Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 15, 2005
American Thoracic Society journal news tips for June 2005 (second issue)
Newsworthy articles include studies showing that: in an area of high tuberculosis (TB) incidence, investigators found that the age-adjusted rate of disease reinfection after successfull treatment of TB was four times that for new cases; low-dose spiral computer-based tomographic (CT) screening for lung cancer can lead to early diagnosis in a high proportion of cases; and home care services can offer great potential for patients with respiratory diseases.

Design of neonatal intensive care units critical to infant health
Effective neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) provide more than just services - they're designed in a way that contributes to the health of the infants being treated, says a Texas A&M University authority on health care facility design and environmental psychology.

Good friends, rather than close family ties, help you live longer in older age
A network of good friends, rather than close family ties, helps you live longer in older age, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Nicotine triggers the same brain reward circuitry as opiates
In experiments with mice, researchers have found that nicotine triggers the same neural pathways that give opiates such as heroin their addictively rewarding properties -- including associating an environment with the drug's reward.

Promiscuous catalytic activity possessed by novel enzyme structure
Nature is a seemingly endless storehouse of interesting - and potentially life-saving - biological molecules.

Dartmouth study reveals flaws in screening for TB; Cases in 3rd world HIV patients may go undetected
New findings from a Dartmouth Medical School collaboration in Tanzania may alter assumptions about the diagnosis of tuberculosis in HIV-infected people, and prompt a major change in way TB testing is routinely done in the developing world.

A new model of quantum dots: Rethinking the electronics
Nanocrystalline quantum dots sparkle with promise for uses ranging from medicine to national security, but one of their most important electronic properties has long been misunderstood.

A vaccine approach to treating Parkinson's disease
Researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine working with scientists at Elan Pharmaceuticals, have reported promising results in mice of a vaccine approach to treating Parkinson's and similar diseases.

Maryland's poor, African-American communities suffer disproportionate cancer risk from air pollution
New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that Maryland communities that are poor and predominantly African-American incur a disproportionate cancer risk from ambient exposure to airborne toxins.

Genes exert powerful effect on sexual behavior
A new study shows that the manipulation of a single gene in female fruit flies can make their sexual behavior resemble that of males, demonstrating the surprising power of individual genes and the profound impact of genetics on complex sexual behavior.

NWO/Spinoza prize to cancer research, cognitive sciences, physics and mathematics
On 6 June, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) announced which four researchers will receive the NWO/Spinoza prize for 2005.

Gastric bug link to irregular heart rhythm
A common stomach bug may also be linked to the development of irregular heart rhythm, also known as atrial fibrillation, suggests a small study in Heart.

Promoting hair growth
In the July 1st issue of Genes & Development, Dr.

'Jumping genes' contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains
Brains are marvels of diversity: no two look the same -- not even those of otherwise identical twins.

NIH creates nationwide network of molecular libraries screening centers
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced it is awarding $88.9 million in grants to nine institutions over three years to establish a collaborative research network that will use high-tech screening methods to identify small molecules that can be used as research tools.

Penn receives $9.5 mllion NIH grant to create center for molecular discovery
The University of Pennsylvania is receiving $9.5 million from the National Institutes of Health during the next three years to establish the Penn Center for Molecular Discovery.

Geneticists identify 'master switch' that causes female flies to behave like males
Turning on a single male-specific gene produces a female fruit fly that displays male courtship behaviors: chasing other females, tapping their abdomens and performing wing-beating love serenades.

Efford to make geomatics announcement
The Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, will speak at the Geomatics Industry Association of Canada's 2005 Leaders Forum.

Fossil Patagonian plants show high insect feeding diversity 52 million years ago
South America has the most biodiversity of any major region today and according to an international team of researchers, that biodiversity began at least 52 million years ago.

Avoiding amputation: Early infection intervention can save feet & legs
A small sore on a toe may not seem like a major medical threat.

Award-winning UH professor selected to organize alloys symposium
As recipient of the 2007 William Hume-Rothery Award from The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society for his contributions to the science of alloys, a University of Houston physics professor has now begun organizing the accompanying symposium for the 136th TMS Annual Meeting in 2007.

Saved by a straw?
Americans drink roughly 576 soft drinks every year - about one and a half cans a day for everyone in the United States.

Improved water vapor sensor takes to the skies
A new water vapor sensor developed partly at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research will improve a wide range of weather forecasts to make flying safer, allow airlines to expand routes, provide alternate landing options, and save fuel.

Changes advocated in license renewals for elderly drivers
Senior citizens not only drive more these days, but have sped past teenagers as the age group with the highest number of traffic accidents per mile.

New memory aid helps dementia sufferers remember as time goes by
Classic movies such as 'Casablanca' could bring back lost memories for dementia sufferers thanks to an innovative memory aid.

