Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 26, 2003
Plant diversity has 'luxury' effect, say scientists
Biodiversity in urban and suburban yards directly correlates with household income, scientists have found.

Safety fears over unmanned planes
A plan for pilotless aircraft to begin operating from ordinary airports in the US is raising serious concerns among aviation safety campaigners who say that it would be too much of a risk to the safety of other planes and passengers on the ground.

Newly mapped enzyme could yield new treatments for female sexual dysfunction
New research from the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions indicates that the enzyme arginase II, which can short-circuit a biochemical pathway leading to sexual arousal in men, is also present in the female genitalia and represents a promising target for new drugs to treat sexual dysfunction in women.

DDT in mother's blood predicts delays in daughters' pregnanies
A research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET reports on the effect of the pesticide DDT and its by-product, DDE, on female reproductive capability.

The uninsured turn to the emergency department for dental complaints
Emergency departments often provide care for dental emergencies, and usually those patients with dental complaints are uninsured or publicly insured (Medicaid), according to a new study to be published in the July 2003 Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Archaeologists, students at UNC, discover two Indian settlements key in US history
Using centuries-old records, trowels, spoons and other tools -- and generating much sweat equity in the process -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill archaeologists and students have discovered what they say are two of the most important Indian settlements in the early history of the United States.

New catalyst paves way for cheap, renewable hydrogen
Scientists have developed a hydrogen-making catalyst that uses cheaper materials and yields fewer contaminants than do current processes, while extracting the element from common renewable plant sources.

Safer peanuts are on the menu
By tweaking the process in the production of peanuts, researchers have managed to produce nuts that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.

New study demonstrates bone protein can reverse kidney failure
A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has shown that a protein used to heal fractured bones is effective in repairing and reversing chronic renal disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the U.S.

Researchers engineer low-cost hydrogen catalyst
Writing this week in the journal Science (June 27) University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineers report the discovery of a nickel-tin catalyst that can replace the precious metal platinum in a new, environmentally sustainable, greenhouse-gas-neutral, low-temperature process for making hydrogen fuel from plants.

Purdue research: Better pharmaceuticals cost more
Costlier pharmaceuticals may provide a better quality of life for patients willing to spend the extra money, according to a study at Purdue University.

Structure of HIV-neutralizing antibody solved
A team of researchers whose leaders are funded by the National Institutes of Health has solved the structure of an antibody that is able to neutralize HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Taiwan SARS fight aided by telescience
When Taiwan, one of the regions hardest hit by SARS, began looking for ways to help combat the spread of the virus, they recognized the potential value of Telescience technologies developed by UCSD affiliates, and contacted the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) for help.

Alcohol increases hepatitis C virus in human cells
A team of NIH-supported researchers today report that alcohol increases replication of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in human cells and, by so doing, may contribute to the rapid course of HCV infection.

Scientists find genetic link between cancer and premature aging
The link between cancer and aging is now clearer thanks to a new study that connects a powerful cancer-causing protein to a gene associated with Werner syndrome, a disease that causes premature aging.

Charting seismic effects on water levels can refine earthquake understanding
Through many decades, stories about earthquakes raising or lowering water levels in wells, lakes and streams have become the stuff of folklore.

Sweet drinks increase obesity, nutrition risk in kids
Children who drink several cups of punch or lemonade consume a lot less milk and gain more weight than children who drink less than a glass.

Injuries cost China over $12 billion a year
Injuries cost China $12.5 billion each year in medical expenditures and lost productivity, according to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Public Library of Science acts to increase public access to scientific research
Public Library of Science (PLoS), a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians, is launching a public campaign aimed at making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

Studies show new role for protein in cancer development
In two groundbreaking papers published in two prestigious journals over the last two months, USC researchers have provided evidence of two previously unknown functions for a protein that is central to the transcription of genes.

Study links amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's brains to genes vital to normal memory
Researchers at the University of South Florida have shown that the build-up of Alzheimer's-associated amyloid plaques in the brain dramatically inhibits genes essential to normal memory.

Racial differences in seeking time-critical treatment for a heart attack
African Americans are far less likely to seek immediate treatment for a heart attack than non-Hispanic whites, according to a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Concept pill could cut heart disease by more than 80%
A single pill could reduce heart attacks and strokes by more than 80%, conclude researchers in this week's BMJ.

Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D., receives Endocrine Society Award
Jeffrey S. Flier, M.D., Chief Academic Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was presented with the Edwin B.

Cholesterol test at 50 spots those most at risk of heart disease
Measuring the cholesterol of everyone aged 50 years and over is a simple and efficient way of identifying those at high risk of heart disease in the general population, suggest researchers in this week's BMJ.

Study traces global spread of virulent dengue virus to US doorstep
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill describes the emergence and spread of a virulent form of dengue virus from the Indian subcontinent to Latin America, including Mexico.

Towards an AIDS vaccine: unusual antibody that targets HIV described by scientists at TSRI
A group of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and several other institutions has solved the structure of an antibody that effectively neutralizes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

New research highlights how six million child deaths worldwide could be avoided every year
Leading public-health scientists are calling for urgent action to end a global public-health disaster--that of the fate of more than 10 million children worldwide under five years of age who die every year.

Regional not racial difference in use of pain medications in children
Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee find no difference in how emergency physicians prescribe pain medication to children in different racial and ethnic groups.

How alcohol use may worsen hepatitis C infection
Immunology researchers have demonstrated that alcohol promotes the proliferation of hepatitis C virus in human liver cells.

DVT risk from air travel unrelated to reduced air pressure in cabin
Results of a study published as a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that reduced air pressure (leading to decreased oxygen availability) in pressurised aircraft cabins is not associated with increased activity of the agents responsible for blood clotting and potential deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).

What do hospital consultants value most about their jobs?
Consultants feel most strongly about on-call conditions, freedom to do non-NHS work, and developing good relations with staff, according to a survey of various aspects of their work in this week's BMJ.

Law-enforcement could substantially reduce fatal traffic crashes
Canadian research published in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlights how the consistent implementation of traffic laws could reduce the 3000 daily deaths worldwide from road-traffic crashes.

Slipperiest particle gets away again
Hopes of discovering the Higgs boson - the most elusive particle in physics - have been dashed for at least another six years by fresh estimates of future activity from Fermilab, home to the world's most powerful particle accelerator.

Smoke-free rules may be good news for business
Restaurants and hotels that go smoke-free will not lose dollars by doing so -- and some may even gain revenues -- according to a new study published in the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly this June.

Genetically modified E. coli produce plant product used in foods and cosmetics, Science study says
Scientists engineered bacteria to produce bixin, a plant product used in many foods and cosmetics, after uncovering nature's genetic recipe for the pigment.

European Node officially handed to NASA
Six years of hard work came to fruition when ESA formally transferred ownership of Node 2 to NASA on 18 June 2003.

Life-saving imaging techniques developed at Oxford University
Detection of breast cancer and abnormalities in organs such as the heart have been revolutionised by imaging techniques.

Critical infrastructure research improving public safety
Virginia Tech faculty members in Northern Virginia are conducting research to secure the nation's critical infrastructure for improving public safety.
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