Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 04, 2008
Chemotherapy with chemoradiation for pancreatic cancer has small survival benefit
The addition of the drug gemcitabine with chemoradiation for the treatment of patients who had surgery for pancreatic cancer was associated with a survival benefit, although this improvement was not statistically significant, according to a study in the March 5 issue of JAMA.

The Wiimote as an interface bridging mind and body
The Nintendo Wii is a popular source of video game entertainment, but more recently, it has been adapted for a number of different uses.

Irritating smells alert special cells, NIH-funded study finds
Reseachers have discovered that a particular cell, abundant near the entry of many animal noses, plays a crucial and previously unknown role in transmitting irritating and potentially dangerous odors.

New insight into blood pressure control may explain diabetes drugs' side benefit
Drugs known as thiazolidinediones, which are used to treat type 2 diabetes, seem to come with an added side benefit: they lower blood pressure.

MIT's PANTHER sensor quickly detects pathogens
Researchers at MIT Lincoln Laboratory have developed a powerful sensor that can detect airborne pathogens such as anthrax and smallpox in less than three minutes.

Small study shows marijuana does not increase risk of head, neck cancer
Smoking marijuana does not increase the user's risk of head and neck cancer, according to a new study published in the March 2008 issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Australia and Germany strengthen technical links for SKA
CSIRO and its counterpart in Germany, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, have signed an agreement that will strengthen their cooperation over plans for the international Square Kilometre Array telescope.

USGS and USAID announce US-Panamanian action in response to a joint study of Panama's Baru volcano
A network of seismic instruments has been placed around Panama's Baru Volcano to help detect an eruption and mitigate danger to surrounding communities.

Women who have stopped estrogen plus progestin therapy may be at increased risk of cancer
A follow-up study of women who stopped taking the hormone therapy of estrogen plus progestin after this intervention was discontinued as part of a clinical trial indicates that these women may have an increased risk of cancer, compared to women in the placebo group, according to a study in the March 5 issue of JAMA.

Cancer risk slightly higher for women in discontinued hormone treatment trial
A follow up study of participants in the Women's Health Initiative clinical trial led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher has found that women who were taking the combined hormone therapy of estrogen plus progestin may have an increased risk of cancer since the intervention was stopped, compared to participants in the trial's placebo group.

Physicians report they need more sleep
In a new survey, physicians report they are not getting the sleep they need to function at their best and current work schedules may contribute to their inadequate sleep.

Genes hold the key to how happy we are, scientists say
Happiness in life is as much down to having the right genetic mix as it is to personal circumstances according to a recent study.

Sticky blood protein yields clues to autism
Many children with autism have elevated blood levels of serotonin -- a chemical with strong links to mood and anxiety.

Iowa State University researcher identifies eye disease in canines
Sinisa Grozdanic, assistant professor of veterinary medicine, has identified and named a previously unknown eye disease.

Costly placebo works better than cheap one
A 10-cent pill doesn't kill pain as well as a $2.50 pill, even when they are identical placebos, according to a provocative study by Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University.

More than meets the ear in successful cocktail party conversations
A study led by Holger Schulze, published in this week's PLoS ONE, shows that different speakers have different temporal fine structure in their voiced speech and that such signals are represented in different areas of the auditory cortex according to this different time structure.

Protein target for diabetes drug regulates blood pressure
University of Iowa researchers have identified a molecular pathway in blood vessels that controls blood pressure and vascular function and may help explain why certain drugs for type II diabetes also appear to lower patients' blood pressure.

Carnegie's Russell Hemley elected to Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh announced March 4th that Russell Hemley, director of Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory, has been elected to Corresponding Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh -- Scotland's national academy of science and letters.

Blueberry and green tea containing supplement protects against stroke damage
A unique dietary supplement of blueberry, green tea, vitamin D3 and carnosine -- developed to encourage proliferation of adult stem cells with potential to develop into most tissues and bone cells and the capacity to migrate toward damaged areas -- has been shown to have beneficial effects following experimental stroke in laboratory animals.

