Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 15, 2005
Study shows acrylamide in baked and fried food does not increase risk of breast cancer in women
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have found no association between acrylamide intake in foods and risk of breast cancer among Swedish women.

Use of potentially inappropriate medications among elderly common in some European countries
There are substantial differences between European countries in the potentially inappropriate use of medications among elderly home care patients, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Determining the fate of cells in the human body
Anthony Firulli, Ph.D. of the Indiana University School of Medicine and colleagues studied how two proteins, Twist1 and Hand2, which are antagonists, couple to determine the number of digits on a hand, paw or wing, and whether these digits are webbed or not.

Researchers recognize 'lower-energy' varieties of coastal islands
A different style of coastal barrier islands that forms under lower-energy conditions than classic ocean-facing barriers, such as North Carolina's Outer Banks, has been identified by coastal geological researchers at Duke University and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Insight into natural cholesterol control suggests novel cholesterol-lowering therapy
New work reported in the March issue of Cell Metabolism has provided insight into a key mechanism by which cells limit cholesterol synthesis.

Past lessons as an obligation to the future
A conference in Berlin marks the end of the research program of the Presidential Commission

British academics to benefit from world's first national text mining service
A new £1 million initiative to help academics with their struggle against data deluge will be launched on 21 March at Manchester Town Hall.

Earlier use of prostate cancer vaccines urged by Hopkins scientists
Timing is everything when it comes to killing prostate cancer cells with specially tailored vaccines, say scientists testing the drugs in mice at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Forthcoming wealth transfer among African-Americans projected in new report
A report from the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy provides new information on wealth and wealth transfer within the African-American community in the U.S.

Biologist's findings on fertility and status in monkeys generate scientific, media interest
University of California, Riverside Assistant Adjunct Professor of Biology Wendy Saltzman's inquiries into the role social position plays in the fertility of female marmosets were the recent subject of a presentation at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the BBC 4 radio show

Experts gather at Mount Holyoke to consider water's crucial role in human life
Two dozen leading artists, scientists, scholars, writers, and activists from around the world will gather at Mount Holyoke for a three-day symposium March 31-April 2 exploring the political, environmental, and cultural meanings of water.

Blacks less likely to get expensive, newer heart treatments
Blacks who suffer the most common type of cardiac ischemia -- non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome -- are less likely than whites to receive expensive or newer evidence-based treatments.

Does the college experience damage your brain?
Is college grade-point average the best marker of future job success?

Vitamin E may not prevent cancer or cardiovascular events, but may increase risk for heart failure
Patients who took vitamin E supplements for about 7 years did not have their risk of cancer or cardiovascular events significantly reduced, and in fact some had an increased risk of heart failure, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Community care tops medical care at preventing heart disease in black Americans
Upgraded community health services, including checkups by phone or in person with a local nurse practitioner at a neighborhood clinic, and free charge cards for medications are almost nine times more likely to benefit black Americans at greater risk of heart disease than full-service physician care alone.

New ways to design safer & more effective topical (transdermal) drug delivery announced in the PNAS
In a paper published in the

Molecule that usually protects infection-fighting cells may cause plaque deposits inside arteries
A molecule that usually protects the body's infection-fighting cells might also contribute to fatty buildups that coat arteries and lead to heart disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

SAM on the favorable recommendation by FDA Advisory Committee for Boostrix
The Society for Adolescent Medicine supports the unanimous favorable recommendation of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the U.S.

Study shows risk of cardiac death after radiation for breast cancer has dramatically decreased
In the largest and most comprehensive prospective study of its kind, researchers at The University of Texas M.

Drug therapy may be comparable to invasive cardiac procedures for elderly patients with heart attack
Although the type and intensity of treatment for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) [heart attack] varies widely across the country, elderly patients who receive intensive medical treatment may have comparable survival as those who undergo invasive cardiac procedures (such as angioplasty and bypass surgery), according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

Compound may help prevent diabetes in fast-food fans
A new finding could soon benefit people who regularly eat fast-foods that are high in fat.

Balance and better interactions between primary-care and specialist physicians improve US health
New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and New York University found that communities with more primary-care physicians have lower mortality rates.

Aspirin's potential ability to prevent colon polyps may not apply equally to all
The association between regular aspirin use and a reduced risk of precancerous colon polyps may be strongest in those with particular genetic variants.

Probing the promise and perils of nanoparticles
For all its promise, the prospect of using nanoparticles in biomedical applications and consumer products has raised concerns about possible harmful effects of the miniscule materials.

Defensins neutralize anthrax toxin
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, headed by Prof.

New hand-held information system for emergency responders
NIH's National Library of Medicine announces the release of a PDA software tool designed to help first responders when they arrive at a hazardous material (Hazmat) incident, such as a chemical spill.

New winter hulless barley has high protein
The Virginia Tech Small Grains Breeding Program is developing both traditional soft red winter wheat cultivars and new cultivars with unique and high-value end-use characteristics such as higher protein content, quality, and white seed color.

