Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 24, 2006
An irregular heartbeat makes exercise deadly
Humans lacking the protein cardiac calsequestin (CASQ2) have a normal heartbeat when not exercising, but their heartbeat becomes irregular when they exercise, putting them at risk for sudden death.

Wheezy, allergic children are more prone to asthma
Children who become sensitive to allergens, such as cat hair, and suffer from wheezing in their first three years of life are prone to developing asthma, according to an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Insect predation sheds light on food web recovery after the dinosaur extinction
The recovery of biodiversity after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was much more chaotic than previously thought, according to paleontologists.

Microscopic passengers to hitch ride on space shuttle
When space shuttle Atlantis rockets into space later this week, it will take along three kinds of microbes so scientists can study how their genetic responses and their ability to cause disease change.

ESA's Cluster mission establishes why Earth's aurorae shine
ESA's Cluster mission has established that high-speed flows of electrified gas, known as

NIH/NIDA issues new guidelines to save communities money while treating drug abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, recently released a landmark report containing 13 specific principles and recommendations to rehabilitate drug offenders and ultimately provide substantial financial savings to communities.

Waterborne infectious diseases could soon be consigned to history, says expert
Waterborne infectious diseases, which bring death and illness to millions of people around the world, could largely be consigned to history by 2015 if global health partnerships integrate their programs, according to Alan Fenwick writing in today's Science.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and congenital anomalies
Women who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) early in their pregnancies may be more likely to give birth to babies with congenital defects, particularly cardiac septal defects.

Smart-1: Smackdown in the Lake of Excellence
The European Space Agency's Smart-1 mission ends on September 3, 2006.

Dartmouth researchers find key player in immune system regulation
Studies led by Dartmouth Medical School researchers have revealed a crucial link in how the immune system works.

Leading economist joins Edinburgh enlightenment debate
In the 60s, he marched on Washington, D.C., and witnessed Martin Luther King's historic

How modern were European Neanderthals?
Neandertals were much more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to a re-examination of finds from one of the most famous palaeolithic sites in Europe by Bristol University archaeologist, Professor Joao Zilhao, and his French colleagues.

Exegy and Hyperfeed merge to form Exegy, Inc. in St. Louis
Exegy, Inc., a St. Louis company formed to commercialize the hardware and software technology developed at the Washington University in St.

One-two particle punch poses greater risk for astronauts
A study simulating radiation exposure conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and published in the September 2006 edition of Radiation Research found that human cells were three times more likely to develop properties similar to those in the initial stages of cancer when they were exposed to two types of high-energy particles in a short period of time.

American College of Physicians expresses support for executive order on health care transparency
The American College of Physicians (ACP) today expressed its support for the goals of the executive order signed by President Bush, noting that the ACP has provided the White House with detailed recommendations on introducing transparency in health care decision-making.

Why are so many people dying on Everest?
Why are so many people dying on Mount Everest, asks doctor and climber, Andrew Sutherland in this week's BMJ?

Better exam results?
Local education authorities in England achieve better GCSE examination results when they set targets and when central government provides financial incentives for achieving them, according to research at Cardiff University.

Study provides first-ever look at combined causes of North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean freshening
A new analysis of 50 years of changes in freshwater inputs to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic may help shed light on what's behind the recently observed freshening of the North Atlantic Ocean.

MIT provides first evidence for learning mechanism
Finally confirming a fact that remained unproven for more than 30 years, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the Aug.

The biggest isn't always best when it comes to treating cancer
Cancer vaccines containing peptides that mimic tumor antigens (known as mimotopes) are being developed in the hope that they will stimulate the immune system to mount potent antitumor responses.

Toxic molecule may cause most common type of muscular dystrophy
Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have shown for the first time that getting rid of poisonous RNA (ribonucleic acid) in muscle cells can reverse myotonic dystrophy, the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults.

Nanowire arrays can detect signals along individual neurons
Opening a whole new interface between nanotechnology and neuroscience, scientists at Harvard University have used slender silicon nanowires to detect, stimulate and inhibit nerve signals along the axons and dendrites of live mammalian neurons.

First 'encyclopedia' of nuclear receptors reveals organisms' focus on sex, food
In creating the first

Study rules out ancient 'bursts' of methane from seafloor deposits
A dramatic increase about 12,000 years ago in levels of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was most likely caused by higher emissions from tropical wetlands or from plant production, rather than a release from seafloor methane deposits, a new study concludes.

Chemical compounds restore normal glucose levels and insulin action in obese mice
Treatment of obese and diabetic mice with compounds that act as chemical chaperones called PBA and TUDCA restored healthy glucose levels and normal insulin action and reduced the presence of fatty liver disease, according to a study published in the August 25 issue of Science.

