Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 21, 2002
Acoustics Writing Award: 2002 call for entries
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) sponsors two annual awards for outstanding science writing.

Clues from analysis of fish bones supports theory of climate shift 5000 years ago, onset of El Niño
New evidence from two Peruvian archeological sites excavated by researchers from the University of Maine (UMaine) and analyzed by University of Georgia (UGA) scientists supports the theory that a climate shift about 5,000 years ago led to modern weather patterns that include El Niño.

Rock-eating microbes survive in deep ocean off Peru
Way down deep in the ocean off the coast of Peru, in the rocks that form the sea floor, live bacteria that don't need sunlight, don't need carbon dioxide, don't need oxygen.

Electrodes and nanoprobes signal new DNA detection method
An innovative pairing of microelectrodes and gold nanoparticle probes is at the heart of new technology developed at Northwestern University that simplifies DNA detection and could lead to a handheld device that is more accurate, less expensive and faster than conventional methods.

Mothers' attitudes toward children's eating linked to children's obesity
Mothers worried about children's penchant for gaining weight might influence kids' obesity more than previously thought, according to a study from investigators at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and colleagues.

Plastic LEDs break telecommunications barrier
In today's Science, Dr. Nir Tessler and his team at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, together with Uri Banin and his team at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, announce a way to get polymers to emit near-IR radiation by incorporating tiny nanocrystals in the polymers.

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry turns 50 and increases publication frequency
In conjunction with its 50th anniversary, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, began publishing biweekly January 2002.

Pregnancy and childbirth a major cause of death among Afghan refugee women
A survey of Afghan refugees done before the events of September 11, 2001, published in this week's issue of THE LANCET, highlights how a lack of access to health care for women of reproductive age results in pregnancy and childbirth being major risk factors for death among these Afghan women.

Common microbes survive pressures equal to those found at 50 kilometers inside the Earth's crust
A study published in the February 22, 2002, issue of Science shows that even common bacteria are viable under high-pressure conditions equivalent to about 50 kilometers beneath the Earth's crust or 160 kilometers in a hypothetical sea.

HRT could protect against leg ulcers
Elderly women given hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could be at a reduced risk of developing leg ulcers and pressure sores, conclude authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Nanosphere announces DNA detection breakthrough published in Science
Northwestern University researchers have developed a nanoparticle-based DNA detection system with 10 times more sensitivity and 100,000 times more specificity than current genomic detection systems.

Cycled light promotes growth in pre-term infants
A Duke University Medical Center study has shown that exposing babies born before 31 weeks of gestation to cycled light helps them grow faster, and the study identifies no short-term advantages to keeping infants in total near darkness -- the standard practice with many infants.

New technique could prevent rain stopping play
Cancelling matches because the pitch is waterlogged could be consigned to history, thanks to new technology which could revolutionise the international world of both professional and amateur sport.

Cancer doctors could benefit from training in communication skills
Senior doctors working in cancer medicine could benefit from intensive communication-skills training to assist the often complex and distressing issues surrounding cancer care, conclude authors of a UK study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Nicotine withdrawal woes shown to be similar to inflammatory response
In a small study conducted at Penn State, researchers have shown, for the first time, that heavy or moderate smokers who stop smoking have symptoms similar to those experienced by patients undergoing an inflammatory response - suggesting that anti-inflammatory medication might ease some nicotine withdrawal woes.

Office of Naval Research awards $8.4M to young investigators
The Office of Naval Research today announced the award of 26 grants totaling $8.4 million in the FY02 Young Investigator Program competition.

Single cell type seems to control internal clock and pupil of eye
Using genetically engineered mice, Johns Hopkins and other scientists have shown for the first time that a single kind of cell in the retina seems to detect light for the body's internal clock and for the pupil, they report in a recent issue of Science.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology: February 2002
Highlights include a study finding that killed spores increase the effectiveness of the anthrax vaccine and that sourdough bacteria make bread safe for the cereal intolerant.

The Euro is a soft currency
Tests have revealed that the surface of Euro coins is softer than that of the UK Pound and German Mark.

Tango between black hole and star remnant may explain cosmic explosion, MIT team reports
Gamma-ray bursts, extremely powerful explosions occurring in distant parts of the universe, may be the energetic offspring of a cosmic dance between black holes and their dance-partner stars, said scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tel Aviv University in the Feb.

Centuries-old lotus seeds germinated by UCLA scientists
UCLA scientists germinated lotus seeds nearly 500 years old from lotus fruits recovered from a lotus lake in China - the first time new plants have been raised from parents so old.

ORNL helping make tomorrow's soldiers all they can be
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator has nothing over the Objective Force Warrior envisioned by the Army and a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and organizations throughout the country.

Dutch study highlights short-term and long-term options for treatment of tennis elbow
Authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET conclude that steroid injections offer the best short-term treatment for tennis elbow, with physiotherapy offering marginally better long-term results than a 'wait-and-see' policy.

A feast of lobsters
A new book reveals lobster facts - mass suicides, and the almost useless lobster trap.

UNC, Wake Forest scholars work to reduce crimes against Hispanics in North Carolina
Crimes against Hispanics -- mostly hard-working people who come to North Carolina trying to improve life for their families and themselves -- jumped as much as 500 percent between 1993 and 1998, according to some estimates.

Most child care is provided by 'informal' providers, study finds
When they're not with their parents, children spend more time in the care of neighbors, friends and other relatives than at formal child care centers, according to a University of Washington study.

Wheat may be vital in battle against cancer and other diseases
According to Kansas State University biochemist Dolores Takemoto, new research is showing that wheat contains powerful antioxidants which are key to its ability to prevent colon cancer, and possibly diabetes and heart disease.
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