Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 14, 2006
Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer detects vast polar ethane cloud on Titan
Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) has detected what appears to be a massive ethane cloud surrounding Titan's north pole.

Ames lab chemist receives ACS Distinguished Service Award
Robert Angelici, a senior chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor of chemistry, has been selected by the American Chemical Society to receive the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry.

IAU names dwarf planet Eris
The International Astronomical Union announces the names Eris for the dwarf planet provisionally named 2003 UB313 and Dysnomia for its moon.

Spleen may be target of successful therapy for lupus
UCSD School of Medicine have found clues that might lead to better treatment of lupus, showing that the spleen is the likely source of cells that are the origin of the disease.

Reading friendship stories can change children's attitudes towards stigmatized groups
In an experimental study, researchers found that children who read stories involving cooperative friendships between children of their own group and of a stigmatized social group were more likely to say that they would play with children from the stigmatized group and to see these

Researchers image molecular motor structural changes
An international team of researchers has shed new light on how tiny molecular motors that transport materials within cells generate the energy that powers their movements.

New lunar meteorite found in Antarctica
Although last year's inclement weather resulted in fewer Antarctic meteorite recoveries than usual, scientists have recently discovered that one of the specimens is a rare breed -- a type of lunar meteorite seen only once before.

World-wide warning of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis
New forms of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis are emerging and action must be taken soon before they become widespread globally, says an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Field Museum receives $5 million grant from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has granted The Field Museum $5 million to strengthen and broaden the Museum's work in conservation.

The first tree genome is published: Poplar holds promise as renewable bioenergy resource
Wood from a common tree may one day factor prominently in meeting transportation fuel needs, according to scientists whose research on the fast-growing poplar tree is featured on the cover of tomorrow's edition of the journal Science.

Multi-racial adolescents change their racial identification over time
In a study using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers found that multi-racial adolescents tend to shift how they report their racial category as they transition to young adulthood.

Yale BioHaven Entrepreneurship Seminars begin with TheraLogics
The Yale BioHaven Entrepreneurship Seminars series begins its fall schedule 3:30-5 p.m.

Colon Cancer Alliance launches interactive support program
People living with colorectal cancer now have the opportunity to exchange ideas and information with experts in the field and fellow patients through an educational workshop series called

Calcium supplements fail to prevent bone fractures in children
Calcium supplements have very little benefit for preventing fractures in childhood and later adulthood, concludes a study in the BMJ.

New advances in borderline personality disorder
The National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD), the Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness New York City Metro are co-sponsoring a one-day conference on Friday, September 29, 2006.

Lancet's coverage of the World Health Organization Director-General election
The Lancet begins its coverage of WHO's Director-General elections by publishing profiles of each of the recently named candidates in this week's World Report.

Search for natural, safe and abundant chelator may be a 'shell game'
The detonation of a suitcase-sized nuclear bomb by a terrorist in a major city would spread toxic material over a wide area exposing humans to various types of radioactive elements.

Mayo Clinic finds what causes men pain in prostate biopsy and best method to alleviate it
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have evaluated the major sources of pain for some men during in-office prostate biopsy and an anesthetic method that can best lessen it.

Chemical tests of cell growth enter third dimension
Researchers have developed two new technologies for measuring cell growth in the laboratory.

Cartoons help measure hostile assumptions, risk of aggression in urban girls
If a picture is worth a thousand words, cartoons may be worth even more.

Effective treatments for panic disorder not reaching patients
People with panic disorder may not be receiving the treatment they need, with only 19-40 percent of patients estimated to receive standard care, according to a Seminar in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Single genetic assay could help physicians decide when to switch patients from Gleevec to Sutent
Researchers have found that the same gene mutation responsible for a tepid response to Gleevec in treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors, bestows benefit when a newer targeted therapy, Sutent, is used.

Children of immigrants pursue math and science as pathways to upward mobility
A recent study in this month's Child Development surveyed college students about their future goals and found that children of immigrants were more likely to pursue math or science in college when compared to their peers from non-immigrant parents.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support Project Suc-SEED at CIIT Centers for Health Research
The Health Research and Education Foundation (HR&EF) at the CIIT Centers for Health Research (CIIT-CHR) will receive $1,292,511 in funding from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to support Project Suc-SEED.

Public Library of Science to launch new, open access journal on neglected tropical diseases
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) announces the creation of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first open access journal devoted to the world's most neglected diseases.

Time for a debate in the USA on health care
A new debate on US health care system is long overdue, states an Editorial in this week's issue of the Lancet.

New 'superlens' reveals hidden nanostructures
A microscope used to scan nanostructures can be dramatically enhanced by using a

Ames Laboratory to share in $60 million DOE award money
Researchers at Ames Laboratory have received a share of $60 million in DOE award money for computational science projects over the next three to five years.

