Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 01, 1999
Differences in human brain chemistry may account for different responses to stimulants
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that appears to account for the different levels of euphoria people experience when taking a stimulant drug, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S.

Severity of hurricane season can be predicted by studying El Niño, NASA Marshall scientist finds
The severity of hurricane seasons can be predicted by studying the influence of the El Niño weather pattern, concludes a study by Robert M.

Biologically inspired electronics leads to higher fidelity
Drawing upon the extraordinary ability of neuronal networks in the brain to separate signal from noise led a group of researchers at Boston University's Center for BioDynamics (CBD) and Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a biologically inspired model that will improve the fidelity of electronic devices.

Materials World tip sheet
Contents of the September Issue 1999 include:
  1. An e-fab way for making the micro world
  2. Bashing buildings to check for earthquake damage
  3. Capillary 2 for faster loos
  4. Wasteful Waste Recovery Targets


Ancient viruses lurking in polar ice
Prehistoric viruses are lying dormant in the polar ice caps- and a rise in temperature could unleash them into the atmosphere, causing lethal epidemics.

Penn researchers find ovary removal reduces risk of breast cancer in women withBRCA1 mutation
Women carrying a mutation in the BRCA1 gene can cut their breast cancer by 70 percent by undergoing a bilateral prophylactic oophorectomy (BPO), or removal of their two ovaries, say researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.

A dream team tackles the brain
Thanks to a recent grant of nearly $1 million from Packard Foundation, Boston University scientists will apply advanced theories in quantum physics to observe what occurs at brain synapses - the sites of communication between neurons - observations that could ultimately lead to a better understanding of how the brain functions.

Cholesterol guidelines can reduce recurrent heart problems
Current cholesterol guidelines can prevent a significant proportion of deaths and recurrent heart attacks in people with existing heart disease, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

First gene defect identified for precursor to adult diabetes
Scientists have identified the first genetic defect linked to insulin resistance, a precursor to nearly 15 million cases of adult diabetes in the U.S.

Research puts sting into drama of virus-cell fusion
Researchers at Purdue University have identified the role of a protein segment that allows some cancer-causing viruses to latch onto and infect cells.

UI study suggests genetics and gender affect human response to endotoxin
Endotoxin -- a common contaminant of agricultural dust, air pollution and household dust -- can cause or exacerbate asthma and other lung problems in people with respiratory conditions.

Bashing buildings to check for earthquake damage
A new technique that examines materials for cracks and weaknesses could help rescuers assess buildings for earthquake damage and help engineers design better earthquake-proof buildings.

Seeing quantum mechanics: Image of orbitals confirms bonding hypothesis
Using electron diffraction microscopy, researchers at ASU have achieved startlingly clear images of the

A new device for detecting illicit plutonium
A new radiation detector could spot plutonium smugglers or help doctors monitor the precise dose of radiation they are giving to patients.

Sailing through space on hot plasma
New Scientist meets a man who dreams of flying through deep space on sails built from hot plasma.

Enzyme discovery may link underlying processes in cancer and heart disease
Scientists at Emory University have discovered a new family of enzymes that appears to play a powerful role in generating the abnormal cell growth that occurs in both cancer and in some forms of cardiovascular disease.

Virginia Tech researchers create new family of molecule, solve fullerene processing mystery
Leaky lab equipment and Virginia Tech researchers' eagle eyes have resulted in a new family of molecules with potential applications ranging from medicine to optical-electronic devices, and beyond.

Study finds highway traffic speed to be an illusion
If the traffic next to you appears to be moving faster than you, do not change lanes because it may only be an illusion.

Statement from Dr. Claude Lenfant, director, NHLBI and Dr. Phillip Gorden, director, NIDDK
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have collaborated with three leading private health organizations on a major public health statement to alert physicians, patients, and the general public to the increasing significance of diabetes mellitus as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Worms will never taste the same: a new study examines how insecticides influence birds
A new study, published in the August edition of Ecological Applications, finds that birds will consistently avoid worms that have been injected with sub-lethal doses of the insecticide parathion after only a single exposure.

Why prostate cancer homes to bone
One of the mysteries surrounding prostate cancer has been its seeming predeliction for bone.

UNC-CH chemists develop better gene mutation detection method
Chemists working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a simple new way of detecting tiny genetic mutations responsible for medical conditions including cystic fibrosis and cancer.

Early detection of Global Change 'symptoms' on the protected areas to be discussed in Italy
The effects of Global Change on natural protected areas will be the topic of the symposium organized by the Science and Technology Park of Abruzzo and the Government of the Abruzzo Region, in Italy, to be held in L'Aquila, 8-13 September 1999

An e-fab way for making the micro world
A new manufacturing technique that has produced what researchers believe is the world's narrowest chain could open a whole world of new micro-mechanical devices.

Wistar Institute scientists find key piece in gene regulation puzzle
Scientists working in the laboratory of Ronen Marmorstein, PhD, at Philadelphia's Wistar Institute have determined the three-dimensional structure of a key enzyme involved in gene activation.

Study identifies key molecular mechanism in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis
A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified a novel molecular mechanism in cell proliferation.

Jurassic period mammal teeth found; prevailing theories challenged
Paleontologists have discovered three tiny teeth embedded in the lower jawbone of a small Jurassic period mammal on the island of Madagascar, evidence that some of our mammalian ancestors roamed the Earth at exactly the same time as the dinosaurs, according to an article in the Sept.

Ottawa wins IUPAC Congress and General Assembly for August 2003
Ottawa has won the bid to host the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Congress and General Assembly in August 2003.

Adios, hurricanes: the effects of El Niño on Atlantic hurricane activity
El Niño gets blamed -- rightly or wrongly -- for everything strange in the weather.

Genome tools pass big test in fruit flies
HHMI researchers have demonstrated the power of several genetic and computational tools that will eventually aid the effort to understand the human genome.

Breakthrough image of atomic bonding will advance the science of new materials
Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation have produced the first experimental image of atomic bonding in copper oxide.

Using new satellite maps, scientists get a clear view of this summer's developing drought
As the Eastern U.S. continues to suffer from this summer's record-breaking drought, scientists are scrambling to find ways to better understand what happens to forests and crops during such extended dry spells.
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