Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 06, 2007
Paper challenges 1491 Amazonian population theories
There's a scholarly debate brewing about whether pre-Columbian Amazonian populations settled in large numbers across Amazonia and created the modern forest setting that many conservationists take to be

Scientists genetically engineer tomatoes with enhanced folate content
Leafy greens and beans aren't the only foods that pack a punch of folate, the vitamin essential for a healthy start to pregnancy.

Photodynamic therapy as alternative therapy for periodontal diseases may be beneficial
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be an effective way to treat the bacteria associated with periodontal diseases, and could provide a better option than antibiotics or other mechanical methods for treating periodontal diseases, according to a new study published in the March issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

Pioneering research into health benefits of beauty treatment
Pioneering medical research is going on at the University of Leicester into the use of Botulinum toxin -- commonly thought of as a beauty treatment -- for bladder problems.

AEGIS survey reveals new principle governing galaxy formation and evolution
Faced with the bewildering array of galaxies in the universe, from orderly spirals to chaotic mergers, it is hard to imagine a unifying principle that describes them all with mathematical precision.

Researchers design pulsed mircrojet system to deliver protein drugs without pain or bruising
A team of UCSB researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from UC Berkeley and StrataGent Life Sciences, of Los Gatos, Calif., has designed a novel pulsed microjet system engineered to deliver protein drugs into the skin without the pain or bruising that deeper penetration injection systems cause.

Belfast students learn to ask the right questions
A free seminar,

Youth -- A waste of space?
Young people often get bad press with newspapers focusing on stories of ASBOs, gun crime and binge drinking.

Breast cancer treatment heats up
In the March Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers demonstrate that miniscule bioprobes could be produced and used with molecularly targeted therapeutic heat to kill malignant breast cancer cells -- without damaging nearby healthy tissue.

Breast cancer survivors experience long-term heart disease risk from radiotherapy
Women who were treated with radiation for breast cancer during the 1980s may be at an increased risk for heart disease compared with the general population, according to a new study in the March 7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Survey: Physicians support pay for performance but oppose public reporting
Although three out of four primary care doctors support the use of financial rewards as an incentive for better medical care, most of them oppose public reporting of such quality assessments.

Study shows no survival benefit for CT screening for lung cancer
The first report of an international study looking at computed tomography (CT) to screen current or former smokers for lung cancer found that screening did not reduce deaths from lung cancer.

Opening of specialty cardiac hospitals associated with increase in rate of cardiac procedures
The opening of a specialty cardiac hospital is associated with an increase in the rate of coronary revascularization in a region, compared to new cardiac programs opened at general hospitals, according to a study in the March 7 issue of JAMA.

Antarctic ice sheet's hidden lakes speed ice flow into ocean, may disrupt climate
In a new study, researchers have unearthed how water from a vast subglacial system contributes to the formation of ice streams, and how it plays a crucial role in transporting ice from the remote interior of Antarctica toward the surrounding ocean.

Potential genetic testing for substance abuse raises hope, concern
Now it is possible to develop similar tests that reveal a person's potential to become dependent on nicotine or marijuana or have antisocial personality disorder, University of Iowa researchers report online March 6 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Landmark schizophrenia treatment study reveals that medication alone is not always effective
Research news on Schizophrenia treatments from CATIE.

Fluorescence microscopy reveals why some antifreeze proteins inhibit ice growth better than others
Antifreeze or

Study advances evidence for receptor's role in alcohol pleasure and problems
A genetic variant of a receptor in the brain's reward circuitry heightens the stimulating effects of early exposures to alcohol and increases alcohol consumption, according to a new study by NIAAA researchers.

Invisible for electrons
As thin as it gets: the carbon membranes recently created by Max Planck scientists are only one atom thick.

The penalty of having a sister -- why sibling sex matters for male saiga antelopes
Having a twin sister could put male saiga antelopes at a reproductive disadvantage, says new research published today.

$15M Northwestern grant funds heart research
An estimated 100,000 patients who have heart attacks each year are not eligible for life-saving beta-blocker drug therapy because their heart rates are too low.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

PET imaging identifies aggressive kidney cancers that require surgery
A newly published study demonstrates that imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using a radiolabeled antibody accurately identifies whether a patient has clear cell renal carcinoma -- the most common and aggressive type of renal tumor -- and arms the urologist with crucial information that will help determine whether surgery is needed.

Atoms under the mantle
French CNRS scientists have succeeded in modelling the defects of the Earth's mantle responsible for its deformation.

