Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2007)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2007.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2007

Cave records provide clues to climate change
Using stalagmites found in two different caves in Borneo, Georgia Tech researchers found that the tropical Pacific may play a much more active role in historic climate change events than was previously thought.

University helps map the universe
The University of Manchester is developing high-speed data crunching technology that will be crucial to the success of one of the greatest scientific projects of the 21st century.

Low vitamin D linked to higher risk of hip fracture
Women with low levels of vitamin D have a significantly increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Honolulu. Women whose vitamin D concentrations were lowest had a 77 percent higher risk of hip fracture than others, reports epidemiology professor Jane A. Cauley.

New clues to breast cancer development in high-risk women
Physicians who treat women with the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 often remove their patients' ovaries to eliminate the source of estrogen they believe fuels cancer growth. Yet they also know that anti-estrogen therapies don't work to treat breast or ovarian cancer that might develop. That paradox has led scientists to question exactly how, or if, estrogen is involved in cancer development and whether removal of ovaries makes sense.

Study finds post-traumatic stress symptoms in adolescent children of cancer patients
A new study by Dutch researchers has found that adolescents may suffer from severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress when a parent is recently diagnosed with cancer and that parents tend to underestimate the problems. The research was presented at the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona today.

Oldest stars may shed light on dark matter, researchers report in Science
The universe's earliest stars may hold clues to the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the universe's matter but doesn't interact with light, cosmologists report.

Chemotherapy with gemcitabine delays progression of operable pancreatic cancer
Giving pancreatic cancer patients the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine after surgery delays progression of the disease by about six months, according to new research by Japanese scientists.

Knee arthritis link to lung cancer
Arthritis of the knee may be the first sign of a type of lung cancer that is hard to treat in heavy smokers, suggests research published ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The researchers reviewed the case notes of all patients with rheumatic disorders, diagnosed at one tertiary referral centre over six years.

2 French scientists win European award for communication
French cell biologists Christian Sardet and Ali Saib are joint winners of the 2007 EMBO Award for Communication in the Life Sciences. Both recipients present science in a unique format that is both enlightening and entertaining, a key requirement in winning the award. Using different media, they have produced resources for researchers, as well as for teaching and communicating science to the broader community.

UCSF animal care facility receives top accreditation
UCSF has received highly regarded accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International.

Singapore National Science and Technology Awards
Awards demonstrate Singapore now on the global scientific map and is competitive place for industry to develop and launch innovative products for world market.

Velociraptor had feathers
Finding of quill knobs on fossilized velociraptor bone demonstrates that even large dinosaurs were feathered and may have descended from animals capable of flight.

Radiation and drug combo helps boost efficacy of lung cancer treatment
Combining radiation therapy with a drug that helps destroy blood vessels nourishing malignant tumors has been shown in mice to be significantly more effective in treating lung cancer than either approach alone, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

World leaders need to remain alert to latest scientific thought on climate change
A new Institute of Physics' report,

Minister Lunn to attend Union of BC Municipalities Pine Beetle Conference
On Sept. 24, 2007, the Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister, Natural Resources will speak at the UBCM Pine Beetle Conference and will announce the delivery of funded activities under the Mountain Pine Beetle Program to help affected communities.

Heat-sensing ASU camera finds possible cave skylights on Mars volcano
A heat-sensing camera designed at Arizona State University helped scientists find possible caves on Mars.

Herschel's heart and brain mated
Herschel, Europe's infrared space observatory is being presented to the media today in a joint press event by ESA and Astrium in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Two of the satellite's most fundamental modules, its

Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference
On September 24-25, the Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, Richard Neufeld, British Columbia Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and Kevin Krueger, British Columbia Minister of State for Mining will co-chair the annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference in Whistler, British Columbia.

Chronic infection persists by targeting stromal cell network in lymphoid organs
One of the biggest challenges to treating infectious diseases and developing preventive vaccines is the ability of many chronic infections to suppress the immune T-cell response over time. An Emory-led team of scientists has discovered one important way in which chronic viral infections are able to evade the immune response by infecting a type of stromal cells in the lymphoid organs called fibroblastic reticular cells.

