Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 18, 2006
Stanford study of owls finds link in brain between sight and sound
Two scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have taken a big step toward sorting out how the brain accomplishes this task.

Divorce drops a person's wealth by 77 percent, study finds
A new nationwide study provides some of the best evidence to date of the devastating financial toll divorce can wreak on a person's wealth.

How taste response is hard-wired into the brain
Instantly reacting to the sweet lure of chocolate or the bitter taste of strychnine would seem to demand that such behavioral responses be so innate as to be hard-wired into the brain.

Rutgers researchers create tiny chemical cages to enclose drug, pesticide molecules
Tiny chemical cages created by Rutgers researchers show potential for delivering drugs to organs or tissues where they're needed and making pesticides less hazardous to handle.

Call for entries: 2006 Acoustics Writing Awards
To encourage the communication of acoustical science and engineering to the general public, the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) sponsors two annual awards for outstanding popular works on acoustics.

Magnetic spin details may lead to new devices
An unusual pool of scientific talent at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, combined with new nanofabrication and nanocharacterization instruments, is helping to open a new frontier in electronics, to be made up of very small and very fast devices.

Mount Sinai expands cutting-edge molecular testing
Today, Mount Sinai Hospital, announced that it has signed a three-year strategic alliance agreement with world-renowned diagnostic company Roche Diagnostics, to establish a Molecular Center of Excellence (MCOE).

Scientists link another gene to degenerative blindness
A University of Wisconsin-Madison team has taken a small but crucial step forward in the ongoing fight against retinal degeneration.

Global warming - the blame is not with the plants
International scientific team reacts to misinterpretation of their research results and provides the correct perspective.

City of Hope becomes 5AM Solution's first open source client
5AM Solutions, a leading provider of custom software solutions for the life sciences, signed a services agreement today with the City of Hope (COH) to support the adoption of the Microarray Enterprise Manager (MEM) as the enterprise solution for COH's Microarray Core Facility.

Carl and Ruth Shapiro family donates $25 million for new science center at Brandeis University
Longtime Brandeis benefactors Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro have donated $25 million for a new 175,000-square-foot science center designed to enhance the University's leadership in the life sciences and emerging areas of interdisciplinary research well into the 21st century, officials announced today.

Newest M.D. Anderson SPORE to fund breast cancer research
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded a National Cancer Institute Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for breast cancer research, the 10th such grant earned by the institution since 1996.

Ahead of the game
The disappearance of Neanderthals is frequently attributed to competition from modern humans, whose greater intelligence has been widely supposed to make them more efficient as hunters.

Half of active children pursue non-traditional physical activities
A transportation engineer at The University of Texas at Austin has performed one of the most comprehensive surveys of physical activity in children and found that about as many kids stay active by peddling their bikes to a friend's house or walking around a neighborhood as do others by participating in organized athletics.

In spite of ourselves
In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy (January 17, 2006), Keith Jensen and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany looks at altruism and spite in our close cousin; the chimpanzee.

First impressions of beauty may demonstrate why the pretty prosper
We might not be able to resist a pretty face after all, according to a report from the University of Pennsylvania.

Repetition reverses med students' stethoscope shortcomings
Repetition appears to be key in improving medical students' woeful lack of stethoscope skills, a handicap that often continues into patient practice.

New key brain target of fat hormone
Researchers have identified a new area of the brain that responds to the fat hormone leptin in regulating body weight and energy expenditure.

University of Toronto-led ethics network to help guide Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative
Under a five-year, US $10-million grant, a University of Toronto team will collaborate with other experts in developing countries to identify and devise ways to address potential ethical, social and cultural issues raised in the course of conducting projects under the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative.

Academy honors 15 for major contributions to science
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has selected 15 individuals to receive awards honoring their outstanding scientific achievements.

Growth hormone, obesity can trigger sleep apnea in some kids
Growth hormone was approved in the United States to treat Prader-Willi in 2000, but several children with the disease died after beginning the treatments.

Europe's largest climate change experiment launched
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have launched a large scale experiment to monitor the impact of climate change on freshwater systems.

