Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (1997)

Science news and science current events archive 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 1997

Mooney Calls On Scientists To Find How Biodiversity Protects Ecosystems
Stanford ecologist Harold Mooney reports on a new compelling reason for protecting ecosystem diversity: whenever a habitat loses enough richness and variation, it begins to falter and stop providing essential natural services that people take for granted and called on ecologists to study these effects.

Study Finds Characteristics That Identify Bullies And Victims
Bullies are controlling, hot tempered and lack empathy for others. Victims lack social skills, blame themselves for their problems and are afraid to go to school. These traits are among the most common indicators of bullying and victim behaviors in children, according to a new study at Ohio University

Making ATMs Easier To Use
Automatic teller machine use will increase as banks begin to offer auto loan applications, stock information, detailed bank statements, and even movie ticket purchases electronically. Unfortunately, problems resulting from poor training will also increase unless bank staff provide better instructions to users, especially to older people. The authors poll users about their difficulties with ATMs and suggest improved training techniques

Communication Skills Diminish Malpractice Risk
A JAMA study suggests that the most important reason patients with bad outcomes sue their doctors is not medical negligence but how their doctors talk to them. The study documented specific conversational behaviors that differed between physicians who were never sued and those who had a history of malpractice claims

Motor Memory: Skills Slip Most Easily In First Hours After Learning
The first six hours after a motor skill such as riding a bicycle is learned is a window of vulnerability during which time the skill can be impaired or lost. During those hours the central nervous system consolidates a pattern of neural pathways controlling performance of the task and moves them from one part of the brain to others.

Scientists Use IGF-I To Grow New Membranes Around Neurons
University of Michigan scientists have used an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-I to stimulate growth of a myelin membrane sheath around neurons. Scientists believe understanding how growth factors affect neural development could lead to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

National Center For Earthquake Engineering Research Gets $10 Million Grant From National Science Foundation
The University at Buffalo's National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research has been awarded a $10 million grant by the National Science Foundation to support a Center for Advanced Technologies in Earthquake Loss Reduction. The award brings to more than $56 million the total NSF funding received by the center.

Daily stresses can trigger heart abnormalities during everyday life
Such common emotions as tension, frustration and sadness trigger frequent and painless heart abnormalities that can lead to permanent heart damage, a research team at Duke University Medical Center has concluded

A Drug Pump On A Computer Chip
Biomedical engineers have built a prototype drug pump the size of a contact lens, a miniature, closed-loop implant that could monitor its own flow rate to ensure a steady stream of medicine

'The Doctor Had No Time To Explain'
When the parents of children diagnosed with chronic illnesses were asked about non-supportive and hurtful behaviors from relatives, friends and health-care providers, they said more than a third of such incidents came from those they most expected to help -- doctors and other health professionals.

Researchers Develop Superior Method For Producing Butanol
Butanol producers may return to the corn fields following a dramatic improvement in the fermentation process that is making the corn-based version of the chemical more than 60 percent cheaper to produce than with traditional fermentation processes.

First Smoke-Free Day Crucial To Success Quitting Smoking, Duke Researchers Find
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the Durham V.A. Medical Center say the psychological impact of taking even a single puff of a cigarette on a pre-set

Simple Sound Can Be Really Cool
It's a chilling thought--using a loudspeaker to power your refrigerator, without use of refrigerants that can harm the environment. A Purdue University engineer is developing a prototype device that uses sound waves to cool, and he plans to have it operating by July.

Study Focuses On How Plants Help Toxic Pollutants Travel Around The World
A University at Buffalo scientist is studying the

Study Finds Growing Trend In Postmortem Sperm Procurement
Since 1994, the postmortem procurement of sperm without consent is being requested and performed throughout the United States in increasing numbers, according to a study conducted by the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. The study appears in the June issue of The Journal of Urology.

Protein Strengthens Link Between Addiction And Long-Term Memory
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a new protein, called Homer, that becomes active in rat brain cells during exposure to cocaine and during a lab model of long-term memory creation

Vitamin Supplements May Help Asthmatics Cope With Air Pollution
Simply taking antioxidant vitamins could help asthmatics exposed to polluted air breathe easier. Preliminary results of a study conducted at the University of Washington School of Public Health were presented Tuesday, May 20, at the American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society International Conference

Scientists Conduct First Large-Scale Study Of Lake Superior
When the ice creaks, groans, and finally breaks up on Lake Superior next spring, a team of limnologists and oceanographers will launch a five-year study of a dramatic near-shore current in the lake. The current is called the Keweenaw Current because of its proximity to Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, and is considered the strongest current of its kind in the world.

