Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 21, 2007
EPA ozone pollution standards 'unhealthy for America,' says American Thoracic Society president
David H. Ingbar, M.D., president of the American Thoracic Society, today called the proposed standards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency for ozone pollution -- commonly known as smog --

Parents of chronically ill kids are helped by better access to federal and employer leave
Working parents are more able to care for their chronically ill children when given greater access to federal and employer-provided time off from their jobs, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

UGR researchers design an alternative to blood test to detect drugs in the body
The department of Legal Medicine and Psychiatry has developed a new technique based on the analysis of pericardial fluid, a plasma ultrafiltered which surrounds the heart.

Catching waves: Measuring self-assembly in action
By making careful observations of the growth of a layer of molecules as they gradually cover the surface of a small silicon rectangle, researchers from NIST and North Carolina State University have produced the first experimental verification of recently improved theoretical models of self-assembled systems.

K-State biochemist contributes to article in Science magazine
A Kansas State University biochemist's contributions to research on immune systems in mosquitoes are part of a journal article appearing in Science magazine.

Gene discovery aids understanding of common inherited neurological disorder
Thanks to a randomly appearing strain of

Northern forests less effective than tropical forests in reducing global warming
Forests in the United States and other northern mid- and upper-latitude regions are playing a smaller role in offsetting global warming than previously thought, according to a study appearing in this week's issue of Science.

WPI professor to represent American Mathematical Society at exhibition on science funding
Dalin Tang, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will represent the American Mathematical Society at the Coalition for National Science Funding exhibition and reception on Capitol Hill on June 26.

Antarctic icebergs: unlikely oases for ocean life
Icebergs have long gripped the popular imagination, whether as relatively run-of-the-mill floating hazards that cause

Explorers to use new robotic vehicles to hunt for life and hydrothermal vents on Arctic seafloor
Scientists and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have just completed a successful test of new robotic vehicles designed for use beneath the ice of the Arctic Ocean.

Ancient retrovirus sheds light on modern pandemic
Human resistance to a retrovirus that infected chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates four million years ago ironically may be at least partially responsible for the susceptibility of humans to HIV infection today.

Omega-3 supplements affect Alzheimer's symptoms
Omega-3 supplements can, in certain cases, help combat the depression and agitation symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a clinical study conducted at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

New spin-off offers enterprise solution to open source statistical software
Random Technologies, the newest start-up company to emerge from the University of Rochester Medical Center, launched its new statistical analysis software package at an international conference of drug industry professionals this week.

Pregnancy nausea/vomiting may indicate lower risk of breast cancer
It may not seem so at the time, but women who suffer through morning sickness during their pregnancies actually may be fortunate.

Scientists close in on missing carbon sink
Forests in the United States and other northern mid- and upper-latitude regions are playing a smaller role in offsetting global warming than previously thought, according to a study appearing in Science this week.

Putting feelings into words produces therapeutic effects in the brain
A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense.

Stem cells to repair damaged heart muscle
In the first trial of its kind in the world, 60 patients who have recently suffered a major heart attack will be injected with selected stem cells from their own bone marrow during routine coronary bypass surgery.

Metropolitan travel forecasting
A new report from the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board, finds that travel forecasting models in current use are not adequate for many of today's necessary planning and regulatory uses.

New method for combating prostate cancer developed by Hebrew University Barenholz Prize Winner
A novel method of drug delivery to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells has been developed by a doctoral candidate in pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Specialized, bone-crushing wolves of Alaska disappeared long ago
The ancient gray wolves that once roamed the icy expanses of Alaska represented a specialized form that apparently died out along with other big animals at the end of the Pleistocene, many thousands of years ago, researchers report online on June 21st in the journal Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.

Kansas, Missouri School Board members to explore improvements in science-related education
Nearly 100 elected school board members from three dozen districts in Kansas and Missouri will meet with some of the nation's top education experts in Kansas City on Saturday (June 23) to explore how local boards can help to support and improve science, mathematics and technology education from kindergarten through high school.

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may lower prostate cancer genetic risk
A diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in certain fish or fish oil, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils may help lower prostate cancer risk in individuals with a genetic predisposition to cancer.

