Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 19, 2006
Early to bed, early to rise
In an upcoming G&D paper, a team of German scientists presents a genetic basis for understanding human morning lark behavior.

Arctic summer ice anomaly shocks scientists
Satellite images acquired from Aug. 23 to 25 have shown for the first time dramatic openings -- over a geographic extent larger than the size of the British Isles -- in the Arctic's perennial sea ice pack north of Svalbard and extending into the Russian Arctic all the way to the North Pole.

Imaging technology restores 700-year-old sacred Hindu text
Scientists who worked on the Archimedes Palimpsest are using modern imaging technologies to digitally restore a 700-year-old palm-leaf manuscript containing the essence of Hindu philosophy.

MetOp launch campaign resumed
With the launch of MetOp now set for Oct. 7 at 18:28 CEST, the MetOp satellite is out of storage and preparations for launch are well underway at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia inaugurates ICSU's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
A new Regional Office for the International Council of Science (ICSU) was officially inaugurated today.

Growth in Amazon cropland may impact climate and deforestation patterns
Scientists using NASA satellite data have found that clearing for mechanized cropland has recently become a significant force in Brazilian Amazon deforestation.

Scientists discover new ring and other features at Saturn
Saturn sports a new ring in an image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Sunday, Sept.

Perceived facial similarity in children is an estimate of kin recognition
Perceived facial similarity of children is effectively an estimate of the probability that two children are close genetic relatives 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.

Making the grade: Immigrant children keep academic pace with peers
Far from being a burden on the educational system, research from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., shows immigrant children perform as well or better than their same-race, American-born counterparts.

Mouse strain with gene stutter will help leukemia research
Cancer researchers have developed a new strain of mice that should help reveal how an unusual change in a certain gene contributes to a particularly deadly form of acute myeloid leukemia.

Bioethics program in predictive health established at Indiana University
A $750,000 grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation of Indianapolis to the Indiana University Center for Bioethics establishes Program in Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Predictive Health Research.

UT Southwestern scientist receives NIH Director's Pioneer Award
Dr. Thomas Kodadek, chief of the Division of Translational Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has won a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award, designed to support scientists of

Researchers examine why food tastes bad to chemotherapy recipients
About two million cancer patients currently receiving certain drug therapies and chemotherapy find foods and beverages to have a foul metallic flavor, according to a medical study.

Children, their mental health and war, 9/11, graffiti, autism and more
More than 1,400 delegates gathered last week in Melbourne, Australia, for an international meeting on child and adolescent mental health.

'Treatment disconnect' in kidney cancer: Rising mortality despite more small tumors, more surgery
The rising incidence of kidney cancer may be due to an increase in the number of small, treatable kidney tumors, according to a study in the September 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

NASA's Earth observing system receives 2006 Space Systems Award
NASA's Earth Observing System Program, the world's most advanced and comprehensive capability to measure global climate change, will receive the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Systems Award.

High levels of lipoprotein(a) in women associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events
Women with extremely high levels of lipoprotein(a), particularly those with high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, have an increased risk for cardiovascular events, according to a study in the September 20 issue of JAMA.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
These tips are included in the following articles: Herding potassium channels; NT-3 and axon bridging after injury; The value of singing to yourself; and FGF-20 and survival of dopamine neurons.

You don't need a big lottery win for long term happiness ... but a few thousand helps
Researchers at the University of Warwick and Watson Wyatt have been examining just how much money one needs to win in the lottery to have a long-term impact on personal happiness.

MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipient develops 'Game With a Purpose'
Luis von Ahn, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist who has been named a 2006 recipient of a John D. and Catherine T.

Mars mission Risk 29: Scientists research ways to reduce radiation-induced brain damage
In an effort to reduce risk to Mars astronauts, medical scientists have been tasked to determine the human brain's maximum safe cosmic radiation dose and to decipher precisely how radiation causes cognitive impairment, part of a quest for biological countermeasures to reduce radiation-related cognitive impairment.

Study assesses impact of economic status for racial and ethnic minorities in US
A new study with direct implications for the politics of immigration and minority groups in this election year finds that improved socioeconomic status among racial and ethnic minorities generally diminishes racial and ethnic group consciousness across a variety of public policies.

Penn critical-care physicians recommend strategies when facing requests to end supplemental oxygen
Critical-care physicians with the University of Pennsylvania Health System address a newly-emerging ethical dilemma in medicine -- what should health care professionals do when faced with a request from a patient to end the use of life-sustaining supplemental oxygen?

Other highlights in the September 20 issue of JNCI
Other highlights in the September 20 issue of JNCI include a study that suggests radiation therapy helps patients with cancer of the breast's milk duct, a study that links autoimmune conditions to Hodgkin lymphoma, a new algorithm that measures outcomes for elderly breast cancer patients, a study that describes a vaccination that helps lymphoma patients, and a study linking certain genotypes to endometrial cancer.

Eating soy protein helps control cholesterol
Soy protein helps lower total cholesterol, low-density lipid

Breakthrough in computer chip design eliminates wires in data transmission
Research slated to appear in the Oct. 2 edition of the Optical Society of America's Optics Express will unveil that researchers have created a new laser-silicon hybrid computer chip that can produce laser beams that will make it possible to use laser light rather than wires to send data between chips, removing the most significant bottleneck in computer design.

First evidence that musical training affects brain development in young children
Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training, according to research published in the journal Brain.

Brown University advancing women in science, engineering
After making significant gains in recruiting women scientists and engineers, Brown University has won a major award from the National Science Foundation to ensure that these women succeed.

Wiley to assume publication of Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced an agreement with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine whereby Wiley will assume publishing responsibilities for Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine.

