Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2005)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2005

Blackwell publishing to launch new cardiology journal
Blackwell Publishing announced plans to launch a new journal, Congenital Heart Disease: Clinical Studies from Fetus to Adulthood starting in January 2006.

Scientists listen to brain patterns of tone-deafness
Tone deafness -- or amusia - can be congenital, present from birth, or acquired following injury to the brain. In a new study, researchers now report the first objective measurement of the brain deficit in congenital amusia.

Proposal would allow wild animals to roam North America
Cornell researchers Josh Donlan and Harry Greene and their colleagues propose a plan to restore large wild animals -- including cheetahs, lions, elephants and camels -- to the North American Great Plains. While their theory has strong ecological underpinnings, the researchers know social attitudes will pose the biggest obstacles. (Nature Vol. 436, No. 7053)

Alligator egg development at prehistoric oxygen levels
The development of bone structures in alligator eggs raised under varying oxygen concentrations creates a link to fossil records of the evolution of vertebrates and prehistoric atmospheric oxygen concentrations, according to a paper to be presented at the Earth System Processes 2 meeting in Alberta, Canada.

Congress adopts IEEE-USA recommendations for reliability, security of U.S. electric power supply
IEEE-USA-supported recommendations to ensure a reliable, adequate and secure supply of electricity are contained in the Energy Policy Act (H.R. 6) of 2005 that Congress passed late last month.

New DOE program funds $20 million for multiscale mathematics research
Researchers will use mathematics to help solve problems such as the production of clean energy, pollution cleanup, manufacturing ever smaller computer chips, and making new

3 papers present fresh paths to ponder Akt1 in the heart
Three JCI papers plus an accompanying commentary explore Akt1 in the heart. Two provide new insights into how Akt1 can be maladaptive in the heart. The third paper finds that Akt1 is responsible for mediating adaptive angiogenesis after ischemia. A commentary discussing all says

Jefferson researchers find potential biomarker for heart failure
Signs of heart failure may be in the blood. Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have found an enzyme in the blood could be a potential marker for heart failure. They previously showed that GRK2 is increased in failing human hearts and contributes to the heart losing contractile strength. Now they have found, using tissue samples from heart failure patients, that they could track heart levels of GRK2 in the blood.

Grizzlies and salmon: Too much of a good thing?
Even grizzly bears should watch what they eat. It turns out that grizzlies that gorge themselves on salmon during the summer spawning season have much higher levels of contaminants in their bodies than their cousins who rely more on berries, plants and insects. The research by Canadian scientists is reported in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Using computers and DNA to count bacteria
Don't call them the Dirt Doctors, or Sultans of Soil, they're just clever Lab guys. A team from Los Alamos National Laboratory has a paper in this week's Science Magazine with a new way to count bugs in dirt. Bacteria, that is, in the highly complex world beneath our feet.

Other highlights in the August 3 JNCI
Other highlights in the August 3 JNCI include a study that finds body size associated with the risk of myeloid leukemia, the identification of a potential colon cancer biomarker, an evaluation of the revised American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor-node-metastasis staging system and its use after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, and a study of how imiquimod (Aldara) works against skin cancer.

Further research needed on HIV and aging
HIV is often regarded as a disease of young people, due to its status as a drug-related or sexually transmitted disease. However, the number of people over age 50 who are infected with HIV is significant -- and growing -- according to an article in the Sept. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Insulin sensitivity gets a kick out of SOCS-7
Insulin resistance is a fundamental factor in non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Proteins of the SOCS family have been implicated in the negative regulation of insulin signaling but the function for SOCS-7 was unclear. In a JCI paper, researchers generate SOCS-7-deficient mice and demonstrate that SOCS-7 regulates insulin signaling by associating with several components of the insulin-signaling cascade. As one of the only mouse models featuring increased insulin sensitivity, SOCS-7 is a potent regulator of glucose homeostasis and insulin signaling.

USC researchers find drug is tough tumor fighter
A close structural relative of the celebrated COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (brand name: Celebrex) is a potent tumor fighter, able to wipe out tumor cells that are resistant to conventional chemotherapies.

