Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2006)

Science news and science current events archive 2006.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2006

Carnegie Mellon collaborates with Taiwanese government
Carnegie mellon University has signed a $3 million agreement with the Taiwanese government, establishing a new research program.

Ossur takes another giant step in prosthetic technology
Ossur -- the Iceland-based developer and supplier of orthopedic devices -- has launched more scientifically advanced prosthetic innovations than any other company in the field. Now it has seized upon one of the 21st century's hottest areas of technology -- bionics -- to improve the quality of life for amputees. Prosthetists, the press, and users alike have been dazzled by its knees, which employ motorized power and artificial intelligence, making them the first truly ground-breaking innovations in prosthetics since the late '90s.

Congressional action strengthens internal medicine ACP says
Saturday's Congressional action to avert Medicare payment cuts to physicians will work to strengthen the future of internal medicine, the American College of Physicians said today in a statement of appreciation to lawmakers.

Gene therapy completely suppresses ovarian cancer growth in animal model
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers have used gene therapy to either completely abolish or significantly inhibit tumor progression in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. The researchers, therefore, believe gene therapy may significantly improve the prognosis for ovarian cancer patients.

Pine tree bark reduces side effects in hypertensive patients
A study published in the October journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree reduced edema, a typical side effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications.

Massive German floods monitored from space
Torrential rain and melting snow caused Germany's Elbe River to rise to a record high level in northern parts of the country over the weekend, flooding cities and damaging historic town centres. ESA's ERS-2 satellite has been monitoring the situation from space.

Electric jolt triggers release of biomolecules, nanoparticles
Researchers have devised a way to use a brief burst of electricity to release biomolecules and nanoparticles from a tiny gold launch pad. The technique could be used to dispense small amounts of medicine on command from a chip implanted in the body.

American Mathematical Society awards 2006 prizes
The American Mathematical Society (AMS) will present several major prizes on Friday, January 13, 2006, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas. These prizes, some of which are presented jointly with other mathematics organizations, are among the highest distinctions given in the field of mathematics.

Electrical stimulation boosts stroke recovery
Sending tiny electric pulses to a part of the brain controlling motor function helps ischemic stroke survivors regain partial use of a weakened hand, new Oregon Health & Science University research shows. But coupling the technique known as cortical stimulation with aggressive rehabilitation is key to reversing the impairment, doctors say.

Researchers sequence the basal eukaryote Tetrahymena thermophila
The macronuclear genome of Tetrahymena thermophila is sequenced and analyzed. Conservation in this single-celled ciliate of some features normally observed in only multicellular organisms sheds light on early eukaryotic evolution, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

Adult stem cell research at UB targets damaged hearts
A specialist in stem cell biology at the University at Buffalo has received a $1.98 million grant from National Institutes of Health to investigate the potential of bone marrow-derived adult stem cells to treat the serious heart malfunction known as hibernating myocardium.

Phase diagram of water revised by Sandia researchers
Supercomputer simulations by Sandia researchers have significantly altered the theoretical diagram universally used by scientists to understand the characteristics of water at extreme temperatures and pressures. The new computational model also expands the known range of water's electrical conductivity.

Technique used commonly in physics finds application in neuroscience
To understand how brain cells release compounds (or transmitters) used when the cells communicate with each other, Vladimir Parpura, associate professor of neuroscience, and Umar Mohideen, professor of physics, devised a new technique -- used commonly in physics -- that can now be applied to the study of various biological processes and interactions. The technique, commonly referred to as

Key molecular signaling switch involved in allergic disease identified
A research team has identified a key enzyme responsible for triggering a chain of events that results in allergic reaction, according to new study findings published online this week in Nature Immunology.

Drug that switches on genes improves myelodysplastic syndrome treatment
A potent member of a new class of drugs increases survival in some patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and may become the new standard of therapy for this group of pre-cancer disorders, say researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center who led a national study of the agent.

Firefighter radios may fail during high-temp fires
A recently NIST study shows that first responders can't rely on their unprotected handheld radios even in routine firefighting situations, much less in higher-temperature fires, where good communications are especially crucial.

Liver signal critical for insulin's brain action
New research in the April 5, 2006 Cell Metabolism identifies a key player in the body's ability to respond to insulin action in the brain by ratcheting down the export of blood sugar from the liver. The findings point to a potential new drug target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.

Coffee consumption linked to increased risk of heart attack for persons with certain gene variation
Individuals who have a genetic variation associated with slower caffeine metabolism appear to have an increased risk of non-fatal heart attack associated with higher amounts of coffee intake, according to a study in the March 8 issue of JAMA.

