Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 12, 1998
Astrophysicists Use Virtual Reality To Chase Earth's Tail
Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick are using a 3D virtual reality system to research the Earth's electromagnetic tail.

National Science Board Open Session Set For Nov. 19
Journalists are invited to attend the next open session of the National Science Board (NSB) on Thursday, November 19 from 1:50 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

Scientists Find First Protein In Central Nervous System Junctions
Scientists have identified the first protein needed for synapse formation in the central nervous system.

When One Gene Has Two Roles, Its Second Function May Be Missed
In a surprising finding that underscores the difficulty in understanding how genes guide the developing mammalian embryo, researchers have found that the same master gene that controls development of all of the body's blood cells is later activated in other cells of the embryo to form the genitourinary tract.

Constructing "Designer" Plant Enzymes
New research on the directed interconversions of enzymes that modify plant fatty acids at Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology raisies the possibility of creating a family of novel synthetic enzymes that produce industrially useful fatty acids with a wide range of chemical structures.

National Jewish Pediatric Asthma Specialist Urges Monitoring Growth When Using Nebulized Glucocorticoids As An Asthma Treatment In Children
Using a nebulizer as a delivery system for glucocorticoid medication is effective in treating asthma in children, but a National Jewish Medical and Research Center physician recommends continued caution in using the medication because of the drug's possible impact on a child's growth.

Nut Eaters Have Good Hearts
Eating nuts on a regular basis can help to reduce risks of coronary heart disease, according to a paper in this week's BMJ.

Genetic Uniqueness Threatens Florida Manatee's Future
Genetic testing and DNA comparisons of manatees from eight regions along the Western Atlantic have revealed that the animals living in Florida waters share dangerously low genetic diversity, making them more susceptible to diseases and more sensitive to climate changes, said a conservation geneticist at the University of Florida.

Rapid Rock Changes Deep Under Fault Lines Can Trigger Repeated Earthquakes
Rock metamorphism and earthquakes may be linked, say three Yale University geologists.

Untangling The Protein Folding Problem
Scientists are gaining ground in their effort to solve the long-standing

The Skinny On Fast Fat: Slow Down Weight Gain To Lower Blood Cholesterol
In a 20-year study, Ohio researchers examined the relationship between weight gain -- particularly in the amount of body fat -- and total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the

Severe PMS Linked With Physical, Sexual Abuse In Childhood
More than half of women with a very severe form of premenstrual syndrome are likely to have histories of physical or sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence, according to research by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Once A Bully, Always A Bully, Invasive Non-Native Plants Tend To Be Aggressive Wherever They Find Themselves
In the aftermath of a hurricane, invasive non-native plants were the most successful in recolonizing a tropical hardwood forest in southern Florida.

Plants get the message, too
A lowly weed uses one of the same communications systems as does the human brain, scientists have found, reporting that they turned up the sequence for proteins called glutamate receptors in a gene hunt through the DNA of the laboratory plant Arabidopsis.

Brookhaven, Carnegie Scientists Report First 'Morphing' Of Plant Enzyme Function
Scientists have for the first time turned one plant enzyme into another plant enzyme, by manipulating the genetic blueprint for the enzymes.

Researchers Splice Severed Spinal Cords
Purdue University researchers have --for the first time-- restored electrical nerve impulses in the severed spinal cord of a mammal.

Setbacks To Health Progress In Central America
The effects of Hurricane Mitch could result in setbacks to health progress in Central America, according to officials at the Pan American Health Organization.

Magma Opus: Geologist Reveals Earth's Plumbing
The chance find of large crystals in the rocks of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica has led to a startling discovery that may topple one of the fundamental principles of geology.

Tumor Protein Structure Found At Cornell
For some years now, cancer researchers have known that cancerous tumors are fed nutrients and oxygen through blood vessels generated by endothelial cells.

Counting X Chromosomes To Determine Sex
HHMI investigators have found that in at least one species, an embryo's sexual fate--whether to remain female or become male--depends on a unique mechanism for counting X chromosomes.

Shrinking Solids? Whoever Heard Of "Thermal Contraction?"
Physicists at Bell Labs and Johns Hopkins report they have found clues that subvert what once seemed to be a natural law: that solids must expand when heated.
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