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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | April 29, 2009


Quantum link to memory
Quantum mechanics could be used to describe the way memory works and revolutionize the way we think about the human mind, a Queensland University of Technology researcher says.
Potentially harmful chemicals found in forest fire smoke
Researchers have detected common plant toxins that affect human health and ecosystems in smoke from forest fires.
ONR lecturer offers 5 tips for interagency collaboration
The Office of Naval Research facilitated interagency coordination by inviting a senior adviser from the National Science Foundation's Office of Information and Resource Management to speak April 27 about the value of partnerships across federal agencies.
Older men more likely than women to die after pneumonia
Differing biological response to infection between men and women may explain higher death rates among older men who are hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia.
Genetic risk for anxiety does not have to be destiny
A growing body of basic animal research and studies of abused and neglected children provide a strong basis of support for the hypothesis that individuals with particular genotypes are at greater risk for depression, anxiety disorders, and problems with the abuse of alcohol and other substances.
New treatment discovered for restless legs syndrome improves sleep
A drug widely used to treat seizures and anxiety appears to be an effective treatment for restless legs syndrome and helps people with the disorder get a better night's sleep, according to a study that will be presented as part of the Late-breaking Science Program at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25-May 2, 2009.
Zebrafish offer clues to treatments for motor neurone disease
Tiny zebrafish could hold the key to stem cell treatments for motor neurone disease.
African-American teens' perceptions of racial discrimination
A three-year study of 14-18-year-old African American teens finds that many African American teens consider themselves the victims of racial discrimination.
New outcomes study reports TYSABRI patients show overall improvement in cognition and quality of life, with lower levels of fatigue
Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation, plc today announced results from an ongoing, one-year longitudinal health outcomes study (n=1275) in which patients who received three infusions of TYSABRI (natalizumab) reported reduced fatigue, as well significant improvements in general and disease-specific measurements of quality of life (QoL) and cognitive function.
Sugar, spice and puppy dog tails: Developing sex-typed personality traits and interests
A longitudinal study of first- and second-born siblings shows that sex-typed personality traits (e.g.,
Origins of wolverine in California genetically verified
A wolverine first photographed by a remote-controlled camera on the Tahoe National Forest in February 2008 is most closely related to Rocky Mountain populations, according to a team of 10 federal, state and university scientists.
A software to improve the design of aircraft wings
TECNALIA and AERNNOVA are working together on the ICARO project to develop multidisciplinary optimization software aimed at optimising the design of aircraft wings and thus reduce the main design variables, such as manufacturing costs and weight.
Researchers identify stroke predictors in black patients
Predictors of atrial fibrillation might offer physicians a better way to prevent stroke in blacks, according to a new study done by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Post-9/11 immigration enforcement lowered demand for undocumented workers
A recent study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management shows that as a result of a variety of interior enforcement initiatives implemented in 2002-2005, such as the ramping up of the Social Security no-match program, employers' demand for undocumented workers fell.
Intel named winner of 2009 INFORMS prize in analytics
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences last night announced the award of the INFORMS Prize to Intel.
World-renowned neuroscientist visits UTSA on May 5 to discuss the quest for consciousness
The University of Texas at San Antonio's Neurosciences Institute presents Christof Koch, Ph.D. in its 2009 Distinguished Public Lecture, scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 6 p.m.
Young children think gender-related behavior is inborn
A new study surveying more than 450 Americans ages 5-20 confirms that young children think about gender in the same way they think about species.
Why are some young victims of domestic violence resilient?
A longitudinal study of American children finds that children who witnessed domestic violence against their mothers were almost four times more likely than other children to develop emotional or behavioral problems.
Teen drug education also helps curb risky sexual behavior, study finds
School-based drug education programs for adolescents can have a long-term positive impact on sexual behavior in addition to curbing substance abuse, according to a new study.