Genome sequencing is for ecologists, too
An organism widely used for genetics-versus-environment studies has joined the panoply of mice, rats, dogs, humans and other species whose entire genomes have been sequenced.

Researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute resolve 40-year eye movement, visibility controversy
For more than 40 years, a scientific controversy has raged over whether microsaccades, rapid eye movements that occur when a person's gaze is fixated, are responsible for visibility.

Gene therapy 'turns off' mutation linked to Parkinson's disease
A group of Northwestern University researchers is developing a novel gene therapy aimed at selectively turning off one of the genes involved in the development of Parkinson's disease.

Mobile climate monitoring facility to sample skies in Africa
The US Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program is placing a new, portable atmospheric laboratory with sophisticated instruments and data systems in Niger, Africa, to gain a better understanding of the potential impacts of Saharan dust on global climate.

Fat overload kills mammalian cells -- key culprit identified
Investigating the harmful health effects of excess fat, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Defusing a time bomb: Heart attack risk-detection technology developed at UH
A computational medicine breakthrough is helping one University of Houston professor pave the way to uncover a ticking

International HIV/AIDS trial finds continuous antiretroviral therapy superior to episodic therapy
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that enrollment into a large international HIV/AIDS trial comparing continuous antiretroviral therapy with episodic drug treatment guided by levels of CD4+ cells has been stopped.

UCSD biologists find new evidence for one-way evolution
By tracing the 30-million year history of variation in a gene found in plants such as tomatoes and tobacco, biologists at the University of California, San Diego have found new evidence to support an old idea -- that some evolutionary changes are irreversible.

New study examines scope of online breast cancer support groups
Stereotypes about who will use online support groups are wrong, according to research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Study sets new gold standard for initial antiretroviral treatment of HIV infection
An international team of AIDS researchers at Johns Hopkins and other institutions has found that a once-daily combination of three antiretroviral drugs works better as an initial treatment for HIV infection than another three-drug combination long considered the gold standard.

Researchers find effective, cheap treatment for cystic fibrosis lung disease
Working half a world away from each other, two teams of medical scientists have identified what they believe is a simple, effective and inexpensive treatment to reduce lung problems associated with cystic fibrosis, the leading fatal genetic illness among whites.

UW astronomer hits cosmic paydirt with Stardust
When Stardust's sample-return canister was opened, scientists were amazed by what they saw.

NHLBI media availability: Treatment shows long-term benefits for cystic fibrosis patients
New research suggests that inhaling hypertonic saline, a water-based concentrated salt solution, could provide long-term benefits for lung health in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

'Vioxx like' drugs may still be best option for arthritis, write scientists
Scientists believe that despite the current concerns around anti-inflammatory drugs like Vioxx, they may still be the best option for treating some forms of arthritis.

By straddling twin molecules, Sandia physicist obtains unique view of their breakup
In work published in the current (Jan. 13) issue of Science, a team of scientists from the Sandia National Laboratories, the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada, and elsewhere effectually rode molecules to watch pairs of joined nitric oxide molecules (called NO dimers) split after being excited by an ultrashort laser pulse.

Report demonstrates safety of nuclear medicine procedures
A report from the United States Pharmacopeia -- the official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other health care products manufactured and sold in the United States -- demonstrates just how safe nuclear medicine procedures are for today's patients.

Rise in sudden infant death syndrome cases involving infants that sleep with parent on a sofa
The number of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases that occur when a parent sleeps with their infant on a sofa has increased in recent years, according to a paper published online today (Wednesday January 18, 2006) by The Lancet.

Academy Professor Kari Alitalo receives the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine 2006
Academy Professor Kari Alitalo from Finland and Professor Christine Petit from France are the 2006 winners of the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine worth a total of 950,000 euros.

Ossur acquires US orthopaedics company
Ossur, a global orthopaedics company best known for its leadership in the prosthetics industry, but rapidly becoming a major player in the orthopaedics market, today announced that it has acquired Innovation Sports, Inc., a US-based developer and manufacturer of ligament braces, for $38.4 million.

