Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 15, 2005
Dogs ease anxiety, improve health status of hospitalized heart failure patients
When it comes to health care,

Robo-rodent gets 'touchy-feely'
Robots that 'feel' objects and their texture could soon become a reality thanks to the innovative and interdisciplinary research of the AMouse, or artificial mouse, project.

Jefferson researchers find lack of protein in obese people is risk factor for kidney, heart disease
Jefferson researchers have found that mice with low levels of the protein hormone adiponectin may also have high levels of a protein called albumin which, in humans, may be a sign of kidney disease.

Low-carb diet better than low-fat diet at improving metabolic syndrome
Eating a low carbohydrate diet improves metabolic syndrome and may therefore decrease the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease associated with it.

Leading researchers from Israel and Southern California to present stem cell symposium
Scientists and investors in Israel are international leaders in stem cell research and development.

A meaty, salty, starchy diet may impact chronic lung disease
A new study finds that eating mostly meat, refined starches, and sodium may increase the likelihood of developing chronic respiratory symptoms, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Kidney failure, hypertension in children, topics of findings from nephrologists at Texas Children's Hospital
Two studies just released by physicians at Texas Children's Hospital are addressing new findings in patients with pediatric kidney failure, and on the growing prevalence of high blood pressure in children.

High tech imaging tells the tale of plaque from the inside out
Not all plaque - the fatty substance that builds up in arteries - is the same and some plaque types are more likely to rupture, which can trigger the formation of a blood clot and a blocked artery.

Aggressive lowering of LDL level shows limited benefit for patients with previous heart attack
Patients who have had a heart attack and are treated with a high dose of a statin drug did not have significant reduction in the primary outcome of major cardiac events (coronary death, nonfatal acute heart attack, or cardiac arrest with resuscitation), but did appear to have reduced risk when certain secondary outcomes (composite end points of any coronary heart disease event) were examined, according to a study in the November 16 issue of JAMA.

Lasers help scientists delve into understanding
By shooting lasers at an RNA polymerase (RNAP) and a strand of DNA, scientists have learned a critical component of how a complex protein develops.

Higher placental weight associated with increased maternal breast cancer risk
Women with a higher placental weight in prior pregnancies have an increased risk of breast cancer, possibly from the hormones produced by the placenta, according to a study in the November 16 issue of JAMA.

UCLA researchers observe how the immune system recognizes and responds to cancer
Using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center were able to observe - in real time - how the immune system initially recognizes cancer and mobilizes to fight the disease.

Researchers uncover clues to vitamin A resistance in lung cancer
Researchers hope that a newly identified protein can one day help improve treatment for lung cancer.

Sperm stem cells closer to being like embryonic stem cells
New experiments that prevented rat sperm stem cells from changing permanently into sperm have brought researchers one step closer to coaxing such cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, capable of growing into many other types of cells in the body.

Replacing some carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat may enhance heart health benefits
The types of food eaten in an effort to cut down on saturated fat may make a difference in reducing heart disease risk, according to a study of people with either high blood pressure or prehypertension.

Combination treatment for brain cancer not detrimental to patients' quality of life
Giving patients with glioblastoma - the most common and aggressive form of malignant brain cancer - the drug Temozolomide in combination with radiotherapy can improve their survival without further lowering their quality of life, concludes a report published online today (Thursday November 17, 2005) by The Lancet Oncology.

Postmenopausal women with heart disease should take aspirin
Aspirin can significantly reduce death rates for postmenopausal women with heart disease, according to a new analysis by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists

Researchers uncover cellular clues to vitamin A resistance in lung cancer
Clinical trials of natural and synthetic derivatives of vitamin A, called retinoids, for the prevention of lung cancer have been largely unsuccessful in the general population.

Mechanism of new 'sudden-death' arrhythmia detailed
Researchers have now determined the molecular mechanism underlying a cardiac arrhythmia syndrome they discovered that can lead to sudden death in young, seemingly healthy people.

