Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 22, 2005
As Grid problem solving flows smoothly
Computational Fluid Dynamics, a technique that can be used to measure the flow of water around a ship's hull or the exhaust flow of a car engine, requires complex, processing-intensive software.

Male elephants woo females with precise chemistry
The exact chemical blend of a pheromone emitted by older male elephants in musth influences both a female elephant's interest in mating and how other surrounding elephants behave, a new study has found.

Evaluation metrics proposed for firefighter thermal imagers
Choosing the most appropriate thermal imager or infrared camera for firefighting can be a difficult decision.

No evidence that hangover cures work
No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any complementary or conventional intervention is effective for treating or preventing alcohol hangover, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Cedars-Sinai researchers demonstrate a new way to switch therapeutic genes 'on' and 'off'
A gene therapy research team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has developed a new method of signaling therapeutic genes to turn

Max Planck researchers make a breakthrough in plant stem cell research
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tãbingen, Germany have determined how plants regulate how many stem cells they have.

One third of patients who stop treatment for schizophrenia early do so due to poor response
A third of patients treated for schizophrenia who stop taking their medication early do so because they do not feel any significant improvement or because their symptoms are worsening.

Bacterial protein mimics host to cripple defenses
A protein in a pathogenic bacterium imitates a plant protein in order to disable programmed cell death (PCD) in its hosts.

Grants will give developing world access to scientific research
Two grants totaling $500,000 will support Yale University participation in an international consortium to make prestigious scientific journals in the environment sciences available online to the developing world at little or no cost.

JCI table of contents: December 22, 2005
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online on 12/22/05 in the JCI, including: Enzyme triggers plaque rupture in hardened arteries, causing heart attack and stroke; Mice lacking FAK have a lot of heart, literally; How ERK1/2 irks airways: implications for asthma; Abnormal maturation of the perforin protein wreaks immune system havoc; and RIP140 puts the brakes on fat cell metabolism in mice.

Shape of glass influences how much alcohol is poured
People, including professional bartenders, pour 20 to 30 percent more liquor into short, squat glasses than into tall, thin ones, finds a study by Cornell Professor Brian Wansink, published in a December 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal.

EUREKA brings sunshine to Austrian hearts
The EUREKA E! 3418 LIG-HT project is set to bring the sun into the heart of the Austrian Tyrol town of Rattenberg in the depths of winter.

Woolly mammoth genome comes to life
A McMaster scientist maps a portion of the woolly mammoth's genome, published by Science.

Scientists discover 'light echoes' of ancient supernovae
Scientists find remnants of light from three ancient supernovae. The discovery is the astronomy equivalent to an archeological find on land.

Science's Breakthrough of the Year: Watching evolution in action
Evolution has been the foundation and guiding theory of biology since Darwin gave the theory its proper scientific debut in 1859.

Researchers know what you were about to say; fMRI used to detect memory storage and retrieval
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University have provided evidence that the act of recalling a memory is a bit like mental time travel.

Chromosome regions containing genes related to alcohol addiction affect drinking behavior in smokers
Chromosome regions containing genes related to alcohol addiction affect drinking behavior in smokers, according to a study published in the December issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Soaps paint far too rosy a picture of coma
American soap operas paint an improbably rosy picture of coma patients' survival and recovery, says a study in this week's BMJ, with potentially important consequences for viewers.

Bicycles - for today!
Cidetec Technology Centre's Energy Department has designed a prototype for a motorised bicycle that works off fuel cells.

ALMA on the move
Only two weeks after awarding its largest-ever contract for the procurement of antennas for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array project (ALMA), ESO has signed a contract with Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik GmbH, a world-leader in the design and production of custom-built heavy-duty transporters, for the provision of two antenna transporting vehicles.

Didgeridoo playing improves your sleep
Regular didgeridoo playing reduces snoring and daytime sleepiness, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

New neurons take baby steps in the adult brain
In experiments with mice, scientists from Johns Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering have discovered the steps required to integrate new neurons into the brain's existing operations.

Stanford evolution research cited by Science as a 2005 breakthrough
Among the research highlighted is work by David Kingsley, PhD, professor of developmental biology at Stanford University School of Medicine, who studies the evolutionary process in a diverse group of fish called the stickleback.

Virtual reality could help diagnose heart conditions
Virtual reality that allows doctors to visualise the heart in three dimensions could help in the diagnosis of heart conditions.

Harry Potter protects children from injury
Harry Potter books seem to protect children from traumatic injuries, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Birth defect gene identified
USC craniofacial researchers identify gene involved in skull malformation and rescue defects in animal embryos with over-expression of signaling protein.

Bigger brain size matters for intellectual ability
Brain size matters for intellectual ability and bigger is better, McMaster University researchers have found.

Micro-gyroscopes can detect cancer
Scientists have adapted micro-gyroscope technology found in car air-bags and navigation systems to develop a biosensor that can detect cancer proteins and potentially MRSA and terrorist bio-weapons.

Why Christmas trees are not extinct
Conifers such as Christmas trees suffer a severe plumbing problem.

Enzyme triggers plaque rupture in hardened arteries, causing heart attack and stroke
University of Washington researchers show that, in mice with atherosclerosis, it is the expression of an active form of the enzyme MMP-9, by macrophages located within plaque buildup in narrowed coronary arteries, that triggers plaque rupture.

Blocking previously unrecognized links between inflammatory systems could make COX-2 inhibitors safe
A recently identified path of inflammation once thought to be wholly independent of other inflammatory systems has now been linked to another major pathway.

Effective government/industry collaboration bolsters flu vaccine supply
NIAID, working closely with the FDA, sponsored the clinical trial that demonstrated the vaccine's safety and ability to generate an immune response and ultimately led to its expedited approval by FDA in August 2005.

