Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2008)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2008.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2008

St. Jude study gives new insights into how cells accessorize their proteins
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have gained new insight into how the cell's vast array of proteins would instantly be reduced to a confusion of lethally malfunctioning molecules without a system for proteins to

Scientists take cancer research back to the basic molecular level
Scientists and clinicians from around the world will gather in Philadelphia, Penn., next week at the American Association for Cancer Research's third International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Therapeutic Development.

New approach to treating cystic fibrosis lung infection shows promise
Researchers at the University of Calgary have found a new method of fighting severe lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.

NSF awards $1 million to develop artificial market for dynamic spectrum sharing in wireless networks
Because of the rapidly growing demand for wireless communications, the limited availability of spectrum for wireless communication, and apparent under-utilization of some spectrum bands, policy- and decision-makers want to design efficient wireless spectrum markets.

Thailand, Vietnam, Cuba: Examples of poorer countries that have improved primary health care
Despite problems including political instability, low income per person, and high HIV/AIDS prevalence, some countries have made substantial progress in primary health care, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Peru and Brazil. In this fourth in a Series of eight papers in the Alma-Alta special issue of the Lancet, Dr. Joy Lawn and colleagues examine reasons behind the progress in the 30 best performing countries, and the issues for the worst-performing countries.

A prospective clinical diagnosis marker for digestive system cancer: nm23H1
The gene nm23H1 has been regarded as a metastasis-associated gene in various tumors. Some changes related to genetic instability of the nm23H1 gene were identified during carcinogenesis and had great potential to be identified as clinical diagnosis marker in further research.

OU Norman campus to purchase 100 percent of its electricity from wind-power
Marking one of the largest renewable energy commitments ever by a public university in the United States, the University of Oklahoma Norman campus will purchase 100 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2013 with the signing today of a wind power agreement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.

Study examines golf-related eye injuries in children
Pediatric golf injuries are rare but can be devastating to the eye and vision system, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Trichoplax genome sequenced -- 'rosetta stone' for understanding evolution
Yale molecular and evolutionary biologists in collaboration with Department of Energy scientists produced the full genome sequence of Trichoplax, one of nature's most primitive multicellular organisms, providing a new insight into the evolution of all higher animals.

Particle physics, podcasts and pajama party
Today marks the startup of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland -- the first time protons circulate through its full 27 km circumference. International Science Grid This Week brings you podcasts straight from the local control centers and a report from the scene at Fermilab's Remote Operations Center where scientists stayed up for a 2 a.m.

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer later in life
Birth size, and in particular birth length, correlates with subsequent risk of breast cancer in adulthood, according to a new study published in PLoS Medicine by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

DNA editing tool flips its target
DNA methylation -- a chemical process cells use to tag genes -- is important for keeping certain genes silent. The structure of the SRA domain of UHRF1, a protein that recognizes DNA that is methylated on only one side of the double helix, gives scientists a glimpse of how methylation is maintained during DNA replication. The SRA domain performs the unusual maneuver of flipping the methylated nucleotide out of the double helix.

Making Alma-Ata a reality, now and going forward
In the last of the eight-paper Series in the Alma Ata special issue, a call for action is made by Lancet Alma-Ata Working Group, represented by professor John Walley. They say:

Before the big bang?
Sir Roger Penrose, prominent lecturer and author, as well as highly distinguished mathematician and theoretical physicist, will give Perimeter Institute's next public lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Physical activity associated with reduced risk for obesity in genetically predisposed
Individuals who have a genetic mutation associated with high body mass index may be able to offset their increased risk for obesity through physical activity, according to a report in the Sept. 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Experts meet on need for new rules to govern world's fragile polar regions
Consideration of international law and policy issues in polar regions is urgently needed as climate change opens the Arctic Ocean to shipping, fishing, and other resource exploitation, and as growing numbers of bioprospectors, researchers and tourists flock to Antarctica, all with potentially serious environmental consequences in these highly fragile ecosystems.

Like an arrow: Jumping insects use archery techniques
Froghoppers, also known as spittlebugs, are the champion insect jumpers, capable of reaching heights of 700mm -- more than 100 times their own body length. Research published today in the open access journal BMC Biology reveals that they achieve their prowess by flexing bow-like structures between their hind legs and wings and releasing the energy in one giant leap in a catapult-like action.

Changing dosing, administration of anthrax vaccine reduces side effects
Reducing the number of doses of an anthrax vaccine and changing its administration to intramuscular injection resulted in comparable measures of effectiveness but with fewer adverse events, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of JAMA.

