Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 02, 2008
GLAST mission operations at NASA Goddard powered up
Several bases of operations for NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope are gearing up for data from the recently launched satellite.

Instances of mass die-offs in wild lions precipitated by extreme climate change
An international research team has published the first clear example of how climate extremes can create conditions in which diseases that are normally tolerated singly may converge and bring about mass die-offs in wildlife.

HapMap browsing and DDDP methods for genetic analysis featured in CSH Protocols
This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features a set of articles with clear, step-by-step instructions for the analysis of HapMap data.

New study finds coronary arterial calcium scans help detect overall death risk in the elderly
Measuring calcium deposits in the heart's arteries can help predict overall death risk in American adults, even when they are elderly, according to a new study published in the July issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

International meeting to feature knowledge translation symposium
The mission of the International Association for Dental Research, convening here today for its 86th General Session, is to advance oral health research worldwide, and to facilitate application of its findings.

Gene directs stem cells to build the heart
Researchers have shown that they can put mouse embryonic stem cells to work building the heart, potentially moving medicine a significant step closer to a new generation of heart disease treatments that use human stem cells.

Some fundamental interactions of matter found to be fundamentally different than thought
When an atom collides with a molecule, traditional wisdom said the atom had to strike one end of the molecule hard to deliver energy to it.

Exploding asteroid theory strengthened by new evidence located in Ohio, Indiana
Was the course of life on the planet altered 12,900 years ago by a giant comet exploding over Canada?

Synthetic molecules emulate enzyme behavior for the first time
When chemists want to produce a lot of a substance -- such as a newly designed drug -- they often turn to catalysts, molecules that speed chemical reactions.

Are men or women more likely to have memory problems in very old age?
Women over age 90 are significantly more likely to have dementia compared to men in their 90s, according to a study published in the July 2, 2008, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Women over 90 more likely to have dementia than men
Women over 90 are significantly more likely to have dementia than men of the same age, according UC Irvine researchers involved with the 90+ Study, one of the nation's largest studies of dementia and other health factors in the fastest-growing age demographic.

First images of solar system's invisible frontier
An instrument aboard NASA's STEREO spacecraft unexpectedly detected particles from the edge of the solar system last year, allowing UC Berkeley scientists to map for the first time the energized particles in the region where the hot solar wind slams into the cold interstellar medium.

Tigers disappear from Himalayan refuge
World Wildlife Fund is alarmed by the dramatic decline of at least 30 percent in the Bengal tiger population of Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, once a refuge that boasted among the highest densities of the endangered species in the Eastern Himalayas.

IEEE-USA position encourages energy efficiency to save households money, reduce carbon emissions
IEEE-USA, in a newly adopted position, encourages the federal government to promote energy efficiency, and recommends ways people can reduce energy use to save money and cut carbon emissions.

UC San Diego researchers identify potential new drug candidates to combat 'bird flu'
As the specter of a worldwide outbreak of avian or

The benefits of green tea in reducing an important risk factor for heart disease
More evidence for the beneficial effect of green tea on risk factors for heart disease has emerged in a new study reported in the latest issue of European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

Study shows quantum dots can penetrate skin through minor abrasions
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that quantum dot nanoparticles can penetrate the skin if there is an abrasion, providing insight into potential workplace concerns for healthcare workers or individuals involved in the manufacturing of quantum dots or doing research on potential biomedical applications of the tiny nanoparticles.

Blood vessel inhibitor shows promise against metastatic thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer that has spread to distant sites has a poor prognosis, but an experimental drug that inhibits tumor blood vessel formation can slow disease progression in some patients, a research team led by investigators from The University of Texas M.

The body's own 'cannabis (marijuana)' is good for the skin
Scientists from Hungary, Germany and the UK have discovered that our own body not only makes chemical compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, but these play an important part in maintaining healthy skin.

NSF signs Memorandum of Understanding with Department of Defense for national security research
The National Science Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense that would allow researchers to apply for grants to study subjects that may be of interest to US national security.

