Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2006)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2006.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2006

Research project tests remote sensing to measure Earth's water cycle
For decades, Iowa State University researchers have studied the cycling of water among soil, vegetation and the atmosphere that is vital to production agriculture. Now, with a $1.3 million, five-year grant from NASA, a team of Iowa State and University of Iowa researchers is beginning a new project to perfect the use of remote sensing technology to monitor the water cycle.

UIC researchers link maternal smoking during pregnancy to behavior problems in toddlers
A University of Illinois at Chicago study published in the July/August issue of the journal Child Development reveals a link between smoking during pregnancy and very early child behavior problems.

Inner-Sydney study to investigate causes of hayfever and seasonal allergies
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research will investigate to what extent particular plants in inner Sydney contribute to people's hayfever and allergies.

Early drinking linked to risk for alcohol dependence
Individuals who are younger when they begin drinking alcohol may face a higher risk of alcohol dependence throughout life, at a younger age and consisting of multiple episodes, according to results of a national survey published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Solitons could power molecular electronics, artificial muscles
Scientists have discovered something new about exotic particles called solitons. Since the 1980s, scientists have known that solitons can carry an electrical charge when traveling through certain organic polymers. A new study now suggests that solitons have intricate internal structures.

Anxious, depressed people over 65 turn more often to alternative therapies
People over 65 who are depressed or anxious turn to complementary or alternative medicine more often than older people who are not anxious or depressed -- but not to treat their mental symptoms.

Scots medical researchers link up to share knowledge
Clinical researchers throughout Scotland will be able to improve their skills and collaborate with colleagues throughout the country, thanks to a unique educational development led by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with NHS Lothian.

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.

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.

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.'

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

Scientists at the University of the Basque Country succeed in cooling solid material with laser
A team of researchers at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have experimentally demonstrated something that other scientists have been trying to achieve for decades: the cooling of erbium-doped materials with laser light.

Dragon Symposium highlights success of projects
Nearly 200 scientists are gathered in Lijiang city in the Yunnan Province of the People's Republic of China to attend the third annual five-day Dragon Symposium.

Hard-working at school, sluggish at home
This study found that students' conscientiousness predicts how much effort they put into homework. Students' beliefs about how well they will perform, interest in the subject, and how relevant they think the assignment also predicts their homework behavior. The data was collected through questionnaires from 2,712 fifth, seventh and ninth graders about homework. The findings emphasize that students' homework efforts may improve if beliefs in success, interest, and sense that assignments are useful are increased.

Our Sun's fiery outbursts -- seen in 3-D
U.K. solar scientists are eagerly awaiting the launch of NASA's STEREO mission which will provide the first ever 3-D views of the Sun. STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) comprises two nearly identical observatories that will orbit the Sun to monitor its violent outbursts -- Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) -- and the

Undersea vehicles to study formation of seafloor deposits enriched in gold and other precious metals
An international team of scientists will explore the seafloor near Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean later this month with remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles, investigating active and inactive hydrothermal vents and the formation of mineral deposits containing copper, gold and other commercially valuable minerals.

Acquired susceptibility is an important factor of disease
Acquired susceptibility is an important, but until now often ignored, potential cause of disease. In a commentary article published today in the open access journal Environmental Health, professors Paolo Vineis and David Kriebel emphasize that the interaction between environments and genes is a fundamental characteristic of the causal processes leading to disease.

Pearl Jam and CI partner to offset climate footprint of band's 2006 world tour
Continuing its commitment to reduce the negative impacts associated with climate change, Pearl Jam announced today that it has partnered again with Conservation International (CI) to help offset the carbon footprint associated with its 2006 concert tour. The band's investment will be used to help restore degraded tropical forests in Ecuador. Peal Jam also is issuing a call to action for its fans to join their efforts by calculating and offsetting their own carbon impacts.

AVELOX as effective as multi-dose combination therapy for intra-abdominal infections
Schering-Plough Corporation today reported that monotherapy with the once-daily, broad-spectrum antibiotic AVELOX® (moxifloxacin HCl) was as effective and well tolerated as a standard multi-dose combination antibiotic regimen in the treatment of patients with complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), according to results of a study published in the current issue of the Annals of Surgery. AVELOX is the only marketed fluoroquinolone antibiotic approved by the FDA as monotherapy to treat cIAI.

