Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 13, 2005
Gene regions beyond protein instructions important in disease
Gene hunters at Johns Hopkins have discovered a common genetic mutation that increases the risk of inheriting a particular birth defect not by the usual route of disrupting the gene's protein-making instructions, but by altering a regulatory region of the gene.

Special issue links genetics and environment in aging studies
A recently released special issue of The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological and Social Sciences asserts that social environments can have a greater effect on genetics than was previously thought.

Heart valve ring reverses damage from congestive heart failure, easing symptoms
A new heart valve ring appears to help congestive heart failure patients regain lost heart function, reversing the disease's effects on heart structure in two ways and easing their disabling symptoms.

Early Universe was packed with mini black holes
A research group at Cambridge think that the universe might once have been packed full of tiny black holes.

Jeffrey Friedman, discoverer of leptin, receives Gairdner, Passano awards
Rockefeller University's Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., a molecular geneticist whose discovery of the hormone leptin and its role in regulating body weight has changed our understanding of the causes of human obesity, has received two prestigious awards for this work: the Gairdner Foundation International Award and the Passano Foundation Award.

Spirituality, religious practice may slow progression of Alzheimer's disease
Spirituality and the practice of religion may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Public leadership in neurology award honors Leeza Gibbons for Alzheimer's awareness efforts
Leeza Gibbons' efforts in spreading awareness about Alzheimer's disease will be honored with the 2005 Public Leadership in Neurology Award during the American Academy of Neurology's 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach.

Prenatal sonography has no effect on the intellectual capacity of the developing child
Scientists carrying out a major epidemiological study at Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University have discovered that there is no clear correlation between routine ultrasonic scans and intellectual impairment.

Now scientists think you'd be 'roasted' in a black hole
Contrary to established scientific thinking, you'd be roasted and not

Case researchers grow carbon nanotubes in lab using faster, cheaper means
A Case Western Reserve University engineer has created the

Unchecked DNA replication drives earliest steps toward cancer
Wistar researchers suggest why mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene are found in so many different cancers.

'Termite guts can save the planet,' says Nobel laureate
The way termite guts process food could teach scientists how to produce pollution-free energy and help solve the world's imminent energy crisis.

Suicide in one partner substantially increases suicide risk in the other
Suicide in one partner significantly increases the risk of suicide in the other, finds a large study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Society of Nuclear Medicine provides $65,500 in 2005 grants, awards for researchers, students
The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) recently awarded $65,500 in grants and awards for molecular imaging/nuclear medicine researchers and students.

2005 Wistar Institute Science Journalism award winner announced
The winner of the 2005 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award is science writer Stephen S.

What is time?
The concept of time is self-evident. An hour consists of a certain number of minutes, a day of hours and a year of days.

Keck FUTURES INITIATIVE announces grant recipients
The National Academies Keck FUTURES INITIATIVE announced today the 14 recipients of its FUTURES grants, each in the amount of $50,000 or $75,000, to support interdisciplinary research on nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Study challenges current treatment for mild asthma
People with

Anxious and pessimistic personalities linked to Parkinson's disease later in life
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that people who score in the upper 25 percent in anxiety level on a personality test have a moderately increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease decades later.

Jefferson researchers find timing of post-epilepsy surgery seizures predicts outcome
Timing often matters when it comes to epileptic seizures that can occur after surgery designed to stop them.

University of Chicago receives grant to study connections between religious beliefs and health
A belief in God may improve a person's physical health, according to University of Chicago researchers who are launching the first comprehensive study to examine the relationship between religious attitudes and health.

To boost efficiency, hospitals borrow principles from factory floor
Many health-care industry bottlenecks can be eliminated, resulting in major improvements in efficiency, cost savings and patient care when hospitals borrow principles from production lines on the factory floor, according to researchers in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

Breakthrough in stem cell research
Australian researchers from the University of New South Wales have developed three clones of cells from existing human embryonic stem cells.

Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's may be delayed, says major clinical trial
In a study of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), those who took the drug donepezil were at reduced risk of progressing to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) during the first year of the trial, but by the end of the 3-year study there was no benefit from the drug.

At least part of climate change is man-made
Humanity does seem to have been a major contributor to global warming after all.

Will cancer vaccine get to all women?
Deaths from cervical cancer could jump fourfold to a million a year by 2050, mainly in developing countries.

Scientists use transcription factors to increase insulin production in diabetic mice
A group of Japanese scientists has used gene therapy to deliver three insulin transcription factors, MafA, PDX-1, and NeuroD, to the livers of diabetic mice.

Physicists trash turbulence lab & turn pleasant stream into raging torrent
Researchers at the University of Warwick have trashed the world's biggest turbulence lab by turning a pleasant stream into a raging torrent - but they say their actions will lead new understandings in one of the main unsolved problems in physics-turbulence.

Too much water may be as dangerous as too little during long-distance athletic events
Drinking water during a long-distance race may do serious harm rather than keep you safe from injury if you're drinking too much, according to a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Scientists identify protein that controls cancer cells
Scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine have identified a protein that seems to control the malignant features of brain tumor cells, suggesting a new treatment target for anti-cancer drugs.

University of Pittsburgh gets wired for speed with Apple Xserve G5 cluster
Every week on CBS's hit series Numb3rs, an FBI agent relies on his math genius brother to find patterns that help to solve crimes.