MEDEA+ Noblanc award highlights improvements in microelectronics
Two projects -- ONOM@TOPIC and SilOnIS -- shared the 2007 Jean-Pierre Noblanc Award for Excellence for the most innovative and sustainable project in the EUREKA MEDEA+ microelectronics Cluster.

PET/CT planning beneficial for head and neck cancer patients
Using a combination of positron emission tomography and computed tomography for radiation therapy treatment planning in head and neck carcinoma patients provides for excellent, local and regional disease control when compared to CT alone, according to a study in the March 1 issue of the International Journal for Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Imports from Latin America may help US meet energy goals, study finds
Latin American nations could become important suppliers of ethanol for world markets in coming decades, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study released recently.

Nuclear cannibals
Nuclear energy must increase by more than 10 percent each year from 2010 to 2050 to meet all future energy demands and replace fossil fuels, but this is an unsustainable prospect.

Cochlear implant recipients experience improvement in quality of life
Cochlear implant recipients experience a significant improvement in their quality of life, and have improved speech recognition, according to new research published in the March 2008 issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

'Renal Assist Device' reduces risk of death from acute kidney failure
For patients with acute kidney injury, an external device containing human kidney cells promotes recovery of the injured kidneys and significantly reduces the risk of death, according to a preliminary clinical study published in the May Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Can moths or butterflies remember what they learned as caterpillars?
Butterflies and moths are well known for their striking metamorphosis from crawling caterpillars to winged adults.

News and features abound at ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, April 6-10
Hundreds of newsworthy topics are on the agenda next month at the 235th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, which will be held April 6-10, 2008, in New Orleans, La.

Dana Foundation releases arts and cognition research
Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a study three years in the making, is the result of research by cognitive neuroscientists from seven leading universities in the United States.

Drug use trends affect risk of marijuana in deviance prone boys, but not girls
The risk of marijuana use among deviance-prone males goes up or down with national trends.

Neural progenitor cells as reservoirs for HIV in the brain
Dr. Ruth Brack-Werner and her team at the Institute of Virology of the German Research Center for Environmental Health previously demonstrated that HIV invades not only brain macrophages but also astrocytes.

Einstein researchers discover gene mutations linked to longer lifespans
A gene linked to living a very long life -- to 90 and beyond -- is also associated with short stature in women, according to new research by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Biologists surprised to find parochial bacterial viruses
Biologists examining ecosystems similar to those that existed on Earth more than 3 billion years ago have made a surprising discovery: Viruses that infect bacteria are sometimes parochial and unrelated to their counterparts in other regions of the globe.

PTSD can lead to a more severe course and worse outcomes for a substance-abuse disorder
Up to one-half of those seeking help for substance-abuse disorders also have posttraumatic stress disorder.

Study uncovers cause of flu epidemics
The exchange of genetic material between two closely related strains of the influenza A virus may have caused the 1947 and 1951 human flu epidemics, according to biologists.

Newly developed anti-malarial medicine treats toxoplasmosis
A new drug, soon to enter clinical trials for malaria treatment, also appears to be 10 times more effective than the key medicine used to toxoplasmosis, which infects nearly one-third of all humans.

Genome-wide association study on Parkinson's disease finds public home at NIH
Data from one of the first genome-wide association studies, which focused on Parkinson's diseases and was funded in part by The Michael J.

Brown study: Schistosomiasis more debilitating than estimated
The health effects of one strain of schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease common in developing countries, are seven to 46 times greater than previously estimated, according to new Brown University research.

Cannabinoid-blocking weight-loss drug might fight alcoholic fatty liver
The cannabinoid receptors best known for delivering the psychological effects of marijuana also explain the connection between chronic alcohol use and a buildup of fat in the liver, according to a report in the March issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press.

An accident? Construction work? A bottleneck? No, just too much traffic
A new study from a Japanese research group explains why we're occasionally caught in traffic jams for no visible reason.

Schistosomiasis more debilitating than previously estimated
In a new study, published March 5 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers calculate that the impact of symptoms associated with schistosomiasis japonica is 7 to 46 times greater than current global estimates.

