Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 19, 2006
Scientists to employ Arctic ice and polar bears to protect diversity of world's crops
On an island near the North Pole, prime ministers from five Nordic countries and the Global Crop Diversity Trust laid the cornerstone today for a

Sticky surfaces turn slippery with the flip of a molecular light switch
Changing a surface from sticky to slippery could now be as easy as flipping a molecular light switch.

Sequence of therapies not associated with improved survival from inflammatory breast cancer
The order in which patients with inflammatory breast cancer undergo different types of treatment does not appear to be associated with improved survival rates, which remain poor, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Brief intervention reduces symptoms of depression
Taking a page from the treatment book on alcohol abuse, researchers from the University of Washington have successfully tested a brief, low-cost intervention to deal with depression, the No.

Study links high levels of nitric oxide to infertility and sperm DNA damage
Iranian scientists have linked a chemical that plays an essential role in many bodily functions to sperm DNA damage and male infertility, the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction heard on Monday.

Finding a better way to make biodiesel
Iowa State scientists are using chemistry and nanotechnology to create a better way to make biodiesel.

Lowering of blood pressure achieved through use of hashish-like drug
A new method for lowering blood pressure (hypertension) through use of a compound that synthesizes a cannabis (hashish) plant component has been developed by a pharmacology Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy.

Child soldiers are barrier to peace process
As long as children continue to be coerced into militias -- as they are by the thousands in Colombia, Sudan and dozens of other countries -- peace talks in those countries to settle armed conflicts are unlikely, assert two Cornell researchers.

How IVF could be causing genetic errors in embryos
The conditions in which embryos are cultured in the laboratory during in vitro fertilisation could be causing genetic errors that are associated with certain developmental syndromes and other abnormalities in growth and development, such as low birth weight, scientists told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Successful transplantation from pig embryos to mice
Millions of diabetics face a lifetime of daily injections to replace the insulin their bodies fail to produce, as well as a host of risks that includes blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and heart disease.

Cultural transmission in bats: When listening for dinner, bats learn from their neighbors
In an exciting study that provides new understanding of how animals learn--and learn from each other--researchers have demonstrated that bats that use frog acoustic cues to find quality prey can rapidly learn these cues by observing other bats.

Hispanics and blacks with melanoma more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage
Hispanic and black patients in Florida's Miami-Dade County are more likely than white patients to have a more advanced stage of melanoma at the time of diagnosis of the disease, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

REM sleep behavior disorder found to be precursor of brain-degenerating diseases later in life
Mayo Clinic sleep medicine specialists have found that almost two-thirds of patients with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) develop degenerative brain diseases by approximately 11 years after diagnosis of RBD.

Sudden infant death syndrome: Reducing the risk
SIDS continues to be the leading cause of postneonatal infant death, accounting for about 25% of all deaths among infants between 1 month and 1 year old.

Climate change may threaten species of amphibians and reptiles in southwestern Europe
Projected climate change could trigger massive range contractions among amphibian and reptile species in the southwest of Europe, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography.

New cue used to perceive motion in depth
A third 3D motion cue, dynamic half-occlusion, has been identified by researchers as a means by which the percept of motion in depth is achieved, according to a new study recently published in Journal of Vision, an online, free access publication of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Tip sheet, Annals of Internal Medicine, April 20, 2006
The current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine has the following articles: New Arthritis Drug Beats Placebo in Phase III Trial; Hospital Care of Patients with COPD Varies Widely and Needs Improvement Overall.

Researchers discover how to focus on tiniest of the very small
Researchers at Cornell have developed a technique to get a closer-than-ever look at individual atoms within crystal molecules -- allowing them, for the first time, to see the physical alignment of those constituent atoms and to get a view of the smaller atoms.

Cornell researchers find serious fish virus in Northeast for first time
Cornell researchers have discovered for the first time in New York state a serious fish virus that causes fatal anemia and hemorrhaging in a wide variety of fish species.

Human activities in arid urban environments can affect rainfall and water cycle
A study by a climatologist in the department of geography at the University of Georgia has shown, using a unique 108-year-old data record and NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, that arid cities such as Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Phoenix have an effect on rainfall patterns around them.

Egg donation for stem cell research -- balancing the risks and benefits
In the wake of the scandal involving fraudulent cloning research, concerns about the welfare of women donating eggs for research purposes have arisen.

Bones hold the key to blood renewal
Though we think of them as solid and permanent, our bones are actually constantly being rebuilt throughout our lives.

DNA repair in mammal embryos is a matter of timing
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered that the cells of the developing nervous system of the mammalian embryo have an exquisite sense of timing when it comes to fixing broken chromosomes: the cells use one type of repair mechanism during the first half of development and another during the second half.

Full speed ahead for cosmic ray project
Construction is accelerating on a $17 million cosmic ray observatory west of Delta, Utah, thanks to two U.S. agencies: the Bureau of Land Management issued a permit, and the National Science Foundation approved a $2.4 million grant.

