Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 23, 2006
Junk DNA may not be so junky after all
Researchers at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins have invented a cost-effective and highly efficient way of analyzing what many have termed

Elephantiasis close to elimination in Egypt
Five rounds of yearly mass drug administration are likely to have eliminated the parasites that cause elephantiasis in most areas of Egypt, according to a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

The 'oxygen imperative'
It's common knowledge that humans and other animals couldn't survive without oxygen.

NASA scientist claims warmer ocean waters reducing Earth's ice
According to a NASA scientist, the pieces to a years-old scientific puzzle have come together to confirm warmer water temperatures are creeping into the Earth's colder areas.

Towards a new test of general relativity?
Scientists funded by the European Space Agency have measured the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field for the first time in a laboratory.

Sometimes no treatment is the right option for low-risk prostate cancer
When Houston restaurateur Tony Masraff was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, his life was packed with dancing, running marathons, playing tennis, gardening, leading a successful business and spending time with his family.

Study shows rituximab effective in treating chronic graft-versus-host disease
A study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers offers the strongest evidence yet of the effectiveness of a novel therapy for chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a potentially life-threatening complication of donor bone marrow and stem cell transplants.

Renaissance of medicine in the Middle East needed
The Middle East is the most neglected health arena in the world today, states the lead editorial introducing this week's special issue of The Lancet focusing on the region.

Public education key to reducing genetic diseases linked to close-kin marriage
Basic information on the genetic problems linked to close-kin marriage and the preventive measures available should be included as part of the secondary school curricula in the Middle East, state the authors of a Comment in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New map of the Milky Way charts where stars are born
A team of astronomers from Boston University's Institute for Astrophysical Research has produced the clearest map to-date of the giant gas clouds in the Milky Way that serve as the birthplaces of stars.

There's water under the desert - but it's hardly being used
The one place in water-short Israel where natural groundwater is available and not being fully exploited is -- of all places -- in the mostly uninhabited Judean desert.

Tom Siegfried wins AGU's Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism
Tom Siegfried, former science editor of the Dallas Morning News, has been named winner of the Robert Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism.

Honor among businesses: Corporations are becoming more ethical
Study suggests that the ethical environment of corporate America is improving.

Uniting Africans to save women's lives from postpartum hemorrhage
A meeting in Uganda in early April will address ways to prevent deaths from postpartum hemorrhage, a leading contributor to Africa's maternal death rate, the highest in the world.

Mental disorders as common in Lebanon as in western Europe
The prevalence of mental disorders in Lebanon is equivalent to that in Western Europe, according to a study published in The Lancet Middle East special issue.

Efforts to replicate controversial diabetes therapy bring partial success
Researchers at the University of Chicago have been able to confirm most but not all of the results of a high-profile study that brought new hope to diabetes patients.

Questions over accuracy of MRI in diagnosing multiple sclerosis
The accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is not sufficient to rule in or rule out a diagnosis of MS with a high degree of certainty, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

Cannibal stars like their food hot, XMM-Newton reveals
ESA's XMM-Newton has seen vast clouds of superheated gas, whirling around miniature stars and escaping from being devoured by the stars' enormous gravitational fields - giving a new insight into the eating habits of the galaxy's 'cannibal' stars.

Infused spleen cells found not to impact islet recovery and reversal of type 1 diabetes in mice
Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center have published in the March 24, 2006, issue of the journal Science a significant study about islet cell recovery and reversal of type 1 diabetes in mice.

Women suffer from anxiety and stress after birth, not only depression
Women can suffer from postnatal anxiety or stress independently of postnatal depression.

New studies show topical glucosamine targets pigment overproduction
A series of studies presented at the 64th American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) meeting indicates that a topical version of glucosamine has effects on skin - with the particular ability to normalize pigment overproduction in skin cells damaged by UV radiation exposure.

Age is an independent risk factor in young women with breast cancer
A 30 year old woman diagnosed with breast cancer has the same chance of survival as a 60 year old woman with breast cancer according to the latest findings presented today at the European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-5).

Emory scientists discover unique binding method for essential cellular protein ubiquitin
Researchers have uncovered new information about the molecular pathway used by ubiquitin, an essential protein that helps regulate the amounts and locations of other proteins within cells.

Tufts University's Perseus Digital Library to offer new online search tool
Tufts University's Perseus Digital Library has created a resource to allow users to find specific people, places and dates in its updated 19th Century American collection.

