Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 16, 2005
Two new retroviruses--transmitted from animals--identified
A team of researchers has discovered two new retroviruses among central Africans who hunt nonhuman primates.

While on trail of dioxin, scientists pinpoint cancer target of green tea
Green tea appears to protect against cancer by affecting a

The link between physical activity and ovarian cancer
A new study found that regular moderate recreational and work-related physical activity may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for May 17, 2005
The current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet contains the following articles: Antibiotic successfully prevents travelers' diarrhea, study finds; Guidelines now recommend against ht for women with hysterectomy; Slightly elevated blood sugar levels not associated with new heart attacks, study finds; Study of five strategies to treat hbv identifies two strategies cost-effective, depending on health resources.

Concurrent radiation, chemo, followed by surgery lengthens lung cancer patients survival
Patients whose lung cancer has spread to the lymph nodes have a better chance of long-term survival if they receive combined modality therapy, such as concurrent radiation and chemotherapy followed by surgery.

Boston University engineering team wins first place for vision-based parking monitoring system
A team of Boston University electrical and computer engineering undergraduates took top prize at the recent 5th annual regional IEEE Student Design Contest held at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Stegosaur plates and spikes for looks only, researchers say
Every school kid marvels at the bizarre plates running down the backbone of the weird-looking Stegosaurus, but paleontologists still don't agree on what they're for.

New preoperative chemotherapy and radiation regimen yields encouraging results for sarcoma
A new pilot study suggests that treating soft-tissue sarcoma with a new regimen of intense chemotherapy and a short course of radiation before surgery may be beneficial.

Phase III clinical program evaluates lubiprostone
Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America (TPNA) and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals announced the initiation of a phase III clinical development program for lubiprostone in patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C).

Radiologists play key role in child abuse cases: Electronic exhibit outlines signs of abuse
An estimated 906,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2003 (the latest year statistics are available), and radiologists are playing a key role when these cases and cases of alleged abuse end up in court.

A hope for oil spill bioremediation
A recently published article in Environmental Microbiology reveals that indigenous microbiota of the Galician shore is readily able to degrade crude oil.

Deeply held values fuel debate over offshore wind power
Wind farms are nothing new to some parts of the United States, where tall, white wind turbines with their giant propellers tower over the landscape, generating electricity with every sweep of their blades.

High levels of estrogen during pregnancy associated with improvement in psoriasis
Increased levels of estrogen that occur during pregnancy may be associated with improvement in psoriasis, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Combined MRI and mammography more effective at detecting breast cancer in high-risk women
Annual screening, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-ray mammography, is the best way to detect breast cancer in women that have a high genetic risk of the disease, according to a study published online today (Monday May 16, 2005) by The Lancet.

Biologic therapies for bowel disease show promise in clinical trials
Research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2005 (DDW) highlights three promising biologic therapies that may provide new treatment options for millions of people suffering with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) worldwide.

Radioactive isotope is effective against neuroblastoma
Attaching a radioactive chemical to a compound that binds to tumor cells, physicians can selectively kill those cells and improve treatment for children with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the peripheral nervous system.

Top chemical producers, sales jump 23 percent in 2004, C&EN survey reports
The top 50 U.S. chemical producers had total sales of $253.9 billion in 2004, a 23 percent increase over the $206.4 billion recorded in 2003, reports Chemical & Engineering News in its May 16 issue.

Social amoeba sheds light on communication in human brain
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that the popular sedative Valium has similar effects on the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum as it does in humans.

NASA postpones satellite launch
NASA's launch of the NOAA-N polar-orbiting environmental satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been postponed.

Lower doses of chemotherapy equally effective in most children
A pediatric oncologist at Brenner Children's Hospital hopes his latest research into treating a common childhood cancer will reduce the number of long-term side effects that survivors experience as they grow into adulthood.

Babies' cries linked to their health
Leading researchers in colic and infant development say that a simple analysis of babies' cries can provide a window into their neurological and medical status.

Obesity linked to colorectal and esophageal cancers
Obesity, a serious problem associated with numerous illnesses, has now been linked to an increased risk of developing colorectal and esophageal cancers, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2005 (DDW).

Vitamin D, taxotere combination promising for advanced prostate cancer
Results of a new study strongly suggest that DN-101, a new high-dose calcitriol pill designed specifically as a cancer therapy, given in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere) extends the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer.

Significant non-coronary findings found during heart CT scans
A significant percentage of patients undergoing targeted CT of the heart have abnormalities outside the coronary arteries, some of which could be life threatening, and as a result need the experience of trained radiologists to interpret them, say researchers from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor.

New therapy may give options to those with neuroendocrine tumors
A unique, targeted anti-cancer drug appears to show promise against neuroendocrine tumors-stubborn cancers that have traditionally responded poorly to chemotherapy, according to research findings announced at ASCO.

