Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 22, 2006
Urine collected and purified separately
From an environmental and cost perspective, it is a good idea to collect and purify urine separately, rather than simply allowing it to flow into the sewer, according to Delft University of Technology researcher Jac Wilsenach.

Tocilizumab study offers new hope for children with arthritis
A new study has confirmed significant improvements after treatment with tocilizumab amongst children with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), who do not tolerate or have an inadequate response to conventional therapies.

Cherry juice may prevent muscle damage pain
Study indicates cherry juice's potential for reducing exercise-induced muscle pain and damage

Earliest known 'bling' revealed
Fresh analysis of beads made from seashells by a team led by a UCL (University College London) researcher reveals that modern humans used jewellery at least 25,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Injury rates on England's roads remain high
The number of serious injuries on England's roads is much higher than Government figures suggest, says a paper published on bmj.com today.

The risky business of having a baby: why birth interventions are on the rise
C-sections, amniocentesis, spinal blocks, CVS testing - having a baby might be one of the most natural things in the world, but a University of Western Sydney conference will explore why growing numbers of Australian women want modern medicine to intervene in the 'risky business' of childbirth.

Abner Shimony Conference only 4 weeks away
Perimeter Institute will host an international conference from July 18-21, 2006, in honour of Abner Shimony, one of the most eminent physicist-philosophers of our time.

Global warming surpassed natural cycles in fueling 2005 hurricane season, NCAR scientists conclude
Global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor, according to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research appearing in the June 27 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Choose your beach with Medspiration
Before you pack your swimsuit and head to the sea this summer, you may want to check out the water's temperature with ESA's Medspiration heat map of all 2,965,500 square kilometres of the Mediterranean.

World's coral reefs left vulnerable by paper parks
Of the 18.7% of tropical coral reefs that lie within

Boston university researchers develop new model of ice volume change based on Earth's orbit
Through dated geological records scientists have known for decades that variations in the Earth's orbit around the sun control ice ages.

Researchers reverse Parkinson's symptoms in animal models
Scientists at Whitehead Institute, in collaboration with colleagues at several research centers, have identified a key biological pathway that, when obstructed, causes Parkinson's symptoms.

Shells from Israel and Algeria may be the oldest known beads, researchers report in Science
Three shells with holes bored into their centers, excavated from sites in Israel and Algeria, may be the oldest known evidence of personal decoration.

Seafloor observatory opens portal to the Pacific
VENUS, the world's most advanced seafloor observatory, has launched its online data portal at www.venus.uvic.ca.

New evidence shows MabThera inhibits joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
New data presented at the EULAR meeting (European League Against Rheumatism) show for the first time that MabThera (rituximab), a unique B cell targeted therapy, is able to significantly inhibit structural damage of joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Spiders' orb web may have single, ancient origin
New evidence suggests the orb web had a single evolutionary origin and may have been snagging flying insects as early as 136 million years ago.

Research identifies protein in mice that regulates bone formation
Eliminating a protein, Schnurri-3 (Shn3), in mice led to profound increases in bone mass throughout their skeletal system.

Studies suggest new brain protein may help in treating schizophrenia, insomnia and anxiety
Only recently discovered, a small protein in the brain known as neuropeptide S has been found to induce both profound wakefulness and a less anxious state in animals, and, according to new research, may represent a novel target for the treatment of psychotic behavior and schizophrenia.

ACP commends CMS proposals to increase values assigned to evaluation and management codes
The American College of Physicians (ACP) today commended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its Wednesday, June 21st proposal to increase the work relative value units (RVUs) assigned to the Medicare Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes.

IVF is more cost-effective than intra-uterine insemination, mathematical model predicts
A theoretical study reveals that in-vitro fertilisation is less costly and more cost-effective than intra-uterine insemination, for the treatment of infertility in couples with unexplained infertility or mild male factor subfertility.

