Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 1996)

Science news and science current events archive August, 1996.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 1996

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

Cancer Genetics Joint Venture Formed By Memorial Sloan-Kettering And Sequana
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Sequana Therapeutics, Inc. announced the signing of a letter of intent to create a joint venture in the area of cancer genetics to research and identify genes and related genetic sequence information that will be of value in the prognosis, diagnosis and possible treatment of many common cancers

Pain: Just Think No
The next time someone tells you that pain is all in your head, they could be at least partially right, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins researchers. Results suggest that

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

Common High Blood Pressure Drug Is Also an Anti-cancer Agent
Captopril, a drug used by over 5 million people to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, has been found effective in blocking the growth of tumors by depriving them of their essential blood supply, researchers at Northwestern Universityreport

Outcomes Of Prostate Removal Assessed
Men with localized prostate cancer have several treatment options and too little information to choose between them. A study from the University of Chicago, reported in the August 28 issue of JAMA, fills part of that gap, providing the best available estimates of long-term survival following prostatectomy for localized cancer

Surprising Protein Movement Seen In Cells
Biologists have discovered that certain proteins vital to life and long thought to be immobilized within the sack-like cell structures where they function instead move freely and rapidly. The finding, reported in the Aug. 9

Hibernation: The Opposite of Sleep?
Is animal hibernation really a blissful, season-long slumber, or is it more like a months-long bout with insomnia? Brian Barnes reports in the Sept/Oct issue of The Sciences magazine on the hibernation patterns of arctic ground squirrels, which appear to go through something more closely resembling an icy stupor rather than a restful sleep

Teachers Capture the Excitement of Martian Meteorite with Science 'Toolkit'
When students walk into Juanita Ryan's classroom abuzz about the recent discovery of possible fossilized organisms in a Martian meteorite, she will have tools to stimulate their curiosity, rather than stifle it; a set of curriculum guides about the scientific search for life in the universe, developed with the support of the National Science Foundation

New Software Simulates How Blood Clots Dissolve
New software developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo that simulates how blood clots dissolve provides information that physicians can use to tailor drug therapies and reduce patient risks. CLOTSIM is described in an article in the August issue of Circulation.

Study Suggests Excess Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide May Disappear Underground For Millennia
Preliminary results at a Duke University research forest site exposed to the high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide expected worldwide in the next century suggest plants might shunt much of that extra CO2 into groundwater to remain stored away for thousands of years

New Synthesis Method Produces Potential Treatment For Cocaine Addiction, Other Potent Biological Compounds
A breakthrough in basic chemistry achieved by University at Buffalo scientists is being applied to develop a variety of new chemical structures, including a compound to treat cocaine addiction being studied at the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The new method was described today at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society

Genetic Alterations Linked To Cancer In Some Blood Samples
Using a recently developed molecular test, investigators at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have detected genetic mutations specific to cancer in blood samples of six patients with head and neck cancer. Their findings are reported in theSeptember issue of Nature Medicin

Maternal Exposure To Crack Cocaine Produces Stressed Newborns
New testing techniques help resolve confusion about infants born to women who smoke crack cocaine during pregnancy. Crack produces excitable, stressed infants but might not cause hemorrhages, lesions and brain damage as previously thought

Kitchen Microwave Inspires Prototype Space Propulsion System
Using parts from a 1000W kitchen microwave oven, a Penn State engineer has built a prototype propulsion system that he thinks shows promise as a cheaper, safer thruster for positioning and maneuvering satellites in space.

Basic College Science Courses 'Filter Out' Most Students
Introductory college science and math courses serve largely as a filter, screening out all but the most promising students, and leaving the majority of college graduates -- including most prospective teachers -- with little understanding of how science works, according to a new study conducted for the National Science Foundation

Signs Of Past Life on Mars?
In the 16 August 1996 issue of Science, McKay et al. report the first identification of organic compounds in a Martian meteorite. The authors further suggest that these compounds, in conjunction with a number of mineralogical features observed in the rock, may be evidence of ancient Martian microorganisms.

