Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 31, 2006
Climate history rewritten: Arctic ice an early arrival
Artic ice formed about 45 million years ago - roughly 14 million years ahead of previous predictions - according to new research published in Nature.

Tests for 'face-blindness' reveal disorder may not be so rare
Researchers at Harvard University and University College London have developed diagnostic tests for prosopagnosia, a socially disabling inability to recognize or distinguish faces.

Striking the right balance between excitation and inhibition
Neurons in the brain and spinal cord come in two flavors, excitatory neurons that transmit and amplify signals, and inhibitory neurons that inhibit and refine those signals, but little is known about how cells decide to become inhibitory or excitatory during embryonic development.

Taking evolution's temperature: Researchers pinpoint the energy it takes to make a species
Higher temperatures near the equator speed up the metabolisms of the inhabitants, fueling genetic changes that actually lead to the creation of new species.

Study finds ways to improve detection of blood clots in the lung
A new study of chest CT to detect potentially deadly blood clots in the lung shows that extending the scan to the legs

Jefferson scientists identify gene mutation potentially involved in breast cancer initiation
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have found evidence suggesting that a mutation in a gene that normally helps block breast tumor formation could play a role in the initiation of a major form of breast cancer.

New council promotes partnerships between UCSF and community
A new advisory council at UCSF will focus on strengthening the links between the University and the community.

Australian of the Year wins top American honour
Australian of the Year and cervical cancer vaccine inventor Professor Ian Frazer has won an award from one of America's premier cancer research groups.

When a child's heart stops, onset time of abnormal rhythms is crucial
Ventricular fibrillation, the life-threatening disordered heart rhythms that may accompany full cardiac arrest, occurs more frequently in children than commonly believed, according to a large national pediatric study.

ESC releases updated Guidelines for the Management of Stable Angina Pectoris
The European Society of Cardiology released today new Guidelines for the Management of Stable Angina Pectoris.

Segregated classrooms benefit some students, but stop others from reaching full potential
Subjecting female or black students to stereotypes when they are in the numerical minority diminishes the academic performance of some, but may prompt others to higher levels of achievement.

Chronic stress, depression and cortisol levels are potential risk indicators for periodontal disease
Caregivers of people under psychological or physical stress, as well as those with the conditions themselves, should not overlook their oral health, according to a new study printed in the Journal of Periodontology.

Virginia Tech student selected to meet Nobel Laureates
Geosciences student Nicholas Wigginton has been nominated by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to attend a meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany.

New preservative increases shelf life of blood platelets - decreases risk of harmful reactions
A new study has found that storing whole blood derived platelets in an artificial preservative can extend their shelf life and produce a safer end product.

Sectarianism is problem for religious right political partnerships according to new survey at UCSD
Members of groups that comprise the

Smoking, diabetes predict different forms of peripheral artery disease
Cigarette smoking and high cholesterol predict risk for some forms of peripheral artery disease (PAD), while diabetes predicts risk for other forms of the disease, researchers reported in a rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Ecosystems with many plant species produce more and survive threats better
Ecosystems containing many different plant species are not only more productive, they are better able to withstand and recover from climate extremes, pests and disease over long periods, according to a new study.

New mechanism explains glucose effect on wakefulness
One of the body's basic survival mechanisms is the neural machinery that triggers the hungry brain to the alertness needed for seeking food.

Vaccinate or not? Treat or not? Study looks at tricky health decisions
If a deadly bird flu reaches the US, which would you choose: Would you get a risky vaccine now, or face an even greater risk of dying in the epidemic?

3-D insulator loses a dimension to enter magnetic 'Flatland'
Scientists have discovered that at the abrupt lowest temperature transition at which barium copper silicate enters a new state-called the quantum critical point-the three-dimensional material ''loses'' a dimension to form a Flatland, of sorts.

When galaxies collide: Supercomputers reproduce fluid motions of cosmic duet
A wispy collection of atoms and molecules fuels the vast cosmic maelstroms produced by colliding galaxies and merging supermassive black holes, according to some of the most advanced supercomputer simulations ever conducted on this topic.

