Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2000)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2000

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Computing - Electronic notebook ...Paper laboratory notebooks may go the way of the typewriter with the invention of the DOE Electronic Notebook. Manufacturing - Manufacturers of components made of plastics, polymers and metals may be able to reduce time and energy costs significantly with direct thermal systems. Electronics -- World's smartest transistor Environment -- New sensor is 'Johnny on the spot'

Upper Columbia River: Some fish contaminants decreasing, USGS study shows
Biologists updating 1994 studies of contaminants in upper Columbia River fish--including Lake Roosevelt--have found either decreases or no change in levels of mercury, dioxins and furans, and PCBs, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.

Sandia attenuation technology may help resolve arsenic envirnomental crisis in Bangladesh
Technology developed at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories to remove toxin from groundwater contaminated by nuclear waste may offer cludes about how to resolve a catastrophic environmental crisis in Bangladesh where arsenic-polluted wells are slowly poisoning and killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Current guidance doesn't help doctors treat young patients at risk of heart disease
Current guidelines on drug treatment for heart disease don't advise doctors on how to treat young patients with a high risk profile, reports research in this week's BMJ.

Promising new Parkinson's treatment proves safe
An experimental drug that may improve Parkinson's disease symptoms when used in conjunction with current therapies is safe for use by Parkinson's patients, according to a study published by the Parkinson Study Group in the April 25 issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology's scientific journal.

Trial by laptop
A laptop program called the Electronic Judge is being tested on the streets of Brazil to deliver instant justice on straightforward cases. This Justice-on-Wheels scheme can arrive at the scene of an incident and give a verdict within minutes, to try to save wasting months of expensive wrangling in the courts.

Honey bees contribute over $14 billion to the value of US crop production
Many of the country's crops would not exist without the honey bee at bloom time. A 1999 Cornell University study documented that the contribution made by managed honey bees hired by U.S. crop growers to pollinate crops amounted to just over $14.6 billion.

Researchers find key to growing, differentiating human cells
Researchers have taken the first step toward differentiating human cells in an artificial growth medium. The finding may one day aid the production of human organs for transplant.

University of Toronto astrophysicist maps out our new galaxy
The gigantic clouds of gas and matter that pelted the Milky Way in its infancy are mere fender-benders compared to the catastrophic collision set to occur with the Andromeda galaxy in several billion years - and one University of Toronto astrophysicist has mapped the fallout.

NIH researchers zero in on viral changes that lead to chronic hepatitis C
Scientists from the NIH and other institutions have discovered a clue that begins to explain why so many patients fail to fully recover from infection with the hepatitis C virus. Their research points to changes in surface proteins that enable the virus to evade the immune system. The study shows that the ultimate outcome of an HCV infection is determined during the initial, acute phase of disease.

Automated North Pole station will take the pulse of the Arctic Ocean
An international scientific team supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will establish a research camp at the North Pole this month. The scientists will use the camp to lay the groundwork for a five-year project to take the pulse of the Arctic Ocean and learn how the world's northernmost sea helps regulate global climate.

Media advisory: geomagnetic storm alert
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports a sudden increase in geomagnetic activity that may signal the onset of a geomagnetic storm. A significant increase in geomagnetic activity was observed at about 12:45 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 6, 2000.

'Top flight' mathematician receives presidential early career award
Jeffrey Borggaard, assistant professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech, received the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers April 12 in a ceremony at the White House. His research has produced new and powerful computational tools with wide applications to the design, control, and optimization of aerospace systems.

FDA approval means Americans with osteoarthritis have a new option
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved MOBIC (meloxicam) tablets for marketing as a treatment for osteoarthritis. This decision gives patients in the United States an alternative that has been used in millions of patients worldwide for relieving the pain and stiffness associated with the disease.

Soy protects heart without disrupting hormones: Study
Adding soy foods to a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease without stimulating harmful hormone activity as previously believed, according to a new study in the journal Metabolism

Medical imaging shows dinosaur heart more like bird's or mammal's than reptile's
A computerized tomography (CT) scan of the chest cavity of a new dinosaur fossil reveals a heart more closely resembling a bird or mammal organ, rather than a modern reptile's. This discovery suggests that the dinosaur was warm-blooded, with a relatively high metabolism. Note: This news release is also available in
Practice parameter takes unified approach to diagnosis, treatment of migraines
An article published in the April 25 issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology's scientific journal, encourages aggressive treatment of migraine headache, a condition affecting 28 million Americans, and refers physicians to a new set of practice guidelines being published simultaneously on the journal's Web site.

