Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 06, 2005
Stevens' professors to hold relativity teach-in and science party
Have you ever wondered why E equals mc squared? And, if

Vouchers for evicted section eight tenants not a fair trade
Federal vouchers are breaking up communities in order to provide affordable housing.

Scientists discover genetic key to growing hardier, more productive plants
A team of plant biologists has discovered an overlooked genetic key to growing plants that are more productive, more drought-resistant and better able to grow in soils low in nutrients.

NSAIDs show promise in preventing mouth cancer but pose heart risk
Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces the risk of mouth cancer in former and active smokers but increases their risk of death from heart disease, concludes an article published online today (Friday October 7,2005) by The Lancet.

NASA makes a heated 3-D look into Hurricane Erin's eye
Hurricane Erin raced across the North Atlantic and along the eastern seaboard in September 2001.

Federal grant to expand MCG pipeline programs for minorities
The Medical College of Georgia Office of Educational Outreach and Partnerships has received an $899,439 three-year federal grant to expand pipeline programs designed to increase the number of minority health care providers in the state.

New unidirectional molecular rotor may lead to tiny sensors, pumps, switches
A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed the first computer-generated model of a tiny, waterwheel-like molecular rotor that has been harnessed to rotate in one direction at different speeds in response to changes in the strength of an electrical field applied from the outside.

CU's Torres discusses avian flu and policy
Alfonso Torres, director of the Animal Health Diagnostic Center and associate dean for veterinary public policy at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses the avian flu virus and international policy to deal with it.

National stereotypes common, mistaken, study reports
Simplified stereotypes of

Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by NPs and MDs continues
Both nurse practitioners and physicians are prescribing inappropriate antibiotics to patients with viral upper-respiratory tract infections, a practice that may lead to increased rates of antimicrobial resistance.

GSK accused of misleading FDA on safety of asthma drug
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is accused of manipulating the trial data it submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its asthma drug salmeterol in a correspondence letter in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Houston company seeks to accelerate superconducting capability with ORNL help
An effort to transmit 150 times more electric power through long-length high-temperature superconductors as compared to conventional copper wire is the goal of a cooperative research and development agreement between the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Metal Oxide Technologies (MetOx) of Houston.

Top nature photographers join a global conservational initiative to protect wilderness
More than 150 of the best nature photographers in the world gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, to discuss how photography can contribute to the conservation community's efforts in protecting wilderness areas and endangered species around the world.

Early treatment of macular degeneration with macugen may help patients preserve their vision
The study found that early detection and treatment of age-related macular degeneration with pegaptanib sodium may enable AMD patients to maintain and, in some cases, regain vision.

Stroke patients with mild symptoms may still need clot-dissolving drug
Although use of the clot-dissolving drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) has revolutionized the treatment of acute stroke patients, many of those who could receive the drug do not because their initial symptoms appear mild or improve soon after they arrive at the hospital.

New funding for Wild Planet project announced at 8th World Wilderness Congress
New funding for proactive global wildlands initiatives was announced today at the 8th World Wilderness Congress.

UK government's privatisation plans for the NHS put patient welfare at risk
The UK Government's programme of wide-ranging privatisation of the NHS must be stopped until there is independent evidence on the effect of the policy, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Queen's contraception awareness program among world's top five
A popular Web site on contraception and sexual health spearheaded by Queen's University researchers is ranked among the world's five top e-health sites in a new United Nations competition.

'EMBO Gold' goes to leading diabetes and cancer researcher
Dario Alessi of the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee, Scotland is the 2005 winner of the EMBO Gold Medal.

A molecular basis for selective therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer's disease
The contribution of University of Aveiro researchers to the complex theme of how 'Cellular stress affects phosphorylation dependent AâPP processing' showed that, even under conditions of cellular stress, one could favour non-toxic AâPP processing by modulating intracellular protein phosphorylation systems and this, in turn, may constitute the basis for selective therapeutic intervention.

Test predicts risk of liver scarring after transplant, study shows
A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine may have found a way to identify liver transplant patients with hepatitis C who are at greatest risk for advanced cirrhosis, thereby allowing doctors to decide who should receive treatment that could save the transplanted organ.

