Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 16, 2005
U-M team makes synthetic mother of pearl
It's possible to grow thin films of mother of pearl in the laboratory that are even stronger than the super-strong material that naturally lines the inside of abalone shells.

Teenage highs and lows
What risk factors influence teenagers to start experimenting with marijuana or to move from experimental to regular use?

Indigenous initiation ceremonies in Catholic Papua community
Indigenous initiation ceremonies and Catholicism can happily coexist according to Dutch researcher Louise Thoonen.

US life expectancy about to decline, researchers say
Life expectancy may decline in the coming decades of the 21st century in the United States as a result of obesity, according to a special report in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

University seeks recruits for arthritis study
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are seeking people with arthritis to help them better understand how mood-- particularly depression-- affects their symptoms.

Massive weight loss patients create mass appeal for body contouring procedures
More than 106,000 body contouring procedures were performed in 2004, up 77 percent over the last five years according to statistics released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Disfigured patients may be forced to forego surgery
Increasing insurance company denials, restrictions on covered procedures and a new tactic of excluding specific procedures may be forcing some adults and children to live with painful medical conditions or disfigurement.

Vega on track to meet 2007 deadline
There are only three years to go until the first launch of a new European launcher - Vega.

Brain imaging study may hold clues to onset of schizophrenia in people at high risk
Images of brain activity may hold clues to the onset of schizophrenia in people at high risk for the disease, according to a study headed by psychiatry researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Variation in women's X chromosomes may explain differences among individuals, between sexes
The first comprehensive survey of gene activity in the X chromosomes of women has revealed an unexpected level of variation among individuals, according to new work by researchers at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) and Pennsylvania State University.

World's largest computing grid surpasses 100 sites
British physicists and computer scientists are playing a key role in facing one of the biggest computing problems in the world - how to process the massive data volumes expected from the world's biggest particle physics experiment the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at CERN in Switzerland.

Studies expand understanding of X chromosome
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) hailed the first comprehensive analysis of the sequence of the human X chromosome, saying that this provides sweeping new insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes and the biological differences between males and females.

Vampire bats keep out of trouble by running
Researchers in Cornell University's College of Veterinary medicine have now discovered that common vampire bats not only walk but run, a trait that may have evolved in a place where predators were common and prey were mobile.

High risk of major tsunami in northern Caribbean
The potential for devastating tsunamis in the northern Caribbean is high, say marine scientists.

Italian, US cosmologists present explanation for accelerating expansion of the universe
Over the last hundred years, the expansion of the universe has been a subject of passionate discussion, engaging the most brilliant minds of the century.

Search technique for images recognises visual patterns
Dutch researcher Mirela Tanase has developed a new technique for finding images using search engines.

Mechanism of RNA recoding: New twists in brain protein production
University of Connecticut Health Center scientist, Robert Reenan, has uncovered new rules of RNA recoding--a genetic editing method cells use to expand the number of proteins assembled from a single DNA code.

Doctor suggested cannabis for pain relief, says one in six medicinal users in the UK--MUHC study
Sixteen per cent of people who use cannabis for medical reasons say that their doctor suggested it, according to research published in the March issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Classical subject underpins new biomedical advances
The ancient art of physiology -- the study of how the body works and how to repair it when things go wrong--has seen an upsurge in importance as it now plays a key role in the understanding of how genes work to support the human body.

Researchers study how to make nanomaterial industry environmentally sustainable
Research into making the emerging nanomaterial industry environmentally sustainable is showing promise in a preliminary engineering study conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Rice University.

Consortium to create comprehensive tools for uncovering the functions of human, mouse genes
Eleven leading biomedical organizations announced today the formation of a unique $18M, three-year public-private consortium to create a comprehensive library of gene inhibitors to be made available to the entire scientific community.

From lobster flock to lobster feast?
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution has begun a new program scientists hope will make large-scale culturing of spiny lobster economically feasible.

NIH holds conference to assess evidence on management of menopause-related symptoms
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a State-of-the-Science Conference on Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms, March 21-23, 2005, at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Snow brings green machining to laboratory
University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a novel machining technique that uses a jet of solid carbon dioxide (CO2) to cool/lubricate the surface of metal parts and remove the cut material during machining.

UCLA launches $20 million stem cell institute to investigate HIV, cancer and neurological disorders
Drawing together experts from fields as diverse as engineering to molecular biology, UCLA officials announced March 16 the formation of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine to conduct embryonic and adult stem cell research that may lead to better treatments for HIV, cancer and neurological disorders.

Pay up, you're being watched
People are more likely to be generous if they're being watched - even by a robot.

Half-million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures for Hispanics in 2004 - up 49% from 2000
Hispanics had nearly 553,000 cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in 2004, an increase of 49 percent from 2000 and a 7 percent increase from 2003, according to statistics released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Leptin: A 'missing link' between obesity and diabetes?
New findings in mice may help explain the link between obesity and diabetes, and what it takes to turn an overweight person into a person with diabetes.

Fire and ice: Mars images reveal recent volcanic and glacial activity
Mars isn't as sleepy as scientists suspected. An international research team, which includes Brown University planetary geologist James Head, has found evidence of recent glacial movement and volcanic eruptions in 3-D images from the Mars Express mission.

Environmentally safer catalyst proves more active in hydrogen production
Ohio State University engineers have developed a chemical catalyst that increases hydrogen production without using a toxic metal common to other catalysts.

