Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 26, 2006
Mountain ranges rise dramatically faster than expected
Two new studies by a University of Rochester researcher show that mountain ranges rise to their height in as little as two million years -- several times faster than geologists have always thought.

Vaccinate infants of hepatitis B mothers, say experts
Immunising newborn infants of mothers with hepatitis B prevents infection being transmitted from mother to child, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

UK plans to cut street prostitution will threaten sex workers' health
Plans to cut street prostitution, set out by the UK government last week, will threaten sex workers' health, warn experts in this week's BMJ.

Rain gardens soak up urban storm water pollution
Properly designed

Mystery of metallic glass is cracked by Johns Hopkins engineers
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered how atoms pack themselves in unusual materials known as metallic glasses.

St. Jude conducts first large-scale bird flu genome study
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have completed the first large-scale study of bird flu virus genomes, thereby doubling the amount of genetic information available on the genes and proteins of these viruses.

Discoveries may advance stem cell therapy for Parkinson's, cancer patients
Two studies in the Jan. 27, 2006 Cell have yielded evidence that could prove a boon for stem cell therapies aimed at patients with Parkinson's disease and those with compromised immune systems due to intensive cancer therapy or autoimmune disease, according to researchers.

Underdogs in the understory: Study suggests nature favors rarer trees
A study of seven tropical forests around the world has revealed that nature encourages biodiversity by favoring the growth of less common trees.

Asian populations less likely to get relief from chest pain with nitroglycerin
Fudan University researchers Li Jin and colleagues report that 30-50 percent of Asians don't respond to nitroglycerin because of an inactive form of the gene ALDH2.

Study links early friendships with high-quality sibling relationships
Children who experience a rewarding friendship before the birth of a sibling are likely to have a better relationship with that brother or sister that endures throughout their childhood, said Laurie Kramer in a University of Illinois study published in December's Journal of Family Psychology.

Eating more than five portions of fruit & vegetables a day can substantially reduce risk of stroke
Encouraging people to consume more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day should result in a major reduction in stroke, according to a meta-analysis in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Study implicates defective synapse generator in onset of Alzheimer's
A new UCLA/Veterans Affairs study implicates defects in the machinery that creates connections between brain cells as responsible for the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Self-knowledge can be a sweetheart of a Valentine's Day gift
The ideal Valentine's Day present for people seeking their sweethearts might be a package of self-knowledge.

Pitt professor's theory of evolution gets boost from cell research
An article by University of Pittsburgh Professor of Anthropology Jeffrey H.

Sequencing our seas
Scientists have sequenced and compared the genomes of planktonic microbes living throughout the water column in the Pacific Ocean.

In Grids we trust
The importance of understanding the process by which a result was generated is fundamental to many real-life applications in science, engineering, medical domain, supply management, etc.

Yale group to study atmospheric 'tsunamis'
Yale researchers have recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to observe, describe and explain severe atmospheric turbulence over mountains, and the effect of

Approaching a stem cell therapy for Parkinson's disease
Genes that control the development of dopamine-producing nerve cells have now been identified by scientists at Karolinska Institutet.

CNIC commits 5 million Euros to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine
The Spanish Cardiovascular Research Center (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III) today made a commitment in the amount of 5 million euros, which is nearly $6 million, to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Grants from research to prevent blindness surpass $7.9 million in 2005
Research to Prevent Blindness, a New York-based foundation and the world's leading voluntary health organization supporting eye research, awarded 81 grants, totaling more than $7.9 million in 2005.

Research breakthrough pinpoints aim of ion beams fired at cancer tumors
Nonsurgical cancer therapy that destroys tumors but leaves healthy surrounding tissue intact could be available at every hospital if research reported this week in the journal Nature eventually comes to fruition.

New pathway could present an intervention point for cancer treatment
A new cellular pathway leads to destruction of a protein that promotes growth of breast, prostate and similar cancers and could provide a new avenue through which to pursue treatment of such diseases, said a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine.

Vaccine provides 100 percent protection against avian flu virus in animal study
University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed an avian flu vaccine that completely protected mice and chickens from infection by the deadly H5N1 virus.

Genomatix improves its coverage of Affymetrix new exon arrays
Genomatix Software GmbH announced today that it will extend the leading position of its gene chip compatible products further by a new version of ChipInspector, which will be specifically geared towards analysis of the new exon arrays.

Unplanned quit attempts more likely to succeed
Unplanned attempts to stop smoking are more likely to succeed than planned ones, concludes a study published online by the BMJ today.

Common food preservative might provide treatment for cystic fibrosis
Researchers led by a University of Cincinnati scientist say they have discovered what might be the

Five European laboratories forms a concerted effort to understand tumor-host interactions
An EU funded research project entitled

Headache, sleep problems connected in children
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that frequent headaches in children appear to be associated with sleep problems.

New book helps returning veterans and families adjust to life after war
The experience of war can change a person profoundly, and the return to civilian or active duty life stateside can be a challenge for both veterans and those who are close to them, says a specialist who has studied the subject.

