Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 14, 2005
Using the internet's power and anonymity to reduce problem drinking
Computers, and the internet, have become an integral part of North American life, whether located at home, school or the workplace.

Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member is funded to develop an interactive computer system
The National Library of Medicine awarded a Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member, Rachel Jones, and her team a three-year $398,000 grant to develop an interactive computerized decision support system (DSS) that delivers relevant video vignettes in an effort to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior among women in urban communities.

U of T researchers describe 'Joe Canadian' tongue
New imaging research about tongue shape and volume before and after surgery should ultimately help surgeons decide how to best reconstruct tongue defects resulting from cancer surgery, says a team of researchers at the University of Toronto.

Breast cancer treatment reduces risk of heart disease
Women with breast cancer treated with the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen are at significantly less risk of having a heart attack or symptoms of heart stress such as angina, according to a new study.

14-year study finds that quitting smoking adds years to life
In a new study of 5,887 middle-aged smokers with mild lung disease, those who were randomly assigned to a quit-smoking program had a lower death rate than those assigned to usual care.

Test could improve detection of prion disease in humans
A highly sensitive post-mortem test could help scientists more accurately determine if a person died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a human neurological disorder caused by the same class of infectious proteins that trigger mad cow disease, according to a new study supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

No increase in sexual risk taking among gay men in HIV-study
Canadian gay men participating in the world's first test of a vaccine to prevent HIV did not appear to become more risky sexually out of false hope that the vaccine being tested would protect them from infection.

Truth in advertising
Investigators reviewed pharmaceutical ads in American medical journals and found nearly one-third contained no references for medical claims; while the majority of references to published material were available, only a minority of company data-on-file documents were provided upon request; and the majority of original research cited in the ads was funded by or had authors affiliated with the product's manufacturer.

Controversy over genetically modified corn in Mexican crops focus of discussion
Authors of a three-nation study commissioned by the North American Free Trade Agreement and experts on artificially modified corn, will meet from 3 to 5 p.m., Feb.

Study methods, strains of Pfiesteria are both critical in determining organism's toxicity
To gauge the toxicity of Pfiesteria, the important single-celled fish predator that was the culprit behind a number of fish kills and fish diseases along the East Coast in the 1990s, researchers need to both use the proper study methods and recognize that certain populations of the organism, called strains, are toxic while others are not.

Promising treatments for Huntington's disease identified in UCI study
UC Irvine researchers have identified several promising drug compounds that when combined show the potential to treat Huntington's disease.

Genetic switches help fish adjust to fresh and salty water
UC Davis researchers have discovered two key signals that tell fish how to handle the stress of changing concentrations of salt as they swim through different waters.

Striking a chord with concertgoers to reduce hearing loss
A new U of T study recommends the provision of ear plugs, education at concert entrances and the reduction of music sound levels to minimize the risk of hearing loss for rock concert attendees.

Researchers offer emergency workers a lifeline
Their heroics at places like Ground Zero are well documented, but sometimes even emergency services workers need support after dealing with such crises, says Cheryl Regehr, a professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Social Work and director of the Centre for Applied Social Research.

Study links Ebola outbreaks to animal carcasses
All recent Ebola virus outbreaks in humans in forests between Gabon and the Republic of Congo were the result of handling infected wild animal carcasses, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and its regional partners.

APS, PMN launch online soybean rust center
The American Phytopathological Society (APS), in conjunction with the Plant Management Network (PMN) and other scientific organizations, is overseeing a new online soybean rust center at
Depressed women more anxious, self-conscious: Study
Clinically depressed women are more likely than depressed men to see themselves as anxious, self-conscious and vulnerable, say researchers at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

For optimum results wine should not be stored in casks for more than 12 months
In defending her PhD thesis, Teresa Garde Cerdán, Doctor in Chemical Sciences at the Public University of Navarre, stated that the maximum concentrations of compounds transferred to wine from wood is reached after 10 to 12 months of the wine being stored in wooden casks.

Wnt signalling protein Dishevelled acts in the nucleus, not just in the cytoplasm
Researchers have identified that Dishevelled doesn't only function in the cytoplasm and at the cell membrane - it must also pass into the nucleus.

UC researchers discover gene that causes heavy metal poisoning
New research on the transport of cadmium throughout the body could one day lead to the prevention of cadmium toxicity in humans.

DOE gives UT-Battelle highest performance rating for 2004
The Department of Energy has awarded UT-Battelle an overall performance rating of

U of T researcher links schizophrenia, gene mutations
The supersensitivity to dopamine that is characteristic of schizophrenia can be caused by mutations to a wide variety of genes, rather than alterations to just two or three specific genes, says a University of Toronto researcher.

