Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 08, 2006
News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
This week's Journal of Neuroscience includes the following highlights: A Sparse View of Cortical Activity; The Transactivator Trap Screen Strikes Again; An Approach to the Complexity of Neural Circuits; and An Odd Couple: mGluR4 and Medulloblastoma.

Routine use of Hib vaccine could lead to virtual elimination of killer disease in Africa
Study provides firm evidence that Hib disease is a major problem in developing countries such as Kenya, and investment in immunization to control Hib meningitis & pneumonia, a significant killer of children under five, works.

A humble aquarium fish may be the key to new therapies for birth defects
A humble aquarium fish may be the key to finding therapies capable of preventing the structural birth defects that account for one out of three infant deaths in the United States today.

Automated external defibrillators are frequently recalled
A new study shows that automated external defibrillators (AEDs), the devices used to resuscitate victims of sudden cardiac arrest, had a greater than 20 percent chance of being recalled for potential malfunction over the past decade.

FDA safety alerts for automated external defibrillators occur frequently
The FDA frequently issues safety advisories for automated external defibrillators (portable electronic device used to restore regular heart beat in patients with cardiac arrest) and accessories, although the number of actual device malfunctions appears to be relatively small, according to a study in the August 9 issue of JAMA.

Zoller wins Dirac Medal 2006
Peter Zoller, professor of physics at the University of Innsbruck and scientific director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, has won the Dirac Medal 2006 of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics.

Carnegie Mellon develops curriculum for LEGO® MINDSTORM® robot-building set
Educators at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Academy say robotics could become an even more powerful teaching tool with curriculum they developed for the new version of LEGO Education's popular MINDSTORMS robot-building set.

Frank M. Richter to receive GSA 2006 Arthur L. Day Medal
Dr. Frank M. Richter of the University of Chicago is recipient of the 2006 Geological Society of America Arthur L.

MatBase -- A new transcription factor knowledge base released by Genomatix
MatBase contains genomic TF binding sites and protein binding domains, related literature, more than 27,000 known TF-gene interactions, experimentally verified complexes with other TFs (promoter modules), and weight matrix descriptions for the DNA binding sites of TFs.

Brain chemical plays critical role in drinking and anxiety
A brain protein that sustains nerve cells also regulates anxiety and alcohol consumption in rats, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago report.

Do college sports enhance future earnings?
Do student athletes financially outperform their non-athlete counterparts after they graduate from college -- or do the earnings of college athletes lag behind?

Renowned Egyptologist John Anthony West brings Emmy-winning research to UCI conference
Renowned Egyptologist, scholar and Pythagorean, John Anthony West (

HIV Science and Responsible Journalism Satellite Meeting
Complex science, controversial politics, competing claims and life-or-death stakes make HIV/AIDS one of the toughest beats for a journalist to cover.

Unmasking nutrition's role in genes and birth defects
Expectant mothers may someday get a personalized menu of foods to eat during pregnancy to complement their genetic makeup as a result of new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Diamond technology to revolutionize mobile communications
The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with industrial and academic partners under a DARPA Phase II research and development program to develop a new technology based on Ultrananocrystalline Diamond (UNCD), a novel material developed at Argonne that will enable diamond resonators and oscillators to be directly integrated with microelectronics chips for next-generation telecommunication devices.

Zebrafish show advantages in assessing human cancer cell-induced angiogenesis in vivo
Researchers from Phylonix Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced today results that demonstrate zebrafish as an efficient and effective animal model for assessing human cancer cells at various stages of tumorigenesis.

Smoking out the links between nutrition and oral cancer
The means by which tobacco promotes the development of oral cancer is unknown.

Proba-3: ESA's first step towards formation flying
Proba-3 is the third in ESA's series of missions for validating developments in space systems while carrying an

Researchers find controls to gold nanocatalysis
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have made a discovery that could allow scientists to exercise more control over the catalytic activity of gold nanoclusters, an important development in the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology.

Stevens Systems Engineering Dept. to launch annual publication
Based on the success of the global Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER), founded by Stevens Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California, Stevens' Systems Engineering Department will publish selected case studies in an annual publication primarily focused on graduate and doctoral research papers.

Elizabeth Catlos to receive GSA 2006 Young Scientist Award
Dr. Elizabeth Jacqueline Catlos, assistant professor, Oklahoma State University, is recipient of the Geological Society of America Young Scientist Award for 2006.

Sandia experimental package of piezoelectric films to be part of NASA space station experiment
For the past three years a Sandia research team has been investigating the performance of piezoelectric polymer films that might one day become ultra-light mirrors in space telescopes.

Strong evidence of a genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease
A Mayo Clinic-led international research collaboration -- one of the largest studies of its kind -- provides strong evidence that a genetic risk factor may account for 3 percent of the cause of Parkinson's disease.

Variability in certain gene associated with increased risk of Parkinson's disease
Variability in the SNCA gene is linked with a greater susceptibility for Parkinson's disease, according to a study in the August 9 issue of JAMA.

