Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 02, 2005
3-D study of immune cell interactions reveals details of an effective antibody response
Research published in the open-access online journal PLoS Biology reveals that interactions between B and T cells in intact thymocytes are monitored with two-photon laser scanning microscopy.

Study is first to implicate dietary fat in 'fatty liver'
A University of Minnesota study is the first to show that if you eat too much fat, it can go straight to your liver and damage it.

Simple questions may determine children's exposure to smoke
Pediatricians can reliably identify children at risk for environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure (secondhand smoke) by asking parents just three questions, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UT Southwestern researchers show new drug may help treat certain forms of leukemia
A new experimental drug may be effective against a certain form of leukemia resistant to current treatments, research at UT Southwestern Medical Center shows.

Neandertal femur suggests competition with hyenas and a shift in landscape use
Analysis of approximately 41,000-year-old human remains found in France suggests that Neandertals may have become regionally mobile earlier than scientists once thought.

A common bacterium leads to serious blood infection in many seniors, new study finds
A new study finds that E. coli bacteremia -- a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection caused by a common bacteria also associated with less dangerous urinary tract infections -- poses a significant public health threat in the United States, especially among seniors.

Excess oxygen worsens lung inflammation in mice
Research performed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has revealed that oxygen therapy aimed at helping mice with acute lung inflammation breathe paradoxically worsened their illness.

3 questions may provide good clues to smoke exposure
Every day, in thousands of busy pediatric medical offices, doctors and nurses routinely use a variety of questions to determine which of their young patients are at risk for exposure to second-hand smoke in their homes.

Milk thistle does not reduce deaths from liver diseases, best studies find
Milk thistle, a widely used alternative medicine, is not proven effective in lowering mortality in alcoholic or hepatitis B or C liver disease, according to a systematic review of current evidence.

Medication or psychotherapy effective in treating depressed patients when the other is not
Switching from an antidepressant medication to psychotherapy or vice versa may improve symptoms in chronically depressed patients who prove unresponsive to their initial treatment, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Too many doctors fail to follow guidelines and to prescribe best treatments for heart patients
Heart failure patients who are treated in accordance with established European guidelines do better than patients who are not, yet many doctors are still not adhering to the guidelines, according to pioneering research published in Europe's leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal (EHJ).

Burden of cardiovascular disease will shift to the developing world
According to research published in the premier open-access journal PLoS Medicine, cardiovascular diseases, traditionally thought of as diseases of affluence, are likely to become a substantial public health issue in low-income and middle-income countries.

Hypoxia can offset the potentially damaging effects of oxygen therapy
In a paper published in the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology, a mouse model suggests that oxygen therapy may exacerbate lung injury by weakening the anti-inflammatory mechanisms driven by hypoxia.

Mayo Clinic researchers discover genetic glitch in the heart's electrical system
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified defects in a second gene called RyR2 that causes malfunctions in the heart's electrical system and contributes to what were previously unexplained drownings.

Northwestern's cancer genetics program ID's gene variant that increases colon cancer risk
A paper published in this week's Journal of Clinical Oncology says Transforming Growth Factor Beta Receptor 1*6A (TGFBR1*6A) - a mutated gene present in nearly one in eight people and the most commonly inherited cancer susceptibility gene identified so far - might be responsible for a significant proportion of familial colorectal cancers.

Parents who don't vaccinate their children may believe vaccines cause harm
Concern that vaccines might cause harm was the most common reason given by parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated for preventable diseases, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Watching metals melt, nanometer-scale views inside cells
Researchers will present new results in the realm of optical science at the annual CLEO/QELS meeting, to be held in conjunction with the PhAST photonics meeting.

HIV treatment not affected by hormonal birth control
According to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, estrogen and progesterone hormones in birth control do not influence the effectiveness of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

RIM founder increases research donation to $50 million
Ophelia and Mike Lazaridis have personally donated an additional $17.2 million (incremental to their $33.3 million donation last year).

NIH awards Georgia Tech/Emory $11.5 M for nano cardiology research
Biomedical nanotechnology might help shed light on the molecular mechanisms responsible for one of the U.S.'s deadliest diseases - cardiovascular disease.

Highlights of the May 2005 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The May 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for May 3, 2005
The current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, released May 3, 2005, contains the following articles: Exercise can help your aching back, studies find; Plant-based low-fat diet improves cholesterol levels better than low-fat diet alone; Alendronate is not cost-effective therapy for women with osteopenia.

Identification of specific genes predicts which patients will respond to Hepatitis C treatment
For the first time, physicians at University Health Network and University of Toronto have identified a small subset of genes that can predict whether a patient with chronic Hepatitis C will be able to respond to current treatments.

Latest gene therapy research to be presented in St. Louis, June 1-5, 2005
The latest research in the field of gene therapy will be presented at the 8th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy (ASGT), June 1-5, 2005, in St.

Using RNA as your guide
In the May 15th issue of G&D, Drs. Michael and Rebecca Terns and colleagues have effectively reconstituted the archaeal modification guide ribonucleoprotein complex that guides pseudouridylation in vitro in a site-specific manner.

