Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2005)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2005.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2005

Media advisory 2: AGU Fall Meeting
Book hotel rooms now at preferential rates; Update on planning for the earthquake centennial field trip; Press Room information; New News Media registration procedure; News Media Registration Form, online or mail/fax; Who's coming (list of preregistered journalists and PIOs).

Leading genomic technology expert to present Dickson Prize Lecture at Pitt
Ronald W. Davis, Ph.D., a leader in development of genomic methodologies, will present this year's Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh's Science2005: The New Research Ecology. The lecture will begin at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 6., in Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. Dr. Davis' presentation,

Hanging baskets of sex and death help fruit growers
A hanging basket style device is at the heart of a plan by researchers at the University of Warwick to harness the sex drive of a major pest of fruit orchards as a weapon to spread a virus to kill that very same pest. The device allows growers to selectively target the pest with a virus that kills its larvae without killing other beneficial insects.

A novel method to measure circadian cycles
A research article published in the freely-available online journal PLoS Biology reveals a novel method permits characterization of circadian rhythms in humans and mice using single skin biopsies.

'Cybertools' project receives $2 million NSF grant
A team of Cornell researchers has been awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to develop advanced Web tools for social sciences research.

Smoking seems to increase brain damage in alcoholics
Alcoholics who smoke appear to lose more brain mass than alcoholics who don't smoke, according to a study at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Bioceramic orbital plate implant
The remarkable progress of ceramics in recent years has resulted in the development of materials with chemical, physical and mechanical properties that are suitable for biomedical applications.

Study charts origins of fear
University of Toronto study has charted how and where a painful event becomes permanently etched in the brain.

Purdue scientists see biochemistry's future - with quantum physics
Using powerful supercomputers, a team of physicists has found that the quantum property of electrons called

Time to burn: Getting a step ahead of wildland arsonists
Just released analyses by USDA Forest Service researchers reveal underlying patterns in wildland arson. Research forester Jeff Prestemon and economist David Butry, both from the FS Southern Research Station economics unit at Research Triangle Park, NC, have developed a model that can help law enforcement agencies better predict where and when fires might be set in wildland areas and adopt strategies to reduce the risk of arson.

NORVIT
Researchers from Norway have found that treating patients who have had a heart attack with high doses of B vitamins does not lower the risk of getting another heart attack or stroke. Contrary to expectations, B vitamins may do more harm than good.

Nanohelix structure provides new building block for nanoscale piezoelectric devices
A previously-unknown zinc oxide nanostructure that resembles the helical configuration of DNA could provide engineers with a new building block for creating nanometer-scale sensors, transducers, resonators and other devices that rely on electromechanical coupling.

Researcher says Halloween no laughing matter for many youngsters
Halloween may seem like so much harmless fun, a time when adults enjoy laughing in the face of death, and implore their young children to do the same. According to a Penn State researcher, however, the humor of tombstones, monsters and other scary elements is often lost on kids at the ripe age of 6 or 7 -- many of whom don't find the holiday the least bit funny.

Scientists breed special rats to learn more about hypertension
Scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have created a better research rat - the first to enable them to study how declining estrogen after menopause can affect hypertension, heart failure and kidney damage.

Transmission of tuberculosis is linked to historical patterns of human migration
Dr. Igor Mokrousov from St. Petersburg's Pasteur Institute and his colleagues have demonstrated that the evolutionary history of the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB) has been shaped by human migration patterns.

$25 million NIH grant funds new technologies for rapid mass screening of radiation exposure
With the recent events in the Gulf Region having raised the dialogue about diaster prepardness, this NIH-funded research (led by Columbia Univ.) is an example of disaster preparedness from a national level -- while it's impossible to predict the likelihood of a radiological disaster in the U.S., with these new technologies we'll be able to quickly triage and respond if such an event does occur.

Dartmouth Flood Observatory tracks the aftermath of Katrina
Researchers with the Dartmouth Flood Observatory have been working to help map and analyze the flooding that has occurred as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The maps not only provide an overview of the impact and enormity of the flooding, they also preserve a day-to-day record of this flood to be analyzed in the coming months. The images will also be archived to support research into global flooding trends and climate change.

UCR biochemist goes to Washington with high-protein corn
Daniel Gallie, professor of biochemistry at UC Riverside, will present his research on high-protein corn before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23. The research holds promise for efficiently feeding such corn to people and livestock all over the world. Gallie's research on doubling the protein content of corn grain adds significant value to the crop, benefiting corn producers. Moreover, his technology nearly doubles corn oil, the most valuable content of corn grain, and significantly increases the grain's value.

National funding goes to Johns Hopkins to advance research on stem cell therapies for heart attack
Heart specialists at Johns Hopkins Heart Institute have been awarded more than $12 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to study how stem cell therapies can be used to treat hearts damaged by heart attack or heart failure.

'Quasicrystal' metal computer model could aid ultra-low-friction machine parts
Duke University materials scientists have developed a computer model of how a

Wetzel and Wright awarded grant for cybersecurity lab
Assistant Professor Susanne Wetzel and Associate Professor Rebecca Wright of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology have been awarded a $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a cybersecurity laboratory at Stevens.

Tiny computers go where no computer has gone before
A major breakthrough in the use of molecules as information processors is to be announced at this year's BA Festival of Science in Dublin.

Telemonitoring of multiple vital parameters in chronic heart failure
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a frequent syndrome with an increasing prevalence.

Long residency hours linked with impaired performance similar to effects of drinking alcohol
During heavy call rotation and long hours, effects on residents' neurobehavioral performance are comparable to the impairment associated with a 0.04 to 0.05 grams percent blood alcohol concentration, according to an article in the September 7 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education.

