Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 01, 2006
Synthetic cannabinoid may aid fertility in smokers
A reproductive medicine specialist at the University at Buffalo has shown that a new compound may improve the fertility of tobacco smokers who have low sperm count and low percentage sperm motility.

Highlights from the December 2006 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The December 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

Genetically engineered blood protein can be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen
Scientists have combined two molecules that occur naturally in blood to engineer a molecular complex that uses solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, says research published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Seagrass ecosystems at a 'global crisis'
An international team of scientists is calling for a targeted global conservation effort to preserve seagrasses and their ecological services for the world's coastal ecosystems, according to an article published in the December issue of Bioscience.

African-Americans with prostate cancer more likely to have family history of prostate, breast cancer
African-American men with prostate cancer were more likely to report a family history of prostate cancer and breast cancer among siblings than men who did not have prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Multicenter study looks at colon polyps
According to a University of Pittsburgh-led study published in the December issue of Gastroenterology, medium-sized polyps found in the colon with flexible sigmoidoscopy and subsequently evaluated by full colonoscopy are associated with a significant number of advanced adenomas (high-risk polyps) and cancers.

Math model predicts cancer behavior
A team of Vanderbilt and University of Dundee scientists envisions a future when computer simulations will be used to predict a tumor's clinical progression and formulate individualized treatment plans.

Varying weight training intensity increases growth hormone in women
Women who undertake a long-term weight training program produce more biologically active growth hormone, a finding that allows physiologists to understand why weight training improves muscle tone and optimizes metabolic function.

Silencing the cause of mad cow disease
BSE (more commonly known as mad cow disease) and CJD, a related disease in humans, are fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by accumulation in the brain of an abnormally folded version (PrPsc) of a natural protein (PrPc).

Leading neurobiologist receives Barbara Turnbull Award for contribution to spinal cord research
Dr. Pierre Drapeau, a researcher funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and professor and chairman of Pathology and Cell Biology at the Université de Montréal, has been named the 2006 recipient of the Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research.

Treating obesity vital for public health, physicians say
Who once treated mainly elderly patients for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke are seeing increasingly younger patients who have the same ailments.

Pendulums, predators and prey: The ecology of coupled oscillations
Connect one pendulum to another with a spring, and in time the motions of the two swinging levers will become coordinated.

December Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Topics include: impact of melting glaciers on near-shore ecosystems; discovery of intact egg clusters from a Middle Cambrian oceanic invertebrate; biotic recovery from the End-Permian mass extinction; fossil evidence of unusual animal foraging behavior; dating the destruction of Herod the Great's harbor at Caesarea; El Niño-related landslides along the Big Sur coastline, and evidence of flowing water at Mars' Erebus crater.

OSA and the heart problems it can lead to; Improving new mothers and their babies' sleep
The first study finds that daytime sleepiness in OSA patients can lead to heart problems.

Gene therapy for erectile dysfunction shows promise in clinical trial
The first human trial of gene transfer therapy for erectile dysfunction (ED) indicates that gene therapy that lasts for months and eliminates the patient's need for on-demand drugs (such as Viagra and Cialis), could become the future treatment of choice for this common problem, according to a paper in the most recent issue of Human Gene Therapy.

DOE JGI releases IMG 2.0 with all genomes refreshed from RefSeq
Version 2.0 of the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) data management system of the U.S.

Southern California wildfires pose health risks to children
In October of 2003, multiple wildfires raged throughout Southern California.

Improperly sized tennis racket grip doesn't cause tennis elbow
Clinicians treating patients suffering from tennis elbow often advise them to change the grip size of their racket to alleviate muscle fatigue.

Theory of oscillations may explain biological mysteries
An article by John Vandermeer of the University of Michigan shows how extensions of established theory can model coupled oscillations resulting from interactions such as predation and competition.

Springer adds Genomic Medicine to biomedical publishing portfolio
Starting in 2007 Springer will publish a new journal entitled Genomic Medicine, providing a forum for reporting and discussing issues related to human and medical genomics.

