Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 29, 2005
National funding goes to Johns Hopkins to advance research on stem cell therapies for heart attack
Heart specialists at Johns Hopkins Heart Institute have been awarded more than $12 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to study how stem cell therapies can be used to treat hearts damaged by heart attack or heart failure.

First evidence of brain abnormalities found in pathological liars
A USC study found the first evidence of brain abnormalities - specifically in the prefrontal cortex - in pathological liars.

Novel mechanism for DNA replication discovered
Since the discovery of the structure of DNA, the paradigm for DNA replication has stated that the DNA itself codes for replication.

Satellites continue to see decline in Arctic sea ice in 2005
Researchers from NASA, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and others using satellite data have detected a significant loss in Arctic sea ice this year.

U-Michigan receives $18.7M for National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics
The U-M Medical School received an $18.7-million NIH grant today to begin imposing order on the myriad sources of biologic data, rendering them more integrated and more readily comprehended.

The colossal cosmic eye
A new colour image of the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1350, shaped as a colossal cosmic eye, has just been released.

Nerve changes from diabetes begin earlier than previously known
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that subtle change in nerve conduction is the first reliable sign of nerve complications from diabetes and that this change can be measured long before other symptoms or signs of nerve damage develop.

Transition metal selenites (Mn, Co, Ni, Fe, Cu, Zn and Cd)
The work involved a multidisciplinary task, undertaking the study of phases of mineralogical and physico-chemical interest.

UC Davis external funding passes half billion dollars
External sponsors provided funding of $505,289,957 for projects at the University of California, Davis, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005, an increase of nearly $86 million, or 20 percent more than the previous year.

Frog peptides block HIV in lab study
A new weapon in the battle against HIV may come from an unusual source -- a small tropical frog.

Opening the O-box
Dr. Maki Asano and colleagues have discovered a novel protein motif that regulates Drosophila cell cycle progression by targeting the origin recognition complex (ORC1) for degradation by the ubiquitin ligase, APC.

Greasing interferon's gears may pave way to greater therapeutic benefits, fewer side effects
Interferon -- a critical protein that mediates the body's defense against a wide variety of infectious agents and tumors -- may soon have greater therapeutic value as the result of a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Why are so few HIV/AIDS trials conducted in Africa?
People in sub-Saharan Africa carry the heaviest burden of HIV and AIDS, yet very few trials have been conducted on the African continent over the past two decades, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Spider blood found in 20 million year old fossil
A scientist from the University of Manchester has discovered the first identified droplets of spider blood in a piece of amber up to 20 million years old.

EMBO honours leading Italian and Russian science communicators
Professor Edoardo Boncinelli of the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy is the winner of the 2005 EMBO Award for Communication in the Life Sciences.

Myelin suppresses plasticity in the mature brain
Yale School of Medicine researchers report in Science this week genetic evidence for the hypothesis that myelination, or formation of a protective sheath around a nerve fiber, consolidates neural circuitry by suppressing plasticity in the mature brain.

Harvard doc health habits
Do Harvard doctors practice what they preach? The Harvard Health Letter, the country's first health newsletter for the general public, recently surveyed more than 15,000 Harvard Medical School faculty physicians about their health habits and found that, in many cases, yes, they do.

Maths and science education gets animated and collaborative online
How do you get younger students to engage with sophisticated mathematical and scientific concepts?

Research center for National Children's Study to be based in Queens
The Mount Sinai School of Medicine has been awarded a $20.1 million contract to study and improve the lives of children in Queens.

Scrapping health care fees in Africa could prevent over 200,000 child deaths a year
Abolishing user fees (charges for health care at the point of use) could prevent approximately 233,000 child deaths annually in 20 African countries, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

First report of cancer drug Gleevec as new target therapy for pulmonary hypertension
Today, German scientists of the University of Giessen Lung Center (UGLC) published a case study in the Sept.

