Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 30, 2002
Hot polymer catches carbon dioxide better
A new and economical technology for the separation and capture of carbon dioxide from industrial processes could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to the atmosphere.

New diagnostic faecal test could identify colorectal cancer
Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET describe a new technique where the detection of a specific protein in faeces could be a marker for colorectal cancer.

Students invent voice-activated grasping tool for disabled man
Using two motors, speech-recognition software and an exo-skeleton inspired by science fiction, three Johns Hopkins University undergraduates have built a muscle enhancement device to help a disabled man grasp and lift a cup, a book and other household items.

High tech sky tech
Soon there may be a war-time battlefield where nary a human combatant is in view, but one in which swarms of unmanned, unattended, and untethered drones on the ground, in the air, and underwater are doing everything that is normally seen in a hostile combat zone.

Safety claims of new arthritis drugs may be misleading
Popular arthritis drugs, known as selective COX 2 inhibitors, may not be superior to traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, conclude researchers in this week's BMJ.

Organic farming produces smaller crops, healthier soils, Swiss researchers report in Science
Organic farming methods produced crop yields that were, on average, 20 percent smaller than conventional crops, during a 21-year comparison of the two methods.

New climate study challenges thinking on large-scale, global climate change
A study of past climate changes in the South American tropics has challenged traditional understanding of the mechanisms that triggered the advance and retreat of glaciers during the last ice age.

First consensus guidelines on lightning safety issued before summer storms
With summer storms ahead, leading lightning researchers in the June 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine publish the first consensus recommendations for lightning safety and lightning injury in an effort to dispel the myths surrounding the second largest storm killer in the United States.

Drug prescribing by nurses in the UK - Editor of the Lancet urges caution
The contentious issue of drug prescribing by nurses is assessed by Richard Horton, Editor of THE LANCET, in a Commentary in this week's issue of the journal.

Emily Dickinson's influence on modern writers topic of book
As simple as Emily Dickinson's poetry seems on superficial reading, her deceptively rich works continue to bring up religious and philosophical questions for modern writers.

New study challenges traditional notions of global climate change
A team of researchers from Syracuse University, Duke University, Union College, the University of Nebraska and Stanford University have found that glaciers in the tropical Andes Mountains retreated several thousand years earlier than North American glaciers during a period of wet climate conditions, indicating that temperature change was probably the ultimate cause of glacial retreat in the Andes.

Magnesium sulphate halves risk of eclampsia for pregnant women with pre-eclampsia
A landmark international study in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlights how magnesium sulphate can substantially reduce the chance of pregnant women who have pre-eclampsia developing the potentially fatal condition of eclampsia.

Physicians and dentists play important role in smoking practices of the elderly
Older patients who see a doctor and dentist on a regular basis are more likely to quit smoking or remain nonsmokers, according to a study published in the June 2002 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

UNC studies add new dimension to 'lock-and-key' theory of drug action
A scientific collaboration based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has broken new ground for future drug design and development for brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

Welch Award honors McConnell for insights into physical chemistry, cell membranes
Harden McConnell, the Robert Eckles Swain Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Stanford University, will be named the 2002 Welch Award recipient for his lifetime achievements in basic chemical research, specifically pioneering discoveries concerning the physical state of liquid membranes.

When every minute counts
A razor nick during a much-too-close-shave years ago may result in hundreds of thousands of lives saved in the future.

Homeless sexual minorities at greater risk for physical and sexual violence, mental illness
Homeless youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender experience more physical and sexual violence, use more drugs, have more sexual partners and have higher rates of mental illness than heterosexual homeless youth, according to a new study.

U. of Colorado collaboration will test use of imaging to find expansive soils
Professor Alexander Goetz, a scientist with CU-Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences with colleagues from the Colorado School of Mines, the Colorado Geological Survey and the U.

Smaller slower, supercomputers someday may win the race
The supercomputers of the future will never crash and will cost far less to run than today's machines.

Fat cells transformed to resemble nerve cells
Like biochemical alchemists, investigators from Duke University Medical Center and Artecel Sciences, Inc., have transformed adult stem cells taken from fat into cells that appear to be nerve cells.

Marsquake detection sensors will take search for water underground
Researchers at Imperial College London have just begun a 5-year project to design and build tiny earthquake measuring devices to go to Mars on the 2007 NetLander mission.