Columbia University awards 2005 Horwitz Prize to Israeli structural biologist
Columbia University will award the 2005 Louis Gross Horwitz Prize to structural biology professor and crystallography pioneer Ada Yonath, Ph.D., from the world-renowned Weizmann Institute for Science in Rehovot, Israel.

Jefferson researchers find nanoparticle shows promise in reducing radiation side effects
Using transparent zebrafish embryos, researchers at Jefferson Medical College have shown that a microscopic nanoparticle can help fend off damage to normal tissue from radiation.

Clinical burden of stroke greater than that of heart disease in the UK
The clinical burden of stroke and transient ischaemic attack (mini-stroke) is now greater than that of coronary heart disease in the UK, concludes an article published online today (Wednesday November 16, 2005) by The Lancet.

Grid bridges 4,800 miles for molecular repositories
In a bid to facilitate collaboration among other biomolecular researchers, the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has become the first institution outside the United Kingdom to join the Biological Simulation Grid Consortium of Great Britain.

Stengthening the glow of nanotube luminescence
Nanotubes are the poster children of the nanotechnology revolution. They have a number of fantastic and novel mechanical and electrical properties.

University of Arizona/BIO5 plant scientists to unravel maize genome
Researchers at The University of Arizona's plant sciences department and UA's BIO5 Institute have received a $29 million federal grant as part of a consortium to unlock the genetic code of the corn plant.

UCSB researchers develop hybrid silicon evanescent laser
In what promises to be an important advance, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a novel laser by bonding optical gain layers directly to a silicon laser cavity.

Nov. 18 program on predicting Washington's weather
The Marian Koshland Science Museum will host a program on how weather forecasts are made, particularly for the Washington area.

Cosmochemist to receive National Medal of Science
President Bush named the University of Chicago's Robert Clayton among the 2004 recipients of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, the White House announced yesterday.

Early results using therapeutic pancreatic cancer vaccine show promise
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers are encouraged by early results of a treatment vaccine for pancreatic cancer, a disease with few options and low odds for long-term survival.

Early experience may shape our sensory perceptions
Our brain's ability to combine sensory information from a single event - such as seeing an ambulance and hearing its siren - has been shown to speed our reactions, help us identify objects and heighten our awareness.

Tamoxifen reduces risk of breast cancer, follow-up study confirms
Data from additional years of follow-up of a large randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of tamoxifen for the prevention of breast cancer confirm that the drug reduces the risk of invasive and noninvasive breast cancer, according to a report that appears in the November 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Restricting diet may reverse early-stage Parkinson's disease
A new Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center study suggests that early-stage Parkinson's disease patients who lower their calorie intake may boost levels of an essential brain chemical lost from the neurodegenerative disorder.

Aspirin reduces stroke risk in women, not men
A meta-analysis of more than 95,000 patients has shown that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of stroke in women, but it appears to have no protective effect in men, according to a new analysis by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists.

New study shows chiropractic is cost-effective in treating chronic back pain
A new study finds that chiropractic and medical care have comparable costs for treating chronic low-back pain, with chiropractic care producing significantly better outcomes.

Study shows success -- and less risk -- in treating kids with heart rhythm problems
A University of Michigan team is reporting high levels of success, and lowered risk and radiation dose, from a new approach to treating children with rapid heartbeats and other heart rhythm conditions.

Fewer heart failure patients die when hospitals make efforts to improve care
Heart failure patients are less likely to die after they go home from the hospital if the hospital has participated in an organized quality improvement program, compared with patients treated at hospitals where such efforts aren't undertaken, a new study finds.

Scientists find more evidence of resistance to once effective malaria drugs
Scientists are documenting increasing resistance to drugs that have been mainstays of malaria treatment in disease endemic regions of Africa, giving governments the evidence they need to switch to new, more effective treatments.