African parasite makes component of fat differently from all other organisms
Studying the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, scientists at Johns Hopkins have discovered a previously unknown way of making fatty acids, a component of fat and the outer layer of all cells.

With few factors, adult cells take on character of embryonic stem cells
With the introduction of just four factors, researchers have successfully induced differentiated cells taken from mouse embryos or adult mice to behave like embryonic stem cells.

Certification of UK doctors would improve quality of care
Certification of UK doctors would help to improve quality of care, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Researchers identify antibiotic protein that defends the intestine against microbial invaders
Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have identified a protein that is made in the intestinal lining and targets microbial invaders, offering novel insights into how the intestine fends off pathogens and maintains friendly relations with symbiotic microbes.

HIV drug could be used to prevent cervical cancer, say University of Manchester researchers
Researchers at the University of Manchester are developing a topical treatment against the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is responsible for pre-cancerous and cancerous disease of the cervix as well as other genital malignancies.

Brain enzyme treatment relieves memory lapse in Alzheimer's mice
An enzyme that helps neurons rid themselves of excess or aberrant proteins is required for normal brain function, according to a new report in the August 25, 2006 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press.

Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources
New research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting.

New lab technique churns out fungus' potential cancer fighter
For the first time, researchers have developed a way to synthesize a cancer-killing compound called rasfonin in enough quantity to learn how it works.

Unusual rods
Researchers at the Bar-Ilan University and the Israel Institute of Technology have used quantum mechanical calculations to identify the first class of chemical compounds that get thicker when stretched and thinner when compressed (molecular auxetics).

Study finds some faithful less likely to pass the plate
Religious shepherds need to keep better watch over their flocks and add activities to keep from fattening them up, says a Purdue University researcher who has found that some religious activities may promote obesity.

Gene variants reveal susceptibility to cardiovascular disease
Variations in a gene that acts as a switch to turn on other genes may predispose individuals to heart disease, an international team of researchers led by Duke University Medical Center scientists have discovered.

A wandering eye
Eyes are among the earliest recognisable structures in an embryo; they start off as bulges on the sides of tube-shaped tissue that will eventually become the brain.

Adult stem cells are touchy-feely, need environmental clues
Bioengineers at the University of Pennsylvania determine that mesenchymal stem cells

Columbia researchers restore memory lost in mice with Alzheimer's
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have successfully restored normal memory and synaptic function in mice suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Study shows aggressive students often lack psychological evaluations and effective treatment
As the disturbing trend of school violence continues to plague our education system, it is important for caregivers, educators, and doctors to join forces to be proactive in its prevention.

New genetic link to cot death identified
Babies born with specific variants of three key genes are 14 times more likely to die from cot death, new research has found.

Abolish the term 'asthma'
Asthma is unlikely to be a single disease, so we should abolish the term altogether, states an editorial in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Avian flu detection information on wild birds available
The public can now view a Web site showing current information about wild bird sampling for early detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States.

Behind the scenes at the Welsh National Opera
A new book by Professor Paul Atkinson from Cardiff University's School of Social Sciences takes a rare look behind the scenes at Europe's busiest touring opera company.

A little TLC goes a long way toward reducing high cholesterol
If you're one of the nearly 65 million Americans with high blood cholesterol, National Cholesterol Education Month (September) is a perfect time to read a new publication designed to help you make the lifestyle changes needed to reduce cholesterol and, with it, your risk for heart disease.

JCI table of contents: August 24, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, August 24, 2006, in the JCI, including: The biggest isn't always best when it comes to treating cancer; An irregular heartbeat makes exercise deadly; Individuals with a genetic deficiency can blame it on their hormones; and Arteriogenesis and angiogenesis: new tricks for BMX.

Mental health units should not be exempt from smoking ban
Exempting mental health units from the ban on smoking in public places would worsen health inequalities for people with mental health problems, warn doctors in this week's BMJ.

Prevalence of childhood allergies increasing worldwide
The prevalence of childhood allergies, such as hayfever, have increased over the past decade in many countries of the world, especially among younger age groups, reveals an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Drug combination could reduce risk of severe asthma attacks
Giving asthma patients on regular preventive drugs the same drugs to relieve the symptoms of their condition, rather than conventional reliever drugs, could reduce their risk of severe attacks and hospitalizations, according to an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Powell River Project Symposium highlights coal mine reclamation efforts
The Powell River Project Symposium, a conference on how to improve reclaimed surface-mine lands in Southwest Virginia's coalfield region, will be Wednesday, Sept.
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