistic informational videotape prior to their surgery experienced fewer complications than did women whose husbands received only the standard hospital reparation.

Too much grape juice could cause iron deficiency
The same antioxidant compounds in dark grape juice that are noted for their health benefits in fighting heart disease may have a downside, according to new research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In cell studies, scientists with the U.S.

Further evidence for benefits of lower blood pressure in middle and old age
An article in this week's issue of THE LANCET shows that blood pressure is even more strongly related to the risks of death from cardiovascular causes than was previously thought.

Canadian scientists unlock secret of calcium waves in cells
Scientists from Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital are able to depict for the first time how an important molecule called IP3 and its receptor interact to control calcium levels in cells, a process that is vital to normal brain function.

K-State researchers study response of prairie ecosystem
Climate models predict increases in climate extremes such as more frequent large rainfall events or more severe droughts.

Paul Chirik early career award for synthetic chemistry
Paul J. Chirik, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, is one of this year's recipients of a Faculty Early Career Development Program grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

'Dose dense' chemotherapy improves survival in breast cancer patients
A new clinical trial has shown that reducing the interval between successive doses of a commonly used chemotherapy regimen improves survival in women whose breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Melodies in your mind
Researchers at Dartmouth are getting closer to understanding how some melodies have a tendency to stick in your head or why hearing a particular song can bring back a high school dance.

MRSA deaths on the rise
Infections due to MRSA seem to be an increasing cause of death in England and Wales, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Gene responsible for rewinding body's 'clock' described by scientists at TSRI
A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) has demonstrated that the gene Opn4, which codes for the protein Melanopsin, is the elusive pigment gene that captures light and keeps your body tuned to a daily cycle--called a circadian rhythm.

Early promise for new antimalarial drug
Preliminary results of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that there may be a new treatment option for people who have become resistant to conventional treatments for malaria.

DHHS designates Brown as national site for Cochrane Collaboration
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $2.3 million to Brown University for the establishment of the U.S.

Children's Hospital Boston researchers regenerate zebrafish heart muscle
Zebrafish can regenerate heart muscle after injury. Can we turn on similar genes in humans after heart attacks?

Zebrafish may point the way to mending a broken heart
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have shown that the zebrafish can successfully regenerate up to 20 percent of its heart following injury.

Study published in Science finds progressive increase in arctic river discharge
New research finds the average annual discharge of freshwater from the six largest Eurasian rivers into the Arctic Ocean to have increased 7% since 1936.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for December (second issue)
Newsworthy journal studies show that: recent use of inhaled corticosteroids in elderly people was associated with a dose-related increase in hip fracture; initial treatment with high-frequency ventilation in very low birth weight babies can lead to less airway damage and better outcome at 1 year; and, when checked at 28 days, 10 percent of all coronary artery bypass patients suffered from a very large pleural effusion.

Leptin isn't to blame for ex-smokers' weight gain
Any smoker who's tried to kick the habit has probably experienced it: Extra pounds pile on within the first few weeks after quitting.

Animals can be induced to cooperate if partners reciprocate and benefits accumulate
Experiments with blue jays at the University of Minnesota suggest that animals may be induced to cooperate when their opponent reciprocates by tit-for-tat behavior and rewards accumulate over a sequence of interactions.

ß blockers may affect airways function in elderly patients
Topical ß blockers are the most commonly prescribed drugs for glaucoma in the United Kingdom, yet a study in this week's BMJ finds that they are associated with excess risk of airways obstruction in elderly patients.

Clinical trial shows timing of chemotherapy improves survival in breast cancer
New research shows that giving doses of chemotherapy more frequently in time, leads to a significant improvement in survival with no increase in toxicity in women with node-positive breast cancer.

Sea squirt DNA sheds light on vertebrate evolution
The streamlined genome of Ciona intestinalis, a common sea squirt closely related to vertebrates on the evolutionary tree, is providing new clues about the evolutionary origins of key vertebrate systems and structures including the human brain, spine, heart, eye, thyroid gland, and nervous and immune systems.

Checkpoint protein blocks chromosome breaks at fragile sites
With 46 chromosomes to copy every time most human cells divide, it's not surprising that breaks sometimes show up in the finished product.

Tooth loss linked to increased stroke risk
Tooth loss and periodontal disease may increase the risk of ischemic stroke.

New study shows increased link between worsening epileptic seizures and women taking estrogen
Research presented this week draws a link between women taking estrogen-containing compounds, such as oral contraceptives, and worsening or more frequent epileptic seizures.

Study questions impact of NHS Direct on GP visits
The introduction of NHS Direct had no impact on the number of general practice consultations during the winter of 1999-2000, finds a study in this week's BMJ, despite speculation that there was an influenza epidemic but that people were telephoning NHS Direct instead of visiting their general practitioner.

UT Southwestern scientists uncover new mechanism by which cells rid themselves of damaged proteins
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have identified a new and surprising mechanism by which a class of enzymes responsible for the breakdown of proteins operates.

Self-help programme for pregnant smokers is ineffective
The UK government wants to cut the percentage of women who smoke during pregnancy from 23% to 15% by the year 2010.

Observing proteins and cells in the wild
In the Jan. issue of Nature Biotechnology, Rockefeller University researchers demonstrate for the first time how quantum dots can be used to simultaneously track multiple living proteins or cells for up to days at a time.

Increase in rainfall variability related to global climate change
Projected increases in rainfall variability resulting from changes in global climate can rapidly reduce productivity and alter the composition of grassland plants, according to scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Death from liver disease major threat to men with hepatitis B and HIV
Men infected with a combination of hepatitis B virus and HIV are 17 times more likely to die from liver disease than men infected with hepatitis B alone, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins published in the Dec.

Researchers discover gene that controls ability to learn fear
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have discovered the first genetic component of a biochemical pathway in the brain that governs the indelible imprinting of fear-related experiences in memory.

Inspections sharply reduce diarrhea outbreaks on cruise ships
A new report links diarrhea outbreaks aboard vacation cruise ships to the scores they get on mandatory sanitation inspections.

Tobacco industry concealed its role in refuting important study
In 1981 an influential Japanese study showed an association between passive smoking and lung cancer.

Scientists shed new light on the body's internal clock
Researchers at Stanford University and Deltagen Inc. have confirmed that the protein melanopsin plays a role in regulating the body's internal clock.

Nicotine patch effective without direct counseling
Nearly 20 percent of smokers using an over-the-counter nicotine patch in a new study were able to quit smoking entirely after six weeks, compared to only 7 percent of smokers using a dummy patch. 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