WHO-AFRO should lead humanitarian aid efforts in Zimbabwe
The World Health Organization's Regional Office for Africa (WHO-AFRO) should take the lead in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, states an editorial in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Photos reveal first tool usage in wild gorillas
The first documentation of tool use by wild western gorillas is revealed in a paper published in PLoS Biology.

2005 NIH Director's Pioneer Award recipients announced
National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today named 13 new recipients of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award.

Looks matter to female barn swallows
Even after they have paired with a male, the female North American barn swallow still comparison-shops for sexual partners.

Newly discovered gene may predict aggressive ovarian cancer
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers have linked alterations in a gene, called Rsf-1, to the most deadly ovarian cancers.

Science commentary stresses need for collaboration at local level in HIV-prevention studies
Clinical trials of drugs intended to prevent HIV infection in high-risk populations must be developed and carried out in close collaboration with the local communities and national governments of the countries in which they are conducted, according to 18 international leaders in HIV prevention writing in the current (Sept.

Only one-third of women take vitamin to help prevent serious birth defects, survey finds
Only one-third of childbearing age women are taking a multivitamin containing the B vitamin folic acid daily to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine in their future babies, according to survey results, published in the September 30 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR.).

Say what? Bacterial conversation stoppers
HHMI researchers have found that bacteria of different species can talk to each other using a common language - and also that some species can manipulate the conversation to confuse other bacteria.

NHLBI funds new centers for cell-based therapy
NHLBI has awarded the first three grants in a new research program establishing Specialized Centers for Cell-Based Therapy for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases.

NCI/Fox Chase Cancer Center Science Writers' Seminar
The October 5th NCI/Fox Chase Cancer Center Science Writers' Seminar will feature discussions on how different people react to and process information about their risk for cancer or a cancer diagnosis.

VCU researchers design new receptor and enhance bioassay to advance drug discovery process
Virginia Commonwealth University chemists have created a new molecular receptor for a fluorescent dye used to track a drug candidate's activity inside cell membranes.

Image of myosin-actin interaction revealed in cover story of Molecular Cell
Scientists from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the University of Vermont have captured the first 3-dimensional (3D) atomic-resolution images of the motor protein myosin V as it

Why are the best malaria drugs not being used in Africa?
Despite changes in policy in many African countries, most cases of malaria are still treated with old drugs that often fail, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Chromium picolinate linked with reduced carbohydrate cravings in people with atypical depression
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessing chromium picolinate supplementation in 113 people with atypical depression found that a subset of patients who reported the highest levels of carbohydrate cravings demonstrated significantly greater reductions than the placebo group on four items on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D-29): carbohydrate craving, appetite increase, increased eating, and diurnal variation of feeling (mood variation throughout the day).

Palm Pilots could change how health care is delivered
Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and their increasing integration with information technology in hospitals could change the way health care is delivered in the future, states a review article in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Surveillance data suggest that preschoolers drive flu epidemics
Current immunization policies recommend universal flu vaccination for children aged 6-23 months, but shots are advised for older children only if they have high-risk medical conditions.

Researchers uncover mechanisms leading to portal hypertension
A physician-scientist at UT Southwestern Medical Center and his research team have identified mechanisms causing a potentially deadly type of hypertension that results from liver damage - findings that could lead to its prevention.

Strategy to tackle obesity still evading health services
No health-service system has yet developed a useful strategy for managing the huge numbers of overweight and obese people in the community, states a seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Perceptions of peer opinion influences attitudes about obesity
One of the most effective ways to change negative attitudes about obese people is by addressing perceptions of normative beliefs within particular social groups.

Rockefeller University's Titia de Lange receives NIH Pioneer Award
Rockefeller University's Titia de Lange, Ph.D., is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award, the NIH announced today.

New use of 64-slice CT scan to be studied at HUP to help diagnose coronary artery disease in the ED
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is now utilizing a new high-tech tool to quickly and efficiently screen for coronary disease when patients complaining of chest pain come into the emergency room.

