Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 14, 2006
Achieving asymmetry in the brain
In order to survive, stem cells must maintain a delicate balance between self-renewal and differentiation.

High tech help to prevent further heart disease
Australian heart surgery patients could soon have access to rehabilitation services in the comfort of their own home rather than having to travel to outpatient clinics thanks to an innovative project being developed by Central Queensland University with funding from MBF Foundation.

Researchers produce insulation with lowest thermal conductivity ever
A new insulation material with the lowest thermal conductivity ever measured for a fully dense solid has been created at the University of Oregon and tested by researchers at three other US institutions.

Hot stuff on Venus! Venus Express sees right down to the hell-hot surface
Thanks to ESA's Venus Express data, scientists obtained the first large-area temperature maps of the southern hemisphere of the inhospitable, lead-melting surface of Venus.

Epidemic of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis may be larger than previously thought
The epidemic of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) may be larger than previously suspected, according to an article in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Barrow receives two grants worth a total of 900,000 from the ABRC
The Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC) recently awarded Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

Researchers identify genes that allow brain cancer-causing stem cells to resist treatment
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, who first isolated cancer stem cells in adult brain tumors in 2004, have now found these cells to be highly resistant to chemotherapy and other treatments.

Lab on a Chip and Corning Incorporated are pleased to announce
David Beebe has been named as the first winner of this prestigious new prize, established by two of the major players in the miniaturisation sector, the Lab on a Chip journal and Corning Incorporated.

It's enough to turn your neighbors green
Developed countries' motivation to invest in greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects in developing countries is based on their desire to reduce air pollution they receive from abroad and keep transaction costs down, rather than to achieve global-scale pollution reductions.

Far-out findings -- New analysis suggests planets were formed from a giant mix
Our Solar System may have been created in a gigantic mixing process far more extensive than previously imagined, according to research published today.

UC Berkeley researchers developed techniques to pluck comet dust from Stardust collectors
When the Stardust spacecraft was launched in 1999, NASA had no idea how it would extract comet grains from the innovative aerogel dust catchers.

Scientists propose alternate model for plume on enceladus
What's causing all the commotion on Enceladus? Last year, when the Cassini spacecraft discovered an enormous plume erupting on Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, scientists speculated that liquid water lay at shallow depths beneath the icy surface.

Just how useful are animal studies to human health?
Animal studies are of limited usefulness to human health because they are of poor quality and their results often conflict with human trials, argue researchers in a study online in the British Medical Journal today.

Capture study shows safety of carotid stenting in 'real-world' setting
The largest-ever study of carotid stenting in high-surgical risk patients has shown that with proper education and training, community physicians are just as successful at using catheter-based techniques to unclog arteries supplying blood to the brain as are those who pioneered the procedure at major university medical centers.

Psychological therapies for common anxiety disorder not readily available in primary care settings
Psychological therapies are widely thought to be preferable to drug treatments for generalized anxiety disorders but frequently cannot be given because of time constraints, lack of services and limited resources, state the authors of a Seminar in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Very high frequency radiation makes dark matter visible
Max Planck researcher from Garching prove that giant radio telescope can deliver high-resolution images showing the cosmic mass distribution.

Stanford discovery may help predict when toxoplasma can be deadly
Toxoplasma is arguably the most successful animal parasite on earth: It infects hundreds of species of warm-blooded animals, most notably half of humanity.

'Cosmic freezer' yields unique discovery
Stardust, the NASA spacecraft mission, was given that name in hopes that the seven-year journey to capture comet samples would bring back to Earth, well, stardust.

UCSF stem cell study reveals cells' capability in mouse brain tissue repair
UCSF scientists have determined that adult stem cells in a specific region of the mouse brain have a built-in mechanism that allows the cells to participate in the repair and remodeling of damaged tissue in the region.

Two central mysteries in genome inheritance solved at UCSD
The molecular nature of a key component of cell division, the

Experts advise world policies to cope with causes, rising consequences of creeping desertification
About 200 experts from 25 countries are convening in Algiers Dec.