Americans support free access to research
In an online survey of public attitudes conducted recently and released today by Harris Interactive®, 8 out of 10 (82 percent) adults polled said they believe that

Discovery may speed forest biotechnology
Researchers have discovered the genetic controls which cause trees to stop growing and go dormant in the fall, as well as the mechanism that causes them to begin flowering and produce seeds - a major step forward in understanding the basic genetics of tree growth.

Elsevier launches new online oncology journal
Elsevier, a world-leading healthcare and scientific publisher, is set to launch a new online-only oncology review journal.

Ocean-drilling scientists cite history of Arctic climate change
A group of ocean-drilling research scientists that explored the Arctic Ocean subseafloor in Fall 2004 have released new findings in a report to be published in Nature on June 1.

World Cup gets interactive with 21st century technology
The promise of watching the football World Cup with 21st century technology hints at a world where all media are tied together in a complete package that can excite, inform and entertain modern audiences using interactive technologies.

June GEOLOGY media highlights
Topics include: seismic precursors of volcanic eruptions; use of fluid inclusions to identify biomarkers and conditions on early Earth; evidence for the earliest-known possible link between a large igneous province and a mass extinction event; the 2004 Sumatran earthquake and dynamics of major subduction zone earthquakes; use of fossil amphibians and reptiles in estimating paleoprecipitation; new earth systems model of element interactions during geological processes; and tectonic plate motion relative to Earth's deep interior.

Colorful, rare-patterned male guppies have survival advantage in the wild
Any owner of a freshwater aquarium likely has had guppies, those small brightly colored fish with a propensity for breeding.

North Pole's ancient past holds lessons for future global warming
Detailed information on greenhouse gasses and a subtropical heat wave at the North Pole 55 million years ago is providing information about the Earth's past as well as a portent for its future, according to reports in the June 1 issue of Nature.

Another great boost to medical research
Medicines Australia welcomed today's announcement by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott, of $5 million in grants to 21 of Australia's leading medical research teams.

Different forms of amyloid beta in Alzheimer's disease harm neurons in different ways
Researchers at UC Irvine have shown that different forms of amyloid beta lead to neural damage in different ways, leading to an increasingly complex view of amyloid toxicity in the Alzheimer brain.

Growing diabetes epidemic: Patient/physician disconnect on disease management
Limited understanding of disease progression and frustration with disease management contribute to the clinical challenge of meeting the rising type 2 diabetes epidemic in America, according to the Diabetes Roundtable.

Sinking levees
Most of New Orleans is sinking at an average rate of 6mm a year.

Calorie restriction appears better than exercise at slowing primary aging
Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that eating a low-calorie yet nutritionally balanced diet lowers concentrations of a thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine (T3), which controls the body's energy balance and cellular metabolism.

Voyager data may reveal trajectory of solar system
Nearly 30 years after launch, the two Voyager spacecraft are still operational and returning useful data.

Promising new metamaterial could transform ultrasound imaging
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have used the principles of resonance to develop a new material that holds promise for revolutionizing the field of ultrasound imaging.

Alarming decline in Nepal's rhinos and tigers in former Maoist stronghold
Results released today by World Wildlife Fund of the first assessment done in two years in one of Nepal's premier national parks reveal an alarming decline in tiger and rhino populations, indicating widespread poaching.

A code to keep your fingerprints secure
It could soon become much harder for thieves to steal your digital identity.

Saturn's moon Enceladus may have rolled over to put a hot spot at the pole
Enceladus, a small icy moon of Saturn, may have dramatically reoriented relative to its axis of rotation, rolling over to put an area of low density at the moon's south pole.

Amnesiac study offers insights into how working memory works
Memory tests performed with amnesiacs have enabled researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to refute a long-held belief in an essential difference between long-and short-term memories.