An irregular heartbeat makes exercise deadly
Humans lacking the protein cardiac calsequestin (CASQ2) have a normal heartbeat when not exercising, but their heartbeat becomes irregular when they exercise, putting them at risk for sudden death. A new study in mice, by researchers from Vanderbilt University, has now shed light on why the lack of CASQ2 only triggers an irregular, and potentially fatal, heartbeat during exercise.

Researchers trawl the origins of sea fishing in Northern Europe
For decades the study of fish bones was considered one of the most esoteric branches of archaeology, but now it is helping to reveal the massive significance of the fishing trade in the Middle Ages.

'Air shower' set to cut water use by 30 percent
As Australians become increasingly alert to the importance of using water wisely in the home, CSIRO researchers have found a way to use a third less water when you shower -- by adding air.

The critical importance of mangroves to ocean life
Mangrove plants, whose finger-like roots are known to protect coastal wetlands against the ocean and as important fish habitats, cover less than 0.1 percent of the global land surface yet account for a tenth of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) that flows from land to the ocean. The plants are one of the main sources of dissolved organic matter in the ocean.

Measuring the size of a small, frost world
Observing a very rare occultation of a star by Pluto's satellite Charon from three different sites, including Paranal, home of the VLT, astronomers were able to determine with great accuracy the radius and density of the satellite to the farthest planet. The density, 1.71 that of water, is indicative of an icy body with about slightly more than half of rocks. The observations also put strong constraints on the existence of an atmosphere around Charon.

New observational study suggests use of combination vaccines may improve immunization coverage rates in infants
Results from a new observational study of administrative claims data from the Georgia State Medicaid program showed that infants who received a combination vaccine had higher immunization coverage rates in the first two years of life compared to infants given component vaccines. Results from the study were presented today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 40th National Immunization Conference (NIC) in Atlanta, GA, by Gary S. Marshall, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

UCSF receives funding for training grant from stem cell institute
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine today announced that UCSF and 15 other California non-profit institutions have received the first year of funding for a three-year program designed to train the next generation of stem cell scientists. These are the first grants awarded by the California stem cell agency.

IOF announces Tetra Pak's support of World Osteoporosis Day
The International Osteoporosis Foundation announced today that Tetra Pak, one of the world's leading food processing and packaging companies, will be a major partner for the IOF during 2006 in promoting awareness of how individuals can build strong bones and contribute to their bone health. Tetra Pak will also be a key partner in the World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) activities.

Cause of nerve fiber damage in multiple sclerosis identified
Researchers have identified how the body's own immune system contributes to the nerve fiber damage caused by multiple sclerosis, a finding that can potentially aid earlier diagnosis and improved treatment for this chronic disease.

Who are we up against? Local vs. global competition influences cooperative behavior in humans
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have shown that humans behave less cooperatively when they think they are in direct

Founding member of Pitt's Biology Department to be honored in Harrisburg, Pa., ceremony
Max A. Lauffer, who was in 1949 the first chair of the Department of Biophysics at the University of Pittsburgh (now known as the Department of Biological Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences), will be recognized by the department at a May 6 event in Harrisburg, Pa., as a Distinguished Founding Member of the Department of Biological Sciences.

University of Leicester produces the first-ever 'world map of happiness'
Adrian White, analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester produces first-ever global projection of international differences in subjective well-being -- the 'world map of happiness.'

Stevens' high-speed towing tank re-commissioning and technical symposium -- December 11-13
Stevens Institute of Technology will celebrate the re-commissioning of the Davidson Laboratory high-speed towing tank with a three-day event starting on December 11, 2006.

Heavy, chronic drinking can cause significant hippocampal tissue loss
The hippocampus, a brain structure vital to learning and memory, is likely vulnerable to damage from heavy and chronic alcohol consumption. A new study has found a reduction in total hippocampus volume among alcoholics. This suggests that heavy drinking can cause significant hippocampal tissue loss.

Stanford study of owls finds link in brain between sight and sound
Two scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have taken a big step toward sorting out how the brain accomplishes this task. In the Jan. 19 issue of Nature, the researchers show that a mechanism for prioritizing information - previously reported only in primates - is also used by birds.

Adenine 'tails' make tailored anchors for DNA
Researchers from NIST, the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland have demonstrated a deceptively simple technique for chemically bonding single strands of DNA to gold. The technique offers a convenient way to control the density of the DNA strands on the substrate, which could be important for optimizing DNA sensor arrays.

