Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2004
Researchers report early success using saliva to detect oral cancer
Scientists reported taking a major step forward in using saliva to detect oral cancer.

Expert panel calls for raising the bar in treating schizophrenia
A panel of experts says doctors treating patients with schizophrenia should be targeting symptoms beyond hallucinations and delusions, and focus in on the common, but often overlooked, symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as the inability to think clearly.

Researchers find way to make internet video more appealing
Jay Leno's comedy routines are helping to advance technologies for distance learning on the Internet.

Timing is everything for optimum combined cancer therapy
Agents designed to attack blood vessels that feed a growing tumor are effective against tumor growth in laboratory experiments.

Medicare HMOs fail to control costs of colon surgery in elderly patients
The costs of caring for elderly Florida patients hospitalized for colon surgery are not reduced by Medicare HMOs, a study by University of South Florida researchers reports.

Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, Dec. 21, 2004
In this issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, three articles study acupuncture and manipulation for spine and joints and veterans health care scores well on overall quality compared with national sample.

Just in time for New Year's: A proposal for a better calendar
A Johns Hopkins physicist has designed a new calendar that he says would have

Body's biological clock found to affect cardiac rhythm patterns in healthy adults
In a first-ever finding, physicists from Boston University and physiologists from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital report that the body's biological clock affects the patterns of heart-rate control in healthy individuals independent of behavior influences.

Potent anticancer drug increases function of axons in mouse model of neurodegeneration
In a preclinical efficacy trial, the cancer drug paclitaxel (Paxceed) reduced the adverse effects of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology in a mouse model.

Timing appears essential to combining antiangiogenesis and radiation therapy
Although early clinical trials of the cancer-fighting potential of antiangiogenesis drugs did not have dramatic results, subsequent trials showed that combining agents that suppress blood-vessel growth with therapies that destroy cancer cells can improve patient survival.

Scientists find impaired chromatin structure formation & imprinted gene involvement in Rett Syndrome
A research team led by Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu of the Life Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified a gene, DLX5, that may play a role in the pathology of Rett Syndrome, a devastating neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in girls.

Home-based treatment as effective as hospital-based treatment for hand eczema
An at-home hand dermatitis treatment with oral medication and use of a portable tanning unit appears to be as effective as a hospital-based treatment in reducing the symptoms of hand dermatitis, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CSIRO points the way to seafloor riches
CSIRO expeditions uncovered surprisingly rich deposits on the seafloor which were subsequently pegged by the Australian-managed company, Nautilus Minerals Limited.

Ending racial disparities in health care could save 5 times more lives than tech advances
Lives saved by reducing the mortality rate of African-Americans to the rate of whites are five times those that could be saved by improvements in medical technology.

High-flying observatory reveals land changing to desert
Using advanced remote-sensing techniques from a U-2 surveillance plane and field studies, scientists from the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology have for the first time determined large-scale interactions between ecosystems and the climate during the process of desertification.

Acupuncture relieves pain and improves function in knee osteoarthritis
Acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee and serves as an effective complement to standard care.

VA patients get better chronic, preventive care than similar US adults
Patients enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are significantly more likely than similar patients in the general population to receive preventive and chronic care recommended by well-established national standards, according to a new study released today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

International gathering at UH examines top computer code
Don't let the odd name fool you - FLUKA© is serious stuff.

Patients with moderate or severe hand dermatitis responsive to drug therapy
Use of the oral medication alitretinoin was effective in treating moderate or severe hand dermatitis in nearly half of patients previously unresponsive to standard treatment, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Energy-efficient house a wish come true for Santa
Christmas costs can make us all a bit less jolly, but there are a number of ways even Ole St.

Animal studies show stem cells might make biological pacemaker
In experiments in the lab and with guinea pigs, researchers from Johns Hopkins have found the first evidence that genetically engineered heart cells derived from human embryonic stem (ES) cells might one day be a promising biological alternative to the electronic pacemakers used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Moving admitted ER patients into inpatient beds faster could significantly increase hospital revenue
By more efficiently moving admitted emergency department patients into inpatient beds, emergency medical staff could care for more people, which could greatly increase hospital revenue and offset losses from the charity care it provides, according to a study to be published December 20 as an early online release by Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Potentially fatal toxicities occur with off-label use of cancer drugs
Food and Drug Administration policies prevent pharmaceutical manufacturers from informing patients about potentially fatal toxicities that occur with some cancer drugs -- policies that should be revised immediately, according to Northwestern University researchers.

Chemicals found in cherries may help fight diabetes
Perhaps George Washington wouldn't have chopped down his father's cherry tree if he knew what chemists now know.

Old T cells cripple immune function in the elderly
T cells are the weakest link in the immune systems of older people, based on a report by Eaton and colleagues in the December 20 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine. The authors show that old CD4

Aspirin underused to reduce heart disease risk in diabetic women and young adults
Cardiovascular disease risk is extremely high in adults with diabetes.

Patients with abdominal trauma at risk for intra-abdominal infections following surgery
Patients who undergo surgery for abdominal trauma caused by firearm wounds or by blunt trauma are at risk for developing intra-abdominal infections, and several factors increase that risk, according to a study in the December issue of The Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Blocking molecules protects health of implants
Blocking a key molecule protects breast implants, pacemakers, artificial joints and other biomaterials from rejection and damage by the body.

Size of myocardial infarct measured using MRI
In animal studies, researchers at Johns Hopkins have effectively used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure with 94 percent accuracy the size and amount of heart muscle damaged by a heart attack, known in medical terms as a myocardial infarct, or m.i., for short.

ER patients with substance abuse treatment need incur higher health care costs
Emergency department patients with unmet substance abuse treatment need generate much higher hospital and emergency department charges than patients without such need, according to a new study to be published Dec.20 as an advance online publication of Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Scientists identify protein critical to melanoma growth
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston have discovered that malignant melanoma, the potentially lethal skin cancer, can't grow without a steady supply of a protein that normal cells can do without.

Guidelines for following pediatric cancer survivors aim to reduce medical complications
New guidelines established by national experts hold the promise of reducing illness and death among adult survivors of childhood cancers.

Rutgers-Newark researchers link early movement, brain development
In the paper,

Poison and firearms stored in open endanger visiting kids
In homes where children are just visitors, residents are twice as likely to say they keep their medicines out in the open, stored in a purse or left unlocked, compared with homes where children live, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

National Academies news: Gulf War and Health
The latest IOM Gulf War report confirms the link between lung cancer and combustion products, while evidence on other health problems is inconclusive.

Combined stem cell-gene therapy approach seen as potential treatment for cystic fibrosis
Patients with cystic fibrosis could potentially be treated with their own stem cells that have been manipulated by gene therapy, suggests a study reported in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research shows that human bone marrow-derived adult stem cells can differentiate into airway epithelial cells and that encoding these cells with the gene defective in CF restores an important cellular function essential for keeping airways clear of mucus and irritants.
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