Pesticide exposure could increase risk of early onset of Parkinson's disease
Low-level exposure to a banned but lingering pesticide appears to accelerate changes in the brain that can potentially lead to the onset of Parkinson's disease symptoms years or even decades before they might naturally develop.

Quantum dots reviewed -- Could these nanoparticles hold the cure to cancer?
The worlds of medical and biological research are abuzz with the promises offered by nanoparticles known as semiconductor quantum dots.

Racial discrimination can affect adolescents' development
Results from an ongoing longitudinal study indicate that depression and behavior problems in African-American children can stem from racial discrimination directed at the individual.

M. D. Anderson, BCM, launch research effort targeting asthma and allergic diseases
A new research alliance focuses on a molecular master switch suspected of igniting the inflammatory immune response that drives asthma and other allergic diseases.

Battling breast cancer
In an upcoming issue of Genes & Devolpment, Dr. Myles Brown and colleagues lend new insight into the transcriptional network that drives breast cancer cell proliferation in response to estrogen exposure.

ACTOS® (pioglitazone HCl) demonstrates significant improvements in cardiovascular outcomes
Several abstracts presented today at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) indicated that ACTOS® (pioglitazone HCl), an oral antidiabetic medication, demonstrated significant cardiovascular benefits such as reducing the risk of heart attack and/or stroke and acute coronary syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The Scripps Research Institute, McDonald's® align to fight childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes
The Scripps Research Institute and McDonald's today announced a collaboration regarding research and educational initiatives to drive progress toward a solution to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Slow brain waves play key role in coordinating complex activity
Even simple tasks require the coordinated action of hundreds of thousands, if not billions, of brain cells, but how these cells communicate is a complete mystery.

Rodent's bizarre traits deepen mystery of genetics, evolution
A shadowy rodent has potential to shed light on human genetics and the mysteries of evolution.

Double quantum dots control Kondo effect in nanoscience study
Two quantum dots connected by wires could help scientists better control the Kondo effect in experiments, according to a study by Ohio University and University of Florida physicists published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

Kitchen chemistry provides distance learners with quality laboratory experiences
The laboratory sciences have not experienced the same progression as other disciplines in the online education boom as educators think labs belong in a traditional setting.

Getting real: Drought as the 'New Normal'
Droughts are slow, tortuous emergencies that seem to sneak up on us.

Flipping the angiogenic switch
A new paper in the Sept. 15 issue of Genes & Development reveals how pancreatic tumors get the blood supply they need to thrive and spread.

New tool for biology students teaches biosecurity awareness by example
Since the anthrax letter attacks in 2001, concern has grown over legitimate scientific work that could be misused to threaten public health and national security.

American Chemical Society honors PNNL scientist
Jean Futrell, Battelle Fellow at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has been chosen to receive the American Chemical Society's Frank H.

Children's racial attitudes may be related to ethnic composition of their school
In a study using children's evaluations of ambiguous situations, researchers from the University of Maryland found that white children attending less ethnically diverse schools were more susceptible to racial bias in how they judged their peers' actions than children at a school of diverse composition.

Neighborhood affects impact of messages about race on children
Using interviews and observations, recent research found that African-American parents who provided encouraging attitudes and racial and cultural pride positively contributed to their children's cognitive development particularly in high-risk neighborhoods.

General relativity survives gruelling pulsar test
An international research team's observations of the only known pair of orbiting radio pulsars appear to prove Einstein's theory of general relativity to within 0.05 percent of certainty.

UTC and CI partner to support reforestation in China
United Technologies Corp. announced today that it is supporting Conservation International's efforts to restore critically endangered forests within the mountains of Southwest China through a $200,000 grant stretching over two years.

Oldest writing in the New World discovered in Veracruz, Mexico
A stone block discovered in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico, contains the oldest writing in the New World, says an international team of archaeologists, including Stephen D.

Genomatix wins BioChance grant worth $1.6 million
Genomatix Software GmbH of Munich, Germany, has won a

Existing vaccine facilities can handle flu pandemic
The most cost effective and quickest way to respond to a flu pandemic within the next five years is to use existing facilities to make vaccines from cell cultures, new research suggests.

UNC receives $21.3 million Gates Foundation grant
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $21.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop effective, inexpensive drugs to treat late-stage African sleeping sickness and visceral leishmaniasis - diseases that infect and kill hundreds of thousands of people in developing nations.

Emergency contraception fails to halt abortions
Easy availability of emergency contraception does not have a notable effect on rates of pregnancy and abortion, according to an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Immigrant children's verbal development varies based on race/ethnicity
In a longitudinal study examining verbal ability across racial and immigrant groups, results indicated while immigrant groups may perform significantly lower than their non-immigrant peers, they generally make large gains over time.

