Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2006)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2006.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2006

Lack of GBA2: A contraceptive for male mice
Although it had previously been thought that a protein known as GBA2 was important for bile acid metabolism, a new study appearing in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that in mice GBA2 is in fact required for male fertility. This study might explain the contraceptive effect in mice of a treatment for humans lacking the related protein GBA1 and could lead to the development of a new male contraceptive.

Enzyme inhibitor produces stable disease in patients with advanced solid cell cancers
Preliminary trials of a MEK enzyme inhibitor have shown that it is capable of producing long-lasting stable disease in patients with advanced solid cancers. Tests showed that the drug inhibited key targets in the patients' tumours, and now it is being tested in phase II clinical trials according to research presented at the 18th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Prague.

A leading edge camera for molecules
Max Planck researchers in Heidelberger film fast molecular motion for the first time.

Springer launches new journal, Cognitive Neurodynamics
A new journal in the biomedical sciences, Cognitive Neurodynamics, will be launched by Springer in 2007. With this new addition to the publishing program, Springer will provide a journal that bridges the gap between theoretical and applied neurosciences without preference for pure conceptual, mathematical or computational models.

Minimally invasive treatment helps infertile couples conceive
Couples struggling with infertility face uncertain odds when considering various treatment options. But a new study reveals that embolization, a minimally invasive treatment for arguably the most common cause of infertility in men, can significantly improve a couple's chances for pregnancy. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

UGA researchers to study link between teacher professional development, student achievement
Three University of Georgia education researchers will study how mathematics teachers understand professional development, how that impacts their understanding of mathematics and what difference that makes to student learning.

Systolic blood pressure predicts mortality in heart failure patients
A team of academic researchers report that systolic blood pressure taken at hospital admission may be a key factor in predicting mortality risk and revealing important disease characteristics for heart failure patients.

Trained midwives and doctor-assistants can provide first-trimester abortions as safely as doctors
Government-trained midwives and doctor-assistants can provide first-trimester abortions as safely as doctors in developing countries, according to an online article published today, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, by the Lancet.

Single dose of antibiotics before surgery sufficient to help prevent infection
A single dose of antibiotics prior to surgery appears to prevent infections occurring at the surgical site as effectively as a 24-hour dosing regimen, and with reduced antibiotic costs, according to an article in the November issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New depression model advances disease frontiers
For over 30 years, scientists believed that monoamines are low in the brain during major depressive episodes. However, no one ever found a convincing explanation for monoamine loss. Dr. Jeffrey Meyer and colleagues discovered that higher levels of MAO-A is the primary process that lowers monoamine levels. Having more MAO-A leads to greater breakdown of chemicals like serotonin. Based on these results, and work from previous publications, Dr. Meyer developed an advanced monoamine model of depression.

Scientists harness diptheria toxin and interleukin 2 to help the immune system attack melanoma
Researchers investigating ways of prompting the immune system to recognize and kill tumor cells have found that a drug containing parts of the diptheria toxin appears to work well in patients with advanced melanoma, according to research presented at the 18th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics on Thursday.

Fires in far northern forests to have cooling, not warming, effect
Droughts and longer summers tied to global warming are causing more fires in the Earth's vast northernmost forests, a phenomenon that will spew a steadily increasing amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

'Air shower' set to cut water use by 30 percent
As Australians become increasingly alert to the importance of using water wisely in the home, CSIRO researchers have found a way to use a third less water when you shower -- by adding air.

Pine tree bark reduces side effects in hypertensive patients
A study published in the October journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree reduced edema, a typical side effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications.

DFG extends scientific cooperation with Brazil
Liaison scientists provide advice and support cooperative initiatives.

UCSF study will test new vaginal microbicide for herpes and HIV
A team of researchers at UCSF is seeking young women to participate in the first US study of the safety of a new a vaginal gel designed to prevent herpes and HIV infection.

Nike+iPod Sport Kit raises privacy concerns
This holiday season, gift-givers may unwittingly give their favorite athlete a workout accessory that can double as a tracking device. Computer scientists at the University of Washington show potential breaches of privacy related to the Nike+iPod Sport Kit.