New system solves the 'who is J. Smith' puzzle
Penn State researchers have developed an automated system that can determine which

Microbe fixes nitrogen at a blistering 92 degree Celsius
A heat-loving archaeon capable of fixing nitrogen at a surprisingly hot 92 degrees Celsius, or 198 degrees Fahrenheit, may represent Earth's earliest lineages of organisms capable of nitrogen fixation, perhaps even preceding the kinds of bacteria today's plants and animals rely on to fix nitrogen.

Could the ability to expel worms lead to a future asthma treatment?
Based on experiments with worms similar to those that infest millions of children in the tropics, researchers see potential for a new way to treat asthma.

Obesity could bankrupt the health system, warn doctors
If nothing is done, the rising prevalence of obesity could bankrupt the health system, warn doctors in this week's BMJ.

Study finds lapatinib shows promise as therapy for inflammatory breast cancer
In the first multi-center clinical trial conducted to better understand the complexities of a rare, aggressive and often lethal form of breast cancer, researchers have discovered that the experimental biological agent, lapatinib, successfully and specifically treats inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).

Herceptin plus chemotherapy significantly increases disease-free survival in breast cancer
Combining the molecularly targeted therapy Herceptin with chemotherapy in women with early stage breast cancer significantly improves disease-free survival for patients with a specific genetic mutation that results in very aggressive disease, a top UCLA researcher reported Thursday.

Taking nanolithography beyond semiconductors
A new process for chemical patterning combines molecular self-assembly with traditional lithography to create multifunctional surfaces in precise patterns at the molecular level.

Dental crowns reveal the diet of a species
According to recent research, the complexity of tooth surfaces reveals the diet of a species.

First Laos bacteraemia study highlights need for local knowledge
For the first time, researchers in Laos have published a study on the causes of bacteraemia, or blood infections caused by invasive bacteria, in the local population.

Neural stem cells lend the brain a surprising capacity for self-repair
The brain contains stem cells with a surprising capacity for repair, researchers report in the Dec.

Americans' support for embryonic stem cell research declines, VCU Life Sciences survey shows
Americans' support for stem cell research has declined slightly, reversing a 3-year trend, but an overwhelming majority paradoxically supports the use of such cells in pursuit of treatment for themselves or family members, according to the sixth annual Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences Survey released Thursday.

Defibrillators should be available in ski resorts
As the ski season gets underway, doctors in this week's BMJ say that more defibrillators should be placed in ski resorts to help prevent sudden cardiac deaths.

Antioxidants decrease disease in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder in which brain cells damaged by naturally occurring chemicals known as reactive oxygen species have been observed.

Texas extension to lead efforts to stabilize Iraq through agriculture
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that these universities have been awarded $5.3 million from the US Department of Agriculture for a project that will focus on strengthening agricultural extension and training in Iraq.

Genomic tests improve prediction of breast cancer response to chemotherapy, hormonal therapy
Researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have developed two genomic tests to better predict how breast cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.

Stardust findings override some commonly held astronomy beliefs
Stardust provides evidence that material from inner solar nebular traveled to edge of solar system; as much as 10 percent of comet material might have originated near the sun.

New fellowships to 'share the amazement'
PPARC has today announced the first recipients of its Science and Society Fellowships.

Phyloinformatics Hackathon at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
Two dozen leading bioinformatics and phylogenetics software developers are meeting at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in a unique hands-on exercise that will produce new open-source software for phylogenetic analysis.

Researchers create genetically matched embryonic stem cells for transplantation
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report a new and efficient strategy, using eggs alone, for creating embryonic stem (ES) cells that can generate tissues suitable for transplantation, because the cells are compatible with the recipient's immune system.

Study finds gender differences related to eating and body image
Researchers have discovered a subtle new difference between men and women -- this one occurring in the realm of eating.

Colluding with colloids: Scientists make liquid crystal discovery
Findings of Kent State University scientists indicate that manipulating the size of colloids, micron-sized or nanometer-sized particles, can produce huge changes in the material properties of liquid crystals.

Stanford researchers predict a new state of matter in semiconductors
Conventional matter exists in three familiar forms-solid, liquid and gas.

Secure software-defined radio technology is goal of Virginia Tech Cyber Trust project
Software-defined radio (SDR) technology is being used in two-way communications devices by tactical military forces and emergency responders.