AM: A gene that affects female fertility
Complications in pregnancy can arise because of both fetal deficiencies and maternal deficiencies.

Paleontologists find 67 dinosaurs in one week
Teams of paleontologists from Montana and Mongolia unearthed 67 dinosaur skeletons in one week during this summer's field season in the Gobi Desert.

Define 'precautionary principle' to avoid clashes over biotechnology under World Trade rules
Can a nation's interpretation and invocation of the

Form determines function
A team of researchers at the Universities of Bielefeld and Hamburg (Germany) has produced cyclopeptides that imitate the HNK-1 carbohydrate from human natural killer cells.

MIT team describes unique cloud forest
Trees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, MIT scientists report.

Molecule helps cells plug leaks following lung injury
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have identified a molecule that plays a critical role in the recovery of lung tissue following severe injury.

Acupuncture relieves low back pain and is cost-effective
Acupuncture has a small but significant benefit for patients with low back pain, and appears to be cost-effective in the longer term, find two studies published on today.

New launch date for Europe's first polar-orbiting weather satellite
MetOp-A, the first in a new European series of three meteorological operational satellites designed to monitor the Earth's atmosphere from polar orbit, is now to be launched on Saturday 7 October from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

JCI table of contents: September 14, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, September 14, 2006, in the JCI, including: Can Gleevec help patients with rheumatoid arthritis?; AM: A gene that affects female fertility; TNF-alpha makes obese rodents put on weight; HoxA proteins a problem for acute myeloid leukemia; and Separating muscle damage from neurodegeneration in Kennedy disease.

UC Davis study finds distinct genetic profiles
An international team of scientists lead by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Health System has found that, with respect to genetics, modern Europeans fall into two groups: a Northern group and a Southern, or Mediterranean one.

A plastic pill for periodontal problems
Rutgers scientists today announced a revolutionary new treatment for killing the bacteria that attack gum tissue during periodontal disease, while also promoting healing and the regeneration of tissue and bone around the teeth.

Researchers find evidence of the earliest writing in the New World
UC-Riverside anthropologist Karl Taube helped confirm the earliest writing in the New World, carved into the flat surface of a stone block in a in a remote region in southern Veracruz, Mexico.

Protein folding: Building a strong foundation
Like a 1950's Detroit automaker, it appears that nature prefers to build its proteins around a solid, sturdy chassis.

General relativity survives gruelling pulsar test -- Einstein at least 99.95 percent right
An international research team led by Prof. Michael Kramer of the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, has used three years of observations of the

Study shows Darfur deaths in hundreds of thousands
As devastating as the news reports out of Darfur are, the death toll estimates regularly cited by the press are frequently underestimated, according to a new study that was led by a Northwestern University sociologist.

Ferns provide model for tiny motors powered by evaporation
Scientists looked to ferns to create a novel energy scavenging device that uses the power of evaporation to move itself -- materials that could provide a method for powering micro and nano devices with just water or heat.

Developing radiotracers for imaging studies in addiction
Chemist Joanna Fowler, Director of the Center for Translational Neuroimaging at the U.S.

Poplar DNA code cracked -- new possibilities for sustainable energy
An international consortium, which includes researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology at Ghent University, has succeeded in unraveling the first tree genome -- that of the poplar.

Stratospheric injections could help cool Earth, computer model shows
A new computer model study shows that a two-pronged approach to stabilizing climate, with cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as well as injections of climate-cooling sulfates into the stratosphere, could prove more effective than either approach used separately.

California scientists find natural way to control spread of destructive Argentine ants
Pesticides haven't stopped them. Trapping hasn't worked, either. But now chemists and biologists at the University of California, Irvine, think they may have found a natural way to finally check the spread of environmentally destructive Argentine ants in California and elsewhere in the United States: Spark a family feud.

Nearly nine of 10 who seek individual market health insurance never buy a plan
A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that, as employers cope with rising health care costs by dropping health benefits or increasing employee cost-sharing through higher deductibles, workers and their families are being squeezed.

Abnormal overexpression of p53 is a predictive molecular biomarker
A common laboratory test that predicted poor outcome from traditional radiation and chemotherapy treatment for head and neck cancers now has been found to predict a good prognosis with treatment of p53 tumor suppressor gene therapy -- making it potentially the first predictive biomarker test for a gene-based drug.

Kansas State research team receives $1 million grant
A Kansas State University research team has developed a chemical method where they can make particles of nanometer dimensions -- or one-billionth of a meter in size.

Can Gleevec help patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec; Novartis) is often the treatment of choice for individuals with either chronic myelogenous leukemia or gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Planning guidebook to help make walking safer and more convenient
Though it's not a prescription to cure obesity or a magic wand to make traffic congestion disappear, the new Georgia Guidebook for Pedestrian Planning does provide detailed directions for administering a healthy dose of help. 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