UCLA receives $22.5 million to explore the fundamental biology of mental disorders
The NIH has awarded $22.5 million to a team of scientists at UCLA to discover the biology that underlies mental disorders.

European directive will halt use of MRI scans; cancer diagnosis and treatment will suffer
Implementation of the Physical Agents (Electromagnetic Fields) Directive 2004/40/EC in all member states could effectively halt the use of magnetic resonance imaging, an important tool in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research, a scientist told a press conference at the European Cancer Conference today.

Nuclear medicine approach can be first choice for excluding pulmonary embolism in young women
Young women at risk of having a pulmonary embolism -- a potential life-threatening blockage in a lung artery -- should first undergo a ventilation/perfusion lung scan rather than a CT angiogram, conclude authors in a paper published in the September Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Pain patients at risk for sleep apnea
Sleep-disordered breathing was common when chronic pain patients took prescribed opioids. A direct dose-response relationship was found between central sleep apnea and methadone and benzodiazepines, an association which had not been previously reported.

New Delft material concept for aircraft wings could save billions
Building aircraft wings with a special aluminium fiber combination makes them nearly immune to metal fatigue. The application of this technology, partly developed at Delft University of Technology, will lead to substantial savings. The unusual qualities of this special material can make a significant contribution to the development of truly energy-efficient, 'green' aircraft. Lower fuel consumption and reduction of maintenance costs could lead to worldwide savings as high as $100 billion.

New tarpon, bonefish compendium published
With a career devoted to understanding how best to manage some of Florida's most popular sport fish, UM Rosenstiel School faculty member Dr. Jerry Ault has published

Biological invasions can begin with just 1 insect
A new study by York University biologists Amro Zayed and Laurence Packer has shown that a lone insect can initiate a biological invasion. Zayed, a recent graduate of Packer's lab, examined patterns of genetic diversity in both native European and invasive North American populations of a solitary bee. He concluded that the invasion was most likely founded by one mated female. The study is published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

New microsensor measures volatile organic compounds in water and air on-site
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a miniature sensor that uses polymer membranes deposited on a tiny silicon disk to measure pollutants present in aqueous or gaseous environments. An array of these sensors with different surface coatings could be used during field-testing to rapidly detect many different chemicals.

Area deep within the brain found to play role in sensory perception
A new study to be published in Annals of Neurology, the official journal of the American Neurological Association, found that the VL also plays a role in sensory processing and that damage to this area leads to functional and neural changes.

Women more depressed and men more impulsive with reduced serotonin functioning
A new study being published in the Sept. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry now reports on important sex and genetic differences in the way that men and women react to reductions in serotonin function, specifically in terms of their mood and impulsivity

NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of world's oceans
The NASA-managed Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor instrument settled into orbit around Earth in 1997 and took its first measurements of ocean color. A decade later, the satellite's data has proved instrumental in countless applications and helped researchers paint a picture of a changing climate.

Memory tasks require more coordinated brain blood flow for people with high blood pressure
Blood flow to the parts of the brain that support memory function differs between people with high blood pressure and those with normal blood pressure, and this difference seems to increase when high blood pressure is treated with medications, researchers reported today at the American Heart Association's 61st Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research.

NIH awards nearly $23M to University of Chicago for translational research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $22.6 million over 4.7 years to a team based at the University of Chicago Medical Center, one of 12 Clinical and Translational Science Awards for 2007. These awards are part of an NIH effort to build a national consortium of select centers that will

Palm Beach County wants to establish a Max Planck Institute in Florida
The Max Planck Society receives an offer to establish its first institute in the US.

New drug makes weight loss safer
Dr. Nir Barak of TAU has adapted a well-known drug used to treat vertigo for a new purpose: to treat obesity without dangerous side effects.

Weekend labor shortage
Two new studies show that as the number of elective Caesarean sections rises, more babies are born during the week and fewer come into the world at weekends. It appears that hospitals schedule births during the week when they are fully resourced and staff is working

Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
Scientists at the leading Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have now disclosed the mystery how the insulin-secreting cells maintain an appropriate number of ATP sensing ion channel proteins on their surface. This mechanism, which is described in the latest issue of Cell Metabolism, explains how the human body can keep the blood glucose concentration within the normal range and thereby avoid the development of diabetes.

