Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 1997)

Science news and science current events archive August, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 1997

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.

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

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.

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.

"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

Icelandic Genomics Company Identifies Location Of Gene For Essential Tremor
The paper appearing in the current issue of Nature Genetics (vol. 17), titled

Scientist Identify Proteins That Regulate Cell Divison
Researchers have discovered how key molecules interact in the major pathway regulating cell division. The work revealed mechanisms controlling a protein called Cdc25C that promotes cell division and monitors DNA damage. A drug could be developed that affects this pathway to force cancer cells to divide after receiving DNA damage.

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.

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.

Progress In Prion Research: Three-Dimensional Structure Of Prion Protein Fully Uncovered
A team of researchers from the Institute for Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich are the first to successfully decode the three-dimensional structure of an intact prion protein. The newly decoded part of the protein structure might play an important role in the conversion of the normal prion protein into its disease-inducing variant.

'FLARE' For Fire Research Leads To New Detector
Purdue University engineers have developed a new type of fire detector that senses temperature to detect flames, and that has several advantages over conventional smoke detectors.

Scientists Uncover New Clues To Understanding Schizophrenia: New Links Discovered Between PCP And Cognitive Deficits
Scientists at Yale University School of Medicine have taken a major step toward understanding cognitive deficits in sufferers of schizophrenia. Their findings are reported in the Aug. 15, 1997 issue of the journal Science.

Controlling Tropical Chaos
'Control' of El Nino has been achieved in a sophisticated computer simulation by Weizmann Institute and Columbia University researchers. The study, reported in the August 11 issue of

Creativity Breeds Happy Families, Study Finds
What makes a family happy? No one characteristic determines this, say psychologists who examined characteristics of families that were rated happy by one of the children, but parents who work in creative professions seem to create the most happy home environments.

Newly Discovered Human Protein Provides Important Target For Cancer Therapy
The discovery of a key molecule linked to the immortalization of human tumor cells provides an important new target for anti-cancer drug design. Researchers led by Dr. Robert A. Weinberg of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have isolated and cloned the gene for the long-sought catalytic subunit of human telomerase, a molecule believed to play a major role in the transition from normal to cancerous growth.

American Fisheries Society Conference Attracting 2,000 Plus Scientists To Explore "Interfacing"
Forty-four symposia cover such topics as shark ecology and biology, educational outreach, introduced nuisance species, protection of vulnerable aquatic species, restoration of Pacific salmon populations, new fish passage technology, and contributions of Native American traditional knowledge to modern fisheries management. Fisheries professionals use the conference to present cutting-edge research results, discuss new techniques, and network with colleagues.

Babywalkers Still To Blame For Children's Serious Injuries
After years of warnings that babywalkers present a serious danger to toddlers, the devices are still on store shelves and many parents continue to use them. A new study showed that one in three parents allowed the continued use of babywalkers, even after their child was injured in one.

Council For High Blood Pressure Research Meeting
The 51st Annual Fall Conference and Scientific Sessions of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research will be held September 16-19 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

It's Easy To Reduce Chemical Exposure On Golf Courses, Experts Say
Clark Throssell, professor of agronomy at Purdue University, says golf courses are environmentally friendly, and golfers who are concerned about contact with the chemicals can take a few simple precautions to reduce exposure.

Hopkins-HHMI Researchers Discover A Cause And Develop Test For Familial Colorectal Cancer
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have identified the first known genetic mutation that causes familial colorectal cancer (FCC). The mutation causes the cancer through a completely novel mechanism once considered harmless, and is present in over one-half million Ashkenazi Jews, making it the most common cancer-related mutation now known.

El NiÑO Returns, Could Upset Nation's Weather
The weather pattern known as El Niño is re-emerging in the Pacific Ocean, and that could bring a change in weather for next winter, and perhaps for the next few years.

Childhood Sibling Abuse Common, But Most Adults Don't Remember It That Way, Study Finds
If told the story of a child who was kicked, bitten, hit with a fist or choked, the words that would come into most people's mind are

Working Moms Turn Traditional When They're Home
Two studies presented by psychologists at the American Psychological Association's (APA) 105th Annual Convention in Chicago found that stay-at-home dads are equal parts traditional mom and traditional dad.

No Link Seen Between Breast Cancer And Pesticides, PCB Exposure For General Population
A University at Buffalo study of the relationship of pesticides and PCBs with breast cancer shows these compounds are not a risk factor for breast cancer for the general population of women. It will be presented Aug. 20 at a meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology in Taiwan.

New Ultrasound Contrast Agent Leads To Full Patient Recovery
An ultrasound contrast agent reflects the signal from an ultrasound probe to reveal a blocked portion of the middle cerebral artery that is causing an ischemic stroke in a 63- year-old man. Doctors dissolve the stroke-causing clot with 100 milligrams of the thrombolytic tPA, and the man recovers completely.

Possible New Approach To Brain Tumors In AIDS Patients
Researchers may be close to developing an additional weapon for treating a type of rapidly growing, fatal brain tumor that often afflicts AIDS patients. The new approach focuses on activating a protein receptor that stimulates cells to commit suicide. The specific cancers are primary central nervous system lymphomas.

New Electrical Abnormality Found In Heartbeat Of Heart Failure Patients
Some heart failure patients have an electrical abnormality that prevents the heart from recovering normally after each beat, Johns Hopkins physicians have discovered.

UF Researchers: Stress Can Hasten Progression Of HIV
Stress can accelerate the progression of the early stages of HIV disease, report researchers from the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Practical Intelligence Found To Be Better Predictor Of On-The-Job Success Than IQ
There are certainly worse things to have than a high IQ, but when it comes to successful job performance a high level of practical intelligence may be even more important than an abundance of academic intelligence. That's the conclusion of a study of 200 high-level managers presented at the 105th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Chicago.

