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Half a century after the last earth-shattering atomic blast shook the Pacific atoll of Bikini, the corals are flourishing again. Some coral species, however, appear to be locally extinct.

These are the findings of a remarkable investigation by an international team of scientists from Australia, Germany, Italy, Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. The expedition examined the diversity and abundance of marine life in the atoll.

One of the most interesting aspects is that the team dived into the vast Bravo Crater left in 1954 by the most powerful American atom bomb ever exploded (15 megatonnes - a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb). The Bravo bomb vapourised three islands, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees, shook islands 200 kilometers away and left a crater 2km wide and 73m deep.


By studying in great detail the 'ringing' of a planet-harbouring star, a team of astronomers using ESO's 3.6-m telescope have shown that it must have drifted away from the metal-rich Hyades cluster. This discovery has implications for theories of star and planet formation, and for the dynamics of our Milky Way.

The yellow-orange star Iota Horologii, located 56 light-years away towards the southern Horologium ("The Clock") constellation, belongs to the so-called "Hyades stream", a large number of stars that move in the same direction.

Previously, astronomers using an ESO telescope had shown that the star harbours a planet, more than 2 times as large as Jupiter and orbiting in 320 days (ESO 12/99).

Researchers from the UAB Research Park have created the first nanomotor that is propelled by changes in temperature. A carbon nanotube is capable of transporting cargo and rotating like a conventional motor, but is a million times smaller than the head of a needle. This research opens the door to the creation of new nanometric devices designed to carry out mechanical tasks and which could be applied to the fields of biomedicine or new materials.

The "nanotransporter" consists of a carbon nanotube - a cylindrical molecule formed by carbon atoms - covered with a shorter concentric nanotube which can move back and forth or act as a rotor. A metal cargo can be added to the shorter mobile tube, which could then transport this cargo from one end to the other of the longer nanotube or rotate around its axis.

If clumps of your hair start to fall out from a common form of baldness, a new review of existing research unfortunately offers little comfort.

Patients who are afflicted by the condition known as alopecia areata — patchy hair loss — should understand that there is “no reliable, safe, effective, long-term treatment,” said review co-author Dr. Mike Sladden, a dermatologist and senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

Alopecia areata accounts for an estimated one in every 50 dermatologist visits in the United States and the United Kingdom, and one study suggests that 1.7 percent of people will be afflicted by it during their lives.

The condition often causes patchy hair loss; meaning hair in some parts of the body falls out while remaining in others.

A new method that uses nanotechnology to rapidly measure minute amounts of insulin is a major step toward developing the ability to assess the health of the body’s insulin-producing cells in real time.

Among other potential applications, this method could be used to improve the efficacy of a new procedure for treating Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes that has demonstrated the ability to free diabetics from insulin injections for several years. It works by transplanting insulin-producing cells into the livers of diabetics to replace the cells that the disease has disabled or destroyed.

Researchers at the Duke School of Medicine apparently have solved the riddle of why cancer cells like sugar so much, and it may be a mechanism that could lead to better cancer treatments.

Jonathan Coloff, a graduate student in Assistant Professor Jeffrey Rathmell’s laboratory in the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, has found that the tumor cells use glucose sugar as a way to avoid programmed cell death.

They make use of a protein called Akt, which promotes glucose metabolism, which in turn regulates a family of proteins critical for cell survival, the researchers shared during an April 15 presentation at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego.