Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 31, 2003
Battle lasers
Laser weapons? This may not be as exotic as fans of Han Solo once thought, thanks to recent leaps forward in the development of a powerful free-electron laser (FEL).

Study compares three weekly regimens of chemotherapy for lung cancer
Findings published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicate that weekly regimens of paclitaxel combined with full doses of carboplatin is well tolerated and the efficacy results appear promising.

'Knockout' research eases study of plant gene functions
A North Carolina State University geneticist has helped create a powerful new tool to assist plant researchers in their studies of individual gene functions in the so-called lab rat of plant research - Arabidopsis thaliana, or mustard weed.

Gene test could reduce unnecessary treatment for women with breast cancer
In this week's issue of The Lancet, US researchers describe how gene expression profiles could determine whether or not women with breast cancer would respond to docetaxel treatment.

Congress is not so easily 'bought'
Contrary to popular belief and typical media portrayals, big campaign contributions and lobbying do not necessarily win the political influence that determines votes in the U.S.

Expert reviews cannot be trusted
The results of the most important research in diabetes in the past 25 years have not been conveyed accurately to doctors, claim researchers in this week's BMJ.

Designer proteins
Proteins designed to follow marching orders are the latest in the new field of

New mechanism for gene silencing identified
The human genome contains thousands of genes that are active only during embryo development, their sole purpose to give rise to a perfectly formed fetus.

Waiter, there's a shark in my soup
The great white shark, one of the world's most feared predators, is slowly being fished out of existence by humans, who sell its teeth and jaws for trophies and even eat its fins in shark fin soup.

Risk of Hepatitis E from consumption of deer?
Japanese authors of a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet provide evidence that hepatitis E infection may be transmitted by consumption of Sika deer, a Japanese delicacy.

Ground-breaking work in understanding of time
A young New Zealand researcher appears to have solved Zeno's motion paradoxes, the solution to which have puzzled some of history's greatest scientists since their original conception almost 2500 years ago.

Narrow wind causes huge ocean impact, says University of Toronto physicist
A narrow but intense wind may be the mechanism responsible for the existence of a newly discovered ocean convection site east of Greenland, says a University of Toronto scientist.

First structure of transporter enzyme family is solved
Scientists are a step closer to understanding how essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals are ferried into cells.

Behind the blockbusters-special effects tool locks characters on to film
A motion-tracking software called Fastrack has helped a Hollywood special effects house rapidly stitch computer graphics into several of this year's biggest movie hits.

Researchers identify protein modules that 'read' distinct gene 'silencing codes'
Since the time when humans first learned to record their thoughts in written form, codes have kept sensitive information from prying eyes.

Folic acid may have no immediate impact on Down Syndrome
University of Toronto researchers have found that fortifying foods with folic acid may not reduce the incidence of Down Syndrome.

Haemophilia carriers have a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease
Decreased blood clotting protects mothers of haemophiliacs against ischaemic heart disease claim researchers in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Why do patients choose not to donate tissue?
When patients have adequate information, donating surgically removed human tissue to commercial research is not a contentious issue, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Lengthening achilles tendon reduces recurrence of diabetic foot ulcers
Some people with diabetes struggle with ulcers forming on the bottom of their feet; worse yet, many of these ulcers come back after treatment.

Radical solutions found to meet limits on junior doctors' hours
This Friday (1 August 2003) UK regulations on junior doctors' working hours become a contractual right, but meeting these regulations will need radical solutions, argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

Medimmune and Critical Therapeutics to co-develop treatments for severe inflammatory diseases
MedImmune, Inc. and Critical Therapeutics, Inc. will collaborate on the research and development of antibodies and other drug products targeting the High Mobility Group Box Chromosomal Protein 1 (HMGB-1), which is believed to be involved in the tissue damage associated with a range of inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis.

Animal studies show CA4P suppresses development and induces regression of ocular neovascularization
OXiGENE, Inc. today announced the results of independent animal studies demonstrating the potential role of the Company's lead compound, Combretastatin A4 Prodrug (CA4P), in preventing and treating certain retinal degenerative diseases.

