Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 2004)

Science news and science current events archive October, 2004.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 2004

ORNL system eliminates perchlorate, helps scientists trace source
An award-winning system developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to clean up perchlorate pollution is now also helping scientists determine whether the contamination is natural or man-made.

Other highlights in the October 20 JNCI
Other highlights in the October 20 JNCI include an investigation of birth weight and the risk of childhood leukemias, a study of a possible treatment for overdoses of intrathecal methotrexate, a review of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's accelerated approvals of oncology drugs, and a study of a potential treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer.

Radiologists call for judicious use of CT for detecting pulmonary embolism
There has been a striking increase in the number of patients undergoing CT examinations of the chest to look for clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism) over recent years, especially through the emergency department, a study at one facility shows. This increased usage in combination with the radiation doses and the fact that new scanners can show previously undetectable abnormalities that may or may not affect treatment has radiologists calling for judicious ordering of the exam.

New oral vaccine for Alzheimer's disease
In the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a new paper shows that a new oral vaccine treatment is effective in reducing Alzheimer's disease pathology in mice.

Center refutes finding that added sugars displace vitamins and minerals
Added sugars have little or no substantive effect on diet quality, according to a new study by the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy. Released in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the study refutes analyses in the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine draft report on Dietary References Intakes.

New genetic tools provide clues to the effects of exercise and diet on obesity, diabetes
Children's National Medical Center researchers have described the molecular basis for the improvement in several CVD risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome and the importance of skeletal muscle in governing these changes. They also found that that changes in glucose metabolism which occur in aerobic exercise trained skeletal muscle are responsible for the cardiovascular benefits of habitual exercise in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance.

Research team develops nonhuman primate model of smallpox infection
Scientists have made significant progress in developing an animal model of smallpox that closely resembles human disease, which will be necessary for testing of future vaccines and potential treatments. The study, published in this week's online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to demonstrate that variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox, can produce lethal disease in monkeys.

Williams to share in NSF award in support of undergraduate research in astronomy
The National Science Foundation has awarded $200,000 to the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC), of which Williams College is a member. The grant will allow astronomers Karen B. Kwitter, Jay M. Pasachoff, and Steven Souza to continue their work with students in a variety of ways.

New internet resource facilitates international HIV/AIDS healthcare provider training
A major barrier to access to care for HIV/AIDS patients in resource limited settings -- the lack of trained healthcare providers -- is now eased with the launch of an internet-based clinical training resource database.

Worldwide approach tackles kidney disease
A new initiative,

NIDA sponsors frontiers in addiction research mini-convention
Frontiers in Addiction Research will bring together outstanding scientists from a wide array of research disciplines to share advances and discuss future directions in the neuroscience of drug abuse and addiction. The symposium, which coincides with NIDA's 30th anniversary, includes 20 speakers and 72 poster presentations, will run from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.

p110 delta: A key player in the allergic response
Findings from the University College London Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR), published in this week's Nature, detail how inactivating a key signalling molecule called p110delta reduced the effect of allergies on mice.

New system 'sees' crimes on audiotape
The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a real-time magnetic imaging system that enables criminal investigators to

Fungus knocks a frog down but not out, raising questions about amphibian declines
The deadly chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis which has been implicated in massive declines and waves of extinction in Central America and Eastern Australia, has been found not to be universally lethal, a finding that may give important new clues concerning this pathogen's behavior in the wild, and point towards understanding how it spreads.

Blood pressure drugs may slow deterioration of Alzheimer's
Certain blood pressure drugs may slow the deterioration of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 12 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or ACE inhibitors, the drugs are used to treat high blood pressure. Only ACE inhibitors that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier were shown to have the effect on Alzheimer's.

Neurosurgeons identify growth of new adult brain cells, possible treatment for epilepsy
It had long been thought that once the human brain is fully matured, no new brain cells develop. Now a team of researchers and scientists has found evidence of cell generation in the brains of adults with epilepsy and say it could lead to ground-breaking treatment for the disease. William Bingaman, M.D., a neurosurgeon from the Cleveland Clinic, presented his findings at the 54th annual meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

One light beam switches another for photonic circuits
Cornell University researchers have demonstrated for the first time a device that allows one low-powered beam of light to switch another on and off on silicon, a key component for future

The Virgo Cluster of galaxies in the making
An international team of astronomers has succeeded in measuring with high precision the velocities of a large number of planetary nebulae in the intergalactic space within the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. For this they used the highly efficient FLAMES spectrograph on the ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory (Chile). They measurements confirm the view that Virgo is a highly non-uniform galaxy cluster that is still in its making.

