Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2007)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2007.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids affect risk of depression, inflammation
A new study suggests that people whose diets contain dramatically more of one kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid than another may be at greater risk for both clinical depression and certain inflammatory diseases. The report suggests that we need to balance out our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The current typical American diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3, a ratio that researchers say should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1.

Abel Prize 2007 goes to Springer author S.R.Srinivasa Varadhan
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2007 to Springer author S.R.Srinivasa Varadhan of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. Varadhan has been honored

Victor Lawrence honored with IEEE Simon Ramo Medal
Victor Lawrence, associate dean and Batchelor Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering in Stevens' Charles V. Schaefer Jr. School of Engineering, has been awarded the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal.

Climate shifts -- probability of randomness
Severe climate changes during the last ice-age could have been caused by random chaotic variations on Earth and not governed by external periodic influences from the sun. This has been shown in new calculations by a researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University.

Survey reveals misperceptions about Alzheimer's among African-American and Hispanic caregivers
African-American and Hispanic caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease are significantly more likely than caregivers of other races to consider the disease a normal part of the aging process and dismiss its symptoms as part of getting older, according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's second ICAN: Investigating Caregivers' Attitudes and Needs survey.

DNA sleuth awarded Curtin Medal
An Australian scientist who studies how DNA replicates in cells in an effort to understand and find cures for diseases such as cancer has received the Curtin Medal for Excellence in Medical Research.

Online book helps children understand the effects of stroke
Speedy treatment is essential to saving lives and preventing brain damage during a stroke. But the rapid pace of events also can leave patients and family members confused about what has happened and what to expect. That's especially true for children whose parents or grandparents have a stroke. Now an online book is available to teach children about strokes.

Stem cells speed growth of healthy liver tissue
For the first time, researchers have used adult bone marrow stem cells to regenerate healthy human liver tissue, according to a study published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.

A new pharmaceutical drug that halts progress of metastatic kidney cancer
Research has shown the efficacy of a pharmaceutical drug known as sunitinib which halts progress of metastatic kidney cancer. The work was published recently in the prestigious international medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine.

Paper challenges 1491 Amazonian population theories
There's a scholarly debate brewing about whether pre-Columbian Amazonian populations settled in large numbers across Amazonia and created the modern forest setting that many conservationists take to be

A vegetable fiber from tomato which can be used in making functional meat and bakery foods
AZTI-Tecnalia Technological Center has achieved a revaluation of the subproducts of the tomato canning industry to transform them into an ingredient for use in meat and bakery foods.

Scientists genetically engineer tomatoes with enhanced folate content
Leafy greens and beans aren't the only foods that pack a punch of folate, the vitamin essential for a healthy start to pregnancy.

Why some people are more attractive than others
If good genes spread through the population, why are people so different? A group of scientists think they have solved this long-standing puzzle.

Darveau receives Periodontal Disease Research Award
Dr. Richard Darveau, professor, Department of Periodontics and Oral Biology, University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, has been selected to receive the 2007 Basic Research in Periodontal Disease Award from the International Association for Dental Research, convening here today for its 85th General Session.

Singapore conclave suggests amputation prevention progress being made, worldwide
Last week, Singapore was the venue for a gathering of physicians, surgeons, industry personnel and policymakers from around South Asia for a series of workshops on amputation prevention.

Amateurs and professionals combine observations to produce detailed picture of double asteroid
The main belt asteroid Antiope is among the few binary asteroids discovered in recent years, yet even through the Earth's largest telescopes it appears as merely two bright blobs orbiting one another. By harnessing the power of larger telescopes and the eagerness of amateurs with small instruments, UC Berkeley and Paris Observatory astronomers have constructed a detailed picture of the asteroid doublet: Two rubble piles twirling in a perpetual pas de deux.

Physicists tailor magnetic pairings in nanoscale semiconductors
In the March 8 issue of Nature, researchers at Stanford, Harvard and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science reported that they have built a two-channel Kondo system in a semiconductor nanostructure. By applying voltages to nanoscale electrodes, the scientists can tune how strongly the magnetic atom couples to one set of electrons, or channel, compared to the other set.