Study examines cost-effectiveness of HIV monitoring strategy in countries with limited resources
In a computer-based model evaluating the benefits and costs of three types of HIV disease monitoring strategies, early initiation of antiretroviral therapy and monitoring using the CD4 count, a measure of immune system function, instead of based on symptoms appear to provide health benefits in low- and middle-income countries, according to a report in the Sep. 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Presidential debates are mostly positive and emphasize policy
Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are preparing for their first presidential debate this week. William Benoit, one of the nation's leading experts on political campaigns at the University of Missouri, says presidential debates have become an important part of presidential campaigns since 1960.

New 'chemical radar' among national security innovations in ACS podcast
As the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, the American Chemical Society has issued a new podcast describing an array of technologies to help assure personal safety and national security. It is the sixth episode in ACS's acclaimed Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions series. Entitled Promoting Personal Safety & National Security, the podcast describes a

USC: gamers play against type
Players of online role-playing games tend to be older and fitter than suggested by popular stereotypes, survey finds. Older players also log more playing time, and women tend to be more committed to the game.

Roman York skeleton could be early TB victim
The skeleton of a man discovered by archaeologists in a shallow grave on the site of the University of York's campus expansion could be that of one of Britain's earliest victims of tuberculosis.

Research pushes back history of crop development 10,000 years
Researchers led by Dr. Robin Allaby of the University of Warwick' have found evidence that genetics supports the idea that the emergence of agriculture in prehistory strated 10,000 years earlier than originally thought and took much longer.

American kids most medicated
American children are approximately three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication than children in Europe. A new study published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health claims that the differences may be accounted for by regulatory practices and cultural beliefs about the role of medication in emotional and behavioral problems.

Researcher working on destruction of chemical weapons
America's war on terror includes fighting the dark side of deadly chemical agents, and Texas A&M University chemist Dr. Frank Raushel is helping with the fight by developing an enzyme that might neutralize one such chemical agent, the organophosphates.

New results help predict treatment response in colorectal cancer
Gene marker indicates doubling of survival time in advanced colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab. A study shows value of circulating tumor cells in patients on targeted therapy.

Study confirms benefit of combination therapy for Alzheimer's disease
The first long-term study of the real-world use of Alzheimer's drugs finds that treatment can significantly slow the rate at which the disorder advances, and combination therapy with two different classes of drugs is even better at helping patients maintain their ability to perform daily activities.

Walk this way? Masculine motion seems to come at you, while females walk away
You can tell a lot about people from the way they move alone: their gender, age and even their mood, earlier studies have shown. Now, researchers have found that observers perceive masculine motion as coming toward them, while a characteristically feminine walk looks like it's headed the other way.

Superconductivity can induce magnetism
Researchers from the Université de Montréal, the Paul Scherrer Institute, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory publish their results in the prestigious journal Science.

Food soil stuck to surfaces can hold bacteria in food processing factories
Tiny amounts of food soil stuck to surfaces can act as a reservoir for potentially pathogenic bacteria. This food may help bacteria to survive industrial cleaning regimes in food processing factories, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Social psychology can be used to understand nuclear restraint
Social psychology is the study of how people and groups interact. A new study in the journal International Studies Review shows how social psychology can help us better understand the puzzle of nuclear restraint and uses the case of Japan to illustrate social psychology on nuclear decision-making.

Clinical trial for new tuberculosis vaccine
With annually 2 million deaths and 9 million new cases, there are more victims of tuberculosis than of any other infectious disease, apart from AIDS. Worsening the situation, many strains of tuberculosis are so resistant that they no longer respond to traditional treatment, making the necessity of a new tuberculosis vaccine more urgent than ever. For the first time in 80 years, a promising live tuberculosis vaccine has reached the clinical trial stage in Germany.

Study reveals how viruses collectively decide the fate of a bacterial cell
A new study suggests that bacteria-infecting viruses -- called phages -- can make collective decisions about whether to kill host cells immediately after infection or enter a latent state to remain within the host cell. The research shows that when multiple viruses infect a cell, the overall level of viral gene expression increases, which has a dramatic nonlinear effect on gene networks that control cell fate.

How to select anti-hepatitis B virus agents for drug-resistance patients?
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a global public health problem. Nucleoside analogs play an important role in antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B patients. However, many patients with a certain nucleoside analogs therapy for a period of time may be resistant to this antiviral agent. This article described a useful strategy to select anti-HBV agents for drug-resistance patients.

