Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 14, 2003
Color key to presentation of understandable scientific data
The scientific establishment is drowning in data, but whether it is census data or the vast amounts of satellite and computer-generated information created every day, visual representation and the use of color can help scientists understand and extract important patterns from this deluge, according to a Penn State cartographer.

New potential sites for Alzheimer's genes suggest a future of custom-designed treatment
Based on recent findings of 12 new potential sites for Alzheimer's genes, a leading researcher estimates that within 50 years, patients will be routinely screened for Alzheimer's Disease and receive prescription drugs tailored to their genetic risk.

Plant pathologists unpeel rumors of banana extinction
Will bananas really become extinct within the next decade? Not likely says a plant pathologist with the American Phytopathological Society (APS).

NEI criticizes fear-mongering by authors of used fuel paper
The Nuclear Energy Institute criticizes the fear-mongering of the authors of a paper on used nuclear fuel storage that theorizes about the possible effects of a terrorist attack.

High school students say they need more current-events study
High school students engaged in a national civics project say that they don't have enough information on the impending war with Iraq to come to a consensus.

New life discovered in deep ocean floor
Researchers from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory discovered new life and new insight into the microscopic creators of the planet's largest frozen methane pools, trapped within the ocean floor.

NIH leader outlines future of U.S. medical research
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), spoke of his vision for research and medical discovery in the 21st Century, during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Early Mars: Warm enough to melt water?
While some researchers believe that only asteroid collisions made Mars warm enough to have running rivers, a Penn State researcher believes the planet had to be warmed continuously to form Mars' deep valleys, but he does not know how the planet warmed up.

Merck/AAAS announce 2003 winners for outstanding Undergraduate Research Programs
The Merck Company Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today announced winners of the 2003 awards for the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program.

Artificial worlds unlock secrets of real human interaction
A powerful new tool, agent-based modeling, looks for elementary principles of self-organization that might shed new light on long-standing puzzles about how humans interact, Cornell sociologist Michael Macy tells a Feb.

Social issues loom in development of gene-specific meds, says Stanford reseacher
Imagine being sick and your doctor, rather than handing you a bottle of pills, constructs a medicine tailor-made specifically for your illness and genetic makeup.

News tips from the American Society for Microbiology
News tips from the American Society for Microbiology include: Rabbits know how to prevent herpes and diverse bacterial populations may cause halitosis.

Idea to connect gas stations to natural gas supply to fuel hydrogen powered cars
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Warwick Process Technology Group are leading a programme called

Baby and coated aspirin may not reduce risk of stroke
The majority of patients who take baby or coated aspirin to prevent strokes are not getting the blood-thinning results they may need to help avoid these health threats, according to preliminary research presented on February 14th at the American Stroke Association's 28th International Stroke Conference.

Relapse or remission? Pharmacogenomics draws the fine line
Shortly after chemotherapy treatment, how does a doctor know if a cancer has responded favorably or not to the treatment, or if a patient is destined to develop drug toxicity--before it is too late?

Scientific collaboration between the US and Britain
For the first time, the British Government have an official presence at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Denver, 13 to 18 February 2003.

Research reveals use of tree rings and ocean temperature shifts in anticipating megadroughts
Not long ago, conventional wisdom was that you couldn't predict the climate for more than a few days in advance.

Tribal warfare: Revenge, retaliation, deterrence
When a nation goes to war against another nation, it may be merely re-enacting an event as old as humanity itself, according to scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

Symposium explores early life experiences' impact on hormone levels
Studies of saliva have helped researchers determine that early life experiences such as neglect or abuse affect activity in an individual's hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system.

More drinks may lead to severe barroom brawls
Drinking does not necessarily lead to barroom brawling, but the amount of alcohol consumed by participants in an aggressive situation can make a difference in how severe or injurious the brawl turns out to be, according to new research.

Orphanage experience alters brain development
During the last decade, many American families have opened their hearts and homes to children adopted from Eastern European orphanages.

EUREKA at CeBIT 2003
EUREKA will be present at CeBIT, the world's largest IT and telecommunications trade fair.

24-Wk data from CONTEXT trial comparing GW433908/ritonavir QD & BID to Lopinavir/ritonavir BID
Preliminary 24-week data were presented today from the CONTEXT trial, an open-label, multi-center study evaluating the safety and efficacy of once-a-day (QD) or twice-a-day (BID) dosing of the investigational protease inhibitor (PI) GW433908 (908) boosted with ritonavir (908/r) compared to a third treatment arm with the PI lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r, Kaletra®) BID in treatment-experienced patients with prior virologic failure.

Los Alamos researcher quantifies meteor false alarm rate for nuclear test monitoring system
A Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher is helping to provide an extra measure of confidence in an international array of listening posts that keep an ear out for clandestine nuclear weapons tests.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for February (first and second issues)
The following stories represent newsworthy studies: 1) After 61 infants were treated with montelukast for reactive airway disease, they had more symptom-free days and nights, plus delayed exacerbations; 2) Men with a common inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose called rhinitis had higher systolic blood pressure and more hypertension; and, 3) At 17 Canadian acute care hospitals at high risk for tuberculosis transmission, lab workers were at increased danger of infection.

Toxicogenomics provides insight on assigning breast cancer drugs
Toxicology is getting a facelift with an infusion of genomics and proteomics--and powerful computing--that will help researchers predict adverse effects to chemicals in the environment, as well as the effectiveness of drugs used to treat breast cancer patients.

'Selfish routing' slows the Internet
Just as in traffic jams,

Mexican-American stroke study shows differences
A new study finds significant medical and demographic differences between Mexican American and non-Hispanic white stroke patients -- differences that should be taken into account by those trying to prevent stroke in Hispanic populations, the researchers suggest.