Topical medication effective in relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis
Symptoms of primary osteoarthritis of the knee, including pain and stiffness, were significantly improved in patients who used a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), according to an article in the October 11 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Martian meteorite measurements give information on planet evolution
Scientists in the department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University have devised a method to precisely date the timing and temperature of a meteorite impact on Mars that led to ejection of a piece of the planet into space and its eventual impact on Earth. They now can compare data from meteorites with the observations of space vehicles to learn more about past activities on the surface of Mars.

Tests begin of flu vaccine grown in insect cell lines
Scientists are launching a research study to check the effectiveness of a new type of flu vaccine that is made differently than the conventional vaccine, which is grown in eggs. The experimental vaccine instead relies on a cell line drawn from insects known as fall armyworms, which are better known for their role as pests attacking crops such as corn, cotton, barley and alfalfa.

LASER technology helps track changes in Mount St. Helens
US Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA scientists studying Mount St. Helens are using high-tech Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to analyze changes in the surface elevation of the crater, which began deforming in late September 2004.

UIC tests two drugs for pediatric bipolar disorder
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are conducting a double-blinded, randomized clinical trial to determine whether a novel antipsychotic is a better treatment option than a standard mood stabilizer for pediatric bipolar disorder.

UF study: Brown-nosing works better than boasting in job interviews
Sucking up or apple polishing are more likely to work in a job interview than boasting of one's accomplishments, a new University of Florida study finds.

Child heart deaths at Bristol fall below national average
Child heart deaths at the Bristol Royal Infirmary have fallen markedly, to below the national average, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Marine Biological Laboratory summer investigator wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today that Avram Hershko, a summer researcher at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for

Women with favorable cardiovascular risk factor levels as young adults have lower death rate
Young women at low risk for coronary heart disease and cardiovascular diseases have a lower long-term death rate from these diseases and all other causes compared with others with higher risk factor levels, according to an article in the October 6 issue of JAMA.

Mobile phone use and acoustic neuroma
A study from the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, found that 10 or more years of mobile phone use increase the risk of acoustic neuroma and that the risk increase was confined to the side of the head where the phone was usually held. No indications of an increased risk for less than 10 years of mobile phone use were found.

Technology points to possible targets for epilepsy and Alzheimer's drugs
Using new technology to measure protein levels in human tissue, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center hope to identify new targets for drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. They reported their progress today in San Diego at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Some chest pain patients may benefit from more evaluation
New research shows that almost 3 percent of patients who went to hospital emergency rooms with chest pain - but who weren't initially diagnosed with heart problems - went on to have heart attacks or other heart-related events within a month.

U-M researchers show cottonseed drug boosts cancer treatment in mice
A new study from the University of Michigan Health System has found that a drug refined from cottonseed oil, and previously tried and abandoned as a male contraceptive, could boost the effectiveness of treatment for prostate cancer and possibly other common cancers as well. Results of the study will be reported Oct. 1 at the Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Geneva, Switzerland.

Fatal attraction
The politics of fear continues to lead news stories and analysis in these final days of the presidential election. New research examines how reminders of death increase the need for psychological security and therefore the appeal of leaders who emphasize the greatness of the nation and a heroic victory over evil.

BIDMC PatientSite portal to study ways to improve patient quality of life
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has received a $400,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Health e-Technologies Initiative national program to study how Internet technology can improve the quality of patient care.

Estrogen or stimulating environment boost memory
Estrogen treatment had less beneficial effect on memory in female mice that raced on running wheels and played with other toys than in mice raised in non-stimulating environments.

UK celebrates 50 years of CERN
Yesterday, October 12th, the UK celebrates 50 years of partnership with CERN, Europe's Particle Physics Laboratory. In addition to world-leading research that has won Nobel prizes; CERN was the birthplace of the World Wide Web and has seen a host of other innovations that have led to advances in information technology, electronics, detector materials and instrumentation for healthcare.

