Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2004
Spruce bark beetle outbreaks examined at Alaska Symposium
The symposium,

New advance to combat antibiotic-resistant pneumonia and malaria
New biochemical studies may hold clues to more powerful malaria and pneumonia treatments that could save more than 2 million lives worldwide.

New drug improves outcomes when added to existing therapy for Alzheimer's disease
The drug memantine lessens the decline in cognition and activities of daily living for patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer disease (AD) who are also receiving donepezil (another drug used to treat AD), according to a new study in the January 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Primates trade smell for sight
Yoav Gilad and his colleagues have found a correlation between the loss of olfactory receptor (OR) genes, which are the molecular basis for the sense of smell, and the acquisition of full trichromatic color vision in primates.

Twitching whiskers tell all
Our fingers run over surfaces; our eyes are in constant motion.

Most people with diabetes do not meet treatment goals
Less than 12 percent of people with diagnosed diabetes meet the recommended goals for blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol despite a great deal of research showing that controlling these conditions dramatically delays or prevents diabetes complications.

Other highlights in the January 21 issue of JNCI
Other highlights include a review of studies of the effect of genetic counseling on risk perception and psychological outcomes, and a study of a gene polymorphism that affects drug sensitivity of cancer cells.

Fat cells fight disease, Purdue University researchers find
Fat cells, commonly blamed for a number of diseases, also may aid in the body's defense against illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, according to Purdue University researchers.

Dr. Brenda Milner - first foreign associate of the NAS to receive Award in the Neurosciences
Dr. Brenda Milner will receive the 2004 Award in the Neurosciences from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Flexible screen technology ready to roll
In the future, powering up your laptop may require that you unroll it first.

Brain receptor switches addiction on, off
The discovery of a molecular

MBL scientists confirm evolutionary exception
Biologists at the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have confirmed that a group of microscopic animals has evolved for tens of millions of years without sexual reproduction.

Patients with diabetes have poor control of risk factors for vascular disease
Despite recommendations on the importance of controlling risk factors such as blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol levels for preventing vascular disease, only seven percent of patients with diabetes control these factors as needed, according to a study in the January 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Simple sugars make cell walls like steel
Simple sugars apparently are the biological signals needed to maintain the steel-like strength of plant cell walls, according to Purdue University scientists.

Exposure to carcinogens not proportionally decreased by reduction in smoking
Smokers who substantially reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke per day are exposed to lower amounts of a potent tobacco carcinogen; however, the reduction in the amount or concentration of the carcinogen exposure is often transient and is not proportional to the reduction in cigarettes smoked.

Reward mechanism involved in addiction likely regulates pair bonds between monogamous animals
The reward mechanism involved in addiction appears to regulate lifelong social or pair bonds between monogamous mating animals, according to a Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) study of prairie voles.

Drug prevents diabetes recurrence after islet cell transplantation
A new anti-inflammatory compound called Lisofylline prevents diabetes from coming back after insulin-manufacturing islet cells are transplanted into diabetic mice, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Virginia Health System.

Risk of death in car crashes reduced if all occupants wear seat belts
Because an unrestrained occupant could cause harm to another occupant during an auto crash, the risk of death is lowest when all occupants are restrained by seat belts, according to a study in the January 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Collaborative research initiative aims to cut drug development time in half
The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), a Saratoga, Calif.-based non-profit research foundation, today announced the formation of a consortium of five of the world's leading scientists in myelin research.

Book scribbles reveal public, private histories
The act of writing in the margins of books - which today is generally considered vandalism - was accepted as a privilege of ownership in the 18th and early 19th centuries, says a University of Toronto English professor.

Getting older = lower self-esteem, say researchers
Worried about gaining weight and wrinkles as you age? Well, now there's one more reason to fear aging - an increased sense of insecurity, say sociologists from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.

Medication reduces angina attacks, increases exercise capacity for patients with chronic angina
Taken with other antianginal medications, the drug ranolazine reduces the frequency of angina and increases exercise capacity in patients with severe chronic angina, according to a study in the January 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Alzheimer's researchers begin unique study of tangles
The University Memory and Aging Center (UMAC) of University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University is one of 30 institutions participating in a $10 million National Institutes of Health study to determine if the medication valproate can reduce the occurrences of problem behaviors and affect the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meets in Boston
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will hold its 2004 annual meeting this year in concert with the 8th Annual Conference of the International Union for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Carnegie Mellon uses AFM to discover effects of experimental drugs on Alzheimer's plaques
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to shed light on molecular scale processes underlying the formation of insoluble plaques associated with Alzheimer¡¦s Disease.

NASA satellites improve response to global agricultural change
NASA's Earth satellite observing systems are helping the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) improve the accuracy and timeliness of information they provide about important crops around the world.

Jan. 23-26 conference in Oakland, Calif., to discuss aneuploid theory of cancer
While the mutation theory of cancer is accepted by nearly all scientists, some researchers report evidence that calls into question its main assumption -- that chance mutations in a handful of genes leads to the unchecked cell growth of cancer.

American College of Chest Physicians to offer developing nations free access to medical journal
The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) announced today its partnership with the United Nation's Health InterNetwork to offer developing countries complimentary online access to CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the ACCP.

The first module of CMS superconducting magnet is leaving towards Cern
The first module of the five constituting the CMS superconducting magnet is sailing on January 21st from Genova port to Cern.

To avoid detection, HIV disrupts immune cell migration
The HIV protein Nef sparked intensive research after observations that patients with a rare strain of HIV lacking Nef took a very long time to develop AIDS symptoms.

Brain reverberations during sleep
Duke University scientists recorded over a hundred neurons continuously during the course of the normal sleep/wake cycle in rats.

Stanford launches public lecture series on genomic medicine
Stanford University is offering a series of free monthly lectures designed to enhance public understanding of the Human Genome Project and the revolution in genomic medicine.

JAMA study confirms drug can help improve memory and cognition in advanced Alzheimer's patients
Memantine, when taken with the commonly prescribed Alzheimer's drug donepezil, helped moderate to severe Alzheimer's patients maintain or in some cases improve their memory and other intellectual functions, and helped to preserve activities of daily living during the study period.

Radiotherapy improves survival after breast-conserving surgery
The omission of radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer is associated with higher rates of relapse and a slightly higher mortality rate, according to a study in the January 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Nerves, heal thyselves
A new study conducted by Weizmann Institute scientists has now uncovered a key process leading to the regeneration of peripheral nerves.

'Ding' concussions require removal from the game
Currently used concussion grading scales and return-to-play guidelines for high school athletes with mild concussions or

JGI launches community sequencing program
The Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is poised for a resounding response to the age-old question,

Resilience through improvisation
A new Weizmann Institute study shows that the molecules in charge of the task of copying DNA -- called DNA polymerases -- are able to improvise in order to achieve this crucially important goal.
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