Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (1998)

Science news and science current events archive 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 1998

NSB Offers Recommendations On Future Of Federal Role In Graduate Education
The National Science Board (NSB) urges a reexamination of the federal/university partnership, and offers several recommendations for improvement, in a policy paper released today titled

Michigan Agreement Puts Canola Motor Oil On Consumer'S Shelf
Colorado and Michigan officials today signed a limited partnership agreement to industrialize the production of canola-based motor oil, developed by Duane Johnson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension alternative crops specialist. Johnson, who may be the only man around who tests his oil by licking the engine dip-stick, developed the oil as an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional motor oil. This contract will make the oil available to consumers within months.

Unhealthy Lifestyles Not Primary Cause Of High Mortality Rates
Study shows that health risk behaviors account for only a small part of the excess mortality among Americans with low levels of income and education, according to Paula Lantz, assistant professor of health management and policy at the U- M School of Public Health.

Researchers Suggest New Disease Model May Some Day Lead To Effective Drugs ForHIV-Associated Dementia
Researchers have long believed that macrophages, the scavenger cells of the immune system, do not divide.

One-quarter of patients with severe congestive heart failure do not want to be resusitated, Yale study finds
Although resuscitation is often used with patients suffering from severe congestive heart failure, nearly one in four of those patients who were hospitalized said they did not wish to be resuscitated if their hearts stopped beating, according to a study in the Aug. l8 issue of Circulation.

NIDR 50th Anniversary Symposium
This half-day symposium will feature leading scientists from academia, industry, and NIH discussing their current work in two major areas: bone biology and human disease, and infection and immunity. Topics include osteoporosis, gene therapy, and the global threat of new and re-emerging infections.

Energy Burst From An X-Ray Star Disturbed Earth's Environment
An intense gamma-ray burst that reached earth on the night of August 27th had a significant effect on Earth's ionosphere, report Stanford researchers. It is the first time that a significant change in Earth's environment has been traced to energy from a distant star.

Radiation Belts Around Earth Adversly Affecting Satellites
Much of the energetic electron activity in Earth's radiation belts, once thought to be generated by the sun and solar wind, actually is accelerated to light-speed by Earth's own magnetic shell, creating periodic havoc with satellites.

Beaver, Architects To The Birds
Beaver, the civil engineers of the animal kingdom, may also be architects for waterfowl and other birds according to Penn State wildlife ecologists.

New Test Opens Window On Corrosive Free-Radical Activity In Individuals
Do antioxidant vitamins protect healthy people from free- radical damage? Can some diseases be slowed or reversed with antioxidants? Perhaps surprisingly, no measurement technique has existed to easily and directly assess the corrosive effects in individuals of these highly reactive types of oxygen. Now, scientists have developed such a test.

Key Asthma And Allergy Molecule Pictured
In a finding that is expected to lead to the development of a new class of drugs for allergy and asthma sufferers, researchers at Northwestern University and Harvard Medical School have determined the precise shape of the receptor molecule that triggers the allergic response in the immune system.

NYU Researchers Find Infants Understand How To Put Words Together Into Simple Language-Like Sentences
A team of researchers led by NYU psychologist Gary Marcus has discovered that seven-month-old infants have a previously undiscovered ability for learning about the world and attacking the problem of language acquisition. Marcus found that infants can recognize and generalize simple language- like rules.

Africa At The Turning Point
Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical turning point in its efforts to address the dual challenge of rapid population growth and poor reproductive health, according to a new Population Action International study, entitled

Internet Advertisements Less Enjoyable Than Other Ads, Survey Shows
With few exceptions, Internet advertising isn't very amusing. That's the consensus of U.S. Internet users recently surveyed about their attitudes toward Internet advertising. The new study finds that consumers think Internet advertising is a lot more informative (62 percent) and trustworthy (48 percent) than it is entertaining (38 percent).

Prejudice Has Unexpected Effect When People Evaluate Minorities
It's not surprising that high-prejudice people think differently than others when they're asked to evaluate statements made by Blacks or homosexuals. But new research suggests that the difference between high- and low-prejudice people isn't common wisdom. Low-prejudice people may sometimes be more critical than high-prejudice people of such statements.

NIAID Announces Funding For 12 Centers For AIDS Research
NIAID, along with five other NIH Institutes, has awarded more than $13 million for first-year funding for 12 Centers for AIDS Research across the United States. The grants will provide three to five years of continued support for the Centers, which are based at leading AIDS research institutions around the country.