Immune responses spread from one protein to another in type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) occurs when the immune system inappropriately attacks cells in the pancreas.

US teen pregnancy rates decline as result of improved contraceptive use
Eighty-six percent of the recent decline in U.S. teen pregnancy rates is the result of improved contraceptive use, while a small proportion of the decline (14 percent) can be attributed to teens waiting longer to start having sex.

Common PTSD drug is no more effective than placebo
Guanfacine, a medication commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, is no more effective than a placebo, according to a study led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

ESA and JAXA satellites 'talk' to each other
ESA's Envisat satellite and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) data relay test satellite Kodama have successfully completed an interoperability test demonstrating that scientific data from Envisat can be transmitted to Kodama and from there transmitted to the Japanese ground receiving station in Tsukuba.

Older medication may be more cost-effective for some patients with schizophrenia
A new study analyzing the economic implications of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) concludes that the older (first generation) antipsychotic medication perphenazine was less expensive and no less effective than the newer (second generation) medications used in the trial during initial treatment, suggesting that older antipsychotics still have a role in treating schizophrenia.

New approach to BSE successful in lab
A new method of treatment can appreciably slow down the progress of the fatal brain disease scrapie in mice.

Pulmonary hypertension patients improve from combination therapy
For patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), adding inhaled iloprost to treatment with bosentan -- two different classes of drugs often used individually to treat PAH -- increases exercise capability, reduces clinical deterioration and, in some cases, improves diagnostic functional class by one stage.

Glucocorticoid plays key role in skin abnormalities induced by psychological stress
A new study shows how psychological stress induces abnormalities in skin structure and function that could initiate or worsen skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Mind Wars -- Brain Research and National Defense
Will advances in brain science allow the military to build

December issue of Frontiers
One research paper and several review papers will appear in the December issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Large variations in the cost of managing ICU patients has no effect on length of stay or mortality
Although intensive care unit doctors can be responsible for large cost variations in the medical management of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), higher resource use has no effect on patient length of stay or possible mortality.

Mayo discovers link between Huntington's and abnormal cholesterol levels in brain
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a protein interaction that may explain how the deadly Huntington's disease affects the brain.

Plants, plasmids and possibilities -- Methods permit functional gene studies in plants
Decaffeinated coffee plants, pest-resistant cotton, and Vitamin A-producing rice varieties have all been developed by introducing genes into plants.

Disability among older Americans continues significant decline
Chronic disability among older Americans has dropped dramatically, and the rate of decline has accelerated during the past two decades, according to a new analysis of data from the National Long Term Care Survey.

Combination therapy shows improvement for breast cancer patients
Giving radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time after a lumpectomy helps keep breast cancer from returning locally, according to a study published in the Dec.

National Allium Research Conference
Onion and garlic scientists from around the nation will convene to rehash the year's research allium crops, a family of plants that include onion, garlic, chive, leek and shallots.

Final of the 2005-06 Research Councils' Business Plan Competition
Members of the media are invited to the final judging and awards ceremony of the Research Councils' Business Plan Competition.

Sodium, prostaglandin may be keys to successful treatment for some bedwetters
Children with a form of bedwetting that does not respond to a common medication have more sodium and urea in their nighttime urine, possibly because of an imbalance of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance, a new study has found.

GM spuds to be commercialized in 2007
The first commercial crop of genetically modified potatoes will be planted in 2007.

Parkinson's approach with stem cells a promising first step
Brain cells derived from human embryonic stem cells improved the condition of rats with Parkinson's-like symptoms dramatically, but the treatment caused a significant problem -- the appearance of brain tumors -- that scientists are now working to solve.

JCI table of contents: December 1, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for newsworthy papers to be published December 1, 2006, in the JCI, including: Silencing the cause of mad cow disease; Immune responses spread from one protein to another in type 1 diabetes; Fat tissue gains weight from the bone marrow; Immune cells get together in the lung of patients with rheumatoid arthritis; PDE3B regulates energy levels in mice; and others.
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