Simulated gene therapy
In a recent issue of the Journal of Chemical Physics, published by the American Institute of Physics, a group of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Los Alamos National Laboratory describe the first comprehensive, molecular-level numerical study of gene therapy.
Migraine prevention by targeting glutamate receptors?
People with migraines often are not relieved with current treatments.
UMass medical school researchers report oral delivery system for RNAi therapeutics
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School report today on a novel approach to the delivery of small bits of genetic material in order to silence genes using
Parkinson's: Neurons destroyed by 3 simultaneous strikes
In a study that reveals the clearest picture to date of neuron death in Parkinson's disease, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found that a trio of culprits acting in concert is responsible for killing the brain cells.
DOE funds bio-inspired solar fuel center at Arizona State
Arizona State University will be home to a new Energy Frontier Research Center announced by the White House in conjunction with a speech delivered by President Barack Obama.
Combination of genetic and environmental 'hits' required for Parkinson's disease
New research finds that a complex interaction between separate factors underlies the pathology associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), reinforcing the concept that multiple therapeutic targets should be considered when designing treatment strategies.
Dental costs take bite out of family farmer and rancher budgets
A new report from the Access Project and Brandeis University found that the costs of dental care on family farm and ranch operators in seven Great Plains states constituted more than a quarter of families' overall out-of-pocket health care costs.
Researchers design unique method to induce immunity to certain STDs
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial agent of sexually transmitted infections and occurs in 1 million cases a year and is the largest reportable infection in the US.
Added anti-viral improves response, halves duration of hepatitis C treatment
The addition of the anti-viral drug telaprevir to a standard treatment for hepatitis C can shorten the duration of therapy and increase the number of patients who can be cured of their disease, according to the results of study coordinated by investigators from the Duke Clinical Research Institute.
Adolescents hold differing views on civic and political activity
A new study of finds that on the whole, teens consider civic activity to be obligatory.
Potential preventative therapy for type 1 diabetes
Scientists believe they may have found a preventative therapy for type 1 diabetes, by making the body's killer immune cells tolerate the insulin-producing cells they would normally attack and destroy, prior to disease onset.
Repeatedly working when ill boosts risk of long term sick leave
Repeatedly going to work when ill significantly boosts the chances of having to take long term sick leave later on, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
NICE (UK) launches new online evidence service to improve health and patient care
The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) today launches a new online service, NHS Evidence, which will provide comprehensive, organized information to health-care professionals to improve both health and patient care.
New pill to treat MS
A new drug for multiple sclerosis can dramatically reduce the chances of a relapse or a deterioration of the condition.
Greater transparency needed in development of US policy on cyberattack
The current policy and legal framework regulating use of cyberattack by the United States is ill-formed, undeveloped and highly uncertain, says a new report from the National Research Council.
Sublingual immunotherapy for inhalant allergies deserves deeper consideration
Sublingual immunotherapy for the treatment of allergy symptoms caused by a wide variety of environmental inhalants has been effectively used in Europe.
Majority of Americans support voting reforms
A recent survey conducted by a University of Missouri professor reveals that the US public supports several voting reforms, including early voting and photo identification requirements.
Urine screening test may one day predict coronary artery disease
Seventeen specific protein fragments seem to distinguish people who have coronary artery disease from those who don't.
U of Minnesota researcher helps develop new technique for modifying plant genes
Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital have used a genome engineering tool they developed to make a model crop plant herbicide-resistant without significant changes to its DNA.
Rogue black holes may roam the Milky Way
It sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie: Rogue black holes roaming our galaxy, threatening to swallow anything that gets too close.
Controlling cholesterol, blood pressure adds up to prevent stroke
Reaching optimal levels for cholesterol and high blood pressure in people who've had a stroke adds up to prevent a second stroke or heart attack, according to a study to be presented as part of the late-breaking science program at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25-May 2, 2009.
