Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 03, 2007
Scientists uncover potential key to brain blood-flow disorders
A University of Vermont study suggests that the astrocytic BK channel is an important participant in the cellular process responsible for signaling regional blood flow changes in the brain, providing a new key to understanding such disorders as stroke, migraine and Alzheimer's disease.

What memories are made of
Unraveling the differences between various kinds of memories depends on understanding changes that happen in the brain at the molecular level, says a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The G allele of the mu-opioid receptor gene is linked to craving for alcohol
Alcohol-use disorders have a significant genetic component to their development.

Reduced frontal-lobe activity and impulsivity may be linked to alcoholism risk
Increased impulsivity, or a lack of impulse control, is a key characteristic of many psychiatric disorders, including alcohol dependence.

End-of-Life Care: Bioethical Perspectives and Conflict Resolution
A Brooklyn Law School symposium,

Ethnic disparities in alcohol services: financial and logistical barriers are key
Researchers have confirmed a significant interaction between alcohol-problem severity and ethnicity.

Hotspots of mercury contamination identified in eastern North America
Mercury released into the atmosphere is concentrated in aquatic food chains, giving rise to harmful levels in biota in sensitive regions.

Men with no sons more at risk for prostate cancer, according to Mailman School of PH Study
In a new study to determine if genes on the Y chromosome are involved in prostate cancer, researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health in conjunction with Hebrew University found that men who had only daughters had a higher risk of prostate cancer than men who had at least one son.

JDRF forms partnership with MacroGenics
JDRF forms partnership with MacroGenics; supports Phase II/III Clinical Trial of Anti-CD3 Antibody for Recent-Onset Type 1 Diabetes.

Doctors neglect insomnia in older patients
The sleep problems of older people are often not addressed by their doctors, even though treatment of those sleep disorders could improve their physical and mental health and enhance their quality of life.

Teens overlooked in cancer research
McMaster University pediatric cancer specialist Dr. Ronald Barr says the teen gap in cancer care has been overlooked for far too long.

NIAID DNA vaccine for H5N1 avian influenza enters human trial
The first human trial of a DNA vaccine designed to prevent H5N1 avian influenza infection began on December 21, 2006, when the vaccine was administered to the first volunteer at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Operations research pioneer outlines ways to make kidney transplant allocation more equitable
Stefanos A. Zenios, a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, renowned for his application of Operations Research to tackle some of modern medicine's thorniest problems, has completed new research that could revolutionize kidney allocation for transplant waiting list candidates.

Scientist Andrew Maynard to testify on nanotechnology research needs
Dr. Andrew Maynard, chief scientist at the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, will testify before the federal government's first public meeting on nanotechnology environmental, health and safety research needs on Jan.

Binge drinking, gender and clinical depression
Alcohol consumption and depression have a complicated relationship. New findings indicate that depression is primarily related to binge drinking.

Minorities and colorectal cancer screening: Phone them and they will come
Telephone outreach can dramatically increase the incidence of screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) in an urban minority population, according to a new study published in the December 2006 issue of American Journal of Public Health.

NYU Child Study Center expert offers tips to help curb teen binge drinking
The New York University Child Study Center is recommending five tips to help reduce teenage drinking, in light of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers use brain scans to predict when people will buy products
For the first time, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine what parts of the brain are active when people consider whether to purchase a product and to predict whether or not they ultimately choose to buy the product.

Uric acid and spinal cord injury treatment
Uric acid is commonly associated with the excruciatingly painful joint disease known as gout, but it can also play a crucial role in the treatment of spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Are one-third of costly implanted heart devices unnecessary? New study suggests yes
This year, tens of thousands of heart patients will have high-tech devices implanted in their chests.

Nanoscale cubes and spheres
At the University of Minnesota, a team led by Andreas Stein has developed a new process for the production of nanoscopic cubes and spheres of silicon dioxide.

Cold sore virus might play role in Alzheimer's disease
A gene known to be a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease puts out the welcome mat for the virus that causes cold sores, allowing the virus to be more active in the brain compared to other forms of the gene.

Interferon-treated hepatitis C patients likely to experience retinopathy
Persons with chronic hepatitis C being treated with Interferon (IFN) are at risk of developing retinopathy as early as two weeks into treatment according to the results of a new study published in the January 2007 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

Imaging techniques permit scientists to follow a day -- or 4 -- in the life of a cell
Understanding how live cells function is invaluable for molecular and cellular biologists, and advanced techniques to visualize cells in action are of great importance.

Bottleneck in blood supply makes brain vulnerable to strokes
A team of University of California, San Diego physicists and neuroscientists has discovered a bottleneck in the network of blood vessels in the brain that makes it vulnerable to strokes.

Highlights from the January 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The January 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

SNM examines molecular imaging's power to detect, treat diseases
The power of molecular imaging -- and its ability to see through layers of skin and tissue to the cell to detect -- and treat -- heart disease, brain disorders and cancer -- will be explored during SNM's Mid-Winter Educational Symposium February 15-18, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio, Texas.

Former AETNA CEO Rowe to deliver second UCSF Chancellor's Health Policy lecture
Jack Rowe, M.D., an expert on health-care economics and healthy aging, will speak at UCSF Jan.

The bumper book of DNA no-no's
Most genome sequencers are looking for genes inside living species to understand their function.

Estrogen curbs appetite in same way as the hormone leptin
Estrogen regulates the brain's energy metabolism in the same way as the hormone leptin, leading the way to a viable approach to tackling obesity in people resistant to leptin, researchers at Yale School of Medicine report in the Dec.

Hybrid molecule causes cancer cells to self-destruct
By joining a sugar to a short-chain fatty acid compound, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a two-pronged molecular weapon that kills cancer cells in lab tests.

UGA study underscores importance of rapid reponse in curtailing disease outbreaks
A new University of Georgia study suggests that rapid detection combined with aggressive education can dramatically curtail outbreaks of emerging infectious disease such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Bulimia may result from hormonal imbalance
Bulimia is normally regarded as a mental illness that should be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

How trees manage water in arid environments
Mountain-top forests in Arizona have survived a three-year period of extreme drought.

Pregnant women in the dark on prenatal screening
Soon-to-be mums admit they feel

Fast-multiplying lawsuits can stymie medical science, authors warn
Class-action lawsuits can significantly slow or halt science's ability to establish links between neurological illness and environmental factors produced by industry, a team of scientists and lawyers warn in the journal Neurology.

Brain studies reveal the mechanisms of the voluntary control of visual attention
Neuroscientists at Duke University have mapped the timing and sequence of neural activations that unfold in the brain when people focus their attention on specific locations in their visual fields.

New edition of landmark textbook incorporates contemporary genome-based view of biology
The third edition of a landmark genetics textbook -- Recombinant DNA: Genes and Genomes -- A Short Course -- has just been released.

Avian flu virus unlikely to spread through water systems
Cornell researchers studied a virus related to the avian influenza virus to see whether a hypothetical mutated form of H5N1 could infect people through drinking and wastewater systems.

Study: Praying online helps cancer patients
Breast cancer patients who pray in online support groups can obtain mental health benefits, according to a new study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research that was funded by the National Cancer Institute. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to