Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 09, 2009
Anti-HIV gel shows promise in large-scale study in women
An investigational vaginal gel intended to prevent HIV infection in women has demonstrated encouraging signs of success in a clinical trial conducted in Africa and the United States.

First genome-wide expression analysis yields better understanding of how leukemia develops
In a collaborative study published Feb. 9, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists performed a genome-wide expression analysis comparing highly enriched normal blood stem cells and leukemic stem cells, and identified several new pathways that have a key role in cancer development.

Physicians may face challenging workplace conditions in clinics serving minority patients
Primary care clinics with a higher proportion of minority patients appear to have more adverse physician workplace conditions and challenging organizational characteristics, according to a report in the Feb.

Ongoing statin therapy associated with lower risk of death
Patients with high cholesterol levels who continually take statins appear to have a lower risk of death over four to five years, regardless of whether they already have diagnosed heart disease, according to a report in the Feb.

Black women with uterine cancers more likely to die than white patients
Black women with cancers of the uterus are less likely to survive the disease than white women, and relatively little progress has been made over the past two decades to narrow this racial difference.

No joy in discoveries of new mammal species -- only a warning for humanity, Paul Ehrlich says
In the era of global warming, when many scientists say we are experiencing a human-caused mass extinction to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs, one might think that the discovery of a host of new species would be cause for joy.

MIT: Multiple genes implicated in autism
By pinpointing two genes that cause autism-like symptoms in mice, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have shown for the first time that multiple, interacting genetic risk factors may influence the severity of autistic symptoms.

Autism Consortium members publish in PNAS: Mechanism, treatment for Rett syndrome -- top cause autism girls
Several Autism Consortium members from MIT and the Whitehead Institute published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that demonstrates for the first time a mechanism for Rett syndrome, the leading cause of autism in girls, and a therapeutic that could be directly applicable to humans.

A wave of support for satellite research in Western Pacific
The Office of Naval Research awarded a $3.75 million grant to support satellite based research on internal waves and typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean.

Dr. Huda Zoghbi to receive 2009 Vilcek Prize in biomedical research
Internationally renowned scientist Dr. Huda Zoghbi, a pioneer in the study of Rett Syndrome and related autism spectrum disorders, will receive the 2009 Vilcek Prize in biomedical science.

Happy hospitals make happy patients
Imagine a hospital where morale is high, employee turnover is low and patient call buttons rarely go unanswered -- and if they do, you can call the hospital's CEO.

Make hearts happy this Valentine's Day -- Enjoy the healthy passion of chocolate
Nothing says Valentine's Day like a big chocolate heart. While overindulging leads to calorie concerns, the right amounts of the right kinds of chocolate can actually make your valentine feel and even look better.

Body's defenses may worsen chronic lung diseases in smokers
Although the immune system is designed to protect the body from harm, it may actually worsen one of the most difficult-to-treat respiratory diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, according to new University of Cincinnati research.

Multivitamin use not associated with women's risk of cancer, heart disease or death
Postmenopausal women who take multivitamins appear to have the same risk of most common cancers, cardiovascular disease or dying of any cause as women who do not take multivitamin supplements, according to a report in the Feb.

UC Davis malaria researcher wins Reeves New Investigator Award
Malaria researcher Win Surachetpong, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis, is the 2009 winner of the William C.

The Hsp90-Antifungal Combo, please: Compromising fungi in the immunocompromised
Even the most drug-resistant fungi can be eradicated in multiple in vitro and in vivo models using a lethal combination of an antifungal agent and inhibition of a specific heat shock protein (Hsp90).

Link found between influenza, absolute humidity
A new study by Oregon researchers has found a significant correlation between

Carbon acts like rustoleum around hydrothermal vents
The cycling of iron throughout the oceans has been an area of intense research for the last two decades.

Study questions effectiveness of $80 million per year 'brain exercise' products industry
A new study from Lifespan evaluated the research to date on the impact of cognitive training on the healthy elderly population.

Pregnancy has no impact on breast cancer, but can delay diagnosis and treatment
A new study finds women who develop breast cancer while pregnant or soon afterwards do not experience any differences in disease severity or likelihood of survival compared to other women with breast cancer.

New ORNL tool gets handle on cropland CO2 emissions
For the first time, farmers have data that tracks at the county level on-site and off-site energy use and carbon dioxide emissions associated with growing crops in the United States.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 9, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Repeated mass vaccination campaigns needed to reduce measles deaths and illness in Africa
The battle to continue reducing measles deaths and illness in Africa is one that can only be won with high measles vaccination coverage, achieved through repeated mass vaccination campaigns and high routine vaccine coverage.