Robot-based system developed at Carnegie Mellon detects life in Chile's Atacama desert
A unique rover-based life detection system developed by Carnegie Mellon University scientists has found signs of life in Chile's Atacama Desert, according to results being presented at the 36th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference March 14-18 in Houston.

Researchers discover chemical compounds that affect plant growth
A team of biologists from the University of California, Riverside has used chemical genomics to identify novel compounds that affect the ability of plants to alter their direction of growth in response to gravity, a phenomenon known as gravitropism.

Schering-Plough honored for contributions to chemistry scholarships
Schering-Plough Corporation has been designated a

Mayo Clinic discovers 'new pathway' against pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer kills 30,000 Americans every year. Not only is there no cure, but there are no effective treatments.

Study challenges claim that the Internet promotes price competition
Researchers have developed an analytical model that explains why the Internet may actually be bad for consumers in some cases.

US Exports nitrogen pollution beyond its borders, Europe's nitrogen deposited close to sources
The United States exports nitrogen pollution beyond its borders, and some of this nitrogen may end up in Western Europe.

Answer from 'dusty shelf' aids quest to see matter as it was just after big bang
Two University of Washington physicists using a quantum mechanics technique say scientists might have already succeeded in creating a state of matter non-existent since a fraction of a second after the big bang.

Chemists identify immune system mechanism for methamphetamine binges
Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute have found evidence in laboratory studies that the immune system may be able to recognize methamphetamine and boost tolerance to the drug through an unusual vaccine-like mechanism.

Antiretroviral therapy may prevent excess risk of some cancers in people with HIV
In people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may prevent most excess cases of Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a new study in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Most hospital executives have substantial concerns about mandatory error reporting systems
A survey of hospital leaders indicates that many have serious reservations about a mandatory error reporting system, including that it would discourage event reporting and increase the risk of lawsuits, according to a study in the March 16 issue of JAMA.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
Newsworthy studies include: When tangential is right on target; Goals and habits in the overtrained rat.

Prostate cancer screening practices examined
Initial results from an ongoing study evaluating the benefit of prostate cancer screening practices demonstrate that the combined use of both standard tests--the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE)--is optimal for detecting cancer.

Euroscience Open Forum 2006 launches call for proposals
The 2nd Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) will take place July 15th-19th 2006 in Munich, Germany.

Research suggests possible blood test for multiple sclerosis
New research by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues suggests that one day, doctors may be able to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS) with a simple blood test.

Cardiovascular health disparities must be eradicated
Research, advocacy and education must

Risk of cardiac death after radiotherapy for breast cancer has declined, study finds
The risk of ischemic heart disease that is associated with radiotherapy for breast cancer has substantially decreased in the last 25 years, according to a new study in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

A tale of two populations
Based on more than 200 hours of effective exposure time with the ESO VLT, a team of astronomers has found that in the Omega Centauri globular cluster the bluer stars contain more heavy elements than those of the redder population.

GlaxoSmithKline receives unanimous favorable recommendation by FDA Advisory Committee for Boostrix
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) today announced that its booster vaccine candidate, BoostrixTM [Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine, Adsorbed (Tdap)] received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the U.S.

Neuronal death and processing of Tau protein in Alzheimer's disease
Researchers report that a processed form of tau protein induces neuronal death by apoptosis (programmed cell death) when expressed in cultured rat hippocampal neurons.

Minorities, poor, uneducated bear the burden
Disparities in health care are pervasive in America. These disparities adversely impact the cardiovascular health of Americans, especially African Americans, Hispanics, poor and uneducated people.

Iron exporter revealed that may explain common human disorder
The first direct evidence that a single protein is critical in the cellular export of iron may help to explain human hemochromatosis, researchers report.

Cure no quick fix for cancer survivors on long road to recovery
A national study of cancer patients who underwent bone marrow transplantation reveals cancer diagnosis and treatment has a profound and lasting emotional and physical impact that can persist for decades.

No relief for Pacific Northwest drought
It does not appear there will be any major relief this spring or summer from the unusually dry weather that has recently hit the Pacific Northwest, according to new projections of drought severity and fire risk that are based on

More reliable and secure telecommunications via the Internet
Professor Anna Brunström, Karlstad University, is heading a research project that will lead to more reliable and secure telecommunications via the Internet.

Cardiologists underestimate racial and ethnic disparities in care
Only one-third of cardiologists surveyed believe racial and ethnic disparities in care occur often in the United States despite extensive documentation of the problem.

Other highlights in the March 16 JNCI
Other highlights in the March 16 JNCI include an investigation of ethnic differences in breast cancer rates, a study of a genetic polymorphism and its effects on aspirin chemoprevention of colorectal cancer, a study of a new tool for assessing side effects from the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, and a report of baseline data for prostate cancer screening from the PLCO trial.

How voters rated Blair affected Holyrood votes much more than attitudes to McConnell
Scottish votes for the Assembly reflected voters' concerns about Westminster leaders and issues far more than they did those of Holyrood, an Edinburgh conference will hear today.

