Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 24, 2005
Theories of high-temperature superconductivity violate Pauli principle
Scientists seeking to explain high-temperature superconductivity have been violating the Pauli exclusion principle, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Rutgers University report.

DOE provides $12 million to advance separation technologies
The Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, a multi-university and industry consortium lead by Virginia Tech, has received a $12 million grant from the U.S.

NHS target driven culture is failing patients
The new tick box, target driven culture of the NHS is neglecting the quality of patient care, warns a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

New insights into skin blistering disease pop up
Pemphigus is a skin blistering disease caused by production of autoantibodies that attack desmogleins, causing lesions and blisters that don't heal.

Cancerous or harmless? Three genes might tell the tale
New research suggests that physicians can distinguish between a type of thyroid cancer and an identical-looking, non-cancerous thyroid condition by simply determining the activity of three genes.

Wine, music and schizophrenia genes
A California wine country music festival will aid a Rutgers scientist's research into schizophrenia, its causes and cures.

Salk polio vaccine celebrates 50th anniversary
One of the greatest medical achievements in history marks its 50th anniversary on April 12, 2005: the first safe and effective vaccine for the dreaded epidemic disease polio, which once killed or paralyzed thousands of Americans every year.

Where's Waldo's DNA? New NIST SRM joins search
A new NIST reference standard may help genetics labs develop improved methods of searching for a mutant needle in a DNA haystack.

Billions in cost estimated for firefighter injuries
Firefighters face a high chance of injury or death whether on the scene of a fire, on the way to a fire or even during training -- with an estimated 81,000 injuries and 100 deaths in 2002 alone.

Study provides new estimates of the causes of child mortality worldwide
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have developed the most accurate estimates to date of the causes of death of children under age 5.

Monaco formalises its EUREKA membership in Paris
The Principality of Monaco was formally welcomed as a member of the EUREKA research initiative yesterday at the Monegasque Embassy in Paris.

Child care may affect entire community's risks of infection
Any parent knows how quickly a cold or a cough can spread between children who play together.

Researchers call for expanding the repertoire in studying birdsong
It's time for researchers who study songbirds as models for understanding the human brain and how humans acquire language to begin singing a different tune and study a wider variety of species, say a pair of leading scientists.

How HDL keeps the heart healthy
High levels of the

GSA South-Central section to meet in San Antonio next week
Geoscientists will gather 1-2 April for the 39th annual meeting of the South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America, and the Texas Section, Association of Engineering Geologists.

Point-contact spectroscopy deepens mystery of heavy-fermion superconductors
Theoretical understanding of heavy-fermion superconductors has just slipped a notch or two, says a team of experimentalists.

Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
In a stunning example of evolution at work, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have now found that changes in a single gene can produce major changes in the skeletal armor of fish living in the wild.

'Back to the future': Countdown to Shuttle return to flight
Launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will soon see the Shuttle blasting off again for a new exciting mission in space.

NC State scientist finds soft tissue in T. rex bones
Conventional wisdom among paleontologists states that when dinosaurs died and became fossilized, soft tissues didn't preserve - the bones were essentially transformed into

Monster super star cluster discovered in Milky Way
European astronomers, including a scientist from Cardiff University, have discovered the largest known star cluster in the Milky Way.

Octopuses occasionally stroll around on two arms, UC Berkeley biologists report
In an eerie reprise of what it may have been like when humans first raised their arms and walked on two feet, films taken by a UC Berkeley biologist show that octopuses sometimes pick up six of their arms and scoot along on the outer ends of the other two.

Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
New findings suggest the treatment of solid tumors could be improved dramatically by combining DNA-damaging agents and a drug used to sensitize cancer cells to those agents.

Improving access to healthy food has little effect on diet
Improving food shopping access for people living in deprived neighbourhoods has little effect on diet and health, says an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Introduced foxes transformed vegetation on Aleutian Islands from lush grasslands to tundra
Huge colonies of seabirds accustomed to nesting on islands free of predators began disappearing when fur traders started introducing foxes onto islands in the Aleutian archipelago in the 18th century.

US attempting to flout ethical practice for patient trials abroad
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed that observing a widely accepted code of medical ethics that protects patients who take part in trials is not necessary for studies conducted abroad, states a comment in this week's issue of The Lancet.

NIH state-of-the-science panel calls for 'demedicalization' of menopause
An independent panel convened this week by the National Institutes of Health found that many women move through the menopausal transition with few disabling symptoms, and that menopause should not be viewed as a disease.

Fewer fish discarded after individual transferable quotas offered
Contradicting previous assumptions, new fisheries research shows that allocating catch among vessels reduces the amount of fish discarded at sea.

New study will push forward understanding of post-natal illnesses
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh are embarking on research to form a clearer understanding of the causes of post-natal illness.

Hi-tech support helps Mt. Everest climber
Pioneering technology that enables climbers and explorers to plan expeditions more effectively - and could even help to save lives - will be 'road tested' by a Scottish-based mountaineer on Everest this spring.

