Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 13, 2003
Asteroids, panic and planning
An internationally known disaster expert will present

Estrogen and personality in women
In the upcoming issue of Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing Group), researchers from Sweden report that specific variations in the sequence of the estrogen receptor gene are associated in women with the personality traits of 'non-conformity,' including the subscales 'indirect aggression' and 'irritability' and the factor 'psychoticism,' including the subscale 'suspicion.' The results suggest that the studied dinucleotide repeat polymorphism of the ER alpha gene may contribute to specific components of personality.

U-Iowa scientists gain insight on how enzyme uses oxygen to produce useful chemicals
University of Iowa researchers and colleagues used the first three-dimensional imaging of naphthalene dioxygenase to understand how the bacterial enzyme can take oxygen from air and use it to convert certain molecules into useful chemicals.

Teen girls with common hormonal disorder more concerned about fertility than peers
A new study of teenage girls with menstrual problems and other hormone-related symptoms finds they are far more worried about their future fertility that their healthy age-mates and need more health care and counseling than they are getting.

Government money for multiple sclerosis patients could be better spent
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that neither interferon beta nor glatiramer can be recommended for multiple sclerosis in the NHS.

Listen up! Infrasound is talking
A global infrasound network is recording what we can't see or hear--and researchers are listening more intently every day.

A global 'catastrophe' -- coal fires threaten environment, human health
Major underground fires are blazing in the world's coal-producing nations, threatening the environment and human health, scientists said today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

Cognitive therapy for schizophrenia: Hope for those whom drugs haven't helped
In an about face, the British National Health Service recently adopted cognitive therapy as a valid and reimbursable treatment for schizophrenia, a disease of the mind that traditionally has been thought of as unresponsive to all but powerful drug therapies.

Just a minute: Bystanders may identify stroke symptoms in 60 seconds
A bystander may be able to spot someone having a stroke by giving the person a simple, quick test to see if they can smile, raise both arms and keep them up, and speak a simple sentence coherently.

How the nose knows a rose-or a mate
If you sniff a rose this Valentine's Day, your brain will recognize almost a hundred different molecules that collectively give the flower its heady scent-but how?

High-density storage of nuclear waste heightens terrorism risks
A space-saving method for storing spent nuclear fuel has dramatically heightened the risk of a catastrophic radiation release in the event of a terrorist attack, according to a study initiated at Princeton.

Children in care less likely to get meningitis vaccine
Children looked after by local authorities are twice as unlikely to receive meningococcal C vaccine than children at home, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Emory researchers identify link between lipid abnormalities and AIDS therapy
Researchers from Emory University and the Atlanta VA Medical Center have used a lipid biomarker called apolipoprotein C-III (ApoC-III), which has recently been identified as a marker for cardiovascular disease risk, to help establish the relationship between HIV antiretroviral therapy and the development of lipid abnormalities.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory February 2003
Topics that you might find interesting include: Nanotechnology -- The shape of tomorrow; Materials -- A smashing success; Ecology -- Where roads and nature meet and; Energy -- Cleaner, more efficient gas turbines .

Don't eat soya if you're pregnant
The spotlight is back on soya thanks to an American study showing severe long-term effects on the sexual development of male rats whose mothers ate a chemical found in soya.

Researchers discover how leukaemia virus spreads through the body
Researchers from Imperial College London, University of Oxford, Kagoshima University (Japan) and University of the Ryukyus (Japan) have discovered the mechanism by which human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), the virus which causes adult T-cell leukaemia, spreads through the body.

Climate affects recent crop yield gains
Scientists at the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, California, have found that climate trends significantly affect corn and soybean yields.

Lavatory disinfectants may hinder colon cancer programme
Coloured lavatory disinfectants might be hindering the national programme for early detection of colon cancer, suggests a letter in this week's BMJ.

British scientist earns top award as American Stroke Association honors four
One of Great Britain's leading neurologists and stroke researchers, Professor Charles P.

European research at AAAS meeting
For the first time the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is represented at an AAAS annual meeting.

Researchers record first 'pheromone images' in brains of mice
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are beginning to unravel how a mysterious sixth sense guides animal attraction.

Tropical deforestation and global warming
Late last year, Frédéric Achard and colleagues published a controversial article in which they contended that earlier estimates of worldwide tropical deforestation and atmospheric carbon emissions were too high.

Genetics, genes and intelligence
Three research papers in the new issue of Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing Group) by research teams in the U.K., California, and Japan present clinical and animal data on genetic correlates of intelligence and cognitive functioning.