TIGER innovators enhance North-South collaboration
Five international partnerships have recently been awarded funding through ESA's TIGER Innovators project to develop new ways of applying Earth Observation data as a tool for water resource management in Africa.

One million people in medical gamble
A million people will be asked to give up their medical secrets for two huge projects in the US and UK that scientists hope will one day lead to new cures and treatments for diseases.

Four antivirals not suitable for routine seasonal influenza control
The commonly prescribed antiviral medications amantadine and rimantidine should not be used for seasonal or pandemic influenza control because they are ineffective and can cause adverse side-effects, according to a study published online today (Thursday January 19, 2006) by The Lancet.

New program puts the brakes on depression roundabout
A University of Queensland researcher is offering people with depression a new, free program that is confidential and accessible to people across Australia, including those in remote areas.

Nursing professor calls for steps to close the reality gap between education and practice
The nursing profession should be deeply concerned that the reality gap between education and practice identified three decades ago still remains today, according to the latest Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Engineers develop smallest device to control light, advance silicon technology
An electrical engineer at the University of Texas at Austin has made a laser light blink while passing through a miniaturized silicon chip, a major step toward developing commercially viable optical interconnects for high performance computers and other devices.

Scientists find unusual lung-cancer tumor-suppressor gene
Researchers have identified a new and unusual tumor suppressor gene that may be important in cancers of the lung and head and neck.

Where now for agent-based computing?
What is the future direction for agent-based systems, one of the most important software R&D areas in recent years?

In the mind's eye: How the brain makes a whole out of parts
When a human looks at a number, letter or other shape, neurons in various areas of the brain's visual center respond to different components of that shape, almost instantaneously fitting them together like a puzzle to create an image that the individual then

Long-term ecological research should include studies on how social science interacts with ecosystems
A new report, co-authored by an anthropologist at the University of Georgia, says that much more attention should be paid at the study sites and elsewhere in America to the social science aspects of long-term ecological study.

Prophylactic surgeries prevent two gynecological cancers in women with Lynch syndrome
Women diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a condition often associated with colon cancer, also are at high risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers - both of which can be eliminated by having a prophylactic hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), according to a study published by researchers from The University of Texas M.

Penn State researchers help businesses identify bad workplace trends
In order to create and maintain successful businesses, most business people typically look for patterns or apply particular styles to their day-to-day operations because that's what has worked for them in the past.

Public support for environmental protection on the decline
Public support for environmental protection in the United States as a federal government priority has dropped substantially since 2001, a researcher from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has found after analyzing results from national polls by the Pew Research Center.

MIT researcher sees big impact of little cracks
An MIT researcher's atom-by-atom simulation of cracks forming and spreading may help explain how materials fail in nanoscale devices, airplanes and even in the Earth itself during a quake.

New method developed for exploring frustrated systems
A new method for exploring the secrets of Mother Nature's frustrations has been developed by a team of physicists.

Astrophysics study examines galaxy rotation curve data without dark matter
A new paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal, examines galaxy rotation curves without exotic dark matter and seeks to describe a modified Newtonian acceleration law derived from a relativistic modification of Einstein's gravitational theory.

Genetics plays role in relapse of illicit drug-seeking behavior
Inbred strains of rats differ in how aggressively they seek cocaine after a few weeks of use, researchers say.

Boston College scientists stretch carbon nanotubes
Physicists at Boston College have for the first time shown that carbon nanotubes can be stretched at high temperature to nearly four times their original length, a finding that could have implications for future semiconductor design as well as in the development of new nanocomposites.

Darkness unveils vital metabolic fuel switch between sugar and fat
University of Texas Medical School at Houston research team finds that constant darkness can regulate metabolism.

Scientists find stronger evidence for link between cat faeces and schizophrenia
Researchers have found stronger evidence for a link between a parasite in cat faeces and undercooked meat and an increased risk of schizophrenia.

Tiny RNA molecules fine-tune the brain's synapses
A study in Nature provides the first evidence that microRNAs -- tiny, recently discovered bits of genetic sequence that suppress gene activity -- have a role in the brain's synapses.
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