Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 04, 2004
Research team develops nonhuman primate model of smallpox infection
Scientists have made significant progress in developing an animal model of smallpox that closely resembles human disease, which will be necessary for testing of future vaccines and potential treatments.

Fungus knocks a frog down but not out, raising questions about amphibian declines
The deadly chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis which has been implicated in massive declines and waves of extinction in Central America and Eastern Australia, has been found not to be universally lethal, a finding that may give important new clues concerning this pathogen's behavior in the wild, and point towards understanding how it spreads.

BIDMC PatientSite portal to study ways to improve patient quality of life
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has received a $400,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Health e-Technologies Initiative national program to study how Internet technology can improve the quality of patient care.

Clinical trial of botanicals for memory loss in menopause
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are investigating whether hormone therapy and two alternative herbal products can lessen memory and other cognitive problems experienced by menopausal women.

Stanford researchers establish center for physics-based simulations of biological structures
The National Institutes of Health have awarded $19.9 million over five years to Russ Altman, associate professor of genetics, and Scott Delp, associate professor and chair of bioengineering, to establish and lead the National Center for Physics-Based Simulation of Biological Structures (SimBioS).

Talented sniffer: A receptor known for guiding sperm to egg plays a role in the nose
Researchers have found that a human olfactory receptor protein previously shown to act in sperm, where it appears to help guide sperm to the egg during fertilization, is also expressed in human olfactory tissues in the nose and functions in our sense of smell.

Mayo Clinic awarded major NIH contract for smallpox genomics research
Vaccine researchers at Mayo Clinic have been awarded a $10 million federal contract to study genetic susceptibility to smallpox and genomic-based risks to the smallpox vaccine.

How roots control plant shoots
University of Utah biologists discovered a gene that allows a plant's roots to tell the leaves to stop growing, presumably when water is scarce, soil is too compacted or other conditions are bad.

Internet data-mining of natural history
Technologies for organizing, analyzing and disseminating large natural history data sets will be developed at Cornell University with a $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in partnership with the Department of Computer Science.

Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh receive NSF grant to create Science of Learning Center
The National Science Foundation has awarded Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh a five-year, $25 million grant to establish the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC), which will sponsor rigorous research into how people learn and, based on what they find, develop technologies and approaches to teaching that will foster consistently high achievement in the nation's classrooms.

Early- and late-onset blind individuals show supra-normal auditory abilities in far-space
Researchers report this week that early-onset blind individuals exhibit enhanced skill in their abilities to localize sound originating at a distance and that some of these skills are even obtained by those who lose sight as adults.

Intelligent clothing inspired by pine cones
A new type of 'smart' clothing which adapts to changing temperatures to keep the wearer comfortable is being developed by the University of Bath and the London College of Fashion using nature as a guide.

Daphne Koller named MacArthur Fellow
Daphne Koller, associate professor of computer science at Stanford, has been named one of this year's MacArthur Fellows.

Head lice reveal contact between modern and ancient humans
A phylogenetic analysis reveals that humans have two types of head lice and that one must have switched from an ancient to a modern human host, suggesting these humans had contact.

Arctic sea ice declines again in 2004, according to U. of Colorado study
Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have found that the extent of Arctic sea ice, the floating mass of ice that covers the Arctic Ocean, is continuing its rapid decline.

Certain types of schizophrenia may be linked to summer birth
Patients with deficit schizophrenia, a subtype of schizophrenia characterized by

Mother's exposure to solvents while pregnant is associated with negative effects on child
Children of mothers exposed to organic solvents during their pregnancies had lower scores on certain tests of language, behavior, and cognitive functioning, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UF study: Only holders of brainy jobs get paid for emotional toil
Emotionally draining jobs bring few monetary rewards if the employment does not require great intellectual demands, a new University of Florida study finds.

Most US malaria deaths preventable: CDC
A new CDC study finds that most of the 123 malaria deaths among U.S. travelers between 1963 and 2001 were preventable.

Episiotomies do not prevent shoulder injury to infants stuck in birth canal
A new study from Johns Hopkins suggests that routine widening of the vagina, a procedure known as an episiotomy, does not reduce the risk of injury to infants during a complicated birth, such as when a baby's shoulders are stuck in the birth canal after the head is already out.

Study finds IMRT is cost-effective compared to previous conformal technique
IMRT permits delivery of powerful radiation doses with extremely high precision while reducing radiation side effects on surrounding healthy tissue.

High blood pressure related decline in cognitive function affects adults young and old
High blood pressure in otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 83 is associated with a measurable decline in cognitive function, according to a report published today by University of Maine researchers in the pre-publication online edition of the journal Hypertension.

Long thought inflexible, personality disorders show evidence of change
Personality disorder symptoms are supposed to be stable, enduring, and persistent across the lifespan, however researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Harvard report evidence that such disabling psychiatric conditions are flexible and appreciable change over time is possible.

Eli J. Glatstein, MD, wins a 2004 Gold Medal from ASTRO
Eli. J. Glatstein, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named a 2004 Gold Medal recipient by The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).

Acute decrease in testosterone level has few negative effects on healthy men
Short-term, artificially-induced reductions in testosterone levels in healthy young men had little effect on mood or depressive symptoms, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Attention to detail can make kids' hospital stays shorter, less costly & less frequent
A new study shows that sick children can go home from the hospital more quickly, less expensively and with less chance of a repeat visit if children's hospitals use a unique source of national data to check their performance against other children's hospitals and show them where they can improve.

