Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 30, 2003
Alcohol use increases the risk of hormonally sensitive breast cancers in postmenopausal women
Older women with a history of alcohol use are significantly more likely than nondrinkers to be diagnosed with hormonally sensitive forms of breast cancer, including lobular carcinoma and ER/PR-positive tumors.

School clinics best way to get birth control to students
Minneapolis high school students are more apt to take advantage of free contraception if they can get birth control directly from clinics at their schools, according to new research in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

How new waves of immigrants are changing America
The 2003 book

OHSU doctors use 'putty' to prevent hemorrhagic stroke
Two Oregon Health & Science University patients are the first on the West Coast to receive a new stroke prevention treatment that uses a spongy, catheter-fed polymer compound to seal a brain aneurysm.

Agronomy, Crop, and Soil Science Societies to meet Nov. 2-6 in Denver
Over 3,000 scientists from 100 countries will present papers covering the latest advances in agriculture and related sciences research at the Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.

Class size: Counting students can count
As leaders in local school districts and state legislatures across the country grapple with class sizes for students, research has shown that small classes can deliver lasting benefits, especially for minority and low-income students.

Study finds classroom study groups more effective when organized by social networks
The most effective groups, according to the study in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health, were those organized by a method using social networking data: Each student was assigned to work with a peer group leader he or she had personally nominated.

Radically new anti-rejection drug shown to offer safe control of immune system in Stanford study
A new type of drug may help transplanted organs thrive without compromising the recipient, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have shown.

Retention study might aid nursing home worker shortage
To try to reduce the severe staffing shortage in nursing homes, the Cornell University Gerontology Research Institute has a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies to study the effectiveness of

Workshop takes 'systems' view of information processing in organisms
Roughly 75 biologists, computer scientists and other researchers will explore November 4-5 at a workshop on

High school students to analyze plant genes for national project
Virginia Tech is leading a project to mobilize high school students nationwide to help university-based scientists find answers concerning the roles played by the 25,500 genes of the

Flares near edge of our galaxy's central black hole indicate rapid spin
Near-infrared flares have been observed emanating from an area very close to the supermassive black hole that lives at the core of the Milky Way galaxy.

UK measles warning - Major outbreaks likely this winter if uptake of MMR vaccine does not increase
Major measles outbreaks are likely in the UK this winter as a result of low MMR vaccine uptake, warns a senior childhood physician in this week's issue of The Lancet.

FDA approves new approach to schizophrenia treatment
More than two million Americans suffer from schizophrenia, a brain disorder that impairs the ability to think clearly, relate to others and distinguish between reality and imagination.

Scientists find evolution of life
A trio of scientists including a researcher from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has found that humans may owe the relatively mild climate in which their ancestors evolved to tiny marine organisms with shells and skeletons made out of calcium carbonate.

School program cuts number of student smokers
A drug prevention program for middle school students in South Dakota reduced the number of new smokers by 19 percent and curbed cigarette use by current smokers by 23 percent, according to a new report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Why genetic diversity matters
Breeders and farmers have always known they can protect their plants from pests and diseases by the use of crop diversity.

Studies show Tim-3 proteins key to immune responses
The discovery that a protein present only on the surface of a select group of T-cells functions to inhibit aggressive tumor responses could have important implications for organ transplant patients and patients with autoimmune diseases.

Beyond biology: Simple system yields custom-designed proteins
Michael Hecht, a Princeton professor of chemistry, has invented a technique for making protein molecules from scratch, a long-sought advance that will allow scientists to design the most basic building blocks of all living things with a variety of shapes and compositions far greater than those available in nature.

We're going to get hit again!
Just when we thought we were through the worst of it, a second gigantic solar flare has occurred, sending another coronal mass ejection directly towards us.

Touch doubles the power of VR therapy for spider phobia
Just in time for Halloween, a new study of the use of virtual reality to treat spider phobia indicates that touching the fuzzy creepy-crawlers can make the therapy twice as effective.

Another giant solar explosion follows Tuesday's enormous solar flare
Since Tuesday 28 October, explosive events originating from the Sun have been bathing the Earth and its surroundings in high energy radiation.

Pack rat middens give unique view on evolution and climate change in past million years
Pack rat middens in Colorado's Porcupine Cave contain a 400,000-year record of vole populations going back a million years, providing UC Berkeley paleontologists with an unprecedented picture of how climate change affects mammal evolution.

