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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | October 23, 2008


The risk to John McCain's life from his history of melanoma
The threat to US presidential candidate John McCain's life posed by his history of the skin cancer melanoma is detailed in correspondence published in this week's edition of the Lancet.
Wetlands expert: China should think outside the flooding box with Three Gorges Dam
China's farmers and merchants should take advantage of new opportunities that could help mitigate some effects of the annual flooding behind the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.
Development puts an end to the evolution of endless forms
Researchers have put forward a simple model of development and gene regulation that is capable of explaining patterns observed in the distribution of morphologies and body plans (or, more generally, phenotypes).
Springer to collaborate with American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Starting in January 2009, Springer will publish the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics in cooperation with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
International science community to establish global virtual library for scientific data
The existing networks for collecting, storing and distributing data in many areas of science are inadequate and not designed to enable the interdisciplinary research that is necessary to meet major global challenges.
JCI table of contents: Oct. 23, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Oct.
Study finds BRAF mutations in colorectal cancer cause resistance to anti-EGFR therapy
European researchers have found that metastatic colorectal cancer patients with a mutation in the BRAF gene do not respond to anti-EGFR therapy with cetuximab and panitumumab.
Secrets from within planets pave way for cleaner energy
Research that has provided a deeper understanding into the center of planets could also provide the way forward in the world's quest for cleaner energy.
Oral fumarate reduces disease activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
A phase II trial has shown oral fumarate substantially reduces the MRI-disease activity associated with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and the results of phase III studies are now awaited.
How to treat pelvic sepsis after stapled hemorrhoidopexy?
Stapled hemorrhoidopexy is a surgical technique for grade III and IV hemorrhoids.
Mechanism in cells that generate malignant brain tumors may offer target for gene therapy
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute who first isolated cancer stem cells in adult brain tumors in 2004 have now identified a molecular mechanism that is involved in the development of these cells from which malignant brain tumors may originate.
Researchers downplay MRSA screening as effective infection control intervention
Three Virginia Commonwealth University epidemiologists are downplaying the value of mandatory universal nasal screening of patients for MRSA, arguing that proven, hospital-wide infection control practices can prevent more of the potentially fatal infections.
Green practices: When do corporations respond to stakeholders' pressure?
Researchers explain when external stakeholders can influence organizations to adopt greener management practices.
IT outsourcing could benefit rural hospitals, researchers find
Patients expect the most up-to-date equipment and technology at hospitals, regardless of the institution's size or budget.
Overweight women find health care access and attitudes a constant struggle
Shame, embarrassment, distress, anger. Those are just some of the emotions overweight women expressed when they were asked to talk about their health care experiences.
US Department of Energy announces $7 million in funding for climate research field studies
The Department of Energy's Office of Science has selected four proposals to conduct climate research field studies in 2010.
Gladstone scientists find potential strategy to eliminate poisonous protein from Alzheimer brains
Gladstone scientists discovered that the activity of a potent AB-degrading enzyme can be unleashed in mouse models of the disease by reducing its natural inhibitor cystatin C.
The risk factors of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in HCV patients
A group from Toranomon Hospital of Japan investigated the cumulative development incidence and predictive factors for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in HCV positive patients.
The human brain minimizes energy expenditure and integrates gravity in to the action plan
When reaching for an object, the brain prepares neural commands sent to the target muscles to minimize energy expenditure, according to a study published in PLoS Computational Biology by neuroscientists and mathematicians from the INSERM and ENSTA.
Memory function varies after damage to key area of the brain
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered dramatic differences in the memory performance of patients with damage to the hippocampus, an area of the human brain key to memory.
Europe moves to strengthen its science and engineering labor base
The number of science graduates has been declining over most of Europe but there are no short term solutions to reverse a trend that threatens the continent's longer term prosperity and competitiveness.
News bits about qubits
Another step towards quantum computing -- the Holy Grail of data processing and storage -- was achieved when an international team of scientists were able to store and retrieve information using the nucleus of an atom.
