Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2001)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2001.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2001

DFG set up 19 new Graduiertenkollegs
In the autumn of 2001, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft will be setting up 19 new Graduiertenkollegs. Among the new colleges there are also three European Graduiertenkol-legs at which German junior scientists are to work and study together with researchers from other european countries. Taking the new grants into account, the DFG is currently funding a total of 283 colleges, including 20 European institutions and one transatlantic one.

Step-by-step approach may reduce need to remove bladder in patients with advanced bladder cancer
A sequential approach for invasive bladder cancer that combines chemotherapy with careful monitoring could reduce the need for bladder removal surgery (cystectomy) by as much as 50 percent, according to a University of California, Davis oncologist. Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center and chair of the UC Davis Medical Center Urology Department, will present a state of the art lecture on this finding at the annual Update in Urology conference in Florida April 12.

Analysis of flight performance in wandering albatrosses yields insights into foraging patterns of different ages and sexes
A new study of flight performance in wandering albatrosses reveals significant differences between males and females and between adults and fledglings, and suggests that these differences influence where birds of different ages and sexes forage for food in the open sea.

Do the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol differ by culture?
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a preventable neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Most studies of FAS have been conducted in western countries and cultures.
  • A first-of-its-kind study has examined FAS children in a South African community.


  • Effective acne treatments remain elusive, Hopkins researchers find
    After a half-century of looking at everything from Accutane to zinc, dermatologists still can't prove which acne treatments and drugs work best, a team at Johns Hopkins Children's Center finds after combing the scientific literature.

    Back to Sleep campaign not as successful for African-Americans
    The national Back to Sleep campaign has been credited with recent declines in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. But a new study from the University of Michigan shows that the campaign has been more successful for some racial and ethnic groups than for others.

    Epimmune scientists report positive pre-clinical data on vaccine designed to combat HIV's ability to mutate
    Epimmune Inc. announced positive pre-clinical data on its HIV vaccine that is designed to directly address the problem of viral mutation. At the Keystone Symposium:

    Neuroscientist at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center
    The Michael J. Fox Foundation awarded a researcher from Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago a grant to study whether gene therapy can be used to treat neurological diseases, including Parkinson's Disease.

    Synthetic clay could assist radioactive waste cleanup
    Researchers from Pennsylvania State University supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have performed an important step in the drive to remove environmentally harmful materials from waste streams and drinking water.

    Manufacturers, researchers urged to monitor polymer synthesis as it occurs
    Polymer chemists will speed discovery, improve quality control, and reduce waste and byproduct production if they observe what they are doing as they do it. Researchers who use in-situ infrared spectroscopy during the synthesis of materials, rather than doing the spectroscopy afterwards, can see the new molecular structures form in real-time.

    Gamma-ray bursts may originate in star-forming regions
    New findings from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Italian Space Agency's BeppoSAX satellite suggest that gamma- ray bursts, some of the most intense blasts in the universe, may be created in the same area where stars are born.

    Intelligent nanostructures report on environment; "nanoskins" may aid in inhabiting Mars
    Intelligent nanostructures that report on their environment by changing color from blue to fluorescent red under mechanical, chemical, or thermal stress have been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico.

    Agent Orange might boost the risk of leukemia, UNC researcher says
    A new study supports the possibility of an association between Agent Orange and development of a form of leukemia in Vietnam veterans' children but stops short of establishing a direct connection. Estimates are that the spraying may have boosted the risk of the rare illness, which chiefly strikes in infancy or early childhood, by between 70 percent and 300 percent, researchers say.

    Undergraduate conducts high-tech tests on dental enamel
    A undergraduate biomedical engineering major at Johns Hopkins is conducting ground-breaking research to help scientists find out how human tooth enamel is affected by acids that reach the mouth through acid reflux, a common digestive disorder.

    Higher chicken pox vaccination rates decrease disease even in the unvaccinated
    Substantial increases in the rate of varicella (chicken pox) vaccination during the past five years has dramatically reduced the number of cases of the disease, including among those who were not immunized, a new study by Duke University Medical Center researchers has shown.

    Most children with acute sinusitis recover without antibiotics
    Antibiotics do not help most children with acute sinusitis, according to a study to be published in the April issue of Pediatrics. This finding raises questions about the common practice of prescribing antibiotics to children with long- lasting sinus symptoms.

