Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 02, 2007
FDA approves accelerated dosing schedule for Glaxosmithkline's Twinrix
FDA approves accelerated dosing schedule for Glaxosmithkline's Twinrix.

Fewer children and teens received antidepressants following FDA warnings
The number of children and teenagers prescribed antidepressant medications appears to have decreased following public warnings about suicidal behavior potentially associated with the drugs, according to a report published in the April issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study shows zinc doesn't help head and neck cancer patients
Zinc sulfate, a supplement thought to be helpful in regaining the sense of taste for some head and neck cancer patients after radiation therapy, has been found to have no significant impact on preventing or curing taste alteration, according to a study released today in the International Journal for Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.

Biodiesel study targets cleaner air, cleaner engines
Cleaner engines, cleaner air and more uses for local farm products were the focus of a just-completed study of biodiesel as an alternative fuel source on selected Ontario farms.

Genes found for successful smoking cessation
Physicians may some day have a new tool for tailoring smoking cessation treatments to a patient's individual genetic makeup.

Study finds lack of health insurance may be associated with increased rates of stroke
The lack of health insurance prompts people to forego routine physical exams and have a reduced awareness of cardiovascular risk factors and is associated with increased rates of stroke and death, researchers have concluded.

NIDA study identifies genes that might help some people abstain from smoking
NIDA-supported research has for the first time identified genes that might increase a person's ability to abstain from smoking.

Helping young people to understand the world
University of Nottingham researchers have won £1.1M to develop innovative technology that will boost young people's understanding of the world, as part of a joint project with Open University researchers.

Hospital errors rise 3 percent -- HealthGrades patient-safety study
Patient safety incidents at the nation's hospitals rose three percent over the years 2003 to 2005, but the nation's top-performing hospitals had a 40 percent lower rate of medical errors when compared with the poorest-performing hospitals, according to the largest annual study of patient-safety issued today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company.

1-visit screening, prevention for cervical cancer holds promise
A method of screening women in Ghana for early signs of cervical cancer and providing preventive treatment at the same visit appears to be safe, acceptable to women and feasible, according to a study by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

'Self-healing' house in Greece will dare to defy nature
A high-tech villa designed to resist earthquakes by

Alternative-fuels pioneer receives first-ever $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability
Lee Lynd, professor of engineering and adjunct professor of biology at Dartmouth College, and co-founder of Mascoma Corp. received the inaugural $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability today.

Addressing the neglect of childhood hearing impairment in developing countries
Although newborn babies in rich countries routinely have their hearing tested, the major global health agencies, such as the World Bank and Unicef, have not prioritized funding for newborn hearing tests in poor countries, writes Dr Bolajoko Olusanya (University of Lagos, Nigeria and University College London, UK) in PLoS Medicine.

'Post Mortem' diagnosis: Present-day ailments plagued some of history's great figures
Medical science has made great leaps in the last several decades, but -- as

Recent declines in breast cancer mortality greatest in women under 70
A new study shows that recent declines in breast cancer mortality rates have been most significant among women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors and women younger than 70.

Long-lasting paper documents
Although there be great historical, artistic or archaeological interest in preserving them, paper documents have a limited life.

Pediatricians rarely provide translation services for patients with little English proficiency
A nationwide survey of pediatricians found that most use untrained interpreters to communicate with families who are not proficient in English.

High-dose inhaled corticosteroid use for COPD could cut risk of lung cancer
Among a group of mostly older male veterans suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an illness that offers greater susceptibility to lung cancer, researchers found that the regular use of high-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) lowered the risk of developing lung cancer.

A simple new way to predict advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Certain routine demographic, clinical, and laboratory values can be used to identify advanced fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

New guideline for screening mammography for women 40 to 49 years of age
The American College of Physicians released a new clinical practice guideline for screening mammography for women 40 to 49 years of age.

New placenta screening for high-risk pregnancies
For the first time ever, a team of Toronto researchers are using a combination of ultrasound and blood tests to screen high-risk pregnant mothers for placental damage.

Autism costs society an estimated $3M per patient
Each individual with autism accrues about $3.2 million in costs to society over his or her lifetime, with lost productivity and adult care being the most expensive components, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a theme issue on autism spectrum disorders.

U OF M awarded $22.5 million NIH contract to study avian influenza
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health, today named the University of Minnesota as one of six sites across the country that will establish a Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

Male owls pitch their hoots to advertise body weight to competitors
Male owls respond more strongly to the high-pitched calls that simulate lighter individuals, confirming that territorial males attend to pitch information advertising body weight in the calls of their competitors.

Mutation in HNF4A associated with an increase in birthweight and macrosomia
In a study in the current issue of PLoS Medicine, a mutation in one gene HNF4A, associated with diabetes in the young, has been shown to be associated with an average increase in birthweight of 790g.

