Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 14, 2003
Researchers find that Superman's teeth can superconduct
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found that phosphorus, an element commonly found in teeth, can act as a 'superconductor' - but you would have to have the strength of Superman to clench your teeth hard enough for it to work - as it happens at a pressure of around 2.5 megabars - some 30,000 times harder than an ordinary human can clench their teeth.

Patient simulator improves performance of clinical trial coordinators
Duke University Medical Center researchers have demonstrated that training research coordinators on a human simulator prior to a complex clinical trial can significantly improve the coordinators' confidence in their abilities.

Adult alcoholism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are connected
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms include inattention, motor hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Hand-to-ear link in brain established after minutes of piano learning
Contrary to what your music teacher told you, it does not take decades of piano practice to learn to play phrases on the piano without looking at your fingers.

New centers boost muscular dystrophy research
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have funded three new cooperative research centers for the muscular dystrophies (MD), a group of genetic diseases that result in muscle weakness and wasting.

Grid technology helps astronomers keep pace with the Universe
'Intelligent Agent' computer programs are roaming the Internet and watching the skies.

New drug reduces chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
Two new studies now show that aprepitant - the first in a new class of drugs that interfere with the vomiting reflex - can substantially reduce chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting in cancer patients treated with cisplatin, a common type of chemotherapy.

AAPA survey shows physician assistants increasingly employed in medical practices
The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) today announced that their annual census of physician assistants (PAs) shows the profession continues to become a more widely recognized patient care provider as busy doctors increasingly employ PAs in solo and group medical practices.

Tracking fish by sonar to prevent over-fishing
Tiny tags attached to fish that are tracked by sonar around the world's oceans will soon provide invaluable data to facilitate stock management and fish conservation.

Only 15 minutes of life, no fame, for lone neutrons
Once freed from its home inside the nucleus of an atom, a neutron lives on average 886.8 seconds (about 14.8 minutes), plus or minus 3.4 seconds, according to recent measurements performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Couch potato lifestyle takes a big bite out of health
This year the theme of the National Health Education Week on October 20-26 is

The changing face of severe asthma
Almost two out of three children with severe asthma are boys.

Adolescent binge drinking produces tolerance to alcohol
Many young people have their first experience with alcohol between 12 and 17 years of age.

Study suggests common use of investigational breast cancer test
A new study suggests that surgeons are routinely performing an investigational procedure called sentinel node biopsy (SNB) on women with early-stage breast cancer, which the investigators say may be affecting the accrual and generalizability of ongoing trials of the procedure.

Media advisory - wildland fire impacts on watersheds
On October 21-23, scientists will gather with land managers, resource specialists, and fire management planners in Englewood, CO, for Wildland Fire Impacts on Watersheds: Understanding, Planning, and Response.

Investigational drug may protect cancer and AIDS patients from side effects of pain relief therapy
A drug developed to relieve one of the major side effects of pain therapy for cancer patients may offer an added benefit for AIDS patients.

Patterns of brain activity differ with musical training, not cultural familarity
Researchers trying to understand how the mind comprehends music and the role that cultural familiarity plays in the process have found that exposure to music of another culture produces no differences in brain activity than when people are exposed to music from their own culture.

UCSD students hold annual conference on entrepreneurship
More than 40 speakers will participate in a day-long conference at UC San Diego on Saturday, October 18.

Alcohol's pharmacological properties, not smell or taste, reinforce its effects
Brain development during the first 10 days or so of rodent infancy is roughly equivalent to the third trimester of the human fetus.

Molecule expressed early in pregnancy may help patients tolerate transplants
A molecule expressed in the earliest stages of pregnancy that vanishes when the baby is born seems to keep some cells responsible for directing the immune system in an immature and accepting stage, Medical College of Georgia researchers says.

NSF awards $31.9 million in grants to study biocomplexity in the environment
To better understand the interrelationships among living things from molecular structures to genes to ecosystems--and how they interact with their environment--the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $31.9 million in 30 research grants to scientists and engineers across the country.

UCSF-led study raises doubts about marrow cell treatment for brain, heart
A study led by UCSF investigators indicates that bone marrow-derived cells from mice that are transplanted into other mice fuse with cells in the animals' heart, brain and liver, and take on their characteristics.

