Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 29, 2004
Mars Express radar deployment postponed
The MARSIS team has advised ESA to delay the deployment of the MARSIS radar instrument on board Mars Express, scheduled for this week.

Dental disease hits hardest among older blacks
Periodontitis, the most common cause of tooth loss among older people, is most prevalent among older black men and women, regardless of income or education, a new study finds.

Study: Height loss screen ultimately could reduce hip fractures
The loss of 2 or more inches in height during adulthood serves as a powerful predictor of osteoporosis in the hip, and thus the risk for hip fractures, in elderly women.

Early signs that adult bone-marrow stem cells could regenerate brain tissue
Findings of a preliminary study in this week's issue of the Lancet suggest that transplanted adult bone-marrow cells could regenerate nerve cells in the brains of human stem-cell recipients.

Study identifies which patients can benefit from targeted lung cancer drug -- and why
In a study that stands to benefit thousands of patients with non-small cell lung cancer around the world, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and in Japan have found that patients whose lung cancers harbor a malfunctioning version of a protein called EGFR respond dramatically to the drug gefitinib (Iressa).

New papillomavirus target could lead to specific antiviral drugs for precancerous cervical lesions
Harvard Medical School researchers have uncovered a missing link in our understanding of how human papillomaviruses gain their foothold in the rapidly dividing cells of the skin and mucous membranes.

Microwave ovens should warn of exploding eggs
Microwave ovens should display clear warnings about exploding eggs, suggest researchers in this week's BMJ.

Genetic sequence identified for anti-bacterial sea slug protein
A Center for Behavioral Neuroscience research team led by Georgia State University biologist Charles Derby has identified the genetic sequence of an anti-microbial protein called Escapin found in the ink of the common Aplysia sea slug or hare.

Demise in ice and fire
The Bug Nebula, NGC 6302, is one of the brightest and most extreme planetary nebulae known.

Mexican farmers effectively cultivate phenotypic diversity in maize
A joint IRD-CIMMYT research team (1) studying the maize varieties, or landraces, grown in Mexico have provided the first genetic proof that cultivation practices and farmers' behaviour play a crucial role in maintaining a large diversity by favouring the frequent introduction of varieties from outside.

UCSD finds genetic time bomb in heart that leads to heart failure in some patients
Now, researchers have determined where and how this progressive heart failure occurs in patients with familial forms of congenital heart disease called atrial septal defects, even after the malformation is surgically corrected.

Technique plucks rapidly evolving genes from a pathogen's genome
Infectious pathogens like malaria and tuberculosis outwit the human immune system by constantly changing their outer coats.

Study shows heart biopsy possible via arm catheterization
Heart biopsies, which are typically performed via catheterization through the groin or neck, are possible and may cause less discomfort for patients when performed through a vein in the wrist, according to a study by Penn State Cardiovascular Center specialists.

University of Colorado tissue engineer to receive NSF's coveted Waterman Award
If the name Kristi Anseth hasn't yet reached our collective consciousness, just wait.

Researchers describe long-perplexing 'magic spot' on bacteria
Scientists have unraveled the behavior of one key component of bacteria, a finding that may lead to better, more effective antibiotics.

Spinal disc repair start-up orthonics receives funding from Viscogliosi Brothers, LLC
Orthonics, Inc., an Atlanta start-up company developing new biomaterials for spinal disc repair and regeneration, has received initial funding from Viscogliosi Brothers, LLC, a New York-based closely held venture capital/private equity and merchant banking firm focused on the musculoskeletal/orthopedics industry.

Genetic signature may predict recurrence in colon cancer patients
Researchers have identified a new marker that may accurately predict which Dukes' B (Stage II) colon cancer patients are at higher risk of recurrence.

Science in the clouds
University of Utah meteorologists are using a NASA research jet to examine icy, wispy cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere - a study aimed at determining how much the clouds warm Earth's climate and how much they cool it.

HIV transmission is heightened during acute infection
Heterosexual intercourse during periods of acute HIV infection may account for a substantial amount of transmission of the virus, according to a study published in the May 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research helps implement global climate change initiative
The Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech is leading an interdisciplinary coalition to identify potential carbon sequestration sinks within Virginia as part of the DOE Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership project.

NASA-inspired technology may help preserve women's future fertility after cancer treatment
Using technology borrowed from NASA, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have taken the first steps toward successfully preserving ovarian tissue from rats and mice in culture, according to a study in the current issue of the journal Tissue Engineering.

Cells from adult bone marrow can be converted into brain stem cells for transplantation
Research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco shows that cells taken from adult human bone marrow can be converted into brain stem cells that meet the criteria for transplantation into the brain.

