Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 08, 2006
National study finds off-label prescribing common, often not backed by data
A study of office-based physicians in the United States suggests that about one-fifth of medications are prescribed to treat conditions for which they are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that nearly three-fourths of those uses lack strong scientific support, according to an article in the May 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Ethnobotanist says non-regulated herbs pose risks
Ginsengs, echinaceas, and ephedras, oh my! These herbs sound innocuous enough, however, according to Memory Elvin-Lewis, PhD, professor of microbiology and ethnobotany in biomedicine in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St.

Coma misrepresented in movies
Coma is often misrepresented in movies, which could skew public perception of coma and impact real-life decisions, according to a new study published in the May 9, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Mutation in deafness gene can help heal wounds and prevent infection
A mutation in a gene commonly associated with deafness can play an important part in improving wound healing, a scientist told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, today (Monday 8 May 2006).

Extensional tectonics in Tempe Terra
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the tectonic 'grabens' in Tempe Terra, a geologically complex region that is part of the old Martian highlands.

Robots manipulating animal behaviour
A pet dog sits on command, but nobody expects an insect to follow human instructions.

Statins may improve circulation in the retina
The cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins may improve circulation in the eye, potentially reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UCLA researchers discover how drug binds to neurons to stop drunken symptoms of alcohol
UCLA researchers have discovered how an alcohol antidote drug binds to specific receptors on neurons to stop the drunken behavioral symptoms of alcohol.

Mayo Clinic finds physical proof of mild cognitive impairment
A study led by Mayo Clinic demonstrates that mild cognitive impairment, a memory disorder considered a strong early predictor of Alzheimer's disease, not only results in behavioral symptoms, but also structural changes that can be identified in the brain.

Physics in universe's youth
Using ESO's VLT, a team of astronomers detected the presence of molecular hydrogen in the farthest system ever, an otherwise invisible galaxy that we observe when the Universe was less than 1.5 billion years old.

Genetic insights may explain retinal growth, eye cancer
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered the role of several key genes in the development of the retina, and in the process have taken a significant step toward understanding how to prevent or cure the potentially deadly eye cancer retinoblastoma.

Diabetes research at UH 'crystalizes' with major finding
University of Houston researchers have made a major discovery in diabetes research and diagnosis, finding a new mechanism for the formation of insulin crystals in the pancreas.

Physicians and engineers pool resources to prevent stroke
A professor at the University of Houston and his research students are working with physicians and scientists at the Methodist Neurological Institute on new technology to identify which brain aneurysms are at highest risk of rupture and could cause a stroke.

Gender may impact lung function in patients with lung cancer
New research in the journal Chest shows that many women recently diagnosed with lung cancer have normal lung function and perform better on lung function tests compared with their male counterparts.

A new math model finds that the cochlea's spiral shape enhances low frequencies
For decades, hearing experts thought that the cochlea's spiral shape was simply an efficient packing job and its shape had no effect on how this critical hearing organ functions.

Scientists develop ENDEAVOUR − a computer program for identifying disease genes
Researchers from the ESAT-SCD (Engineering Sciences) and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) -- connected to the Catholic University of Leuven -- have developed ENDEAVOUR: A computer program that compiles and processes data from a variety of databases and identifies the genes that play a key role in the origin of a disorder.

The Allergan Foundation donates $2 million to advance eye research and treatment
The University of California, Irvine has received a $2 million gift from The Allergan Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Allergan, Inc.

White blood cells from cancer-resistant mice cure cancers in ordinary mice
White blood cells from a strain of cancer-resistant mice cured advanced cancers in ordinary laboratory mice, researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported today.

New 'metal sandwich' may break superconductor record, theory suggests
After an exhaustive data search for new compounds, researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have discovered a theoretical

Study shows rapid return to menses once oral contraception stopped
A study by a Columbia University Medical Center researcher shows that 99 percent of participants experienced either a return to menstruation or became pregnant within 90 days after stopping an investigational, low-dose oral contraceptive taken every day without placebo.

Corticosteroid therapy may be associated with irregular heartbeat
High doses of medications known as corticosteroids may be linked to an increased risk for atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder characterized by an irregular heartbeat, according to an article in the May 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Nanosecond-scale release of stinging jellyfish nematocysts
By using an electronic ultra-high-speed camera, researchers have characterized the explosive discharge of stinging jellyfish nematocytes and show that this event represents one of the fastest cellular processes in nature.

