Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 08, 2003
USA urged to back 'spam' war
Sending spam becomes a criminal offence in the UK this Thursday (December 11).

Recycling of material may extend ring lifetimes
Although rings around planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are relatively short-lived, new evidence implies that the recycling of orbiting debris can lengthen the lifetime of such rings, according to University of Colorado researchers.

Plate Boundary Observatory will map seismic processes across North America
The $100 million, five-year effort to sprinkle seismic sensors in Alaska and throughout the western United States is known as the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO).

Air travel may increase the risk of blood clots, especially long flights
Two articles in the December 8/22 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, report an increased risk of blood clots associated with air travel.

Gene mutation leads to super-virulent strain of TB
Disabling a set of genes in a strain of the tuberculosis bacteria surprisingly led to a mutant form of the pathogen that multiplied more quickly and was more lethal than its natural counterpart, finds a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

NCAR model shows decrease in global dust by 2100
One of the first global-scale simulations of dust and climate from preindustrial times to the year 2100 projects a worldwide decrease in airborne dust of 20-63% by the end of this century.

Trail of black holes and neutron stars points to ancient collision
A NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4261 has revealed a trail of black holes and neutron stars stretching more than fifty thousand light years across space.

Hope available for patients with anemia and myelodysplastic syndrome
Several studies presented during the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) provide hope for patients with red blood cell diseases in the form of potential new treatments, as well as guidance for health care providers in caring for patients.

Two UC Davis studies show promising single-drug therapy for hard-to-control epilepsy
Two studies by physicians at UC Davis Medical Center have found that levetiracetam, an antiepileptic drug typically used in combination with other drugs, is effective as a single therapy for adult and elderly patients.

Dietary fats may increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration
High intake of dietary fats may increase the risk of progression of age-related macular degeneration, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Atmospheric compound is double-edged sword in climate change
An atmospheric compound derived primarily from coal combustion may have contradictory effects on the earth's climate.

Genetics and family environment influence likelihood of developing alcoholic disorders
Family environmental influences can be important factors in the development of alcohol abuse disorders in offspring with increased genetic risk for alcoholism, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Drug prolongs lives of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients
The drug rituximab significantly prolonged the lives of some people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of leukemia in adult Americans.

Researchers publish Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map
Institute of Arctic Biology researcher Donald Walker and an international team of Arctic vegetation scientists have published the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM).

Safe, friendly neighborhoods may encourage exercise
The better residents feel about their neighborhood, the more likely they may be to get enough exercise, according to a new report in the December issue of Health Education & Behavior.

Plant immune system's 'take two aspirin' gene, offers hope for disease control
Plant immune systems'

Beers criteria for medications to avoid in the elderly updated
Forty-eight medications or classes of medications to avoid in adults age 65 or older have been identified by a national expert panel charged with updating widely used criteria for potentially harmful medications in older adults.

'Duct Busters' team travels to perform newborn heart surgery at regional hospitals
An experienced pediatric cardiothoracic team can travel to regional hospitals to perform sophisticated heart surgery on premature infants without compromising safety or effectiveness, according to a new study.

'Homegrown' relief for victims of arsenic poisoning in South Asia
A well-head device invented by Lehigh University engineering professor Arup SenGupta slashes arsenic levels in drinking water.

Psychology researcher says spiritual meaning of Christmas brings more happiness than materialism
Religious people are happier than those without spirituality, says a psychologist from the University of Warwick, and those who celebrate the original, Christian, meaning of Christmas are happier than those who celebrate the festive season with consumer gifts.

Higher dose of Gleevec leads to increased remission in CML patients
Twice the standard daily dose of GleevecĀ® results in a significantly higher response rate in treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), according to researchers at The University of Texas M.

A hot time for cold superconductors
A new way to manufacture a low-cost superconducting material should lead to cheaper magnetic resonance imaging machines and other energy-efficient applications, say Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists.

Extreme 2003 takes students worldwide to the ocean's depth
Marine scientists will lead students from many countries on a 23-day research expedition to study hydrothermal vents on the Pacific Ocean floor as part of

Novel gene therapy delivery uses stem cells that target, attack tumors
Genetically engineered stem cells can find tumors and then produce biological killing agents right at the cancer site, say researchers at The University of Texas M.

Novel approaches to current cellular therapies continue progress toward disease prevention
Through the use of stem cells, bone marrow transplants, and therapeutic cloning, researchers explore ways to replace diseased or dysfunctional cells with healthy, functioning ones.

Field Museum researcher co-edits definitive book on Madagascar
The Natural History of Madagascar, Goodman and Benstead provide the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island's biological treasures.

American Heart Association consensus statement
In response to a series of reports linking popular diabetes medications to congestive heart failure, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have issued recommendations to guide physicians and patients in the use of glucose-lowering agents known as thiazolidinones (TZDs).

Earth's radiation belts spectacular following Halloween solar storms
The belt of high-energy electrons that normally cradles Earth from afar was greatly enhanced and pushed unusually close to our atmosphere during the violent solar activity that occurred in late October, University of Colorado at Boulder researchers say.

