Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 21, 2007
Remains of ancient synagogue with unique mosaic floor found in Galilee
Remains of an ancient synagogue from the Roman-Byzantine era have been revealed in excavations carried out in the Arbel National Park in the Galilee under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

St. Jude finds molecule that could improve cancer vaccines and therapy for other diseases
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered a new signaling molecule that prevents immune responses from running amok and damaging the body.

Mapping the selective brain
Researchers have added a new piece to the puzzle of how the brain selectively amplifies those distinctions that matter most from the continuous cascade of sights, sounds, and other sensory input.

Quantum physics 'rules' -- Australian scientists create world's most accurate 'ruler'
Never try telling a quantum physicist that near enough is good enough -- Australian researchers have invented a technique that, for the first time, measures lengths as accurately as the laws of physics allow.

Found in translation: Prioritizing research questions in breast cancer
The key priorities that will impact on the future treatment of breast cancer have been identified by a group of experts on the disease.

390-million-year-old scorpion fossil -- biggest bug known
The gigantic fossil claw of an 390 million-year-old sea scorpion, recently found in Germany, shows that ancient arthropods -- spiders, insects, crabs and the like -- were surprisingly larger than their modern-day counterparts.

Bioclocks work by controlling chromosome coiling
A new study provides direct evidence that biological clocks can influence the activity of a large number of different genes in an ingenious fashion, simply by causing chromosomes to coil more tightly during the day and to relax at night.

Why you remember names and ski slopes
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered the brain protein kalirin-7 is critical for helping you learn and remember what you learned.

Ripening secrets of the vine revealed
Whether you prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir grape variety, two new research articles published online in the online open access journal, BMC Genomics, offer a host of new genetic information on fruit ripening for this economically important fruit crop.

Mars' molten past
Mars was covered in an ocean of molten rock for about 100 million years after the planet formed, researchers from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, UC Davis, and NASA's Johnson Space Center have found.

JCI table of contents: Nov. 21, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Nov.

Improved wettability of carbon nanotubes opens the door to new possibilities
Carbon nanotubes have long been touted as the wonder material of the future but their wonder properties can also be their downfall.

Curbing world's most fatal diseases: consensus created by health experts offers global prescription
Twenty-seven experts, including several of the world's most eminent health scientists, have guided a project to create a global consensus on the 20 foremost measures needed to curb humanity's most fatal diseases.

Penn State leads DOE consortium on hydrogen energy research
Hydrogen energy research at Penn State expands with leadership of a newly established US Department of Energy consortium funded for three years by the DOE's Nuclear Energy Research Initiative.

DOE JGI plumbs termite guts to yield novel enzymes for better biofuel production
Termites may provide the biochemical means to a greener biofuel future.

Bees are the new silkworms
Moths and butterflies, particularly silkworms, are well known producers of silk.

World class technology and talent battle cancer at the Centenary Institute
The Centenary Institute, one of Australia's leading medical research institutes, unveiled a powerful microscope unlike any other in Australia today.

The power of multiples: Connecting wind farms can make a more reliable - and cheaper - power source
Wind power, long considered to be as fickle as wind itself, can be groomed to become a steady, dependable source of electricity and delivered at a lower cost than at present, according to scientists at Stanford University.

LSU helps Bangladesh save lives by providing storm surge models 24 hours in advance of cyclone Sidr
Early on the morning of Nov. 16, Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh and showed no mercy.

Antidepressant found to extend lifespan in C. elegans
The antidepressant mianserin can extend the lifespan of the the roundworm by about 30 percent.

Serum carcinoembryonic antigen level can reflect adrenal adenoma
Serum carcinoembryonic antigen level is widely used as a reliable tumor marker in cancer patients.

Understanding of actuator properties of carbon nanotubes bring micro machines closer
Imagine machines smaller than microscopic in size working around us, in us and for us.

Have we sealed the universe's fate by looking at it?
Have we hastened the demise of the universe just be looking at it?

Antenatal HIV
South Africa's Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Program has severe shortcomings that could be doing more harm than good.

Drug combination effective against multiple myeloma, researchers show
Pairing a new thalidomide derivative with a steroid slows progress of multiple myeloma, an incurable bone marrow cancer, and prolongs the lives of patients who have relapsed from previous treatment, researchers report in the Nov.

Arterial vascular disease underdiagnosed, undertreated in older US women
Though arterial vascular disease is widespread and often deadly among older American women, doctors too often fail to spot and treat it, according to a new report by a team of vascular surgeons from the Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College campuses of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

How can we know early who will benefit from tumor target therapy?
A 55-year-old male patient had developed advanced hepatic metastasis and peritoneal carcinomatosis after remnant gastric cancer resection three months earlier.

Lymphatic filariasis causes devastating social and economic losses
Sri Lankans infected with lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis) experience severe loss of income, social isolation and devastating stigma resulting in emotional distress, delayed diagnosis and avoidance of treatment.

Polar bear researchers urge caution in wildlife management policies
Research by the University of Alberta suggests conservation policies that encourage hunters to go after male polar bears in order to conserve females could interfere with mating patterns.

Dude, big screen TVs, flexible electronics and surfboards made from same new material!
There is nothing new about combining two materials to make a composite material with more desirable properties than the originals.

Cigarette smoke, alcohol damage hearts worse as combo
A new study shows that taking in smoky air and drinking alcohol basically nullify any potential heart benefit from drinking alcohol by itself.

