Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 10, 2006
Inner-Sydney study to investigate causes of hayfever and seasonal allergies
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research will investigate to what extent particular plants in inner Sydney contribute to people's hayfever and allergies.

Scots medical researchers link up to share knowledge
Clinical researchers throughout Scotland will be able to improve their skills and collaborate with colleagues throughout the country, thanks to a unique educational development led by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with NHS Lothian.

Pearl Jam and CI partner to offset climate footprint of band's 2006 world tour
Continuing its commitment to reduce the negative impacts associated with climate change, Pearl Jam announced today that it has partnered again with Conservation International (CI) to help offset the carbon footprint associated with its 2006 concert tour.

ACP and The Doctors Company offer liability insurance credit
Physicians who complete Maintenance of Certification (MOC) can save an additional 5 percent on medical liability insurance.

Yellowstone ecosystem may lose key migrant
A mammal that embarks on the longest remaining overland migration in the continental United States could vanish from the ecosystem that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and National Park Service.

Higher risk for cervical cancer seen among women infected with multiple HPV types
The risk for developing the tissue abnormalities, or lesions, that typically precede cervical cancer is much higher for women infected with multiple genotypes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) than previously reported, according to a study published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Male circumcision could prevent millions of AIDS deaths
Researchers involved with a landmark trial, which found evidence that male circumcision (MC) could reduce the chance of becoming infected with HIV, have published an analysis estimating the likely impact of expanding the practice of MC across Africa.

Targeted melanoma education of high risk groups improves screening
An intensive educational intervention targeting siblings of recently diagnosed melanoma patients leads to sustained improvements in the rate of self skin-examination, according to a new study.

Parkinson patients can be apathetic without depression
People with Parkinson disease can be apathetic without being depressed, and apathy may be a core feature of the disease, according to a study published in the July 11, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Institute of Medicine advisory: Research involving prisoners
Ethical considerations for research involving prisoners, a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, says more comprehensive safeguards and oversight measures are needed to ensure that such studies meet the highest ethical standards and aim to improve the well-being of prisoners.

Hypertension provokes cardiac insufficiency
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology has just published, in its electronic edition, an article by researchers from the CIMA of the University of Navarra and the Hospital Donostia of San Sebastián.

Practice builds brain connections for babies learning language, how to speak
Experience seems to play an imporltant early role in how infants learn to understand and produce language.

Alpine glaciers could all but disappear within this century
The Alps could lose 80 percent of their glacier cover by the end of this century, if summer temperatures rise by three degrees Celsius.

Twist on chest pain drug improves heart attack outcome
A new study in rat hearts suggests that combining antioxidants with a drug used to treat severe chest pain may help improve how a heart recovers from a heart attack.

Flying in tune: Buzz brings mosquito pairs together
Human beings are not the only animals keenly attuned to the high-pitched buzzing of mosquitoes -- in fact, researchers have discovered, mosquitoes of both sexes are themselves highly responsive to the sounds of other mosquitoes and enter into complex mid-flight pre-mating duets that serve as a means of sex recognition.

A stitch in time saves lives: High survival seen for patients with condition that killed John Ritter
Nearly three years ago, actor John Ritter collapsed on the set of his sitcom, the victim of a rare but often deadly condition called aortic dissection -- a tear in the largest blood vessel in the body.

Math and fossils resolve a debate on dinosaur metabolism
A model based on growth trajectories estimated from fossils provides evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles whose body temperatures increased systematically with increasing body size, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

JRRD tipsheet: Focus on multiple sclerosis
The current issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) is dedicated to multiple sclerosis rehabilitation.

Natural approach to immune regulation may help transplant patients
A molecule expressed during pregnancy seems to turn down the immune system, making it more tolerant of welcome visitors such as a fetus or maybe a transplanted heart, researchers say.

NSF, NEH boost efforts to make digital records of dying languages
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the awarding of 12 fellowships and 22 institutional grants in the two agencies' partnership on Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL).

Gorilla susceptibility to Ebola virus: the cost of sociality
By monitoring a large population of gorillas during an Ebola outbreak in the rain forest of the Republic of the Congo, researchers have found that in a few months the virus exhibited dramatic -- but disproportionate -- impacts on group-dwelling and solitary gorillas.

Midgets and giants in the deep sea
Biologists have long observed that when animals colonize and evolve on isolated islands, small animals tend to become larger while large animals tend to become smaller.

Brookhaven Lab and WARD'S Natural Science develop science education kits
Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and WARD'S Natural Science of Rochester, NY, have developed four science education kits, which are used as hands-on learning tools in the classroom for middle school, high school, and college students.

Worcester Polytechinc Institute (WPI) to host forum on indoor precision personnel location
This first-of-its-kind forum on precision indoor personnel location and tracking at Worcester Polytechinc Institute will bring together experts from industry, academia, and the federal government who are solving complex technological challenges and developing technologies that may help rescue firefighters and other first responders.

Sleep strengthens memories and makes them resistant to interfering information
Researchers have uncovered new evidence that sleep improves the brain's ability to remember information.

