Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 31, 2005
VCU research shows erectile dysfunction drug reduces death of heart cells in heart attack model
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have shown that a widely used drug for treating erectile dysfunction, Viagra, reduces the death of heart cells under heart attack-like conditions in a laboratory model.

AAAS announces winners of the 2005 Fellowships for Reporters from Africa
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in cooperation with its science-news Web site, EurekAlert!, The Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization (GAVI), The Vaccine Fund and the Rotavirus Vaccine Program (RVP), an affiliate of PATH, today announced winners of the prestigious 2005 Fellowships for Reporters from Africa.

Scientists close in on 'superbrakes' for cars
A theoretical study of friction between solids that looks at the process just one molecule at a time could soon lead to a more effective way to stop cars in an emergency than simply slamming on the brakes or using ABS.

Pro-inflammatory enzyme linked to diabetes; Immune system's macrophages may be key to treatment
An enzyme that initiates inflammation has been directly linked to insulin resistance and resulting type II diabetes by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine.

Gene with broad role also causes prevalent, inherited nerve disorder
A gene that plays many fundamental roles in cells throughout the body has, for the first time, been implicated in human disease, according to researchers at the Duke Center for Human Genetics.

Chemists create 'Superbowl' molecule; May lead to better health
In a development that could one day score a touchdown for better health, researchers in Australia have created a

Drinking alcohol increases risk for cancer
Consumption of alcohol, including wine, increases the risk of several common cancers, even though many studies confirm a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease from alcohol intake.

Bioartificial kidney under study at MCG
Whether a bioartificial kidney containing billions of donor kidney cells will help intensive care patients with kidney failure survive is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

Optical tweezers prove Einstein right
100 years after Einstein's landmark paper, optical tweezer technology could confirm the theory of classical Brownian motion in details that Einstein missed when he first proposed it a century ago.

Scientists reveal cells' 'energy factories' linked to cancer
University of Glasgow scientists have discovered how mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells - can sustain a cancer, reporting their findings in a new study published in Cancer Cell.

A bug's life: aging and death in E. coli
Detailed time lapse photography reveals in a study published in PLoS Biology that organisms that divide symmetrically, such as the bacterium E. coli, can indeed age and consequently that no organism is immune to immortality.

Oiled birds prompt study by UCSB experts
Oil-coated birds turning up on southern California beaches recently have raised concern about potential oil sources.

A gene's fist 'kiss' sets off that affair known as puberty
Puberty, that awkward phase when boys and girls are primed for their sexual reproductive years as men and women, appears to be triggered by the brain's own version of

Nanoscale diagnostic sets sights on Alzheimer's
Using their novel bio-bar-code amplification (BCA) technology, researchers analyzing fluid from around the brain and spinal cord have detected a protein linked in recent studies to Alzheimer's disease.

Women want annual pap smears
Current Pap smear recommendations stipulate that screening intervals can be extended to every 2 to 3 years in most women over age 30 and that most elderly women can cease screening.

Discovery promises simpler therapy for sickle cell disease
A new understanding of the causes for symptoms of sickle cell disease, a condition affecting one in every 600 African-Americans, has resulted from a study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Study proves catheter ablation safe for patients
A recent study published in Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology (PACE) determined that the use of catheter ablation to treat supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is not detrimental to patients.

Background 'DWI' checks effective
General aviation pilots with a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are 43 percent more likely to crash their plane than pilots with no history of DWI, according to a new study of more than 300,000 pilot records by researchers at Johns Hopkins.

Scientists propose sweeping changes to naming of bird neurosystems
Duke University neurobiologist Erich Jarvis and a team of 28 other neuroscientists have proposed sweeping changes to the terminology associated with the brain structures of birds--a century-old nomenclature the researchers consider outdated and irrelevant to birds' true brainpower.

US government list of cancer-causing agents grows
The Department of Health and Human Services released the Report on Carcinogens today, adding seventeen substances to the growing list of cancer-causing agents.

New non-hormonal hot flash treatment set for clinical trial
A novel non-estrogen-based therapy for hot flashes will be tested for effectiveness in a clinical trial conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo that is set to begin in February.

Spectroscopy for the real world
One good thing leads to another. A team of scientists used a first-of-its-kind spectroscopy system at the U.S.

Feb. 1, 2005, Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet
The Feb. 1, 2005 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet includes the articles: Task Force recommends abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for male smokers between the ages of 65 and 75; Study finds one COX-2 inhibitor increases risk of heart attack even in people who have not had heart attacks; Many pneumonia patients can be treated safely and successfully at home; and Large medical center shows how it used an electronic medical record system to alert patients within one day of a drug withdrawal.

Rice genome approaches completion
In a study published in the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology, comparative genome sequencing of indica and japonica rice reveals that duplication of genes and genomic regions has played a major part in the evolution of grass genomes.

New language points to foundations of human grammar
How is a language born? What are its essential elements?

Hebrew University study shows public preference for retaining policy status quo in referendums
The chances of gaining approval for a change in public policy through a referendum are about 50 percent or lower, research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown.

What does an airline traveler have in common with a glowing fish?
Research in the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology reveals that generation of zebrafish that express the firefly luciferase gene under a clock gene promoter enables the study of molecular circadian rhythms in vivo.

Topic of ASBMB-Avanti Award Lecture will be lipid-protein interactions
William Dowhan, John S. Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, has been chosen to receive the ASBMB-Avanti Award in Lipids.

Physicists discover temperature key to avalanche movement
100 years after Einstein's landmark work on Brownian motion, physicists have discovered a new concept of temperature that could be the key to explaining how ice and snow particles flow during an avalanche, and could lead to a better way of handling tablets in the pharmaceutical industry.

