Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 07, 2004
Rutgers professor receives Service Award from AIARD
Dr. Carl Pray, professor of agriculture, food and resource economics at Rutgers' Cook College, has been selected by the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) as the recipient of their 2004 Special Service Award.

Changing practices may raise African American women's breast cancer risk
A new study finds African American women derive similar breast cancer risk reductions associated with multiple births and breastfeeding as white women, but that recent trends may lead to a rising risk.

Elderly leukemia patients benefit from intensive treatment
Contrary to popular belief, patients over the age of 75 with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) do just as well as younger patients with similar chemotherapy regimens.

Vision's touchy-feely side
When vision alone can't tell you what's going on in your environment, touch can lend a helping hand.

New study shows estrogen patches lower cholesterol in men with prostate cancer
A small adhesive estrogen patch worn by men being treated for advanced prostate cancer lowers cholesterol, according to a new study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers.

First ever standards linking climate change, biodiversity and poverty seek global peer review
The first ever set of standards certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty have been opened up for global peer review and comment by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).

Jefferson scientists encouraged by trial results of next-generation vaccine for melanoma
A vaccine for advanced melanoma created from a patient's own tumor cells has shown some early signs of causing immune responses in recipients.

High mastectomy rates due to breast cancer patients' choices, UMHS study finds
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Wayne State University found that women with breast cancer who said they made their own treatment decision were more likely to have a mastectomy than women who said their surgeon made the decision.

Researchers develop blood test that can detect genetic changes in progressive breast cancer
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have developed a blood test that can detect amplification of a certain gene found in circulating cells associated with breast cancer.

Helpful or harmful? Medicinal value of marijuana remains unclear
Despite limited evidence of effectiveness, many epilepsy and multiple sclerosis patients believe marijuana is an effective treatment and are actively using it, according to two Canadian studies published in the June 8 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New study suggests insulin detemir as an alternative to currently available insulin therapy
A new multinational study found that insulin detemir, a basal insulin analog in late-stage development, achieved similar improvement in A1C levels, provided significantly lower day-to-day variability in fasting blood glucose levels with lower risk of nighttime hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and reduced weight gain compared to NPH (neutral protamine Hagedorn), a basal (intermediate-acting) insulin.

Docetaxel extends life in advanced prostate cancer patients
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center clinicians were among those at leading institutions that have completed a three-year international study showing that docetaxel, a drug made from yew tree needles, decreases the chance of dying by 24 percent in advanced-stage prostate cancer patients resistant to hormone therapy.

School-based interpersonal psychotherapy seems to be effective for treating depressed adolescents
Adolescents who received interpersonal psychotherapy for depression at school-based health clinics had fewer symptoms of depression after 12 to 16 weeks than their peers who received other kinds of psychotherapy at school, according to an article in the June issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer appears safe and stimulates immune activity
Results from a phase I study to evaluate the toxicity of a potential therapeutic vaccine for pancreatic cancer have demonstrated that patients can safely tolerate doses of the vaccine.

Encouraging data on BAY 43-9006 in combo w/ standard chemo as melanoma treatment presented at ASCO
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NYSE: BAY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced encouraging interim results from a Phase l/II clinical trial of BAY 43-9006 administered in combination with the chemotherapeutic agents carboplatin and paclitaxel to treat patients with advanced malignant melanoma.

INITIATE study shows improved blood glucose-lowering effect of NovoLog Mix 70/30 compared to Lantus
Novolog® Mix 70/30, a dual-action insulin analog, is more effective in helping patients initiating insulin therapy achieve control of their blood glucose levels compared to insulin glargine, according to data from the INITIATE (INITiation of Insulin to reach A1c TargEt) study presented this week at the 64th annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in Orlando, Florida.

From lung to gut - the Wnt signaling pathway transforms cell fate
Researchers have uncovered a cellular mechanism that can alter the fate of progenitor cells that normally generate the lung, causing them to create gut cells instead.

News briefs from the journal Chest, June 2004
News briefs from the June issue of CHEST report on the declining asthma rates in Mexico, the high cost of community-acquired pneumonia, and the importance of flu vaccination for patients with COPD.

Researchers find strong familial tendency in rare form of lymphoma
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have uncovered new evidence that Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia - a rare form of lymphoma - can run in families.

Australian study examines association between autism and obstetric and perinatal risk factors
Mothers of children diagnosed with autism are more likely to be older and to have experienced obstetric difficulties during pregnancy, labor and delivery, but these complications are likely related to underlying genetic factors, according to an article in the June issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

MRI better than mammography for detecting number & size of breast cancer tumors
Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania presented -- at the ASCO meeting in New Orleans -- comprehensive study results which show that MRI is significantly better than mammography for detecting the presence & extent of disease in patients with breast cancer.