Partner reduction is pivotal for HIV prevention
While HIV prevention witnesses a relentless argument pitting condoms against abstinence, the behavior that really needs addressing -- partner reduction -- is largely ignored, according to the author of a comment in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Giving hope back to disabled veterans
Kent State University, in partnership with the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, has created a program that offers veterans the opportunity to take control of their future by obtaining entirely online degrees suited to their educational, physical and mental needs.

Unless we tackle AIDS, many countries will not meet the Millennium Development Goals
HIV/AIDS will make it difficult, if not impossible, for many countries to reach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a new analysis by researchers published to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1, 2006.

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac -- Nov. 1, 2006
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package with reports from 35 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Under-18s spell out what they need to enjoy quality of life on a ventilator
The growing number of children relying on portable home ventilators to breathe create their own ventilator-dependent lifestyles. But low esteem and social exclusion remain major problems. Professor Jane Noyes' six-year study included interviews with over 100 children and parents. A third of the home ventilated children had received spinal or head injuries. The other two-thirds had congenital conditions.

Lungs try to repair damaged elastic fibers
The lungs of patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attempt to repair damaged elastic fibers, a new finding that contradicts the conventional wisdom on the capabilities of the adult lung. The researchers found that synthesis of elastin, a gene linked to elastic fiber growth, is increased in the moderately diseased tissue of COPD patients. Elastic fibers allow the lung to expand and contract with breathing.

Nanotech tools yield DNA transcription breakthrough
Two papers in Science report new discoveries regarding transcription, significantly advancing our understanding of the molecular machine that carries out the process. This breakthrough sets the stage for new opportunities in combating antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases that kill 13 million persons worldwide each year, including the emerging virulent XDR tuberculosis strain. Richard Ebright's laboratory at Rutgers is at the center of these collaborative studies.

Parkinson disease can lead to errors on driving test
People with Parkinson disease were more likely to make more safety mistakes during a driving test than people with no neurological disorders, according to a study published in the Nov. 28, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Heel to heal
A new stretch is proving quite effective to help treat and potentially cure plantar fasciitis, a condition that affects nearly 2.5 million Americans each year. Researchers found that patients suffering from the painful heel spur syndrome had a 75 percent chance of having no pain and returning to full activity within three to six months of performing the stretch. In addition, patients have about a 75 percent chance of needing no further treatment.

Silver bullet: UGA researchers use laser, nanotechnology to rapidly detect viruses
Using nanotechnology, a team of University of Georgia researchers has developed a diagnostic test that can detect viruses as diverse as influenza, HIV and RSV in 60 seconds or less. In addition to saving time, the technique -- which is detailed in the November issue of the journal Nano Letters -- could save lives by rapidly detecting a naturally occurring disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack.

Health inequalities are a growing problem worldwide
Global health inequalities are substantial, growing and influenced by economic, social and health-sector variables as well as geography, a study concludes in the November issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Four WHOI researchers recognized for contributions to science and engineering
Four researchers have been recognized by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for their contributions to ocean sciences research and engineering. All will receive funding provided by the endowed awards to support their research over periods of three to five years. The awards are effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Medicaid patients less likely than those with private insurance to receive recommended cardiac care
Medicaid patients with acute coronary syndromes were less likely to receive evidence-based therapies and had worse outcomes than patients with HMO or private insurance according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Technology helps predict outcome of pediatric heart surgery
Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers have developed an innovative new technology that will help pediatric cardiac surgeons design and test a customized surgical procedure before they ever pick up a scalpel. With a better understanding of each child's unique heart defect, surgeons could greatly improve the likelihood that children with complex defects requiring multiple surgeries over a period of several years could have smoother recoveries and an improved quality of life after their operations.

Inexpensive test detects H5N1 infections quickly and accurately
Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed an inexpensive

On the cutting edge: Carbon nanotube cutlery
Researchers at NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder have designed a prototype carbon nanotube

MIT chemist studies how electrons behave
Troy Van Voorhis likes to watch how things work. This curiosity led to his current research on the behavior of electrons and how they function in various molecular systems, including artificial photosynthesis. The theories and simulations he creates may help lead to improvements in devices such as electronics, solar cells and lighting. The MIT assistant professor of chemistry was recently awarded a 2006 David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellowship of $625,000 over five years.