New genomic test can personalize breast cancer treatment
A set of 50 genes can be used to reliably identify the four known types of breast cancer, according to research conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Marijuana use linked to increased risk of testicular cancer
Frequent and/or long-term marijuana use may significantly increase a man's risk of developing the most aggressive type of testicular cancer.

Scientists uncover a dramatic rise in sea level and its broad ramifications
Scientists have found proof in Bermuda that the planet's sea level was once more than 70 feet higher about 400,000 years ago than it is now.

UF study: Rapid burst of flowering plants set stage for other species
A new University of Florida study based on DNA analysis from living flowering plants shows that the ancestors of most modern trees diversified extremely rapidly 90 million years ago, ultimately leading to the formation of forests that supported similar evolutionary bursts in animals and other plants.

Volunteer work in grade schools produces persistent health benefit for older black women
A Johns Hopkins study reveals that older black women who spend time with young children in the classroom are not only more active than similar women who don't volunteer, but seem to stay active.

Singapore-US scientists first to develop revolutionary microchip that uses 30 times less energy
Leaving your mobile phone charger at home when you go for a two week long vacation may just be the norm one day as scientists from Nanyang Technological University and Rice University have successfully created a microchip that uses 30 times less electricity while running seven times faster than today's best technology.

First laboratory experiment to accurately model stellar jets explains mysterious 'knots'
Some of the most breathtaking objects in the cosmos are the jets of matter streaming out of stars, but astrophysicists have long been at a loss to explain how these jets achieve their varied shapes.

Immunosuppressant medication may be cost-effective for dry eye syndrome
A topical eye emulsion consisting of cyclosporine (a medication used to reduce transplant rejections or to treat arthritis and psoriasis) may be a cost-effective treatment for dry eye syndrome that does not respond to other therapies, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

High blood pressure control continues to improve in England
Awareness, treatment and control of high blood pressure have increased significantly in England.

New test for breast cancer will help guide treatment choices
One in eight women in the United States will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime, and it is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women.

Drug discovery short-circuits cancer growth
A new drug that blocks cancer's main source of growth has been created in the lab and proven effective in mice, UCSF scientists are reporting.

Project uses cell phones as computers in the classroom
Educational software for cell phones, a suite of tools developed at the University of Michigan, is being used to turn smart phones into personal computers for students in two Texas classrooms.

Pediatrics study: Involve adolescents in end-of-life medical decisions
Conversations between adolescents suffering from chronic illnesses and their families about end-of-life wishes well before a serious event occurs won't discourage hope for recovery or cause additional emotional or mental harm to young patients, according to new research from Children's National Medical Center and St.

New IEEE-USA president shares members' concerns about their careers
IEEE-USA, a professional US engineering association, sees a challenging year ahead for US IEEE members, and is looking for ways to assist its members through career resources and public policy.

Scientists report gene network in early tooth development
Scientists report they have deduced a network of dental genes in fish that likely was present to build the first tooth some half a billion years ago.

Smokers would rather give up for their pooch's health rather than their own
Smokers are more likely to quit smoking for the sake of their pets' health than they are for their own, suggests research published ahead of print in Tobacco Control.

Substantial undercooling brings about microstructural change for ternary eutectic alloy
Research, has shown that the substantial undercooling of liquid state brings about novel microstructural transition for Al-Cu-Si ternary eutectic alloy.

Batteries get a boost at Rice
Rice University researchers have created hybrid carbon nanotube metal oxide arrays as electrode material that may improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries.

Study finds pregnancy has no impact on breast cancer survival, delays treatment, diagnosis
Young women who develop breast cancer during their pregnancy, or who are diagnosed within one year of their pregnancy, have no difference in rates of local recurrence, distant metastases and overall survival compared to other young women with the disease, according to researchers at the University of Texas M.

Long-term use of popular inhalers increases risk of pneumonia for COPD patients
Newly published research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine finds that a popular class of anti-inflammatory inhalers significantly increases the risk of pneumonia in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Shades of 1918? New study compares avian flu with a notorious killer from the past
In a new study, Carole Baskin and an interdisciplinary team of collaborators compared the recent avian strain known in the scientific community as H5N1, with genetic ressortants of the 1918 virus -- source of the most severe influenza pandemic in recorded history.

New diagnoses may provide window of opportunity for health behavior change
Older adults appear more likely to quit smoking or lose weight following a recent diagnosis of heart disease, diabetes or another serious condition, according to a report in the Feb.

Researchers learn why robots get stuck in the sand -- and how to keep them going
Today's advanced mobile robots explore complex terrains across the globe and even on Mars, but have difficulty traversing sand.