Lancet publishes proactive study: Diabetes treatment reduces risk of heart attacks & strokes
A study published in The Lancet today shows that Takeda's ACTOS® (pioglitazone HCl), an oral glucose lowering medication, significantly reduces the combined risk of non-fatal heart attacks, strokes and deaths by an additional 16% on top of standard medication, such as statins, fibrates, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, other glucose-lowering medications and anti-platelet drugs, in patients with type-2 diabetes with high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Egg's energy stores key to preserving fertility
An immature egg's internal nutrient supply is critical to its survival, an insight that offers a new route to understanding and treating infertility due to egg death, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Breast cancer patients turn to reflexology for comfort
Researchers at Michigan State University are finding that many women who are receiving chemotherapy while in the late stages of breast cancer are turning to a complementary therapy known as reflexology to help them cope.

Trauma victims' survival may depend on which trauma center treats them
Patients who are taken to a level 2 trauma center after suffering serious injury are significantly more likely to die than comparable patients treated at a major level 1 trauma center.

Defusing dangerous mutations
Scientists of the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU), a laboratory operated jointly by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg, have discovered new features of a key quality-control mechanism in our cells.

DFG president congratulates Theodor Hänsch on winning the Nobel Prize for Physics
Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), congratulated the Munich atomic physicist Professor Theodor W.

Merck investigational vaccine GARDASIL prevented 100 percent of cervical pre- & non-invasive cancers
GARDASILTM (quadrivalent human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16, 18, recombinant vaccine), an investigational vaccine from Merck & Co., Inc., prevented 100 percent of high-grade cervical pre-cancers and non-invasive cervical cancers (CIN 2/3 and AIS) associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 in a new phase III study.

Air quality in West going south
By mid-century, air quality throughout the Western United States will deteriorate, according to a new EPA-funded computer simulation by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Mechanism controlling DNA damage response has potential novel medical applications
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered a previously unrecognized mechanism that controls a key protein linked to the cell's response to stress - a finding that holds promise for new ways to enhance cancer therapies or protect cells from dying after exposure to damaging chemicals or radiation.

The 'upstairs/downstairs' mystery of cell suicide is burdened by too much evidence
The story of how mitochondria are recruited during times of stress to choreograph apoptosis -- the cell's dance of death -- is a story that fails to tell which particular set of steps the cells use most often, according to investigators at St.

Umzi Wethu Project announced at 8th World Wilderness Congress
The Wilderness Foundation of South Africa, working with HOPE Worldwide and several other partners, announced a new initiative, Umzi Wethu, at the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Anchorage, Alaska.

Carnegie researchers lead a collaborative team to improve engineering education
A collaborative research team led by Carnegie Mellon's Cliff Davidson, David Allen of The University of Texas at Austin and Brad Allenby of Arizona State University plan to revolutionize the way engineering education is taught.

Defeating the 'superpests'
Scientists have developed a new technique that makes pesticides more effective by removing insects' ability to exhibit resistance.

Private Finance Initiative may have had its day in the NHS
Government enthusiasm for the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the health service - private sector investment in hospital building projects - may be dropping because of its high cost, says an editorial in this week's BMJ.

EU benchmark study on mental disease in Elsevier ECNP journal
On the eve of World Mental Health Day, Elsevier announced the publication of

UK foot and mouth epidemic was a human tragedy, not just an animal one
The 2001 UK foot and mouth disease epidemic was a human tragedy, not just an animal one, concludes a study published online by the BMJ today.

Satellite technology allows scientists to track warm sharks in cold polar seas
Electronic tags broadcasting from the dorsal fins of salmon sharks reveal that these top predators migrate from the glacial waters of Alaska to the warm seas off Hawaii, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Physics Nobel Prize 2005 goes to Theodor W. Hänsch
Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany shares award with two US American physicists.

Research advances understanding of how hydrogen fuel is made
Oxygen may be necessary for life, but it sure gets in the way of making hydrogen fuel cheaply and abundantly from a family of enzymes present in many microorganisms.

Consensus panel calls for expanded role of needle biopsies, MRI and less invasive procedures
Physicians should strive to replace traditional, invasive procedures for diagnosing breast cancer with proven, less-invasive diagnostic methods, according to an international panel of breast cancer experts convened at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Reforming the NHS: Have we gone too far or not far enough?
The NHS is being taken over by big business so that money that could go towards clinical care is diverted to corporations and their shareholders, warn two senior doctors in this week's BMJ.

JCI table of contents November, 2005
This press release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online October 6th in the JCI: A novel mechanism of action for lead anti-tumor agent; A new mutation puts SCID on the skids; In Treg biology, what is true in mice does not stand up in man; The answer to skin blistering diseases pops up; TLR2 takes a toll on atherosclerosis; and Looking at lupus B cells and finding what ails them.

Developing 'broadband for all'
Increasing the spread of broadband connectivity throughout Europe is central to the growth of the knowledge economy.