KEPPRA offers sustained efficacy, reduction in seizure frequency and in concomitant medication
New long term data published in Epilepsy Research show that KEPPRA (levetiracetam) offers sustained efficacy, as add-on, over the longer term - up to 54 months (4.5 years) - in reducing seizure frequency in adult patients with difficult to treat partial seizures.

Normal weight elderly still may be at risk for developing diabetes, according to Pittsburgh study
Elderly men and women with normal body weight still may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if they have large amounts of muscle fat or visceral abdominal fat, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the February issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

An origin of new world agriculture in coastal Ecuador
New archaeological evidence points to an independent origin of agriculture in coastal Ecuador 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

Changes in prevalence of mutations associated with HIV treatment failure
The results from a longitudinal study of the relative frequency of various types of HIV mutations associated with the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) were presented today at a meeting of leading AIDS researchers.

Tracking the long-term functioning of adolescents with alcohol problems
Standard treatment may not be enough for some adolescents with alcohol problems, say researchers.

Gambling + alcohol is a losing proposition
It's no secret that alcohol use and gambling often coexist.

UCSD professor wins grant to improve video quality for wireless devices
UCSD professor Truong Nguyen will receive more than $200,000 over three years from the State of California and Skyworks Solutions to fund research that could lead to smoother video streaming on wireless handheld devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Denim buildings are lastest in green chic
Cheap, bendy solar panels which have the appearance of denim could be draped over just about any shape of building.

The Lancet welcomes US funding of new AIDS programme
This week's Lancet editorial welcomes the recent announcement from the US Government to provide $15 billion over the next five years to tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.

'Blowtorch' risk to shuttle
If an impact from space debris was a factor in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, NASA had been given ample warning.

Patients are willing to allow details to be used for research, but want to be consulted first
Patients are willing to allow personal information from their medical records to be used for research purposes, but want to be actively consulted first, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Ibuprofen could reduce cardioprotective effect of aspirin
A research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet suggests that the painkiller ibuprofen could diminish the well-known beneficial effects of aspirin on preventing cardiovascular disease.

Why do schizophrenics smoke?
Eighty to ninety percent of schizophrenics smoke. In a new research article in the upcoming issue of Molecular Psychiatry (Nature Publishing Group), researchers in Canada investigate the mechanism by which the rewarding properties of nicotine may be enhanced.

Deaths from foodborne diseases are underestimated
The number of deaths from foodborne diseases is likely to be underestimated, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Pheromones create a 'chemical image' in the brain
For the first time, researchers have eavesdropped on the brains of mice as they go about the normal behaviors of detecting the subtle chemical signals called pheromones from other animals.

Alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence
Researchers who specialize in the association between drinking and domestic violence have found that members of a couple perceive and remember domestic disputes in different ways: that days of heavy drinking by male partners have an increased probability of physical aggression, that black and Hispanic couples are at a higher risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) than white couples, and that male-perpetrated violence decreases significantly following individual treatment.

The frontier of microelectronics: Building nano-machines, part by part
Nanocomputers, higher resolution screens, and millibots? What kinds of gadgets will the next generation of innovation bring?

Long-term effect of interferons for multiple sclerosis still in doubt
Authors of a systematic review in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how interferons--widely used to treat multiple sclerosis--have no proven effect beyond one year of treatment.

AAAS president calls to restore American health system
It is time to seek a National Commission to Restore the American Health System,

Health inequities within poor communities in less-developed countries
Authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how health inequities exist within poor communities in sub-Saharan Africa, with implications for how health-care systems should be managed to reduce a heavy burden of childhood illness and mortality in less-developed regions of the world.

NASA reveals end of universe's dark ages
The universe had a period of

A gene for sleepwalking
Sleepwalking can seriously affect the life of a person by its frequency (one or several episodes per night) or severity (risk of severe injury).

Vaccine technique shows potential against common form of lung cancer
In a demonstration of vaccine therapy's potential for treating lung cancer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists and their associates report that a prototype vaccine boosted the natural immune response to tumors in a small group of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Larger GP practices do not provide better care
It is widely known that fewer patients die in larger hospitals that do more operations, but does a similar association between volume of treatment and quality exist in primary care?

Brain banks are a powerful tool for alcohol research
There are currently only two brain banks in the world that can provide tissues for alcohol research, according to symposium proceedings published in the February issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Yet brain banks are a powerful tool for understanding diseases such as alcoholism, say researchers, and the life-saving contributions of both research and transplantation must be emphasized to prospective tissue donors.

VA heart attack care for mentally ill shows little disparity
Unlike many private hospitals, Veterans Affairs medical centers do a good job of providing equal care for heart attack patients with a history of mental illness or substance abuse, according to a study in the February issue of Health Services Research.
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