Most Americans open to pharmacogenomics research
A nationwide survey has shown that nearly 80 percent of Americans are likely to participate in pharmacogenomics research even though they don't fully understand how it may affect them.

Never too late to boogie: Nerve cells still active in 'mature' brain
Films that offer the mind a chance to watch the brain at work will be shown during a 14 February panel discussion at the AAAS Annual Meeting titled,

Agriculture's origin may be hidden in 'invisible' clues
As scientists attempt to learn about the origins of agriculture in the New World, they're focusing on what, for the most part, is invisible - microscopic plant crystals, tiny starch grains and fossilized pollen.

Bugs from the deep may be window into the origins of life -- on earth and beyond
Simple life forms are turning up in a surprising variety of below-ground environments, potentially making up 50 percent of the Earth's biomass, scientists said today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

California NanoSystems Institute breaks ground for world's most advanced nano-research facility
To develop the nanotechnological advances that will dominate science and the economy in the 21st century, UCLA is breaking ground for a new building that will house the California NanoSystems Institute.

Phase III, 48-Wk NEAT study results comparing GW433908 to Nelfinavir presented today
Final 48-week results from the NEAT trial, an open-label, multi-center study evaluating the safety and efficacy of the investigational protease inhibitor (PI) GW433908 (908) in antiretroviral therapy-naïve HIV+ patients versus nelfinavir (NFV/Viracept®), were presented here today.

People with food allergies should not only be careful about what they eat
Be a cautious kisser, especially if you have a food allergy.

Clothing from Corn: DuPont develops innovative process to create polymer from renewable resources
Clothing from cornfields? Researchers have developed an innovative bio-based method that uses corn -- instead of conventional petroleum-based processes -- to produce the latest polymer platform for use in clothing, carpets, and automobiles.

Symposium examines how early experiences guide brain development
Children living in orphanages suffer by virtually every measure of development compared to children living with their biological families and to previously institutionalized children who have moved into foster care, according to a report by University of Minnesota professor Charles Nelson.

Revenge motivates tribal warfare
Probably the single most common motive mentioned by tribal warriors when asked why they go to war, is revenge, according to a Penn State anthropologist.

Waging war: The curse of human intelligence
With America and its allies poised to attack Iraq and the U.S. and North Korea locked in a showdown over nuclear weapons, diplomats and politicians would do well to remember that humans may have nuclear technology but still only possess stone-age brains.

Does water flow become unstable in all soils?
A water movement model created by researchers at the University of California-Riverside and described in the February issue of Vadose Zone Journal has serious implications for agricultural water management.

Adverse experiences in early childhood cause brain adaptations that can lead to later disorders
Adverse experiences both perinatally and during early childhood, including abuse, neglect and severe medical illness, can have both immediate and long-term consequences on the development of the central nervous system, according to accumulating research in rodents and primates.

Clock tells time at such speed that reading it becomes challenge
The newest atomic clock is so accurate that its creators theorize that it will neither lose nor gain a second in 4.5 billion years.

Brain angioplasty in awake patients may reduce complications
Performing intracranial angioplasty on an awake patient allows patients to report unusual symptoms, which lets physicians immediately alter their work to minimize the risk of major complications.

Ginseng may improve memory in stroke dementia patients
A small study showed that a ginseng compound improved memory scores of people suffering from stroke-induced dementia.

Combination hormone therapy raises women's stroke risk
Combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk of stroke for postmenopausal women of all ages, whether or not they had hypertension.

Britain comes to AAAS
The British Government has an official presence for the first time at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, 13 to 18 February 2003.

What to plant when the fires go out
The biggest bad guy in the West, at least to people who study plant life on the prairies, is an invasive species that crowds out native grasses, dies early in the growing season, and becomes fuel for the fires that tear across the region.

Telescope finds star about to explode
Dutch researchers in an international team of astronomers have discovered a star which will explode in the near future.

Next-generation PI, TMC114, shows promising antiviral activity in patients failing HIV therapy
TMC114, a next-generation protease inhibitor, has demonstrated significant antiviral activity in multiple PI-experienced HIV patients currently failing PI therapy.

Jefferson neuroscientists probing the power of light to influence human health
Neuroscientist George Brainard contends that light can both heal and harm.

Neglect during infancy can affect children for years, scientists report
Many children who were neglected in orphanages during the first months of their life encounter a distinct set of developmental challenges--lasting for years after they've been adopted by attentive parents, scientists said today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting.

Breathe easy: Combination of airway devices helps stroke patients
Two devices that help clear secretions from the lungs can improve the respiratory health of hospitalized stroke patients.

Research to improve mine safety being developed
New technology being developed at the University of Alberta and Laurentian University will provide geologists a remote controlled

The physician-scientist: A catalyst for translational medicine
America is facing a major roadblock to medical progress. For the speedy translation of promising scientific discoveries into patient treatment, we need a special breed of medical researchers who are trained to ask clinically relevant questions in a health research environment.

Does water flow become unstable in all soils?
Scientists from UC Riverside show that one of the most common occurrences in soil--the redistribution of water in the soil profile after irrigation or rainfall stops--will cause the infiltrating water to form narrow channels called fingers that can move much deeper than the rest of the water in the soil profile.

Residents of disadvantaged areas have higher stroke risk
People living in disadvantaged communities are twice as likely to have a stroke as people in more affluent neighborhoods.

Centralia, Pa., underground coal fire creeping forward
For those who have forgotten, Centralia Pa. is still burning underground and the fire front is still moving, but for a Penn State psychology undergraduate, Centralia became the focus of geologic research that broadened her interest in local history to include geology.

NSF announces new scholarship for service awards
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced 13 new awards to higher learning institutions under its Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to increase the number of professionals nationwide trained in computer security and information assurance. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to