Common abdominal pain may be due to a potentially treatable newly recognized inflammatory reaction
As many as one in four people in westernized countries experience pain or discomfort in their upper abdomen, and physicians have almost nothing to offer except antiacid medicines, which usually don't work. Now, in a small but novel study, researchers have found evidence that an abnormal amount of inflammatory cells populates the upper intestine of affected individuals, which suggests a fresh way of understanding the common complaint.

Many medical residents appear to lack biostatistics knowledge needed to interpret clinical research
Internal medicine residents had low scores in a test of biostatistics knowledge, and about three-fourths of the residents surveyed indicated they have low confidence in understanding the statistics they encounter in medical literature, according to an article in the Sept. 5 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education.

YES2 student payload released from Foton-M3
The Second Young Engineers' Satellite was activated and separated from the Foton-M3 spacecraft earlier today. The tether deployed for 8.5 km, after which the Fotino capsule was released on its way to Earth.

Computer program traces ancestry using anonymous DNA samples
A group of computer scientists, mathematicians, and biologists from around the world have developed a computer algorithm that can help trace the genetic ancestry of thousands of individuals in minutes, without any prior knowledge of their background. The team's findings will be published in the September 2007 edition of the journal PLoS Genetics.

Funerals without religion set for huge increase
The number of people in the UK who opt for nonreligious funeral services is set to rise dramatically over the coming years, according to a presenter at the death, dying and disposal conference organized by the University of Bath today Friday, Sept. 14.

Depression worsens health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, diabetes
Depression produces the greatest decrement in health compared with the chronic diseases angina, arthritis, asthma and diabetes, conclude authors of an Article in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Scientists eye secrets of retinal regeneration
Peering at microscopic changes within the retina, scientists in the department of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, have discovered a key mechanism driving eye health and eye disease.

Sexual function affected by stem cell transplant according to long-term study
A long-term study found that a type of stem cell transplant used for patients with life-threatening diseases results in decreased sexual function and activity for recipients. Further, males are likely to recover from these changes over time, while the sexuality of female patients remains compromised. In addition, neither male nor female long-term cancer survivors regained levels of sexual activity and function equal to those of their peers who have not had cancer.

Joint Dark Energy Mission a top priority for NASA, says NRC
The National Research Council's Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee has recommended that the Joint Dark Energy Mission, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy, be the first of NASA's Beyond Einstein cosmology missions to be developed and launched. One of three competing projects in the JDEM program is Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's SuperNova/Acceleration Probe, SNAP, a space-borne observatory with a powerful two-meter-class telescope and half-billion pixel imager.

Using video-game technology to find oil & gas
What do video games and seismic explorations have in common? Both require very demanding computer applications that call for the ability to process massive quantities of data rapidly. Using computer technology originally co-designed by IBM for video-game consoles, University of Houston seismic researchers are employing this extremely fast technology to more effectively target oil reserves. IBM is supporting the UH Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program with a system that represents a new generation of powerful supercomputers.

Nickerson leads on Stevens-Columbia NSF software grant
The National Science Foundation has awarded Stevens Institute of Technology and Columbia University a research grant, titled 'Externalizing Thought: Improving the design of software through diagrams.'

UCI receives $5M from Edwards Lifesciences
UC Irvine's Henry Samueli School of Engineering has received a $5 million gift from Edwards Lifesciences Corp. to establish a center focused on researching and developing the next generation of cardiovascular devices.

Occupational exposures may be linked to death from autoimmune disease
A new study examined the possible associations between occupation and the risk of dying from systemic autoimmune diseases and found that occupational exposures in farming and industry may be linked to higher death rates from these diseases.

Do static magnets reduce pain?
Static magnets are widely marketed to the public with claims of effectiveness for relieving pain. One survey suggests that about 28 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia, use magnets or copper bracelets for pain relief. Do static magnets help reduce pain?

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