Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 12, 2006
Armpit odour can exude women's fertility
Research published in the recent issue of Ethology has discovered that men are able to potentially use smell as a mechanism to establish when their current or prospective sexual partners are at their most fertile.

Robust monitoring is crucial to patient choice
The monitoring of care provided under the new patient choice scheme in England is poorly structured and variable, warn two ophthalmologists in this week's BMJ.

Rockefeller researchers discover a biological clock within a clock
By providing a glimpse into living cells, Rockefeller University researchers have uncovered a previously undetected clock inside the circadian clock.

Berkeley scientists get first detailed look at Dicer
A team of researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley used x-ray crystallography at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) to determine the crystal structure of Dicer, an enzyme that plays a critical role in the process known as RNA interference.

Society of Nuclear Medicine commends FDA for release of new guidance documents
The Society of Nuclear Medicine commends the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the Office of Regulatory Affairs for their commitment to facilitating safe and effective research with today's release of two important documents regarding investigational new drugs.

Long-term memory controlled by molecular pathway at synapses
Harvard University biologists have identified a molecular pathway active in neurons that interacts with RNA to regulate the formation of long-term memory in fruit flies.

Gene-specific Ebola therapies protect non-human primates from lethal disease
Scientists have developed a successful strategy for interfering with Ebola virus infection that protected 75 percent of nonhuman primates exposed to the lethal disease.

Caloric restriction appears to prevent primary aging in the heart
Eating a very low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet is good for your heart.

New cervical screening technique no better than conventional smear test
Liquid-based cytology -- a new cervical screening technique being introduced into programmes in the USA and UK -- is no better than the conventional smear test, according an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New scheme will help London's most vulnerable people
This month, the medical humanitarian organisation, Medecins du Monde UK, launches Project: London, an initiative to help vulnerable people to access health care.

Author explores CIA connections to torture tactics from Cold War to present
A professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has authored a book available this month that explores evidence of a 50-year legacy of US government-sponsored forms of psychological torture.

Antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy are the best treatment options for depression
Despite public and professional misgivings, antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are the most effective treatments for moderate to severe depression, state the authors of a Seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease is devoted to metal ions and neurodegenerative diseases
The recent issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (Volume 8, Issue 2) published by IOS Press is devoted to metal ions and neurodegenerative diseases and presents a collection of important papers dedicated to uncovering the role of various metals in human neurophysiology and neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer's disease.

Cancer patients put at risk by shortage of radiotherapy staff
Many radiotherapy departments in UK hospitals are heavily overstretched, resulting in long waits for cancer patients which may be jeopardising treatment, says a paper in this week's BMJ.

Cracking the genetic code for control of gene expression
Where will a gene be expressed and when? Researchers are now able to predict regions of genomic DNA that will drive gene expression.

Cosmic battle creates Milky-Way sized tunnel
A team of astronomers is announcing today that they have discovered a giant Milky Way-sized tunnel filled with high energy particles in a distant galaxy cluster.

Fossil galaxy reveals clues to early universe
A tiny galaxy has given astronomers a glimpse of a time when the first bright objects in the universe formed, ending the dark ages that followed the birth of the universe.

UC Berkeley astronomers find magnetic Slinky in constellation of Orion
Using the recently rebuilt Green Bank Telescope, radio astronomers at UC Berkeley have discovered the first helical magnetic fields in space, coiled like a snake around a giant molecular cloud in Orion and squeezing it into a cigar-shaped filament.

UC Riverside releases analysis of tribal government gaming in California
The Center for California Native Nations (CCNN), located at the University of California, Riverside, has recently completed a comprehensive study of Indian gaming in California, including its impacts on tribal and local governments.

Key heart and Alzheimer's disease protein imaged for first time in native state
Researchers for the first time have created a three-dimensional image of apolipoprotein E, a protein long associated with cardiovascular disease and more recently with Alzheimer's disease, as it appears when it is bound to fat-like substances known as lipids.

Author of new book on evolution that solves Darwin's dilemma to speak at NY Academy of Sciences
Two biologists, Kirschner and Gerhart, say that their new theory,

Molecule does more than slice and dice RNA
A team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists has peeled back some of the mystery of how cells are able to turn off genes selectively to control critical events of development.

