Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 22, 2006
Relic of life in that Martian meteorite? A fresh look
Since the mid-1990s a great debate has raged over whether organic compounds and tiny globules of carbonate minerals imbedded in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 were processed by living creatures from the Red Planet.

Electrical stimulation boosts stroke recovery
Sending tiny electric pulses to a part of the brain controlling motor function helps ischemic stroke survivors regain partial use of a weakened hand, new Oregon Health & Science University research shows.

World Water Day: Space tool aids fight for clean drinking water
According to the UN, safe drinking water remains inaccessible for about 1.1 billion people in the world.

Successful cell engineering may lead to mad cow prevention, say researchers
Researchers at Texas A&M University have successfully

Webcast: Islam and Bioethics Conference
Penn State is hosting an international conference on

How does the brain know what the right hand is doing?
A new experiment has shed more light on the multi-decade debate about how the brain knows where limbs are without looking at them.

Networks - in science and in life
Networks can be composed of atoms, cells, companies, Web pages, or countries, to name just a few.

Paclitaxel combined with bevacizumab prolongs progression free survival in metastatic breast cancer
Results from a large, randomised clinical trial for patients with breast cancer show that those who received bevacizumab (Avastin®) in combination with paclitaxel (Taxol®) survived without the disease getting worse for almost twice as long as patients who received paclitaxel alone.

Tectonic 'wrinkles' in Crater De Gasparis
This press release contains an image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows Crater De Gasparis on the Moon.

How to tell a fender-bender from a pile-up
Automatic crash notification systems that broadcast alerts to call centres when a car has crashed need to get much smarter, according to a researcher in Boston.

New insights into the mechanism for internalization of ubiquitinated cargo
In a recent study, published in Traffic, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Toronto challenge the existing paradigm for how ubiquitin modification of proteins functions in their internalization.

MTBE contamination: A microbial approach for groundwater
Rutgers scientists have taken an important step on the path to using microbes to rid the environment of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE).

MIT makes move toward vehicles that morph
Picture a bird, effortlessly adjusting its wings to catch every current of air.

Workplace abuse trickles down
When supervisors feel they have been unjustly treated, they may vent their resentment by abusing their reports.

New DNA 'fingerprinting' technique separates hemp from marijuana
Using new DNA

Topical antiseptic reduces umbilical cord infection and mortality risk
New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and printed in the March 18, 2006, The Lancet, found that a topical antiseptic reduces umbilical cord infections and infant mortality risk to babies born in developing countries.

Typical pregnancy is now only 39 weeks
The most common length of pregnancy in the United States is now 39 weeks, a week shorter than the traditional definition of a full-term pregnancy, according to a new analysis by the March of Dimes published this month in a special supplement of the journal Seminars in Perinatology.

Imaging technology helps identify esophageal cancer patients who respond well to treatment
New research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center shows that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is more accurate than conventional imaging in identifying patients who have good responses to chemotherapy and radiation treatment - a finding that could one day help some patients avoid surgery.

New research shows Pin1 enzyme is key in preventing onset of Alzheimer's disease
A new discovery has found that Pin1, an enzyme previously shown to prevent the formation of the tangle-like lesions found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, also plays a pivotal role in guarding against the development of amyloid peptide plaques, the second brain lesion that characterizes Alzheimer's.

Lowering cholesterol early in life protects against heart disease later
New research from UT Southwestern Medical Center indicates that lowering

Beta carotene slows decline in lung power associated with ageing
Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, slows the decline in lung power associated with ageing, reveals research in Thorax.

Patients want to know results of their clinical trials
Although an overwhelming 98 percent of cancer patients wanted to know the results of the clinical trial they took part in, there is currently no standard way of conveying the information.

Children's earliest words stem from what interests them
A recent study has found that younger babies learn words for new objects based on how interested they are in the object.

Breast cancer book for children wins the 2006 Nathwani Prize
The Nathwani Prize for an outstanding contribution to improving the relationship between science and the arts was announced today at the European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-5).

Leading international osteoporosis experts to present at world's largest osteoporosis congress
Eleven of the world's leading osteoporosis experts will present plenary lectures at the 2006 IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO) in Toronto, Canada.

