Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 30, 2006
Katrina exposed emergency response weakness
The disastrous response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Duke to test bird flu vaccine dosing
A clinical trial to test different strengths of a vaccine designed to fight avian influenza will begin this month at Duke University Medical Center.

Quantum dot method rapidly identifies bacteria
A rapid method for detecting and identifying very small numbers of diverse bacteria, from anthrax to E. coli, has been developed by scientists from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

With $10M in grants, UMaine begins forest biorefining research
UMaine will being $10.35 million research project using trees to produce ethanol, niche industrial chemicals and plastics to augment the current pulp and paper industry.

New human retrovirus originated in mice
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers and their colleagues have discovered a new retrovirus in humans that is closely related to a cancer-causing virus found in mice.

Cassini finds 'missing link' moonlet evidence in Saturn's rings
Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have found evidence that a new class of small moonlets resides within Saturn's rings.

Premature baby ventilation trial cleared of causing long-term harm to participants
Premature babies with breathing problems who were given continuous negative-extrathoracic-pressure (CNEP) ventilation in a UK trial do not have poorer long-term outcomes when compared with those who received standard treatment, concludes a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Plants give pests sock in the gut
A novel enzyme in corn helps the plants defend themselves from voracious caterpillars by disrupting the insects' ability to digest food, and ultimately killing them, according to researchers.

Why are letters and other human visual signs shaped the way that they are?
In a new study forthcoming in the May 2006 issue of The American Naturalist, researchers from the California Institute of Technology explore the hypothesis that human visual signs have been cross-culturally selected to reflect common contours in natural scenes that humans have evolved to be good at seeing.

Over 80 percent of college girls surveyed diet to lose weight
Eighty-three percent of college girls surveyed diet to lose weight, regardless of their current body weight.

Friction-reduction recipe: Add two atoms and lots of heat
Get molecules moving, atom bumping against atom, and friction is bound to follow.

Stevens to kick off alliance with e-security leader GLESEC
Stevens Institute of Technology will hold a talk,

Dangerous glucose-hungry cervical tumors can be detected using PET scans
Cervical cancers that take up a lot of blood sugar, or glucose, are more resistant to treatment than those that are less glucose-hungry, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Parents need to be educated about HPV vaccinations for daughters
Parents of young girls may soon be offered the opportunity to have their daughters immunised against a sexually transmitted virus that is the major cause of cervical cancer, Professor Henry Kitchener told the 4th International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine.

Global leaders launch effort to turn around Africa's failing agriculture
About 75 percent of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is plagued by severe degradation, losing basic soil nutrients needed to grow the crops that feed Africa, according to a new report released today on the precipitous decline in African soil health from 1980 to 2004.

Magnetically guided catheter zaps atrial fibrillation
A remotely-controlled catheter device guided by magnetic fields provides a safe and practical method for delivering radio frequency ablation treatment in the hearts of patients with atrial fibrillation, according to a new study in the April 4, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

MSU researchers shake out basis for rice domestication
Michigan State University scientists have identified the genetic mutation that reduces grain shattering during rice domestication research that will improve production of the crop that feeds more than half of the world's population.

Real battle over mental health law about to begin
The UK government's climb down on reform of mental health legislation is not a victory - the real battle is about to begin, warns a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

Cincinnati surgeons report new treatment for often-fatal injury
University of Cincinnati (UC) surgeons have developed a new, minimally invasive method for repairing a common and deadly form of aortic injury -- an advance that could help reduce the number of deaths caused by auto accidents and major falls.

Quality standards issued for testing herbal products
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued the first suite of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) in a planned series of reference materials for botanical dietary supplements.

Water found to be main culprit in Argentine ant invasions
According to a study conducted by two biologists at the University of California, San Diego, Argentine ants in Southern California need wet soil to live and breed.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2006
Read news tips on supercomputing, biosensors, and national security in this month's Oak Ridge National Laboratory Tip Sheet.

Magnetism shepherds microlenses to excavate 'nanocavities'
A Duke University engineer is

Penn researchers awarded $3.2 million for Musculoskeletal Disorders Center
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have been awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders, one of five such Centers nationally.

Nanoporous 'sponge' removes mercury from offshore produced waters
Researchers at PNNL have developed a novel nanoporous sorbent thiol-SAMMS, or thiol-functionalized Self Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Supports, to specifically remove mercury and other contaminants such as cadmium and lead from produced waters and condensate liquids from natural gas.

Using probes to control chemistry - molecule by molecule
Using probes originally designed to detect and image topographical features on surfaces, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated the ability to initiate and spatially localize chemical reactions on the submicron scale.

