Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 19, 2007
Vitamin D, variations in its receptor and prostate cancer
Results of this study by Haojie Li and colleagues suggest that vitamin D deficiency is common among men in the US, and that vitamin D status and genetic variation in the VDR gene affect prostate cancer risk.

One small step for Deinococcus or one giant leap for radiation biology?
A high intracellular concentration of manganese in Deinococcus radiodurans protects proteins, but not DNA, from ionizing radiation-induced oxidative damage.

Steroid hormones regulate the body clock
To establish circadian cell cycle rhythms, cell-autonomous clock mechanisms act in concert with a systemic signaling environment of which glucocorticoids are an essential part.

Epigenetic studies will provide a better understanding of disease
From March 26-28, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) will bring together 20 internationally recognized scientists from the USA and Europe working in epigenetics to present their latest work.

Infants are able to detect the 'impossible' at an early age
When do we develop the ability to perceive coherence in three-dimensional objects?

Computer imaging assists with facial reconstructive surgery
A new calibration technique that involves measuring the distance between the upper ear and chin in photographs could help facial plastic surgeons use computer imaging software to achieve aesthetic harmony in their patients, according to a report in the March/April issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for March 20, 2007
The following articles are featured in the upcoming Annals of Internal Medicine:

ESA's Medspiration project branches out to support biodiversity
Maps of the sea surface temperature around Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island in the Pacific Ocean are being produced daily and are available online in full resolution in near-real time as part of the Medspiration project, an ESA-funded effort to represent the most reliable temperature of the seas on a global basis.

Gene hunters, patent prospectors leave indigenous communities in Pacific feeling besieged, betrayed
The Pacific region has experienced some of the world's worst examples of unethical bio-research and patenting of genes by international companies, according to a new book launched by co-publishers Call of the Earth Llamado de la Tierra, and the United Nations University.

Eavesdropping nuthatches distinguish danger threats in chickadee alarm calls
The first example of an animal making sophisticated decisions about the danger posed by a predator from the information contained in the alarm calls of another species has been discovered.

New Geisinger Health System building green Center for Health Research
Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., which has been recognized as an innovator in healthcare, is opening an environmentally friendly 'green' research building.

A new mechanism for producing cosmic gamma rays from starlight is proposed
In 2002, when astronomers first detected cosmic gamma rays coming from the constellation Cygnus, they were surprised and perplexed.

Drug helps prevent hip fractures in Parkinson disease
A drug used to strengthen bone has been found to help reduce the high incidence of hip fractures among people with Parkinson disease, according to a study published in the March 20, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- March. 14, 2007
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 35 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Researchers examine protein vital to reproduction, regulation may increase chances of pregnancy
In its early and most critical stages, human reproduction requires precise, vital functions.

Chemosensitive p53-mutant breast cancers
Hugues de The and colleagues report that TP53 status is a predictive factor for responsiveness in breast cancers to a dose-dense epirubicin-cyclophosphamide chemotherapy regimen, and suggests that this regimen might be well suited for patients with TP53 mutant tumors.

Biosand filter reduces diarrheal disease in Dominican Republic villages
A simple, affordable household filtration device can reduce the incidence of diarrhea, one of the leading causes of disease and death in developing countries, by up to 40 percent, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown.

Termites get the vibe on what tastes good
Researchers from CSIRO and UNSW@ADFA have shown that termites can tell what sort of material their food is made of, without having to actually touch it.

Elderly spinal cord injuries increase 5-fold in 30 years, Jefferson neurosurgeons find
Spinal cord injuries among senior citizens (70 and above) have increased five times in the past 30 years, as compared with younger spinal cord injury patients, researchers report.

Software pinpoints traffic accident 'hotspots'
Ohio State University scientists have created software that can identify traffic accident hotspots on state roadways.

Preventing obesity in children -- research highlights physical activity levels
A British study, involving 5,500 children and published in the latest issue of PLoS Medicine, used accurate methods to measure the

Physicians commonly play main role in deciding where Medicare patients will have surgery
A survey of Medicare patients who had major elective surgery found that although most participated in the decision regarding the hospital at which they would undergo their procedures, physicians served as the main decision-makers one-third of the time, according to an article in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Free talk at NJIT: UCLA scientist to outline future of computer networking
Computer scientist Deborah Estrin, Ph.D., professor of computer science at University of California, Los Angeles, will discuss computer networking systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology at 2:30 p.m.

Protein structures for the entire yeast proteome
Protein three-dimensional structures were predicted for all Saccharomyces cerevisiae domains that were found to have no sequence similarity to any proteins of known structure.

