Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 22, 2003
Study suggests genetically modifying sunflowers for white mold resistance
A field study conducted by plant scientists at Vanderbilt University and Indiana University found that a transgene that can provide commercial sunflowers with additional protection against a disease called white mold is unlikely to spread throughout the wild sunflower population: Wild sunflowers already possess a degree of resistance to white mold and, as a result, those that pick up the transgene do not appear to gain a reproductive advantage that would cause them to spread widely.

Stepping down inhaled steroids can cut side effects
A 'stepdown' approach to reduce doses of inhaled steroids in patients with chronic asthma can cut the risk of side effects without compromising asthma control, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Criminal law, military insufficient in anti-terrorism
Canada has placed too much emphasis on criminal law, armed forces and restrictions on refugees as methods to avoid a future terrorist attack, says a new book by a University of Toronto criminal law professor.

Inner ear of chicken yields clues to human deafness and balance disorders
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have gained new insights into the causes of human deafness and balance disorders by studying the inner ear of chickens.

AIDS vaccine induces HIV-specific immune response in chronic infection
A controversial vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been shown to stimulate a critical part of the HIV-specific immune response in chronically infected patients.

Studies suggest age-related declines may be overestimated
Forget everything you've heard about forgetfulness. Researchers at North Carolina State University believe that age-related declines in memory and cognitive functioning may not be as pronounced as once believed.

Adirondack interstate underpasses designed for wildlife attract anything but, study says
Why did the deer cross the road? It didn't. And neither did the bear, fox or coyote, according to a new study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society that says wildlife underpasses designed to keep wildlife off the New York Thruway are not working.

Suicide rates in the developing world are grossly under-reported
Reported suicide rates for developing countries are misleading, concludes a study in this week's BMJ.

Biodiversity has roots in global health
Preserving biodiversity and wildlife habitats are at the foundation of global health, says Jianguo

All species are not created equal when assessing the impacts of species loss on ecosystems
In the June Ecology Letters, Smith and Knapp show with an extinction scenario, in which rare and uncommon plant species were removed but most common or dominant species were always present, no decline in aboveground plant growth of a native grassland community was observed.

Minorities get different mental health care in rich neighborhoods
Minorities living in relatively wealthy New York City neighborhoods are more likely to receive mental health care in emergency rooms and hospitals than white people living in the same areas, a new study concludes.

Mouse model offers new explanation for kidney disease and failure
Mice lacking only one copy of the gene for CD2-associated protein (CD2AP) appear to be significantly more susceptible to kidney disease and failure than normal mice.

U-M study helps define why fewer women choose math-based careers
Girls and boys who are confident in their math abilities tend to pick a science career based on their values more than on their skills, a study by two University of Michigan researchers suggests.

Sneak copulations and the demise of the integrity of wild salmon populations
Releases of cultured organisms threaten native biodiversity and integrity of natural communities.

Fuel Cell Technology Institute
The future of fuel cells will be discussed at the 3rd Annual Fuel Cell Technology Institute on June 24 - 25, 2003 in Irvine, CA.

Vanderbilt, Meharry establish new Center for AIDS Research
A new NIH grant pairs Vanderbilt's research and clinical work into HIV and AIDS with Meharry's ties to racial minority groups to train new investigators to advance AIDS treatment and prevention.

June GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
The Geological Society of America's June issue of GEOLOGY contains many potentially newsworthy items.

DuPont to serve as founding partner of new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT
DuPont to serve as founding partner of new Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT -- a $50 million and 150-person initiative that will serve as the Army's center of expertise in the application of nanotechnology.

Genetically modified crops not necessarily a threat to the environment
As concerns rise about the ecological impacts of genetically modified crops, a new Indiana University study urges a pragmatic approach to dealing with

Patients with psychosis more interested in physical health than anticipated
People with serious mental illnesses may be more willing to look after their physical well-being than anticipated, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Older pilots OK to fly, study shows
An airplane pilot's experience is a better indication of crash risk than his or her age, Johns Hopkins researchers say.