From vomiting to vaccination: Food poisoning bug used to deliver cancer vaccine
By clever design, researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have devised a way for the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium - often associated with food poisoning - to safely and effectively deliver a vaccine against cancer.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients can benefit from Enbrel in combination with methotrexate
Rheumatoid arthritis patients who are on standard methotrexate therapy may benefit from the addition of the biologic treatment, ENBREL* (etanercept), according to new data from a one-year, open-label extension of the international TEMPO trial, presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology.

Global atmospheric carbon level may depend primarily on southernmost ocean
Waters in the Southern Ocean below 60 degrees south latitude, the region that hugs the continent of Antarctica, play a far more significant role than was previously thought in regulating atmospheric carbon.

Researchers map infectious hepatitis B virus
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have analyzed the structure of hepatitis B virus and found that it has unique features that distinguish it from other enveloped viruses such as influenza and herpes virus.

Magnetic fields could make computers 500 times faster
Magnetic fields created using nanotechnology could make computers up to 500 times more powerful if new research is successful.

GAO finds that H-1B visa program undercuts US workers
IEEE-USA encourages Congress to fix the badly flawed H-1B program, which undercuts U.S. workers and enables the exploitation of foreign guest-workers.

A neural mosaic of tones
The brain filters what we hear. It can do this in part because particular groups of neurons react to specific frequencies of sound.

New long-term data suggests Abatacept treatment
New data from the long-term extension of the AIM (Abatacept in Inadequate responders to Methotrexte) trial, announced today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, suggests the selective T-cell co-stimulation modulator abatacept sustains inhibition of radiographic progression over 2 years in rheumatoid arthritis patients with an inadequate response to methotrexate.

Where do new therapies work best?
An observational study to investigate how new therapies for rheumatic diseases perform across different conditions has revealed that they may be more successful in certain conditions.

'Nothing About Us Without Us'
Campaigners from a pan-European rheumatology organization today called for its members and the wider rheumatology community to engage with the European disability agenda in order to strengthen the voice representing people with rheumatic diseases.

New evidence shows Rituximab halts damage to joints
New data, presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology show for the first time that a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, rituximab, is able to significantly inhibit the structural damage to joints caused by RA in patients who have long-standing disease and an inadequate response to one or more TNF (Tumour Necrosis Factor) inhibitors.

Chewing up a key regulator of fat synthesis keeps mice lean despite a high-fat diet
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a novel pathway that regulates the body's ability to store or burn fat, a discovery that suggests new ways to reduce obesity, diabetes and other fat-related human diseases.

New PBS investment as PBS slows
The Chief Executive Officer of Medicines Australia, Mr Kieran Schneemann, has welcomed today's announcement that the Government has agreed to the PBS listing of new medicines.

Datla awarded grant to support planer motion research
The Office of Naval Research recently awarded Professor Raju Datla, Research Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental & Ocean Engineering Department and Davidson Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology, with a $500,000 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program Grant for instrumentation that will bring new and unique capabilities to Stevens' towing tank.

When gold becomes a catalyst
Gold has unexpected properties: It can act as a catalyst and transform carbon monoxide (CO) to carbon dioxide (CO2) when it comes in the form of tiny pieces, called nano-particles.

Device effective in zapping the pain out of migraines
An electronic device designed to

World's coral reef left vulnerable by paper parks
Although 18.7 percent of the world's coral reefs are within

JCI table of contents: June 22, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online 6/22/06 in the JCI, including: From vomiting to vaccination: Food poisoning bug used to deliver cancer vaccine; DNA vaccine improves chemotherapeutic drug uptake in colon and breast cancer; 'To eat or not to eat?': How neuronal potassium channel activity helps us determine the answer, and others.

Heartburn common in western populations
In western countries, 25% of people report having heartburn at least once a month, 12% at least once per week, and 5% describe daily symptoms, state the authors of a Seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Decline of world's estuaries and coastal seas
Human activity over the centuries has depleted 90% of marine species, eliminated 65% of seagrass and wetland habitat, degraded water quality 10-1,000 fold, and accelerated species invasions in 12 major estuaries and coastal seas around the world, according to a study published in Science Magazine on Friday, June 23d, and supported in part by the Lenfest Ocean Program.

