Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2003
Carnegie Mellon, NASA to develop robot illustrating how to seek life on distant planets
Carnegie Mellon and NASA scientists will travel to Chile's Atacama Desert to conduct research that will help them develop and deploy a robot and instruments that may someday enable other robots to find life on Mars.

Structure of tiger eye reevaluated after 125 years
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to what gives tiger's eye its beauty, geologists may have been wrong for years, according to Penn State geoscientists.

Brain injury patients now turning to alternative medicine for treatment
More patients than ever before with traumatic brain injuries are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to supplement conventional medical care for their injuries.

Neighborhood layout could turn drivers into walkers
People who live in neighborhoods where stores, schools and homes are within walking or cycling distance from each other make almost twice as many weekly trips on foot as residents of less

Mayo Clinic study shows thalidomide may delay progression of early stage multiple myeloma
A Mayo Clinic study is the first to show that for some patients with early stage multiple myeloma, the drug thalidomide may effectively delay the need for chemotherapy or more aggressive treatment for as much as two years.

Contaminated poliovirus vaccine not associated with cancer
Exposure to poliovirus vaccine that was contaminated with simian virus 40 (SV40) does not appear to be associated with increased cancer incidence in Denmark, according to a large population-based study appearing in the April 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Research shows high doses of acetaminophen clear rapidly and consistently from bloodstream
Acetaminophen, the medicine in Tylenol®, clears rapidly and completely from the bloodstream even in doses as high as twice the daily recommended dose, according to new research presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology recently in Salt Lake City.

Diabetes among siblings, obesity: Risk factors for heart disease
Studies have suggested that the

Brain can reorganize after injury at any age
No matter when the brain is injured -- early in life, in middle age, or later -- it shows a remarkable ability to reorganize to help the body recover normal motor functions, a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine has shown.

Chemical Heritage Foundation receives grant from William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation of Philadelphia has given Chemical Heritage Foundation CHF a grant of $135,300 to support strategic and comprehensive organizational planning.

April Geological Society of America Bulletin media highlights
The April issue of the GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA BULLETIN includes a number of potentially newsworthy items.

VEGF gene transfer fails to help peripheral arterial disease patients
A gene-transfer study aimed at easing the pain and disability caused by blocked leg blood vessels -- via the injection of a gene to encourage the growth of new capillaries - does not improve symptoms more than placebo, new results show.

Drug combination increases life span of mice with ALS
Investigators at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre show that a new three-drug cocktail increases the life span and decreases disease progression in a mouse model of ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Families with severe form of bipolar disorder help scientists narrow the search for disease genes
After years of frustrating searches for genes that contribute to mental illness, researchers at Johns Hopkins studying families with a severe form of manic depressive illness, called psychotic bipolar disorder, may be one step closer to finding the genetic underpinnings of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

It's who you know
When it comes to modifying habits and trying to eat more healthfully, a study published in the April Journal of the American Dietetic Association indicates that women who work with dietetics professionals to develop low-fat eating plans have more success than women who monitor their own eating habits.

Stroke risk increases with metabolic syndrome
People with high blood pressure, large waistlines and other risk factors called metabolic syndrome are more likely to suffer a stroke, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003.

Jefferson neurologist finds monthly migraines in women may be preventable
Neurologists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia may have found a long-acting therapy that could stop monthly migraines that occur in some women for days around their periods-before the headache starts.

Epilepsy surgery: Careful candidate selection produces comparable results
In developing countries, where epilepsy surgery facilities, technology and expertise are limited, researchers have sought to identify factors most predictive of excellent results among candidates for epilepsy surgery.

NCI study estimates more than 2 million women could benefit from tamoxifen
More than 10 million women in the United States have a high enough risk of developing breast cancer that they could consider taking the breast cancer chemoprevention drug tamoxifen, according to Andrew N.

Data analysis shows Keppra® reduced partial seizures in elderly patients
Results of an analysis of elderly patients with epilepsy confirmed the efficacy and safety of Keppra® (levetiracetam) in a real-world, community setting.

Patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy remained seizure-free with Keppra treatment
More than 20 percent of patients who added the medication Keppra to their treatment regimen maintained seizure-free status for at least one year, according to a retrospective study.

Transgenic trees hold promise for pulp and paper industries
By genetically modifying aspen trees, Dr. Vincent L. Chiang, professor of forest biotechnology, and his colleagues have reduced the trees' lignin content by 45 to 50 percent - and accomplished the first successful dual-gene alteration in forestry science.

Physics tip sheet #34 - April 1, 2003
Highlights of this issue include research into sickle cell disease and mechanisms of cancer treatment, new analysis of how the sun shines, and building electron searchlights from single molecules.

Silent strokes increase odds of devastating strokes
People who have had

Movement disorders from viral encephalitis can be severe, expensive
Viral encephalitis causes a wider spectrum of movement disorders than previously recognized, and treating them may require prolonged hospitalization, according to a study to be presented during the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003.

Feedback to crime witnesses distorts how they feel about their ID of suspects
When crime eyewitnesses are given feedback about who they picked in a suspect line-up -- even 48 hours after that line-up -- the feedback has been found to strongly influence their confidence in their identification and their memories of the event, according to a new study.

Queen's researchers invent computers that 'pay attention' to users
With increasing numbers of digital devices vying for our attention and time today, researchers from the Human Media Lab (HML) at Queen's University have developed a new concept that allows computers to pay attention to their users' needs.

