Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 12, 2007
Scientists overcome obstacles to stem cell heart repair
Scientists have overcome two significant obstacles on the road to harnessing stem cells to build patches for damaged hearts.

NSF awards Williams funding for high-speed imaging faciltity
The National Science Foundation has awarded Joan Edwards, the Washington Gladden 1859 Professor of Biology, and Dwight Whitaker, assistant professor of physics at Pomona College, a grant in the amount of $105,110.

'Retrospective rubber' remembers its old identities
Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a shape-memory rubber that may enable applications as diverse as biomedical implants, conformal face-masks, self-sealing sutures, and

Can interacting pathogens explain disease patterns?
Interaction of parasites may help predict outbreak of infectious diseases.

Developing a global academic network on public procurement
The University of Nottingham has received an award of €450 000 (£322,371) to develop a global academic research and teaching network on public procurement regulation.

New accreditation program for body armor testing laboratories
NIST, in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice, has established a new accreditation program for laboratories that test personal body armor.

New paper reveals nanoscale details of photolithography process
NIST scientists have made the first direct measurements of the infinitesimal expansion and collapse of thin polymer films used in the manufacture of advanced semiconductor devices.

How size matters
Scientists have discovered how plants tightly control the size of their leaves and flowers, creating the remarkable uniformity within a given plant species that makes nature so beautiful to look at.

Ireland Cancer Center researchers advance stem cell gene therapy
Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case Medical Center researchers recently made great strides in stem cell gene therapy research by transferring a new gene to cancer patients, via their own stem cells, with the ultimate goal of being able to use stronger chemotherapy treatment with less severe side effects.

Saturn's rings may be as old as solar system, says CU-Boulder planetary scientist
New observations by NASA's Cassini spacecraft indicate the rings of Saturn, once thought to have formed during the age of the dinosaurs, instead may have been created roughly 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system was still under construction.

Research unveils new hope for deadly childhood disease
Investigators at the University of Rochester have uncovered a promising drug therapy that offers a ray of hope for children with Batten disease -- a rare neurodegenerative disease that strikes seemingly healthy kids, progressively robs them of their abilities to see, reason and move, and ultimately kills them in their young twenties.

Deep-sea drilling yields clues to mega-earthquakes
During a successful first expedition to one of the most active earthquake fault zones on the planet, scientists unearthed initial clues to the geophysical fault properties that may underlie devastating earthquakes and tsunamis.

Turkish health workers condone wife beating
Domestic violence is an inherent problem in Turkey, and healthcare workers are doing little to combat the prevalence of wife beating, according to research published in the online open access journal, BMC Public Health.

UN climate conference hears how EO can help
The role of Earth Observation satellites in combating climate change is being highlighted at the United Nations climate change conference where thousands of delegates from more than 180 countries are gathered to begin negotiations of an international emissions-cutting agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.

Piddling fish face off threat of competition
Research published today in the online open access journal, BMC Biology, shows that male tilapia fish use pheromones in their urine to fight off competitors and enforce social dominance.

The effect of 'in your face' political television on democracy
Television can encourage awareness of political perspectives among Americans, but the incivility and close-up camera angles that characterize much of today's

Genetic switch for circadian rhythms discovered
University of California, Irvine researchers have identified the chemical switch that triggers the genetic mechanism regulating our internal body clock.

Climate's remote control on hurricanes
Natural climate variations, which tend to involve localized changes in sea surface temperature, may have a larger effect on hurricane activity than the more uniform patterns of global warming, a report in this week's Nature suggests.

Ancient fish bones reveal impacts of global warming beneath the sea
Through the study of archaeological material, tax accounts, church registers and account books of monasteries, an international group of fisheries ecologists and fisheries/maritime historians have drawn a picture of marine life in the northern European seas as it looked in the past.

Jefferson vascular surgeon heads national trial for torn aorta repair
Tears in the aorta which affect thousands of people each year coast to coast, may soon be treated with a much less invasive technique that could dramatically improve patients' chances of survival.

Brown researchers create first-ever HIV rapid test video
Researchers at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University have created a first-ever educational video on rapid HIV testing.

Building disease-beating wheat
Disease resistance genes from three different grass species have been combined in the world's first

Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance chooses open access
The society's journal is one of many to switch to BioMed Central publishing platform in recent months.