IUMS 2005
This summer, the United States National Committee of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) will host the triennial joint meeting of the three divisions of IUMS.

National Service Framework for heart failure urgently needed
A new National Service Framework for chronic heart failure is urgently needed, because patients with heart failure are getting a raw deal, despite the availability of effective treatment, say leading cardiologists in Heart.

Columbia University launches multi-year campaign to support stem cell research
Columbia University Medical Center announced today that it is halfway toward realizing the first phase of a multi-year campaign to build upon the university's groundbreaking stem cell research and lead the effort to fully realize the therapeutic potential of stem cells.

Five US technical job classifications show employment drop, one shows steep increase
Five major engineering and computer job classifications showed a drop in employment in the first quarter of 2005 vs. the 2004 average, while one showed a large increase.

Nanoparticles carry cancer-killing drugs into tumor cells
University of Michigan scientists have created the nanotechnology equivalent of a Trojan horse to smuggle a powerful chemotherapeutic drug inside tumor cells - increasing the drug's cancer-killing activity and reducing its toxic side effects.

Arthritis of the spine often overlooked in children
When kids or teens experience aching joints and stiffness it may be more than growing pains.

Panel calls for a new look at treatments commonly used for chronic insomnia
Many of the medications widely used to manage chronic insomnia have not yet been rigorously evaluated for long-term use, according to an independent scientific panel convened this week by the National Institutes of Health.

NJ grant helps small biz incubator at NJIT to expand offerings
The smell of success just grew sweeter for entrepreneurs. Last week, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) unveiled five new programs to bolster small businesses and help them grow bigger.

The bigger the serving, the more young children will eat
Preschool children do not adjust for how much they've already eaten in the past 24 hours or how calorie-rich their meal is.

Key milestone in antifungal treatment for severe asthma
University of Manchester researchers announced today that they have reached a key milestone in their study of the antifungal treatment of asthma.

Allergies affect 15 million people in UK, says Professor
The NHS spends £1 billion each year treating 15 million of British children and adults for allergies like eczema, hay fever and asthma and an estimated 40% of children and 30% of adults in the UK are now affected by allergic disorders, a University of Edinburgh Professor will say in his inaugural lecture today, Thursday, 16 June.

'Supersolid' or melted 'superfluid' film: A quantum difference
New calculations support an alternative to

New tools help identify what works to encourage women in engineering
Determining what types of programs work best to recruit and retain women and other minorities in engineering just got easier thanks to new assessment tools developed by a team comprised of representatives from seven educational institutions throughout the U.S.

Pitt receives $9 million to develop research tools that may aid drug discovery
The University of Pittsburgh has received $9 million from NIH to establish a Molecular Libraries Screening Center, one of nine in the nation that will create sophisticated methods for rapidly assessing hundreds of thousands of compounds for their biological activities and therapeutic potential- a capability that has until now been limited almost exclusively to pharmaceutical companies.

Health effects from wet work are of great concern
Wet work and its health effects attracted much attention at the conference

Senior citizen support for school spending is growing
Local school districts can take heart from trends in senior citizen attitudes toward school spending since each succeeding bloc of senior voters attaches increased value to public school education, according to a Penn State study.

Placebos can bring emotional relief
Just as placebos have been shown to bring relief from pain, researchers have now found that they can affect emotion, alleviating the impact of unpleasant experiences.

Ossur v. Bledsoe Brace Systems
A federal district court judge in Seattle, Washington has issued an order following post trial motions in a lawsuit between Generation II and Bledsoe Brace Systems.

Walk slowly for weight loss, according to University of Colorado study
Leisurely walking for distance combined with low-impact cardiovascular activity appears to be the best formula for obese people seeking to get into shape and stay healthy, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Geneticists oppose singling out Jewish women in European breast cancer patent
Jewish women in Europe may face genetic discrimination in access to breast cancer diagnosis if the patent on the BRCA2 gene, which is currently being disputed, is not withheld by the European Patent Office (EPO) on June 29.

Research: Noise, visual cues affect infants' language development
Even moderate background noise can affect how infants learn language at an early and crucial time of their development, according to new research from Purdue University.

New report indicates acupuncture provides relief for sufferers of dry mouth
The emergence of acupuncture is allowing some patients to relieve or significantly reduce dry mouth's debilitating effects, according to a report in the May/June 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Exposure to sunlight may decrease risk of prostate cancer
In the largest such study to date, a research team from three cancer centers measured sunlight exposure in men and found that increased exposure to sunlight may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Experts to explore genetics, therapies for connective tissue diseases at Jefferson
Connective tissue diseases are common, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even degenerative skin changes with aging. 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