Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 24, 2005
Influenza vaccination programmes for children in USA and Canada based on little evidence
Children in the USA and Canada are being vaccinated against influenza without adequate proof that it will work, concludes a study published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

History of broken bones overlooked when treating osteoporosis
Women who need treatment for osteoporosis -- thinning of the bones -- may not be receiving it because their history of fractures is not being considered by physicians, according to a study done in part at the University of Alberta.

It's not all genetic: Common epigenetic problem doubles cancer risk in mice
In experiments with mice, a team of scientists from the United States, Sweden and Japan has discovered that having a double dose of one protein is sufficient to change the normal balance of cells within the lining of the colon, thereby doubling the risk that a cancer-causing genetic mutation will trigger a tumor there.

NIST unveils atom-based standards
Device features on computer chips as small as 40 nanometers (nm) wide--less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair--can now be measured reliably thanks to new test structures developed by a team of physicists, engineers, and statisticians at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), SEMATECH, and other collaborators.

Penn study will compare heart failure management technologies
Researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) have been awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health to study disease management technologies in patients with heart failure, and patients with both heart failure and diabetes.

Criminals are target of ORNL advanced communications system
Residents of small communities could be served and protected better because of a communications system being proposed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Neuronal 'traffic jam' marks early Alzheimer's disease
Early Alzheimer's disease may be precipitated by a

2005 ASM biodefense research meeting
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will host its 2005 Biodefense Research Meeting from March 20-23, 2005 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Unsafe water and poor sanitation causes 4000 children to die each day
More people are affected by the negative impact of poor water supply and sanitation than by war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined, states a paper published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Study examines harm reduction among injection drug users
A new study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that nearly half of injection drug users disposed of their used syringes safely, yet only 28 percent acquired their needles from safe sources.

New NIST reference material reinforces fragile-x screens
A new Standard Reference Material from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will help clinical genetics labs improve the accuracy of their diagnostic tests for the most common cause of hereditary mental retardation.

Scientists entice superconducting devices to act like atoms
Two superconducting devices have been coaxed into a special, interdependent state that mimics the unusual interactions sometimes seen in pairs of atoms, according to a team of physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

NIST software to guide federal 'buy green' drive
A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) analysis and decision-making software program will play a key role in selection of biobased products that qualify for a major federal

Disease testing for immigrants: Discrimination disguised as public health policy
Policies that deny visas to prospective immigrants on the basis of disease are discriminatory, designed to seize on public fears, and do not protect public health, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Adverse drug events in nursing homes are far more common than previously identified
Injuries from adverse drug events in the long-term care setting are more common than previously documented, and largely preventable, according to the findings of a study published today in The American Journal of Medicine.

Kids with chronic illness face difficult transition to adult care
Technology and treatments have allowed a new wave of patients to survive until adulthood, further challenging the health-care system.

Topical treatment shown to inhibit HIV and herpes simplex virus infection
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers demonstrated that a gel applied in the vagina provides protection from both the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the herpes simplex Virus.

Pioneering nanosystems degree wins approval
The Louisiana Board of Regents granted final approval Thursday for Louisiana Tech to offer a nanosystems engineering degree program, the nation's first such undergraduate degree.

Black Holes in a radar trap
Researchers, using the x-ray satellite XMM-Newton, measure velocities near the speed of light in the vicinity of cosmic mass monsters.

21st Century model of healthcare focuses on the family before and after genetic testing
The Family System Genetic Illness (FSGI) model is biopsychosocial-- addressing the biological, psychological, and social issues of the genomic revolution.

Out of this world: Parade of Mars rovers unveiled at UH competition
Young scientists and engineers fired up their model cars for a journey to a distant planet during the 2005 Mars Rover Model Competition at the University of Houston.

Study documents initial differences in sexual transmission of HIV between males and females
A genetic analysis of viral RNA from 10 heterosexual couples, in which one partner has sexually transmitted HIV to the other, provides the first documentation of some differences in how the virus infects males and females.

Post-tsunami Thailand yields lessons for coastal construction
An inspection of Thai villages and ports struck by tsunami waves has uncovered some engineering lessons that might reduce casualties and destruction in future oceanic upheavals.

