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August 23, 2006, 5:19 AM CT

Serious Eye Infection With Certain Contact Lens Solutions

Serious Eye Infection With Certain Contact Lens Solutions
Scientists have additional information concerning the recent outbreak of the corneal infection Fusarium keratitis, which was linked to use of a specific contact lens solution, as per a research studyin the August 23/30 issue of JAMA. After preliminary findings from this investigation were released in May, the product was withdrawn from the market worldwide.

Among the estimated 34 million contact lens wearers in the United States, microbial keratitis (corneal infection) is a rare but serious complication that may lead to permanent vision loss or the need for corneal transplantation. The annual occurence rate of microbial keratitis is estimated to be 4 to 21 per 10,000 soft contact lens wearers depending on overnight wear, as per background information in the article. Fusarium is a filamentous fungus usually found in soil and plants and is the major cause of fungal keratitis in certain tropical or subtropical regions. Beginning in March 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received multiple reports of Fusarium keratitis among contact lens wearers in the US.

Douglas C. Chang, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and his colleagues conducted a study to determine the specific activities, contact lens hygiene practices, or products linked to this outbreak. Data for cases that occurred after June 1, 2005, were obtained by patient and ophthalmologist interviews for case patients and neighborhood-matched controls by trained personnel.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 7:58 PM CT

carbon fiber to make tiny video displays

carbon fiber to make tiny video displays
Engineers who develop microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) like to make their tiny machines out of silicon because it is cheap, plentiful and can be worked on with the tools already developed for making microelectronic circuits. There is just one problem: Silicon breaks too easily.

For decades, scientists have been trying to make video displays using tiny mirrors mounted on silicon oscillators. But silicon won't oscillate fast enough and bend far enough.

"You need something incredibly stiff to oscillate at a resonant frequency of 60,000 times a second (the line-scanning rate of most video displays), but it also needs to bend a lot for adequate image size," explained Shahyaan Desai, a Cornell graduate student who has been working for more than three years to create a practical MEMS video display device.

So Desai and his Cornell colleagues have turned to carbon fiber, the same material used to reinforce auto and aircraft body parts, bicycle frames and fishing rods.

"Carbon fiber is twice as stiff as silicon but 10 times more flexible," said Desai.

He is first author of a paper with Michael Thompson, Cornell associate professor of materials science and engineering, and Anil Netravali, Cornell professor of fiber science, on using carbon fibers in MEMS, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:59 PM CT

Close-up on Cuvier crater ridge

Close-up on Cuvier crater ridge
This high-resolution image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the young crater 'Cuvier C' on the Moon.

Click for high resolution image

AMIE obtained this sequence on 18 March 2006 from a distance of 591 kilometres from the surface, with a ground resolution of 53 metres per pixel. The imaged area is centred at a latitude of 50.1º South and a longitude of 11.2º East, with a field of view of 27 km. The North is on the right of the image.

"This image shows the resolving power of the SMART-1 camera to measure the morphology of rims and craters in order to diagnose impact processes", says SMART-1 Project scientist Bernard Foing, "or to establish the statistics of small craters for lunar chronology studies".

Cuvier C, a crater about 10 kilometres across, is visible in the lower right part of the image. Cuvier C is located at the edge of the larger old crater Cuvier, a crater 77 kilometres in diameter. The upper left quadrant of the image contains the smooth floor of Cuvier, only one fourth of which is visible in this image.

Crater Cuvier was named after the creator of the comparative anatomy, Georges Cuvier, a 19th century French naturalist (1769 - 1832).........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:49 PM CT

Judging by the first looks

Judging by the first looks
We may be taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second, according to recent Princeton research.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov has found that people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction -- and that our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.

"The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance," said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. "We decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way".

Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005, used timed experiments and found that snap judgments on character are often formed with insufficient time for rational thought. They published their research in the recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 6:38 PM CT

Home Needles For Blood clots

Home Needles For Blood clots
Looks like those long days you spend in the hospital for therapy of blood clots are over. Scientists have shown that therapy of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or the lungs with an older, less expensive form of the anticoagulant medicine heparin can be just as safe and effective as similar therapy with a newer and more expensive heparin, as per a research studyled by Clive Kearon, professor of medicine at McMaster University, reported in the August 23 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

When injected subcutaneously (beneath the skin), unfractionated (regular) heparin was shown in a randomized trial to work just as well as subcutaneous injection of the more expensive, low-molecular weight heparin in the therapy of venous thromboembolism. Traditionally, when unfractionated heparin is used in therapy, it is administered intravenously and accompanied by coagulation monitoring, which requires hospitalization. This standard approach includes ongoing dose adjustment in response to measurement of the APTT, a test that measures how fast the blood clots in a test tube under certain conditions.

The newer low-molecular weight heparins, which are administered by injection in fixed-weight doses, have gradually been replacing unfractionated heparin.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-scientists reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

They are looking at newly diagnosed schizophrenics in an upper-middle-class Spanish community to find whether the disease that causes patients to hear voices and smell, feel and even taste unreal objects also increases their risk of diabetes.

