Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 16, 2003
Busy weeks ahead for high-flying students
From 16 to 31 July, 32 international student teams of researchers will gather in Bordeaux, France, to fly their experiments in zero-gravity on board a specially adapted Airbus A-300.

17-year study confirms that lead in the soil descends slowly
In a 17-year experiment on Vermont's Camel's Hump, three Dartmouth researchers find that lead moves very slowly though the soil.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for July 2003 (second issue)
Journal news highlights include studies showing: a strong relationship between high levels of fungus in the home and an increased incidence of doctor-diagnosed croup, pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis during an infant's first year; although the crude mortality rate for septic shock is decreasing, its frequency is increasing; and a research team revealed that a new oral appliance significantly reduced temporary pauses in breathing during sleep in obstructive sleep apnea.

Rapid evolution helps hunted outwit their predators
Rapid evolution that helps prey survive, predicted by Cornell University biologists in computer models and demonstrated with Pac-Man-like creatures in laboratory habitats called chemostats, may play an important role in ecological dynamics of many predator-prey systems (Nature July 17, 2003).

Can masturbating keep the doctor away?
A survey from Australia has concluded that frequent self-pleasuring, particularly in young men, could protect against the most common kind of cancer.

Carnegie Mellon receives DARPA contract to develop personal cognitive assistant to aid busy managers
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science have received an initial $7 million from DARPA as part of a five-year project to develop a software-based cognitive personal assistant to help people improve productivity in the workplace.

The bigger and brighter an object, the harder it is to perceive its motion
Bigger and brighter isn't better, at least not when trying to view moving objects.

Antidepressant helps alleviate compulsive shopping disorder, Stanford researchers find
Stanford University Medical Center researchers have found that a drug commonly prescribed as an antidepressant may be able to curb the uncontrollable shopping urges.

Insight into the way pain is regulated in the brain could lead to new target for therapy
A UCSF-led team has demonstrated that the cerebral cortex, the site of higher cognitive functions, not only perceives pain, but plays a role in regulating pain, and that it does so in part through the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, suggesting a possible target for therapy.

UCLA study seeks women with recurring breast cancer to test new antibody
UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center is testing an experimental immune system-boosting antibody that could one day help women who have not responded to conventional chemotherapy treatments for metastatic breast cancer.

Teens' distorted body image may lead to unhealthy behaviors
High school girls tend to see themselves as 11 pounds over their ideal body weight while boys perceive their current and ideal body images as almost the same, according to a new study.

Black holes and galaxies -- Missing link discovered in our own cosmic backyard
A team of Sloan Digital Sky Survey astronomers from Germany and the United States will announce today the discovery that galaxies and extremely massive black holes seem to grow together.

Medicare waiting period leaves over 1.2 million seriously disabled without secure health insurance
Over 1.2 million seriously disabled Americans under age 65--including as many as 400,000 without health insurance--are currently in the two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund.

FDA approves St. Jude safety trial for second part of three-part HIV vaccine
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin testing another part of its HIV vaccine regimen.

Penn researchers identify secondary pathway for survival of cancer cells
Researchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania have determined that a key enzyme, Pim-2, is responsible for the survival of cancer cells.

Nearest cosmic mirage
Using the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla, astronomers have discovered a complex cosmic mirage which consists of four images of the same quasar as well as a ring-shaped image of the galaxy in which the quasar reside.

Scientists bring new twist to 'Death by Chocolate' with chocolate flavoured mousetrap
A mousetrap made out of chocolate developed by scientists at the University of Warwick is set to bring a new meaning to 'Death by Chocolate'.

Most older people in deprived areas are at risk of social exclusion
Seven out of 10 older people in deprived areas are vulnerable to or experience at least some form of social exclusion, according to new research sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council as part of its Growing Older Programme.

Emory researchers discover novel mechanism of how anthrax impairs immunity
Emory University researchers have shown that anthrax lethal factor (LF) impairs the function of dendritic cells and thereby compromises the immune system's ability to fight the microbe.

Icebound Antarctic telescope delivers first neutrino sky map
A novel telescope that uses the Antarctic ice sheet as its window to the cosmos, has produced the first map of the high-energy neutrino sky.

