Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 27, 2006
Plotting the road ahead for wireless sensor networks
Wireless sensor networks consisting of multiple objects, each capable of simple sensing, actuation, communication and processing have tremendous potential.

Optimising wine-growing operations improves world competitiveness
The EUREKA E! 2587 VI-TIS project has developed new instrumentation and devised modelling software to boost the quality of European wine while reducing overall production costs.

Natural products discovery and production
This international multidisciplinary conference is aimed at exploring the discovery and production of microbially derived natural products, which since the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics in the mid-1900s have become a mainstay of the pharmaceutical industry.

Finally, JAP study shows headdown bedrest precisely mimics human physiology in spaceflight
With Mars and moon again targets, Ball State-Marquette study shows Soviet-US minus 6-degree bedrest decline produced the same swift drop in the cardiorespiratory system's ability to support exercise as astronauts experienced on a 17-day spaceflight.

Sumatra megaquake defied theory
The risks of Sumatra-style megaquakes around the world have been sorely misjudged, say earth scientists who are re-examining some of the pre-December 2004 assumptions scientists made about such rare events.

Sherry Lansing and Janet Woodcock receive AACR public service awards
Each year at its Annual Meeting, the American Association for Cancer Research gives special recognition to distinguished individuals whose efforts and dedication have helped to increase awareness about the importance of cancer research.

Consumers would rather have a simple decision making process than more options
The paradox of choice has been well-documented, but a new study from the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Research offers an explanation of the hierarchical consumer choices that lead to dissatisfaction with an overwhelming number of options - and offers insight to how we can overcome these shopping crises.

Study identifies the main causes of maternal death in developing countries
Haemorrhage and high blood pressure are the main causes of maternal deaths in developing countries, according to an analysis published online today (Tuesday March 28, 2006) by The Lancet.

Little improvement in Aboriginal educational performance in over 30 years
The most comprehensive survey every undertaken of Aboriginal education has found little significant improvement in outcomes for children in more than 30 years.

Weight training benefits mind and body of breast cancer survivors
Weight training significantly improves the quality of life of women recently treated for breast cancer, according to a new study.

Seagrass is in decline worldwide, says UNH researcher
Around the world, seagrass beds - shallow-water ecosystems that are important habitats, food sources, and sediment stabilizers - are in decline, says Frederick Short, research professor of natural resources and marine science at the University of New Hampshire.

National Academies advisory: April 24 Symposium on Robot Learning
At this public symposium, which will take place during the 143rd annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists will present research on how robots can learn and adapt to their environment, a development that could yield applications ranging from robotic missions in space to therapy for autism.

AIDS, TB, malaria and bird flu spread unchecked in Burma
Government policies in Burma that restrict public health and humanitarian aid have created an environment where AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria and bird flu (H5N1) are spreading unchecked, according to a report by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue
New evidence is emerging that climate change could reduce not only the world's ability to produce food but also international efforts to cut poverty.

Disclosure of physicians' financial incentives may increase trust, loyalty among their patients
Providing notices that explain how physicians are paid appears to increase patients' knowledge about compensation models, does not harm trust and may increase the loyalty patients feel toward their physicians, according to a study in the March 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

High-dose vitamin C as a cancer therapy
Padayatty and colleagues report on three well-documented cases of advanced cancers, confirmed by histopathologic review, where patients had unexpectedly long survival times after receiving high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy.

Inducing melanoma for cancer vaccine development
A new mouse model technology has been developed to enable investigators to induce melanoma with specific cancer 'antigens' - the targets of vaccines against cancer.

Researchers get neurons and silicon talking
European researchers have created an interface between mammalian neurons and silicon chips.

Cardiac examination skills appear similar among medical students, resident and faculty physicians
Based on findings from a computer-based, multimedia, interactive test, cardiac examination skills do not appear to differ among third-year medical students, resident physicians, faculty members or private practitioners, but may decline after years in practice, according to a study in the March 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mission control team readies for Venus arrival
Venus Express mission controllers at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) are in intensive preparation for an 11 April arrival at the spacecraft's namesake destination.

Promise shown for data encryption and data storage using holograms
The rapidly developing digital age demands greater processing power, data storage and data encryption for computer based technologies.

Researchers find better prostate cancer indicators
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have narrowed the search for effective prostate cancer biomarkers (genetic variations that point to a specific disease or condition), identifying changes in the expression of genes of the whole genome closely correlated to prostate cancer development and progression.

