Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2009
Drugs for children are not safe enough
Drugs are regularly prescribed to children in outpatient care that have not been licensed for children.

Developing countries need support to ethically conduct unlinked anonymous HIV testing
Data collected from HIV surveillance are crucial to guide public health interventions, planning, and prevention efforts.

Clinical trials: Unfavorable results often go unpublished
Trials showing a positive treatment effect, or those with important or striking findings, were much more likely to be published in scientific journals than those with negative findings, a new review from the Cochrane Library has found.

Excessive weight loss can be a bad thing
Beware of unexplained and sudden weight loss, warns a Saint Louis University physician.

Blocked protein prevents Lupus in mouse model
Mice from a strain that ordinarily develops systemic lupus erythematosus, but bred with a deficiency in receptor for the protein Interleukin 21, stayed healthy and exhibited none of the symptoms of the disease, researchers at the Jackson Laboratory and National Institutes of Health report.

Impaired kidney function raises risk of heart problems in the elderly
A study published next week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine suggests that elderly people with damaged kidneys are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure and stroke, and other causes of mortality.

Acupuncture stops headaches, but 'faked' treatments work almost as well
Headache sufferers can benefit from acupuncture, even though how and where acupuncture needles are inserted may not be important.

Nutritional supplementation program helps prevent weight loss among children in African country
Children in Niger who received a daily nutritional supplement for three months had a lower rate of weight loss and a reduced risk of wasting compared to children who did not receive the supplementation, according to a study in the Jan.

School-based physical activity: Has benefits even if it doesn't help lose weight
School-based health and exercise programs have positive outcomes despite having little effect on children's weight or the amount of exercise they do outside of school, say Cochrane Researchers who carried out a systematic review of studies on physical activity programs in schools.

New agreement opens avenues for strengthening Indian rice research
An international agreement signed Jan. 20, 2009, between the International Rice Research Institute and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research will support and facilitate India's rice research for the next 3 years, helping the nation's rice production at a time of unprecedented price volatility and subsequent need for the revitalization of food production.

Anxious older adults may benefit from antidepressants
Many older adults worry -- a lot. Almost one in 10 Americans over age 60 suffer from an anxiety disorder that causes them to worry excessively about normal things -- like health, finances, disability and family.

Reptile fossil reignites debate over New Zealand submergence
The fossil of a lizard-like New Zealand reptile has been identified by a team of scientists from UCL (University College London), University of Adelaide, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Looking at the major threats to the world's oceans
Timely, well-informed and exhaustively referenced,

Pathogenic soil bacterium is influenced by land management practices
Researchers from Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Australia, have found that the soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes the emerging infectious disease melioidosis in humans and animals, is associated with land management changes such as livestock husbandry or residential gardening.

BGU and Primafuel announce exclusive licensing agreement for algae-based renewable fuels
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a world leader in algae production commercialization, has announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar technology-licensing and development agreement with Primafuel, Inc., a California-based company that develops renewable fuels.

Binge drinking leads to a greater risk of preterm birth
A new study from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has revealed the consequences of heavy and binge drinking on pregnancy even after these drinking patterns have stopped.

Vulnerable children fare well with relatives
Placing vulnerable children with relatives is a viable option, a new study by Cochrane Researchers suggests.

Frogs are being eaten to extinction: new study
The global trade in frog legs for human consumption is threatening their extinction, according to a new study by an international team including University of Adelaide researchers.

Global study shows people with schizophrenia both expect and experience discrimination
People with schizophrenia experience discrimination from family members, while looking for or trying to stay in employment, and while trying to make and keep friends.

'Astronaut food' malaria tests promise better diagnoses in developing world
Bioengineers have created a credit-card sized tool can be stored for months and then used to test for malaria.

Fish out of water
A new species of catfish from tropical South America combines traits typically found in two related but different catfish families.

Anakinra for rheumatoid arthritis: A modest benefit with some risk
New research supports a modest beneficial effect of anakinra for rheumatoid arthritis patients, but warns against potential risks for serious infections and its use with other biologic medications.

Abnormal heart function associated with reduced capacity for exercise
Patients with abnormal diastolic function (when the heart is relaxed and expanded) in the left ventricle of the heart have a substantially lower maximum capacity for exercise, according to a study in the Jan.

Body dysmorphic disorder: Research on effective treatments still lacking
Medication and psychotherapy may be beneficial for patients suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

Project MARGO: A new tool which improves the reliability of climate models
An international team of researchers, including Antoni Rosell, ICREA researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology and professor of the department of geology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, have created MARGO (Multiproxy Approach for the Reconstruction of the Glacial Ocean Surface), a new quantitative tool which reconstructs the sea surface temperature during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Many of China's 140 million old people find the crowd to be lonely
China's rapid economic and social change has caused its pensioners to feel lonely and alienated, a new study suggests.

