Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 18, 2003
'Panning for gold' in the maize genome
Decoding of a variety of plant genomes could accelerate due to two complementary methods that remove from analysis vast stretches of DNA that do not contain genes.

SMCM professor discovers cattle hormones that leak into streams and alter fish reproduction
A study shows that hormones leaking into streams from cattle feedlots are altering the sexual characteristics of wild fish.

Concord grape juice improved memory and neuro-motor skills in animal study
Consuming Concord grape juice significantly improved laboratory animals' short-term memory in a water maze test as well as their neuro-motor skills in certain of the coordination, balance and strength tests, according to preliminary research presented at the 1st International Conference on Polyphenols and Health recently held in Vichy, France.

Dr. Walter Reich, Ph.D., receives prestigious AAAS 2003 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award
For his advocacy against crimes against humanity and for his work promoting the responsible conduct of science, Walter Reich, champion of human rights and the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior at George Washington University, has been named to receive the highly coveted American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2003 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award.

Sen. Allen, Rep. Goode announce $1.6 million for polymers research at Southside Virginia institute
Funding for research at the Advanced and Applied Polymer Processing Institute in Danville, Va. via the Small Business Administration under the terms of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, will stimulate the region's economy while advancing polymer research.

Nurses wash their hands more often than doctors
Nurses are more conscientious handwashers than doctors, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

Princeton researchers study plasma sterilization
At the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), a team is conducting a small-scale research project studying plasma sterilization.

The BMJ guide to wickedness
Several articles in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ offer a comprehensive guide for the corrupt and incompetent.

Dependent older patients may cost hospitals more
Hospital costs were 23 percent higher for older patients who required help with daily activities such as bathing or eating than for older patients who could perform these activities for themselves, according to a study of patients at an Ohio hospital that was conducted by researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC.) This is the first study to examine the differences in hospital costs for dependent and independent older patients, the researchers report.

WHO's vision for the future
In the week that WHO releases its 2003 World Health report (Shaping the Future), Jung-Wook Lee, WHO Director-general, outlines his vision of how WHO will address the global health-care priorities of the coming years.

Lexapro receives FDA approval for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder
Today, Forest Laboratories' Lexapro received FDA approval for the treatment of GAD, based on three studies, all of which were positive and support the efficacy and safety of Lexapro in the treatment of GAD.

Nearly $2 million from NSF to support UH engineering student recruitment effort
Grants totaling nearly $2 million - designed to retain and recruit engineering students and expose high school teachers to research - were received this month by the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering from the National Science Foundation.

Landscapes on buried glaciers in Antarctica's dry valleys help decipher recent ice ages on Mars
Studies of the unique landscape in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica provide new insights into the origin of similar features on Mars and provide one line of evidence that suggests the Red Planet has recently experienced an ice age, according to a paper in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

This year's Wakley Prize essays
For the first time in its eight-year history there are two winners in The Lancet's Wakley Prize essay Competition.

Does birth order among siblings decide position in soccer?
Fathers everywhere will be relieved to know that, when it comes to playing football, the youngest in the family will not always be nominated the goalkeeper and the eldest the striker.

Men do not cause yeast infections in women
Women may blame their husbands or boyfriends for headaches, tears and stress.

AAA receives funding to launch bold electronic initiative in early 2004
The American Anthropological Association (AAA), the world's largest organization of anthropologists and largest single publisher of anthropological journals, has received a grant from The Andrew W.

Exxon Valdez oil spill impacts lasting far longer than expected, scientists say
Assuming that oil spills such as the one that devastated Alaska's Prince William Sound almost 15 years ago and other toxic insults to the environment have only short-term impacts on coastal marine ecosystems has been a big mistake, a new study shows.

Early promise for steroid-free liver transplantation in children
Results of a preliminary study into paediatric liver transplantation in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that successful transplantation could take place without the need for steroid treatment-with potential health benefits for transplant recipients.

Academy Harbor Consortium releases letter on mercury to President Bush
The Harbor Consortium of the New York Academy of Sciences has released the text of a letter it has sent today to President George W.