Catching a sneak
Retroviruses are among more malicious disease agents, causing AIDS and cancers such as leukemia.

New LASIK research reveals unexpected finding: Key to better-than-20/20 vision is in the flap
New scientific data being presented at this year's ASCRS meeting reveals the key to a better-than-20/20 outcome in LASIK surgery may depend on whether your doctor uses a blade or a laser to create the corneal flap in the first step of the procedure.

Alarm clock banishes morning blues
A clever alarm clock that wakes you up when you are in your lightest phase of sleep, rather than in deep slumber, could stop you feeling grumpy in the mornings.

Essential tremor associated with increased risk of dementia
People with essential tremor, a movement disorder that causes shaking of the hands, head, voice, or body, are more likely to develop dementia, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Mystery solved: How the orbits of extrasolar planets became so eccentric
Beginning with the discovery 10 years ago of the first extrasolar planet, evidence suggests that, as far as planetary systems go, the solar system might be pretty special.

Being too clean could be hazardous to your health and the environment
Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered that the use of antimicrobial soaps and other products may unnecessarily be directly exposing consumers to significant quantities of chloroform.

Faster handoff between Wi-Fi networks promises near-seamless 802.11 roaming
Two computer scientists from UC San Diego have invented a method that reduces the time to handoff from one Wi-Fi access point to another -- making Wi-Fi roaming much easier.

New AAAS report explores how 10 US school districts improved science and mathematics learning
A 22-page report,

Society of Nuclear Medicine announces recipient of Mark Tetalman Award
The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) recently awarded the Mark Tetalman Award to Georges El Fakhri, Ph.D., M.Eng., MSEE, MSBME, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Study shows symptom-driven therapy may be ok for some adults with mild persistent asthma
Some adults with long-standing mild persistent asthma may be able to control their asthma by taking corticosteroids only when needed, instead of taking anti-inflammatory medication daily as currently recommended.

The world's leading researchers in clinical immunology to gather for FOCIS 2005
The world's leading researchers in clinical immunology will gather in Boston, May 12-16, 2005, for the 5th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS 2005).

Smart plastics change shape with light
Picture a flower that opens when facing the sunlight. In work that mimics that sensitivity to light, an MIT engineer and German colleagues have created the first plastics that can be deformed and temporarily fixed in a second, new shape by illumination with light having certain wavelengths.

Ovary removal elevates risk for Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that surgical removal of both ovaries doubles a woman's risk of developing Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism many years later in life.

The Academy of Natural Sciences investigates effects of climate change on Delaware tidal marshes
What will happen to birds, plants, insects, fish, other animals and drinking water when more salt water mixes in with freshwater in the tidal marshes of the Delaware Estuary as the predicted result of climate change?

National Academies advisory: High-performance structural fibers
Carbon and organic fibers have been used since the 1970s for many industrial and military applications, including systems to protect soldiers and materials used in aircraft and spacecraft.

Slime-mold beetles named for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld now each has a slime-mold beetle named in his honor.

Tamoxifen can reduce breast pain in prostate cancer patients
Tamoxifen is more effective than radiotherapy at preventing breast enlargement and breast pain in men with prostate cancer, concludes a randomised trial published online today by The Lancet Oncology.

Pathological gambling associated with brain impairments
Pathological gamblers exhibit complex impairments in decision-making and executive function processes associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, April 9 - 16, 2005.

Carnegie Mellon launches new MySecureCyberspace game
Carnegie Mellon CyLab and the Information Networking Institute will launch a new education initiative called MySecureCyberspace, which includes a game for children and a Web-based portal for home users.

Society of Nuclear Medicine to offer first $25,000 Mallinckrodt Seed Grant
The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) is offering a new, competitive grant to researchers in molecular imaging/nuclear medicine, thanks to a $25,000 donation from Tyco Healthcare/Mallinckrodt.

Final score - FA Cup vs the environment
As the race intensifies to reach the final of the FA Cup - one of the world's most prestigious soccer contests - researchers at Cardiff University, UK, have revealed the environmental impact of the event.

Gladstone investigators discover how resting T cells avoid HIV infection
Scientists have discovered the mechanism that enables some CD4 T cells -- the main target of HIV -- to thwart the virus.

'Nanoshells' simultaneously detect and destroy cancerous cells
Researchers at Rice University in Texas have developed a new approach to fighting cancer, based on nanoscale particles that can both detect and destroy cancerous cells.

British Asian women have lower risk of breast cancer than all other women
Asian women living in England and Wales have a substantially lower risk of breast cancer than other women, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Smoking doubles risk of degenerative eye condition
Smoking doubles the risk of the progressive and irreversible eye condition, macular degeneration, and may account for almost 30,000 cases in the UK, suggests research in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Technology makes transnational conflict monitoring faster than ever
The combination of cheap and quick technology can lead to real-time global conflict management.

Delay in Alzheimer's disease onset seen for first time
A study led by Mayo Clinic shows for the first time that a drug appears to have a slowing effect -- though limited -- on the progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease.

Bugs in the gut could help doctors develop individualised healthcare
The success of personalised healthcare hinges on a better understanding of how microbes in the gut interact with different medicines report scientists from Imperial College London and Astra Zeneca.

A robot for building planes
Fatronik Technological Centre has put the finishing touches to the development of a portable climbing robot capable of carrying out precision operations and originally designed for the aeronautics sector. 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