Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 17, 2006
UBC-led team uncovers faintest stars ever seen in ancient star cluster
An international team of astronomers led by UBC professor Harvey Richer has uncovered the faintest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster, bringing scientists closer to revealing the formation time of one of the earliest generations of stars in the Universe.

All forms of tobacco exposure are bad for the heart
All forms of tobacco exposure -- smoking, chewing or inhaling second hand smoke -- increase the risk of heart attack up to three times, according to an Article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

JCI table of contents: August 17, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, August 17, 2006, in the JCI, including: PTEN: the Treg's handbrake; Always the gentleman: CaMKII opens the door for calcium to enter; Fc-gamma RIII: the alternative to the TCR for NKT cell-activation; IRAK-M mediates immunosuppression during sepsis; and Homing in on the FoxO1 motif that regulates transcription.

Mystery of Quintuplet stars in Milky Way solved
For the first time, scientists have identified the cluster of Quintuplet stars in the Milky Way's galactic center as massive binary stars nearing the end of their life cycle, solving a mystery that had dogged astronomers for more than 15 years.

Geoscience students missing job opportunities
The American Geological Institute (AGI) has conducted a survey of students majoring in the geosciences and faculty to ascertain their attitudes towards employment in the geosciences.

Have you ever seen an elephant ... run?
If an elephant is thundering towards you at 15mph you are probably not too concerned with the finer points of biomechanics or the thorny question about whether they are truly running or not.

Some online video games found to promote 'sociability,' researchers say
Hang in there, parents. There is some hopeful news on the video-gaming front.

Core needle biopsy gives an accurate picture of gene expression in whole tumor
The gene expression profile detected in the core needle biopsy of a breast tumor is representative of gene expression in the whole tumour.

The Lancet calls on research community to address neglected disease that causes heart failure
The international research community needs to focus more attention on Chagas' disease -- an infectious disease that kills 50,000 people a year, states an Editorial in this week's special cardiology issue of the Lancet.

Cause of ischemic stroke analyzed for the first time
In contrast to traditional beliefs that stroke-causing clots derived from arterial and cardiac sources are distinctly different, a new study shows they are composed of similar components.

Genetic clues to cardiomyopathy's origins revealed in mice
The origins of cardiomyopathy, one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young adults, is explained in a recent study in mice.

NIST scientists use electron beam to unravel the secrets of an 'atomic switch'
Scientists at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used a beam of electrons to move a single atom in a small molecule back and forth between two positions on a crystal surface, a significant step toward learning how to build an

Be still my beating heart: Ilk gene underlies heart failure
Two independent papers in the September 1 issue of Genes and Development reveal a critical role for the ILK protein in regulating cardiac contractility -- identifying a new genetic component of heart disease.

New Queen's study offers environmentally friendly solution to oil industry needs
Queen's University researchers have devised a

PTEN: the Treg's handbrake
Assessment of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) as a treatment for autoimmune diseases is hampered by problems generating sufficient cells to be therapeutically effective.

Structure of key enzyme in plague bacterium found
NIST researchers have solved the structure of a key enzyme, class IV adenylyl cyclase, from the bacterium responsible for plague, finding that it has a highly unusual configuration.

Radical 'ballistic computing' chip bounces electrons around like billiards
Computer designers at the University of Rochester are going ballistic.

Wiley and the Royal Meteorological Society expand publishing partnership
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., announced a publishing agreement with the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS), a leading professional and learned society in the field of meteorology, to publish all five of its journals.

Molecules spontaneously form honeycomb network featuring pores of unprecedented size
UC Riverside chemists have discovered a new way in which nature creates complex patterns: the assembly of molecules with no guidance from an outside source.

3-D forms link antibiotic resistance and brain disease
The story of what makes certain types of bacteria resistant to a specific antibiotic has a sub-plot that gives insight into the cause of a rare form of brain degeneration among children, according to investigators at St.

Why piglets shudder to keep warm
Researchers at Uppsala University have uncovered a genetic reason why these newborns are less tolerant of the cold than other newborn mammals.

US ITER project completes management team
A team of scientists and engineers has been chosen to manage the United States' role in a multi-national project to harness the power of fusion.