UT Southwestern scientists identify potential key to Lyme disease
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a protein that may help give Lyme disease its bite.

Increasing prosperity has prompted Irish kids to balloon 24 kilos since 1948
Irish kids now weigh 24 kilos more than they did in 1948, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Scientists document salamander decline in Central America
Amphibian populations have dropped worldwide, but most studies have detailed only the effects on frogs.

James Webb space telescope's actual 'spine' now being built
Scientists and engineers who have been working on the James Webb Space Telescope mission for years are getting very excited, because some of the actual pieces that will fly aboard the Webb telescope are now being built.

Study proves that practice makes perfect in PCI for heart attack
When it comes to treating heart attacks, experience matters. New research shows that patients have a much better chance of survival when both their hospital and their physician have a strong track record in treating heart attack with angioplasty and stenting.

Study suggests possible treatment for neurological disorder Rett syndrome
Injecting the small protein insulin-like growth factor-1 into the bloodstream reduces Rett syndrome symptoms in mice, including lethargy, breathing and heart rhythm irregularities, reduced brain size, and stalled nerve cell development.

Camouflaging of viral DNA could be crucial step in progression of cancers
15 percent of cancers can be linked to a viral infection.

Minority health-care clinics separate but unequal
A study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine may shed new light on why minority Americans have poorer health outcomes from chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

New technique boosts protein NMR imaging speeds
A group led by a UIC chemist has found a way to shorten the time needed to obtain molecular structure imaging information from solid-state NMR.

Pathologically elevated blood fat levels in obesity: Researchers discover molecular causes
Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center have discovered a mechanism in liver metabolism that is responsible for pathologically elevated blood fat levels found in severe metabolic disorders.

Carbon nanotube avalanche process nearly doubles current
By pushing carbon nanotubes close to their breaking point, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated a remarkable increase in the current-carrying capacity of the nanotubes, well beyond what was previously thought possible.

Tests may predict driving safety in people with Alzheimer's disease
Doctors may be able to use certain cognitive tests to help determine whether a person with Alzheimer's disease can safely get behind the wheel.

Stroke therapy window might be extended past nine hours for some
Some patients who suffer a stroke as a result of a blockage in an artery in the brain may benefit from a clot-busting drug nine or more hours after the onset of symptoms.

American Chemical Society Weekly PressPac -- Feb. 4, 2009
The American Chemical Society Office of Public Affairs Weekly Press Package with reports from 34 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

New factor in teen obesity: Parents
In a new policy brief released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, researchers found that adolescents are more likely to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day if their parents do.

Vigorous exercise may help prevent vision loss
Vigorous exercise may help prevent both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, according to a pair of studies that tracked approximately 31,000 runners for more than seven years.

How an Antarctic worm makes antifreeze and what that has to do with climate change
A new study reports a hardy Antarctic worm that withstands its cold climate by cranking out antifreeze and going into suspended animation when it dries out.

Chronic low-back pain on the rise: UNC study finds 'alarming increase' in prevalence
The proportion of people suffering from long term, impairing low back pain has more than doubled in North Carolina since the early 1990s, according to a new study.

Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban
The health of bar workers, who actively smoke cigarettes, significantly improves after the introduction of a smoking ban, reveals research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

High CO2 boosts plant respiration, potentially affecting climate and crops
The leaves of soybeans grown at the elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels predicted for the year 2050 respire more than those grown under current atmospheric conditions, researchers report, a finding that will help fine-tune climate models and could point to increased crop yields as CO2 levels rise.

Agriculture project helps bring 'PEACE' to Afghanistan
For over two years, the Texas A&M System has been involved in a US Agency for International Development-funded agriculture project to help the Kuchi, who number about 3 million throughout Afghanistan, improve their livelihood through technology and teaching conflict resolution.

Rise or fall of reef fish driven by both economy and ecology
Overfishing on coral reefs isn't simply caused by too many people, according to a new report published in the Feb.

UC San Diego engineer develops method to combat congenital heart disease in children
Alison Marsden, an assistant mechanical and aerospace engineering professor at the University of California, has developed a unique set of computer modeling tools that are expected to enhance pediatric surgeons' ability to perform heart surgery on children.

NYU Langone Medical Center researchers find micro RNA plays a key role in melanoma metastasis
Scientists have long wondered how melanoma cells travel from primary tumors on the surface of the skin to the brain, liver and lungs, where they become more aggressive, resistant to therapy, and deadly.

Darwin's legacy in 21st century biology
A distinguished group of national and international scholars will provide a comprehensive, two-day seminar on how the work of Charles Darwin continues to inspire biology in the 21st century and beyond.