UCLA psychology professor honored at White House for research on marriage
Shelly Gable, a UCLA associate professor of social psychology who studies marriage and other close relationships, was honored by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony, where she received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers early in their research careers.

Most doctors not adequately trained in family planning options
A woman's preference as well as medical criteria are important in selecting a contraceptive method. Natural -- also called fertility awareness-based -- methods of family planning may be just what some women are looking for, but most physicians do not learn about them during medical school or residency training. A paper by Georgetown University Medical Center faculty members published in July issue of Contemporary Obstetrics & Gynecology addresses this gap in training and its implications.

Taking on the interoperability challenge
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) software design is billed as the next great IT wave, ushering in a new era of efficient network services, cross-organisational business cooperation and potentially whole new sectors. But if it is to live up to its potential, overcoming the challenge of interoperability is essential.

Drug abuse among Katrina evaucees focus of $1.5M study at UH
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant to the University of Houston's Office for Drug and Social Policy Research (ODSPR) to study substance use and other health consequences among Katrina evacuees living in Houston.

Biometric identification for on-line and off-line signature recognition
Day by day, natural and secure access to interconnected systems is becoming more and more important. There is also a strong need to verify identity of people in a fast, easy to use and user-friendly way. In this context, handwritten signature is one of the most traditionally used and most socially accepted biometric identification ways. The PhD. Thesis of Juan Jose Igarza Ugaldea, presents proposals for the two ways of handwritten signature biometric identification: on-line and off-line signature recognition.

Report warns about carbon dioxide threats to marine life
Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide are dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening marine organisms, including corals. A landmark report, written by government and university scientists and released today, summarizes the effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on the oceans and recommends future research into the impacts on marine biodiversity.

ACP and The Doctors Company offer liability insurance credit
Physicians who complete Maintenance of Certification (MOC) can save an additional 5 percent on medical liability insurance. This is the first program of its kind.

The future of race-based medicine
Health experts, researchers and opinion leaders from across the country will meet in Northern California for a national conference on genomics, health and race.

PIMCO founder and wife donate $10 million to stem cell research at UCI
Sue J. Gross and William H. Gross have made a $10 million gift to UC Irvine to support stem cell research. Two million dollars of the contribution will be immediately allocated to support the Stem Cell Research Center at UCI. The remaining $8 million will come to the university as a matching gift in support of the construction of a proposed Stem Cell Research Center building.

MIT creates fiber webs that see
In a radical departure from conventional lens-based optics, MIT scientists have developed a sophisticated optical system made of mesh-like webs of light-detecting of measuring the direction, intensity and phase of light (a property used to describe a light wave) without the lenses, filters or detector arrays that are the classic elements of optical systems such as eyes or camerasfibers. The fiber constructs, which have a number of advantages over their lens-based predecessors, are currently capable.

Reversing 'hibernating' heart muscle focus of UB researchers
Heart researchers at the University at Buffalo have received a $2.5 million five-year grant to develop new strategies to reverse a heart dysfunction called

Studying water quality in Colorado River Delta's Cienega de Santa Clara
A project to monitor water quality in the largest wetland in the Colorado River Delta, the Cienega de Santa Clara in Mexico, will begin in August. The effort will evaluate how operation of the Yuma Desalting Plant (YDP) might affect the Cienega. The YDP is scheduled to conduct a 3-month trial run at 10 percent of its full capacity during the spring of 2007.

Malignant melanoma cells secrete protein required for embryo formation
A Northwestern University research group has discovered that aggressive melanoma cells secrete Nodal, a protein that is critical to proper embryo formation. Blocking Nodal signaling reduced melanoma cell invasiveness, as well as cancer cell colony formation and tumor-forming ability.

Be warned
Oppressive summertime heat claims more lives than all other weather-related disasters combined, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Scott Sheridan, Kent State associate professor in geography, recently finished conducting a study on how effectively heat warning systems have been implemented in four cities. He found was that almost 90 percent were aware a heat warning was issued, but only about half of the people did anything about it.

Bubbles go high-tech to fight tumors
Bubbles: You've bathed in them, popped them, endured bad song lyrics about them. Now, University of Michigan researchers hope to add a more sophisticated application to the list -- gas bubbles used like corks to block oxygen flow to tumors, or to deliver drugs.