Wide range of topics covered by new research units
The DFG (German Research Foundation) approved 19 new research units.

Personalized treatments according to type of obesity
The Danone Institute has provided a fellowship for basic research to Ana Antón Solanas, a research assistant in the Dietetics and Diet Therapy Unit of the University of Navarra.

BRCA1 gene found to inhibit two sex hormones, not just one
It's been known that the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 regulates use of estrogen in breast and other cells, but now researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that it also controls activity of a second sex steroid hormone, progesterone.

Computer systems assisting orthopaedic surgeons
Two new computer systems are helping orthopaedic surgeons diagnose and analyse their own patient data, potentially providing computer-aided diagnosis and analysis for any medical speciality.

Canine cancer vaccine program shows early promise
It wasn't publicized, other than by word of mouth, and still the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine was overwhelmed with requests.

Researchers map of genetic variations implicated in disease
A group of genes involved in the human immune system are contained within a surprisingly short section of Chromosome 6 that has long been recognised as the most important genomic region in relation to disease susceptibility.Public access to these data will help researchers find specific variants conferring disease susceptibility or resistance and, as in this report, rule out regions for conveying specificity to certain diseases.

Women still secondary breadwinners in marriages
Oh, how the times haven't changed -- men still bring home more of the bacon.

DNA-wrapped carbon nanotubes serve as sensors in living cells
Single-walled carbon nanotubes wrapped with DNA can be placed inside living cells and detect trace amounts of harmful contaminants using near infrared light, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stevens professor awarded Office of Naval Research grant
Cristina Comaniciu, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, has been awarded an Office of Naval Research (ONR) grant for

What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
Experts believe that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder caused by many different factors.

Low cholesterol cues cataract development
Using a rat model of cataracts, Masayuki Mori and researchers at Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine report that mutation of cholesterol biosynthesis genes lanosterol synthase and farnesyl diphosphate farnesyl transferase 1 reduces cholesterol levels and impairs epithelial cell differentiation in the lens.

Tobacco industry promoted 'ineffective' ventilation systems
Newly released documents reveal that, despite knowing that ventilation and air filtration are ineffective at removing environmental tobacco smoke, British American Tobacco (BAT) promoted these technologies to the hospitality industry as viable options to smoking bans.

Fingerprints provide crucial clue to new nanofiber fabrication technique
Fingerprints are usually used to identify people but, this time, they gave Penn State chemical engineers the crucial clue needed to discover an easy, versatile new method for making nanofibers that have potential uses in advanced filtration as well as wound care, drug delivery, bioassays and other medical applications.

Study: How to make mentors matter in the sciences
Students in science often joke that finding a good research advisor can be almost as tricky as finding the perfect spouse.

Hip hop and linguistics: You ain't heard no research like it!
It may be 'ear torture' for some, but for linguistics researchers, rap music represents a treasure trove of material for studying African American vernacular English.

Ethanol can replace gasoline with big energy savings, comparable impact on greenhouse gases
Corn-based ethanol is now blended with gasoline in many states, but there is still ongoing and fierce debate about whether it's worth the energy and resources needed to grow corn.

Life leaves subtle signature in the lay of the land
If life were suddenly eliminated from the Earth, would a visitor from another planet be able to tell what once was here?

Wyoming cloud seeding experiment begins this month
A five-year, $8.8 million pilot project to examine whether seeding clouds with silver iodide produces a measurable increase in snowfall over Wyoming mountains begins this month.

Role of the nervous system in regulating stem cells discovered
New study by Mount Sinai researchers may lead to improved stem cell therapies for patients with compromised immune systems due to intensive cancer therapy or autoimmune disease.

February Geology media highlights
Topics covered in the February issue include: an article on the discovery of methane gas hydrate 15 miles off the Los Angeles coast, another on tracking methane gas hydrate migration and its relationship to climate change, an article on changes in Long Island Sound's giant sand wave field, another article discusses large Holocene lakes and climate change in the Chihuahuan Desert, an article on Rocky Mountain monsoon in the late Paleogene and an article providing evidence that severe late-Holocene drought leading to abandonment of Old World civilizations in Africa and Asia extended well into middle European latitudes.

Discovery of coolest Earth-like planet
An international team of astrophysicists has discovered a new planet five times the size of Earth, the smallest extrasolar planet unearthed to date outside of our solar system.

Study of tropical forests worldwide reveals that nature encourages diversity
An analysis of seven tropical forests around the world has found that nature encourages diversity by selecting for less common trees as the trees mature.

Public education key to ending bureaucratic regulation that stifles medical research
The public needs to know that advances in diagnostics and therapeutics are being held up by bureaucratic regulation designed to protect their privacy, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

UNC scientists discover 'gatekeeper' protein in blood clotting
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has identified a protein that may control blood clotting by keeping blood platelets from sticking together.

Researchers collaborate to understand phenomena controlling PEM fuel cell performance, durability
Two Sandia researchers are studying key phenomena that control hydrogen-fueled PEM (proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cells. 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