Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 12, 2006
Single copy of Parkinson's-risk gene mutation may lead to earlier symptom onset
Mutations in a gene already known to play a role in causing an inherited form of Parkinson disease may also influence the age at which symptoms of the neurological disorder appear.

Radiation therapy shown to increase survival in certain lung cancer patients
Treating certain lung cancer patients with surgery followed by radiation therapy can improve their chances of long-term survival, according to a study of more than 7,000 patients.

Coral death results from bacteria fed by algae
Bacteria and algae are combining to kill coral -- and human activities are compounding the problem.

Abnormal glucose metabolism may contribute to chronic nerve disorder
Abnormal glucose metabolism, which occurs when the body has difficulty processing sugar (glucose) into energy, is twice as common among patients with chronic nerve dysfunction of unknown cause than among the general population and may be a risk factor for the condition, according to a study posted online today that will appear in the August 2006 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers attack tumor cells by exploiting dependency on sugar metabolism
Although scientists have known for nearly 90 years that cancer cells commonly display altered sugar metabolism, the molecular significance of this phenomenon is not completely understood.

The Gerontological Society of America annouces 2006 Hartford Pre-Dissertation Award winners
The Gerontological of America is pleased to introduce the twenty recipients of the 2006 Hartford Doctoral Fellows Pre-Dissertation Award.

Conservation offers financial rewards for cattle ranchers, study finds
About 10 million acres of private grazing land in the United States have been lost to commercial development in the last decade, according to the U.S.

Treatment drug may cause jawbone to die
Breast cancer patients, individuals at risk for osteoporosis, and individuals undergoing certain types of bone cancer therapies often take drugs that contain bisphosphonates.

Living with Climate Variability and Change
Recognizing the urgent need to integrate climate data and forecasting into humanitarian and development strategies, the Living with Climate Variability and Change conference from July 17 to 21, 2006, in Espoo, Finland, will bring together stakeholders from around the world to discuss opportunities and constraints in integrating climate risks and uncertainties into decision-making at international, national and local levels.

Natural selection in island sheep
An analysis of birth weight in Soay sheep reveals that environmental heterogeneity can constrain evolution and suggests that rates of evolutionary change may be lower in natural populations than expected from theory, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

Define diabetes differently, says U-M expert in speech for national award
In order to truly confront the nation's diabetes epidemic and head off its potentially devastating long-term health and economic effects, America needs to re-think the way it defines and detects the disease, a University of Michigan expert said Sunday after receiving a prestigious national award for diabetes research.

UC Davis researchers report new molecule that targets leukemia and lymphoma cells
UC Davis Cancer Center researchers have developed a novel peptide that binds to the surface of leukemia and lymphoma cells with extremely high affinity, specificity and stability, and demonstrates remarkable promise as a tool to help image tumors and deliver anti-cancer drugs.

Scientists take 'snapshots' of enzyme action
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New York Structural Biology Center, and SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., have determined the atomic crystal structure and functional mechanism of an enzyme essential for eliminating unwanted, non-nutritional compounds such as drugs, industrial chemicals, and toxic compounds from the body.

Fake malaria drug implicated in Burmese man's death
A 23-year old man in Burma with malaria died because the medicine he received was fake, according to an investigative report by an international team of researchers published in PLoS Medicine.

Hodgkin disease type is a major determinant of prognosis
Regional differences in the survival of Hodgkin disease (HD) can be partially explained by the type of HD, according to a new population level study.

Backs to the future
New analysis of the language and gesture of South America's indigenous Aymara people indicates they have a concept of time opposite to all other studied cultures -- so that the past is ahead of them and the future behind.

Infected for life
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered part of the reason why cold sores, caused by a herpes virus, come back again and again.

Stopping medication too soon after receiving a drug-eluting stent raises risk of death
Heart attack patients who stopped taking antiplatelet drugs (which help prevent blood clots) within 30 days of receiving a drug-coated stent had nine times the risk of death compared to patients who followed doctors' orders, according to a study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Pollen proves beneficial for northern lakes
Mention the word pollen to most people and it triggers thoughts of their battle against allergic reactions.

'Prettier world' of computer modeling provides key details, says Sandia researcher
Nanotechnology simulations show what experiments miss. Taking issue with the perception that computer models lack realism, Sandia National Laboratories researcher Eliot Fang told members of the Materials Research Society that simulations of the nanoscale provide researchers more detailed results - not less - than experiments alone.

Antarctic vital for climate change science
Around 300 scientists, legal and political advisors from 45 countries meet in Edinburgh from June 12 to 23 to discuss the continued protection of Antarctica - the world's last great wilderness.

Success comes at a cost, even for phages
A comparison of life-history traits of 16 phages infecting E.

