Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 20, 2007
Arizona State University geophysicists detect a molten rock layer deep below the American Southwest
A sheet of molten rock roughly 10 miles thick spreads underneath much of the American Southwest, some 250 miles below Tucson, Ariz.

UW-Madison engineers develop higher-energy liquid-transportation fuel from sugar
Reporting in the June 21 issue of the journal Nature, University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineering Professor James Dumesic and his research team describe a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), a liquid transportation fuel with 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.

More than half of infertile couples may be willing to donate unused embryos to stem cell research
In a survey of over a thousand patients who have created and frozen embryos as part of fertility treatment, 60 percent said they would be likely to donate unused embryos for stem cell research, according to a study led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University.

Drug derived from sea squirt shows potent anti-tumor activity
The sea-squirt derived drug trabectedin (ecteinascidinin-743) shows anti-tumor activity in more than half of patients with a specific type of cancer, conclude authors of an article published early online and in the July edition of the Lancet Oncology.

AAAS decries latest stem cell veto
The president has again vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would expand federal support for embryonic stem cell research.

New WHI data show that women aged 50-59 taking oral estrogen therapy had reduced levels
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, provides comment on the Women's Health Initiative Coronary Artery Calcium Study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Electric fish conduct electric duets in aquatic courtship
Cornell's Carl D. Hopkins and a former undergraduate student have discovered that African electric fish couples not only use specific electrical signals to court but also engage in a sort of dueling

Surprising origin of cell's internal highways
Scientists have long thought that microtubules, part of the microscopic scaffolding that the cell uses to move things around in order to hold its shape and divide, originated from a tiny structure near the nucleus, called the centrosome.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2007
Story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory include: Wet, warm wall worries; A clean suite; Super stainless steel; and New life for reactors.

Arctic ocean history is deciphered by ocean-drilling research team
Sediment cores retrieved from the Arctic's deep-sea floor by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's Arctic Coring Expedition have provided long-absent data to scientists who report new findings in the June 21 issue of Nature.

CU study reveals why starling females cheat
While women may cheat on men for personal reasons, superb starling females appear to stray from their mates for the sake of their chicks, according to recent Cornell research.

DOE JGI upgrades its Microbial Genome Analysis System
Rising to accommodate the scientific community's interest in harnessing the potential of the microbial world, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has made Version 2.2 of the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) data management system available to the public.

Rutgers, Penn researchers capture research dollars to improve prostate cancer diagnostic methods
Pioneering research to increase the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnoses has earned Rutgers University and its collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania $822,000 in research grants.

STAMP system can help professionals to identify potentially violent individuals
A health researcher has developed a violence assessment framework after observing patients for 290 hours in an accident and emergency department and interviewing nurses after violent incidents.

A faster way to recover from chemotherapy and marrow transplant
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report finding a practical way to increase stem cells in blood, suggesting a possible treatment to help patients recover from chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant for cancer, regaining immune function more quickly.

Major increase in federal research needed to determine size of US coal reserves
Because coal will continue to provide a substantial portion of US energy for at least the next several decades, a major increase in federal support for research and development is needed to ensure that this natural resource is extracted efficiently, safely, and in an environmentally responsible manner, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council.

UN issues analysis of global investors' sustainable energy 'gold rush'
Climate change worries coupled with high oil prices and increasing government support top a set of drivers fueling soaring rates of investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, according to a trend analysis from the UN Environment Program.

Developer of new method for treating bone defects wins WPI Entrepreneurship Award
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has presented its 2007 Kalenian Award to Albert G.

Researchers develop buckyballs to fight allergy
A research team has identified a new biological function for a soccer ball-shaped nanoparticle called a buckyball -- the ability to block allergic response, setting the stage for the development of new therapies for allergy.

Wright State scientist receives grant to help clean up polluted American harbors
Most of the harbors in America are in trouble. The culprit is pollution.

Male circumcision overstated as prevention tool against AIDS
In new academic research published today in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, male circumcision is found to be much less important as a deterrent to the global AIDS pandemic than previously thought.

Postmenopausal hormone therapy and coronary disease -- the truth of the matter
The results of WHI-CACS, now published in New England Journal of Medicine are very encouraging, since women who were randomized to the estrogen arm of the WHI had significantly smaller calcification scores than counterparts in the placebo arm.

Estrogen use lowered one risk factor for heart disease among some younger postmenopausal women
A follow-up study to the federally funded Women's Health Initiative should help allay one concern in a subset of women in their 50s who are considering taking estrogen to relieve hot flashes.

Autism-related proteins control nerve excitability, researchers find
Two proteins that are implicated in autism have been found to control the strength and balance of nerve-cell connections, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Millennium development goals: Are we on track?
When addressing the United Nations' first Millennium Development Goal -- reducing poverty and hunger by 50 percent -- there are successes to build on, but further efforts must focus on three key malnutrition issues: highlighting where progress remains slow, innovative programming and spreading best practices from emergencies into developmental settings.

Brain's inertial navigation system pinpointed
Researchers have discovered a sophisticated neural computer, buried deep in the cerebellum, that performs inertial navigation calculations to figure out a person's movement through space.

Kidney specialists review plans for disaster response
Hurricane Katrina and other recent disasters have focused attention on the urgent need for planning to provide health services after natural disasters.

Scripps Research President Lerner receives Oxford Honorary Degree
Richard A. Lerner, M.D., president of The Scripps Research Institute, was recognized today with an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Oxford for his innovative work as a chemist.

Helping chlorine-eating bacteria clean up toxic waste
By combining lab experiments with computer modeling, Cornell researchers hope to learn how bacteria that break down pollutants do their job and then make them more effective in cleaning up toxic waste.

