Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 12, 2006
Brain communicates in analog and digital modes simultaneously
Contrary to popular belief, brain cells use a mix of analog and digital coding at the same time to communicate efficiently, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers published this week in Nature.

Disease-impact models may rely on incorrect assumptions
Even when we know how a disease affects individual animals, it is challenging to predict what impact it will have on the whole population, and yet predicting how disease affects a population is a primary concern for wildlife conservation and even public health.

Researchers trawl the origins of sea fishing in Northern Europe
For decades the study of fish bones was considered one of the most esoteric branches of archaeology, but now it is helping to reveal the massive significance of the fishing trade in the Middle Ages.

Historic plant type specimens to go digital
A unique collection of plant specimens that is part of The Academy of Natural Sciences' world-renowned herbarium soon will be viewable through the Internet, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Rice scientists attach motor to single-molecule car
In follow-on work to last year's groundbreaking invention of the world's first single-molecule car, chemists at Rice University have produced the first motorized nanocar.

Curry colouring and fat mix could help diabetics
Brisbane immunologist Dr Brendan O'Sullivan hopes to put a dent in skyrocketing rates of diabetes in Australia by creating a new treatment for type 2 diabetes.

From Alzheimer's to schizophrenia: SNM reveals latest MI/NM research at annual meeting
Researchers -- covering the most recent advances in understanding, diagnosing and treating heart and brain diseases and cancer -- release their findings in more than 1,600 scientific abstracts during SNM's 53rd Annual Meeting June 3-7 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Hold your breath; Plants may absorb less carbon dioxide than we thought
The world's land plants will probably not be able to absorb as great a share of the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide as some models have predicted, according to a new study at the University of Minnesota.

Research updates 65-year-old genetic discovery
Current research refutes explanation of 65-year-old observations by R.A. Fisher and team on the bitter-taste sensitivity in humans and chimpanzees.

Self-employed: Long hours and low wages, but high job satisfaction
Self-employed male Britons have been found to work longer hours for lower wages than those of their employee counterparts.

FDA grants Accentia Biopharmaceuticals...
Accentia Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ABPI) has been notified that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Fast Track status to SinuNase the Company's intranasal Amphotericin B formulation.

SNM issues first procedure guideline for imaging cancer in adults and children with PET/CT
The first procedure guideline for using positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computed tomography (CT) to image tumors in adults and children has been developed by SNM and will be published in the May issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Paleontologists learn how not to become a fossil
The best way to avoid becoming a fossil is to be small and live in deep, tropical waters.

Mankind benefits from eating less meat
If people were to eat more vegetable proteins instead of animal proteins, this would result in multiple - and much-needed - benefits.

Rewind, please: Nature paper shows that cell division is reversible
Gary J. Gorbsky, PhD, a scientist with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, has found a way to reverse the process of cell division.

HSATM forum: The creativity-innovation connection, June 7
The 2006 HSATM Conference is devoted to the topic of creativity, as both the igniting spark of the process of innovation and the insights that move an idea along the innovation path from conception to commercialization.

Higher carbon dioxide, lack of nitrogen limit plant growth
Earth's plant life will not be able to

How odors are sensed: A complex system clarified
Yale scientists have systematically plotted the responses of the entire Drosophila (fruit fly) olfactory system, providing the first multi-dimensional map of the range of odorants sensed and the regions of the brain that are stimulated.

Antibiotic proves successful in tackling symptoms of acute asthma
Researchers have demonstrated that an antibiotic is effective at treating acute asthma attacks, potentially providing a new way to help asthma sufferers.

Penn professor to present research on radiation-induced cancer on 20th anniversary of Chernobyl
Virginia A. LiVolsi, MD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will be a key presenter at the

Organic nitrogen gives new clue to biodiversity
Researchers from the University of Lancaster and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) have found that not only can organic nitrogen be directly taken up by plants it is also used differently by different species, enabling nitrogen sharing and biodiversity.

Stress-induced levels of corticotropin-releasing factor responsible for binge behaviour
Stressed individuals might be particularly prone to binge eating or drug addiction because of the high levels of the stress hormone corticotropin-releasing factor in their brain.

Pacific Northwest tectonic plates are moving
The three major tectonic plates off the Pacific Northwest coast are undergoing a gradual shift, and the area in which they converge - popularly known as the

Green sturgeon receives 'threatened' status
The green sturgeon recently received a boost from the US government, which listed the species as

Young researchers recognised for scientific achievements
Six young researchers and scientists have been named as recipients of the 2006 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize.

NYAS Conference highlights latest advances in primary immunodeficiencies (SCID)
To highlight the latest advances in the treatment of Primary Immunodeficiencies (PI), a group of life threatening disorders that afflict millions of people in the US and around the world, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) and the New York Academy of Sciences is cosponsoring a one-day conference, Primary Immunodeficiencies: Past, Present, Future, on April 25 at Rockefeller University from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Lunar rocks suggest meteorite shower
New age measurements of lunar rocks returned by the Apollo space missions have revealed that a surprising number of the rocks show signs of melting about 3.9 billion years ago, suggesting that the moon - and its nearby neighbor Earth - were bombarded by a series of large meteorites at that time.

