Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 29, 2005
Scientists listen to brain patterns of tone-deafness
Tone deafness -- or amusia - can be congenital, present from birth, or acquired following injury to the brain.

USC researchers find drug is tough tumor fighter
A close structural relative of the celebrated COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (brand name: Celebrex) is a potent tumor fighter, able to wipe out tumor cells that are resistant to conventional chemotherapies.

NIH, UNC scientists find anti-cancer drugs might work in treating deadly aging disease
Working together, scientists at the National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a promising new strategy for treating a form of progeria.

Penn study shows genes may affect response to different quit-smoking medications
A study by researchers at the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicates that a smoker's genetic make-up may affect whether they quit or not while using either bupropion (Zyban©) or nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as the nicotine patch or nasal spray.

UCLA discovery prevents cell abnormality leading to progeria
UCLA scientists studied cells isolated from people with progeria -- a rare genetic disorder that causes accelerated aging and death in children -- and cultured the cells with a drug that blocked a mutant protein from attaching to the cells' nuclei.

Virginia Tech researcher reports nano-particle dispersion technique improves polymers
Incorporating nano particles into polymers has the potential to improve various properties with only a small percent of the particles.

Researchers examine potential for 'refilling' hydrogen storage material
Performing quantum calculations on a supercomputer, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have characterized a material that might allow on-board refueling of hydrogen powered vehicles.

Unexpected features of anthrax toxin may lead to new types of therapies
Surprising new insights about the acid pH levels required for anthrax toxin to invade the cells of the body may help accelerate development of medications for the treatment of anthrax, a disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium.

VCU research: Magnetic nanoparticles for potential cancer treatment
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have created highly magnetized nanoparticles based on metallic iron that could one day be used in a non-invasive therapy for cancer in which treatment would begin at the time of detection.

Thyroid hormone, brain development, and behavior
Dr. Bjorn Vennstrom and colleagues in Spain and at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) have identified novel neural functions of thyroid hormone (TH), revealing that it is required during discrete periods of brain development to confer

'Operando' methods for understanding catalysis in hydrogen storage
As researchers at Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory investigated the hydrogen storage capabilities of amine borane compounds, they knew that a rhodium catalyst readily releases hydrogen from the compound at room temperature.

Scientists describe new way to peer inside bacteria
As part of the search for better ways to track and clean up soil contaminants, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have developed a new way to

Montreal researchers probe the genetic basis of memory
A group of Montreal researchers has discovered that GCN2, a protein in cells that inhibits the conversion of new information into long-term memory, may be a master regulator of the switch from short-term to long-term memory.

Blocking a premature aging syndrome with anticancer drugs
A class of anticancer drugs currently being evaluated in phase 3 clinical trials may also be an effective treatment for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), a fatal genetic disorder that causes premature aging.

Detecting anthrax proteins at ultralow concentrations
A new laboratory method for quickly detecting active anthrax proteins within an infected blood sample at extremely low levels has been developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S.

Most published research findings may be false
Published research findings are sometimes refuted by subsequent evidence, says Ioannidis in a paper published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, with ensuing confusion and disappointment.

Killer microbe may be a lifesaver after all
Advances in the molecular modeling and simulation of complex biological systems are enabling researchers to study how certain microbial systems may play an important role in the remediation of contaminated soils.

Anthrax test, developed by army and CDC, receives FDA approval
A method for identifying Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been cleared for diagnostic use by the U.S.

New tool to study elusive DNA structure could help reveal better understanding of cancer, diabetes
A Rensselaer researcher has developed a new tool to help unravel the function of an elusive DNA structure.

Study: Brain structures contribute to asthma
The mere mention of a stressful word like

Study reveals who is really considering plastic surgery
In the first-ever research of its kind, a study conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) details the people considering plastic surgery and their motivations, debunking many stereotypes.

Envisat sees whirling Hurricane Katrina from ocean waves to cloud tops
ESA's multi-sensor Envisat satellite has gathered a unique view of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico.

High-performance computing may improve combustion efficiency
Rising oil prices have revved momentum to develop more efficient combustion systems.