Novel technique offers new look at ancient diet dogma
A Penn State researcher is part of the team that developed techniques that have generated insights into dietary divergences between some of our human ancestors, allowing scientists to better understand the evolutionary path that led to the modern-day diets that humans consume.

Nanomaterials to mimic cells
Mimicking a real living cell by combining artificial membranes and nanomaterials in one construction is the aim of a new research grant at UC Davis.

The relationship between lawns and allergies and asthma
Researchers at the Texas A&M University System Research and Extension Center at Dallas, are studying the relationship between allergies and asthma and the number of mold spores found in different types of turf grasses.

New heart failure guidelines stress early diagnosis and treatment
Early diagnosis and new treatments can help battle heart failure -- a growing national problem that causes 1 million hospital admissions each year, according to new guidelines.

From 'macro' to 'micro' - turbulence seen by Cluster
Thanks to measurements by ESA's Cluster mission, a team of European scientists have identified 'micro'-vortices in Earth's magnetosphere.

Model gives clearer idea of how oxygen came to dominate Earth's atmosphere
A new model offers plausible scenarios for how oxygen came to dominate Earth's atmosphere 2.4 billion years ago, and why it took at least 300 million years after bacterial photosynthesis started producing oxygen in large quantities.

Optoelectronic integration overcoming processor bottlenecks
One of the biggest obstacles facing computer systems today is the problem of memory latency, the time a computer must wait to access the data stored in memory despite faster processor speeds. Two demonstrators reveal that optoelectronics may offer solutions.

NIH, UNC scientists find anti-cancer drugs might work in treating deadly aging disease
Working together, scientists at the National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a promising new strategy for treating a form of progeria. That rare but deadly and heartbreaking genetic disease causes children to age remarkably fast and die almost always before they complete their teens.

Penn study shows genes may affect response to different quit-smoking medications
A study by researchers at the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicates that a smoker's genetic make-up may affect whether they quit or not while using either bupropion (Zyban©) or nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as the nicotine patch or nasal spray.

UT Southwestern researchers unravel control of growing blood vessels
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a basic mechanism by which smooth muscle cells that line the blood vessels can grow - sometimes abnormally - suggesting methods of treatment for various coronary diseases.

Penn State to host US DOE regional climate center
How energy production and use influences climate and environment will be the focus of Penn State's newly awarded Northeastern Regional Center of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Institute for Climatic Change Research (NICCR).

US high school science lab experiences often poor, but research points way to improvements
The quality of science laboratory experiences is poor for most US high school students, but educators can improve these experiences by following four key principles of effective instruction, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council.

More than aiding balance, vestibular organs provide an on-line movement guidance system
Anyone who's had to find his or her way through a darkened room can appreciate that nonvisual cues play a large role in our sense of movement. What might be less apparent is that not all such cues come from our remaining four senses.

First intensive marine finfish larviculture research & training workshop underway
Research on cobia has been a priority at Virginia Tech since 2001. Investigations include system design, larviculture optimization, nutrition, immune function, and physiology. Research initiated this summer used microarray technology to examine the impact of various production manipulations on gene expression. Virginia Tech presents a uniquely coordinated approach to single-species aquaculture research, development, and industrial implementation.

Inhibitory systems control the pattern of activity in the cortex
Inhibitory systems are essential for controlling the pattern of activity in the cortex, which has important implications for the mechanisms of cortical operation.

Prenatal exposure to famine increases risk of schizophrenia
People born during a famine in China have an increased risk of schizophrenia, consistent with previous research suggesting a link between fetal nutritional deficiency and schizophrenia, according to a study in the August 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

Girls who were victims of violence more likely to commit violent acts
Girls who report previous violence victimization are more than twice as likely to report engaging in violent behavior, according to a study in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Virginia Tech experts available to speak on the possible discovery of Asian Soybean Rust spores
Virginia Tech scientists say that there has been a change in the status of the fungus causing Asian Soybean Rust but that the new information is still too preliminary for any action on the part of the Commonwealth's soybean producers. The presence of spores does not mean the infection is present. It means that the scouting for the disease will be intensified.

