Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 16, 2002
Responsibility & Blame: Psychological & Legal Perspectives
How much responsibility should any person or entity bear? Our society looks to the legal system to determine when a person or corporation is to blame for having committed bad acts.

The Second Conference on the History and Heritage of Scientific and Technical Information Systems
Emphasis for this conference will be on scientific and technical information systems in the period from the Second World War up through the early 1990s.

Teen angst rooted in busy brain
Scientists have found out why teenagers are notorious for their snappy, irritable behaviour.

Supportive mothers ease harm of prenatal alcohol exposure
Children whose mothers drank alcoholic beverages during pregnancy have difficulty relating to their mothers and may have a harder time coping with the problems of daily life, according to new research.

Alzheimer's, nutrition, smallpox, and other 'Human Health Frontiers' addressed by AAAS speakers
Nutrition news that turns the food pyramid on its head, research efforts to combat bioterrorism, and new approaches for addressing chronic human conditions such as depression, substance abuse, cancer and spinal cord injury, were discussed at the AAAS Advancing Science seminar.

Corpus Christi chemistry teacher wins regional award
South Texas chemistry teacher Chad Huckabee will be honored Nov.

National conference to address communication problems in health care (Oct. 22)
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine Foundation (ACP-ASIM Foundation) will convene a one-day Health Communication Conference, Health Care Communication: A Key to Quality, to be held at the NAS on October 22, 2002.

New compound holds promise for lupus and related diseases
A chemical cousin of anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium and Xanax, significantly reduces kidney inflammation in mice inbred to develop a disease resembling human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Heart failure mortality substantial among elderly
A recently recognized form of congestive heart failure - in which the heart contracts normally but doesn't fill with enough blood - results in more deaths nationwide than the more widely known form of the disorder, report researchers in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers identify less expensive HIV progression test as effective as current tests in use
A less expensive test for monitoring the progression of HIV in the early stages of the disease has been identified by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

National Science Foundation, USDA to fund mapping of plant-devouring mold gene
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have jointly awarded $2.3 million to the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech to sequence the genomes of two species of Phytophthora, a plant pathogen whose name means

Families with two or more children with autism sought for $10.2 million study
Researchers have launched a hunt in 16 states for 250 families with two or more children with autism to participate in a $10.2 million University of Washington study to uncover the genetic and neurobiological causes of autism.

Code-breaking insects steal plants' defensive signals, enabling counterattack
Herbivorous insects that dine on crops use a form of molecular code-breaking to ready their defenses against a chemically protective shield employed by their dinner, say scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Children exposed to alcohol before birth show deficits
Children exposed to alcohol in the womb continue to show effects of that exposure even at age 14, University of Pittsburgh researchers report.

Melting crust makes rich mineral deposits: Geologist
A University of Toronto study suggests why giant gold and copper deposits are found at some volcanoes but not others, a finding that could point prospectors to large deposits of these and other valuable metals.

Surfing a Black Hole
An international team of astronomers, lead by researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), has directly observed an otherwise normal star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Is the roller coaster G force threat all spin?
Are roller coasters becoming too powerful? Do bigger G forces come with added risks of injury?

Pan-African Malaria Conference November 17-22 in Arusha, Tanzania
The Fogarty International Center of the NIH announces the Third Pan-African Malaria Conference.

OSU genetics expert wins award for lifetime achievement
Dr. Albert de la Chapelle, an Ohio State University scientist who has spent 40 years studying the labyrinthine complexity of human genetics, has won the 2002 William Allan Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Human Genetics.

UNC study uncovers increasing shortage of pharmacists with growing population
Despite an increase in the overall supply of pharmacists in the state, the ratio of pharmacists per 10,000 population working in retail settings has declined over the past decade, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

JGI to decode DNA of destructive plant pathogen
Researchers at the DOE Joint Genome Institute and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute will decode and study the genomes of two species of Phytophthora, a notorious plant pathogen responsible for sudden oak death syndrome and soybean root rot -- diseases that cause billions of dollars a year in forest and crop damage.

Zooming star points to supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way
Supermassive black holes can be found at the center of many galaxies.

Use of vitamin A cream may prevent skin cancer
Use of topical tazarotene, a vitamin A derivative, has significant potential for the prevention of basal cell carcinoma in people predisposed to the disease, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's (AACR) first annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting.

19th-century machine models in online science library
Cornell University's collection of 220 mechanical teaching models from the 19th century, the largest such collection in the world, soon will be available on the Internet to students and teachers.

Natural insecticide identified as potential cancer prevention agent for early stage lung cancer
The use of deguelin, a natural plant extract most commonly used as an insecticide in Africa and South American, inhibits the growth of precancerous and cancerous lung cells, with no toxic effects on normal cells, according to a study presented today at the first annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting convened by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Tired medical professionals working long hours may put patients at risk
Investigators from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) say the work and duty hours for medical professionals are extremely long, sometimes leaving them too tired to perform at their best.

Steep increase in antidepressant use, study shows
Canadians' use of antidepressants has soared by more than 300 per cent over the past two decades, says a study by researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children.

Victims of abusive relationships also survivors, book says
Women who leave abusive partners may take a long time to heal, but they can overcome their traumatic experiences, says a new book by a University of Toronto sociologist.

The Lancet Neurology November press release
It is well known in media circles that including the word

Geneticists tell ostrich farmers the secrets of sex
Research published in the online journal, BMC Biotechnology reports on a new, large-scale technique for distinguishing between male and female ostrich chicks using DNA extracted from feathers.

OHSU takes part in unique Alzheimer's treatment trial
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are taking part in a drug trial aimed at preventing the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Brain on a chip
Researchers in California have found a way to keep slices of living brain alive for weeks, which could soon become a powerful tool for testing new drugs.

Ion channels allow bacteria to resist stomach acid
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have found that a primitive type of ion channel similar to those found in mammalian nerve cells helps bacteria resist the blast of acid they encounter in the stomach of their hosts.

Nanomuscles show promise in industrial and medical applications
Nanomuscles, based on either shape memory alloys (SMAs) or carbon nanotube fibers, are gaining attention due to their potential for use in the human body or to replace small motors in industry.

Teens who witness or experience violence at home take risks with sex
Teen-age girls are three times more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior if they live in a family afflicted by physical violence - whether they are victims of abuse or witness it between parents, according to a new study by Brown sociologists.

Stanford researchers test drug to fight depression faster in elderly
Elderly people who suffer from depression can take the edge off faster by using a drug called mirtazapine, which appears to work more quickly compared to rival drugs.

Study provides direct evidence of the role of telomeres in prostate cancer development
Telomere shortening has been proposed as an early and prevalent marker of prostate cancer process, according to a study presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research's first annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting.

Kids with Down syndrome learn language beyond adolescence
Countering the claim among researchers that language learning in children with Down syndrome ends during the teen-age years, a new UW-Madison study shows that certain language skills continue to improve well beyond the teen-age years, suggesting that adolescents with Down syndrome should continue programs for language learning.

USDA chemist wins award for fostering diversity
Frances M. DuPont, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Albany, Calif., will be honored Nov.

Leading cancer research organization urges FDA to speed approval of drugs for precancers
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) today called for the federal government to open a new front in the war on cancer by speeding the approval of agents that prevent and treat precancerous lesions - when the link between these lesions and cancer is shown.
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