UCSD researchers discover internal compass of immune cell
Researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine have discovered how neutrophils -- specialized white blood cells that play key roles in inflammation and in the body's immune defense against bacteria -- navigate to sites of infection and inflammation.

Jules Verne goes hot and cold
For 21 days in a row, Jules Verne, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), has not only survived the most stringent conditions of the space environment, but it has successfully tested on the ground its flight software and hardware under the toughest simulated conditions of space vacuum, freezing temperatures and burning sun radiation.

One gene 90 percent responsible for making common parasite dangerous
More than a decade of searching for factors that make the common parasite Toxoplasma gondii dangerous to humans has pinned 90 percent of the blame on just one of the parasite's approximately 6,000 genes.

AZTI-Tecnalia obtains isomers of conjugated linoleic acid from micro-organisms
The aim of the research undertaken by AZTI-Tecnalia was to study the efficiency of certain lactic acid bacteria on the production of potentially functional fatty acids by means of the isomerisation of linoleic acid into its conjugated isomers.

Stardust particles tell story about birth of solar system
Particulate materials captured from the comet Wild two have revealed clues about the birth of our solar system that counter some of the basic theories that the solar nebular is gently collapsing inward to form the sun and the planets.

Hospitals miss most patient safety incidents
Hospital reporting systems may significantly under-report patient safety incidents, particularly those resulting in harm, warns a study published in the British Medical Journal online today.

Grandparents linked with church-going
As Christmas approaches, people are more likely to attend religious services if their grandparents did, according to a new study at the University of Manchester, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Mars Express scientists find a different Mars underneath
With results that the principal investigator of the Mars Express MARSIS radar, Giovanni Picardi, from the University of Rome

Study reveals molecular basis of botulism toxin's deadly activity
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have revealed in atomic detail how the toxins that cause botulism target and bind to nerve cells.

Problem drug use declining in previous hot spots
Research led by the National Drug Evidence Centre at the University of Manchester has found that drug misuse seems to have passed its peak in some previous problem areas.

New clean-up project builds upon success gained in field
A new 5-year project headed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory is expected to lead to a more in-depth understanding of natural and other approaches to clean up contaminated sites around the nation.

DZero finds evidence of rare single top quark
Scientists of the DZero collaboration at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the first evidence of single top quarks produced in a rare subatomic process involving the weak nuclear force.

Intelligent children more likely to become vegetarian
Intelligent children may be more likely to be vegetarian as adults, suggests a study published online by the BMJ today.

Boost for new cancer therapies
Scientists have revealed the critical role a key enzyme plays in helping cells divide in what could prove an important breakthrough for new cancer therapies.

Research suggests better option for treating organophosphorus pesticide poisoning
High doses of the drug pralidoxime reduces illness and death in people who have intentionally ingested organophosphorus pesticides -- a common form of self-poisoning in rural India, according to a study in this week's issue of the Lancet.

JCI table of contents: December 14, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, December 14, 2006, in the JCI, including:

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative statement on male circumcision
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative issued this statement today following a National Institutes of Health decision to end two clinical trials of adult male circumcision in Uganda and Kenya.

Beyond the book: Software automates access to brain atlases
USC computer scientists have found a cheap, quick and copyright-respecting way to turn existing print brain atlases into multimedia resources.

PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative announces partnership to develop novel malaria vaccine
In a move that promises to expand the types of malaria vaccine candidates in clinical development, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative today announced a new partnership with Sanaria Inc., a Maryland company, to accelerate development of a unique malaria vaccine candidate.

Decline in breast cancer cases likely linked to reduced use of hormone replacement
In 2003, breast cancer incidence in the United States dropped sharply, and this decline may largely be due to the fact that millions of older women stopped using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in 2002, according to a new analysis led by researchers at the University of Texas M.

Researchers demonstrate direct brain control of humanoid robot
University of Washington researchers had demonstrated they can control the movement of a humanoid robot with signals from a human brain.

Interagency relations key to improving outcomes from UK health research
Good relations between the UK's two main health research bodies -- the NHS Research and Development program and the Medical Research Council -- are essential if the new single fund for health research in the UK is to reap expected results, says this week's lead editorial. 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