New drug may be formidable adversary for hard to treat leukemia
As scientists uncover the precise molecular mechanisms that underlie effective cancer treatments, they gain invaluable insight into why predominantly successful treatments fail for some patients.

Tree-ring data reveals multiyear droughts unlike any in recent memory
The Columbia River Basin, one of the nation's largest river basins, has experienced six multiyear droughts between 1750 and 1950 that were much more severe than anything in recent memory because they persisted for years, including one that stretched for 12 years.

Cardiology losing out as women 'turned off' by family unfriendly specialty
Heart specialists increasingly fear that the lack of women in cardiology, despite growing numbers of female medical students, will bring down standards of practice and research in the specialty, reveals a British Cardiac Society report.

Stimuli and desire linked to help stroke patients
Once-paralyzed stroke victims are regaining arm and hand functions thanks to an innovative treatment developed by University of Toronto and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute researchers.

Mouse model of leukemia yields exciting therapeutic implications for rare childhood cancer
A new study provides direct evidence that mutations associated with certain forms of leukemia transform blood cells into abnormal cancer cells.

Why do insects stop 'breathing'? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
A new study investigating the respiratory system of insects may have solved a mystery that has intrigued physiologists for decades: why insects routinely stop breathing for minutes at a time.

Chemical analysis of mushrooms shows their nutritional benefits
An analysis of previously uncharted chemical contents, mostly carbohydrates, in U.S.-consumed mushrooms shows that these fruity edible bodies of fungi could be tailored into dietary plans to help fill various nutritional needs.

COX-2 inhibitors associated with blood pressure elevation
An analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials involving COX-2 inhibitors (selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors) suggests that these agents raise blood pressure more than either conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or placebo, according to a study to be published in an upcoming issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.The study is posted online today because of its relevance to current events surrounding this class of drugs.

Clot-busting drugs may help detect potentially deadly leg clots
A possible diagnostic use for clot-dissolving drugs such as tPA has been found by Medical College of Georgia researchers working to improve a test that identifies potentially deadly blood clots in the legs.

Scientists release audio sent by Huygens during Titan descent
Scientitsts have produced an audio soundbite that captures what the Cassini orbiter heard from Huygens as the probe descended on Titan on Jan.

HHMI professor, 138 undergraduates identify essential genes in eye formation
An HHMI professor and 138 of his undergraduates--students in a unique biology class at UCLA--have co-authored a paper that provides the first genome-wide estimate of genes that are essential for eye development in the common fruit fly.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital receives $10 million commitment to support preeminent heart program
Northwestern Memorial Hospital today announced that Neil G. Bluhm, a prominent real estate developer, and his family have committed $10 million to the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute, which has been renamed the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Flu vaccination benefits people of any age with high-risk medical conditions
Persons younger than 65 with high-risk medical conditions such as chronic lung and heart disease can substantially benefit from annual influenza vaccination during an epidemic, according to a study in the February 14 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New highly active agents against sandfly fever
Following on from the discovery of anti-leishmaniasis activity in natural quinolines, a research team of IRD, Pasteur Institute and CNRS scientists(1) carried out investigations on this chemical family.

The power of the crown has passed from Monarch to Prime Minister, asserts leading Law expert
A University of Glasgow Law expert explodes the myths that the Crown is nothing more sinister than bauble on display in the Tower of London and that the Queen is little more than a harmless figurehead in, 'Our Republican Constitution'.

Bacteria collection sheds light on urinary tract infections
Food of animal origin, contaminated with E.coli, can lead to urinary tract infections in women, according to a team of bacteriologists.

Changing trends in herbal supplement use
After a rise in the popularity of dietary supplements in the 1990s, their use seems to have plateaued, although exposure may continue to increase with the addition of herbal supplements to mainstream multivitamin products, according to an article in the February 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Herb used to treat diabetes works like modern-day prescription drugs, study suggests
An herb used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes seems to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in a manner similar to prescription drugs, a new study reports.

Study finds new designer drug is potent treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia
Using rational drug design strategies, investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland have created a targeted therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) that may ultimately be more effective than Gleevec®, the current frontline treatment.

From Mars to Maryland: 2005 AAAS Annual Meeting spotlights
From Mars to Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, and from whales of the world to Iraq's once-lush marshlands, the 2005 AAAS Annual Meeting -- America's largest general science conference -- promises breaking-news headlines on a wide range of topics, plus free family science activities.

Robots that act like rats
Robots that act like rat pups can tell us something about the behavior of both.