Science grad students stimulate learning by K-12 students
Interest in science and mathematics among elementary, middle and high school students will be stimulated this fall by graduate students using hands-on, experiment-based projects funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program.

Emergency physicians set higher standards of education for themselves
The specialty of emergency medicine is requiring its board-certified emergency physicians, beginning in two years, to be tested annually in the latest advances and research in emergency medicine.

Triggering remembrances
Random remembrances, triggered by a sensory cue representing a portion of the original memory, appear to be dependent on a particular region of the brain, say researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and Hokkaido University School of Medicine in Sapporo Japan.

ISTPA releases framework to protect privacy; Joins Carnegie Mellon to enhance privacy framework
The International Security, Trust and Privacy Alliance (ISTPA), a global association of companies, institutions and technology providers working to clarify and resolve security, trust, and privacy issues, (
Chemical society convenes regional meeting in Minneapolis
More than 350 research papers are scheduled for presentation at the 34th Great Lakes regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, in Minneapolis, Minn., June 2-4.

Older age of male partners makes young women more susceptible to HIV-1 infection
Results of a field study in Zimbabwe published in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlight how cultural aspects of sexual behaviour are closely associated with an increased rate of HIV-1 infection among young women compared with young men.

Soil's love affair with carbon viewed with millimeter resolution
Promoting the love affair between farmlands and carbon while substantially reducing harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be facilitated through super-sharp analysis of tiny soil-core samples made possible by a portable, carbon-measuring laser system developed by a research team at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

University of Louisville leads project to customize ethics training for genetic researchers
The National Human Genome Research Institute is funding a three-year, $1.3 million project to develop a training program in genetic ethics that can be customized to match different types of genetic research.

'Cheerleader' brain signal may act as a task master, Science study suggests
Scientists have discovered a brain signal that, like an encouraging bystander at a marathon, urges us keep working at a task in order to receive a reward.

Was Einstein wrong?
Ultra-precise clocks on the International Space Station may determine whether Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is correct and could dramatically change our understanding of the universe.

Study finds public lacks awareness of effective alcohol control policies
A study finds the public has a strong awareness of alcohol's contribution to each of the leading causes of unintentional injury, but lacks awareness of alcohol control policies proven to reduce traumatic deaths.

Nothing special about seismic activity in Antarctica
Mysterious as the frozen continent may be, Antarctica is no different from any other landmass when it comes to the frequency of earthquakes, according to Penn State geoscientists.

Screening families with a history of high cholesterol is most cost effective way to cut heart deaths
Screening relatives of people with high cholesterol levels is the most cost effective way to reduce deaths from coronary heart disease, yet no recommended screening strategy currently exists in the United Kingdom , according to researchers in this week's BMJ.

Obesity...by choice
New study suggests we may choose obesity by consuming available and unhealthy foods and ignoring the best instincts of our body.

Brain signal boosts as monkey nears reward
Delaying gratification while working toward a goal appears to have roots in a specific brain circuit.

Cancer-suppressing protein is part of amoeba's compass
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have learned that a protein that prevents the formation of cancerous tumors in animals also helps single-celled amoeba determine direction, particularly when moving toward a chemical attractant, an ability of many cell types in more complex creatures.

Underwater show stoppers
Why they do it is still a mystery, but under the 'right lights', corals definitely fluoresce.

Discovery sheds light on mechanisms that allow cells to steer directly toward chemical cues
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have found that two genes associated with the development of human cancer play a central role in orienting a cell's

Study finds elderly patients know too little about their medications
A study in the June 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine finds only 15 percent of the elderly emergency department patients (over age 65), who were interviewed in an urban hospital, could correctly list all their medications, dosages, frequencies, and indications.

Europe becoming complacent over HIV prevention
Rising levels of gonorrhoea and syphilis across western Europe since 1995 imply that complacency over HIV prevention efforts may have set in among individuals and some governments, argue researchers in this week's BMJ.

Do celebrities help sell new medicines?
Last month, Camilla Parker Bowles made her first big public speech on behalf of the National Osteoporosis Society to raise awareness of the bone condition.

Restricting epileptic drivers unnecessary, counterproductive
An article reviewing motor vehicle crashes among epileptic drivers finds statutes requiring physicians to report epileptic patients to driver-licensing authorities both unnecessary and counterproductive.
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