Study compares stomach acid control of three proton pump inhibitors in chronic NSAID users
Data from a clinical trial comparing stomach acid control of three proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), esomeprazole magnesium (NEXIUM®), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix), in chronic users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were presented today at the annual Digestive Disease Week® (DDW®).

PNAS highlights for the week of May 16 - 20
This week's highlights include research on the U.S. House of Representatives, diabetes treatment, bushmeat hunters, subliminal words, genetically modified crops, amino acid bonding, and early ants.

Organization for Human Brain Mapping's 11th Annual Meeting
The latest developments in the field of functional brain mapping will be presented at the annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, the primary meeting at which brain researchers throughout the world present their most recent findings.

Botox stops severe drooling in children with neurologic conditions
Ultrasound-guided Botox injections into the salivary glands decrease drooling in children with neurologic impairments such as cerebral palsy, say researchers from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

Noise and carbon monoxide exposure increases hearing loss according to Université de Montréal study
Researchers have gathered evidence which shows that combined chronic exposure to noise and carbon monoxide in the workplace induces hearing loss.

Mayo researchers to announce new findings about promising early-stage breast cancer treatment
A study led by a Mayo Clinic medical oncologist and conducted by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) provides important new data about the effectiveness and safety of a breast cancer treatment combining chemotherapy and a drug called trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Are CT angiograms overused?
The number of CT angiograms (CTAs) has gone up substantially, but the number of pulmonary emboli found has not, leading some researchers to question the utilization of this procedure.

Researchers prevent post-traumatic brain damage
n animal studies, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center have shown how traumatic brain injury leads to loss of brain function--and found that an experimental drug, Flavopiridol, can stop the damage and promote recovery.

Chemo-radiation therapy treatment gives head-and-neck cancer a 1-2 punch
Researchers studying an innovative treatment for advanced head-and-neck cancer, combining chemotherapy and radiation, report that about half of patients were still alive four years after treatment.

Anti-depressant use linked to increased GI bleeding
According to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2005 (DDW), use of a common type of antidepressant may increase gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.

Rice, Iowa state biologists search for 'half-fusion'
Every cell is surrounded by a protective membrane. Though barriers, cells must pass proteins and other chemicals through their membranes, and they do this via fusion, a process that opens small holes in the cell wall.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for May 2005 (second issue)
Newsworthy research features the following topics: in a national population-based study of 16,036 lung cancer patients, Hispanics with curable stage I lung cancer had poorer lung cancer specific survival rates, as well as worse all-cause mortality, than a much larger group of white persons; and, for the first time, researchers have determined the predictive value of using non-invasive measures to monitor airway inflammation in children with asthma who are undergoing inhaled corticosteroid reduction.

Changing medication packages could help patients follow prescriptions, study suggests
Distributing prescription medications in specially designed blister packages rather than in bottles may increase the likelihood that medications will be taken properly, a new study suggests.

New Orleans-area presentations at Joint Assembly
From coastal erosion in Louisiana to pollution in the Mississippi River, nearly 100 presentations out of the 3,151 total at next week's 2005 Joint Assembly have a New Orleans theme.

Very large diamonds produced very fast
Researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory have learned to produce 10-carat, half-inch thick single-crystal diamonds at rapid growth rates (100 micrometers per hour) using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process.

Study finds medication prevents travelers' diarrhea
The antibiotic rifaximin can be safely used to prevent attacks of diarrhea that plague an estimated 20 million international travelers each year, a Houston research team reports this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Presence of high-risk prostate cancer can be predicted without a biopsy, new study says
While prostate cancer is a very common diagnosis, it is a deadly disease in relatively few men.

Failed lung cancer drug could help shrink breast tumors
Giving women with early breast cancer a drug called gefitinib (Iressa[R]) before surgery could reduce the size of their tumors, suggests a randomized trial published online today (Tuesday May 17, 2005) by The Lancet Oncology.

Final results demonstrate Aranesp dosed every two weeks is comparable to Epoetin alfa dosed weekly
Amgen Inc., (NASDAQ: AMGN) the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced that final results of a Phase 3 randomized, head-to-head study demonstrated that 200 mcg of Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) administered every two weeks is as effective as 40,000 U of Epoetin alfa dosed once a week in boosting hemoglobin levels and reducing the need for red blood cell transfusions in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia.

New breast shield reduces radiation to female breast during chest CT by up to 73%
A new custom-designed tungsten-antimony breast shield reduces radiation dose to the female breast during chest CT by 43% to 73% without compromising diagnostic image quality, say researchers from the VCU Health System, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals and Physicians, in Richmond.

