Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 06, 2003
Scientists pinpoint stellar production of helium, yielding new insights into the young universe
Astrophysicists report in this week's issue of the journal Science that they have calculated the rate of helium production by stars in our universe with greater precision than ever before.

New GIS tool helps foresters curb damage from wildfires and target conservation cost-effectively
A robust, new geographic information systems (GIS) software tool developed by a University at Buffalo geographer is helping the U.S.

White House announces intent to build world's first zero-emissions power plant
Dr. Klaus Lackner, long-time advocate and designer of zero-emissions power plants, calls for an even larger and more sustainable path to providing affordable energy with zero-emissions.

Scientists re-evaluating the meaning of 'desertification,' Duke ecologist says
A Duke University ecologist is leading an international scientific reassessment of the causes and effects of desertification, a term he said has been subject to misinterpretation and oversimplification.

'One-stop' approach works well for cervical cancer prevention
Treating women for precancerous cervical lesions the same day they are discovered could reduce cervical cancer rates in developing nations, according to a study of Thai women by researchers at Johns Hopkins and their Thai colleagues.

UCSD biologists discover key to blocking inflammation
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that eliminating the ability of white blood cells to respond to low oxygen levels effectively blocks the development of inflammation in mice, an advance that could have widespread implications for the prevention of inflammation in humans.

Idea for prostate treatment based on breast cancer discovery
A Queen's University research team that recently discovered a way to make breast cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy is now investigating whether a similar procedure can effectively treat prostate cancer - the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men in North America.

Justification for use of electroconvulsive therapy to treat depression
Authors of a systematic review in this week's issue of The Lancet conclude that there is an evidence base to support the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of depression.

Climate changes may increase extreme rain/snow events in California
Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may lead to a rise in the number of annual extreme precipitation events in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which in turn could increase the frequency of flooding in California, a NASA-funded study finds.

Australian overturns 15 years of nano-science doctrine
An Australian mathematician has thrown 15 years of accepted scientific practice out the window by discovering a design flaw in a key component of the Atomic Force Microscope.

Psychology professor maps choice-making in the brain
The next time you are frustrated by someone who says,

Emergency care scheme does not tackle real problems
A new scheme designed to reduce waits in emergency departments is simply massaging the figures to meet government targets, warn senior doctors in this week's BMJ.

Researchers developing 'sentinel plants' to warn of bioterrorism
U.S. soldiers walk down a trail in a war zone.

Suicide terrorism: U-M author explains what defenses will and won't work and why
The first line of defense against suicide terrorism should be to prevent people from becoming terrorists---rather than to protect targets from being attacked, according to a University of Michigan researcher whose analysis appears in the current (March 7) issue of Science.

With toxic crystals, bacterium targets - and takes out nematodes
Roundworms, hookworms, watch out. Scientists this week announced that a soil bacterium's crystal proteins, long an effective weapon against many insect pests, are toxic to some nematodes, too.

Arizona pioneer in plastics wins top chemistry award
Edwin J. Vandenberg of Fountain Hills, Ariz., will be honored March 25 by the American Chemical Society for more than six decades of research to understand and custom-make plastics for applications as wide-ranging as food storage and medical devices.

Treating MS is expensive, but cost falls over time
The cost of drug treatment multiple sclerosis is high, but decreases with prolonged treatment up to 20 years, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Study says mothers' moves from welfare to work may not hurt children
A new, three-city, $20 million study concludes -- at least in the short run and during good economic times -- that children in low-income families are not harmed, on average, when their mothers leave welfare or move into the workforce.

Latino farm workers can't afford sufficient food Wake Forest study shows
Almost half (47 percent) of Latino migrant and seasonal farm workers in North Carolina can't afford enough food for their families and 15 percent have to resort to measures such as cutting the size of their child's meals or not eating for a whole day, suggests research conducted by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Toronto General Hospital to be only Canadian site in first-ever genetic study of anorexia nervosa
Toronto General Hospital researchers have been selected as the only Canadian hospital in the largest genetic study of anorexia nervosa ever conducted.

Employed black women have lower heart risk than black homemakers
African-American women who work outside the home are less likely to have a coronary event, such as a heart attack, than African-American women who are homemakers.

From overdose to organ donor
New research published in Critical Care, from Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London, suggests that patients that die from drug overdoses or poisoning could donate their healthy organs to patients needing transplant operations.

U. of Colorado researchers propose answer to basic atmospheric chemistry question
Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder have proposed a long-sought answer to how atmospheric sulfate aerosols are formed in the stratosphere.

