Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 28, 2003
Invasive marine animals get bigger
Animals and plants that are innocuous in their home environment can become rampaging pests when they invade a new area.

Standard puts high-speed chips on the fast track
A new type of standard to be issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this summer will help meet the need for speed in semiconductors.

ES cell model could provide clues to causes, cures for diabetes
By studying embryonic stem cells from a mouse, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a potential model system for elucidating the stages of normal pancreatic development, as well as for developing a much-needed source of insulin-producing cells for the millions of people who need them to treat their diabetes.

Cell 'suicide' enzymes are a missing link in Alzheimer's disease
Northwestern University researchers have found that caspases, a family of protein-cutting enzymes involved in programmed cell death (apoptosis), may be a missing link in the chain of molecular events leading to Alzheimer's disease.

Portrait of a doomed Sea
Earth's youngest desert is shown in this July MERIS satellite image of the Aral Sea in Central Asia.

Cholesterol drug helps heart failure patients without high cholesterol
People with heart failure and normal cholesterol may benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, researchers report in today's rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Energy Dept. awards $102 million in small business grants for innovative research
Two hundred thirty four small businesses will receive Energy Department grants totaling $102 million to conduct innovative research.

New system developed to monitor deaths in general practice
Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a system using statistical control charts to help monitor mortality rates in general practice.

Protein can predict progression of most common childhood brain tumor
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered that the presence of a particular protein can predict whether the most common childhood brain tumor will continue to grow or return following surgery.

Wireless network provides critical link in battle to control California's Coyote Wildfire
After lightning touched off the Coyote Fire July 16, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) deployed more than 1,700 firefighters, 10 helicopters and several bulldozers to battle the blaze.

Superintendents say lack of clout holds them back from improving schools
The superintendents of the nation's 100 largest school districts say the prevailing system severely hampers their efforts to boost student achievement.

Type 2 diabetes linked to a family of metabolic genes
An ambitious and exhaustive genetic study, led by investigators at the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Children's Hospital Boston Informatics Program, has pinpointed a group of genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes and shows that the activity of these genes changes even before overt diabetes develops.

Social mobility: Study shows bacteria seek each other out
A study by Princeton University scientists has shown that bacteria actively move around their environments to form social organizations.

Conference to highlight biometric technologies
To showcase recent advances in the field of biometrics and examine technological and security issues facing the industry, the Biometrics Consortium Conference 2003 will be held Sept.

Standards to help manufacturers measure micromachine properties
MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), also known as micromachines, are a relatively new technology that uses existing microelectronics manufacturing methods to create complex machines with micrometer feature sizes.

UT Southwestern researchers discover method of postponing labor in mice
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered a way to inhibit a biochemical process that accompanies labor and to postpone delivery for one to two days in pregnant mice.

Household falls may produce more severe brain injuries in infants than previously thought
Using a specially designed, highly lifelike doll, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have determined that rapid head rotations sustained when a baby's head contacts a hard surface during household falls may result in diffuse brain injuries.

New program treats rural youth and targets barriers to care
Adolescents and teens with emotional and behavioral problems will receive treatment in 8 of the poorest Appalachian counties in Eastern Tennessee.

Researchers link the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer's disease
For the first time, researchers have linked the two distinctive hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a chain of events that leads to the death of the brain's neurons.

'Liquid lenses' may shrink feature sizes on microchips
New data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will assist in the design of optics for liquid immersion lithography, an old idea that recently has attracted new interest as a possible means of improving image resolution and thereby shrinking feature sizes of computer chips.

U.S. News & World Report ranks The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia the top pediatric center
For the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia the best hospital for children in the United States.

UCI research funding sets record at over $235 million
UC Irvine researchers received $235.6 million in contracts and grants in 2002-03, a record amount that reflects the university's growing stature as a major academic research center.

Safe is sexy
During animal courtship males use strikingly beautiful signals as they compete for the amorous attention of females.

FDA approves Baxter's ADVATE for the treatment of hemophilia A
Baxter Healthcare Corporation announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ADVATE (Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant), Plasma/Albumin-Free Method) rAHF-PFM for the prevention and control of bleeding episodes in people with hemophilia A.

Single session can improve women's feelings about their bodies, study finds
A single, two-hour workshop can make a positive change in women's feelings about their bodies.

NYU scientists develop more accurate mathematical method to analyze genetic data
NYU scientists have developed a mathematical method for analyzing genetic data that could drastically improve the reliability of research findings.

DFG presents the new MAK and BAT Value List 2003
The Senate Commission of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) on the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area has announced the 2003 Maximum Allowable Concentration (MAK) and Biological Tolerance Value (BAT) list and submitted it to the Federal Minister of Economics and Labour.

Grant strengthens research arm of Penn State Hershey Medical Center's ALS Clinic
Penn State Hershey Medical Center researchers were recently awarded a $265,000 grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to study possible genetic mutation risk factors for Lou Gehrig's Disease, known medically as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Good news on cancer for most EU countries - but tobacco still a big problem
There are likely to have been over 92,500 fewer cancer deaths than expected in the European Union in the year 2000, according to research published (Tuesday 29 July) in Annals of Oncology - and at least part of the credit will be due to the Europe Against Cancer Programme.

Single gene controls leaf form
A single gene, called PHANTASTICA (PHAN), controls whether a plant makes feathery leaves like a tomato or umbrella-like leaves like Oxalis.

Purdue developing less costly model for studying human disease
A $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health is helping Purdue University scientists move closer to making zebrafish the premier laboratory animal for studying human development and disease.

Innovative Canadian companies receive funding to improve air quality
A consortium consisting of NOVA Chemicals, the Alberta Research Council Inc.

Birth control for brain neurons
Researchers have discovered that a molecule called nitric oxide (NO) is a pivotal, natural regulator of the birth of new neurons in the adult brain.

Sixty-day antibiotic treatment not enough to prevent anthrax in some cases
A study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the 60-day dose of antibiotics recommended by doctors to prevent anthrax may not be long enough in some cases.

Atrial fibrillation hospitalizations triple since 1985, will continue climb
A substantial increase in U.S. hospitalizations for atrial fibrillation, the most common sustained irregular heart beat, will be a

Estrogen replacement increases risk factors for arrhythmia and sudden death
Women who use estrogen replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms are more likely to develop risk factors for potentially fatal irregular heartbeats (arrythmias) and heart attacks than women who take hormone therapy combining estrogen and progestin.

Nanotechnology: sink or swim?
Nanotechnology supporters claim that the machines and materials it may produce will mean faster computers, less pollution and cheaper energy, and longer and healthier lives. 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