Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 16, 2006
Unexpected high rates of tobacco use
In many regions of the world, the difference in current cigarette smoking between boys and girls is narrower than expected, according to an article published online today (Friday February 17, 2006) by The Lancet.

Brain researchers discover the evolutionary traces of grammar
The bases of the human language faculty are now being investigated by means of highly specialised measurement techniques and with increasing success.

Not every stutterer is a problem case
If a child often stops in the middle of a sentence and repeats individual sounds or syllables, this does not inevitably mean that the child is a stutterer.

Study shows MRI can detect breast disease missed by mammography
Researchers have found that mammography coupled with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is extremely sensitive in the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

Study suggests that publicly available genome data may contain small but significant errors
Comparing data from inferred probe maps to the available sequence assembly, the researchers' new method provides insights into the difficulties of establishing a canonical and accurate sequence or physical map, and suggests ways that the two types of data can be combined to render increased confidence levels of the assembly.

NIST method may help optimize light-emitting semiconductors
Physicists at JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado, have demonstrated an ultrafast laser technique for

World's pledge to halve hunger by 2015 looks like empty promise
Almost 200 countries agreed in 1990 to cut worldwide hunger in half by 2015.

Second low-oxygen pathway hints at cancer, cardiovascular disease physiology
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified a second molecular pathway that promotes cell survival in low-oxygen conditions.

Clock molecule's sensitivity to lithium sheds light on bipolar disorder
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that a key receptor protein is a critical component of the internal molecular clock in mammals.

'Nano-keys' bind cell receptors and trigger allergic reactions
The tumblers of life continue to click as Cornell University researchers have fabricated a set of 'nano-keys' on the molecular scale to interact with receptors on cell membranes and trigger larger-scale responses within cells -- such as the release of histamines in an allergic response.

Ticks, flukes, and genomics: Emerging pathogens revealed
Ehrlichiosis is no star of science. This emerging disease has an awkward name, vague flu-like symptoms, and a nasty habit of being caused by bacteria that live inside ticks and flatworms.

Estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy and risk of lobular and tubular breast cancer
Estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy is associated with a more than two-fold higher relative risk of developing lobular cancer or tubular cancer than of developing ductal cancer.

Drug-ultrasound combination increases reopening of blocked arteries after stroke
Early results of the International Management of Stroke, phase 2 study compares different treatments for stroke.

Beaming pain relief
A Soviet technology developed during the Cold War to keep short-range military communications secure may someday provide relief from hard-to-treat conditions such as nerve pain, intense itching, and nausea caused by chemotherapy.

Overseas NOx could be boosting ozone levels in US
Large amounts of a chemical that boosts ozone production are being transported to North America from across the Pacific Ocean in May.

Macroeconomic policy in the Franc Zone
The 14-member CFA Franc Zones in West and Central Africa predate the European Monetary Union by decades.

Phytoplankton bounce back from abrupt climate change
The majority of tiny marine plants weathered the abrupt climate changes that occurred in Earth's past and bounced back, according to a Penn State geoscientist.

Study reveals dramatic metabolic differences in how adults, infants and children process drugs
A Medical College of Wisconsin study provides the strongest and most complete evidence to date of major changes occurring during human development in the types and levels of enzymes responsible for the disposition of drugs and environmental chemicals.

Workshop: Canada's Leadership in International Innovation
Canada's National Science Advisor chairs a workshop on innovation in Canada and showcases leading research in nanotechnology, genomics, and astronomy at the 2006 AAAS Annual Meetings.

Johns Hopkins scientists map brain area that may aid hunt for human brain stem cells
A study led by a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon has provided the first comprehensive map of a part of the adult human brain containing astrocytes, cells known to produce growth factors critical to the regeneration of damaged neural tissue and that potentially serve as brain stem cells.

ALOS sends its first image
This image of Mt. Fuji is the first data to be acquired by Japan's recently launched Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) on 24 January 2006.

Education systems have little impact on social mobility
Current debate about the UK government's proposed education reforms may be based on a false premise.

Training benefits brains in older people, counters aging factors
Too old to learn new skills? By golly, think again.

A cancer promoting protein shows up in an unexpected place in the cell
Researchers have discovered a protein widely known to cause the out-of-control growth of cells can actually be manipulated to induce those cells to commit suicide, providing a novel target for the development of anti-cancer drugs, according to the results of a new study led by New York University School of Medicine researchers.

