Tech

The U.S. military can now calibrate high-power laser systems, such as those intended to defuse unexploded mines, more quickly and easily thanks to a novel nanotube-coated power measurement device developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

LAS VEGAS, NV (May 8, 2009) — A new device designed to close a common heart defect known as a patent foramen ovale (PFO) is safe and effective at 90-days follow up, according to a new study released today at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions in Las Vegas.

A clever materials science technique that uses a silicon crystal as a sort of nanoscale vise to squeeze another crystal into a more useful shape may launch a new class of electronic devices that remember their last state even after power is turned off. Computers that could switch on instantly without the time-consuming process of “booting” an operating system is just one of the possibilities, according to a new paper by a team of researchers spanning four universities, two federal laboratories and three corporate labs.*

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study* of California homes by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon, as well.

School children as young as 11 can benefit from a daily exercise programme in reducing their levels of several known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. An ongoing study, which began four years ago in the German city of Leipzig, shows already that children assigned to daily exercise lessons reduced their overall prevalence of obesity, improved their exercise capacity, increased their levels of HDL-cholesterol, and reduced their systolic blood pressure.

A recently completed international multi-center clinical trial has found that acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), which is the most common cause of genital herpes, does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2.

Non-smokers live longer and have less cardiovascular disease than those who smoke, according to a 30-year follow-up study of 54,000 men and women in Norway. Smoking, say the investigators, is "strongly" related to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality from various causes.

The results, presented in Stockholm at EuroPRevent 2009, reflect what many other studies have indicated, but, says investigator Professor Haakon Meyer from the University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Public Health, these results provide a picture of the long-term, absolute "real life" risk.

School children as young as 11 can benefit from a daily exercise programme in reducing their levels of several known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. An ongoing study, which began four years ago in the German city of Leipzig, shows already that children assigned to daily exercise lessons reduced their overall prevalence of obesity, improved their exercise capacity, increased their levels of HDL-cholesterol, and reduced their systolic blood pressure.

Boston, Mass. – Tapping the Internet – including personal Web searches, news reports, blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites – is fast becoming a way to get a complete, up-to-the-minute view of public health threats, say researchers from the Informatics Program at Children's Hospital Boston (CHIP) in a Perspectives article published Online First by The New England Journal of Medicine on May 7, 2009.

CHICAGO (May 7, 2009) - Breast cancer patients, individuals at risk for osteoporosis and those undergoing certain types of bone cancer therapies often take drugs containing bisphosphonates. These drugs have been found to place people at risk for developing osteonecrosis of the jaws (a rotting of the jaw bones). Dentists, as well as oncologists, are now using X-rays to detect "ghost sockets" in patients that take these drugs and when these sockets are found, it signals that the jawbone is not healing the right way.