Tech

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2009 — Scientists are making progress toward development of an "artificial leaf" that mimics a real leaf's chemical magic with photosynthesis — but instead converts sunlight and water into a liquid fuel such as methanol for cars and trucks. That is among the conclusions in a newly-available report from top authorities on solar energy who met at the 1st Annual Chemical Sciences and Society Symposium. The gathering launched a new effort to initiate international cooperation and innovative thinking on the global energy challenge.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Most biopsies following mammograms reveal benign abnormalities, not cancer.

But women may not have to endure the medical costs, stress and potential complications that accompany such invasive biopsies forever. A University of Florida biomedical engineering researcher is making progress on an "optical biopsy" that has the potential to determine whether growths are cancerous without ever puncturing the skin.

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Lucio Soibelman, H. Scott Matthews and Jose M.F. Moura received a three-year $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to identify inexpensive ways to track energy consumption in buildings. Bosch Research and Technology Center North America (Bosch RTC-NA), the R&D arm of the global automotive, industrial, consumer goods and building technology supplier, will assist with the broad-based project to track energy consumption.

Public highways

A boat tail is a tapering protrusion about two metres in length mounted on the rear of a truck. The boat tail had already proved itself during wind tunnel experiments and computer simulations, both conducted at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands; TU Delft), in theory and using small-scale models. Now an articulated lorry fitted with a boat tail has also undergone extensive testing on public highways.

Emissions

A team of Catalan researchers has developed a protocol to distort the user profile generated by Internet search engines, in such a way that they cannot save the searches undertaken by Internet users and thus preserve their privacy. The study has been published in the Computer Communications magazine.

Rosemont, Ill – November 5, 2009 – Prevalence of lactose intolerance may be far lower than previously estimated, according to a study in the latest issue of Nutrition Today. The study, which uses data from a national sample of three ethnic groups, reveals that the overall prevalence rate of self-reported lactose intolerance is 12 percent – with 7.72 percent of European Americans, 10.05 percent of Hispanic Americans and 19.5 percent of African Americans who consider themselves lactose intolerant.

Terahertz radiation still lies in a metrological no man's land – a metrology gap. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) can now close this gap. For the first time, a commercial Terahertz laser was traced back to the international system of units (SI) by measuring its output power absolutely. PTB achieved this success with a power meter which had been calibrated beforehand against a cryogenic radiometer, Germany's primary standard for power measurement of electromagnetic radiation.

New York, NY, November 5, 2009— Fifty-eight percent of primary care doctors in the U.S. report their patients often have difficulty paying for medications and care, and half of U.S. doctors spend substantial time dealing with restrictions insurance companies place on their patients' care, according to findings from the 2009 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey published online today in the journal Health Affairs. The responses of U.S.

New research shows that during natural menstrual cycles, women with asthma who were not taking oral contraceptives (OC) had lower exhaled nitric oxide levels (eNO), a marker of airway inflammation associated with asthma, than women who were taking OC.

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, studied 17 women with asthma during their menstrual cycles. Results showed that individuals not using oral contraceptives (OC) had higher mean eNO levels than women using OC.

Heavy traffic corridors in the cities of Long Beach and Riverside are responsible for a significant proportion of preventable childhood asthma, and the true impact of air pollution and ship emissions on the disease has likely been underestimated, according to researchers at the University of Southern California (USC).

The study, which appears in an online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, estimated that nine percent of all childhood asthma cases in Long Beach and six percent in Riverside were attributable to traffic proximity.

Increasing Number of ICU Patients Discharged Home(#8592, Tuesday, November 3, 3:45 PM ET)

Do pediatric oncologists feel that religion is a bridge or a barrier to their work? Or do they feel it can be either, depending on whether their patients are recovering or deteriorating? A novel Brandeis University study examines these questions in the current issue of Social Problems.

LEADS: (top news in natural science)

United States Using Less Water Today

TAIPEI, TAIWAN—Florists and other retailers who sell flowers and plants can now add another tool to their marketing kit. A recent study of "consumption values" may help them understand what influences consumers' choices in regard to floral purchases, and how to better design marketing efforts and purchase stock that can increase customers and sales.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center have found a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy given before prostate removal is safe and may have the potential to reduce cancer recurrence and improve patient survival.

Their findings were presented this week at the 51st annual meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Chicago.