Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 15, 2008
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center opens patient trial of virus that attacks brain cancer cells
A common, naturally occurring virus that attacks cancer cells but appears to be harmless to normal cells is being studied as a possible treatment for malignant, highly aggressive and deadly brain tumors called gliomas.

Leading HIV researchers to collaborate on vaccine development
Two global research organizations dedicated to designing a vaccine against HIV -- the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology -- have signed an agreement to work together to address major biological questions that have slowed development of a safe, effective and affordable AIDS vaccine.

Netherlands railways wins INFORMS Edelman Prize
The application of operations research and analytics to rescheduling a heavily used commuter rail system allowed Netherlands Railways to win the 2008 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet in Baltimore last night.

Studies don't support common treatments for patchy hair loss
If clumps of your hair start to fall out from a common form of baldness, a new review of existing research unfortunately offers little comfort.

Milky Way's giant black hole awoke from slumber 300 years ago
Using NASA, Japanese and European X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers has discovered that our galaxy's central black hole let loose a powerful flare three centuries ago.

Carbon nanotube measurements: latest in NIST 'how-to' series
NIST, in collaboration with NASA, has published detailed guidelines for making essential measurements on samples of single-walled carbon nanotubes.

Clinical guidelines for the manual titration of PAP in OSA patients published in JCSM
Clinical guidelines published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine offer recommendations for conducting continuous positive airway pressure and bi-level positive airway pressure titrations in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Anti-psychotic drugs increase risk of developing pneumonia in elderly
Elderly patients who use anti-psychotic drugs have a 60 percent increased risk of developing pneumonia compared to nonusers.

Creatinine increase in elderly means increased renal disease, mortality
Even small increases in serum creatinine levels during hospitalization raise the risk of end stage renal disease and mortality of elderly patients over the long term, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Early exposure to common weed killer impairs amphibian development
Tadpoles exposed to the herbicide atrazine during an often overlooked growth phase named organ morphogenesis develop deformed hearts and impaired kidneys, according to research by Tufts University biologists.

Flu vaccines can reduce respiratory problems by up to 75 percent
A study of 87 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- a major international cause of ill health and death -- found that having the annual flu vaccine reduced overall problems by 67 percent.

Health risks, benefits come with delayed umbilical cord clamping
Waiting just a few minutes to clamp the umbilical cord after a baby is born could boost iron stores in the newborn's blood, but delayed cord clamping comes with an increased risk of jaundice, according to a new review of studies.

Just 3 days of antibiotics tackles nonsevere community-acquired pneumonia in children
Most children up to the age of 5 who are prescribed antibiotics for nonsevere community-acquired pneumonia will be treated for between 7 and 14 days.

Possible link between baby swimming and breathing problems in children
Children with mothers who have allergies or asthma have an increased risk of wheezing in the chest if they take part in baby swimming before 6 months of age.

New nanotube sensor can continuously monitor minute amounts of insulin
A new method that uses nanotechnology to rapidly measure minute amounts of insulin is a major step toward developing the ability to assess the health of the body's insulin-producing cells in real time.

Older epilepsy drugs do not prevent first seizure from brain tumors
Many physicians prescribe antiepileptic medications to patients with brain tumors, even to those with no seizure history.

Impugning the integrity of medical science -- the adverse effects of industry influence
In an editorial in the April 16 issue of JAMA, Catherine D.

Use of ghostwriters, guest authors appears frequent for studies involving rofecoxib
An examination of medical articles about rofecoxib and court documents from litigation related to this product indicates that company employees or other unacknowledged authors were frequently involved in writing clinical trial articles and review articles, but that primary authorship was often attributed to academically affiliated investigators who may have had little to do with the study, or who did not always disclose financial support from the sponsor of the study, according to an article in the April 16 issue of JAMA.

New study in JCSM finds that obesity can predict upper airway obstruction amongst children
In Australian children who snore, obesity, not age, is a significant, but only weak, predictor of upper airway obstruction during sleep.

5-alpha-reductase inhibitors and reduced prostate cancer risk: a mixed set of results
Compared to placebo treatment, taking 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) can reduce a man's risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer from around 5-9 percent to around 4-6 percent during up to 7 years of treatment, according to a new Cochrane Review.

