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Science News and Current Events for April 20, 2009


First noninvasive technique to accurately predict mutations in human brain tumors
Donald O'Rourke, M.D., associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues, were able to accurately predict the specific genetic mutation that caused brain cancer in a group of patients studied using magnetic resonance imaging.
Grapefruit juice boosts drug's anti-cancer effects
Results from a small, early clinical trial show that combining grapefruit juice with the drug rapamycin can be effective in treating various types of cancer.
High levels of PEA-15 shrink breast cancer tumors
Overexpression of PEA-15, which binds and drags an oncoprotein out of the cell nucleus where it fuels cancer growth, steeply reduced breast cancer tumors in a preclinical experiment, researchers at the University of Texas M.
Springer partners with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Springer has entered into an agreement with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to publish the Encyclopedia of Molecular Life Sciences.
Radiation exposure associated with more aggressive thyroid cancer, worse outcomes
Patients with thyroid cancer who have previously been exposed to radiation -- for example, in the workplace, through environmental exposure or for treatment of acne or another condition -- appear to have more aggressive disease and tend to have worse outcomes in the long term, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:
UH initiative will use 'Harry Potter' to conjure love for science in Houston-area schools
Hoping that science will cast a spell on local middle and high school students, a University of Houston team is starting a program that will harness the magical draw of the Harry Potter series to make technical subjects resonate in local classrooms.
Consumers respond to lower calorie beverage options
A new analysis, of the latest government data from the CDC's NHANES study, shows that consumers of all ages are drinking more lower-calorie beverages than they did several years ago.
Scientists discover 'dancing' algae
Scientists at the Cambridge University have discovered that freshwater algae can form stable groupings in which they dance around each other, miraculously held together only by the fluid flows they create.
Acupuncture eases radiation-induced dry mouth in cancer patients
Twice weekly acupuncture treatments relieve debilitating symptoms of xerostomia -- severe dry mouth -- among patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer, researchers from the University of Texas M.
Snatched from the air
Researchers from Singapore have developed a novel reaction scheme by which CO2 can be efficiently converted into methanol under very mild conditions.
Pioneering Bristol academic raises $2.3 million investment for 'cell bandage'
A company co-founded by Professor Anthony Hollander, an academic from the University of Bristol, has raised over £1.6 ($2.3) million to fund trials, including the first human study, of its pioneering
Researchers use brain interface to post to Twitter
In early April, Adam Wilson posted a status update on the social networking Web site Twitter -- just by thinking about it.
Our brains make their own marijuana: We're all pot heads deep inside
US and Brazilian scientists have just proven that one of Bob Dylan's most famous lines --
Survey identifies factors associated with early detection of melanoma in older men
Older men whose melanoma is detected by a physician are more likely to have thinner and therefore more treatable tumors at diagnosis, according to results of a survey published in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Self-assembled nanowires could make chips smaller and faster
Researchers at the University of Illinois have found a new way to make transistors smaller and faster.
Houstonians more positive about city despite economic woes, annual survey finds
In spite of a dramatic rise in concerns about the local economy, Houstonians are more positive about living in the region, according to the latest annual Houston Area Survey results from Rice University.
Fat droplet nanoparticle delivers tumor suppressor gene to tumor and metastatic cells
Dr. Esther Chang describes the most recent developments in human trials of the first systemic, nonviral, tumor-targeted, nanoparticle method designed to restore normal gene function to tumor cells while completely bypassing normal tissue April 21 at an American Association of Anatomists scientific session at Experimental Biology 2009 in New Orleans.
6 young ASU faculty earn NSF Career awards
Six Arizona State University faculty members have earned Faculty Early Career Development awards for 2009 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
How cells change gears: New insights published in Nature Genetics
Bioinformatics researchers from UC San Diego just moved closer to unlocking the mystery of how human cells switch from
Concordia University receives more than $22 million for genomics research
Dr. Tsang was awarded $17.4 million for his project on the discovery of novel approaches for biofuel production.
JCI table of contents: April 20, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published April 20, 2009, in the JCI: Too much sugar is bad, but which sugar is worse: fructose or glucose?; Antibody targeting the protein FGFR3 inhibits cancer cell growth; Defining the link between anti-TNF therapies and increased tuberculosis; Immune cells hurt the kidney; New gene regions linked with susceptibility to HIV-1-associated kidney disease; and others.
Repairing a 'bad' reputation?
New research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies casts the role of a neuronal growth factor receptor -- long suspected to facilitate the toxic effects of beta amyloid in Alzheimer's disease -- in a new light, suggesting the molecule actually protects the neuron in the periphery from beta amyloid-induced damage.
