Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 14, 2008
Planetary 'first family' discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
Astronomers using the Gemini North telescope and W.M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the Hawaiian chain, have obtained the first-ever direct images identifying a multiplanet system around a normal star.

Gene chips accurately detect pneumonia in ICU patients on ventilators
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have validated the use of gene chip technology to rapidly and accurately detect pneumonia associated with ventilator use in hospitalized patients.

Researchers identify toehold for HIV's assault on brain
Scientists have unraveled in unprecedented detail the cascade of events that go wrong in brain cells affected by HIV, a virus whose assault on the nervous system continues unabated despite antiviral medications that can keep the virus at bay for years in the rest of the body.

ETH Zurich researchers and industry break world record
Researchers at ETH Zurich have broken the magic barrier of one million revolutions per minute in collaboration with motor manufacturer ATE and ball bearings manufacturer myonic.

Discovery questions intelligence of human ancestor
A recently discovered female pelvis is changing minds about the head size of an ancient human ancestor, Homo erectus, and consequently revising notions about how smart they may have been.

UIC joins international research effort to study autism
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are taking part in an international research effort to gather DNA samples from 2000 autism patients and their families over the next three years.

UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies
University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues have found a way to improve existing estimates of the amount of carbon absorbed by plants from the air, thereby improving the accuracy of global warming and land cover change estimates, according to a paper published in the Nov.

Genetics of aging and cancer resistance
In the Nov. 15 issue of G&D, Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind and colleagues at the David Geffen School of Medicine have identified two genes -- p16(Ink4a) and Arf -- that sensitize lymphoid progenitor cells to the effects of aging, and confer resistance to leukemogenesis.

New program teaches preschoolers reading skills, getting along with others
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies shows that it's possible to teach preschoolers the pre-reading skills they need for later school success, while at the same time fostering the socials skills necessary for making friends and avoiding conflicts with their peers.

Complex systems and Mars missions help understand how life began
Understanding how life started remains a major challenge for science.

University of Arizona College of Pharmacy researcher to study street drug ecstasy
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded a researcher at The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy $1.7 million for a nearly five-year study of the long-term adverse effects of the street drug ecstasy, also known as the

Putting a new spin on current research
Physicists at the London Center for Nanotechnology have found a way to extend the quantum lifetime of electrons by more than 5,000 percent, according to Physical Review Letters.

Surface plasmon resonances of metal nanoparticles in array can have narrower spectral widths
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have demonstrated experimentally and theoretically that the surface plasmon resonances of metal nanoparticles in a periodic array can have considerably narrower spectral widths than those of isolated metal nanoparticles.

UC San Diego goes 'green' at SC08
The San Diego Supercomputer Center and two other UC San Diego entities are combining forces to showcase

Genetic disease treatments and pharmacogenetics: From scientific discovery to medical delivery
ASHG will host a press briefing session to highlight some of the top research presentations at the society's 58th Annual Meeting that report findings on important breakthroughs in the successful treatment of disease through novel genetic therapies and treatments, as well as new pharmacogenetics research findings that provide insights into appropriate drug dosage based on genetic variants.

In child care, relationships with caregivers key to children's stress levels
New research finds that many preschoolers in full-day child care have increases in the stress hormone cortisol from morning to afternoon.

Unhappy people watch TV, happy people read/socialize, says study
A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as happy spend more time reading and socializing.

Cascading effect of even minor early problems may explain serious teen violence
A new longitudinal study suggests that serious teen violence may result from a

Sonography in space
Astronauts on extended space missions can get injured or develop diseases, necessitating immediate diagnosis and treatment.

Neuroinformatics special issue spotlights the Neuroscience Information Framework
A landmark special issue of Springer's Humana Press journal Neuroinformatics describes the new Neuroscience Information Framework, a dynamic inventory of web-based neurosciences data, resources and tools that scientists and students can access via any computer connected to the Internet.

Hybrid cars too quiet for pedestrian safety? Add engine noise, say human factors researchers
Hybrid and electric vehicles do not emit the sounds pedestrians and bicyclists are accustomed to hearing as a vehicle approaches them.