'Food insecure' Appalachians more likely to be obese, diabetic, study finds
Members of rural Appalachian households who lack access to food or experience hunger are more likely to be obese and have diabetes, according to an Ohio University study.

Brighter future for giant panda?
Scientists at Cardiff University, using a novel method to estimate population, have found that there may be many more giant pandas remaining in the wild than previously thought.

Primates take weather into account when searching for fruits
New findings reported this week reveal that at least some primates can use their stored knowledge of recent weather as a tool for guiding their foraging behavior when searching for ripening fruit.

Science offers 'state of the planet 2006-2007' to explore global challenges
The challenges are many and deeply interrelated, and with increasing worldwide frequency they are at the top of the news: diminishing biodiversity, declining fisheries, threats to the quality of our air and water, climate change and sustainability.

New egg freezing technique offers hope to hundreds of women
A new and highly successful method of freezing human eggs will help to even out the current inequality between men and women whereby, until now, men have been able to use their previously frozen sperm for IVF treatment but women have not been able to do the same with their eggs.

Tropical forest CO2 emissions tied to nutrient increases
Extra helpings of key nutrients given to tropical rain forest soils caused them to release substantially more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a concern to scientists monitoring global change, says a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Liquid Jungle Lab environs -- home to five new species
On 15 June, 2006, the first publication to assemble terrestrial biodiversity information from Bahia Honda, Panama, was presented at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama City.

REM sleep behavior disorder at young age linked to antidepressant use
A Mayo Clinic study has shown that the onset of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) at a younger age appears to be connected to antidepressant use.

An intelligent valuation system
Researchers at the Public University of Navarre are working on a computerised property valuation system, by means of artificial intelligence techniques.

Researchers discover which organs in Antarctic fish produce antifreeze
Thirty-five years ago Arthur DeVries of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign first documented antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) in Antarctic notothenioid fishes.

Engineering electrically conducting tissue for the heart
Patients with complete heart block (disrupted electrical conduction in their hearts) currently receive pacemakers, but these devices often fail over time, particularly in infants and small children.

Springer author Hirotugu Akaike to receive 2006 Kyoto Prize
Japanese statistical mathematician Dr. Hirotugu Akaike (78), professor emeritus at the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Japan, will be honored with this year's Kyoto Prize in the Basic Sciences.

The right pathway to better health and science
Medicines Australia has welcomed today's release of the House of Representatives Science and Innovation Committee report on Pathways to Technological Innovation.

Preparation may help patients cope with nausea
Patients undergoing difficult medical procedures may benefit from getting advance detailed information about how unpleasant they might feel, according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues.

National Academies advisory: Past surface temperatures and climate change
Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years, a new congressionally requested report from the National Academies' National Research Council, assesses efforts to estimate historical temperature variations based on tree rings, boreholes, and other

Study points to genes responsible for malaria parasite's survival in attempts to eradicate it
A team of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, and Cheik Anta Diop University (Senegal) has discovered hundreds of novel genes that may help the malaria parasite evade destruction by the human immune system and anti-malarial drugs.

Baxter and Jerini advance program to develop non-intravenous haemophilia therapy
Baxter AG and Jerini AG today announced progress in their collaborative research program to develop a non-intravenous therapy for the treatment of hemophilia.

Study shows surveillance could cut number of blood stream infections
A study from Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust shows how a surveillance programme designed to monitor blood stream infections in dialysis units could cut the number of infections among patients.

Breast cancer genetics and more -- press release from PLoS Medicine
A variant -Cys557Ser- of a gene called BARD1 may have a role in triggering breast cancer in some women.

Common asthma inhaler causing deaths, researchers assert
Three common asthma inhalers containing the drugs salmeterol or formoterol may be causing four out of five U.S. asthma-related deaths per year and should be taken off the market, researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities have concluded after a search of medical literature.

Molecular censusing doubles estimate of key giant panda population
Employing a noninvasive technique that uses genetic information to identify individual pandas in the wild, researchers have revised--upward--size estimates of a key giant panda population in China.

ICSI children are developing well at the age of eight
A study of 150 of the world's oldest ICSI children has produced reassuring evidence about the health of these children at the age of eight, the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard on Monday 19 June.

ROZEREMâ„¢ (ramelteon) shown to be effective in a first-night-effect model of transient
Data presented at the SLEEP 2006 20th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies have shown that ROZEREMTM (ramelteon) reduced time to fall asleep with no evidence of next-day residual effects, including psychomotor and memory effects, in a first-night-effect model of transient insomnia.

New test spares couples with familial cancer the trauma of termination
A new way of sparing couples the trauma of having to decide between having a baby with a high risk of developing a form of colorectal cancer later in life, or terminating the pregnancy, will be revealed on 20 June 2006 at the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic.

NAS announces July 20 lecture on science and technology's influence on contemporary protraiture
The Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences announces a lecture by Anne Collins Goodyear, assistant curator of prints and drawings at the newly renovated National Portrait Gallery.