Study examines effects of exercise on quality of life in postmenopausal women
Exercise appears to improve quality of life in postmenopausal women regardless of whether they lose weight, according to a report in the Feb.

Iowa State astronomer to study stars with data from NASA's Kepler mission
NASA's Kepler mission will do more than look for earth-like planets.

Is sex work?
Few things have aroused such conflicting feelings and heated discussions over the millennia as the sale of sexual services.

Diverse 'connectomes' hint at genes' limits in the nervous system
Genetics may play a surprisingly small role in determining the precise wiring of the mammalian nervous system, according to painstaking mapping of every neuron projecting to a small muscle mice use to move their ears.

Model of pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV forecasts benefits, potential cost-effectiveness
For every two people who begin treatment for HIV infection globally, five others become newly infected.

Biologists find gene network that gave rise to first tooth
A paper in this week's PLoS Biology reports that a common gene regulatory circuit controls the development of all dentitions, from the first teeth in the throats of jawless fishes that lived half a billion years ago, to the incisors and molars of modern vertebrates, including you and me.

A long and healthy life for mice lacking the protein AT1A
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, indicates that mice lacking the protein AT1A live substantially longer than normal mice.

University of Rochester biologist accepts Darwin-Wallace Medal
The Council of the Linnean Society of London, the world's oldest active biological society, will award Professor H.

Study finds multivitamins have no impact on risk of cancer or heart disease in postmenopausal women
The largest study of its kind concludes that long-term multivitamin use has no impact on the risk of common cancers, cardiovascular disease or overall mortality in postmenopausal women.

Fermilab scientists speak on Project X, Higgs race and dark matter search at AAAS
Scientists working at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will present talks on plans for the proposed Project X accelerator at Fermilab; the latest Higgs search results from the Tevatron collider experiments; and an update on the search for dark matter using a bubble chamber.

Cancer diagnosis: Now in 3-D
Researchers have developed a new kind of microscope to visualize cells in three dimensions, an advance that could bring great progress in the field of early cancer detection.

Accidental wireless
Following a rollover automobile accident, driver and passengers are usually unable to call for help.

Novel economical blood test for hepatitis C
A novel blood test could bring a breakthrough in the battle against the dangerous hepatitis-C virus.

Queen's energy partnership makes waves for UK
The likelihood of the UK being able to produce widespread energy from wave-generated power has been given a vital boost.

Unexplained chest pain can be due to stress
Each year, many people seek emergency treatment for unexplained chest pains.

Multivitamin use may offer no benefit in postmenopausal women
The largest study ever conducted on postmenopausal women shows that multivitamins may offer no benefit in reducing the risk of common cancers, cardiovascular disease or overall mortality.

Oncostatin M may be a promising drug for treating viral hepatitis and liver cancer
The Department of Gene Therapy and Hepatology of the Center for Applied Medical Research of the University of Navarra has identified a molecule as possibly effective for improving the treatment of chronic hepatitis and liver cancer.

First-time mothers at a greater risk of psychosis in the month following childbirth
A study of risk factors associated with psychotic illness after childbirth, published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, shows that first-time mothers are at the greatest risk of developing psychosis in the month following the birth of their child -- even if they have never been treated in hospital for mental illness in the past.

New Johns Hopkins imaging center to widen windows on the brain
It's a classic academic mismatch: Researchers aren't able to make use of seminal improvements in technology -- often from colleagues just across the street -- either because they don't know about them or because gaining familiarity makes unrealistic demands on their time.

MIT: A possible treatment for Rett syndrome
A molecule that promotes brain development could serve as a possible treatment for Rett syndrome, the most common form of autism in girls, according to researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Top Indian chemical engineer at NJIT named AAAS fellow and AIChE awardee
Kamalesh Sirkar, Ph.D., distinguished professor of chemical engineering at NJIT, and internationally-renowned expert in membrane separation technologies, has been named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment
Eating a Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with less risk of mild cognitive impairment -- a stage between normal aging and dementia -- or of transitioning from mild cognitive impairment into Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Women who drink lots of soda at higher risk for early kidney disease
Women who drink two or more cans of soda pop per day are nearly twice as likely to show early signs of kidney disease, a recent study has found.

Iron on its route to the sea-floor: A new path
Iron dust, the rarest nutrient for most marine life, can be washed down by rivers or blown out to sea or -- a surprising new study finds -- float up from the sea floor in the material spewed from hydrothermal vents.

UTSA wins $1.8M to continue chlamydia research
The National Institutes of Health awarded chlamydia researchers at The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas at San Antonio a $1.8 million grant over the next five years to study the pathogenesis of Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacterium that causes human genital chlamydia.
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