Evidence of commerce between ancient Israel and China
Throughout the 12th and 13th centuries -- during the time of the Crusades -- ceramic vessels reached Acre from: Mediterranean regions, the Levant, Europe, North Africa and even China -- reveals new research, which examined trade of ceramic vessels, conducted at the University of Haifa.

A combination therapy of 3 vasodilators may treat portopulmonary hypertension
Combination therapy of Prostacyclin, Sildenafil, and Bosentan helped a young male patient with severe portopulmonary hypertension improve enough to receive a liver transplant.

Women are treated less frequently than men with statins, aspirin and beta-blockers
Women and men experience a similar prevalence of adverse drug reactions in the treatment of coronary artery disease; however, women are significantly less likely than their male counterparts to be treated with statins, aspirin, and beta-blockers according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

Is there a way to ease racial tension between adolescents?
Studies show that high school students tend to gravitate towards kids within their own race who have similar backgrounds.

Comprehensive diagnosis of heart disease with a single CT scan
In the current issue of the journal Circulation, a research team from the Medical University of South Carolina's Heart and Vascular Center report their initial experience with a novel imaging technique that enables comprehensive diagnosis of heart disease based on a single computerized tomographic scan.

Tenn. Congressman to be honored for science, engineering and technology leadership
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) will receive the 2008 George E.

Study shows cholesterol-lowering power of dietitian visits
Worried about your cholesterol? You may want to schedule a few appointments with a registered dietitian, to get some sound advice about how to shape up your eating habits, according to a new national study.

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

Screening the herbal pharmacy
Searching for new anti-cancer drugs, scientists at the German Cancer Research Center are systematically analyzing the constituents of medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Journal Chest -- March 2008 news briefs
The following are news briefs from the March issue of Chest:

Design of a new system that improves hearing in patients who carry a cochlear implant
Research has allowed for the improvement of hearing conditions in patients with this kind of implant, especially children or non-cooperative individuals.

Non-polypoid (flat) colon lesions relatively common and associated with colorectal cancer
Flat, non-polypoid colorectal neoplasms, which may be difficult to detect, appear to be relatively common and may have a greater association with cancer compared with the more routinely diagnosed type of colorectal polyps, according to a study in the March 5 issue of JAMA.

Congressional R&D Caucus co-chairs join scientists, engineers and graduate students
A group of prominent scientists and engineers, joined by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), co-chairs of the Congressional Research and Development Caucus, spoke out today about the need for more federal funding for scientific research.

Open-access tropical conservation journal launches
Tropical Conservation Science, an open-access, E-journal that publishes results of research relating to conservation of tropical forests and other tropical ecosystems, launched Monday, March 3.

Mass. General Hospital receives Gates Foundation grant to expand HIV controllers study
Massachusetts General Hospital has received a five-year, $20.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand an international program investigating biological factors underlying immune system control of HIV.

PATH MVI and SBRI to accelerate malaria vaccine search by expanding human challenge tests
In a move that should expedite the clinical assessment of malaria vaccine candidates, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute today announced a new collaboration to establish a center devoted to testing the safety and efficacy of malaria vaccine candidates in humans.

Achievement gaps within racial groups identified for first time
A University of Michigan study finds that when it comes to achievement gaps within racial groups, catching up over time is common.

Experts will analyze the nutrition and health relationship from pregnancy to adolescence
A symposium will be held in order to analyze the last research results on the effects of children's nutrition in adulthood diseases.

Quantity and frequency of drinking influence mortality risk
Quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption -- and not simply average alcohol consumption over time -- independently influence mortality risk.

Scientists find mercury threatens next generation of loons
A long-term study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the BioDiversity Research Institute, and other organizations has found and confirmed that environmental mercury -- much of which comes from human-generated emissions -- is impacting both the health and reproductive success of common loons in the Northeast.

Dissolved organic matter in the water column may influence coral health
Bacterial communities endemic to healthy corals could change depending on the amount and type of natural and man-made dissolved organic matter in seawater, report researchers from the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.

Specialists in drug discovery and development convene
The conference theme is Enhancing Research Productivity: Quality Tools, Leads & Candidates.

Elsevier launches publishing ethics resource kit
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the launch of its Publishing Ethics Resource Kit.