Researchers induce heart cells to proliferate
In the best documented effort to date, researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Children's Hospital Boston have successfully induced adult heart-muscle cells to divide and multiply by inhibiting an agent that naturally suppresses cell division.

Fundamental genes regulate human blood stem cells
A study published in the May issue of Developmental Cell identifies specific genes that appear to be key players in the regulation of human-blood stem cells.

Astronomers confirm the first image of a planet outside of our solar system
An international team of astronomers reports confirmation of the discovery of a giant planet, approximately five times the mass of Jupiter, that is gravitationally bound to a young brown dwarf - the first planet that has ever been imaged outside of our solar system.

Nation's leading researchers, scientists reveal findings at occupational therapy conference
Thousands of occupational therapy educators, practitioners, scientists and students from across the country will gather from May 12 to 15 at the 85th Annual Conference & Expo of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

African-American connection to attract Earth sciences students
Prospects for new Earth scientists are dim because minority students are not choosing science careers, according to a Penn State researcher.

Food fried in vegetable oil may contain toxic compound
When highly unsaturated vegetable oils are heated at frying temperature (365 F) for extended periods--or even for half an hour--a highly toxic compound, HNE (4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal) forms in the oil.

Exercise training in ordinary people affects the activity of 500 genes
A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm shows that hundreds of genes in the thigh muscle are activated in regular cycle training.

Researchers feed tiny pills of RNA to planarians to identify genes essential for regeneration
University of Utah researchers -- feeding microscopic pills of RNA to quarter-inch long worms called planarians -- have identified many genes essential to understanding a biological mystery that has captivated scientists for hundreds of years: regeneration.

Attention full-time workers: Get off the computer and out to exercise in your free time!
Do you - like millions of full-time workers - surf TV channels, play video games or boot up the computer in what little free time you have?

Medical-errors gap widens between best and worst hospitals: Healthgrades study
Patient safety incidents at America's hospitals increased slightly, but the nation's safest hospitals grew even safer, resulting in a wider gap in patient safety incident rates among the nation's best and worst hospitals, according to a new study of 37 million patient records released today by HealthGrades, an organization that evaluates the quality of hospitals, physicians and nursing homes for consumers, corporations, hospitals and health plans.

JCI table of contents June 1, 2005
This press release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online on May 2, 2005: FGF-21 finds itself as a new therapy for type 2 diabetes; Breaking down barriers in bacterial infection; Asthma mechanisms down to a T; Building new blood vessels; How normal B cells become leukemic cells.

Unexpected lock and key mechanism found for the assembly of tumor blood vessels
A critical lock and key mechanism that allows the final step in the completion of new blood vessel formation has been identified by a University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine team in research that promises to lead to a new way to halt tumor growth by cutting off the tumor blood supply.

FGF-21 finds itself as a new therapy for type 2 diabetes
FGF-21 is a novel member of the FGF family, but its biological role was not known.

Taxpayers commend precedent set by NIH public access policy
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), a coalition that supports making taxpayer funded research accessible to the public, called today's rollout of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Gamma rays from thunderstorms?
Duke University engineers have led the most detailed analyses of links between some lightning events and mysterious gamma ray emissions that emanate from earth's own atmosphere.

VIB top scientist receives major research grant & VIB presents 2004 results
Today, Monday 02 May 2005, VIB is presenting its annual results for 2004, and Bart De Strooper; one of VIB's leading scientists; is receiving a 'Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grant in Neuroscience'.

All low-fat diets are not equal, Stanford study shows
A low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans has twice the cholesterol-lowering power of a conventional low-fat diet, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Metal stents are safe and effective for treatment of obstructions from pancreatic cancer
One key goal of treating pancreatic cancer, which is often fatal within a year, is making sure patients have a good quality of life with as few complications as possible.

Major advance made on DNA structure
Oregon State University researchers have made significant new advances in determining the structure of all possible DNA sequences - a discovery that in one sense takes up where Watson and Crick left off, after outlining in 1953 the double-helical structure of this biological blueprint for life.

Obesity spreading out to all income levels
Once considered primarily a problem of the poor, obesity is growing fastest in among those making more than $60,000 a year.

Study reveals new data on how lyme disease is spread
The results of a five-year study, published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers at New York Medical College, reveal intriguing new data on the spread of the Lyme disease bacteria through the blood stream.

Education magnified 100,000X
Kids have always had a fascination with the other-worldly images produced by a scanning electron microscope (SEM): ants sitting on microchip picnic tables, salt crystals in gritty detail, the scales of a butterfly wing.

Return to normalcy
In the May 15th issue of G&D, Dr. Lawrence Donehower and colleagues address the issue of how a cell returns to normal after DNA damage is successfully repaired.

VCU engineers develop new polymer
A Virginia Commonwealth University chemical engineering team has developed a novel material that becomes water repellent when wet, setting the stage for advances in engineering, medicine and diagnostics.