M. D. Anderson study predicts dramatic growth in cancer rates among US elderly, minorities
Over the next 20 years, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed annually in the United States will increase by 45 percent, from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2030, with a dramatic spike in incidence predicted in the elderly and minority populations, according to research from the University of Texas M.
Tufted bacteria cause infection in premature babies
Bacteria that normally reside on the skin of healthy people can cause serious infections in premature babies.
First neuroimaging study examining motor execution in children with autism reveals new insights
In the first neuroimaging study to examine motor execution in children with autism, researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute have uncovered important new insight into the neurological basis of autism.
Human brain contains neurons with a preference for whole real words
A new study provides direct experimental evidence that a brain region important for reading and word recognition contains neurons that are highly selective for individual real words.
Finding will improve accuracy of cancer diagnosis
Van Andel Research Institute investigators working in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic researchers have determined that two types of kidney tumors previously thought to be different diseases are actually variations of the same disease.
Oxytocin: Love potion #1?
Relationships are difficult and most of us probably think at some point that communicating positively with our partner when discussing stressful issues, like home finances, is an impossible task.
Ka-Boom! The sequel
Two new forensic camera prototypes were tested in a bombing last month aboard a mass transit bus.
IAEA calls for enhanced radiation protection of patients
Advances in medical imaging techniques are allowing doctors to detect hidden diseases and make ever more accurate diagnoses.
Glutamate identified as predictor of disease progression in multiple sclerosis
UCSF researchers have identified a correlation between higher levels of glutamate, which occurs naturally in the brain as a byproduct of metabolism, and greater disease burden in multiple sclerosis patients.
World's fastest camera relies on an entirely new type of imaging
In the April 30 issue of Nature, a research team from UCLA Engineering describes an entirely new approach to imaging that does not require a CCD or CMOS camera.
Star Trek-like technology offers noninvasive monitor for patients and athletes
Put that needle down, doctor! Scientists with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute are developing a noninvasive, needle-free system that uses light to measure tissue oxygen and pH.
Limping rat provides sciatica insights
A newly developed animal model for the painful nerve condition known as sciatica should help researchers diagnose and treat it, according to Duke University bioengineers and surgeons.
Resolving a galactic mystery
An extremely deep Chandra X-ray Observatory image of a region near the center of our Galaxy has resolved a long-standing mystery about an X-ray glow along the plane of the Galaxy.
Risk factors identified for pneumonia after heart surgery
Ventilator-associated pneumonia is the main cause of nosocomial infection in patients undergoing major heart surgery.
DOE to establish Energy Frontier Research Center at PNNL
The DOE plans to award $22.5 million over five years for PNNL's new Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, where scientists will study molecules called catalysts that convert electrical energy into chemical bonds and back again.
Iron-arsenic superconductors in class of their own
US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory researchers have found that the iron-arsenide superconductors discovered last year exhibit a superconducting mechanism unique compared to all other known classes of superconductors.
Migraine prevention by targeting glutamate receptors?
The ultimate goal for migraine sufferers is to prevent the onset of the attack.
Solar cells, geological storage research receive DOE funding at the University of Texas at Austin
With two $15 million grants, scientists and engineers aim to revolutionize solar cells and provide the fundamental science for geological storage of greenhouse gases as part of two Energy Frontier Research Centers established at the University of Texas at Austin by the US Department of Energy.
Half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by 5 years
Drinking up to half a glass of wine a day may boost life expectancy by five years -- at least in men -- suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
EAU Research Foundation organizes meeting in Amsterdam highlighting translational research results
On June 22-23, 2009, the Prostate Cancer Translational Research in Europe meeting will be held in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.
New therapy based on magnetic stimulation shows promise for nondrug treatment for migraine
A new UCSF study examining the mechanism of a novel therapy that uses magnetic pulses to treat chronic migraine sufferers showed the treatment to be a promising alternative to medication.
Mites on hissing coackroach may benefit humans with allergies
Tiny mites living on the surface of Madagascar hissing cockroaches help decrease the presence of a variety of molds on the cockroaches' bodies, potentially reducing allergic responses among humans who handle the popular insects, according to new research.