Chromosome deletion predicts aggressive neuroblastoma
When genes are deleted on a particular section of chromosome 11, the result is an aggressive form of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Multiple views from CT scans may improve diagnosis
Routinely reformatting computed tomography (CT) scans to view organs from several different directions may help radiologists improve diagnosis, according to new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Study finds maternal exposure to parasitic infection may increase risk of schizophrenia in offspring
A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests an association between maternal exposure to toxoplasmosis and increased risk for developing schizophrenia in adult children.

Global wind map may provide better locations for wind farms
A new global wind power map has quantified global wind power and may help planners place turbines in locations that can maximize power from the winds and provide widely available low-cost energy.

President Bush honors excellence in mentoring
Today, President Bush announced the recipients of the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) -- a program supported and administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Aspirin use may protect against colon cancer recurrence, reduce risk of death
A study led by researchers at Dana-Farber found that aspirin has a potential treatment benefit in people who have colon cancer.

Targeted cancer drug combined with low-dose chemotherapy shrinks tumors, slows ovarian cancer
A targeted cancer drug given with low-dose chemotherapy shrank ovarian tumors and slowed progression of ovarian cancer in patients with recurrent disease, according to research findings presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Study finds ADHD improves with sensory intervention
Preliminary findings from a study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show that sensory intervention -- for example, deep pressure and strenuous exercise -- can significantly improve problem behaviors such as restlessness, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

Aranesp dosed every three weeks achieved and maintained target hemoglobin levels
Amgen Inc., (NASDAQ: AMGN) the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced that new interim data from a single-arm, open label study of 1,225 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy demonstrated that Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) administered every three weeks was effective in increasing and maintaining patient hemoglobin levels to the recommended target of greater than or equal to 11 g/dL.

Scientists identify genes responsible for 'black rot' disease in vegetables
Scientists at four major genomics and plant pathology laboratories in China have collaborated on a project to characterize the causative agent of

Ablation therapy improves survival for patients with inoperable liver tumors
Using radiofrequency energy or liquid nitrogen to remove inoperable liver tumors can extend patient survival, according to new research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Large community-based clinical trial in older cancer patients suggests benefits of Neulasta®
Amgen Inc., (NASDAQ: AMGN) the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced that an initial report from a study of 701 older cancer patients with solid tumors demonstrates Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) administered beginning in the first cycle of myelosuppressive chemotherapy resulted in reductions in febrile neutropenia (low white blood cell count with fever) and related complications, compared to those who received Neulasta in later chemotherapy cycles after developing a low white blood cell count.

Heart scan surprises: CT reveals many non-heart problems, too
Nearly half of all patients who get their hearts scanned with a high-speed CT scanner may get a shocking surprise: a diagnosis of a serious problem that has nothing to do with their heart.

Certain acne treatment does not increase symptoms of depression in adolescents
Adolescents with moderate to severe acne experienced a reduction rather than an increase in symptoms of depression while taking the medication isotretinoin, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tiny toads fitted with backpacks
A University of Alberta researcher is strapping tiny backpacks to toads in an effort to discover why one species is in serious decline.

Minority youths self-esteem grows, not shrinks over time
Unlike their White peers, the self-esteem of Black, Latino, and Asian American adolescents increases over time.

Mayo Clinic: Biomarker that may improve quality of life during treatment for colorectal cancer
A Mayo Clinic-led study has revealed a genetic biomarker that can predict which patients are most likely to experience unwanted side effects from one of the most commonly used and highly effective chemotherapy regimens designed to treat colorectal cancer.

Columbia University researchers create mouse model that develops a human-like lymphoma
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have created the first mouse model that develops a lymphoma the same way that humans do.

Quantifying network vulnerability, and the best way to find hidden items
Highlights in this issue: Knowledge is critical for destroying crime rings and computer networks, and the best way to answer the burning question - What on Earth have I done with my keys?

Survival rates higher for children receiving living donor liver transplant
Children who undergo liver transplantation have better survival rates with living donor liver transplant graft than with deceased donor organ transplant, although factors other than the type of graft also are important, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UCLA researchers find common gastrointestinal condition keeps patients up at night
A multinational survey of almost 2,000 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) found that approximately half have trouble sleeping, which affects their work productivity and leisure activities.

Huygens team releases first enhanced mosaics of Titan
Scientists on Huygens' Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR) experiment have generated new views of Saturn's giant moon, Titan.

Blocking the Odc gene is effective in preventing cancers
Drugs that block the enzyme Odc prevent the onset of cancers that would otherwise be triggered by a family of cancer-causing genes called Myc, according to investigators at St.

Study concludes primary IGF-1 deficiency is a frequent cause of short stature
Data presented by UCLA researcher Dr. Pinchas Cohen at the Pediatric Academic Societies' 2005 annual meeting in Washington, D.C., demonstrated that non-growth hormone deficient primary insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) deficiency (Primary IGFD) is a frequent cause of short stature among patients currently classified as having idiopathic short stature, or short stature with no known cause.

