Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 03, 2007
Students benefit from undergraduate research opportunities
Undergraduate students who participate in hands-on research are more likely to pursue advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, according to a new study.

Savvy employers will implement NICE smoking cessation interventions
Savvy employers will take heed and implement the smoking-cessation recommendations published by the UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence, says an editorial in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Keeping the immune system from starting a 'food fight'
After every meal, the body must prevent the immune system from launching an all-out fight against food.

Doubts about World Bank's new 10-year health policy and its president
The World Bank's pro-private market-orientated policies and its involvement in reforms that have harmed health systems in many poor countries have raised question marks over its new 10-year health policy, says a comment in this week's edition of the Lancet.

New Arizona alliance aims to boost technologies for medical diagnostics and human health
Arizona's bioscience efforts continue to grow through an extensive, statewide collaborative network of initiatives.

The sound of proteins
Biologists have converted protein sequences into classical music in an attempt to help vision-impaired scientists and boost the popularity of genomic biology.

Updated guidelines advise new treatments for brain hemorrhage
The first scientifically proven treatments for intracerebral hemorrhage -- or

5 Stanford professors elected to National Academy of Sciences
Five Stanford University faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Tuberculosis screening beneficial in UK areas with high migrant populations
Tuberculosis screening in areas of the UK where the disease has increasing prevalence due to increasing immigration rates could increase diagnosis of both active and latent forms of this disease and help prevent its spread, according to an article published in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Elastic interactions of membrane proteins
Cellular survival relies crucially on the ability to receive and communicate signals from and to the outside world, which are conveyed by proteins in the membranes of cells.

Cold Spring Harbor Laoratory president wins Curtin Medal
Bruce Stillman, CSHL president and Cancer Center director, has just returned from a trip to his native Australia with a new medal for excellence in medical research.

RAND study finds alcohol advertising and marketing associated with adolescent drinking
A RAND Corp. study of children in the sixth and seventh grades found that those exposed to alcohol advertising at high levels -- from television, magazines, in-store displays and promotional items like T-shirts and posters -- were 50 percent more likely to drink and 36 percent more likely to intend to drink than children whose exposure to alcohol advertising was very low.

Alpharma presents positive pharmacokinetic study results
Alpharma Inc. (NYSE: ALO), a leading global specialty pharmaceutical company through its Pharmaceuticals Division, this week presented positive results of a pharmacokinetic study.

UW study tests topical honey as a treatment for diabetic ulcers
The sore on Catrina Hurlburt's leg simply wouldn't heal. Complications from a 2002 car accident left Hurlburt, a borderline diabetic, with recurring cellulitis and staph infections.

Nemo comes home with a tag
A team of Australian, American and French coral reef scientists has achieved a world breakthrough in tracking fish that could revolutionise the sustainable management of coral reefs and help restore threatened fisheries.

Vaccine prevents prion disease in mice
An oral vaccine can prevent mice from developing a brain disease similar to mad cow disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

RAND says further study warranted on save the world air technology
A RAND Corp. report issued today says Save the World Air Inc. would need to conduct further laboratory studies and in-use testing to determine the effectiveness of its Zero Emission Fuel Saver technology that is intended to reduce tailpipe pollutants and increase fuel efficiency in gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

ARVO Kupfer Award to Research to Prevent Blindness chairman
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology announced today that David F.

For Iraq veterans, migraines may be sign of other problems
Soldiers returning from combat in Iraq who have migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to also have symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression or anxiety than soldiers who do not have migraines, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

NEC, JST and RIKEN successfully demonstrate world's first controllably coupled qubits
NEC Corporation, Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research have together successfully demonstrated the world's first quantum bit (qubit) circuit that can control the strength of coupling between qubits.

Essential genes cluster clue to order in the genome
The identification of a cluster of essential genes on mouse chromosome 11 as well as similar clusters on the chromosomes of other organisms -- including humans -- buttresses the argument that there may be rules as to how genes are structured or laid out on chromosomes, said the Baylor College of Medicine senior author of a report that appears online today in the Public Library of Science Genetics, an open-access publication.

Should the UK adopt Dutch rules on euthanasia in newborn babies?
Euthanasia for newborn babies with lethal and disabling conditions is illegal worldwide, but in reality, its acceptance and practice vary between different countries.

Astronomer finds that Mercury has molten core
Newly released data -- from 21 delicately timed observations at three telescopes taken over five years -- yields the strongest evidence to date that Mercury has a molten core, reports Jean-Luc Margot, assistant professor of astronomy at Cornell University, in Science.