Meditation may improve cardiac risk factors in patients with coronary heart disease
A relaxation technique known as transcendental meditation may decrease blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance among patients with coronary heart disease, according to a report in the June 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Implantable defibrillators save lives but may increase heart failure risk
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death but may increase the risk of subsequent heart failure in patients who live longer, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Successful prevention of sudden death by ICD has implications for heart failure
Researchers believe a device that treats electrical malfunctions in the heart is so effective at preventing sudden death that very ill patients are living long enough to develop heart failure.

Hope I die before I get old?
Back when he was 20 years old in 1965, rock star Pete Townshend wrote the line

Lung function test underused in patients with COPD
New research shows that at least two thirds of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) do not receive lung function testing that is recommended for the accurate diagnosis and effective management of the disease, suggesting that the majority of patients are diagnosed with COPD based on symptoms alone.

Coffee drinking associated with lower risk for alcohol-related liver disease
Drinking coffee may be related to a reduced risk of developing the liver disease alcoholic cirrhosis, according to a report in the June 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New study suggests antidepressants save lives
A just published UCLA study suggests that the use of antidepressants to treat depression has saved thousands of lives.

Gut microbes' partnership helps body extract energy from food, store it as fat
Researchers studying mutually beneficial interactions between members of our vast community of friendly gut microorganisms have shown that two common organisms collude and collaborate to increase the amount of calories harvested from a class of carbohydrates found in food sweeteners.

Long-term study shows brain function not impaired by tight diabetes control and hypoglycemia
The landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) funded by the National Institutes of Health, which followed 1,441 people with type 1 diabetes for a decade until 1993, showed conclusively that tight blood glucose control significantly reduces the risk of developing complications of diabetes such as eye, kidney and nerve disease.

Joslin discovers signs of residual islet cell function in people with long-term type 1 diabetes
Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have discovered that a surprisingly high percentage of people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) who have had the disease for 50 years or longer (The Joslin Medalists) may still have residual functioning, insulin-producing islet cells and/or islet cell antibodies.

Different options produce similar results
With the overabundance of consumer choices available, it might prove a challenge to find the best whitening system on the market.

There's no modern substitute for some old-fashioned one-on-one
A new study conducted by a researcher at the U-M Medical School found that technology has not been able to create a robotic replacement for the real-life student-teacher experience.

UCSB's Patrick Daugherty wins a 2006 Camille Dreyfus
Patrick Daugherty, assistant professor of chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara, has won a prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, designed to help support the teaching and research careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences.

The 'roulette wheel': A new tool to help patients make difficult treatment decisions
Researchers at the University of California have developed an innovative new visual tool to help patients decide among different treatment options.

Carnegie Mellon humanoids to provide commentary at RoboCup
Carnegie Mellon University is sending two small bipedal robots to the RoboCup 2006 World Championship June 14-18 in Bremen, Germany, to provide color commentary for robot soccer matches -- a first for humanoid robots.

Newsbriefs from the journal CHEST, June 2006
News briefs from the June issue of CHEST highlight studies related to odor intolerance, infant exposure to pets, and the effect of CPAP on high blood pressure.

Study elicits 'child's eye' view of methamphetamine abuse and its effects
The children's stories are distressing: Left alone and hungry for days; physically abused; forced to get high; told to steal and to lie; and they had seen their parents

Does suicide bombing pay?
Are suicide bombers

Gene expression in labor; and more -- press release from PLoS Medicine
Three papers, all published today, discuss the use of microarrays to discover genes involved in childbirth.

Some genetic research is best done close to the evolutionary home
Some aspects of evolution are like the real estate business in that it's all about location, location, location!

New satellite set to collect most-detailed data yet about atmospheric particles
A new satellite gathering data from the Earth's atmosphere could be a key tool in unraveling just how much effect the reflectivity of clouds and tiny particles called aerosols are having on the changing climate.

Dr. Frank Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy receives thorough renovation
Elsevier, the world-leading scientific, technical, and healthcare professions publisher, announces a new edition of the beloved and best selling atlas, Atlas of Human Anatomy, 4th Edition.

Connections between neurons act as information filters in the brain
For the first time, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have demonstrated that cell-cell contacts in the brain play an active role in processing information: called synapses, these interfaces act as precise filters that sense and amplify meaningful information, Salk researchers report in the current issue of PLoS Biology, available online.

Triple threat polymer captures and releases
A chemist at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a remarkable nanostructured material that can repel pests , sweeten the air, and some day might even be used as a timed drug delivery system -as a nasal spray, for instance.

Aurora - UK prepares for a return to Mars
The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC] has today announced an investment of £1.7 million in R&D to enable UK scientists and engineers to develop key instrumentation and technologies for the European Space Agency's [ESA] ExoMars mission.