Alexandra Witze and Richard Hill win AGU journalism awards
Alexandra Witze of the Dallas Morning News has won the 2000 Walter Sullivan Award, and Richard Hill of The Oregonian is the first winner of the David Perlman Award, both of which are presented by the American Geophysical Union.

Technique tethers molecules to silicon with atomic precision
Researchers at the University of Illinois have successfully tethered individual organic molecules at specific locations on silicon surfaces. The precise manipulation of molecules on the atomic scale is an important step in the potential merger of molecular electronics and silicon-based technology.

Bedbugs bite back (again)
Bedbugs seem to be making something of a comeback after a prolonged absence, suggests a letter from Brighton Public Health Laboratory Service in this week's BMJ.

Wealthy, more educated Canadians have better access to specialists despite universal healthcare system: U of T study
Despite universal health care, a University of Toronto study reveals Canadians with higher incomes and more years of schooling have significantly greater access to specialized health services.

Jays and cars don't mix
JAYS AND CARS DON'T MIX While roadside restoration is touted as a way to provide more habitat for native species, living along roads can do more harm than good. Florida scrub-jays that nest along a highway die in greater numbers than they reproduce, according to new research in the April issue of Conservation Biology.

Medicating depressed kids: Survey of pediatricians and family doctors yield surprising trends
Despite concerns about doctors' potential reliance on medications like Prozac to treat childhood depression, a new study by University of Michigan researchers finds that most primary care physicians still rely mostly on referral and counseling for their young patients. But there were striking differences in approach between family physicians and pediatricians.

Combined therapy improves survival for advanced head and neck cancer
Intensive treatment combining radiation and chemotherapy can control locally advanced head and neck cancer, improve survival and in most cases eliminate the need for debilitating surgery. Combined therapy provided complete local control for 92 percent of patients with advanced disease.

Cedars-Sinai medical tip sheet for April, 2000
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), LDL apheresis, hip arthroscopy, Apo A-1 Milano, minimally invasive pediatric heart surgery, and 4 steps to take before taking a natural supplement are just some of the topics included in this month's tip sheet from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

More people with Barrett's esophagus at high risk of developing esophageal cancer than previously thought
Significantly more people with Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition associated with chronic heartburn, may be at high risk of developing esophageal cancer than previously thought, according to researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Inequality -- it's not all just in the head
Policies to reduce inequalities in health should not confuse the structural causes of inequality with their subjective consequences, says an article in this week's BMJ.

AVAX Technologies receives an additional $3.0 Million (AUD) investment in Australian joint venture from Australian Vaccine Technologies Ltd.
AVAX Technologies, Inc. today announced that its Australian joint venture, AVAX Australia Pty. Ltd. has received an additional $3.0 million (AUD) investment from Neptunus International Holdings Limited (NIHL), which was recently renamed Australian Vaccine Technologies Ltd. (AVT).

New fertility technique to help women have own genetic baby from donor egg
A major laboratory advance by a team of French, Spanish and Italian fertility experts may one day allow some women using donated eggs to have a baby that would carry nearly her own genes instead of those of the donor.

Changing to a new operation in young babies may cost lives while surgical teams learn the new technique
Research in this week's BMJ says that deaths soon after a new operation in new born babies can exceed deaths expected after a more established procedure, particularly when the new operation is first introduced.

Promising gene therapy could rejuvenate aging brain networks
Age-related deterioration in critical brain networks may be restored by gene therapy, according to a study in monkeys presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, April 29 - May 6, 2000. This finding lends support to a study just underway to treat Alzheimer's disease using a similar gene therapy approach, say the study's authors.

High iron levels linked to more stroke damage
Stroke patients with elevated levels of iron are much more likely to experience more severe neurological symptoms and possibly increased brain damage, according to a study published in the April 25 issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology's scientific journal.

Nurses could cost the NHS less than GPs for the same results
Nurses could cost the NHS less than general practitioners in certain circumstances, suggests a study from the University of Manchester in this week's BMJ.

