Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 18, 2007
Chronic infection persists by targeting stromal cell network in lymphoid organs
One of the biggest challenges to treating infectious diseases and developing preventive vaccines is the ability of many chronic infections to suppress the immune T-cell response over time.

NIH awards nearly $23M to University of Chicago for translational research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $22.6 million over 4.7 years to a team based at the University of Chicago Medical Center, one of 12 Clinical and Translational Science Awards for 2007.

Sexual function affected by stem cell transplant according to long-term study
A long-term study found that a type of stem cell transplant used for patients with life-threatening diseases results in decreased sexual function and activity for recipients.

St. Jude psychologist says most children with cancer are well-adjusted
Children under treatment for cancer are generally emotionally well-adjusted and no more depressed or anxious than other children their age, according to researchers at St.

Selective attention increases both gain and feature selectivity of the human auditory cortex
On Sept. 19, a research report by Helsinki University of Technology, Laboratory of Computational Engineering scientists will appear in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, showing that selective attention increases both gain and feature selectivity of the human auditory cortex.

AIBS to cohost symposium on evolution, disease and human health
The American Institute of Biological Sciences, in conjunction with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, will host the fourth annual symposium on evolution on Dec.

Metagenomics of the deep Mediterranean
A recent analysis of a metagenomic library from the deep Mediterranean shows a surprising high number of quorum sensing or lux genes that are only expressed when bacteria live in colonies.

Species still have more viable offspring if they can choose their best mate
New research that crosses several species boundaries shows that when animals must choose less-than-preferred (to them) mates, females and males apparently have ways to compensate that increase the chance their offspring will survive.

Misconceptions about Alzheimer's varies among races, survey suggests
Alzheimer's disease is still a mystery to people of different races and a large percentage of people across the board are unaware that treatments are available to reduce symptoms.

Unanticipated consequences of health-care information technology
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have developed a framework to help hospital managers, physicians, and nurses handle the tough challenges of implementing health information technology by directly addressing the unintended consequences that undermine safety and quality.

Less than one-third of women aware of landmark hormone therapy study, Stanford researcher finds
Despite the huge publicity generated by a 2002 study on the potential dangers of hormone therapy for postmenopausal women, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that only 29 percent of women surveyed knew about the study two years later.

Story tips for journalists
Volume 44, Issue 4 contains articles on exercise, wound healing, SCI, wheelchairs, prosthetics and more.

Yu receives research funding from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation
Stevens Institute of Technology Professor Xiaojun Yu, Ph.D., has received an Early Career Translational Research Award in Biomedical Engineering from the Wallace H.

Frequent hemodialysis at night may improve some outcomes for patients with end-stage kidney disease
Patients who received hemodialysis at night six times a week for treatment of end-stage kidney disease had improvements on certain outcomes, including reduced need for blood pressure medications and improvement in selected quality of life measures, compared to patients who received conventional hemodialysis three times weekly, according to an article in the Sept.

Sweet smell
While our perceptions of sights and sounds are known to be based on physical phenomena -- waves' lengths and frequencies -- no such objective basis had been found for the sense of smell.

Mayo Clinic study indicates medication for ADHD may help student outcomes
In an 18-year-study on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Mayo Clinic researchers found that treatment with prescription stimulants is associated with improved long-term academic success of children with ADHD.

Cell growth technology promises more successful drug development
Scientists have developed unique technology to grow stem cells and other tissue in the laboratory in conditions similar to the way they grow in the human body.

A new technology for cancer screening listens for the signs of cancer
Cancer-sensing devices built as cheaply and efficiently as wristwatches -- using many of the same operating principles -- could change the way clinicians detect, treat and monitor cancer in patients.

PrEP strategy could dramatically slow the spread of HIV
A University of Pittsburgh study published in PLoS ONE reports that giving a daily antiretroviral pill to people could profoundly slow the spread of the infection in sub-Saharan Africa by potentially preventing 3.2 million cases in 10 years.

Johns Hopkins receives $100 million grant to speed research from clinic to community
The Johns Hopkins University announced today that it has received an award of more than $100 million spread over five years to initiate the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

NIH grants $8 million to 4 University of Chicago scientists
The National Institutes of Health is awarding separate research awards to four young University of Chicago scientists totaling $8 million to conduct promising but unconventional research that could lead to new medical treatments and a better understanding of the factors that contribute to problem adolescent behavior.

Gene profiling can single out the worst cases of multiple myeloma and guide therapy
Multiple myeloma patients vary widely in how they respond to treatment, but now researchers at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have identified a small subset of genes whose activity could predict high-risk cases and potentially guide therapy in the future.

