Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2005)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2005

Men, check your blood pressure before checking in for plastic surgery
As a holiday luxury, many people give themselves the gift of plastic surgery. But before men opt for a holiday facelift, they should check their blood pressure. According to a report published in December's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), men are twice more likely than women to develop hematoma, a type of blood clot, especially if they have higher blood pressure.

UCLA discovery will aid in treatment of patients with a deadly brain cancer
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer have identified key characteristics in certain deadly brain tumors that make them 51 times more likely to respond to a specific class of drugs than tumors in which the molecular signature is absent.

Riding roller coasters may actually be 'death-defying' for people with heart disease
The thrill of a roller coaster ride with its climbs, loops and dives can speed up the heart, sparking off an irregular heartbeat that could put individuals with heart disease at risk of having a cardiovascular event, according to new research reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

Evacuation of elders during disasters to be addressed at GSA's upcoming annual meeting
To outline how the government, communities, and families can respond more effectively to the needs of the elderly in times of natural disaster, a panel of experts has been assembled for the closing session of the fast-approaching 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

UVic unveils world's most advanced seafloor observatory
VENUS (the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea) will be the world's most advanced, cabled seafloor observatory and pioneers a new approach to studying the oceans. Through the Internet, VENUS 's underwater network of fibre optic cables and instruments will continuously feed data, sounds and images to laboratories, classrooms, science centes and homes around the world while enabling scientists to operate VENUS instruments and download data online, day or night, in real time.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, November 2005
Story tips from the US DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory include: Environment - Carbon and climate; Energy - Better buildings; Environment - Eliminating kudzu.

New survey reveals older Americans' attitudes toward sleep and healthy aging
According to results of a new Gallup survey released today by the International Longevity Center-USA (ILC), almost half (46 percent) of older adults receive fewer than seven hours of sleep each night, and a quarter (25 percent) believe they have a

Turning sensation into perception
Perceiving a simple touch may depend as much on memory, attention, and expectation as on the stimulus itself, according to new research on monkeys by Howard Hughes Medical Institute international research scholar Ranulfo Romo and colleagues at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Avian flu in perspective: New England Journal article reviews 'spectacular' findings
An article by Robert Belshe, M.D., of Saint Louis University School of Medicine in this week's New England Journal of Medicine reviews recent

Yale scientists confirm how crystals form
A team of researchers at Yale University is the first to devise a way to predict the microstructure of crystals as they form in materials, according to a report in the September issue of Applied Physics Letters. Researchers in many fields including materials science, geology, physical chemistry and biochemistry will now be able to tailor material properties that are sensitive to microstructure.

Cheaper mobile phones or GPS and with enhanced performance
In his PhD thesis the Pamplona engineer, Francisco Falcone Lanas, has put forward various structures based on what are known as left-handed metamaterials -- materials that can be used to make smaller mobile phones, aerials or GPS and which have better specifications and performance. This is the first PhD thesis defended on applications of left-handed metamaterials.

Cardiac pump can extend life in end-stage heart failure
Heart pumps can significantly extend the lives of end-stage heart failure patients who are not candidates for heart transplants, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

Urban Britain is a recipe for heart disease
Researchers at The University of Manchester's Medical School, working with teams in India and Birmingham, have found that people moving from South Asia to the UK significantly increase their risk of contracting cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Shade trees getting 'scorched' by plant disease
Bacterial leaf scorch is severely affecting urban shade trees grown not only to provide shade, but to help clear the air, reduce noise, and improve the aesthetics in many US communities, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Over-the-counter arthritis drug might also help against MS, Jefferson neuroscientists find
Glucosamine, the over-the counter natural product that has been touted to help with joint and cartilage problems associated with arthritis, may also provide some relief to individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), a degenerative, nervous system disease with no known cure. Using a mouse model of MS, neurologists at Jefferson Medical College found that glucosamine dramatically delayed the onset of symptoms and improved the animals' ability to move and walk.

Dogs ease anxiety, improve health status of hospitalized heart failure patients
When it comes to health care,

Key mechanism found that promotes spread of malignant melanoma
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a key signaling mechanism that may promote the ability of highly aggressive malignant melanoma cells to metastasize, or spread from a primary tumor to distant sites within the body. Results of their study, published in the November issue of Cancer Research, suggest that the signaling mechanism may be a potential target for prevention of metastatic melanoma.