Martin Kassabov receives AMS Centennial Fellowship
Martin Kassabov of Cornell University has been awarded the prestigious AMS Centennial Fellowship for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Is it worth having surgery to remove your tonsils?
Adults with recurrent sore throats may benefit from having a tonsillectomy in the short term, but the overall longer term benefit is still unclear, and any benefits have to be balanced against the side effects of the operation, according to this week's BMJ.

Employers who recognize the impact of migraine may help to improve workplace productivity
Up to $28.7 billion in annual direct and indirect healthcare costs can be attributed to migraine-related losses in productivity.

Scientists identify new strategy for preventing acute and chronic brain disease
Scientists have found that reducing the level of the protein tau can prevent neurological deficits related to Alzheimer's disease.

Global integration package welcome news
Research Australia has welcomed the federal government's new $1.4 billion industry package

Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
Story ideas from the May 2007 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research include why fish and seafood are better than olive oil and nuts against heart disease; too much cholesterol in a cell organelle can cause heart disease; why Down Syndrome individuals develop Alzheimer's disease earlier than the general population; and how lipids anchor proteins on cell membranes.

Use of wind energy in US growing, but planning and guidelines are lacking
Although the use of wind energy to generate electricity is increasing rapidly in the United States, government guidance to help communities and developers evaluate and plan proposed wind-energy projects is lacking, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council.

Master regulatory gene of epithelial stem cells identified
The skin's ability to replace the tissue it sloughs off is controlled by a variety of genes.

Cancer patients monitor fatigue in real time
Nurse researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are studying fatigue in cancer patients undergoing stem cell transplants using a method successfully used to monitor behaviors such as smoking cessation and alcohol use.

Scientists discover rare 'gene-for-gene' interaction that helps bacteria kill their host
Scientists have discovered that a cousin of the plague bacterium uses a single gene to outfox insect immune defenses and kill its host.

Lower IQ found in children of women who took epilepsy drug
Children of women who took the epilepsy drug valproate during pregnancy appear to be at a greater risk for lower IQ, according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th annual Meeting in Boston, April 28-May 5, 2007.

Decrease in breast cancer rates likely reflect HRT reduction and saturation of mammography
A new study, published in the online open access journal Breast Cancer Research, reveals two distinct patterns in the recent breast cancer rates in US women -- a downturn in the incidence rates in almost all age groups above 45 years beginning in 1998-1999, consistent with a levelling off of mammography utilization, and a sharp fall in the rates between 2002 and 2003 in the age groups 50-69 years, likely reflecting the early benefit of the reduced use of HRT.

UCSF-led team receives $15 million to study genetics of epilepsy
A team led by UCSF scientists has received a grant of $15 million, provided over five years, to study the complex genetic factors that underlie some of the most common forms of epilepsy.

$4.4 million NIH grant renews Echinacea and St John's wort research at Iowa State
The Iowa Center for Research on Botanical Dietary Supplements at Iowa State University received a $4.4 million renewal grant from NIH.

Platinum nanocrystals boost catalytic activity for fuel oxidation, hydrogen production
A research team composed of electrochemists and materials scientists from two continents has produced a new form of the industrially-important metal platinum: 24-facet nanocrystals whose catalytic activity per unit area can be as much as four times higher than existing commercial platinum catalysts.

Has SOHO ended a 30-year quest for solar ripples?
The ESA-NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory may have glimpsed long-sought oscillations on the sun's surface.

Scientists offer new view of photosynthesis
During the remarkable cascade of events of photosynthesis, plants scavenge nearly every photon of available light energy to produce food.

National party politics -- A cold house for Europeans?
Major new research across the EU has found that, even after 50 years of European integration, national party politics remains a relatively cold house for those interested in European affairs.

Maggots rid patients of MRSA
University of Manchester researchers are ridding diabetic patients of the superbug MRSA -- by treating their foot ulcers with maggots.

Sun powered mobility
Solar powered mobility scooters could soon be on the streets thanks to the work of a student at the University of Nottingham.

New technologies for James Webb Space Telescope approved early
More than a year ahead of schedule, a team of independent experts has approved all 10 new technologies developed for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

Heart problems caused by continued cocaine abuse highlighted
The heart problems caused by sustained cocaine abuse are highlighted in a case report published in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Novel system developed to turn data into real-time, interactive 3-D images
New, innovative data display technology developed at Kent State University will provide doctors with a dramatically improved ability to evaluate commonly used medical images such as magnetic resonance images and computed tomography scans.

Role of noise in neurons
Addressing a current issue in neuroscience, Aldo Faisal and Simon Laughlin from Cambridge University investigate the reliability of thin axons for transmitting information.

Vigorous exercise keeps people thin with age
People who maintain a vigorously active lifestyle as they age gain less weight than people who exercise at more moderate levels, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study that tracked a large group of runners who kept the same exercise regimen as they grew older.