Experts: Public Will Accept Irradiation In Wake Of Meat Recall
The Hudson Foods hamburger recall may be just what it takes to convince Americans that it's time to accept irradiation as another technique to safeguard their food supply, two Purdue experts say. Irradiation can destroy the microorganisms responsible for food-borne illnesses.

Scientists Propose Theory For Brain's Mastery Of Language
Human brains may be wired with a sort of universal language program that enables infants to pick up quickly the complex and subtle patterns of their drastically different native tongues. An article on this new

New Steps Found In Deadly Path Of Cancer-Causing Virus: Findings Suggest Novel Method Of Stopping Cervical Cancer In Its Tracks
Researchers at Harvard Medical School report in the April Journal of Virology that the two viral genes of human papillomavirus, E6 and E7, that together can cause cancer, may work more similarly than previously thought, targeting and degrading tumor-supressor proteins in human cells. The findings suggest new therapies against cervical cancer

EPA Superfund Site Study Evaluates Mercury Exposure At Turtle River, Brunswick, GA
Former workers of Allied/LCP Chemical Plant in Brunswick, Georgia, will participate in a study of mercury exposure following the closing of the plant in 1994. This site, currently studied by researchers from Emory University and the University of Georgia, was added to the EPA's Superfund list in 1995

Tax Reform And Its Environmental Implications Investigated
National tax reform may have a substantial impact on the environment as well as on economic growth, researchers at Resources for the Future and Stanford University suggest. They have recently launched a study of the environmental implications of three alternative tax plans -- the flat tax, the national sales tax, and the unlimited savings account tax -- now under discussion in Congress

When Marriages Fail, The Home Is Often A Major Source Of Conflict
Home may be where the heart is, but when homes and hearts break apart, the family home is less a haven and more a source of stress and conflict, a University of Illinois professor reports

Virginia Tech Study Shows Shift In Learning Process Through Technology-Enriched Courses
The assessment of a collaborative project between Virginia Tech's biology department and its educational technologies unit reveals a transformation in the way college students learn when exposed to technology-enriched courses. Students enrolled in courses designed with significant computer-based elements reported more active engagement with course work and investing more of their own time in the course.

Estrogen Use May Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease
A study from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) adds more eidence that women who use estrogen appear to have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Catalogs Can Increase Bottom Line By 50%, Reduce Risk, Say Authors Of Operations Research Study
BALTIMORE - Faced with the perils of misjudging what the public will purchase, catalogs can increase net cash by as much as 50% by perfecting a strategy for reducing risk, according to an article in a journal published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

WWF, WCS Unveil New Strategy To Save Tigers
From the Russian Far East to the southern tip of Sumatra, tigers have declined by nearly 95 percent in the last 100 years. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will unveil a new strategy for conserving tigers at the Zoological Society of London symposium, ãTigers 2000.ä The meeting, scheduled for February 20-21, will bring together many of the worldâs top tiger experts.

Cancer Slowed When Blood Vessel Growth In Tumors Blocked
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have been able to significantly slow the growth of tumors on rats by preventing the tumors from

Blindness, Kaposi's Sarcoma And Extraocular Complications Of CMV Are Delayed In AIDS Patients Given Antiviral Pill And Eye Implant
Simultaneously giving AIDS patients the antiviral ganciclovir via pill as well as in a tiny pellet implanted in the eye delays or prevents complications of cytomegalovirus say Daniel F. Martin, MD, during his presentation at the Sixth European Conference on Clinical Aspects and Treatment of HIV Infection.

"Super Aspirin" Holds Long-Term Benefits For Some Patients Who Undergo Balloon Angioplasty
In this week's JAMA, David L. Fischman, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, discusses ReoPro™, a drug he dubs a

UNC Scientists Find Key Mechanism By Which Cancer Cells Avoid Suicide
A natural, normally beneficial protein called NF-kappa B teams up with a cancer gene to prevent cells in the body from killing themselves as they are supposed to after turning cancerous, researchers have discovered.

Molecular 'Radar' Tracks Key Process In Embryonic Development
A molecular 'radar' that makes it possible to track signaling enzymes inside a cell in real time has been developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In a study reported in the 8/22/97 issue of Science and featured on its cover, the scientists used the 'radar' to map the exact progress of an intercellular messenger that plays a key role in embronic development.

