Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 19, 2005
Take two!
All life on earth depends on photosynthesis, a process in which light energy is used to build organic substances.

Sight can recover quickly in amblyopia
New research findings led by Thomas Krahe and Ary S.

Tuberculosis, infertility may have influenced George Orwell's writing
The author of such portentous works as Animal Farm and 1984 may have been influenced by his own physical ailments, such as tuberculosis and infertility, in writing his gloomy portrayals of the future, according to an article in the Dec.

Gamma knife effective in treating trigeminal neuralgia
Research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical has shown that Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery (GKRS) is an effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, a common condition characterized by excruciating facial pain.

Stopping nuclear smugglers
Should terrorists ever get their hands on nuclear material, the US remains vulnerable because the current technologies used at US ports for detecting smuggled nuclear material are failing, according to experts.

When do mosquitoes prefer a blood banquet, or a sugar feast? Three genes make the call
Entomologists have isolated three key genes that determine when female mosquitoes feed on blood and when they decide to switch to an all-sugar diet to fatten up for the winter.

Cochrane Library publishes the most thorough survey of MMR vaccination data
There was no credible evidence behind claims of harm from the MMR vaccination.

NIH joined by advocacy groups to fund research on autism susceptibility genes
A consortium of five institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is joined by three autism advocacy organizations to fund three projects to identify genes that may contribute to the development of autism and autism spectrum disorders.

Tulane Primate Center thrives and grows
The Tulane National Primate Research Center isn't just surviving, it's thriving.

Leading immunosuppressant CellCeptĀ® significantly extends the lifespan of transplanted kidneys
A large analysis of over 44,500 kidney transplant recipients has shown a statistically significant increase in the lifespan of their transplanted kidneys with CellCept and tacrolimus compared to a combination not including CellCept (sirolimus and tacrolimus).

Can a child's final adult height actually be predicted?
Children pass through growth phases at various points during adolescence before reaching final adult height.

Mayo Clinic reports breakthrough treatment for breast cancer
In a joint paper, co-authored by Mayo Clinic's Edith Perez, M.D., and Edward Romond, M.D., of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), researchers report complete and combined results of two trials comparing adjuvant chemotherapy with or without concurrent trastuzumab treatment in women with surgically removed HER2-positive breast cancer.

New NASA video: 21 named storms in the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season
New NASA animations show all 21 named storms from Arlene to Wilma.

IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis
IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, held every two years, is the only global congress dedicated specifically to all aspects of osteoporosis.

In China, ICSU releases new strategy to strengthen international science for the benefit of society
Acknowledging that the world of scientific research has not lived up to its full potential in addressing some of society's most pressing concerns, including the terrible impact of natural disasters, the International Council for Science (ICSU) today announced at its 28th General Assembly an ambitious plan of action to strengthen international science for the benefit of society.

International Council for Science launches International Polar Year 2007-8, an historical endeavour
Sparking a sense of urgency, enthusiasm and unity of purpose in the scientific community reminiscent of galvanizing endeavors such as man's ventures into space and the Human Genome Project, the International Council for Science (ICSU) today formally launched an ambitious global program for polar research that already has attracted more than 1000 research proposals submitted by scientists from around the world.

Delving deeper into the machinery of cocaine addiction
Researchers are now understanding in greater detail the molecular machinery underlying the short-term brain changes that produce the high of cocaine, as well as the longer-term changes behind addiction.

In a crisis, creating DNA vaccine could help save lives, slow spread of 'bird flu'
Researchers scrambling to combat a virulent form of bird flu that could mutate into a form easily spread among humans should consider developing vaccines based on DNA, according to British biochemical engineers.

The Cochrane Library newsletter, 2005, Issue 4
The Cochrane Library, 2005, Issue 4 will be published online Wednesday October 19 at
How does increased television watching 'weigh into' childhood obesity?
Obesity is one of the major health concerns today. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children should not watch more than two hours of television a day.

UCSD study shows 'junk' DNA has evolutionary importance
Genetic material derisively called

Your brain cells may 'know' more than you let on by your behavior
We often make unwise choices although we should know better.

Multiple sclerosis progression linked to immune-cell substance
A new study suggests that a substance made by immune cells plays a key role in the progression of a disease in animals that closely mimics multiple sclerosis (MS).

ICSU pursues new initiative that challenges science to do more to prevent natural disasters
Responding to a world where natural disasters are increasingly disrupting nations rich and poor--the Asian tsunami, hurricanes on the U.S.

Retinal scans eyed for New Mexico show cattle
It sounds like science fiction, but New Mexico State University researchers are testing advanced eye-scanning technology on cattle as part of a national tracking system for animal health.

Where the brain combines what's heard and felt
When sense perceptions from various sense organs are processed in the brain, this information is integrated - for example, when we are watching a ventriloquist, our brain combines information pertaining to both language and vision.

Dust storms may carry bacteria to Japan from China
Bacteria found in soil around Tokyo are not indigenous to the area.

New risk analysis study shows school soft drink consumption has no impact on adolescent obesity
A first-of-its-kind peer-reviewed study applying risk analysis methodology to nutrition policy shows that consumption of carbonated soft drinks from school vending machines has virtually no impact on adolescent obesity.

