Body

HOUSTON – (Feb. 18, 2009) – The fight against bone disorders that affect millions of Americans will soon receive a boost from an ultrasound device being developed by space biomedical researchers. The technology under development will allow early prediction of bone disorders such as osteoporosis and guided acceleration of fracture healing.

National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) scientists are developing the technology to assist astronauts during long-duration spaceflights. Like the elderly on Earth, astronauts in space lose bone structure and quality.

Pasadena, CA—February 18, 2009—"Suicide by Cop" (SBC) is a suicide method in which a person engages in actual or apparent danger to others in an attempt to get oneself killed or injured by law enforcement. A new study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences examined the prevalence of this phenomenon among a large sample of officer-involved shootings.

Canada has the opportunity to be an international leader in personalized medicine and needs to invest in this area for the health of Canadians and to reap the benefits of job creation, writes Dr. Thomas Hudson in a commentary http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/rapidpdf/cmaj.1090199 released online today in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Five short reports published simultaneously by the journal Nature Genetics have for the first time identified clusters of genetic markers associated with heart attack and coronary heart disease. In one of the reports, from the largest ever study of its kind, the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium identified nine precise genes associated with an increased risk of infarction (MI), three of them newly discovered; the investigators said that these nine gene variants "identify 20% of the population at 2.25-fold increased risk for MI".

A team of specialists at the University Hospital of Navarra have revealed the existence of genetic variants that have greater resistance to a specific treatment and a greater toxicity of the pharmaceutical drug in some child patients affected by osteosarcoma. The team investigated the mechanisms of the illness in order to obtain a personalised therapeutic treatment in the future.

Older people suffer delayed tuberculosis treatment. A Taiwanese study of 78,118 pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases, reported in the open access journal BMC Public Health has found that older people had both diagnosis and treatment delays in tuberculosis and those with an aboriginal background had a longer treatment delay.

Berkeley -- Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

These materials, some of which are highly abundant, could expand the potential for solar cells to become a globally significant source of low-carbon energy, the study authors said.

CINCINNATI – Screening for mutations in a gene that helps the body metabolize a kidney transplant anti-rejection drug may predict which children are at higher risk for side effects, including compromised white blood cell count or organ rejection, according to new research.

Current guidelines for when to prescribe popular cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins would produce cost-effective results and would save thousands of lives every year if they were followed more closely by physicians and patients, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., FEB. 18, 2009 – Regardless of where they are born in the United States, nearly all newborns now receive mandated screening for many life-threatening disorders, a remarkable public health advance of the last four years, according to a new report issued today by the March of Dimes.

ATLANTA– February 18, 2009 – While death rates from cancer continue to drop among African Americans, the group continues to be diagnosed at more advanced stages and have lower survival rates at each stage of diagnosis compared to whites for most cancer sites. The findings come from Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2009-2010, the latest edition of a report produced every two years by the American Cancer Society, the nation's leading voluntary health organization.

A study published in this week's issue of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine suggests that, in comparison to other types of trials, the results of Phase I drug trials are far less likely to be published.

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 17, 2009) — In the Mesozoic Era, 70 million years before birds first conquered the skies, pterosaurs dominated the air with sparrow- to Cessna-sized wingspans. Researchers suspected that these extinct reptiles sustained flight through flapping, based on fossil evidence from the wings, but had little understanding of how pterosaurs met the energetic demands of active flight.

A well-off professional who smokes has a much lower survival rate than a non-smoking low-paid worker of the same sex concludes new research published today on bmj.com.