Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 08, 2004
TRMM satellite proves El Nino holds the reins on global rains
NASA scientists recently found the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the main driver of the change in rain patterns all around the world.

UC Santa Barbara researchers discover living nanoscale 'necklace'
In an interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a team of researchers in physics and biology have made a discovery at the nanoscale level that could be instrumental in the production of miniaturized materials with many applications.

As obesity increases in people with diabetes, so does risk of cardiovascular disease
As weight goes up among people with diabetes, so does risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, according to a national study of people with diabetes.

New medication dramatically decreases congestive heart failure in African-American patients
A new medication has dramatically reduced mortality among African-American patients suffering from heart disease, according to results of a study including UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers.

Smoking triggers early onset of pancreatic cancer
A new study finds tobacco may act as an environmental trigger for patients with an inherited genetic predisposition to pancreatic cancer.

Reports says Uganda's forests worth $350 million/year
A report released by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Uganda's National Forest Authority says that Uganda's forests are worth some $350 million per year, with rural people supplementing up to 36 percent of their income with renewable forest products.

Stowers Institute scientist named American Cancer Society research professor
Scott Hawley, Ph.D., investigator at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, has been named an American Cancer Society Research Professor.

Genetically engineered corn poses no immediate threat to Mexican crops
Genetically modified (GM) corn won't threaten native corn species in Mexico, according to a new report issued by the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA).

Fingerprints in the sky explained
Today, a group of physicists published the most compact and elegant explanation of one of nature's simplest phenomena: the way light behaves in the sky above us.

Not the end, but the beginning of the world as we know it
Widespread volcanic activity, cyanobacteria and global glaciation may sound like the plot of a new, blockbuster disaster movie, but in reality, they are all events in the mystery surrounding the development of our oxygen-rich atmosphere, according to a Penn State geoscientist.

Heart arrhythmias easily treated, yet few know risks
Millions of Americans have arrhythmia, most of which are harmless, but certain types of arrhythmia can be life threatening, especially in combination with other heart disease.

Heart attack, stroke risk overlooked in diabetics
Many people with diabetes are not getting the medications vital to controlling their risks for heart attack and stroke, due to a preoccupation with high blood sugar, according to new research from the University of Alberta.

Cancer researchers seek to predict tumor growth
Cleveland oncologists and engineers have launched a revolutionary investigation in cancer research as part of a National Cancer Institute effort that calls for the development of a systems biology approach to gain understanding and to unlock issues of the most complex cancer biology problems.

News briefs from the Journal CHEST, November 2004
News briefs from the November issue of the journal CHEST highlight studies on asthma and acid reflux, dental hygiene and respiratory infections in the elderly, and patient education related to asthma.

New NSF center to study fundamentals of nanostructures, build and test nanodevices
A new $11.9 million Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS), funded for five years by the National Science Foundation, will focus on basic studies of nanostructures - nanowires, nanotubes and a host of other nanoscale Tinkertoys - and putting these together to make nanodevices with moving parts.

Close control of blood pressure associated with fewer eye problems in patients with type 2 diabetes
Patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension who kept their blood pressure very tightly controlled had fewer eye disorders caused by their diabetes, according to an article in the November issue of The Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

MRI technique for measuring blood volume helps distinguish between abscesses and tumors in the brain
Dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MRI allows physicians to differentiate between cerebral abscesses--inflamed areas in the brain caused by infection--and malignant brain tumors without surgery, says a new preliminary study by researchers from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.

Percutaneous edge-to-edge mitral valve repair shows favorable preliminary results
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is participating in a nationwide clinical trial of a new valve repair device that could replace major heart surgery in some patients.

Low cost drug helps reduce deaths, repeat heart attacks
A major Canadian-led global study has found that an inexpensive anti-blood-clotting drug significantly reduces death and repeat heart attacks without increasing the risk of stroke.

Alzheimer's drug improves memory of MS patients
Taking a drug used for Alzheimer's disease may improve the memory of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in the November 9 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New magnetic percutaneous system navigates vessels
A new magnetic navigation system shows promise for use during percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2004.