Synaptic connections need nurturing to retain their structure and keep outsiders at bay
The ability of the brain to transmit and process information requires a lifelong commitment to maintaining the integrity of synapses -- the special connections that permit the passage of nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another, according to investigators at St.

New results show the RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate protects children for at least 18 months
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals, the Hospital Clínic of the University of Barcelona, the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM), and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) today released new data on the duration of efficacy of GSK Biologicals' malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S/AS02A, in children.

COPAXONE® may repair nerve damage in MS patients
Clinical research data published in the December issue of Multiple Sclerosis provided evidence that COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) may offer protection from axonal injury and induced neuronal metabolic recovery in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

ANU cancer researcher wins biomedical award
An ANU medical researcher who has an anti-cancer drug in commercial development has been awarded the prestigious Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Science for 2005.

Sweet snacks could be best medicine for stress
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that eating or drinking sweets may decrease the production of the stress-related hormone glucocorticoid -- which has been linked to obesity and decreased immune response.

Model identifies genes that induce normal skin cells to become abnormal
Northwestern University researchers have developed a novel, three-dimensional model that allows scientists to observe how interacting with the microenvironment of metastatic melanoma cells induces normal skin cells to become similar to aggressive cancer cells that migrate and spread throughout the body.

Protein marker associated with positive outcome in invasive breast cancer
Researchers at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre have found a new protein marker linked to positive outcome in patients with breast cancer.

Jefferson scientists uncover more evidence for protein's role in artery blockage
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have begun to clarify the role of a protein - and potential drug target - in the process by which arteries re-clog after treatment.

Healthy diets rich in protein and good fat, and lower in carbs linked to better heart health
A healthy diet that replaces some carbohydrates with either protein or monounsaturated fat can substantially reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, resulting in a substantial reduction in overall risk of heart disease, according to government-funded studies by researchers at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.

Brain scan, cerebrospinal fluid analysis may help predict Alzheimer's disease
A combination of brain scanning with a new imaging agent and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis has left neuroscientists encouraged that they may finally be moving toward techniques for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease before its clinical symptoms become apparent.

Innovative research set to push boundaries of cancer care
Cancer researchers wielding opportunistic bacteria, vaccines, electric pulses, nano buckeyballs, and designer agents that enter the brain are being featured in a

Seasonal depression, anxiety affects hamsters, study finds
A new study suggests that hamsters may suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depression during the dark days of winter, just as some humans do.

Give a visiting ant a nice place to stay and it might stick around
Many insects enter the United States accidentally, as hitchhikers on various plants imported in commerce, but how many really stay?

Two genetic traits giving Africans malaria protection lose effectiveness when they occur together
Two genetic conditions -- sickle cell trait and a mild version of the blood disorder known as thalassemia -- that by themselves give millions of Africans natural protection against malaria, can be rendered essentially useless when they occur together, according to a new study of Kenyan children that is to be discussed today at the Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan-African Malaria Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

'Schengen' for the humanities and social sciences
The DFG has agreed to joint funding schemes with its British and Russian partner organisations.

What's fueling climate change?
McGill University is pleased to announce the launch of the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium Series scheduled to be held November 24 in Montreal just prior to the Conference on the Climate Change Convention.

Studies throw light on biomarkers which predict the subsets of patients where gefitinib has the greatest benefit
The drug gefitinib (Iressa) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2003 under the agency's accelerated approval program for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had failed two or more courses of chemotherapy.

Substituting carbohydrates in diet with protein or unsaturated fats may reduce cardiovascular risk
As part of a healthy diet, partially substituting protein and monounsaturated fat for carbohydrates can improve cholesterol levels, further lower blood pressure and reduce estimated cardiovascular risk, according to a study in the November 16 issue of JAMA.

Stress echo tests shown to predict cardiac death, illness in higher-risk women
New research from Saint Louis University School of Medicine may give doctors a way to predict life-threatening heart problems in women.