Permanent admissions are better for US high-tech workforce than H-1B expansion
IEEE-USA believes the permanent immigration of skilled scientists and engineers is better for our country's capacity to innovate and meet high-tech workforce demands than another expansion of the badly broken temporary H-1B guest worker program.

Glimpse to past adds weight to global warming forecasts
A new examination of the period of global warming that planet Earth underwent 130,000 years ago is helping scientists to confirm the accuracy of projections for the next century - particularly over Canada's North.

Greenland's glaciers pick up pace in surge toward the sea
With warming temperatures as the possible underlying cause, scientists wonder what is pushing Greenland's glaciers out to sea as much as 50 percent quicker than before.

New RNAi tools enable systematic studies of gene function
An international public-private research team led by scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard announced today the construction and availability of an extensive library of molecular reagents to silence most human and mouse genes.

Wasabi's kick linked to single pain receptor
A single pain receptor is solely responsible for the kick delivered by mustard oil and garlic, according to research in the March 24 Cell.

Procedure cures some diabetic mice, but not in the way previously reported
Researchers attempting to reproduce a controversial 2003 mouse experiment suggestive of a cure for type 1 diabetes have found evidence that the experimental procedure does eliminate diabetic symptoms in a small fraction of the mice exposed to it.

Do bicycle helmet laws prevent head injuries and improve health?
Many doctors believe that enforced bicycle helmet laws improve health, but this view remains hotly contested in some quarters.

Protein sorting in pigment cells sheds light on melanoma, Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered how a protein called Pmel17 is sorted by pigment cells in the skin and eye to make a fiber matrix that eventually sequesters melanin, the dark pigment found in skin, hair, and eyes.

Caring emotions may overcome drug addictions in new parent therapy program
Mothers who focus on improving the emotional quality of their relationships with children may also be lessening their preoccupation with drugs.

Time for Britain to adopt universal hepatitis B immunisation
It's time for Britain to adopt universal hepatitis B immunisation, say senior doctors in an editorial published online by the BMJ today.

Researchers make recommendations for reducing health risks at the Hajj
Muslims embarking on the Hajj -- an annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia -- should receive counselling, vaccinations, and education to reduce the health risks they face during the 10-day ritual, state the authors of a Review in this week's Lancet Middle East special issue.

Research team sweeps the board with intensive care innovations
An academic team which includes key researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Hull has taken both first and second prizes, in a nationwide innovation competition run by Microsoft.

Clarifying controversy in multiple sclerosis
In a study appearing online on March 23 in advance of print publication in the April issue of the JCI, researcher Michal Schwartz and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel use mouse and rat models of multiple sclerosis (MS) to show that T cell production of small amounts of IFN-gamma or IL-4 stimulate microglia (MGs) to support neuron survival, suggesting that stimulating MGs with IL-4 may help MS recovery.

Polar melting may raise sea level sooner than expected
The Earth's warming temperatures are on track to melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets sooner than previously thought and ultimately lead to a global sea level rise of at least 20 feet, according to new research.

NJIT environmental psychologist offers tips on how elderly can stay home
Environmental psychologist Richard Olsen, PhD, and research architect Lynn Hutchings are people on a mission.

Newer form of cardiac imaging providing better look at heart
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a newer development in echocardiography providing doctors with better imaging of the heart.

Evidence for omega 3 fats less conclusive than we thought, say experts
A study published online by the BMJ today doesn't find evidence of a clear benefit of omega 3 fats on health.

Global warming yields novel 'glacial earthquakes' in polar areas
Seismologists at Harvard University and Columbia University have found an unexpected offshoot of global warming:

Novel process reduces toxic chemical use
Research into leading-edge extraction and separation processes aims to improve productivity in the pharmaceutical, food, dairy and other sectors.

New sensor technology, developed at Argonne, quickly detects
Engineers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, using an emerging sensing technology, have developed a suite of sensors for national security applications that can quickly and effectively detect chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive materials.

Deep-sea fish populations boom over the last 15 years, new Scripps study shows
The largest habitats on Earth are located in the vast, dark plains at the bottom of the ocean.

Lefties have the advantage in adversarial situations
Contrary to traditional wisdom, being a leftie promotes survival from attacks, at least in the world of snails and crabs, according to a report by researchers at Yale and Cornell in the Biology Letters of the Royal Society.

Pregnancy research leads to progress on premature delivery
The University of Rochester has filed a patent on several ideas to help prevent early labor and the premature delivery of low-birth-weight babies.