Knowledge of dendritic cells branches out
A new type of cell that generates crucial cells of the immune system has been discovered at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

NREL, Xcel Energy sign wind to hydrogen research agreement
The US Department of Energy's (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) recently signed a cooperative agreement for an innovative

Antidepressant drug may prevent recurrence of depression in patients with diabetes
A team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Young men with prostate cancer benefit from radiation therapy
A study reveals that external beam radiation therapy is as effective in younger prostate cancer patients as it is in older patients with same stage, localized disease.

Antiviral drugs may help relieve nerve pain related to shingles
A small trial suggests that treatment with intravenous and oral antiviral medications may reduce the nerve pain that occurs following shingles, according to a study posted online today that will appear in the July 2006 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mayo Clinic study finds coma grossly misrepresented in the movies
A new study by a Mayo Clinic neurologist finds that, overall, motion pictures inaccurately represent the comatose state.

Despite laws, many pregnant women lack HIV testing
Despite state laws requiring that every pregnant woman be offered HIV testing multiple times during pregnancy, about 20 percent of women reach their third trimester without it, according to a review of Florida women from 2003-04, researchers say.

A 'Guinness book' of biological records
The number of hairs on a human head? Depends whether you're blond or brunette.

Sri Lanka water supply still suffers effects of 2004 tsunami
Sri Lanka's coastal drinking water supply continues to suffer the effects of the December 2004 tsunami.

Doctors widely prescribe drugs without adequate scrutiny, Stanford scientist finds
In choosing which drugs to prescribe, doctors often select medications for patients despite a lack of conclusive medical evidence of their effects and safety, according to a new study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Interfering RNA silences genes in 'slippery' immune cells
A technical advance in laboratory techniques may provide biology researchers broader access to RNA interference, a process of blocking the activity of targeted genes.

Heart Rhythm Society holds town hall meeting
The Heart Rhythm Society is holding a Health Policy Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, May 17 in Boston to discuss its newly-proposed draft policy recommendations for pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) performance.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute have identified some basic principles of communication
How do we succeed in putting our ideas into words, so that another person can understand them?

Lobular breast cancer can be managed as ductal cancer
the study reveals that when compared to ductal carcinoma, which is far more common, there is no difference in the success rate of BCT or the number of surgical procedures for patients with invasive lobular breast cancer.

What controls stickiness of 'smart' chromosomal glue
Researchers have a new understanding of the process cells use to ensure that sperm and eggs begin life with exactly one copy of each chromosome.

A new view on Lyme disease: Rodents hold the key to annual risk
A long-term study of tick dynamics simultaneously assesses the impact of multiple ecological variables on Lyme disease risk and strongly implicates a role for rodent hosts and their food resources.

Genetic variants and breast cancer risk, genetics and suicidal behavior, and more
Approximately 5 percent of patients with breast cancer have a strong family history of the disease and it is known that rare variants of particular genes are responsible for the high susceptibility of many of these women to it.

SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting: Research brings new world of diagnosing, treating illness
A biological and technological evolution in imaging has allowed the examination of the molecular root of diseases and the exploration of new paths for managing and treating illnesses--and many of these scientific breakthroughs will be reported during SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting June 3-7 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Medical society hosts simulation training to help reduce medical complications
The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions will provide physicians a unique opportunity to practice the latest procedures for treating cardiovascular disease in a risk-free environment.

Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge winning solutions papers available online
The top six solution papers on

Beauty and the beholder: Why pretty faces don't always help sales
Beautiful young models are used to sell everything from computer processors to motor oil.

Nanotube sandwiches could lead to better composite materials
By stacking layers of ceramic cloth with interlocking nanotubes in between, a team of researchers has created new composites with significantly improved properties compared to traditional materials.

Just like us, social stress prompts hamsters to overeat, gain weight
Hamsters react to even brief social stress and defeat in ways similar to humans, Georgia State researchers discovered.

Laboratory scientists study soot in megacity pollution
A team of Los Alamos scientists recently returned from a month-long data-gathering trip to Mexico City as part of an international, multi-agency environmental science collaboration.

Acclaimed fire protection engineer headlines AAES' Awards Ceremony
Three engineers and two journalists are being recognized during AAES' 27th annual awards ceremony in the Great Hall of Washington's National Academy of Engineering on Monday, 8 May.

CVD's impact varies according to age, gender, other factors
Cardiovascular disease deaths have declined in the last 25 years, but the effect of America's No.

