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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.

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.

Can network interference be used to expand and enhance communication for wireless devices such as cell phones, computers and personal digital assistants?

Daniela Tuninetti, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, explained that this seemingly illogical concept is not all that strange if you take a closer look at what is going on. She has received a five-year, $400,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to establish a theoretical foundation for putting this idea into use through a concept called collaborative communications.

"Interference due to other communications devices is not just noise," Tuninetti said.

Bergmann`s rule is one of the most studied and controversial “ecogeographical” patterns, and refers to the increasing body size of organisms towards higher latitudes.

Although it has been studied since the mid 19th Century, it is not until now that new statistical techniques have made it possible to disentangle the underlying influences of evolutionary history and ecology.

In a new study in the journal Ecography, an inter¬national team of researchers have analyzed Bergmann`s rule in European carnivore mammals. Their approch allows them to, for the first time, partition body mass variation into historical and ecological components.

The origins and earliest branches of primate evolution are clearer and more ancient by 10 million years than previous studies estimated, according to a study featured on the cover of the Jan. 23 print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper by researchers at Yale, the University of Winnipeg, Stony Brook University, and led by University of Florida paleontologist Jonathan Bloch reconstructs the base of the primate family tree by comparing skeletal and fossil specimens representing more than 85 modern and extinct species.