Problems in the bedroom can indicate heart problems
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often the first and earliest sign of a more significant cardiovascular condition, according to a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Screening for osteoporosis prevents hip fractures in older adults
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have determined that screening for osteoporosis in men and women age 65 and older can prevent a large number of hip fractures, a debilitating, traumatic experience for 340,000 older adults annually.

Drug treatment promising for halting Huntington's-related nerve death
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that drugs commonly used to treat psychiatric illnesses and blood disorders in humans may protect the brain cells that die in people with Huntington's disease, possibly delaying the onset and slowing the progression of the disease.

UC Irvine's undergraduate research programs receive $900,000 funding boost
With more than $900,000 in total funding, two new grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health will significantly expand undergraduate research opportunities this year at UC Irvine.

CSIRO finds a way to get more out of old cars
CSIRO Minerals has found a way to reduce waste from car recycling, recycle materials that are currently thrown away, and make the end waste less harmful for disposal.

Patients with previous heart attacks may not benefit from pacemaker implant
Current criteria for implantation of pacemakers fail to accurately identify which patients will or will not receive benefit, recent research shows.

Stents and going with the flow
In the first of three articles on sirolimus-eluting stents, in the February 1 issue of CMAJ, Yang and Moussa explain the mechanism of action of these types of stents and the clinical and scientific rationale behind their use within a wider context of interventional cardiology.

Minorities who experience pain don't receive the same care as Caucasians
The first issue of Pain Medicine in 2005 will focus on the inequalities and differences in how pain is assessed and treated amongst various racial and ethnic minority groups.

New insight into regulation of blood stem cells
Scientists have made a significant advance toward understanding the regulation of blood stem cells and the complex, lifelong process of blood cell formation.

New way to diagnose sciatica may point to a different cause
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Institute for Nerve Medicine in Los Angeles, have found that new nerve imaging technology called Magnetic Resonance neurography was effective to reveal that a pinched-nerve in the pelvis called piriformis syndrome caused sciatic leg pain in the majority of patients who had failed diagnosis with an MRI scan and/or who were not treated successfully with surgery.

Researchers find new genes necessary to make embryo
Researchers at New York University and the medical schools at Harvard and Yale universities have identified new genes necessary for embryonic development, according to findings published in the latest issue of Genome Research.

Please, do disturb
Noise is usually nothing more than a disturbance, but sometimes it can be useful.

American Academy of Neurology program receives Grassroots Award
The American Academy of Neurology received a Grassroots Innovation Award from the Public Affairs Council during the National Grassroots Conference held last week in St.

Viral DNA sequence a possible trigger for breast cancer
A small sequence of DNA in the envelope (Env) protein of a mouse breast tumor virus (called MMTV) can transform breast cells into cancer cells, according to a study by Katz et al. in the February 7 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

New nicotine-like imaging agent holds promise in PET studies, may help diagnose Alzheimer's disease
The chemical nicotine-a main ingredient in tobacco-may hold promise in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, give insight into therapeutic interventions for nicotine addiction and possibly complement the diagnosis of certain forms of lung cancer, according to a study in the January issue of the Society of Nuclear Medicine's Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Privacy rule cuts research recruitment by more than half
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) designed to enhance patient confidentiality by restricting access to medical records is slowing the progress of critical biomedical research, according to an editorial published in the February issue of the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

Obesity and weight gain associated with poorer breast cancer survival
Women who are overweight prior to breast cancer diagnosis, or who are lean but gain weight following diagnosis, are more likely to have their disease return or die of the disease, a new study shows.

Houston-London climate change conference to discuss extreme weather events and coastal cities
Leading U.S. and UK climate change scientists come together for a joint Houston-London conference to discuss the causes of climate change and its impact on coastal cities.

Progesterone therapy could prevent thousands of preterm births
Nearly 10,000 preterm births could have been prevented in 2002 if all high risk pregnant women eligible for progesterone treatment had received it, according to a March of Dimes study published today in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Controversial Atkins Diet may be beneficial for people with epilepsy
The first comprehensive review of possible dietary treatments of epilepsy has recently been published.

Middle ear infections: Prescribe antibiotics or not?
Le Saux and colleagues report on a randomized controlled trial in which 512 children aged 6 months to 5 years in whom a new episode of acute otitis media was diagnosed received either amoxicillin or placebo.

Wine drinkers live longer than beer guzzlers
A recent article in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis determined that drinkers of wine benefit from its cardio-protective effects, more so than those who drink beer or other spirits, and may also live longer.

Glow-in-the-dark zebrafish at UH hold keys to biological clocks
Using genetically altered zebrafish that glow in the dark, University of Houston researchers found new tools that shed light upon biological clock cycles.

Women, drinking to their health
Women see a slightly higher health benefit over men from alcohol consumption according to twelve separate studies reviewed in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

CMS plan recognizes PET technology for benefit of cancer patients
The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) applauds the Jan. 28 announcement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that will lead to reimbursement for a broad range of oncology studies with positron emission tomography (PET)--increasing a cancer patient's access to this modality and thus improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients nationwide.

LA BioMed medical/research briefs - January 2005
In this recent issue of LA BioMed medical/research briefs stent graft design provides benefits for abdominal aortic aneurysms and reverse epidemiology: a spurious hypothesis or a hardcore reality?

National survey shows Americans are in the dark regarding genetically modified foods
Americans pay little attention to genetically modified foods, have difficulty separating fact from fiction when it comes to the science behind them and are willing to believe unsubstantiated rumors about them.

Northern women: Tough enough
When it comes to handling isolation, limited resources and unending months of bitter cold, it really is a case of mind over matter, as women living in the frozen North have discovered.

New test is first step in early detection of Alzheimer's disease
A new use of an ultra-sensitive method that employs bionanotechnology might lead to a clinical test capable of diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages -- instead of during an autopsy.
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