Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 23, 2003
Developing elevators that function during fires
In the aftermath of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. fire experts are beginning to advocate the use of elevators in high-rise buildings throughout a fire, both to carry firefighters to the site of the blaze and as a secondary method (after stairwells) for evacuating building occupants.

MIT, Tshinghua U. collaborate on advanced nuclear reactor
Researchers at MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing will collaborate on the development of a pebble-bed nuclear reactor, thanks to an international agreement between the U.S.

NSF awards $6.9m in grants, Robert Noyce scholarships
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a total of $6.9 million to 15 universities and colleges today to stem the loss of mathematics and science teachers in the nation's neediest schools.

Experimental hantavirus vaccine elicits strong antibody response in primates
For the first time, an experimental vaccine to the lethal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) has elicited a strong neutralizing antibody response in laboratory animals.

Exercise and healthy weight delay cancer even among women with highest genetic risk
Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of more than 80 percent, according to the most comprehensive study to date.

The statin wars: Why AstraZeneca must retreat
On Thursday 23 October, AstraZeneca, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, will announce its third-quarter financial results.

NSF announces awards to develop network testbeds for cybersecurity....
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently made 23 awards for 11 projects that will develop networking testbeds for research into cybersecurity, next-generation wireless and optical networking and leading-edge scientific applications.

Will stop-smoking patch help slow memory loss?
The University of Vermont will lead the first study ever to examine the efficacy and safety of using nicotine patches to treat Mild Cognitive Impairment, a state of memory impairment recently identified by the American Academy of Neurology that may be a precursor of Alzheimer's disease.

NIST Director urges better security for critical industrial systems
In remarks on Oct. 20 to a workshop on critical infrastructure protection, the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Arden L.

Pedro Duque's diary from space
I am writing these notes in the Soyuz with a cheap ballpoint pen.

Duke commits to enhance Primate Center
Duke University officials have announced that the Duke University Primate Center has made sufficient progress toward improving its research and educational programs that the university will commit to maintaining and enhancing the center for the foreseeable future.

Study of life's blueprint wins prestigious $25,000 Young Scientist Prize
For his study of life's genetic blueprint, Lei Wang, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California-San Diego, has been named to receive the prestigious $25,000 Young Scientist Prize, awarded by Amersham Biosciences and the journal, Science.

Landmark study offers new information about breast cancer genes
A landmark study of Ashkenazi Jewish women with inherited mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, called The New York Breast Cancer Study, will be published by Science Magazine on October 24, and reveals some surprising findings that will contribute significantly to the scientific knowledge in the field of breast cancer management.

New class of antibiotics stops pathogens in their genetic tracks
Researchers found that a promising new class of antibacterial chemicals inhibits one of the most fundamental processes of life - a cell's ability to express genetic material.

Improving the body's 'homeland security' against TB
The microbe that causes tuberculosis operates the way a human terrorist would.

Columbia research sheds light on inter-ocean and ocean-atmosphere dynamics
Scientists at Columbia University have found that currents connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans are colder and deeper than originally believed.

New evidence of global warming in Earth's past supports greenhouse climate theory
Scientists have filled in a key piece of the global climate picture for a period 55 million years ago that is considered one of the most abrupt and extreme episodes of global warming in Earth's history.

Cumbre Inc. and collaborator publish on a novel bacterial RNA polymerase inhibitor
Cumbre Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, and Robert Landick, a Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a paper in the October 24, 2003 issue of Science entitled

Resurgent rickets - Call for vitamin D supplementation for pregnant women and children
UK authors of a seminar article in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how rickets-often considered a disease of the past-is still a global public-health problem today.

Laser therapy offers hope for acne sufferers
UK research in this week's issue of The Lancet suggests that single-dose laser therapy could dramatically reduce inflammatory facial acne for up to 3 months.

BioScience seeks nominations of beauteous experiments
The monthly journal Bioscience is inviting biologists to name the most beautiful experiments in their field.

Large asteroid is two orbiting objects
An asteroid that has eluded astronomers for decades turns out to be an unusual pair of objects traveling together in space, a UCLA planetary scientist and colleagues report.

Clay may have aided formation of primordial cells
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have discovered that clays may have been the catalysts that spurred the spontaneous assembly of fatty acids into the small sacs that ultimately evolved into the first living cells.

