Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 09, 2003
Physics tip sheet #30 - January 9, 2003
Highlights of this issue include non-invasively measuring bone strength, understanding birdsong, improving MRI resolution and fine writing with atoms.

Evolution of galaxy-spanning magnetic fields explained
Researchers at the University of Rochester have uncovered how giant magnetic fields up to a billion, billion miles across, such as the one that envelopes our galaxy, are able to take shape despite a mystery that suggested they should collapse almost before they'd begun to form.

Most ecstasy-related deaths occur among white males
Most people who die after taking ecstasy are white males in their late twenties, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Possibility that up to a quarter of intimate examinations by trainees are conducted without consent
A survey of medical students in this week's BMJ suggests that as many as a quarter of the intimate examinations, which they performed on anaesthetised patients, are carried out without adequate consent from the patient.

Grant funds research to develop microbicide barrier to HIV
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a grant of nearly $8 million to the University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) to fund research aimed at developing a microbicide barrier to the human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS.

If felons could have voted, national election outcomes would have been different
If current and former felons had been allowed to vote, the outcome of as many as seven U.S.

Nation's brightest increasingly shun science
America's top college graduates increasingly reject careers in science and engineering, University of Washington researchers have found, raising concerns about America's technological future.

UC Davis study identifies C-reactive protein as cause of blood clot formation
Further underscoring the limitations of cholesterol screening in assessing a patient's risk for heart disease, a new study by UC Davis physicians is the first to conclusively link C-reactive proteins (CRP) to formation of blood clots, a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular disease.

UMass team develops novel self-assembly processes for nanotech applications
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a series of novel techniques in nanotechnology that hold promise for applications ranging from highly targeted pharmaceutical therapies, to development of nutrition-enhanced foods known as

Researchers link melanopsin gene to unexplored light detection system within the eye
Researchers from Imperial College London, Johns Hopkins University, USA and Brown University, USA have discovered that melanopsin, a recently identified protein, plays a key role in a completely new light detection system in the eye.

Students eat excessive amounts of fat at school
Despite a government mandate that school lunches and breakfasts meet federal dietary guidelines, some middle school students eat half, rather than the recommended third, of their daily allowance of fat in school cafeteria lunches, according to a recent study.

Racism is a public health issue
Racism may be important in the development of illness and countering it should be considered a public health issue, argues a senior psychiatrist in this week's BMJ.

Researchers discover novel function of gene often associated with cancer
In an unusual disease known as Bloom syndrome, patients exhibit an extremely high incidence of cancers in many tissues.

From sardines to anchovies and back in 50 years
In the late 1930's, California's sardines supported the biggest fishery in the western hemisphere, with more than half a million tons of fish caught each year.

Applied Biosystems announces SNPlexâ„¢ ultra high throughput genotyping system
Applied Biosystems Group announced the SNPlexTM system, a reagent and software product designed to allow researchers to conduct ultra high throughput genotyping using the Applied Biosystems 3730xl and 3730 DNA Analyzers.

Robotic telescope catches best record yet of optical afterglow of gamma-ray burst
Gamma-ray bursts, perhaps the most energetic explosions in the universe, are brief and hard to catch, and their optical afterglow has been even harder for astronomers to study.

Vampire bat bite packs potent clot-busting potential for strokes
A potent clot-busting substance originally extracted from the saliva of vampire bats may be used up to three times longer than the current stroke treatment window - without increasing the risk for additional brain damage, according to research reported in today's rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Many women stop combination hormone replacement (HRT) therapy
A report issued today by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX) provides new information on the difficult choices women and their physicians began facing after the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published two studies questioning the relative safety of combination estrogen/progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products.

Viagra deaths explained by new understanding of platelet clumping
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have shown that heart attack and stroke in a small number of men taking the drug Viagra may be caused by the drug's encouraging platelets to aggregate.

Exercise and recreation for people with mobility impairments
The current issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) includes eight manuscripts that focus on evaluating and identifying safe exercise programs for people with mobility impairments, benefits of exercise programs for special populations, and other related issues.

Food for thought: Cells dine on their own brains to stay fit and trim
Eating your own brain may not sound like a sensible approach to prolonging your life, but researchers at the University of Rochester have discovered that some single-celled organisms essentially do just that to keep themselves healthy.

Hip protectors can reduce fractures by 40%
The use of hip protectors in nursing homes can reduce hip fractures by about 40%, yet acceptance of hip protectors is poor, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Endangered northern right whales exposed to paralytic shellfish poisoning
In the current issue of the journal Harmful Algae, a team of scientists, led by University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) biologist Edward Durbin, describes how north Atlantic right whales, feeding in Grand Manan Basin in the lower Bay of Fundy in late summer, are exposed to PSP toxins from feeding directly on the contaminated copepod Calanus finmarchicus.

UCI study offers blueprint for pinpointing sources of beach water pollution
A UC Irvine-led study has proved instrumental for significantly improving the quality of beach water at a popular California tourist destination.

UF study: Calorie restriction reduces age-related brain cell death
Trimming the waistline may not be the only reason to cut calories after the New Year: Doing so also may protect the brain from aging.

Researchers identify key pathway in the pupil's response to light
Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that a particular protein is important for the eye's pupil to respond to light.

Molecule helps pupils respond to light
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are reporting progress in understanding whether a second light-sensing pathway in mammals indeed contributes to the detection of ambient light for controlling body functions.

Genetics of familial atrial fibrillation revealed, Science researchers report
Scientists have identified a genetic mutation causing the irregular heartbeats that characterize atrial fibrillation.

Researchers discover protein defect linked to gastrointestinal cancer
Researchers in Oregon and colleagues have found a protein defect that may cause some cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a rare but deadly cancer.

Powerful technologies probe innate immunity
A comprehensive and detailed picture of innate immunity--the human body's first line of defense against disease--is the goal of scientists funded by a recently awarded five-year, $24-million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Radiation-resistant organism reveals its defense strategies
Weizmann Institute scientists have found what makes the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans the most radiation-resistant organism in the world: The microbe's DNA is packed tightly into a ring.

URI biological oceanographers test shallow marine systems' response to increased nutrients
A team of scientists at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) have focused their research on very shallow lagoon type estuaries to determine if there are predictable patterns of response to nutrient enrichment in these more complex systems.

Cancer risk not equal in both breasts after type of atypia diagnosis
Women diagnosed with a form of benign breast disease called atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) are at increased risk of breast cancer, but the risk is not the same for both breasts, Vanderbilt researchers report.
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