Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 15, 2003
Red alert over rare species
The well-known

Scientists identify hundreds of worm genes that regulate fat storage
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and their colleagues have scoured thousands of genes in the C. elegans worm and have come up with hundreds of promising candidates that may determine how fat is stored and used in a variety of animals.

Depression and chronic pain linked in Stanford study; may influence diagnosis and treatment
A persistent, long-lasting headache or an endlessly painful back may indicate something more serious than a bad week at the office.

More women quit smoking during pregnancy, but not before and after
More women are quitting smoking during pregnancy but smoking trends before and after pregnancy are less encouraging, according to a study of more than 100,000 women.

Physics tip sheet #31 - January 15, 2003
Highlights of this issue include perfect lubrication for nanomachines, a solution to a raindrop mystery, timetabling with quantum computers and how your breakfast cereal separates.

Northwestern on trail of gene mutations that trigger sex reversal
Northwestern University has received a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify the gene mutations that cause sex reversal, a condition in which individuals have the chromosomes of one sex but the physical attributes of the other, resulting in XY females or XX males.

Walking sticks lost wings, then re-evolved them
Members of a certain group of insects lost the ability to fly and then re-evolved it 50 million years later - a conclusion that means the theory of evolution itself must continue to change.

Rare Asian dolphin threatened by human activities
A rare dolphin species known for assisting fishermen by driving fish into their nets may soon disappear from the great Asian river for which the animals are named.

Iron overload gene tied to colon cancer increased risk
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have found that people with gene mutations associated with abnormally high iron levels are 40 percent more likely than others to develop colon cancer.

Human lymph disease could tail off thanks to gecko
Many lizards shed their tails, and then regrow them, as a survival mechanism - and now researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia believe understanding this act could also help them treat a lymphatic condition in humans.

Faster than ever seen before - speeding electrons will be snapped by new UK attosecond 'camera'
Ultrafast lasers helping to make some of the shortest pulses of light ever seen in the UK will be at the heart of a new system to capture the movements of electrons as they whizz around the nucleus of atoms.

Herpes virus trashes detection mechanism to hide from immune system
Herpes viruses are notorious for their ability to hide from the immune system and establish lifelong infections.

Vitamins may protect against heart disease
A UCLA research team has discovered that a popular health supplement and antioxidant vitamins may help prevent atherosclerosis, or blockage of the blood vessels.

Is remote sensing the answer to today's agriculture problems?
Today's wheat growers face many economic and environmental challenges, but arguably their greatest challenge is the efficient use of nitrogen-based fertilizer.

Blood banking systems improving in China, more progress needed
After years spent analyzing blood banking and transfusion practices in China, a Johns Hopkins-led research team says that major improvements are needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the blood supply that serves 20 percent of the world's population.

Dogs on fatty diet may give clues to human disease development
Coonhound puppies on diets containing the type of fat found in deep-fried foods are furthering understanding of how these fats contribute to aging and development of human diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer.

NASA scientists take first 'full-body scan' of evolving thunderstorm
A doctor gets a better view inside a patient by probing the body with CAT and MRI scanning equipment.

Emory Vaccine Research Center study identifies specific gene required for long-term immunity
Scientists at the Emory Vaccine Research Center have shown that a gene called SAP is required to generate long-term immunity.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 60th Anniversary Meeting
The latest research in food allergy, allergic reactions to vaccines, indoor mold allergens and other topics related to allergic diseases will be presented at the 60th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

Presence of certain tumor markers for melanoma could signal best results for vaccine
Scientists at the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) in Santa Monica, California have found a panel of molecular markers that could signal which patients might have the best results following vaccination for malignant melanoma.

Medical devices safe, but could be safer with better regulation
Johns Hopkins infection control experts who last year traced the source of a bacterial infection in 32 patients to three defective bronchoscopes say more rigorous regulation and faster recall of the devices may have prevented the outbreak.

UMass study reconsiders formation of Antarctic ice sheet
A study by University of Massachusetts Amherst geoscientist Robert DeConto posits an alternative theory regarding why Antarctica suddenly became glaciated 34 million years ago.

Stanford to receive $7.5 million gift for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Institute
Physicist Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation pledged $7.5 million to establish the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

Lightning really does strike more than twice
NASA-funded scientists have recently learned that cloud-to-ground lightning frequently strikes the ground in two or more places and that the chances of being struck are about 45 percent higher than what people commonly assume.

Growing human antibodies in algae
A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have used algae to express an antibody that targets herpes virus.

Pioneering study examines aging of 'Happy Days' cohort
For 45 years, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) has provided policy makers and social science researchers with an unparalleled look at how education, career and family affect adult life.

A bright idea: Roadside beacons warn motorists of danger ahead
Fog-related pileups such as last month's 71-car collision in Texas could become a thing of the past with roadside

Researchers working to devise plan for Palo Alto Battlefield Restoration
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station rangeland researchers are devising a plan to restore the vegetative apperance of the Palo Alto battlefield in Brownsville, Texas, the site of the first Mexican-American war in 1846.
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