Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 03, 2006
On the loose: Urban coyotes thrive in North American cities
Even in the largest American cities, a historically maligned beast is thriving, despite scientists' belief that these mammals intently avoid urban human populations.

History of human cannibalism eats away at researchers
In a new study published by the journal Genome Research, a team of scientists reports that 'mad cow'-like diseases have not been a major force in human history, nor have been cannibalistic rituals that are known to be associated with disease transmission.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs not associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk
Use of cholesterol reducing drugs is not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study in the January 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Building interoperability into medical information
Modern health information systems today are proprietary and often only serve one department making it impossible to easily share data across one facility, never mind across different facilities or countries.

Oral contraceptive pill may prevent more than pregnancy
In the January issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers have published a new investigation measuring sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) before and after discontinuation of the oral contraceptive pill.

VCU Massey Cancer Center researchers identify a new class of anti-cancer drugs based on platinum
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center have created a new platinum-based, anti-cancer agent able to overcome acquired drug resistance by first modifying the way it is absorbed into cancer cells and then attacking the DNA of those cancer cells.

New study links reputation to media bias
In a groundbreaking new study from the Journal of Political Economy, economists from the University of Chicago argue that, contrary to commonsense views, media bias does not arise from reporters' desire to promote their own beliefs or a politician's ability to manipulate the media.

Radar satellite service checks stability of Africa's largest artificial hole
International engineering firm AMEC is working with ESA to improve monitoring of ground subsidence linked to mining activity.

Doctors at UVA health system search for new treatments for diabetic kidney disease
Dr. Mark Okusa, a nephrologist and a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, has won two grants totaling $1.2 million over four years to test whether certain drugs can interrupt the inflammatory process that occurs in diabetic kidney disease.

Hebrew University scientists develop prototype drug to prevent osteoporosis
Substances produced in the body that act like those found in the cannabis plant help preserve bone density, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

FDA approves first medical device using Rutgers biomaterial
Rutgers and TyRx Pharma, Inc., have announced the FDA's clearance of a new medical device for hernia repair using a Rutgers biodegradable technology.

Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet not associated with weight gain in postmenopausal women
In a clinical trial of over 48,000 post-menopausal women, a low-fat diet that includes increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is not associated with weight gain over an average of 7.5 years, according to a study in the January 4 issue of JAMA.

The first baby boom
In an important new study assessing the demographic impact of the shift from foraging to farming, anthropologists use evidence from 60 prehistoric American cemeteries to prove that the invention of agriculture led to a significant worldwide increase in birth rate.

Identified: DNA that controls the malaria parasite's disguise mechanism
Professor Alan Cowman, Dr Brendan Crabb and their research teams at WEHI have identified how the most lethal malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is able to disguise itself from the human immune system.

Other highlights in the January 4 JNCI
Other highlights in the January 4 JNCI include a study that looks at a virus-drug combination that may destroy glioblastoma cells, a study that associates autoimmune disorders and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a study of self-reported family history of cancer, a study that examines the association between carbonated soft drinks and esophageal cancer, and a commentary on cancer survivorship strategies and recommendations.

Teens unaware of sexually transmitted diseases until they catch one, Carnegie Mellon study finds
Most sexually active teenage girls know relatively little about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) until it is too late, according to a paper by Carnegie Mellon University researchers that will be published in the January edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Mayo Clinic reports new option for patients with metastatic melanoma
Patients with metastatic melanoma (MM) have new hope, says a recently published study by Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Psychotropic drug prescriptions for teens surge 250 percent over 7 year period
Psychotropic drug prescriptions for teenagers skyrocketed 250 percent between 1994 and 2001, rising particularly sharply after 1999, when the federal government allowed direct-to-consumer advertising and looser promotion of off-label use of prescription drugs, according to a Brandeis study in the journal Psychiatric Services.

US woman gives birth to baby from world's first frozen donor egg bank
Wendy and Jared Kennedy are the first couple to deliver a baby from the first commercial donor egg bank in the world.

Largest study of in-hospital cardiac arrest suggests how to improve outcomes for children and adults
Children survive in-hospital cardiac arrests more frequently than adults, CPR may improve outcomes for both groups, and better knowledge of the underlying cause of a cardiac arrest may increase the chances of helping a patient survive it.

Elderly with alcoholism receive equal heart attack care
Older Americans with alcohol problems do not get worse treatment than their sober peers when they are hospitalized for a heart attack, according to new research on Medicare patients across the country.