Green pigment in old masters a myth
Old masters never used the green pigment copper resinate supposed to be present in their paintings.

Explosion of child obesity predicted to shorten us life expectancy
It's been assumed that U.S. life expectancy would rise indefinitely, but a new data analysis, published as a special report in the March 17 New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that this trend is about to reverse itself - due to the rapid rise in obesity, especially among children.

Witchcraft, God's punishment or just malaria in West Papua?
Who has made Mama Raja ill? Was it witchcraft, evil spirits, malaria or God's punishment?

Duke chemists isolating individual molecules of toxic protein in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease
To understand the formation of the brain-clogging deposits that cause such disorders as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Duke University chemists have figured out how to capture and

Drug-resistant bacteria on poultry products differ by brand
The presence of drug-resistant, pathogenic bacteria on uncooked poultry products varies by commercial brand and is likely related to antibiotic use in production, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Specialist care gives better rate of survival
Compared with patients who received no follow-up care, patients who received regular cardiovascular follow-ups with a specialist had 38 per cent fewer visits to the emergency room, only 13 per cent were readmitted to hospital and the one-year mortality rate was lower--22 per cent versus 37 per cent.

Men and women: The differences are in the genes
For every man who thinks women are complex, there's new evidence they're correct; at least when it comes to their genes.

UU scientists issue Indonesia earthquake warning
The stresses in the earth's crust which have resulted from the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake have significantly increased the risk of another large earthquake in the already-devastated Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to new research findings by scientists from the University of Ulster's School of Environmental Sciences.

Bayer donates equipment to Children's Hospital, Oakland for infectious disease research
Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland's research center known as Children's Hospital Research Institute (CHORI) has received several sophisticated laboratory instrumentation devices from the Berkeley, CA Bayer Biological Products (BP), a division of Bayer HealthCare.

Benign separation process being advanced for pharmaceutical industry
Despite the concern for safe processes, one of the most chemically benign separation processes has not been available to the drug industry.

Survey of Iraqi teens: The more unsafe they feel, the higher their self-esteem
University of Cincinnati Associate Professor Steve Carlton-Ford is reporting an interesting preliminary finding in a rare survey that focuses on the attitudes of adolescents affected by war on their home soil.

Mountaineering doctors hike medicine to new heights with Xtreme Everest
Doctors working at the edge of extreme are set to climb the world's tallest mountain to look death in the face - and take its pulse.

Researchers find evidence of dark energy in our galactic neighborhood
An international team of researchers using data from powerful computer models and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence of dark energy right in our own cosmic neighborhood.

'Few-walled' carbon nanotubes said cheap and efficient option for certain applications
North Carolina scientists have found that

Mutant protein developed by Hebrew University scientists
A unique technique for neutralizing the action of the leptin protein in humans and animals - thereby providing a means for controlling and better understanding of leptin function, including its role in unwanted cell growth -- has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Small schools make rural communities more prosperous
Cornell University sociologist Thomas Lyson finds that rural villages with their own schools are significantly more prosperous and stable than villages without schools on almost every measure of economic and social well-being.

Superflares could kill unprotected astronauts
A study of the most powerful solar flare ever recorded, which left evidence behind in Greenland's ice nearly 150 years ago, suggests that another flare like it could kill astronauts in poorly shielded spacecraft.

In emergency, flu vaccine could be made quickly in existing facilities
In an emergency such as a pandemic outbreak or last year's vaccine shortage, the influenza vaccine could be produced twice as fast using cell cultures in existing biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, according to Henry Wang, a University of Michigan professor of biomedical and chemical engineering.

New factor affects fertility
A protein called TAF4b that helps regulate gene expression in the testis apparently affects the ability of those organs to produce and maintain levels of sperm needed for fertility in mice, according to research done by investigators at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston.

Loss of sulphur atom reduces activity of catalyst
Chemical catalysts used to produce clean fuels gradually become less active.

UC Davis researchers discover new link between C-reactive protein, and heart disease and stroke
The cells that line the arteries are able to produce C-reactive protein, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the April issue of American Journal of Pathology.

9.2 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in 2004 - up 5%
Reality TV shows are creating a greater public awareness of cosmetic surgery and may attribute to the growth in procedures, however, these shows have not caused a rampant increase.

X-chromosome tells the tale
If the human genome is indeed the

NYU study reveals how brain's immune system fights viral encephalitis
New York University biologists have uncovered how the innate immune system in mice's brains fights viral infection of neurons.

Liverpool to lead £20M Department of Health initiative to develop medicines for children
The University of Liverpool, in partnership with the Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust (Alder Hey), is to lead a £20M Department of Health initiative to develop medicines specifically for use in children.

Desert plant may help treat insidious tropical diseases
Plants native to the Mojave Desert may one day help provide relief to millions of people who suffer from two prominent tropical diseases.

Employees with diabetes are not more tired
Employees with diabetes are not automatically more tired due to a combination of work and illness.

Unique cooperation for air pollution study between Hebrew University, Palestinians
Within the framework of a unique project of cooperation between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Palestinian research organizations, two engineers of the Palestinian Meteorological Service have come to the university for training and advanced study.

A view from Tehran: Iran's perspective on national security
The Foreign Minister of Iran, Kamal Kharrazi, addresses the Islamic Republic's approach towards national and regional security. 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