Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 15, 2004
NHLBI statement on oral contraceptive study
A Women's Health Initiative (WHI) review of a recent abstract on the effects of oral contraceptive use on cardiovascular disease has found flaws in both the design and interpretation of the WHI data used in the study.

BioMed Central announces publishing partnership with The Scientist magazine
BioMed Central is pleased to announce that the new website for The Scientist, the premier source for life science news, will from today be available on the BioMed Central platform.

Safety of childbirth after C-section examined
The most definitive study to date of women who had previously undergone cesarean-section deliveries, but who later chose an attempt at vaginal delivery for subsequent births, shows that serious complications are possible, but that the absolute risk of these occurring is very small.

Where the brain harbors unconscious fears
Whether it's the jump-out-of-your skin fright from the attack of a horror movie villain or the pulse-pounding encounter with a snarling dog, people react to fearful situations according to their basic unconscious level of anxiety.

Researchers describe how human blood stem cells transform themselves to repair injured animal hearts
Regeneration of damaged hearts using blood stem cells now appears to be clinically promising, say Texas researchers who show that in mice, human stem cells use different methods to morph into two kinds of cells needed to restore heart function - cardiac muscle cells that contract the heart as well as the endothelial cells that line blood vessels found throughout the organ.

NSF grant to Rice will fund Math Leadership Institute
Rice University has received a $3.8 million grant from NSF to establish a Mathematics Leadership Institute that should help improve high school math instruction in the Houston area.

Femtosecond laser technique opens new opportunities for research on neural regeneration
In a breakthrough for research on nerve regeneration, a team of scientists has reported using femtosecond laser pulses to precisely cut individual axons of nerves in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, one of the most versatile and widely used experimental organisms for genetic and biomedical research.

Loss of fruit fly retina protein delays blinding light damage
In experiments with fruit flies, Johns Hopkins researchers have found that blindness induced by constant light results directly from the loss of a key light-detecting protein, rather than from the overall death of cells in the retina, which in humans is a light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

Contractor ignorance kills earthquake victims in sesmic zones, says U. of Colorado professor
Hundreds of thousands of earthquake fatalities could be averted if building contractors and homeowners were alerted to elementary construction principles, especially in the world's six deadliest earthquake countries led by Iran, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder seismologist.

Research demystifies quantum properties of exotic materials
The computing industry's demand for new materials with radical electronic properties has produced experimental results that textbook theories simply cannot explain.

Free nicotine patches increase short-term smoking quit rates
According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Washington County Health Department, distributing free nicotine patches increased participation in a Maryland smoking cessation program and helped 27 percent more people stop smoking during the first six months after quitting.

New route to Parkinson's found in cells' 'garbage disposal' system
Researchers have known that mutations in a key gene called parkin are a major cause of Parkinson's disease (PD).

NASA picks two IU devices to go to Mars
Two of the eight instruments selected to go on a Mars rover have Indiana University Bloomington geologists behind them, NASA announced yesterday.

Study models impact of anthrax vaccine
Rapidly distributing antibiotics to people exposed to anthrax spores during a bioterrorist attack, could by itself, prevent about 70 percent of anthrax infections, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

New effects of an antihistaminic against cerebral injury
Ranitidine, a widely used substance used as an antihistaminic drug against gastric ulcers, may become a new treatment for cerebral ischemia caused by craneoencephalic infarcts or traumatisms, the third leading cause of deaths in industrialised countries.

Researchers find circulating tumor cells in long-term cancer survivors
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have shown that some long-term breast-cancer survivors may have innate mechanisms to keep breast cancer at bay.

Canadian researchers' important discovery in HIV research
CANVAC, the Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, is proud to announce the development of a new method to assess how well the thymus (an organ located at the base of the neck) works and the discovery of a functional abnormality of this organ in HIV-infected individuals.

Queen's biologist awarded Canada's top science prize
Queen's Biology Professor John Smol has received the country's top science award - the prestigious Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal from Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC).

