Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 20, 2006
Easy to use emergency mobile device for people at risk
Mobile phones can save lives in emergencies, but are not widely used among those considered to be most at risk: elderly people and sufferers of age-related and chronic diseases.

Fertility drugs given 'all-clear' in new study
Concerns about the use of letrozole, an easy-to-use and inexpensive drug for the treatment of infertility, appear to be unfounded, according to a major study co-authored by Dr.

Viral protein helps infected T cells stick to uninfected cells
New research shows that a protein made by a cancer virus causes infected immune cells to cling to other immune cells, enabling the virus to spread.

Novel molecular 'signature' marks DNA of embryonic stem cells
A team of scientists announced today a critical step on the path of realizing the promise of embryonic stem (ES) cells for medicine.

Health benefits from US NIH clinical trials programme outweigh costs
One of the US National Institutes of Health's clinical trials programmes has had substantial returns on investment in terms of public health gains, according to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Pituitary hormone implicated in bone loss after menopause
New evidence in the April 21, 2006 Cell challenges the long-standing notion that declining estrogen levels alone lead to osteoporosis after women go through menopause.

ERS-2 helps detect massive rivers under Antarctica
British scientists have discovered rivers the size of the Thames in London flowing hundreds of miles under the Antarctica ice shelf by examining small changes in elevation, observed by ESA's ERS-2 satellite, in the surface of the oldest, thickest ice in the region, according to an article published in Nature this week.

Concern over rising preterm births
Doctors in this week's BMJ express concern over the apparent increase in preterm births.

Turbo code inventor Claude Berrou receives 2005 Marconi Prize
Claude Berrou, professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne, has been awarded the 2005 Marconi Prize for developing a technology widely used in the telecommunications sector.

Wait a few minutes: Blood pressure readings lower when patients slow down
According to a new study from a team of nurses headed by Melly Turner, R.N., systolic blood pressure can be an average of 14 points higher when taken immediately after arriving in the exam room and sitting on an examination table rather than sitting in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor.

Marmots, microbes and geopolitical uses of disease
As Alaskans prepare for a potential avian influenza pandemic the story of how marmots and microbes led to Japan's takeover of Manchuria will provide an unsettling look at what happens when plague, politics and secrecy combine.

JCI table of contents, April 20, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online on April 20, 2006 in the JCI, including: Dynamic duo: combination therapy reverses type 1 diabetes; Show me some skin: failed wound healing promotes psoriasis; AIRE determines target of the autoimmune response in type 1 diabetes; Cooperation killed the kidney: pairs of genes interact in renal disease; and others.

Geologists: Opening of passage may be tied to Antarctic cooling
Ancient fish teeth are yielding clues about when Antarctica became the icy continent it is today, highlighting how ocean currents affect climate change.

ESA's ISO provides the first view of monstrous stars being born
Scientists have secured their first look at the birth of monstrous stars that shine 100,000 times more brightly than the Sun, thanks to ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO).

Hormone therapy may prevent heart attacks for women in their 50s
Feeling hot flashes? If you are a woman in your 50s, hormone replacement therapy may have an added benefit that goes beyond just treating menopause symptoms.

Blood tests may be better than standard skin test for diagnosing latent tuberculosis
Two blood tests for diagnosing latent tuberculosis (TB) infection can individually produce fewer false-positive results than the standard tuberculin skin test, according to a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Economic benefit of NINDS-supported clinical trials estimated at more than $15 billion
A comprehensive review of all phase III clinical trials supported by one federal agency finds that, estimated conservatively, the economic benefit in the United States from just eight of these trials exceeded $15 billion over the course of 10 years.

In new study, ancient and modern evidence suggests limits to future global warming
Instrumental readings made during the past century offer ample evidence that carbon dioxide and other

Even at small scales, the big decisions are made at the water cooler
William Bialek and his research team have found that retinal ganglion cells, the nerve cells along the back of our eyes that transmit visual signals to the brain, organize their actions based on communications they have with other individual cells rather than on group-style discussions.

Laos - a lost world for frogs
Frogs and lots of them are being discovered in the Southeast Asia nation of Lao PDR, according to the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which says that six new frog species have been found by scientists over a two-year period.

Protein's potential as a regulator of brain activity discovered
UC Irvine researchers have found that a protein best known for building connections between nerve cells and muscle also plays a role in controlling brain cell activity.

Measures of health inequalities are misleading
UK targets to reduce health inequalities could end up improving the health of the richest fastest, warn researchers in this week's BMJ.

Mapping the foundation of human development
Embryonic stem cells may one day provide a means to treat disease, but according to two new reports, they are already revealing remarkable insights into the mysteries of human biology.

US, China cooperate on high-energy physics experiment
The US and China have committed $7 million to the joint production of high-energy particle physics detectors at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL).

Museum Musings: Rethinking the Museum
Join the Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs and the Koshland Science Museum for a discussion of the history and future of museums.

Study in Science holds promise for a new approach to drug therapy
Researchers believe they have found a way to change the action of 60 percent of currently available medications, in some cases making them many times more effective, according to an article published in the April 21 edition of the journal Science.

How embryonic stem cells maintain their identity
Two studies in the April 21, 2006 Cell report new details of the

Dynamic duo: Combination therapy reverses type 1 diabetes
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology researchers crafted a combination therapy that reverses recent-onset type 1 diabetes in two animal models of disease.

LIAI scientists make major finding on potential cure for type 1 diabetes
A major finding, which represents an important step toward a potential cure for type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, has been made by a research team at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI).

Honeybee decision-making ability rivals any department committee
When 10,000 honeybees fly the coop to hunt for a new home, they have a unique method of deciding which site is right.

