Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 22, 2007
Test finds manufactured nanoparticles don't harm soil ecology
The first published study on the environmental impact of manufactured nanoparticles on ordinary soil showed no negative effects, which is contrary to concerns voiced by some that the microscopic particles could be harmful to organisms.

UC San Diego supercomputer simulations may pinpoint causes of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's diseases
Using the massive computer-simulation power of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, researchers are zeroing in on the causes of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

Fossil discovery marks earliest record of limbloss in ancient lizard
It wouldn't have been the easiest way to get around.

JCI table of contents -- March 22, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, March 22, 2007, in the JCI, including: New protein implicated in autism; Prenatal exposure to glucocorticoids has long-term deleterious effects on newborns; Leukemic cells find protection from anticancer drug in the bone marrow; Inflammatory pathway leads to Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Protein's role in blood clotting differs in vitro and in vivo; and Disease-causing genetic mutation reveals its molecular secrets.

Pacific Rim researchers to collaborate on distributed bioinformatics analysis of avian flu
UC San Diego will lead a one-year project, with $350,000 in funding from the US Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, to use bioinformatics tools and cyber infrastructure to study avian flu.

MONARCH system-on-a-chip excels in early testing
A revolutionary processor package that changes its architecture to adapt to the demands of different computing tasks more than met design expectations in recent trials.

New archaeological findings on political power in Peru
A team from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of Almería has completed its second part of the

Blood's clotting cells harbor 'ticking time bombs,' finding may help extend blood supply
Fragments of cells in the blood known as platelets--which form blood clots and assist in wound healing--have internal 'clocks' that act like ticking time bombs, predetermining their death from the moment they are born, according to a new study in the March 23 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press.

Second annual stem cell symposium to focus on heart tissue, blood diseases
Several of the world's leading experts on the formation of blood and heart cells from stem cells, and clinical applications of stem cells in blood and heart diseases, will come together on Wednesday, April 18, for the second annual Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium.

UCF shows how stage theatre evolves with the use of new technology
Using new techniques that merge the Internet 2 with traditional stage theatre, the University of Central Florida, Bradley University in Illinois and the University of Waterloo in Canada performed a play that put actors from Florida and Canada on the stage in Illinois without them ever leaving their respective campuses.

Scientists discover zinc link to a leading cause of blindness
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Neurobiotex Inc. have found high levels of zinc in amyloid plaque deposits in the eye that are an indication of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Major discovery raises prospect of better patient care by improving platelet life span
Scientists at WEHI have made a discovery with potentially profound implications for the care of patients, especially those undergoing cancer chemotherapy.

Cells use 'noise' to make cell-fate decisions
Electrical noise, like the crackle heard on AM radio when lightning strikes nearby, is a nuisance that wreaks havoc on electronic devices.

New protein implicated in autism
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by severely impaired social, communicative, and behavioral functions.

Energy supplement under study for Parkinson's disease
Whether a supplement used by athletes to boost energy levels and build muscle can slow progression of Parkinson's disease is the focus of a North American study.

MIT brace aids stroke recovery
At age 32, Maggie Fermental suffered a stroke that left her right side paralyzed.

Genetic studies endow mice with new color vision
Although mice, like most mammals, typically view the world with a limited color palette - similar to what some people with red-green color blindness see - scientists have now transformed their vision by introducing a single human gene into a mouse chromosome.

LSU researchers publish commentary on delta preservation with coastal science experts
The Mississippi River delta region is of huge economic importance to the nation.

Scripps/UCSD geophysicist among international team finding evidence of first plate tectonics
Identification of the oldest preserved pieces of Earth's crust in southern Greenland has provided evidence of active plate tectonics as early as 3.8 billion years ago, according to a report by an international team of geoscientists in the March 23 edition of Science magazine.

The root of dyscalculia found
Scientists led by UCL (University College London) have induced dyscalculia in subjects without the maths learning difficulty for the first time.

Nano coalition launches virtual journal on risk research
The nanotechnology coalition that launched the first online database of scientific findings related to the benefits and risks of nanomaterials has taken the concept one step further with the launch today of the Virtual Journal of Nanotechnology Environment, Health & Safety (VJ-Nano EHS).

The Parkinson's Institute to conduct Phase III Clinical Trial of creatine for Parkinson's disease
The Parkinson's Institute will participate in a large-scale national clinical trial to learn if the nutritional supplement creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Fisheries group calls for science-based approach to address climate impacts
The success of science based management in Alaska is emphasized in a newly released report titled

Changing ocean conditions led to decline in Alaska's sea lion population
Studies by a team of scientists at the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium revealed that a sudden ocean climate change 30 years ago may be a leading factor in the decline of Alaska's endangered western stock of Steller sea lions.