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for December 2004 (second issue)
Newsworthy journal highlights include studies showing that: high-risk patients with severe asthma who were hospitalized for serious exacerbations reduced their prescribed inhaled or oral corticosteroid dose within 7 days of discharge by 50 percent; participants with mild to moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who used an inhaled corticosteroid showed reduced bone density; and, at 10 clinical centers, researchers found a strong association between the disease sarcoidosis and occupational exposure to insecticides.

Brain region identified that controls collecting behavior
Most people have a collection of some kind at some point in their lives.

K-State civil engineering department awarded federal funding for transportation center
Federal funding for the establishment of a National Research Center for Rural Transportation Infrastructure and Safety at Kansas State University will target preserving Kansas' rural transportation infrastructure.

WSU engineer studies superconductors for electrical, defense, space, medical applications
A Wright State engineering professor recently received a $950,000 grant for superconductor research with applications that interest the electric power generation industry, the military, space technologists and the medical community.

Earth's safe zone became hot during legendary solar storms
A NASA-funded study found a region between radiation belts surrounding the Earth is not as benign as once thought.

Return of the Staphylococcus aureus 'superbug'
In the December 15 issue of the JCI, researchers from University Medical Center Rotterdam examined Staphylococcus aureus strains from healthy and infected individuals and compared their genetic relatedness.

Microbe's genome reveals insights into ocean ecology
Unexpected findings about the genetic makeup of an important marine microbe have given scientists a new perspective on how bacteria make a living in the ocean - a view that may prove useful in wider studies of marine ecology.

Scientists 'PAD' their way to new metal-oxide film technology
University of California scientists working with a researcher from Washington State University at Los Alamos National Laboratory's Superconductivity Technology Center have developed a novel method for creating high performance, inorganic metal-oxide films using polymer-assisted deposition, or PAD.

National study finds second cesarean section safer than normal delivery
For a pregnant woman who already has had one cesarean delivery, an attempt at vaginal delivery is more dangerous for the baby than a second cesarean section, according to a research study at 19 academic health centers, including Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

New monkey discovered in Northeastern India
A species of monkey previously unknown to science has been discovered in the remote northeastern region of India, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Four Max Planck Partner Groups starting in India
The Max Planck Society intensifies its cooperation with Indian research institutes through research groups and guest fellowships.

NASA helps visually impaired students touch the sun
A new book,

Requip tablets treat symptoms of primary RLS
Study results published today in the journal Movement Disorders show that Requipâ(ropinirole HCl) Tablets effectively treats the symptoms of primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) as assessed by improvements in symptoms, over 12 weeks.

Welder's electronic passport
An electronic passport for welders that saves time and costs by certifying their skills and qualifications, wherever they work in Europe.

NASA scientists discuss giant atmospheric brown cloud
NASA scientists announced a giant, smoggy atmospheric brown cloud, which forms over South Asia and the Indian Ocean, has intercontinental reach.

Major climate change occurred 5,200 years ago: Evidence suggests that history could repeat itself
Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson worries that he may have found clues that show history repeating itself, and if he is right, the result could have important implications to modern society.

Leibniz prizewinners 2005
The DFG named the winners of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Programme for 2005.

NSF funds Panikov's Alaskan Tundra Microbial Observatory project
A grant has been awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Drs.

ZYVOX(R) demonstrates high success rate for patients who develop MRSA surgical site infections
Surgical patients treated with Pfizer's novel antibiotic ZYVOX® (linezolid; injection, tablets, and for oral suspension) had a significantly higher rate of microbiologic success (documented or presumed eradication) than those treated with intravenous (IV) vancomycin for surgical site infections (SSIs) caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to data published in the December issue of the American Journal of Surgery.

Impact of repeated abuse can be as severe for bystanders as victims
Children and adult bystanders who witness repeated abuse inflicted on others may experience both a psychological and physiological stress level that, over time, can equal that of the victim, according to a Penn State researcher.