Pesticide exposure found to increase risk of Parkinson's disease
A new epidemiological study by UCLA scientists establishes a link between early exposure to pesticides and the neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson's disease in humans.
Research highlights the negative effect of filarial hydrocele on marriage and sex
A large proportion (94 percent) of lymphatic filariasis patients with hydrocele and their wives report the inability to have a satisfactory sexual life because of this condition.
Study examines outcomes of gastric bypass surgery in morbidly obese and superobese patients
Superobese gastric bypass patients appear to have improvements in quality of life and obesity-related co-existing conditions, and despite losing weight remain obese after surgery, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Antibody targeting the protein FGFR3 inhibits cancer cell growth
Several forms of cancer are associated with either overexpression or perpetual activation of the protein FGFR3.
Virginia Tech graduate student receives first Rachel Carson award for scientific excellence
Rachel Mair received the first-ever Rachel Carson Award for Scientific Excellence from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for her work developing successful culture systems and feeding regimes for the culture and propagation of endangered freshwater mussels.
American Chemical Society Weekly PressPac -- April 15, 2009
The American Chemical Society Weekly Press Package with reports from 34 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.
Best intentions: The presence of healthy food can lead to unhealthy choices
More restaurants and vending machines offer healthy choices these days, so why do Americans' waistlines continue to expand?
First compound for receptors in schizophrenia and Alzheimer's holds promise
Compounds that activate two specific CNS receptors, causing them to release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, are effective in treating the cognitive and motor problems related to both schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease can cause gastrointestinal and other side effects.
Middle-school math classes are key to closing racial academic achievement gap
More challenging middle-school math classes and increased access to advanced courses in predominantly black urban high schools may be the key to closing the racial academic achievement gap, according to a University of Illinois study.
Nutrition experts propose new class of low-sugar drinks to help stem obesity and diabetes epidemics
Faced with growing public health threats from consumption of sugary drinks, experts from the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health believe beverage manufacturers, government, schools, worksites and homes must take action to help Americans choose healthier drinks.
Study finds blood cells can be reprogrammed to act as embryonic stem cells
In a recent study, US researchers have reprogrammed cells found in circulating blood into cells that are molecularly and functionally indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells, a revolutionary achievement that provides a readily accessible source of stem cells and an alternative to harvesting embryonic stem cells.
Grouping muscles to make controlling limbs easier
Northwestern University researchers have shown that it could be possible to control a limb by stimulating groups of muscles rather than individual muscles -- a finding that could be useful in future treatments of paralysis patients.
Valve implantation on the beating heart
Transcatheter valve implantation is a newly developed technique for the curative treatment of high-grade aortic stenosis.
Driven to distraction? Taking your mind off a decision can help
Remember when the answer to a big question came to you in the shower?
Breakfast choices impact hunger and calorie consumption throughout day
New studies presented this week at Experimental Biology 2009 enhance the growing body of evidence supporting the nutritional benefits of eggs.
The life histories of the earliest land animals
The fossil record usually shows what adult animals looked like.
Global markets: Chinese consumers respond to Western brands
How do Chinese consumers really feel about Western brands? We often hear that magazines and billboards influence Chinese consumers to imitate Western lifestyles.
New book offers insider view of pivotal labor conflict
More than a decade after workers at an Illinois corn-processing plant lost a bitter, three-year standoff with management, a new book says their innovative tactics remain a how-to guide for the evolving US labor movement.
Florida Tech professors earns $411,000 NASA grant to study the final frontier of the solar system
Florida Tech's research team was funded to create a module on particle acceleration which will add to information about the boundary of our solar system.
New insight into Rett syndrome severity
A research collaboration between Australia and Israel has identified a genetic variation that influences the severity of symptoms in Rett syndrome.
Shopping behavior: Consumers flock together, but don't necessarily buy
Consumers are attracted to crowds in stores, but they are not likely to buy something from a crowded location, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Robot improves suture proficiency more rapidly for surgeons inexperienced in laparoscopic techniques
New research published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons suggests that, among surgeons inexperienced in laparoscopic techniques, closing incisions using robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery requires less time to learn and results in improved outcomes compared with suturing done via traditional,
Genetic analysis may predict risk of invasive bladder cancer
Genetic variations in the inflammation pathway may predict who would respond to Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin treatment and who might experience a recurrence among patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.
Pregnancy hormone hCG protects against breast cancer even in short-term treatments
Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center expand on their earlier findings that human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is what enables a full-term pregnancy to protect against breast cancer.
