Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 09, 2006
Cassini images of Enceladus suggest geysers erupt liquid water at the moon's south pole
Images returned from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have yielded evidence that the geologically young south polar region of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may possess reservoirs of near-surface liquid water that erupt to form geysers of the kind found in Yellowstone National Park.

Preparation needed as children enter schools already overweight
Researchers find a substantial amount of young children are entering school overweight.

Leave it to salmon to leave no stone unturned
Like an armada of small rototillers, female salmon can industriously churn up entire stream beds from end to end, sometimes more than once, using just their tails.

Fluoridated beverage consumption and dental fluorosis: There's a connection
Fluoride is a mineral that protects against dental cavities; however, too much fluoride during tooth formation can lead to dental fluorosis, which is usually characterized by white streaks or splotches on the teeth.

Oral conditions, dental caries know no borders
Even with dramatic advances in the armamentarium for fighting oral and dental diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal (gum) disease, these conditions remain prevalent in many parts of the world, without regard for geopolitical boundaries.

GIOVE A transmits loud and clear
After a successful launch on 28 December 2005, GIOVE A began transmitting navigation signals on 12 January 2006.

Thalidomide should be added to treatment combination for multiple myeloma
Adding thalidomide to the standard combination of drugs used to treat multiple myeloma in elderly patients could improve event-free survival, according to a randomised trial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Warning over 'poor surgery' at private treatment centres
NHS surgeons are being left to

Free antiretroviral therapy key to success of AIDS treatment in developing countries
HIV-infected patients starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in developing countries have increased mortality rates in the first months on therapy compared with those in developed countries, according to a paper in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Combination of processes results in cleaner petrol
The combination of two 'old' chemical processes enables the production of cleaner petrol on an economically interesting basis.

UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute launches largest biomedical assessment of children with autism
Multidisciplinary teams of physicians and scientists at the University of California, Davis, M.I.N.D.

NASA finds stronger storms change heat and rainfall worldwide
Studies have shown that over the last 40 years, a warming climate has been accompanied by fewer rain- and snow-producing storms in mid-latitudes around the world, but the storms that are happening are a little stronger with more precipitation.

Creation of antibiotic in test tube holds promise for better antibiotics
Scientists have made nisin, a natural antibiotic used for more than 40 years to preserve food, in a test tube for the first time using nature's toolbox.

Light-based device probes for early cancer signs
A novel device that could use light to harmlessly and almost instantly probe for early signs of cancer has been developed by researchers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

The first clinical test for saliva-based oral cancer detection: Ready now!
Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in men and the 14th most common cancer in women.

Falling blood pressure not down to drugs, say experts
Blood pressure lowering drugs were not responsible for the population decline in blood pressure seen in many countries in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, concludes a study published online by the BMJ today.

Fat rats reveal why short-term overeating can lead to obesity and diabetes
In a study appearing online on March 9 in advance of print publication in the April issue of the JCI, Luciano Rossetti and colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York report that overeating in normal rats on a lard-based diet is inhibited when ribozymes are used to block liver carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT1A) activity.

NASA scientists study pollution's origins and air quality impact
In Mexico City, a team of researchers from NASA and other institutions have kicked off the first phase of one of the most complex field campaigns ever undertaken in atmospheric chemistry.

Worm hormone discovery may aid fight against parasitic disease
New research at UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that on a biochemical level, hormone-like molecules in tiny worms called nematodes work similarly to the way in which certain hormones work in humans - findings that one day may help eradicate worm infections that afflict a third of the world's population.

UI receives $615,208 federal grant to develop new semiconductor chip
University of Iowa researchers have received a five-year, $615,208 award from the US Department of Defense as part of a multi-university research initiative (MURI) to develop a new type of semiconductor chip.

Nanotechnology could improve satellites and solar cells
More efficient space solar cells could mean better imagery satellites and improved solar energy technology.

Study looks at ways to mitigate air pollution from freight transportation along I-95
The congested I-95 corridor from Maine to Florida will be the focus of a study analyzing the economic and environmental tradeoffs of different modes of freight transportation.

Yale expands research using magnetic stimulation for schizophrenia
Yale School of Medicine researchers are recruiting patients nationally for a clinical trial using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to help still the voices that are so troubling to some persons with schizophrenia.

ESA satellite reveals Yellowston's deep secret
Satellite images acquired by ESA's ERS-2 revealed the recently discovered changes in Yellowstone's caldera are the result of molten rock movement 15 kilometres below the Earth's surface, according to a recent study published in Nature.

Poor clinical handover threatening patient care
Poor clinical handover in hospitals is rendering the system prone to misses and near misses, warn doctors in a letter to this week's BMJ.

UCLA, UCSB, UCB and Stanford join to establish Western Institute of Nanoelectronics
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of California, Berkeley; and Stanford are teaming up to launch what will be one of the world's largest joint research programs focusing on the pioneering technology called

Dramatic changes in US aging highlighted in new census, NIH report
The face of aging in the US is changing dramatically -- and rapidly, according to a new Census Bureau Report, commisisoned by the National Institute on Aging.