    KSU physicist receives Germany's von Humboldt prize
    The Federal Republic of Germany has awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize to Talat Rahman, Kansas State University distinguished professor of physics.

    Duke chemists synthesize fungus compound that could lead to oral diabetes drugs
    Duke University chemists have used

    Study to focus on diet, nutrition and weight loss in cats with cancer
    A cat with cancer is losing weight. What's an owner - or even a veterinarian - to do? A study beginning in April at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine seeks to answer that question. Researchers hope they can establish, for the first time, why cats with cancer lose weight during treatment.

    Mechanism for life-threatening high-altitude sickness uncovered
    Mountain climbers who develop high altitude sickness - with symptoms that include extreme listlessness and coughing up blood - may now have an explanation for what causes the condition, researchers report in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

    Field Museum anthropologists establish date and importance of the Americas' oldest city
    Radiocarbon dates of plant fibers indicate that Caral (120 miles north of Lima, Peru) was home to the earliest known urban settlement - with monumental corporate architecture and irrigation agriculture - in the New World. The evidence pushes the development of these advances in the Americas back to as early as 2627 B.C., at a time when the pyramids were being built in Egypt.

    Time for a check-up on high blood pressure management
    DALLAS, April 20 - Doctors need to re-think their approach to dealing with high blood pressure, a prominent hypertension specialist asserts in an editorial in the April issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

    Mandatory nutrition labeling reduces high-fat purchases
    When mandatory nutrition labeling went into effect, sales of high-fat salad dressings significantly declined, showing that the labels do have an effect on consumer choices, says a Cornell University researcher.

    Researchers create unexpected glass within a glass
    University of Cincinnati researchers report in the April 26th issue of Nature that they have created a glassy form of silver iodide. The compound has never been seen in a glassy form; however, the researchers succeeded by using another

    Vitamin treatment brings dramatic improvements
    Researchers have discovered a new treatment for one form of the rare disorder hereditary ataxia that has resulted in remarkable improvements, according to a study in the April 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

    Quality improvement project boosts hospital care for older heart patients
    Hospitals can significantly improve the care of people 65 years old and older who are admitted for acute heart attack by adopting specific treatment guidelines shown by research to be highly effective.

    Thanks to Internet2's first educational, international videoconferences, Penn students gain 'high-tech pen pals'
    Like so many other things in our society, the time-honored tradition of the faraway pen pal is about to be radically transformed by the Internet age. Business students at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Grenoble in France will participate later this week in a pioneering videoconference held via Internet2, the high-speed, high- bandwidth web of the future.

    New drug improves heart function by removing free radicals
    A new drug being studied at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been shown to improve heart function following a heart attack, according to researchers speaking at the American Academy of Pediatrics in Baltimore.

    Technique detects when satellites are low on fuel
    A computer model originally applied to such theoretical problems as understanding the mathematics behind soap bubble formation could be worth millions of dollars for companies that operate communications satellites.

    Wireless browsing in class can lower grades
    Using wireless networking to browse the web during class can be a distraction, and when college students do too much of it their grades suffer, Cornell University researchers have found. Teachers need to adapt their classes to make the most of the new technology, they say.

    Panda habitat not protected by nature reserve, say Science researchers
    High-quality panda habitats in China's Wolong Nature Reserve have been disappearing faster than or at rates similar to unprotected areas outside the park since the reserve's creation, according to a new study in the 6 April issue of the international journal, Science.

    UC Berkeley group finds first prostate cancer antigen, providing hope for an eventual vaccine against the tumor
    Immunologists at UC Berkeley have found the first prostate cancer antigen, opening the window to development of a vaccine against the disease. The technique for finding the antigen based on a mouse model of the tumor could help scientists track down other cancer antigens, broadening the use of cancer vaccines.

    Pesticide, urbanization linked to frog declines
    Though the California red-legged frog recently earned sweeping federal protection from habitat destruction, researchers from UC Davis and California State University, Sacramento, have found new evidence that their decline may also be pesticide-related.

    Obstetric complications among older women cannot explain their high caesarean rates
    Delivery by caesarean section is associated with advancing age, yet a study in this week's BMJ finds that this relation cannot be entirely explained by obstetric complications among older women. This raises the question of why rates for caesarean section are high amongst older mothers.

    Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, May 1, 2001
    (1) ACP-ASIM says physicians can negotiate but not strike (2) When do symptoms become a disease? (3) A small study found that hormone replacement therapy beneficially affected cholesterol levels in women over 75 (brief communication, p. 754)

    American Society for Microbiology selects Mass Media Fellows
    The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has selected Tinsley Davis, a third-year Ph.D. candidate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Lisa Rezende, a current postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, as the recipients of its 2001 Mass Media Fellowships.

    Marshall Center, AMCOM, Space and Missile Defense Command collaborate on technology conference
    Three federal agencies will join forces with industry and academia for a two-day conference next month to foster teamwork and collaboration to meet a critical need: drawing and retaining young engineers and scientists to the Huntsville area.

    Amphibian mortality linked to global climate change
    For the first time, researchers have identified a direct link between global climate change and local factors that cause the death of amphibian eggs in the wild. Global warming causes changes in rainfall patterns, causing stress in moisture-sensitive amphibians, leaving them susceptible to a variety of pathogens.

    UIC symposium on regenerative medicine
    University of Illinois at Chicago sponsors half-day symposium April 24 on interdisciplinary research aspects of regenerative medicine.

    Reducing polypharmacy among seniors
    The administration of many drugs together to elderly patients is a well-known problem in geriatrics. In an effort to find a solution, Dr. Jacques Allard and colleagues set up a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of an intervention program that targeted physicians with the aim of reducing the number of potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIPs) given to elderly patients.

    University of Toronto study shows more, not less, surgery improves outcomes for children with ear infections
    University of Toronto researchers have found that children who are hospitalized with ear infections are much less likely to need further surgery if they undergo a two-part procedure - an adenoidectomy (the removal of adenoid glands) in conjunction with the insertion of tiny tubes in the ear drums - instead of just tube surgery.

    Evolving beyond the 'Just Say No' message
    • Legislative action on alcohol issues, such as underage drinking, is often influenced by public opinion.
    • Certain sociodemographic and individual traits may predict adult attitudes on underage drinking.
    • Individual traits seem to have the greatest influence on alcohol policy attitudes.
    • Women, infrequent drinkers, and adults with greater knowledge about or concern for youth show the greatest support for policies designed to reduce underage drinking.


    Two new seismic source technologies developed for safer and less costly deep-ocean exploration
    The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and the University of Arkansas have developed two technologies that may ultimately enable safer and more economical oil and gas deep-ocean exploration. Drillers can use the two seismic source technologies to create shock waves that travel beneath a drilling bit through the ground and then record the resulting acoustic data to gain insight into the location of high- and low-pressure areas before they drill.

    The National Academy of Sciences honors Scripps professor with Agassiz Medal
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor Emeritus Charles S.

    Molecule that guides nerve cells also directs immune cells
    Researchers have the first evidence that cues that guide migrating nerve cells also direct white blood cells called leukocytes, which have to find their way to inflamed, infected or damaged areas of the body.

    Medication effective in treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents
    Researchers at Duke University Medical Center and four other U.S. institutions have determined that fluvoxamine (trade name Luvox) is more than twice as effective as a placebo in the treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

    Chimeric mice reveal clues to how brain's clock 'ticks'
    By studying mice whose brains contain a composite of neurons that produce normal and longer-than-normal circadian rhythms, HHMI researchers are beginning to understand how neurons control the body's 24-hour, internal clock. The experiments represent a new direction for circadian research -- exploring how brain cells produce coherent circadian rhythms in intact animals.

    Partner violence, seat-belt use among issues overlooked during pregnancy counseling
    Although most pregnant women receive counseling on a number of health topics, some women with special risks are not getting the advice they need, according to the results of a new study.

    Fly on a treadmill demonstrates super directional hearing
    A Cornell University experiment on a fly-sized treadmill shows that tiny fly with super-acute hearing can not only match the species thought to have the best directional hearing -- Homo sapiens -- but it does so with a fraction of the head space. (Nature April 5, 2001)

    Emory scientists provide new details about long-term immune memory boost vaccine development
    New discoveries about how individuals acquire long-term immunity against diseases are proving essential for the development of new vaccines for complex and persistent diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D., director of the Emory University Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, provides details on the links between mechanisms of long-term memory and vaccines in a lecture at the Experimental Biology 2001 Meeting in Orlando.

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