A New Index Of Earthquake Risk Ranks Boston Equal To San Francisco
A new Earthquake Disaster Risk Index has been developed that summarizes the overall earthquake risk of cities with a single number. It is designed to take both quantitative and qualitative factors into account.

British Association Annual Festival Of Science
Food, sex and religion are just a few of the topics under the spotlight at the British Association Annual Festival of Science, from 7-12 September, at the University of Leeds. Minister for Science, Energy and Industry and Leeds West MP John Battle will make several trips to the festival and Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will give a keynote speech at the British Association's President's day.

MGH Researchers Find Connection Between Aging Gene And Insulin Receptor
Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered that a gene used by the tiny worm C. elegans to regulate how much it eats, how fat it becomes and how long it lives is strikingly similar to the gene for the human insulin receptor.

An Olympic Legacy In The Sky: Heli-Star Demonstrated Potential For Vertical Flight In Urban Areas
The Centennial Olympic Games are quickly fading into history, but a research and development project conducted in Atlanta during last summer's games could have a long-term impact on improving transportation in crowded cities.

'Space-Capsule' Computing Concept May Unlock Petaflops Power, UD Researchers Report
A new computing concept--patterned after successful space missions--may soon help University of Delaware researchers complete the blueprint for a supercomputer 1 million times more powerful than the most advanced PC now on the market. Capable of processing 1 million billion commands or

Female Genital Mutilation/Female Circumcision: Who Is At Risk In The United States?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 168,000 girls and women living in the United States in 1990 were at risk for or had been subject to FGM/FC.

Laptops Take To The Skies: Portable Mapping System Helps Pilots Plan Flights
A laptop mapping system originally developed for flight planning in fighter planes is now useful with different types of aircraft, offers enhanced features previously available only on non-portable computers, and was a finalist in a recent international competition.

Doctors Study Healthy Spine To Understand Back Pain
To understand more about back pain, researchers are using sonography to study healthy people who are pain-free.

Common Childhood Virus Poses Threat To Adults, Research Shows
Researchers discovered that a respiratory virus common in children younger than two also afflicts previously healthy adults. The research suggests that since doctors and hospitals don¹t routinely test adults for Respiratory Sincytial Virus, a form of viral pneumonia, they sometimes misdiagnose it as bacterial pneumonia, which requires different treatment.

A New Biochemical Link Established Between Stress, Sex And Dominance
In a study published Aug. 15 in the Journal of Neuroscience, a Stanford research team has shown that continuous high levels of a stress hormone, cortisol, work to prevent most males of the tropical fish species called cichlids from developing the bright, warlike colors, the extra muscles and the fully mature sex organs of a dominant

Protein Escort Service
One of immunology's long-standing mysteries, concerning the function of all 'master-key' antibodies capable of binding with numerous proteins, may emerge from a Weizmann Institiute of Science study reported the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study provides a scientific basis for a theory explaining the role of these antibodies.

Neighborhoods And Violent Crime: A Multilevel Study Of Collective Efficacy
The Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods found that the quality of relationships between neighbors is an important factor in producing the safety and security of a neighborhood.

Yale Breakthrough In Destroying Drug-Resistant Bacteria Focuses On Thwarting Genes That Cause Resistance
New Haven, CT - Yale University biologists for the first time have succeeded in preventing the expression of genes that make bacteria resistant to two widely used antibiotics -- chloramphenical and ampicillin -- thus restoring the bacteria's sensitivity to the antibiotics in laboratory cultures.

DNA Won't Carry Electrons Very Far
Hopes that DNA might be useful as a molecular wire are ill-founded, according to research by Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory scientists, published today in Science magazine.

Ultrasound Helps Pediatric Heart Surgeons After Open Heart Surgery
Transcranial Doppler ultrasound is giving doctors a new tool for monitoring the brain during open-heart surgery in children. By monitoring the patient, doctors can determine if action is needed, such as drugs, to protect the brain without waiting until the end of surgery.

Combination Of Interventions Are Found To Be Most Effective In Improving Driving Behavior Among Teenagers
New research examining the literature on what works in changing driving behavior found that educating youths about good driving behavior and traffic safety is not enough to change bad driving. The threat of severe penalties is also needed to keep teenagers safe behind the wheel, according to a review of over 54 studies. These findings will be presented at the 105th American Psychological Association's (APA) Annual Convention in Chicago.

Speedy Land Travelers Or Seagoing Sailors?Temple Archaeologist Investigates Earliest Americans
Were the first Americans coastal sailors or speedy bands of land-bound hunters? Temple University archaeologist Anthony Ranere believes that the archaeology profession may have prematurely jettisoned the ³late entry, fast movement model,² in which ancient hunters raced to the tip of South America in only 1,300 years.

Oak Regeneration In Some Ohio Forests Is Failing, Researchers Find
Oak trees in some Southeastern Ohio forests are failing to reproduce on their own, even in fertile areas, according to an Ohio University study. This could mean that without human intervention, oak-dominated forests in the area may be overtaken by different tree species, an ecological change unprecedented in modern times.

Actuaries Hold First Ever Career Fair
The first Actuarial Career Information Fair for high school and college students and educators will be Monday, Oct. 27, 1997.

Ultrasound Detects Pathology In Patients With Whiplash
Researchers believe they have a new cost-effective imaging technique for evaluating patients with whiplash ­ which doctors call post-traumatic neck pain ­ and low back pain.

Study Shows That Educational Software Doesn't Make The Grade
An evaluation of educational software designed for use by children during their first five years of school has given poor grades to software designers and vendors. A team of 40 teachers evaluated more than 400 software packages intended for use in social studies, language arts, science and math instruction. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to