Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 30, 2007
Insulin grown in plants relieves diabetes in mice; UCF study holds promise for humans
Professor Henry Daniell's research team genetically engineered tobacco plants with the insulin gene and then administered freeze-dried plant cells to five-week-old diabetic mice as a powder for eight weeks.

Lithium and bone healing
New molecular pathway shown in bone healing that could be enhanced by lithium treatment.

Use of increasingly popular treatment for wound healing questioned
The effectiveness and value of an increasingly popular treatment used in the treatment of long term wounds are questioned in this month's Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) Topical negative pressure, or VAC Therapy as it is sometimes known, involves first placing a foam dressing, cut to shape, into a wound.

Takeda responds to the FDA advisory committee recommendation
Following a joint meeting today of the US Food and Drug Administration Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Takeda Global Research & Development underscores its position that ACTOS (pioglitazone HCl) offers a proven safety profile regarding the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Hopkins team develops first mouse model of schizophrenia
Johns Hopkins researchers have genetically engineered the first mouse that models both the anatomical and behavioral defects of schizophrenia, a complex and debilitating brain disorder that affects over 2 million Americans.

Disparities in infant mortality not related to race, study finds
The cause of low birthweights among African-American women has more to do with racism than with race, according to a report by an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

CeaseFire receives $1.7 million grant to expand outside of Illinois
The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health has been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand the CeaseFire program to cities outside of Illinois.

MIT model could predict cells' response to drugs
MIT researchers have developed a model that could predict how cells will respond to targeted drug therapies.

Better baseball, and more evidence for the human origin of global warming
The best team may not always win the World Series, and the evidence that we are warming the globe gets stronger.

Waters off Washington state only second place in world where glass sponge reefs found
University of Washington scientists have discovered large colonies of glass sponges thriving on the seafloor 30 miles off the coast of Washington.

It's a mad, math world
Why did the Babylonians use an awkward number system based on multiples on 60?

National quality agenda, payment reform, care integration keys to improving quality, patient safety
As health-care quality and patient safety concerns rise, the latest Commonwealth Fund Health Care Opinion Leaders survey finds leaders united behind several key reform measures: More than half (56 percent) support the creation of a new public-private entity to coordinate quality efforts and form a national quality agenda; 95 percent believe that fundamental payment reform is needed; and three-fourths (73 percent) say that greater organization and integration of provider care is necessary for improved quality and efficiency.

Japanese and NASA satellites unveil new type of active galaxy
An international team of astronomers using NASA's Swift satellite and the Japanese/U.S.

Interactive 3-D map in OR can guide neurological surgeons through the brain during procedure
Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience is one of first medical centers in the United States to develop and begin using translational, interactive 3-D technology to map the human brain, and help guide neurological surgeons during epilepsy surgery and procedures to remove malignant brain tumors.

Religious doctors no more likely to care for underserved patients
Although most religious traditions call on the faithful to serve the poor, a large cross-sectional survey of US physicians found that physicians who are more religious are slightly less likely to practice medicine among the underserved than physicians with no religious affiliation.

HealthGrades study: Bariatric surgery patients have fewer complications at high-volume hospitals
Bariatric surgery patients had 64 percent fewer complications and a 26 percent shorter hospital stay if they went to a five-star rated hospital compared with a one-star rated hospital, according to a new study released today by HealthGrades, the health-care ratings company.

AERA scholar examines historical record behind a 'color-blind' constitution
James D. Anderson, noted historian of education, examines issues of equality and diversity in the context of the 14th Amendment and in light of the recent U.S.

Promising treatment target found in Hodgkin lymphoma
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have identified a protein that prevents the body's immune system from recognizing and attacking Hodgkin lymphoma cells.

Hip and knee replacements rarely performed in patients over 100
A new study found that hip and knee replacements are very infrequent among this age group, but that they should not be denied to these patients solely because of short-term life expectancy.

US Department of Defense awards $1.6 million for implantable biochip research
The Department of Defense has awarded $1.6 million to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips at Clemson University for the development of an implantable biochip that could relay vital health information if a soldier is wounded in battle or a civilian is hurt in an accident.

