Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 28, 2005
'Cybertools' project receives $2 million NSF grant
A team of Cornell researchers has been awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to develop advanced Web tools for social sciences research.

Smoking seems to increase brain damage in alcoholics
Alcoholics who smoke appear to lose more brain mass than alcoholics who don't smoke, according to a study at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Time to burn: Getting a step ahead of wildland arsonists
Just released analyses by USDA Forest Service researchers reveal underlying patterns in wildland arson.

Putting viruses to work in vaccines
Researchers at the University of South Australia are developing novel vaccines by using a chicken virus to either stimulate or suppress the body's immune system.

Physicists say universe evolution favored three and seven dimensions
Physicists who work with a concept called string theory envision our universe as an eerie place with at least nine spatial dimensions, six of them hidden from us, perhaps curled up in some way so they are undetectable.

Cars, computer chips... and heart attacks?
Twenty-six percent fewer patients died in the first year after their heart attack when hospitals used quality-improvement tactics - - similar to those used in manufacturing - - to prevent crucial heart-care steps from slipping through the cracks.

Ceramic/metal interface fracture toughness
In an article published in AZojomo, researchers have carried out fracture toughness tests for Si3N4/S45C specimens with interface cracks of different lengths.

Flavanols key to potential chocolate benefits
Phytochemicals known as flavanols, which are found in chocolate, fruits and vegetables, can boost the levels of nitric oxide in the blood of smokers and reverse some of their smoking-related impairment in blood vessel function, according to a new study in the Oct.

Serving up suds a hazardous task
A joint study published in the September edition of Applied Ergonomics by the University of Alberta and Napier University of Scotland, shows that servers, cooks and bartenders risk serious injuries while doing their everyday jobs serving up suds and finger foods.

MoMA showcases Penn State researcher's device
A prototype under-skin glucose sensor, developed by a Penn State researcher, will be among the technological devices exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art's

Long-term smoking is associated with up to 40 percent increased risk of breast cancer
Older women who have smoked for 11 or more

Kidney transplant patients face higher skin cancer risk
People who receive a kidney transplant are nearly four times more likely than the general population to develop melanoma, a rare but deadly form of skin cancer, according to a study led by Christopher Hollenbeak, Ph.D., associate professor, Departments of Surgery and Health Evaluation Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S.

Engineered molecule amplifies body's immune response
By altering a molecule called Stat1, which is involved in cellular immune signaling, scientists have succeeded in making the molecule more responsive and thus more efficient.

Meteorites offer glimpse of the early Earth, say Purdue scientists
By examining the chemistry of 29 chunks of rock that formed billions of years ago, scientists believe that the composition of these so-called enstatite chondrite (EC) meteorites could offer a window into the planet's distant past, by recording the approximate temperature at which the Earth formed.

Researchers uncover E. coli's defense mechanism
Researchers have uncovered a mechanism with which disease-causing bacteria may thwart the body's natural defense responses.

Arctic sea ice continues decline as temperatures rise
New satellite records monitored by a national team of collaborators show a four-year pattern of extremely low summer sea-ice coverage in the Arctic that continued in September 2005, which may be the result of warming temperatures and earlier spring melting.

New research could help us deliver genes for new bone formation
UK scientists are working on new methods to regenerate cartilage and bone by delivering genes to stem cells within the body to instruct them to turn into bone cells.

Secrets to antibody's success against West Nile Virus surprise scientists
A monoclonal antibody that can effectively treat mice infected with West Nile virus has an intriguing secret: Contrary to scientists' expectations, it does not block the virus's ability to attach to host cells.

UNC computer, marine scientists collaborate to predict flow of toxic waters from Katrina
In the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina, scientists and research centers from across the country came together to generate information on the contaminated floodwaters and offer it to hazardous materials experts and public health officials.