A Genetic Skeleton Key
A new algorithm discovered by three researchers working at the University of Southern California provides a way to identify genes across species lines with nearly perfect accuracy. The work has important implications for both medical research and evolution studies

Ceramic Lubricants, Ashless Fuel Additives Developed At Virginia Tech
A Virginia Tech researcher's work on a new concept in lubrication based on the concept of tribopolymerization (patent # 5,407,601 April 18, 1995) has resulted in several compounds that promise to save billions of dollars in fuel, and that have now been licensed for further development

New Materials Store 1,000 Times More Data Than Conventional Compact Disks
New, polymer-based photonic materials into which can be packed ÒstacksÓ of data, like pages in a book, have been developed by University at Buffalo scientists. The new materials, which store thousands of times more data than conventional compact disks,were described today at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Discovery Hints At Multitude Of New Targets For Drugs
A new study of how drugs plug into the human progesterone receptor in the cell supports a new and different view of how drugs and hormones act on steroid hormone receptors that trigger cellular responses

Protein Folding And Calcium Binding Defects Account For Errors In Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disease characterized by high levels of cholesterol and early mortality, is caused by defects in the receptor for the low-density lipoprotein (LDL)Ñthe bad cholesterol. Now, Boston scientists have found that thisoccurs because mutations in the LDL receptor prevent the protein from folding into its normal shape.

Media Advisory: Media Tour Will Show Good and Bad Places to Build on a Beach
Duke University's Orin Pilkey and colleagues think that Myrtle Beach, S.C., a mecca for millions of vacationers, is an area primed for huge property losses in the next big hurricane. The reason: its own phenomenal growth coupled with some people's propensity to build where they shouldn't

Exercise Can Boost Cardiac Fitness in Conditioned and Out-of-Shape Older People
It may not be too late to benefit from exercise, even for people in their 60's and older, according to scientists at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Gerontology Research Center, the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Baltimore.

New Studies Of Human Brains Show Stress May Shrink Neurons
The first direct evidence that stress can shrink a crucial part of the human brain is being compiled by scientists using new, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, according to a Stanford expert on stress and the brain in a review article in the Aug. 9 issue of Science

An Open and Shut Case: Biolological 'Switch' Controls the Opening and Closing of Plants
A Weizmann Institute researcher has discovered a biochemical 'switch' that appears to control plants' opening and closing action

A Gene Involved in Regulating Longevity in Worms May Provide a Clue to Human Aging
Discovery of a mutant gene involved in the regulation of longevity of a primitive worm, C. elegans, may provide a clue as to how humans age. Normal development and longevity in the worm C. elegans are regulated by the age-1 gene. Lack of age- 1 activity in adult worms, due to mutations in the age-1 gene, results in a doubling of adult life span.

Please Pass The Triceratops! Munched Dinosaur Shows Tyrannosaurus Rex Had Strong Teeth and a Powerful Bite
The gnawed remains of a 70 million-year-old victim of Tyrannosaurus rex have provided the key to how powerful the dinosaur's bite really was

USDA Develops Tasty No-Cal, High Fiber Fat Substitute
U.S. Department of Agriculture food researchers have developed a fiber-rich, no-calorie substitute fat, Z-Trim, made from natural byproducts like oat hulls and corn bran. Z-Trim, a powder, is mixed with water for use in foods ranging from cheese to hamburger to brownies.

Salvage Gene Is At The Root Of Many Mutations
Most mutations in yeast DNA are caused, ironically, by the activity of a DNA repair enzyme that acts to salvage irreparably damaged DNA. Yeast without the enzyme develop less than one percent as many mutations as yeast with the enzyme, as reported in a Nature paper

Wheelchairs Should Be Light And Portable
Powered wheelchairs are used by people with a variety of disabilities, including advanced age. New research on the strength and mobility limitations of wheelchair users finds that most chairs are too heavy to fold and lift. The authors recommend that manufacturers reduce chair weight to 46 pounds (21 kg) or less and design for better collapsibility and portability

Drug Prevents Angioplasty Complications Years After Single Treatment
One-time use of a drug that stops clots from forming has significantly reduced life-threatening complications from angioplasty both immediately and up to three years after treatment, researchers from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Duke University Medical Center reported Monday

New Theory Of Sexual Orientation Could Help Resolve Nature-Nurture Debate
One universal principle-opposites attract-accounts for homosexuality as well as heterosexuality, according to a Cornell University psychologist who proposes a sweeping new theory of how sexual orientation develops

Novel 3-D Video Display Technology Developed
Stanford engineers have developed a novel video display technology that can create 3D images within a solid cube of flourescent glass. The technology's basic characteristics make it a natural for uses such as medical imaging; virtual prototyping usingcomputer-aided design (CAD/CAM) tools; and scient- ific visualization, they report in Science magazine.