XMM-Newton spots the greatest of great balls of fire
Thanks to data from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray satellite, a team of international scientists found a comet-like ball of gas over a thousand million times the mass of the sun hurling through a distant galaxy cluster over 750 kilometres per second.

NIH launches effort to place more knockout mice in public repositories
As part of its ongoing effort to build a public, genome-wide library of

A sweet solution for Alzheimer's disease?
Certain variants of a simple sugar ameliorate Alzheimer's-like disease in mice.

Organ transplants just as successful in those with mental retardation
Mental retardation does not lessen the likelihood that a patient will benefit from a kidney transplant, a new study suggests.

NWO/Spinoza Prize for psychologist, immunologist, biologist and physicist
On June 12, 2006, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) announced which four researchers will receive the NWO/Spinoza Prize for 2006.

Parallel evolution: Proteins do it, too
Wings, spines, saber-like teeth---nature and the fossil record abound with examples of structures so useful they've evolved independently in a variety of animals.

Reports characterize fungal eye infections among soft contact lens wearers
Fusarium, the fungus implicated in recent eye infections among soft contact lens wearers, is associated with an increasing number of cases of keratitis (corneal swelling and inflammation), according to a report published online today in Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Clues help identify psychological seizures
Up to 30 percent of those diagnosed with epilepsy don't actually have the disorder.

Gene mutation may influence age at onset of Parkinson's disease
The number of mutations in a gene previously found to be associated with early-onset Parkinson's disease may influence the age at which the condition develops; even individuals who carry just one mutated copy may be more susceptible to Parkinson's disease, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mathematician pens book about famous mathematician foibles and funnies
Steven G. Krantz,, Ph.D., professor of mathematics at Washington University in St.

New results from the landmark PROactive trial
New analyses from the landmark PROactive Study found that ACTOS® (pioglitazone HCl), an oral antidiabetic medication, significantly reduced the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) such as heart attacks (excluding silent heart attacks), nonfatal stroke, acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and cardiovascular death in high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes.

Speeding the search for elusive chromosomal errors
A pediatric research team has used commercially available gene chips to scrutinize all of a patient's chromosomes to identify small defects that cause genetic diseases.

US suicide rates fell as fluoxetine prescriptions increased
Suicide rates in the US fluctuated from the early 1960s until 1988, after which they showed a gradual decline that might have been linked to the introduction of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac), according to a new study in PLoS Medicine.

Activation of microRNA inhibits cancer gene in human cancer cells
Scientists report that tumor cells display a dramatic reduction of cancer-causing genes when a newly discovered method is used to activate the expression of protective microRNAs in the cancer cell genome.

Hybrid peppers developed at Hebrew University achieve sales success
Genetically enhanced hybrid peppers developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that can be raised with minimal protection under moderate winter conditions have achieved worldwide commercial success.

Gene therapy injected into the brains' of mice with Huntington's disease
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and Ceregene Inc.

Race plays a key role in prostate cancer survival rates
Survival rates among Japanese American males are better than white Americans but not as good as in their native Japan.

Scientists tie several cancers to common 'oncogene engine'
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report that a common

The national and global security implications of HIV/AIDS
While the framing of HIV/AIDS as a national security threat has helped to spark greater political interest in tackling the pandemic, there are also dangers in adopting such a national security approach, say researchers in PLoS Medicine.

New osteoporosis medication not cost-effective compared with older, cheaper drug
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that the first such drug now available, called teriparatide (brand name Forteo), is not cost-effective compared with the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis medication, alendronate (brand name Fosamax).

Leptin found to control appetite and limb development in frogs
Leptin, the hormone secreted by fat cells that plays an important role in food intake, has been described for the first time in a cold-blooded vertebrate, the South African clawed frog Xenopus.

University experts move tropical veterinary education into the 'virtual' age
A groundbreaking initiative -spearheaded by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, in partnership with seven sub-Saharan African universities - will combat neglected animal diseases that affect poor farmers by providing advanced training for vets using online learning.

Hebrew University scientists develop potential new epilepsy drug
New and safer compounds for treatment of epilepsy patients and those suffering from other neural disorders have been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy.

Encouraging results for folic acid as a cancer prevention drug
Folic acid supplements may prevent cancer progression and promote regression of disease, according to a new study.

Pregnancy cravings can harm your oral health
Pica combined with bulimia can have adverse effects on an individual's oral health during pregnancy and also can be hard to diagnose and treat during those nine months, according to a study published in the May/June 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Biologists find regions of rice domestication
Biologists from Washington University in St. Louis and their collaborators from Taiwan have examined the DNA sequence family trees of rice varieties and have determined that the crop was domesticated independently at least twice in various Asian locales. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to