Unusual antibiotics show promise against deadly 'superbugs'
An unusual type of antibiotic being developed by chemists at Notre Dame University shows promise in defeating deadly

Nanofabrication: Next generation chip manufacture?
A new nanotechnology tool that will dramatically cut the cost of leading-edge nano research at the sub-50nm scale has been developed by EU researchers.

Teenage drug use can lead to adult addiction and heart attack
A new study from the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne may help explain why people who experimented with amphetamines, such as 'speed', as teenagers are more likely to become addicted and more susceptible to heart attack following re-use of the drug as adults.

Benzodiazepines effective against alcohol withdrawal seizures
Tranquilizers work better than placebos at treating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome but they may not work better than other drugs, according to a new review of recent studies.

AAN Foundation, the ALS Association partner to finance Clinician Scientist Development Award
In collaboration with The ALS Association, the American Academy of Neurology Foundation has announced the Clinician Scientist Development Award to support research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

SciFinder 2006 launches powerful new substance search capablities
SciFinder 2006 has marked a decade of innovation by launching powerful new capabilities, including similarity searching of chemical substances.

Bad aftertaste? New sensory on/off switch may 'cure' bane of artificial sweetener search
Nothing leaves a bad taste in your mouth like an aftertaste.

VCU researchers investigating outcomes of perineal laceration repair following childbirth
Women who have third- or fourth-degree perineal laceration repairs following the birth of their first baby have considerably different outcomes that can adversely impact quality of life and have implications on subsequent deliveries, according to Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.

Fungus helps tall fescue choke out native plants
Research in this week's issue of PNAS reveals how some non-native fescue grass gets a leg up over competing native plants: it's passed over by plant-eating insects and animals after a symbiotic fungus laces its leaves with toxic alkaloids.

Tiny rubber balls give plastic bounce
Automobile bumpers that deform and recover rather than crack and splinter, computer cases that withstand the occasional rough encounter, and resilient coatings that can withstand the ravages of the sun, may all be possible if tiny functionalized rubbery particles are imbedded in their plastic matrices, according to Penn State materials scientists.

Mayo Clinic study: Don't stop taking aspirin before heart surgery
A new Mayo Clinic study provides further evidence of aspirin's benefits for patients with heart disease and suggests they should continue taking it even in the days leading up to surgery.

New chemistry method uses 'test tubes' far smaller than the width of a hair
Using a water droplet 1 trillion times smaller than a liter of club soda, a University of Washington scientist is conducting chemical analysis and experimentation at unprecedented tiny scales.

Statin treatment within first 24 hours after heart attack cut mortality by half
Treatment with a statin drug within the first 24-hours after a heart attack reduced in-hospital mortality rates by over 50 percent according to a new UCLA study.

Research sheds new light on cholesterol danger
Research at Michigan State University has shed new light on the role that cholesterol plays in causing heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

Ozone layer decline leveling off, according to new study
A new study involving long-term data from satellites and ground stations indicates Earth's ozone layer, while still severely depleted following decades of thinning from industrial chemicals in the atmosphere, is no longer in decline.

Researchers describe new cost-effective method to assess sleep
Using information hidden in the beat-to-beat changes of the heart's electrical signals, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have developed an inexpensive method to assess the stability and quality of sleep, which could be used to help understand the mechanisms of sleep control and diagnose sleep disorders, as well as to test the efficacy of sleep aids and other medications.

Nanocoating could eliminate foggy windows and lenses
Foggy windows and lenses are a nuisance, and in the case of automobile windows, can pose a driving hazard.

Cancer therapies during childhood can damage developing teeth
Detrimental effects of cytostatic and radiation therapies on dental development have been known for a long time, but knowledge about the dental consequences of high-dose anticancer therapy preceding stem cell transplantation has so far been scarce.

Expanding complexity of p53
25 years after the initial discovery of p53, Dr. David Lane and colleagues at the University of Dundee have discovered multiple isoforms of the p53 tumor suppressor protein.

SPF may not be enough to protect against skin cancer
Immune protection factor (IPF) in sunscreens and its relation to sun protection factor (SPF) is essential in determining skin cancer prevention ability, researchers found.

Kentucky, China seismic experts
An agreement reached late in 2004 has resulted in the first round of exchanges between earthquake researchers in China and their counterparts at the Kentucky Geological Survey and the University of Kentucky Geological Sciences Department.