E-Commerce and the environment: Good news or bad?
The Journal of Industrial Ecology, a peer reviewed international quarterly published by MIT Press and owned by Yale University, has recently published a special issue on e-commerce, the internet and the environment.

Recent warming of Arctic may affect worldwide climate
Recently observed change in Arctic temperatures and sea ice cover may be a harbinger of global climate changes to come, according to a recent NASA study.

UK childhood blindness more common than previously thought
Increased ethnic diversity and greater survival of low-birthweight babies is contributing to a higher proportion of children becoming visually impaired or blind, according to authors of a UK study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Study identifies risk factors for refractive surgery malpractice lawsuits and claims
Refractive surgeons in high-volume surgery practices are more likely to face malpractice claims and lawsuits than their colleagues.

Scientists, physicians discuss latest discoveries for stopping cancer before it starts
More than 650 scientists and clinicians from around the world will gather in Phoenix next week to share novel findings at the second annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

UCSD, VA and Cal-(IT)² wireless technology to enhance mass casualty treatment in disasters
The use of sophisticated wireless technology to coordinate and enhance care of mass casualties in a terrorist attack or natural disaster is the focus of a new research project at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD)funded by the NIH's National Library of Medicine.

Adaptive mutation is common in E. coli, say IU researchers
The quickening of genetic mutation rates in bacteria may not only happen when the microorganisms find themselves in strange and stressful circumstances.

Time to stop exploiting trust doctors
Almost a quarter of non-consultant doctors in the UK are being recruited to posts that do not conform to recognised NHS grades, leaving them unsupported and exploited, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Poor prognosis linked to BRCA1 mutations
Breast cancer patients have a lower chance of long-term survival if they carry an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 gene, according to research published in Breast Cancer Research this week.

Amber waves of grain on a mission to Mars
Scientists have developed a fully sustainable disposal system to deal with waste on long-range space flights using a simple byproduct of wheat, moving the space program one step closer to a manned mission to Mars.

Medication 'wearing off' a bigger problem for Parkinson's patients than physicians may realize
Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) who are taking levodopa therapy - the most widely-used agent to treat the illness - may experience the effects of their medication

Science survey ranks top biopharma employers
Genentech, Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif.; and Johnson & Johnson of New Brunswick, N.J., earned top honors in a ranking of biopharmaceutical employers.

Cosmetic surgery satisfaction declines with time, Stanford research finds
Patients who undergo laser resurfacing to help smooth their complexions are generally satisfied with the results of the procedure, though their satisfaction levels tend to decline over time, according to a study by a Stanford University Medical Center researcher.

Mayo Clinic researchers discover how key cancer protein works
Mayo Clinic researchers are the first to describe what goes wrong during the growth cycle of certain cells that can lead to inherited forms of breast cancer.

Foundation trusts threaten core NHS principles
The creation of foundation trusts by the UK government endanger one of the founding principles of the NHS - to provide equal care for equal need, argue doctors in this week's BMJ.

Intel and Fred Hutchinson to explore the use of nanotechnology tools for early disease detection
Intel Corporation and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center today announced a collaborative research effort to apply Intel's expertise in nanotechnology to develop improved methods of studying, diagnosing and preventing cancer.

Nerac again named one of Connecticut's fastest growing technology companies
For the second year in a row, Nerac has been named to Deloitte's prestigious

Green mineral indicates red planet is dry
The presence of a common green mineral on Mars suggests that the red planet could have been cold and dry since the mineral has been exposed, which may be more than a billion years according to new research appearing in the Oct.

GP training should be extended
General practitioner training in the UK should be extended from 12 to 18 months to ensure that doctors have the necessary competencies and confidence to practice, suggest researchers in this week's BMJ.

Gauging the economic impact of government R&D programs
In a new report, senior NIST economist Gregory Tassey describes some best practices for designing, implementing, analyzing, and disseminating economic studies of government research and development programs.

Mutant gene linked to obsessive compulsive disorder
Analysis of DNA samples from patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related illnesses suggests that these neuropsychiatric disorders affecting mood and behavior are associated with an uncommon mutant, malfunctioning gene that leads to faulty transporter function and regulation.
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