Diagnostic strategy may help determine stage of lung cancer more accurately
A preoperative testing strategy combining two procedures may help improve the accuracy of determining the stage of lung cancer, according to an article in the August 24/31 issue of JAMA.

Nicotine exposure can increase motivation to respond for food weeks after the last exposure
A study provides insight into one of the most vexing issues relating to smoking cessation, one that discourages many people from attempting to quit smoking, the prospect of weight gain.

Consumer study explores the continued popularity of 'Reality' TV
Research in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the continued favorable response by viewers to reality television is directly tied to the fact that the viewing experience is inherently different than that of other television programs. Viewers are stimulated when watching these shows due to the fact that the actors are seen as peers and their actions are compared to the viewer's own.

The link between fasting and acute attacks of porphyria
A team of researchers has discovered a molecular missing link that helps explain why fasting brings on acute attacks of the disease hepatic porphyria, the possible culprit behind the

Newborn screening for childhood hearing impairment leads to early detection
Screening newborn babies for permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI) can improve early detection of the condition by 43%, according to a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Duke researchers uncover genetic link to stroke after heart surgery
Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered that patients who have two specific gene variants are more than three times as likely to suffer a stroke after heart surgery.

Tough new probe developed for nanotechnologists
In atomic force microscopy the quality and integrity of the tip used to obtain the images or interrogate materials is paramount. A common problem is the deterioration of the tip apex as surfaces are scanned. To overcome this problem, a team of scientists from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory report the microfabrication of monolithic ultra-nano-crystalline diamond cantilevers with tips exhibiting properties similar to single-crystal diamond.

Hide and seek: Researchers discover a new way for infectious bacteria to enter cells
French scientists have learned how Listeria monocytogenes, which causes a major food-borne illness, commandeers cellular transport machinery to invade cells and hide from the body's immune system. They believe that other infectious organisms may use the same mechanism.

Biologist discovers what may be world's 'pickiest' mates
California fiddler crabs may be among the world's pickiest animal when it comes to selecting a mate.

$150 million Teragrid award heralds new era for scientific computing
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a five-year, $150 million award to operate and enhance the Extensible Terascale Facility (ETF)--also called

High carbon dioxide levels spur Southern pines to grow more needles
A Duke University study has found that maturing stands of pines exposed to the higher levels of carbon dioxide expected by mid-century produce more needles than those absorbing today's levels of the gas, even under drought conditions. However, the study also found that lack of soil nutrients may impose limitations in many forests.

Amphetamines reverse Parkinson's disease symptoms in mice
Amphetamines, including the drug popularly known as Ecstasy, can reverse the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in mice with an acute form of the condition, according to new research at Duke University Medical Center.

Scientists focus on 'dwarf eye'
Working with an Amish-Mennonite family tree, Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute researchers have discovered what appears to be the first human gene mutation that causes extreme farsightedness. In the July 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that nanophthalmos, or

NIST demonstrates better memory with quantum computer bits
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used charged atoms (ions) to demonstrate a quantum physics version of computer memory lasting longer than 10 seconds -- more than 100,000 times longer than in previous experiments on the same ions. The advance improves prospects for making practical, reliable quantum computers. Such devices could break today's best encryption systems, accelerate database searching or simulate complex biological systems to help design new drugs.

UCLA discovery prevents cell abnormality leading to progeria
UCLA scientists studied cells isolated from people with progeria -- a rare genetic disorder that causes accelerated aging and death in children -- and cultured the cells with a drug that blocked a mutant protein from attaching to the cells' nuclei. The drug significantly reduced the number of human cells with misshapen nuclei. The findings could lead to new drugs to treat the disease and its related disorders, including osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.

Scientists confirm super-rotation of Earth's inner core
Data from pairs of nearly identical earthquakes years apart prove Earth's inner core is rotating faster than the rest of the planet.

Clinical practice guidelines for adults with several illnesses could have undesirable effects
Current clinical practice guidelines are not written with older adults with multiple illnesses in mind, according to a study in the August 10 issue of JAMA.

UNC scientists discover new role for protein as fundamental inhibitor of cell movement
Scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a protein that may inhibit cellular movement, or migration. The protein may be a likely target for new drug development aimed at decreasing tumor metastasis.

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