Test scores slow under No Child Left Behind reforms, gauged by states/federal assessment
As Congress reviews federal efforts to boost student performance, new research published in Educational Researcher reports that progress in raising test scores was stronger before No Child Left Behind was approved in 2002, compared with the four years following enactment of the law.

New studies on goats' milk show it is more beneficial to health than cows' milk
It helps to prevent diseases such as anemia and bone demineralization.

Mass extinctions and the marine record
Mass extinctions have long captured the imagination of scientists and nonscientists alike.

Flip of genetic switch causes cancers in mice to self-destruct, Stanford researchers find
The surprising possibility that a cell's own natural mechanism for ensuring its mortality could be used to vanquish tumors opens the door to a new approach to developing drugs to treat cancer patients, according to Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of pathology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

W.M. Keck Foundation announces 2007 class of Distinguished Young Scholars in medical research
The W.M. Keck Foundation, a leading supporter of high-impact medical research, science and engineering, today announced the 2007 class of grant recipients under its Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research Program.

Jan Löwe awarded 2007 EMBO Gold Medal
Jan Löwe of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology has been chosen as the 2007 winner of the EMBO Gold Medal.

Negative effects of plastic's additive blocked by nutrient supplements
Experiments in animals have provided additional and tantalizing evidence that what a pregnant mother eats can make her offspring more susceptible to disease later in life.

Africa: International volunteer impact small, but significant
International health volunteers make a small yet significant contribution in sub-Saharan Africa, according to research published in the online open access journal Human Resources for Health.

Does EPA have an adequate strategy to oversee nanotechnologies?
Does the US Environmental Protection Agency have an adequate strategy to ensure that nanotechnology is being safely commercialized?

Research teams uncover risk genes for multiple sclerosis
Two new large-scale genomic studies have honed in on the main genetic pathway associated with multiple sclerosis, while also uncovering new genetic variations in the disease and suggesting a possible link between multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

Reading ability protects brain from lead exposure
Lead smelter workers who are better readers have more protection against the effect of lead exposure on the brain than those who do not read as well, according to a study on the impact of cognitive reserve published in the July 31, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Military to study better pain relief in battle zones
With a $1.3 million DARPA grant, University of Michigan scientists will create and test multipurpose nanoparticles to make it easier to give morphine promptly to wounded soldiers in battle zones, possibly using an pen-like device.

Penn study shows lower Caesarean rates associated with preventive labor induction
A four-year study of patients receiving an alternative method of obstetric care experienced a significantly lower rate of Caesarean births, according to a study published in the current issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Obese patients get patchy weight-loss support from their local health surgery
Most doctors' surgeries don't provide well-developed support programs for obese patients, and one in five primary care nurses feel awkward or embarrassed speaking to patients about their obesity.

Geisinger scientist seeks cure for Lou Gehrig's disease, creating device to find treatment
Geisinger Health System researcher Glenn Gerhard is seeking a cure for a devastating neurodegenerative condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

MIT team building robotic fin for submarines
Inspired by the efficient swimming motion of the bluegill sunfish, MIT researchers are building a mechanical fin that could one day propel robotic submarines.

Review finds potential flaws in voting systems
Flaws that leave electronic voting machines vulnerable to security attacks were discovered by University of California researchers as part of an unprecedented

Wider buffers are better
Riparian buffers -- the vegetated border along streams and wetlands -- may decrease the amount of nitrogen that enters water bodies and the width of these buffers may have a positive relation to a decrease in nitrogen levels.

Comparatively low levels of air pollution boost early death risk
Even comparatively low levels of air pollution boost the chances of an early death, suggests research published ahead of print in Thorax.

Blacks who kill whites are most likely to be executed
Blacks convicted of killing whites are not only more likely than other killers to receive a death sentence -- they are also more likely to actually be executed, a new study suggests.

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

Evidence of a common genetic background for ankylosing spondylitis and inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers assessed the occurrence of IBD and AS among relatives and the risk of inheriting either and both disorders.

Drug improves symptoms of severe Alzheimer's disease
A drug initially used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, improved the memory and global function of people with severe Alzheimer's disease and was safe and effective, according to a study published in the July 31, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- July 25, 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.

Consumer electronics, fuel cell research to benefit from UH advancements
Six University of Houston professors will present their research and findings at the 234th American Chemical Society conference Aug.