CSHL awarded Pre-College Science Education Grant by HHMI
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is the only NY metro area institution awarded a five-year grant from HHMI for pre-college science education programs.

Ice Age extinction claimed highly carnivorous Alaskan wolves
The extinction of many large mammals at the end of the Ice Age may have packed an even bigger punch than scientists have realized.

Weill Cornell team identifies potential new cancer drug target
Research led by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College has uncovered two new potential points of vulnerability on a key cancer-promoting protein, called XIAP.

Jeffrey Sachs calls for mass distribution of insecticidal bednets to fight malaria
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and one of the world's leading economists, has, along with other global experts, called for mass distribution of insecticidal bednets to fight malaria.

Ovarian cancer is not a symptomless killer
Ovarian cancer is not the symptom free disease that many medical textbooks have been claiming for years, says an Editorial in this week's edition of The Lancet.

MU maps course for improving pre-college science education
High school teachers and students in Missouri will be among the first to benefit from innovative, high tech mapping tools and concepts developed at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Nanoethics -- The watchdog of a new technology?
The field of nanotechnology has the potential to be used in a wide range of industries, but the question is whether it is a good investment.

High blood levels of urate linked to lower risk of Parkinson's disease
In a new, large-scale, prospective study exploring the link between levels of urate in the blood and risk of Parkinson's disease, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that high levels of urate are strongly associated with a reduced risk of the disease.

A review of microcantilevers for sensing applications
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) have come into existence only in the last decade.

The smallest piece of ice reveals its true nature
Collaborative research between scientists in the UK and Germany (published in this week's Nature Materials) has led to a breakthrough in the understanding of the formation of ice.

Gene therapy study shows safety and statistically significant improvement in Parkinson's disease
The first gene therapy trial for Parkinson's disease, an open label Phase 1 study in 12 patients with advanced disease, demonstrated both a lack of adverse events and statistically significant improvements from baseline in both clinical symptoms and abnormal brain metabolism (as measured by positron emission tomography, or PET scanning).

New amfAR research grants to optimize HIV treatment
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, will grant almost $1.2 million for 10 new research projects aimed at increasing understanding of the social and biological factors that influence treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Researchers isolate new risk marker for overweight children
A study of 40 overweight children in Edmonton has revealed they all share something in common aside from being heavy: each one of them has high levels of apoB48, a structural protein found in intestinal cholesterol.

Scientists seek marijuana's isotopic fingerprint
Scientists at the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility can tell whether marijuana confiscated in a traffic stop in Fairbanks likely came from Mexico or the Matanuska Valley.

Meaningful leisure can mean many things
No matter what form your summer break takes, the benefits of leisure can be powerful.

Gene therapy for Parkinson's disease
Injection of genetic information directly into the brain cells of patients (gene therapy) with neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease could safely alleviate symptoms of these conditions, conclude authors of a study published in this week's edition of The Lancet.

NASA and ESA sign agreements for future cooperation
At a ceremony held Monday at the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain signed two agreements defining the terms of cooperation on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Pathfinder mission.

Blind people are 'serial memory' whizzes
Compared to people with normal vision, those who were blind at birth tend to have excellent memories.

Paving the way toward a vaccine against Alzheimer's disease
Scientists have provided new details about how proteins used to destroy bacteria and viruses may help treat Alzheimer's disease.

International team to honor 30th anniversary of deep-sea vent discovery in Galápagos
An international team of scientists will mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the first volcanic hot vent at a meeting and public event in the Galápagos Islands on June 27-29.

Revealed -- Mosquito genes that could be controlling the spread of killer viruses
The genes that make up the immune system of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which transmits deadly viral diseases to humans have been identified in new research out today in Science.

Study identifies novel Parkinson's disease drug target
Researchers at the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease have identified a potential new drug target for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and possibly for other degenerative neurological disorders.

A treatment which slows the growth of colon and liver cancers
Leire García Navarro, a researcher at the School of Pharmacy of the University of Navarra, has developed a new treatment which slows the growth of colon and liver cancers.

Invertebrate immune systems are anything but simple, conference finds
A hundred years since Russian microbiologist Elie Metschnikow first discovered the invertebrate immune system, scientists are only just beginning to understand its complexity.