Scientists know the drugs that best control the psychosis increase the risk. "We know it's the medicine; I'm asking whether it's the disease as well," says Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and principal investigator on the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases-funded study.

Dr. Kirkpatrick and colleagues at Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the University of Maryland note mounting evidence that developmental problems, resulting from significant maternal stress in the second or early third trimester of pregnancy, may cause schizophrenia and related problems.

"The brain has this incredibly complex development where cells are born here and march over here and send communication over here; that goes wrong from the very beginning probably," says Dr. Kirkpatrick of the complex process of laying down normal communication pathways that apparently go awry in about 1 percent of people.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 5:07 AM CT

New Methods for Screening Nanoparticles

New Methods for Screening Nanoparticles
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a screening method to examine how newly made nanoparticles - particles with dimensions on the order of billionths of a meter - interact with human cells following exposure for various times and doses. This has led to the visualization of how human cells interact with some specific types of carbon nanoparticles. The method is described in a review article on carbon nanoparticle toxicity in a special section of the August 23, 2006, issue of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter devoted to developments in nanoscience and nanotechnology, now available online.

Nanoparticles may have different physical, chemical, electrical, and optical properties than occur in bulk samples of the same material, in part due to the increased surface area to volume ratio at the nanoscale. A number of researchers think that understanding these nanoscale properties and finding ways to engineer new nanomaterials will have revolutionary impacts - from more efficient energy generation and data storage to improved methods for diagnosing and treating disease. Brookhaven Lab is currently building a Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) with state-of-the-art facilities for the fabrication and study of nanomaterials, with an emphasis on atomic-level tailoring of nanomaterials and nanoparticles to achieve desired properties and functions.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

First Direct Evidence For Dark Matter

First Direct Evidence For Dark Matter This composite image shows the galaxy cluster 1E0657-556, also known as the "bullet cluster",
Astronomers have discovered first direct proof that dark matter exists.

University of Arizona astronomers and their colleagues got side-on views of two merging galaxy clusters in observations made with state-of-the-art optical and X-ray telescopes.

"Nature gave us this fantastic opportunity to see hypothesized dark matter separated from ordinary matter in this merging system," said UA astronomer Douglas Clowe, leader of the study.

"Previous to this observation, all of our cosmological models were based on an assumption that we couldn't prove: that gravity behaves the same way on the cosmic scale as on Earth," Clowe said. "The clusters we've looked at in these images are a billion times larger than the largest scales at which we can measure gravity at present, which are on the scale of our solar system".

Douglas Clowe.

Clowe added, "What's amazing about this is that the process of galaxy clusters merging is thought to go on all of time. That's how galaxy clusters gain mass. But the fact that we caught this thing only 100 million years after it occurred -- so recently that it barely registers on the cosmic time scale -- is tremendous luck."

Astronomers have known since the 1930s that most of the universe must be made up of something other than normal matter, the stuff that makes stars, planets, all things and creatures. Given the way that galaxies move through space and scientists' understanding of gravity, astronomers theorize that the universe must contain about five times more dark matter than normal matter.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 21, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Molecular Process Underlying Leukemia

Molecular Process Underlying Leukemia
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified a molecular process in cells that is crucial to the development of two common leukemias.

The findings help explain how fundamental cell processes go awry during cancer development and represent a first step toward new, targeted treatments for leukemia.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) leukemias develop when certain chromosomal abnormalities disrupt the genes that control blood cell formation. Without the proper instructions from these genes, blood cells produced by bone marrow never fully mature; these immature cells, which can't carry vital nutrients or fight infection, then flood the body.

The researchers showed how a fusion of proteins created by flawed chromosomes can trigger leukemia development. The study also identified an enzyme's important role in this process.

The results were published online Aug. 20 and will appear in a future print issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology.

The research was led by Dr. Yi Zhang, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Zhang is also a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


August 21, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Insulin Resistance May Predict Diabetes

Insulin Resistance May Predict Diabetes
The body's decreased response to insulin beginning as early as age 13 may mean increased cardiovascular disease risk by age 19, according to research reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The finding indicates that the prevalence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors and type 2 diabetes (both of which are related to obesity and are increasing as today's children reach adulthood) also are related to insulin resistance independent from obesity, said Alan R. Sinaiko, M.D., lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.

After screening blood pressure, height and weight in more than 12,000 5th through 8th grade students in Minneapolis public schools, 357 students (average age 13) were recruited for the study. Two-hundred twenty-four participants completed the study. The participants were 58 percent male and 83 percent white.

At baseline the children underwent a complete physical examination including measurements of blood pressure, height, weight, percentage of body fat, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides and fasting insulin levels. The students were also categorized by stage of sexual development.

Sinaiko and colleagues tracked insulin resistance with a series of insulin clamp studies first at age 13, then 15 and again at 19.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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