Research shows NPD1 protects a key component of vision
Two papers to be published in the early edition online of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of July 30-Aug.

Injection drug use the most important risk factor for HIV and HCV infections among Quebec prisoners
In this issue of CMAJ, 2 research groups report on the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus infections in different inmate populations: people in provincial prisons in Quebec, and adult and young offenders admitted to remand facilities (jails, detention centers and youth centers) in Ontario.

A potential new disease-modifying drug for osteoarthritis
oral calcitonin may effectively protect postmenopausal women from the ongoing pain and ultimate disability of joint destruction.

Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke raises blood pressure in infants
Infants whose mothers smoke during pregnancy have substantially higher blood pressures in their first months of life, Dutch researchers reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Farmers unhappiest of all self-employed workers
Self employment is good for productivity, except for farmers, who score badly on every measure of health and quality of life, reveals a study published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Learning to evolve: With a little help from my ancestors
Using computer simulations, Stone demonstrates that the ability to learn in network models has two surprising consequences.

Birth of a colossus on wheels
The first of two spectacular vehicles for the ALMA astronomical observatory rolled out of its hangar.

Biracial Christian sisterhood laid groundwork for civil rights
A new book by Nancy Marie Robertson of the School of Liberal Arts of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis explores how the Young Women's Christian Association, the nation's major national biracial women's organization, provided a unique venue for women to respond to American race relations during the first half of the twentieth century and laid the groundwork for the subsequent civil rights movement.

Researchers find pathway that controls cell size and division
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered through genetic analyses a metabolic pathway in bacteria comprised of just three genes, all known to be players in metabolism.

ESA mission highlighted at remote sensing conference
The International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, entitled

July/August 2007 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Study highlights from the July/August 2007 issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal.

Impact on lungs of 1 cannabis joint equal to up to 5 cigarettes
A single cannabis joint has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes in one go, indicates research published ahead of print in the journal Thorax.

Uncovering the secrets of the deep
The UniProt Consortium, which includes the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute, has added a new database repository for metagenomic and environmental data to its family of protein sequence databases.

Race plays a role in disability in older adults with arthritis
A new study examined the rates at which different racial groups develop disability, how differences between groups can be accounted for, and the significant risk factors that predict the development of disability among older adults with arthritis.

Caffeine and exercise can team up to prevent skin cancer
Regular exercise and little or no caffeine has become a popular lifestyle choice for many Americans.

Researchers think pink to produce 'green' solar energy
When it comes to producing earth-friendly solar energy, pink may be the new green, according to Ohio State University researchers.

Genomics study provides insight into the evolution of unique human traits
Researchers report the results of a large-scale, genome-wide study to investigate gene copy number differences among ten primate species, including humans.

Parents seeking sex abandon 1 in 3 offspring
The eggs of the penduline tit Remiz pendulinus are frequently abandoned as both parents go in search of new sexual conquests, a study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology has found.

2 drugs work better together than either alone against kidney cancer
A combination of two drugs works better than either drug alone for patients with renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, according to a pilot study led by Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers.

Injection drug use and HIV and HCV infections among Ontario prison inmates
In this issue of CMAJ, two research groups report on the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus infections in different inmate populations: people in provincial prisons in Quebec, and adult and young offenders admitted to remand facilities (jails, detention centres and youth centers) in Ontario.

Immune response in melioidosis
Melioidosis is a severe infection caused by the gram-negative bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is endemic in Southeast Asia.

Zebrafish: It's not your parents' lab rat
Developmental biologists at Rice University have found that a gene called LMO4, which is known to play roles in both cell reproduction and in breast cancer, also plays a role in neurological development.

The unexpected consensus among voting methods
Voting methods have courted controversy in both popular and scientific debate.

Study discovers link between increased white matter and poor motor skills in children with autism
A study published in the August issue of the journal Brain demonstrates, for the first time, an association between increased white matter volume and functional impairment in children with autism.

New aerogels could clean contaminated water, purify hydrogen for fuel cells
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have identified a new technique for cleansing contaminated water and potentially purifying hydrogen for use in fuel cells, thanks to the discovery of a innovative type of porous material.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
The following articles are featured in the upcoming issue of PLoS Medicine.
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