'POZ parties' signal potential to spread HIV 'superinfection'
The emergence of

PRESERVE-ß 2-year study of initial combo therapy with nateglinide or glyburide + metformin
Researchers reported that in a two-year, controlled study people with type 2 diabetes receiving Starlix® (nateglinide) in combination with metformin experienced equivalent levels of overall blood glucose control and a lower incidence and severity of hypoglycemia compared to the those taking the commonly used sulfonylurea agent, glyburide, in combination with metformin.

Boston consortium awarded Center of Excellence grant for medical record surveillance systems
A Boston consortium was today awarded one of two national grants to form a CDC Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics.

Gasoline demand doubled during evacuation for hurricane Rita
The unprecedented demand for gasoline during the massive evacuation of Texas and Louisiana during Hurricane Rita resulted in the U.S. effectively having two Labor Days this year in terms of heavy-driving periods.

Children whose parents smoked are twice as likely to begin smoking between 13 and 21
Twelve-year-olds whose parents smoked were more than twice as likely to begin smoking cigarettes on a daily basis between the ages of 13 and 21 than were children whose parents didn't use tobacco, according to a new study that looked at family influences on smoking habits.

Hospitals that follow guidelines save lives
Heart attack death rates dropped significantly at hospitals that participated in a quality-improvement process that increased the use of evidence-based therapies, according to a new study in the Oct.

Liver CRP production linked to atherosclerosis
New research shows that levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), produced by the liver and not at the lesion site, correlate with the degree of atherosclerosis.

Is rural Canada a good place to grow old?
The experiences of rural seniors in Canada have provided researchers in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta with valuable information that will be used in the development of policies governing a national home-care program.

NSF names Matthew Tirrell the Engineering Distinguished Lecturer for Fall, 2005
Matthew Tirrell, the Richard A. Auhill Professor of Engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been named by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the Engineering Distinguished Lecturer for Fall, 2005.

Biodesign Institute and TGen awarded grants to help lessen threat of radiological terrorist event
The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the Translational Genomics Institute (TGen) have been awarded key roles in an effort to provide protection in the event of a radiological terrorist attack.

Math unites the celestial and the atomic
In recent years, researchers have developed astonishing new insights into a hidden unity between the motion of objects in space and that of the smallest particles.

October GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
Topics in the October issue of GEOLOGY include: a new method of tracing ancient fluid flows that may provide insights into the history and evolution of Earth's crust; and analysis of an ancient fault zone between the Adirondack highlands and lowlands of New York state.

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to lead international study of acute liver failure in children
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Principal investigator Robert H. Squires Jr., MD, will lead a five-year, $5.8 million study recently funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

It's a bug's life: MIT team tells moving tale
MIT mathematicians have discovered how certain insects can climb what to them are steep, slippery slopes in the water's surface without moving their limbs -- and do it at high speed.

NIH renews network focused on how genes influence drug responses
NIH plans to spend more than $150 million over five years to renew its Pharmacogenetics Research Network (PGRN).

New analysis puts dark matter back into elliptical galaxies
According to the prevailing

Urgent call for runway near-misses
The head of the US air accident investigation body is calling for significant improvements to the technology used to prevent runway collisions, which are occurring with

Laboratory professionals in Africa receive training under AIDS Relief Plan
The American Society for Clinical Pathology announced that the Society will receive approximately $1.5 million in federal funds to continue to provide laboratory training and quality improvement programs in African countries severely affected by AIDS.

Acting to prevent mild cognitive deficit after 60 may hinge on knowing levels of blood factor
Determining levels of homocysteine may be one way to intervene in mild cognitive deficit early in the adult life-cycle, according to a recent study by a research team led by Merrill F.

Seniors with low age expectations likelier to lead sedentary lives, new UCLA study finds
A new UCLA study found that seniors with the lowest expectations for aging -- that is, for what one can do at an advanced age -- were the most likely to lead sedentary lifestyles.

SCAI, NCQA partner to hold landmark conference on introducing complex medical therapies
SCAI and NCQA will partner to hold a landmark conference addressing key issues surrounding data collection and analysis related to carotid artery stenting.

