Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 17, 2004
Women taking breast enhancement pills swallow empty promises
Flip through any women's magazine and you are sure to find advertisements hawking pills to enlarge women's breasts.

Sick Kids researchers confirm that cancer stem cells initiate and grow brain tumours
Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and the University of Toronto (U of T) have confirmed that childhood and adult brain tumours originate from cancer stem cells and that these stem cells fuel and maintain tumour growth.

Researchers show the BEST way to reduce osteoporosis risk
It's one of the first demonstrations on how to take care of your bones since the Surgeon General warned that half the population is likely to be at risk for osteoporosis unless they take action.

Dutch culture translated into English
The research results from the NWO programme 'Dutch culture in a European Context' have been compiled and translated into English as a five-volume series of books.

How receptors govern inflammatory pain
Researchers have shown in animal studies how receptors on nerve cells can become altered to produce chronic pain triggered by inflammation.

All chronic sinusitis is not created equal, study finds
Not all congestion-producing, ear-popping, runny-nosed, headachy chronic rhinosinusitis infections are the same, researchers have found.

Researchers find ultrasound helps drug dissolve stroke-causing blood clots
Targeting a stroke-causing blood clot with ultrasound helps the clot-busting drug tPA clear the blockage more quickly than the drug can by itself, University of Texas Medical School at Houston researchers write in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Hong Kong think tank calls for pollution standards
In one of the world's fastest growing industrial regions, a study finding that a class of pollutants exist at levels four times that of U.S. air quality standards has prompted a Hong Kong public policy group to call for government standards on fine particulate matter.

Computer reads heart condition from X-ray images
Dutch medical researchers have developed a technique by which a computer can determine the condition of the left heart chamber or ventricle.

GM Holden and CSIRO - Developing the next generation of hybrid powered cars
CSIRO will work with GM Holden to develop supercapacitors, advanced batteries and energy management control systems for the next generation of hybrid powered vehicles.

Tide of new nurses rises but shortages still loom large
The number of registered nurses entering the job market appears to be on a steady incline, with a total employment growth of over 200,000 R.N.'s since 2001, the largest increase since the early 1980's, but experts at the School of Nursing say it's still not enough to prevent a long-term crisis that threatens to cripple the entire health care system.

To weigh less, eat more
Two new Penn State studies show that people who pursue a healthy, low-fat, low-energy-density diet that includes more water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, consume more food but weigh less than people who eat a more energy-dense diet.

Coprates Catena's 'collapsed' structures
These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, show the detailed structure of Coprates Catena, a southern part of the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars.

Mutations in a multifunctional protein cause parkinsonism
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and colleagues in Canada and Germany have discovered a gene and six mutations of it that cause symptoms associated with several neurodegenerative disorders associated with parkinsonism.

New pilot kitchen demonstrates capabilities of groundbreaking fluids handling technology
Pursuit Dynamics has opened a new pilot kitchen at its Royston, UK headquarters for demonstrating its steam-based PDX fluids handling system to customers and other interested parties.

Imaging study finds a structural difference in the brains of cocaine addicts
Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have used advanced imaging techniques to identify an unexpected structural difference in the brains of cocaine addicts and found that a key structure called the amygdala, which previous research has linked to the brain's reward-processing system, is smaller in cocaine addicts than in healthy volunteers.

Europeans join forces for catalysis and sustainable chemistry
The European Commission has granted the ACENET ERA-NET network 2.7 million euros to allow nine European countries to join forces for scientific research in the field of applied catalysis and sustainable chemistry.

An apple a day could protect against brain-cell damage
Chemicals in apples could prevent the type of damage that triggers Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism.

2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveals 15,589 species at risk of extinction
The world's biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, according to the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and a companion study of the data, the Global Species Assessment (GSA).

Patients who are intubated prior to hospital arrival fare worse find Pitt researchers
Emergency medicine researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that patients with similar traumatic brain injuries who are intubated outside the hospital fare worse than those intubated after arrival to the hospital.

Knotty four-decade-old math problem solved by team including UGA professor
It's not as famous as Fermat's Last Theorem. In fact, the math problem, which has not had a correct solution since it was proposed in the 1960s, doesn't even have a name.

Researchers discover new way to boost grain crops' drought tolerance
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside report the development of technology that increases the tolerance of grains crops to drought by decreasing the amount of an enzyme that is responsible for producing the plant hormone ethylene.

How running made us human
Humans evolved from ape-like ancestors because they needed to run long distances - perhaps to hunt animals or scavenge carcasses on Africa's vast savannah - and the ability to run shaped our anatomy, making us look like we do today.