Infants begin learning language as early as 10 months researchers find
Infants are listening and learning their first words as young as 10 months, but they are only learning the words for objects that are of interest to them, not for objects of interest to the speaker, researchers at Temple University, University of Delaware and University of Evansville found in their latest study.

Simple checklists could improve child protection
Simple checklists and structured forms could help healthcare professionals pick up child abuse more effectively, suggests research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The Amazon in 2050: Implementing the law could save a million square kilometers of rainforest
Through Amazon Scenarios, an inter-discplinary modeling project, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), and the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (Brazil), with colleagues at other institutions, are simulating future trends in deforestation, forest fire, rivers, fauna, and climate, providing glimpses of plausible futures for this region.

Karen Duff receives prestigious prize for Alzheimer's research
Karen E.K. Duff, PhD, a research scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, will receive the 2006 Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology.

Exercise reduces menopausal symptoms and improves quality of life
Menopausal women who took part in a 12-month supervised exercise programme reported reduced menopausal symptoms and improved physical and psychological functioning and positive state of mind.

The American Association for Cancer Research provides support for promising cancer scientists
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) offers a number of grants for cancer researchers at various stages in their careers to foster the development of the most promising scientists.

Cell therapy slows progression of an inherited neurological disease; Improves motor skills in mice
In an important discovery, scientists have demonstrated that the progression of a type of genetic brain disease is slowed and symptoms are improved in mice that received cell transplants.

Missing breast cancer genes may soon be discovered
We are closer to finding the missing 80 percent of breast cancer genes than ever before thanks to the success of the COSMIC database (Catalogue Of Somatic Mutations In Cancer).

Poor, ethnic children at greater risk for exposure to toxic pollutants
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that African-American children living in poverty, and children of migrant farm workers have a higher risk of lead exposure compared to non-minority children living in non-agricultural settings.

Cold case: Looking for life on Mars
Evidence never dies in the popular TV show Cold Case.

Student conference to explore the future of nuclear power
As nuclear power returns to the national energy agenda, the need for engineers and scientists in all sectors of the field becomes ever more pressing.

Carnegie scientists fine-tuning methods for Stardust analysis
On January 15, NASA's Stardust mission landed safely with the first solid comet fragments ever brought back to Earth.

Mutation in a single gene switches a fungus-grass symbiosis from mutualistic to antagonistic
Scientists highlighted a novel role for reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a symbiotic association between a filamentous fungus (Epichloë festucae) and a grass (Lolium perenne).

Effects of preterm birth and early environmental risks continue into adolescence
Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey have found that individual differences in medical and environmental risks are related to patterns of brain activation in children that were born prematurely.

The Sun's new exotic neighbour
At a time when astronomers are peering into the most distant Universe, looking at objects as far as 13 billion light-years away, one may think that our close neighbourhood would be very well known.

Keeping patients from falling through the medical-imaging cracks
A new study reveals that patients sometimes

Study describes how cells return to normal after responding to stress
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine describes how cells recover from heat, cold and other stressful conditions.

Cell barrier shows why bird flu not so easily spread among humans
A new study of cells in the human respiratory tract reveals a simple anatomical difference in the cells of the system that makes it difficult for the avian influenza virus to jump from human to human.

Climate change and the rise of atmospheric oxygen
Today's climate change pales in comparison with what happened as Earth gave birth to its oxygen-containing atmosphere billions of years ago.

Researchers say environmental pollution is important piece of social justice debate
While environmental pollutants constantly swirl around children in all walks of life, past research has shown that children in poor, minority populations are disproportionately likely to be exposed to harmful toxins such as lead and agricultural pesticides.

New research shows Pin1 enzyme is key in preventing onset of Alzheimer's disease
A new discovery has found that Pin1, an enzyme previously shown to prevent the formation of the tangle-like lesions found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, also plays a pivotal role in guarding against the development of amyloid peptide plaques, the second brain lesion that characterizes Alzheimer's.

Pitt researchers find 'switch' for brain's pleasure pathway
In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Pitt professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology Anthony Grace and Pitt neuroscience research associate Daniel Lodge suggest a new mechanism for how the brain's reward system works.

New light on muscle efficiency: It is not the power-plant
A recent study from Scandinavia shows that the well-known differences between individuals in the efficiency of converting energy stored in food to work done by muscles are related to muscle fibre type composition and to the content of specific molecules in muscle.