Major source of radon exposure overlooked at former Ohio uranium-processing plant
University of Cincinnati scientists say that a recent scientific study of a now-closed uranium processing plant near Cincinnati has identified a second, potentially more significant source of radon exposure for former workers.
Depression during pregnancy can double risk of preterm delivery
Depressed pregnant women have twice the risk of preterm delivery than pregnant women with no symptoms of depression, finds a Kaiser Permanente study in Oxford University Press's journal Human Reproduction.
Community-based organizations link uninsured with potential providers
Most people receive health coverage through their place of employment.
Phase IIb data show that BG-12 significantly reduced brain lesions in multiple sclerosis
Biogen Idec today announced the publication of Phase IIb data showing that a 240 mg three-times-daily dose of the company's novel oral compound, BG-12 reduced the number of new gadolinium enhancing lesions by 69 percent in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis when compared to treatment with placebo.
The science of speed -- how world-class UK research is behind the fastest car in the world
World-class UK research is helping to build the fastest car in the world thanks to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Avian flu threat: New approach needed
As the first globally co-ordinated plan for the planet's gravest health threats is hatched by government ministers from around the world this weekend, a new report sets out a 10-point plan for this new, globalized approach to infectious diseases such as avian flu.
Penn State gets $5M NSF grant for Nanotech Applications and Career Knowledge
Penn State will receive $5 million over four years from the National Science Foundation to establish a National Center for Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge.
$100,000 prize awarded to winner of Star Challenge at Fusionopolis
The team from the National University of Singapore clinched the top prize of $100,000 in this first-of-its-kind global competition to encourage development of next-generation multimedia search engine technologies.
ORNL nanotechnologies big winners in DOE call
Eight Oak Ridge National Laboratory nanomanufacturing technologies have won $8.4 million in funding from the DOE's Industrial Technologies Program.
Panel advocates improved understanding of hepatitis B and screening of high-risk populations
Management of hepatitis B is a challenge for physicians and patients due to an incomplete understanding of the disease course, complex treatment indications, and the lack of large studies focusing on important health outcomes.
An effective method to study the pressure of the Sphincter of Oddi
The Sphincter of Oddi Manometry is the gold standard for examining the Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.
Diversity of trees in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest defies simple explanation
Trees in a hyper-diverse tropical rainforest interact with each other and their environment to create and maintain diversity, researchers report in the Oct.
The groundbreaking science behind what aims to be the fastest vehicle of all time
When Andy Green puts his foot on the accelerator and tries to break the land speed record in 2011 he can be sure that some of the UK's top scientists have done everything possible to make sure he achieves his goal, and is safe in the process.
Are bone marrow mononuclear cells effective in reducing hepatic lesions?
In this study, they used an experimental model of hepatic fibrogenesis caused by chronic infection with S.mansoni in order to evaluate the contribution of cellular therapy in hepatic diseases.
Natural and social sciences: ICSU embraces the need to work more closely together
Natural and social sciences must work together to help solve some of the most pressing issues facing society.
Leeds engineers' crucial role in land speed record attempt
Engineers from University of Leeds spin-out company Instrumentel Ltd. have played a crucial role in the next attempt to break the land speed record, announced today.
Tiny juvenile dinosaur fossil sheds light on evolution of plant eaters
Scientists from London, Cambridge and Chicago have identified one of the smallest dinosaur skulls ever discovered as coming from a very young Heterodontosaurus, an early dinosaur.
Potent greenhouse gas more prevalent in atmosphere than previously assumed
Compound used in manufacture of flat panel televisions, computer displays, microcircuits, solar panels is 17,000 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Racialization of drugs mobilizes prior conceptions of identity
If we want to fully understand the allure of pharmaceuticals, we need to look beyond both medical efficacy and profit motives.
China -- great hopes for the future of health care, yet other issues must be tackled
The lead editorial in this week's Lancet discusses the future of health care in China.
Study finds genomic changes in the brains of people who commit suicide
New light is being shed on the complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors as the result of growth in the field of epigenetics.
UCLA develops safer, more effective TB vaccine for HIV-positive people
UCLA scientists engineered a new tuberculosis vaccine specifically designed for HIV-positive people that was shown to be safer and more potent than the current TB vaccine in pre-clinical trials.