Youth gangs -- a big issue with many theories but poor research
Youth gangs cause considerable personal and social damage worldwide, yet while there are many theories about how they form and how to prevent young people becoming involved, there is no evidence to back two of the key theories, according to the results of two Cochrane Systematic Reviews.

JCSM: A single subjective question can be an effective sleepiness screening tool
A single subjective question may be an effective screening tool for excessive daytime sleepiness.

NIH funds research that may lead to improved hearing for some
Electric-acoustic stimulation research by an Arizona State University professor could help discover important acoustic cues used to improve the hearing of certain profoundly hearing-impaired people.

Parkinson's drugs tradeoff: Better muscle control, worse side effects
Compared to older drugs for Parkinson disease, a newer class of medications called dopamine agonists might be better at preventing some of the disabling muscle control problems associated with the disease and its treatment, a new review concludes.

Homemade asthma-relief device could be an option for poor families
When an asthma attack occurs, many sufferers use a device -- a

A better fog and smoke machine from computer scientists at UC San Diego
UC San Diego computer scientists have created a fog and smoke machine for computer graphics that cuts the computational cost of making realistic smoky and foggy 3-D images, such as beams of light from a lighthouse piercing thick fog.

Think twice before using antibiotics for acute maxillary sinusitis
A Cochrane Systematic Review of medical research found that four out of five patients who are seen in primary care with simple sinusitis improved within two weeks even if they had not been given antibiotics.

Cultural identity shown to influence mental health in adolescents
The first prospective study investigating cultural identity and mental health status among adolescents living in a culturally diverse society has revealed that there is an association between the two, and that effects differ by gender and ethnic group.

2 new therapies show promise for cancer patients
Clinical researchers at Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen today announced the results of two clinical trials that show promise for patients battling cancer.

Husbands with OSA are more likely to adhere to CPAP if their wives share the bed
Although continuous positive airway pressure controls a husband's sleep-related obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, his treatment adherence is strongly related to his wife sharing the bed.

OFIENGINE: Improvements in maintenance and reliability of marine engines
Aiming to overcome the technical and economic limitations posed by current marine engines, INASMET-Tecnalia has launched the OFIENGINE project, specifically to increase the life cycle of a number of components of the exhaust system and of the engine overall by means of a new coating technology -- OFI or oxy-fuel ionization -- using thermal projection.

Community-based approach best bet to control free-roaming cats, survey suggests
A survey gauging Ohioans' attitudes about free-roaming cats suggests that no single statewide measure would be sufficient in managing cat overpopulation because public opinion about outdoor cats varies widely across the state.

Hereditary breast cancer -- a high cost to patient and health care provider alike
Some women who carry the BRCA gene mutation, which predisposes to breast cancer, may choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy rather than undertake lifetime surveillance.

No evidence that antioxidant supplements prolong life
Many people take antioxidants in the belief that they will prolong their life expectancy.

Children should not take antihistamines for chronic cough, reviewers say
Chronic cough can cut into children's sleep and fray parents' nerves.

Exercise combats cancer-related fatigue
When cancer and its treatments leave a patient with a relentless weariness of body and mind, exercise might help, according to a new review.

Aerobic exercise can increase mental fitness in older people
Aerobic physical exercises that aim to improve cardiovascular fitness also help boost how fast you can think, manual dexterity and how well you can concentrate on visual and auditory tasks, concludes a Cochrane Review.

NIST micro sensor and micro fridge make cool pair
Researchers at NIST have combined two of their tiny but powerful inventions on a single microchip, a cryogenic sensor and a microrefrigerator.

Naftidrofuryl can reduce leg pain
Patients with pain caused by narrowed arteries in their legs have 37 percent more pain-free walking if they take naftidrofuryl (200 mg three times a day) than those taking placebos, a Cochrane Review has found.

USC study finds evidence of gender-related differences in development of colon cancer
A new study by researchers at the University of Southern California has found evidence that supports gender-related differences in the development and survival of metastatic colon cancer.