Childhood brain tumors associated with rarely inherited BRCA2 gene mutations
New research led by scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University shows that pediatric brain tumors and Fanconi anemia can develop among children in the rare instance that both parents carry mutations of the BRCA2 gene.

Coordination of broadband service access, quality essential to economic health of PA
While metropolitan regions of the state enjoy a variety of broadband services from pioneering companies, rural areas are less likely to have access to advanced telecommunications services.

For those who take painkillers regularly, a heartburn pill a day may keep ulcers away
For those who take certain painkiller drugs regularly to help ease arthritis pain or other chronic aches, the relief comes with a tradeoff: a quadrupled chance of developing painful ulcers over the long term.

Relief of poverty linked to improvement in some childhood psychiatric symptoms
Relief of poverty appears to be associated with improvement in symptoms of behavioral psychiatric disorders in children, such as problem conduct and

Improving physical fitness, insulin sensitivity may help latino children at risk for type 2 diabetes
Reducing insulin resistance and boosting the fitness of overweight Latino children at high risk for type 2 diabetes will be crucial in efforts to protect them from diabetes and heart disease.

Commentaries question benefit of early breast cancer screening
A series of three commentaries in the October 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute address the issue of whether premenopausal women are being accurately informed about the potential harms versus benefits of mammography before undergoing screening.

MSU site of national breast cancer center
Partnering with state and community organizations, Michigan State University is establishing a center that will investigate whether certain environmental exposures can predispose women to breast cancer.

New scheduling method raises efficiency of electronics recycling
An industrial engineer at Purdue University has created a method to increase the efficiency, profitability and capacity of recycling operations for electronic products such as computers and television sets.

The American Phytopathological Society announces 2003 awards
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is pleased to announce its 2003 award recipients.

Highlights of the October 2003 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
The October 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest.

NIH funds 'Breast Cancer and the Environmental Research Center' at Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center has been selected as a site for the National Institutes of Health's newly developed Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Centers.

Repeated alcohol detoxifications can impair cognitive function
Patients undergoing alcohol detoxification are more likely to have seizures if they have had previous episodes of detoxification.

US DoE awards $4 million in funding to Stevens' Center for MicroChemical Systems
The US Department of Energy (DoE)-Office of Industrial Technologies has awarded a total of $4 million in research grants over the next five years to the New Jersey Center for MicroChemical Systems (NJCMCS) at Stevens Institute of Technology.

New NASA facility will help protect space crews from radiation
To ensure the safety of spacecraft crews, NASA biologists and physicists will perform thousands of experiments at the new $34 million NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) commissioned today at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.

St. Jude leukemia therapy overcomes differences in treatment outcome between black, white children
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have found that black children are equally likely as white children to benefit from improved treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), if given equal access to the most advanced therapies.

Data mining gains ground in key sectors
Data mining helps businesses sort large volumes of data to detect patterns of behavior.

England may be thriving on World Cup pressure, but how are their joints bearing up?
Coinciding with the start of the Rugby World Cup and the England vs.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation selects Emory HIV/AIDS research team for innovation award
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has chosen a team of scientists from Emory University School of Medicine as one of ten recipients of the 2003 Doris Duke Innovation in Clinical Research Awards.

University of Pittsburgh named cooperative research center for muscular dystrophy
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is among three medical schools nationwide to be named as a cooperative center for muscular dystrophy research by the National Institutes of Health.

Restricting the gene pool
Nature has evolved clever ways to prevent animals from different species from successfully reproducing.

UCSF & SF Bay Area receive federal funds to expand breast cancer / environmental research
A new federally funded Bay Area center will bring together local health experts to investigate possible environmental links to breast cancer and the high incidence of the disease in some regional counties.

Study shows people with Alzheimer's can benefit from exercise combined with caregiver training
A new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by a recipient of the Alzheimer's Association's Pioneer Award, demonstrates that a regular exercise program combined with caregiver education and training on supervising exercise improved the physical and emotional health of individuals with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers find genetic link to prostate cancer
Some men may be more prone to prostate cancer because a variation in a specific gene makes them more susceptible to the harmful effects of cancer-causing agents, a new study shows. 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