Even 'high normal' glucose levels may increase the risk of hospitalization for heart failure
Fasting glucose levels may independently predict the risk of being hospitalized with congestive heart failure in heart attack survivors and others who are at high risk of developing the disorder, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers discover gene essencial to cerebellum formation
A study published this week in the scientific journal PNAS provides new information on the origin of different cells in the cerebellum, an important component of the central nervous system found in all vertebrates, including humans, and the part of the brain that controls movement.

Other highlights in the March 7 JNCI
Other highlights in the March 7 JNCI include a study showing how changes in breast density affect breast cancer risk, a new potential treatment for prostate cancer, a gene that influences the formation of benign bone tumors, and an essay on the additional health benefits of breast cancer prevention drugs.

UVa cancer team wins competitive award to find prostate cancer treatment
UVa Cancer Center Director Michael Weber, Ph.D., and his team of researchers have won a $100,000 grant to further their work toward a treatment for prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of Navarra analyze new kinds of cancer-fighting antibodies
Two researchers from the University Hospital and the Center for Applied Medical Research from the University of Navarra have published an article in Nature Cancer Reviews.

When crowded, things become stuff
A special collection of articles devoted to

For easy tasks, brain preps and decides together
A Georgia Tech researcher has discovered that for tasks involving spatial processing, preparing for the task and performing it are not two separate brain processes, but one -- at least when there are a small number of actions to choose from.

Ovarian cancer may mimic fallopian tube formation
A new study suggests that ovarian cancer cells form by hijacking a developmental genetic process normally used to form fallopian tubes.

NASA's advanced technology peers deep inside hurricanes
Determined to understand why some storms grow into hurricanes while others fizzle, NASA scientists recently looked deep into thunderstorms off the African coast using satellites and airplanes.

Lung cancer risk reduced in female textile workers exposed to endotoxin
Long-term, high-level exposure to bacterial endotoxin -- a contaminant found in raw cotton fiber and cotton dust -- is associated with a 40 percent decrease in lung cancer risk among female Chinese textile workers, according to a new study in the March 7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Gene sequencing advance will aid in biomass-to-biofuels conversion
A collaborative research project between the US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute has advanced the quest for efficient conversion of plant biomass to fuels and chemicals.

Probe to detect spread of breast cancer co-developed by UH scientist
High-temperature superconductors hold the key to a handheld tool for surgeons that promises to be more accurate, cost-effective and safer than existing methods for staging and treating various cancers, including breast cancer.

Penn researchers discover new molecular path to fight autoimmune diseases
Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and arthritis are among a variety of autoimmune diseases that are aggravated when one type of white blood cell, called the immune regulatory cell, malfunctions.

UC Davis researchers use heated nanoprobes to destroy breast cancer cells in mice
In experiments with laboratory mice that bear aggressive human breast cancers, UC Davis researchers have used hot nanoprobes to slow the growth of tumors -- without damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

An architectural plan of the cell
Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the University of Colorado have now obtained the first 3-D visualization of a complete eukaryotic cell at a resolution high enough to resolve the cytoskeleton's precise architectural plan in fission yeast.

New study suggests special cocoa may lead to sustained improvement in blood vessel function
A new study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology found that regular consumption of a special Mars Inc. cocoa containing cocoa flavanols may have a sustained benefit on blood vessel health.

Pell grants do and don't lead to increases in higher education tuition
A comprehensive University of Oregon study of tuition patterns over eight years at 1,554 US colleges and universities has found evidence both for and against claims that increases in the amounts of federal Pell grants drive up the cost of higher education.

UN, industry, others partner to create world standards for e-scrap recycling, harvesting components
Standardizing recycling processes globally to harvest valuable components in electrical and electronic scrap (e-scrap), extending the life of products and markets for their reuse, and harmonizing world legislative and policy approaches to e-scrap are prime goals of a new global public-private initiative called Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP), led by UN University.

SNMTS provides $50,000 in 2007 Paul Cole, Mickey Williams Minority Student Technologist Scholarships
SNMTS recently announced the recipients of $50,000 in Paul Cole and Mickey Williams Minority Student scholarships for molecular imaging/nuclear medicine technologist students during the Mid-Winter Educational Symposium held in San Antonio, Texas, by SNM, the world's largest molecular imaging and nuclear medicine society.

Do specialty heart hospitals drive up heart care use? Study suggests the answer is yes
Across the country, states are embroiled in a debate over

On the (sound) track of anesthetics
Danish scientists challenge the accepted scientific views of how nerves function and of how anesthetics work.

