Sunday, June 11, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Cincinnati surgeon leads first test of mobile robotic surgery:

A team of military, telecommunications and surgical experts led by University of Cincinnati (UC) faculty are using an unmanned aircraft and sophisticated communication tools to take the next step toward making "telesurgery" a reality.

New World Cup soccer ball will unsettle goalkeepers, predicts scientist:

The new soccer ball that will be used for the first time in the World Cup's opening game on Friday (9 June) is likely to bamboozle goalkeepers at some stage of the tournament, a leading scientist has warned.

Researchers to develop ultra-miniature implantable sensors to measure blood flow:

Physicians and surgeons will someday monitor a patient's blood flow, blood pressure and temperature with tiny, implanted devices, thanks to research being conducted by a Cornell University professor and an Ithaca-area high-tech firm.

Georgetown research leads to first cancer vaccine:

More than twenty years of collaborative research in the Georgetown lab of Dr. Richard Schlegel has resulted in a major medical breakthrough -- the world's first cancer vaccine. The vaccine's technology was generated by a team of Georgetown University researchers in the early 1990s and licensed for commercial development. On June 8, the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine, which scientists say could eliminate most new cases of cervical cancer worldwide.

Gazelles shrink liver and heart to reduce oxygen consumption during drought:

How do gazelles and other large desert mammals adjust their physiology to survive when food and water are in short supply? A fascinating new study from the July/August issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology reveals that gazelles in the deserts of Saudi Arabia have evolved the ability to shrink oxygen-demanding organs such as the liver and heart, allowing them to breathe less. Fewer breaths reduce the amount of water lost to respiratory evaporation during prolonged periods of drought

Bone marrow may restore cells lost in vision diseases:

The finding by University of Florida scientists may shatter the belief that a cell layer vital for eyesight called the retinal pigment epithelium is a nonrenewable resource.

How NASA will avoid double Hubble trouble:

When NASA had the embarrassment of launching the Hubble Space Telescope only to find it didn't focus properly, astronauts were able to fix the fault in space. But when the James Webb Space Telescope is launched in seven years time, it will be too far away for astronauts to rescue. Which is why, this time, the entire telescope will be fully assembled on the ground to avoid any similar mistakes.

Hopkins researchers discover potential new approach to treating diabetes:

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have uncovered a surprising and novel way of lowering blood sugar levels in mice by manipulating the release of sugar by liver cells. The results, published in the June issue of Cell Metabolism, have implications for treating conditions like diabetes.

Desalination roadmap seeks technological solutions to increase the nation's water supply:

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Pat Brady and Tom Hinkebein are putting the final touches on the updated Desalination and Water Purification Roadmap -- "Roadmap 2" -- that should result in more fresh water in parts of the world where potable water is scarce. The first roadmap identified overall goals and areas of desalination research and was submitted to Congress in 2003.

Growing nanostructures on micro cantilever provides new platform for materials discovery:

Researchers have developed a new technique that could provide detailed information about the growth of carbon nanotubes and other nanometer-scale structures as they are being produced. The technique offers a way for researchers to rapidly and systematically map how changes in growth conditions affect the fabrication of nanometer-scale structures.

How is a human fetus like a parasite?:

In research that draws unforeseen links between reproductive biology and the ability to hybridize - which is the major determinant of how new species evolve - Mick Elliot and Bernie Crespi (Simon Frasier University) demonstrate that mammal species with invasive placentas, such as humans, can successfully hybridize with species that are much more genetically distant, apparently as a byproduct of more strongly reducing their immune response during pregnancy. Their findings have profound consequences for mammalian evolution.

Study shows that genetic quality of sperm deteriorates as men age:

New research indicates that the genetic quality of sperm worsens as men get older, increasing a man's risk of being infertile, fathering unsuccessful pregnancies and passing along dwarfism and possibly other genetic diseases to his children.

Gene therapy accelerates healing of damaged skeletal muscle:

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers have successfully used gene therapy to accelerate muscle regeneration in experimental animals with muscle damage. They suggest that this technique offers a novel, but effective approach to improving skeletal muscle healing, particularly for serious sports-related injuries.

New drug extends lung cancer survival 22 percent, UC Davis Cancer Center researchers report:

Adding the new molecularly targeted agent bortezomib to a standard chemotherapy regimen of gemcitabine and carboplatin prolonged survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Results of the phase II trial, led by UC Davis Cancer Center researchers, were reported today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.



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