Pharmaceutical Achievers
Pharmaceutical Achievers by Mary Ellen Bowden, Amy Beth Crow, and Tracy Sullivan This biographical collection highlights individuals who made outstanding achievements in the arenas of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

Molecule offers insights into fertilization
In research with potential implications for both increasing fertilization and preventing pregnancies, UCLA biologists and German cell physiologists report in the journal Science that they have isolated and identified a molecule that attracts sperm.

Study shows that women have as great a risk of dying from heart disease as men
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have conducted the first study to compare how well a non-invasive imaging procedure performed with a medication-induced stress test identified women and men at high risk of death from heart disease.

Liberty Bell passes stress test
How do you move a wounded, 2,080-pound patriot? Very carefully.

Achillion and UMBC collaboration identifies new class of agents with potential to treat HIV
Researchers from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Achillion Pharmaceuticals announce the discovery of a new target that could lead to a new class of drugs to fight the virus that causes AIDS.

Chemical Heritage Foundation names John Baldeschwieler and George Hammond 2003 Othmer Gold Medalists
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has selected two recipients for the 2003 Othmer Gold Medal: John D.

Tufts environmental engineers tackle destructive nutrients in nation's waterways
Researchers from Tufts University have received two three-year grants from the U.S.

Loss of brain tissue may contribute to cognitive impairment among healthy diabetes patients
A very high proportion of patients with juvenile-onset insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus have been found to also have cerebral atrophy, or a loss of brain tissue, according to a recent study conducted at the Department of Neurology, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Antibody therapy can increase the effectiveness of cancer vaccine, early studys
The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Deep brain stimulation significantly improves dystonia symptoms
Researchers from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York have demonstrated that deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus (near the thalamus) is a safe and highly effective therapy in patients with generalized torsion dystonia.

$173 million NASA contract to build five satellites to probe origins of auroral substorms
Amid the steady auroras that light up the polar regions, violent outbursts periodically erupt because of substorms in the Earth's magnetosphere.

National Conference of Black Physics Students to meet at Rensselaer
Two hundred high school students from around the country will be at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from April 3-6 for the 17th annual National Conference of Black Physics Students (NCBPS).

Combined imaging techniques best identify plaque in the aorta
Pairing transesophageal magnetic resonance imaging (TE MRI) with standard cardiac MRI offers physicians great views of plaque buildup in the aorta, the heart's main artery.

Early levodopa treatment: Does it slow or hasten Parkinson's?
Levodopa is the most effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, but some laboratory studies have raised concern that it may hasten disease progression.

Current and former chairs of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai to be honored by peers in Chicago
P.K. Shah, M.D., director of the division of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, will receive two awards while in Chicago for the annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology.

Marked improvement in heart attack care seen in 33-hospital study
Despite huge advances in heart attack care, many patients go without proven therapies because doctors and nurses forget or neglect to prescribe them.

Six-month public smoking ban slashes heart attack rate in community
In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that the number of heart attack victims admitted to a regional hospital dropped by nearly 60 percent during the first six months that a smoke-free ordinance was in effect in the area.

More than two million women stand to benefit from breast cancer prevention drug
A new study suggests that more than two million women stand to benefit from taking tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention.

Emory researchers report promising findings in advanced Parkinson's with novel cell therapy
An investigational surgical cell therapy tested to improve signs and symptoms in advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) patients is showing sustained benefit in motor function, two years following treatment.

Other highlights of the April 2 JNCI
Other highlights in the April 2 issue of JNCI include a study examining the association between genetic factors for breast density may be associated with breast cancer risk, a study looking at a new anticancer compound that blocks angiogenesis, a study suggesting that individuals with genetic instability have an increased risk of bladder cancer, and a study on a potential new vaccine for B-cell cancers.

Airfare analyzer could save big bucks by advising when to buy tickets
Researchers at the University of Washington have taken some of the guesswork out of traveling in today's world of wildly varying ticket prices with a computer program that approaches a 90 percent score in saving money by predicting air fares.

Hebrew University research brings higher peanut yields
Significantly improved peanut yields have been achieved by researchers at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences in Rehovot.

Immune responses to peanuts are key in a growing allergic phenomenon
In the April 1 issue of the JCI, Gideon Lack and colleagues from St.

Significant pain reduction for post-shingles patients
NeurogesX, Inc. today announced Phase II results of a treatment for post-shingles pain, a severe pain condition that affects an estimated 400,000 Americans.

April Geology media highlights
The Geological Society of America's April issue of GEOLOGY contains potentially newsworthy items.

NSF hosts talk by George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate, on 'Economics and Identity'
George A. Akerlof, University of California, Berkeley economics professor and author of the classic paper

Hydroxyurea therapy improves survival in most severely affected sickle cell patients
Sickle cell anemia patients who took the drug hydroxyurea over a 9-year period experienced a 40 percent reduction in deaths, according to the first study to evaluate whether the treatment prolongs life, announced the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Virtual clothes shops and animated talking heads
A virtual clothes shop, a talking head interface for phones and PDAs and new motion capture and animation techniques.

OHSU researchers produce first animal model for stress-induced movement disorder
Oregon Health & Science University researchers have produced the first mouse model for a rare movement disorder called episodic ataxia. 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