Viral enzyme recruited in fight against ear infection
Parents might one day give their children a weekly treatment with a nasal spray of virus enzymes to prevent them from getting a severe middle ear infection, based on results of a study done in mice by investigators from St.

Investors lose when they choose mutual funds based on ads
Investors put more money into mutual funds that advertise, but in the end these customers pay a high price.

Tiny molecule controls stress-induced heart disease
A tiny snippet of RNA, a chemical cousin of DNA, controls damage to the heart under several types of stress, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Mother knows best: Plant knowledge key to childhood health in remote Amazon
In a remote area of the Amazon, globalization is threatening the time-honored transmission of plant knowledge from generation to generation, with adverse effects on childhood health and nutrition.

Viral protein is an effective preventative against infection
Using lysins, a protein from viruses that infect bacteria, scientists have developed a novel way to prevent kids from developing middle ear infections.

Could estriol be the elixir for MS?
This month a UCLA researcher begins a widespread clinical trial of the female sex hormone estriol, produced during pregnancy, which she's shown sharply reduces the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Warning over nitric oxide for lung injury patients
Use of nitric oxide in patients with acute lung injury does not improve survival and may cause harm, warn researchers in a study published online today.

Josh Weston, former CEO of ADP, to discuss leadership at Stevens lecture
Josh Weston, former CEO of Automatic Data Processing, will share his secrets on leadership in an April 12 lecture at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Pioneering approach to wastewater treatment earns Stanford engineer the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize
Perry L. McCarty, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been awarded the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize for pioneering work in the design and operation of water and wastewater systems.

Worldwide testing and ISS traffic push ATV launch to autumn 2007
Jules Verne, the first of five Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV), stands on the brink of flight.

Experience affects new neuron survival in adult brain; study sheds light on learning, memory
Experience in the early development of new neurons in specific brain regions affects their survival and activity in the adult brain, new research shows.

Fingerprinting the Milky Way
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has shown how to use the chemical composition of stars in clusters to shed light on the formation of our Milky Way.

No pain, DOE Joint Genome Institute gains coveted ergonomics prize with 'Shake 'N Plate'
Emerging from a record field of finalists representing major multinational companies, a team from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory won the 2007 Ergo Cup.

Sutent achieves first line EAU approval for kidney cancer
Sutent (sunitinib malate) has received a European Association of Urology recommendation, as first-line therapy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma of good and intermediate risk, just two months after gaining EU marketing authorization for first line use in all patients with advanced and/or metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

The next great earthquake
The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and resulting tsunami are now infamous for the damage they caused, but at the time many scientists believed this area was unlikely to create a quake of such magnitude.

Forsyth scientists wiping out tooth decay through school-based cavities prevention program
Forsyth Institute scientists are reporting that they have developed an effective program for virtually eliminating cavities.

Prenatal exposure to glucocorticoids has long-term deleterious effects on newborns
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom have found that, as for rodents and other nonprimates, prenatal exposure of nonhuman primate African vervet monkeys (Chloroceus aethiops) to glucocorticoids has long-lasting deleterious effects on cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuroendocrine function.

Sixth annual bioethics forum to tackle medical applications of research
The interface between molecular biology, medical applications, law, religion and ethics will be the focus of the sixth annual international Bioethics Forum, hosted by Promega Corp.'s BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Fitchburg, Wis.

ResearchChannel boosts awareness of vital research with video production program
ResearchChannel is helping to document the important work of world-class researchers while bringing that work to millions through its television and Internet platforms.

Using dental X-rays to detect osteoporosis
Researchers in the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam have created a unique way of identifying patients at risk of osteoporosis by using ordinary dental X-rays.

Warning over heart patients denied most appropriate treatment
Thousands of patients with heart disease may be denied the best chance of survival because of uncertainty over the most suitable treatment option, warns a cardiac surgeon in this week's BMJ.

MIT biologists solve vitamin puzzle
Solving a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, MIT and Harvard researchers have discovered the final piece of the synthesis pathway of vitamin B12-the only vitamin synthesized exclusively by microorganisms.

Using saliva to diagnose primary Sjögren's Syndrome
Today, during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, scientists are reporting that, instead of blood tests and biopsy, saliva can be used to detect primary Sjögren's Syndrome (pSS), an autoimmune disease which affects approx.

Tiny clue reveals new path toward heart disease
Geneticists have discovered a new gene that may put individuals at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Biologists learn structure of enzyme needed to power 'molecular motor'
Researchers at Purdue University and the Catholic University of America have discovered the structure of an enzyme essential for the operation of

Improving school culture may help cut substance abuse and teenage pregnancies
Improving the institutional culture (ethos) of schools in the UK may help reduce substance abuse and teenage pregnancies, says an article in this week's BMJ.