Liver cancer marker could yield blood test for early detection
Researchers report on a new blood screening technique that could make it possible to detect early-stage liver cancer and predict how well a patient will do following treatment.

Research explains link between cholesterol and heart disease
Cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis -- a condition that greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke -- by suppressing the activity of a key protein that protects the heart and blood vessels, researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have found.

New antibiotic drug combo to speed up treatment of tuberculosis
A team of tuberculosis experts at Johns Hopkins and in Brazil have evidence that substituting the antibiotic moxifloxacin in the regimen of drugs used to treat the highly contagious form of lung disease could dramatically shorten the time needed to cure the illness from six months to four.

NIH awards researcher $1.5 million 'New Innovator' grant for fruit-fly studies of prion proteins
The NIH has selected University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Assistant Professor of Neurology Pedro Fernandez-Funez to receive a five-year, $1.5 million NIH Director's New Innovator Award.

Bats add their voice to the FOXP2 story
A new study, undertaken by a joint of team of British and Chinese scientists, has found that this gene shows unparalleled variation in echolocating bats.

UT Southwestern earns $34M NIH grant to foster patient-oriented research
UT Southwestern Medical Center will receive $34 million from the National Institutes of Health to lead a wide-ranging collaborative initiative aimed at speeding the transfer of laboratory discoveries to new therapies that improve human health.

Article analyzes relationship of apolipoprotein E genotypes with lipid levels and coronary risk
An analysis of previously published studies suggests that there are approximately linear relationships of apolipoprotein E genotypes with lipid levels and with coronary risk, according to a review article in the Sept.

T vs. B: Re-engineered human T cells effectively target and kill cancerous B cells
Human white blood cells, engineered to recognize other malignant immune cells, could provide a novel therapy for patients with highly lethal B cell cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Iowa State University conference examines developing bioeconomy
The 2007 Biobased Industry Outlook Conference,

Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. releases summary results of phase 1 metastatic melanoma study
Provecta demonstrated minimal side effects, significant efficacy and bystander effect on melanoma tumors in stage III patients.

Georgia Tech/Emory Center to study origin of life
The Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish

Tufts Medical School researcher named New Innovator by NIH director
Ekaterina Heldwein, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in Boston, has been named one of 29 recipients of the National Institutes of Health director's New Innovator award.

Landfill mining reduces environmental impact of growing waste
Retrieving material for composting from open dumps across the developing world could reduce the environmental impact of growing mountains of waste, according to researchers in India, writing today in the Inderscience publication, International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management.

A study proposes a new universal rule to explain the equilibrium of plant populations
A study financed by the BBVA Foundation and conducted by scientists Carlos Duarte, Nuria Agustì and Nuria Marbà from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (CSIC - University of the Balearic Islands) has allowed the first-time formulation of a universal rule that explains the equilibrium of plant communities, showing how plants assure the survival of their species whether their lives last a day or are prolonged over centuries.

NIH expands national consortium to transform clinical and translational research
NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced the expansion of the national consortium that is transforming how clinical and translational research is conducted at academic health centers across the country.

Muscle patterns in women may be linked to at risk positioning for ACL tears
Research suggests that training programs for females to restore balance between hamstring and quadriceps muscles to better support knee joints could help reduce the disproportionately high number of ACL tears in female athletes.

Maternal depression and controlling behavior associated with increased stress response in infants
Teenage pregnancy is widely recognized to be a major public health concern.

BC psychologist wins $2.5 million NIH Pioneer Award for groundbreaking study of emotion in the brain
Boston College psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has been awarded a five-year $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund her groundbreaking work on the psychology and neuroscience of emotion -- in particular her development of a

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
In this issue:

Weekly dose of osteoporosis drug prevents bone loss after breast cancer treatment
Breast cancer survivors who took a weekly dose of risedronate, sold as Actonel, lost significantly less bone than those who did not take the drug, according to a two-year study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Success of 'Shape Up Somerville' childhood obesity intervention to be presented
Christina Economos, Ph.D, principal investigator of

CABI meets African countries to discuss improving agriculture
CABI is to meet with 16 of its African Member Countries to discuss new ways of improving agricultural and environmental practices.

Test for lung cancer looks for discomforting quiet among protective genes
When it is quiet --

Unique African partnership announces trend-setting Ph.D. program for crop breeding in Africa
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa announced today that it is partnering with the University of Ghana, Legon to train the next generation of African crop scientists.