U of MN uses robotic surgery techniques in cardiac cell therapy research
Researchers at the University of Minnesota were successful in using robotic surgery to deliver stem cell treatment to damaged heart tissue in pigs.

Yellowstone ecosystem may lose key migrant
A mammal that embarks on the longest remaining overland migration in the continental United States could vanish from the ecosystem that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and National Park Service.

Joe Sodroski wins the 2006 Retrovirology Prize
Joseph Sodroski has been awarded the second annual Retrovirology Prize, it was announced today. Dr Sodroski will receive a $3000 check and a crystal trophy and was interviewed for an article published today in the open access journal Retrovirology. He is professor of pathology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard School of Public Health.

Number of indoor swimming pools per capita linked to rise in childhood asthma across Europe
The prevalence of childhood asthma and wheeze rises around 2 to 3 percent for every indoor swimming pool per 100,000 of the population across Europe, indicates research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The researchers analysed the rates of wheezing, asthma, hay fever, allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema, reported in the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), by video or written questionnaire.

Anxious adults judge facial cues faster, but less accurately
Adults who are highly anxious can perceive changes in facial expressions more quickly than adults who are less anxious, a new study shows. By jumping to emotional conclusions, however, highly anxious adults may make more errors in judgment and perpetuate a cycle of conflict and misunderstanding in their relationships.

Protein potentially links diet, obesity and asthma
Australian researchers have identified a new protein -- adipocyte/macrophage fatty acid-binding protein aP2 -- in human airway epithelial cells that regulates allergic airway inflammation in asthma. In addition to its role in type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis, aP2 is shown to play an essential role in allergic airway diseases, and offers an additional intriguing link between the immune and metabolic systems. The study appears online on July 13 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Road to AC voltage standard leads to important junction
After 10 years of research, NIST has unveiled the world's first precision instrument for directly measuring alternating current (AC) voltages. The instrument, based on the Josephson junction, is being tested for use in NIST's low-voltage calibration service, where it is expected to increase significantly the measurement precision of industrial voltmeters, spectrum analyzers, amplifiers and filters.

Stanford's George Papanicolaou selected speaker for the John von Neumann Lecture
Dr. George Papanicolaou was selected speaker for the John von Neumann Lecture at the SIAM Annual Meeting held in Boston, from July 10-14, 2006.

African water authorities receive space tool training
African researchers tackling water resource management problems have gathered at ESRIN, ESA's Earth Observation Centre in Frascati, Italy, from July 24 to 28, 2006, for a free five-day TIGER Initiative training session aimed at facilitating the integration of satellite radar data into their work.

Children's ideas about fairness may depend on race
Researchers from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania found that racial discrimination can appear in a new form labeled,

The first science ever with APEX
This week, Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a series of 26 articles dedicated to the first science done with the 12-m sub-millimeter telescope Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX). Situated 5100 meters high in Northern Chile, APEX is a forerunner to ALMA, a very large project involving Europe, the United States and Japan. APEX, and later ALMA, will observe the

Global coral reef assessment built on NASA images
A first-of-its-kind survey of how well the world's coral reefs are being protected was made possible by a unique collection of NASA views from space. A team of international researchers using NASA satellite images compiled an updated inventory of all

One-third in high-risk hurricane areas say they may ignore evacuation order
A new survey of high-risk hurricane areas in eight states -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas -- shows that 33 percent of residents said if government officials said they had to evacuate due to a major hurricane this season, they would not or are unsure if they would leave.

Old pulsars -- new tricks
The super-sensitivity of ESA TMs XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has shown that the prevailing theory of how stellar corpses, known as pulsars, generate their X-rays needs revising. In particular, the energy needed to generate the million-degree polar hotspots seen on cooling neutron stars may come predominately from inside the pulsar, not from outside.

Springer editor and author Koki Horikoshi to receive 2006 Japan Academy Prize
Koki Horikoshi (73), professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Director General of Extremobiosphere Research Center JAMSTEC, has been honored with this year's Japan Academy Prize. The award ceremony was held on July 3, 2006, in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

31st ESMO Congress
Highlights at the 31st ESMO Congress in Istanbul, Turkey include: Pharmacogenetics, personalized medicine, Multidisciplinary oncology, Cancer vaccines and prevention, Molecular-targeted therapies, State-of-the-art oncology.

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