New study: percentage of babies born with intestinal birth defect growing in U.S., N.C.
Gastroschisis, an uncommon but life-threatening birth defect in which babies are born with their intestines outside their abdomens, increased markedly in North Carolina and the rest of the United States in the late 1990s, according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study.

Summit generates possible solutions to exchange of invasive species in Midwest waterways
Nearly 70 scientists, engineers and invasive-species experts from around the globe gathered in Chicago last week to generate ideas for halting the exchange of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainage basins.

Cholera protein structure--a target for vaccines & antibiotics--described by TSRI scientists
A group of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved structures of a bacterial protein called pilin, which is required for infection by pathogens that cause human diseases like meningitis, gonorrhea, diarrheal diseases, pneumonia, and cholera.

Making sense of the genome
Almost every week we hear of a new genome sequence being completed, yet turning sequence information into knowledge about what individual genes do is very difficult.

When is a metal not a metal?
When is a metal not a metal? The May 23 issue of the journal Science answers that question with an account of the surprising behavior exhibited by nanometer-scale clusters of the metal niobium.

Essential gene for male fertility found
A gene that belongs to a family of genes implicated in heart disease has been found to be essential for male fertility but has no impact on female fertility, researchers at the University of Toronto, along with colleagues in New York and Japan, have discovered.

Body clocks keep migrating monarchs on course, Science study shows
During their winter migration to Mexico, monarch butterflies depend on an internal clock to help them navigate in relation to the sun, scientists have found.

University of Toronto study expands understanding of diffusion
A new method developed by a University of Toronto mathematician gives the most precise understanding yet of diffusion, a finding with potential applications to phenomena such as the spread of heat through materials, population modelling and fluid seepage through rock or soil.

The coming crisis of long-term care
Care for the elderly--whose responsibility is it, and who pays for it--is the focus of this week's editorial.

Copper chelation is a promising new therapy for clogged arteries
Researchers from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, the Institute for Immunology in Sofia, Bulgaria, the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, and Dartmouth Medical School have discovered that copper chelation therapy can prevent renarrowing of coronary arteries in animals, following angioplasty.

Diversity hot spots at cold seeps?
In the most recent issue of Ecology Letters, researchers report that diversity is greater in seep mussel beds compared to vent mussel beds.

Hebrew University researcher wins prize for work leading to new anti-cancer drugs
A young Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher has taken a significant step forward towards development of drugs that will be capable of repairing and

SARS from outer space?
An alternative theory to the origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is proposed by scientists in a letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET--that the disease may have originated in outer space.

Jefferson educators look to improve physician empathy
Medical education researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia are looking to educate physicians who can better relate to their patients and their experiences.

Nearly 10% of young men could have chlamydia
UK authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlight how the prevalence of chlamydia infection in young men could be substantially higher than previous estimates--with possibly up to 10% affected by this sexually transmitted infection.

An unexpected outcome of atmospheric CO2 enrichment
Mycorrhizae help plants acquire soil nutrients but also drain substantial carbon from plants.

Three Gorges Dam is an opportunity for ecoscience
Though China's Three Gorges Dam Project is viewed as an ecological disaster, an American and four Chinese landscape ecologists propose that international scientific cooperation could recover from it the world's largest and most significant experiment in habitat fragmentation, a global environmental issue.

Bleeding strokes in young and middle-aged adults largely preventable
A stroke that's deadly up to 50 percent of the time can be largely prevented, according to a report in today's rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Britain markets itself as 'damaged goods,' professor says
Why would a country associated with heritage and tradition use deliberately trashy and controversial art to market itself? wondered University of Toronto Professor Elizabeth Legge of fine art.

Cancer patients in India cheated of appropriate care
A letter in this week's BMJ charges the medical community in India with a
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