Site of human-dolphin partnership becomes protected area
The government of Myanmar has established a protected area for, of all things, a partnership between fishermen and a small, gray beakless dolphin with a knack for herding fish into nets, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

4th International Conference on Memory
Sydney, Australia -- the University of New South Wales will host the 4th International Conference on Memory (ICOM-4) from 16-21 July, 2006.

People keep driving even when sleepy
People continue to drive even when they know they are sleepy, suggests a large study published on bmj.com today.

From campfire to gas tank, Mesquite energy may be harvested for ethanol
Vernon - The dense mesquite-covered mid-section of Texas could provide fuel for about 400 small ethanol plants, according to one Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

Virus linked to Thoroughbred abortion epidemic
A new study by veterinary researchers at Oregon State University has linked a major epidemic of abortion a few years ago in Kentucky Thoroughbred mares to infection with vesivirus, the first time the virus has been suggested to cause this type of problem in horses.

Don't use mobile phone during storms, warn doctors
Three doctors in this week's BMJ warn of the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather.

NHS should be removed from direct government control
Only an NHS free of direct government control, managed by an all-party body with clinical and health service experts, will save the NHS from being used as a political football, says a leading public health consultant in this week's BMJ.

California's model skies
A group of Leeds researchers took to the Sierra Nevada skies this spring - to test their models on some of the most severe winds known.

Women are not only more predisposed to RA, the disease may also be more aggressive compared to men
Dr Björn Svensson, Rheumatology, University of Lund, Sweden, will today present a study which shows significant differences in the remission rates between women and men diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

2006 Millennium Technology Prize awarded to UCSB's Shuji Nakamura
Professor Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara has been awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention of revolutionary new light sources: blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes and the blue laser diode.

He who hesitates ... might get a bargain
In the first article to examine bargaining behavior from a consumer perspective, researchers from the University of Maryland found that buyers gauge the success of a round of bargaining not by the final price, but by a seemingly innocuous non-verbal cue: how long the seller pauses before responding to the offer.

People remember prices more easily if they have fewer syllables
In the first study to combine theories of working memory and numerical cognition, researchers find that every extra syllable in a product's price decreases its chances of being remembered by 20 percent.

Brain function and negative thinking linked to late-onset depression
Late-onset depression, which first emerges in people aged 60 and over, is linked to a decline in the brain's executive functions that leads to repetitive, negative thought patterns a new study reveals.

Merck and GSK need to overcome cultural barriers to cervical cancer vaccine roll-out
Merck and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) need to identify the cultural, as well as economic, barriers to the roll-out of their cervical cancer vaccines if countries are to benefit from the drugs without delay, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Pre-scan warnings would have caused extra distress say women with problem fetuses
Pregnant women who received bad news during 20 week scans wouldn't have wanted to be warned of possible problems in advance.

Incubation period for human BSE infection could exceed 50 years
A person could possibly be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prions for over 50 years before developing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), according to a study on another human prion disease called kuru in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Case to establish the Ohio tobacco and research center
Case Western Reserve University's Center for Health Promotion Research, a research and evaluation center in the School of Medicine's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, recently received a $450,000 contract from the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation (TUPCF) to develop the Ohio Tobacco Research and Evaluation Center (OTREC).

Children with special health care needs report unmet needs for mental health care services
Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and members of their families are at risk of not getting the mental health care services they need.

Berkeley Lab's Saul Perlmutter wins Shaw Prize in Astronomy
Astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, has won the Shaw Prize in Astronomy for the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Lessening the impact of climate change on health
Reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy sources can improve health by cutting air pollution and addressing climate change, state the authors of a review published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

PTPN22 gene associated with both susceptibility and disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis
New research, announced today at the 7th EULAR annual congress, reveals the Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase N22 (PTPN22) gene is associated not only with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease susceptibility, but also with disease progression, according to researchers from Norway and the Netherlands.