Smoking cessation can improve survival among patients with severe COPD
A new study in the November issue of the journal CHEST showed that patients with severe, early-onset COPD who continued to smoke had a risk of mortality that was almost three times that of patients who stopped smoking.

Heart surgery patients receive less aggressive discharge care
Patients who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery are prescribed life-saving medications at discharge significantly less frequently than heart attack patients who receive less invasive angioplasty procedures, according to a new analysis by researchers at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Study of Big Ten football injuries shows NCAA rule change did not reduce injury rates
A new study conducted by the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee finds that a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rule change, instituted in 1998, limiting the number and type of spring football practice sessions did not have the desired effect of reducing the spring injury rates to levels equal to or lower than those of fall practices.

NYU team develops enhanced algorithm for detecting changes in cancer genomes
Researchers at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences have developed a new algorithm that can lead to more accurate detection of cancer genes than previous versions.

St. Jude named 'Research Leader' by Scientific American magazine
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been named by Scientific American magazine as a

University of Pennsylvania Health System launches life-saving eICU® technology
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) will be the first health system in the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware) to go live with eICU® technology on November 15th.

Head movements by warblers could reveal basis for birds' geomagnetic sense
Researchers have uncovered a major clue to a tantalizing and long-standing mystery: how migratory songbirds sense geomagnetic fields and use this information to orient their flight.

Global warming's impact on US plants, animals determined from review of dozens of studies
Global warming has forced U.S. plants and animals to change behavior in recent decades in sometimes harmful ways, a new report for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change finds.

Scientists uncover secret to sharp teeth
Researchers identify a molecular mechanism that controls the precise patterning of enamel formation on incisor teeth.

Antidepressant may help people stop smoking when used with nicotine patch
When used with a transdermal nicotine patch, nortriptyline--an antidepressant medication--may aid in smoking cessation, according to an article in the November 8 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Asymmetric organs and microRNA-directed DNA modification
A new research study reveals that the regulation of critical genes that guide development of asymmetric leaf patterning depends on microRNA-directed gene inhibition via DNA methylation.

Look at past sea-level rise points to troubling future
New research presented at this week's annual meeting of the Geological Society of America shows that rising sea levels of as little as a half-meter per century have been sufficient to dramatically change the shoreline of the U.S.

ZETIA(R) co-administered with fenofibrate provided complementary lipid lowering efficacy
Results from a study showed that coadministration of ZETIA® and fenofibrate significantly reduced LDL cholesterol, non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol and apo B in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia and high LDL cholesterol when compared to fenofibrate alone.

Study will assess effect of tomato oil on precancerous prostate changes
A new study at Northwestern University seeks to determine whether natural tomato oil with a high concentration of lycopene may reverse or delay progression of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), a condition in which abnormal cells form within the prostate and which is the strongest risk factor yet identified for the development of prostate cancer.

Injury from epileptic seizures relatively rare, Mayo Clinic study find
A new Mayo Clinic study has found a low risk of major injury from epileptic seizures.

New compounds effective against Alzheimer's disease onset and progression
Drug discovery researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new class of compounds that have the potential to reduce the inflammation of brain cells and the neuron loss associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Conversion of flower organs into leaves
More than 200 years ago, the poet, philosopher, and natural scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe made the remarkable suggestion that flower organs represent modified leaves.

New insights into muscle adaptation to exercise
Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified the skeletal muscle changes that occur in response to endurance exercise and have better defined the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in creating new blood vessels, known as angiogenesis, in the process.

Young adults who maintain their weight have lower risk factor levels for heart disease
Young adults who maintain their weight over time, even if they are overweight, have lower risk factor levels for heart disease and are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome in middle age than those whose weight increases, according to the results of a large multi-center study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

New source for heart bypass replacement blood vessels: Fibrin-based TEVs
Decades-long search reaches milestone as SUNY Buffalo researchers design tissue engineered blood vessels (TEVs) using a matrix of vascular smooth muscle embedded in fibrin gels.

A new target for control of obesity
A team of researchers led by The Burnham Institute's Gen-Sheng Feng, Ph.D. has discovered that a protein called Shp2 plays a critical role in obesity.

