Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 15, 2007
Argonne National Laboratory plays key role in new climate simulations
The Model Coupling Toolkit created by the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory played a key role in the climate simulations used in preparing the new U.N. report

Europeans' understanding of science, evolution, more advanced than Americans
When it comes to scientific literacy, Americans aren't nearly as evolved as they may think.

Neuroscientists explain inner workings of critical pain pathway
Morphine and other opioids are among the most potent painkillers around.

Scientists convert heat to power using organic molecules, may lead to new energy source
UC Berkeley researchers have successfully generated electricity directly from heat by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles, an achievement that could pave the way toward the development of a new, cheaper source for energy.

Elsevier congratulates its award winning authors and editors
Elsevier is pleased to announce that six of its professional and scholarly books were honored by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) at the 2007 Awards for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing this week.

Dutch government could do more to promote sustainable energy
Dutch researcher Simona Negro discovered that seven key factors exert a major influence on the success or failure of sustainable energy in the Netherlands.

Daisies in bloom
Biochip platforms that work as artificial cells are attractive for medical diagnostics, interrogation of biological processes, and for the production of important biomolecules.

Sleep disturbances affect classroom performance
A study published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine finds that adolescents who experience sleep disturbances are more likely to receive bad grades in school.

UCLA expert to discuss medical consequences of meth abuse at AAAS
At the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA, will be part of a panel of world-renowned neuroscientists presenting recent advances in brain-imaging that have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic disease.

Protein inhibitor tangles with Alzheimer's disease
A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the abnormal accumulation of phosphorylated forms of a protein known as tau.

Clock comparison yields clues to 'constant' change
Years of comparisons among the world's best atomic clocks -- based on different atoms -- have established the most precise limits ever achieved in the laboratory for detecting possible changes in so-called

Theory aims to describe fundamental properties of materials
Gold is shiny, diamonds are transparent and iron is magnetic.

Maternal seafood consumption benefits children's development
Higher maternal seafood consumption during pregnancy results in children showing better neurological function than children whose mothers eat low amounts or no seafood during pregnancy, according to an article published in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Exercise improves quality of life for people with breast cancer
Group exercise sessions can help to improve the physical and psychological well-being of people diagnosed with breast cancer, a new BMJ study reveals today.

A crystal ball of earthquakes
When the next big earthquake hits a region like San Francisco, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grantee Kristy Tiampo wants to ensure that communities will not only be able to evacuate, but also rebuild.

Researchers find 6,000-year-old fossil evidence
Researchers, including a paleoethnobotanist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, recently found fossil evidence in seven archaeological sites ranging from the Bahamas to present-day Peru that showed people were eating domesticated chili peppers as long as 6,000 years ago.

US Climate Change Science Program provides key contributions to IPCC fourth assessment
Research conducted by scientists funded through the US Climate Change Science Program has helped resolve key uncertainties about the causes of global climate change and has helped refine projected future changes in temperature and sea-level rise, as published in the Working Group I contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, the summary of which was issued Feb.

'Smart' prosthetics: restoring independence to people with disabilities
Neurotechnology has restored hearing to the deaf and someday will help the blind to see and the paralyzed to move again.

Scuba science
For divers exploring the ocean for science, the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) hosts an annual symposium, and this year it will be held in Miami, March 5-10, hosted by and at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science.

M.D. Anderson collaborates with Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria
In a first-of-its-kind trans-Atlantic effort to address cancer disparities among Nigerian and Nigerian-American populations, The University of Texas M.

Making operating rooms safer with open communication among equipment
New research at the University of New Hampshire aims to make hospital operating rooms safer by opening the lines of communication between computerized hospital beds and blood pressure monitors.

Rats' senses a whisker away from humans
The sophisticated way in which rats use their whiskers in their surrounding environments show significant parallels with how humans use their fingertips, according to new research carried out at the University of Sheffield.

MCAF display at AAAS highlights technology, research to improve fishery sustainability
Efforts by the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation (MCAF) to boost cooperative research partnerships between scientists and industry to improve fishery sustainability are highlighted in a booth presentation and poster display at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco.

Study finds subglacial water in West Antarctica considerably more active than previously observed
The recent discovery of a subglacial water system beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) is causing scientists to rethink the mechanisms that control the flow of ice streams into the Ross Ice Shelf and ultimately into the Southern Ocean, according to a report in the February 15, 2007, issue of Science magazine online.

Slow-release morphine reduces level of intractable cough
Slow-release morphine helped a group of patients with long-term, treatment-resistant chronic cough reduce their daily cough score levels by 40 percent.

Xie Lab demonstrates the role of microRNA pathway
Ting Xie, Ph.D., associate investigator, and Zhigang Jin, Ph.D., postdoctoral research associate in the Xie Lab, have published results showing that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal of germline stem cells and somatic stem cells in the Drosophila ovary.

HIV protein enlisted to help kill cancer cells
Cancer cells keep growing because they don't react to internal signals urging them to die.