Carnegie Mellon Red Team's HUMMERS make the finals in the DARPA Grand Challenge
Carnegie Mellon University's Red Team will start two robotic HUMMERS in DARPA's $2-million desert race this weekend.

Why a whale shark's spots could help save its skin
Computer software developed by astrophysicists to locate stars and galaxies in the night sky could help save the whale shark - whose spotted skin is like a starry sky - from extinction, according to new research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

Gap widens between working-age people with and without disabilities in the workforce, reports show
The results of the first Annual Disability Status Reports, released Oct.

Drug can reduce risk of death, heart attack, and stroke in patients with diabetes
A diabetes drug called pioglitazone can reduce the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke in high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes, concludes an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

TIGER participants meet in space-based hunt for African water
An ambitious initiative to utilise ESA satellite data to improve availability and management of African water resources took a further step forward on a hill slope overlooking Rome this week.

New test proves effective in more cancers
Avantogen Limited (ACU:ASX) today announced that cancer researchers at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR) and Avantogen Limited have achieved an important milestone towards more individually targeted and effective treatments for cancer patients.

A novel mechanism of action for anti-tumor agent, CA4P
The vascular agent combretastatin A4 phosphate (CA4P) exerts its anti-angiogenic effect by targeting unstable tumor neo-vessels.

Sports utility vehicles should carry health warnings, say experts
Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) should carry health warnings to raise awareness of the increased risk to pedestrians compared with ordinary cars, argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

Faster method to create antibodies for disease research
British scientists are pioneering a new technique to produce large numbers of antibodies quickly and reliably to help the study of dangerous bacteria.

UCSD leads team to build Geographic Information System to assess toxic hazards from Katrina
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have been awarded $760,000 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to build a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Wiley acquires InfoPOEM, Inc.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JWa) (NYSE:JWb), announced today that it has acquired InfoPOEM, Inc., a leading provider of evidence-based medicine (EBM) content and web-based search tools, based in Charlottesville, VA.

Penn surgeons use completely robotic surgery to treat prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death among American men.

Day surgery rates rising, but there is still room for improvement
New figures published by Dr Foster in this week's BMJ show that day surgery rates continue to rise, yet there is still considerable scope for improvement.

Yearly mass antibiotic treatment could help eliminate leading cause of blindness
Giving communities with high levels of Chlamydia trachomatis yearly mass antibiotic treatment over a few years could be sufficient to eliminate eye infection caused by the bacterium, suggests an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

NIH grants $11 million to Brown University for cancer research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Brown University a five-year, $11-million Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant.

Decision makers may be blind to the outcome of their choice
When evaluating facial attractiveness, participants may fail to notice a radical change to the outcome of their choice, according to a study by researchers at Lund University, Sweden, and New York University.

Shift in brain's language-control site offers rehab hope
Neuroimaging researchers at the University of Cincinnat document shift in location of language activity in the brain.

Breakthrough technology from Pall increases platelet availability and safety
Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) announced today FDA clearance to market the new Pall AcrodoseTM PL System.

Inherited gene change also found in spontaneous tumors
New research shows that a small gene variation that increases the risk of inherited cancer can also arise during the development of spontaneous, or non-inherited, tumors.

UCL conference to launch global health institute
Migration, maternal and child health, healthy ageing and the economics of health inequalities and well-being are among the global health topics to be discussed at a conference held at UCL (University College London) on 14th and 15th October to launch the UCL International Institute for Society and Health (IISH).

Rhythm gene discovered
University of Utah biologists found a gene that controls rhythmic events in a worm's life: swallowing food, laying eggs and pooping.

Opening wide for new clues about lupus
By snipping out and analyzing tiny samples of patients' tonsils, scientists have identified a key cellular checkpoint that is somehow bypassed in lupus patients, where harmful immune cells that normally are squelched by the body are mistakenly granted access.

Collaborations yield new discoveries in psychiatric genetics
Two New Jersey research teams are reporting discoveries about the biological nature of psychiatric disorders that may bring them closer to the ultimate goal of finding cures for complex diseases, such as autism and schizophrenia.

Pilot Sandia treatment system that removes arsenic from water to be demonstrated
A pilot treatment system developed by the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories that tests technologies to remove arsenic from water, supplied by a number of vendors, will be demonstrated at a Rio Rancho well site on Oct.

Prozac improves learning and memory in fatal brain disease
Howard Florey Institute scientists in Melbourne have found that fluoxetine (commonly marketed as Prozac®) not only improves depression in Huntington's disease, but also improves learning and memory.
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