NIST helps beam time to TV viewers in the Middle East
Millions of satellite television and radio users in North Africa and the Middle East can now see and hear the precise time of day, thanks to technical assistance and a custom-built time signal generator from NIST.

Zebrafish study shows key enzyme in gut is a peacemaker
University of Oregon scientists, using zebrafish to study the gastrointestinal tract, say that an enzyme long assumed to be involved in digestion instead is a detoxifying traffic cop, maintaining a friendly rapport between resident gut bacteria and cells.

A new study offers peace-building recommendations for Uganda
With promising signs that the devastating two-decade conflict in northern Uganda will soon cease,

Subbalakshmi is panelist at IEEE Communications Conference, Beijing, May 2008
Dr. Kodavayur P. Subbalakshmi, associate professor of electrical & computer engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, will serve as a panelist at the May 2008 IEEE International Communications Conference to be held in Beijing, China.

Large earthquakes may broadcast warnings, but is anyone tuning in to listen?
There may be a way to detect the footfalls of large earthquakes a week or more before they strike.

Deadly virus strips away immune system's defensive measures
When the alert goes out that a virus has invaded the body, cells that have yet to be attacked prepare by

ScienceDirect to host French-language journals from Elsevier Masson
Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information, today announced that 45 French-language medical journals from Elsevier Masson will be available on ScienceDirect beginning Jan.

Blood pressure drug telmisartan shows powerful activity against stroke
Telmisartan, a drug widely used to help control blood pressure, may have uniquely potent activity in preventing stroke, according to a new study conducted in an animal model.

Nanotech companies need clear environment and health roadmap to succeed
Today, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies released the results of a new survey of New England-based nanotechnology companies aimed at discovering how firms in almost every sector of the economy address the possible environmental, health and safety impacts of new nanoscale materials and products.

Experts urge complete global access to iodized salt; prevents IQ loss and brain damage in babies
The Network for Sustained Elimination of Iodine Deficiency at the UN Wednesday will urge renewed international commitment to prevent loss of IQ due to fetal brain damage by facilitating access to iodized salt for the final 30 percent of world households that don't yet have it -- most of them found in just 20 countries.

Close relations exhibit greater agreement on the attractiveness of faces
Researchers at Harvard University have shown that spouses, siblings and close friends are more likely to have similar preferences with regard to the attractiveness of faces.

Too much fructose could leave dieters sugar shocked
Dieters should focus on limiting the amount of fructose they eat instead of cutting out starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes, report University of Florida researchers, who propose using new dietary guidelines based on fructose to gauge how healthy foods are.

Pre-natal alcohol exposure shapes sensory preference, upping odds of later alcohol use and abuse
Young people whose mothers drank when pregnant may be more likely to abuse alcohol because, in the womb, their developing senses came to prefer its taste and smell.

Desktop device generates and traps rare ultracold molecules
Physicists at the University of Rochester have combined an atom-chiller with a molecule trap, creating for the first time a device that can generate and trap huge numbers of elusive-yet-valuable ultracold polar molecules.

NIST imaging system maps nanomechanical properties
NIST has developed an imaging system that quickly maps the mechanical properties of materials -- how stiff or stretchy they are, for example -- at scales on the order of billionths of a meter.

Government introduces new legislation to restart nuclear reactor
The Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honorable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, today announced that the government of Canada has introduced legislation mandating Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to restart its National Research Universal reactor safely.

A drink to healthy aging
Researchers at the University of Newcastle say a glass of wine a day may be of benefit to the health of older women.

Mayo Clinic study: Ossur's collars superior in immobilization and reduction of pressure
The Journal of Trauma has published the long-awaited results of a two year cervical collar study performed by the Mayo Clinic.

BGSU undergraduates to pilot groundbreaking genome project
Bowling Green State University biology undergraduates will soon be contributing to the body of knowledge in genomics while they learn.

Active compounds found in Ganoderma lucidum fungus with potential to treat prostate cancer
A new development in the fight against cancer: Recent research at the University of Haifa found that molecules found in common fungus Ganoderma lucidum aid in suppressing some of the mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer.