Orbiter provides new hints of past groundwater flows on Mars
A spacecraft recently arrived at Mars has provided new evidence that fluids, likely including water, once flowed widely through underlying bedrock in a canyon that is part of the great Martian rift valley.

Researchers discover 'sticky' proteins fuse adult stem cells to cardiac muscle, repairing hearts
Cardiologists are increasingly using adult stem cells in clinical trials to repair hearts following heart attacks, but no one has understood how the therapy actually works.

Peering into the Pillars of Creation
A new look at the famous

Are we spending too much on HIV?
Billions of pounds are being spent on the fight against AIDS in developing countries.

Rosetta correctly lined up for critical Mars swingby
ESA mission controllers have confirmed Rosetta is on track for a critical 250-km Mars swingby on February 25.

European policy causing dairy farm losses
Recently introduced EU deficiency payments will not affect several important production factors in the Dutch dairy sector, says Dutch researcher Daan Ooms.

Teens may lose transplanted organs when insurance runs out
A new study shows that young transplant patients in the US who lose their insurance coverage are more likely to stop taking necessary anti-rejection drugs, which can increase the risk of losing the transplanted organs.

Stem cells determine their daughters' fate
From roundworm to human, most cells in an animal's body ultimately come from stem cells.

Proteases cause pain in irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder in the developed world.

How do we stop genocide when we begin to lose interest after the first victim?
Follow your intuition and act? When it comes to genocide, forget it.

Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions
A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

Intimacy and sex: The unspoken casualties of cancer
Caring for a partner with cancer may be one of the most testing and stressful experiences a person can have during their lifetime.

Active lifestyle reduces risk of invasive breast cancer
Six or more hours per week of strenuous recreational activity may reduce the risks of invasive breast cancer by 23 percent, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin Paul P.

Xylitol reduces risk of cavities
The sugar substitute xylitol affects the bacterial composition of the oral cavity even in low doses.

Numbers are just numbers, but how you grasp them fills in details
Quickly now, which is a higher risk that you will get a disease: 1 in 100; 1 in 1,000; or 1 in 10?

Investigating the trochus 'El Dorado'
Scientific and indigenous knowledge must join together to better manage disappearing marine resources in developing countries, such as shark, trochus, and sea cucumber stocks on the islands to Australia's north.

New observations show sun-like star in earliest stage of development
Members of a research team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to peer at the embryo of an infant star in the nearby Eagle Nebula, which they believe may someday develop into a virtual twin of Earth's sun.

Drug reduces unscheduled trips to doctor for childhood asthma attacks
Young children with attacks of sporadic, recurring asthma who were treated with the prescription drug montelukast by their parents had fewer unscheduled trips to the doctor, missed less days from school or childcare, and caused their parents to take fewer days off work for their care.

Quantum hall effect observed at room temperature
An international team of scientists is able to see the

Penn addiction researcher presents talk on promising approaches in the treatment of drug addiction
Charles P. O'Brien, M.D., Ph.D., vice chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and research director, MIRECC, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, will present

Successful development of prototype assays
International medical diagnostics company Panbio Limited today announced that it had developed two prototype immunoassays using their proprietary panDA Homogeneous Assay technology.

Decision making isn't always as rational as you think (or hope)
When making tough choices about terrorism, troop surges or crime, we usually go with our gut.

Red hot chili pepper research spices up historical record
A team of international researchers, including three archaeologists from the University of Calgary, have identified starch microfossils from the common chili pepper on artifacts dating back 6,100 years.

Little creatures, big blooms
The San Francisco area is one of the most biologically productive areas in US waters.

West Antarctica's subglacial plumbing system mapped from space
A network of rapidly filling and emptying lakes lies beneath at least two of West Antarctica's ice streams, a new Science study suggests.

Peruvian glacier may vanish in 5 years
When glaciologist Lonnie Thompson returns to Peru's Qori Kalis glacier early this summer, he expects to find that half of the ice he saw during his visit there last year has vanished.

Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting
Some of the topics that might interest reporters include: Children's pathways to political violence and terrorism; International research on the outcomes of children adopted from China; Child development in the rural poor -- first time data to be presented from the Family Life Project; Children's understanding of truth and lies; Neuroscience in anxious children; Teen parenting; International research on corporal punishment.

Harnessing the brain's plasticity key to treating neurological damage
With an aging population susceptible to stroke, Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions, and military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious limb injuries, the need for strategies that treat complex neurological impairments has never been greater.

Molecules under the hammer
How do you get information from a preparation that is transparent?

Pourquié Lab clarifies mode of formation of spinal precursors
Tadahiro Iimura, Ph.D., senior research associate in the Pourquié Lab, is the lead author on a paper challenging controversial theories about the mode of formation of the vertebral column precursor, known as the paraxial mesoderm.

Antarctic warming to reduce animals at base of ecosystem, shift some penguin populations southward
The warming most global climate models predict will do more harm than simply raise the sea levels that most observers fear.

Shortening chromosomes cause for earlier cancer onset in families with rare syndrome
In families with a high incidence of Li-Fraumeni syndrome, the ends of individuals' chromosomes act somewhat like a lit fuse, according to researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Nottingham scientist fights climate change
A University of Nottingham scientist has won a Royal Society award for his innovative work to combat climate change.