Darwin pharmacist awarded prestigious national fellowship
Improving the management of chronic kidney disease in remote Indigenous communities is the goal of Bhavini Patel, director of pharmacy at the Royal Darwin Hospital, who has just received a two-year Fellowship from the National Institute of Clinical Studies.

Mild head injuries increase risk of sleep disorders
A mild head injury can increase your chance of developing a sleep disorder, according to a study published in the April 3, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

JCI table of contents: April 2, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published April 2, 2007, in the JCI, including: Is there such a thing as too much sugar?; Heart grafts avoid rejection; New gene defect causes heavy bones; Pancreatic cells show variable plasticity; We've got drinking water on our minds; and HIF-2 boosts red blood cell numbers.

Discovery of 'master switch' for the communication process between chloroplast and nuclei of plants
In a study published in Science, Nevada scientists explain the process behind a revolutionary discovery in how signals are exchanged between the chloroplast and nucleus of plants.

Engineers create 'optical cloaking' design for invisibility
Researchers using nanotechnology have taken a step toward creating an

Intensive psychotherapy more effective than brief therapy for treating bipolar depression
Patients taking medications to treat bipolar disorder are more likely to get well faster and stay well if they receive intensive psychotherapy, according to results from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

UC Davis wins new national center for avian flu research
UC Davis today was named a partner in a new $18.5 million national research center that will study influenza viruses with pandemic potential, such as avian influenza H5N1 (

UGA collaborates with Emory to establish major influenza research center
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Georgia a $7.4 million contract to collaborate with Emory University through its new Regional Center for Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

University of Alaska Fairbanks awarded $3.8M for bird flu research
The University of Alaska Fairbanks announced today a $3.8 million award for its role in one of six National Institutes of Health Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance to study influenza viruses with pandemic potential, such as avian influenza H5N1.

Counting heads or measuring space?
Bacteria can

Vaccine can help reduce frequent ear infections in children, research shows
A vaccine has been shown to help reduce the number of infants and toddlers developing frequent ear infections, according to new research from Katherine A.

Trends in bird observations reveal species' changing fortunes
Some 40 years of observations catalogued in the North American Breeding Bird Survey show strikingly different changes in the circumstances of birds preferring various habitats and with various migratory habits

Examination of radiation left from birth of universe could alter theories
Using relic radiation from the birth of the universe, astrophysicists at the University of Illinois have proposed a new way of measuring the fine-structure constant in the past, and comparing it with today.

Spiteful soldiers and sex ratio conflict among parasitoid wasps
If sterile larvae are used by each sex to wage war against the other sex, then it should be primarily females who are interested in killing their brothers.

York mathematician probes geometric route to combat viruses
A mathematician at the University of York has been awarded a Research Leadership Award of more than £700,000 by the Leverhulme Trust to study the geometry of viruses.

Nation's first veterinary student receives prestigious NIH Fogarty Fellowship
First veterinary student to receive prestigious NIH Fellowship -- Tufts University.

Experts at Nevada develop technology to increase effectiveness of tsunami warning systems
University of Nevada faculty members combine seismology expertise with development of GPS software in the

A changing climate for protected areas
On April 6, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release a report on how climate change will accelerate extinctions of species.

China's earliest modern human
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing have been studying a 40,000-year-old early modern human skeleton found in China and have determined that the

St. Jude named a Center of Excellence in flu research
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been designated one of six Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Combination of early detection, timely treatment hold promise for autism
Emerging genetic research may help scientists recognize children with autism at a younger and potentially treatable age, according to an editorial in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Delft researchers predict 'nanobattery' performance
Researchers at Delft University of Technology can predict how nanostructuring -- the extreme reduction of structure -- will affect the performance of Li-ion batteries.

NJIT receives NSF grant to improve math, science and technology education in Newark High Schools
New Jersey Institute of Technology was awarded a five-year, $3-million National Science Foundation grant to impart and infuse computational methods and tools in a math and science context into high school classrooms in Newark.

Asbestos disease projections too low
Current predictions of the future incidence of asbestos-related disease have been substantially underestimated, according to new modelling to be presented in Melbourne today by an epidemiologist from the Australian National University.

Genomic test could help detect radioactivity exposure from terrorist attacks
In the event of a nuclear or radiological catastrophe -- such as a nuclear accident or a

Growth-factor antibody may treat chronic lung disease affecting premature infants
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, in collaboration with scientists from the Genzyme Corporation, have identified a potential treatment for a chronic lung disease affecting premature infants.

Thioethers synthesis process
A research group of the Department of Organic Chemistry II at the University of the Basque Country has proposed a new method for the synthesis of diaryl sulphide.

