Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 06, 2006
Monkey-dung study offers clues about land-use, wildlife ecology
Fecal matter of red colobus monkeys collected in western Uganda has yielded a wealth of knowledge about human land-use change and wildlife health and conservation.

Key nutrients critical for older infants' development
According to Dr. Nancy Krebs, it can be difficult to meet the nutritional needs of older infants.

Towards a unified model of transcription termination
Dr. David Bentley (University of Colorado School of Medicine) and colleagues have developed a new, unified model for transcription termination by RNA Poymerase II.

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute to develop Tomato Metabolite Database
Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech is developing a database and computational tools to help scientists learn more about how certain genes in tomatoes affect the crop's flavor and nutritional value.

Losartan prevents life-threatening insulin resistance in burn injuries
Researchers have found a way to prevent insulin resistance in burn-injured rats, a finding that, while still quite preliminary, could eventually save burn victims' lives and speed their recovery.

Mutation in blood stem cells provides clues to cancer development
A mutation in blood stem cells occurs in patients with a blood disorder called polycythemia vera (PV), scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center at Stanford University School of Medicine have confirmed.

No evidence that referral management centres can deliver
No evidence exists that referral management centres can improve the NHS referral process, warn experts in this week's BMJ.

Sustained blood pressure treatment lowers dementia risk in elderly
Maintaining high blood pressure treatment may reduce the risk of dementia in old age, researchers reported in the rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Better regulation needed for ethical research in Africa
Better regulation is needed to ensure that research carried out in Africa and other developing countries is ethical, says an expert in this week's BMJ.

Plants used to detect gas leaks, from outer space!
Gas leaks can be potentially life threatening in the home, but the presence of gas stresses out plants too.

New investigators in the spotlight
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) announced the winner of the 2006 New Investigator Award at the 2006 AIUM Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

WHO's 2006 World Health Report 'a disappointment'
While the World Health Organization's focus on human resources for health in its 2006 World Health Report (WHR) is welcome, the lack of detailed data in the report is disappointing, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Wireless sensor networks offer high-tech assurance for a world wary of earthquakes
Data-transmission rates are key, says Yunfeng Zhang, a Lehigh University structural engineer, if wireless sensors are to replace costlier wired sensor networks.

Crucial site for endangered frogs and birds saved
Fast action by an alliance of conservation groups battling global extinctions has saved one of the world's most important sites for endangered species.

Hidden structure revealed in characteristics of transistor laser
The transistor laser, invented by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been full of surprises.

Salmonella bacteria use RNA to assess and adjust magnesium levels
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have added a gene in the bacterium Salmonella to the short list of genes regulated by a new mechanism known as the riboswitch.

Lawrence Platt, MD, receives the 2006 AIUM William J. Fry Memorial Lecture award
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) presented Lawrence Platt, MD, with the 2006 William J.

MIT researchers build tiny batteries with viruses
MIT scientists have harnessed the construction talents of tiny viruses to build ultra-small

People prefer belonging to groups in which members can punish freeloaders
People are willing to inflict financial pain to achieve collective gain, according to a new study in the 07 April 2006 issue of the journal Science published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

First clinical results reported for Sangamo's ZFP therapeutic
Sangamo will present the first publicly reported human clinical trial data of a ZFP TherapeuticTM, SB-509, for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy (DN) at the American Academy of Neurology meeting.

Nanopore method could revolutionize genome sequencing
A team led by physicists at the University of California, San Diego has shown the feasibility of a fast, inexpensive technique to sequence DNA as it passes through tiny pores.

Carbon monoxide inhibitor controls traumatic bleeding, Tulane University researchers show
A chemical that blocks carbon monoxide (CO) has been used for the first time to arrest traumatic bleeding in rats.

Is the brain wired for faces?
Although the human brain is skilled at facial recognition and discrimination, new research from Georgetown University Medical Center suggests that the brain may not have developed a specific ability for

AIUM Presidential Recognition Awards presented
Lennard D. Greenbaum, MD, president of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), announced the recipients of the 2006 Presidential Recognition Award at the 2006 AIUM Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

Proto supermassive binary black hole detected in X-rays
An international team of astronomers led by D. Hudson from the University of Bonn has detected a proto supermassive binary black hole in images of NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory.

Commonly used blood pressure medication prevents aortic aneurysm in mice with Marfan syndrome
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have used a commonly prescribed blood pressure medicine, losartan (Cozaar), to prevent a potentially fatal weakening of arteries in mice with Marfan syndrome.

