Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 28, 2004
Hospital for Special Surgery's Boskey named AAAS fellow
Dr. Adele Boskey, Starr Chair in Mineralized Tissue Research and Director of the Musculoskeletal Integrity Program and the Mineralized Tissue Laboratory at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) has been awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS.) One of 308 members to receive this honor, Dr.

New study says Wal-Mart presence may hinder local poverty reduction
Counties that gained a Wal-Mart store experienced smaller reductions in family poverty rates during the economically strong 1990s than did counties not gaining a Wal-Mart store, according to a new study by a rural economist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Global climate change threatens reindeer, caribou
To assess the effects of climate change on reindeer and caribou - Rangifer is the scientific name - and the communities that depend on them, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) and Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service are hosting a workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, October 31 and November 1, to launch the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment network (CARMA).

Scientists identify key mechanism in estrogen's role in preventing bone loss
Scientists have uncovered a significant new link in the chain of immune system events through which estrogen prevents bone loss and that contribute to bone loss when estrogen is deficient.

Scientists closing in on nerve proteins' contributions to memory and hearing loss
In a finding that may one day help researchers better understand age-related memory and hearing loss, scientists have shown that two key nervous system proteins interact in a manner that helps regulate the transmission of signals in the nervous system.

Journal of Alzheimer's disease to publish ISOA Catalyst Conference
In conjunction with the Institute for the Study of Aging, IOS Press announces the forthcoming publication of the Proceedings of an ISOA Catalyst Conference as a special print and online Supplement to the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD).

Negative media coverage of economy will trump a president's successes
Success in foreign policy and other political arenas, even when well publicized, will not prevent a drop in the president's approval ratings if the media reports a faltering economy, according to a Penn State political scientist.

Fly gut's 'sticky spot' for leishmaniasis parasite
Insect-borne parasites usually like to

Darwin's greatest challenge tackled: the mystery of eye evolution
Scientists at EMBL have now tackled Darwin's major challenge in an evolutionary study published this week in the journal Science. They traced the evolution of the eye and discovered that the light-sensitive cells of our eyes, the rods and cones, are of unexpected evolutionary origin - they come from an ancient population of light-sensitive cells that were initially located in the brain.

Unique new platform offers European scientific community a common voice
On 25 October 2004, the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) was officially launched at an ISE conference in Paris, France.

Global strategies for improving child health under scrutiny
This week's issue of The Lancet is largely devoted to research and comment on health-systems development for developing countries, ahead of a global summit being held in Mexico City next month.

Enzyme linked to mania and schizophrenia impairs higher brain functions
Overactivity of an enzyme implicated in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia markedly impairs higher brain functions in animals.

Improving child survival in Kenya: Strengthening of district hospitals essential
A public-health article in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how national policy initiatives to strengthen district hospitals are required to compliment efforts to provide essential primary care if child survival benefits are to be maximised in Kenya.

Hurricane damage creates pecan shortage
Rich pecan pie is a long-time favorite dessert of the holiday season.

UIC receives $8.1m for public health research, training
The University of Illinois at Chicago has received more than $8 million in grant funding from the U.S.

VYTORIN (TM) superior again to Lipitor at lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol
VYTORIN (ezetimibe/simvastatin) provided greater reduction in LDL (

100,000 excess civilian deaths after Iraq invasion
Public-health experts from the USA and Iraq estimate that around 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the March 2003 invasion-the majority being violent deaths among women and children relating to military activity.

Is the zebra fish leading us to new therapies?
A little over a year ago, VIB, the D. Collen Research Foundation, and the K.U.Leuven invested in the acquisition of a new technology provided by the zebra fish.

Research to explore revolutionary gene sequencing: Threading the molecular needle
A radical new method of DNA sequencing involving molecular rings could make the long-dreamt-of era of true genetic medicine possible with extremely rapid, accurate and low cost sequencing of single molecules.

Iraqi civilian deaths increase dramatically after invasion
Civilian deaths have risen dramatically in Iraq since the country was invaded in March 2003, according to a survey conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions.

Blacks less likely to start smoking, less likely to quit
Blacks are more likely to be lifetime nonsmokers than whites, but they're less likely to quit smoking once they've started, according to a new study of more than 240,000 Americans.

Diabetic damage to eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys may be explained by controversial theory
A controversial theory about how diabetes causes extensive tissue damage will appear in the November issue of Diabetes.

South East may be 'too successful' to benefit from Government's devolution drive
The South East may be too successful to benefit from the Government's drive for greater devolution to the English regions.