Researchers Study How Sediment Basins Stop Silt
Muddy water. That's what you get when a typical summer thunder storm dumps on a construction site and that is why developers in Pennsylvania and many other states are required to dig sediment basins to remove silt from runoff.

UF Researchers Describe Link Between Chronic Pain And Depression
The emotional effects of chronic pain -- including depression, anger and anxiety -- may do more damage to long- term health than the actual physical degree of discomfort, report University of Florida researchers in recent issues of the journals Cranio and The Clinical Journal of Pain

Unique Project Will Assess Population Impact
In national parks and other ecologically treasured sites around the world, plant and animal life is under severe threat from the activities of rising numbers of people. Now, in one of the first international research efforts of its kind, scientists will analyze the impacts of these human population pressures to provide information that is crucially needed to devise effective strategies for biodiversity conservation

3-D Model Of The Earth's Interior Predicts Size, Shape Of Tectonic Plates
With a simple but controversial assumption and lots of supercomputer time, two UC Berkeley geophysicists have solved a long-standing problem in geology -- why the jigsaw puzzle of crustal plates on the Earth's surface looks the way it does

Cooking And Salad Oils Could Lubricate Cars, Boats, Machines
They're not just for french fries anymore. Tests at Penn State have shown that man vegetable-derived cooking and salad oils, such as corn, sunflower and canola, can be made to perform as well or better than the commercial standard for car, boat and mac

CU Researchers Discover Yeast Genes Related To Human Leukemia And HIV
Two genes discovered in common baker's yeast have been found to be closely related to a family of human genes associated with a particularly severe type of leukemia and HIV-1 by a University of Colorado at Boulder research team, a surprising finding with intriguing biomedical implications.

Young Victims Of Violence Receive Little Or No Psychosocial Counseling
A study led by a University at Buffalo psychiatrist shows that youthful victims of violence are less likely to receive inpatient psychosocial assessment and follow-up services than youths who attempt suicide. Girls in the group are more likely to receive counseling than boys, according to the study, reported in the July issue of Psychiatric Services

Metacomputing: Sharing Hardware Could Put Cash In Your Pocket
While you sleep, your home computer logs onto the Internet and looks for work. Eight hours later, your computer has done several jobs and you wake up a little bit richer. Computer scientists at Johns Hopkins say a system like this -- they call it

Cat Scratch Disease Bacteria Transmitted by Fleas
While a cat scratch may be the most common vehicle for transmitting cat scratch disease from felines to humans, the common cat flea is probably the most frequent way of transmitting the infection between cats, say researchers at the University of California, San Francisco

Bee Sting Treatment Should Emphasize Speed, Not Method Of Removal
Immediate treatment of bee stings -- one of the most common insect-caused injuries to humans -- should emphasize quick removal of the sting, rather than the method by which the sting is removed, according to entomologists at Penn State and the University of California, Riverside.

Tire Chip Research Focuses On Fire And Ice
A University of Maine engineer is turning used car and truck tires into a useful construction material. In the meantime, he has became the Federal Highway Administration's troubleshooter on several tire chip projects gone wrong

Researchers Find Possible New Route to Making Cancer Cells Vulnerable
Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University Medical Center have shown how drugs that stop organ transplant rejection also partially reverse drug resistance in certain cancer cells.

Bone Marrow Transplantation Can Provide Cure For Sickle Cell Disease, NHLBI Study Shows
The first multi-center study of bone marrow transplantation in children with sickle cell disease has demonstrated that this procedure can provide a cure for young sickle cell patients who have a matched sibling, researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reported today

Nitric Oxide May Hold Key To First Treatment For Deadly Form Of Malaria, Duke Scientists Report
Working in the heart of Africa's malaria country, researchers from Duke University Medical Center and the Durham V.A. Medical Center have shattered a misconception about malaria, and in the process discovered a biological link that could lead to the firsttreatment for the deadliest form of the disease.

Ancient Methane Mirrors Climate Record
Analysis of the methane concentration of fossil air trapped in Greenland ice cores indicates thathte methane levels closely follow other measures of ancient climate change on millenial time scales. The data verify general patterns of methan concetnrtaion changes seen in Antarctic and other Greenland ice cores

Personnel Management in the Brain: Brain Cells Shift Affiliations
The brain acts like a personnel manager, shifting its 'workers' according to research published this month by a Weizmann Institute scientist

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