APP reports Abraxane(TM) is active in breast cancer patients who failed taxol or taxotere
Abraxis Oncology, a division of American Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. (APP) (NASDAQ: APPX) today said that results from a 106 patient Phase II study of ABRAXANE in patients with advanced breast cancer whose disease had progressed while they were being treated with TAXOL® and Taxotere® responded to subsequent treatment with ABRAXANETM (albumin nanoparticle paclitaxel).

AGU journal highlights - 7 June 2004
In this edition: Adriatic likely seismically independent fault system; Monitoring the seasonal effects from changing photosynthesis; Oxygen isotope analyses may not accurately portray paleoclimate; Estimating polar ice changes using Global Positioning System data; Estimating the probability of magnetic storms; New pollutant transport path to the stratosphere; El Nino Oscillation drives Antarctic variability; First gravity results from GRACE; First turbidity measurements from inside strong California current; Measuring radiation onboard a commercial flight.

Yale professor receives Johnson & Johnson Focused Giving award
Sidney Altman, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University has been awarded a three-year, Focused Giving Grant by Johnson & Johnson to support his work on coordinated regulation of the protein subunits of RNase P in HeLa Cells.

UIC tests diabetes drug in treatment of multiple sclerosis
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are launching a clinical trial to determine whether a drug commonly used for diabetes might be effective in treating multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects 350,000 Americans.

Lab mice rescued from Type 1 diabetes via dendritic cell-assisted therapy
Rockefeller University researchers have for the first time demonstrated a halting of early Type 1 diabetes in mice by restoring a critical class of T cells to their normal balance.

USC/Norris Cancer researchers show potential of fighting angiogenesis
New drug results for fighting cancer reported at ASCO this past weekend.

Nation's plant database falling behind, survey shows
Stopping to smell the roses may be laudable, but more people need to be picking, preserving and cataloging them.

UF researcher: New low-carb potato to debut in January
Potatoes may be on the no-no list for high-protein diets, but a University of Florida researcher says a new low-carb potato will help win back die-hard carbohydrate counters.

New patient tools needed to reliably report side effects in chemotherapy clinical trials
Almost half the symptoms experienced by patients enrolled in chemotherapy clinical trials are not reported by their clinician, according to a study conducted by Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers.

Epilepsy drugs cause bone loss
Epilepsy drugs can increase the rate of bone loss in older women, according to a study published in the June 8 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Emergency department may be an ideal setting for teaching home injury prevention
Hospital emergency departments may provide an effective setting, although perhaps an unexpected one, for parents to learn injury prevention.

TrialNet launches first studies in type 1 diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, a newly formed network of 18 clinical centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, has launched its first two clinical studies, HHS Secretary Tommy G.

'Safe' levels of lead, cadmium
Blood levels of two metals - lead and cadmium - may increase the risk of peripheral artery disease - even at levels currently considered safe.

Weight loss may help obese women breathe easier
Losing weight may help obese women improve their lung function and exercise capacity but has little effect on asthma severity, a finding that may suggest obese patients can be misdiagnosed with asthma.

Parting genomes: UA biologists discover seeds of speciation
Two closely related fruitfly populations are caught early in the act of evolving into new species.

CSIRO research in greatest biotech show on earth
Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, is mounting a major display of technologies this week at BIO 2004, the world's largest biotechnology conference, being held in San Francisco, USA, from 6-9 June.

Tarceva and chemotherapy offer no advantage in lung cancer treatment except for group of non-smokers
A large Phase III clinical trial of an EGFR inhibitor, Tarceva(tm), used in combination with chemotherapy to treat advanced lung cancer, did not show a survival advantage, but hinted that young non-smokers did benefit from the targeted therapy.

NJIT named Homeland Security Center
Governor James E. McGreevey issued an executive order today designating New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) the state's Homeland Security Technology Systems Center.

Sex-specific differences in gene expression related to drug metabolism and hypertension
Many obvious physical and hormonal differences exist between men and women, and now researchers have discovered that there are major molecular differences as well.

Vision: how perceptions survive in the face of ambiguity
Because we live in a visually complex world, one of the major tasks of vision is to resolve ambiguous information into a stable image of our surroundings.

Private health care costs more
Devereaux and colleagues present their systematic review and meta-analysis of 8 studies comparing payments for care at private for-profit and private not-for-profit hospitals in the United States.

Encouraging interim results on BAY 43-9006 in advanced kidney cancer
Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NYSE: BAY) and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced encouraging new interim results from a Phase II clinical trial of BAY 43-9006 used as a single agent in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer.

Synthetic hormone used in contraceptives and HRT produces negative effects in monkey studies
Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a synthetic form of the naturally occurring steroid hormone progesterone widely used in contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), increases aggression and anxiety and reduces sexual activity in female monkeys, according to a study published in the June edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Venus transit 2004: Be ready for a once-in-a-lifetime chance!
Tomorrow, on June 8, beginning shortly after 5 hrs UT, a large part of the world will be sharing a unique sight never seen by any person now living.

New laboratory model can be used to test new treatments for pediatric eye cancer
The development of a mouse model that closely mimics the human eye cancer retinoblastoma, gives investigators a way to test new therapies for this disease in the laboratory for the first time.