Science and the end of poverty
Symposium at AAAS will feature scientists from The Earth Institute at Columbia University examining a range of ways that science can help understand and alleviate extreme poverty worldwide.

Ancient greenhouse emissions--possible lessons for modern climate
Humans are performing a high-stakes climate experiment by burning fossil fuels that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

UCLA finds cancer drug may improve progeria; genetic disease causes accelerated aging in children
An experimental cancer drug may improve signs of progeria in a mouse model.

India could be facing alarming rise in tobacco use
India could be facing a new wave of increased tobacco use, according to an article published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New influenza vaccine takes weeks to mass produce
Using cell-based methods researchers have developed a commercially viable method for mass producing effective vaccines against potential pandemic influenza strains in weeks instead of the months required for traditional egg-based vaccines.

Employ more science and technology to reduce world hunger, expert says
Applying science and technology to build a Pluto-bound spacecraft that travels more than 10 times faster than a speeding bullet is a great achievement.

Livers from non-heart beating donors would boost organ supply
Liver transplants from non-heart beating donors have the potential to increase the supply of organs by as much as 20 percent, according to experts in this week's BMJ.

Virginia Tech helping to develop higher quality, disease-resistant wheat varieties
For the past two decades, molecular research has resulted in the ability to use chromosome specific DNA sequences or markers to identify genes controlling traits of economic importance in wheat varieties.

ASU and Mayo lead 'MAC Attack' to accelerate cancer research
In terms of a medical diagnosis, nothing is more devastating than hearing the

Meeting on WIPO 'Webcasting Treaty'
The National Academies will hold a public symposium to discuss the merits and drawbacks of the webcasting portion of the

Dartmouth study finds how the brain interprets the intent of others
Dartmouth researchers have learned more about how the human brain interprets the actions and intentions of others.

UCI researchers discover key factor for survival of human embryonic stem cells
Human embryonic stem cells (hES) offer great hope for the treatment of some devastating diseases, but finding a way to keep enough of these cells usable and healthy for transplantation in patients has been an ongoing problem.

Male breast cancer patients need better information and support services
National initiatives are needed to provide support and information for male breast cancer patients, state the authors of a seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

New biodiversity hotspots identified underground
A recent study in the journal Ecography describes how a team of European and American scientists have for the first time ever assembled data on over 4300 records from 1600 caves in seven regions ranging in size from 2000 to 5600 km2.

Next good dinosaur news likely to come from small packages
Dinosaurs seem bigger than life - big bones, big mysteries.

Gone but not forgotten
Many species find themselves isolated from predators with which they evolved.

NIST SRM aids efforts to reduce cigarette fire risk
To combat the loss of property and lives caused by cigarette-ignited fires, several states, as well as Canada, are requiring that all cigarettes sold meet a new standard for low risk of igniting household furnishings.

Have targets improved performance in the English NHS?
The star rating system for English NHS trusts seems to have improved performance, but systems need to be put in place to minimise gaming and ensure targets are not causing problems elsewhere, warn researchers in this week's BMJ.

Boys face greater burns risk than girls, says new research
Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to burn themselves, according to a study of 148 children aged six and under.

Gene patterns in white blood cells quickly diagnose disease
Researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research are developing a method to determine in a matter of hours if someone has been exposed to a bioterrorism agent just by looking at the pattern of active genes in that person's white blood cells.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center studies effects of cancer treatment among children of survivors
Researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and a team of international colleagues, have been awarded a $4 million grant from the NCI to determine whether high doses of chemotherapy and radiation given to young cancer patients can cause inherited health problems for their children in the future.

Bush's health care initiatives will make America's system worse
The health initiatives mentioned in US President George W Bush's annual State of the Union address are likely to make America's health care system even more expensive and inequitable, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Columbia receives up to $15 million from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation
Columbia University has been awarded up to $15 million from the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation.

Waking a sleeping virus
A detailed structural picture of a molecule that plays a key role in activating the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) in human cells has now been obtained by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the Institut de Virologie Moléculaire et Structurale, associated with the Université Joseph Fourier and the CNRS, in Grenoble.

Acupressure relieves low back pain
Acupressure (applying pressure with the thumbs or fingertips to the same points on the body stimulated in acupuncture) seems to be more effective in reducing low back pain than physical therapy, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.