Older blood associated with worse outcomes after repeat heart surgery
Older stored blood transfused into patients undergoing repeat heart surgery is associated with a significant increased risk of death, both during a patient's hospital stay and over the longer term following discharge, according to a new analysis by researchers from Duke University Medical Center and Columbia University.

New study reveals Tocilizumab in monotherapy significantly improves signs and symptoms of active RA
Results from a 24 week study, investigating the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab (an anti-IL6 receptor monoclonal antibody) monotherapy in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and an inadequate response to methotrexate, has been announced today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

4x4 drivers more likely to flout mobile phone and seat belt laws
Drivers of four wheel drive vehicles are more likely to flout laws regarding mobile phones and seat belts than drivers of other cars, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

First surveys of Tanzanian mountains reveal 160+ animal species, including new & endemic
The first field surveys of the Rubeho Mountains in Tanzania revealed over 160 animal species--including a new species of frog and eleven endemic species--according to an article published in the African Journal of Ecology this month.

Marine protected areas not sufficient to protect global biodiversity
Research undertaken at The University of Auckland, and published in the prestigious USA journal Science, shows that the protection of marine habitats is ineffectively managed worldwide to retain biodiversity, and that many so-called

Parkinson's disease mechanism discovered
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have pinpointed defects in a critical cellular pathway that can lead to the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells and ultimately Parkinson's symptoms.

Viagra improves high altitude exercise performance up to 45% for some
Sildenafil (Viagra) significantly improved the cardiovascular and exercise performance measures of trained cyclists at high altitude, mostly because the drug helped some participants improve a lot while others showed little change.

Healthy coral reefs of Madagascar resisting damage from climate change
Healthy coral reefs of Madagascar's northeast coast have so far resisted the damaging effects of warmer ocean temperatures attributed to global climate change, say scientists who recently studied the region.

Identification of role for proteins in children's muscle disease could open up new treatment options
A study presented by Mrs. Elisabeth Elst today shows for the first time that a protein - heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) - that is present in chronic inflammations, triggers a response by T-cells (a type of white blood cells that plays a part in the body's own immune response) in children with juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM).

Scientists discuss early results of RAINEX Hurricane Intensity Project
Scientists flew into the eyes of Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia and Rita last summer, as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project called RAINEX, the Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment.

More effort needed to prevent human rights abuses
More effort is needed to prevent human rights abuses, argues a senior doctor from Argentina in this week's BMJ.

Baby girls born to mothers burdened by stress may be at risk for fibromyalgia
Stressful or traumatic events experienced during pregnancy can have long-lasting effects on the fetus, yet these effects may not become apparent until many years later, according to a study suggesting that girls born of such pregnancies may be at greater risk for developing a painful muscle condition called fibromyalgia as adults.

Kids who blow bubbles find language is child's play
Youngsters who can lick their lips, blow bubbles and pretend that a building block is a car are most likely to find learning language easy, according to a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

New system trains good grid operators with bad data
Power grid operators now can train like pilots--with simulators providing faulty readings designed to throw them off--thanks to new training tools created by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and AREVA T&D.

Music thought to enhance intelligence, mental health and immune system
New research examines how humans process music and its positive effects on our health and humanity.

When robots learn social skills
Learning to communicate and adapting our behaviour to the information we receive has been fundamental to human evolution.

Three human gene variants appear to influence tb susceptibility
Three variations of a human gene appear to impact human tuberculosis susceptibility.

How plants avoid feeling the burn
Too much sun - for plants as well as people - can be harmful to long-term health.

NJ, PA, ND students named to US chemistry olympiad team
Four of the nation's top high school chemistry students -- two from New Jersey, one each from North Dakota and Pennsylvania -- have been chosen to represent the United States in the 38th annual International Chemistry Olympiad in Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea, July 2-11, 2006.

Cycles of cell death, proliferation key to liver cancer
School of Medicine shows that liver cancer is likely caused by cycles of liver cell death and renewal.

Molecular 'brake' found for neurofibromatosis 1
A team led by Duke University Medical Center researchers has identified in yeast a molecular
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