Supportive teachers, peers can ease negative effects of frequent moves in elementary school
Research has shown that supportive teachers who encourage students to accept newcomers can help the transition of students who move during elementary school.

Test identifies toxic platinum and palladium without time-consuming sample pretreatment
The painstaking process of detecting toxic species of platinum and palladium mixed in with the form of platinum essential to certain pharmaceuticals could be reduced to one simple step, University of Pittsburgh researchers report in the Nov.

Creating a sustainable energy infrastructure to be featured at IEEE Energy 2030 Conference
The IEEE Energy 2030 Conference will examine the technology, policy and economic framework required to create a global sustainable energy infrastructure by 2030.

Mysterious microbe plays important role in ocean ecology
An unusual microorganism discovered in the open ocean may force scientists to rethink their understanding of how carbon and nitrogen cycle through ocean ecosystems.

Arbor Vita presents new data on cancer diagnostic at EUrogin
Arbor Vita presented new data today on its rapid, point-of-care prototype HPV test with a high positive predictive value for cervical cancer and pre-cancer.

LSUHSC research identifies key contributor to Alzheimer's disease process
Walter J. Lukiw, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is the lead author of a paper identifying, for the first time, a specific function of a fragment of ribonucleic acid, once thought to be no more than a byproduct, in regulating inflammation and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Children distressed by family fighting have higher stress hormones
A new study found that children who are very distressed when their parents fight have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Elsevier to unveil 'BrainNavigator' at Neuroscience 2008
Neuroscience research goes digital with online, 3-D mapping for faster, more accurate research.

Chicks to give scientists clearer picture of fetal development
Scientists hope to gain a greater understanding of disease and birth defects with a new imaging database that will map the expression of genes that control development.

Lessons from the past can clarify banking crisis
Stricter regulation of the financial services sector is likely to result from the latest upheaval in national and global markets.

San Diego philanthropist John Moores gives $2.1M to Scripps Research Institute
San Diego philanthropist, businessman, and community leader John J. Moores has contributed the first gift of $2.1 million to the Scripps Research Institute's new $50 million initiative to recruit new world-class researchers and sustain and expand the work of current scientists at the renowned La Jolla- and Florida-based biomedical organization, the Institute announced today.

2008 Berrie Awards go to expert on metabolic pathways of obesity and a CUMC research scientist
Columbia University Medical Center has presented the 2008 Naomi Berrie Awards to a nationally recognized diabetes and obesity researcher, and a promising young investigator, for their outstanding achievements in diabetes research.

Research-based program found to enhance impact of Head Start on school readiness
A research-based program designed to be implemented into Head Start classrooms has been shown to have positive effects for children in academic and social-emotional areas.

Floppy-footed gibbons help us understand how early humans may have walked
Early humans roamed the plains long before we evolved our modern inflexible feet.

'Cascading effect' of childhood experiences may explain serious teen violence
Adverse experiences early in life can lead to minor childhood behavior problems, which can grow into serious acts of teen violence, according to new research.

Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands
Wetlands contribute to our lives in remarkable ways by providing food and water, controlling floods, protecting against storms and supporting biodiversity, yet they are experiencing loss and degradation on a massive scale.

Families, friends, schools and neighborhoods contribute to adolescent alcohol misuse
A new longitudinal study examined how the four social environments of families, peers, schools, and neighborhoods have positive and negative effects on teen alcohol misuse.

Gruber prize celebrates 'place cell' pioneer
It was a winding path John O'Keefe followed to one of the most dramatic discoveries about the brain and, on Nov.

NPL unveils new equipment to make cancer treatment safer
A new piece of medical technology unveiled at the National Physical Laboratory today will help improve the success rates of radiotherapy cancer treatments.

Affordable medicine plan goes global
The Health Impact Fund, an innovative plan to get new life-saving drugs into the hands of millions of people around the world who need medicines but can't afford the massive costs will be unveiled to key decision makers in London and Washington over the coming weeks by authors from University of Calgary, Yale and Princeton.

UCLA scientists find cell pathway driving a deadly sub-type of breast cancer
An intra-cellular pathway not previously linked to breast cancer is driving a sub-type of the disease that is highly lethal and disproportionately over-represented in African-American women.
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