NASA announces space radiation research grants
NASA has selected 28 researchers to conduct ground-based research in space radiation biology and space radiation shielding materials.

Orphaned star clusters roam the universe
US and UK astronomers have discovered a population of previously unknown star clusters in what was thought to be the empty space between galaxies.

Argentina's CONAE joins the International Disaster Charter
Today the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters gained a major new signatory in a ceremony at ESA Headquarters in Paris.

UCSD researchers demonstrate enhanced ability to divide visual attention
Researchers at UCSD School of Medicine have provided new evidence that resolves a long-standing scientific controversy regarding human visual attention and the ability to divide that attention between more than one stimulus within a broad visual field.

Link between neuronal calcium channel, mutated gene that causes Huntington's disease identified
Abnormally high calcium levels spurred on by a mutated gene may lead to the death of neurons associated with Huntington's disease, an inherited genetic disorder, characterized by mental and physical deterioration, for which there is no known cure.

Satellites see lightning strikes in ozone's origins
Summertime ozone near the Earth's surface forms in most major U.S. cities when sunlight and heat mix with car exhaust and other pollution, causing health officials to issue

Smoking supernovae solve a ten billion year-old mystery
A team of UK astronomers have announced the discovery that some supernovae have bad habits - they belch out huge quantities of 'smoke' known as cosmic dust.

Australian researcher discovers galaxies of gas
Any dictionary will tell you that a galaxy is a vast collection of stars, floating deep in space.

Mutiny over the bounty
At the bottom of the oceans lie shipwrecks laden with gold and other riches.

Fewer Earthbound asteroids will hit home
Scientists report in Nature today that significantly fewer asteroids could hit the Earth's surface than previously reckoned.

African dust brings drought, rain across Atlantic
Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa may modify clouds and rainfall both in Africa and across the tropical North Atlantic as far away as Barbados, according to a study that uses data from NASA satellites, ground measurements, and computer models.

New sensor developed at UCSB can detect DNA in one step
Scientists at UCSB have developed an electronic detector for DNA based on a one millimeter electrode and electronics that can be held in the hand.

Astronomers reveal the first detailed maps of galaxy distribution in the early universe
Peering back in time more than 7 billion years, a team of astronomers using a powerful new spectrograph at the W.

Researchers locate tumor-suppressor gene in fruit flies that controls cell production, death
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers have discovered a tumor-suppressor gene that, in fruit flies, simultaneously restricts cell proliferation and promotes cell death, a process that may also play an important role in the genesis of cancer in humans.

Smoking supernovae
Astronomers from Cardiff University, in Wales, and the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, Scotland believe they have solved one of the long-standing mysteries of the Universe - the origins of cosmic dust.

UC Davis physicians use high-tech virtual system
Now UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center is establishing a Center for Virtual Care to house technology that enhances training for physicians, nurses and other members of the health-care team.

Purdue software promises better animation for movies, games
Researchers at Purdue University are creating interactive software that artists could use to make realistic animations of cloud formations, explosions, smoke, steam, fog and other gaseous phenomena for movies and video games.

Nation on the verge of 'new era in modern river management'
The removal of dikes and dams and other efforts to restore natural water flows on America's rivers is the focus of a new book by William Lowry, an environmental politics expert from Washington University in St.

Manatee's cousin faces extinction on Tanzanian coast
Known worldwide for its diversity of large species, Tanzania could soon lose one of its most unique mammals--the dugong--to a combination of net entanglement and habitat destruction.

U-M Pathologist first to receive American Thoracic Society's highest honor
The American Thoracic Society has chosen Peter A. Ward, M.D., chairman and professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, as the 2003 Amberson Lecturer.

Brown and MBL create an alliance for teaching and research
Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., today established a formal institutional affiliation that will support the joint programs of education and research in biology, biomedicine and environmental sciences.

Canadian-led study identifies which colon cancer patients benefit from chemotherapy
A new Canadian-led study in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that a simple genetic test can determine if chemotherapy will be effective in treating a patient's colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in North America.
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