Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2004
Poorest in India are biggest consumers of tobacco
The view that many poor families in South Asia are going without food to get tobacco is raised in this week's BMJ.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2004
Story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the month of April include high-tech protective gear for first responders, self-organizing polymers, fuel for the future and belt-free automobiles.

Radio astronomers lift 'fog' on Milky Way's dark heart
The massive black hole at the core of the Milky Way emits intense radiation as matter falls inward, but its true size is obscured by a fog of ionized gas between Earth and the center, 26,000 light years away.

Combinatorial techniques yield polymer libraries to expedite materials testing and design
A Georgia Tech professor has pioneered combinatorial synthesis and high-throughput screening in polymer science - techniques that allow researchers to create and evaluate thousands of polymeric materials in a single experiment.

AChemS: Cutting edge research in taste, smell, & chemical irritation
Over 400 presentations will feature state-of-art research on taste, smell, pheromones and chemical irritation.

Study finds nerve damage can affect opposite side of body
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found physical evidence of a previously unknown communication between nerves on opposite sides of the body.

For the sake of land and climate, coaxing soil to soak up carbon
In a novel approach to stalling global warming while reinvigorating nutrient-depleted farmland, chemists have found they can promote soil's natural ability to soak up greenhouse-gas carbon dioxide from the surrounding air.

Brown earns prestigious geography award
Marilyn Brown, director of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has earned the 2004 James R.

Nanotechnology highlights from the ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif., March 28-April 1
Faster computers, better diagnostic tests and improved ways to remove toxins from contaminated sites are just a few of the exciting possibilities offered by nanotechnology.

Schizophrenia patients don't take medications regularly
Despite improved drugs for schizophrenia - a devastating mental illness that affects more than 2 million Americans and one percent of the world's population - a new study shows that only 41 percent of patients take their antipsychotic medication on a regular basis.

Fatty acid pathway, glucose combine to produce triacetic acid lactone
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed a potential roadmap to use a biosynthetic pathway taken from a common microorganism to produce compounds that could serve as precursors to explosives or components in everyday devices such as liquid crystal displays or anti-cancer agents.

Institute of Medicine Advisory: April 1 public briefing on safety of dietary supplements
Approximately 29,000 herbal extracts, vitamins, and other dietary supplements are currently available to the American consumer, and about 1,000 more reach the market each year.

MIT reports new insights in visual recognition
MIT scientists are reporting new insights into how the human brain recognizes objects, especially faces, in work that could lead to improved machine vision systems, diagnostics for certain neurological conditions and more.

Higher doses of cancer drug imatinib proven effective and safe
The cancer drug imatinib mesylate, also known as Gleevec, has proven to be increasingly effective at higher doses, according to a new study published in the April 15, 2004, issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Researchers look at soy oil to replace petroleum for a range of products
Virginia Tech researchers are mixing air and soybean oil to create new polymers to replace petroleum-based materials.

Northwestern Memorial launches trial to determine most effective treatment for hepatitis C
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the only Chicago-area hospital currently participating in a national research study to directly compare the two commercially available regimens of pegylated interferon alpha therapy plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C and determine if one of the therapies has a better response rate than the other.

State of the Planet 2004
On March 29 and 30, scientists from around the world gathered at Columbia University to examine the relationship between the human condition and the condition of the Earth.

Mathematicians predict patterns in fingerprints and cacti
Mathematicians have long tried to explain nature's choice of patterns.

Highlights of American Chemical Society meeting in Anaheim, Calif., March 28-April 1
Nanotechnology takes center stage at the 227th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, Calif., March 28 - April 1.

Improving health for mothers and children in South Asia
What can be done to improve the health of mothers and children in South Asia?

Connecting the quantum and classical physics
Miles Blencowe, a quantum theorist with the Physics and Astronomy Department at Dartmouth, wrote the article

Day-care services could be option for pregnancy complications
Research from Australia in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how day-care services could offer some benefits over hospital admission for women with pregnancy complications.

Unethical promotion of medicines is rife in India
The Indian government has failed to prevent the unethical and illegal promotion of prescription drugs, according to an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Happy anniversary, VLT!
The ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Atacama desert celebrates its five years of service to the astronomical community.

Norepinephrine important in retrieving memories
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that the neurotransmitter norepinephrine is essential in retrieving certain types of memories.

Gender bias leaves South Asia's women in poor health
Gender discrimination in South Asia has led to a systematic devaluing and neglect of women's health, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

OHSU researchers discover possible connection between infant hormone exposure, obesity
OHSU researchers have linked a surge of leptin levels in newborn mice to development of structures in the brain that may help determine obesity risk.

UCLA research explores biology of fear
New findings at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute demonstrate the potential of a substance found in yohimbe tree bark to accelerate recovery from anxiety disorders suffered by millions of Americans.

Fat hormone leptin alters brain architecture and activity, which in turn drives feeding behavior
Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and The Rockefeller University in collaboration with investigators at Yale University have found that leptin --- a hormone found in fat tissue and critical to regulating weight -- affects both the architecture and function of neural circuits in the brain.