UF's new owl butterfly species naming rights auctioned for $40,800
An online auction for naming rights to a new owl butterfly species discovered at the University of Florida brought a winning bid of $40,800, with proceeds benefiting continued research on Mexican butterflies.

Babies prefer good Samaritans
In the first evidence of its kind to date, Yale researchers find that infants prefer individuals who help others to those who either do nothing, or interfere with others' goals, it is reported today in Nature.

New method of drug delivery more effective at reaching brain tumors
Bioengineers at Yale and Cornell have created a modified chemotherapy that more effectively reaches and remains at the site of brain tumors -- by adding a water-soluble polymer to the anticancer drug, according to a report in the November-December issue of Bioconjugate Chemistry.

NYU neuroscientists show naturally occurring chemical in brain enhances visual processing
Neuroscientists at New York University have found that a naturally occurring chemical in the brain can enhance visual processing and suggest that this chemical may represent part of the biological basis of visual attention.

Flip-flopping gene expression can be advantageous
One gene for pea pod color generates green pods while a variant of that gene gives rise to the yellow-pod phenotype, a feature that helped Gregor Mendel first describe genetic inheritance.

Oral drug sets a new survival standard for bone marrow cancer
Findings from two large, international clinical trials show

Don't judge a brook by its color -- brown waters are more natural
Over the last 20 years lakes and streams in remote parts of the UK, southern Scandinavia and eastern North America have been increasingly stained brown by dissolved organic matter.

SARS: a model disease
A new model to predict the spread of emerging diseases has been developed by researchers in the US, Italy, and France.

Salk scientists identify key nerve navigation pathway
Newly-launched nerve cells in a growing embryo must chart their course to distant destinations, and many of the means they use to navigate have yet to surface.

Carbon nanotubes to be replaced by MoSIx nanowires in high-tech devices says new study
Carbon nanotubes have long been touted as the wonder material of the future.

Blind mice shed light on human sight loss
Mutant mice could provide genetic clues to understanding incurable human sight loss resulting from retinal degeneration.

Wake up and smell the sweat
Prof. Doron Lancet of the Weizmann Institute has identified a gene for the ability to smell the odor of sweat.

Giant submarine landslide identified
An enormous submarine landslide that disintegrated 60,000 years ago produced the longest flow of sand and mud yet documented on Earth.

Lung transplants bring more harm than good to children with cystic fibrosis
Lung transplantation rarely helps children with Cystic Fibrosis live longer, according to a University of Utah study that appears in the Nov.

Growing tiny carbon nanotube wires to connect computer chips of the future
Computers and electronic devices of the future will utilise technologies not currently available.

Carnivores in recent study help Bergmann's rule reach the 21st century
In a new study in the journal Ecography, an international team of researchers have analyzed Bergmann's rule in European carnivore mammals.

Story ideas from the Journal of Biological Chemistry
Articles appearing in JBC online Nov. 23, 2007 include

Another type of nanotube, a how-to guide to making bamboo-structured carbon nanotubes
Nanotechnology is area if science that has recently captured the attention of people all around the world.

Pregnant women pass on the effects of smoking
Smoking during pregnancy has many adverse effects on fetal development.

Astronomers discover stars with carbon atmospheres
Astronomers have discovered white dwarf stars with pure carbon atmospheres.

Closeness is not a problem: New ways to handle spatial dependencies in species distributions
A new study in the journal Ecography by an international team of researchers now offers a landmark review of the approaches available to handle spatial dependencies in species' distributions.

Are current projections of climate change-impacts on biodiversity misleading?
A recent study, published in Ecography, has profound implications for the future study of diversity on Earth.

Penn's Abramson Cancer Center part of major phase III study for myeloma
Researchers from the UPenn's Abramson Cancer Center announced today that findings from two international clinical trials show unprecedented survival for patients with myeloma, a cancer the blood-making cells of bone marrow.

Carbon monoxide counteracts one side-effect of an anti-cancer drug
Doxorubicin (DOX) is a red-colored anti-cancer drug that carries serious side effects for the heart.

Proposal to step up cardiovascular disease research
An ambitious European collaboration proposes to set up a new institute to focus funding, coordinate projects, and nurture the requisite skills for accelerating research into cardiovascular disease, the cause of between 30 and 50 percent of the continent's deaths, depending on the country.

Pediatric pulmonary expert comments on study of lung transplants for cystic fibrosis
Commenting on a study of lung transplantation for children with cystic fibrosis, a leading pediatric pulmonologist calls the study

New research shows climate change triggers wars and population decline
Climate change may be one of the most significant threats facing humankind.

Rosetta: Earth's true colors
True color images of Earth as seen by Rosetta's OSIRIS camera are now available.

Dust mite levels in Sydney are seasonal
House dust mite allergen levels in Sydney beds are determined by the season, with new research discovering fluctuations of such magnitude between summer and autumn levels they may be sufficient to influence asthma symptoms in sufferers.

Scientists unravel plants' natural defenses
A team of researchers, led by the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary, University of London, has discovered how plants protect their leaves from damage by sunlight when they are faced with extreme climates.

Acoustics World Wide press room now open
Reporters interested in the upcoming Acoustical Society of America meeting can visit the associated World Wide pressroom even if they cannot attend in person.

BRICs to lead 21st century growth in international services
In 2003, Goldman Sachs published a startling report on the BRICs -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- region.

Molecular 'foreman' discovered for brain wiring
Researchers have identified a master regulatory molecule that is responsible for triggering the remodeling of neuronal connections that is critical for learning. 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