Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 17, 2004
Can a plant that acts like poison ivy cure prostate cancer?
A shrub found in Southeast Asia can give you a rash like poison ivy; but it may also stop prostate cancer.

The dating game goes wireless
You're sitting in a bar when your cellphone alerts you that there's an unmissable love match in your vicinity.

New findings on nerve cell proteins show promise for reducing disability
New findings in animals suggest a potential treatment to minimize disability after spinal cord and other nervous system injuries, say neuroscientists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Mount Holyoke researcher studies how low-income urban youths' science aspirations develop
Becky Wai-Ling Packard, assistant professor of psychology and education, at Mount Holyoke College, is studying three interconnected topics: the social negotiations of educational and career aspirations, including how the students' science and technology aspirations develop over time and across social contexts; the nature of effective mentoring strategies, including ways students and teachers can optimize students' access to mentors; and patterns of science and technology learning and motivation across contexts.

Templeton Prize, world's largest, won by George F.R. Ellis, theoretical cosmologist
George F.R. Ellis, a leading theoretical cosmologist renowned for his bold and innovative contributions to the dialogue between science and religion and whose social writings were condemned by government ministers in the former apartheid regime of his native South Africa, has won the 2004 Templeton Prize.

Experiments establish 'protein-only' nature of prion infections
Two independent research groups have established conclusively that prions are proteins, and that they do not depend on genes or other factors for transmission of their traits.

Exemestane beats tamoxifen in first phase III head to head trial in advanced breast cancer
The first results from the world's only phase III trial to compare tamoxifen with the newer hormone treatment exemestane in advanced breast cancer shows that exemestane is safe, superior and lengthens progression-free survival, the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference was told on Thursday 18 March.

Combination therapy drives cancer into remission
Researchers have acheived an experimental breakthrough in the simultaneous use of two or more agents for treating cancer, known as combination therapy.

Older people lose out all round in breast cancer treatment and care
Managing breast cancer in elderly patients presents particularly difficult challenges, specific clinical trials are needed for elderly women with breast cancer, and although almost 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 65 years old, there are still many questions to be answered on how best to treat them, scientists told the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Electricity controls nanocrystal shape
Wires, tubes and brushes make it possible to build and maintain the machines and devices we use on a daily basis.

UCSF scientists show prion shape affects nature of infection
UCSF scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a change in the folded shape of a prion protein changes its infectious properties -- including the prion's ability to jump

EUREKA project finds safer way to destroy BSE waste
The European Union's response to recent public health crises such as the BSE outbreak has prompted a EUREKA project to develop a more effective, safer and environmentally friendly method for destroying potentially infected animal wastes.

$300,000 USAID grant to boost India agriculture economy
Cornell University has been awarded a $300,000, three-year grant from the U.S.

New diagnostic tool brings effective treatment closer to patients
Significant progress towards identifying the genetic make-up of individual tumours, hence allowing treatment choices to be made based on personalised information was announced at the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Blood test heralds speedy stroke diagnoses
A quick and cheap blood test could help doctors tell if a patient is having a stroke and help them get the right treatment as quickly as possible.

Young breast cancer survivors suffer more long-term after effects
Younger women who survive breast cancer have particular problems in coping with the physical and psychological after effects, even ten years later, a scientist said today.

Most-hated inventions to get lesson in manners
Eye-tracking technology will transform human-computer interaction by giving computers the

Video games, not TV, linked to obesity in kids
Despite conventional wisdom, simply watching television is not related to a child's weight, but playing video games may be, new research indicates.

Making bomb-building harder
Ammonium nitrate, a widely used fertiliser, has been used in bombs responsible for terrorist attacks such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and Bali bombing in 2002.

New research suggests that when children ask 'what is this?' they may seek an object's function
Normally, adults assume that when children ask,

INTRASOFT International awarded CORDIS service
Further to its invitation to tender for services relating to the dissemination of information relating to EU research, technological development and innovation activities concerning the Community R&D Information Service (CORDIS), the European Commission, DG Enterprise, published a contract award notice in February 2004 concerning the provision of CORDIS services during the period January 2004 to December 2009.

'Protein-only' prions confirmed in FSU yeast study
Findings by two Florida State University scientists and by an independent group of researchers at University of California San Francisco are described in the March 18 issue of the journal Nature reveal the

Preoperative treatment with Arimidex(TM) allows patients to undergo less extensive surgery
New data presented today1,2, indicate that preoperative (neoadjuvant) treatment with ARIMIDEXTM (anastrozole) results in clinically beneficial reductions in tumour volume, extending the range of surgical options, which can allow patients to undergo less extensive surgery.

UT Southwestern researchers cite recent advances in underlying causes of rare body-fat disorders
More than a decade of work conducted by UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers has led to a better understanding of the underlying causes of lipodystrophies - disorders characterized by the selective loss of fat tissues, resulting in metabolic complications, such as severe diabetes and high blood cholesterol levels.

New study confirms conservation surgery is safe for BRCA breast cancers
Women who carry the BRCA breast cancer genes can safely be offered breast conservation surgery with radiotherapy provided they are followed up for the rest of their lives the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference heard Thursday (18 March).

Smallpox vaccine may cause harmless skin rashes
People who have never received a smallpox vaccination may develop any of a variety of benign skin rashes a few days after getting vaccinated for smallpox that should not be confused with a more serious complication of the vaccine, according to an article in the April 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Nation's best mathematics and science teachers visit Washington to receive presidential award
Pickles, Oreos, cell phone billing plans and Barbie dolls have everything to do with raising achievement in secondary mathematics and science, according to some of the nation's top teachers in these subjects.

Enrollment begins for osteoarthritis initiative
Recruitment has begun for the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health and industry that funds a multisite contract to create a resource to hasten discovery of biological markers for osteoarthritis (OA).

U. of Colorado satellite developers celebrate one year of operations
An $88 million NASA satellite designed and built by the University of Colorado at Boulder launched in late January 2003 to study variations in the sun is performing flawlessly after more than a year in orbit, scientists say.

Mechanism leading to life-threatening infection identified by UCSD School of Medicine researchers
The mechanism used by the bacteria that cause anthrax, bubonic plague and typhoid fever to avoid detection and destruction by the body's normal immune reponse - leading to life threatening bacterial infections - has been indentified by UCSD School of Medicine researchers.

Study links radiotherapy and CVD risks in breast cancer patients but it's getting safer
A large Dutch study of breast cancer patients has confirmed that radiotherapy does increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but it has also provided some reassuring findings that improved techniques mean the risk is less than it used to be the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference heard Thursday 18 March.
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