Reprimand for Heinz Breer and Johannes Noé
At its meeting today, the Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) issued a reprimand to Professor Heinz Breer of the University of Hohenheim and Dr.

Study offers new insight into Rett Syndrome
Rett Syndrome is a major cause of mental retardation in girls.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for November 2003 (first issue)
News highlights from the ATS journal includes studies showing that: an intervention with hospitalized asthma patients who used health care frequently significantly reduced rehospitalization, cut lost work days, and lowered health care costs; a study on ventilator-associated pneumonia patient data revealed that initial use of three antibiotics, followed by diagnostic testing, led to better survival, less antibiotic use, and lower costs; and premature infants can achieve normal surfactant composition after one week.

Major new finding on genetics of Parkinson's disease zeroes in on activity of alpha synuclein
Scientists investigating a rare familial form of early-onset Parkinson's disease have discovered that too much of a normal form of the á-synuclein gene may cause Parkinson's disease.

It's feast or famine: Predators may drive lemming cycles, Science researchers say
New findings suggest that a special combination of predators can drive lemming populations through a four-year boom and bust cycle, which has been one of ecology's big mysteries for over half a century.

Clemson will invest $90 million in advanced materials
Over the next five years, Clemson University plans to invest approximately $70 million at the Clemson Research Park in Anderson County to support and grow an advanced materials industry cluster.The initiative could make the Upstate the epicenter of a regional knowledge-based cluster attracting high-tech, high-paying jobs.

Mega starbirth cluster is biggest, brightest and hottest ever seen
A mysterious arc of light found behind a distant cluster of galaxies has turned out to be the biggest, brightest and hottest star-forming region ever seen in space.

Researchers build microfluidic devices using principles of electronic integration
Advances in development of lab-on-chip devices, which shrink and potentially simplify laboratory tests have been tempered by the complexity of the systems they are trying to replace.

Excellent survival rates for liver cancer patients undergoing transplant
More than 60 percent of liver transplant patients with advanced liver cancer are still alive after five years, compared to nearly zero survival for those patients who did not undergo transplant, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

New study details effects of exercise on sleep quality in postmenopausal women
Stretching and exercise may improve sleep quality in overweight, postmenopausal women, according to new findings by researchers at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Researchers create 'supersized' molecule of DNA
Scientists at Stanford University have created an expanded molecule of DNA with a double helix wider than any found in nature.

Study casts doubt over benefit of oral steroid treatment for attacks of wheeze in young children
Current UK and US guidelines advocating parent-administered oral steroid treatment for attacks of wheeze in young children may need to be altered in light of research published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Melanoma vaccine developed at the University of Virginia shows promise in clinical trial
A multi-peptide vaccine to treat melanoma resulted in an immune response from 75 percent of the patients and is associated with tumor regression, according to a randomized, phase II clinical trial involving more than two dozen patients with advanced melanoma at the University of Virginia Health System.

Early promise of dried blood-spot test to monitor HIV treatment in less-developed countries
Preliminary findings in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that a simple enzyme-based procedure to measure CD4+ lymphocytes--important in assessing individuals' responses to antiretroviral treatment--could be possible with the analysis of dried blood spots on filter paper.

SCOPE/IUPAC report on endocrine active substances to be published
A report from the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) project on Endocrine Active Substances, a major project looking at these potentially harmful substances from a world-wide perspective, will be published in a double issue of the IUPAC Journal, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 75 (11/12), 2003, edited by J.

RSRF-funded study leads to breakthrough for Rett Syndrome research
A collaborative study between the laboratories of Michael Greenberg of Children's Hospital Boston and Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research has resulted in a significant breakthrough.

Gene mutations that cause hearing loss discovered
Researchers from Michigan State University have discovered a set of gene mutations that cause progressive hearing loss, a discovery that should provide significant clues in the hunt to solve the puzzle of acquired hearing loss.

Study of the brain wins Eppendorf/Science prize
Michael Ehlers of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., has been awarded the 2003 international Prize in Neurobiology by the journal Science and Eppendorf.

NIAMS researchers collaborate to produce targeted immunosuppressant drug
Investigators at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Pfizer Global Research and Development and Stanford University have collaborated in studying a new immunosuppressant drug, CP-690,550, that may avoid some of the common side effects associated with other medications that curb the immune system.

Family's income, education affect depression and obesity in teens
About a third of depression and obesity among U.S. teenagers can be attributed to being from families with low incomes or having parents with low educational levels, according to a new analysis of more than 15,000 young people.
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