Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 10, 2002
The indestructible sandwich
Survival on the battlefield is about to become more bearable with the military's latest invention: the indestructible sandwich.

Molecular self-assembly techniques used to coat biomedical substrates
Biocompatible coating may be able to mitigate the immune reactions that often reduce the effectiveness of such medical devices as stents, used to keep blood vessels open, and dialysis tubing.

UT Southwestern researchers find protein transforms sedentary muscles to resemble exercised muscles
A calcium-signaling protein transforms sedentary, easily fatigued muscles into energy-producing, fatigue-resistant muscles, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers report.

Mice lacking fat-making enzyme are leaner, more sensitive to leptin and insulin
A modern-day Rip van Winkle, just emerging from his long sleep, might notice a difference in today's Americans.

Science or spin? Expedition to Peru will analyze how the 'Lost City of the Incas' was first depicted
Armed with the exact type of camera and film, and using the vantage points of the original 1911 expedition, Rutgers geography instructor Roger Balm will revisit Hiram Bingham's first photo-shoot at Machu Picchu, the now-famous

Magnetic fluids offer hope for damaged retinas
Researchers at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg are developing injectable magnetic fluids to repair torn or detached retinas -- a technique they believe could help prevent blindness in thousands.

'Relationships in a Changing World' -- call for papers
The Gerontological Society of America invites students and professionals to submit abstracts for its 55th Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held November 22-26, 2002, in Boston, MA.

Conference focuses on practical strategies for preventing and treating obesity
The University of South Florida College of Medicine's 3rd Annual Conference on Obesity will be held April 13 and 14 at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach.

Iron-rich soil can help remove lead; manganese also important
A Virginia Tech student is examining the lead sorption efficiency of several manganese and iron oxides to clarify the understanding of which phases and mineral properties are most influential in controlling lead availability in the environment.

Discovery Channel special watches OSU chimps learn to read
After a little more than three years' effort, psychologists at Ohio State University have taught a pair of young chimpanzees to

Being in the right place at the right time ... anytime
A new technique from NIST offers designers and users of precision machines (such as scanning tunneling microscopes and coordinate measuring machines) a more dependable way to obtain data -- wherever and whenever it is needed.

Marijuana use linked to hallucinogen use
Young marijuana smokers are substantially more likely than non-smokers to be presented with the opportunity to try hallucinogens.

Trees aren't going to solve global warming
The world can't rely on forests to solve the problem of global warming.

Women in the workplace: mentoring and flexibility are keys to advancement
What environmental elements are currently emerging as

April media highlights - GSA Bulletin
April's GSA BULLETIN articles include: Geochemical investigation of a Neoproterozoic glacial unit: The Mineral Fork Formation in Wasatch Range, Utah; Dolomitization-induced aquifer heterogeneity: Evidence from the upper Floridan aquifer; North American margin origin of Quesnel terrane strata in the southern Canadian Cordillera; Reactivation of prethrusting, synconvergence normal faults as ramps within the Ordovician Champlain-Taconic thrust system; and Geochemical indicators of separate sources for eolian sands in the eastern Mojave Desert, California, and western Arizona.

Mammography: Does it save lives?
Should annual mammograms be routine for women over 40? Four Mayo Clinic physicians address the controversy surrounding this issue in a roundtable discussion recently published on MayoClinic.com.

Men regain evolutionary driver's seat
Researchers from the University of Chicago have estimated that genetic mutations - the raw material for evolution - occur 5.25 times more often in males than in females.

Survey identifies drugs most likely to be found in the environment
A team of Johns Hopkins researchers says antidepressants, anticonvulsants, anticancer drugs and antimicrobials are the types of pharmaceuticals most likely to be found at

Farming inside forests hurts bird communities more than timber harvesting, study suggests
Farming in and around forests hurts bird populations more than does timber harvesting, according to a study by a researcher at Ohio State University.

Physics Tip Sheet #8 - April 10, 2002
Highlights of this issue include earthquake aftershock analysis and

A combination of targeted therapies may be needed to keep prostate cancer at bay
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that a potent new drug inhibits the growth of prostate cancer in mice early in the treatment process, but can stop working after several courses of therapy.

Prototype virtual observatory program online
Taking just two months to dash through a project once anticipated to need a year or more, a team has created a way to search different astronomy databases seamlessly and simultaneously via the World Wide Web.

