Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 23, 2003
Physics tip sheet #32 - January 23, 2003
Highlights of this issue include new best limits on photon mass, disappearing antineutrinos in the first results from KAMLand, fastest possible flipping of magnets for memory, and how obstacles could actually improve mobile communications.

SD Supercomputer Center researchers find unnecessary traffic saturating a key Internet 'root' server
Scientists at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UCSD analyzing traffic to one of the 13 Domain Name System (DNS)

Prehistoric tusks point to earliest fossil evidence of differences between sexes
The large tusks of an animal that roamed Earth before the dinosaurs may provide the earliest evidence yet of male-female distinctions in land animals that existed millions of years ago, say U of T scientists.

Night blindness may explain fear of the dark
Fear of the dark is a common complaint in children and is often attributed to attention seeking behaviour.

Single-parent children at increased risk of suicide, substance abuse
Authors of a Swedish population study in this week's issue of THE LANCET provide strong evidence that children brought up in single-parent households are more likely to suffer health problems--especially relating to mental illness and suicide risk--than children brought up with both parents in the same household.

Whose interests does the World Trade Organisation serve?
This week's Lancet editorial calls for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to clarify the alteration of trading restrictions to enable poor countries to access affordable medicines.

Human gene affects memory
A common gene variant influences event memory in humans by altering a growth factor in the brain's memory hub.

Scientists uncover 'time for bed' molecules
Animals lacking cryptochromes have abnormal sleeping patterns because their internal biorhythms are disrupted.

Researchers discover anxiety and aggression gene in mice
Researchers report finding a gene that is essential for normal levels of anxiety and aggression.

Animal study demonstrates carbon monoxide may help heart patients
Carbon monoxide, the toxic gas generally associated with auto exhaust or faulty heating systems, may have a protective role in preventing the development of dangerous arteriosclerotic lesions that can clog blood vessels following balloon angioplasty or aortic transplantation.

Long waiting lists do not reflect a general failure of the NHS
Despite widespread political and media attention about long waiting lists, a study in this week's BMJ finds that in most instances, substantial numbers of patients waiting longer than six months for elective surgery are restricted to a small number of hospitals.

A possible link between IVF and eye cancer?
An observational study by Dutch authors in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests that children conceived by in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) could be at an increased risk of retinoblastoma (a malignant tumour of the retina).

Some concerns about doctors' career choices
There has been a small increase recently in the number of newly qualified doctors wanting to enter general practice, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Coral smothering 'green tide' seaweed spreading on Florida reefs
The coral-smothering non-native seaweed known as Caulerpa brachypus has now become so thick on some Florida reefs that it is forcing lobsters and fish away.

Symphony of memory formation revealed
Using newly developed imaging techniques, UCLA neuroscientists for the first time have

Mars may be much older -- or younger -- than thought, according to UB planetary geologist
Research by a University at Buffalo planetary geologist suggests that generally accepted estimates about the geologic age of surfaces on Mars -- which influence theories about its history and whether or not it once sustained life -- could be way off.

Early promise of new treatment to reduce infection associated with chemotherapy
Authors of a fast-track study in this week's issue of The Lancet propose an alternative to antibiotics to treat infection associated with the use of chemotherapy for patients with blood cancer.

American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons 2003 Meeting
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons invites you to cover its upcoming annual scientific meeting, February 20-23 in Orlando, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.

Center for Health Law and Policy presents program on bioterrorism measures and civil liberties
The events of 9/11, the ensuing anthrax attacks, and the present threat of war with Iraq have dramatically increased concerns about bioterrorism.

Int'l health experts call on British P.M. to consider health impacts of war on Iraq
A war on Iraq would have disastrous short, medium and long-term social and public-health consequences--not just for Iraq, but internationally, argue 500 signatories of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in an open letter to Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, published jointly in this week's issue of The Lancet and British Medical Journal.

Clemson researcher takes part in breakthrough research on insects
Recent research shows that insects and humans have something surprising in common: Some six-legged species take in oxygen using a similar means to the way we fill our lungs.

Electrical control of electron spin steers spin-based technologies toward real world
Researchers provide

UT Southwestern researchers identify gene that could have important role in human wasting disorder
A gene regulating muscle formation in fruit flies could play an important role in a wasting disorder in humans, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered.

AIDS vaccine developed at Emory and the NIH Moves to clinical trials
A vaccine aimed against AIDS, developed at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University, the Emory Vaccine Center, and the Laboratory of Viral Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will begin a Phase I clinical trial this week.

International health experts call on Prime Minister to consider health impacts of war on Iraq
A war on Iraq would have disastrous short, medium and long-term social and public health consequences - not just for Iraq, but internationally, argue 500 signatories of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in an open letter to Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Mongolian road threatens last great over-land migration of Asian wildlife
An immense grassland in Mongolia - an area likened to the long-gone prairies of the American West, complete with staggering migrations of hundreds of thousands of animals - is threatened by a proposal to build a road through its center, according to scientists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Flying SnifferSTAR may aid civilians and US military
A half-ounce 'sniffer' intended to ride on small aerial drones to detect possible gas attacks on cities and military bases has been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Study shows how the brain pays attention
With so many visual stimuli bombarding our eyes -- cars whizzing by, leaves fluttering -- how can we focus attention on a single spot -- a word on a page or a fleeting facial expression?

Scientists harness powerful x-rays in new technique to study animal functions
Using a synchrotron (a large, circular, particle accelerator that generates an x-ray one billion times as intense as conventional x-rays), scientists have discovered a surprising insect breathing mechanism that is analogous to lung ventilation in humans.

Essay on genes and behavior prompts culture clash in academic journal
Advocates of genetic determinism square off against two prominent Stanford University scientists in a lively and surprisingly acerbic debate over ''nature vs. nurture'' in the February issue of the journal Current Anthropology.

Soaking in the genius of Mother Nature
In an organic chemistry lab on the campus of Binghamton University in upstate New York, Scott Handy is busy whipping up promising new substances modeled after natural compounds found in sea sponges and tobacco plants.

Get your blood moving: Increased blood flow could lead to healthier blood vessels
Increased blood flow can mimic the powerful anti-inflammatory actions of certain glucocorticoid steroid drugs, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Medicine and Engineering.
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