Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2010)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2010

On the road to 'sweet' tires made with a more sustainable process
Motorists will be driving on the world's first

Research streamlines data processing to solve problems more efficiently
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new analytical method that opens the door to faster processing of large amounts of information, with applications in fields as diverse as the military, medical diagnostics and homeland security.

Cyber wars
As cyberspace has become the arena for political activism, governments are growing more sophisticated in controlling free expression online -- from surveillance to filtering. And it's now becoming harder than ever for human rights activists to outwit the authorities. In their article

SpaceOps 2010 conference to be held in Huntsville, Ala.
The SpaceOps 2010 Conference will be held April 25-30 at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala. The conference, an international forum for space operations leaders, will be hosted by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and is being organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

U Alberta find could shield humans from influenza virus
Katharine Magor, a U of A associate professor of biology, has identified the genetic detector that allows ducks to live, unharmed, as the host of influenza. The duck's virus detector gene, RIG-I, enables a duck's immune system to contain the virus, which typically spreads from ducks to chickens, where it mutates and can evolve to be a human threat like the H5N1 influenza virus.

University of Toronto scholars receive prestigious New Directions Fellowships
Toronto medieval historian Nicholas Everett and Walid Saleh, a religion and Middle East scholar, have each received New Directions Fellowships from the Mellon Foundation to pursue cross-disciplinary research. Everett will research the history of medicine and science by undertaking specialized coursework in pharmacology and toxicology. Walid Saleh will undertake a comprehensive history of the Arabic Bible in the Middle East where three of the world's major religions -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam -- began and still coexist.

New method to grow arteries could lead to 'biological bypass' for heart disease
A new method of growing arteries could lead to a

Keeping queso fresco fresh
Queso fresco, a quintessential ingredient in Mexican cuisine, would retain higher quality in supermarket display cases if stored at a lower temperature. That's the conclusion of a report presented here today at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

CONSORT 2010: Leading journals publish new guidelines to improve trial reports
New guidance to improve the reporting of trial findings is published simultaneously today (March 2010) by PLoS Medicine and eight other leading journals around the world, BMJ, the Lancet, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Annals of Internal Medicine, Open Medicine, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medicine and Trials.

Anesthesia increases risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in patients with genetic predisposition
The use of repetitive anesthesia with isoflurane (one of the most common anesthetics by inhalation) increases the risk of developing changes similar to those observed in AD brains in mice with mutations of the amyloid precursor protein. This is the main conclusion of Spanish researchers coordinated by Doctors Maria Angeles Mena and Justo Garcia de Yebenes, from Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas. The work has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Helium rain on Jupiter explains lack of neon in atmosphere
When the Galileo probe descended through Jupiter's atmosphere in 1995, it found neon to be one-tenth as abundant as predicted. This unexpected finding has led two UC Berkeley researchers to propose an explanation: at about 10,000 kilometers below the cloud tops, helium condenses into droplets and falls inward, dragging neon with it and depleting Jupiter's outer layers of neon as well as helium.

Chemotherapy improves survival in operable non-small cell lung cancer
The addition of chemotherapy to surgery, or surgery plus radiotherapy, improves survival for patients with operable non-small cell lung cancer. This is the conclusion of an article published online first and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet.

Women who drink moderately appear to gain less weight than nondrinkers
Normal-weight women who drink a light to moderate amount of alcohol appear to gain less weight and have a lower risk of becoming overweight and obese than nondrinkers, according to a report in the March 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Guideline issued for treating sleep, constipation, sexual problems in Parkinson's disease
The American Academy of Neurology has issued a new guideline recommending the most effective treatments to help people with Parkinson's disease who experience sleep, constipation and sexual problems, which are common but often under-recognized symptoms. The guideline is published in the March 16, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The solution both to the economic crisis and to climate change is sustainable economic degrowth
This month's edition of the Journal of Cleaner Production publishes the results of a coordinated study organized by Giorgos Kallis, Francois Schneider and Joan Martinez-Alier from the ICTA. The publication, which involves 15 analytical and empirical articles from distinguished economists, social scientists and environmental scientists, reflects on the idea of

Helium rain on Jupiter
There's less neon in Jupiter's upper atmosphere than scientists expected. A new study concludes that neon is being captured in droplets of helium rain.

Designer nanomaterials on-demand
Berkeley Lab researchers at the Molecular Foundry have developed a universal method by which designer nanomaterials can be created on-demand. This scheme can be used to create materials for battery electrodes, photovoltaics and electronic data storage among a great many other possible applications.

New alterations found in young adults with type 2 diabetes
Diet and aerobic exercise are highly effective for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but not for obese subjects that have developed the disease when very young. A study at the IRB Barcelona and Trinity College in Dublin demonstrates that obese subjects between 18 and 25 years of age carry mitochondrial proteins and genes that work abnormally and that these anomalies contribute to generating insulin resistance and a reduced response to physical exercise.