Engineered blood vessels may be an option in cardiac bypass
The first-ever human use of completely biologically engineered blood vessels grown from a person's own cells could be an option for people who have vessels too damaged for heart bypass, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

The dangerous legacy of lead
Although lead is a well-known human health hazard, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered a new aspect of how it may work in mice to harm the function of T-cells, which regulate the body's immune response to bacteria, viruses and other bugs.

US heart patients receive more transfusions than international patients
American physicians may be too liberal in their use of blood transfusions, suggests a study by Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) cardiologists.

Chronic stress might harm women more than it does men
University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have found evidence that females might be more sensitive to chronic stress than males.

Other highlights in the November 16 JNCI
Other highlights in the November 16 JNCI include a study of physical activity and breast cancer risk, a study of a plant compound that may interfere with tobacco-induced lung cancer, a study of colorectal cancer risk and plasma levels of a hormone secreted by fat cells, a meta-analysis of diabetes and colorectal cancer risk, a study of a new approach cancer vaccines, and a study that aims to more accurately define endometrial cancer rates.

NHLBI research highlights at American Heart Association's scientific sessions
At this year's American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Dallas, scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health will present the latest research findings, including studies on women and heart disease, the extent of metabolic syndrome among African Americans in the Jackson Heart Study, and the impact of sodium reduction on the risk of cardiovascular disease.

US Surgeon General urges Americans to know their family health history
Calling on all Americans to

New antibody profiling technique to test for lung cancer
Biomedical scientists have revealed a new and promising antibody profiling technique that provides a high degree of early diagnositic accuracy for non-small cell lung cancer cases.

Women less likely to receive heart device therapy but survive with it longer than men
Women with heart failure are less likely than men to receive cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) -- an implantable device shown to enhance quality of life for people with heart failure; yet women who get CRT live longer than men who get it, according to Mayo Clinic research presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005 in Dallas.

New understanding of regeneration gained by Forsyth scientists
Forsyth Institute research with the flatworm, planaria, offers new clues for understanding restoration of body structures.

Patients regain cognitive function after radiation for brain tumors
Patients who suffer from low-grade brain tumors are able to regain normal cognitive function after receiving radiation therapy to shrink their tumor, according to a study published in the November 15, 2005, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Doctors and patients should discuss use of alternative medicines
Heart patients, do you tell your doctor you're using alternative medicines?

Risk higher for truckers in eleventh hour
The crash risk for truck drivers in the last hour of a now legal 11-hour day behind the wheel is more than three times higher than during the first hour, a Penn State research team has found.

New antimalarial combination confirms its potential use in treating drug-resistant malaria
Clinical results demonstrating the potential benefits of treating P. falciparum malaria with a new artemisinin-based combination therapy, CDA (chlorproguanil hydrochloride-dapsone-artesunate), will be presented at the Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan-African Malaria Conference.

Scholar uncovers the story behind the 'obesity epidemic'
Despite its growing weight, America does not have an

Caution: New Medicare drug plan may cause headaches
If many seniors are scratching their heads about the new Medicare prescription drug plan, so are the experts.

Treatment has demonstrated improvement in physical function and kept joint damage from progressing
Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE), today announced data from a long-term blinded study of anti-TNF agent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) demonstrated that more than three quarters of patients treated with Enbrel® (etanercept) plus methotrexate combination therapy experienced no progression of joint damage at three years.

Wide racial disparities found in heart device implantation
African-Americans are significantly less likely than white Americans to receive expensive high-tech implantable defibrillators into the chest to keep their hearts beating regularly, according to a new analysis by cardiologists at Duke University Medical Center.

Clues to the progression of Alzheimer's disease revealed in brain imaging studies
A novel imaging agent heralded for its potential to diagnose Alzheimer's disease during life is now giving researchers information never before available about how and where the disease progresses in the brain.