Ceria nanoparticles catalyze reactions for cleaner-fuel future
Experiments on ceria (cerium oxide) nanoparticles carried out at Brookhaven National Laboratory may lead to catalytic converters that are better at cleaning up auto exhaust, and/or to more-efficient ways of generating hydrogen -- a promising zero-emission fuel for the future.

Community-based care beats standard clinic in lowering heart
Having a health clinic in the apartment next door may not be everyone's idea of a good neighbor.

Purdue finding could help develop clean energy technology
Chemical engineers at Purdue University have made a discovery that may help to improve a promising low-polluting energy technology that combusts natural gas more cleanly than conventional methods.

USC chemist wins national award for lifetime achievements in chemistry
Nobel laureate George A. Olah, Ph.D., of Los Angeles, Calif., will be honored March 15 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for his pioneering contributions to chemistry over 50 years, including his groundbreaking work on hydrocarbons.

World's largest computing grid surpasses 100 sites
Today, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) project announced that the computing Grid it is operating now includes more than 100 sites in 31 countries.

Beef feeding research studies pasture vs. grain
Early research results at Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences indicate that pasture-fed beef has less fat and higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), indicating that it may be a healthier choice.

Stroke awareness low among women, especially minorities
Knowledge of stroke warning signs remains low among U.S. women, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities.

Government wasting your taxpayer money on ineffective drug cure
The government is funding a supplement medication, Levo-carnitine (L-carnitine), used for dialysis patients, even though there is no adequate scientific proof that the drug is effective, according to an article published in Seminars in Dialysis.

Helping answer needs by developing specialists in autism
The Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center (CSATC) at Riley Hospital for Children recently launched Helping Answer Needs by Developing Specialists in Autism (HANDS in Autism).

Computer program helps farmers make decisions about pastureland
A team in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is leading the development of the Pastureland Management System (PLMS), a free, practical, and portable computer-based aid program that helps livestock farmers compare different strategies for managing their land and livestock.

Carnegie Mellon study: Adults' baby talk helps infants learn to speak
Babies will learn to speak sooner if adults talk to them like infants instead of like adults, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon Psychology Professor Erik Thiessen in the March issue of the journal Infancy.

Fasting intermittently reduces cell proliferation, a marker for cancer risk, study finds
Studies over the past 70 years have established that substantial calorie reduction not only can reduce the rate of cell proliferation, a measure of cancer risk, it can extend the maximum life span of rats, flies and other organisms.

Antioxidant blood levels key to MnSOD gene
Greater levels of selenium, vitamin E and the tomato nutrient lycopene have been shown to reduce prostate cancer in one out of every four Caucasian males -- those who inherit a specific genetic variation that's particularly sensitive to oxidative stress.

Ethical discussion should come before research
The time for ethical reflection is before experimentation begins, especially in the case of potential new methods for creating human embryos for research, according to bioethicists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic in the spring issue of Ethics & Medicine.

Advances in the characterisation of the oyster mushroom genes
The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), apart from reducing cholesterol and having anticancerogenic properties, is characterised for its capacity for breaking down cellulose.

Fixing of the lumbar column aided by simple radiological techniques
Fixing of the lumbar vertebral column aided by simple radiological techniques facilitates the process and avoids complications.

Epstein-Barr virus protein crucial to its role in blood cancers
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified a link between a critical cancer pathway and an Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) protein known to be expressed in a number of EBV-associated cancers.

Polymers with copper show promise for implanted sensors
Developing chemical sensors that can be placed in the bloodstream or under the skin to continuously monitor oxygen, acidity (pH), or glucose levels is a major challenge for analytical chemists and biomedical engineers.

Liposome finding implies electrical effect on cell development
Researchers studying the effect of electrical charge on phospholipid membranes have unexpectedly found that liposomes have a tendency to form tube-like extensions through the influence of local electrical fields.

Surprisingly complex behaviors appear to be 'hard-wired' in the primate brain
Until now neuroscientists have assumed that in primate brains simple movements are

Dealing with conflict in caring for the dying patient
How can a dying patient's family members and physicians get along when faced with difficult decisions on end-of-life treatment?

America will gain 4 million jobs by the end of next year
The U.S. economy, which finally posted job gains last year after three straight years of job losses, will add another 4 million jobs through 2006, say University of Michigan economists.

Plan to protect soybean crop is ready
Virginia agricultural leaders, including those in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been working with Virginia growers to ensure they are well prepared to deal with Asian Soybean Rust if it occurs.

Researchers devise way to mass-produce embryonic stem cells
Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a method for mass-producing embryonic stem cells.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for March 2005 (second issue)
Newsworthy highlighted studies show that: in patients from five intensive care units, those who developed bloodstream infections while in the unit were 7 times more likely to die than those who did not; obesity was significantly associated with asthma and wheezing in a large group of 8- to 11-year old children; and researchers developed a new test that gauges mortality risk in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 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