Jefferson trial looks to improve diagnosis of prostate cancer
Radiologists and urologists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia are hoping a new type of imaging can improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Prescription drug pollution may harm humans, aquatic life
Researchers unveil two new tools to aid in the investigation of prescription drug pollution, caused when pharmaceuticals do not disappear harmlessly into the digestive system, but instead make their way into the environment.

Microscopy turning nanoscopy
As a result of the wave nature of light and the associated diffraction limit, optical microscopes are only useful for structures larger than 0.5 micrometer.

Study could lead to exercise-mimicking drug
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have found a biochemical pathway in muscle cells responsible for generating many of the beneficial effects of regular exercise.

Chemists explore the shape of the key that signals cell division in cancer cells
Virginia Tech chemistry professor Felicia Etzkorn and her students are designing small molecules to mimic peptides in order to determine which form is critical to initiating cell division in cancer cells.

Infrared telescope may give clues to galactic mystery
Astronomers at Cornell University are eagerly anticipating discoveries that the new Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will make.

Unique social system found in famous Tsavo lions
Tsavo lions, famous for man-eating in the late 19th century, are also novel for being maneless.

OHSU student wins congressional science fellowship
The American Geophysical Union has selected Illa Amerson, a doctoral candidate at the Oregon Health and Science University in Beaverton, as its 2002-2003 Congressional Science Fellow.

Accountability in Clinical Research: Balancing Risk and Benefit
Indiana University School of Medicine physicians and researchers and other prominent scientists will examine the management, conduct, funding and accountability of research involving human subjects at an April 24 - 26 national forum sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

NCI hosts Sixth International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Immunodeficiencies
National and international experts will meet at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on April 22-24, 2002, to present new findings on the biology, epidemiology, and treatment of AIDS-related cancers, including Kaposi's sarcoma, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and anal and cervical cancers.

Cost of inbreeding in Arabidopsis
A team of geneticists, including two from North Carolina State University, has published a paper in Nature that - by comparing amino acid replacements in mustard weed with those in fruit flies - helps verify, at the molecular level, the evolutionary hypothesis that inbreeding is detrimental.

Tropical streams, rivers 'exhaling' millions of tons more CO2 than thought
U.S. and Brazilian researchers say the amount of carbon dioxide coming off streams, rivers and flooded areas of the world's tropical forests is triple that of some currently accepted estimates, meaning such forests aren't the carbon sponges some scientists believe.

Caterpillar saliva beats plant defenses
A common substance produced by fungi and other organisms has been found in the saliva of caterpillars and helps to suppress the toxins that plants produce when chewed on by insects, according to a team of entomologists.

Ultrasound cleans ceramic filters: Could aid water treatment
Engineers at Ohio State University have discovered how to clean high-tech ceramic water filters at low cost with ultrasound.

Homeless urban children in developing countries found to be healthier than expected
The rapid increase in the number of homeless children in cities in the developing world is a matter of grave concern, particularly with regard to their physical well-being.

UPCI presents study on estrogenic activity of medicinal botanicals
The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute is presenting findings at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in San Francisco, April 6-10.

Higher crime rate linked to low wages and unemployment, study finds
A new study provides some of the best evidence to date that low wages and unemployment make less-educated men more likely to turn to crime.

Common asthma drug saves patients money, trips to hospital
The most effective and intensive medication treatment for asthma isn't the drug most commonly prescribed for that disease, a new study has found.

What is and what is not a disease?
What is and what is not a disease? The BMJ recently ran a vote on bmj.com to identify

Fox Chase Cancer Center receives grant to study possible link between measles vaccine and autism
Glenn F. Rall, PhD, a member and noted scientist at Fox Chase Cancer Center has been awarded $189,000 from the M.I.N.D.

UMass science project enables schoolchildren to learn about plants grown in space
High school students will get a taste of how science is done on board the International Space Station (ISS), courtesy of a collaborative project at the University of Massachusetts.

Framework for rice genome sequencing
The sequencing of the rice genome - which successfully lifts the veil from about 93 percent of it - represents a major milestone in genomics research.

Shrinking biodiversity?
In a paper in this week's journal Nature, a team of researchers from the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD, report on the first analysis of the potential impacts of climate change for an entire country, Mexico, including all species of mammals and birds as well as many species of butterflies -- some 1,870 species.
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