Chinese club moss extract (Huperzine A) may improve cognition in Alzheimer's disease
Existing evidence suggests that patients with Alzheimer's disease who have taken Huperzine A have improved general cognitive function, global clinical status, functional performance and reduced behavioral disturbance compared to patients taking placebos.

Chemotherapy may not affect memory in breast cancer patients
Women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer frequently report problems with memory and concentration, but two new studies suggest that chemotherapy is not the cause of these problems, and the stress of the diagnosis may be.

UAB study shows investigational drug may treat biliary cancers
Laboratory studies by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have shown that the investigational drug triphendiol causes cell death in pancreatic and bile duct cancer cell lines, slows tumor growth and sensitizes tumors to chemotherapy treatments.

Faint heart sometimes wins fair lady
There is more to mating than beating up the competition, according to a new study in PLoS ONE.

UQ tops Smart State grants
UQ students will research new ways to treat tackle obesity, diabetes, cerebral palsy, iron disorders and food poisoning, using new Smart State Government grants announced this morning.

Prototype terahertz imager promises biochem advances
Researchers at NIST have demonstrated a new imaging system that detects naturally occurring terahertz radiation with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.

A potential sugar fix for tumors
Researchers at the Duke School of Medicine apparently have solved the riddle of why cancer cells like sugar so much, and it may be a mechanism that could lead to better cancer treatments.

Researchers bridge the 'terahertz gap' with new tunable metamaterial
A frequency-agile metamaterial that for the first time can be tuned over a range of frequencies in the so-called

Bikini corals recover from atomic blast
Half a century after the last Earth-shattering atomic blast shook the Pacific atoll of Bikini, the corals are flourishing again.

Stem cells: the role of cancer-initiating cells in diagnosis and treatment
Recent discoveries about the role of stem cells in cancer have altered the landscape of cancer research.

'Nanodrop' test tubes created with a flip of a switch
Researchers at NIST have demonstrated a new device that creates nanodroplet

Ensuring security for cognitive radio networks goal of CAREER award research
The radio spectrum is a limited resource, and the proliferation and success of wireless devices operating in unlicensed bands has led to overcrowding of those bands of the spectrum.

Argonne scientists develop techniques for creating molecular movies
They may never win an Oscar, but scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have developed techniques for creating accurate movies of biological and chemical molecules, a feat only theorized up until now.

Tracking and feedback registry helps reduce disparities in breast cancer care
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers presented a new study to evaluate the impact of a tracking and feedback registry on breast cancer surgery patients.

Combining liver cancer treatments doubles survival rates, UVA researchers find
By combining the use of stents and photodynamic therapy, also called SpyGlass, physicians at the University of Virginia have been able to significantly increase survival rates for patients suffering from advanced cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the liver bile duct.

Elsevier expands Procedures Consult with emergency medicine, orthopedics and anesthesia procedures
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today that it has added three new modules to Procedures Consult in orthopedics, anesthesia and emergency medicine.

Study finds media coverage of breast cancer focuses too little on prevention
News coverage of breast cancer focuses too much on treatments and not enough on prevention, a trend that could prove risky in the long run for many women, say researchers at Michigan State University.

Gravity wave 'smoking gun' fizzles, says Case Western Reserve University physics researchers
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University has found that gravitational radiation -- widely expected to provide

After heart complaints, heparin reduces heart attacks but increases minor bleeding
Compared with those on placebos, giving heparin to people who have heart conditions like unstable angina and some forms of heart attack reduces the risk of having another heart attack, concluded a Cochrane Systematic Review.

The drifting star
By studying in great detail the

NIST, Army researchers pave the way for anthrax spore standards
Researchers from NIST and the US Army Dugway Proving Ground have developed reliable methods based on DNA analysis to assess the concentration and viability of anthrax spores after prolonged storage.

Antioxidant users don't live longer, analysis of studies concludes
The vitamin industry has long touted antioxidants as a way to improve health by filling in gaps in diet, but a new review of studies found no evidence that the nutrition supplements extend life.

What Aristotle could teach your business
Public scandals, such as the Enron affair, the sub-prime mortgage problem, and the ensuing global credit crunch have led to dwindling confidence in the business world.