More evidence needed on true impact of NHS walk-in centres
Introduction of NHS walk-in centres may not affect the workload of local general practitioners, but more evidence is needed to determine their true impact on other local healthcare services, according to two studies in this week's BMJ.

Penn study: Church-state separation not breached when faith-based groups work with government
Faith-based organizations assisting at-risk children work closely with government agencies without raising First Amendment separation of church and state concerns, according to a new study from the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania.

More political candidates turning to Web to foster participation, mobilize support
Eighty-four percent of political campaigns last year used Web sites designed to encourage participation in the political process, a University of Washington researcher found, up from less than 70 percent in 2000.

What's lost is found again: 'Virtually' rebuilding Native American monuments
Close to 10,000 immense earthwork monuments -- like the still extant Serpent Mound in Ohio -- were constructed by Native Americans in the Midwest starting in 600 BC.

Tea complements drugs in fight against colon cancer
A new study has found that consumption of moderate amounts of green or white tea might provide a protection against colon tumors about as well as a prescription drug, sulindac, that has been shown to be effective for that purpose.

Invitation to cover Europe's leading conference on fertility and reproductive medicine
The media are invited to attend Europe's premier conference on fertility and reproductive medicine in Madrid, Spain, from 29 June - 2 July 2003.

Higher childhood blood pressure may be linked to obesity epidemic
Researchers have found an unexpected increase in the number of children with high blood pressure, and say the growing rate of obesity may be the culprit.

New Penn/Gallup Poll measures 'spiritual state of the union'
Faith and spirituality guide the lives of three out of four American adults, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Gallup Organization and the George H.

Stressed-out men may have inherited risk for early heart disease
Stress may be the most significant inherited risk factor in people who develop heart disease at a young age, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted at Henry Ford Hospital.

First molecule discovered that directs nerve cells to connect with each other
UCSF scientists have identified for the first time a molecule that directs neurons to form connections with each other during an animal's early development - creating synapses essential to all behavior.

Women with cosmetic breast implants more likely to commit suicide
Women who undergo cosmetic surgery for breast augmentation are more likely to commit suicide than women from the general population, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

American Heart Association issues recommendations to prevent heart disease beginning in childhood
Heart disease begins in childhood and so must prevention efforts, according to new American Heart Association guidelines reported today at the association's 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Eating breakfast may reduce risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease
People who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese and diabetic than those who usually don't, researchers reported today at the American Heart Association's 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Researchers solve ballistic mystery in ceramic armor
Why does a lightweight, very hard ceramic used by the military in armor plating fail against very high-energy projectiles?

Prostate cancer series
A four-week series about prostate cancer-the third most common cancer in men worldwide, and the leading male cancer in Europe and North America-begins in this week's issue of The Lancet.

American Heart Association: obesity prevention begins in childhood
In the face of the ballooning epidemic of obesity among children and growing evidence that childhood obesity predisposes people to heart disease later in life, several committees of the American Heart Association issued a statement on the importance of intervening in childhood obesity to prevent later cardiovascular disease.

Hope for innovative cervical-screening programmes in less-developed countries
A potential model for preventing deaths from cervical cancer in less-developed countries is outlined in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Researchers identify new gene mutation in glaucoma
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers studying mice with a mutant gene whose counterpart causes inherited glaucoma in humans have discovered a second gene mutation that worsens the structural eye defect that causes this type of glaucoma.

Researchers find blacks also have telltale protein but higher in osteoarthritis patients and men
Medical scientists have known for the past decade that levels of an important protein known as COMP were higher in cartilage, ligaments, tendons and joint lubricating fluid of whites with osteoarthritis than in whites without the painful, degenerative illness.

National Science Board to meet (Mar. 12-13)
The next meeting of the National Science Board (NSB) will be held on Mar.

Pheromone receptors need 'escorts'
HHMI researches and their colleagues have discovered that escort molecules are required to usher pheromone receptors to the surface of sensory neurons where they are needed to translate chemical cues.

New mouse virus may help scientists better understand cruise ship epidemics
A close relative of a common little-understood human virus that causes an estimated 23 million episodes of intestinal illness, 50,000 hospitalizations and 300 deaths each year has been discovered in mice.

High-risk women welcome genetic testing for breast cancer gene
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that for women with family histories of breast cancer, the discovery that that they carry the so-called

Common industrial chemical now linked to male infertility
A chemical widely used in industry and present in ground water supplies, has now been found in the semen fluid of infertile men, reports a Queen's University research scientist.

'Quadruple test' offers best prediction for Down's syndrome
Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how screening for Down's syndrome based on maternal age and four markers in maternal blood should be used worldwide-the quadruple test is far more effective than screening based on maternal age alone.
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