Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 16, 2006
Environment, hazards, forensic geology on geoscientists' agenda in Harrisburg next week
Approximately 800 geoscientists will gather 20-22 March in Harrisburg, PA, for the 41st annual meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America.

New satellite data on universe's first trillionth second
Scientists peering back to the oldest light in the universe have new evidence for what happened within its first trillionth of a second, when the universe suddenly grew from submicroscopic to astronomical size in far less than a wink of the eye.

Special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology focuses on eco-efficiency
Disputes over the trade-off between the environment and the economy are a central feature of contemporary politics.

Deriving the shape of the Galactic stellar disc
While analysing the complex structure of the Milky Way, an international team of astronomers from Italy and the United Kingdom has recently derived the shape of the Galactic outer stellar disc, and provided the strongest evidence that, besides being warped, it is at least 70 percent more extended than previously thought.

Grieving parents at increased suicide risk
Parents who have cared for a dying child at home may be at higher risk of suicide after the child dies, by overdosing on the powerful painkillers used to ease the child's condition, say two papers in this week's BMJ.

Cancer cells lose drug resistance following electrical stimulation in vitro
Drug-resistant tumour cells lose their drug resistance when exposed to low intensity, low frequency electric pulses for three days.

Commercial interests driving standards for formula milk
Commercial interests may be the strongest driver of what goes into formula milk, warn child health experts in this week's BMJ.

A balancing act between the sexes
Recent research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) reveals new insights into how cells achieve equality between the sexes.

News media registration opens for 2006 Joint Assembly in Baltimore
2006 Joint Assembly brings together researchers from six scientific societies: American Geophysical Union, Geochemical Society, Microbeam Analysis Society, Mineralogical Society of America, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and Unión Geofísica Mexicana.

'Frequency comb' spectroscopy proves to be powerful chemical analysis tool
Physicists at JILA have designed and demonstrated a highly sensitive new tool for real-time analysis of the quantity, structure and dynamics of a variety of atoms and molecules simultaneously, even in minuscule gas samples.

New wrinkle in the mystery of high-Tc superconductors
In the twenty years since the discovery of high-temperature (Tc) superconductors, scientists have been trying to understand the mechanism by which electrons pair up and move coherently to carry electrical current with no resistance.

Is society losing control of the medical research agenda?
Is society losing control of the medical research agenda? - ask experts in a study published online by the BMJ today (17 March 2006).

Obese patients should not be discriminated against for treatment
Obese patients deserve the same standard of care as their non-obese counterparts, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Older breast cancer survivors shared care study
If follow-up mammography is an indicator of quality breast cancer care, then older survivors who receive shared care -- provided by both a primary care physician and a cancer specialist -- are better cared for than those who don't.

NSLS student-researcher talks at the March APS Meeting
Each year, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory hosts several high-school and college students, who come to the facility to perform research using its bright beams of x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light.

ABIM to recognize CMS Physician Voluntary Reporting Program measures
Board certified internists who receive feedback from CMS can get credit from ABIM as well.

Scientists reveal how deadly toxin hijacks cells
Scientists have pinpointed exactly how botulinum neurotoxin A - a potential agent of biological warfare and one of the most lethal toxins known to man - is able to sneak into cells.

Targeting the dosage compensation complex
Three independent research papers in the April 1 issue of G&D detail the chromosome-wide binding of the Drosophila dosage compensation complex (DCC) to the single male X chromosome, shedding new light on the mechanism of DCC targeting.

Researchers discover botulism toxin's insidious route into nerve cells
Botulinum neurotoxin A can be either the greatest wrinkle remover or one of the world's most potent biological weapons.

New evidence suggests statins could prove useful in treating MS
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University Medical Center are reporting compelling new evidence that the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin could prove an effective therapy for preventing the progression of, and reversing the severity of, multiple sclerosis (MS).

'Spirituality' is related to depression among young physicians
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) suggest that religious and spiritual characteristics of residents may influence their risk for depressive symptoms.

Knowledge is power: The building of a European Knowledge Society
European Science Foundation (ESF) will undertake a major Forward Look into how Europe can make the best of higher education.

Diabetes research yielding breakthrough success
Canadian researchers become first to identify potential stem cell of insulin-producing pancreas islets and develop process for producing cells in lab for eventual transplants.

NIAID media availability: New study describes key protein from highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu virus and how it might mutate
In a March 16 article published online by Science, a research team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in California reveals the structure of an H5 protein from a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza virus and compares this structure to the same proteins from other pandemic influenza A viruses, including the deadly 1918 virus.

Dangers of stopping clopidogrel (Plavix®) for patients with stents and certain other conditions
Recent media reports regarding the results of the CHARISMA Trial may be misinterpreted by patients with coronary stents and other conditions*, causing these patients to inappropriately stop taking the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (Plavix®).

ACP: Residency match results show need for reforms
National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) results, along with other indicators, point to a shortage of primary care physicians to care for an aging population.

MiRNA fingerprint identified in platelet formation
MiRNA has only recently been acknowledged as an important force in biology.

Is the Atkins diet safe?
The low-carbohydrate high-protein Atkins diet is not safe and should not be recommended for weight loss, state researchers in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Chance discovery: Alaska Range glacier surges
There is evidence that the McGinnis Glacier, a little-known tongue of ice in the central Alaska Range, has surged.