Key appetite regulator may be identified, scientists report
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have discovered the first direct evidence in mammals that a chemical intermediate in the production of fatty acids is a key regulator of appetite, according to a report in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

U of Chicago, Argonne to collaborate with Idaho universities
The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory today signed collaborative agreements with two Idaho universities.

Ten Chinese reporters receive AAAS Fellowships
AAAS, the science society, has named 10 outstanding young Chinese reporters to receive the first ever AAAS Fellowships for Reporters in Developing Regions.

John Allen Paulos receives prestigious AAAS Award for Public Understanding of S&T
For his tireless efforts to communicate the joy of mathematics to the public, Temple University Professor John Allen Paulos has been named to receive the highly coveted 2003 AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

Lifestyle accounts for difference in chimp, human genome
DNA analysis of the chimpanzee and human genomes has revealed 'lifestyle

Less is more: New technology captures gene-rich DNA segments
By applying a method they recently developed that captures gene-rich regions and excludes the vast majority of repetitive, gene-poor DNA, researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have now achieved a dramatic shortcut to sequencing the genes of corn.

Quark Biotech generates a cholesterol-free mouse
Quark Biotech, Inc. publishes results of a study of mice that contain virtually no cholesterol in Science. The study was conducted together with scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Sackler School of Medicine in Israel.

CSIRO scientist wins highest global award for fisheries research
An Australian scientist has won the highest accolade in the world for ecological research, the prestigious Japan Prize.

Arteries clog earlier in people with lupus, says new study
People with the autoimmune disease lupus may develop carotid atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries) at an accelerated rate and independently of many risk factors normally associated with cardiovascular disease, according to a new study supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Aged roaches experience perils of stiff joints, find Case researchers
Humans are not alone in suffering the ravages of aging.

Infrared telescope detects organic chemistry in galaxy
The IRS instrument aboard NASA's newly named Spitzer Space Telescope (previously called the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) has found evidence for organic molecules in a galaxy some 3.25 billion light years from the Earth, says James Houck, professor of astronomy at Cornell.

Teenage pregnancy may put girls at risk for osteoporosis
A study of pregnant teenagers ages 13 to 18 in Baltimore, Md., showed that one-third of these young mothers had a bone mass that meets the definitions of osteoporosis or osteopenia (the precursor condition to osteoporosis) shortly after pregnancy.

Science's breakthrough of the year: Illumination of the dark, expanding universe
In 2003, new evidence cemented the bizarre idea that the universe is made mostly of mysterious

Traditional Christmas snack under threat
An international group of scientists is warning that the traditional Christmas snack of Brazil nuts could be under threat if intensive harvesting practices continue in persistently exploited areas.

Study suggests 1% risk of DVT for long-distance air travellers
Results of a study from New Zealand in this week's issue of The Lancet suggest that the frequency of symptomatic venous thromboembolism (deep-vein thrombosis [DVT] or pulmonary embolism) could be around 1% for long-distance air travellers.

Silver cars are safest
Silver cars are less likely to be involved in a crash resulting in serious injury than cars of other colours, finds a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ.

'HapMap' scientists provide detailed plans
The international team of scientists working to determine the most common variations of the human genome report the details of their plans, known as the

Linking the immune system with lipid metabolism
A team of researchers led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has discovered a family of proteins that connect the immune system to the body's lipids--the fat molecules that are a major building block of the human body.

'Paper of the year' winner announced
Results of a search for the most important biomedical research papers of the past year are announced in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Science paper: Overharvesting of Brazil nuts leading to fewer trees
Brazil nuts, those time-honored holiday stocking stuffers, will continue to help save the rainforest -- as long as few of the brown morsels are left behind to grow into trees.

Scientists discover way to streamline analysis of maize genome
Scientists have discovered that two different approaches to identifying the non-repetitive regions of the maize genome together provide a complementary and cost-effective alternative to sequencing the entire genome.

Titanic survivors lived no longer than general population
In the closing song of the 1997 film Titanic, the heroine tells us that her heart
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