Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 14, 2004
To Mars and beyond: UH researchers participate in rocket research
Edgar Bering and Michael Brukardt from UH are among authors of an award-winning technical paper that presents results of research at NASA Johnson Space Center surrounding the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR).

Acamprosate: potential medication for treating alcoholism
Acamprosate is a medication used in Europe and elsewhere to prevent relapse in alcoholics.

Carnegie Mellon neuroscientist develops tool to image brain function at the cellular level
Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientist Alison Barth has developed the first tool to identify and study individual neurons activated in a living animal.

A better way to copy DNA
Scientists have developed a new method for DNA amplification that could replace the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Findings suggest need for new view of p53 cancer protein's interaction with DNA
Scientists estimate that at least half of human cancers involve mutant p53.

ESA considers the next step in assessing the risk from Near-Earth Objects
On 9 July 2004, the Near-Earth Object Mission Advisory Panel recommended that ESA place a high priority on developing a mission to actually move an asteroid.

'Anti-plume' found off Pacific Coast
The gradual subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the North American plate puts tremendous stress on the seafloor, creating cracks and fissures, hydrothermal vents, seafloor spreading, and literally hundreds of small earthquakes on a near-daily basis.

Mouse brain stem cells capable of converting into blood vessel cells
Adult stem cells in the brains of mice possess a broader differentiation potential than previously thought and may be capable of developing into other cell types including those involved in the formation of new blood vessels, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Gladstone study finds no evidence of superinfection among highly exposed HIV+ couples
In a study of 33 HIV+ couples who engaged in frequent, unprotected sex, Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology researchers found no evidence of superinfection, the sequential acquisition of multiple HIV variants.

Most Americans not sure about the sources of high cholesterol
A nationwide survey shows that most respondents did not know that high cholesterol comes from two sources, even though they have high cholesterol.

Dog genome assembled
The first draft of the dog genome sequence has been deposited into free public databases for use by biomedical and veterinary researchers around the globe, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today.

USC scientist invents technique to grow superconducting and magnetic 'nanocables'
A University of Southern California engineer has discovered a way to manufacture composite

Wynn Foundation grant funds further study of retinal cell transplantation at Utah's Moran Eye Center
The University of Utah's John A. Moran Eye Center has received a $100,000 grant from the Stephen A. and Elaine Wynn Charitable Foundation to fund continued research into retinal cell transplantation.

Babies get hands-on with language
Is baby babbling more than just random noise? American researchers claim that babies exposed to sign language (even if they're not deaf) learn to babble using their hands, in a functionally identical way to verbal babbling.

Argonne scientists determine structure of staph, anthrax enzyme
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago have determined the crystal structure of sortase B, an enzyme found in the bacteria that cause staph and anthrax.

Leading scientists design new framework for biodiversity conservation
A new study published in the August issue of the journal Ecology Letters shows that elaborate modeling efforts used to guide land conservation result in plans that are rarely achievable in the real world--and may actually be counter-productive to achieving long term protection of plants and animals.

Scientists find 75 percent of red snapper sold in stores is really some other species
While learning in a course how to extract, amplify and sequence the genetic material known as DNA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate students got a big surprise.

New model explains why costly insect 'outbreaks' hard to predict
Many insect species - including gypsy moths - produce periodic population surges, known as outbreaks.

Cell death protein has surprising role in cell migration
By studying fruit fly ovaries, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that a protein known to block cell death also has the completely independent role of enabling normal cell movement.

DOE Office of Science INCITE program seeks proposals for large-scale scientific computing
Proposals are now being accepted for a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science program to support innovative, large-scale computational science projects.

Italian research links diet with endometriosis risk
There may be a link between endometriosis and diet, according to Italian researchers writing in Human Reproduction.

Naltrexone injections for alcohol dependence: once-a-month treatment helps maintain sobriety
Naltrexone, an orally administered opiate receptor antagonist, has been used for the treatment of alcohol dependence in the United States since 1994.

Light-to-moderate drinking appears to have little effect on the risk for breast cancer
The relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer remains complicated.

Mobile HIV testing program removes barriers to testing in Sub-Saharan Africa
A voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) program using a mobile van to travel to marketplaces in townships and villages overcomes the structural barriers to HIV testing in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to UCSF researchers.

Oxygen sensing in worms may hold key to healthy blood pressure in humans
Researchers have discovered the mechanism used by the soil-dwelling nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to sense oxygen levels in its environment, allowing it to feed in areas where the concentration of oxygen is just right.

ORNL nanoprobe creates world of new possibilities
A technology with proven environmental, forensics and medical applications has received a shot in the arm because of an invention by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Vollum scientists find new form of dopamine transmission
An Oregon Health & Science University research team has uncovered a novel form of transmission between neurons in the brain that is mediated by dopamine.

System to monitor heat panels could safeguard future spacecraft
Heat-shielding panels on future spacecraft could be constantly monitored from liftoff to landing to ensure safety, according to engineers who are developing a technique using vibration and sound measurements to detect subtle damage in a variety of structures.

National Corn Growers Association announces valuable maize genome data now available to scientists
Valuable maize (corn) research is now available to research scientists working to sequence the maize genome, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced today.

A bizarre way to find space junk
Rocket scientists have found the key to tracking potentially dangerous space debris - by exploding eggshells.

Disparity in liver transplantation by race
Black people in the United States have reduced access to many medical therapies and liver transplantation is one area where such disparity is suspected to exist.

Different subgroups of alcoholics respond differently to serotonin-acting medication
Serotonin, a brain chemical, influences mood, emotions, sleep, appetite and temperature regulation.

OHSU to study vaccination methods for those most susceptible to bioterrorist attack
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have been awarded a $10 million program grant to investigate methods for vaccinating those most susceptible to biological attacks or natural diseases.

Distinguished NJIT physicist to receive international medal for space science
The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) will present next week the William Nordberg Medal for space science to Louis J.
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