Studies force new view on biology of flavonoids
Flavonoids, a group of compounds found in fruits and vegetables that had been thought to be nutritionally important for their antioxidant activity, actually have little or no value in that role. However, these same compounds may indeed benefit human health, but for reasons that are quite different -- the body sees them as foreign compounds, researchers say, and through different mechanisms, they could play a role in preventing cancer or heart disease.

International and American Associations for Dental Research present awards and fellowships
As part of the opening ceremonies of its 85th General Session & Exhibition, convening today at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the International Association for Dental Research IADR, along with its largest division, the American Association for Dental Research, will present numerous prestigious awards and fellowships.

Test finds manufactured nanoparticles don't harm soil ecology
The first published study on the environmental impact of manufactured nanoparticles on ordinary soil showed no negative effects, which is contrary to concerns voiced by some that the microscopic particles could be harmful to organisms.

Do shopping lists promote or prevent healthy choices?
A new study reveals an unexpected situation when you may opt for a sinful dessert like cheesecake over a healthy alternative like a fruit salad. Comparing memory-based and stimulus-based decision making, researchers from Duke, UCLA, and the University of Florida found that trying to recall what options are available -- such as when making a shopping list at home -- uses mental resources that might otherwise be used to counter impulsive choices.

Cleaner heat without the burn, for buildings and industries worldwide
The hazardous manual cleaning of heavily clogged boiler pipes can become a thing of the past, thanks to a computer controlled pipe cleaning attachment developed by EUREKA project E! 3237 APCS. But as well as boosting boiler efficiency, it also offers industry far lower cost boiler solutions for heavy duty applications that were until now, unavailable.

Atlas of Science Literacy completes mapping of science-learning pathways
As K-12 teachers prepare to help students meet new science-learning requirements this fall, two of the world's largest science and science education organizations today joined forces to release a set of maps showing how science literacy can develop over time.

Universal rules needed for medics responding to calls for help in public
Universal rules are needed for doctors playing the

Sustainability of energy, food and water theme of ACS national meeting
Sustainability of energy, food and water is the featured theme of the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 25-29 in Chicago. Representatives from academia, government and industry will discuss a wide range of topics that fall within this theme, including alternative energy sources, genetically-engineered crops and new water purification processes. More than 9,000 research presentations will be given during the week-long meeting.

Hispanic women at higher risk for heart disease
Hispanic women's heart disease risk is comparable to the heart disease risk level of Caucasian women who are about a decade older. This disagrees with a long-held belief that Hispanic women have less heart disease than Caucasian women.

1-parent households double risk of childhood sexual abuse
Adult men who grew up in one-parent households are more likely to have been abused as children, according to a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine. William C. Holmes, M.D., MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, reports his findings in the March 13 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

National experts and nonprofit organizations call to end FDA user fees and to improve drug safety
Opposition to current drug safety legislation is growing, as a group of 22 experts on drug safety and regulation and a coalition of 12 patient, consumer, science, and public health organizations issue two separate open letters to lawmakers. The letters asks Congress to not reauthorize the user fees legislation (PDUFA) that finances the FDA's review of new drugs, and calls for substantial changes to drug safety legislation introduced by Senators Kennedy and Enzi.

Photodynamic therapy as alternative therapy for periodontal diseases may be beneficial
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) may be an effective way to treat the bacteria associated with periodontal diseases, and could provide a better option than antibiotics or other mechanical methods for treating periodontal diseases, according to a new study published in the March issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

Whole-grain breakfast cereal associated with reduced heart failure risk
Eating whole-grain breakfast cereals seven or more times per week was associated with a lower risk of heart failure, according to an analysis of the observational Physicians' Health Study.

Unique partnership produces life-critical 3D structures
Most diseases are caused by malfunctions in the body's complex protein machinery. The next generation of drugs will be designed on the basis of 3D protein models that scientists are creating. The Structural Genomics Consortium laboratory at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has now made available the structure of PARP3, the four hundredth structure in this unique project to chart the body's proteins.

Accolades for York's commitment to women in science
The University of York's commitment to women in science has been recognized by three national accolades.

Vitamin D, variations in its receptor and prostate cancer
Results of this study by Haojie Li and colleagues suggest that vitamin D deficiency is common among men in the US, and that vitamin D status and genetic variation in the VDR gene affect prostate cancer risk.

