Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 08, 2005
Grizzlies and salmon: Too much of a good thing?
Even grizzly bears should watch what they eat. It turns out that grizzlies that gorge themselves on salmon during the summer spawning season have much higher levels of contaminants in their bodies than their cousins who rely more on berries, plants and insects.

Model gives clearer idea of how oxygen came to dominate Earth's atmosphere
A new model offers plausible scenarios for how oxygen came to dominate Earth's atmosphere 2.4 billion years ago, and why it took at least 300 million years after bacterial photosynthesis started producing oxygen in large quantities.

US high school science lab experiences often poor, but research points way to improvements
The quality of science laboratory experiences is poor for most US high school students, but educators can improve these experiences by following four key principles of effective instruction, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council.

More than aiding balance, vestibular organs provide an on-line movement guidance system
Anyone who's had to find his or her way through a darkened room can appreciate that nonvisual cues play a large role in our sense of movement.

New method for quantum cooling discovered by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin
Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered a new technique for cooling atoms and molecules that will allow them to study quantum physics more effectively with a greater variety of particles.

Researchers develop new testing methods for potential monkeypox or smallpox outbreak
Researchers at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) at Oregon Health & Science University have developed new diagnostic methods to better detect future monkeypox or smallpox outbreaks.

Dutch physicians' responses to requests for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide
Physicians in the Netherlands rely on careful patient evaluations and official practice guidelines when considering patient requests for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS), according to a study in the August 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New Northwestern Memorial study demonstrates significant burden staph infections place on hospitals
Staphylococcus aureus infections (S. aureus) create an enormous burden to hospitals by significantly increasing costs, length of patient stays and mortality rates, a Northwestern Memorial Hospital researcher found in the most comprehensive study to date, published today's Archives of Internal Medicine. The study, led by Gary Noskin, MD, an infectious diseases specialist and medical director of healthcare epidemiology and quality at Northwestern Memorial, examined two years of data from hundreds of hospitals.

Genetically modified maize not found in southern Mexico
Contrary to what many scientists thought, genetically modified (GM) corn has not yet spread to native maize crops in southern Mexico.

Corn grain mould used as pesticide
Scientists from the University of Bonn and the IITA in Nigeria, want to combat the highly toxic mould Aspergillus flavus by an unusual method: they 'inoculate' the fields with a variant of aspergillus which cannot produce any toxin in the hope that the 'good' mould will displace the 'bad'.

Researchers find BRCA1 tumor suppression nullified by cyclin D1
Scientists have discovered that a protein called cyclin D1, grossly overproduced in about half of all cases of breast cancer, can also disrupt BRCA1's normal role as a cancer inhibitor.

Mosquitoes are more attracted to individuals infected with malaria
In the premier open access journal PLoS Biology, a study of children in Kenya reveals that those individuals harboring the transmissible gametocyte stage of malaria parasites are more attractive to the mosquito vectors that spread this disease.

Nanotechnology to provide portable genetic risk detection
A state-of-the-art portable biosensing device based on micro- and nanotechnologies will empower doctors to rapidly and accurately forewarn patients of their genetic risk of developing diseases such as cancer.

Study finds depression and fatigue not associated with cancer risk
Feeling depressed and fatigued does not increase a person's risk for cancer, according to a new study.

New study examines impact of nurse-patient ratios law
There has been much controversy regarding implementation of legislation to regulate hospital nurse-patient staffing ratios and its impact on patient safety and quality outcomes.

Movie villains smoke more than heroes
New research shows that lower-class, nonsuccessful

NHGRI expands effort to revolutionize sequencing technologies
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it has awarded grants totaling more than $32 million to advance the development of innovative sequencing technologies intended to reduce the cost of DNA sequencing and expand the use of genomics in biomedical research and health care.

Field tested: Grasslands won't help buffer climate change as carbon dioxide levels rise
The first five years of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment show that production responses of the grassland to changes in climate and CO2 concentration are unlikely to lead to increased productivity on their own.

Firefly protein lets researchers monitor molecule linked to cancer
Scientists have used a glowing protein from fireflies to observe the activity of a molecule that is an important target for new drugs to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and several other disorders.

Cosmic radiation associated with risk of cataract in airline pilots
Airline pilots have an increased risk of nuclear cataracts [common type of cataract, associated with aging] compared with non-pilots, and that risk is associated with cumulative exposure to cosmic radiation, according to a study in the August issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

News briefs from the journal CHEST August 2005
Story tips in the current issue of Chest include More evidence shows job puts popcorn workers at risk; Snoring causes identified; and SABA fills mark reflect asthma morbidity.