Preterm birth: Magnesium sulphate cuts cerebral palsy risk
Magnesium sulphate protects very premature babies from cerebral palsy, a new study shows.

Native lizards evolve to escape attacks by fire ants
Native fence lizards in the southeastern United States are adapting to potentially fatal invasive fire-ant attacks by developing behaviors that enable them to escape from the ants, as well as by developing longer hind legs, which can increase the effectiveness of this behavior.

The un-favorite child
Adults who recall their parents being more lenient with siblings can still grow to be generally happy, thanks to personality type and life experience, says a Temple University study.

Surviving dance club music (noise) with hearing intact
By tweaking a system in the ear that limits how much sound is heard, a global team of researchers has discovered one alteration that shows that the ability of the ear to turn itself down contributes to protecting against permanent hearing loss.

Engineered virus targets and kills apparent cancer stem cells in neuroblastoma
After identifying an apparent population of cancer stem cells for neuroblastoma, researchers successfully used a reprogrammed herpes virus to block tumor formation in mice by targeting and killing the cells.

Magnesium sulphate protects babies against cerebral palsy
Giving pregnant mothers magnesium sulphate when they are at risk of very preterm birth can help protect their babies from cerebral palsy, according to an international review of research involving the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Stop traffic crashes: Switch on the lights
Street lighting provides a simple, low cost means of stemming the global epidemic of road traffic death and injury.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Jan. 21 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Child and adolescent obesity: Family-based programs including behavior therapy can work
Family-based lifestyle interventions that not only modify diet and physical activity but also include behavior therapy programs can help obese children lose weight and maintain that loss for at least six months.

School performance and body weight affects kids' self-esteem, study shows
It's well-known that within the adult population body weight and self esteem are very much inter related.

Low-carbohydrate diet burns more excess liver fat than low-calorie diet, UT Southwestern study finds
People on low-carbohydrate diets are more dependent on the oxidation of fat in the liver for energy than those on a low-calorie diet, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a small clinical study.

Microbot motors fit to swim human arteries
A research paper, published today, Tuesday, Jan. 20, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering details how researchers are harnessing piezoelectricity, the energy force most commonly used to trigger-start a gas stove, to produce microbot motors just 250 micrometers, a quarter of a millimeter, wide.

Orphaned elephants forced to forge new bonds decades after ivory ban
An African elephant never forgets -- especially when it comes to the loss of its kin, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

Medication may provide some benefit for older adults with anxiety disorder
Preliminary research suggests that use of the drug escitalopram provided some improvement in symptoms for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder, although the overall benefits were diminished because of nonadherence to the drug by some patients, according to a study in the Jan.

Faces and race
Researchers from Brown University and University of Victoria have determined that racial bias can be reduced by teaching people to differentiate facial features better in individuals of a different race.

Transit search finds Super-Neptune
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have discovered a planet somewhat larger and more massive than Neptune orbiting a star 120 light-years from Earth.

BBVA Foundation Award in Development Cooperation
The awards, whose selection process is scientifically advised by the National Research Council, take in eight categories carrying a cash prize of 400,000 euros each.

Indiana University discovery may provide new approach to HIV treatment
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have identified a potential new target in the war on HIV/AIDS.

Bacterial pathogens and rising temperatures threaten coral health
Coral reefs around the world are in serious trouble from pollution, over-fishing, climate change and more.

South African policy on adolescents' rights to access condoms is causing confusion
In 2007, South Africa's new Children's Act came into effect, granting children 12 years and older a host of rights relating to reproductive health, including the right to access condoms.

Robo-surgery: As safe and capable as a human assistant in key-hole gallbladder removal
Using a robotic assistant to remove a patient's gallbladder by key-hole surgery (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) is as safe as working with a human assistant, a Cochrane Review has concluded.

Virtual reality: Keyhole surgeons training could help meet European working time directives
Trainee surgeons who add virtual-reality training to standard

Mayo Clinic researchers find experimental therapy turns on tumor suppressor gene in cancer cells
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that the experimental drug they are testing to treat a deadly form of thyroid cancer turns on a powerful tumor suppressor capable of halting cell growth.

A pest that knows no borders
Farmers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina join forces to suppress one of the world's most destructive farm pests, the Mediterranean fruit fly, by using the Sterile Insect Technique.
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