Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 06, 2004
Free radicals and fertilization: Study reveals egg protection secret
Sea urchin eggs, a common model for human fertility research, create a protein shield just minutes after fertilization.

Psychological support helps adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome
Psychological support, in the form of cognitive behaviour therapy, is an effective treatment for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome, finds a new study published on
Zebrafish study yields observation of muscle formation
In this month's issue of the journal Developmental Cell, Clarissa Henry, assistant professor in the University of Maine Dept. of Biological Sciences, reports findings from a study of muscle cell development in zebrafish embryos.

Study reveals developing countries with recipe for thriving health biotech industries
Health biotechnology is no longer the sole preserve of high-level research institutions of North America and Europe, according to a ground-breaking three-year study by 15 researchers of health biotechnology innovation systems in seven countries: Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, South Africa and South Korea.

Studies reveal physicians' attitudes on end-of-life care
Doctors appear willing to use intensive treatment to lessen otherwise untreatable pain or other severe symptoms in dying patients even if the treatment, at least in theory, risks hastening the dying process, according to two studies.

Lab study: Protein delivered via genetically engineered virus slowed glioblasoma multiforme growth
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that a small protein called hsFlt3L delivered via a genetically engineered virus increased the number of immune cells in the brain and significantly slowed tumor growth, increasing the survival of laboratory rats in pre-clinical studies.

Updated press release to October 2004 Cochrane Review
The Cochrane Collaboration reports that the October 2004 review, 'Interactive Health Communication Applications for people with chronic disease' (1) contains errors.

Cigarette smoke a culprit in poor healing and increased scarring
Cigarette smoke, whether first- or second-hand, complicates the careful cellular choreography of wound healing, according to a paper by University of California, Riverside researchers that was included in the 2004 Press Book of the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society For Cell Biology (ASCB).

Tracking orangutans from the sky
A new aerial method for surveying orangutan densities provides robust estimates of their number and could be used for large-scale surveying of great ape populations in Asia and Africa.

Got heart disease? The answer may be in your fingertips
A noninvasive fingertip test can identify patients with the earliest stages of heart disease and may prove cost-effective as a screening test, according to the findings of a Mayo Clinic study published this week in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.

9,000-year history of Chinese fermented beverages confirmed
An international team of researchers provides the first direct chemical evidence for early fermented beverages in ancient China, including a Neolithic mixed beverage of rice, honey, and fruit, some 9,000 years ago, and more specialized rice and millet wines with added aromatic substances of the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties (ca.

Blacks and poor more likely to donate than receive many types of transplant organs
Blacks and poor individuals are more likely to be donors while whites and wealthier individuals are more likely to be recipients of many types of transplant organs, according to a new study in the November 2004 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Mayo Clinic researchers announce promising next generation treatments for multiple myeloma
The combination of two pills -- thalidomide and dexamethasone -- may be an effective alternative to the intravenous chemotherapy commonly prescribed to patients with multiple myeloma, according to a large collaborative study conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and led by a Mayo Clinic investigator.

Purdue method to help engineers design systems for Mars, moon missions
Purdue University researchers, in the culmination of a four-year NASA-funded project, have created a method that will enable engineers to design more efficient systems for heating, cooling and other applications in spacecraft for missions to Mars and the moon.

The platonic form of stalactites
No matter whether they're big, little, long, short, skinny or fat, classic stalactites have the same singular shape -- one that hadn't been recognized before.

New tipifarnib (R115777) data in AML presented at American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting
Data on tipifarnib (R115777), a compound under investigation by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C. for the treatment of elderly patients with newly diagnosed poor-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML), were presented at the 46th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Study urges caution in contaminant source tracking
When a community finds that water it relies on for drinking or recreation contains E. coli (Escherichia coli), a bacterium found in the feces of warm-blooded animals that indicates fecal contamination, residents and officials naturally want to find the cause and fix it -- quickly.

TV ads during sports depict unsafe behavior and violence
Children watching commercials aired during televised sports events may frequently be exposed to violent and unsafe behavior, a study by a Penn State Children's Hospital physician suggests.

SIDS risk linked to lack of experience with tummy-sleeping
Babies who never sleep on their stomachs don't learn behaviors that may lessen their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Does the lack of sleep make you fat?
The recent rise in obesity may be partly due to the reduced amount of time we spend asleep, according to new research from the University of Bristol, UK.

Pitt research shows NASA sleep-wake scheduling guide may need to be changed
New research from the University of Pittsburgh shows it is not easy for the human body to adjust to dramatic time changes as experienced by those who work shifts or whose travel takes them across time zones.

Immigration & psychiatric disorders
Largest ever epidemiologic study of alcohol and other related psychiatric disorders shows that risk for many conditions is greater among US-born than foreign-born immigrants to US.

Distinguished economist and NASA expert examine climate change
Distinguished natural resource economist Rajendra K. Pachauri and global science diplomat James E.

Surgeons pinch more than an inch from the arm to rebuild a micropenis
A surgical procedure being pioneered by University College London (UCL) urologists is enabling men born with a very small penis to acquire an average-sized, functioning penis which not only allows them to urinate normally, but for many, to enjoy a full sex life for the first time.

Impulsive behavior may be relict of hunter-gatherer past
Drawing on experiments with blue jays, a team of University of Minnesota researchers has found what may be the evolutionary basis for impulsive behavior.