Researchers create the first thermal nanomotor in the world
Researchers from the UAB Research Park have created the first nanomotor that is propelled by changes in temperature.

Beyond the terminal: Palliative care
Palliative care was once reserved for patients when all curative options had been exhausted and death was imminent, but now it is considered an integral part of the care that should be available to patients with serious respiratory disorders and critical illnesses.

Prolonged fasting increases risk of rare type of stroke
Fasting during the month of Ramadan raises the risk of a rare type of stroke, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Air pollution affects respiratory health in children with asthma
A new study reports that inner-city children with asthma may be particularly vulnerable to air pollution at levels below current air quality standards.

Are sacrificial bacteria altruistic or just unlucky?
An investigation of processes accompanying spore formation in the bacteria B. subtilis shows that chance plays a significant role in determining which of the microbes sacrifice themselves for the colony and which go on to form spores.

Deep-sea sharks wired for sound
Deep-sea sharks have been tagged and tracked and their habitats precisely mapped in world-first research to test the conservation value of areas closed to commercial fishing.

JCI online early table of contents: April 15, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 15, 2008, in the JCI: Clearer day for gene therapy: new vector carries big genes linked to inherited blindness; Walking on AIRE: how the G228W AIRE mutation causes disease; ROCK solid: A key role for the protein ROCK1 in vessel wall damage; and others.

Study shows that high-dose, high-frequency interferon produces no additional benefit
Upon evaluation of baseline disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale scores showed no statistically significant differences between the two treatment groups during the prospective portion of the study, with sustained disability progression similar for both: 25.8 percent for AVONEX vs.

Mental stress reduces blood flow to the heart in patients with gene variation
University of Florida researchers induced stress in 148 patients with coronary artery disease by asking them to speak in public.

Vitamin E may help Alzheimer's patients live longer
People with Alzheimer's disease who take vitamin E appear to live longer than those who don't take vitamin E, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Immunotherapy: enlisting the immune system to fight cancer
Researchers are directing the body's immune system to shrink tumors and prevent new ones from forming.

Self seeding: An innovative management system
Winter cover crops provide important ecological functions, but their use in agronomic farming systems remains low.

Calorie restricted diet prevents pancreatic inflammation and cancer
Prevention of weight gain with a restricted calorie diet sharply reduced the development of pancreatic lesions that lead to cancer in pre-clinical research reported today by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas M.

EC infuses Serbian nuclear relic cleanup with critical donation
A global effort to remove dangerous spent fuel and decommission a Soviet-designed Serbian reactor on the outskirts of Belgrade cleared the second of three major funding hurdles.

Delayed cord clamping
Should you clamp the umbilical cord within a minute of birth or wait two or three minutes?

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the April 16 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Smithsonian scientists find evidence that could rewrite Hawaii's botanical history
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered data that suggests one of Hawaii's most dominant plants, Metrosideros, has been a resident of the islands far longer than previously believed.

AGI reports on the price of oil and the US dollar
The American Geological Institute Workforce Program has released its latest data report, this time looking at the price of crude oil and the exchange rate of the US dollar.

RSTMH president calls for reassessment of global health priorities
Professor David Molyneux used his inaugural address as President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene to challenge international health policymakers to radically reassess global health priorities to focus on neglected tropical diseases.

Novel drug delivery methods: getting drugs to tumors quickly and with less toxicity
As promising cancer therapies and drugs emerge, researchers strive to find ways to deliver them to patients with minimal side effects.

Oral drug, FTY720, reduces disease activity in Multiple Sclerosis
A drug that can be taken orally reduces the number of attacks people with multiple sclerosis have, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.

Webby Awards marks 'Planet Bob' video with 'Official Honoree' distinction
The Webby Awards, the leading international honor for the Web, recently cited

Dust mites outlast heroic efforts to help asthma patients
Asthma sufferers might as well stop wasting energy and money on labor-intensive or costly interventions to get rid of household dust.

Drugs in the pipeline: new therapies that could change treatment strategies
New drug compounds, and old ones put to new use, offer doctors and patients new hope for treating and preventing cancer.

GE Research named winner of 2008 INFORMS prize
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences last night announced the award of the INFORMS Prize to GE Research.