Earliest European farmers left little genetic mark on modern Europe, Science study finds
The farmers who brought agriculture to central Europe about 7,500 years ago did not contribute heavily to the genetic makeup of modern Europeans, according to the first detailed analysis of ancient DNA extracted from skeletons of early European farmers

Panbio announces achievement
Australian-based international medical diagnostics company, Panbio Limited (ASX: PBO) today announced the achievement of the first key milestone in the commercialisation of its Homogeneous Assay technology.

Getting to know you: How familiarity breeds respect
When someone in our social group makes friends with someone from another background, the chances are that our own prejudices will break down, according to new Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded research. A study led by Dr. Adam Rutland, of the University of Kent, backs claims that the more we learn about others, the better we are likely to get on with them.

Number of serotonin receptors influences brain's response to fear and stress
How we respond to stressful situations could be due in part to dominance of one cell-surface marker over another in a region of the brain that regulates emotional responses and behaviors, suggests results of a University of Pittsburgh study presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. These markers - both receptors that determine what effect the neurotransmitter serotonin has on a neuron - appear to be key intermediaries influencing emotional state and behavior during stress.

Timing possible treatments against Alzheimer's disease
A study published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine reveals that in a transgenic mouse that overexpressed amyloid beta, turning off production via a tetracycline sensitive switch did not decrease the number of amyloid plaques present.

HIV-positive patients have shorter survival periods while awaiting liver transplants
A new study on HIV-positive patients eligible for liver transplants found that their survival while waiting for a transplant is significantly shorter than patients who are HIV-negative. Other than infection, which caused many of the deaths, there appear to be no other factors that predict a poor outcome for these patients.

Study shows that dialysis patients often have close family members also on dialysis
Nearly one-fourth of all dialysis patients have a close relative on dialysis, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and others, report in the current online edition of the American Journal of Nephrology. The researchers suggest screening other relatives for undetected kidney disease.

MicroRNAs have shaped the evolution of the majority of mammalian genes
RNA continues to shed its reputation as DNA's faithful sidekick. Now, researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute member David Bartel have found that a class of small RNAs called microRNAs influence the evolution of genes far more widely than previous research had indicated.

HIV inserts into human genome using a DNA-associated protein
A human DNA-associated protein called LEDGF is the first such molecule found to control the location of HIV integration in human cells, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. This study describes the first clear target for modulating where viruses insert into the human genome, which has implications for better design of gene-therapy

Astrophysicists quash alternative theory of star formation
Through a series of theoretical calculations and supercomputer simulations, astrophysicists have determined that new stars form by gravitational collapse rather than the widely held belief that they come from the buildup of unbound gas.

'Good' bacteria could save patients from infection infection by deadlier ones
Can it be that the stress on the use of antiseptics and antibiotics in hospitals is actually putting patients at a greater risk of suffering fatal bacterial infection? Yes, argues Mark Spigelman, a visiting professor at the Sanford F. Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Medicine.

Robo-rodent gets 'touchy-feely'
Robots that 'feel' objects and their texture could soon become a reality thanks to the innovative and interdisciplinary research of the AMouse, or artificial mouse, project.

Road deaths almost 400 times greater than those from international terrorism
The death toll from car crashes in developed countries is almost 400 times greater than the number of deaths caused by international terrorism, reports a study in the latest issue of Injury Prevention. In 2001 as many people died every 26 days on US roads as died in the terrorist bombings of 9/11, the study shows.

New TB test scoops top prize at Medical Futures competition
An inexpensive and rapid test for tuberculosis (TB) which could be used in developing countries has won first place in the Best Innovation to Improve Global Healthcare category of the Medical Futures Innovation Awards. It also scooped the overall prize at the awards ceremony held last week in London.

Biologists discover new pathway into plant cells
Researchers at Oregon State University have made a major discovery in basic plant biology that may set the stage for profound advances in plant genetics or biotechnology. When more research is done, this may provide a new tool to penetrate plant cells and possibly manipulate their behavior in some beneficial way - to grow faster, resist disease or increase yields.