Rickettsia felis, a cat-flea-borne pathogen, sheds light on Rickettsial evolution
VBI researchers in collaboration with scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have created a new classification system for rickettsia bacteria that may assist researchers in the way they approach the development of diagnostics and vaccines for the virulent rickettsial pathogens.

New study cautions states on changes to Medicaid
As states across the country contemplate health insurance coverage expansions and other changes to publicly-funded programs, a new Commonwealth Fund study cautions states to pay critical attention to meeting the health needs of children.

Insulin -- in need of some restraint?
Knocking out the gene for a peptide associated with insulin secretion protects mice against the harmful effects of a high-fat diet, report researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Women need expanded musculoskeletal care during pregnancy, study finds
Despite the high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy, few women receive treatment for their low back pain, according to a February 2007 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Stress-signaling fat is a culprit behind insulin resistance
A new study in the March issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press, has identified a common link between multiple assaults on the body, including saturated fats, obesity, and certain types of drugs, all of which can lead to insulin resistance.

Too much weight spells double trouble for couples trying to conceive
If both partners in a couple are overweight or obese, they are more likely to have to wait longer before successfully conceiving a child, according to new research published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction.

Comparison of 4 diet plans shows better outcomes for diet with lowest carbohydrate intake
Premenopausal women who were assigned to follow the Atkins diet for one year lost more weight when compared to women who were assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish and LEARN diets, according to a study in the March 7 issue of JAMA.

Holographic images use shimmer to show cellular response to anticancer drug
The response of tumors to anticancer drugs has been observed in real-time 3-D images using technology developed at Purdue University.

Stanford diet study tips scale in favor of Atkins plan
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have completed the largest and longest-ever comparison of four popular diets, and the lowest-carbohydrate Atkins diet came out on top.

Taking the wraps off drug safety data from clinical trials
A new analysis by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital of laws and regulations governing public disclosure of clinical trial data submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration suggests changes should be made to the way the FDA implements its policy regarding the confidentiality of those data.

Red flag for repetitive stress injuries identified for first time in humans
A new discovery paves the way for early detection of repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel and tendonitis -- a $20 billion annual problem -- before the damage leads to disability and lost work days.

Solar energy conversion offers a solution to help mitigate global warming
Solar energy has the power to reduce greenhouse gases and provide increased energy efficiency, says a scientist at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in a report (view it online) published in the March issue of Physics Today.

Both minor and major ECG abnormalities linked with increased risk of cardiovascular events in women
Postmenopausal women without symptoms of cardiovascular problems who have minor or major abnormalities on an electrocardiogram are at increased risk for future cardiovascular events and death, according to a study in the March 7 issue of JAMA.

In obesity, brain becomes 'unaware' of fat
Critical portions of the brain in those who are obese don't really know they are overweight, researchers have reported in the March issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press.

Researchers show how obesity causes breakdown in system which regulates appetite and weight
Research led by scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center demonstrates how obesity causes the breakdown of a brain system that regulates appetite.

Computed tomography screening may increase lung cancer diagnosis, but not decrease risk of death
Screening current or former smokers with the imaging technique of computed tomography may increase the rate of diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, but may not necessarily reduce the risk of advanced lung cancer or death from lung cancer, according to a study in the March 7 issue of JAMA.

Acrux and Oreganon further expand their collaboration
Organon, renowned for holding a leading position in gynecology, licenses Acrux spray technology for transdermal delivery of a nonhormone women's health drug.

Prescriptions for health advice online
When searching for health advice online, consumers often reject Web sites with high quality medical information in favor of those with a human touch, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Light-activated compound silences nerves, may one day help epileptics
Brain activity has been compared to a light bulb turning on in the head.

Blood tests may be possible for mental health conditions
Blood tests for panic disorder and other mental health conditions are potentially around the corner, based on results from a University of Iowa study.

CMU researcher publishes anole lizard findings
Hundreds of species of anoles roam the Caribbean Islands and parts of North and South America, a highly diverse and colorful small lizard that scientists have studied in hopes of unlocking the secrets of evolution.

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine investigates strategies for controlling heart disease
An estimated 75 percent of Americans seek medical advice from their doctors each year, confirming that health care workers wield significant influence over their patients' lifestyle choices.

Gene tests and brain imaging reveal early dementia
Dementia diseases develop insidiously and are generally discovered when the memory has already started to deteriorate.

New compound prevents alcoholic behavior, relapse in animals by blocking stress response
A study of alcohol-dependent animals shows that a newly discovered compound that blocks chemical signals active during the brain's response to stress effectively stops excessive drinking and prevents relapse.
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