The impact of smoking and genes on rheumatoid arthritis
To investigate whether smoking and SE genes trigger immune reactions to citrullinated proteins, the team conducted a case-control study involving patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis.

NHLBI media availability: Low-fat dietary pattern and weight change
Results of the first study on the long-term effects of a dietary pattern low in fat and high in carbohydrates suggest that a low-fat eating pattern does not lead to weight gain.

Little known DNA repair enzyme may be a tumor suppressor gene
University of Pittsburgh researchers report in a paper published in the Jan.

Link between esophageal cancer and soft drinks debunked by researchers at Yale
Carbonated soft drink consumption was previously suggested to be linked to the 350 percent increase of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus since the mid-1970s, but researchers at Yale School of Medicine report that the link is unfounded and that there may, in fact, be a decreased risk of this cancer for diet soda drinkers.

New 'self-exploding' microcapsules could take sting out of drug delivery
Belgian chemists have developed

Statins have neutral effect on risk of cancer
The cholesterol-lowering medications called statins do not appear to reduce the incidence of cancer or cancer deaths, according to a meta-analysis of previous studies in the January 4 issue of JAMA.

One day radiation may become an option for breast cancer patients
Doctors in Canada are studying the effectiveness of permanent radiation seed implants following lumpectomy as an alternative to whole or partial breast irradiation for early-stage breast cancer patients, according to a study published in the January 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Exploring the limits of presidential power after 9/11
The use of discretionary executive power by presidents grows in times of national crisis.

Study sheds new light on causes of common STD
Oral sex may be a risk factor for nongonococcal urethritis, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases affecting both men and women, according to a new study in the February 1 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Females, alcohol and hormones
January issue of the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research finds that: Women are more vulnerable than men to the negative medical consequences of alcohol use; New research using two animal models examines the potency of alcohol on brain mechanisms; Results indicate that the females are actually less sensitive to the sedating effects of alcohol; and Alcohol's effects also appear to be mediated by different phases of the estrous cycle.

Use of amino acid supplement following a heart attack provides no benefit, may be harmful
Use of the amino acid supplement L-arginine following a heart attack does not improve certain cardiac functions and measurements and may be associated with an increased risk of death, according to a study in the January 4 issue of JAMA.

Two mathematics programs that make a difference
The University of Iowa mathematics graduate program and the Summer Institute in Mathematics for Undergraduates at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Humacao earn recognition from the American Mathematical Society.

Alcohol-deterrent drugs help patients achieve high rates of long-term abstinence
Studies from the January issue of the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research include: A nine-year study looks at the impact of 'alcohol deterrents' (ADs) disulfiram and calcium carbimide; Researchers have found an abstinence rate of more than 50 percent among the patients studied and ADs appear to play a major psychological role in relapse prevention.

New evidence to support combination therapy for achieving remission of early rheumatoid arthritis
The January 2006 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism presents the first study to compare the effectiveness of anti-rheumatic drug therapy alone, anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy alone, and a combination of anti-rheumatic drug and anti-TNF therapy.

Raising alcohol prices can lead to more drinking instead of less
Findings in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research include: Many policy makers and researchers believe that increasing the prices of alcohol beverages will help to reduce alcohol sales and related problems; New findings indicate that across-the-board price increases may, or may not, reduce alcohol sales; and The authors suggest 'minimum price posting' as an alternative policy measure.

CMS announces fewer, prioritized, less burdensome measures
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month will launch a smaller, prioritized and less burdensome set of measures for reporting quality care to Medicare beneficiaries.

Black baby girls more likely to live when born very premature
University of Florida researchers pinpointed a link between gender and race and the survival rates of babies born at extremely low weights, according to findings released today in the journal Pediatrics.

Nurse delivers first baby from commercial frozen donor egg bank
Wendy and Jared Kennedy found it hard to take their eyes off their new daughter, Avery Lee, born in the early morning hours of Dec.

Optimal adjuvant radiation therapy associated with improved survival, meta-analysis shows
A new analysis of adjuvant radiation therapy in women with breast cancer following mastectomy is associated with better survival as measured at 10 years when appropriate doses and fields of radiation are used.

Guidelines needed to help care for children during emergencies
According to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and World Health Organization, evidence-based guidelines for the care of children in emergency situations should be developed and distributed to international relief organizations.

Stardust nears end of epic journey; Researchers await its treasure
The Stardust spacecraft on Jan. 15 is scheduled to return a capsule, with particles collected from comet Wild 2, by parachute to the Utah desert; the end of the seven-year space mission will be just the beginning of scientists' work to unlock secrets of the solar system's origins.
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