New research on closer health relationships
New research examining the delivery of health services and models to bring State and Federal funding and health workers together has received funding from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI), based at ANU.

Joint pain and estrogen deprivation
A study published in the September 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism examines the evidence linking aromatase inhibitors and, more broadly, estrogen deprivation joint pain.

Two-thirds of meta-analyses in the critical care literature are of poor quality
More than two thirds of meta-analyses available to critical care physicians have major methodological flaws and cannot be reliably used to guide clinical practice. Research published today in Critical Care concludes that the overall quality of meta-analyses in this field is poor, but has improved over time, possibly due to the publication of the Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses statement (QUOROM) in 1999.

Emerald Spectre haunts Ontario's ash forests
A new study shows that while we're winning isolated battles, we could well lose the war to prevent the devastating spread of the emerald ash borer in eastern Canada and the United States.

Disrupting cocaine-memories to battle addiction
Addicts crave drugs and suffer relapse not just because of the alluring high of drugs, but also because they are compelled by the powerful, haunting memory associations with the environment surrounding their drug taking. Thus, treatments that could eliminate those memory associations could prove effective in treating addiction, researchers believe.

Catheter interventions help to prevent stroke
According to WHO statistics, stroke is the second most frequent cause of death worldwide.

Researcher: Toxic flood lifts lid on common urban pollution problem
Broken sewers, flooded industrial plants and dead bodies are all likely to blame for poisoning the waters being drained from New Orleans.

ESC Congress 2005: epidemiology and risk factors
The fact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of European women is still not widely known.

New observations show dynamic particle clumps in Saturn's A ring
New observations from the Cassini spacecraft now at Saturn indicate the particles comprising one of its most prominent rings are trapped in ever-changing clusters of debris that are regularly torn apart and reassembled by gravitational forces from the planet.

Lethal needle blight epidemic may be related to climate change
Biologists present strong evidence in the September issue of BioScience that a lethal outbreak of needle blight that is killing lodgepole pines in British Columbia is caused by climate change. The blight, caused by the fungus Dothistroma septosporum, causes trees to loose their needles and eventually die. Lodgepole pines are an economically important species, being used in construction and for pulp.

Statins use associated with lower risk of fractures
In a large study of elderly, predominately male veterans, statin use was associated with a 36 percent reduction in risk of fracture when compared with no lipid-lowering therapy, according to a study in the September 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Staying alert during class: Self-applied acupressure may reduce sleepiness
Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found that students who were taught to self-administer acupressure treatments to stimulation points on their legs, feet, hands and heads were more alert and less fatigued during class.

First evidence of brain abnormalities found in pathological liars
A USC study found the first evidence of brain abnormalities - specifically in the prefrontal cortex - in pathological liars. While more research is needed, the findings indicate a neurobiological basis for habitual lying.

Making the power grid secure is focus of NSF project
Cornell University will be one of four institutions participating in the

Children using community health centers are more likely to be overweight
Children who use community health centers may be at a particularly high risk of being obese, according to a new study. This association between obesity and the type of health delivery system used was present regardless of race, ethnicity or geographic characteristics.

Squeezing out dune plants
Researchers from Texas A&M University created a model to better understand the impacts of development and coastal erosion on plant communities, including plants that grow in the ever-shrinking strip of habitat between land and the ocean. Rusty Feagin, Douglas Sherman, and William Grant simulated varying levels of sea-level rise to understand the effects of erosion and development on sand dune plants. Their research appears in the September issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

STEEPLE: Safety and efficacy of enoxaparin in percutaneous coronary intervention patients
Results of the STEEPLE trial to be announced at the Hotline session today by Pr Gilles Montalescot.

Putting viruses to work in vaccines
Researchers at the University of South Australia are developing novel vaccines by using a chicken virus to either stimulate or suppress the body's immune system.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
This press release contains information for the following articles: Combined testing methods may rapidly detect hepatitis A in strawberry and green onion rinses; Antimicrobial peptides from amphibian skin may inhibit transmission of HIV; New method for simultaneously detecting staphylococcal and botulinum toxins in food.

President Raveché participates in high-level UN Roundtable
At the invitation of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Stevens Institute of Technology President Harold J. Raveché will participate in a special high-level roundtable to be organized at the United Nations in New York at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 13, 2005, immediately after the opening of the Sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Research focus on aspirin
No other medicine is as common, inexpensive, and yet powerful in so many ways as aspirin; yet despite a century of experience with the drug, researchers are still learning important new lessons, while raising new questions, according to several studies covered in seven special articles.

Arrhythmias and sport
We know very little about the risk of sudden death associated with exercise in young competitors, so the benefits versus the hazards of sports activity pose a clinical dilemma.

Researchers call for end to pharmaceutical industry's 'cynical use' of drug studies
Patients who volunteer for studies that help drug companies to develop new products are often misled into taking part, say research ethicists in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal.

Sailing the planets: Exploring Mars with guided balloons
Global Aerospace Corporation of Altadena, CA proposes that the Mars exploration vehicle combining the global reach similar to that of orbiters and high resolution observations enabled by rovers could be a balloon that can be steered in the right direction and that would drop small science packages over the target sites. The concept being developed by the Global Aerospace Corporation is funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC).

Fever of unknown origin: a marker for occult cancer?
Fever of unknown origin might be a marker of occult cancer, according to research published online today by THE LANCET ONCOLOGY.

Study identifies gene in mice that may control risk-taking behavior in humans
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have found that a specific neurodevelopmental gene, called neuroD2, is related to the development of an almond-shaped area of the brain called the amygdala, the brain's emotional seat.

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