Research reveals halogen characteristics of cluster of metal atoms
A stable cluster of aluminum atoms, Al13, acts as a single entity in chemical reactions, demonstrating properties similar to those of a halogen, reports a research team led by A Welford Castleman Jr. at Penn State in a paper to be published in the 2 April 2004 issue of the journal Science.

Tropical medicine: A brittle tool of the new imperialism
This week's Lancet editorial is strongly critical of the way that tropical medicine remains structured on outdated colonial lines and calls for the discipline to 'resist contemporary imperialistic forces that hide under the folded veils of counterterrorism and corporate colonialism'.

Men with family history of prostate cancer accurately predict higher risk, UMHS study finds
When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, his brothers are twice as likely to develop the disease as well, often at an earlier age.

Deleting neural STAT3 protein in mice
Protein molecules that help maintain a healthy body temperature, electrolyte balance, respiration, heart rate, and other crtiical functions, also appear to regulate weight and fertility.

April 2004 Ophthalmology journal
Studies from the April 2004 issue of Ophthalmology, the clinical journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, are now available.

Inactivation of Alzheimer's disease genes in mice causes dementia and brain degeneration
Using advanced genetic engineering technology, scientists have discovered that deletion of two related genes linked to inherited forms of Alzheimer's disease causes memory loss and gradual death of nerve cells in the mouse brain.

Autism gene found
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine are first to strongly link a specific gene with autism.

Grid computing steps up a gear
UK plans for Grid computing changed gear this week. The pioneering European DataGrid (EDG) project came to a successful conclusion at the end of March, and on 1 April a new project, known as Enabling Grids for E-Science in Europe (EGEE), begins.

Double hulled tankers to prevent oil disasters
New twin-hulled coastal and short-range shipping tankers could soon ship cargo across the Baltic Sea and cut down the risk of destroying the fragile ecosystems through disastrous oil spills.

Internet-based tools could bridge gap in chemistry education, reports Carnegie Mellon Univ.
High school textbooks fail to reflect real-world activities of chemists as reported in the popular press and as honored by Nobel Prizes, found a Carnegie Mellon University team.

Nanocompasses and quantum dots
Nanosized versions of one of the oldest navigational instruments known -- a magnetite compass needle -- have been built by researchers at UC Davis.

Chew on this for opening day: Baseball's longtime link with tobacco
Opening Day is April 5, and later that same week, University of Cincinnati sports researcher Kevin Grace will look back at how baseball has changed.

Methuselah enzymes: SEN and the art of molecule maintenance
Enzymes, the workhorses of chemical reactions in cells, lead short and brutal lives.

Social problems linked to mental illness in Pakistan
In Pakistan, relationship problems and financial difficulties are linked to anxiety and depression, whereas supportive family and friends may protect against the development of these disorders, finds researchers in this week's BMJ.

Creating polymers that act like biomolecules
A group of bioinspired polymers are being studied by researchers at the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory to understand how they are able to form and react to stimuli similar to the way proteins, lipids and DNA react in nature.

UC San Diego bioinformatics experts help reconstruct the genomic makeup of our ancestors
Bioinformatics experts at UC San Diego contributed a first comparison of the genomic evolution of human, rat and mouse as part of a major international effort for the just-announced sequencing of the rat genome.

Leptin rewires the brain's feeding circuits
New studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers at The Rockefeller University show that the appetite-regulating hormone leptin causes rewiring of neurons in areas of the brain that regulate feeding behavior.

Immunity gene predicts severe adverse drug reaction
In a study of Han Chinese patients, researchers have for the first time directly linked a gene of the immune system to a severe adverse drug reaction called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), according to a Duke University Medical Center medical geneticist and collaborators in Taiwan.

Titanic weather forecasting
A team of French astronomers has recently used the NACO state of-the-art adaptive optics system on ESO's Very Large Telescope, to map Titan by means of near-infrared images and to search for changes in the dense atmosphere.

Researchers testing compounds that may stop replication of T-cell leukemia virus
Researchers are analyzing several compounds that may inhibit the enzyme that is essential for the reproduction of the Human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 (HTLV-I), which has infected 15 to 20 million people worldwide.

Making protein nanostructures
Dots of protein hundreds of times smaller than those in any commercial

Has cricket helped to unite South Asia?
How have India and Pakistan fared against each other in cricket?

Study reveals high suicide rates among young people in India
Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how suicide among young people in India--especially among young women--is a major public-health problem requiring urgent intervention.

Surgeons explore new treatment for Tourette syndrome
A neurosurgical team at University Hospitals of Cleveland has, for the first time in North America, applied a new surgical approach to the treatment of Tourette syndrome, resulting in the immediate and nearly complete resolution of symptoms for the patient, who has suffered from this neurologic disorder since he was a child.

UIC researchers discover gene that causes liver cancer in animals
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a gene that spurs the growth of liver cancer.

Soccer madness spreads to robotics as UK hosts first National Robot Football Championship
The first ever UK Robot Football Championship will take place at the University of Warwick as high tech robot footballers come head to head, on April 5-6.

Oldest-known arm bone found in Pennsylvania
Paleontologists from the University of Chicago and the Academy of Natural Sciences found a 365-million-year-old fossil (the oldest-known arm bone) that sheds light how the fins of fish evolved into the arms and legs of land-living animals. 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