A study of follow-up care for patients with unsatisfactory outcomes from deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for movement disorders offers insights into reasons for problems and proposes strategies for improved outcomes. The study is posted online today and will appear in the August print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to background information in the article, since the Food and Drug Administration approved deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and dystonia (uncontrolled muscle movement), there has been a surge in the number of centers offering this surgical procedure, which involves implanting a device to deliver mild electrical stimulation to block the brain signals that cause tremor. There is currently no consensus regarding appropriate screening procedures, necessary training of individuals providing the therapy, the need for an interdisciplinary team, or guidelines for the management of complications, the authors report.

Deep brain stimulation via electrodes implanted on both sides of the brain markedly improves the motor skills of patients with advanced Parkinson's Disease, says a new long-term study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Toronto Western Hospital.

"We saw a pronounced decrease in the motor scores associated with Parkinson's Disease - the tremors, stiffness and slowness - and this benefit was persistent through the course of the long-term followup," says Dr. Anthony Lang, professor in U of T's division of neurology, the Jack Clark Chair in Parkinson's Disease Research at the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases and director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. He and his colleagues used the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) to evaluate both the features of the disease as well as the side-effects of medication. They found motor scores decreased an average of 48 per cent. "This is quite substantial when you compare it to other trials of therapy for Parkinson's Disease," he says.

John Conway says, "I’ve been looking for the Higgs boson for almost 20 years" which sounds like a long time if you are a young scientist but I have a watch missing for 35, so it isn't that impressive.

What is impressive his description of what happened when he thinks he found Higgs at CERN.

I thought the only "Quark" I would ever see was that TV show in the 1980s but sometimes scientific progress creeps and sometimes it leaps. We may be in for a leap.

Anyway, I can't do the article any justice here. Go there and read it for yourself and by the time you come back I will have something to complain about.

The secret to the ability of a molecule critical for cell division to throw off the protein yoke that restrains its activity is the yoke itself--a disorderly molecule that seems to have a mind of its own, say investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Innsbruck Medical University (Austria) and Max Planck Institute (Martinsried, Germany).

The researchers showed that the disorderly protein yoke, called p27, participates in its own destruction by swinging the end of its long arm up into a key side pocket of the cell division molecule called CDK2. After the end of p27 slips into the pocket, CDK2 marks p27 for destruction by tagging it with a molecule called phosphate.

The first scientific report into the causes and impact of Lusi, the Indonesian mud volcano, reveals that the 2006 eruption will continue to erupt and spew out between 7,000 and 150,000 cubic metres of mud a day for months, if not years to come, leaving at least 10 km2 around the volcano vent uninhabitable for years and over 11,000 people permanently displaced.

The paper by a Durham University-led team and published in the February issue of GSA Today1, reveals that the eruption was almost certainly manmade and caused by the drilling of a nearby exploratory borehole2 looking for gas, reinforcing the possible explanation in a UN report3 from July last year.


Image of a gryphon, which occur around the site of a mud volcano.

Individual sperm in promiscuous rodents have learned to work together in order to compete against sperm of rival males, according to new research carried out at the University of Sheffield.

Although, sperm are inseminated in millions each sperm goes it alone. However, under some circumstances it might be advantageous for sperm to cooperate with one another. This is especially likely to be the case when females are promiscuous and sperm of one male have to compete against those of rival males.

The emerging picture of microbes as gene-swapping collectives demands a revision of such concepts as organism, species and evolution itself.

One of the most fundamental patterns of scientific discovery is the revolution in thought that accompanies a new body of data. Satellite-based astronomy has, during the past decade, overthrown our most cherished ideas of cosmology, especially those relating to the size, dynamics and composition of the Universe.

Similarly, the convergence of fresh theoretical ideas in evolution and the coming avalanche of genomic data will profoundly alter our understanding of the biosphere — and is likely to lead to revision of concepts such as species, organism and evolution.

As you probably know ulcerative colitis affects around  half a million Americans.

Today in press releases: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval for LIALDA™ (mesalamine) with MMX® technology for the induction of remission in patients with active, mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.

If you do not know much about the disease, here is the information:

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that produces inflammation and sores or ulcers along the inside of the large intestine, also called the bowel or colon.