Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 15, 2004
INEEL designing prototype system for Yucca Mountain repository
The INEEL is designing a prototype, remotely controlled system that will permanently close spent nuclear fuel containers before they are put in a government disposal repository.

A new hypothesis about Alzheimer's disease
A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has proposed a new theory about the cause of Alzheimer's disease, the progressive neurodegenerative disorder that currently afflicts some 4.5 million Americans.

Memories are harder to forget than currently thought
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that memories are not as fluid as current research suggests.

New approach limits damage after heart attack and improves survival, say Scripps Research scientists
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has developed a potential new treatment for heart attacks.

Nerac rebuilds TOC Journal Watch service with new search engine
Now monitoring favorite journals is easier than ever through Nerac's new TOC Journal Watch.

Impaired sense of smell increases risk for certain hazards
Patients with an impaired or absent sense of smell are at risk for experiencing certain hazards that may have been avoided with an intact sense of smell, according to an article in the March issue of The Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Scientists identify crucial gene for blood development
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have pinpointed a crucial gene on which the normal development of the body's entire blood system depends.

Rice wins $5M nano instrumentation grant from DOD
Rice University researchers received a $5 million grant from the Department of Defense to develop a multimodality spectroscope for nanoscale imaging of the structure and function of peptides, viruses and proteins in their native environment.

King Tut liked red wine
Spanish scientists have developed the first technique that can determine the color of wine used in ancient jars.

NIEHS/NTP Director Dr. Kenneth Olden receives Society of Toxicology's Public Communications Award
Dr. Kenneth Olden, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, will be presented the Public Communications Award by the Society of Toxicology at their annual meeting March 21, 2004, in Baltimore, Maryland.

The catch 22 of immune response to AIDs viral infection
T-cell response to HIV infection is important for controlling viral replication; however, increased number of CD4 T cells may also be detrimental as HIV selectively infects and reproduces in these cells.

UT Southwestern researchers discover link that could aid in treatment of kidney cyst diseases
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have uncovered a link between two cyst-forming diseases that affect the kidneys, a finding that could lead to treatments for both a rare form of diabetes and a common kidney disease.

Disability researchers identify barriers to independent living
Researchers from the Disability Statistics Center at the University of California, San Francisco report that about 3.3 million community-residing adults need assistance from another person with two or more activities of daily living (ADLs).

Biggest ever solar flare was even bigger than thought
Last November's record-breaking solar explosion was much larger than previously estimated, thanks to innovative research using the upper atmosphere as a gigantic x-ray detector.

NC State scientists develop breakthrough internet protocol
Researchers in North Carolina State University's Department of Computer Science have developed a new data transfer protocol for the Internet that makes today's high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections seem lethargic.

New computer-aided approach tailors drug dose to patient needs
A computer-aided approach -- based on software-that-learns -- promises to provide a new tool that helps doctors tailor the dosage of abciximab, a medicine frequently used before angioplasty to lessen the chance of heart attack.

Gene required for formation of blood cells
Scientists have identified a gene required for formation of all types of blood cells during embryonic development.

Two journalists selected for American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting Fellowships
John Fauber and Emily Singer have been selected for the 2004 American Academy of Neurology Journalism Fellowships.

Bigger isn't always better--especially if you're a rodent
Voles are pedestrians, too, and need just as much help crossing the road as the big animals, says new research from the University of Alberta.

Science brain drain - How some European countries attract the top scientific talent
Britain could miss out to other EU countries in attracting scientists from the EU accession countries unless it adopts more proactive policies, according to new research at the University of Leeds.

Most distant object in solar system discovered
NASA and the research team of Michael Brown at CalTech, David Rabinowitz at Yale, and Chad Trujillo at the Gemini Observatory Hawaii report the discovery of the most distant object in our solar system.

Tuberculosis strains stay close to home, say Stanford researchers
In this week's advance online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Peter Small, MD, associate professor of infectious diseases and geographic medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and his colleagues present a genetic analysis of 100 TB samples.