Nutrition model stresses positive experience of eating
Enjoying the eating process without focus on dietary restrictions may be key to managing weight and staying healthy, according to researchers who have unveiled a new and effective model for managing eating.

Blood protein detects lung cancer, even at earliest stage
Biopharmaceutical researchers have found a protein in blood they say is linked to all stages of lung cancer but which rarely shows up in the blood of people without the disease.

Eating competence may lower risk of heart disease
People who are confident, comfortable and flexible with their eating habits may be at a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than people who are not.

Toward a faster prenatal test for Down syndrome
Scientists in California are reporting an advance toward rapid testing for prenatal detection of Down syndrome and other birth defects that involve an abnormal number of chromosomes.

Launch of second European Cancer Research Funding survey
The second European survey analyzing how cancer research is funded shows that contrary to public perception Europe is a major contributor to the global cancer research effort.

Severe heart attack damage limited by hydrogen sulfide
Heart attacks and even surgery can cause severe heart-tissue and cell damage due to oxygen deprivation.

Why conservation efforts often fail
In this week's special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online), Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom and colleagues argue that while many basic conservation strategies are sound, their use is often flawed.

Researchers genetically engineer micro-organisms into tiny factories
Micro-organisms may soon be efficiently and inexpensively producing novel pharmaceutical compounds, such as flavonoids, that fight aging, cancer or obesity, as well as high-value chemicals, as the result of research being conducted by University at Buffalo researchers.

Physics professor lauded for NSF efforts with prestigious award
National Science Foundation program director and Kent State professor wins award for work with Condensed Matter Physics program.

Hazards of using crib bumper pads outweigh their benefits
Although bumper pads are theoretically designed to prevent injury to a baby while in the crib or bassinet, the risk of accidental death or injury to an infant from using them outweighs their possible benefits, according to a new study by pediatric researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

A warm South Pole? Yes, on Neptune!
An international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has discovered that the south pole of Neptune is much hotter than the rest of the planet.

Researchers discover gene mutation thought to control energy levels
This study focused on the gene for AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), which controls the amount of energy in our cells by becoming active when fuel stores start to deplete, such as during exercise.

Study examines implications of genetic screening for disease that can be less serious, treatable
Some couples in Israel whose fetus screened positive for Gaucher disease, which can range from being mild and treatable to being a severe disease, decided to have the pregnancy terminated, raising questions concerning the appropriateness of certain types of genetic screenings, according to a study in the Sept.

Russian research for FAIR
Today the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and the Russian Atomic Energy Agency agreed to establish a joint institute in Moscow.

Chronic stress can steal years from caregivers' lifetimes
The chronic stress that spouses and children develop while caring for Alzheimer's disease patients may shorten the caregivers' lives by as much as four to eight years, a new study suggests.

The more common the digit, the more radiant the color in grapheme color synaesthesia
A psychological phenomenon known as

Major grant advances UW's clinical and translational research enterprise
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Wisconsin-Madison's new Institute for Clinical and Translational Research one of the largest grants in the history of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, making UW-Madison a key player in an ambitious NIH plan to transform the country's clinical and translational research enterprise.

Handbook of small grain insects available now
The Entomological Society of America, in cooperation with the American Phytopathological Society, announces the publication of the Handbook of Small Grain Insects, the latest in ESA's Insect Pest Handbooks series.

Anthony S. Fauci awarded Lasker Award for Public Service
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, has been awarded the 2007 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service for his role in developing two major US public health programs, in AIDS and biodefense.

NIH director invests in innovation, new investigators
NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., is making a major investment in the future of science with five-year grants totaling more than $105 million to 41 exceptionally innovative investigators, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers.

Prediction of RNA pseudoknots using heuristic modeling with mapping and sequential folding
An algorithm utilizing structure mapping and thermodynamics is introduced for RNA pseudoknot prediction.

Alternative methods proposed to detect pesticides and antibiotics in water and natural food
Research by the department of analytical chemistry at the UGR has developed new systems to achieve sensitive detection of pesticide and antibiotic residues in water, vegetables, milk and meat using innovative techniques.

Prehistoric aesthetics explains snail biogeography puzzle
The answer to a mystery that long has puzzled biologists may lie in prehistoric Polynesians' penchant for pretty white shells, a research team headed by University of Michigan mollusk expert Diarmaid Ó Foighil has found.

Smoking can harm the long-term effects of some oral surgery procedures
A study in the September issue of the Journal of Periodontology found that smokers had less desirable long term results following periodontal plastic surgery than nonsmokers.
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