New Test May Improve Treatment Of Kidney Disease
Why some patients with kidney diseases respond well to certain medications and others do not has continued to stump physicians. With no means to test the medications besides trial and error, finding the right treatment is often a frustrating experience for physicians and their patients.

NICHD-Funded Researchers Find Possible Mechanism Of Preeclampsia
A team of investigators has discovered that preeclampsia--a life threatening complication of pregnancy--results from a failure of the placenta to invade the wall of the uterus and to appropriately mimic the tissue which lines blood vessels. The reasearch, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, appears in the May 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Air Could Be The Secret To Faster Computers
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are creating and studying aerogels, substances so porous they are more air than solid material. When used as insulators on computer chips, these porous materials could more than double computing speeds.

New Mathematical Model Could Help Predict Health Of Offshore Areas Where Rivers Enter The Sea
A new mathematical model, coupling both physical and biological effects, could be a crucial step in predicting the health of near-shore ocean environments where rivers enter the sea.

'BirdSource' Website For Citizen-Science Data
One of the most comprehensive World Wide Web sites for amateur bird-watchers and professional ornithologists, BirdSource, opened for business Feb. 14 by accepting data from participants in Project FeederWatch at http://www.ornith.cornell.edu/CS/PFW/main.html. Co-managed by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society and constructed by the Cornell Theory Center, the Web site was demonstrated at the Seattle annual meeting of the AAAS.

Rosier Picture Of Life After Prostate Surgery
A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows today's prostate surgery patients recover remarkably well, and very few regret having the operation. The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Laser That Drills Holes In The Heart Cuts Chest Pain, Hospitalizations
Using a laser to drill tiny holes in the heart to provide new blood flow dramatically reduces chest pain and cuts hospitalizations for individuals whose heart disease makes them poor candidates for surgery or angioplasty, according to a report today at the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Sessions.

Nerve Growth Factor Induces Cell Death In Some Childhood Tumors: Surprising Findings Suggest Cancer Gene Therapy Approach
Nerve growth factor (NGF) helps immature neurons survive. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylania Medical Center have discovered that, paradoxically, NGF can also induce massive cell suicide among childhood brain tumor cells engineered to express the receptor for NGF. The surprising findings suggest a new cancer gene therapy approach

Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how to get large amounts of vitamin C past the blood brain barrier so that it is transported and retained in the brains of laboratory mice. This finding may prove useful in efforts to slow the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. The investigators report their findings in the December 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Studies Find Public Policies For Children And Teenagers Not Very Effective
Three studies presented at the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association examine the shortcomings of public policies aimed at preventing drug abuse and teenage pregnancy and improving children's television programming.

New Approach To Multidrug Resistance
One of the greatest obstacles to successful cancer treatment is the development of multidrug resistance by tumors. Dartmouth researchers have found a way to restore the effectiveness of chemotherapy by inhibiting production of a prime protective mechanism used by tumors - a molecular pump called P-glycoprotein that flushes drugs out of cells.

Affordable, Hand-Held Biosensor For Diagnostics
A portable, hand-held biosensor capable of detecting a wide range of medically important chemical compounds has been created by a team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego. It may represent a new type of practical, affordable device for many applications, including the screening of chemicals for drugs and diagnosing illness at the bedside.

Game Over: Counterpart Discoveries Show Gamma-Ray Bursts Are Cosmological
After nearly 30 years, scientists finally can answer the question

Laser Microscope At Cornell Images Serotonin In Live Cells
Cornell researchers, using a non-linear laser-microscope technology developed at Cornell, have produced images displaying the neurotransmitter serotonin in live cells in real time, and they have for the first time measured the concentration of serotonin in secretory granules. The technology could be useful for a range of biomedical disorders.

New Cancer Vaccine Processing Facility Comes To Jefferson
A unique processing facility at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, promises to step up production of a potentially life-saving vaccine against a deadly skin cancer, malignant melanoma. It may be the only laboratory of its kind in the nation.

Model May Explain "Super-Rotation" Of Earth's Core
Johns Hopkins geophysicists have developed a model that may help explain recent findings that suggest the Earth's solid inner core rotates faster than the rest of the planet

Scientists Urge Further Study Of Alarming Coral Reef Decline
Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the decline of coral reefs throughout the world and are recommending more extensive research into the potentially serious problem. Two Johns Hopkins biologists are publishing an overview of the problemof declining coral reef health in an April issue of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health

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