AAN Foundation, National MS Society partner for Clinician Scientist Development Award
In collaboration with the National MS Society, the American Academy of Neurology Foundation has provided the first Clinician Scientist Development Award to support research in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Changing Face of Chemical Engineering Education
Northeastern University's Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing (CAMMP), a NASA Space Partnership Development Center, will host experts from the United States, South Africa and the Pacific Rim to discuss

'Australian-first' cancer research facility opens at UQ
A 'state-of-the-art' cancer facility funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) was officially opened at the University of Queensland (UQ) today.

U of MN researchers develop tests for devastating cattle disease
Researchers at the University of Minnesota, working in collaboration with scientists at the USDA, have used genomic information to develop tests that can rapidly detect and differentiate the bacteria that causes Johne's disease, a chronic wasting disease found in cattle and other ruminant animals such as sheep, goats and deer.

IMEx consortium provides new mechanism for improving access to molecular interaction data
The executive teams of five major molecular interaction databases announced today the signing of an agreement to share curation efforts and exchange completed records through a mechanism known as the International Molecular Exchange (IMEx) consortium.

UGA pharmacy faculty awarded patent to treat neurodegenerative disorders
Two University of Georgia College of Pharmacy faculty have received a patent for the invention of novel analogs of choline that may be used to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

Certain herbs and supplements can help 'tummy aches'
As more parents choose home remedies for their children's gastrointestinal complaints, the question arises, which ones really work?

Caloric restriction won't dramatically extend life span in humans: UCLA research
Severely restricting calories over decades may add a few years to a human life span, but will not enable humans to live to 125 and beyond, as many have speculated.

Anti-cancer drugs may hold promise for premature aging disorder
In a surprising development, a research team led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has found that a class of experimental anti-cancer drugs also shows promise in laboratory studies for treating a fatal genetic disorder that causes premature aging.

EBI and Ghent University launch PRIDE: An open source database of protein identifications
The European Bioinformatics Institute and Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB)-Ghent University have launched the PRoteomics IDEntifications database (PRIDE;
Career prospects in Germany
For the fourth time, the DFG and other German funding organisations are jointly organising a meeting for young German researchers in the United States.

Wildfires and home prices: Are they related?
Do wildfires influence the housing market? Is it a consideration when people buy or build?

New findings help to unravel skin cancer's secrets
Chemists are scrambling to find new ways to help subdue skin cancer.

Quicker, cheaper DNA sequencing goal of UH profs with $4.2 million NIH grant
Houston recently got a shot in the arm toward becoming the next biotech hub in the United States with a $4.2 million NIH grant awarded to VisiGen Biotechnologies, a local company created by University of Houston researchers working on a new process to sequence the human genome.

'Greener' stain-resistant coatings developed; avoid PFOA
When it comes to fighting stains,

Robot-assisted prostate surgery has possible benefits, high cost
Although minimally invasive prostate removal aided by a robot can lead to less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and fewer complications, there is no evidence that the procedure improves cure rates, according to a new technology assessment.

The Future of Chemical Plant Security -- one-day symposium, Monday, Aug. 29
Reducing vulnerabilities at chemical facilities will be addressed during a special one-day symposium,

Finding a way to test for dark energy
Physics models of dark energy can be separated into distinct scenarios, which could be used to rule out Einstein's cosmological constant and distinguish among two major classes of dynamic quintessence, a thawing model and a freezing model.

Garvan Insitute scientists suggest new approach for treating patients with brittle bones
Scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, are suggesting a new approach to determining the risk of fracture in individuals with the brittle bone disease, osteoporosis, which could have treatment implications.

Some children facing bone marrow transplant risk
Many children who undergo bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as part of cancer treatment already have dental abnormalities that leave them vulnerable to potentially life-threatening bacterial infections, according to investigators at St.

Study shows humans have ability to track odors, much like bloodhounds
Neuroscientists imaging the brain have confirmed a 40-year-old claim that humans have an untapped ability to localize odors in the same way we localize sounds.

A step closer to a malaria vaccine
An international team of scientists that includes a researcher from the U.S.

Hearing loss in older adults may compromise cognitive resources for memory
In a new study, Brandeis University researchers conclude that older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss may expend so much cognitive energy on hearing accurately that their ability to remember spoken language suffers as a result.
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