Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 30, 2003
Mouse genetic model for spongiform brain diseases
Some mice with a genetic mutation for mahogany-colored coats also develop spongiform degeneration of brain tissue, similar to mad cow disease, making them valuable animal models to study Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease in humans, according to geneticists at Cornell and Stanford universities.

Structure of cog at the hub of metabolism reveals anti-ageing function
The structure of a key energy-releasing enzyme found in all animals is designed to minimise free radical production, an international team of researchers report in the journal Science today.

Chromosome assessment could predict increased risk of death from age-related disease
US authors of a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how the measurement of the ends of chromosomes in older people could give an indication of their relative risks of dying from age-related diseases.

NSF to hold public meeting on its fiscal 2004 budget request
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will release the President's budget request for fiscal 2004 on Monday, February 3.

Bacterium and puffer fish may share distant relative
What does a bacterium that causes tumors in plants have in common with a puffer fish?

Drotrecogin alfa (activated) is a cost-effective treatment for severe sepsis patients
The only FDA-approved drug for the treatment of severe sepsis, drotrecogin alfa (activated) (Xigris®), is a cost-effective treatment and has a cost-benefit ratio superior or similar to that of many widely used medical treatments, according to a University of Pittsburgh-led study published in the current issue of the journal Critical Care Medicine (January 2003, Vol.

What's love got to do with health? Plenty, OSU studies find
A team of researchers at The Ohio State University has put marriage under the microscope, trying to determine through a series of studies if the quality of the union affects married partners' health.

Kindler patients have three times the amount of periodontal destruction than healthy patients
Canadian researchers found that patients with Kindler syndrome had an earlier onset of periodontitis and that the disease progressed more rapidly than in non-Kindler patients.

Size at birth linked with risk of breast cancer in women under 50
A study in the BMJ this week finds an association between size at birth and risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.

Clinical trials expanded with novel vaccine for advanced colorectal cancer
Several additional cancer centers in the United States and Canada are enrolling patients in an innovative clinical trial evaluating the use of a therapeutic cancer vaccine in patients with first-line metastatic colorectal cancer.

Monitoring deaths in general practice would help maintain public trust
Harold Shipman's murderous career led to demands that steps be taken to prevent any recurrence, but devising an acceptable and workable method of monitoring death rates in individual general practices is not straightforward.

In search of genetic precision
This week's Lancet editorial calls into question the current way in which studies that suggest an association between a gene and a particular disease are published, and discusses the criticism that scientific journals-including THE LANCET-have received when they report these studies.

Study sheds light on how the sun causes skin cancer
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers have made a discovery that could help solve a mystery in cancer biology: how a sunburn acquired during a childhood day at the beach can develop into a deadly tumor decades later.

Researchers unwind secrets of biological clocks
It may be only pond scum, the sort of green gunk that clogs lakes and floats in on the tides.

Increased parental mortality after death of a child
Danish authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET provide strong evidence for the first time that experiencing the death of a child increases the mortality rate of parents-with mothers being far more likely to die early than fathers.

Rutgers explorer describes sea floor hot springs as teeming with valuable minerals and microbes
One of the world's most experienced deep-sea researchers, Peter A.

Project seeks to balance power, performance in embedded computers
Each individual in a developed nation may unknowingly use more than 100 embedded computers daily in devices that range from autos to washing machines.

Scripps scientists discover new approach for treating 'misfolding diseases'
Professor Jeffery W. Kelly, Ph.D., and his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have demonstrated a new approach for treating

The Lancet Infectious Diseases / The Lancet Oncology
Topics for this month's issues include: Openness in an insecure world; How effective are pneumococcal vaccines in developed countries?; Confusion over cloning; other reviews.

Alzheimer caregivers' stress may trigger risky blood clots
Stressful circumstances beyond the routine duress faced by those who care for a demented loved one can increase the chances of excessive blood clotting, new research suggests, and may help explain why the caregiver role can create a serious health risk.

Prion disease may be caused by buildup of cellular trash, say Stanford researchers
Mutant mice whose brains gradually become peppered with small holes resembling those found in prion disease lack a protein involved in disposing of cellular trash, say researchers at Stanford University Medical Center.

