Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 15, 2004
Normal aging versus Alzheimer's disease and the potential for prevention
Our improved understanding of how to maintain normal brain health is providing tantalizing clues about what may prevent or reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to Marilyn Albert, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University who spoke today at the AMA Alzheimer's media briefing in New York City.

New study finds evolutionary diversification in Hawaiian spiders
A new study published in Science shows how a spiny-legged spider that landed on the Hawaiian Islands 5 million years ago led to subsequent generations of spiders that diversified to fill in available niches.

Mining for cosmic treasures with GEMS
Largest Hubble color image tells the history of the Universe.

Measures of healthcare quality are of little use to patients
Californian patients deciding where to have surgery cannot rely on published data for information about quality, research in the BMJ has shown.

Blood clot risk not treated preventively, study finds
In a nationwide study of hospitalized patients, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that individuals at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- a disorder characterized by the formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs -- often fail to receive preventive medications.

Bone marrow-derived stem cells active in pulmonary fibrosis
Adult stem cells have long been thought to be restricted in their potential to differentiate and regenerate tissues in which they reside.

If airbags work well, then Mars landing sites can be chosen more boldly, says UB geologist
The anticipated Mars landing on Jan. 24 of the Opportunity rover will be a bit more challenging than the Spirit's bounce onto the red planet earlier this month, according to a University at Buffalo geologist, but if it's successful, then scientists will be able to be much bolder about selecting future Mars landing sites.

Progress in probing the mosquito's sense of smell
Today, we know a little bit more about one of mankind's deadliest enemies, the mosquito.

Tanning devices - Fast track to skin cancer?
An all over tan is fashionable and many people, especially young women, achieve this by using sunbeds.

New method of distinguishing Alzheimer's from Lewy body dementia
Specific changes in alertness and cognition may provide a reliable method for distinguishing Alzheimer's disease from dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and normal aging, according to a new study in Neurology.

Study finds new antibiotic effective for diabetic foot infections
A clinical trial involving 371 patients in eight countries shows that linezolid, a new antibiotic, is at least as effective as two older therapies for treating diabetic foot infections.

Chemical sciences scholarships for minorities: Application deadline - Feb. 15
The deadline for minority students in the chemical sciences to apply for scholarships from the American Chemical Society (ACS) is Feb.

Ebola virus a threat to great ape populations
The Ebola virus, transmitted to humans mainly by carcasses of gorillas, chimpanzees and duikers (Bovidae), provokes haemorrhagic fever which is usually fatal.

Ebola outbreaks are simultaneous 'mini-epidemics'
Though they may appear as single outbreaks quickly spread by people and wildlife, recent flare-ups of the deadly Ebola virus in Central Africa are actually multiple epidemics of different viral strains, simultaneously appearing when conditions are ideal, according to a study appearing in the journal Science.

Healthcare watchdog calls for government rethink on public role in NHS decision-making
Independent healthcare charity the King's Fund has called on the Government to rethink its policy on public involvement in health care strategy, in a paper in this week's BMJ.

Risk for lowered cognitive performance is greater in people at high risk for stroke
A new Stroke study presented at the January Alzheimer's disease AMA media briefing shows that people who are at higher risk for stroke are at risk for lowered cognitive function and show a pattern of deficits similar to that seen in mild vascular cognitive impairment.

Major risk factors identified for sudden infant death syndrome
Results of European research in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how basic child-care strategies-such as preventing babies from sleeping face-down, using appropriate bedding, and discouraging bed-sharing with mothers who smoke-could reduce the risk of 'cot death' (sudden unexplained infant death syndrome [SIDS]).

Carnegie Mellon technology will help prepare students for high-stakes tests
Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with Carnegie Learning, Inc. and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute has received $1.4 million from the U.S.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Findings in the January 2004 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology include bacteria that may survive subzero temperatures of wintertime sea ice, a new test that offers faster detection of contaminated oysters and pet snakes as a source of salmonella.

Long-awaited debate on school vouchers
The controversial issue of school vouchers heats up again as Alan B.