Genomics throws species definition in question for microbes
With the advent of genomic sequencing and genetic analysis in the 1990s, our understanding of the relationships between different microorganisms fundamentally changed. In light of this new knowledge, what exactly is the definition of a microbial species, and how should microbiologists be categorizing microorganisms? These questions are the focus of a new report released by the American Academy of Microbiology

Study reveals how some molecules inhibit growth of lung cancer cells
By mapping the interlocking structures of small molecules and mutated protein

GSA 2007 Southeastern Section Meeting highlights
Approximately 700 geoscientists will gather March 29-30 for the 56th annual meeting of the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America. The meeting takes place at the Hyatt Regency Savannah on the historic riverfront of Savannah, Ga. Topics include changes in sea level, coastal development and a variety of environmental issues.

Pioneering research into health benefits of beauty treatment
Pioneering medical research is going on at the University of Leicester into the use of Botulinum toxin -- commonly thought of as a beauty treatment -- for bladder problems.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

One small step for Deinococcus or one giant leap for radiation biology?
A high intracellular concentration of manganese in Deinococcus radiodurans protects proteins, but not DNA, from ionizing radiation-induced oxidative damage. Protein protection may be critical to the known radiation resistance of these bacteria.

Expert centers prove cost-effective in managing ovarian cancer
A new study finds that while

Steroid hormones regulate the body clock
To establish circadian cell cycle rhythms, cell-autonomous clock mechanisms act in concert with a systemic signaling environment of which glucocorticoids are an essential part.

Pain control after surgery reduces days of hospitalization
Effective postoperative pain control using continuous peripheral nerve block reduced hospitalization by nearly a day, University of Pittsburgh physicians reported today during the 81st Clinical and Scientific Congress of the International Anesthesia Research Society. Being able to decrease the time that patients spend in the hospital helps to reduce the patient's exposure to the risk of hospital-acquired infection and associated complications, and also has an overall economic benefit, Dr. Chelly and his colleagues found.

NOGLSTP participates in global marathon -- 24 hours of engineering insights for women
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Inc (NOGLSTP) is proud to be a participant in the third annual

Crops feel the heat as the world warms
Over a span of two decades, warming temperatures have caused annual losses of roughly $5 billion for major food crops, according to a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Overfishing great sharks wiped out North Carolina bay scallop fishery
Fewer big sharks in the oceans led to the destruction of North Carolina's bay scallop fishery and inhibits the recovery of depressed scallop, oyster and clam populations along the US Atlantic Coast, according to an article in the March 30 issue of the journal Science.

New developments in 'artificial photosynthesis'
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory are trying to design catalysts inspired by photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates. The goal is to design a system that can produce methanol, methane, and hydrogen directly from water and carbon dioxide using renewable solar energy. Four Brookhaven chemists will discuss their research on this

Autistic children can interpret mental states when facial expressions are animated
Findings from a new study reveal that autistic children can interpret information around a person's eyes in order to interpret the person's mental state. It was previously thought that autistic children's difficulty interpreting mental states of others was largely due to difficulty interpreting expressions around the eyes. Digital imaging methods were used to isolate regions of the face, which provided a more accurate measurement of these abilities of autistic children than in previous studies.

Obese patients run higher risk of post-operative complications
Obese patients have a significantly higher risk of complications following surgery, including heart attack, wound infection, nerve injury and urinary tract infection, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Health System.

A new milestone for polar and marine research
The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research is receiving more than 5 million Euro from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The funds will be dedicated to continue technical development of the new European research icebreaker Aurora Borealis, together with the Department of Naval Architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen. Simultaneously, the search for international partners interested in contributing to construction and maintenance costs of the vessel has begun.

Bleeding during endoscopy: Do anti-inflammatories play a role?
Does an aspirin-a-day increase the risk of bleeding during invasive diagnostic procedure? This is an important concern for many patients who take these and other antiplatelet agents in an effort to reduce heart attacks or strokes. Researchers at the MUHC have shown that antiplatelet drugs do not contribute to post-endoscopic bleeding. Their findings are published in this month's issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

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