World-first stem cell research could aid male infertility
Scientists have shown for the first time that sperm grown from embryonic stem cells can be used to produce offspring.

Nearly two-thirds of babies receive most of the recommended newborn screening tests
Nearly two-thirds of all babies born in the United States this year will be screened for more than 20 life-threatening disorders -- at nearly twice the rate as in 2005, according to the latest March of Dimes Newborn Screening Report Card.

A new guideline for screening apparently healthy individuals to prevent a heart attack
To accelerate the adoption and standardization of heart attack screening methods, the July 10th edition of the American Journal of Cardiology will feature a new practice guideline for screening subclinical cardiovascular disease in the asymptomatic at-risk population.

Seeking to tighten the Net against attack
As more users switch to broadband internet access, security providers are playing a frantic game of

Researchers identify energy gains and environmental impacts of corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel
The first comprehensive analysis of the full life cycles of soybean biodiesel and corn grain ethanol shows that biodiesel has much less of an impact on the environment and a much higher net energy benefit than corn ethanol, but that neither can do much to meet U.S. energy demand.

New reflux disease technology more comfortable, not more effective
A wireless device that measures the acidity of stomach contents backwashed into the esophagus allows patients to avoid some of the nose pain and throat discomfort associated with the conventional wired monitor used to manage hard-to-treat gastroesophageal reflux disease.

FSU gets $6.2 million grant to build hurricane prediction model
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded the FSU Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) in Tallahassee, Fla. a $6.2 million, five-year grant to support the development of a model that may more accurately predict the number of hurricanes in an upcoming season, according to COAPS director emeritus James O'Brien, the Robert O.

City trees blighted by plant disease and environmental stresses
Plant diseases and environmental stresses are impacting the health of trees growing in urban communities, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Researcher discovers new materials
A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Professor Prashant Kumta has discovered a nanocrystalline material.

Live wires
A series of experiments by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., and published online in PNAS show that a wide variety of bacteria, including species involved in fermentation and photosynthesis, can form nanowires under a various environmental conditions.

New research promising for improving brain cell survival after brain injury
Scientists at Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have found a protein in the brain that can save neurons from dying after experiencing traumatic brain injury from incidents such as stroke, car accidents and falls.

New tool cracks genomic code quicker than ever
US and Australian scientists have pioneered a new hybrid method for genomic sequencing that is faster and cheaper than state of the art technologies.

Science captures the essence of fruit
New scientific understanding of fruit genes could revolutionize the way foods, cosmetics and perfumes are created.

Two-thirds of patients say erection drug didn't work for them
65 percent of patients and 70 percent of doctors found a drug commonly prescribed for erection problems ineffective.

Opportunities for structured doctoral research
With the establishment of 34 new Research Training Groups, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) continues to promote structured doctoral programmes.

Published research on POMx shows similar health benefits to pomegranate juice
Three years after introducing consumers to the health benefits and delicious taste of the world's first refrigerated, super-premium pomegranate juice, POM Wonderful® announced today that it has developed a concentrated form of pomegranate antioxidants known as POMx.

Anti-herpes drug reduces need for Caesarean sections in infected women
Giving an anti-viral drug to pregnant women who have a history of genital herpes significantly lowers the rate of Caesarean sections needed to protect the infant from becoming infected with the virus, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Research highlights risk factors for age-related vision loss
Eating fish frequently may be associated with decreased chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, while smoking nearly doubles the risk for this common cause of vision loss and hormone therapy appears to have no effect, according to three articles in the July issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Emphasis on performance measures may lead to inappropriate antibiotic use
A new study in the July issue of the journal CHEST shows that patients with suspected pneumonia may receive antibiotics unnecessarily as a result of hospital and physician efforts to meet certain performance measures.

Newsbriefs from the journal CHEST, July 2006
Newsbriefs from the July issue of CHEST highlight studies related to race and emphysema, scuba diving and long-term lung function decline, and CPAP for patients with heart failure.

Which inflammatory markers predict the appearance of a stroke?
For the first time, 52 hospitals in Spain, three of which (Basurto, Cruces and Bidasoa) in the Basque country, are participating in a study to determine if certain concrete inflammation markers can be linked to the appearance of a new stroke or other vascular events such as myocardiac arrest.

Giving African surgeons online health information; cancer in minority groups
This issue of PLoS Medicine includes the following articles: The Ptolemy Project: Giving African Surgeons Online Health Information; Racial and Ethnic Minorities Face Barriers to Cancer Care and Information; Researchers' Obligations to Patients Who Enroll in HIV Prevention Trials; and Reducing the Influence of Drug Companies on Prescribing Patterns.

New risk factors do not improve assessment of coronary heart disease risk
Screening for levels of C-reactive protein and other compounds recently found to be associated with coronary heart disease may not help physicians predict risk for the condition with any more accuracy than traditional major risk factors, according to a report in the July 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Racial differences found in emphysema onset
Although African Americans smoke fewer cigarettes and inhale them less deeply than Caucasians, they contract emphysema at an earlier age, according to a study by Temple University researchers in the journal Chest.