Scientists at Brookhaven contribute to the development of a better electron accelerator
Scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a compact linear accelerator that uses laser light to accelerate electrons with better efficiency and energy characteristics than ever before.

Coronary heart disease risk assessment improves with coronary artery calcium scoring
Researchers conclude that CT scans for calcium can play a role in predicting cardiac deaths.

Squirty star imitates black hole
Scientists using CSIRO's Australia Telescope near Narrabri in northern NSW have made a discovery that they hope will increase our understanding of a fundamental cosmic process.

Funding and distribution of inappropriate drugs add to rising global childhood malaria deaths
'Institutional inadequacies' of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund for Aids, tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) have created a crisis which is leading to increased malarial deaths in children and will contribute to the failure of WHO's 1998 'Roll Back Malaria' campaign to halve deaths from malaria by 2010, conclude authors of an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Women are displacing men in healthcare services in New Zealand
Healthcare professions in New Zealand are now dominated by female workers, proving that equal opportunities legislation has widened choices for women, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Leading AIDS experts criticize US-sponsored HIV vaccine trial in Thailand
In the Jan. 16 issue of the journal Science, several national AIDS experts criticize a U.S. government-sponsored clinical research trial of an AIDS vaccine in Thailand.

7-month-old is youngest recipient of artificial corneal transplant
A 7-month-old child whose first corneal transplant was unsuccessful underwent surgery Monday at the University of Rochester Eye Institute to implant an artificial cornea in an effort to give him sight.

Successful, rapid protein crystallization possible with technique developed by UCSD researcher
An innovative method that allows increased success and speed of protein crystallization - a crucial step in the laborious, often unsuccessful process to determine the 3-dimensional structure unique to each of the body's tens of thousands of folded proteins - has been developed by UCSD researchers.

Scientists at Scripps Research describe new strategy for the synthesis of glycoproteins
Investigators at The Scripps Research Institute and its Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology have developed a new way of making glycoproteins-proteins with carbohydrates (sugars) attached.

Sedentary lifestyle in early childhood identified as major risk factor for obesity
Research among young children in Scotland in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how the sedentary lifestyle that increases the risk of obesity-common in industrialised countries-can be apparent in children as young as three years of age.

Space technology in new technique to fight breast cancer
A novel non-invasive system for cancer treatment is being developed with technology from the European space industry.

Action needed to prevent spread of vCJD
Urgent action is needed to protect the public from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a senior member of the Medical Research Council writes in this week's BMJ.

Coffee-shop research probes understanding of politics
Although people talk about politics routinely, political scientists know little about how these conversations work.

Chemists learn to build curved structures with nanoscale building blocks
The natural world is full of curves and three dimensions, but the ability to deliberately and rationally construct such complex structures using nanoscale building blocks has eluded nanotechnologists.

Understanding nerve degeneration in spastic paraplegia
Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) encompasses a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by weakness and spasticity, and caused by degeneration of nerve axons.

Carina Nebula (NGC 3372)
Previously unseen details of a mysterious, complex structure within the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), also called the 'Keyhole Nebula', are revealed by this image obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Inhibition of Borrelia burgdorferi protein may reduce Lyme disease transmission
In the January 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation researchers from Yale University demonstrate that an outer surface protein, OspC, of the organism Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, is critical for the organism's ability to invade the tick salivary gland and therefore be transmitted from ticks to humans.These insights into pathogen transmission might offer new approaches to reducing the incidence of Lyme disease.

Study finds huge variability in vitamin E absorption
A new study has found that cereal fortified with vitamin E has a very high rate of absorption into the bloodstream, whereas pills taken separately with the same food have inconsistent effects, and taking the supplements alone is largely useless.

Study pinpointing origins of Siberian peat bogs raises concerns
Massive Siberian peat bogs, widely known as the permanently frozen home of untold kilometers of moss and uncountable hordes of mosquitoes, also are huge repositories for gases that are thought to play an important role in the Earth's climate balance, according to newly published research by a team of U.S. and Russian scientists in the Jan. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to