Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 24, 2008
Biologists use computers to study bacterial cell division
A group of computational biologists at Virginia Tech have created a mathematical model of the process that regulates cell division in a common bacterium, confirming hypotheses, providing new insights, identifying gaps in what is understood so far, and demonstrating the role of computation in biology.

Stroke prevention: Idraparinux causes significantly more bleeding than vitamin K antagonists
In patients with atrial fibrillation at risk of stroke (thromboembolism), long-term treatment with idraparinux causes significantly more bleeding than standard treatment with vitamin K antagonists -- despite both treatments having similar efficacy.

Stowers Proteomics Center devises method for assigning probabilities to human protein interactions
The Stowers Institute's Proteomics Center has published a novel method of using normalized spectral counts derived from a series of affinity purifications analyzed by mass spectrometry to generate a probabilistic measure of the preference of proteins to associate with one another.

Separate signals through optical fibers for ultrafast home network
Dutch-sponsored researcher Christos Tsekrekos has investigated how a small network for at home or in a company can function optimally.

Chopped up proteins trigger autoimmunity
Dutch biochemist Geurt Schilders has mapped several proteins that can regulate the activity of the human exosome and which play a role in the degradation of RNA molecules.

Environmental groups call for increased protection of coral reefs
As 17 countries and 30 organizations launch the International Year of the Reef today, three major environmental groups -- World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International -- call on governments, businesses, scientists, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world to vastly increase actions to protect coral reefs.

Don't worry, be (moderately) happy, research suggests
Could the pursuit of happiness go too far? Most self-help books on the subject offer tips on how to maximize one's bliss, but a new study suggests that moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation.

Move over US -- China to be new driver of world's economy and innovation
A new study of worldwide technological competitiveness suggests China may soon rival the United States as the principal driver of the world's economy -- a position the US has held since the end of World War II.

New MIT tool probes brain circuits
Researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT report in the Jan.

Oral contraceptives give substantial long-term protection against ovarian cancer
Use of oral contraceptives during a woman's life-time gives substantial long-term protection against ovarian cancer -- and the longer they are used, the greater the reduction in risk.

Earth's getting 'soft' in the middle
A new study suggests that material in part of the lower mantle has unusual electronic characteristics that make sound propagate more slowly, suggesting that the material there is softer than previously thought.

Boston Research Summit gathers 100 health care leaders on decision making
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making will host more than 100 health care leaders at Boston's Omni Parker House on Jan.

Deafness and seizures result when mysterious protein deleted in mice
Scientists have discovered that mice genetically engineered to lack a particular protein in the brain have profound deafness and seizures.

Unanimous union: The mind and body together lean toward 'truthiness'
The more ambiguous an answer to a question, the more likely an individual will believe it is truthful.

Evolutionary battle scars' identify enhanced antiviral activity
Rapid evolution of a protein produced by an immunity gene is associated with increased antiviral activity in humans, a finding that suggests evolutionary biology and virology together can accelerate the discovery of viral-defense mechanisms, according to researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

'Telepathic' genes recognize similarities in each other
Genes have the ability to recognize similarities in each other from a distance, without any proteins or other biological molecules aiding the process, according to new research published this week in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

World's aging population to defuse war on terrorism
Changing demographic trends will impact the future of international relations, according to the latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report.

Building stronger bones, 1 stem cell at a time
Mesenchymal stem cells are capable of giving rise to various cell types through a process known as differentiation.

Discovery of new cause of mental retardation simplifies search for treatments
Two to three children in 100 are born with a mental handicap.

Evolutionary 'battle scars' identify enhanced anti-viral activity
Rapid evolution of a protein produced by an immunity gene is associated with increased anti-viral activity in humans, a finding that suggests evolutionary biology and virology together can accelerate the discovery of viral-defense mechanisms, according to researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Archaeologists reconstruct life in the Bronze Age through the site of La Motilla
The researchers have excavated for the first time in a scientific and systematic way a site of these characteristics, where they have found the first water well of the Iberian Peninsula.

New method for solving differential equations
Dutch-sponsored mathematician Valeriu Savcenco has developed new methods for the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations.

Why the Web tells us what we already know
The Internet is not the font of all knowledge, despite the plethora of information available at your fingertips.

IEEE Life Fellow becomes IEEE-USA president, US innovation and competitiveness his major goal
IEEE-USA will continue working to increase federal investment in basic research and bolster US innovation and competitiveness in 2008, according to IEEE Life Fellow Dr.

JCI table of contents: Jan. 24, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Jan.

Elusive pancreatic stem cells found in adult mice
Just as many scientists had given up the search, researchers have discovered that the pancreas does indeed harbor stem cells with the capacity to generate new insulin-producing beta cells.

MIT, ABB announce energy research partnership
MIT and Switzerland-based ABB, a global leader in power and automation technology, have formed a partnership on energy research to help meet the world's need for clean electricity and energy efficiency.

Arthritic knees remain painful after arthroscopic surgery
Trimming damaged tissue through arthroscopic surgery does not relieve pain and swelling in arthritic knees any better than simply flushing loose debris from the joint, according to a new review of evidence.

Popular arthritis drug may disrupt heart rhythm, UB research finds
Celebrex, a popular arthritis drug that blocks pain by inhibiting an enzyme known as COX-2, has been shown in laboratory studies to induce arrhythmia, or irregular beating of the heart, via a novel pathway unrelated to its COX-2 inhibition.

Can condoms prevent sexually transmitted infections other than HIV?
Consistent condom use can reduce the spread of HIV, but are they the answer to rising rates of other sexually transmitted infections?

Wikimedia Foundation and UNU-MERIT announce first survey of Wikipedians
The Wikimedia Foundation and UNU-MERIT -- a joint research and training centre of UN University and Maastricht University -- will conduct a comprehensive survey of Wikipedia's online readers and contributors.

Protein that controls hair growth also keeps stem cells slumbering
A protein involved in hair growth also keeps the skin's stem cells from proliferating.

Pain medicine meeting unites top researchers and clinicians
High profile medical experts representing the natioN's top pain centers will come together to discuss the latest in pain research and treatment at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Feb.

Controlling health destiny
Personalizing one's nutrition for maximum health benefits is becoming increasingly important, and Texas A&M AgriLife educators plan to help health professions learn more about this trend at an upcoming conference.

Adult stem cell application effective in treatment of peripheric vascular disease
Multipotent adult progenitor stem cells extracted from bone marrow, and known as MAPCs, have proved to be effective in the regeneration of blood vessel tissue and also in muscle tissue when treating peripheric vascular disease.

The pope's mixed record on science
An Editorial in this week's Lancet looks at Pope Benedict XVI's mixed record on science, following the cancellation of his speech at a university in Rome after protests erupted over his past defence of the Catholic Church's 1663 heresy trial of Galileo.

TNF-alpha antagonist stops inflammation-induced colon cancer in its tracks
Individuals with the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis are at increased risk of developing colon cancer.

Climate change poses a huge threat to human health
Climate change will have a huge impact on human health and bold environmental policy decisions are needed now to protect the world's population, according to the author of an article published in the BMJ today.

New approach to detect autism earlier
A new way of understanding autistic disorders, incorporating both psychological and biological factors, could lead to the conditions being picked up earlier, research from the University of New South Wales has found.

The mystery of Jupiter's jets uncovered
At the end of March 2007, scientists all over the world observed with surprise and awe a rare change in the atmosphere of Jupiter.

Unexpected protein interaction suggests new ALS drug target
Discovery of an unexpected protein-protein interaction has led University of Iowa scientists and colleagues to identify a drug that slows the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in mice and nearly doubles the animals' lifespan.

Stardust comet dust resembles asteroid materials
Contrary to expectations for a small icy body, much of the comet dust returned by the Stardust mission formed very close to the young sun and was altered from the solar system's early materials.

Improved diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis thanks to new techniques
Dutch researcher Wendy van der Meide has developed and evaluated new techniques for a better diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis and an improved monitoring of its treatment.