On-farm research shows farmers that they can use less nitrogen
Ongoing on-farm field trials since 2002 by a team that include farmers and Cornell researchers in 10 counties are showing that farmers can use less nitrogen to save money and reduce environmental impact.

Prey not hard-wired to fear predators
Are Asian elk hard-wired to fear the Siberian tigers who stalk them?

University research wins royal accolade
World-class pharmaceutical research undertaken at the University of Nottingham gets the royal seal of approval next month.

Zeroing in on the brain's speech 'receiver'
A particular resonance pattern in the brain's auditory processing region appears to be key to its ability to discriminate speech, researchers have found.

Another step toward a liquid telescope on the moon
An international team including researcher Ermanno Borra, from Université Laval's Center for Optics, Photonics, and Laser, has taken another step toward building a liquid telescope on the moon.

Hepatitis B drug can compromise HIV treatment
Treating hepatitis B patients with the drug entecavir can cause those who are also infected with HIV to become resistant to two of the most important drugs in the anti-HIV arsenal.

New tumor markers -- 'Spot the differences'
Pancreatic cancer, the subject of this thesis, has the poorest prognosis of all cancers: the survival rate after 5 years with the disease is less than 5 percent and on average, patients who have been diagnosed with it do not live longer than 6 months.

Drug warning prompts treatment changes for those infected with hepatitis B and HIV
Cross-resistance alarms raised earlier this year by Johns Hopkins researchers about a widely used antiviral therapy for hepatitis B liver infections have prompted swift treatment revisions by the drug's maker and governmental agencies.

Don't overlook urban soil
Just as urban communities feature a mosaic of cultures, an analysis of Baltimore soil revealed a mosaic of soil conditions.

Rural work ethic, sturdy values may delay elderly heart patients from seeking care
A strong work ethic appears to influence how elderly rural Albertans with heart failure manage their illness.

ESA and Inmarsat prepare for Alphasat
Today at the Paris Air Show, ESA and Inmarsat moved closer to the implementation of Alphasat, the first satellite based on Alphabus, the new European telecommunications platform.

Researchers pit novel version of common virus against cancer
With nearly $1 million in government funding, University of Rochester scientists are testing a new innovation in biotherapy by altering a common childhood respiratory virus, the adenovirus, to destroy cancer cells.

'Segregated' schools hinder reading skills
Children in families with low incomes, who attend schools where the minority population exceeds 75 percent of the student enrollment, under-perform in reading, even after accounting for the quality of the literacy instruction, literary experiences at home, gender, race and other variables, according to a new study.

A new direction: Integrating best-practices to improve food responses
Daniel Maxwell, Ph.D., food aid expert at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, outlines emerging best practice standards for emergency international food aid, including areas such as information systems, analytical tools and strategic targeting of beneficiaries.

Scientists demonstrate high-performing room-temperature nanolaser
Scientists at Yokohama National University in Japan have built a highly efficient room-temperature nanometer-scale laser that produces stable, continuous streams of near-infrared laser light.

Inside the mind of a suicide bomber
Suicide bombers are not mentally ill or unhinged, but acting rationally in pursuit of the

Welcome to the world of haptics for industrial applications
Firstly, what is

How do Americans want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
New detailed survey by New Scientist and Stanford University reveals American public opinion toward various policy options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Research links childhood social skills and learning abilities
While federal programs such as No Child Left Behind emphasize the importance of academic skills to school success and achievement, there is growing interest in how social skills develop and how they contribute to learning.

ESF EUROCORES Program OMLL helps uncover ancient human behavior
A major question in evolutionary studies today is how early did humans begin to think and behave in ways we would see as fundamentally modern?

Scripps research scientists show protein accelerates breast cancer progression in animal models
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have shown for the first time that a cytokine called pleiotrophin stimulates the progression of breast cancer in both animal and cell culture models.

Study: Donated embryos could result in more than 2,000 new embryonic stem cell lines
In a survey of more than 1,000 infertility patients with frozen embryos, 60 percent of patients report that they are likely to donate their embryos to stem cell research, a level of donation that could result in roughly 2,000 to 3,000 new embryonic stem cell lines.

Award winning book co-edited by Rutgers College of Nursing Dean updated with new information
The award winning book,

New view of doomed star
A new composite image of the Eta Carinae from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope shows the remnants of a massive eruption from the star during the 1840s.

Estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women linked to less plaque in arteries
New results from a substudy of the Women's Health Initiative Estrogen-Alone Trial show that younger postmenopausal women who take estrogen-alone hormone therapy have significantly less buildup of calcium plaque in their arteries compared to their peers who did not take hormone therapy.

3-D ultrasound scanner provides in-depth view of the brain
Biomedical engineers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering have adapted a three-dimensional ultrasound scanner that might guide minimally invasive brain surgeries and provide better detection of a brain tumor's location.

$1 million gift establishes the Leonard and Fleur Harlan Clinical Scholar Award
A gift of $1 million from Leonard and Fleur Harlan has established the Leonard and Fleur Harlan Clinical Scholar Award at Weill Cornell Medical College to support an outstanding junior faculty member in the field of neurological surgery.

ESMO Conference in Lugano
A perspective on future developments in multidisciplinary oncology.

More women than men having mid-life stroke
More women than men appear to be having a stroke in middle age, according to a study published June 20, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The mouflons of the Kerguelen archipelago
Reconstructing the genetic history of a population of mouflons descended from a single pair, the team of Denis Réale, professor of the Department of Biological Sciences at Université du Québec à Montréal, demonstrated that the animals' genetic diversity increased over time, contrary to what the usual models predict. 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