Ultracold test produces long-sought quantum mix
For the first time, researchers at Rice University have succeeded in creating and observing an elusive and long-sought quantum state - a superfluid of fermions with mismatched numbers of dance partners.

Research in Chesapeake Bay, Pamlico Sound shows hurricanes, runoff tax water quality management
A scientific study that involved analyzing phytoplankton in both North Carolina's Neuse River Estuary/Pamlico Sound and Maryland and Virginia's Chesapeake Bay offers a new lesson in light of recent increased hurricane activity along the East Coast, researchers say.

Role of microRNA identified in thyroid cancer
The presence of only five tiny strands of RNA is enough to clearly distinguish cancerous thyroid tissue from otherwise normal tissue, scientists say.

Failure to resolve budget reconciliation leaves patients and doctors uncertain
Uncertainty about Medicare reimbursement cuts leaves care for aging patients in question.

Study finds implantable defibrillators as effective in women as in men
Women who have had a heart attack get as much survival benefit as men from implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), devices designed to monitor the heart's pumping rhythm and shock it back to normal when needed, according to a study published in the December edition of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology.

Air pollution, high-fat diet cause atherosclerosis in laboratory mice
Test results with laboratory mice show a direct cause-and-effect link between exposure to fine particle air pollution and the development of atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries.

Scientists solve mystery of the 'unicorn' whale
Once the subject of mythical accounts of magical power, the helix-shaped tusk of the narwhal, or

EUREKA-ITEA solution enhances European software testing capabilities
Results of the EUREKA ITEA Cluster TT-Medal project could halve the cost of testing embedded software in electronics systems, leading to major savings for industry in Europe.

New study shows animal family tree looking bushy in places
A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists suggests that a branch-by-branch account of animal relationships over a vast expanse of time is difficult to reconstruct because early animal evolution occurred in bunches.

Tsunami + 1 year: Reviving exhausted fisheries should trump replacing boats, gear, experts say
One year after a tsunami devastated South Asian communities, global fisheries experts say habitat restoration, retraining and education programs are much needed to revive severely exhausted fisheries and steer survivors into more sustainable livelihoods than fishing.

Researchers investigate the case of the disappearing teaspoons
'Where have all the bloody teaspoons gone?' is an age old question in the workplace.

Storing carbon to combat global warming may cause other environmental problems, study suggests
Growing tree plantations to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to mitigate global warming -- so called

CONDOR's first look at the universe
The first light of a state-of-the-art terahertz receiver at the APEX telescope in Chile.

Short glasses more likely to lead to over-indulgence
People pour 20-30 percent more alcohol into short, wide glasses than into tall, narrow ones of the same volume, but they wrongly believe that tall glasses hold more, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

HHMI awards international research grants to 28 scientists
Some of the most promising biomedical researchers in the Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia have been selected as HHMI internationl research scholars.

Cluster helps to protect astronauts and satellites against 'killer electrons'
ESA's Cluster mission has revealed a new creation mechanism of 'killer electrons' - highly energetic electrons that are responsible for damaging satellites and posing a serious hazard to astronauts.

Researchers develop new method for studying 'mental time travel'
Princeton neuroscientists have developed a new way of tracking people's mental state as they think back to previous events -- a process that has been described as

DOE Joint Genome Institute issues new call for large-scale sequencing proposals
Responding to the escalating demand for genome sequencing to unlock the potential of plants and microbes as fuel for the nation's energy needs, the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) has announced the call for 2007 Community Sequencing Program (CSP) proposals.

Free care by Florida emergency physicians climbs faster as uninsured patient visits increase
Hospital emergency physicians serving an increased volume of uninsured patients provided disproportionately higher rates of free care - a consequence that may worsen overcrowding, adversely impact quality of care and lead more emergency rooms to close their doors.

Role of nervous system in fatal heart rhythm under study
Finding out why seemingly healthy people experience ventricular fibrillation, a fatal irregular heart rhythm, could eventually lead to better methods of early detection, according to a Medical College of Georgia researcher.

Europe's newest Meteosat launches on Solstice Night
The second member of Europe's new generation of weather satellites has successfully been lifted onto orbit, continuing an uninterrupted series of launch successes since 1977.

A little telomerase isn't enough
With seed money from Johns Hopkins Institute of Cell Engineering, a Johns Hopkins geneticist and her team have discovered a critical link between the health of stem cells and the length of the chromosome ends within them.

2005 science breakthrough: Revising Earth's early history
Using refined techniques to study rocks, researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) found that Earth's mantle separated into chemically distinct layers faster and earlier than previously believed -- within 30 million years of the solar system's formation, instead of occurring gradually over more than 4 billion years, as the standard model suggests.

New procedure reveals the secrets of the brain
Scientists from the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tãbingen have developed a new procedure which accurately maps the activity in primate brains by means of the BOLD-Signal (Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Signal).

Money won't buy you happiness
Money is not the key to happiness, argues an editorial in this week's BMJ - but family networks and having a full life outside work may do the trick.

Alcohol is a strong trigger of criminal violence
A study at Karolinska Institutet of 133 violent offenders in Sweden shows that 78 (58 percent) had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act.

New enhancements upgrade NIST Mass Spectra Library
After three years of development, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a major upgrade of the widely used Mass Spectral Library.

Three US IEEE members to begin IEEE-USA Government Fellowships
Three US IEEE members will begin their IEEE-USA Government Fellowships in January.

Study demonstrates safety of oral contraceptives in women with lupus
In a major study funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women with either inactive or stable systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) - a disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and damages healthy tissues of the skin, joints and internal organs - were able to take oral contraceptives without increased risk of flares, or periods of increased disease activity, that characterize the disease.

MicroRNA gene that regulates lifespan found by Yale scientists
Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging, Yale researchers report in the journal Science.
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