Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 15, 2003
Seizure drug improves abstinence from drinking, study shows
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio announced that topiramate, a derivative of the naturally occurring sugar monosaccharide D-fructose, is effective at promoting abstinence among alcohol-dependent individuals.

Sandia microscaffolding fits perfectly in patient's jaw
In an operating room in Carle Hospital in Urbana, Ill., on May 7, as scientists from the University of Illinois (UI) and Sandia National Laboratories watched, surgeon Michael Goldwasser fitted a highly unusual ceramic prosthetic device into the mouth of an elderly woman who had lost most of her teeth and along with it, much of the bone of her lower jaw.

UC Riverside graduate student wins best poster award at international conference
Of the more than 180 poster presentations at the Seventh Annual International Conference on REsearch in COmputational Molecular Biology (RECOMB) held last month in Berlin, UC Riverside graduate student Andres Figueroa's poster was recognized with the Best Poster award.

Hemocellular Therapeutics establishes licensing agreement with UNC, ECU
Hemocellular Therapeutics, expected to produce the first platelet-based therapeutic available to doctors for the immediate treatment of active bleeding, has established an exclusive licensing agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University, company officials recently announced.

Has the health effect of passive smoking been overstated?
The link between environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed, conclude James Enstrom of the University of California, Los Angeles and Geoffrey Kabat of New Rochelle, New York, in this week's BMJ.

Scientists dust off desert sands from the French Alps
NASA funded scientists, using an atmospheric computer model, proved for the first time dust from China's TaklaMakan desert traveled more than 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) over two weeks and landed on the French Alps.

Preventing the progression of HIV
In the May 15, 2003 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Andrew Badley and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, report a genetic mutation in a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protein may help explain why a small proportion of people infected with HIV remain healthy for over a decade or more, while others ultimately develop AIDS.

Perfect planet, clever species
Life in outer space. Evolution. Warfare. Spirituality. These are some topics Field Museum Curator Bill Burger tackles in his book, a

New clues emerge about the fate of smog in Sierra Nevada forests
Smog ozone goes into the forest, but it doesn't come out.

New evaluation of osteoporosis therapies
New evaluation of osteoporosis therapies finds gastrointestinal-related cost differences. Actonel patients had fewer gastrointestinal-related medical visits than Fosamax patients.

Ovarian tumor cell sensitivity - then resistance - to chemotherapy linked to genetic abnormality
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a team of international collaborators have identified a genetic abnormality that makes some ovarian tumor cells initially sensitive to a common chemotherapy agent, cisplatin, and then resistant to the drug over time.

NIH awards grants for six new autism research centers
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded grants to support six new research centers of a major network focusing on the biomedical and behavioral aspects of autism.

SARS reviewed
Authors from WHO describe the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in a Public Health article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Birth weight may be linked to arthritis in later life
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but researchers in this week's BMJ suggest that some factors relating to the period shortly before and after birth (perinatal factors) may be implicated in the development of the disease in later life.

Chemistry student invited to meet Nobel Laureats
Jason Jones, a Ph.D. student in chemistry at Virginia Tech, whose work includes working with supramolecular interaction of pseudorotaxanes and like complexes to extract dangerous metal ions from nuclear waste, has received a travel award to attend the 53rd Meeting of the Nobel Laureates June 30-July 4.

16% of English smokers classed as hardcore
As many as 16% of smokers in England are classed as hardcore, almost four times higher than in California where there has been an intensive campaign against smoking over the past decade, show researchers in this week's BMJ.

Mayo Clinic researchers discover protective gene mutation in some HIV-infected patients
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a naturally occurring

Diabetes in the elderly linked to fewer cellular 'power plants'
Elderly people may develop insulin resistance -- one of the major risk factors for diabetes -- because

What's going on with the Internet?
Two computer scientist experts, who happen to be brothers, predict that even after some of the Internet's problems are solved--weak security, service disruptions, etc.--we may simply have to learn to live with a flawed system.

Chemical in broccoli blocks growth of prostate cancer cells
Need another reason to eat your veggies? New research at UC Berkeley points to the anti-cancer potential of a chemical found in such greens as broccoli, kale and cauliflower.