Address water scarcity, water quality issues around the world now, Sandia/CSIS report says
Now is the time to address the devastating effects of increasing water scarcity and declining water quality around the world, according to a recently released white paper written jointly by Sandia National Laboratories and the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Damaged Iraq marshes show renewed signs of life
The marshes of southern Iraq, devastated in recent decades by Saddam Hussein's regime, are showing a

The great transformation of Central Eastern Europe; Success and disappointment
Study finds that the economic and political transformation of the Central Eastern European region over the last two decades may be simultaneously considered a success and a failure.

Lurking lung cancer alleles
In the largest genome-wide scan for lung cancer-susceptibility genes to date, scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research have identified 64 gene variants that may predispose some individuals to lung cancer.

Rhesus monkeys in Nepal may provide new alternative for HIV/AIDS research
Scientists investigating the genetic makeup of rehesus macaque monkeys, a key species used in biomedical research, have found the rhesus in Nepal may provide a suitable alternative to alleviate a critical shortage of laboratory animals used in work to develop vaccines against diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Genetically altered mice no longer like cocaine
Researchers found that they could eliminate the rewarding effect of cocaine on mice by genetically manipulating a key target of the drug in the animal's brain.

Where we change our mind
Whether finding your way through an unfamiliar neighborhood to a friend's house or deciding on a political candidate, your brain is adept at adapting.

Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute new study on pregnant women & iron
Children's Hospital Oakland scientist first to show certain pregnant women at risk for iron overload.

AERA/APA exhibit: Coalition for national science funding
THE AERA/APA exhibit features the scholarship of Marcia C. Linn, PhD, a University of California-Berkeley Chancellor's Professor who has been awarded grants from the NSF's Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education.

Moderate alcohol intake associated with better mental function in older women
Research involving more than 7,000 older women found that those who drink a moderate amount of alcohol have slightly higher levels of mental function than non-drinkers, particularly in verbal abilities, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

Plant-cell-produced technologies-cutting edge approach to bringing solutions to the market
Four months after the world's first vaccine made in plant cells has received regulatory approval in the US, Dow AgroSciences is organising a Science Conference in Brussels on 7 June 2006 in order to share this knowledge with European researchers, scientists, decision-makers and industry representatives.

Record number of abstracts submitted for largest scientific congress devoted to osteoporosis
The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO), the world's largest scientific congress devoted specifically to the bone disease osteoporosis, opens on Friday June 2, 2006 in Toronto, Canada.

Why water freezes faster after heating
Why does hot water freeze quicker than cold water? This bizarre property of water which has remained a mystery since the Greek philosopher Aristotle first observed it, may at last have been solved.

Basque grammar in the brain
At the Psycholinguistic Laboratory of the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV), Basque-Spanish bilingualism and the relation between language and the brain have been under study.

First study to show IVF single embryo transfer as successful as double transfer in older women
Research by fertility experts in Finland, published Thursday, June 1 in Human Reproduction, has demonstrated for the first time that in many cases transferring a single embryo to the womb in women undergoing IVF is just as likely to result in pregnancy and a live birth in those aged 36 to 39 as it is in younger women.

Biodiversity key to sustainable biofuel according to University of Minn. researcher's findings
Ecosystems containing many different plant species are not only more productive, they are also better able to withstand and recover from climate extremes, pests and disease over long periods of time.

Master planners in brain may coordinate other areas' roles in cognitive tasks
Scientists have used data from scans of 183 subjects to identify brain areas that consistently become active in a variety of cognitive tasks.

Sun's past strength took toll on tropical glaciers, worsens today's outlook
Variations in the strength of the sun have played a major role in glacial fluctuations in the tropical Andes for hundreds of years, and combined with current greenhouse gases generated by humans, paint an alarming picture for tropical glaciers.

Hebrew University researchers uncover eight previously unknown species
Discovery of eight previously unknown, ancient animal species within

Researchers conduct training in disaster mental health
Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center today announced that they have received the final portion of a $610,000 grant to train mental health professionals and spiritual advisors (e.g. clergy) in how to counsel victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. 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