Space Might Enhance Gene Transfer In Plants
Scientists are finding that plants can serve as

HIV Infected Adults In UCSF Study Show Evidence Of Thymus Activity
Contrary to the widely held belief that the thymus -- an organ essential for producing competent immune cells -- is not functional in adulthood, researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have shown that half of the HIV-infected patients in a recent study appear to have substantial thymus function.

Doctors Testing New Technology, Seek People At Lung Cancer Risk
CHAPEL HILL - Physicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine are seeking people at high risk of developing lung cancer to participate in a new study aimed at saving lives by detecting tumors earlier.

Whitaker Foundation To Fund AAAS Science Journalism Awards Through 2001
The Whitaker Foundation, a private nonprofit organization supporting biomedical research and education, has announced it will continue to fund the AAAS Science Journalism Awards through 2001.

Cutting The Time And Cost Of Developing New Cures: Lord Sainsbury Launches World's First Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometer In York
Identifying promising drugs that could lead to life saving cures in the future can take eight to ten years and cost as much as £200 million. The AMS can investigate large numbers of drugs for pharmaceutical companies, significantly speeding up drug development by quickly identifying the most promising. In some cases it may cut development time by up to six months.

Hopkins Research Team Cultures Long-Awaited Human Embryonic Stem Cells
A team of scientists has isolated and identified human stem cells and proved them capable of forming the fundamental tissues that give rise to distinct human cells such as muscle, bone and nerve. This feat has for decades been one of basic science's holy grails, and while scientists have found stem cells in mice and higher animals, this is believed to be the first time researchers have cultured human embryonic stem cells.

"Swing" Test May Identify Those At Highest Risk Of Death From Congestive Heart Failure
A new test that measures swings in heart rate during the day may help identify individuals with congestive heart failure who are at the highest risk of dying from the condition within a year. The test measures heart rate variability (HRV), the amount by which the heart rate changes from slow rates to fast rates in one 24-hour period.

Wee Objects Dwarf All Previous Self-Assembled Molecules
Three-dimensional objects recently created by two University of Rochester engineers are the largest synthetic structures ever made by a technique known as self-assembly, where molecules organize themselves into larger structures. What's more, they glow, or fluoresce, and they are among the most well defined, discrete structures scientists have ever created through self-assembly. Engineers report this work in the March 20 issue of Science.

Electronic Nose Knows When Seafood Is Safe
To combat the rise in food-borne illnesses, University of Florida scientists are the first in the nation to begin testing highly accurate electronic noses. The devices have a big advantage over conventional testing methods in detecting pathogens that could cause disease.

Rheumatic Fever Reports Increasing In The Utah Area
Rheumatic fever, which seemed almost eradicated in the United States in the early 1980s, is on the rise again. A similar resurgence of rheumatic fever in the mid-1980s worried medical professionals, and this time the number of cases seems to be rising even faster, says the study's lead author.

ASU Discovery Is First Evidence Of Hydrothermal Activity On Mars
Planetary geologists at Arizona State University have discovered hematite on Mars, and with it the first evidence of a hydrothermal system on the Red Planet. Hematite is formed by thermal activity or by standing bodies of water. The discovery could have implications for the possible development of life.

Only National Center To Target Fiber And Film Research - Clemson UniversityEarns $100 Million National Engineering Research Center
The National Science Foundation has recognized Clemson University's Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films as a national Engineering Research Center, a signal event that will bring Clemson more than $100 million in research support and solidify its standing as a national research university.

Perkin-Elmer, Dr. J. Craig Venter, And TIGR Announce Formation Of New Genomics Company
The Perkin-Elmer Corporation, Dr. J. Craig Venter, and The Institute for Genomic Research announced that they have signed letters of intent relating to the formation by Perkin- Elmer and Dr. Venter of a new genomics company. Its strategy will be centered on a plan to substantially complete the sequencing of the human genome in three years.

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop Robot That Chews Asbestos Off Of Pipes
Carnegie Mellon robotics researchers, working under a $2 million contract from the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Technology Center, have developed a crawling robot that removes asbestos from the outsides of pipes.

Vaccine Kills Spreading Cancer In Animal Model
Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a vaccine that, in mice, can alert the immune system to the presence of stray cancer cells and significantly reduce their blood-borne spread.

"Noisy" Ventilators Are Better Ventilators
A new model of ventilator assisted lung function developed at Boston University may improve gas exchange in patients with lung injury and minimize additional trauma. In the model, air pressure is varied by adding

Molecular Marker May Identify Bladder Cancer Patients Most Likely To Recur
A new study from the University of Southern California concludes that a molecular test may indicate which patients with bladder cancer will most likely recur and which will be cured following surgical treatment. In the July 15 JNCI, USC scientists show that patients with tumors expressing abnormally low levels of p21 tumor suppressor protein have a worse outcome than those with elevated levels of the protein.

