Mark Nicas has given some of his best years to spittle. He builds models – the mathematical kind – of how someone else's slobber ends up on you. The size of the particles, whether they come out in a dry cough or a wet sneeze, their evaporation rate, air speed – these are all complications, reasons why people like Nicas can spend careers piling up academic papers, all the while building up a healthy respect for pathogens.

St. Louis — With eight basic medical facts in hand, doctors can now estimate the risk of bleeding for a patient having a heart attack. Using clinical variables, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Duke University and collaborating institutions have created a new method to estimate bleeding risk and help lessen the chances that heart attack patients will experience this common complication.

Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry ( have found the majority of patients with self-ligating orthodontic brackets retain fewer bacteria in plaque than patients with elastomeric orthodontic brackets. The OHSU team also found that a biochemical technique measuring ATP- (adenosine triphosphate-) driven bioluminescence could be a useful chair-side tool in the rapid quantification of oral bacteria and in the assessment of oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment.

April 14, 2009 – A new study finds that it will take more than 75 years for the carbon emissions saved through the use of biofuels to compensate for the carbon lost when biofuel plantations are established on forestlands. If the original habitat was peatland, carbon balance would take more than 600 years. The study appears in Conservation Biology.

Ann Arbor, MI--Patients with a rare, blinding eye disease saw their vision improve after treatment with drugs to suppress their immune systems, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Because autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) is difficult to diagnose, the biggest challenge now is to find biologic markers that identify patients who can benefit from treatment.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have developed a technology that detects damage to critical suspension components in military vehicles simply by driving over a speed bumplike "diagnostic cleat" containing sensors.

"Our aim is to save time and maintenance costs, but more importantly to reduce downtime by catching damage before it leads to failure in the field," said Douglas Adams, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of Purdue University's Center for Systems Integrity.

NASA satellite data and a new modeling approach could improve weather forecasting and save more lives when future cyclones develop.

About 15 percent of the world's tropical cyclones occur in the northern Indian Ocean, but because of high population densities along low-lying coastlines, the storms have caused nearly 80 percent of cyclone-related deaths around the world. Incomplete atmospheric data for the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea make it difficult for regional forecasters to provide enough warning for mass evacuations.

Institute of Quantum Electronics, School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, Peking University, has proposed the concept, principles and techniques of active optical clock. The study is reported in Issue 54 (February, 2009) of Chinese Science Bulletin because of its significant research value.

Cambridge, Mass. – April 13, 2009 – Applied scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in collaboration with researchers from Hamamatsu Photonics in Hamamatsu City, Japan, have demonstrated, for the first time, lasers in which the direction of oscillation of the emitted radiation, known as polarization, can be designed and controlled at will. The innovation opens the door to a wide range of applications in photonics and communications. Harvard University has filed a broad patent on the invention.

STANFORD, Calif. — A drop of blood or a chunk of tissue smaller than the period at the end of this sentence may one day be all that is necessary to diagnose cancers and assess their response to treatment, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.