Search for the 'on' switches may reveal genetic role in development and disease
A new resource that identifies regions of the human genome that regulate gene expression may help scientists learn about and develop treatments for a number of human diseases, according to researchers at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.

New technique safely combines programming languages
Dutch computer scientist Martin Bravenboer has developed new techniques that make it easier to combine programming languages.

New radar satellite technique sheds light on ocean current dynamics
Ocean surface currents have long been the focus of research due to the role they play in weather, climate and transportation of pollutants, yet essential aspects of these currents remain unknown.

Changing fashions govern mating success in lark buntings, study finds
A study of how female lark buntings choose their mates adds a surprising new twist to the evolutionary theory of sexual selection.

Philips patents TU Eindhoven's energy return system
An increasing number of private individuals supply their excess energy, from external energy sources (windmills and solar cells), to the electricity grid and only take energy from the grid when necessary.

New discoveries at the ash altar Of Zeus -- Mount Lykaion
Mt. Lykaion, Arcadia is known from ancient literature as one of the mythological birthplaces of Zeus.

Team IDs weakness in anthrax bacteria
MIT and New York University researchers have identified a weakness in the defenses of the anthrax bacterium that could be exploited to produce new antibiotics.

Sen. John Kerry to keynote Rice University's Baker Institute conference on climate change
Sen. John Kerry will keynote Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, the Energy & Environmental Systems Institute and the Shell Center for Sustainability climate change, politics and economics conference Feb.

Graduate Education in Physics: Which Way Forward?
A conference to re-evaluate graduate physics curricula, Jan. 31-Feb. 2.

Marijuana withdrawal as bad as withdrawal from cigarettes
Research by a group of scientists studying the effects of heavy marijuana use suggests that withdrawal from the use of marijuana is similar to what is experienced by people when they quit smoking cigarettes.

New insights into vaccination for HIV
A group of Australian researchers at the Universities of Melbourne and New South Wales have developed new tools and paradigms to understand immune evasion from HIV.

Children who complete more years of education are less likely to have malnourished offspring
Higher levels of formal education for children decrease the risk of stunting in their future offspring.

Springer launches Springer Protocols
Springer Science+Business Media has announced the release of Springer Protocols, a protocol database of more than 18,000 searchable online protocols in life sciences and biomedicine.

Fine print: New technique allows fast printing of microscopic electronics
A new technique for printing extraordinarily thin lines quickly over wide areas could lead to larger, less expensive and more versatile electronic displays as well new medical devices, sensors and other technologies.

When accounting for the global nitrogen budget, don't forget fish
Commercial fisheries play an important but declining role in removing terrestrial nitrogen from coastal waters.

MIT: Computer vision may not be as good as thought
For years, scientists have been trying to teach computers how to see like humans, and recent research has seemed to show computers making progress in recognizing visual objects.

Camera in a pill offers cheaper, easier window on your insides
A minuscule, single-eyed camera fits in a easily swallowed pill.

Scientific resource on controversial physics topic of quantum tunneling
Wiley-VCH announced the publication of the English edition of an essential resource on the basics of tunneling, a controversial phenomenon in quantum mechanics.

Deficient regulators in the immune system responsible for type 1 diabetes
The reduction in the regulating capacity of some regulators of the immune system (called CD4+Treg cells,) seems to play a critical role in the onset of type 1 diabetes, as demonstrated in the latest study by Dr.

Nowhere to hide -- new ultra-powerful microscope probes atomic world
A unique electron microscope, the first of its kind in the world, was unveiled yesterday at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory in Warrington.

Materials expert denounces Norwegian ban on dental amalgam
In an editorial published today in the February issue of the Journal of Dental Research, Derek Jones, Professor Emeritus of Biomaterials, Dalhousie University, and Chair of the International Standards Organization's Technical Committee on Dentistry, denounces new Norwegian regulations governing the use of mercury that will adversely affect the use of dental amalgam not only in Norway, but also in other countries around the world that are contemplating taking similar action. 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