Asthma Patients' Histories Can Predict Future Risk
Johns Hopkins researchers have uncovered a simple way to predict which adult asthma patients are likely to run into asthma problems within the next year and possibly could benefit from different strategies to manage their disease.

New Guidelines To Improve Public Understanding
Feeling more confused than enlightened after reading or hearing about the latest dietary study du jour? Newly- released guidelines, based on an advisory group convened by the Harvard School of Public Health and the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, aim to help the public have a better understanding of emerging nutrition, food safety and health science.

K-State Professor Earns Award To Study Power Systems' Control
Now that the government has flipped the switch on utility regulation, the character of the entire power system could change. Shelli K. Starrett, engineering professor at Kansas State University, is the single investigator in charge of a project focusing on power systems stability and control, her area of emphasis.

Duke Chemists Narrow The Search For Key Produce-Ripening Step
Duke University chemists have identified a likely chemical pathway among the possible thousands that fruits and vegetables could use to initiate the ripening process.

National Science Board To Solicit Input On K-12 Science & Mathematics Education Reform
The National Science Board (NSB) will hold a public hearing in Chicago on July 20, hosted by the Chicago Public Schools, to investigate the effectiveness of various school-based reform strategies to improve the nation's teaching and learning of mathematics and science.

Tiger Beetles Go Blind At High Speeds
Entomologists have long noticed that tiger beetles stop-and- go in their pursuit of prey. But up to now, scientists have had no idea why this species of beetle attacks its food in fits and starts. Why do they stop and go? During hot pursuit of prey, the tiger beetles go blind.

Powerful computers advance fusion research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) report a major advance in the computer modeling of fusion plasmas in the September 18 edition of Science. The new results were obtained utilizing the Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) capabilities of the DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, California.

Clinical Pharmacists Improve Outcomes Of Heart Failure Patients
Patients with progressive heart failure commonly take up to a dozen medications, see numerous physicians in and out of the hospital and often suffer from other disorders.

Fossil Evidence Of Worms Over One Billion Years Old Reported In Science
Researchers have discovered what appears to be evidence of worm-like animals in rocks that are over 1 billion years old--about twice as old as any other evidence for multicellular life yet discovered. This news release is also available in German.

University Of Colorado Student Satellite Set For Launch Feb. 4
A $5 million Earth orbiting satellite designed and built by a team of University of Colorado at Boulder students, faculty and engineers is currently slated for launch from California's Vandenburg Air Force Base on Feb. 4.

Study Shows Active, Passive Smoking Harden Arteries, Increase Stroke Risk
Both active and passive smoking speed up the process by which arteries become clogged and increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks, according to a major new study. The damage -- sometimes likened to rust building up in iron pipes and restricting water flow -- may be irreversible.

Predicting Cancer Therapy Success Rates For Patients, Before Treatment
Researchers are a step closer to predicting how well antiestrogen therapies, such as Tamoxifen, will treat cancer in individual patients thanks to new radiotracer chemicals developed at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis.

"Save Your Face - Drink Sensibly" - Assault And Alcohol Major Causes Of Facial Injury
Assault and alcohol consumption are the two major factors responsible for serious facial injuries in young adults. One half of the facial injuries in the 15 - 25 year age group were sustained in assaults, usually in bars or streets, and were associated with alcohol consumption. From 1977 to 1987 the proportion of patients with facial injuries sustained in road accidents fell by 34 per cent, but violent crime has more than compensated for this decrease.

Chopping And Cooking Affect Garlic's Anti-Cancer Activity
Penn State researchers have shown that microwave heating or roasting garlic can diminish or destroy its anti-cancer activity - unless the herb is chopped or crushed, and allowed to

American Parkinson Disease Association Center Opens At Cedars-Sinai
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral Center has opened at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to assist individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, including their families and caregivers. Services are free of charge and include a wide range of information and support to help understand the disease and maintain quality of life.

Detailed Images From Jupiter Moon Europa Point To Slush Below Surface
The latest, most detailed pictures of the Jupiter moon Europa lend more support to the theory that slush or even liquid water lurks beneath the moon's surface. Those pictures were presented and discussed by scientists from Brown University and NASA during a press briefing today on the Brown campus.

Emphasis On The Need To Win Not The Key To Long-Term Success
Most American children know that winning is important. But coaches and parents can do more for young athletes by reducing the pressure to win and giving them other ways to define success, say two sport psychologists who have advised youth, college and Olympic programs.

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