Smokers, drinkers and men appear to develop colorectal cancer at earlier ages
Alcohol use, tobacco use and male gender are associated with an earlier onset of colorectal cancer and also with location of tumors, findings that could have important implications for screening, according to a study in the March 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Environmentalists' 'marine reserve' proposals misguided, report suggests
Proposals by environmentalists to declare small areas of the North Sea as 'no-fishing' zones would not save our flagging fish stocks, suggests a new report by Newcastle University for the British Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

'Accelerated evolution' converts RNA enzyme to DNA enzyme in vitro
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have successfully converted an RNA enzyme (ribozyme) into a DNA enzyme (deoxyribozyme) through a process of accelerated in vitro evolution.

Growth hormone is made in the brain, report scientists
Scientists have found that growth hormone, a substance that is used for body growth, is produced in the brain, according to an article published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Strings as structural elements? Engineers devise mathematics for new age structures
Researchers have developed a method for optimizing the initial tension of strings in tensegrity structures as well as a second technique to maximize the strength and minimize the weight of the rods and strings for a wide range of applications.

Astronomers reach out to Turkish, world audiences with eclipse Webcast March 29
Though the March 29 total solar eclipse won't be visible from the US, eclipse fans and night owls can catch a live Webcast of the event from Turkey at 6 am EST, anchored by UC Berkeley astronomer Isabel Hawkins and with commentary by physicist Janet Luhmann.

Horse antibodies against the bird flu virus H5N1 are effective as treatment in mice
Antibodies against the bird flu virus H5N1, derived from horses, prevent mice infected with H5N1 from dying from the virus.

Researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center study exercise to curb 'chemo brain'
Researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center are studying whether exercise can help curb memory and cognitive problems experienced by many cancer survivors following chemotherapy, with the help of funding from the Foundation established by well-known cancer survivor and athlete, Lance Armstrong.

Asleep or awake we retain memory
A human fMRI study showing how learning selectively modulates brain activity during wakefulness, providing novel evidence that

New beginning of 'natural spring' announced by UNH scientist, group
A new report, Evidence of an Early Spring, finds that over the last 150 years, scientific measurements show that events signifying the beginning of spring - including when plants bud, sap flows, ice breaks up, and the last frost and final 32-degree day occur - have all shifted.

National Academies advisory: April 25 Symposium on Forensic Evidence
At this public symposium, which will take place during the 143rd annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, a panel of experts will discuss the impact of scientific approaches to validating evidence -- such as fingerprints, DNA, photographs, and memory -- on the U.S. justice system.

Coal-based jet fuel poised for next step
A jet fuel comparable to Jet A or military JP 8, but derived from at least 50 percent bituminous coal, has successfully powered a helicopter jet engine, according to a Penn State fuel scientist.

Growing body of research links lead to osteoporosis
Bolstered by recent laboratory findings, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are embarking on a National Institutes of Health-funded clinical study to better understand the deceptive role environmental lead exposure plays in bone maturation and loss.

Rice bioengineers pioneer techniques for knee repair
A breakthrough self-assembly technique for growing replacement cartilage offers the first hope of replacing the entire articular surface of knees damaged by arthritis.

UC Berkeley study finds in utero arsenic exposure tied to lung disease and cancer in adults
A UC Berkeley study finds that children exposed to high arsenic levels in water have seven to 12 times higher death rates from lung cancer and other lung diseases in young adulthood.

Powerful new tool for studying brain development
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have given investigators around the world free access to a powerful tool for studying brain development.

Computer model maps strengths, weaknesses of nanotubes
In theory, carbon nanotubes are 100 times stronger than steel, but in practice they've proven much weaker, raising questions about precisely how they break and why.

Taking a bite out of a fellow worker helps wasps recruit new foragers
If you think you've got a bad boss who loves to chew people out, or if you work with backstabbing co-workers, be thankful you are not wasp.

Ultrasound and algae team up to clean mercury from sediments
Ultrasound and algae can be used together as tools to clean mercury from contaminated sediment, according to an Ohio State University study.

Sweet chemistry: Symposium explores sugar alternatives, science of taste
In an effort to fight high rates of diabetes and obesity, chemists are exploring a variety of sugar alternatives -- including new artificial sweeteners and sweetness enhancers -- to satisfy America's demand for sweet flavor with fewer health risks.

From Europa to the lab, a new recipe for oxygen on icy moons
Since its discovery on Europa and other icy moons orbiting large gaseous worlds, extraterrestrial ice as a source for oxygen has presented the tantalizing possibility of complex life in frigid reaches far from Earth.