Flowers shape themselves to guide their pollinators to the pollen
The fit between flower and pollinator is key: Bats pollinate wide flowers better, while hummingbirds transfer more pollen between narrow flowers.

Flexible electronics could find applications as sensors, artificial muscles
Flexible electronic structures with the potential to bend, expand and manipulate electronic devices are being developed by researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

New homes rise from rubbish
Imagine if you could turn old rubbish into new houses.

Mammograms for women in their 40s should be based on individual
Should all women in their 40s be routinely screened for breast cancer?

University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist to lead sea ice expedition
Jennifer Hutchings, a research associate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center, is chief scientist on a team of researchers that will spend the next two weeks at the US Navy ice camp in the Beaufort Sea studying the relationship between ice movement, stress and the overall mass of sea ice.

NIAID expands capability for influenza research and surveillance
NIAID today announced it is awarding $23 million per year for seven years to establish six Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

Babies who don't respond to their names may be at risk for developmental disorders, including autism
Year-old babies who do not respond when their name is called may be more likely to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental problem at age 2, making this simple test a potential early indicator for such conditions, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a theme issue on autism spectrum disorders.

Teens get needed access to care with state health insurance
When given health insurance through the state children's health insurance program, teens see their doctors more often, racial disparities are eliminated and more preventive care is received.

Asthma incidence shows a 50 percent increase in people overweight
For overweight and obese individuals, the incidence of asthma increases by 50 percent, as compared to those of normal weight, according to a meta-analysis of seven studies on severe asthma involving 333,102 patients.

NIH establishes Center of Excellence for influenza research at Mount Sinai
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today that Mount Sinai School of Medicine is a new Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.

Cost-effectiveness of ligation vs. beta-blockers in the prevention of variceal bleeding
Endoscopic variceal ligation is cost-effective relative to beta-blockers for the prevention of variceal bleeding in cirrhotic patients if quality of life-years are considered.

Strokes may be associated with cocaine and amphetamine abuse
The use of stimulant drugs, including cocaine and amphetamines, may be linked to a higher risk for stroke, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Why are there so many more species of insects? Because insects have been here longer
McPeek and Brown show that many insect groups like beetles and butterflies have fantastic numbers of species because these groups are so old.

UA scientists part of Supreme Court case on carbon dioxide emissions
Scientists from The University of Arizona took the lead in organizing the scientists' amicus curiae brief in support of the plaintiff, Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al., in the today's historic US Supreme Court case.

Picky-eater flies losing smell genes
The specialist fruit fly Drosophila sechellia is losing genes for smell and taste receptors 10 times faster than its generalist relative Drosophila simulans.

U of MN study finds that primary medical care for children with autism needs improvement
Children with autism do not receive the same quality of primary care as children with other special health care needs, according to research from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Drug reduces daily 'off' time for Parkinson patients
Parkinson disease patients taking the drug, ropinirole 24-hour prolonged release significantly reduced their daily

Forest elephants at risk from the illegal ivory trade
A systematic survey of 68,000 square kilometers throughout Central Africa reveals that the forest elephant -- distinct from the savannah elephant -- is severely threatened by poaching, despite a near universal ban of trade in ivory.

First impressions: Computer model behaves like humans on visual categorization task
In a new MIT study, a computer model designed to mimic how the brain itself processes visual information performs as well as humans do on rapid categorization tasks.

Elephant highways of death
A new study coordinated by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups found that Central Africa's increasing network of roads -- which are penetrating deeper and deeper into the wildest areas of the Congo Basin -- are becoming highways of death for the little known forest elephant.

Stevens and Connecticut Innovations agree to investment of $500,000 in SPOC Inc.
Stevens Institute of Technology and Connecticut Innovations, the state's quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing and innovation development, today announced that they had completed an agreement for a seed-stage investment of $500,000 in Stevens Proof of Concept Inc., a Technogenesis Company founded at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Bony vertebrate evolution: Elephant sharks closer to humans than teleost fish
The cartilaginous elephant shark has a basal phylogenetic position useful for understanding jawed vertebrate evolution.

Chemist inventor 'sniffs' his way to prestigious $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize
Dr. Timothy M. Swager, John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry and department head at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has invented amplified chemical sensors to detect vapors of common bomb-making chemicals, such as TNT.

Monash University doctor awarded prestigious national fellowship
Increasing folate supplementation to reduce neural tube defects through improved pre-conception care is the goal of Associate Professor Danielle Mazza who has just received a Fellowship co-sponsored by the National Institute of Clinical Studies and the Health and Medical Research Foundation of the Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia.