Scientists work to discover how music training affects the brain
New research shows that the special training of music conductors seems to enhance the way their senses work together - enabling them to quickly tell who played a wrong note, for example.

Comic books shadow how we react to threats
The hero's actions and storylines often reflect the feelings of their readers.

Aspirin can cut death rates in postmenopausal women with cardiovascular disease
Aspirin can significantly reduce death rates for postmenopausal women with cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

Trial shows malaria vaccine could protect young children from disease for 18 months
The RTS, S/AS02A vaccine could protect young African children against a range of clinical disease caused by the malaria parasite for at least 18 months, concludes a randomised trial published online today (Tuesday November 15, 2005) by The Lancet.

Heart care lacking for those with clogged leg blood vessels
Despite the fact that clogged arteries in the legs usually mean clogged arteries near the heart, doctors often fail to give heart-protecting drugs to people with severe leg blood vessel blockages, a new University of Michigan-led study finds.

How do you feel? Genetics are partly to blame
Your genetic makeup partly influences how physically and mentally well you feel, new Saint Louis University research finds.

Drug compound restores youth to aging arterial cells in elderly hypertensives, Hopkins study shows
A compound called alagebrium, which is very similar to another used in anti-wrinkle creams, may be useful in reducing the deleterious effects of arterial aging in the majority of elderly Americans with systolic hypertension, a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins shows.

Amgen investigational therapy for bone loss, denosumab, show increased bone mineral density
Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced that twice-yearly subcutaneous injections of denosumab (60 mg), (previously referred to as AMG 162), increased bone mineral density (BMD) in the lumbar spine, total hip, distal 1/3 radius and total body compared to placebo at 24 months.

Hopkins study may change rules for treating heart failure
A Johns Hopkins study has raised doubts about a long-accepted notion of what's going on in many cases of heart failure, suggesting that nearly half of patients with the disorder may be getting the wrong treatment for their disease.

New study to find cause of former President's hand disease
A crippling condition that can result in sufferers losing their fingers is to be investigated by scientists in one of the most detailed studies into the genetic causes of the disease ever carried out.

Washington University receives $29.5 million to sequence corn genome
Researchers at the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Wheezing prevalence patterns established by age 6
Among children who exhibit asthma-like symptoms during preschool years, researchers have found that patterns of wheezing prevalence and levels of lung function are established by age 6 and do not significantly change for at least 10 years.

Brain activity related to processing faces is similar in people with, without autism
New brain imaging research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that when people with autism look at a face, activity in the brain area that responds is similar to that of people without autism.

Protein behavior may lead to better treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
By learning how and why a protein occasionally folds incorrectly, researchers may be able to better treat victims of Alzheimer's, mad cow and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Economic cost to hospitals from an avian flu pandemic likely to be huge, SLU professor says
Hospitals that treat avian flu patients will take a huge financial hit unless the government offsets losses not covered by insurance, a chapter in a new book about international health care management says.

Jefferson scientists show protein in heart and adrenal gland plays critical role in heart failure
A protein that plays an important regulatory role in heart failure in the heart also exerts powerful effects on the adrenal gland, Jefferson Medical College researchers have found.

Older female fish prefer imperfect male mates, study finds
There's hope for the less-than-perfect male - if you're a swordtail fish, that is.

Mayo Clinic study: People with heart failure at significant increase for death from stroke
People with heart failure are twice as likely to die from a stroke as the general population, new research at Mayo Clinic has found.

U-Georgia shares $12.3 million grant to increase educational attainment of Hispanic students
The University of Georgia will share a $12.3 million grant with the University of Texas at Austin to develop and launch a new collaborative pilot program designed to identify, implement, and evaluate best practices for recruiting, retaining and graduating Hispanic students.

Neurons generated in the adult brain learn to respond to novel stimuli
New brain cells that develop in the olfactory system of adult mice appear to play a role in the brain different from that of older neurons.
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