Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 14, 2005
Microbes under Greenland Ice may be preview of what scientists find under Mars' surface
The presence of methane in Mars' atmosphere has led some scientists to propose that methane-producing microbes live under the surface.

More effective lasers
A group of professors from the departments of Chemistry, Soil Science, Physics and Applied Mathematics of the University of Navarra is working together in the preparation and characterization of a type of material termed

Common alternative treatment for liver disease is found to be ineffective
Results of high-quality randomized clinical trials have determined that milk thistle extract, a widely used alternative medication, may not have any significant influence on the course of patients with alcoholic liver disease or hepatitis B or C liver disease.

Gladstone study links Alzheimer's with toxic protein fragments
New research from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease details exactly how a mutant form of the protein apolipoprotein E, also known as apoE, is a causative factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Ventracor Limited (ASX: VCR) moved a step closer to completing enrolment in its CE Mark Trial announcing the successful implant of its left ventricular assist device (LVAD), the VentrAssist, at Norway's Rikshopitalet University Hospital.

After divorce happiness levels decrease and may never completely rebound
Research shows that, on average, people do not bounce back from a divorce.

Research shows Europeans prefer environmentally-friendly seafood
A new study released today shows that 79 percent of European  consumers, supermarkets, chefs and restaurateurs say that the environmental impact of seafood is an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and it is more important than price.

Roche and SystemsX collaborate in diabetes research
An innovative industry/academic partnership translates systems biology research into improved medicines.

OHSU discovery sheds light into how stem cells become brain cells
Researchers discovered one key gene that appears to control how stem cells become various kinds of brain cells.

Government's preparation for bird flu outbreak welcome
The priority the Federal Government is placing upon preparation for the possibility of a bird flu outbreak is critical and timely, Medicines Australia said today.

Gender plays role in religious sensitivity for medical students
Can sensitivity to the role religion plays in a patient's life positively affect physician bedside manner and care of the patient?

Assembling RISC in humans
The upcoming issue of G&D features a report on the pathway of human RISC assembly from pre-microRNAs (miRNAs), highlighting important differences from the siRNA-fueled RISC assembly pathway in Drosophila.

Women in science, engineering: U-M makes ADVANCE permanent
A University of Michigan project to bridge the gender gap in science and engineering has been so successful that officials have decided to make it permanent with funding commitments approved through at least 2011.

Another world-record achievement for National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla. is ending its year with another achievement of international importance as engineers and technicians this week completed testing of a world-record magnet.

Genetic clues to Sodalis deepens knowledge of bacterial diseases
By sequencing the genome of the symbiotic bacterium Sodalis, which lives off the major disease-transmitting insect, the tsetse fly, researchers at Yale School of Medicine have come a step closer to understanding how microbial pathogens cause disease.

Mayo Clinic discovers two key players in cancer prevention and how they work
Mayo Clinic researchers have challenged the conventional teaching about a common cancer trait and in doing so, discovered how cells are naturally

UNC geography professor writes first in-depth account of scheme to engineer with atom bombs
What would you think if someone told you that not so long ago, the US government, led by gung-ho scientists, seriously considered exploding 300 or more atomic bombs to blast a sea-level canal in Panama?

What the public needs to hear during a disaster
Katrina revealed the impact of poor communications on the public during a disaster: chaos, distress and alarm.

Meteosat Second Generation-2: Watch the launch live
The second satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation family is due to be launched on 21 December at 23:33 CET onboard an Ariane 5 (generic version) from Europe's spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana.

Global skin cancer research consortium wins £7m
Skin cancer studies around the world will be brought together to help people understand the risk from the disease, thanks to a Leeds-led consortium which has been awarded over £7m of funding.

Gene mutation found that increases severity of multisystem syndrome
Johns Hopkins scientists studying a rare inherited syndrome marked by eye and kidney problems, learning disabilities and obesity have discovered a genetic mutation that makes the syndrome more severe but that alone doesn't cause it.