New findings from Arctic Coring Expedition decipher Arctic climate puzzles
Ocean-drilling scientists from ten countries gathered over the last two weeks to analyze sediment cores taken from 430 meters beneath the Arctic Ocean seafloor.

Grant to study why teens smoke
The University of Illinois at Chicago is leading a five-year research project funded by a $13 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to examine adolescent smoking patterns.

Study identifies molecular complex vital to creation of miRNAs
Tiny bits of short-lived genetic material called microRNAs, or miRNAs, have attracted enormous interest from scientists since their discovery in humans only a few years ago.

Elephants in space
Scientists with the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have recently been counting their zoo animals from a lofty perch: namely, outer space.

Rice engineers demo first T-ray endoscope
Electrical engineers at Rice University in Houston have demonstrated the world's first endoscope for terahertz imaging, a discovery that could extend the reach of terahertz-based sensors for applications as wide-ranging as explosives detection, cancer screening and industrial and post-production quality control.

Endurance running may be key to evolution of human body form
A collection of seemingly random physiological traits that arose millions of years ago, at the evolutionary split of chimpanzees and Homo erectus, conspired to make humans unusually strong endurance runners, permitting our ancient ancestors to compete for food with speedy four-legged carnivores and greatly shaping the distinctive human body form that we know today.

Size of herd determines status and access to resources in Kenya
Less livestock wealth, means less chance of access to arable land, grain production and friends.

Ultrasound-aided therapy better than stroke drug alone, trial finds
Using ultrasound in combination with the drug t-PA can improve response to an ischemic stroke, according to a study involving 126 patients.

Abundance of myostatin in infected swine may result in reduced muscle mass
A study looking at chronic infectious respiratory diseases that affect most swine during their critical growing stage has shed new light on the reasons for restricted weight gain and reduced muscle mass.

Dinosaur extinction occurred at peak of diversity
When dinosaurs became extinct from the effects of a massive asteroid hitting Earth 65 million years ago, there were more varieties of the reptiles living than ever before, according to a new analysis of global fossil records.

MRI identifies cause of salt damage in cultural heritage
Dutch researcher Lourens Rijniers has discovered why William of Orange's grave, the monument on the Dam in Amsterdam and the Alhambra in Granada are all badly affected by salt damage.

Plankton cool the southern hemisphere
Dutch research has shown that marine plankton have the greatest effect on the climate in the southern hemisphere, even though the majority of plankton are found in oceans in the northern hemisphere.

Most seniors switch doctors only if forced
Nearly nine out of ten seniors switch their primary care physicians because they are forced to - not by choice.

Location of body fat may be important in disability risk
New research suggests that higher levels of abdominal fat put people at just as much risk for future disability as overall body fat.

Smoking is in the genes
Dutch researcher Jacqueline Vink has discovered that the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the level of nicotine dependence is largely down to a person's genes.

Rival engines catch up with Google
Hot on the heels of Google, Microsoft released an early version of their own search engine, MSN Search, last week.

Poisoning solved after millions of years
Since 1875 a large number of well preserved fossils have been discovered in the brown coal mine at Messel near Darmstadt.

Cocaine addicts show reduced brain structure that underlies judgment
Researchers comparing the brains of cocaine addicts and normal people have found that the addicts show a reduction in the size of the amygdala--an almond-shaped structure that is believed to help process the judgment of consequences.

URI physical oceanography combine numerical models to improve hurricane research
Understanding how the air and sea interact and affect each other during hurricane conditions is crucial in predicting the storm track, its intensity, storm surges, and ocean wave fields.

A puzzle posed by black-headed ducks yields to persistent biologists
The black-headed duck of South America lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, but is strikingly different from other parasitic species because its young don't need any parental care other than incubation for their eggs--the ducklings leave the nest one day after hatching and paddle off into the reeds to fend for themselves.

No getting around RET
A report by Hideki Enomoto (Team Leader, Laboratory for Neuronal Differentiation and Regeneration) and colleagues at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology and the Washington University School of Medicine published in the November 18 issue of Neuron challenges the view that RET-independent GFR alpha signaling plays a significant physiological role in either development or regeneration.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
This issue of the Journal of Neuroscience contains the following two articles: Calcium channel subtypes and short-term synaptic plasticity; and EtOH, BDNF, and RACK1.

Network for European researchers in the US: ERA-Link survey - first results
First results from the survey of European researchers in the US show a strong interest for the development of a network to provide them with a means of strengthening their contacts with other European researchers in the US and in Europe.
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