Study casts doubt on 'Snowball Earth' theory
A USC graduate student finds strong evidence for the existence of open ocean during the so-called Snowball Earth glaciation.

Nanoscientists describe electron movement through molecules
Molecular electronics is the ultimate miniaturization of electronics. In this area of research, scientists have been studying the movement of electrons through individual molecules in an effort to understand how they might control and use the process in new technologies.

CryoSat ready to be launched
ESA's CryoSat spacecraft is to be launched on a Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on Saturday 8 October.

Autoimmune overload may damage HIV-infected brain
Researchers studying the evolution of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the brain have found that the body's own defenses may cause HIV-related dementia.

Launch milestone achieved: Last-ever look at CryoSat
As preparations for the launch of CryoSat on 8 October continue on schedule, the satellite has now been sealed beyond physical control from the outside world.

New strategy could prevent leading cause of maternal death in Africa
A relatively cheap and easy to use drug could save the lives of thousands of women in the developing world, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Beating the aging process naturally
The fight against aging has received a scientific boost thanks to an innovative study done in part by a University of Alberta spin-off company--research that dispels a hard-held belief about the natural ingredient, beta glucan.

Real-time MRI helps doctors assess beating heart in fetus
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques can provide real-time measurements of volume in a fetal heart, and may better enable physicians to plan care for infants with heart defects, according to a new study.

A biomolecule as a light switch
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany have uncovered the molecular mechanism of switchable fluorescent proteins.

Training local health workers improves TB control in South Africa
Educational outreach training for health workers improves the quality of tuberculosis care and control without requiring extra staff, finds a study from South Africa in this week's BMJ.

MGH named by NHLBI as Specialized Center for Cell-Based Therapy for Heart, Lung and Blood Diseases
Massachusetts General Hospital is one of three US academic medical centers to receive grants under a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute program supporting research into cell-based therapies.

Researchers: Deep sleep short-circuits brain's grid of connectivity
In the human brain, cells talk to one another through the routine exchange of electrical signals.

New book explains age-old mystery of geometrical illusions
The insights provided by neurobiologist Dale Purves and his colleagues over the last few years about why the brain doesn't see the world according to the measurements provided by rulers, protractors or photometers suggest that vision operates in way very different from what most neuroscientists imagine.

Oxygen increase caused mammals to triumph, researchers say
The first, high resolution continuous record of oxygen concentration in the earth's atmosphere shows that a sharp rise in oxygen about 50 million years ago gave mammals the evolutionary boost they needed to dominate the planet, according to Paul Falkowski, Rutgers professor of marine science and lead author of a paper published Sept.

'Aesthetic computing' turns algebra into art; teachers intrigued
High school algebra teacher Bunny McHenry has her share of students who would rather be doing something else.

Honouring Einstein: A science and art celebration at Canada's Perimeter Institute
Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is hosting a new and innovative event that examines the power of big ideas.

Women in Uganda have a higher risk of HIV infection during pregnancy
In the Rakai district of Uganda pregnant women have higher risk of acquiring HIV than women who are not pregnant, according to a study published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Pregnant women at higher risk for HIV, Uganda study finds
The risk of acquiring HIV rises during pregnancy, according to a study of women in Uganda's Rakai District led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

New lifespan extension genes found
New genes tied to lifespan extension in yeast have been identified by researchers from UC Davis and Harvard Medical School.

Prevalence of drug-resistant gonorrhoea increasing in South Africa
The antibiotic ciprofloxacin should not remain the first-line treatment for gonorrhoea in Durban, South Africa, because of increasing resistance to the drug, according to a correspondence letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Intermittent prophylaxis prevents malaria in infants
Giving infants preventive treatment for malaria can reduce malaria and anaemia even in seasonal, high transmission areas such as Ghana, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Arranon cancer drug receives advisory committee support
Texas Children's Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine have played an instrumental role in moving Arranon, a cancer-fighting drug one step closer to approval by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
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