Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 24, 2006
New analysis of networks reveals surprise patterns in politics, the web
A new computer analysis technique developed at the University of Michigan that separates networks into communities yielded some surprises when used on real-world networks like political books, blogs, and metabolic systems.

Queensland scientists identify molecule that links both sides of the brain
A Queensland Brain Institute-led team has identified a molecule that plays a key role in establishing the major nerve connections between each side of the adult brain.

Report issued on US-Indo collaboration to advance vision research
A published report is now available online describing two innovative workshops for advancing vision research by combining the forces of researchers and clinicians from the US and India.

Newly identified protein complex sheds light on axon growth mechanism
New research sheds light on the molecular mechanisms underlying axon growth and synapse formation in the nematode worm C.elegans.

Super-sized cassava plants may help fight hunger in Africa
In a recent study, genetically modified cassava plants produced roots that were more than two-and-a-half times the size of normal cassava roots.

New space observations poised to save lives from floods, landslides
Using NASA's advanced Earth-observing satellites, scientists have discovered a new opportunity to build early detection systems that might protect thousands from floods and landslides.

Ireland leads Europe for anti-tobacco policies while Luxembourg comes last
Ireland leads Europe for its active stance on tobacco control, while Luxembourg comes bottom of the league of 30 countries, reveals research in the journal Tobacco Control.

New book looks at menstrual disorders in primary care
Primary care physicians can be called to treat the medical causes and implications of menstrual disorders.

Turning the tables on drug discovery
EUREKA project E! 2314 O'SCREEN reverses the traditional screening process used to discover potentially active new pharmaceutical compounds.

Young adults are fastest growing group of uninsured
There are 13.7 million young adults who lack health insurance in the United States, an increase of 2.5 million from 2000, a new Commonwealth Fund report reveals.

Virginia Tech materials researchers selected to improve military armor
Virginia Tech has been selected by the Army Research Laboratory to establish a Materials Center of Excellence.

Studies find cognitive therapy benefits IBS
Cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy have been successfully used in the treatment of a variety of chronic syndromes, including common functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

MIT material puts new spin on electronics
Researchers at MIT's Francis Bitter Magnet Lab have developed a novel magnetic semiconductor that may greatly increase the computing power and flexibility of future electronic devices while dramatically reducing their power consumption.

Mixed amphetamine salts extended release improves information processing in adults with ADHD
Mixed amphetamine salts extended release substantially improved the speed and accuracy in information processing of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a study at the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting in Toronto.

Study links obesity to liver failure
Researchers have found that obesity can put patients with acute liver failure at increased risk of mortality and other major complications, according to a new study presented today at Digestive Disease Week® 2006 (DDW).

Organ-recipients' deaths prompt call for suppliers of pet rodents to screen for LCMV disease
A case involving seven transplant recipients killed by a rodent-borne virus that they apparently acquired from donated and infected human organs has prompted a recommendation that regulatory authorities require suppliers of pet rodents to screen their colonies for the virus.

Enzyme defect leads to hyperinsulinism
A recent study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry confirms that mutations in an enzyme called glutamate dehydrogenase can cause congenital hyperinsulinism.

Salk research suggests the existence of specialized neurons that distinguish swagger from sway
It doesn't take John Wayne's deliberate, pigeon-toed swagger or Marilyn Monroe's famously wiggly sway to judge a person's gender based on the way they move.

Compulsion to smoke after just one cigarette can lie dormant for more than three years
The compulsion to smoke after having tried just one cigarette can lie dormant for more than three years, indicating a

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to build NASA's radiation belt storm probes
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory will develop and operate twin NASA spacecraft to study how the sun interacts with Earth's radiation belts.

UCF, Georgia researchers: New Orleans faces 3-in-10 chance of hurricane winds
The New Orleans area has a nearly 30 percent chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds during a season that is likely to further disrupt oil production levels in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially causing another increase in already high oil and gasoline prices, said UCF statistics professor Mark Johnson and Chuck Watson, founder of the Kinetic Analysis Corp. of Savannah, Ga.

