Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 13, 2004
Biologists uncover genetic links to broad range of human disorders resulting from cilia dysfunctions
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered a number of key genes that humans, mice, fruit flies and roundworms all need to produce hair-like cellular protrusions known as cilia--a structure that when absent or defective in certain cells has been linked to human infertility, blindness, kidney disease and lung dysfunction.

Specialized care from hospital to home improves the health of elderly with heart failure
A new study shows that when elderly heart-failure patients receive specialized nursing care throughout their hospital stay and at home following hospital discharge, the patients have a better quality of life and have fewer hospital readmissions.

Plant-like enzyme acts as key life cycle switch in malaria parasite
An essential switch in the life cycle of the malaria parasite has been uncovered by researchers in England, Germany and Holland.

Cardiac complications from smallpox vaccination higher than expected among military personnel
As of June 2003, more than 450,000 military personnel have been vaccinated for smallpox, with very low rates of complications.

Moderate alcohol consumption increases plasma levels of a protective hormone
Moderate alcohol consumption is believed to have protective cardiovascular health benefits, possibly through its effects on hormones.

Mechanism found that may protect kidneys in early stages of diabetes
A group of Northwestern University researchers has identified what they believe is a built-in biological mechanism that prevents kidney damage in the early stages of diabetes associated with obesity.

Researcher funded to locate lung tumors
Dr. Kunal Mitra, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, recently earned a one year, $30,000 grant from the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence to develop a new technique to locate lung cancer and tumors.

K-State computer science professor receives NSF CAREER Award for research on robotic teams
A Kansas State University computer science professor has been awarded a five-year, $450,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to research how future teams of robots can better work together.

National Academies advisory: May 17-18 meeting on RNA interference
Part of its Arthur M. Sackler colloquium series, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a meeting at which biochemists, geneticists, and other medical researchers will discuss emerging developments in the field of RNA interference.

DHS launches national center focusing on data visualization to enhance homeland security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced the creation of the National Visual Analytics Center (NVAC).

Better research needed to assess psychological and social effects of cannabis
Authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet conclude that more evidence is required to determine the nature and extent of the association between cannabis use and negative psychosocial outcomes.

Bird's eye views earth's magnetic lines
Migratory birds, as well as many other animals, are able to sense the magnetic field of the earth, but how do they do it?

Computer prescribing systems risk patient safety
Computer prescribing systems are putting patients at risk by failing to warn of potentially serious errors, according to research in this week's BMJ.

Research in monkeys suggests estrogen therapy may lower androgens in postmenopausal women
Research in monkeys suggests that long-term use of estrogen therapy may reduce levels of androgens - hormones involved in maintaining bone density, muscle mass, sexual function, memory, and psychological wellbeing in postmenopausal women.

Science.gov 2.0 launched
Science.gov is the gateway to reliable information about science and technology from across federal government organizations.

New centre a boost for sustainable business
Cardiff University, UK is to be home to a world-leading research centre to help put UK manufacturing industry at the forefront of sustainable practice.

Why youngsters try to do impossible things
When you see a small child trying to fit into or on top of a doll-sized toy, you're likely to laugh.

E-patients are a valuable resource
Many patients say that the medical information and guidance they find online is more complete and useful than those received from their clinicians, according to an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Carnegie Mellon University chemist Catalina Achim receives prestigious NSF CAREER award
Carnegie Mellon University chemist Catalina Achim has received the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for new faculty members, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

StarTiger to roar in Finland
ESA is hoping to repeat the success of its first StarTiger project.

Gene maps of simpler life forms point the way to human disease gene
In an experiment that demonstrates how maps of the genetic codes of simpler organisms can shed light on human disease, a computerized comparison of the complete genetic codes of a type of algae, a weed and humans has led medical researchers to a gene linked to a human illness.

Study suggests breastfeeding reduces cardiovascular risk later in life
Breastfeeding in infancy is likely to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis-and therefore cardiovascular disease-in adult life, suggest authors of a UK study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide promotes algal growth
It is usually thought that unlike terrestrial plants, submerged plants like algae will not show any response to an increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Satellites see shadows of ancient glaciers
Great ice sheets covered Canada and the central and eastern parts of the United States 18,000 years ago.

Impact at Bedout: 'Smoking gun' of giant collision that nearly ended life on earth is identified
Evidence is mounting that 251 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a meteor the size of Mount Everest smashed into what is now northern Australia, wiping out all but about ten percent of the species on the planet.

Carnegie Mellon University neurobiologist Justin Crowley receives Searle Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University neurobiologist Justin Crowley has been named a 2004 Searle Scholar, one of only 15 exceptional young scientists receiving the award.

Licensed alcohol establishments continue to sell to intoxicated patrons
Most U.S. states have laws that prohibit sales to obviously intoxicated persons.

High Flux Isotope Reactor marks 400th cycle
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), one of the world's most powerful research reactors, is marking a milestone this month -- its 400th fuel cycle since it began operation in 1966.