Neurologists with expertise in brain stimulation therapy help Parkinson's patients
Patients with Parkinson's disease who are undergoing a treatment known as deep brain stimulation may benefit from the direct involvement of a neurologist with expertise both in movement disorders and in deep brain stimulation, according to an article posted online today that will appear in the September 2006 print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Genetic variation found that predicts response to heart failure medication
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver have identified a common genetic variation that could help determine whether a person with heart failure would benefit from beta-blockers, a class of drugs used to treat chronic heart failure.

Smoking increases risk and omega-3 fatty acids decreases risk of blinding disease
Researchers in Boston studied elderly male twins and found that those who smoke or have a history of smoking had an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration as compared to those who never smoked.

Finding about cellular microtubule rigidity could lead to development of new nano-materials
Microtubules, essential structural elements in living cells, grow stiffer as they grow longer, an unexpected property that could lead to advances in nano-materials development, an international team of biophysicists has found.

UCSF study shows suppression of telomerase enzyme can inhibit spread of melanoma
UCSF researchers have found that the spread of melanoma can be inhibited by suppressing telomerase, the enzyme active in cancer cell growth.

11th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium
The threat to deep-sea biodiversity from whaling, a new disease attacking life at volcanic vents and why some deep-sea creatures grow to giant size are all topics on the agenda at the 11th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Southampton UK.

UCLA study of community health project shows how group dynamics affect fitness, eating habits
A UCLA-evaluated study of a demonstration project led by Community Health Councils, Inc.

Producing flu vaccines will be faster and cheaper, thanks to MSU technology
Technology from Michigan State University animal science labs looks to produce new human flu vaccines quicker and cheaper than current methods.

U of M study finds new risk factors do not improve assessment of coronary heart disease risk
Routinely screening for C-Reactive Proteins (CRP) and performing other novel tests has little value when assessing risk for coronary heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Yttrium-90 to control hepatocarcinoma
Radioembolisation is an efficient alternative in those cases where the liver is host to several tumours and cannot be extirpated.

Leicester chosen for international space science workshop
The University of Leicester, UK, is to host the 15th European White Dwarf Workshop -- EUROWD06 -- from 7th-11th of August.

From the nanoworld to neurons and galaxies
Scientists at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) are organizing an international symposium on clusters during the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Munich on July 16, 2006.

Jellyfish dominate fish in over-harvested Namibian waters
By sampling sea life in a heavily fished region off the coast of Namibia, researchers have found that jellyfish have actually overtaken fish in terms of the biomass they contribute to this ocean region.

UT Southwestern, BioTel system to test methods of improving cardiac arrest, trauma survival
UT Southwestern Medical Center is among 10 institutions selected to oversee innovative clinical trials designed to test life-saving interventions for critical trauma and sudden cardiac arrest.

UGA researchers discover 'episodic-like' memory in rats
Psychologists from UGA report in the new issue of Current Biology that laboratory rats have a detailed representation of remembered events and therefore also likely have episodic-like memory.

Education campaign improves skin cancer screening rates
Men over 50 years old are more motivated to seek screening for the skin cancer melanoma if they are made aware of the risk factors through public education and have access to screening exams, according to a new study.

Former Soviet Union Republic looks to Texas researcher for answers
Dr. Charlie Rush is using knowledge gained in the sugar beet fields of the Panhandle to help the Republic of Azerbaijan, formerly a part of the Soviet Union, build economic stability.

Women still get lower-quality heart attack care than men, despite hospital improvement efforts
A new study shows that a puzzling gap between the sexes persists in hospital care for heart attack patients, despite specific efforts by hospitals to improve the way they treat all patients immediately after a heart attack.

Pharmaceutical industry welcomes Labor Party's Innovation Blueprint
Medicines Australia has welcomed today's release of the Labor Party's Innovation Blueprint -- Turning Aussie Brilliance into Dollars.

Stevens' Disruptive Technologies Roundtable Series discusses SPOC
Dr. Helena S. Wisniewski, vice president for University Research & Enterprise Development at Stevens Institute of Technology, will host the second in a series of monthly

New model of brain sheds light on triggers of autism
A new model of the brain sheds light on the triggers of behaviors commonly associated with autism.

Measuring proteins in spinal fluid may provide early clue to Alzheimer's disease
Early signs of the development of Alzheimer's disease can be seen in the cerebrospinal fluid of middle-aged adults who are genetically predisposed to the neurologic condition, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Healthy lifestyle reduces women's stroke risk
Women who are non-smokers, exercise regularly, have a healthy diet, including moderate alcohol consumption, and otherwise live a healthy lifestyle may have a reduced risk of stroke, according to a report in the July 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers link specific antibody presence to prevention of mother-to-baby HIV transmission
Researchers found that women who transmitted the HIV to their offspring were significantly less likely to have aNAB, an antibody which neutralizes the virus, than non-transmitting mothers (14.3 percent, compared with 76.5 percent).
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