Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 01, 2006
Genetic research at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh reinforces theory of evolution
Scientists led by a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh geneticist have found new evidence that a category of genes known as pseudogenes serve no function, an important finding that bolsters the theory of evolution.

New discovery about Parkinson's at the Montreal Neurological Institute
In a recent study published in the prestigious journal Nature Cell Biology, Dr.

Purdue engineers lay groundwork for 'vertically oriented nanoelectronics'
Engineers at Purdue University have developed a technique to grow individual carbon nanotubes vertically on top of a silicon wafer, a step toward making advanced electronics, wireless devices and sensors using nanotubes by stacking circuits and components in layers.

Long-term safety results released for breast cancer drugs
Anastrozole is tolerated better than tamoxifen for the treatment of postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer after surgery, according to research published in the August issue of Lancet Oncology.

A new study drives home the importance of tooth brushing and flossing
The list of excuses for not brushing or flossing is endless, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Periodontology, these are two tasks that should not be omitted from the daily hygiene routine.

HIV's cellular kiss of death explains loss of uninfected T cells in AIDS
In AIDS, CD4+ T cells are killed by direct HIV infection but researchers remain puzzled as to why uninfected CD4+ T cells also die.

What determines body size?
How does a growing organism determine what its final body size will be?

Radiocarbon testing challenges understanding of ancient Hawaiian architecture, social complexity
The most detailed study to date on the antiquity of the Maui's extensive temple system challenges previous conceptions of ancient Hawaiian civilization by identifying cycles of temple construction that coincide with politically charged periods of warfare and island consolidation.

Persistence of HPV infection depends on a patient's race
Variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 and 18 persist longer in people whose ancestors are from the same geographical area as the virus, according to a study in the August 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

UCSD's supercomputers cast light on cloudy puzzle of global weather
Record heat waves, exceptionally powerful hurricanes, destructive tsunamis and melting icecaps have many discussing the weather, but can anybody do anything about it?

Addition of topotecan to standard treatment is not recommended for ovarian cancer patients
The drug topotecan does not increase survival for ovarian cancer patients when used with standard chemotherapy in first-line treatment and is not recommended for future use, according to a phase III study in the August 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Call for data on reuse of surgical instruments to allay fears over vCJD transmission
A study published today in the online edition of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface has been exploring the likelihood that vCJD might be spread via the reuse of surgical instruments, and calls for more data in order to allay fears over the possible transmission of vCJD.

New report says human tampering threatens planet's life-sustaining surface
In a report released today, scientists call for a new systematic study of the Earth's

Study provides new insights into brain organization
Scientists have provided new insights into how and why the brain is organized -- knowledge which could eventually inform diagnosis of and treatments for conditions like Alzheimer's disease and autism.

New data demonstrate effectiveness of LAMICTAL (lamotrigine) as adjunctive therapy
Data published in today's issue of Pediatrics show that lamotrigine (LAMICTAL) is an effective add-on therapy for the treatment of Primary Generalized Tonic-Clonic (PGTC) seizures in a subgroup of children and adolescents.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience this issue includes: Trafficking DAT, Slits in the retina, Finding yourself in your own brain, and The Immune Response in PLP-Overexpressing Mice.

Innovative method for creating a human cytomegalovirus vaccine outlined
Each year, about 40,000 children are born infected with human cytomegalovirus, or CMV, and about 8,000 of these children suffer permanent disabilities due to the virus.

At an underwater volcano, evidence of man's environmental impact
Scientists studying hydrothermal vents, those underwater geysers that are home to bizarre geological structures and unique marine species, have discovered something all too familiar: pollution.

Lung disease study hope for premature babies
A Europe-wide trial involving premature babies is investigating whether the risk of chronic lung disease can be halved if they are given nitric oxide gas to breathe shortly after birth.

Higher blood pressure associated with decline in walking ability in older persons
A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center suggests that higher blood pressure may be one factor associated with a decline in walking ability in later life.

Marijuana use causes early pregnancy failure
Vanderbilt University researchers have shown that exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol, the major psychoactive component of marijuana, at the time of conception and early in pregnancy prevents embryos' safe passage from the ovary to the uterus, resulting in early pregnancy failure in mice.

Association between famine and schizophrenia may yield clues about inherited diseases and conditions
The higher risk of schizophrenia among offspring of expectant mothers living through famine could help us understand the genetic basis for that debilitating mental disorder, a group of researchers argue in a commentary piece in the Aug.

JCI table of contents: August 1, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, August 1, 2006, in the JCI, including: Marijuana use causes early pregnancy failure; HIV's cellular kiss of death explains loss of uninfected T cells in AIDS; Glimmer of hope for gout patients; Protein passage into urine prevented by glomerular basement membrane; Misbehaving macrophages in psoriasis; and A designer approach to regulating autoimmunity in diabetes.