Adolescents at risk of developing a substance-use disorder have deficits in frontal brain activation
Children and adolescents at high risk for developing a substance-use disorder tend to show deficits in executive cognitive function.

CSTARS to form part of Department of Homeland Security's Center of Excellence for Maritime Security
The University of Miami's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing will be a key partner with Stevens Institute of Technology in conducting multidisciplinary research and creating innovative learning environments that will strengthen port security and increase maritime domain awareness.

Children of alcoholics: different brain regions effect who may or may not develop alcohol problems
Although children of alcoholics have a greater risk of developing alcohol-use disorders, not all COAs will develop AUDs.

National Zoo scimitar-horned oryx going into the wild
A male scimitar-horned oryx from the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va., is playing an important role in ensuring the species does not vanish from the planet.

WHI follow-up study: Risks of long-term hormone therapy continue to outweigh benefits
New results from the Women's Health Initiative confirm that the health risks of long-term use of combination (estrogen plus progestin) hormone therapy in healthy, postmenopausal women persist even a few years after stopping the drugs and clearly outweigh the benefits.

Half time in the International Polar Year 2007-2008
A record minimum of Arctic sea ice, new species in the Antarctic deep sea and unexpected insights into past climate -- these are only some of the results of the first expeditions during the International Polar Year 2007-2008.

New potential drug target for the treatment of atherosclerosis
A nuclear receptor protein, known for controlling the ability of cells to burn fat, also exerts powerful anti-inflammatory effects in arteries, suppressing atherosclerosis in mice prone to developing the harmful plaques, according to new research by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Molecular alliance that sustains embryonic stem cell state
One of the four ingredients in the genetic recipe that scientists in Japan and the US followed last year to persuade human skin cells to revert to an embryonic stem cell state, is dispensable in ES cells, thanks to the presence of a molecular alliance between a specific group of key proteins known as transcription factors.

Drinking and aggression among university students often depends on the context
Aggression and violence among university students often involve alcohol consumption.

Risk of surgery for lung cancer lower at teaching hospitals
Patients cared for by hospitals with residents in training have a 17 percent less chance of dying after lung cancer surgery compared with patients undergoing surgery at non-teaching hospitals, according to results of a Johns Hopkins study published in the March issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

LA BioMed researcher says 'unexpected' increase in cancer risk found
An increased cancer risk in post-menopausal women after they stopped taking combined hormone therapy was an

Tiny polyps need 2 kinds of carbon to survive coral bleaching
How well ocean reefs recover from the growing damage caused by warming sea temperatures depends both on how much the tiny coral polyps can eat, and how healthy they can keep the microscopic algae that live inside their bodies.

Warming climate may cause arctic tundra to burn
Research from ancient sediment cores indicates that a warming climate could make the world's arctic tundra far more susceptible to fires than previously thought.

Magnetic levitation gives computer users sense of touch
Carnegie Mellon researchers unveil a haptic interface based on magnetic levitation to give computer users a feel for what's on the screen.

Researchers visualize complex pigment mixtures in living cells
In a technical advance that could allow researchers to watch cells as they act during the process of photosynthesis, scientists have developed a method that extends the power of fluorescence-mediated bio-imaging to see discrete pigments inside live cells of bacteria.

Argosy publishing launches the Visible Body
Argosy Publishing, an award-winning interactive, visual content developer, today officially launched the Visible Body, the first free, Web-based 3-D interactive model of the human body.

Brain chemistry ties anxiety and alcoholism
Doctors may one day be able to control alcohol addiction by manipulating the molecular events in the brain that underlie anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center report in a study in the March 5 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Health risks after cessation of postmenopausal hormone therapy
Professor Amos Pines of the International Menopause Society states that

UCSF researchers validate new model for breast cancer risk assessment in multiple ethnic groups
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco have developed a way to quickly estimate a woman's risk for invasive breast cancer.

US Pharmacopeia releases new edition of the Food Chemicals Codex
The US Pharmacopeia today announced the release of the latest edition of the Food Chemicals Codex, a compendium that sets standards for the identity, quality and purity of ingredients found in foods consumed by the public every day, including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives and processing aids.
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