Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (1996)

Science news and science current events archive 1996.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 1996

Smarter Than You Think: Babies are Amazingly Quick Studies, Psycholinguists Find
One of the hardest things in understanding a new language is to pick out words from the rushing stream of speech. Babies master this challenge around the age of 8 months and do it, surprisingly enough, by thinking like little statisticians, according to a University of Rochester study published in the Dec. 13 issue of Science

Researchers Find Genetic Clues To Intestinal Disease
In a series of recently published studies, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that an intestinal disease affecting 400,000 people in the United States is actually a variety of related disorders that can be inherited and cause similar symptoms in close relatives. The findings will help physicians predict who will get the disease, called Crohn's disease, speed diagnosis, and help determine the best treatment for each individual ohns.jh.html:+: --

Safer Wireless Antennas Receive Patent
Antennas for hand-held radios and cellular phones can be safer and perform better, Virginia Tech electrical engineer Warren Stutzman has demonstrated. Stutzman has received a patent (July 30, 1996 #5,541,609) for a high-performance, low radiation-hazardantenna for hand-held devices operating at 1900 megahertz (MHz) and above. These frequencies are now being pioneered to provide more communications to supplement the crowded cellular telephone bands that operate at 800 MHz.

Stroke Survival, Disability Influenced By Who Cares For Patients, Study Finds
Older people who suffer strokes appear to have a better chance of survival, with less disability, if they are cared for primarily by a neurologist rather than a medical generalist while in the hospital, according to a study of Medicare outcomes data

Dating A Caveman
Mass spectrographic U-238->U-234->Th-230 dating of Zhoukoudian cave limestone strata lying just above those in which fossils of

How Birds Sing
In a finding with implications to human speech acquisition, University of Chicago researchers have shown how a birdâs brain controls singing and demonstrated for the first time that structures higher up in the brain directly control the more abstract information, while the component bits are managed by lower brain centers

EPRI Pilots New Water System For Healthier Habitats
Animals at the Central Park Wildlife Center in New York City will soon get a cleaner, healthier habitat with the introduction of a state-of-the-art electric-based water system, which uses ozone rather than chlorine to purify the Center's aquatic exhibts.

Science-Based Management System Could Lessen Water Disputes
A new computer-based system will help establish a scientific basis for equitable and sustainable water resources management for the Nile River basin and other areas of the world where water is a precious and often fought-over resource. The integrateddecision support system developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Weather Service, is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations.

Photosystem I -- An Intermediate Step -- May Not Be Necessary For Plants
According to a new study reported today (July 19), scientists may have to rethink some aspects of how photosynthesis works.

Study Finds Breast-Feeding May Lower Women's Risk Of Breast Cancer
Breast-feeding for at least 12 months during their lifetime appears to offer women some protection against developing breast cancer later in life, a new study by epidemiologists at the University at Buffalo has found. It was presented today at the annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

New 'Twist' In Proteins Offers Possible Route To Improved Antibiotics
Biochemists using X-ray crystallography to figure out the structure of an enzyme critical to th growth of many bacteria have discovered an extremely unusual

New Way To Coat Fibers Leads To Cheaper Means Of Filtering Pollutants
The development of activated, phenol-coated glass fibers represents a potential breakthrough in the adsorption of environmental contaminants, a team of University of Illinois researchers reports

Brookhaven National Lab Named Drug Addiction Study Center
The biochemical origins of drug addiction, and possible ways to block those addictions, will be the focus at a new study center using PET imaging at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.To be funded by White House Drug Policy Office, NIH Drug Institute & DOE

Study Shows Major Savings In Supervising TB Care
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown for the first time that spending more time and money up front to keep tuberculosis patients on strict drug regimens saves money in the long run

Healthy Habitats Reduce Chemical Impacts On Aquatic Life
New testing methods utilized by South Carolina Sea Grant ecotoxologist Thomas Chandler show that thriving estuarine habitats can help absorb and reduce some impacts of toxic chemicals on aquatic creatures

Cholesterol Anchor Helps Signaling Proteins Direct Development
A quirky genius of the protein family has sprung another surprise on scientists, and its newest stunt has revealed that cholesterol, often villified for its role in heart disease, actually wears a white hat during the earliest stages of life

Value of Biodiversity For New Product Research Found To Offer Few Conservation Incentives
Two new studies by researchers at Resources for the Future suggest conservation advocates may be overstating the promise of biodiversity prospecting -- the search for new products among genes found in wild organisms that may be of potential commercial value -- as a mechanism for financing the conservation of biological diversity