New journal publishes important insights into the mechanism of efficient biofuel production
Pretreatment is an essential step in the enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass and the production of bioethanol, which together with biodiesel is the principal alternative to fossil fuels.

Stopping hormone therapy did not reduce cancer risk for African-Americans
The decreased incidence of invasive breast cancer in the United States seen in 2002 and 2003 did not extend to women of African ancestry but was confined to Caucasians.

Splints good as casts for minor wrist fractures -- when kids wear them
Removable splints and plaster casts appears to be equally safe and effective for treating minor

JCSM: A high frequency of sleep-related breathing disorders in hospitalized patients
There is a high frequency of sleep-related breathing disorders in hospitalized patients referred for polysomnography, also known as an overnight sleep test, especially in patients with underlying cardiopulmonary disease.

No difference in sleep of OSA patients studied in a hospital vs. a hotel-based sleep center
A study published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine finds no significant difference in sleep parameters associated with the first-night effect in patients undergoing sleep studies in a hotel and a hospital-based sleep laboratory.

Health disparities: genetics plays an important role in cancer detection, prognosis among minorities
Research reported at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 12-16, suggests that poorer outcomes for breast cancer and prostate cancer among minorities may be due to biologic factors.

Space radiation may cause prolonged cellular damage to astronauts
With major implications for long-duration space travel, a study from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center demonstrates that the high-energy radiation found in space may lead to premature aging and prolonged oxidative stress in cells.

How big is your brain? Its size may protect you from memory loss
From autopsies, researchers have long known that some people die with sharp minds and perfect memories, but their brains riddled with the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer's disease.

In blood vessel stents, innovative materials allow better control, delivery of gene therapy
Before gene therapy becomes practical for treating human diseases, researchers must master the details of safe and effective delivery.

EPFL Research Day 2008, in the presence of Al Gore
As a continuation of their collaboration with Generation Investment Management, the private bankers Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie announce today the creation of a new chair at EPFL dedicated to sustainable development.

Disturbances in brain circuitry linked to chronic exposure to solvents
Chronic occupational exposure to organic solvents, found in materials such as paints, printing and dry cleaning agents, is widespread all over the world, and is thought to damage the central nervous system.

St. Jude gene study reveals basis of anticancer drug resistance in childhood leukemia
The first analysis of the genetic determinants of resistance to the anti-cancer drug methotrexate in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia could offer a pathway to predicting such resistance and treatments to overcome it, according to a St.

Dopamine agonists reduce motor complications in Parkinson's disease, but increase other side effects
Dopamine agonists are increasingly used to treat people with Parkinson's disease, but there is a debate about how well they work.

Improving care and knowledge in translational research to fight breast cancer
European breast cancer specialists have taken a significant step forward in the fight against breast cancer by bringing together world leaders in breast cancer research and treatment at an innovative European scientific meeting, IMPAKT (IMProving cAre and Knowledge in Translational research).

Clearer day for gene therapy: New vector carries big genes linked to inherited blindness
For some inherited diseases, one barrier to successful gene therapy is that a commonly used vector (package into which the curative gene is placed) cannot accommodate the large size of the curative gene.

Early clinical trial results back new drug for melanoma
Preliminary but encouraging findings from a Phase 0 human clinical trial of a melanoma drug were reported during a plenary session at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego.

Computer game helps COPD patients breathe better
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may gain better control over their breathing and breathe more efficiently by using their breath to play a computer game, according to new research.

Risk of death from rofecoxib in some trials may have been misrepresented by study sponsor
A comparison of internal company documents, data submitted by the company to the FDA, and published clinical trial results indicates that the risk-benefit profile of rofecoxib in clinical trials involving patients with cognitive impairment may have been misrepresented by study sponsor Merck, according to an article in the April 16 issue of JAMA.

UMass Medical School researcher Victor Ambros receives Gairdner Award, Franklin Medal
UMass Medical School professor of molecular medicine Victor Ambros, Ph.D., whose discovery of microRNAs opened a dramatic new world of investigation into developmental biology, will receive the 2008 Gairdner International Award, considered one of the most prestigious in science.
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