Of lice and men
A University of Utah study showing how lice evolved with the people they infested reveals that a now-extinct species of early human came into direct contact with our species about 25,000 years ago and spread the parasites to our ancestors.

New biomaterials improve medical devices
The New Jersey Center for Biomaterials will hold the 7th New Jersey Symposium on Biomaterials Science on October 21-22, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency, Two Albany Street in New Brunswick, N.J.

Columbia University scientist wins 2004 Nobel Prize
Richard Axel, M.D. of Columbia University Medical Center has won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Linda B.

Teaching skills, instilling confidence best ways to prevent child abduction
Parents and pediatricians could be doing more to prevent child abductions, says a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Terrorist warnings boost Bush's approval ratings
Whenever the federal government issues a terrorist warning, presidential approval ratings and approval ratings of his treatment of the economy jump, finds Robb Willer, doctoral student and assistant director of the Sociology and Small Groups Laboratory at Cornell University.

Researchers examine recurrence of low back pain
Eight out of 10 adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives, and while the nagging aches usually go away on their own, about half of those people will suffer another episode in the following year.

Mount Sinai researchers present findings on treatments for prostate and breast cancer
Researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Milton and Caroll Petrie Department of Urology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine are presenting findings from five studies of prostate and breast cancer treatments at the 46th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO), October 3-7, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Stanford cooling tool may improve performance of athletes, soldiers
When heat accumulates internally in exercising muscles, it can limit exercise performance.

Minority boys appear to get the least amount of sleep among 8- to 11-year-old children
Among children eight to eleven years old, minority boys get the least amount of sleep, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

NIH convenes state-of-the-science conference on preventing youth violence
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a State- of-the-Science Conference on Preventing Violence and Related Health-Risking Behaviors in Adolescents, October 13-15, 2004 at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Promising new imaging technology precisely tracks lung tumor motion
According to a study presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Atlanta, a new imaging technology may more precisely track tumor movement for patients under treatment for lung cancer than conventional 3D imaging.

An embryonic stem cell model for Parkinson's disease
Dopaminergic neurons, derived from DJ-1-deficient embryonic stem cells, display decreased survival and increased sensitivity to oxidative stress.

Warning: NYPD Blue may affect your opinion of the President
Television viewers don't develop their views about the president and national politics just by watching the news.

U of Colorado team finds security flaws in chess web site
University of Colorado at Boulder Professor John Black and students tested the popular Web-based Internet Chess Club and showed that the site wasn't secure, proving that users could cheat rather easily.

NIH funds centers to study islet transplantation
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it plans to award about $75 million over five years to five clinical centers and a data coordinating center to conduct studies of islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Research aims to improve health, safety of construction workers
In industry, the highest injury rate occurs in the construction sector, according to the U.S.

Offspring at risk from maternal occupational exposure to solvents
Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and the University of Toronto (U of T) have linked maternal exposure to organic solvents in the workplace with poorer performance on measures of neurocognitive function, language, and behaviour in offspring.

Use of aspirin or other NSAIDs increases survival
Regular use of aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) seems to reduce the risk of developing various cancers, including prostate cancer.

Antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy appear equally effective in treating social phobia
The use of fluoxetine (an antidepressant) or comprehensive cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) were similarly effective for treating social phobia, while combining these treatments did not provide further benefit, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Sibling history predicts early heart disease better than parental history
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that sibling history - whether or not a brother or sister had early heart disease - is a better predictor of a person's likelihood of developing coronary heart disease than parental history or traditional risk factor scoring.

Below the surface: New clues to plant signaling from the roots
Researchers report this week the identification of a plant developmental control point that, while originating in the root, helps regulate the critical early days of leaf development.

HHMI researchers Richard Axel and Linda Buck win 2004 Nobel Prize
The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute announced this morning that the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Richard Axel, an HHMI investigator at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Linda Buck, an HHMI investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

A treatment, not a cure: Calcium silicate neutralizes an acidic stream
The paper is the first to document the neutralizing effects of Wollastonite, a calcium silicate, on an acidic stream.

Endangered frogs coexist with fungus once thought fatal
Recapture experiments provide evidence that some amphibian species can now persist with infections of the pathogenic chytrid fungus and suggests, for example, that frogs and fungus might be coevolving.

Postpartum home nurse visits improve infant health, reduce costs
Home nurse visits after childbirth reduce healthcare costs and greatly limit the number of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for infants, a Penn State Children's Hospital study suggests.

Pine cones lead to a fundamental change in clothing
Researchers from the University of Bath and the London College of Fashion are working on intelligent clothing inspired by pine cones.

Cancer Vaccines: A Report from the World - Day Two
This press release offers an overview of selected presentations from Day Two of the Cancer Vaccines 2004: A Report from the World symposium.

New Stanford center probes nanoscale material
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $7.5 million over five years to establish the Center for Probing the Nanoscale (CPN) at Stanford.

Plants provide model for new shape-changing materials
Over the next 17 months, Virginia Tech will lead a team of researchers exploring the development of a new class of materials that will use plant protein structures in an attempt to mimic biological systems.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Oct. 5, 2004
This issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine includes new study in the cost effectiveness of screening women ages 15 to 29 for chlamydia; most malaria deaths among US travelers are preventable; and new study finds that eating lots of unsaturated fats lowers risk for gallstones.
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