Surgeon uses new method to remove pituitary tumors
Removing pituitary tumors through the nasal cavity rather than using the classic approach beneath the upper lip offers patients a minimally invasive alternative with similar results, less discomfort and faster recovery, a new UCLA study indicates.

Coat-color gene mutation mimics neurodegeneration of prion diseases
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have discovered that a gene mutation that produces black coat color in mice also causes degeneration of neurons similar to that observed in prion-caused diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases and mad cow disease.

Linezolid is better treatment for resistant pneumonia
A drug called linezolid is more successful at treating a deadly form of pneumonia than the standard treatment, vancomycin, according to data presented Jan.

Fruit flies unlock Methuselah's secrets
Research published in Genome Biology investigates genes that increase the life span of fruit flies in an effort to gain a greater understanding of the ageing process.

ORNL, Georgia's Isotron develop promising new cancer treatment
Doctors treating incurable brain tumors and other cancers resistant to conventional therapies will soon have a new treatment available to them because of a development by Isotron of Alpharetta, Ga., and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

U.S. to join negotiations on major international fusion project
The U.S. will join the negotiations for the construction and operation of a major international magnetic fusion research project.

Patient expectations of care may exceed government targets
Patients may have expectations for access to primary care in excess of current government targets, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Using costumes to supplement a book helps children better remember story, research shows
Young children love to dress up in costume and

Uniting with only a few random links: Findings reported in this week's Science
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute physics researcher Gyorgy Korniss has found that

Folic acid supplements not linked to multiple births
Results of a Chinese population-based study in this week's issue of The Lancet provide strong evidence that women who take folic acid supplements during pregnancy do not have an increased likelihood of having a multiple birth.

Expendable microphones may help locate building collapse survivors
Data gathered by Penn State engineers in a volunteer effort at the World Trade Center tragedy, suggests that simple, inexpensive microphones dropped into the rubble of a collapsed building may be able to aid search and rescue teams despite ground level noise.

Legal judgement has grave implications for the NHS
A landmark decision by the United Kingdom's Competition Commission could make all contracting out and commissioning of health care by NHS and social services subject to European Union competition law, rather than a matter for national public health policy.

Single molecules observed
Using a novel technique, supported largely by off-the-shelf instruments, scientists at Cornell University have for the first time optically isolated individual biological molecules in naturally occurring molecular concentrations and watched their complex behavior as they interact with a protein.

Ozone may provide environmentally safe protection for grains
Taking a clue from air purification systems used in surgical suites, Purdue University researchers have discovered that ozone can eliminate insects in grain storage facilities without harming food quality or the environment.

Assisted suicide by non-physicians
Sharp controversy surrounds assisted suicide in Switzerland, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Protein linked to movement disorders
Using the nematode roundworm C. elegans to model a severe childhood movement disorder, researchers at the University of Alabama have discovered the role of a protein that may have implications for neurological syndromes such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

Most see premature births as personal, not public health, problem
Although nearly one in eight babies in the United States is born prematurely, and about a quarter of them will suffer lifelong health problems as a result, many people view premature births as a personal rather than public health problem, a recent survey suggests.

Cardiac MRI finds small areas of heart cell death missed by nuclear imaging techniques
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center and Northwestern University Medical School have demonstrated that cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology can detect small areas of heart muscle death that cannot be detected by commonly used imaging techniques.

Ultra-high-density data storage may become practical with breakthrough in nanoscale magnetic sensors
A simpler and more reliable manufacturing method has allowed two materials researchers to produce nanoscale magnetic sensors that could increase the storage capacity of hard disk drives by a factor of a thousand.

Earthquake damages neighboring fault, UCLA and USC scientists report
The 1999 magnitude 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake, in the Mojave Desert, damaged the fault that broke in the 7.3 magnitude Landers earthquake seven years earlier.

Researchers discover that DNA packaging in living cells is dynamic
Scientists from Imperial College London, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Hammersmith Hospital have discovered an important aspect of how heterochromatin, the wrapping around DNA, works.

Concern over misclassification and inappropriate treatment of people with eating disorders
Authors of a seminar in this week's issue of THE LANCET provide an insight into our knowledge and treatment of eating disorders.

University of Pittsburgh researchers study mild concussions in high school athletes
High school athletes with even mild concussions showed significant symptoms within one week post-injury, in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
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