Now where did I leave my car? How the brain translates memory into action
When we emerge from a supermarket laden down with bags and faced with a sea of vehicles, how do we remember where we've parked our car and translate the memory into the correct action to get back there?
Live-in domestics: Mites as maids in tropical rainforest sweat bee nests
Mites not only inhabit the dust bunnies under your bed, they also occupy the nests of tropical sweat bees where they keep fungi in check.
Psoriasis associated with diabetes and high blood pressure in women
Women with psoriasis appear to have an increased risk for developing diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Using tools requires that the brain is able to control movements
Our ability to use objects and tools to perform actions is essential to our daily activities, and it is developed to a level that is unique to our species.
International team cracks mammalian gene control code
An international consortium of scientists, including researchers from the University of Queensland, have probed further into the human genome than ever before.
New hope for treatment of neurodegenerative disorder
Researchers have taken an important first step toward protecting against Huntington's disease using gene therapy.
Cyclones spurt water into the stratosphere, feeding global warming
Scientists at Harvard University have found that tropical cyclones readily inject ice far into the stratosphere, possibly feeding global warming.
Study: Lizards bask for more than warmth
Keeping warm isn't the only reason lizards and other cold-blooded critters bask in the sun.
Next generation of the POWER KNEE(TM) in early release at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Ossur, a global leader in non-invasive orthopedics, announced today that LTC Greg Gadson was fit last week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the second generation of the POWER KNEE by Ossur, the first technology to use sensors, power, artificial intelligence and actuators to provide amputees with the ability to walk naturally and safely without even thinking about it.
Barely legal -- new study into whether alcohol affects perceptions of age
A new study led by the University of Leicester has demonstrated that consuming alcohol did not affect how men judged the age of women.
Climate change means shortfalls in Colorado River water deliveries
Scripps researchers find that currently scheduled water deliveries from the Colorado River are unlikely to be met if human-caused climate change reduces runoff in the region.
Surgical education programs have demand for physician assistants and nurse practitioners
New research published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons indicates that large numbers of physician assistants and nurse practitioners -- collectively known as physician extenders -- have been hired by general surgery residency programs in the last five years to enable the resident education experience, and these professionals continue to be in demand.
Universal coverage may narrow racial, ethnic and socioeconomic gaps in health care
A study examining health data for more than 6,000 adults over an eight-year period found that disparities in important health outcomes by race, ethnicity and education were substantially reduced after these adults gained universal health coverage through the Medicare program.
Autopilot guides proteins in brain
Proteins go everywhere in the cell and do all sorts of work, but a fundamental question has eluded biologists: how do the proteins know where to go?
Tragic choices: Is it better for doctors or patient families to decide?
In the medical realm, people sometimes need to make very difficult choices, such as deciding to end life-support for a terminally ill patient.
Springer editor receives Butler Award
Professor Mike Cooke was presented with the Butler Award on March 25, 2009, at the Spring Scientific Meeting of the Society of Irish Plant Pathologists held at the State Department of Agriculture and Food, Backweston Campus, Ireland.
Human stem cells promote healing of diabetic ulcers
Scientists in Bristol have found that human fetal stem cells can effectively be used to treat back leg ischemic ulcers in a model of type 1 diabetes.
2 Springer plant science journals singled out by SLA
In 2009, the members of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) celebrated the 100th anniversary of their professional group.
Study identifies genes that protect against aging
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new method to help researchers identify genes that can help protect the body during the aging process.
National study finds nearly 1 in 10 youth gamers addicted to video games
In a new national study of 1,178 American youths, Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile found nearly one in 10 of the gamers (8.5 percent) to be pathological players according to standards established for pathological gambling.
Online reporting system could track surgical complications
A Web-based reporting system may help clinicians track surgical complications and detect patterns of adverse events, identifying opportunities to improve the quality of care, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Children resuscitated at birth have increased risk of low IQ at age 8
Children who were resuscitated at birth have increased risk of low intelligence quotient at age 8 years, even if they were apparently healthy in the 28 days (neonatal period) following birth.
Complications, death rates similar at bariatric surgery centers of excellence, other hospitals
Patients who undergo bariatric surgery at hospitals designated as centers of excellence do not appear to have lower mortality rates or lower rates of complications than those whose procedures are performed at other hospitals, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Critical turning point can trigger abrupt climate change
Ice ages are the greatest natural climate changes in recent geological times.