PTC Therapeutics' researchers identify biochemical pathway important for modulating cell growth
Researchers from PTC Therapeutics identified in humans an enzyme complex underlying the metabolism of tRNA and mRNA, two components of cell proliferation.

Quantum computers are a quantum leap closer, say Purdue physicists
A new breed of faster, more powerful computers based on quantum mechanics may be a step closer to reality, report scientists from Purdue and Duke universities.

Biological oceanographers examine 'regime shifts' in complex marine ecosystems
In a paper published in the current issue of Progress in Oceanography, Dr.

SLU research in New England Journal of Medicine shows new drug helps with chronic kidney disease
Cinacalcet combats overactive parathyroid glands in many patients, according to research published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Mid-life heart disease risk factors linked to dementia in late-life
Middle-aged patients with several risk factors for heart disease are twice as likely to develop dementia in old age as middle-aged patients with only one risk factor, according to a study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco on April 29 by researchers at UCSF/Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente/Northern California.

Study reveals serious north-south health gap in modern Britain
21st century Britain is experiencing a serious north-south health divide between social classes, warn researchers in this week's BMJ.

Increased HIV risk for women with violent male partners
South African research published in this week's issue of the Lancet highlights how women with physically violent and controlling male partners are at an increased risk of HIV-1 infection.

Large families and animals keep allergies at bay
Having siblings, keeping a pet, or living on a farm helps protect infants against the development of atopic (allergic) diseases, but early infections increase the risk, according to new research from Denmark.

A cushion of air trapped under the rice fields of Senegal
Irrigation by surge flooding, used essentially in rice cropping, involves the input of large volumes of water.

HIV: A sugar shield to evade host defences
IRD scientists, working jointly with other institutes (1), used statistical methods to determine the adaptive molecular mechanisms the virus deploys to avoid neutralization by the host immune defences.

Smoking increases papillomavirus risk in HIV-infected women
Women with HIV infection who smoke are more likely than women not infected with HIV to acquire and have prevalent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Red palm oil as a means of combating vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency leads to eye malfunction and increases infant mortality, especially prevalent in Africa.

Delayed care may affect prostate cancer deaths in blacks
Black men who have no other known significant illnesses when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer actually face a higher risk of death from other causes as well as from prostate cancer, a new study finds.

Monthly hormonal changes can exacerbate seizures in women with epilepsy
Women who have epilepsy often experience an increase in seizure frequency around the time of their menstruation each month, which is referred to as catamential epilepsy.

Researchers developing radar technology to detect mold behind walls
Researchers are testing the feasibility of using radar technology to detect mold behind gypsum wallboard.

Gene mutations predict which lung cancers will respond to Iressa
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center have discovered a molecular marker that identifies lung cancer patients whose tumors will respond to treatment with the drug Iressa (gefitinib).

Presence of gene mutation tightly linked to drug effectiveness in lung cancer
Mutation of a gene involved in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) increases the likelihood that the drug gefitinib (IressaTM) will show a beneficial response, according to research published by Science.

Europe's legacy to its children - A healthier environment?
As ten new nations join the European Union, this week's Editorial welcomes next month's conference in Budapest to outline plans for improving European environmental health for children.

Earliest evidence of use of fire in Eurasia discovered in Hebrew University excavations
The first solid evidence of human use of fire in Eurasia as early as 790,000 years ago has been found in excavations in Israel conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology.

Medical research suffers under data protection law
Deaths will occur because of the effects of data protection law on British medical research, argue experts in this week's BMJ.

Fighting credit card fraud
French and Greek partners in EUREKA project E! 2850 EUCLID are working to prevent fraudulent e-commerce, telephone and mail order transactions through a new secure credit card system.

Ecstasy users get advice from friends and web... not parents
A study in the April issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence indicates that friends are the number one source of information about MDMA ('ecstasy'), followed by websites like
Urgent need for investment in human resources to respond to global health crises
Authors of a Public Health article in this week's issue of the Lancet highlight how the global failure to develop the necessary human resources to deliver health-care improvements in less-developed countries requires urgent attention if the millennium goals for global health are to be achieved.

Merging hearing technologies sounds good to researcher
A Purdue University researcher is combining two technologies - hearing aids and cochlear implants - to help improve speech understanding and sound quality for cochlear implant users.

American Lung Association's 2004 State of the Air report ranks cities and counties with dirty air
High levels of microscopic, soot-like particles are increasing the risk of premature death for millions of people, including those with heart or lung disease, according to the American Lung Association State of the Air: 2004 report released today. 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