Deficiency of growth hormone and IGF-1 reduces cancer and kidney disease, but creates other problems
Deficiencies of growth hormone and similar compounds may reduce cancer and kidney disease late in life, but also may lead to cartilage degeneration and impaired memory and learning ability, according to research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and four other institutions.

Proba workshop: Small satellite yielding beautiful results
In orbit for three and a half years now, ESA's smallest Earth Observation satellite is making a big contribution to science, a workshop heard this week.

Trio of leukemias share a single mutation
Three leukemias that affect as many as 100,000 people in the United States are all caused by acquired mutations that alter a specific enzyme controlling blood cell proliferation, according to new studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers.

The Gerontological Society of America announces Hartford Fellowship recipients
Four outstanding social work students have been chosen as the newest recipients of the prestigious Hartford Doctoral Fellowship, a program funded by the John A.

Underwater robot launched from Bermuda to cross Gulf Stream
A small autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, named Spray was launched yesterday about 12 miles southeast of Bermuda.

Noisy pictures tell a story of 'entangled' atoms, JILA physicists find
Patterns of noise--normally considered flaws--in images of an ultracold cloud of potassium provide the first-ever visual evidence of correlated ultracold atoms, a potentially useful tool for many applications, according to physicists at JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

New study will push forward understanding of post-natal illnesses
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh are embarking on research to form a clearer understanding of the causes of post-natal illness.

New estimates for the causes of child deaths worldwide
The most accurate estimates of the causes of child deaths to date, published in this week's issue of The Lancet, reveal that worldwide more than 70% of the 10.6 million child deaths that occur annually are attributable to six causes: pneumonia (19%), diarrhoea (18%), malaria (8%), neonatal sepsis or pneumonia (10%), preterm delivery (10%), and asphyxia at birth (8%).

Benefits of lung cancer screening with CT questioned
Annual screening with helical computed tomography (CT) can help radiologists detect lung cancers at their earliest, most curable stage, but has not been shown to reduce mortality from the disease, according to a study published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.

Fish oil holds promise in Alzheimer's fight
Even our grandmothers told us fish was

Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
Scientists at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine have discovered the cause of a deadly type of secondary stroke known as cerebral vasospasm.

Deep-sea tremors may provide early warning system for larger earthquakes
Predicting when large earthquakes might occur may be a step closer to reality, thanks to a new study of undersea earthquakes in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Highly adaptable genome in gut bacterium key to intestinal health
A bacterium that lives in the human gut adaptively shifts more than a quarter of its genes into high gear when its host's diet changes from sugar to complex carbohydrates.

Winners of Tyler Environmental prize announced
Charles David Keeling and Lonnie G. Thompson will share the leading environmental prize, administered by the University of Southern California.

Trans-European freight corridor drives rail transformation
EUREKA project E! 2727 POLCORRIDOR has been selected as the 'backbone' trans-European freight transport corridor to explore interoperability in the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) REORIENT project.

Scientists identify genetic pathways essential to RNA interference
A research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital has identified 80 genes essential to the process of RNA interference (RNAi), a powerful new research tool for inactivating genes in plants or animals.

Hospital acquired infections present major problem for infants in developing countries
Rates of neonatal infections in hospital born babies are up to 20 times higher in developing countries than in industrialised countries, reveals a review in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Unveiling the high energy Milky Way reveals 'dark accelerators'
In the March 25th 2005 issue of Science Magazine, the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) team of international astrophysicists, including UK astronomers from the University of Durham, report results of a first sensitive survey of the central part of our galaxy in very high energy (VHE) gamma-rays.

Smart borders may be failing the people and countries they seek to protect
While politically appealing, the new securities policies complicate problems in border communities and between the US, Canada, and Mexico in general.

Elephants imitate sounds as a form of social communication
Elephants learn to imitate sounds that are not typical of their species, the first known example after humans of vocal learning in a non-primate terrestrial mammal.

Research offers hope of new treatments for liver damage
Millions of patients suffering from liver damage (cirrhosis) and failure may benefit from research by the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton which may lead to new life-saving treatments.

Same mutation aided evolution in many fish species, Stanford study finds
After decades of laboratory work studying how animals evolve, researchers sometimes need to put on the hip waders, pull out the fishing net and go learn how their theory compares to the real world.

EUREKA supports EU summit conclusions
Following the European Council on 22-23 March 2005 EUREKA Network fully supports the Council's commitment to maintaining the objective of 3% investment in R&D.

Vaccine against childhood pneumonia shows promise
A vaccine against pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease, a severe form of bacterial infection, can substantially reduce hospital admissions and improve the survival of children in developing countries, concludes a trial published in this week's issue of The Lancet. The authors believe the vaccine should be made available to children in Africa, where rates of severe invasive pneumococcal disease are up to ten times higher than in industrialised countries.

Yeast finding links processes in heart disease and cancer
By studying a little-known yeast too primitive to get diseases, Johns Hopkins researchers have uncovered a surprising link between two processes at play in heart disease and cancer in people.
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