Heart transplant from organ donor with hepatitis C associated with decreased survival
Heart transplant patients who receive a donor heart from a person with hepatitis C have a lower rate of survival, according to a study in the Oct. 18 issue of JAMA.

Next generation of science stars: 5 female scientists receive 2006 L'Oréal USA fellowships
L'Oréal USA announced today the recipients of its esteemed 2006 Fellowships for Women In Science at an awards ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Five young women, all on the cutting-edge of scientific advances, were awarded $20,000 each to carry out research projects. Now in its third year, the highly selective L'Oréal USA Fellows program recognizes and rewards up-and-coming female scientists from across the country and disciplines.

International symposium on radar altimetry in Venice, 13 to 18 March 2006
The life of Venetians is strictly connected to the sea-level, which is one of the reasons why Venice was chosen to host the international symposium

'Stress and the city': Urban birds keep cool
Ornithologists of the Max-Planck-Society demonstrate that urban birds are more resistant to acute stress than forest dwelling birds.

Disfiguring facial infection in young children can be prevented
Noma -- A disfiguring infection that leads to rapid destruction of the face and mouth in young children -- can be prevented by a number of known measures, state the authors of a Seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New study reveals structure of E. coli multidrug transporter protein
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have determined the x-ray structure of EmrD, a multidrug transporter protein from Escherichia coli (E. coli), a common bacteria known to cause several food-borne illnesses. Proteins like EmrD that expel drugs from cells contribute significantly to the continued rise in multidrug resistant bacteria, and the re-emergence of drug-resistant strains of diseases such as tuberculosis that were once thought to have been eradicated.

Prescription pain killers involved in more drug overdose deaths than cocaine or heroin in the US
Trends analysis of drug poisoning deaths has helped explain a national epidemic of overdose deaths in the U.S. that began in the 1990s, concludes Leonard Paulozzi and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The contribution of prescription pain killers to the epidemic has only become clear recently. This research is published this week in the journal, Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

Animals resistant to drunken behavior offer clues to alcoholism's roots
Animals with a remarkable ability to hold their liquor may point the way toward the genetic underpinnings of alcohol addiction, two separate research teams reported in the October 6, 2006 issue of the journal Cell. Earlier studies have shown that people with a greater tolerance for alcohol have a greater risk of becoming alcoholics, according to the researchers.

Genetic research at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh reinforces theory of evolution
Scientists led by a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh geneticist have found new evidence that a category of genes known as pseudogenes serve no function, an important finding that bolsters the theory of evolution.

Don't care for broccoli? A receptor gene's variation suggests an evolutionary excuse
By testing the bitterness perceived by individuals possessing different versions of the same taste receptor, researchers have obtained new evidence supporting the idea that evolution of the receptor gene has shaped avoidance of certain vegetables that can inhibit thyroid function. The findings are reported by Mari Hakala and Paul Breslin of Monell Chemical Sciences Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and appear in the Sept. 19 issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press.

Sandia to conduct regional energy/water workshop in Salt Lake City
Sandia National Laboratories will conduct a workshop in Salt Lake City Jan. 10-11, designed to help gauge future energy and water concerns.

Racism effects health of Maori in New Zealand
Racism may have a detrimental effect on the health of Maori in New Zealand, according to a paper in this week's issue of The Lancet.

ESA to host Atmospheric Science Conference
ESA will hold a five-day Europhysics Conference at its ESRIN facilities in Frascati, Italy, from 8-12 May 2006, for data users, scientists and students working in the field of remote sensing of the atmosphere.

Could a simple test save Medicare hundreds of millions?
The Medicare agency will soon announce whether it will cover the cost of a $400 heart test that assesses a person's risk of dying suddenly from a heart condition. A new computer-model study suggests that the test could actually save Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars in the long run.

Smoothing the path from community colleges to four-year colleges
Nobel Laureate Bruce Merrifield and genetics pioneer and entrepreneur J. Craig Venter both got their start in community colleges -- that huge but often-underappreciated component of the United States' higher education system. Science educators will discuss innovative programs, aimed toward assisting and promoting transition from two-year colleges to four-year colleges and universities, during the September national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

New study suggests 'planemos' may spawn planets and moons
Forget our traditional ideas of where a planetary system forms -- new research led by a University of Toronto astronomer reveals that planetary nurseries can exist not only around stars but also around objects that are themselves not much heftier than Jupiter. It suggests that miniature versions of the solar system may circle objects that are some 100 times less massive than our sun. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to