Virginia Tech to host Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture Symposium
Virginia Tech will host the Biodiversity Conservation in Agriculture Symposium at its Caribbean Center for Education and Research in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, May 31 - June 2, 2006.

Paper reports discovery of virus implicated in genetics of prostate cancer
The Open Access journal PLoS Pathogens has published an article detailing research that identifies a new retrovirus in the tissue of human prostate tumors.

Rare Tibetan antelope listed as endangered
The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) today applauded a decision today by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Tibetan antelope, also known as

Daughters of Indian immigrants continue trend of giving birth to small babies
US-born Asian-Indian women are more likely than their Mexican-American peers to deliver low birth weight infants, despite having fewer risk factors, say researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford's School of Medicine.

President's budget proposal cuts critical infectious diseases programs to the bone
At a time when threats from pandemic influenza, antibiotic-resistant infections, and HIV/AIDS are growing, the budget proposal President Bush has submitted to Congress undermines the nation's ability to fight infectious diseases, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) told Congress today.

Rapid temperature increases above the Antarctic
A new analysis of weather balloon observations from the last 30 years reveals that the Antarctic has the same 'global warming' signature as that seen across the whole Earth, but is three times larger than that observed globally.

Evidence of estrogen and progesterone hormone allergy has been discovered by Texas researchers
Some women with menstrual cycle disorders like asthma and migraine headaches may be experiencing allergies to their own estrogen and progesterone hormones, Texas researchers have discovered.

Chemical reaction research to improve instruments for analysis of samples from outer space
Researchers have identified a new test case that could be used for evaluating extraterrestrial samples for evidence of life.

MINOS experiment sheds light on mysterious neutrinos
Scientists have successfully observed the transformation of neutrinos - a particle that is relatively massless, has no electric charge, yet is fundamental to the structure of the universe - from one type to another.

RFID tags to assist in tracking first responders
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been around for many years and is widely used to identify, track and communicate information about items, products and even animals.

International study questions health benefits of moderate drinking
The majority of studies suggesting that

Gold nanoparticles emit intense heat, study finds
Nanoparticles of gold can act as tiny, precise and powerful heaters, which potentially could be used in biomedical applications, according to a new study.

Cluster and Double Star witness a new facet of Earth's magnetic behaviour
Five spacecraft from two ESA missions unexpectedly found themselves engulfed by waves of electrical and magnetic energy as they travelled through Earth's night-time shadow on 5 August 2004.

Translational derepression & oncogene expression in breast cancer cells
Drs. Anuradha Mehta, Christopher Trotta and Stuart Peltz (PTC Therapeutics) have uncovered a novel mechanism whereby the translation efficiency of oncogenes is increased in cancer cells.

BMJ Editor calls for independence for the NHS
In this week's BMJ, Editor Fiona Godlee calls for independence for the NHS.

Binghamton University and STOC launches groundbreaking Linux collaboration
With the launch of the Binghamton University Linux Technology Center, the Greater Binghamton area in upstate New York becomes one of the key regions in the nation for cutting-edge research in Linux based systems and open-source computing, said University and the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition (STOC) representatives.

Conference to give students a chance to shine
Student researchers from around the world will showcase their potential at a unique conference to be held in Australia in September.

Subsurface bacteria release phosphate to convert uranium contamination to immobile form
In research that could help control contamination from the radioactive element uranium, scientists have discovered that some bacteria found in the soil and subsurface can release phosphate that converts uranium contamination into an insoluble and immobile form.

Sandia-designed supercomputer ranked world's most efficient in two of six categories
A new series of measurements -- the next step in evolution of criteria to determine more accurately the efficiency of supercomputers -- has rated Sandia National Laboratories' Red Storm computer the best in the world in two of six new categories, and very high in two other important categories.

Acquisition will advance commercialization of Lab's security screening technology
A technology originally developed for the Federal Aviation Administration and licensed to a start up company for security screening has been sold to a major security firm.

3D ultrasound device poised to advance minimally invasive surgery
Three-dimensional ultrasound probes built by researchers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering have imaged the beating hearts of dogs.

New processing steps promise more economical ethanol production
The largest challenge for bioconversion from raw materials to bioethanol is high processing costs, resulting in higher prices for bioethanol than for gasoline.

Drs. Hrabowski, Summers share success strategies for producing minority scientists, engineers
Contrary to popular perception, well-prepared minority students and their non-minority counterparts enter college with similar levels of interest toward pursuing science and engineering careers.