Study to test drug's potential to preserve insulin production in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics
A drug used to treat lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis and other immune disorders may enable newly-diagnosed type 1 diabetics to save some of their pancreas function and thereby reduce their susceptibility to long-term complications.

UCSD project takes fish collection into the digital age
The same medical technology used to image brain tumors and torn knee ligaments is now taking the field of marine biology to a new dimension by allowing anyone with Internet access to examine fish as never before.

Purdue chemical-analysis method promises fast results
Researchers at Purdue University have shown how a new ultra-fast chemical-analysis tool has numerous promising uses for detecting everything from cancer in the liver to explosives residues on luggage and

Curtin medal recognises epilepsy researcher
A neurologist who has helped many people by discovering an underlying cause of epileptic seizures, Professor Samuel Berkovic, has been awarded the 2005 Curtin Medal for outstanding contribution to Australian medical science.

Emerging disease risks prompt scientists to call
Knowledge of 'movement routes' is the key to predicting the pattern of spread of infectious diseases of humans, and similar data could be crucial to understand animal disease risks, says a research team from the University of Edinburgh.

New network architecture delivers super-broadband wired & wireless service simultaneously
Telecommunications researchers have demonstrated a novel communications network design that would provide both ultra-high-speed wireless and wired access services from the same signals carried on a single optical fiber.

New cancer therapies at international conference in Amsterdam
The 4th International Symposium on Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT 2006), to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 16-18, 2006, co-organized by the NDDO Research Foundation and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), provides updates on emerging new therapies for the treatment of cancer.

JCI table of contents, March 16, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online 3/16/06 in the JCI, including: Combining multiple treatments improves multiple sclerosis therapy; The fungus among us: the surprising anti-inflammatory effects of yeast; The role of the intestine in HDL cholesterol production and heart disease risk; A hairy solution to the problem of inflammation and allergy; and others.

Research mice help scientists understand the complexities of cholesterol
Scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues have developed new research mice to help them better understand how the body makes and uses

No-smoking rules not common enough for asthmatic children
Urban children with persistent asthma living in homes with smokers are 10 times less likely to be protected by a smoking ban in the home and car than asthmatic children living with no smokers, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Babylab to work out what goes on in babies' minds
Psychologists at the University of Manchester have set up a 'BabyLab' within the University, to try and learn more about how babies acquire knowledge.

Dramatic rise in ethnic plastic surgery in 2005
The number of ethnic patients who chose to enhance their appearance or minimize the signs of aging through cosmetic plastic surgery took a substantial jump in 2005, with nearly 2.3 million procedures performed.

Combining multiple treatments improves multiple sclerosis therapy
Glatiramer acetate (GA) is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Saturn ring spokes may re-appear in July, says new U. of Colorado study
The unusual spokes that appear fleetingly on the rings of Saturn only to disappear for years at a time may become visible again by July, according to a new study spearheaded by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The world health organization launches new stop TB strategy in the Lancet
Details of the World Health Organization's (WHO) new global strategy to tackle tuberculosis (TB) are published as part of a special TB Essay Focus in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Minister Lunn attends G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting
As Canada's representative to the G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting in Moscow, Russia, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, highlighted Canada's progress in developing a strong framework to ensure energy security.

Integral looks at Earth to seek source of cosmic radiation
Cosmic space is filled with continuous, diffuse high-energy radiation. To find out how this energy is produced, the scientists behind ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory have tried an unusual method: observing Earth from space.

Mailman School of Public Health researchers develop diagnostic test for pathogens
Researchers at the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health led by Thomas Briese, PhD, an associate professor of Epidemiology, have developed a rapid, comprehensive diagnostic test for viral hemorrhagic fevers caused by the Ebola and Marburg viruses, as well as others.

Families can help cure tuberculosis
Family members of tuberculosis (TB) patients can help ensure their relatives successful treatment just as well as community health volunteers, according to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

UT Dallas nanotechnologists demonstrate artificial muscles powered by highly energetic fuels
Nanotechnologists have made alcohol- and hydrogen-powered artificial muscles that are 100 times stronger than natural muscles, able to do 100 times greater work per cycle and produce, at reduced strengths, larger contractions than natural muscles.

Cosmetic plastic surgery patients chose needle over knife
Rest and relaxation seem like impossible feats to most Americans trying to balance the demands of family and career.

Agreement between ESA and CNES for Alphabus
On Thursday 15 March, at the headquarters of the European Space Agency, a co-operation agreement was signed between ESA and the Centre National d'Études Spatiales for the development of Alphabus, Europe's next generation of telecommunication satellites.

Research re-examines strong hurricane studies
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have released a new study that strengthens the link between the increase in hurricane intensity and the increase in tropical sea surface temperature.

Researchers look to enhance lifestyles for the elderly and their pets
A Virginia Tech team is looking at the development of a variety of customizable, interactive products and services that will enable the elderly to take better care of their pets and improve communications flow between the elderly, their families, and medical providers as part of a project entitled

Newspaper coverage of neurologic conditions incorrect 20 percent of the time, study shows
Twenty percent of all examined newspaper articles about common neurologic conditions had medical errors or exaggerations, according to a study partnering Mayo Clinic physicians and school of journalism experts from Arizona State University.

Eighteen researchers selected as 2006 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows
Eighteen academic environmental researchers have been awarded Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2006.

New process builds electronic function into optical fiber
A new technique has been developed that encases semiconductor devices inside microstructured optical fibers. 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