BMI cannot predict outcome for people with heart disease
Body mass index (BMI) -- the commonly used measure of obesity -- cannot reliably predict the outcome for patients with heart disease, concludes an Article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Two-fifths of US adults report experiencing unsafe, wasteful or poorly coordinated health care
Patients, who experience the health care system on a first-hand basis, find much that could be improved.

Aging stars reveal secrets of the universe
Astronomers have identified two fundamental transitions in the physics of stars related to age that may help further refine the Milky Way's age.

AIDS debate launches Lancet podcast
The Lancet launches its podcast with a debate that took place at the International AIDS conference in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.

'Techno Addicts' pose employer liability, says Rutgers researcher
Employers may want workers to walk away from the Blackberry to avoid promoting addiction to technology.

Spinal cord bridge bypasses injury to restore mobility
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Drexel University and the University of Arkansas bypassed a roadblock from an injury to the spinal cord.

SMART-1 impact: last call for ground-based observations
If you are a professional or amateur astronomer and want to contribute to the final phase of the SMART-1 mission, join ESA on the impact ground observation campaign.

NIST's new advanced imaging facility peers inside hydrogen fuel cells
A new and improved Neutron Imaging Facility at NIST allows scientists to conduct detailed surveillance of water inside hydrogen fuel cells -- a piece of intelligence key to making the technology practical for powering automobiles.

Research reveals inner workings of immune system 'thermostat'
The immune system runs hot, sending out inflammatory infection-fighting proteins, then cools down by releasing anti-inflammatory soothers.

Artificial muscles may enable more life-like color displays
Scientists have unveiled a new technology that could lead to video displays that faithfully reproduce a fuller range of colors than current models, giving such a life-like viewing experience that it could be hard to go back to your old TV.

Hubble sees faintest stars in a globular cluster
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered what astronomers are reporting as the dimmest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster.

Hubble images some of galaxy's dimmest stars
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have imaged some of the galaxy's oldest and dimmest stars, offering a rare experimental glimpse of two mysterious star types -- tiny, slow burners less than one-tenth the size of our sun and once giant stars that still glow more than 10 billion years after their deaths.

Botox injections may improve facial-wound healing, minimize scars
Botulinum toxin, the same Botox used to treat facial wrinkles, helps facial wounds heal with less scarring, according to results of a study published in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Study will explore genetics of congenital limb and heart malformations
New research published in the August issue of the Journal of Cell Biology explains for the first time why congenital heart defects so often occur with limb deformities.

UC Davis study finds brain cell regulator is volume control, not on/off switch
UC Davis researchers have discovered that proteins that regulate brain-cell activity by controlling the flow of potassium ions behave more like volume controls on stereos rather than on/off power switches.

Osteoporosis treatment now approved in Europe and US for men
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week approved Actonel® 35mg for

New Web database improves access to ionic liquid data
Chemical engineers and others designing

Rutgers receives National Science Foundation grant for port efficiency, security
The management of America's ports may become more efficient and secure, thereby boosting the economies of their host regions, thanks to a three-year, $599,436 National Science Foundation grant supporting research currently underway at the Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Scientists find 'pinwheels' in Quintuplet cluster
Discovery of pinwheel-shaped dust spirals around two of the mysterious cocoon stars in the Quintuplet cluster tells scientists for the first time that they contain a duo of stars instead of just one.

Study provides insight into how the brain loses plasticity of youth
A protein once thought to play a role only in the immune system could hold a clue to one of the great puzzles of neuroscience: How do the highly malleable and plastic brains of youth settle down into a relatively stable adult set of neuronal connections?

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
This release contains summaries to be published online in the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology, including: Salt and organic acids may increase pathogen virulence; New vaccine protects pigs from nipah virus; and FluChip may offer rapid detection of multiple influenza virus strains.

Astronomers see faintest stars in a globular cluster
Astronomers report in the Aug. 18 issue of the journal Science of seeing the faintest stars ever seen in any globular star cluster.

Global study shows all tobacco bad for the heart
A major Canadian-led global study has found all forms of tobacco exposure, whether that be smoking, chewing or inhaling second-hand smoke, increase the risk of heart attack. 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