March of Dimes, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute announce Prematurity Prevention Initiative
The March of Dimes and Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute will partner with the Kentucky Department of Health and plan to collaborate with six major Kentucky hospitals to reduce the preterm birth rate. On Nov. 14 they will announce a Prematurity Prevention Initiative in Kentucky to see if bundling together proven interventions can lower a community's rate of preventable preterm births.

Grace under pressure: FSU researchers analyze the effects of stress on decision-making ability
A nursing student assigned to check a heart patient's vital statistics enters the patient's room. Suddenly, the patient stops breathing and exhibits an erratic heartbeat. Fortunately, the emergency was merely a simulation at the Human Performance Laboratory at Florida State University's Learning Systems Institute in Tallahassee, Florida.

Another boost for stem cell research
Another Australian breakthrough is likely to strengthen the case for embryonic stem cell research.

Men who avoid certain risk factors in midlife may have longer, healthier life
Avoiding health risk factors in midlife such as smoking, being overweight, excessive drinking and hypertension is associated with a longer and healthier life in men, according to a study in the Nov. 15 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on men's health.

Gene sequencing center to receive $156 million
The Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been awarded a $156 million, four-year grant to use the powerful tools of DNA sequencing to unlock the secrets of cancer and other human diseases.

Team at CNSE and Einstein receive grant to develop world's smallest cancer detection device
Researchers at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will collaborate on a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study tumor

Phase I study of novel gene therapy for HIV
The results are in for Phase I clinical trials of a gene therapy for AIDS. The trial was conducted at U-Penn where five patients with chronic HIV who had failed prior therapies were given a one-time infusion. They all tolerated the therapy and showed improved immune system response. This is the first publication of an effective gene therapy for AIDS to show positive clinical results in the peer review literature.

Physicians rate involvement in public roles as important
About two-thirds of physicians surveyed reported being actively involved in activities such as community participation, political involvement and collective advocacy, according to a study in the Nov. 22/29 issue of JAMA.

UVa finds 'Alzheimer's gene' protects children from severe diarrhea
Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Federal University of CearĂ¡ in Brazil have joined forces to study if the gene believed to contribute to Alzheimer's protects children from the developmental stresses of early childhood diarrhea.

Children show strong preference for those smiled on by fate
Children as young as five to seven years of age prefer lucky individuals over the less fortunate, according to new research by psychologists at Harvard University and Stanford University. This phenomenon, the researchers say, could clarify the origins of human attitudes toward differing social groups and help explain the persistence of social inequality.

Yale Cell Biologist Joel Rosenbaum, to receive Prestigious Wilson Award
Joel Rosenbaum, professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and faculty member at Yale since 1967, has been named the recipient of the 2006 E. B. Wilson Medal, the American Society for Cell Biology's highest honor for scientific research in cell biology. The medal will be presented to Rosenbaum for significant advances, over a lifetime, on the assembly, maintenance and function of fine, hair-like cell organelles, called cilia.

3-D X-ray images of nanoparticles
A new X-ray microscope can look at nanomaterials in three dimensions.

Dedicated R&D lab established to spur RFID industry in Canada
Industry-supported RFID research and development lab established by McMaster University to investigate technology, social policy, commercialization and business process in the development of new applications.

Children's sleep difficulties: Reports differ from children to parents
Elementary school-aged children report that they have sleep difficulties more often than their parents report think they do. A sample of 300 pairs of eight-year-old twins was studied to examine the genetic and environmental influences on sleep. The research suggests several explanations for the discrepancy between child and parent reported sleep difficulties in children. Overall, the findings reflect that both genetic and environmental influences are factors in a range of sleep problems.

Street robbery is not just for the money
Financial gain is far from being the only motivation for violent street robbery in the UK. It is often carried out because of a sheer desire to fight, to put right perceived injustice, to increase

Complaints about memory are associated with Alzheimer-related brain damage
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center found that having complaints about memory problems is associated with changes in the brain related to Alzheimer's disease. They reported their findings in the November 2006 issue of Neurology. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to