Why don't some patients take their medicines?
Patients who trust their doctors are more likely to stick to their prescription medicines, even if they face high out-of-pocket costs, a new study finds.

High insulin levels increase inflammatory markers and beta-amyloids, may contribute to Alzheimer's
Moderately elevated levels of insulin increase the levels of inflammatory markers and beta-amyloid in plasma and in cerebrospinal fluid, and these markers may contribute to Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study posted online today from Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Underneath it all
From Organic farming to the effects of Bt in soil, from how soil insects choose the plant roots they eat, to the impact of silk from both spiders and silkworms on protecting plants from pest damage, a series of presentations at the upcoming ESA-INTECOL Joint Meeting cover the ins and outs of soil ecology.

In some cases, genetic resistance takes on a life of its own
In the absence of the original chemical threat, most resistance mutations would cause a disadvantage to their hosts and might be expected to quickly leave the genetic landscape once the use of a drug or insecticide is suspended or withdrawn.

Hospital characteristics play a role in use of do-not-resuscitate orders
Hospital characteristics, including size, non-profit status and affiliation with a university, appear to be associated with use of do-not-resuscitate orders (DNR) in California, independent of the patient's characteristics, according to a study in the August 8/22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study identifies which patients will not respond to treatment with targeted cancer drug
Cancer researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have identified a protein called EMP-1 that is present in the tumors of patients who fail to respond to treatment with gefitinib, or IressaTM, a drug that has limited success in the treatment of patients with non small-cell lung cancer - the most common and deadly form of lung cancer.

DDT-resistant insects have additional genetic advantage that helps resistance spread
Insects that can withstand the powerful pesticide DDT that was banned in the 1970s have an additional genetic advantage over their rivals that has helped them spread across the globe ever since, according to research published in Current Biology tomorrow (9 August 2005).

APS physics tip sheet #51
Highlights in this issue: Stopped light breaks record and Discovering diversity and cooperation in models of evolution.

Improved breast cancer survival rates linked to smaller tumors
A new study finds that the size of newly diagnosed breast cancers has shifted towards smaller tumors, even within conventional cancer stage categories, and that this shift accounts for a proportion of the improvement seen in breast cancer survival over the last 30 years.

Hopkins researchers use diffusion MRI technique to monitor ultrasound uterine fibroid treatment
Johns Hopkins researchers have, for what is believed to be the first time, used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI), a technique that images the movement, or diffusion, of water molecules in tissues, to successfully determine the effectiveness of high-intensity focused ultrasound for treating uterine fibroids.

America's public forests landlocked by sea of development
America's national forests are beginning to resemble

The ecological effects of the Chernobyl disaster
Nearly 20 years ago Reactor number 4 at Chernobyl exploded, sending radiation across a large region of what is now the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

Survey uncovers surprising attitudes towards HIV vaccine research
A survey of U.S. adults has found that a majority believe that HIV vaccines are the best hope for controlling the global AIDS epidemic and are confident such vaccines can be made.

ICTP Dirac Medal 2005
Sir Samuel Frederick Edwards, Emeritus Cavendish professor of physics, University of Cambridge, UK, and Patrick A.

First guidelines to focus on postoperative atrial fibrillation
The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) released the first evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of postoperative atrial fibrillation (AF) after cardiac surgery.

DNA traces evolution of extinct sabertooths and the American cheetah-like cat
By performing sequence analysis of ancient DNA, a team of researchers has obtained data that help clarify our view of the evolutionary relationships shared by the large predatory cats that once roamed the prehistoric New World.

Micro RNAs play role in egg making
Researchers at Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University have found that a recently described class of molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in regulating oogenesis, the process by which females make eggs.

UW-Madison scientists zero in on drugs' sweet spots
Employing a simple new technique to manipulate the sugars that power many front-line drugs, a team of Wisconsin scientists has enhanced the antic-cancer properties of a digitalis, a drug commonly used to treat heart disease.

Patient's genes can predict response to chemotherapy for breast cancer
Testing for the activity of certain genes could be used to predict how breast cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy treatment.

Using simple forms can improve stroke care
Using standardized forms at the time stroke patients are admitted to and discharged from the hospital can improve care, according to a study of California hospitals published in the August 9 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Meteor impacts: Life's jump starter?
Meteor impacts are generally regarded as monstrous killers and one of the causes of mass extinctions throughout the history of life.

Our effect on the world
Several presentations at the upcoming ESA-INTECOL meeting cover the effects of human activites on ecosystems.
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