Royal Museum to host 'improbable' science event
The annual Ig Nobel awards -- given to celebrate 'unlikely' science each year around the time of the Nobel Awards in Sweden -- will feature an event at the Royal Museum, Chambers Street, Edinburgh on Sunday, 12 March.

Diabetics who control blood sugar today are more likely to have healthy feet and nerves tomorrow
People with diabetes who keep their blood sugar in check today will probably have a far lower chance of developing foot pain or other nerve damage tomorrow, according to new research results from a national study.

Brandeis study to probe under-representation of women in top positions in academic medicine
Brandeis University, in cooperation with five of the country's leading medical schools, will conduct a landmark study to explore the reasons for the dramatic under-representation of women in senior positions in academic medicine and develop effective solutions to the long-standing problem.

New study reveals promising osteoporosis treatment
A New York University College of Dentistry professor has developed a calcium phosphate-based supplement that -- even at low concentrations -- significantly improves bone strength and thickness without the side effects of many current drug treatments.

Latest in prostate cancer therapy presented at a new style scientific conference
The latest advances in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment will be presented by experts from around the world this month at a revolutionary new meeting being launched by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

Identifying gems and minerals on Earth and on Mars
Researchers are developing a handheld instrument, much like a tricorder from the

Energy-efficient housing: Project debuts air-handling system
Funding from the Government of Canada is helping homeowners in Hamilton to conserve energy and reduce peak power consumption during summer heat waves.

Research on the road to intelligent cars
For Europe's 300 million drivers and other vulnerable road users, new information and communication technologies-based technology cannot come fast enough.

NYU scientists ID key factor in how fruit fly color receptor cells 'decide' their type
Biologists at New York University have identified a key factor that enables photoreceptor cells to decide their color sensitivity.

Engineering companies urged to make room for the 'gadget girls'
The classic stereotype of an engineer - a man who is brilliant at and passionate about technology, but not so good at dealing with people - bears little resemblance to actual engineers or their work, according to new research from the University of Edinburgh.

Study previews ice sheet melting, rapid climate change
The behavior of a massive ice sheet that existed in northern Europe at the end of the last Ice Age has been outlined for the first time, and researchers believe it may provide a sneak preview of how major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will act in the face of global warming.

Outsmarting the smartie bug
Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have, in the journal PLoS Genetics, published a complete description of the targets of the vaccine that will help monitor the disease and provide new tools for rapid diagnosis.

Concern over rapid rise of chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease is rising rapidly worldwide and is becoming a global healthcare problem, warn experts in this week's BMJ.

GA Tech develops ultra-efficient embedded architectures based on probabilistic technology
Georgia Tech researchers announce energy savings by a factor of more than 500 in simulations with their ultra energy efficient embedded architecture based on Probabilistic CMOS (PCMOS).

Joslin researchers reveal mechanisms behind a class of oral agents used to treat type 2 diabetes
A new study by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston helps to explain how these drugs work.

Invasive exotic plants helped by natural enemies
Although conventional wisdom suggests that invasive exotic plants thrive because they escape the natural enemies that kept them in check in their native ranges, a new study in the journal Science suggests the opposite.

JCI table of contents, March 9, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online 03/09/06 in the JCI, including:

ESA receives award for Technology Transfer
ESA has received an award for achievement in the public sector, for its Technology Transfer activities, announced at the first annual International Marketplace and Conference for Technology Transfer Professionals (IPTEC) in Cannes last month.

Mass extinctions - a threat from outer space or our own planet's detox?
University of Leicester geologists, Professor Andy Saunders and Dr. Marc Reichow, are taking a fresh look at what may actually have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and caused other similarly cataclysmic events, aware they may end up exploding a few popular myths.

Immobilisation not the only trigger for DVT during long-distance air travel
The low pressure and low oxygen environment during air travel may contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis in some susceptible individuals, suggests a paper published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Who's vCJD case definition should be revised
The World Health Organization's (WHO) definition of patients with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) should be revised to prevent cases being missed, according to the authors of a case report in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Most human-chimp differences due to gene regulation
The vast differences between humans and chimpanzees are due more to changes in gene regulation than differences in individual genes themselves, according to a report in Nature.

Over 260 doctors call for ban on force-feeding and restraint chairs at Guantanamo
263 doctors from 7 different countries (UK, USA, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Italy & the Netherlands) are calling for the US government to abandon force-feeding and the use of restraint chairs in accordance with internationally agreed standards in this week's issue of The Lancet.

For the first time: Longevity modulated without disrupting life-sustaining function
Within a hormone-triggered cascade of molecular signals that plays a crucial for a wide range of physiological functions, researchers for the very first time have identified a protein that functions specifically to extend lifespan and youthfulness -- without disrupting fertility, immunity or the organism's response to stress.

'Hands free' isn't mind free: Performing even easy tasks impairs driving
Despite the well-intended laws requiring the use of hands-free devices, a driver's performance is impaired when distracted by even the simplest tasks, whether or not both hands are on the steering wheel.

Bering Sea ecosystem responding to changes in Arctic climate
Physical changes -- including rising air and seawater temperatures and decreasing seasonal ice cover -- appear to be the cause of a series of biological changes in the northern Bering Sea ecosystem that could have long-range and irreversible effects on the animals that live there and on the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.
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