NHLBI study shows smoking cessation programs improve survival
Intensive smoking cessation programs can significantly improve long-term survival among smokers.

New supercomputer enhances reliability of weather predictions
A new Swedish supercomputer for weather forecasting will greatly improve prediction reliability.

Alcohol's damaging effects on adolescent brain function
The adolescent brain is designed to learn; yet the same plasticity that facilitates neuromaturation also renders it particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol.

Social Security reform proposals raise concerns for older women
Several popular plans for the revamping the Social Security system contain clauses that could fail to significantly protect older women, according to research reported in the February 2005 issue of The Gerontologist (Vol.

Hypothyroidism associated with reduced breast cancer risk
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that women with a common thyroid gland disorder appear to have a reduced chance of developing invasive breast cancer, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of Cancer, out online Feb.

Migration and AIDS: social control, a brake on the spread of HIV in Senegal?
The mechanisms that govern the relation between personal mobility and transmission of the AIDS virus (HIV) are still poorly known.

Uric acid may help reduce effects of spinal cord injury, Jefferson researchers find
After a spinal cord injury, the body's inflammatory response may actually make things worse, releasing a variety of potentially harmful chemicals that can make the injury more severe.

Communication during a Terrorist Attack; Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia
This workshop, one of a series being held around the nation, will involve local participants -- including journalists, government officials, emergency managers, scientists, and engineering experts -- in a simulated response to a terrorist attack in their hometown.

Addressing Australia's energy and transport future now
In the first meeting of its kind, Australian industry, government, scientific, community and environmental groups will today come together to discuss the nation's energy and transport future.

A new method for early detection of disease outbreaks
A research in the premier open-access health journal PLoS Medicine reveals a new, flexible method for disease outbreak surveillance and its application to emergency department data from New York City.

Flu vaccination impact on elderly deaths may be over-estimated
Observational studies which report that influenza vaccination reduces winter mortality risk among the elderly by 50 percent may substantially overestimate the vaccination benefit, according to the February 14 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UCLA study: Nearly a third of drug ads in medical journals contain no references for medical claims
UCLA researchers reviewed drug ads in American medical journals to determine what materials are cited in support of medical claims and if those references are available to physicians.

Women with thyroid problem have lower risk of breast cancer
According to a new study, women suffering from a common thyroid problem called hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, are less likely to develop breast cancer than women with normal thyroid function.

COX-2 product offers good and bad news in 'test tube' strokes
Laboratory studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed that certain products of the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 can both protect and damage the brain.

Studies reveal methods viruses use to sidestep immune system
A series of studies by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center sheds light on the mechanisms used by viruses to thwart a host's immune defenses and may aid in the development of more effective drugs to fight hepatitis C and West Nile viruses, as well as the flu and the common cold.

Alcohol's effects on gene expression in the central nervous system
Alcohol's primary target is the central nervous system (CNS), where it influences neurotransmission to produce intoxication.

Wine keeps women's hearts beating healthily
Drinking wine, but not beer or spirits, keeps women's hearts beating healthily finds research in Heart.

Older doctors less likely to follow current standards of care
MA-HMS researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine that older physicians may be less likely to deliver currently accepted standards care.

Assumptions of effects of rising carbon dioxide probed
How will rising levels of carbon dioxide influence ecosystems? Scientists have tackled this question numerous times, but none have tested the assumption that a single-abrupt increase in CO2 concentrations will produce changes similar to gradual increases over several decades.

Feb. 15, 2005, Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet
Highlights from the Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Feb.

Mayo Clinic identifies key cellular process in prostate and other cancers
Mayo Clinic researchers are the first to identify an interaction between two cellular proteins -- Skp2 and FOXO1 -- that is important for the growth and survival of cancer cells.

Murder, eyewitness identification and the limits of human vision
A murder in Alaska and images of Julia Roberts and President Bush all play roles in a new study that explores the limits of the human visual system and eyewitness testimony in the courtroom.

June meeting to explore how science, technology inspire art; promote new art forms
Fourth International Symposium of Science and Art will bring scientists and artists together to share their work and explore how science and technology continue to inspire art and make new forms of art possible.

Age should not be a factor in determining heart transplantation eligibility, researchers say
Policy makers who use age as a discriminating factor in determining eligibility for heart transplant surgery may want to reconsider their rules in the light of new research at the University of Alberta.

High power supercapacitors from carbon nanotubes
Supercapacitors that can deliver a strong surge of electrical power could be manufactured from carbon nanotubes using a technique developed by researchers at UC Davis. 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