Protecting drinking water supplies within buildings
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Environmental Protection Agency's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) have joined forces to cut the risk of contamination of drinking water through building piping or associated household appliances.

Infectious microorganism linked to kidney stones and other diseases
NASA researchers announce a potential cause of rapid kidney stone formation in astronauts on space travels.

Is caesarean section linked to postnatal depression?
Elective caesarean section does not protect women from postnatal depression, according to a study published on
UVM geologists explore link between human action and landscape change
Since they began clearing valleys and slopes for agriculture more than 9,000 years ago, and continuing with the construction of roads, buildings and cities, people have been altering landscapes.

Dysentery uses 'sword and shield' to cause infection
Scientists have found that the bacterium that causes dysentery uses a 'sword and shield' approach to cause infection.

Another look at an enigmatic new world
Within the framework of a dedicated campaign, astronomers observed Saturn's largest satellite, Titan, with ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory, by means of the adaptive optics NAOS/CONICA instrument mounted on the 8.2-m Yepun telescope.

Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) biennial meeting
SRCD will hold its biennial interdisciplinary meeting April 7-10 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Saturn's A Ring has oxygen, but not life
Data from the Cassini-Huygens satellite showing oxygen ions in the atmosphere around Saturn's rings suggests once again that molecular oxygen alone isn't a reliable indicator of whether a planet can support life.

Cellular porthole connects odors to brain
A cellular

Elderly receiving inappropriate prescriptions from their doctor's office
A large review of data linked to over 175,000 older adults enrolled in HMOs indicates that potentially inappropriate medications are being prescribed in substantial numbers.

Autism media fellowship available at Vanderbilt University
Journalists are encouraged to apply to attend a media fellowship,

Inpatient smoking cessation counseling is associated with early differences in mortality
In-hospital smoking cessation counseling following heart attacks is associated with better short-term survival.

New imaging technologies can enhance orthopaedic outcomes
New imaging technologies are enabling doctors to not only diagnose a variety of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions with more accuracy, but also to determine with unprecedented precision whether clinical recovery from bone, joint or tendon damage is actually complete and not simply a

New Mexico research institutions to sign Inter-Institutional Agreement
Seven New Mexico research institutions will join together this week to sign the Inter-Institutional Agreement, a contract that allows bundling of patents for economic development.

How links with tobacco industry may have influenced the publication of research on second-hand smoke
A paper published in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how links with the tobacco industry may be seen to have influenced the publication of research on the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke.

Branding practices in rural India should be banned
The superstitious practice known as 'branding treatment' in rural India should be banned, urge researchers in this week's BMJ.

UNC researchers study fuel cells, focus on portable possibilities
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is among the newest participants in a statewide alliance formed last summer to explore renewable and efficient energy sources.

Concerns over the future of children's health care in British general practice
The British model of general practice is rightly admired, but there are several causes for concern regarding the future of children's health care in general practice, argues an editorial in this week's BMJ.

NASA awards $9.8 million NSCOR grant to UT Southwestern to study effects of space radiation exposure
UT Southwestern Medical Center has won a highly competitive, $9.8 million NASA Specialized Center of Research (NSCOR) grant that will allow researchers to study the effects of radiation on astronauts and minimize possible health risks caused by future space travel.

New radio-frequency technique for knee injuries
The application of a new technique for injuries of the cruciate ligament in the knee, involving the use of bipolar radio-frequency plus heat, has proved to be 90% effective in cases and shortens the recovery time of the patient.

Don't let your spouse become your caregiver
According to a recent study, older adults providing home care to their spouses may be more inclined to act in ways that could harm the impaired partner.

Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
In a study published in Nature, Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists have identified a new immune-system mutation that changes T-cell development from helper to killer cells.

Study: Testing for joint substance in blood might improve diagnosis of osteoarthritis
Measuring a biological chemical called hyaluronan found naturally in joints and the fluid that lubricates cartilage might enable doctors to diagnose osteoarthritis of the knee and hip earlier or more accurately, a new study concludes. 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