Computer Software Predicts Gestation Length And Risk Of Pre-Term Birth
A new method, the Mittendorf-Williams Ruleª, more accurately predicts a pregnant woman's due date and identifies those at risk for preterm delivery. After more than 150 years as the standard method of determining a due date, the days are now numbered for Naegele's rule

Water Value Highest In The U.S. West, RFF Report Finds
Researchers at Resources for the Future have released one of the largest and most comprehensive compilations of estimates of the value of water for its various uses in the United States. They find water's value to be highest in the West for its withdrawal uses

Heart Attack Outcomes Are Similar With Anti-Clotting Drugs And Balloon Angioplasty, University Of Washington Study Shows
Heart attack patients admitted to community hospitals show nearly identical survival rates, whether treated with powerful anti-clotting drugs or with balloon angioplasty. This conclusion is drawn by University of Washington researchers publishing results of their study of more than 3,000 patients in the Oct. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Evolution On The Fast Track
A dramatic discovery, reported by a University of Wisconsin scientist in the Nov. 21 Nature, shows that altering a handful of genes can quickly send an animal down the road to becoming a new species. The finding helps explain biological diversity, and seasonal and geographic variation in animal appearance

Nitrogen And Global Warming
Nitrogen from air pollution is unlikely to moderate the greenhouse effect, according to researchers at the universities of Minnesota and Toronto. Studies on prairie grasses showed that medium and high rates of nitrogen addition caused loss of species diversity and lowered carbon storage capacity

Doctor, Patient Age Affect Input In Medical Decisions
Doctors may be less likely to welcome input in medical decisions from patients who are near their own age. In a study of medical students, residents and medical school faculty, researchers found that the younger students and resident physicians advocated greater patient input from 75- year-olds than they did from 25-year-olds

Automobiles Gain High Technology Noses To Sniff Out Breaches In Air Pollution Laws In Europe Wide Research Project
A Europe wide research consortium led by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and including the Italian FIAT car company, has just embarked on a one million ECU project to build the world's first sensing devices that will allow continuous onboard diagnostic observation of both the air quality within vehicles and the amount of air pollution that vehicle itself generates

Drug For Mutiple Sclerosis Recommended For FDA Approcal
The FDA Advisory Panel met September 19, 1996 an voted unanimously to recommend a drug for approva which comes from the research by Profs Michael Sela Ruth Arnon and Dr. Dvora Teitelbaum of the Weizman Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel

OHSU Researchers Find Estrogen/Progestin Therapy More Beneficial Than Estrogen Alone
Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have discovered that a new hormonal drug combination allows post-menopausal women to get the benefits of estrogen without experiencing the side effects of menses-like bleeding. Their findings appear in the Nov. 6, 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association

ORNL Method May Treat Breast Cancer Without Surgery
A new method capable of destroying breast tumors without surgery and side effects has been developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Three ORNL scientists applied for a patent on this minimally invasive therapy for breast cancer that combines laser light and presently available drugs

Brain's Role In Recalibration Of Eye-Hand Coordination Pinpointed In Nature.
A region of the brain believed important for maintaining the calibration between visual and motor systems necessary for accurate eye-hand coordination has been indentifies in human subjects, report researchers from Emory University and the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Oct. 17 issue of Nature

Diversity In Science & Engineering: Progress And Problems
Amid a few signs of recent progress towards more diversity in education and the workplace, underrepresentation persist. For example, women and minorities continue to take fewer high- level mathematics and science courses in high school; they still earn fewer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in science and engineering (S&E); and they remain less likely to be employed in S&E jobs than are white males

Mountains Play Major Role In Midwestern Winters
Mountains play a loftier role in the earth's weather than once thought. In fact, the interaction between mountain ranges and the jet stream may be the primary factor in determining where severe winter storms drop their loads of snow and ice, a University of Illinois researcher says.

KSU's Marsden Briefs Congress On Research
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Citing the progress made in food safety research in recent years, Dr. James Marsden of Kansas State University recently suggested to Congress ways to streamline the evaluation of new technologies.

Budget Strained California Universities More Cuts Under Federal R&D Funding Proposals
Reductions in federal R&D programs proposed by Congress and the White House could compound continuing cutbacks in state funding for California's colleges and universities, according to a new report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Six-Year Drilling Project to Uncover One Million Years of Earth History
Scientists will drill as much as a million years into the geologic history of the Earth to study the evolution of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, under a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation.