PET/CT imaging proves golden for detecting cancer in children
PET/CT imaging exhibits significantly higher sensitivity, specificity and accuracy than conventional imaging when it comes to detecting malignant tumors in children, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Women persist in plastic surgery treatments that are not working, research says
Women are more likely to persist with using creams, supplements and plastic surgery to look younger if they feel these are not yet working, new research says.

Why the switch stays on
North Carolina State University scientists have discovered the way in which a specific protein-protein interaction prevents the cell from turning one of its switches off, leading to uncontrolled cell proliferation -- one of the hallmarks of cancer.

UCLA engineering researchers capture optical 'rogue waves'
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have succeeded in creating and capturing rogue waves.

Weill Cornell receives $2.4 million in grants from Gates Foundation to fight tuberculosis
Weill Cornell Medical College has received two grants totaling $2.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help fight tuberculosis, an epidemic that infects one-third of the world's people and kills nearly two million yearly -- mostly in the poorest countries.

Arctic expeditions find giant mud waves, glacier tracks
Scientists gathering evidence of ancient ice sheets uncovered a new mystery about what's happening on the Arctic sea floor today.

'Yes, Virginia, physics can be fun!'
Physics professor Arthur Wiggins provides a fun-filled, hands-on introduction to an all-important science.

Pioglitazone lowers cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients with kidney disease
A new study confirms that chronic kidney disease increases the already-high risk of serious cardiovascular events in diabetic patients with damage to the large blood vessels and suggests that treatment with the antidiabetic drug pioglitazone may help to lower this risk, reports the January Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

UC San Diego wireless expert named IEEE Fellow
For her contributions to image and video compression and wireless communications, Pamela Cosman, an electrical engineering professor from UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering, has been elected an IEEE fellow.

3 UCSD undergraduates receive awards at the SACNAS national conference in Kansas City
University of California-San Diego undergraduates Jorge Ortiz, Robert Valtierra and Breena Fraga were recognized for research excellence recently at the national conference of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

Female lower back has evolved to accommodate the weight of pregnancy
A new study from Harvard researchers shows that women's spines have evolved to compensate for the weight of the baby during pregnancy.

Earth's heat adds to climate change to melt Greenland ice
Scientists have discovered what they think may be another reason why Greenland's ice is melting: a thin spot in Earth's crust is enabling underground magma to heat the ice.

The surprising story of Charles Darwin and his homeopathic doctor
In the new book,

Intensive care quality of sleep improved by new drug, reports study
A new sedative drug has been shown to improve the sleep quality and comfort levels of intensive care patients, compared to the most commonly-used medication, according to research published today in the journal JAMA.

Making gas out of crude oil
An international team of researchers reports in Nature on how crude oil in deposits around the world are naturally broken down by bacteria, resulting in methane production.

Fuel Cells Science and Technology in September 2008
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services is pleased to announce that it will hold the Fuel Cells Science & Technology 2008 event on Oct.

UQ health and medical researchers recognized in awards
Three researchers from the University of Queensland have been recognized in the inaugural National Health and Medical Research Council Awards.

Vasopressin caution in septic shock
Vasopressin should be used with great caution for the treatment of hypotension in septic shock, according to results from an international research team published today in the online open access journal Critical Care.

Light and sound -- the way forward for better medical imaging
Detection and treatment of tumours, diseased blood vessels and other soft-tissue conditions could be significantly improved, thanks to an innovative imaging system being developed that uses both light and sound.

Chronic knee pain: Is surgery the only solution?
A new study published in the online open access journal, BMC Medicine, has revealed that arthroscopic surgery combined with exercise is no better than exercise alone in alleviating chronic knee pain.

New technique could dramatically lower costs of DNA sequencing
Using computer simulations, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated a strategy for sequencing DNA by driving the molecule back and forth through a nanopore capacitor in a semiconductor chip.

Without its insulating ice cap, Arctic surface waters warm to as much as 5 degrees C above average
Record-breaking amounts of ice-free water have deprived the Arctic of more of its natural

New book examines disability in Islamic law
A scholar of Arabic language and literature presents an historical analysis of the attitude towards people with disabilities in Islamic law, focusing on their status within the community as well as their participation in religious and social life.

Walking tall to protect the species
The transition from apes to humans may have been partially triggered by the need to stand on two legs, in order to safely carry heavier babies.

