Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 15, 2003
High school merit scholarship programs have potential flaws
Broad-based merit scholarship programs designed to create incentives for underperforming high school students have two potential flaws, according to Penn State researchers.

A first glance at global genetic networks
Naama Barkai and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, have developed a comparative model that integrates gene expression data from microarrays with genomic sequence information to explore genetic networks.

Progress is seen in carbon nanotube production
Emerging methods to produce carbon nanotubes, which have potential applications in fields as varied as molecular electronics and performance materials, are generating considerable excitement in the scientific community.

China moves into hierarcy of technology exporters, competitiveness study shows
China has moved higher into the hierarchy of technology exporters, according to a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Christmas on Mars: be there with ESA
Launched on 2 June 2003, after a six-month cruise at an average speed of about 10 kilometres per second and covering a distance of about 400 million kilometres, ESA's Mars Express will arrive at Mars on Christmas Day.

Has ESA's XMM-Newton cast doubt over dark energy?
ESA's X-ray observatory, XMM-Newton, has returned tantalising new data about the nature of the Universe.

Non-lethal methods can resolve conflicts between bears and humans
How do you keep a black bear from taking out the backyard bird feeder or going through your garbage?

Purdue biologists expose the inner workings of viral machine
Purdue University scientists have peered inside a virus and visualized for the first time how it produces and exports genetic materials into a host cell.

Researchers identify key player in respiratory memory
By studying the

Alefacept effective in treating patients with psoriasis
Patients with psoriasis treated with the drug alefacept experienced a reduction in severity of their skin disease, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Autophagy active in tumor suppression
Autophagy is a pathway whereby long-lived cellular proteins are degraded.

Prevent holiday burns, fires
The Burn Center at Loyola University Medical Center is warning the public about the dangers of space heaters and other electrical appliances used to keep warm or decorate homes for the holidays.

Gene differences may alter susceptibility to multiple sclerosis
A tiny difference in a gene may signal that a person is twice as susceptible to multiple sclerosis (MS) as normal.

'Suicide proteins' contribute to sperm creation
The primary agents of programmed cell death, caspases, kill cells by destroying proteins that sustain cellular processes.

Clinical trial of Alzheimer's disease drug shows clear reductions in AD development
A new clinical trial has shown that a treatment for Alzheimer's disease slowed the progression of cognitive decline in a group of patients with moderate to severe symptoms.

Inflammation of fat cells linked to obesity-related insulin resistance
Obesity is associated with chronic, low-grade inflammation and changes in energy intake and storage, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism.

Shyness can be deadly
How you react to stress influences how easily you resist or succumb to disease, including viruses like HIV, discovered UCLA AIDS Institute scientists.

Ohio State creates first gene chip for horse
Researchers at Ohio State University have created the first DNA gene chip that contains thousands of the genes for a horse and one of the first gene chips for a domestic animal.

Surgical technique may reduce pain after tonsillectomy
Use of a surgical technique involving the microdissection needle -- an instrument that uses less energy than the standard approach electrocautery (which controls bleeding by heating tissues) - during surgical removal of the tonsils may reduce the amount of pain experienced after tonsillectomy, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Otolaryngology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Brain tumor growth requires abnormal neighbors
For some brain tumors, the key to success is not just what you know but who you know, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

ACP and AAFP release joint clinical guidelines to manage common heart condition
The American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians today released joint guidelines to manage new onset atrial fibrillation, a common arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) that occurs most often in older adults.

Scripps Research receives $3 million anonymous donation
The Scripps Research Institute recently received a $3 million gift to establish The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research that will combine biomedical research with clinical application to fight this deadly and costly disease.

Discovery of brain disorder gene paves way for genetic test
Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified the second of three genes that can each independently cause the disorder known as cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM), which is characterized by mulberry-like clusters of blood vessels in the brain.

A penny a month could bolster kids' immunization practices
Improving childhood immunization practices would cost slightly more than a penny per child per month, according to a new study.

Researchers uncover pathway that could lead to plant generation of human-like protein
Researchers at Arizona State University report a major advance in the use of plants to generate human-type proteins.

Fox Chase Cancer Center research shows kidney cancer can be diagnosed in urine
Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists have demonstrated the ability to diagnose kidney cancer by evaluating a patient's urine.

Popular anti-epileptic drug also effective in controlling debilitating symptom of multiple sclerosis
A drug proven effective in controlling epileptic seizures also appears to treat one form of spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, report researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Champagne and bubbles: Smaller is better
As New Year's Eve approaches and you prepare to pop open that champagne bottle, keep your fingers crossed for small bubbles ... and lots of them.

Parents show increased concern about vaccine safety
Four out of five doctors surveyed in 2000 reported at least one instance of parents refusing to have a child vaccinated during the previous year, according to a new study.

Gene interactions control circadian clock in plants, study finds
New research identifies the molecular mechanisms that keep a plant's circadian clock running on a 24-hour schedule.

Nomadic outposts of transplanted stem cells tracked in Stanford study
Doctors regularly inject stem cells into patients whose bone marrow has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation, but they haven't known where these cells go after being injected.

Stroke may increase risk of Alzheimer disease
People who have had a stroke are at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer disease (AD), especially if they also have cardiovascular disease, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Baclofen holds promise for cocaine treatment
The anti-spasticity medication baclofen holds promise for helping cocaine abusers overcome their addiction, a study by a UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researcher finds.

Risk factors determine need for colonoscopy
An index being developed by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine may help determine patients' risk levels for colorectal cancer and if they require a colonoscopy for further evaluation.

Air pollution's impact on the heart is as bad as having been a smoker
In a follow-up analysis of the most extensive study of its kind on the long-term effects of air pollution on human health, researchers have found that people living in U.S. cities face an increased risk of dying from a heart attack as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet December 16, 2003
Highlights of this issue include: Two largest primary care medical organizations release joint clinical guidelines to manage common heart condition and sunscreen not linked to melanoma risk.

World Summit on the Information Society
Nearly 11 000 people, representing multilateral, international and national organisations, business and media from 176 countries met in Geneva last week at the World Summit on the Information Society to discuss how the information revolution can benefit the world community.

New project will develop cancer maps for Pennsylvania
A three-year, $736,000 grant from the Association of American Medical Colleges and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will allow Penn State Cancer Institute to develop cancer maps to identify Pennsylvania communities with particularly high rates of colorectal and prostate cancer.

Lehigh group reports best threshold values for near-infrared range InGaAsN lasers
The researchers also report the best threshold values yet for near-infrared-range quantum-well (QW) lasers operating under continuous-wave conditions at temperatures up to 100 degrees C.

Novel 'metal-chelation' therapy may be helpful in patients with Alzheimer disease
A preliminary study suggests that a novel therapy may help improve cognitive functioning in patients with Alzheimer disease by lowering levels of a protein that is involved in the development of the disease, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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