Negative newspaper articles about clinical trials decrease public willingness to participate
A University of Missouri-Columbia study has found that newspapers' front page and section stories about clinical trials are overwhelmingly negative and that exposure to these stories may decrease people's willingness to participate in medical trials.

Researcher to determine why oil still remains from Exxon Valdez
Some 18 years after the Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, the oil continues to cause environmental problems along some of Alaska's shoreline.

Laying sleeping sickness to rest
The parasite that leads to sleeping sickness can be lulled to sleep itself using a newly discovered pathway, according to research published online this week in EMBO reports.

U of M to lead 6-university effort to use biology to advance quantum physics and electronics
The US Department of Defense has awarded a team of nine scholars from six universities a grant of $6 million over five years to exploit precise biological assembly techniques for the study of quantum physics in nanoparticle arrays.

ORNL helps develop next-generation LEDs
Nanotechnology may unlock the secret for creating highly efficient next-generation LED lighting systems, and exploring its potential is the aim of several projects centered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Do you need sex to be a species?
New analyses of genetic and morphological data reveal that the bdelloid rotifers, a famous asexual group, have diversified into distinct species and that sex is not a necessary condition for speciation.

Antibiotics appear to be overprescribed for sinus infections
Antibiotics are prescribed for approximately 82 percent of acute sinus infections and nearly 70 percent of chronic sinus infections, despite the fact that viruses are by far the most frequent cause of this condition, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

By crockie, what long, needlepoint teeth you have
An ancient sea-going crocodile has surfaced from the rocks of Crook County in eastern Oregon.

No sex for 40 million years? No problem
A group of organisms that has never had sex in over 40 million years of existence has nevertheless managed to evolve into distinct species, says new research published today.

Scientists unlock mystery of embryonic stem cell signaling pathway
A newly discovered small molecule called IQ-1 plays a key role in preventing embryonic stem cells from differentiating into one or more specific cell types, allowing them to instead continue growing and dividing indefinitely, according to research performed by a team of scientists who have recently joined the stem-cell research efforts at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Application of Genomatix in silico methods reveals novel cancer associated genes
Genomatix Software GmbH, an in silico systems biology company with headquarter in Munich, Germany, released today that researcher in Dublin, Ireland, and Boston, Mass., USA, identified novel cancer associated genes, based on strategies and products developed and promoted by Genomatix.

LIALDA -- the first oral once-daily mesalamine for ulcerative colitis -- now available
Shire plc today announced the availability of LIALDATM (mesalamine) with MMXTM Technology, indicated for the induction of remission in patients with active, mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

What led to the Nigerian boycott of the polio vaccination campaign?
Suspicion and mistrust of Western medicine led Muslim religious leaders in three northern states of Nigeria to call for the 2003 boycott of the national polio vaccine campaign, according to a historical analysis in PLoS Medicine.

Why is long-term therapy required to cure tuberculosis?
Understanding why other bacteria become resistant to antibiotics could hold the key to understanding why TB takes so long to cure, say researchers in a policy paper in PLoS Medicine.

Telemedicine initiative for sub-Saharan Africa: Pilot projects proposed
Satellite solutions delivering information and communication technologies can help improve health in sub-Saharan Africa; this was the main conclusion of a dedicated telemedicine task force which met recently in Botswana.

Research and program highlights of the 2007 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting, March 21-25, 2007
The American College of Medical Genetics will host the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting from March 21-25, 2007. in Nashville along with the March of Dimes and Society of Inherited Metabolic Disorders.

Spirituality increases as alcoholics recover
A new study shows that many measures of spirituality tend to increase during alcohol recovery -- and that alcoholics who experience increases in day-to-day spiritual experiences and their sense of purpose in life during recovery are most likely to be free of heavy drinking episodes six months later.

Increased depression, burden, reported in family caregivers of ALS patients
Family caregivers of people with ALS, most often spouses, are likely to become depressed and feel burdened, but that's not the case for the people they are caring for, according to a study published in the March 20, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Postnatal health and sexual problems persist at 12 months, but races experience different levels
A third of women experience painful sex a year after giving birth and more than half report at least one sex-related health problem after having a baby.

Companies restricting shareholder rights selected Arthur Anderson firm
Companies that placed most of the power in the hands of managers as opposed to shareholders were more likely to choose the defunct Arthur Anderson accounting firm as opposed to the other

International Aid launches Global Safe Water Initiative
Leading humanitarian health care agency, International Aid, today announced a major safe water initiative that will help address the growing health crisis caused by lack of access to clean water in developing countries worldwide.

IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis to be held for first time in Asia
For the first time, the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis will be held in Asia.

Notorious cancer gene may work by destroying messenger
A new study suggests how a notorious cancer gene may contribute to tumor growth.

Monkey see, monkey do?
What is the very best way to learn a complex task?

Long-term smoking cessation may reverse artery stiffness
Ex-smokers achieved non-smokers' level of arterial stiffness after a decade of smoking cessation, in a cross-sectional study reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Smoking linked with aging on skin that usually is not exposed to sunlight
A new study from the University of Michigan Health System adds another dimension to the link between cigarette smoking and skin damage.

Congressional proposals would cover all uninsured, reduce US health spending by up to $61B
A new analysis of health-reform bills in Congress prepared for the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System shows that many current Congressional health-care proposals could significantly reduce the number of uninsured Americans and also decrease overall health-care expenditures including those for insurance administration and prescription drugs.

Where should I have my outpatient surgery?
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have identified risk factors that may be associated with increased rates of hospital admission immediately following outpatient surgery.

Your mom was wrong: Horseplay is an important part of development
Researchers find a link between rough and tumble play and social competence.

New synthetic self-assembling macromolecules mimic nature
Researchers with the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at Virginia Tech report the synthesis of a new family of charged, rod-like block copolymers, a fraction of the diameter of human hair, that self-assemble and are remarkable stable in saline solution.

Outpatient medication errors common, difficult to detect among transplant patients
Medication errors appear to be common, often hidden and associated with adverse events among patients receiving outpatient care after an organ transplant, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Swell gel could bring relief to back pain sufferers
Scientists at the University of Manchester believe injections of tiny sponge-like particles could provide an alternative to major surgery in the treatment of chronic lower back pain.

Researchers hot on the trail of brain cell degeneration
A research team headed by Academy Research Fellow Michael Courtney has identified a new molecular pathway in neurons.

6 universities collaborate to study biologically assembled quantum electronic systems
The US Department of Defense is awarding a team of nine professors from six universities including UCLA $6 million over five years to exploit precise biological assembly for the study of quantum physics in nanoparticle arrays.

UBC discovery may lead to 'smart' therapies for breast, ovarian cancer
New nontoxic and targeted therapies for metastatic breast and ovarian cancers may now be possible, thanks to a discovery by a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Many injuries in elite soccer can be prevented
Injuries are common among soccer players, but many of these injuries can be avoided, according to a new doctoral dissertation from Linköping University in Sweden.

Put on a happy face: Happy digital characters sell products better than sad ones
Even in the digital world, people respond to the expression of a computerized face.

Gene controlling circadian rhythms may be involved in onset of bipolar disorder
Disrupt the gene that regulates the biological clocks in mice and they become manic, exhibiting behaviors similar to humans with bipolar disorder, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

CSHL scientists confirm genetic distinction between heritable and sporadic cases of autism
New research, led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists Jonathan Sebat, Lakshmi Muthuswamy and Michael Wigler, has found a distinction between heritable and sporadic forms of autism.

New sensor detects gaseous chemical weapon surrogates in 45 seconds
Using lasers and tuning forks, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists have developed a chemical weapon agent sensing technique that promises to meet or exceed current and emerging defense and homeland security chemical detection requirements.

The answer to childhood obesity: 15 minutes of football?
A new report offers fresh hope for parents concerned about the growing obesity epidemic.

Robotic locomotion that mimics amoeba goal of NSF CAREER researcher
Dennis Hong is designing his Whole Skin Locomotion (WSL) mechanism to work on much the same principle as the pseudopod -- or cytoplasmic

Advancing how computers and electronics work
Researchers have made an important advance in the emerging field of 'spintronics' that may one day usher in a new generation of smaller, smarter, faster computers, sensors and other devices, according to findings reported in today's issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

UCLA scientists design masks to hide genetic mutations from cell
UCLA scientists have devised a novel way to correct abnormal gene splicing -- a common mutation that often leads to disease.

Brain scans reveal cause of smokers' cravings
Within the mind of every smoker trying to quit rages a battle between the higher-order functions of the brain wanting to break the habit and the lower-order functions screaming for another cigarette, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

New report: America's scientific and medical progress threatened by flat funding for NIH
Leading US universities call for increased NIH funding to protect health, retain nation's scientists and to shore up US global leadership in research.

Smoking associated with aging of nonfacial skin
A history of smoking may be associated with a higher degree of aging in skin not regularly exposed to light, such as that of the upper inner arm, according to an article in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
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