Genome-wide study uncovers an increase of genetic distances towards Northern Europe
The study, led by Dr. Päivi Lahermo from Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and University of Helsinki, Finland, and professor Juha Kere from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, shows that genetic differences in Central Europe appear smaller than between and even within North European populations.
2 drugs are better than 1 at targeting tumors with B-RAF mutations
Although drugs known as MEK inhibitors stop the growth of human tumor cells characterized by B-RAF gene mutations, they do not efficiently kill the tumor cells.
Green tea may delay onset of type 1 diabetes
A powerful antioxidant in green tea may prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.
First gene for clubfoot identified at Washington University School of Medicine
Clubfoot, one of the most common birth defects, has long been thought to have a genetic component.
Global science community affirms its responsibilities in science and its role in society
In the light of recent high profile cases of scientific misconduct, the General Assembly of the International Council for Science today reaffirmed the universal values that should guide the conduct of science.
Research uncovers new steps on pathway to enlarged heart
Researchers have new insight into the mechanisms that underlie a pathological increase in the size of the heart.
Early trial of new multi-kinase inhibitor shows impressive activity in thyroid cancer
Preliminary trials of a new multi-kinase inhibitor have indicated it has impressive tumor shrinkage activity in patients with a difficult to treat type of thyroid cancer.
DFG continues to strengthen biodiversity research
New Senate commission will network projects and advise policymakers.
NIH grants $55 million in institutional development awards
The National Institutes of Health will provide an estimated $55 million over the next five years to fund five Institutional Development Awards that will support thematic research centers in Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska and New Mexico.
Cancer vaccine shows promise in patients with bowel, kidney and prostate cancer
Analysis of data from several phase I and II clinical trials of a new cancer vaccine has shown it is capable of eliciting an immune response in most patients with bowel, kidney and prostate cancer, and that it may provide clinical benefit.
Magic solar milestone reached
The University of New South Wales has again asserted its leadership in solar cell technology by reporting the first silicon solar cell to achieve 25 percent efficiency following a revision of the international standard.
New promising obesity drug may have huge potential
According to trials, a new obesity drug, Tesofensine, which may be launched on the world market in a few years, can produce weight loss twice that of currently approved obesity drugs.
Biophysical Society selects 2009 Distinguished Service, Emily M. Gray and Society Fellow recipients
The Biophysical Society is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2009 Distinguished Service Award and the Emily M.
Research identifies new link between tart cherries and risk factors for heart disease
New research continues to link tart cherries, one of today's hottest
Study examines repeated exposure to HIV in treatment-suppressed HIV patients
Study results showed that individuals who had regular unprotected receptive anal intercourse with partners with significant levels of HIV in their blood showed a stronger anti-HIV immune response.
Female plant 'communicates' rejection or acceptance of male
Without eyes or ears, plants must rely on the interaction of molecules to determine appropriate mating partners and avoid inbreeding.
JHU chemists devise self-assembling 'organic wires'
Chemists have created water-soluble electronic materials that spontaneously assemble themselves into tiny
DOE, ORNL helping industry use less energy
Four Oak Ridge National Laboratory technologies to improve energy efficiency in industry have won funding from the Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program.
Post-cardiac arrest care key to survival
Medical care after cardiac arrest can lower the death rate and improve functional outcome for patients.
Deprived of a sense of smell, worms live longer
Many animals live longer when raised on low calorie diets.
GUMC and Oak Ridge National Labs announce unique research partnership
Georgetown University Medical Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced today an agreement between the institutions that will help facilitate additional biomedical research projects among faculty colleagues.
The sociological 'contexts' of politics in 2008
The high drama of the 2008 presidential election has provided ample fodder for sociological analysis in the fall issue of the American Sociological Association's Contexts magazine, which features politically themed feature articles from leading sociologists who are available to comment on election-related topics.
Parkinson's Disease Foundation announces award of $150,000
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation is pleased to announce an award of $150,000 toward investigations studying the potential of individualized stem cell therapy to treat Parkinson's disease.