Humboldt Research Award goes to Springer author
Alfred Kobsa (50) has received the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award.

Extreme drinking
Approximately 40 percent of college freshmen have self reported binge drinking, defined as four+ drinks per occasion for females and five+ drinks for males.

If all drivers were polite, they would get where they're going faster
A new study from the University of Michigan found that traffic metering systems that incorporate new algorithms for merging could reduce the seriousness of traffic slowdowns that originate near freeway on-ramps.

RNAi Global Initiative members advance standards for genome-wide RNAi research in second meeting
The Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative (RNAi Global), an alliance of Dharmacon, Inc., and 14 leading international research centers pioneering the use of whole-genome RNAi screening, announce progress toward its fundamental goal of developing internationally accepted standards for conducting research using the first complete siRNA library targeting genes across the entire human genome.

WPI team receives $1.8 million to study atherosclerotic plaque progression and rupture
A team led by Dalin Tang, professor of mathematical sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has received a $1.8 million National Science Foundation award to conduct a comprehensive study of the growth, progression, and rupture of human atherosclerotic plaque, which is closely related to most cardiovascular diseases.

New research links placenta praevia directly to assisted reproductive techniques
Norwegian researchers have found the first evidence that techniques used in assisted reproduction (ART) may be directly linked to an increase in placenta praevia - a potentially dangerous condition in which the placenta covers, or partially covers the cervix, blocking the baby's passage into the birth canal.

World to be even hotter by century's end
While climate models predict significant global warming by the end of the century, these models don't take into account several poorly understood processes - the extra carbon dioxide pumped out by warmer soils and oceans - that will amplify the warming.

Stress, alcoholics, and post-traumatic stress disorder
Stress is believed to contribute to the initiation, development and/or maintenance of alcohol problems.

Dan David Prize awarded to two leading American cancer researchers
Stephanie L. Freid reports on this year's recipients of the prestigious Dan David Prize which was awarded on Sunday at Tel Aviv University to two leading cancer researchers from the United States.

Finding computer files hidden in plain sight
Criminals and terrorists are using innocent-looking digital images as a cover to send hidden data.

Genes discovered that allow gum disease bacterium to invade arteries
Researchers have identified the genes in gum-disease bacteria that allow them to invade and infect human arterial cells, offering one possible explanation for a perceived connection between gum disease and heart disease.

Listening to music can reduce chronic pain and depression by up to a quarter
Listening to music can reduce chronic pain and depression by up to 25 per cent and make people feel more in control and less disabled by their condition.

Health benefits of Chlamydia screening programmes 'might have been overestimated'
The benefits and cost effectiveness of Chlamdyia screening programmes

NRP104 significantly reduced symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children
Shire plc (Nasdaq: SHPGY, LSE: SHP, TSX: SHQ) and New River Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Mixed amphetamine salts most effective in the treatment of ADHD in youths
Stimulant medications, such as mixed amphetamine salts and methylphenidates are significantly more effective than nonstimulant medications or novel stimulants, such as modafinil, in the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

DAYTRANA (methylphenidate transdermal system) significant reduces ADHD symptoms
Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPGY, TSX: SHQ) announced its once-daily methylphenidate transdermal system (MTS), DAYTRANA (TM) demonstrated significant reductions in the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was generally well tolerated in patients aged 6 to 12 years in four analyses of two clinical trials reported at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

If the chemistry is right ... you might remember this
An Australian science team has made an interesting discovery that shows a fundamental mechanism of how nerve cells communicate.

World fire maps now available online in near-real time
For a decade now, ESA satellites have been continuously surveying fires burning across the Earth's surface.

Key stress protein linked to toxicities responsible for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's
Researchers at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research have discovered a mechanistic link between cellular stress caused by free radicals, such as nitric oxide, and the accumulation of misfolded proteins, which leads to nerve cell injury and death in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease: Disulphide Isomerase (PDI), a chaperone protein needed for proper protein folding.