Study finds potential new cause of mental decline in old age
Doctors have found important new evidence to explain why mental function becomes less efficient with ageing.

Screening for virus RNA could increase safety of organ & tissue transplantation
Results of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that routine screening of blood samples to detect viral RNA among organ and tissue donors who do not have obvious signs of clinical disease would reduce the risk of disease transmission among transplant recipients.

'Broken' gene reveals evolution of salt retention and possible ties to hypertension
New genetic evidence supports the controversial sodium-retention hypothesis - which links hypertension in certain ethnic groups to an inherited tendency to retain salt.

Red wine mist? Resveratrol shows potential effects against COPD, asthma, arthritis
Resveratrol exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in all systems examined: laboratory cells lines as well as human airway epithelial cells.

Nicotine more addictive when combined with other tobacco smoke chemicals, UCI study finds
Acetaldehyde, one of the main chemical components of tobacco smoke, appears to increase the addictive properties of nicotine, according to animal studies conducted by the UC Irvine Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC).

IDSA recommends ways to strengthen HHS's pandemic influenza plan
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has submitted detailed recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the agency's Draft Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan.

CBEN launches partnership for sustainable nanotechnology
Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) today announced the formation of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON), a collaboration among academic, industry, regulatory and non-governmental interest groups that will work to assess, communicate, and reduce potential environmental and health risks associated with nanotechnology.

ASU gets grant to develop high speed DNA sequence reader
The National Institutes of Health awarded a $1.7 million grant to a team of researchers, led by Peter Williams of Arizona State University, to develop a system that can read DNA sequence up to one thousand times faster and cost only a hundredth as much as current methods.

UCLA and Univ. of Utah researchers identify how a hormone regulates iron
A new UCLA and University of Utah study found how a hormone called hepcidin regulates the iron uptake from the diet and its distribution in the body.

Trojan-horse therapy blocks buildup of Alzheimer's plaque
A new therapeutic approach to Alzheimer's disease protects brain cells in culture by drastically reducing the neurotoxic amyloid protein aggregates that are critical to the development of the disease.

Study questions whether NICE is delivering the goods
Implementation of guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been mixed, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Reed biology professor receives $227,500 for E. coli research
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded a $227,500 Academic Research Enhancement Award to Jay Mellies, associate professor of biology at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for his continuing research on the E. coli strain known as Enteropathogenic Escheriachia coli (EPEC), responsible for an estimated 1 million infant diarrheal deaths in the developing world each year.

Findings challenge Darwinian theory
Did that lobster on your dinner plate inherit its big crusher claw...or did it evolve through need, without the help of genes?

Tufts Veterinary School scientists decode Cryptosporidium genome
Tufts Veterinary School scientists have helped decode the genome sequence of Cryptosporidium hominis, a highly infectious parasite causing common and fatal waterborne diseases in people throughout the world.

New AAAS report cites 'serious concerns' with electronic voting
Just days before a closely contested presidential election, AAAS has released a final report on the state of electronic voting systems and the need for extensive research to define problems and possible solutions.

UCLA chemists report new nano flash welding
UCLA chemists report the discovery of a remarkable new nanoscale phenomenon: flash welding, from an ordinary camera flash.

Researchers detect methane on Mars
A University of Michigan scientist is part of a European Space Agency team that has detected methane gas on Mars, the clearest indicator yet that there could be life there, said Sushil Atreya, professor and director of the Planetary Science Laboratory in the College of Engineering.

Will email consultations improve patient care?
Making email communication part of routine medical practice may have unforseen consequences for the NHS, warns a doctor in a letter to this week's BMJ.

The sun is more active now than over the last 8000 years
An international team of scientists has reconstructed the Sun's activity over the last 11 millennia and forecasts decreased activity within a few decades.

Selling smaller packs of painkillers slashes suicide risk
Selling paracetamol and other painkillers in smaller pack sizes has slashed rates of suicide and damage to the liver from paracetamol poisoning, concludes a study on
Common household fragrances may be harming aquatic wildlife, study finds
Those fragrant soaps and shampoos we casually rinse down the drain may be causing long-term damage to aquatic wildlife downstream by interfering with the animals' natural ability to eliminate toxins from their system, according to a new Stanford University study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Photons under control
A building block has been created for quantum-computing, secure communication and quantum Internet.

Rice biologists elected AAAS Fellows
Rice University evolutionary biologists Joan Strassmann and David Queller have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow.

Duma ratifies Kyoto protocol
The State Duma ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Friday, 22 October 2004 after less than two hours of debate, bringing the international treaty to limit greenhouse gases just a heartbeat away from coming into force worldwide.
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