EUREKA congratulates Amadeus Group IT SA on receiving award
On 10 March, during the CeBIT fair, the EUREKA Initiative was proud to learn that Amadeus Group IT SA, the company behind project E!

Getting ACL tears to heal themselves
A report in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research suggests a better way to repair tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a knee injury suffered by more than 100,000 Americans each year, particularly girls.

Should we ban consumer drug ads? - Press release from PLoS Medicine
The US and New Zealand are the only industrialized countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs, although New Zealand is planning a ban.

FDA approves extended dosing of Aranesp
Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced the U.S.

New family of biodegradable polymers shows promise for intracellular drug delivery
A newly developed family of biodegradable polymers has shown potential for use in intracellular delivery and sustained release of therapeutic drugs to the acidic environments of tumors, inflammatory tissues and intracellular vesicles that hold foreign matter.

Envisat making first direct measurements of ocean surface velocities
For more than a decade space-based radar instruments have been routinely observing ocean surface phenomena including wind, waves, oil slicks, even the eyes of hurricanes.

Delay in surgery decreases survival for bladder cancer patients
Bladder cancer patients whose surgery was delayed for more than three months after their diagnosis were more likely to die from their disease than patients whose surgery was performed sooner, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

We're most susceptible to outside influence in the earliest stages of shopping
Researchers from MIT show that we're most susceptible to promotions and coupons at the entrance of a store - before we've had a chance to figure out our shopping goals.

Elsevier launches Inteleos drug tracking and analysis tool
Elsevier, a world-leading healthcare and scientific publisher, announced today the launch of its new drug tracking and analysis tool, Inteleos.

Researchers measure high-pressure lattice dynamics of molybdenum
For the first time, a group of Livermore researchers have been able to pin down the high-pressure lattice dynamics of the transition metal molybdenum by mapping its phonon energies under extremely high pressure.

52 minority scientists receive APS/NIDDK travel fellowships totaling $90,000
The American Physiological Society, with the support of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, is providing a total of $90,000 in fellowships to underrepresented minority students to attend APS scientific conferences, including Experimental Biology 2006 (EB) in San Francisco April 1-5.

3-D imaging to enable clean energy technologies
Ohio State University researchers have invented a technique to record three-dimensional scans of the gases and solids that mix inside boilers and other industrial processing reactors.

'Bad' enzymes may wear white hats after stroke
Enzymes that can harm the brain immediately after a stroke may actually be beneficial days later.

Newt Gingrich to speak about saving lives and saving money now
The Harvard Medical School (HMS) Tosteson Health Policy Lecture Series, in conjunction with, a student health policy education initiative, will host former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who will discuss cost effective quality improvement strategies for national healthcare.

Pitt engineering professor to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at NSBE Pittsburgh convention
Karl H. Lewis, an associate professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, will be presented with the 2006 Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Academia by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at the 32nd Annual NSBE National Convention, to be held in Pittsburgh from March 29 to April 2.

AACR launches new magazine to focus on people and progress in cancer
To address the unmet public need for understandable and credible information about cancer research and policy, the American Association for Cancer Research(AACR) is launching a new magazine for cancer patients, survivors, advocates, caregivers and interested physicians and scientists.

Bernard Fisher receives AACR Lifetime Achievement Award
Bernard Fisher, MD, the renowned clinical cancer researcher whose career has been dedicated toward improving survival as well as quality of life for women with breast cancer, will receive the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research.

Modeling the chemical reactions of nanoparticles
As science enters the world of the very small, researchers will be searching for new ways to study nanoparticles and their properties.

Researchers reverse juvenile diabetes in animal model; Clinical trial FDA approved
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC researchers Massimo Trucco, MD, and Nick Giannoukakis, PhD, used a novel treatment strategy thereby reversing, or curing, diabetes.

Minimal cocktail for growing human embryonic stem cells established
Researchers at Yale have established the minimal nutritional requirements for growing and maintaining human embryonic stem cells, a recipe that is critical for clinical application and for developmental studies, according to an early online report this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cheaper, simpler production of polypropylene and polyethylene with tailored properties
Olefin polymerisation is a key to the production of the most widely used polymers in the world such as polypropylene and polyethylene.

Prescription flip-side: Guidelines for medication withdrawal
University of Chicago physicians propose the first general framework for withholding or discontinuing medications, adding life expectancy, goals of care, treatment targets and time until benefit to the usual equation of drug plusses and minuses in the March 27, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Prostate treatment decisions based on perception more than fact
Men with prostate cancer generally make treatment decisions based on differences in the information they receive rather than their own preferences, according to a new review. 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