Ideas on gas-giant planet formation take shape
Rocky planets, such as Earth, are born when small particles smash together to form larger, planet-sized clusters in a disk, but researchers are less sure about how gas-giant planets form.

New international standards for tuberculosis care published
Led by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), a consortium of international health agencies today published on the World Wide Web the first International Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ISTC).

Quality of life can improve in old age, claim researchers
Increasing age does not necessarily cause a reduction in the quality of life, and in some cases, can even improve it.

Defect and pore concentration simulation in an amorphous alloy of boron and cobalt
Modern engineering places increasing demands on components. It is the job of the designers and materials scientists to create components that are up to the challenge.

Research leads to healthful strategies for re-setting the body's clock
Pioneering research conducted by Kent State professor Dr. David Glass has shown the body's clock can be re-set -- good news for people who work swing shifts, experience jet lag or take anti-depressants.

Innovative technology for production of new pharmaceuticals forms basis of new company
Plants produce a lot of valuable pharmaceuticals − but rather slowly and in small quantities.

Male smokers 40 percent more likely to be impotent than non-smokers
Men who smoke a pack or more of cigarettes daily are 40 percent more likely to be impotent than non-smokers, finds research in Tobacco Control .

Nexium® shown to reduce gastric ulcers in at-risk patients using long-term NSAIDS
Results from two clinical trials, to be published in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, indicate that NEXIUM® (esomeprazole magnesium) can reduce the incidence of gastric (stomach) ulcers in patients at risk of developing gastric ulcers and who regularly take either non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or COX-2-selective NSAIDs.

Soil erosion threatens environment and human health
Soil is being swept and washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished around the world, destroying cropland the size of Indiana every year, reports a study by David Pimentel of Cornell University.

New strategies help depressed patients become symptom-free
Results of the nation's largest depression study show that one in three depressed patients who previously did not achieve remission using an antidepressant became symptom-free with the help of an additional medication and one in four achieved remission after switching to a different antidepressant.

Successfully treating depression often requires trying different drugs, new research shows
If a first antidepressant medication doesn't work, try a different one, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

Study challenges rush to medicate schizophrenia
This researcher looked at several studies and found no evidence that schizophrenia without medication resulted in long-term harm for patients.

Patient care dramatically improved using best practice
A study in the Netherlands has proved that achieving the gold standard in breast cancer care is possible.

Moderate lifetime reductions in LDL cholesterol dramatically reduce risk of heart disease
A new genetic analysis of more than 12,000 individuals has found that a decrease in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, of as little as 15 percent, sustained over the long term can dramatically reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Scientists a step closer to protecting world's most important crop
Scientists at the University of Exeter have shown for the first time, in a paper in the prestigious journal Nature, how the world's most destructive rice-killer hijacks its plant prey.

'Executive' monkeys influenced by other executives, not subordinates
When high-ranking monkeys are shown images of other monkeys glancing one way or the other, they more readily follow the gaze of other high-ranking monkeys, Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have discovered.

Study finds emotional benefits from participation in computer support groups
Women with breast cancer who participate in computer support groups can obtain emotional benefits when they openly express themselves in ways that help them make sense of their cancer experience, according to a new study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research (CECCR).

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare first to use latest robotic surgical system
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) today announced that Evanston Hospital will be the first facility in Illinois to perform surgery using Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci® Surgical System.

New lipid molecule holds promise for gene therapy
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have created a new molecule that holds promise in fighting disease via gene therapy.

Drug effective for severe Alzheimer's disease
The drug donepezil can reverse some aspects of cognitive and functional deterioration seen in patients with severe Alzheimer's disease, according to a randomised trial published online today (Wednesday March 22, 2006) by The Lancet.

Do plant species really exist? Why, yes, scientists say

Salt and dust help unravel past climate change
Tiny amounts of salt and dust trapped in the Antarctic ice sheet for the last 740,000 years shed new light on changes to the Earth's climate.

Developmentally delayed young children show slowed development in peer relations too
New findings suggest that children with mild cognitive delays show little to no improvement in their ability to interact with peers from early childhood to early grade school.

Imaging technology helps identify esophageal cancer patients who respond well to treatment
New research at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center shows that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is more accurate than conventional imaging in identifying patients who have good responses to chemotherapy and radiation treatment - a finding that could one day help some patients avoid surgery. 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