Potential lung disease biomarkers yield clues to COX-2 inhibitor side effects
In searching for a simple way to identify individuals with smoking-related lung injury, scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have stumbled upon a potential explanation for why the class of pain-relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors increases the risk of heart problems among users.
Avian flu research sheds light on swine flu outbreak
A new study by University of Maryland researchers suggests that the potential for an avian influenza virus to cause a human flu pandemic is greater than previously thought.
Brain processes written words as unique 'objects,' GUMC neuroscientists say
Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that an area known to be important for reading in the left visual cortex contains neurons that are specialized to process written words as whole word units.
Darwin in a test tube
A group of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute has set up the microscopic equivalent of the Galapagos Islands -- an artificial ecosystem inside a test tube where molecules evolve to exploit distinct ecological niches, similar to the finches that Charles Darwin famously described in
Contrary to recent hypothesis, 'chevrons' are not evidence of megatsunamis
Geologist and tsunami expert debunks persistent idea that so-called
Scripps studies offer new picture of Lake Tahoe's earthquake potential
Two newly published papers provide a deeper look at earthquake vulnerability for the Lake Tahoe region.
DNA barcoding of mosquito species deployed in bid to end elephantiasis
The University of Ghana, supported by the Philadelphia-based JRS Biodiversity Foundation, is pioneering the use of DNA
Tiny differences in our genes help shed light on the big picture of human history
Scientists from Cornell University have developed a new tool for identifying big events in human history and pinpointing the origins of specific gene mutations.
A glimpse at vision: First impressions count
Some experts believe that vision isn't possible without feedback from higher levels of the brain, but a study now demonstrates that the brain can rapidly recognize objects under a variety of conditions at a very early processing stage.
Study of breast cancer risk factors in young women
A study of risk factors for breast cancer in young women suggests risk assessment and prevention, using techniques that avoid radiation, such as MRI, should start much earlier in life.
Drugs needed to preserve eggs for reproduction need to be given in stages
Cryoprotectants needed to preserve eggs for reproduction need to be given in stages, albeit rapid ones, say scientists who have developed a mathematical model that predicts optimal time for loading and unloading these drugs.
Nanophysicists find unexpected magnetic effect
In new research appearing this week in Nature, physicists at Rice University and the University of Alicante have found that single-atom contacts made of ferromagnetic metals like iron, cobalt and nickel exhibit behavior consistent with the Kondo effect.
Make brighter, full-color electronic readers? -- Brilliant!
Electrofluidic Display Technology developed at the University of Cincinnati puts electronic book readers ahead by a wide margin.
Faster than the speed of sound: New control system has what it takes to guide experimental aircraft
When a jet is flying faster than the speed of sound, one small mistake can tear it apart.
HP wins INFORMS 2009 Edelman prize
The application of operations research and analytics to streamlining its millions of product configurations allowed HP to win the 2009 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet in Phoenix on Monday night.
Mother-daughter breast density study points way to earlier cancer risk assessment
A unique mother-daughter study that used magnetic resonance to measure breast density in younger women shows that percent of breast water could be linked to the risk of breast cancer in middle age and older.
Vanderbilt engineers play key role in new DOE energy frontier research center
A team of Vanderbilt engineers will play a key role in a new federal effort to significantly improve our understanding of how gases and liquids interact with solid surfaces -- basic studies that have potential applications ranging from better batteries to more efficient methods for converting solar and electrical energy into fuel, improved fuel cells, and enhancing the corrosion resistance of materials.
Center to investigate plant cells for better biomass fuels
Cutting edge approaches and methodology employed by plant and molecular biologists, chemists, physicists, material scientists, computational modelers and engineers will be applied to plant cells in the newly funded Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation, a US Department of Energy, Energy Frontier Research Center at Penn State.

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