Study finds government advisories on fish consumption & mercury may do more harm than good
A comparison of the risks and benefits of fish consumption suggests that government advisories warning women of childbearing age about mercury exposure should be issued with caution.

NYU Child Study Center launches children's mental health public education campaign
Look out this Halloween for a caped avenger adorning telephone kiosks around New York City.

UCF researchers to develop water purification system for hurricane relief
The National Science Foundation has asked University of Central Florida to quickly develop a water purification system using nanoparticles to aid disaster victims.

Precision radiation therapy yields rare success for liver tumors
Shaped-beam radiation therapy is a promising treatment for life-threatening metastatic liver tumors, according to researchers who report an 88 percent success rate for controlling the lesions.

Study shows that prenatal exposure to alcohol may cause visual problems in infants
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a disorder that is indicated by distinct facial characteristics, growth retardation, and poor intellectual and attentional function, can occur when mothers drink alcohol heavily during pregnancy.

Hopkins emergency physician warns of post-hurricane disease and illness
A Johns Hopkins emergency physician who spent the past five weeks working on public health issues in the Gulf Coast region following hurricane Katrina warns that the disaster's potential for wreaking havoc and damage to people's health may continue for months after the hurricane has passed.

Herceptin treatment lowers recurrence rate in early breast cancer
The targeted drug trastuzumab, or Herceptin, previously shown to prolong survival in advanced breast cancer, dramatically reduced the chances of recurrence in patients with early-stage disease when given for one year following standard chemotherapy.

Missouri genetic disorder's roots untangled by international team
An international team of researchers has partially untangled the genetic details of a mysterious disorder that formerly caused seizures and death in infant boys within a month of birth.

ASH and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partner to launch new award program
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is teaming up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in an effort to increase the number of minority scholars in the field of hematology.

Dietary fat intake linked to dry eye syndrome in women
More than eight million people in the United States, predominantly women, suffer from dry eye syndrome, a painful and debilitating eye disease.

Fish is good - fish is bad. Balancing health risks and benefits
Fish has been a staple of human nutrition in many cultures, but there has been some controversy recently about the benefits and risks of fish consumption.

Biotech cotton 8: Bugs 0
Biotech cotton has beaten pink bollworm eight years running, reports a team of scientists from The University of Arizona in Tucson.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation launches $175 million fundraising campaign
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today announced the launch of a $175 million major gifts fundraising campaign to support research into better treatments and an ultimate cure for the life-threatening disease.

Novel processing of Yttrium Aluminum Garnet promises improved raw materials for lasers
Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) is an important material used in the production of laser systems, for coating electronic devices, for tubes of cathodic rays and recently it has been considered as a suitable material for structural applications at high temperatures.

HIV mortality in India drops with introduction of generic antiretroviral therapy
The survival rate of HIV-infected patients in India has risen in response to a 20-fold drop in the price of antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to an article in the Nov.

Annual prostate cancer screening test appears to save lives
Men who have a yearly blood test to examine their prostate specific antigen levels are nearly three times less likely to die from prostate cancer than those who don't have annual screenings, according to a study presented October 19, 2005, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 47th Annual Meeting in Denver.

Based on body size, bacteria and elephants have similar metabolism, ecologists find
Life scientists have long maintained that, based on body size, small organisms are more metabolically active than large organisms.

Feeding the monster
Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope have released images showing in unprecedented detail how matter spirals toward the black hole at the centre of a galaxy, in this case NGC 1097.

Joint press release by the DFG and the MPG: Strengthening potential, creating independence
To foster innovation, it has to become easier to conduct research and gain new insights and to turn the findings into new jobs.

ASU grant to explore DNA based computing
Arizona State University School of Life Sciences professor Wayne Frasch was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the US Air Force Office of Science Research to fund a 2-year project linking DNA technology with computer science.

NIH funds nine Science Education Partnership Awards
Whether they are learning why cardiovascular disease is more likely to strike African Americans, discovering how Lyme disease is transmitted, or studying aquatic organisms, students across the country are being encouraged to immerse themselves in science, as part of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program to increase science literacy and encourage research careers.

It whistles; change in pitch tells all in this new sonic gas analyzer
Penn State researchers have developed a prototype sonic gas analyzer that automatically and continuously tracks the concentration of a gas in an air/gas mixture based on changes in pitch.

Academy meeting examines responsibility of scientists in age of nuclear weapons & global security
The New York Academy of Sciences and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Columbia University, are co-sponsoring an event,

Who people live with, not where, gives different picture of immigrants in US
Immigrants are more dispersed and far more entwined with American-born people when measured by the households in which they live rather than counted individually on the traditional basis of census tract.

Side-effects cause some breast cancer patients to skip hormone treatment
Hot flushes from hormone treatments for breast cancer cause nearly 1 in 10 patients to deliberately take

Genetic cause of speech defect discovered
Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T), Capital Health's Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and their international collaborators have discovered a genetic abnormality that causes a type of language impairment in children - a discovery that could lead to isolating genes important for the development of expressive language.
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