Prescribed walking can improve physical fitness
Exercise counseling with a prescription for walking at either hard intensity or high frequency produces improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, according to a study in the November 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Robotic surgery-stenting combo opens coronary arteries, speeds recovery
Combining robotically assisted coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) with stented angioplasty shows promise for treating extensive coronary artery disease, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

Diagnostic images show go-carts cause serious injuries to children
Go-carts can cause serious injuries, including fractures, brain injuries and burns, according to findings presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Jefferson researchers find lack of protein in obese people is risk factor for kidney, heart disease
Jefferson researchers have found that mice with low levels of the protein hormone adiponectin may also have high levels of a protein called albumin which, in humans, may be a sign of kidney disease. This study provides further support for the theory that kidney disease may be a more important risk factor for heart disease than is cholesterol.

Depressed heart patients skip medications, have elevated stress hormones
Recent studies conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center suggest two possible mechanisms for the widely recognized link between depression and adverse outcomes in patients with coronary heart disease: lack of adherence to medication regimens and increased levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone.

First annual international conference for major initiative to develop African science academies
More than 200 leading scientists and policy-makers, primarily from Africa, will gather in Nairobi on Monday for the first annual international conference of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), a groundbreaking effort to strengthen African academies' ability to inform government policy-making and public discourse with independent, evidence-based advice.

Coming soon: The sun in 3-D
Twin spacecraft designed to capture 3-D 'stereo' views of the sun and solar wind were shipped from Johns Hopkins to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for their next round of pre-launch tests.

Mayo Clinic: Sinusitis is common yet often overlooked cause of chronic cough
In a new Mayo Clinic study, researchers found that more than one-third of chronic cough patients given a CT scan had sinusitis, inflammation of the sinuses.

Virtual colonoscopy performance enhanced by computer-aided detection
Computed tomography (CT) colonography with computer-aided detection (CAD) is highly effective for finding colon polyps, according to a large-scale, multi-center study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Quantum bubbles are the key
A US physicist has an idea that will make the atom-based quantum computers look pass├ę before anyone has even built a full-size one. He is suggesting that bubbles of electrons in ultra-cold liquid helium could be used to build a quantum computer capable of carrying out 1030 calculations all at once.

Low-carb diet better than low-fat diet at improving metabolic syndrome
Eating a low carbohydrate diet improves metabolic syndrome and may therefore decrease the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease associated with it. In an article published today in the open access journal Nutrition & Metabolism, Jeff Volek and Richard Feinman review the literature and show that the features of metabolic syndrome are precisely those that are improved by reducing carbohydrates in the diet.

Rain, winds and haze during the descent to Titan
The high-resolution images taken in Titan's atmosphere by the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR) were spectacular, but not the only surprises obtained during descent. Both DISR and the Doppler Wind Experiment data have given Huygens scientists much to think about.

Leading researchers from Israel and Southern California to present stem cell symposium
Scientists and investors in Israel are international leaders in stem cell research and development. Several top researchers from Israel will join scientists and bioethicists to present a stem cell symposium at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Nov. 16 and 17. Although the symposium is open to the public, the highly scientific nature of the presentations makes it more suitable for the scientific community and those who may be interested in funding stem cell research.

Mathematicians predict 2005 Cy Young winners
Pitchers Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals and Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees will win the 2005 Major League Baseball Cy Young awards, predicts a pair of mathematicians from Rhode Island College. Mathematicians have developed a formula that predicts which pitchers will place first through third in Cy Young voting.

Give thanks for the cranberry, say dental researchers
Families gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table might consider giving thanks for the bacteria-busting ability of cranberry juice, say dental researchers who have discovered that the beverage holds important clues for preventing cavities.

UCR environmental scientists propose chemical solution to cleaning California's Salton Sea
UC Riverside scientists are able to improve water quality by 90 percent in the rivers flowing into the Salton Sea, the largest lake in California, by using two kinds of water-treatment chemicals -- alum and polyacrylamide -- that remove phosphorus and silt from the river water. Unless measures are taken to clean the Salton Sea, evaporation will result in the sea being too salty for fish, resulting also in the loss of fish-eating birds frequenting the area.

Rate of paid-for sex with women has doubled in 10 years
The rate of paid-for sex with women has doubled in a decade, reveals research in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

New and sharper X-rays of cell's ribosome could lead to better antibiotics
The ribosome, a nano-machine that manufactures all of a cells' proteins, is also a target of many antibiotics. Using the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley professor Jamie Cate has obtained new, sharper X-ray images of the ribosome that will help researchers understand how today's antibiotics interfere with the machine, and could lead to improved drugs that throw a wrench into it.

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