Astronomers link old stars and mysterious cosmic explosions
Cosmic gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe.

Post-Katrina: Lead in disturbed soil may pose heightened health risk
Unsafe levels of lead have been found in soil and sediments left behind in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and could pose a heightened health threat to returning residents, particularly children, according to a new study published in the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science & Technology. Some soil samples contained lead concentrations as much as two-thirds higher than what the US Environmental Protection Agency considers safe, according to researchers at Texas Tech University.

4 power supply sources for the experimental EFDA-JET fusion reactor
JEMA has been contracted directly by the European Commission (commissioned through the European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA) to design, construct and install four sources of power supply, each capable of producing 20 million watts of energy, for the European experimental fusion reactor installations located at Culham in the United Kingdom.

The return of a classic to fuel production
Max Planck Institute of Coal Research celebrates 80 years of Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis to make fuels out of coal.

Teaching worms good taste: Researcher reveals the cell biology of learning at ASCB meeting
Survival is an acquired taste for the worm, C. elegans, which lives in soil and feeds on different bacteria, including potentially pathogenic ones.

Langerhans cells regulate immune reactions in the skin
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have demonstrated that Langerhans cells in the skin, which had been thought to alert the immune system to pathogens, instead dampen the skin's reaction to infection and inflammation.

Electronic nose sniffs out false alarms
An electronic nose is so sensitive that it can distinguish between cigarette smoke and smoke from an office or factory fire.

UC Davis expert writes key report on controversial UK badger killings
UC Davis scientist Rosie Woodroffe is co-author of two reports released today in Great Britain that say the controversial practice of killing wild badgers to prevent tuberculosis in cattle can actually make matters worse.

Hazardous alcohol use by young adults goes far beyond college campuses
Despite recent media attention given to drinking among the college crowd, at-risk alcohol use is neither unique to, nor necessarily the highest among, individuals who complete college, according to a new study.

New discovery may improve treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and type 2 diabetes
Protein aggregation is the cause of several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Creuzfeldt-Jacob disease, as well as pancreatic insufficiency, which causes type 2 diabetes.

Witnessing the flash from a black hole's cannibal act
An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of a third short gamma-ray burst, associated with a nearby elliptical galaxy.

Carnegie Mellon researchers find links between happiness and health, but questions remain
There is growing evidence that positive emotions such as happiness are linked to good health and increased longevity, but too many questions remain unanswered to draw definitive conclusions, according to a review of research conducted over the past 10 years by Carnegie Mellon University researchers.

Fluid particles irreversible in some circumstances, physicists report in this week's Nature
When a viscous fluid, such as a jar of honey, is stirred and then unstirred, the contents return to their starting points.

Burnham to collaborate on NCI-funded task force to find 'molecular signature' for prostate cancer
The Burnham Institute for Medical Research will collaborate on a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional task force aimed at defining the

Alcohol-induced bone disease
Chronic and heavy alcohol consumption is known to contribute to low bone mass, decreased bone formation, an increased incidence of fractures, and delays in fracture healing.

Drug for psoriasis may also relieve depression and fatigue linked to the disease
A drug used to treat the clinical symptoms of psoriasis may also relieve fatigue and depression associated with the disease, concludes a randomised trial published online today (Thursday December 15, 2005) by The Lancet.

Badger culling to control TB in cattle has mixed effects
Widespread culling of badgers to control the incidence of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle has simultaneously positive and negative effects, scientists report today.

'Armored' bubbles can exist in stable non-spherical shapes
Researchers at Harvard University have demonstrated that gas bubbles can exist in stable non-spherical shapes without the application of external force.

Key brain antioxidant linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
A study conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center has identified a protein found in both mice and humans that appears to play a key role in protecting neurons from oxidative stress, a toxic process linked to neurodegenerative illnesses including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Adapting to life in the US can increase alcohol consumption among Latinas
As Hispanic or Latino immigrants adapt to life in the United States, exposure to more favorable drinking norms and significant social stressors may provoke increased alcohol consumption.

