Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 20, 2005
Hanging baskets of sex and death help fruit growers
A hanging basket style device is at the heart of a plan by researchers at the University of Warwick to harness the sex drive of a major pest of fruit orchards as a weapon to spread a virus to kill that very same pest.

UCR biochemist goes to Washington with high-protein corn
Daniel Gallie, professor of biochemistry at UC Riverside, will present his research on high-protein corn before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., Sept.

Researchers link childhood asthma to exposure to traffic-related pollution
This study focuses on children's health and the burden of pollution from cars and trucks.

Research finds poor sleep affects student's school performance
With disturbed sleep creating poor measurable effects, our eyes must turn towards ZZZs.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience contains the following two articles: Painful to a T; Another reason to drink green tea?

Change in gene may be underlying molecular defect in some colorectal cancers, study suggests
Inactivation of a DNA repair gene may be an early step in the development of sporadic colorectal tumors, and detection of the molecular basis for this inactivation may ultimately be useful in risk assessment for colorectal cancer, according to a new study in the September 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Berkley researcher to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in learning and memory functions
A Berkley scientist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in helping to understand how learning and memory functions in the nervous system, which also has impact on the development of new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Computer scientist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in research on searchable networks
A computer scientist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in revealing the deep structure of complex networks and creating new methods to extract the information embedded in them.

Biologist to receive MacArthur grant for discovering species and revealing conservation needs
A conservation biologist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in studying and protecting endangered and previously unknown plants and animals of Madagascar.

Funding for biomedical research doubles in last decade
From 1994 to 2003, total funding for biomedical research in the US doubled to $94.3 billion, with industry providing 57 percent of the funding and the National Institutes of Health providing 28 percent, according to a study in the September 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical research.

Understanding IGF-1: Jefferson researcher sees drug potential in targeting enzyme
Pharmaceutical companies still come knocking on Renato Baserga, M.D.,'s door.

Vaccine may protect babies from lethal infection
Common bacteria that live harmlessly in the gastrointestinal tract and vagina of 25 percent of women can become lethal if a newborn gets exposed to them during birth.

Mutation may raise prostate-cancer risk in African Americans
Researchers have identified a gene mutation that may increase the risk of prostate cancer up to three times in African-American men with a family history of the disease.

CPAK 2005 -- 2nd Annual Conference
A gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in archaeo-astronomy and alternative history will take place this November 11-12 in Sedona, Arizona, at the 2005 Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge (CPAK).

Academic medical centers face multiple challenges for conducting medical research
To maintain their effectiveness for conducting medical research, academic medical centers must face critical issues such as constrained funding sources, scientific integrity, recruiting physician-scientists, and the increasing costs of research, according to an article in the September 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical research.

Air pollution found to pose greater danger to health than earlier thought
In this study, USC scientists report that fine airborne particles in Southern California wield two to three times greater effects on health than scientists earlier believed -- causing significantly more early deaths, especially from ischemic heart disease (such as heart attack) and lung cancer.

Biochemist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in drug research
A biochemist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in ways to produce and discover better drugs via

Stem cell ethical guidelines must be strengthened, UCSF team says
The possibility of using embryonic stem cells to treat disease, a strategy known as regenerative medicine, is not yet being explored in clinical trials, and may not be for many years.

Chemist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in computing models for molecular reactions
A theoretical chemist will receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in

Scientists uncover why picture perception works
A team of scientists has solved a key mystery of visual perception.

NIH establishes National Commission on Digestive Diseases
Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Elias A.

UQ researcher tracking key to healing the brain
Stem cells have long been described as the holy grail of bioscientist.

Experts develop global action plan to save amphibians facing extinction
A summit of leading scientists have agreed to an action plan intended to save hundreds of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians facing extinction from familiar threats such as pollution and habitat destruction, as well as a little-known fungus wiping out their populations.

Suppression of FOXO1a gene might kill resistant ARMS tumors
The loss of function of a gene called FOXO1a plays an important role in the development of the most common cancer of soft tissues in children, and restoring the function of that gene in cancer cells suppresses that cancer, according to investigators at St.

Laser technologist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in innovative laser applications
A laser technologist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in engineering state-of-the-art lasers for novel applications in environmental monitoring, clinical diagnoses, chemical process control, and weaponry for homeland security.

Hubble finds mysterious disk of blue stars around a black hole
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have identified the source of a mysterious blue light surrounding a supermassive black hole in our neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31).

Gene that controls the severity of asthma identified
Yale School of Medicine researchers identified a gene prevalent in the population that controls the clinical severity of asthma.

Study in Royal Society journal on possiblity of human organ regeneration
Studies published in the Royal Society journals focus on the possibility of human adult organ regeneration, fragmentation of grizzly bear populations, and more.

'Underground' tunnels discovered as means for communication between immune system cells
Immune system cells are connected to each other by an extensive network of tiny tunnels that, like a building's hidden pneumatic tube system, are used to shoot signals to distant cells.

Other highlights in the September 21 JNCI
Other highlights in the September 21 JNCI include a study of the risk of second cancers in testicular cancer survivors, an examination of hormone replacement therapy and mammographic breast density, a study of antibiotic therapy for a rare type of lymphoma, a finding of a possible melanoma gene, and a study of ovarian cancer risk in hereditary breast cancer families in which BRCA mutations are not found.

Scientists develop screening method for pancreatic cancer
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found a way of identifying families at high risk of pancreatic cancer.

Promising diagnostic tools for multiple sclerosis developed at Yale
Yale School of Medicine researchers have identified three rapid diagnostic methods that can target antibodies commonly found in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, greatly improving potential diagnosis and treatment.