ACE inhibitors not needed for many heart disease patients, according to new study
Many heart disease patients who are already receiving state-of-the-art therapy do not benefit from additional treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

HIV-1 protease inhibitors: Effective against malaria?
Protease inhibitors used to treat HIV-1 infection may also be effective for treatment or prevention of malaria, according to a study published in the December 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Protection from sudden cardiac death in women may be linked with a diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid
Women who reported eating diets rich in oils containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) seemed to have a lower risk of dying from heart disease and sudden cardiac death than women whose diets are low in the plant-derived fatty acid.

Delays in test result reviewing common
Delays in reviewing test results are common, and many physicians are not satisfied with how they are able to manage test results, according to an article in the November 8 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

International marine survey of coral death
Seeing coral death as one symptom of widespread disease in the oceans' marine organisms, The World Bank and the Global Environment Fund have committed $28 million to the first phase of a 15-year study called the Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building project.

OneWorld Health named business leader in public health on '2004 Scientific American 50'
The Institute for OneWorld Health has been selected by the Board of Editors at Scientific American magazine as the Business Leader in Public Health and Epidemiology for creating the first nonprofit U.S. drug firm that seeks to develop new, affordable medicines for people in the developing world.

Impaired neuromotor function following cancer treatment can improve
Patients who suffer a loss of cognitive and motor function as a result of stem cell transplantation for severe blood disorders are likely to see those functions return to previous levels after one year, according to a new study in the November 15, 2004, issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Astronauts submit first medical research paper from space
The first medical research paper submitted from the International Space Station (ISS) was published online today by the journal Radiology.

New study to use electronic medical records to improve care of patients with diabetes
Three major Cleveland medical research institutions have received a $1.5 million grant to evaluate whether advanced technology for record keeping and patient empowerment can improve the care and health outcomes of patients with diabetes.

Tone language translates to perfect pitch
Could it be that cellist Yo-Yo Ma owes his perfect musical pitch to his Chinese parents?

News tips for Monday, November 8, 2004
To complement our news releases, here are additional news tips reported by the American Heart Association's Public and Media Relations from more than 3,600 abstracts.

Implanted defibrillators cut heart patients' death risk, some more than others
Implanted devices that can shock a failing heart back into regular rhythm do an excellent job of keeping patients alive, two new studies find.

Changing ecosystems
Two seperate studies examine changing ecosystems. In the first, a team of researchers from the U.S. and Japan have shown that exotic species can have strong effects that degrade not only the ecosystems they invade, but also spread to adjacent ecosystems as well.

Good fats decrease multiple heart disease risk factors
A Penn State study has shown that a diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid from walnuts, walnut oil and flaxseed oil not only lowered bad cholesterol but also decreased markers for blood vessel inflammation in men and women representative of typical Americans at cardiovascular risk.

For yeast, a DNA break ensures sex switch for a grandchild
New work has established a molecular mechanism to explain how fission yeast cells manage to switch the mating type of a certain proportion of individuals over the course of two generations.

Doctors transplant ovary to woman's arm to preserve fertility
A new study finds surgery to transplant an ovary to the upper arm is feasible and preserves hormonal function in women undergoing treatment for cervical cancer.

High-predator environment has unexpected impact on aging in fish
Classic evolutionary theories of senescence, or the evolution of the rate at which organisms deteriorate as they age, have been challenged by the findings of researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Study pinpoints schizophrenia brain glitch
Scientists for the first time have identified a fault in the brain waves of schizophrenics that may explain their hallucinations and disturbed thinking.

Method developed to replicate stem cells from the heart
In human and animal studies, scientists at Johns Hopkins have developed a fast and safe method for collecting heart stem cells from remarkably small amounts of biopsied heart tissue (15 mg or less), and growing the cells in the lab to get more.

Molecular switch provides clues to remarkable adaptability of human pathogen
Scientists have identified a gene that may play a key role in the ability of an important human pathogen to sense and adjust to its surroundings.

Neuronal excitability may hold key to age-related decline in learning and memory
By analyzing the effects of altered neuronal function in mice, researchers have gained new understanding of how changes in a particular neuronal characteristic, neuronal excitability, may negatively impact learning and memory as we age. 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