Physicists find evidence for highest energy photons ever detected from Milky Way's equator
Physicists at nearly a dozen research institutions, including New York University, have discovered evidence for very high energy gamma rays emitting from the Milky Way, marking the highest energies ever detected from the galactic equator.

FSU study finds body image stereotypes may begin in the high chair
Parents of toddlers may be serving up stereotypes about body image that could contribute to eating disorders or behavioral problems later in life, according to a pair of new Florida State University studies.

USC researchers track down the stem cells that create feathers
The stem cells that produce bird feathers have been visualized and analyzed for the first time.

Researchers update French language learning
Mastering verbal conjugations in French or being able to ask directions to the library is one thing, but expressing yourself on paper in that language brings a new, daunting set of challenges.

Cheese study emphasizes consumer opinion over expert assessment
A recent study comparing consumer acceptance of cheeses with quality scores given by expert dairy assessors revealed notable differences between how consumers responded to certain cheeses and how experts predicted they would respond.

Blood test can accurately diagnose heart failure in patients with kidney dysfunction
A large-scale analysis has shown that a blood test previously found useful in diagnosing or ruling out heart failure in emergency room patients remains effective in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Dentists report on new computerized tomography systems
Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) increasingly has become the newest technology for orthodontists to use in diagnosing complicated oral health problems.

One percent of retailers sell 40 percent of guns used in California crime
A study by researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center has found that 1.3 percent of the licensed gun retailers in the state sell 39.4 percent of the handguns used in violent crime, and that those retailers share similar profiles -- pawn shops and retailers with a high rate of background-check failure are at higher risk for selling a handgun that will be used in a criminal act.

New technique helps researchers determine amino-acid charge
Measurements of the ion-current through the open state of a membrane-protein's ion channel have allowed scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to obtain a detailed picture of the effect of the protein microenvironment on the affinity of ionizable amino-acid residues for protons.

Chromosome four contains genes that affect drinking behaviors in smokers
Alcoholism is a complex behavior that draws from both environmental and genetic factors, and researchers have found in a sample of smokers chromosomal regions that affect patterns of drinking behavior.

See the ball, hit the ball
A new study by University of Virginia psychologists has found a correlation between batting averages of softball players and how big, or small, they perceived the ball to be.

Visually impaired people prefer to watch television enhanced with special processing
A scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute (SERI) found that increasing the contrast of details of certain sizes was of special importance in making television watching more enjoyable for the visually impaired.

Researchers identify key protein involved in neuropathic pain
A team of researchers led by Université Laval and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has discovered a protein that plays a major role in neuropathic pain.

Ancient glaciers still affect the shape of North America, say scientists
The research team has found that a large swath of territory in the Northeast is slowly moving southward in relation to the rest of the continent.

One small step means giant leap for spinal cord research
A new device developed at the University of Toronto that stimulates the muscles of patients with spinal cord injuries helps to increase walking function in those whose condition is not expected to improve.

The EU is missing its targets
European Union member nations carry out their promises poorly, according to a summit in Brussels.

ESC to publish first cardiovascular textbook
Responding to a need among cardiologists for a practical textbook that brings together the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines and best practice coupled with a strong clinical focus, the ESC will publish its first textbook in cardiovascular medicine early next year.

Hidden cost of teen pain in the UK almost £4 billion per year
Teenagers living with chronic pain could be costing the UK more than £3.8 billion each year, according to a new study published in the journal Pain today.

Health benefits of a Christmas brandy
Drinking a shot of smooth full-flavoured brandy this Christmas could actually benefit your health, Monash University researchers have found.

GroPep to pursue promising asthma drug following preclinical study results
Adelaide biotechnology company GroPep has completed preclinical efficacy studies of its T-cell peptide drug candidate, in models of psoriasis and asthma. 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