Stanford researchers identify granddaddy of human blood cells
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have isolated a human blood cell that represents the great-grandparent of all the cells of the blood, a finding that could lead to new treatments for blood cancers and other blood diseases

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 17 top young investigators
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named 17 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its November 2007 Scientific Advisory Committee review.

Deep-ocean drilling researchers target earthquake and tsunami zone
Researchers fresh from an eight-week scientific drilling expedition off the Pacific coast of Japan today reported their discovery of strong variation in the tectonic stresses in a region notorious for generating devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, the Nankai Trough.

Venlafaxine extended-release effective for patients with major depression
Major depressive disorder is the most common major mental illness, afflicting almost one in five individuals.

Road injury research honored by NHMRC
Australian research into young drivers and road injury has tonight been recognized by the National Health and Medical Research Council, as an Australian researcher received a major new gong for her significant contributions in the field.

Immune compound blocks virus' ability to hijack antibodies
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a controversial phenomenon known as antibody-dependent enhancement of infection is suppressed by C1q, a blood-borne immune system compound.

Reprogrammed human adult stem cells rescue diseased muscle in mice
Scientists report that adult stem cells isolated from humans with muscular dystrophy can be genetically corrected and used to induce functional improvement when transplanted into a mouse model of the disease.

NIH panel seeks to dispel stigma associated with fecal and urinary incontinence
An independent panel convened this week by the NIH found that fewer than half of individuals experiencing fecal or urinary incontinence -- the inability to control bowel movements or urination, respectively -- report their symptoms to healthcare providers without being prompted.

Predicting growth hormone treatment success
Growth hormone treatments work better on some children than on others, but judging which candidates will gain those vital inches in height is no simple task, according to research published today in the online open access journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

Latest US policy in Iraq can lead to human rights abuses says Hebrew University researcher
US policy in Iraq courting tribal leaders may be yielding positive results in combating al-Qaida and stabilizing the country, but may also be repeating British policy of the previous century which led to severe human rights abuses, particularly against women, says a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Molecular pathway appears crucial in development of pulmonary fibrosis
A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers may have found a key mechanism underlying idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a usually fatal lung disease for which transplantation is the only successful treatment.

'Combinatorial' approach squashes software bugs faster, cheaper
NIST software researchers, working with the University of Texas, are developing an open-source tool that uses an emerging approach called 'combinatorial testing' to catch programming errors.

Truck-safe bamboo bridge opens in China
In China, bamboo is used for furniture, artwork, building scaffolding, panels for concrete casting and now, truck bridges.

Experts call for better research into link between women's hormones and mood disorders
In a recently published study, women's health experts from the University of Alberta argue there is an urgent need for carefully designed, gender-specific research to better understand the relationship of female sex hormones to mood states and disorders.

Primitive early relative of armadillos helps rewrite evolutionary family tree
A team of US and Chilean scientists working high in the Andes have discovered the fossilized remains of an extinct, tank-like mammal they conclude was a primitive relative of today's armadillos.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke
People taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as atorvastatin after a stroke may be at an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain, a risk not found in patients taking statins who have never had a stroke.

Mayo Clinic article offers data about shingles virus
When a vaccine to prevent shingles was approved for use in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration recommended the vaccine for people age 60 and older who previously had chickenpox.

Wind power explored off California's coast
Stanford researchers have completed the first detailed study ever done to assess the potential for building wind farms offshore along the California coastline.

Agro-dealer networks to reach 1.6 million rural farmers in Africa with essential farm supplies
Launching an intensive effort to revive small-scale farming and agricultural markets hobbled by the scarcity and high costs of basic farm supplies such as seed, tools and fertilizer, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has awarded $13 million in grants to establish nationwide networks of rural agro-dealers in Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.

Genetic differences influence aging rates in the wild
Long-lived, wild animals harbor genetic differences that influence how quickly they begin to show their age, according to the results of a long-term study reported online on Dec.

GRACE team awarded prize for satellite mission
A team of German and US scientists receive the Pecora Award for outstanding geo satellite mission on gravity and climate.

Brain-computer link systems on the brink of breakthrough, study finds
Systems that directly connect silicon circuits with brains are under intensive development all over the world, and are nearing commercial application in many areas, according to a study just placed online. 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