U.N. mulls the protection of Earth's forests
The final meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests, now under way, could result in firm commitments to protect the world's forests or, some environmentalists worry, merely an agreement to continue negotiations.

Precise timing enabled pig-to-rat transplants to cure diabetes
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have learned that a temporal

Dermatologists use immunotherapy to treat warts
Injection of skin test antigens (preparations used in skin tests for immunity) into warts appears to stimulate the immune system and successfully treat the injected wart and also helps to treat distant non-injected warts, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UCLA study assesses cost-effectiveness of Hepatitis B drugs
UCLA researchers conducted the largest most comprehensive study comparing the cost-effectiveness of current modern drugs for treating hepatitis B - a disease affecting 350 million worldwide.

Ape computers introduced in the US
Ape computers will be introduced in the Usa on May 19th and 20th during the meeting

An alternative to prevent UC-associated colon cancer
A new study from the University of Michigan Health System suggests that there may be better and more cost-effective means to prevent colon cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis: statins.

OTC treatments for reflux fail to match relief of prescriptions
New research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2005 (DDW) suggests that over-the-counter treatments for gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) symptoms may not be as effective as treatment options prescribed by a physician.

The fat connection
The reasons for the strong correlation between excess body fat and diabetes have been puzzling researchers for some time.

Early cities: New perspectives on pre-industrial urbanism
This colloquium will bring together experts from many fields -- including archaeology, architecture, geography, urban planning, economics, and environmental psychology -- to discuss the development of cities in ancient Egypt, pre-Hispanic Mexico, and elsewhere.

Improvements in critical care decrease risk of post-injury multiple organ failure
Improvements in critical care and decreased use of blood transfusions over the course of the last decade are associated with decreases in the rate, severity and risk of death from post-injury multiple organ failure, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Homeland Security Committee among most partisan in the House says math study
The Select Committee on Homeland Security is one of the most partisan in the U.S.

MMP inhibitors may offer hope in the fight against prostate cancer-induced bone disease
A new study sheds light on a mechanism involved in the pathological destruction of bone tissue caused by metastatic prostate cancer.

Antibody combined with cancer drug shows promise against breast tumors
An antibody that targets the blood vessels nourishing tumors significantly reduced breast cancer formation and growth in mice when combined with a current cancer drug, according to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Scripps Nierenberg Prize awarded to nature filmmaker Sir David Attenborough
The fifth annual award honoring the memory of William A.

60 per cent of first-time mums say prolonged labour will affect them for life
Swedish study of more than 250 first-time mothers in Journal of Clinical Nursing found that 60% with prolonged labour said the experience would mark them for life, but 84% still found giving birth exciting.

Those at high-risk for skin cancer burnt by own behaviour
Those considered high-risk for melanoma -- the most dangerous form of skin cancer -- are no more likely to sunbathe protected than those who are unaware of their risk, according to a new study conducted by MUHC researchers.

B cells are required for development of epithelial cancer associated with chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of certain types of cancer, but mechanisms mediating inflammation during premalignancy are not well understood.

Statin use associated with reduced risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancers
Cholesterol-lowering statins are associated with a more than 50 percent reduction in the risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancers, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2005 (DDW).

New class of drugs may treat lung tumors resistant to Iressa and Tarceva
A new class of drugs that block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on lung cancer cells may get around the growing problem of resistance to targeted therapy drugs like Iressa and Tarceva.

CT colonography 'excellent' for colorectal cancer screening
The diagnostic accuracy of CT colonography is excellent in comparison with conventional colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening, an analysis of previous studies shows.

Study demonstrates longest reported survival rate for locally advanced lung cancer patients
An investigational chemoradiation regimen has achieved the best long-term survival rates yet reported in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer, according to results of a Phase II Southwest Oncology Group study presented today at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

New methods offer alternatives for patients undergoing obesity surgery
The number of gastrointestinal surgeries performed annually for severe obesity has increased from about 16,000 in the early 1990s to about 103,000 in 2003.

Randomized trial of two therapies for acute lymphocytic leukemia finds survival advantage
A prospective, randomized trial comparing a novel regimen with a standard treatment for adult patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) showed a distinct advantage that continued to show superior results at three-, four-, and five-year intervals in the investigational arm of the trial.

Engineers improve plastic's potential for use in implants by linking it to biological material
Engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have found a way to modify a plastic to anchor molecules that promote nerve regeneration, blood vessel growth or other biological processes.

Medical journals are an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies
Medical journals have become dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for their survival, which can have a corrupting influence on their content, argues Smith, the former editor of the BMJ, in a provocative essay published in the premier open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine.

St. John's Wort only minimally effective in relieving major depression, review confirms
St. John's Wort, the herbal medicinal long thought to relieve symptoms of depression, provides only minor benefits in patients with the most acute depression and perhaps no benefit for those with chronic depression.
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