Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 11, 2003
Afghanistan's health challenge
The reconstruction of Afghanistan's health-care infrastructure 'has the potential to serve as a blueprint for the post-conflict reconstruction for other nations' concludes this week's editorial.

'Status' decides whether or not a language survives
Cornell University engineers have come up with a mathematical model that for the first time quantifies

Scientists determine large magellanic cloud galaxy formed similar to Milky Way
An astronomer from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, have discovered that a neighboring galaxy -- the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) -- appears to have formed with an old stellar halo, similar to how our very own Milky Way formed.

Smart software makes sense of sketches
Intelligent software that can recognise rough hand-drawn sketches and turn them into animations could help children to learn and designers to visualise their designs.

Researchers ask Congress for overhaul
Carnegie Mellon's Granger Morgan and Jon Peha help Congressional leaders avoid technological landmines when making key decisions.

Nearly 5 million deaths worldwide caused by smoking
The latest epidemiological assessment for the global effect of smoking on deaths worldwide is detailed in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Say goodbye to your mouse, keyboard and phone number - voice control is finally taking over
In the Sept. 12 edition of Science, the associate director of Rutgers Center for Advanced Information Processing predicts that using phone numbers, remote controls and computer keyboards will likely seem quaint within a decade as new capability to turn human speech into accurate, efficient computer code radically changes the ways we live and work.

School PE lessons don't reflect kids' activity levels
The total amount of physical activity done by primary school children does not depend on how much physical education is timetabled at school because children compensate out of school, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Platelet refrigeration method may ease shortages for transfusions, researchers report in Science
A new method for treating and chilling blood platelets may prolong their shelf-life by a week or more, helping to ease chronic shortages that endanger patients needing platelet transfusions.

MIT team achieves coldest temperature ever
MIT scientists have cooled a sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded -- only half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.

Potent toxin reveals new antibiotic resistance mechanism
It is the equivalent of the courageous soldier throwing himself on a grenade, says Jon S.

Targeting transcription: New insights into turning genes on
The 35,000 or so genes within a human cell are something like players on a sports team: If their activity isn't controlled and coordinated, the result can be disastrous.

More than 700 threatened species remain completely unprotected, new study shows
At least 223 bird, 140 mammal and 346 amphibian species threatened with extinction currently have no protection whatsoever over any part of their ranges, according to the most comprehensive analysis of its kind of the world's protected area system.

Midwife shortages contributing to 'near misses' on labour wards
Midwife shortages are contributing to adverse events and

Many oncologists unaware of cancer clot risk
Patients receiving cancer treatments are at greater risk of blood clots, yet more than a quarter of oncologists do not recognise their clotting effects and preventive measures are rarely used, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

New study begins to unravel fate of toxic pollutants harbored in Arctic waters
An analysis of pesticides that accumulate in Arctic waterways is giving scientists insight into the fate of such pollutants once they settle in polar regions.

Why infrared astronomy is a hot topic
ESA's Herschel spacecraft will collect infrared radiation from some of the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe.

New technique could lead to widespread use of solar power
Princeton electrical engineers have invented a technique for making solar cells that, when combined with other recent advances, could yield a highly economical source of energy.

Further evidence for effectiveness of nevirapine in reducing mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission
A follow-up study among mothers with HIV-1 and their infants in this week's issue of THE LANCET provides further evidence for the sustained efficacy of nevirapine as a low-cost option to help prevent vertical HIV-1 transmission from mothers to newborn children in less-developed countries.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Highlights in this month's issue include

New chemical process can separate, manipulate carbon nanotubes
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Rice University have discovered a way to chemically select and separate carbon nanotubes based on their electronic structure.

Study suggests life insurance should cover people treated for HIV
Authors of a Swiss study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how people effectively treated for HIV-1 infection with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) have similar or lower mortality rates than patients successfully treated for cancer--calling into question the decision of insurance companies in many developed countries to not offer life insurance for people with HIV/AIDS.

Chemists ID process to sort carbon nanotubes by electronic properties
Researchers at Rice University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered the first method to chemically select and separate carbon nanotubes based on their electronic structure.

Using ions to probe ionic liquids
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are using a very small and light ion, the electron, to study the structure and dynamics of ionic liquids and how those properties influence chemical reactivity.

Emory researchers find Paxil improves memory and brain structure in PTSD sufferers
Emory University researchers have found that paroxetine HCL (Paxil) produces measurable improvement in verbal memory and also increases the size of the hippocampus, a key area of the brain involved in learning and remembering, in persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

University of Pittsburgh intestine transplant results reported at international meeting
An approach pioneered by the University of Pittsburgh has less rejection and infection in its recent patients compared to those transplanted five and 10 years ago with a current one-year survival rate of 90 percent, according to results being presented at an international meeting of small bowel transplant experts.

Concern over rise in pedestrian and cyclist injuries
Admission to hospital for severe injuries to young pedestrians and cyclists increased between 1992 and 1997, but admission rates for other transport injuries fell, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

As autumn approaches, this chickadee's brain begins to expand
A Lehigh University scientist is investigating the connection between the production of hormones, particularly estrogen, and the annual expansion of the hippocampus in the black-capped chickadee.

Nevirapine sustains advantage over AZT during breastfeeding period
Infants who received a single dose of the inexpensive antiviral drug nevirapine (NVP) soon after birth--and whose mothers took one dose of the same drug during labor--were 41 percent less likely to acquire HIV at birth or during breastfeeding than infants in infant/mother pairs who were treated with a multi-dose regimen using AZT, according to new results from a study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health.

Coal-eating bacteria may improve methane recovery
Scientists at the U.S Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are exploring the use of bacteria to increase the recovery of methane, a clean natural gas, from coal beds, and to decontaminate water produced during the methane-recovery process.

Bracing is less effective in overweight teens with scoliosis
In teenagers, being overweight appears to threaten the success of wearing a back brace, the most commonly prescribed and only proven non-surgical treatment for curvature of the spine, say researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

NSF, Science name winners of Inaugural International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge
The National Science Foundation and the journal Science today announced the winners of the inaugural 2003 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

NSF considers alternatives for treating ill South Pole worker
National Science Foundation (NSF) officials are considering several alternatives to care for and treat a worker at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Detection of glycoprotein could indentify ovarian and uterine cancers with poor prognosis
The detection of a specific protein molecule could help oncologists identify uterine and ovarian cancers with poor prognosis and thereby enable better disease management of women with aggressive uterine or ovarian cancer, suggest authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Study finds simple way to reduce HIV transmission from mom to baby
In the Sept. 13 issue of The Lancet, Johns Hopkins and Ugandan researchers report final results of a study showing that a safe, simple and inexpensive treatment reduces transmission of HIV from mothers to babies during childbirth and the first few weeks of life, offering a good chance to curb the spread of HIV.

Manganese in intravenous nutrition a problem for patients needing intestine transplants
Intravenous feedings may do well to provide patients in need of intestine transplants their required daily nutrition, but its long-term use can cause liver failure and Parkinson's-like neurological symptoms in those patients who do develop liver problems.

UCLA study uses genetic profiling to distinguish types of leprosy
UCLA researchers found a distinction in the gene expression of leprosy that accurately classified two different clinical forms of the disease.

Driving in the rain
We already know that there are more road accidents on rainy days - but it just got more complicated.

Media bribery study identifies potential problem countries
A communication study shows that bribery of the media is most likely to occur in China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan, says a Purdue University communication expert.
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