First-Light Declared At Hobby-Eberly Telescope
The largest and most powerful optical telescope in the continental United States has just taken its first look at the universe, demonstrating the feasibility of its novel design and ushering in a new era of cost-effective large telescopes.

Engineers Find Potential Health Risks From Water-Saving Shower Nozzles
Environmental engineers at the University of Cincinnati and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found that some water-saver shower nozzles have potential health risks. Depending on the shower head's design, the nozzle can produce a significantly larger number of inhalable particles. When there is a contaminant in the water or the nearby environment, that means the contaminants can be carried deep inside the lung

Tides Recorded The Moon's Retreat From Earth, Shorter Earth Days
Layers of sediment deposited by tides show that 900 million years ago, a day on Earth was 18 hours long. The moon has been moving away from Earth at a constant rate, according to the same evidence. University of Arizona planetary scientists and collaborating geologists publish their analysis today (July 5) in Science

Researcher Finds Nicotine Inhibits Alzheimer's
No cure exists for Alzheimer's Disease, but a group of Case Western Reserve University researchers has found in test tube studies that nicotine inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque -- the toxic substance found in the brains of Alzheimer's patientsand suspected as the cause of the devastating memory loss

Differences Found Between Expectant Women With High Blood Pressure
Although an expectant mother's high blood pressure may cause fetal stress and premature birth, a new study provides evidence that mild maternal hypertension actually accelerates maturation of the lungs and nervous system in infants.

Drinking Water, Air Pollution Should Be Top Priorities for Nation's Capital
Researchers at Resources for the Future have released the findings of one of the first and most comprehensive evaluations of the District of Columbia's environmental condition that pinpoint the cityâs often-unsafe drinking water and growing air pollutionas problems of highest priority.

New, Potentially Serious Disease Of Coral Discovered Off Florida Coast, Says University of Georgia scientist
A disease apparently new to science is attacking coral reeefs near Key West, Fla., and scientists still don't know what is causing the disease -- or how to stop it, according to a researcher from the University of Georgia

Discovery of "KiSS" Gene May Help Stop Spread Of Melanoma
Researchers at Penn State's College of Medicine in Hershey have discovered a new gene that suppresses the metastasis--or spread--of melanoma, the often fatal skin cancer

Monitoring Of DNA Strand Breakage In Freshwater Mussels Offers A New Way To Detect Pollution, University of Georgia Study Says
Scientists have known for several decades that bivalves such as freshwater mussels readily accumulate many classes of environmental pollutants. A study by environmental toxicologists at the University of Georgia reports that a new method of studying theDNA of freshwater mussels could make them an even more effective tool in limiting the effects of pollution

Neutron Technique May Help Coal, Cement Industries
A nonintrusive inspection technique, developed by DOE's Oak Ridg National Laboratory and Western Kentucky University researchers, can analyze the content of coal and cement and detect explosives and drugs

First Dynamic Voltage Restorer Enters Utility Service
A new device keeps sensitive industrial equipment operating through voltage fluctuations to maintain profits

Researchers Seek Meteorites In Coal Mines
Looking for a meteorite is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for fossil meteorites, which fell in the distant past and are now embedded in sedimentary rock, is even more difficult, but Penn State researchers think they have a way to pare down the haystack.

NCAR Scientist Models Earth's Climate and Vegetation Patterns At Last Glacial Peak
Climatologist and geologist Benjamin Felzer, for the National Center for Atmospheric Research has used computer models of climate and vegetation to find which plant types our ancestors wandered among 21,000 years ago. Felzer presented his work at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver on October 30.

3-D Glasses for the Robot: 3-D Imaging for Robotic Systems
Two Weizmann Institute scientists have developed a 3-D imaging technique for robots and other automated systems

Study: Heart Failure Kills Men Faster Than Women
Women who suffer from a common form of heart failure live longer than men with the same condition, according to a new University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill study

Gene Discovery Could Overcome Aluminum Barrier To Higher Wheat Yields Worldwide
A U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist and colleagues in three other countries have found a gene in rye that could help wheat, a major food staple, grow on millions of acres worldwide that are now hostile to the crop

Right Brain May Control Writing In Some Lefties, Study Shows
Researchers have shown for the first time that, in some left-handed people, writing may be controlled completely and independently from the right hemisphere of the brain is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to