African symposium to focus on how nature can help alleviate poverty
An unprecedented international symposium called

Receptor holds the key to mosquito immune response
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have identified a gene in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito's DNA that is central to the insect's ability to defend against infectious pathogens, including Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria in humans.

Targeted lymph node examination improves staging of colon cancer
Examining more carefully the lymph nodes to which colorectal cancer is most likely to have spread may improve the accuracy of colon cancer staging and spare some patients the cost and toxicity of chemotherapy, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers find new clues to biochemistry of 'anti-aging'
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have found that sirtuins, a family of enzymes linked to a longer life span and healthier aging in humans, may orchestrate the activity of other enzymes involved in metabolic processes in the body.

Is expensive new heart rhythm treatment 'worth it'?
A new procedure that stops the most common form of irregular heartbeat is expensive, but it may pay off in the long run for many patients, new research suggests.

Preparing for European market launch
Ventracor Limited (ASX: VCR) today announced the first patient has been implanted with the VentrAssist in a new study designed to build on clinical momentum from the CE Mark Trial and prepare for European market launch.

Global patterns of geographic range sizes: A bird's eye view
The first global maps of variation in species range sizes for an entire taxonomic class -- birds -- reveals that range area does not follow a simple latitudinal pattern, according to a study published in PLoS Biology.

Virginia Tech, US Naval Research Laboratory co-host international workshop on dusty plasma physics
In the solar system, dusty plasma forms with the interaction of dust particles with gases and may appear as tails of comets or as planetary rings.

Mapping a glacial path of destruction
The dangerous power of glacial outburst floods - or jokulhlaups - will be easier to predict thanks to new models developed by a Leeds researcher and presented at the International Glaciological Society symposium in Iceland this Friday (June 23).

Hurricanes and the US Gulf Coast
The American Geophysical Union today published the report of a Conference of Experts, intended to guide policy makers charged with rebuilding areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Patient self-management of oral anticoagulant therapy cost-effective
Dean Regier and colleagues report that self-management was a cost-effective strategy for patients receiving long-term oral anticoagulation in certain clinical situations.

Eavesdropping fringe-lipped bats spread culture through sound
Like a diner ordering a dessert based solely on the

Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
The Eighth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant will be held Sunday-Friday, Aug.

Study looks for genetic predictors of hypertension
Whether genes responsible for a rare disorder that dramatically elevates blood pressure holds clues for identifying many people at risk for hypertension is the focus of a new study.

H5N1 vaccine could be basis for life-saving stockpile
Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have announced that a vaccine they developed a few years ago against one antigenic variant of the avian influenza virus H5N1 may protect humans against future variants of the virus.

First global bird map provides new clues to future extinctions
The first global survey of bird diversity could play a key role in identifying species most vulnerable to extinction, researchers report today in the journal PLoS Biology.

HIV pregnancy study discovers increased anaemia and blood pressure problems
HIV positive women are much more likely to suffer from anaemia and high blood pressure in pregnancy and deliver babies with lower birth weights and retarded growth, according to University research that compared 212 HIV positive mothers-to-be with 101 women who had tested negative.

American Film Institute announces screenwriting workshop
The American Film Institute (AFI) is accepting applications from scientists and engineers to participate in a workshop on writing for movies and television.

Older mothers overwhelmingly choose daughters as caregivers
Older mothers are almost four times more likely to expect one of their daughters, rather than a son, to be their caregiver if they were to become sick or disabled, reports Cornell's Karl Pillemer in the August issue of The Gerontologist.

Researchers develop system to thwart unwanted video and still photography
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have completed a prototype device that can block digital-camera function in a given area.

Report recommends immediate improvements for Arizona's Pandemic Preparedness Plan
The Arizona Department of Health Services could rapidly improve the State's capability to respond to a potential Avian Influenza pandemic in the next several months by focusing on several key priorities that are not sufficiently addressed in the current version of Arizona's Pandemic Preparedness Plan, according to a new report from the Arizona, Arts, Sciences and Technology Academy.

Wiley launches IEEJ Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced the launch of IEEJ Transactions on Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the official journal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan (IEEJ).

The molecular mechanism of a diabetes vaccine revealed
A team of researchers led by Prof. Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute of Science Immunology Department has revealed the molecular mechanism of a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes.

Study contradicts USA warning that an antidepressant can cause congenital abnormalities
A study carried out by German researchers has failed to show that a popular antidepressant, paroxetine, causes congenital abnormalities if taken by pregnant women, the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard on Monday.

Summer update: Melanoma research progress suggests optimism for future cures
Using artificial skin models, stem cells, and other research tools, melanoma researcher Meenhard Herlyn, D.V.M., is investigating the signaling pathways that maintain orderly skin-cell division and proliferation.

New method of testing eggs for abnormalities could solve problems of embryo freezing
Italian researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to test a woman's egg, before fertilisation, for chromosomal abnormalities that might make an embryo less likely to implant successfully or more likely to miscarry at a later stage, the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction will hear on Monday.
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