Making flies sick reveals new role for growth factors in immunity
A salmonella infection is not a positive experience. However, by infecting the common laboratory fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster with a Salmonella strain known for causing humans intestinal grief, researchers in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University have shed light on some key cell regulatory processes -- with broad implications for understanding embryonic development, immune function and congenital diseases in humans.
Protein compass guides amoebas toward their prey
Amoebas glide toward their prey with the help of a protein switch that controls a molecular compass, biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered.
US doctors regularly prescribe real drugs as placebo treatments
Many rheumatologists and general internal medicine physicians in the US say they regularly prescribe
With hot coffee, we see a warm heart, Yale researchers find
In the current issue of the journal Science, Yale University psychologists show that people judged others to be more generous and caring if they had just held a warm cup of coffee and less so if they had held an iced coffee.
The HPV vaccine that doctors would recommend
Despite the government's decision to choose the vaccine Cervarix for the UK human papillomavirus vaccination program, every doctor have spoken to has chosen Gardasil for their own children, says a doctor on bmj.com today.
Study finds that practice makes perfect in lung cancer surgery
Patients operated on by surgeons who do not routinely remove cancer from the lungs may be at a higher risk for complications, according to a study conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.
Nearly half of US states fail on emergency plan communication, new study shows
Seven years after Sept. 11, and in the wake of many major natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes and flooding, nearly half of US states either have no state-level emergency plan or do not provide it readily to the public, reveals a new study by George Mason University communication professor Carl Botan.
If your systolic stinks, 'rotten egg' gas may be why
Anyone with a nose knows the rotten-egg odor of hydrogen sulfide, a gas generated by bacteria living in the human colon.
What is the function of NOD2 in colonic epithelial cells?
Mutations in the Nucleotide oligomerisation domain 2 alleles are associated with increased risk of developing Crohn's disease.
Cardiac risk estimates differ for Christian and Muslim patients
In a study of medical students, more serious cardiac risk estimates were given to Christians and less serious estimates for Muslims despite the patients being otherwise identical in their characteristics and symptoms, according to research in an upcoming issue of Medical Decision Making published by SAGE.
The good vibrations of nearby stars
Some of the first data collected by the CoRoT space telescope mission, launched in December 2006, provides valuable information about the physical vibrations and surface characteristics of nearby stars that are similar to our sun, researchers say.
Spirituality protects against depression better than church attendance
Researchers at Temple University have found that the different ways people worship a higher power can offer some insight into their risk for depression.
Novel marker of colon cancer
The studies examined the gene profiles in non-invasive and invasive colon cancer using laser microdissection and polypeptide analysis.
Study: Elderly women can increase strength but still risk falls
Elderly women can increase muscle strength as much as young women can, a new study from the University of New Hampshire finds, indicating that decline in muscle function is less a natural part of the aging process than due to a decline in physical activity.
Annual Bibliography of Significant Advances in Dietary Supplement Research 2007
The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health announces the release of the ninth issue of the Annual Bibliography of Significant Advances in Dietary Supplement Research.
CU-Boulder research finds link between physical and interpersonal warmth
People appear to trust others more when they experience physical warmth, according to new research by of University of Colorado at Boulder assistant professor Lawrence E.
Innovative strategies for war wounded
The New Jersey Center for Biomaterials will host the 9th New Jersey Symposium on Biomaterials Science and Regenerative Medicine, Oct.
Mouse genes guide search for human anxiety disorder genes
A new genetic association study, appearing in the Oct. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry, evaluated genes that may be associated with the risk for human anxiety disorders.
UC San Diego to lead nationwide program in pharmacogenomics
The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, will collaborate with the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to promote PharmGenEd, in an educational campaign to more than 100,000 pharmacy practitioners and students across the country.
A new insight on ethanol-induced gastric mucosa injury
Drinking exaggerates the damage of gastric mucosa. A research group in China investigated the alteration of mitochondrial genome in gastric epithelial cells affected by acute or chronic drinking.
Origin of root offshoots revealed
VIB researchers have discovered the substance that governs the formation of root offshoots in plants, and how it works.

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