Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 27, 2003
Europe's population has developed new tendency to shrink, Science study reports
Europe's population has aged to such a degree that it will likely continue to shrink, even if birthrates rebound to a one-for-one replacement level, a new study suggests.

Laser micro-scalpel yields biological insights into tissue dynamics
Using a laser beam scalpel so fine it could inscribe words on the surface of a fly egg, researchers have snipped their way to a new understanding of a key process in a fruit fly's embryonic development.

Encryption applications find huge potential in growing security market
The encryption applications market is receiving a huge boost from organizations' escalating security concerns due to the increasing adoption of the Internet for business-to-business transactions.

New advance in fuel cell technology may help power medical implants
With designs that hurdle several scientific barriers, two new fuel cells developed at Brown University are models for power sources that may one day energize medical implants or remote sensors.

Genome analysis sheds light on drug-resistant pathogen
'Jumping' elements of DNA have enabled the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis to acquire stubborn resistance to a range of antibiotics - including a

Mild infant undernutrition could be linked to cardiovascular health benefits later in life
Authors of a UK study in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that current recommendations for early infant nutrition may need to be reviewed--if future research confirms preliminary findings suggesting a link between lower nutrient intake and slower growth of babies born prematurely with better cardiovascular health later in life.

The casualties of war
This week's editorial contrasts the urgency with which the US administration has pressed for military action in Iraq with its recent blocking of a WTO mandate-ironically in Doha, Qatar, now the US Central Command Centre-to give poorer nations access to essential medicines.

Natural Science and Public Health: Prescription for a Better Environment
Health problems caused by environmental contamination and emerging infectious diseases are a growing concern worldwide.

'First Light' for HARPS at La Silla
The new HARPS spectrograph (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) on the 3.6-m telescope at the ESO La Silla Observatory has been successfully installed.

From biology to computing and back again
For decades, computer scientists have used mathematical models inspired by biological processes - such as

'Europeans and biotechnology' survey of public perception
The Eurobarometer 2002 survey on

Patients with schizophrenia benefit from switching to Seroquel
Important new data published today in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, show the atypical antipsychotic, Seroquel (quetiapine) to be highly effective and well tolerated in patients with schizophrenia who have had an inadequate response or tolerability issues with their previous antipsychotic treatment.

Errors occur in half of intravenous drug doses
Errors in preparing and administering intravenous drugs remain a concern in the United Kingdom, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Stopping artery blockages before they begin
Lakshmi Santhanam, a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is searching for molecules with properties that may someday be used as medicines able to pre-empt the damaging inflammatory response involved in atherosclerosis.

Nanotechnology leaders to discuss national research priorities and challenges at NNI 2003
The nation's leaders in nanoscale science and engineering will discuss research priorities and challenges at National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) 2003, being held April 2-4, 2003, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Forest fragmentation may increase Lyme disease risk
Patchy woods--common in cities and suburbia, and even in rural areas--may have more Lyme disease-carrying ticks, which could increase risk of the disease in these forest remnants, scientists have found.

UCSD researchers develop flexible, biocompatible polymers
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have discovered how to transfer the optical properties of silicon crystal sensors to plastic, an achievement that could lead to the development of flexible, implantable devices capable of monitoring the delivery of drugs within the body, the strains on a weak joint or even the healing of a suture.

Biomedical engineer constructs illuminating nanoparticles for medical imaging and gene detection
A biomedical engineer at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new class of biosensors that can recognize and detect specific DNA sequences and genetic mutations in laboratory experiments.

Protein engineering produces 'molecular switch'
Researchers have joined two proteins in a way that creates a molecular

New technique allows polymer processing of key solid-state fluorescent material
By chemically attaching a difficult-to-process solid state fluorescent material to a universal polymer background, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have built what may be a foundation for a new generation of optoelectronic display devices based on inexpensive organic light-emitting diodes.

Genome of a major member of gut bacteria sequenced
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have completed sequencing the genome of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, one of the most prevalent bacteria that live in the human intestine.

To control climate change, alternative energy technologies must be developed
Uncertainty in the climate sensitivity to growing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been a stumbling block to policy makers addressing the climate change issue.

Brookhaven spotlights: News from the March 2003 American Chemical Society Meeting
These selected briefings describe research that Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists will present at the 225th American Chemical Society meeting to be held March 23-27, 2003, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ecosystem engineers
In a recent study published in Ecology, John Lill and Robert Marquis (University of Missouri - St.

Scientists report important data in stem cell debate
Scientists are divided over the issue of whether adult stem cells can transdifferentiate, or irreversibly switch from one differentiated cell tye to another.

Human sperm may 'smell' their way to the egg, Science study suggests
A better understanding of the new

Researchers improve bonding in mechanically linked molecules
Researchers at Virginia Tech have determined how to significantly improve bonding interactions of mechanically-linked molecules and predict that their discovery will pave the way for assembling much larger polymer chains, enabling their use in potential material applications.

Fungi family tree goes under the microscope
Fungi play key biological, economic and medicinal roles in many areas, including agriculture, health, drug discovery.

Sometimes no result is good result for science
Researchers found that the rate of virus replication in tissue culture was not affected when MTase1 was removed.

Inhaled steroids could be new option for treating mild asthma
Results of a large international study in this week's issue of The Lancet provide strong evidence that inhaled steroids could substantially reduce illness associated with mild asthma.

Much oil remains to be tapped below Gulf of Mexico
U.S. reliance on foreign oil production could be reduced by chemically mapping the subsurface streams of hydrocarbons, amounting to tens of billions of barrels, hidden well below the Gulf of Mexico, says Lawrence M.

Using computational power tools to bolster systems biology
The introduction of

Researchers probe promising liver cancer treatment
Non-invasive stereotactic radioablation phase I trial for liver cancer patients who cannot be helped by surgery or transplantation underway at Indiania University School of Medicine.

Study finds components of diabetes in African Americans have genetic underpinnings
American children whose genetic roots strongly reach back to Africa are less sensitive to insulin-a factor important in the development of type 2 diabetes-than those whose ancestors hailed heavily from Europe.

Non-toxic anti-fouling coating for ships
The fouling of ships' hulls is a major problem for shipping worldwide.

Integration of nanotechnology with biology and medicine will result in major medical advances
Until very recently, nanotechnologists -- scientists who build devices and materials one atom or molecule at a time -- concentrated almost entirely on electronics, computers, telecommunications, and materials manufacture.

Study confirms reduction of potent anti-inflammatory molecule a-MSH in patients with brain injury
Zengen, Inc. announced today that its researchers have discovered that supplementation with alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (a-MSH), a naturally occurring molecule that modulates inflammatory and immune responses, may be beneficial in patients with brain injury.

Smoking stokes risk for bleeding strokes
Men who smoke increase their risk for hemorrhagic stroke every time they light up, and smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day doubles their risk compared to nonsmokers or men who've kicked the habit, according to a long-term prospective study reported in today's rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Study confirms value of family-history knowledge for young women with breast cancer
A UK study published as a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights the importance of detailed family-history knowledge to help identify women with pathogenic gene mutations for breast cancer.
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