Upcoming NJIT conference focuses on Hurricane Katrina, technology, more
A closer look at how people react during emergencies, the role of computers and technology and what really happened during Hurricane Katrina number among the topics to be discussed at the third annual meeting of the Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM).

Hominid fossils from Ethiopia link ape-men to more distant human ancestors
Before the genus Homo arose some 2 million years ago, eastern Africa was dominated by the Australopithecines - small brained, large-toothed bipeds that later earned the sobriquet

ORNL, protein discovery researchers collaborate on high-profile paper
A paper that outlines a new method to use a beam of light to trap protein molecules and make them dance in space has earned a place in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

New satellite system will use GPS signals to track hurricanes, climate change, and space weather
A six-satellite array, designed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, will be the first to provide atmospheric data in real time for both climate research and operational weather forecasting by measuring the bending of GPS radio signals.

US-Taiwan constellation of satellites launched
A globe-spanning constellation of six satellites expected to improve weather forecasts, monitor climate change, and enhance space weather research will head into orbit on Fri.

Lion mane linked to climate
Research shows, for the first time, a link between a lion's mane and climate.

The effects of climate change on the physiology of alfalfa
Biologist Gorka Erice Soreasu, a researcher in the Department of Plant Biology of the University of Navarra, has studied the effects of climate change on the physiology of alfalfa.

Males with elevated levels of testosterone lead shorter lives but have more success siring offspring
Comparative studies have studied testosterone levels and related them to mating systems and aggression, but very few studies have attempted to relate testosterone to fitness, that is, the combination of lifetime reproductive success and survival.

Gases in one dimension -- not your typical desk toy
Physicists at Penn State University have performed the first laboratory experiment with a system of many colliding particles whose motion never becomes chaotic.

'Indirect damage' from 9/11
'Indirect damage' can reach far beyond the immediate victims of terrorism.

Duke study examines evolutionary consequences of bluebird aggression
In findings that may offer insight into how evolution operates, a Duke University evolutionary ecologist reported evidence that aggressive male western bluebirds out-compete less aggressive males for preferred breeding territories.

The night shift may lead to family nightmares
For some families, night and weekend shifts may strain the well-being of both parents and children.

High efficiency flat light source invented
A group of chemists and electrical engineers succeeds in making a prototype white-light organic LED.

Cell surface profiling technique could yield cancer blood test
A chemical profiling technique that has potential for detecting the onset of cancer at the cellular level has been developed by scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley.

Developing nations may save the tropical forest
In an article this Friday (April 14) in the international magazine New Scientist, a leading rainforest biologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama argues that a new initiative by developing nations offers great promise to help reduce the rampant rate of tropical forest destruction.

Volcano-like tremors detected deep within Earth's crust near San Andreas
Tremors within the Earth are usually -- but not always -- related to the activity of a volcano.

Novel virus entry mechanism could lead to new drugs against poxviruses
Scientists working with Vaccinia virus, the smallpox vaccine, have discovered a novel mechanism that allows poxviruses to enter cells and cause infection.

Research milestone brings goal closer of cheap antimalarial drug for developing world
Artemisinin drugs have proved to be a miracle cure for malaria, but the cost of the plant-derived drug is prohibitively expensive for those in the developing world.

Separate genetic mutations gave people, chimps bitter-taste sensitivity
Humans and chimpanzees share the ability to taste, or not taste, a bitter synthetic compound called PTC -- as well as numerous other toxic substances -- but contrary to longstanding scientific thought, they developed that ability through separate genetic mutations, according to new research led by University of Utah and University of Washington geneticists Stephen Wooding, PhD, and Michael Bamshad, MD.

Diabetes and cancer: Alpha connection
The function of p110 alpha in the body has eluded researchers for over a decade but a new approach to generating mouse models, has allowed investigators from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research's (LICR) UCL Branch and the UCL Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology to solve the mystery and yield important information for cancer, diabetes, obesity and planned clinical trials with PI3K inhibitors.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2006
The current story tips from ORNL include the following: Swarm intelligence -- Nature's way; Nanotechnology -- Promise and perils; Biology -- Skull and spinal defects, and Energy -- Heat exchange.

Evolutionary proof that (eating) the chicken came before the egg
In a new study from the May issue of the American Naturalist, Alan de Queiroz and Javier Rodriguez-Robles (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) test Darwin's theory that many current traits can be explained by the ancestral lineage of a species.

MANIAC Challenge to stimulate student experimentation in wireless networking
Competitions are motivating, not to mention fun. Also, failure often teaches more than success, and implementation is always more convincing than simulation.

A new look and a fresh start: Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing
Springer has begun publishing Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing (MBEC), the official journal of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE).

The 100 greatest advances in medicine
At a time when healthcare management corporations are transforming the once intimate doctor-patient relationship into an impersonal provider-customer transaction, it is increasingly difficult for both doctors and the public at large to view medicine as an idealistic calling devoted solely to healing the sick. 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