Detection at a distance for more sensitive MRI
Remote-detection nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) depends on physically separating the two basic steps of signal encoding and detection -- normally carried out in the same instrument -- in order to customize each step for the best results.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for March 2004
Newsworthy studies in this month's issue include: pediatric investigators found that preterm infants who were exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb showed a significant increase in apneas (breathing pauses); recombinant human deoxyribonuclease offers not only an effective method of reducing sputum viscosity in cystic fibrosis patients, it also prevents an increase in airway inflammation; and the major problem faced by patients with suspected sleep apnea is access to resources to allow timely diagnosis and treatment.

Study supports new theory for nicotine's protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders
A study by neuroscientists at the University of South Florida presents new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain that may protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

A new Twist on bone development
Researchers reveal that Twist-1 and Twist-2 proteins inhibit osteoblast formation.

Student builds micro biosensor chip to move DNA molecules
A Johns Hopkins undergraduate has constructed a new type of microchip that can move and isolate DNA and protein molecules.

Creators of robot for the elderly to demonstrate technologies at Future of Aging Services Conference
Professor Martha Pollack, University of Michigan Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon collaborators, will demonstrate

UT Southwestern research halts narcolepsy symptoms
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered a potentially new avenue for treating human narcolepsy, and the work may also lead to more effective ways for insomniacs to boost their wakefulness during the daytime.

Workload, fatigue and physical stress on physician residents in training
Christopher Parshuram and colleagues show that even working within labour guidelines, the physical demands faced by senior research fellows while on call in a pediatric critical care unit result in significant fatigue and physical stress.

Outsourcing ESA's corporate information system infrastructure
The European Space Agency plans to outsource its entire corporate information system infrastructure services under a single Prime contractor.

Satellite finds warming 'relative' to humidity
A NASA-funded study found some climate models might be overestimating the amount of water vapor entering the atmosphere as the Earth warms.

Carnegie Mellon University receives Nobel Laureate Clifford Shull papers
Carnegie Mellon University has received the papers of Nobel Laureate Clifford Glenwood Shull as a gift from the Shull family.

Wasps' brains enlarge as they perform more demanding jobs
Scientists have know for some time that some social insects undergo dramatic behavioral changes as they mature, and now a research team has found that the brains of a wasp species correspondingly enlarge as the creatures engage in more complex tasks.

Hebrew University scientist co-directing European research project for internet of future
Scientists in several countries have begun working to measure the incremental growth of the Internet and to devise methods for more efficient means for future networking.

Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research at Carnegie Mellon
The Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research has received a five-year, $6.7 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to pursue innovative work in applying nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to biomedical sciences.

More older women are retaining 'young' breasts causing potential screening problems
Many of today's generation of postmenopausal women have breast tissue more akin to that of younger women.

Stem cells offer promise for hair growth
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have isolated stem cells responsible for hair follicle growth.

Study suggests possible way to repair damaged nerve cells
Losing fully functioning nerve cells is a hallmark of brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Prenatal exposure to second-handsmoke greater for disadvantaged children, study finds
Effects of prenatal exposure to second-hand smoke on mental development of children is exacerbated in conditions like substandard housing and inadequate food or clothing during first two years of life, study finds.

Unsuspected brain region involved in side effects of diabetes drugs
A brain region involved in emotional and intellectual processes appears to also play an unsuspected role in the body's visceral response to dangerously low blood sugar levels, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

Bacteria live in the esophagus!
The esophagus isn't merely a tube for food traveling from the mouth to the stomach, it also provides an environment for bacteria to live, according to a new study by NYU School of Medicine scientists that overturns the general belief that the esophagus is free of bacteria.

Tumor characteristics may help predict survival in breast cancer patients
An 11-year study of breast cancer patients who had tumors removed but had no evidence of cancer in their lymph nodes has confirmed that certain factors may predict cancer recurrence - and help physicians decide who should get additional treatment The research, from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, is reported in the April issue of Clinical Cytometry.

The bare bones of cutting the fat
Osteoporosis affects over 10 million individuals in the US. Osteoblasts, bone-building cells, come from mesenchymal progenitor cells, which also give rise to fat cells (adipocytes).