Phone-based therapy eases depression long term
When people receive brief telephone-based psychotherapy soon after starting antidepressant medication, strong positive effects may continue 18 months after their first session.

Natural polyester makes new sutures stronger, safer
With the help of a new type of suture based on MIT research, patients who get stitches may never need to have them removed.

American College of Cardiology and Epocrates deliver customized mobile software to ACC members
A record number of cardiologists will be reaching for their mobile devices to access the latest clinical information thanks to the American College of Cardiology.

Health insurance fails to protect Americans from financial risk
Sickness or injury can leave people in serious financial jeopardy even when they have health insurance, according to a report released today by the Access Project and Brandeis University.

Leukemic cells find safe haven in bone marrow
The cancer drug asparaginase fails to help cure some children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) because molecules released by certain cells in the bone marrow counteract the effect of that drug, according to investigators at St.

New study says women and their managers differ on career advancement in chemical companies
During this Women's History Month, the National Science Foundation has released a report called

Scientists use saliva's 'diagnostic alphabets' to diagnose disease
Today, during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, scientists are reporting that the use of saliva for clinical detection of major human diseases is only a few years away.

Nanotechnology's past, present and future: A Congressional perspective
Robert Service, nanotechnology reporter at Science magazine, will interview former Congressman Boehlert about the beginnings of the NNI and about the future of this transformative technology at 12:30 p.m.

Making mice with enhanced color vision
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and their colleagues have found that mice simply expressing a human light receptor in addition to their own can acquire new color vision, a sign that the brain can adapt far more rapidly to new sensory information than anticipated.

Traditional Chinese medical beliefs still relevant in Beijing
Traditional Chinese medical beliefs continue to have an impact on oral health in Beijing, China, says Jacqueline Hom, a dental student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (Boston, Mass.), who reports her findings today during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research.

Getting older provides positive outlook
Research conducted at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs proves not everything goes downhill when it comes to aging.

English-only policies may not promote success for Spanish-speaking pre-schoolers
Contrary to conventional wisdom, English-only pre-kindergarten classrooms may not help native Spanish-speaking children become better prepared for school.

AACR's Sixth Annual Landon Awards recognize Richard Kolodner, Douglas Lowy and John Schiller
Scientists whose discoveries have led to fundamental advances in the science and treatment of cancer are the recipients of two prestigious international prizes offered by the Kirk A. and Dorothy P.

Key science Web sites buried in information avalanche
As more and more people are turning to the Internet to find information, important science Web sites are in danger of becoming buried in the sheer avalanche of facts now available online.

Quitting smoking reduces risk of lung cancer mortality by 70 percent
Giving up smoking is highly effective in preventing death from lung cancer and can reduce the risk of dying from the disease by up to 70 percent.

CankerMelts patches reduce pain and speed resolution of canker sores
Today, during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, scientists are reporting that they have developed a method for the effective healing of, and relief of pain associated with, canker sores.

Shirley Ann Jackson, leader in higher education and government, to receive the Vannevar Bush Award
Shirley Ann Jackson, who has led a national movement to respond to what she calls a

Practicing Tai Chi boosts immune system in older adults
Tai chi chih, the Westernized version of the 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art characterized by slow movement and meditation, significantly boosts the immune systems of older adults against the virus that leads to the painful, blistery rash known as shingles, according to a new UCLA study.

A new 'matrix of harm' for drugs of abuse
A new study published today in the Lancet proposes that drugs should be classified by the amount of harm that they do, rather than the sharp A, B and C divisions in the UK Misuse of Drugs Act.

NIH announces phase III clinical trial of creatine for Parkinson's disease
The NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke today is launching a large-scale clinical trial to learn if the nutritional supplement creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Mitochondrial genes move to the nucleus -- but it's not for the sex
Why mitochondrial genes ditch their cushy haploid environs to take up residence in a large and chaotic nucleus has long stumped evolutionary biologists, but Indiana University Bloomington scientists report in this week's Science that they've uncovered an important clue in flowering plants.

Research agreement to advance new imaging technology
The University of Rochester Medical Center and T.I.E.S., LLC a Rochester, New York-based start-up company, have entered into a research partnership to evaluate a new technology that could ultimately represent a major advance in medical imaging.

March 30 public briefing on PEPFAR's Progress
PEPFAR IMPLEMENTATION: PROGRESS AND PROMISE, a new IOM report, reviews activities the program has supported and evaluates gains made against the AIDS pandemic.
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