Global guidelines for iron and folic acid supplementation in children should be revised
Giving all young children iron and folic acid supplements in a population with high rates of malaria could result in an increased risk of severe illness and death, according to the results of a randomised trial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

AstraZeneca and M. D. Anderson Cancer Center form umbrella scientific collaboration agreements
AstraZeneca and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, a recognized world leader in cancer research, today announced entering into scientific collaboration agreements that will allow for integrated pre-clinical and clinical research on new treatments for cancer, focusing initially on aerodigestive diseases (e.g., lung cancer, head and neck cancers or colorectal cancers).

Research details how a virus hijacks cell signals to cause infection
A common virus that causes meningitis and heart inflammation takes a

Crater drilling declared major success
Following three months of around-the-clock work, the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater Deep Drilling Project successfully completed its operations, extracting more than a mile-long segment of rocks and sediments from the Earth.

Supersized 'island' of resistance genes discovered in an infectious bacterium
A. baumannii is a drug-resistant bacterium common around the world.

UCSD team unmasks family of immune system invaders
Like a family of petty criminals gone wrong, researchers at (UCSD) were surprised to find that bacterial pathogens found in a number of troublesome diseases are actually related.

Astronomers weigh 'recycled' millisecond pulsar
A team of US and Australian astronomers is announcing today that they have, for the first time, precisely measured the mass of a millisecond pulsar -- a tiny, dead star spinning hundreds of times every second.

Post-Katrina wave of Mexican migrant workers reflects changing immigration trends from 1990
The large influx of Mexican and other Latin American migrant workers seeking construction jobs in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath was mainly a continuation of a new pattern of immigration to the Gulf Coast that began in the 1990s, said Rice University sociologists.

Early drinking in teens linked to alcohol use in movies
Seeing movies that feature characters drinking alcohol can predispose young adolescents to experiment with alcohol at an early age, concludes a study led by Dartmouth Medical School researchers.

Donner Party cannibalism legends remain unproven
The Donner Party used tea cups and other tableware and ate domestic and wild animals while stranded in the Sierra Nevadas during 1846-47, but all group members may not have resorted to cannibalism.

Blockade of fat hormone helps halt and heal multiple sclerosis
Giuseppe Matarese and colleagues from Università di Napoli

Comet dust brought back to Earth: Paving the way for Rosetta
Scientists around the world eagerly await the arrival of sample particles from Comet Wild 2, which are being brought back to Earth by the US Stardust spacecraft on 15 January this year.

Epsilon4 allele carriers show altered brain activity before onset of Alzheimer's symptoms
Healthy individuals who are at risk of Alzheimer's disease show reduced activity in the hippocampal region of the brain when performing tasks related to forming new memories.

Expanding co-operation: German ground station tracks ESA moon mission
In a first-ever technical tie-up, ESA and the German Aerospace Center have agreed to share network facilities, initially using a German ground station to track ESA's SMART-1 mission.

Sun protection for plants
Scientists working on the fundamental biological processes of plants could make significant difference to the lives of farmers in many parts of the world.

JCI table of contents: January 12, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online on January 12 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, including: Blockade of fat hormone helps halt and heal multiple sclerosis; Arthritis therapies may be able to bet on T-bet; Insights from a mouse model of degenerative retinal disease are a sight for sore eyes; Type 3 deiodinase enzyme keeps thyroid hormones in check.

Satellites see largest jet of particles created between Sun and Earth
A flotilla of space-weather satellites - ESA's Cluster and NASA's ACE and Wind - observed for the first time steady large-scale jets of charged particles in the solar wind between the Sun and Earth.

Penguins waddle but they don't fall down, UH researchers say
With their feathery tuxedoes and charming Chilly Willy-waddle, penguins are the quintessence of cute.

Statement on NIH research on obesity and type 2 diabetes
Obesity and type 2 diabetes have become major public health problems in this country.

Journalists to discuss scientific challenges in Stevens lecture
The Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology will host three pre-eminent science journalists to discuss

Putting pedestrian safety in the driving seat
Every year in the European Union there are over 9,000 deaths and 200,000 injured victims in road accidents in which pedestrians and cyclists collide with a car.

AACR supports new FDA clinical research guidelines
The American Association for Cancer Research, the world's oldest and largest organization dedicated to cancer research, enthusiastically supports the new guidelines announced today by the US Food and Drug Administration, whose primary goal is to streamline the earliest phases of clinical research for new medical treatments. 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