Air contaminants databases ease healthy homes planning
Air pollution sources are everywhere in the home, from the bacon and eggs frying in the kitchen, to the woodburning stove in the family room, the newly painted hallway, and even the carpet in the living room.

Continuous infusion of hydrocortisone reduces hyperglyaemia in patients with septic shock
Changing how critically ill patients are treated with hydrocortisone could reduce hyperglycemia.

Metabolic disease too easily missed
Dutch researcher Terry Derks has demonstrated that the metabolic disease MCAD deficiency can be detected at an early stage.

Strain has major effect on high-temp superconductors
Just a little mechanical strain can cause a large drop in the maximum current carried by high-temperature superconductors, according to novel measurements carried out by NIST.

Columbia University Medical Center awarded $3 million to drive Alzheimer's genetics research
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center will receive a $3 million grant from the Merrill Lynch Foundation to support research into the genetic influences involved in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Quantum effects writ large
A team of physicists from Rice University, Rutgers University, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Germany, reports this week in the journal Science the discovery of surprising quantum effects in a member of a broad class of materials that include high-temperature superconductors and quantum magnets.

Computer tool helps pinpoint risky gene mutations
Certain cancer risks can be passed down through families, the result of tiny changes in a family's genetic code.

Smithsonian scientists report ancient chili pepper history
Smithsonian researchers and colleagues report that across the Americas, chili peppers (Capsicum species) were cultivated and traded as early as 6,000 years ago -- predating the invention of pottery in some areas of the Americas.

USC researchers begin tests on next generation of retinal implant
Researchers at the University of Southern California are moving into their next phase of an artificial retinal implant project.

Getting on your nerves ... and repairing them
In a study to be published in the March 2007 issue of the FASEB Journal, scientists from East Carolina University report that a key molecular mechanism, RNA interference (RNAi), plays a role in the regeneration and repair of periphery nerves, which are the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal column.

Coldest lab in Chicago to simulate hot physics of early universe
Cheng Chin will make a vacuum chamber in his laboratory the coldest place in Chicago in order to simulate the impossibly hot conditions that followed the big bang during the earliest moments of the universe.

Nanotube, heal thyself
Pound for pound, carbon nanotubes are stronger and lighter than steel, but unlike other materials, the miniscule carbon cylinders remain remarkably robust even when chunks of their bodies are blasted away with heat or radiation.

Pay-as-you-drive mainly reduces shopping trips
Households and companies intend to adjust some of their car journeys when user tolls are introduced.

Addiction and the brain -- are we hard-wired to abuse drugs?
At the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a panel of world-renowned neuroscientists will present recent advances in brain-imaging that have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic disease.

Merck and AAAS announce 2007 winners of Outstanding Undergraduate Research Programs
Fifteen colleges and universities across the nation are winners of the 2007 awards for the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP), sponsored by the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

JCI table of contents: February 15, 2006
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, February 15, 2006, in the JCI, including: Protein inhibitor tangles with Alzheimer's disease; Proteases cause pain in irritable bowel syndrome; The

Global solidarity needed in preparing for pandemic influenza
WHO should seek an international agreement to ensure developing countries have access to a pandemic influenza vaccine at an affordable price, according to an editorial in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Doctors should measure the carbon footprint of their conference activities
Doctors must lead by example on climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of medical conferences, says an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Value of data from HIV testing/counseling centers questioned
Use of data from voluntary HIV counseling and testing clinics for HIV surveillance in Africa is not appropriate, according to a viewpoint in this week's issue of the Lancet.

Disorder may be in order for 'spintronic' devices
Physicists at JILA are using ultrashort pulses of laser light to reveal precisely why some electrons, like ballet dancers, hold their spin positions better than others -- work that may help improve spintronic devices, which exploit the magnetism or

US health system getting worse, says expert
The problems of the US healthcare system are growing, warns an expert in this week's BMJ.

Survey finds perceived risk of recurrence low in African-American breast cancer survivors
A unique survey of African-American breast cancer survivors at heightened risk for hereditary breast cancer has found the majority do not believe they have an increased chance of developing the cancer again.

UCSB study on sibling detection mechanism highlighted in Nature
A team of researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found evidence of a nonconscious mechanism in the human brain that identifies genetic siblings on the basis of cues that guided our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Joint NASA study reveals leaks in Antarctic 'plumbing system'
Scientists using NASA satellites have discovered an extensive network of waterways beneath a fast-moving Antarctic ice stream and clues as to how

Researchers discover new details about HIV-1 entry and infection
The primary targets of HIV-1 infection in the human vagina have been definitively identified in a new study published in the February 2007 issue of the journal Immunity, published by Cell Press.

High-frequency cryocooler is tiny, cold and efficient
A new cryogenic refrigerator has been demonstrated at NIST that operates at twice the usual frequency, achieving a long-sought combination of small size, rapid cooling, low temperatures and high efficiency. 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