Children with autistic traits remain undiagnosed
here has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. While people have differing opinions as to why this is, there are still many children who have autistic traits that are never diagnosed clinically. Therefore, they do not receive the support they need through educational or health services.

American Chemical Society hosts sustainability forum at 239th National Meeting
The American Chemical Society invites news media covering its 239th National Meeting to the society's first sustainability forum on Tuesday, March 23, 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Moscone Center Esplanade Ballroom 301. The forum is intended to spark interest among chemical scientists and engineers to collaborate on sustainability projects and to help set the society's long-term sustainability agenda.

New theory of Down syndrome cause may lead to new therapies
Conventional wisdom among scientists for years has suggested that because individuals with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome, the disorder most likely results from the presence of too many genes or proteins contained in that additional structure. But a recent study reveals that just the opposite could be true -- that a deficiency of a protein in the brain of Down syndrome patients could contribute to the cognitive impairment and congenital heart defects that characterize the syndrome.

At UC Davis, South Americans learn to help health, environment and industry back home
University of California, Davis, scientists are helping rice farmers in Uruguay stop polluting their waterways -- including drinking-water sources and a globally valuable nature reserve.

Study: New risk score tool more accurately predicts patients' risk for cardiac disease and death
By combining patients' Framingham Risk Score with new Intermountain Risk Score, researchers found that they were 30 percent more likely to correctly determine a woman's risk, and 57 percent more likely to determine a man's risk for a cardiovascular problem or death within 30 days of an angiography.

Molecular study could push back angiosperm origins
Flowering plants may be considerably older than previously thought, says a new analysis of the plant family tree. Previous studies suggest that flowering plants, or angiosperms, first arose 140 to 190 million years ago. Now, a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pushes back the age of angiosperms to 215 million years ago, some 25 to 75 million years earlier than either the fossil record or previous molecular studies suggest.

Even highly qualified women in academic medicine paid less than equally qualified men
Women conducting research in the life sciences continue to receive lower levels of compensation than their male counterparts, even at the upper levels of academic and professional accomplishment.

Moffitt Cancer Center signs licensing agreement with Proteacel LLC
Moffitt Cancer Center and Proteacel LLC announced today that they have entered a licensing agreement under which Proteacel has acquired the exclusive rights to the PORE technology for delivery of genes into cells.

Rice study looks at role of private foundations in supporting religion
While millions of Americans make individual contributions weekly at their places of worship, a new study by a Rice University sociologist finds private foundations have a disproportionate influence on the religious sector -- despite the fact that their contributions constitute only a fraction of all philanthropy to religion.

VAI researchers develop tool to help study prostate cancer
Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) researchers have developed a new method to better study the cells that line and protect the prostate in relation to the development of cancer. Using the model, they found that normal cells and cancer cells depend on different factors to survive, which could aid in discovering how to target cancer cells without affecting normal cells when developing treatments.

Old star is 'missing link' in galactic evolution
A newly discovered star outside the Milky Way has yielded important clues about the evolution of our galaxy. Located in the dwarf galaxy Sculptor some 280,000 light-years away, the star has a chemical make-up similar to the Milky Way's oldest stars, supporting theories that our galaxy grew by absorbing dwarf galaxies and other galactic building blocks.

Freezing out breast cancer
Interventional radiologists have opened the door to an encouraging potential future treatment for the nearly 200,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year: image-guided, multiprobe cryotherapy. In the first reported study, researchers were able to successfully freeze breast cancer in patients who refused surgery; the women did not have to undergo surgery after treatment to ensure that tumors had been killed, note researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 35th Annual Scientific Meeting in Tampa, Fla.

Regulation of mindin expression and the signaling pathway
Mindin has an indispensable role in both innate and adaptive immunity. A research group in China investigated regulation of mindin expression and the signaling pathway involved. mRNA expression of mindin was upregulated during dextran sulfate sodium induced mouse intestinal inflammation. Stimulation with CpG-ODN (a known TLR-9 ligand) induced upregulation of mindin expression in RAW 264.7 cells and significantly increased the NF-kB-luciferase activity in vitro.

A new generation of rapid-acting antidepressants?
In a new issue of Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier, researchers from the National Institutes of Health report that another medication, scopolamine, also appears to produce replicable rapid improvement in mood.

Possible vaccine for mesothelioma proven safe
Researchers have demonstrated the safety of a potential vaccine against mesothelioma, a rare cancer associated primarily with asbestos exposure. The vaccine, which infuses uses a patient's own dendritic cells with antigen from the patient's tumor, was able to induce a T cell response against mesothelioma tumors.

Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress
Research being done at Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute could show how plants in dry areas of the world can overcome the stress of the environment and produce profitable crops. Understanding and eventually curbing crop susceptibility to certain stresses could allow for higher yields during drought years in the agricultural areas of the world. It may also allow drier areas of the planet to support sustainable yields and profitable crops.

A blue mystery
As one of the

Early galaxy went through 'teenage growth spurt,' scientists say
Scientists have found a massive galaxy in the early universe creating stars like our sun up to 100 times faster than the modern-day Milky Way.

Perfect peas to push profits and cut carbon
Scientists, pea breeders and the food industry are collaborating to discover how taste and tenderness can be determined by biochemistry and genetics. They will work together to hone the make-up of a perfect pea. A new project coordinated from the John Innes Centre, will find new ways to develop improved pea varieties for the high profit margin food market. They will also study the likely impact of greater uptake of legume farming on nitrogen fertilizer use.

Health behaviors may account for substantial portion of social inequality in risk of death
An analysis of nearly 25 years of data for about 10,000 civil servants in London finds an association between socioeconomic position and risk of death, with much of this relation accounted for by health behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and physical activity, according to a study in the March 24-31 issue of JAMA.

Study shows further benefits of noscapine for prostate cancer
Noscapine, a non-addictive derivative of opium, has previously been shown to have anti-cancer properties. This is the first study examining noscapine's potential as a prophylactic agent against prostate cancer.

Queen's spearheads £1M international research effort into liver fluke
Queen's University Belfast is spearheading an £1 ($1.5) million international research effort to combat liver fluke -- a parasite which causes disease in livestock, resulting in billions of pounds in losses every year to farmers around the world. The disease caused by liver fluke worms -- Fasciolosis -- has a huge impact on livestock globally, causing ill health in animals and dramatically reducing productivity.

Johns Hopkins team finds new way to attack TB
Suspecting that a particular protein in tuberculosis was likely to be vital to the bacteria's survival, Johns Hopkins scientists screened 175,000 small chemical compounds and identified a potent class of compounds that selectively slows down this protein's activity and, in a test tube, blocks TB growth, demonstrating that the protein is indeed a vulnerable target.

Preventing or reversing inflammation after heart attack, stroke may require 2-pronged approach
Researchers at Albany Medical College are releasing results of a study this week that they say will help refocus the search for new drug targets aimed at preventing or reversing the devastating tissue inflammation that results after heart attack and stroke.

Offspring of 2 psychiatric patients have increased risk of developing mental disorders
Offspring of two parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder appear more likely to develop the same illness or another psychiatric condition than those with only one parent with psychiatric illness, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

American Society for Microbiology honors Paul D. Bieniasz
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology Eli Lilly and Company Research Award is being presented to Paul D. Bieniasz, Ph.D., staff investigator, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and associate professor and head, Laboratory of Retrovirology, the Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y., and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for his work on retrovirus biology. This award recognizes fundamental research of unusual merit in microbiology or immunology by an individual on the threshold of his or her career.

The sexual tug-of-war -- a genomic view
The genes that are most beneficial to males are the most disadvantageous for females, and vice versa. However, this genetic conflict between the sexes is important in maintaining genetic variation within a species, researchers at Uppsala University have shown in a study on fruit-flies published in the open access journal PLoS Biology.

Dr. Jose L. Jimenez to receive 2010 UM Rosenstiel Award
The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science announced today that it has selected Jose L. Jimenez, Ph.D., as recipient of the 2010 Rosenstiel Award. An Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, his work applies groundbreaking measurement techniques to atmospheric science, addressing critical questions regarding aerosols in our environment and their role in climate change and air quality.

Antifreeze proteins can stop ice melt, new study finds
The same antifreeze proteins that keep organisms from freezing in cold environments also can prevent ice from melting at warmer temperatures, according to a new Ohio University and Queen's University study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study: Kidney disease a big risk for younger, low-income minorities
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) afflicts a large number of younger minority adults receiving medical care in settings that serve the uninsured and under-insured (settings collectively known as the health care safety net). Poor, minority adults with moderate to severe CKD are also two to four times more likely to progress to kidney failure than non-Hispanic whites. These are the findings from a study published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

March 2010 Geology and GSA Today Highlights
In Geology, examination of Chicxulub impact crater sediments supports existing K-T mass extinction theories; Cretaceous nannofossils help clarify climate change; a debris flows study breaks up the sieve-lobe paradigm; Walter Alvarez and coauthor take a look back at the Copernican Revolution; microbial mats display evolutionary creativity through wax esters; and study of thermophilic microbes in the Canadian High Arctic impacts the search for life on Mars. GSA Today examines

Cognition declines 4 times faster in people with Alzheimer's disease than those with no dementia
People with Alzheimer's disease experience a rate of cognitive decline four times greater than those with no cognitive impairment according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

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