Strategies for preventing gastrointestinal complications in severely burned patients
Gastrointestinal dysfunction is a common complication of severe burns. To prevent and treat GI dysfunction is a clinical challenge. A research group in China analyzed and summarized some practicable guideline for the effective treatment and prevention of GI dysfunction.

3T MRI leads to better diagnosis for focal epilepsy
3T MRI is better at detecting and characterizing structural brain abnormalities in patients with focal epilepsy than 1.5T MRI, leading to a better diagnosis and safer treatment of patients, according to a recent study conducted at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore.

New study proves that pain is not a symptom of arthritis, pain causes arthritis
Pain is more than a symptom of osteoarthritis, it is an inherent and damaging part of the disease itself, according to a study published today in journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. More specifically, the study revealed that pain signals originating in arthritic joints, and the biochemical processing of those signals as they reach the spinal cord, worsen and expand arthritis itself.

Outreach program for troubled college students shows positive results
A pilot program called the College Screening Project, a suicide prevention outreach program, was successful in identifying and treating college students with severe depression and feelings of desperation that may have led to suicide. The study, supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, was conducted with Emory University students over six college semesters from 2002-2005.

National positive thinking trial aims to prevent childhood depression
More than 7,000 school pupils from across the UK will be taking part in the trial of a new positive thinking program led by the University of Bath designed to prevent children developing problems with depression.

Ecologists allay fears for farmland birds from wind turbines
Wind farms pose less of a threat to farmland birds than previously feared, new research has found. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, helps resolve a potentially major environmental conflict: how to meet renewable energy targets at the same time as reversing dramatic declines in biodiversity on European farmland.

Male-specific neurons directly linked to gender-specific behaviors
New research identifies a few critical neurons that initiate sex-specific behaviors in fruit flies and, when masculinized, can elicit male-typical courtship behaviors from females. The study demonstrates a direct link between sexual dimorphism in the brain and gender differences in behavior.

Children who are concerned about parents arguing are prone to school problems
A new study charted how children's concerns about their parents' relationship may increase their vulnerability to later adjustment problems. Children who worry a lot about conflict between their parents were found to have school problems because of difficulty focusing and sustaining attention. These attention problems were noted by teachers in the year that the concern was reported and one year later. The findings have implications for mental health programs among children dealing with parental discord.

Nottingham scientists to develop blood test for Alzheimer's
Researchers from the city's two universities are joining forces to develop a simple blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease.

Hopkins Children's study: Parents of dying newborns need clearer explanation of options
Parent-doctor discussions about whether to maintain or withdraw life support from terminally ill or severely premature newborns are so plagued by miscommunication and misunderstanding that they might as well be in different languages, according to a small but potentially instructive new study from Johns Hopkins Children's Center reported in the September issue of Pediatrics.

Duke to lead new NSF, EPA center to study the environmental implications of nanotechnology
The National Science Foundationand the Environmental Protection Agency have awarded $14.4 million to create the Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology to explore the potential ecological hazards of nanoparticles. The CEINT research team plans to define the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects, and ecological consequences. Nanomaterials that are already in commercial use as well as several present in nature will be among the first materials studied.

Brown-assisted trial finds new colorectal screening procedure is accurate and less invasive
A major clinical trial for colorectal screening finds that more patients stand to benefit from a comprehensive, less invasive method to accurately detect colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps. The Brown Center for Statistical Sciences helped design the trial, then monitored it and conducted the data analysis The results are published in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Massive cancer gene search finds potential new targets in brain tumors
An array of broken, missing and overactive genes have been identified in a genetic survey of glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of adult brain cancer, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The large-scale combing of the brain cancer genome confirms the key roles of some previously known mutated genes and implicates a variety of other genetic changes that may be targets for future therapies.

Why does Gecko, a chinese traditional medicine, have anti-tumor effects?
Gecko is a chinese traditional medicine. It has definite effect on malignant tumor, especially on digestive system tumor. A research group in China investigated that Gecko powder could inhibit EC9706 and EC1 growth and proliferation. It was also identified that Gecko could decrease vascular endothelin growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor expression in tumor tissue and induce tumor cell apoptosis.

Merck's odanacatib increased BMD over 2 years at key fracture sites in Phase IIB study
Two-year data from a Phase IIB study of Merck's odanacatib, an investigational, selective cathepsin-K inhibitor in development for the treatment of osteoporosis, demonstrated dose-dependent increases in bone mineral density at the total hip, lumbar spine and femoral neck fracture sites, and decreased indices of bone resorption compared to placebo in postmenopausal women with low BMD. The results were reported today at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research meeting. 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