New study reveals Rett syndrome can strike males
A new study has found that the genetic flaw responsible for Rett syndrome can strike males, even where there isn't a family history of the rare brain disorder.

Sub-Saharan Africans with HIV may achieve favorable levels of antiretroviral therapy adherence
A review of previous studies suggests that favorable levels of antiretroviral therapy adherence can be reached among HIV-infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa, while adherence remains a concern in North America, according to an analysis reported in the August 9 issue of JAMA.

Cancer in the workforce: mapping the Australian experience
Cancer's impact on Australian workers is an unwritten story. Now two UNSW researchers, both cancer survivors, hope to hear Australian workers' tales of living, surviving and dying of cancer.

A nursery for hurricanes
Every hurricane season, about 100 low-pressure weather disturbances whirl westward out of West Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean, but less than one-fifth of them become tropical depressions, storms or hurricanes.

Unique Huntington's study moves forward
Doctors have completed the first step of a unique medical research study, evaluating 1,001 individuals at risk of developing Huntington's disease who do not know -- nor do they want to know -- whether they carry the genetic defect that causes the condition.

Chandra independently determines Hubble constant
A critically important number that specifies the expansion rate of the Universe, the so-called Hubble constant, has been independently determined using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

What's nature worth? New computer models tell all
Nature has a price tag. Robert Costanza and colleagues at the University of Vermont are building computer models that will estimate the economic value for

Botulinum toxin helps facial scars heal better, Mayo Clinic finds
Mayo Clinic researchers have found that treating a facial wound in the early healing phase with botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) improves the appearance of a scar later.

As heart procedures increase, quality and cost controls are critical
With more than a million heart and vascular interventions performed each year in the United States, it becomes even more critical to the healthcare system to keep costs down and quality high, a U.K. interventional cardiologist notes in the American Journal of Managed Care, published today, Aug.

Sociologists dissect doctor-patient dialogue
An international group of conversation analysts has put together a new anthology of studies that explore communication between primary-care doctors and their patients.

Failure of 'scout cells' may lead to cancer in transplant patients
A serious form of cancer that occurs in some transplant patients may arise because cells that normally serve as scouts for the immune system become weakened, a new study suggests.

NHLBI offers complete guide to physical activity for a healthy heart
About 60 percent of U.S. adults do not get the recommended levels of physical activity, yet research suggests that regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy heart.

Academics from around the world to discuss animal welfare
What is the welfare of elephants housed in zoos and do fish experience pain?

True colors are in the brain of the beholder
Pictures of brain waves that reveal our ability to see colour could provide a new objective way to diagnose and monitor diseases that affect human color perception.

Study illuminates birth defects caused by copper deficiency
A new study reveals the timing of developmental events that critically depend on copper.

Get to know your world
This fall the Marian Koshland Science Museum invites you to explore the connection between brain health and staying sharp, admire the beauty of phenomena revealed by microscopes, and discover lost crops of ancient communities.

Kids need more time than adults give them, study finds
The fast pace that parents and educators employ to get their kids to learn is beyond a youngster's perceptual ability, a study finds.

Purdue research helps advance new rocket technology
Purdue University engineers are conducting research to help the United States develop a type of advanced rocket technology that uses kerosene and would not require the foam insulation now used on the space shuttle's external fuel tank.

Africans much better than North Americans at taking anti-HIV meds
More HIV-infected Sub-Saharan Africans took their anti-HIV medications as directed than HIV-infected North Americans did, according to the largest and most extensive review of adherence studies to date.

How the adrenal 'clock' keeps the body in synch
In mammals, including humans, a master clock in the brain and subordinate clocks found in organs throughout the body coordinate daily, or circadian, rhythms of behavior and physiology.

Scientists learn how the brain 'boots up' to process information from the senses
The same chemical in the body that is targeted by the drug Viagra® also helps our brains

University of Alberta program wins computer poker championship
The World Series of Poker wraps up later this week in Las Vegas, but a team of researchers from the University of Alberta has already won the de facto world poker championship for computers at the American Association of Artificial Intelligence.

Agriculture and tropical conservation: rethinking old ideas
It's a long-held view in conservation circles that rural peasant activities are at odds with efforts to preserve biodiversity in the tropics.

Waist-hip ratio should replace body mass index as indicator of mortality risk in older people
Older people with high waist-hip ratios (WHRs) have a higher mortality risk than those with a high body mass index, or BMI, a new study reveals.

Finding paves way for better treatment of autoimmune disease
A signaling molecule with an affinity for alcohol has yielded a rapid, inexpensive way to make large numbers of immune cells that work like beat cops keeping misguided cells from attacking the body.

Sandia experimental package of piezoelectric films to be part of NASA space station experiment
For the past three years a Sandia research team has been investigating the performance of piezoelectric polymer films that might one day become ultra-light mirrors in space telescopes.

Digital cameras and Internet ease the pain of oral disease
Dental researchers are combining the ease of digital photography with the Internet to develop a new and inexpensive way to screen for a common childhood oral disease that predominantly plagues America's inner city toddlers -- early childhood dental caries (ECC), or as it is commonly called, 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