BCG vaccination is highly cost-effective
BCG vaccination against severe childhood tuberculosis (TB) should be retained in high incidence countries, as it is a highly cost-effective intervention, according to a paper in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Study suggests province should provide more trained teacher-librarians for Ontario schools
A new Queen's-led study offers the first Canadian analysis of the relationship between school library resources and student achievement, and provides substantial evidence that trained library staff improve student achievement in Ontario schools.

March issue of JADA explores saliva as diagnostic tool
A University of Kentucky research study featured on the cover of the March issue of the Journal of American Dental Association could help change the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease.

Blue ring discovered around Uranus
Among all the red rings around the large planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the lone blue ring in the orbit of Saturn's moon Enceladus stood out.

Reiner Gamma swirl: Magnetic effect of a cometary impact?
This animation, made from images taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft, shows a feature characterized by bright albedo, and called Reiner Gamma Formation.

Japanese encephalitis widespread in Bali
Japanese encephalitis might be more widespread in Indonesia than previously thought.

Soggy sands of Mars?
Cracks and fins in the sand in an American desert look very similar to features seen on Mars and may indicate the recent presence of water at the surface.

Healing honey: The sweet evidence revealed
Substantial evidence demonstrates that honey, one of the oldest healing remedies known to medicine, produces effective results when used as a wound dressing.

Women now live longer than men, even in the poorest countries
2006 is likely to be the first year in human history when - across almost all the world - women can expect to outlive men, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

War between the sexes influences evolution in some species, say scientists
Competition and conflict between males and females start inside the egg in some species, say scientists.

Exploding star within a star - a recurrent nova!
On 12 February 2006, amateur astronomers reported that a faint star in the constellation of Ophiuchus had suddenly become clearly visible in the night sky without the aid of a telescope.

Scientists learn more about how viruses reproduce, spread
Biochemists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have made a surprising discovery about the inner workings of a powerful virus - a discovery that they hope could one day lead to better vaccines or anti-virus medications.

UCSD biochemists discover bacteria's Achilles' heel
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have determined what factors turn on protein production in bacteria, a finding that provides new targets for the development of antibiotics.

Universities play major role developing entrepreneurs and business, experts
New Jersey policy planners recently gathered at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to learn from noted MIT Professor Richard K Lester and his associates how to bring entrepreneurs to Newark.

New Cassini image shows "A" ring contains more debris than once thought
Views of Saturn's stunning ring system from above by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft now orbiting the planet indicate the prominent A ring contains more debris than once thought, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Possible brain hormone may unlock mystery of hibernation
The discovery of a possible hibernation hormone in the brain may unlock the mystery behind the dormant state, researchers reported in the April 7, 2006 issue of Cell.

Abstracts and sessions now online for 2006 Joint Assembly in Baltimore
Over 2,000 abstracts are now online and searchable for 2006 Joint Assembly, covering a broad range of Earth and space science.

Feds' infectious diseases strategy must be broader than biodefense, say ID physicians
As Congress updates anti-bioterrorism legislation, it must take action now to protect the nation against the pressing threats of pandemic influenza, antibiotic-resistant infections, and other serious naturally occurring infections, according to the nation's leading society of infectious diseases physicians and researchers.

IAMP expresses support for Disease Control Priorities Project
The InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP), a global network of medical academies and medical divisions of academies of science and engineering, has officially endorsed the goals of the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP).

Daniel Rader, MD, of PENN, selected to direct a 2006 'Freedom to Discover' biomedical research grant
Daniel Rader, MD, a specialist in preventive cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), has been selected to direct a prestigious Freedom to Discover Unrestricted Biomedical Research Grant awarded to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Study supports theory why brain-injured children often recover
FMRI images showed larger areas and more sites of activity in the brains of the younger children.

JCI table of contents, April 6, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online 4/6/06 in the JCI, including: Hunting down the causes of Huntington disease; Tracking the cells involved in virally-induced Kaposi sarcoma; ACE-ing the test of diabetes; Forget me not: chronic infection triggers autoimmune disease; and others.

Crime scene investigates: The case of the dead cow
Forensic fingerprinting of plant DNA is being investigated as a way to identify offending poisonous plants - a major cause of death in livestock in countries such as Ghana.

AIUM honors ultrasound pioneers
Lennard Greenbaum, MD, president of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), along with other luminaries in the field of ultrasound, presented awards to several individuals who have significantly contributed to the field of medical diagnostic ultrasound at the 2006 AIUM Annual Convention in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2006.