UK plans for pandemic flu don't go far enough
The UK's contingency plans for pandemic flu don't go far enough, argues a director of public health in this week's BMJ.

Clinical pharmacology needs to be revitalised in the UK
The National Health Service, medical schools, and national bodies need to revitalise the discipline of clinical pharmacology in the UK for the interest of the nation, state the authors of a correspondence letter in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Virginia Tech studies reveal reaction pathways for ozone on organic surfaces
Virginia Tech chemistry researchers have made a discovery about how ozone degrades organic surfaces such as biological surfactants and polymeric coatings.

How a locust's eardrum could lead to tiny microphones
Being able to hear the smallest of noises is a matter of life or death for many insects, but for the scientists studying their hearing systems understanding how insect ears can be so sensitive could lead to new microphones able to capture and analyse extremely faint sounds.

Truly informed consent must include talking about future fertility, warn experts
Talking about sex and fertility can be just as embarrassing for medical staff as for adolescent cancer patients, Drs Allan Pacey and Adam Glaser told the the 4th International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine in London.

New male contraceptive clears hurdle
Researchers received approval this week to resume enrolling volunteers in a study of a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive for men.

Frictionless motion observed in water
A molecule spinning in a liquid can create a friction-free bubble for itself, researchers report in Science.

Infections might trigger deep vein thrombosis
Infections may trigger deep vein thrombosis (DVT), according to an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

HIV accessory protein disables host immunity via receptor-protein intermediary
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine discovered that an HIV-1 accessory protein called Vpr destroys the host cell's ability to survive by binding to a host receptor.

VCU researchers develop new method for synthesis of nanomaterials
Virginia Commonwealth University chemists, using a simple, commercial microwave oven, have developed a new method for the synthesis of nanomaterials that can control the dimensions and properties of rods and wires that are just one billionth of a meter in size.

New materials for high efficiency organic solid state lighting
A new organic molecule developed by PNNL scientists may significantly improve the efficiency of organic solid state lighting.

Life or death can depend on teenage cancer patients taking their treatments properly
Teenagers and young adults with cancer need to understand the implications of not taking their treatments regularly, at the right time, and for the whole course.

Springer author awarded the Abel Prize 2006
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the 2006 Abel Prize to Springer author Lennart Carleson.

Scientists elucidate the kinome of key model organism
The journal PLoS Genetics has published the findings of a team of scientists at the nonprofit Boston Biomedical Research Institute that provides a whole genome analysis of the protein kinases from a scientifically valuable model organism known as Dictyostelium.

MINOS experiment sheds light on mystery of neutrino disappearance
An international collaboration of scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced today (March 30, 2006) the first results of a new neutrino experiment.

Scientists observe solitary vibrations in uranium
Los Alamos scientists, working with collaborators from around the world, recently observed experimental evidence of solitary vibrations (solitons) in a solid.

Unravelling a cosmic mystery - scientists discover the Universe's strongest magnetic field
Scientists from The University of Exeter and the International University have discovered what is thought to be the strongest magnetic field in the Universe.

Study examines risk for misuse of ADHD stimulant medications
A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital researchers has found that, while the great majority of young people with ADHD use their medications appropriately, a small percentage are likely to abuse or to sell prescribed stimulants.

Sleep apnea treatment benefits the heart
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea have enlarged and thickened hearts that pump less effectively, but the heart abnormalities improve with use of a device that helps patients breathe better during sleep, according to a new study in the April 4, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

NHS cash crisis will delay national bowel screening programme, warns expert
The NHS financial crisis will delay the government's bowel cancer screening programme, which is due to begin this week, warns a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

Measuring electrical arcs at the micrometer scale
A new device and technique have been developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers for measuring

Rutgers physicist earns prestigious Sloan Foundation research fellowship
Rutgers physicist Emil Yuzbashyan has received a prestigious Sloan Foundation research fellowship, which provides $45,000 in broad-based research funding over the next two years.

New evidence questions the simple link between prion proteins and vCJD
While newly published research confirms that under laboratory circumstances prion-protein can be absorbed across the gut, it also shows that this is unlikely to occur in real life.

DOE JGI releases experimental metagenomics data management & analysis system
To tackle the computational challenges of analyzing the complex world of microbial communities, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has released to the worldwide research community IMG/M, an experimental metagenome data management and analysis system.

Highlights of American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, March 26-30
A faster diagnostic test for detecting bird flu, insights into the discovery of new elements, research on prostate cancer, and an appetite suppressant developed from pine nuts are among the topics covered at the 231st national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, in Atlanta, March 26-30. 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