Infants with autistic siblings may display early social, communication problems
Younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders do not perform as well on tests of social and communication development compared with siblings of children without developmental problems at ages as young as 12 months, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a theme issue on autism spectrum disorders.

Disabled hit huge roadblocks in routine health care
People with physical disabilities endure substandard health care and a pervasive sense that they are a burden to doctors, according to a Northwestern University physician who is lead author of a commentary in JAMA.

Joslin study indicates insulin receptors play a critical role in promoting islet growth
A new Joslin-led study has identified the insulin receptor as an important protein that promotes islet cell growth in mice whose bodies are unable to use insulin properly, or are insulin resistant, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Rush researchers participate in worldwide AIDS initiative led by Imperial College London
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have been selected to participate in a collaborative initiative to develop a simple, affordable and rapid test to measure the immune systems of people infected with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

Biofeedback treats one type of chronic constipation
Chronic constipation affects 15 to 20 percent of the US population.

Donald Metcalf receives American Association for Cancer Research Lifetime Achievement Award
Donald Metcalf, M.D., the physiologist renowned as

Scientists track remarkable 'breathing' in nanoporous materials
Scientists all over the world are participating in the quest of new materials with properties suitable for the environmentally friendly and economically feasible separation, recovery, and reuse of vapours and greenhouse gases.

Child and adolescent psychiatrists could improve their screening for dating violence
Even though dating violence is common amongst teens, less than a quarter of US child and adolescent psychiatrists report consistently screening for it, a new study finds.

NICS announces 6 new leaders in australian health care
The National Institute of Clinical Studies has today announced the award of six 2007 NICS Fellowships to help improve the use of evidence in six key health areas.

Kennedy Krieger Institute launches first national online autism registry
Kennedy Krieger Institute today announced the launch of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) -- the first national online autism registry -- at www.IANproject.org.

Amphetamine and cocaine usage increase risk of stroke among young adults
Increasing rates of amphetamine and cocaine usage by young adults significantly boost their risk of stroke, with amphetamine abuse associated with the greatest risk, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report.

Natural anti-freeze -- how arthropods survive the cold
Given the choice, many of us would opt for warmer climes during the bleak midwinter.

Why the rich get richer
A new theory shows how wealth, in different forms, can stick to some but not to others.

Weight gain in pregnancy linked to overweight in kids
Pregnant women who gain excessive or even appropriate weight, according to current guidelines, are four times more likely than women who gain inadequate weight to have a baby who becomes overweight in early childhood.

Laser goes tubing for faster body-fluid tests
University of Rochester researchers announce in the current issue of Applied Optics a technique that in 60 seconds or less measures multiple chemicals in body fluids, using a laser, white light, and a reflective tube.

Get a whiff of this: Smell test could sniff out serious health problems
University of Cincinnati researchers develop a test that could indicate early symptoms of neurological diseases.

Is there such a thing as too much sugar?
Treatment with insulin can cause hypoglycemia (low levels of glucose in the blood), which, if prolonged, can lead to neuronal death, brain injury and coma.

Researchers call for national database of epidural complications
Complications following epidural pain relief can cause neurological damage and paralysis if less untreated.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for April 3, 2007
The following articles are featured in the upcoming Annals of Internal Medicine: New ACP guideline for mammography screening encourages women 40 to 49 Years of age to become part of the decision-making process; Long-term effects of false-positive mammograms not clear; New injected drug added to traditional drug may help type 2 diabetes; and Study finds kidney dialysis outcomes vary by race and region.

ESA and NASA extend ties with major new cross-support agreement
On March 21, ESA and NASA signed an agreement in Washington, D.C., extending the two agencies' long-standing cooperation in the areas of satellite tracking, spacecraft navigation and mission operations.

Did pack-size laws reduce paracetamol suicides or was fall just a coincidence?
Fatal poisonings involving paracetamol (acetaminophen) fell after a law introduced in the UK restricted the number of tablets that could be sold across the counter.

NAU researchers find possible caves on Mars
NAU and USGS researchers spot possible caves on Mars from Mars Odyssey mission photographs.

University of Colorado study shows intensive therapy helps in battle against bipolar disorder
New results from the largest federally funded bipolar study ever conducted show that patients who receive psychotherapy in addition to medication get better faster from bipolar disorder's debilitating depression and stay better longer, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher involved in the study.

$26 million NIH contract to establish new flu/bird flu Center of Excellence
A research team at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been awarded $26 million to establish a research center with the goal of making seasonal influenza and future influenza pandemics less dead.

'NO' allergic reaction linked to hayfever
Hayfever is a major irritation for up to 20 percent of the population in most economically developed countries.

Rapid response was crucial to containing the 1918 flu pandemic
One of the persistent riddles of the deadly 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is why it struck different cities with varying severity.
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