Dengue virus reveals its circular secret
Scientists have identified a key enzyme that the dengue virus uses to replicate, triggering the potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Mayo Clinic researchers enhance safety and effectiveness of therapeutic virus that fights cancer
Mayo Clinic researchers working with colleagues in Germany have devised a much-needed multilevel safety feature for viruses used to treat cancer.

Domestic violence during pregnancy increases risk of early childhood mortality
Domestic violence towards mothers during pregnancy more than doubles the risk of death for their children during the earliest stages of childhood, according to a study of families in India conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Discovery in 'Bubble Boy' disease gene therapy
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have developed a mouse model of a severe disease of the immune system that helps explain why gene therapy used to treat children with this disease at an institution in Europe caused some of them to develop leukemia.

Flavanol-rich cocoa improves blood vessel function in aging baby boomer study participants
New research published in the latest issue of the Journal of Hypertension, has found that flavanol-rich cocoa helps to improve blood vessel function, especially in older adults.

Deployment to Iraq war associated with increased risk for adverse neuropsychological effects
U.S. Army soldiers who return from military deployment to the Iraq war have an increased risk for mild neuropsychological compromise, including poorer memory and sustained attention performance and greater feelings of tension and confusion, according to a study in the August 2 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

NSF grant aids ASU biodiversity exploration in China
Arizona State University ecologists Jianguo

New radar technique locates storm-fueling moisture
For the first time, multiple Doppler weather radars are tracking water vapor in the lower atmosphere.

No cell walls, no new cancer cells
SREBP1, a critical factor in the synthesis of lipids, is also necessary for the cell cycle.

Evidence of rapid evolution is found at the tips of chromosomes
Humans like to think of themselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder, but new research from Titia de Lange's lab at Rockefeller University shows that we may be loosing a few rungs to a smaller, fuzzier mammal.

Underwater robots work together without human input
This August in Monterey Bay, Calif., an entire fleet of undersea robots will for the first time work together without the aid of humans to observe the ocean.

Getting America really ready
Today the Federation of American Scientists launched ReallyReady.org, a comprehensive emergency preparedness Web site developed in nine weeks by FAS intern Emily Hesaltine.

Big kids are getting too big
The epidemic of obesity in young children has been far worse in the tallest, fastest growing young children, according to new research published today in the International Journal of Obesity (August 1, 2006).

Gene variations may increase stroke risk for younger women
University of Maryland researchers have shown a strong association between specific genetic variations and an increased risk of stroke in younger women, adding to the growing evidence of possible genetic influences in stroke.

Mice learn tasks that may help treat human psychiatric disorders
Mice that couldn't be dissuaded from the object of their attention by a piece of sweet, crunchy cereal may help researchers find new treatments and cures for human disorders like autism and Parkinson's disease.

Highlights from the August 2006 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The August 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains the following articles: Measuring adherence to dietary guidelines; Helping people estimate portion sizes of wedge-shaped foods; and Low-energy, dense diets are associated with high diet quality.

Species unique to tidal marshes face threats
Nonaquatic vertebrates endemic to tidal marshes are almost all found in North America, where their habitat is shrinking because of coastal development and rising sea levels, among other threats.

TB relapse due to low weight gain after initial treatment
Among tuberculosis (TB) patients who were underweight when diagnosed, those who subsequently regained less than five percent of their weight during the first two months of treatment had a significantly increased risk of disease relapse, according to results from a large study.

Forecast: Showers and thunderstorms
People planning baseball games, picnics and other outdoor events may have more precise short-term forecasts of rainfall in the next few years, thanks to an observing strategy now being tested by atmospheric scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

CSIRO reveals how continents can break apart
A paper co-authored by CSIRO's Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb and published in Nature reveals new information on the strength of continents and how they can split apart.

UCLA study shows altering fatty acid levels in diet may reduce prostate cancer growth rate
UCLA researchers found that altering the fatty acid ratio found in the typical Western diet to include more omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids may reduce prostate cancer tumor growth rates and PSA levels.

Placebo study frames depression treatment puzzle
A study in the August 2006 American Journal of Psychiatry suggests medication is just one of many potential pieces to the depression treatment puzzle.

Tracking diseases by bait, plane, insects and fowl
The 91st Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting will be held in Memphis, Tennessee, from August 6-11, 2006.

Stress imaging tests predict prognosis of heart disease in obese persons
Researchers identified an accurate method that may detect whether obese individuals have a low, intermediate or high risk of coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, notes a report in the August issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Focus on weight undermines motivation for healthy lifestyle changes among people of all sizes
A newly published UCLA study suggests our media and cultural obsession with achieving a certain weight does little to convince couch potatoes of any size to abandon their favorite sofa cushions and get active.