Argentina's largest health system works to lower drug costs
Governments around the world are trying to both contain health care costs and provide quality services to the persons who most need them.

Anti-epileptic drug could be future treatment option for alcoholism
Authors of a US study in this week's issue of The Lancet provide evidence that the anti-epileptic drug topiramate could be an effective future treatment for alcohol dependence.

NHLBI issues new high blood pressure clinical practice guidelines
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute released new clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, detection, and treatment of high blood pressure.

Assumptions about what holds molecular complexes together have been based on faulty measures
As scientists create molecular complexes to perform increasingly minute operations -- such as molecular level switches or memory devices -- it is critical that the association forces that hold the molecular components together be accurately understood.

Scientists identify mechanism for tumor death by radiation
For more than 40 years, it has been accepted that radiation kills tumors by damaging their DNA and that other elements that are part of the tumor mass, such as connective tissue and blood vessels, are minimally affected by radiation or not at all.

Researchers discover important genetic flaw in family affected by schizophrenia
Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a genetic flaw in a family suffering with schizophrenia that may help to explain an important biochemical process implicated in the onset of the disease.

UCLA, RAND researchers help men with prostate cancer
Researchers from UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and RAND Health have developed a method to measure quality of care for patients with early -stage prostate cancer, providing for the first time a tool that can be used to help men decide where to go for the best medical care.

HHMI renews postgraduate education support
New grants totaling nearly $3.5 million will continue HHMI support for postgraduate education at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).

Prenatal exposure to mercury in fish not associated with impaired neurodevelopment
Authors of a longitudinal study investigating a possible link between prenatal mercury exposure from ocean fish and impaired neurodevelopment in children report their latest findings in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Ancestral language revitalization efforts complete successful first year
Scholars at UC Riverside and cultural leaders of the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Mission Indians are celebrating the completion of the first year of an ambitious effort to teach tribal members their ancestral language.

Critical early-defense trigger in plants found
The gene for an enzyme that is key to natural disease resistance in plants has been discovered by biologists at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Planet Research and at Cornell.

No detectable risk from mercury in seafood, study shows
An exhaustive study of 643 children from before birth to 9 years of age shows no detectable risk from the low levels of mercury their mothers were exposed to from eating ocean seafood, according to a study in the May 16 issue of The Lancet.

Radiation therapy targets cancer cells on two fronts, Science study says
In addition to killing cancer cells directly, radiation therapy kick-starts a tumor-control process that targets the small blood vessels that feed the tumor.

Action needed to tackle death rates in young offenders
Young offenders are far more likely to die than people of the same age in the general population, even those with psychiatric and behavioural disorders, claim researchers in this week's BMJ.

A new vision for human security
This week's editorial discusses the implications for global health on a recently published report by the Commission on Human Security-which defines security in terms of human development, human rights, and democracy-and highlights WHO's vital future role in ensuring the report is implemented.

Studying real-time seismic activity
A serendipitous discovery by a University of Colorado at Boulder-led team has shown for the first time that satellite signals from the Global Positioning System are a valuable new tool for studying seismic activity in real time.

Researchers discover common cause for aging and age-related disease
Why do serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Huntington's mainly hit us in middle age or later?

Hidden in plain sight
Atmospheric aerosols, airborne particles that reflect the sun's heat away from Earth and into space, are part of everyday life.

Finicky snails provide new clues to the evolution of coastal ecosystems
Mussels have long been a favorite of seafood lovers. But it turns out that inch-long marine snails can be pickier than people.

Deadline for $10,000 Maxwell A. Pollack Award has been extended!
The $10,000 Maxwell A. Pollack Award recognizes a mid-career individual(s) who is actively engaged in the conception and development of innovative programs that demonstrate excellence in translating research into practical application or policy.

Top 25 turtles on death row
The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) today released its first-ever list of the World's Top 25 Most Endangered Turtles to highlight the survival crisis facing the world's tortoises and freshwater turtles and to unveil a Global Action Plan to prevent further extinctions.

Brighter Neptune suggests a planetary change of seasons
A progressive increase in the brightness of the planet Neptune suggests that, like Earth, the distant planet has seasons.
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