UTSA receives $225,000 National Science Foundation grant to support doctoral students in physics
The University of Texas at San Antonio's Department of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support students pursuing doctoral degrees in physics.

Better grades and greater incentives help explain why women outpace men in college degrees
Girls have long gotten better grades than boys in all levels of school.

Outpatient thyroid surgery safe for most patients, study shows
Outpatient thyroid surgery appears to be safe for the majority of patients, according to a study following 91 patients at two hospitals.

Can a vitamin alleviate chronic, progressive multiple sclerosis?
Using a mouse model, researchers have found strong evidence that nicotinamide -- a form of vitamin B3 -- may protect against nerve damage in the chronic progressive phase of multiple sclerosis, for which there is currently no good treatment.

A wolf in sheep's clothing: Plague bacteria reveal one of their virulence tricks
The bacteria known as Yersinia, a family of pathogens that includes the plague, kill their host cells by -- among other things -- inserting proteins and other virulence factors that disrupt their normal structure.

Dr. Jerry Luftman releases results of 2006 CIO Survey
Jerry Luftman, professor of Information Services Programs at Stevens Institute of Technology, today released the results and ramifications of his 2006 Survey of Chief Information Officers, conducted this summer.

Common garden plant threatened by climate change
Cyclamen, a common, pretty garden flower, is at risk of extinction because of climate change.

Top NIH prize goes to three pioneering Stanford scientists
For the second year in a row, three Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have snagged one of the National Institutes of Health's top prizes: the annual NIH Director's Pioneer Award.

Where global warming meets the faucet
No matter where you live, climate change is going to affect your water supply.

Fatty fish consumption associated with lower risk of kidney cancer in women
Preliminary research suggests that higher consumption of fatty fish in women is linked with a lower risk of renal cell carcinoma, a common form of kidney cancer, according to a study in the September 20 issue of JAMA.

Ceramic microreactors developed for on-site hydrogen production
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed and built ceramic microreactors for the on-site reforming of hydrocarbon fuels, such as propane, into hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other portable power sources.

China's environmental challenges
The September issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment devotes itself entirely to exploring China's environmental challenges and potential solutions, with all of the articles written by Chinese scientists.

Deep sea explorer and marine conservationist wins MacArthur Fellowship
Dr. Edith Widder, President & Senior Scientist of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2006.

Preconception care crucial to improving maternal and infant health
The preconception period -- the time before a woman becomes pregnant -- is crucial to reducing many of the risks of birth defects and premature birth.

Red is for hummingbirds, yellow for moths
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that the future of red and yellow varieties of a San Diego wildflower may depend on the fates of two different animals.

A spicy solution for colon cancer?
Working with cell cultures, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered that curcumin, the active ingredient of the curry spice turmeric, blocks the activity of a gastrointestinal hormone implicated in the development of colorectal cancer.

ActoGenix raises €11.5 million in series A stock financing
ActoGeniX NV, a recently founded biopharmaceutical company, announced the successful closing of its Series A financing round, raising €11.5 million from a syndicate of leading life sciences investors.

University, VA hospital launch nation's first comprehensive meth research center
Oregon is now home to the nation's first federally funded center for studying methamphetamine abuse from its genetic underpinnings to its prevention through public education programs.

Aromatase inhibitors: A treatment of choice for advanced breast cancer patients
Aromatase inhibitors improve the survival of advanced breast cancer patients compared to standard hormone therapies like tamoxifen, a researchers report in the September 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

UCI scientists discover a new healthy role for fat
Too much body fat may be a bad thing, but there is increasing evidence that too little fat also may have some surprisingly negative consequences.

'No time to exercise' is no excuse, study shows
A few minutes of high-intensity exercise proves to be as effective as an hour of moderate activity when tested on both sprint trainers and endurance trainers.

NIH grants $117 million in institutional development awards to underserved states
The National Center for Research Resources, a part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced it will grant $117.3 million to fund four new and seven continuing Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence.

At the core
At the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, a new high-tech tool will find answers to historic climate changes from earth and marine sediment core samples.

More kidney cancer is detected and treated early, yet death rate rises
The number of cases of kidney cancer has been rising over the last two decades, and new research from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center shows that this increase is driven largely by the detection of small, presumably curable, kidney masses.

ICSU hosts conference on hazards and disasters
Building on an initiative launched last year, the International Council for Science (ICSU) today held its first conference on environmental hazards and disasters.

Same mortality but higher suicide rate among women with breast implants
A study conducted among 24,600 women by two Université Laval Faculty of Medicine researchers and their colleagues from the Canadian Public Health Agency and Cancer Care Ontario concludes that having breast implants does not increase mortality risk.

Walgreens and Joslin Diabetes Center form broad alliance to improve diabetes outcomes
Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, and Joslin Diabetes Center, the global leader in diabetes research, care and education, have formed a sweeping alliance to improve health outcomes for Americans with diabetes.

Improvement seen in fetal survival following preeclampsia
Fetal survival following a preeclamptic pregnancy has improved substantially over the last 35 years in Norway, likely due to a reduction in stillbirths and improvements in clinical management, according to a study in the September 20 issue of JAMA.

Risks of gastrointestinal ulcers linked to aspirin use might outweigh its benefits for the heart
Doctors should consider whether patients are at high risk of stomach ulcers before prescribing aspirin treatment.

Top jaundice experts present latest treatment information during live Web cast from Pittsburgh
Two of the world's leading experts on neonatal jaundice will present the latest information on the causes, treatment, outcomes and prevention of severe neonatal hyperbilirubnemia during a continuing medical education event at 8 a.m., Thursday, Sept.

Researchers establish scientific link between acne treatment and depression
A drug commonly used to treat severe acne can lead to depressive behaviour in mice, according to research published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
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