Olfactory bulb stem cells and Lou Gehrig's disease
Johns Hopkins researchers have found that transplants of mouse stem cells taken from the adult brain's olfactory bulb can delay symptoms and death in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. They are scheduled to present their findings Oct. 24 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.

Amgen investigational therapy, AMG 162, increased bone mineral density with twice yearly injection
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced that at all doses studied, twice yearly injections of AMG 162, the company's investigational bone loss therapy, significantly increased bone mineral density at the total hip compared to placebo at 12 months. AMG 162, at all doses, also increased total hip BMD, similar to or greater than that resulting from FOSAMAX® (alendronate) treatment in the same time. The results are from an ongoing multi-center, Phase 2 trial in healthy postmenopausal women with low BMD.

Study documents adverse events of pneumococcal vaccine in children
Examination of reports from the first two years after licensure of a new vaccine against pneumococcal infections indicates that the majority of adverse effects are minor, but that continued surveillance is warranted, according to a study in the October 13 issue of JAMA.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
This issue of the Journal of Neuroscience contains: rescuing mice from spinocerebellar ataxia, and FGF and cortical laminar development.

Skin sterol provides new information about heart disease risk
New clinical research on skin sterol testing was presented yesterday at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. The release highlights findings from the studies.

Carnegie Mellon researchers challenge popular decision-making theory
Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University have completed a study challenging a popular theory that claims bodily states can guide decision-making when conscious knowledge isn't available. The paper, written by doctoral student Tiago V. Maia and James L. McClelland, the Walter Van Dyke Bingham Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, will be published online next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Clinical trial of botanicals for memory loss in menopause
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are investigating whether hormone therapy and two alternative herbal products can lessen memory and other cognitive problems experienced by menopausal women.

New protein associated with aggressiveness in breast and ovarian cancer
A research team led by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has found a potential new protein marker for prognosis of breast and ovarian cancer.

NIH awards Emory and Georgia Tech $10 million for partnerships in cancer nanotechnology
The NIH has awarded scientists from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology two new collaborative research grants to establish a multidisciplinary research program in cancer nanotechnology and to develop a new class of nanoparticles for molecular and cellular imaging. The scientists are seeking data that will link molecular signatures to patients' clinical outcomes, so that cancers can be predicted, detected earlier and treated more effectively.

Cognitive behavioral therapy combined with antidepressant effective in treating adolescent OCD
According to current epidemiological data, approximately 1 in 200 young people suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD can cripple their lives, disrupt their learning, and drive a wedge through their families. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers, and a team of researchers from Duke University Medical Center, have developed a scientifically conclusive treatment combination - using Cognitive Behavior Therapy and commonly prescribed anti-depressant medication - to help pediatric patients overcome OCD.

Researchers discover gene mutations for Parkinson's disease
An international research team, led by scientists at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), has discovered a gene, which when mutated, causes Parkinson's disease in some families. Although Parkinson's disease is usually not inherited, the discovery of this gene and further study of how it works could open up new avenues of research for preventing or delaying the onset of the disease.

Intensity modulated radiation therapy reduces radiation dose to healthy breast tissue
Results from a study to evaluate intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for breast cancer indicate that IMRT resulted in 35 percent and 57 percent reduction in radiation to healthy breast tissue when compared to standard radiation. The findings were presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Atlanta.

Barbed sutures, wrinkle fillers give patients more innovative, non-surgical options
Patients without time for a facelift or intimidated by surgery now have more minimally invasive options that produce effective results. Barbed sutures, ultrasonic body contouring and soft tissue fillers, three emerging trends in the plastic surgery industry, offer patients faster results without the downtime of surgery, according to a program held today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2004 conference in Philadelphia.

Yale recognizes vital role of Bristol-Myers Squibb in biomedical research and education
The Yale School of Medicine recently hosted a special program of neuroscience lectures and unveiled a plaque at the heart of the medical campus to honor Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for its contributions to biomedical research and education at Yale.

Genetically endowed worm may substitute for rodents in some toxicology testing
A primitive roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is being evaluated in a Duke University laboratory as a cheaper and quicker alternative to rats and mice in testing chemicals for several kinds of toxicity. 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