Human gland probably evolved from gills
The human parathyroid gland, which regulates the level of calcium in the blood, probably evolved from the gills of fish, according to researchers from King's College London.

Academy meeting highlights advances in detecting Amish, Jewish, and Icelandic genetic diseases
To examine advances in genomic medicine as well as ethical concerns, the New York Academy of Sciences' Genomic Medicine Discussion Group Section is sponsoring a meeting, Genetic Studies in Special Populations, on Wednesday, December 8 at Rockefeller University, Welch Hall.

Generic drug use varies widely by state, study reveals
Generic drug use varies widely by state, according to a new Express Scripts study that measured per capita generic drug utilization in 2003 using a random sample of approximately 3 million pharmacy benefit plan members age 18 to 64.

Next edition of textbook ushers cellular microbiology out of infancy
ASM Press announces the latest edition of its textbook Cellular Microbiology.

Proof positive: Mars once had water, researchers conclude
There is undeniable proof that water once existed on the planet Mars, a team of researchers has concluded in a special issue of the journal Science.

Encryption, data hiding and watermarking: Subject of new book by NJIT expert
Terrorists might use it to mask their messages: it's called data hiding - the subject of a new book by Ali Akansu, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

Dec. 7 tip sheet Annals of Internal Medicine
Highlights of the December 7 publication Annals of Internal Medicine include different COX-2 inhibitors appear to have different cardiovascular effect; lack of sleep increases hunger and may encourage weight gain; sudden death in military recruits is rare.

Younger children in the child welfare system could benefit from specialty mental health services
Children in the child welfare system, especially younger children and those remaining in their homes, have low rates of mental health services use, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New marrow transplant method developed at Stanford may eliminate fatal side effects
researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a technique that can virtually eliminate this life-threatening complication, known as graft-versus-host disease, without compromising the transplanted cells' effectiveness against cancer.

Stanford study links obesity to hormonal changes from lack of sleep
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have found that sleep loss leads to higher levels of a hormone that triggers appetite, lower levels of a hormone that tells your body it's full and an increased body mass index.

MIT, Columbia begin new energy experiment
MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship.

Efforts to clone primates move forward
Using cloning techniques pioneered by South Korean researchers who earlier this year reported creating the first cloned human embryonic stem cell line, University of Pittsburgh scientists have taken a significant step toward therapeutic cloning of nonhuman primate embryos.

Diabetics with mental disorders at increased risk for diabetic complications
Diabetics with mental disorders do not have as good blood sugar control as diabetics without mental illness and are more likely to suffer diabetes complications than diabetics without mental illness.

Penn epidemiological study shows difference in cardiovascular effects between Vioxx and Celebrex
In the first epidemiological study designed specifically to determine the heart-attack risk associated with COX-2 inhibitors rofecoxib (Vioxx) and celecoxib (Celebrex), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers found that use of rofecoxib was associated with 2.72-higher odds of heart attack than was the use of celecoxib, although neither of the two drugs showed a statistically significant elevated risk of heart attack relative to people who did not use the drugs.

Grab 'n' go breakfast better serves middle school children
Crunched for time, many parents are sending their children off to school without breakfast, but a trial program instituted in a Pennsylvania school may not only feed those in a rush, but better provide for those entitled to free and reduced price meals, according to Penn State researchers.

A new tiger subspecies?
Genetic analysis provides the basis for subspecies recognition among tigers, and will lead to improved conservation strategies for these endangered animals.

Two days of post-surgical pain relief now possible with just one shot
Beginning today, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. will initiate commercial shipments of the first and only single-dose epidural injection that can provide up to 48 hours of pain control to help ease pain for people undergoing major surgery in the United States.

Physicians may need to dig deeper when treating HIV-related lymphomas
When it comes to treating HIV-positive patients with blood cancers, not all lymphomas are created equal, according to hematologists from the University of Southern California.

Sleep duration affects appetite-regulating hormones
The less people sleep the higher their risk for being overweight.

Scientists discover key egg enzyme for blocking sperm entry after fertilization
Countless sperm may surround an egg at one time, yet only one must be allowed to fertilize it.

Innovative take-off system could lead to safer, cleaner air travel
A new approach to aircraft scheduling that uses computer models could allow a safe increase in airport throughput and reduce pollution.

Peptide vaccine can produce complete remission in myeloid leukemia patients
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center offers these news items presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Two-thirds of school-age children have an imaginary companion by age 7
Imagination is alive and thriving in the mnds of America's school-age children.

Sleep loss boosts appetite, may encourage weight gain
University of Chicago researchers have found that partial sleep deprivation alters levels of the hormones that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite and a preference for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

Science to restore the nation's ecosystems
Hydrologists, biologists, geologists and geographers from the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) will discuss their science at the First National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) Dec.

Darfur aid workers receiving assistance from orbit
It is hard to overstate the scale of the humanitarian emergency unfolding in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region: by current estimates there are 1.45 million people displaced from their homes across an area the size of France.

Month of birth linked to risk of MS
In the northern hemisphere, being born in May is linked to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life, while being born in November carries the lowest risk, finds a new study published on
More than half of relapsed CLL patients respond to two biologics with chemotherapy
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center offers these news items presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Prevalence of overweight increasing in young children from low-income families
The prevalence of overweight increased from 1989 to 2000 in children aged two to four years from low-income families, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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