Targeting a key enzyme with gene therapy reversed course of Alzheimer's disease in mouse models
In mice, that had been genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's disease, scientists were able to reverse the rodents' memory loss by reducing the amount of an enzyme that is crucial for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

New tools used to control foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks related to green onions
Novel use of genetic testing methods helped public health officials control and limit the further spread of four outbreaks of foodborne hepatitis A virus in 2003 related to the consumption of green onions, according to a detailed analysis published in the October 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Americans think commitment to health research should be stronger
Most Americans rate medical research as a high national priority and strongly support greater public and private funding, according to an article in the September 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical research.

Green tea ingredient prevents Alzheimer's-like brain damage in mice
Green tea may offer another potential health benefit -- protecting the brain against the ravages of Alzheimer's disease, University of South Florida researchers report.

Pharmacist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant in reducing medication error
A pharmacist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in reducing preventable drug and drug delivery mistakes.

Increased ovarian cancer risk not found in women with breast cancer family history
Women with a strong family history of breast cancer but who don't have breast cancer genetic mutations can now be reassured that they are not at increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Rutgers nursing professor edits book on health topics pertaining to persons with I/DD
A Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member has edited a book in which authors address 14 topics pertaining to the health and well being of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Biologist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in innovative gene, molecule studies
A biologist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in the role of genes and molecules in multicellular and unicellular life and the process of evolution.

Southern Appalachian landscapes: Preserving our heritage
Held for the first time in Cherokee, NC, the SAMAB annual conference will focus on landscapes of importance to southern Appalachian heritage in general, and to Cherokee tradition and culture in particular.

Scientists develop life-saving chrome
British scientists have developed a safer and a more versatile alternative to chrome electroplating, the coating found on vintage car bumpers, steel camshafts, and fixtures such as door furniture and light fittings.

MacArthur Fellowships of $500,000 awarded for genius in reducing cervical and breast cancer
Two 2005 MacArthur Fellowships will be awarded to individuals for their work in health: a researcher, for work in reducing cervical cancer mortality rates in developing countries, and a researcher for work in identifying risk factors for breast cancer in Afro-American and African women, particularly.

Largest ever Asian smoking study reveals cardiovascular health risks
The largest ever study of smoking in the Asia Pacific Region, and one of the largest smoking studies ever conducted anywhere in the world, has dispelled a long-held myth that smokers in Asian populations are less susceptible than Western populations to the risks of smoking, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

Breakthrough in micro-device fabrication combines biology and synthetic chemistry
Nanostructured micro-devices may be mass produced at a lower cost, and with a wider variety of shapes and compositions than ever before, for dramatic improvements in device performance by utilizing very small biologically produced structures.

Sugar helps control cell division
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that a deceptively simple sugar is in fact a critical regulator of cells' natural life cycle.

Case astronomers find vast stellar web spun by colliding galaxies
Case Western Reserve University astronomers have captured the deepest wide-field image ever of the nearby Virgo cluster of galaxies, directly revealing for the first time a vast, complex web of

Surprising new study shows periodontal disease affects young adults, boosts pregnancy problems
Periodontal disease -- a progressive, eventually painful and disruptive condition in which bacteria attack gums and the hidden roots of teeth -- develops much earlier than dentists and other health professionals thought, a major new study concludes.

Agronomy society makes $5,000 donation for hurricane aid
As professionals in the agronomy, crop, soils, and related sciences, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) will donate $5,000 to the American Red Cross, specifically for Hurricane Katrina Relief.

Energy ministers to meet
On September 20, 2005, federal, provincial and territorial ministers will gather for the 2005 Energy Ministers' Conference.

Vo-Dinh sees new journal advancing nano-bio field
Editor in Chief Tuan Vo-Dinh envisions the new international peer-reviewed journal NanoBiotechnology providing a forum that leads to

New programs restore interest in physician-scientist research careers
Recent initiatives appear to have created renewed interest for young physicians to pursue research careers, according to a study in the September 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical research.

Beta-carotene assoc. with higher risk of some cancers in women smokers but not nonsmokers
A new study of French women has found that high beta-carotene intake -- through a combination of diet or supplementation -- is associated with a higher risk of tobacco-related cancers in smokers, but the risk of these cancers decreases with increasing beta-carotene intake in nonsmokers.

Geophysicist to receive $500,000 MacArthur grant for genius in predicting seismic activity
A geophysicist will receive a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for work in researching the

Yale School of Medicine Neuroscientist receives Javits Award
Stephen Strittmatter, M.D., professor of neurology and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine and an internationally recognized leader in developmental biology, is a 2005 recipient of the Javits Award.

Northeast Sun Grant Institute at Cornell spurs 'green revolution'
Cornell University has been tapped as one of five Sun Grant Centers of Excellence -- regional hubs that will solicit and fund proposals that focus on using renewable agricultural resources to produce heat, electricity and fuel, natural products, such as biopesticides and bioherbicides, and industrial chemicals.

Productivity Commission confirms value of medicines
The new finding that increased spending on medical technologies is a positive investment for Australia should be an important input into government decision-making, the Chief Executive Officer of Medicines Australia, Kieran Schneemann, said today.

VCU researcher leads international team in developing guidelines for treating hydrocephalus
An international team of medical experts led by a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher has established the first clinical guidelines to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of people with normal pressure hydrocephalus, a debilitating condition in the brain that often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

Researchers pinpoint molecular basis for phantom pain
Phantom pain following spinal cord injury is the result of hypersensitive neurons in the thalamic region of the brain that can be suppressed with specially designed molecular agents.
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