Traffic navigation systems linked to accident risk: Study
A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Centre and Testbed suggests in-car systems, designed to guide drivers around traffic jams and accidents quickly, could actually cause a temporary surge in the risk of accidents.

How old mice get bright again
Age-dependent learning deficit can be overcome by the reduced production of a potassium channel in the mouse model.

European study highlights frequency of medical end-of-life decisions in terminally ill pts
Authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet illustrate how medical end-of-life decisions frequently precede dying in a range of European countries.

New 'knockout' map helps study gene functions in model plant
Scientists have inactivated almost three-quarters of all genes in the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana, a species widely used in plant research.

Study affirms safety of oxaliplatin for colorectal patients with advanced cancer
Results from a large multi-site study led by University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researcher, Ramesh Ramanthan, M.D., and published in the Aug.

Eating peanuts helps keep heart healthy without weight gain
Adding peanuts to that apple a day that keeps the doctor away is a good way to stay heart-healthy and trim, says a Purdue University professor.

Salk news: Understanding gene function
A Salk Institute study provides significant new information in the process of allowing scientists to understand the function of plant genes.

Is science stuck in the middle ages?
This week's editorial discusses some of the problems that biomedical scientists face in their career paths as the structure of research is changing from small-scale investigator-led research to large-scale

Wolf Singer wins the 2003 Communicator Award
Professor Wolf Singer will receive this year's

Tooth loss may be early warning sign of cardiovascular disease
Tooth loss caused by gum disease may be a marker of cardiovascular disease before symptoms appear, researchers report in today's rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Emory University researchers find clue to Huntington's disease mechanism
Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered how rogue proteins generated by the genetic mistake present in Huntington's disease poison neurons in the hypothalamus.

New research reveals banning smoking at home protects infants
New research from the University of Warwick reveals that banning smoking in the home leads to a small but meaningful fall in infant exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, whereas less strict measures have no effect.

Anthony Hyman receives EMBO Gold Medal 2003
Anthony Hyman, group leader and director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden (Germany), is this year's winner of the EMBO Gold Medal.

Researchers solve structure of key drug target
A 12-year effort has paid off as Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are now unveiling the first detailed structural images of a type of protein that functions in a manner generally similar to the target of Prozacâ„¢ and Prilosecâ„¢, two of the world's most widely prescribed drugs.

Stem cell death gives clue to brain cell survival
A signal that triggers half the stem cells in the developing brain to commit suicide at a stage where their survival will likely do more harm than good has been identified by researchers at the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia.

Researchers develop new training aid for nation's soccer stars
Scientists at the University of Warwick will launch a new simple but effective training aid designed to train up the next generation of UK soccer stars on Tuesday 5th August 2003.

Nitric oxide may change basic understanding of cellular machinery
Standard methods used to discover the role of proteins in the cell do not take into account a key player in that function: nitric oxide, according to new research by Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke Medical Center researchers.

Commerce's NIST receives valuable chemical data from Dow
As part of an effort to improve the quality of chemical information available to U.S. researchers, manufacturers, students and others, Dow Chemical Co. has donated an extensive collection of infrared spectra chemical data to the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Banning smoking at home protects infants
Banning smoking in the home leads to a small but meaningful fall in infant exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, whereas less strict measures have no effect, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

'Don't sweat it.' It's easier said than done for millions of Americans, Saint Louis U. study shows
The largest-ever study shows sweating disorder more prevalent than thought.

U of MN Vet Diagnostic Lab chosen by CDC as monkeypox testing site
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) was chosen as the national testing site to screen for the monkeypox virus in animals.

Severe sentences no deterrence, say criminologists
Harsher sentences do not deter people from committing crimes, says a new report by University of Toronto criminologists.

Space shows way to Europe's renewable energy future
How can we more effectively harness the free and endless energy resources of the Sun, wind and water?
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