Study finds no safe level for ozone
Even at very low levels, ozone -- the principal ingredient in smog -- increases the risk of premature death, according to a nationwide study to be published in the April edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

What's the link between astronauts and osteoporosis?
Space explorers and earth-bound medical experts will examine the links between immobility and bone health in the Bone Research in Space Symposium, which will be held in Toronto, Canada as part of the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis.

Gender practices inhibit men from being better dads
A study published in the current issue of Family Process provides an in-depth look at fathering in families with young children and finds that the most involved fathers live outside traditional gendered roles.

Sex, cleaner of genomes
When sexual species reproduce asexually, they accumulate bad mutations at an increased rate, report two Indiana University Bloomington evolutionary biologists in this week's Science.

Engineering nerve jumper cables for spinal cord repair in animal model
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have created - in a rodent model - a completely new way to engineer nerve structures, or constructs, in culture.

Chromosome rearrangements not as random as believed
As the human genome gradually yields up its secrets, scientists are finding some genetic events, such as rearrangements in chromosomes, are less random than they had previously thought.

New memory storage devices on horizon with UH student's award-winning work
A University of Houston student's award-winning research in solid state physics may one day provide faster, more efficient access to data, music and movies in such hand-held devices as MP3 players and cellular phones.

UK addresses funding gap created by US anti-abortion stance
During the past 5 years, organisations such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International have lost millions of dollars in funding because of the US's strict anti-abortion stance, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Drawing a crowd: Understanding the signals that bring inflammatory cells into the lung
Acute lung injury occurs secondary to inflammation. Now, in a study in the March issue of the JCI, Klaus Ley and colleagues from the University of Virginia demonstrate that CXCR2 expression on pulmonary endothelial cells mediates neutrophil influx.

Studies of ancient climates suggest Earth is now on a fast track to global warming
Human activities are releasing greenhouse gases more than 30 times faster than the rate of emissions that triggered a period of extreme global warming in the Earth's past, according to an expert on ancient climates.

Concern over fast tracking of new drugs
Concerns over the fast tracking of new drugs for commercial licensing are raised by a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

Oncologists could gain therapeutic advantage by targeting telomere protein
Inactivating a protein called mammalian Rad9 could make cancer cells easier to kill with ionizing radiation, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Greenland glaciers dumping ice into Atlantic at faster pace
The amount of ice that Greenland's glaciers dump into the Atlantic Ocean has almost doubled in the last five years because glaciers are moving faster, according to a new Science study.

Painting a Clear Picture - What Do The New Women's Health Initiative Findings Mean for Women?
The Endocrine Society and The Hormone Foundation will host a teleconference to summarize new and existing research on the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and what it all means.

MIT powers up new battery for hybrid cars
Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of lithium battery that could become a cheaper alternative to the batteries that now power hybrid electric cars.

Preventive Medicine conference to feature disaster, pandemic, and terror preparedness
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and with the backdrop of the Global War on Terror and threats to homeland security, physicians and other healthcare professionals with expertise in public health and preventive medicine are gathering for Preventive Medicine 2006 to address current issues and controversies.

Report from U of M Humphrey Institute urges coordinated and integrated oversight of nanotechnology
New technology can enhance our quality of life, but how can we ensure the health and environmental safety of its applications?

JCI table of contents, February 16, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online 03/01/06 in the JCI, including:

Telecom meeting to focus on emerging networks
Technology in today's fast-moving telecommunications industry is all about convergence.

Marine ecologists to help rebuild decreasing fish stocks
Marine ecologists are working with fisheries across Europe to further understanding of natural and human influences on decreasing fish populations.

Scientists model 900 cell receptors, drug targets
In an important step toward accelerating drug discovery, researchers have created computer models of more than 900 cell receptors from a class of proteins known to be important drug targets.

Grant will promote Yale-India environmental ties
A research and exchange program between the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India is being established by a three-year grant from the V.

Captain Kirk's clone and the eavesdropper
Imagine Captain Kirk being beamed back to the Starship Enterprise and two versions of the Star Trek hero arriving in the spacecraft's transporter room.

Canadian researchers discover a natural defence mechanism for Alzheimer's disease
A team of researchers has discovered a natural defence mechanism that the body deploys to combat nerve cell degeneration observed in persons with Alzheimer's disease. 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