Other highlights in the August 2 issue of JNCI
Other highlights in the August 2 issue of JNCI include a study about hospice enrollment rates, a study linking processed meat and stomach cancer, a study of nervous system cancers and anti-HIV therapies, a study about a targeted therapy for leukemia, and a study that identifies a target for angiogenesis inhibitors.

Do close surgical margins predict if breast cancer will return?
A new study published in the August 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, says that cancer cells present after additional surgery for breast cancer may predict whether a woman will see her cancer return.

Key event in cell death occurs as single, quick event
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have demonstrated that a key event during apoptosis (cell suicide) occurs as a single, quick event, rather than as a step-by-step process.

All the eggs in one basket
Current conservation assessments of endangered Caribbean sea turtles are too optimistic, according to Loren McClenachan and colleagues from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Keep the baby, toss the bathwater: How kidneys retain proteins, discard waste
New research may finally settle a decades-old debate about how the kidney keeps valuable blood proteins from harmfully slipping into the urine, a serious health symptom that often precedes kidney failure.

AGU journal highlights -- August 1, 2006
This issue includes the following highlights: Glacier shrinkage and uplift of the Alps; Mantle transition zone not caused by high-pressure hydrous olivine; Derivatives; Stratospheric oxygen/nitrogen ratios can constrain carbon uptake budgets; Electric forces enhance emission of mineral dust aerosols; Sensing of sea surface temperature influenced by ocean slicks; Mountain-induced circulation on Mars transports water to high atmosphere; Smectite clays can contribute to instability on volcanic flanks; and Ground truths of terrestrial water storage estimates generated from satellite gravity data.

Trees appear to respond slower to climate change than previously thought
Genetic analysis of spruce trees provides strong evidence for the presence of a tree refuge in Alaska during the last glacial period, and suggests that trees cannot migrate in response to climate change as quickly as some scientists thought.

Screening method can play role in disclosure of intimate partner violence
Reported prevalence rates for intimate partner violence can vary, depending on the screening method, type of questionnaire used and health care setting, and women prefer self-completed questionnaires, compared to face-to-face interviews, according to a study in the August 2 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

Hispanic and African American adults are uninsured at rates 1 1/2 to three times higher than whites
Hispanic and African American working-age adults in the U.S. are at greater risk of experiencing gaps in insurance coverage, lacking access to health care, and facing medical debt than white working-age adults, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Chemicals in curry and onions may help prevent colon cancer
A small but informative clinical trial by Johns Hopkins investigators shows that a pill combining chemicals found in turmeric, a spice used in curries, and onions reduces both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract.

UMass Lowell research shows benefits of apple juice on neurotransmitter affecting memory
New research demonstrates that apple products can help boost brain function similar to medication.

World Trade Center dust cuts lung function capability in rescue workers
New York City firemen and emergency personnel exposed to dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings experienced a decrease in lung function capability equal to 12-years of age-related decline during the year following the 9/11 disaster.

Chemical warfare ravages mental health of Iranian civilians
Iranian civilians exposed to high-intensity warfare and chemical weapons are experiencing significantly higher levels of psychological distress compared to those exposed to low-intensity warfare but not chemical weapons, researchers at Yale School of Medicine report in the August 2 issue of JAMA devoted to the theme of violence and human rights.

The Midas Bug -- the bacterial alchemy of gold
Bacteria play an important role in the formation of gold nuggets in Australia according to new research published this month in the international journal, Science.

Transmission rates of vCJD
Media abstracts are available for all papers published this week in the Royal Society Journals, including Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biology Letters and Interface.

Apes -- not monkeys -- ace IQ tests
The great apes are the smartest of all nonhuman primates, with orangutans and chimpanzees consistently besting monkeys and lemurs on a variety of intelligence tests, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found.

Osteoarthritis initiative releases first data
The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private industry that seeks to improve diagnosis and monitoring of osteoarthritis (OA) and foster development of new treatments, has released its first set of data.

Confusion -- not stress -- keeps CPR volunteers from responding
Even though they are trained in CPR, people hesitate to take action when an emergency unfolds in front of them

How tumors respond to treatment prior to liver transplants may be useful in selecting recipients
A new study on patients with liver cancer found that the effectiveness of treatment to reduce tumor size prior to liver transplant may be a better way of selecting transplant recipients than the size and number of tumors.

Ninety-eight percent of Gaza's children experience or witness war trauma -- Queen's study
According to the Queen's University study, there is a pattern of violence against Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip that has serious and debilitating psychiatric and psychological effects.

Media availability: New results show some severe emphysema patients continue to benefit from surgery
New results from the landmark National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) confirm and extend earlier findings that selected patients with advanced emphysema predominately in the upper area of the lung may benefit from bilateral lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) and the benefits are still apparent with two more years of follow-up.

Elevated rates of mental health problems among survivors of tsunami
Adult and children in the tsunami-affected areas in Thailand have elevated rates of mental health problems such as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression up to 9 months after the disaster, according to two studies in the August 2 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.
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