Cornell study finds that galaxies cluster near dark matter
Dark matter has had a major effect on the formation and evolution of galaxies, and bright active galaxies appear to have been born only within dark matter clumps of certain sizes in the young universe, Cornell's Duncan Farrah reports in the April 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Formation of cellulose fibers tracked for the first time
Recent work from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology and Stanford University describes the first real-time observations of cellulose fiber formation.

Impact of rainfall reaches to roots of mountains
The erosion caused by rainfall directly affects the movement of continental plates beneath mountain ranges, says a University of Toronto geophysicist -- the first time science has raised the possibility that human-induced climate change could affect the deep workings of the planet.

The diabetes epidemic - obesity a major factor
More and more Americans are being diagnosed with diabetes. In a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine some of the reasons for this increase.

A young Mars most likely to support life, new mineral history shows
An international team of scientists, including Brown University geologist John Mustard, has created the most comprehensive mineral record of Mars to date.

Stem cell study for patients with heart attack damage seeks to regenerate heart muscle
Rush cardiologists are hoping that transplanted stem cells can regenerate damaged heart muscle in those who experience a first heart attack.

Researchers discover link between expectancy, visual cues and the desire to smoke
In a study recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and the Department of Psychology at McGill University found that when people expect to smoke in the near future, external cues such as watching someone smoke affects their brain more than their level of craving or how long they have gone without a cigarette.

Bullying keeps overweight kids off the field
Overweight children will avoid situations where they've been bullied before, such as gym class and sports, making it even harder for them to get in shape, a University of Florida study found.

Teens embrace vintage vinyl, resist corporate control of record industry
Listening to records -- the old fashioned vinyl discs long believed to have been made obsolete by CDs and music downloading -- is for many young people a form of resistance against the music industry's corporate taste-makers, according to new research from David Hayes, a PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Massive marsh planting to begin in coastal Alabama and Mississippi
Saltmarshes and submerged grass beds were once dominant habitats along the Gulf Coast.

Researchers solve mystery of how nuclear pores duplicate before cell division
Researchers have long wondered how nuclear pores - the all-important channels that control the flow of information in and out of a cell's nucleus - double in number to prepare for the split to come when a cell divides.

New computer model of football can help NFL coaches call the next play, evaluate players
An Indiana University scientist has created a computer model of football as it's played in the National Football League.

A reunion between science and spirituality
An internationally renowned group of visionaries and scientists join with the renowned systems theorist, Ervin Laszlo, in a new book,

Discovery points to more effective ways of regulating cell signalling
A discovery made at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute provides new insights into enhancing the function of the protein SOCS3, which regulates the response of cells to external stimuli.

Creative public-health approaches needed to improve folic acid intake in women
Creative public-health approaches need to be developed to improve folic acid intake in women and prevent neural tube defects, state the authors of a Review in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Lactic acid not athlete's poison, but an energy source - if you know how to use it
Most athletes consider lactic acid their enemy, and think that training helps eliminate the metabolic waste product from their muscles so the muscles will function longer and harder.

Georgia Tech computer program designed to halt pandemics installed in Georgia
A Georgia Tech computer program, created with help from the CDC, is designed to put pandemic plans to the test (even factoring in panic and even language barriers) and help make them better.

Preconception health care can improve the lives of mothers and babies
Making preconception health care part of routine medical visits can help identify risk factors for pregnancy complications and adverse birth outcomes, allowing doctors to offer women services to reduce the risk of premature birth and birth defects and give babies a healthy start in life.

A broken stress response system can contribute to Gleevec resistance
New clues to why some kinds of leukemia are more aggressive and deadly than others are coming from research examining the types of genetic damage that allow some blood cells to grow out of control.

Tibetan chic: Why Buddhism is so hot right now
Madonna made those little red Kabbalah bracelets cool for five minutes, and Tom Cruise talked up Scientology, but Buddhism firmly remains the religion du jour for Westerners looking for respite from a greedy, violent and stressed out world, according to a University of Western Sydney expert.

BIDMC's Harold Dvorak, MD, honored by National Foundation for Cancer Research
Harold F. Dvorak, MD, Mallinkrodt Professor of Pathology Emeritus of Harvard Medical School and former chief of the division of pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has received the inaugural Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research from the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR).

Taking Turns: Artists and Curators Engage the Museum
Join the Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs for a discussion of the ways in which artists and curators utilize and are inspired by museum collections.

Simplified dermoscopy techniques improve detection of malignant skin lesions in primary care
A study promoted by IDIBAPS - Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, in collaboration with several Catalan and Italian Primary Care Centres, shows that the application of three basic criteria of dermoscopy permits having more assurance to refer patients to a skin specialist.

Scientists penetrate fossil magma chamber beneath intact ocean crust -- achieving scientific 'first'
Scientists working in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (funded by US-NSF and Japan) have drilled beneath the seafloor and penetrated a fossil magma chamber.

HHMI's experiment in changing scientific culture
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has created Janelia Farm to fulfill the need for a scientific community that promotes and rewards collaborative, interdisciplinary research.

International Conference on Nutrition and Alzheimer's Disease/Cognitive Decline
The Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and the International Academy on Nutrition and Aging are co-sponsoring an international and interdisciplinary conference on nutrition and Alzheimer's disease/cognitive decline to be held at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago on May 1-2, 2006.

Ancient DNA provides clues to the evolution of social behavior
A rare Patagonian rodent known as the colonial tuco-tuco fascinates biologists because it seems to defy all odds.

Inhibition of iron-metabolizing enzyme reduces tumor growth
A report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that inhibition of heme oxygenase-1, an enzyme involved in iron metabolism, reduces Kaposi sarcoma tumor growth.
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