UC San Diego undergraduates forge new area of bioinformatics
A group of undergraduate students from the University of California San Diego have forged a new area of bioinformatics that may improve genomic and proteomic annotations and unlock a collection of stubborn biological mysteries.

Promising hematologists begin year-long program to pursue careers in clinical hematology research
Twenty hematology and hematology/oncology fellows and junior faculty will begin a unique year-long education and mentoring program this summer as part of the American Society of Hematology Clinical Research Training Institute.

FSU researcher using computers to hone cancer-fighting strategies
A Florida State University faculty member who uses computational techniques to evaluate a new class of cancer-killing drugs is attracting worldwide attention from other researchers.

Man vs. machine poker rematch
Polaris, the University of Alberta poker playing computer program, is heading to Las Vegas for a rematch against humans.

'Multi-target' immune therapy improves outcomes of severe lupus nephritis
A new treatment using a combination of drugs targeting different parts of the immune system improves the recovery rate for patients with severe lupus involving the kidneys, according to a report in the October Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Ethanol byproduct produces green results
Commercial flower and plant growers know all too well that invasive, ubiquitous weeds cause trouble by lowering the value and deterring healthy growth of potted ornamental plants.

Species extinction threat underestimated due to math glitch, says CU-Boulder study
Extinction risks for natural populations of endangered species are likely being underestimated by as much as 100-fold because of a mathematical

Healthy or diseased?
Scientists from the Institute for Bioinformatics and Systemic Biology of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the faculty for biology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have shown that biological indicators for diseases caused or influenced by environmental factors can be detected by the systemic analysis of the body's metabolism (metabolomics).

US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute announces new genome sequencing projects
In the continuing effort to tap the vast, unexplored reaches of the earth's microbial and plant domains for bioenergy and environmental applications, the DOE Joint Genome Institute has announced its latest portfolio of DNA sequencing targets.

Sen. Byron Dorgan to be honored
Volunteers representing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the American Diabetes Association and the National Indian Health Board will present Sen.

Circulating tumor cells can reveal genetic signature of dangerous lung cancers
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have shown that an MGH-developed, microchip-based device that detects and analyzes tumor cells in the bloodstream can be used to determine the genetic signature of lung tumors, allowing identification of those appropriate for targeted treatment and monitoring genetic changes that occur during therapy.

NIDCR's 60th Anniversary Symposium: Contributions of Canadian Pain Research
Today, during the 86th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, a Symposium will highlight the many contributions and recent advances made in pain research by Canadian scientists supported by the NIDCR.

Mars Sample Return: The next step in exploring the Red Planet
ESA and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales will be co-hosting, in cooperation with NASA and the International Mars Exploration Working Group, an international conference on July 9 and 10 in the auditorium of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris to discuss the next step in the exploration of Mars.

Atomic tug of war
A new form of energy-transfer processes, reported today in Nature may have implications for the study of reactions going on in the atmosphere, and even for those occurring in the body.

Texas A&M researchers develop tool to study complex clusters of genes
Texas A&M University researchers have developed a computational tool that will help scientists more accurately study complex units of clustered genes, called operons, in bacteria.

G8 summit: Opportunity for immediate action on climate change
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent pledge of 500 million Euros over four years to conserve tropical forests starts to address a major source of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

UI researchers make first measurements of the solar wind termination shock
Two University of Iowa space physicists report that the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been traveling outward from the sun for 31 years, has made the first direct observations of the solar wind termination shock, according to a paper published in the July 3 issue of the journal Nature.

Glaucoma surgery studied in Medicare patients, new hope for people
Ophthalmologists continue to develop treatments to help the more than three million Americans with glaucoma.

Weight Watchers vs. fitness centers
In the first study of its kind, using sophisticated methods to measure body composition, the nationally known commercial weight loss program, Weight Watchers, was compared to gym membership programs to find out which method wins in the game of good health.