We weren't made to multitask
What makes it so hard to do two things at once?

UCLA, Maryland awarded $6.4 million fusion center
UCLA and the University of Maryland have been selected by the U.S.

Choice of food helps hungry caterpillar
For one caterpillar, eating an unusual fruit may be the key to an easy food supply and protection against parasites, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

Retaliation for violence plays a larger role for preteen girls than preteen boys
Girls in middle and elementary schools involved in violent incidents may be more likely than boys of the same age to be retaliating for a previous event, to experience the violence at home, and to have a family member intervene.

Utah scientist helps discover new mouse species -- and maybe a new genus
A team of American and Filipino biologists were quite surprised when they discovered a new species - or perhaps a new genus - of mouse in the Philippines.

UCSB awarded patent for 'date rape' drug test
A patent for a highly sensitive test to detect the presence of the

Why calcium improves a high-temperature superconductor
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have found evidence to prove why adding a small amount of calcium to a common high-temperature superconductor significantly increases the amount of electric current the material can carry.

Some heart attack patients may be resistant to blood thinner
A substantial proportion of heart attack patients may be resistant to the blood thinner clopidogrel - and face an increased risk of recurrent blockages.

Common worm provides insights into salmonella virulence
Using a common worm as a model, researchers from Duke University Medical Center have identified specific genes within Salmonella that give the bacteria its ability to infect host cells.

Advances in diagnosis and treatment of autism, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, fetal brain imaging
The world's leading neuroscience and radiology experts today shared new research and technological developments in medical imaging that facilitate diagnosis and breakthrough treatments of fetal brain abnormalities, epilepsy and cognitive disorders such as autism and Alzheimer's.

New technique to relieve pain after heart surgery
Cardiac patients at the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute are among the first in the country to benefit from a pump dispense system used to treat pain specifically after heart surgery.

New guidelines announced for recreational physical activity for young people
A new American Heart Association scientific statement suggests that children, teens and young adults with a spectrum of genetic cardiovascular diseases can exercise recreationally but should be guided by their physicians about what types of exercise are safe and which to avoid.

Carnegie Mellon U biologists identify critical player in yeast ribosome assembly
Carnegie Mellon University biologists are the first to show that minor changes in the tail of one protein cripple yeast's ability to assemble protein-making machines called ribosomes.

Two landmark studies show Taxotere (R) significantly improves survival in men with prostate cancer
Aventis (NYSE: AVE) announced that two landmark phase III trials using Taxotere (R) (docetaxel) Injection Concentrate-based regimens in the treatment of androgen-independent (hormone-refractory) metastatic prostate cancer patients were presented at the plenary session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Frequency of violent behavior among youths similar in different countries
Adolescents from five different countries had similar frequencies of violence-related behaviors, including fighting and weapon carrying, according to an article in the June issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Phase III data at ASCO shows Saforis(TM) helps prevent and treat oral mucositis in cancer patients
Aesgen, Inc., a privately-held emerging pharmaceutical company, today announced pivotal Phase III trial results that show SaforisTM (L-glutamine) for oral suspension significantly reduced the severity and duration of clinically significant oral mucositis in breast cancer patients receiving standard chemotherapy treatments.

Caregiver burden
In this issue of CMAJ, Grunfeld and colleagues present the results of their prospective study of the burden faced by 89 caregivers of women with advanced breast cancer for 3 years or until the patient's death.

Loss of circadian genes results in epilepsy
Scientists have now discovered that the combined deletion of three circadian genes, encoding the PAR bZip transcription factor protein family, results in accelerated aging and severe epilepsy in mice.

Susceptibility of mice to mousepox offers promise of smallpox protection
An HHMI international research scholar's discovery of the cytokines that determine which mice succumb to mousepox could lead to better protection against the threat of smallpox as a weapon of bioterrorism.

New UCF Entertainment Academy will train students to develop game software
University of Central Florida students will learn how to design, program and test video games at a new academy that the university is starting with help from Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive entertainment publisher.

First national survey measures parents' opinions on the quality and content of well-child visits
In the first nationwide study of its kind, detailed results of the National Survey of Early Childhood Health (NSECH)finds that while many parents are generally satisfied with the quality and content of care provided by physicians caring for young children during well visits, critical areas of health care and development are not being addressed for some children.

OneWorld Health CEO outlines mutually beneficial collaborations between industry, nonprofits at BIO
The economics and traditional structure of drug development are shifting in ways that could lead to viable markets for new, affordable drugs in the developing world if biopharmaceutical companies considered innovative collaborations with nonprofits, according to Victoria Hale, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the Institute for OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the U.S.

Obesity and hypertension: Two epidemics or one?
Two researchers provide an overview of the cause, process, and treatment of obesity hypertension, focusing on the current state of knowledge and the potential role of abdominal obesity.

Some adolescents do not get enough vitamin D
Some African American adolescents who live in cities have low levels of vitamin D, according to an article in the June issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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