Long-term estrogen therapy linked to breast cancer risk
Long-term estrogen therapy may be related to a higher risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who have had a hysterectomy, according to an article in the May 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Turning green into yellow
Future increases in biofuels production will require plants with new characteristics to generate new crops that work well for fuel production.

Where have all the butterflies gone?
Cold, wet conditions early in the year mean that 2006 is shaping up as the worst year for California's butterflies in almost four decades.

Online calculator and chemotherapy order systems reduce medication errors in children
Two new studies from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center show that computerizing ordering of chemotherapy and other types of intravenous drug infusions for children greatly reduces the risk of potentially dangerous medical errors.

Childhood arthritis raises risk of broken bones
Childhood arthritis increases the risk of fractures, particularly during adolescence, according to a large study of British patient records.

UCSD to host public conference on 'Social Justice and Stem Cell Research'
The University of California, San Diego will host a public conference,

Researchers map links between size of hippocampus and progression to Alzheimer's dementia
Researchers used novel 3-D mapping techiques sought to verify the theory that the hippocampus -- the area of the brain that processes memory -- is smaller in patients with mild cognitive impairment who develop into Alzheimer's dementia, and that it is larger in patients with mild cognitive impairment who experience cognitive stability or improvement.

ACS weekly press package - April 24th, 2006
The American Chemical Society News Service weekly press package debuts with reports from the 34 major journals.

Nanotubes used for first time to send signals to nerve cells
Texas scientists have added one more trick to the amazing repertoire of carbon nanotubes -- the ability to carry electrical signals to nerve cells.

Our brand is better than their brand
Our brand is better than their brand. Their brand is worse than our brand.

Doctorate in medicine at KI celebrates 100 years
Karolinska Institutet is to commemorate the centenary of its first doctoral conferment.

Learning the lessons of the world's oldest ecological experiment
Ecologists are getting ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest ecological experiment.

Allergy/asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF) focus of awareness in May
New research initiatives announced just in time for both Allergy/Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Awareness Months will focus on developing a better understanding of the ways in which people respond to exposure to infectious agents in the lungs.

First global integrative medicine conference in North America
May 25-27 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the first North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine will feature peer-reviewed, scientific research examining the safety, efficacy, mechanism and cost-effectiveness of complementary and integrative medical therapies.

Post-mortem brain studies reveal features of mild cognitive impairment
The brains of patients with mild cognitive impairment display pathologic features that appear to place them at an intermediate stage between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease, although some patients with mild cognitive impairment develop other types of dementia, according to two studies in the May issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

US infant mortality rate fails to improve
Nearly 28,000 babies died before their first birthday, according to new infant mortality statistics for 2003 from the National Center for Health Statistics.

UNH earns nation's first EPA ENERGY STAR rating for efficient dorms
The University of New Hampshire has earned the first Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR rating for residence halls in the nation.

12-Qubits reached in quantum information quest
In the drive to understand and harness quantum effects as they relate to information processing, scientists in Waterloo and Massachusetts have benchmarked quantum control methods on a 12-Qubit system.

Newsbriefs from the journal Chest, May 2006
Newsbriefs from the May issue of the journal Chest highlight studies related to chronic cough in children, pneumonia's link to alcoholism, and exercise-induced asthma.

Mothers use evasive action to protect sick children from smoking fathers
Most non-smoking mothers recognise the need to protect sick children from smoking husbands, but persuading their spouse to quit isn't always an option, according to research published in the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Vanderbilt engineers to help Air Force use Global Information Grid
Vanderbilt engineers are working on software to harness the powers of the Global Information Grid to help pilots and other soldiers communicate with their commanders more effectively and inexpensively.

A tiny protein plays a big role in DNA repair
Transcription/repair factor IIH (TFIIH) is a multi-subunit protein complex essential for RNA polymerase II transcription and nucleotide excision repair (NER).

May 2006 story tips from Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Story tips from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory include military, bioprocessing and energy.

Arizona State University hosts 'Genomes, Evolution, and Bioinformatics' conference
Arizona State University will serve as the host institution for the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) from May 24-28 in Tempe, Arizona.

Cutting calories slightly can reduce aging damage
Eating a little less food and exercising a little more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-related cell and organ damage in rats.

Smokers seven times more likely to receive jolt from heart devices
If some patients with heart disease don't take their doctor's advice to quit smoking, they are probably going to get

Continuity + Change: Perspectives on Science and Religion
Metanexus Institute's annual conference on science and religion, will take place on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia from June 3-7.
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