NASA's Chandra finds evidence for quasar ignition
New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may provide clues to how quasars

Northwestern trial to determine accuracy of technology to predict accuracy of antidepressants
The Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is the only center in the Midwest participating in a national trial called Biomarkers for Rapid Identification of Treatment Effectiveness in Major Depression (BRITE-MD), which seeks to determine the accuracy of brain monitoring technology to predict the effectiveness of various antidepressant medications.

Driver of anthrax toxicity could lead to late-stage therapy
A study in the March 24 Cell reports the discovery of a gene that drives anthrax bacteria's toxic effects.

Changes in agricultural practices in existing crops show cooling temperatures
Farmers who plant more crops, increase irrigation coverage and till the land less can have a profound effect on climate.

What happened to the antimatter? Fermilab's DZero experiment finds clues in quick-change meson
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have announced that their data on the properties of a subatomic particle, the B_s meson (

UCR-led study identifies crucial mechanism involved in immune response against viruses
A research team led by UC Riverside scientists has shown that the common fruit fly can serve as an excellent model for studying the immunity animals are born with for fighting viral infections.

Mars meteorite similar to bacteria-etched earth rocks
A new study of a meteorite that originated from Mars has revealed a series of microscopic tunnels that are similar in size, shape and distribution to tracks left on Earth rocks by feeding bacteria.

Health systems in the Middle East need to adapt to face future challenges
Health systems in the Middle East and North Africa need to adapt to face new public health challenges over the next five years, state the authors of a Comment in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Ocean virus identified in human blood samples
A virus of ocean origin that can cause a range of diseases in several animal species has been found in human blood samples.

Scientists detect seasonal pattern to glacial earthquakes in Greenland, see signs of increase
Seismologists at Columbia University and Harvard University have found a new indicator that the Earth is warming:

ASA announces 2006 Research Scholar Award winners
The American Skin Association (ASA) announced today that it has granted its 2006 Research Scholar Awards to four promising investigators conducting research in the causes, prevention and treatment of skin diseases and cancers.

Do older people quit smoking for the wrong reasons?
Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women are more likely to quit smoking than elderly men, while results are just the opposite for studies among younger populations.

Not all breast cancers' risk are increased by HRT
Recent research presented today at EBCC-5 from the million women study found that taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) increased the risk of some types of breast cancer, but not others.

Key new tool for identifying problem badger setts harbouring bovine TB
New research led by biologists at the University of Warwick has revealed a new technique that could become a valuable way of identifying badger setts that harbour TB diseased and infectious badgers in regions where TB in cattle, caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), is problematic.

Reduced insulin in the brain triggers Alzheimer's degeneration
By depleting insulin and its related proteins in the brain, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School have replicated the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The Lancet calls for independent scrutiny of the TGN1412 trial
Commercial confidentiality should not obstruct independent scrutiny of the drug trial that led to six men becoming seriously ill in Northwick Park Hospital in London, UK, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Ethnic groups need specialist services to tackle alcohol misuse
Ethnic minorities may have particular problems with alcohol use, yet may not be seeking help, warns a senior psychiatrist in this week's BMJ.

Strategy to redesign primary care medicine presented at annual internal medicine conference
A comprehensive strategy to redesign the delivery of primary care, its training, education and payment system will be presented at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Annual Session, April 6-8, in Philadelphia.

MIT: Oceans are a major gene swap-meet for plankton
New evidence from open sea experiments shows there's a constant shuffling of genetic endowments going on among tiny plankton, and the

Arctic, antarctic melting may raise sea levels faster than expected
Arctic and Antarctic ice could melt more quickly than expected this century, according to two studies led by scientists at NCAR and the University of Arizona.

Global program to eliminate elephantiasis has early success in Egypt
Organizers of a 20-year global effort to eliminate a parasitic infection that is a leading cause of disability have an early victory to savor: a five-year Egyptian elimination campaign has mostly succeeded, according to a new report in the March 25 issue of The Lancet.

UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center named Survivorship Center of Excellence
UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center has been named a LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and will join a network of five leading centers nationwide that will work together to address the needs of the growing number of cancer survivors in the United States.

Lennart Carleson wins 2006 Abel Prize
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the 2006 Abel (AH-bell) Prize to Lennart Carleson, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

Teens' herbal product use associated with illicit substance use
Adolescents who have ever used herbal products are six times more likely to have tried cocaine and almost 15 times more likely to have used anabolic steroids than teens who have never used herbal products, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study to be published March 23 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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