Urologist to study herbal remedies for prostate and urinary diseases
For the first time in North America, non-traditional methods of treating painful prostate and bladder diseases that will affect more than 50 percent of the adult population are being scientifically studied by a Queen's University-based research team working out of Kingston General Hospital (KGH).

Beetles could prove a hit with the aircraft industry
A species of beetle, that squirts its predators with a high-pressure spray of boiling liquid, could provide the key to significant improvements in aircraft engine design.

Australia opens access to research with BioMed Central
BioMed Central, the global open access publisher, has significantly expanded its membership in the Southern Hemisphere, it was announced today.

NJIT hosts high computer programming contest for high school students
High school students who love computer programming, who love to solve problems and to match wits against their peers, are invited to enter a statewide programming contest sponsored by the Computer Science Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

New study in Pediatrics shows nitric oxide therapy for newborns effective and cost saving
Study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examines the use of inhaled nitric oxide in newborns with hypoxemic respiratory failure compared with an enormously invasive surgery and hooking newborn up to a heart-lung machine.

Breakthroughs lead to better understanding in prevention of transfusion-transmitted infection
While the nation's blood supply is safe overall and there is a relatively small likelihood that transfusion recipients will acquire a transmitted disease, there are still risks involved when transferring one person's blood into another.

Little-studied waves in the heart may be cause of defibrillation failure
Vanderbilt University researchers believe a slow electrochemical wave, known as a damped wave, may be one of the reasons that low-voltage defibrillation shocks fail to halt fibrillation in cardiac patients.

Specialty medical societies offer evidence-based conclusions on inhaled steroid treatment for asthma
Inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy remains the gold standard of asthma treatment, according to findings from a systematic evidence review released today by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

Tiny 'nanofingers' to support sensors, other applications
Future sensors may take the form of microscopic finger-like structures developed at Ohio State University.

Researchers look to stem cell therapy and bone marrow transplants to find a cure for diabetes
Millions of Americans are diagnosed with type I diabetes every year.

How harmful are additives and preservatives in childhood vaccines?
After reviewing dozens of scientific studies, a leading vaccine expert concludes that preservatives, additives and other substances contained in vaccines pose very little risk to children receiving those vaccines.

USP's hospital medication error report supports key patient safety goals
Data from the most recent report on medication errors compiled by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) supports several key patient safety goals outlined by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in the areas of patient identification, communication, high-alert medications, and use of infusion pumps.

Early treatment can prevent severe vision loss in premature infants
A new study by specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and 25 other institutions nationwide for the first time gives eye doctors a precise way to identify premature babies at the highest risk of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina and subsequent blindness.

New study in Pediatrics shows nitric oxide therapy for newborns effective and cost saving
An inhaled treatment for critically ill newborns is less invasive, more effective and costs less than the treatment that traditionally has been used to treat a potentially fatal condition called hypoxic respiratory failure (HRF), according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.

Last catastrophic landslide protects Kilauea from next
Geologists studying whether seismic and tectonic forces are creating the potential for a catastrophic landslide on the southeast flank of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, are presenting new findings this week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

High level of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause food poisoning
More than 40% of bacteria found in chicken on sale in Switzerland is resistant to at least one antibiotic, says research published this week in BMC Public Health.

Early treatment of blinding eye disease in infants can prevent severe vision loss
Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and 25 other centers, have concluded that earlier treatment of premature infants affected with severe retinopathy of prematurity can result in better outcomes and a reduced risk of blindness or vision impairment for these infants.

Child health costs for behavioral disorders similar to those for physical illnesses
Children with behavioral disorders incur similar overall health care costs to children with physical disorders according to a recent study.

Researchers find mechanism bacteria use to target specific chemical contaminants
New insight into the molecular-level interactions between bacteria and minerals may some day help scientists design bacteria with the express purpose of cleaning up toxic waste.

Distress-prone people more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease
People who tend to experience psychological distress are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than people who are less prone to experience distress, according to a study published in the December 9 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dinosaur symposium at the Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will host

Anemia increases risk of hospitalization and death in older adults
Anemia in older adults is associated with a significantly higher risk of death and hospitalization, researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues reported today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego, Calif.

How lice and bird feathers stick together
University of Utah biologists twirled louse-infested bird feathers on an electric fan and flew pigeons and doves like kites on strings in a study that found small lice stick to small birds and big lice prefer big birds.

Study reveals complex changes in West Antarctic Ice Streams
New research shows a complex picture of change occurring in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

Foundation for adult body weight may be laid during adolescence
Adolescent body mass index and changes in physical activity between adolescence and adulthood are good predictors of BMI in adulthood, according to an article in the December issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Major Greenland glacier, once stable, now shrinking dramatically
One of the world's fastest-moving glaciers is speeding up and retreating rapidly, a recent study has revealed.

Abandoned penguin colonies may help refine Antarctic climate studies
A previously unnoticed cooling trend that persisted for a millennium caused enough ice to build up in Antarctica's Ross Sea that thousands of Adelie penguins abandoned their colonies beginning about 2,000 years ago, according to newly published research. 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