Study finds fecal microbes high in New Orleans sediments following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
In a new study documenting the microbial landscape of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, scientists report that sediments in interior portions of the city appear to be contaminated with fecal microbes, a chronic condition they say persisted in the area before the hurricanes, and that the resulting water quality in the city and in nearshore waters of the lake continues to be impacted by discharges from this contamination.

Nitric oxide: Key to cardiovascular and pulmonary function and drug effectiveness
A naturally occurring molecule in the body appears to control whether certain medications, such as beta adrenergic receptor agonists used in acute heart failure or in inhalers for asthma, lose their effectiveness over time.

Researchers learn more about genetic mutation linked to autism
University of Iowa researchers have learned more about a genetic mutation that contributes to autism.

High dose radiotherapy benefits patients with prostate cancer
A higher dose of radiotherapy to treat patients with prostate cancer improves cancer control and reduces the need for salvage treatment compared with the results usually obtained with a standard dose of radiotherapy, say researchers in a trial reporting online today in the Lancet Oncology

AGU Journal Highlights -- May 3, 2007
In this issue: Warming oceans may diminish length of day; Seasonal variations in the seismicity of the Himalayan Mountains; Lead in old Antarctic ice; Reorientations of crystal lattice may explain deep Earth's seismic jumps; Improved modeling of permafrost dynamics in global climate models; New model shows how layering facilitates rock deformation; Hydrothermal systems may foment periodic unrest at caldera volcanoes; Fluid pore pressures in debris flows; and Arctic sea ice vanishing faster than models forecast.

Study to probe how healthy younger adults make use of genetic tests
The National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute, parts of the National Institutes of Health, have teamed with Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit to launch a study to investigate the interest level of healthy, young adults in receiving genetic testing for eight common conditions.

Do medications help young ADHD drivers ignore real world distractions?
As a group, young ADHD drivers are two to four times more likely to have a car accident than non-ADHD drivers.

Vitamin extends life in yeast, Dartmouth Medical School researchers find
Imagine taking a vitamin for longevity! Not yet, but a Dartmouth discovery that a cousin of niacin prolongs lifespan in yeast brings the tantalizing possibility a step closer.

Honor for University of Nottingham professor
A University of Nottingham academic has been elected to the fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of his work as a researcher and clinician.

Study led by Scripps Research scientist reveals little-known cell networks vital to circadian rhythm
In a wide-ranging systems biology study of circadian rhythm, a multi-institutional collaboration led by Scripps Research Institute Professor Steve Kay has uncovered some little-known cellular mechanisms for sustaining circadian rhythm and limiting the impact of genetic clock mutations in mammals.

National Autism Conference slated for June
Leaders in the study and treatment of autism spectrum disorders will gather at Kent State University for conference.

Cerebral malaria: Approaching a diagnostic test
Scientists at CNRS and the Pasteur Institute, collaborating with physicians in Gabon, have just undertaken a study on cerebral malaria in children living in an endemic region.

International autoimmunity research initiative gains major support
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has renewed support, with major funding, for an ambitious seven-year-old international research consortium that is pioneering novel strategies for studying and testing new drugs and therapies against autoimmune diseases, organ transplant rejection, asthma and allergic diseases.

Abnormal face processing in toddlers with autism and developmental delays
Toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often have difficulty focusing on people's faces and making eye contact, but a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers found that these same toddlers do not have difficulty looking at photographs of faces.

Coral reef fish make their way home
Coral reef fish hatchlings dispersed by ocean currents are able to make their way back to their home reefs again to spawn, says a groundbreaking study published today in the journal Science.

US control strategies may make flu epidemics worse, UCLA study shows
In a report to be published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS Computational Biology and currently available online, Sally Blower, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and Romulus Breban and Raffaele Vardavas, postdoctoral fellows in Blower's research group, used novel mathematical modeling techniques to predict that current health policy -- based on voluntary vaccinations -- is not adequate to control severe flu epidemics and pandemics unless vaccination programs offer incentives to individuals.

IBM brings nature to computer chip manufacturing
IBM today announced the first-ever application of a breakthrough self-assembling nanotechnology to conventional chip manufacturing, borrowing a process from nature to build the next generation of computer chips.

A matter of force
When a cell divides, normally the result is two identical daughter cells.

DEA schedules VYVANSE, clearing way for launch of first prodrug stimulant ADHD treatment
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has classified Shire's VYVANSE as a Schedule II controlled substance, following the earlier FDA recommendation.

US control strategies may make flu epidemics worse, UCLA study shows
Public health officials say a major concern is an outright flu pandemic, such as a human strain of avian flu.

Scientists step closer to realising invisible technology
A unique computer model designed by a mathematician at the University of Liverpool has shown that it is possible to make objects, such as airplanes and submarines, appear invisible at close range. 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