Discoveries by UAB and Florida scientists may help transplanted organs survive longer
Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Florida have found a way to dramatically slow organ transplant rejection in animal studies.

Real time microscopy tracks the course of developing T cells
In a paper published in the freely-available online journal PLoS Biology, two-photon laser-scanning microscopy reveals the change from random motion to directed migration that occurs when thymocytes undergo positive selection.

Can our genes tell the story of our divergence?
Humans and chimps diverged about 5 million years ago. A study published in PLoS Biology seeks to find the genes that have undergone positive selection during the evolution of both lineages since that time.

The clustering of Hox genes is not necessary for their proper function
A research group led by Professor Alfredo Ruiz, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, has found that the Hox gene complex has been rearranged differently in several Drosophila species.

Study shows how retinoic acid enters a cell's nucleus
Cornell University researchers Noa Noy and Richard Sessler have published how retinoic acid gains entry into a cell's nucleus, where it has strong anti-carcinogenic effects, in Molecular Cell (Vol.

Researchers estimate polluted O.C. beaches cost public $3.3 million annually
Analyzing data from two popular Orange County beaches, Newport and Huntington, researchers estimate that swimming in these coastal waters costs the public $3.3 million per year in health-related expenses.

Liver metabolism goes to pot
Endocannabinoids are natural cannabis-like proteins that can stimulate appetite and regulate fat metabolism by binding to CB1 receptors.

Why are coyotes getting more aggressive?
Because coyotes have been getting increasingly aggressive in the eastern United States, Paul Curtis and colleagues at Cornell University are launching a five-year study on coyotes, thanks to a new grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Stem cells and regeneration: Opening up a new can of worms
Although small, planarian worms are famous in the scientific world for their extraordinary ability to regenerate body parts after injury.

Grandparent at home buffers single-parenthood
Having a grandparent in the home appears to buffer some of the potential negative effects on children of living in a single-parent home, according to a new study by Rachel Dunifon, assistant professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell, at the Population Association of America annual meeting, April 1, 2005.

Risk assessments urged for fish escaping from net-pen aquaculture
The substantial risk to salmon stocks posed by salmon that escape from net-pen farms argues for risk assessments of all types of marine fish farming, according to an article published in BioScience.

Finding the origin of fats in fatty liver disease
The origin of the lipids that accumulate in the liver of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was unknown.

Microbicide partners receive $5.7 million from Gates Foundation
The Alliance for Microbicide Development and the Global Campaign for Microbicides today announced that they have received grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will fund development of safe, effective, and affordable microbicides.

Transcendental Meditation extends lifespan
The American Journal of Cardiology reports in its May 2, 2005, issue that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces death rates by 23% and extends lifespan.

Response of New York City public school children to September 11
Six months after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, a high proportion of New York City school children had one or more probable anxiety/depressive disorders, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

American Thoracic Society journal news tips for May 2005 (first issue)
Newsworthy research studies show that: increased use of the over-the-counter pain killer acetaminophen was associated with a greater prevalence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; a high proportion of relatives of intensive care unit patients who had been either discharged or died demonstrated major risk of post-traumatic stress reaction; and vitamin C supplementation during pregnancy in rhesus monkeys limited the deleterious effects of nicotine exposure to their offspring's lung function.

From photovoltaics to solar thermal collectors: Evaluating and improving green design
Relatively few good examples exist of buildings that have excellent energy performance.

PNAS highlights for the week of May 2 - 6
This week's highlights include research on estrogenic chemicals, Neandertal bones, and transgenic plants.

Giving children access to drug clinical trials is crucial, clofarabine approval shows
The accelerated approval of the drug clofarabine to treat relapsed or refractory pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) demonstrates the importance of offering children rapid access to new treatments through clinical trials, according to investigators at St.

International conference probes the origins of life beyond Earth
International scientists will gather at McMaster University for the first major Canadian conference devoted to the origins of life in the solar system and beyond.

Computer test for specific maladaptive traits offers hope for clearer diagnosis, treatment
A new version of a reliable and well-regarded dimensional test for personality disorders developed by a University at Buffalo researcher and clinician may lead to clearer diagnosis of personality disorders and point toward more precise and specific treatment plans for the more than 31 million Americans affected by them.

Six previously blind patients detect light, motion, identify objects with retinal prostheses
Researchers from the University of Southern California and the Doheny Eye Institute's Doheny Retina Institute will be presenting data on the first six patients implanted with an intraocular retinal prosthesis.

Treating children with chronic hepatitis C
More than half of 61 children infected with chronic hepatitis C achieved a sustained viral response after treatment with peginterferon-alfa-2b and ribavirin, report the authors of a new study published in the May 2005 issue of Hepatology.

Health-care ethics practical, smart: U of T study
Health care ethics gained the limelight during the recent battle over Terry Schiavo's fate, but ethical decision-making is already a growing part of the corporate culture at a number of Toronto hospitals, thanks to a

Motion picture ratings fail to distinguish violent content
A new study led by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health shows that parents and filmgoers who use the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings system to gauge movie content receive little meaningful guidance related to violent content. 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