Web technology can help chronically ill patients
Web based programmes can fill an important gap in how health care is currently provided for patients with chronic medical conditions, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

From algae, weeds and people: new genetic clues to complex obesity syndrome
By comparing the genomes of an alga, a weed and humans, a team of researchers has identified a new gene behind Bardet-Beidl syndrome (BBS), a complex condition marked by learning disabilities, vision loss and obesity.

Research aims to improve nation's health
A major new research institute, launched next week at Cardiff University, UK, aims to improve the nation's health through a range of projects which will directly inform policy-makers in Wales and beyond.

Recent research finds boys have more literacy problems than girls
Recent research from the University of Warwick, Coventry and Kings College, London finds that boys really do have more reading difficulties than girls.

The Universe, seen under the Gran Sasso mountain, seems to be older than expected
Some nuclear fusion reactions inside stars occur more slowly than we thought and, as a consequence, stars themselves, as well as galaxies and the entire universe are a bit older than expected.

Screening for liver diseases
A panel of researchers considered the value and the drawbacks of screening for various liver diseases for an American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) workshop presented at Digestive Diseases Week 2003.

Alternative states in the ocean
Ecologists expect natural communities to vary. However, variation can be abrupt and lead to formation of alternative and potentially persistent states.

Heart disease kills more women annually than all cancers combined
Heart disease kills women in the United States faster than any other disease and than all cancers combined--1,400 women each day and 500,000 annually.

New research in atrial fibrillation
Two and a half million people in the United States suffer from atrial fibrillation, a chaotic rhythm of the top chambers (atria) of the heart that causes the whole heart to beat rapidly and irregularly.

Evidence for meteor impact near Australia linked to largest extinction in Earth's history
An impact crater, believed to be associated with the

Testing soil for contamination
An innovative test that utilises satellite navigation, databases and bioscience is helping to reclaim Europe's abandoned land.

Statins show early promise for treating multiple sclerosis
Results of a preliminary study in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) could have potential in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Nonalcoholic beverages may impart cardiovascular benefits without the negative effects of alcohol
Prior research has shown that alcohol's protective effects may be due to more than its ethanol content.

Motion that powers sperm provides key to unravelling rare genetic disorder
Malfunction of the motor that powers sperm plays havoc with more than fertility: it may also be the root cause of the rare genetic disease Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS).

Scientists find second way to kill cancer cells: Discovery opens possibilities for new therapies
Researchers at the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania have found a second way by which chemotherapeutic agents can kill cancer cells.

Synbiotic modulation of gut flora improves minimal hepatic encephalopathy in cirrhotic patients
A new study shows that treating cirrhotic patients with synbiotics or fermentable fiber can alter the flora in the gut, lowering its pH levels as well as the ammonia levels in the blood.

Sagging symbionts
Animals house substantial microbial populations within their bodies. In some cases microorganisms are necessary for host survival or reproduction, but not in all.

What might our health systems look like in 2020?
Doctors and machines will be

Embryonic stem cell - based tissue engineering may help repair damaged heart muscle
Tissue engineering holds out promise of truly healing the heart after congestive heart failure.

Emory conference to educate health professionals about 'metabolic syndrome'
An estimated 25 percent of adults over the age of 20 and close to 50 percent of adults over the age of 50 have the component risk factors that make up Metabolic Syndrome.

Survey shows engineers held in high esteem
In a Harris Interactive® survey conducted on behalf of the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) with a grant from the United Engineering Foundation, engineering receives a higher rating from adults, whether or not they were parents, as a career choice for their children than either accounting or the ministry.

Rectal artesunate could be initial treatment option for moderate to severe malaria
People with moderate to severe malaria who are too ill to take oral medication can benefit from a single dose of rectal artesunate as initial treatment, conclude authors of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Some plants may compensate for herbivore damage by stimulating nutrient release in the soil
Browsing by mammals often has a serious impact on growth of tree saplings and regeneration of forests.

NIH funds new Boston College-Boston University study of B-1a cell associated with leukemia
Boston College Biology Professor Thomas Chiles and colleagues at Boston University Medical Center have been awarded approximately $4.5-million by NIH to study the small subset of white blood cells called B-1a lymphocytes.

Carnegie Mellon student develops origami folding robot
A Carnegie Mellon graduate student studying robotics has developed the first origami-folding robot as the subject of his thesis.

APA poll: Most Americans have sought mental health treatment but cost, insurance still barriers
Nearly half of Americans have had someone in their household seek mental health treatment, but most still perceive cost and lack of insurance coverage as barriers according to national poll results released today by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Researchers find no link between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and asthma during childhood
Maternal smoking has been associated with childhood asthma. A new study examines if those children born to mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy have a greater risk of hospitalization for asthma.

Novel vitamin discovery offers clues for cancer chemotherapy and lipid disorders
Dartmouth Medical School cancer researchers, in a fusion of biochemistry and genetics, have discovered a new vitamin in a molecular pathway central to such vital processes as gene regulation, metabolism and aging.
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