Seniors look on the bright side
Older adults' attention tilts toward positive feelings and associations, despite the time-limited future that comes with advancing age, concludes a Brandeis study in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Moderate drinking associated with better cognition in women
A drink or two a day may be associated with better cognitive function in women, according to a report from an ongoing study of New York City residents.

Significant reduction in antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal disease since the introduction of PREVNAR
Vaccination may help alleviate antibiotic resistance, a worldwide public health issue.

Evolution of 'irreducible complexity' explained
Using new techniques for resurrecting ancient genes, scientists have for the first time reconstructed the Darwinian evolution of an apparently

New research shows second-hand smoke raises diabetes risk
A study published on bmj.com this week shows for the first time that breathing other people's smoke raises the risk of developing glucose intolerance, the precursor to diabetes.

AIUM announced EER grant recipients
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) announced the winners of its 2006 Endowment for Education and Research (EER) grants at the 2006 AIUM Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

A blue ring around the planet Uranus
The outermost ring of the planet Uranus turns out to have a bright blue color, according to a report in the April 7 issue of the journal Science.

Enzyme crystal structure reveals 'unexpected' genome repair functions
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have determined the crystal structure of an enzyme called xeroderma pigmentosum group B (XPB) helicase, identifying several unexpected functions and helping to address important questions about the enzyme's role in DNA transcription and repair.

ISHLT celebrates 20th anniversary of infant cardiac transplantation
Renowned pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Leonard L. Bailey, MD, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, addresses the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) 26th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions in Madrid today.

Study finds two supermassive black holes spiraling toward collision
A pair of supermassive black holes in the distant universe are intertwined and spiraling toward a merger that will create a single super-supermassive black hole capable of swallowing billions of stars, according to a new study.

UK trauma care under threat
Delivery of trauma care in Britain is threatened by a lack of training opportunities and a dedicated service infrastructure within the NHS, say doctors in this week's BMJ.

Towards the mechanism of cell respiration
Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology of the University of Helsinki have for the first time identified an internal electron transfer reaction that initiates the proton pump mechanism of the respiratory enzyme.

UQ teams up with USA experts to detect diseases before they appear
University of Queensland (UQ) researchers are hoping to revolutionise the way cancer and diseases are detected.

Hunting down the causes of Huntington disease
A study by researcher Sandrine Humbert and colleagues at the Institut Curie in France appearing in the May issue of the JCI shows that the drugs cystamine and FDA-approved cysteamine reduce neuronal death and dysfunction induced by the polyQ-huntingtin protein in cultured neurons and animal models of Huntington disease (HD).

Power of speech drives military vehicles
Speech recognition specialist VoxGen has been selected to add speech interface technology to a system, developed for the Department of Defense by Rochester Institute of Technology, which provides for effective maintenance, operations, and engineering support for commercial and military vehicles.

Industry welcomes massive Victorian investment in medical research
Melbourne's biotechnology industry is excited by the Victorian Government's announcement of a $230 million investment in medical research according to Tim Murphy, Executive Director of the BioMelbourne Network.

New fossils fill the evolutionary gap between fish and land animals
Working in rocks more than 375 million years old far above the Arctic Circle, paleontologists have discovered a remarkable new fossil species that represents the most compelling evidence yet of an intermediate stage between fish and early limbed animals.

Brown University geologists create 5-million-year climate record
Brown University geologists have created the longest continuous record of ocean surface temperatures, dating back 5 million years.

Landmark discovery of a Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus receptor
Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have identified a critical human cell surface molecule involved in infection by Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV), the virus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and certain forms of lymphoma.

Americans love competition, but is it pushing our scientists too far?
Instances of serious scientific misconduct are only uncovered perhaps a dozen times a year.

Blood pressure medication may revolutionize treatment of Marfan syndrome
A commonly prescribed blood pressure medication may provide the first ray of hope in preventing potentially deadly complications of Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that weakens the structural meshwork of blood vessels.

Star exploding inside another star sheds light on super stellar explosions
An international team of astronomers today is reporting on a discovery of a star exploding inside another star.

US trails other countries in publishing embryonic stem cell studies, Stanford researcher finds
The fear that U.S. researchers might lose ground to their international counterparts in carrying out human embryonic stem cell research now appears to have become a fact.

NJIT researchers detail at conference their method to assess writing
Norbert Elliot, PhD, professor in the department of humanities at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) a team of researchers presented better ways to teach and assess writing at the conference on College Composition and Communication held in Chicago last month.

Study may help slay 'Yellow Monster'
Researchers have found that uranium can damage DNA as a heavy metal, independent of its radioactive properties.

The future of tropical forests
Deforestation and habitat loss are expected to lead to an extinction crisis among tropical forest species.
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