Tarlike macro-molecules detected in 'stardust'
The first in-situ chemical analysis of interstellar dust particles produces a puzzling result: These cosmic particles consist mostly of 3-dimensionally cross-linked organic macro- molecules, so-called polymeric-heterocyclic-aromates.

Researchers studying technology effects on domestic lifestyle in unique residential lab
A residential laboratory that will be constantly connected via broadband communications opened May 1 to study how technology interacts with and affects domestic lifestyle. The Georgia Institute of Technology Broadband Institute Residential Laboratory will be capable of knowing the whereabouts, activities and vital medical profiles of its inhabitants. Thus, it can effectively use the always-on communications capability to enhance lifestyle and family connections.

AAPS Workshop to Examine Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls Trials, Emerging Products
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) will present the AAPS Workshop on Successful U.S. and EU Registrations: Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls (CMC) Trials and Tribulations, May 3-5, 2000 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

U.S. math teachers' group stresses connections, equity
More than 10 years after becoming the first national teacher organization to release comprehensive educational standards for its subject area, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has done it again. The group unveiled its updated and expanded

Researchers find key to spurring methane conversion
Microbiologists Derek Lovley and Robert Anderson of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have found that bacteria living just below the earth's surface can be coaxed to rapidly convert oil to methane gas in oil-rich soil.

Drug that curbs nicotine craving may do same for cocaine
A drug that Duke University Medical Center researchers have successfully used to help some people quit smoking may also help curb cocaine cravings, according to studies conducted in rats.

Dementia patients in hospitals longer, increase costs
As the American population continues to age, diagnosis of dementia will increase and the importance of cognitive screening will become increasingly important, suggest two studies in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Religious people show desire for interdependence, not weakness
The desire for independence is the key psychological difference that separates religious and non-religious people, new research suggests. A study of 558 students and professionals showed the biggest difference was that religious people expressed a strong desire for interdependence with others.

Discovery: Atomic-sized carbon nanotubes show promising tunable structure, electronic properties
Carbon nanotubes -- strong tubular structures formed from a single layer of carbon atoms and only about a billionth of a meter in diameter -- display previously unknown properties with significant technological potential, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

Nearly identical controls of immune genes in mice and humans hint at new asthma treatment
Three potent proteins of the immune system, evolved to combat intestinal parasites, now often launch attacks in our airways, triggering asthma and leaving millions gasping for air. By studying the genetic machinery that controls production of these immune soldiers, scientists have demonstrated a potential strategy to quell the asthma response.

Emory researchers help develop new way to identify prostate cancer patients at high risk of recurrence
Emory University participated in a multi-center trial aimed at developing a

Purdue 'stealth compounds' attack cancer cells
A new method to deliver compounds into cells may help scientists develop new, more powerful treatments that carry fewer side effects and are less likely to produce drug resistance in patients being treated for cancer and HIV.

Older children, boys more likely to be physically abused in families with history of wife abuse
In homes with wife abuse, children ages 14 and older are more than three times as likely to be physically abused than are youngers childrens ages 1 through 13, a University of Washington study examining the risks of child abuse has found.

University of Washington researchers map rice genome
Researchers, under sponsorship of Monsanto Company, have produced a working draft of the rice plant genome. This gives scientists the potential to dramatically improve the production of a vital food source for half of the world's population. Rice is the largest genome and first plant mapped in a working draft.

Michael Czech to receive CIIT Founders' Award
Noted diabetes researcher Michael Czech will accept the CIIT Founders' Award at the Institute's Annual Meeting May 9. Professor Czech, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is being recognized for his work on the molecular action of insulin on glucose transport and its impact on diabetes research. The annual award honors lifetime scientific achievements in human health and risk assessment.

Eating recommended foods associated with decrease in risk of mortality for women
CHICAGO--New data suggest that a dietary pattern characterized by consumption of foods recommended in current dietary guidelines is associated with decreased risk of mortality in women, according to an article appearing in the April 26 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Scientists move in on genes conferring susceptibility, resistance to cancer
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have identified genetic regions in mice that confer susceptibility and resistance to a human-like skin cancer, suggesting, they say, that mouse studies may reveal genetic markers of susceptibility and resistance to cancer in humans.

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