Purdue engineers create safer, more efficient nuclear fuel, model its performance
Purdue University nuclear engineers have developed an advanced nuclear fuel that could save millions of dollars annually by lasting longer and burning more efficiently than conventional fuels, and researchers also have created a mathematical model to further develop the technology.

1 million expected to join in on Cutler Global Disaster Lecture
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Eric Noji, M.D., M.P.H., senior policy advisor for emergency preparedness and response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will address an expected global audience of 1 million listeners about important contributions that epidemiologists can make to enhance the effectiveness of disaster relief planning and management.

$7.5M NSF grant establishes a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
The National Science Foundation has awarded a six-year, $7.5-million grant to establish a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), with participation by Brookhaven National Laboratory of Upton, New York.

Survey of poultry workers shows high rate of injuries
A survey of poultry workers in western North Carolina reveals high rates of injuries, as well as significant differences among poultry companies in numbers of injuries and how workers view company emphasis on safety.

Research offers new approach to developing treatments for cocaine and amphetamine addiction
New research shows that highly addictive drugs, like cocaine and amphetamine, require a neurotransmitter called CART peptides to produce maximal effects, and offers hope for future treatments.

Married women have more sexual difficulties than single women or married men
Married women are more likely to have sexual difficulties than either single women or married men, suggest the findings of a national survey in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Fruit fly studies open new window on cancer research
Scientists studying the humble fruit fly have found a family of proteins that enhances the sensitivity of a cell to a hormone that can trigger abnormal growth and cancer.

Prevalence of 'risky' sex among gay men doubled in Scotland over six years
The prevalence of

'Secrets' of successful hospitals revealed
An in-depth look at hospitals that reduced treatment delays highlights steps other hospitals could take to provide rapid angioplasty treatment to heart attack patients, according to a new study in the Oct.

Bad hair day: Living with female hair loss
Hair loss in women or female pattern baldness can have devastating psychological effects on sufferers, two Monash University researchers have found.

'Missing' dark matter really there, says Hebrew University cosmologist
A new analysis that refutes challenges to the existence of dark matter in certain galaxies appears in an article published this week in the journal Nature.

'Big baby' galaxy found in newborn Universe
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have teamed up to 'weigh' the stars in distant galaxies.

Musical training might be good for the heart
Musical training might be good for the heart, suggests a small study, which shows that it is musical tempo, rather than style, that is the greatest stress buster.

Illinois researchers to play key roles in study of emergence of life
Three scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have leading roles in a multi-institution quest funded by the National Science Foundation to determine how life emerged on Earth.

Scientists show that tick-borne flaviviruses use a novel mechanism to evade host defenses
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have made the surprising discovery that flaviviruses, which cause such serious diseases as West Nile fever, yellow fever and forms of encephalitis, evade immune system defenses in different ways depending on whether they are transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks.

T. P. Ma, pioneer of integrated circuitry, receives IEEE award
Tso-Ping (T.P.) Ma, Raymond John Wean Professor of Electrical Engineering and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at Yale University, has been named recipient of the 2005 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Andrew S.

When computers mimic us, we love what we hear
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery-- even when it's artificial intelligence copying human behavior.

Shredded tires a cheap, environmentally friendly way to cover landfills
Placing shredded tires on top of -- rather than in -- landfills can save money and benefit the environment, researchers from the University of Illinois say.

Massachusetts General Hospital launches magazine that examines medicine's leading edge
Massachusetts General Hospital has launched a national quarterly magazine that explores the latest developments in biomedical research, promising clinical applications and health policy.

New blood transplant method stops fatal side effect, Stanford study finds
Findings published in the Sept. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that the new therapy pioneered at Stanford University School of Medicine has paid off for Holmes and other lymphoma and leukemia patients.

Duke scientists explain gaps in nutrient availability within North Atlantic
Duke University oceanographers have developed an explanation for why a vast North Atlantic circulation zone can have a large variability in nutrient supplies needed to sustain ocean plants and, by extension, support the food web of marine life. 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