Survival of the selfless - scientists find cheats don't always prosper
Selfishness is not necessarily the best survival trait for microorganisms, according to researchers studying the comparative effectiveness of 'cheating' and 'cooperating' strains of yeast.

Name can lead to housing discrimination
A new study shows you don't have to be African-American to face discrimination in the pursuit of rental housing, you just have to have a name that sounds as if you may be.

New analysis showed UC patients in clinical remission had higher rates of employment
Results from a new analysis of the ACT trials (Active Ulcerative Colitis Trials 1 & 2) presented today at Digestive Disease Week showed that, among patients not employed at baseline in the studies, significantly more patients in clinical remission at weeks 30 and 54 were employed, compared to those not in clinical remission.

Purdue researchers find 'switch' for skeletal-muscle atrophy
Researchers in Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered genetic and drug-treatment methods to arrest the type of muscle atrophy often caused by muscle disuse, as well as aging and diseases such as cancer.

Deaths from rodent virus raise need for tracking system
After the deaths of seven people from a virus transmitted through organ donation in the past two years, authorities are recommending that a tracking system be put in place to monitor patients following transplantation, and until then, physicians should be more vigilant in looking for signs of infection transmitted through transplantation.

Toward a less expensive, more convenient treatment of Gaucher's disease
Prospects for developing a less expansive and more convenient treatment for Gaucher's Disease have brightened with the discovery that certain small molecules can partially correct the underlying genetic defect responsible for most cases of the disease.

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can be harmful to the fetus.

Top Ontario teachers to ponder curriculum at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is hosting an important gathering of Ontario's top physics teachers for a three-day conference examining science education, teaching methods and the transformative potential of modern physics.

For Stanford scientists, RNAi gene therapy takes two steps forward, one step back
Three years ago Mark Kay, MD, PhD, published the first results showing that a hot new biological phenomenon called RNA interference was an effective gene-therapy technique in mice.

Study: Super-sizing your food takes a hidden toll on your pocketbook
From a soft drink in a mega-size cup to a jumbo order of fries, many fast food restaurants let you upsize your meal for pennies -- seemingly a great value.

For the future hydrogen economy, a tiny, self-powered sensor
Hydrogen has been called

May GEOSPHERE media highlights
The May issue of GEOSPHERE, published in electronic format only by the Geological Society of America, is now available online.

Findings on obesity among preschoolers, post partum depression among Hispanic women and more
Leading researchers in prevention science are gathering to present new findings on health challenges facing kids, women, minorities and more.

Many cleaners, air fresheners may pose health risks when used indoors
A new study from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that many common household cleaners and air fresheners, when used indoors under certain conditions, emit toxic pollutants at levels that may lead to health risks.

Low carbohydrate diet did not increase bone loss, study finds
A strict low-carbohydrate diet had no effect on bone loss for adults following an Adkins-type diet for weight loss, a study by rheumatologists at the University of South Florida found.

New survey reveals top summer health concerns
To help educate parents about how to keep their young teens happy, healthy and active over the summer, the National PTA today launched the campaign

Low-to-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure lowers IQ at age 10
Light-to-moderate drinking while pregnant can have damaging effects on cognitive development, lowering IQ scores in African-American children at age 10, according to a study published today by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Microbes hitchhike across Atlantic on desert dust
Bacteria and fungi, some with the potential to cause disease in plants or animals, may be finding their way from Africa to the Americas by hitchhiking on microscopic dust particles kicked up by storms in the Sahara, according to research presented today at the 106th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida.

ESA's SOHO will lead a fleet of solar observatories
New funding, to extend the mission of ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO, will ensure it plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled to be launched over the next few years.

Light-to-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to cognitive deficits 10 years later
Many people are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

£250,000 funding boost for research into eye disease
An eye disease that can lead to partial and even total blindness is to be investigated by a team of scientists thanks to funding worth £254,000 announced this week. 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