Desires for fatty foods and alcohol share a chemical trigger
A brain chemical that stokes hunger for food and fat also triggers thirst for alcohol and may play a role in chronic drinking, according to a study led by Princeton University scientists.

PNNL's body scanner garners federal commercialization award
A technology developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for its successful transfer to the commercial market.

INEEL-designed system assists army with chemical weapon destruction
The United States is moving forward decisively on its commitment to destroy thousands of chemical munitions, thanks in part, to the efforts of engineers, scientists and technicians at the U.S.

New clue to nerve growth may help regeneration efforts
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered how one family of proteins repels growing nerves and keeps them properly on track during development.

ESMO and Imedex announce partnership for the World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer
Imedex, Inc. and The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) today announced their collaboration in the promotion of The World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer®, a clinically-focused Congress that has attracted thousands of oncologists and gastroenterologists since its inception in 1999.

Bush's DOE secretary nominee good for science, say APS leaders
President Bush's nominee to the top post in the Department of Energy is likely to be a boon to US science, say the leaders of the American Physical Society, the nation's largest association of professional physicists.

Very high prevalence of virus linked to cervical cancer found in adolescent women
Exceeding rates observed in previous research, a new study found four out of five sexually active adolescent women infected with human papillomavirus, a virus linked to cervical cancer and genital warts.

Oxidants link obesity to diabetes
Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome - which puts sufferers at risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes - include obesity, inactivity, and genetic factors.

Study: Unsafe gun, poison chemical storage in homes can turn holiday visits deadly
Many US residents who have younger children at home are negligent in storing guns and poisonous materials, but those whose homes children only visit are significantly worse, according to a new study.

50,000-year-old plant may warn of the death of tropical ice caps
A simple stroll after a full day of field research near a high Andean glacier in Peru led glaciologist Lonnie Thompson to discover a bed of previously hidden plants that date back at least 50,000 years.

£15 million cancer research coup
Cancer and cell-ageing researchers working at the Wales College of Medicine at Cardiff University, UK have secured over 15 million UK pounds to study cancer and DNA damage.

Rural roads in Southeast are deadliest in nation
Rural two-lane highways are the largest single class of roads in the United States -- and they are the deadliest, especially in the Southeast.

Researchers develop MRI technique to study brain anatomy in invertebrates
Scientists with the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, a research consortium based at Georgia State University, have for the first time used a form of magnetic resonance imaging to reveal anatomical features of the nervous system in a live crayfish, a crustacean whose brain measures only 3 millimeters wide.

How platelets help cancer invade other tissues
In the December 15 issue of the JCI, researchers from Université Claude Bernard Lyon, France, show that blood platelets release lysophosphatidic acid, which promotes tumor cell division, and that platelets also indirectly activate bone breakdown in mice.

Symphony of colours in the Tarantula
The Tarantula Nebula is the most vigorous star forming region known in the local Universe.

Three Yale scientists receive Ellison Medical Foundation awards
The ten 2004 Senior Scholars in Global Infectious Disease recently announced by the Ellison Medical Foundation in Bethesda, MD, include three Yale investigators: Jorge Galán, Lucille P.

Laser scalpel opens way for nerve regeneration studies in worms
Using a precisely targeted laser, researchers have snipped apart a single neuron in the roundworm C. elegans -- an achievement that opens a new avenue for studying nerve regeneration in this genetically manipulable animal.

Inadequate sleep in late pregnancy may influence labor and delivery
A study by researchers at the UCSF School of Nursing has found that women who have less sleep or severely disrupted sleep in late pregnancy are significantly more likely to have longer labors and are more likely to have cesarean births.

Harlem Hospital Center, Columbia affiliate, recognized for efforts to fight glaucoma
Harlem Hospital Center, an affiliate of Columbia University Medical Center, was awarded a $176,650 grant from the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation for glaucoma screenings in the Harlem and upper Manhattan communities. 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