Experimental philosophy movement explores real-life dilemmas
Imagine a business executive who thinks:

USC researchers identify tumor suppressor that manages cellular cleaning and recycling proceses
Researchers at the University of Southern California have identified a specific tumor suppressor that manages membrane traffic routes for cellular cleaning and recycling.

Seizures in newborns can be detected with small, portable brain activity monitors
Compact, bedside brain-activity monitors detected most seizures in at-risk infants, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Get smart about what you eat and you might actually improve your intelligence
New research findings published online in the FASEB Journal provide more evidence that if we get smart about what we eat, our intelligence can improve.

Search for salt tolerant grasses aims to improve roadside plantings
URI researcher aims to identify a salt tolerance limit for native and ornamental turf grasses in hopes of finding a variety that can be used along highways without being killed when roadway salt -- mixed with melting snow -- is splashed onto the grass.

Worms do calculus to find meals or avoid unpleasantness
Thanks to salt and hot chili peppers, researchers have found a calculus-computing center that tells a roundworm to go forward toward dinner or turn to broaden the search.

Major rise in Caesarean sections linked to impaired womb function with age
Delaying childbirth has substantially contributed to recent rises in Caesarean section rates, according to a paper published this week by scientists at Cambridge University.

University of Hawaii researchers discover new pathway for methane production in the oceans
A new pathway for methane production has been uncovered in the oceans, and this has a significant potential impact for the study of greenhouse gas production on our planet.

Report says clinicians should consider economic impact of new interventions
Cancer clinicians should understand and consider the economic impact of new interventions, which often have substantial costs, according to a report appearing in the July/August issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Footrot vaccine closer than ever
Monash University scientists have started clinical trials to find a successful vaccine against footrot in sheep.

Being an MRSA carrier increases risk of infection and death
Patients harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus for long periods of time continue to be at increased risk of MRSA infection and death, according to a new study in the July 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

MS drug development agreement based on WEHI's medicinal chemistry
Research conducted at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute has contributed significantly to a major licensing agreement signed between Australian biotechnology company, Bionomics, and Germany-based pharmaceutical company, Merck Serono.

Next generation data analysis for next generation sequencing data
Genomatix Software announced availability of the Genomatix Genome Analyzer today.

New antibiotic beats superbugs at their own game
By targeting the gene that confers resistance to antibiotics, a new drug may be able to finally outwit drug-resistant staph bacteria.

Scientists reveal the key mechanisms for affinity between transient binding proteins
Researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine have performed the first computational analysis of transient interactions between proteins in order to reveal what determines their recognition as ideal partners and have unveiled part of the molecular mechanisms involved in the specificity of this binding.

USGS science picks -- leads, feeds and story seeds
Learn about an upcoming Canoe Journey to study water resources in the Salish Sea, the development of a volcano early warning system in Chile, the slow recovery of California sea otter populations, floods in the Midwest, what makes an old geyser faithful, recent findings on the solar system's formation, the sage-grouse's chances for survival, what makes colors in fireworks, and more.

Discovery explains how cold sore virus hides during inactive phase
Now that Duke University Medical Center scientists have figured out how the virus that causes cold sores hides out, they may have a way to wake it up and kill it.

Controlling bone disease improves survival of hemodialysis patients
Consistently maintaining certain blood levels of markers of bone metabolism and disease can prolong the lives of patients on hemodialysis, according to a study appearing in the September 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

10,000 people in world-first cerebral palsy study
Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, have launched the largest study of its kind in the world in a bid to better understand the possible genetic causes of cerebral palsy.

ETH Zurich and IBM improve diagnosis of osteoporosis
Using a Blue Gene supercomputer, scientists of ETH Zurich and the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory demonstrated the most extensive simulation yet of actual human bone structure.

Looking for the Founatain of Youth? Cut your calories, research suggests
In addition to reducing one's risk for many common diseases, new Saint Louis University research found that calorie restriction may slow the aging process. 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