News coverage of trans fat prompts shoppers to avoid certain products
News coverage about the harmful effects of trans fat, combined with labeling information, may influence consumers' short-term purchases of foods high in trans fat, but is not enough to prompt shoppers to avoid these potentially artery-clogging purchases over the long term, according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Cholesterol appears to promote tamoxifen resistance in some breast cancer cells say GUMC researchers
Breast cancer cells in the laboratory that don't respond to tamoxifen may be producing high amounts of cholesterol in order to provide a kind of shield against the drug, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about four studies being published in the April 21 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
Ecologists put price tag on invasive species
Invasive species can disrupt natural and human-made ecosystems, throwing food webs out of balance and damaging the services they provide to people.
Free online toolkit provides standard measures for genome and population studies
The National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced the release of the first version of a free online toolkit aimed at standardizing measurements of research subjects' physical characteristics and environmental exposures.
Defining the link between anti-TNF therapies and increased tuberculosis
Although anti-TNF therapies have dramatically improved the life of many individuals with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, these therapies have been associated with an increased incidence of tuberculosis.
NASA satellite data animation shows cyclone Bijli's rainfall from birth to death
NASA's TRMM mission page has unveiled an animation of the rainfall created by Cyclone Bijli from the time it was born until the time it made landfall on Apr.
Chemopreventive isothiocyanates selectively depletes mutant p53 in tumor cells
Researchers at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center have demonstrated that naturally occurring compounds can selectively deplete mutant p53 and restore
FANTOM findings boost for biologists
Genomic regulatory blocks have unique features that may explain their ability to respond to regulatory inputs from very long distances, according to a special thematic series of companion articles from the FANTOM4 consortium.
New data on the breakdown of the KRas protein
This protein is mutated in 30 percent of human cancers.
Multiple purchase options? How marketers influence consumer agendas
Making choices is tough, especially in a competitive retail environment.
MSU scholars to help reform Pakistan's teacher-education system
A team of education experts from Michigan State University will play a key role in a $75 million, US-funded effort to improve basic education in Pakistan by improving teachers' training and skills over the next five years.
Carnegie Mellon scientists develop method for verifying safety of computer-controlled devices
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science have developed a new method for systematically identifying bugs in aircraft collision avoidance systems, high-speed train controls and other complex, computer-controlled devices, collectively known as cyber-physical systems.
Integrated regional networks give communities rapid access to life-saving treatment of heart attacks
Specialized, coordinated emergency networks dramatically reduce time-to-treatment for patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction -- the most dangerous type of heart attack -- according to a new study published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.
When every photon counts
The photoreceptor cells in the retinas of nocturnal mammals have a unique nuclear organization and act as light-guiding micro-lenses.
Genetic source of rare childhood cancer found; gene is implicated in other cancers
The search for the cause of an inherited form of a rare, aggressive childhood lung cancer has uncovered important information about how the cancer develops and potentially sheds light on the development of other cancers.
Human lung tumors destroy anti-cancer hormone vitamin D, Pitt researchers find
Human lung tumors have the ability to eliminate vitamin D, a hormone with anti-cancer activity, a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute suggests.
New study finds continued abstinence is key to increased survival from alcohol-related liver disease
Providing you are still alive, it is never too late to stop drinking, even with the most severe case of alcohol-related liver disease, according to new research from the University of Southampton, published in the journal Addiction.
Genetic variants predict recurrence of bladder cancer, patient survival
Scientists at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have discovered genetic variations in the inflammation pathway that reduce the likelihood of recurrence and increase survival of patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer who are treated with mainstream therapy.
Controlling our brain's perception of emotional events
Research performed by Nicole Lauzon and Dr. Steven Laviolette of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario has found key processes in the brain that control the emotional significance of our experiences and how we form memories of them.
Targeted agent shows promise in biliary cancer study
An experimental agent has shown promising results in people with advanced biliary cancer, according to a multi-institutional clinical trial led by Ohio State University cancer researchers.
Robot-assisted surgery appears useful for removal of some head and neck tumors
Robot-assisted surgery appears feasible for treatment of selected head and neck cancers, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Carnegie's Richard Carlson elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Geochemist Richard Carlson of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism has been elected a 2009 fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Agent Orange exposure increases veterans' risk of aggressive recurrence of prostate cancer
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are at increased risk of aggressive recurrence of prostate cancer, researchers report.
AHA presents award of meritorious achievement to Eduardo Marban, M.D.
Eduardo Marban, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, received today the American Heart Association's Award of Meritorious Achievement at the AHA's annual Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C.
Too much sugar is bad, but which sugar is worse: Fructose or glucose?
In 2005, the average American consumed 64kg of added sugar, a sizeable proportion of which came through drinking soft drinks.

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