The art of aging: New journal unites humanities and gerontology
With the release of its inaugural double issue this June, the Journal of Aging, Humanities and the Arts seeks to create a dialogue between the humanities, medical science and the social sciences around issues of aging, according to journal editors Anne Wyatt-Brown and Dana Burr Bradley.

Stem cell licensing deal positions Toronto as world leader in technology
A $20-million deal announced today to license Canadian stem cell technology in the US underscores the Toronto area's global leadership in stem cell research.

Antarctic icebergs -- Hotspots of ocean life
Global climate change is causing Antarctic ice shelves to shrink and split apart, yielding thousands of free-drifting icebergs in the nearby Weddell Sea.

Doubling doses of vitamin A does not help mothers and children
Giving mothers and children in developing countries twice the WHO recommended doses of vitamin A, as suggested by an international vitamin group, does not have a beneficial effect.

Cigarette smoking impairs ligament healing, researchers find
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that smoking interferes with ligament healing.

Promising results from first gene therapy clinical trial for Parkinson's disease reported
In what could be a breakthrough in the treatment of neurological disease, a team led by physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has completed the first-ever phase 1 clinical trial using gene therapy to battle Parkinson's disease.

ASM scores a hat-trick at the 2007 Hermes Creative Awards
The American Society for Microbiology has received three honors, including the Platinum and Gold, for the 2007 Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition that honors the messengers and creators of traditional and emerging media.

Research suggests omega-3s may help slow prostate cancer growth
Research in mice suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and certain types of fish could potentially improve the prognosis of men who are genetically prone to develop prostate cancer.

Stevens Roundtable: Health, Technology & Society, July 11
Topics relating to healthcare services for the growing number of elderly in the US will be examined during a Stevens Institute of Technology Health, Technology & Society roundtable discussion, July 11, 2007, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

JCI table of contents: June 21, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, June 21, 2007 including: A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may lower prostate cancer genetic risk; Mending a broken heart: How to boost the number and function of cardiac stem cells; Autophagy plays a role in heart's poor response to stress; New mouse model for the study of some forms of human hypertension; and others.

New picture of Earth's lower mantle
Laboratory measurements of a high-pressure mineral believed to exist deep within the Earth show that the mineral may not have the right properties to explain a mysterious layer lying just above the planet's core.

Neuroblastoma -- The way ahead
Future directions for treatment of the childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, and a detailed analysis of current regimens, are included in a Seminar in this week's edition of The Lancet.

Vaccines help kick drug habits
A pair of new vaccines designed to combat cocaine and methamphetamine dependencies not only relieve addiction but also minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Shire receives FDA approvable letter for INTUNIV (guanfacine) ER, a nonstimulant ADHD treatment
Shire plc received an approvable letter from the US FDA for the nonstimulant INTUNIV tm (guanfacine) extended release tablets (previously referred to as SPD503), a nonstimulant selective alpha-2A-receptor agonist that has been studied in children and adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Model of NASA'S Webb Telescope visits Ireland
Ireland got its first look at the tennis court-sized James Webb Space Telescope Model during its visit to Dublin, Ireland in June.

New $1.16 million study investigates how dietary iron is used by cells
A four-year study on iron metabolism within cells, an essential process that impacts both iron deficiency and iron toxicity, conditions responsible for a multitude of human diseases, is underway at the University at Buffalo funded by a $1.16 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Sandia supports development of US Army's new cannon system
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in California have emerged as key players in a state-of-the-art program for the US Army that focuses on the design and manufacturing of a lightweight, high-caliber, self-propelled cannon system.

K-State researcher examining why common anti-inflammatory drugs harm intestines
New versions of drugs like buffered aspirin and Vioxx could produce fewer harmful side effects thanks to research being done at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Helping to establish Green Chemistry -- in Ethiopia
University of Nottingham scientists have been instrumental in helping to establish a pioneering branch of chemistry in Ethiopia.

Mathematics reveals genetic pattern of tumor growth
Using mathematical theory, UC Irvine scientists have shed light on one of cancer's most troubling puzzles -- how cancer cells can alter their own genetic makeup to accelerate tumor growth.

Smoking rate has plummeted in New York City
New York City's 2006 smoking rate (17.5 percent) is the lowest on record, and lower than all but five US states. 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