HPV in skin of psoriasis patients treated with medication and UV light therapy
Patients with psoriasis who have been treated with a combination of drug (psoralen) and ultraviolet light therapy have an increased prevalence of human papilloma virus (HPV) in their skin, according to an article in the March issue of The Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study will identify best treatment for type 2 diabetes in youth
A clinical study comparing three treatments of type 2 diabetes in children and teens has begun in 12 medical centers and their affiliated sites around the country, HHS Secretary Tommy G.

Geoscientists report on environment, climate and public policy issues in WDC this month
Geoscientists from around the globe will gather March 25-27 in the Washington, DC, area at a joint meeting of the Northeastern and Southeastern Sections of the Geological Society of America.

Going low tech, low cost to ease the terrors of dementia
Everyday items like hot water bottles, cats and dogs, and even bowling pins can play a big role in staving off the terrors of dementia for many residents in nursing homes, say Rochester, N.Y.-area nursing home workers who gathered to share ideas on what works and what doesn't.

Germ-free transparent fish open new window into gut development
Every animal - including humans - is home to

Lupus discovery may pave way to better-designed COX-2 inhibitors
Scientists at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University have discovered how autoimmune lupus T cells stave off programmed cell death and drive production of autoantibodies directed against the body's own DNA.

Prevalence of chronic sinusitis may be lower than commonly reported
The prevalence of chronic sinusitis may be much lower than previously estimated and reported, according to an article in the March issue of The Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Few stroke patients get to the hospital in time for clot-dissolving therapy
Only a small proportion of patients who are having a stroke arrive at an emergency department (ED) in time to receive the clot-dissolving therapy, intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA), according to an article in the March issue of The Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

National study: Health care access for poor children improves, but gap in care for uninsured grows
Health care for children covered by government programs like Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)appears to be improving, but the gap in care is widening between these publicly insured children and poor children without insurance, a national report indicates.

Dragons of the air: Pterosaurs flew with smart wings
These are the images of which nightmares are made: ancient pterosaurs darkening Earth's skies during the Mesozoic era 225 million to 65 million years ago.

Combination of toxin and poison may be novel treatment for leukemia
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have discovered why arsenic has long been a successful way to treat certain leukemias, and in the process have shown that a combination of the poison and a second naturally occurring toxin may provide a potent new therapy for them.

Obesity drug inhibits prostate tumor growth
The Burnham Institute's Jeffrey Smith, Ph.D. has discovered that orlistat, commonly prescribed as an anti-obesity drug, has a positive side-effect: it inhibits cancer growth.

Researchers to pinpoint relationship between obesity-associated diabetes and heart disease
The rise in obesity, now at epidemic levels in the United States, has been matched by a rise in diabetes, a deadly combination that increases heart disease risk by two to five times.

Emerging threats in health and medicine
The events of September 11, 2001, subsequent anthrax exposures and deaths have galvanized the nation's healthcare providers to reassess emergency preparedness procedures.

Australia/New Zealand-EU R&D cooperation
A series of seminars designed to promote access to information on EU Research and Development (R&D) will take place in Australia and New Zealand between 1 April and 9 April 2004.

Waiting between breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
Daniel Rayson and colleagues suggest their study of the elapsed time from breast cancer detection to first adjuvant therapy in Nova Scotia may point the way toward ways to minimize intervals between steps in breast cancer care.

Blood pressure may predict recurrent cardiovascular events in women
The risk of repeat heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events in women increases as blood pressure rises, researchers report in today's rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, March 16, 2004
Highlights of the Annals of Internal Medicine include: 1.) Task force recommends against routine screening for hepatitis C; 2.) Jury still out on best form of nicotine replacement therapy; and 3.) Disclosing medical errors has varying effects on patients.

Atherosclerosis more common, progresses quicker in HIV patients
Now that treatments have been successful at helping HIV patients live longer, these patients are facing a new health challenge - high rates of rapidly progressive atherosclerosis, researchers report in today's rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Profiling prostate cancer
Determining proper treatment for individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer suffers because of the current unreliability of methods to predict the clinical course of the disease.

Study finds male and female brains respond differently to visual stimuli
The emotion control center of the brain, the amygdala, shows significantly higher levels of activation in males viewing sexual visual stimuli than females viewing the same images, according to a new study.
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