Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 1998)

Science news and science current events archive August, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 1998

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cereal Lessens Colon Cancer Risk
Processing wheat bran in cereals by a method called extrusion processing increased the bran's cancer-fighting potential - when compared to raw wheat bran and flaked cereals - in a study with laboratory rats conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of California.

Inexpensive Photochromic Material May Help Next Generation Of Energy-Efficient Windows
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have discovered an inexpensive material that changes color on exposure to light. The material may help the effort to develop a next generation of energy-efficient windows that switch from transparent to opaque spontaneously.

Virus Linked To Causing Enlarged Hearts In Children With Certain Genetic Makeup
A certain virus may make the body turn against itself in some children, leading to development of an enlarged heart, say scientists. Researchers already know that inflammation can lead to idiopathic (cause unknown) dilated cardiomyopathy, but there has been uncertainty about the way the virus causes this sometimes fatal disease.

Study Finds Shorter Period Of Drug Therapy Is Effective In Treating Stomach Ulcers Caused By H. Pylori
Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have found a 10-day course of treatment is effective in eradicating Helicobacter pylori, which causes 90 percent of stomach ulcers. Current commonly prescribed treatments range from 14 to 28 days. The shorter treatment period reduces costs and should improve patient compliance.

Crack Addicts Travel Long Downward Spiral
Homeless crack cocaine addicts, especially African-American, faced early abuse and violence, leading to progressively unstable adult lives, says researchers from Penn State and Temple University.

Hopkins Study Shows Languishing Addictions Drug Really Works
A longer-acting alternative to methadone that never quite caught on following its FDA approval in 1993 may now greatly increase the number of addicts who stick with treatment, thanks to a new Johns Hopkins study.

Sturgeon, Trout And Telemetry--USGS Research Mixes Science And Technology At American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting
From safe dam passage for sturgeon to a long-term study of the Eastern striped bass, USGS scientists will present a wide range of fisheries research at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society, at the Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut, August 23-27, 1998.

Annulments Given At Higher Rate In Countries With Religious Competition
SAN FRANCISCO - In countries where Catholics make up less than 50 precent of the population, significantly more marriage annulments are granted than in countries where the Catholic church dominates, says a new study to be presented August 24 at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association by Melissa Wilde of the UC-Berkeley Sociology department.

Cedars-Sinai Medical News Tips
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Top Tips
  • Diabetes & Drug Accutane Block Breast Cancer Cell Growth
  • New Brain Tumor Support Group Offers Monthly Updates on New Treatment Options plus Psychological Support
  • Clinical Trials Offer New Option for Angina Pain Sufferers
  • Delicate Skull Base Brain Surgery Can Give New Lease on Life
  • Babies with Crossed Eyes Sought for Nationwide Congenital Esotropia Study

How Low (Fat) Should You Go To Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease?
Eating a low-fat diet has been shown to reduce some risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke, but reducing fat in the diet to very low levels may not provide any additional benefit, according to a new statement from the American Heart Association.

New Research: Children Inhale Higher Percentage Of Pollution
Children inhale more airborne particles for their size than either adolescents or adults, according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

NASA, NOAA Team Seeks Secret Of Hurricanes' Power
Specially equipped NASA aircraft soon will take to the skies -- collecting high-altitude information about Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms. The Convection and Moisture Experiment (CAMEX) mission, which begins today from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, is a joint NASA/NOAA research activity with an aim to better understand and improve ground- based predictions of hurricanes and tropical storms.

Russian Queens Bee-Little Mites' Impact
Federal scientists hope to establish a Russian dynasty throughout the United States--one populated by the progeny of Asian-hatched honeybees, renowned for their resistance to mites.

Current Trends In Chemical Employment Explored By Industry Experts
How are changing corporate conditions affecting staffing, skills and training in the chemical industry? How will corporate mergers and restructuring affect the relationship between senior managers and mid-level employees? How broad should a researcher's knowledge base be to flourish in a changing and unpredictable work environment?

How Can The Benefits Of Breast Cancer Screening Be Extended?
In the UK the NHS breast screening programme, introduced in 1988, currently provides mammography for women aged 50-64 years every three years. But what if they were screened more often and what if the programme was extended to women of 69 years of age and would they turn up for further screens? These questions are tackled in a study by Rob Boer from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and colleagues from the UK and Dr. Linda Garvican from the South East Institute of Public Health in Kent.

Chronically Ill Children Face Adjustment Difficulties
Children who have a chronic illness are more likely than healthy children to show signs of poor adjustment, such as hostility or withdrawal, regardless whether their illness is physical or mental. Adjustment problems persist, researchers say, despite changes in medical care and educational opportunities for children with chronic conditions in the past two decades.

Teamwork, New Technology Now Helping Doctors 'Gang-Tackle' Skin Cancer Threat
Like successful defensive players on a football field, physicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are gang-tackling a tough opponent - skin cancer. And, like aerial reconnaissance experts studying enemy ground movements, they also are using new digital photography technology to track changes in skin so that moles don't turn into a mountain of problems for patients.

Tall Tot Today, Bully Tomorrow?
When it comes to predicting which toddlers are the school- yard bullies of tomorrow, size does matter, according to a new study.

Tiny Bubbles Help Researchers See Inside Blood Vessels
Hawaiian crooner Don Ho's

Sugar, Spice And Worries -- Rumination Tied To Gender Differences In Depression Rates In Adolescents
Adolescent girls, in contrast with boys, have a lot on their minds - their looks, their friends, personal problems, romantic relationships, their families and more. On the other hand, the only thing that boys worry about more than girls is succeeding in sports or other activities. These gender differences in worrying or rumination may be one of the reasons that by age 18 females have twice the rate of depression as males.

Colorado State's Last Seasonal Hurricane Forecast Update For 1998 Calls For Near-Normal Number Of Named Storms, Hurricanes
Colorado State University's hurricane research team, led by William Gray, professor of atmospheric sciences, issued a final update for the 1998 season August 6 that calls for a

Female Hormone, Estrogen, May Be Weapon Against Stroke
For the first time researchers have shown that estrogen -- a hormone that may protect women from heart disease -- also may be a weapon for both men and women against stroke. Researchers say the results of the study, conducted in rats, support the possibility that estrogen given shortly after a stroke may help reduce brain damage in both men and women.

Study Pinpoints Rare Molecular 'Transitions' As Possible Cause Of Skin 'Photoaging'
Experimenting with lasers, a biophysical chemistry team now at Duke University has discovered rare, hard-to-detect interactions between skin molecules and sunlight that eventually could cause the uncomplimentary changes characteristic of

Do Patients Need A Bill Of Rights? Will Lawsuits Improve Health Care?
Managed care is shaping up to be a hot issue in this fall's congressional elections. Contact these University of Michigan researchers for accurate information and informed opinion on cost and quality issues related to managed care.

Red Wine Consumption And Heart Disease
To test the protective effect of wine on the heart, volunteers were fed three drinks per day of red or white wine or an equivalent amount of phenolic extract from red wine for two weeks. Low density lipoprotein resisted oxidation in the red wine or phenolic group but not in white wine drinkers. Accompanying editorial (Waterhouse et al) points out that the protective mechanism remains conjectural.

Study Captures Images Of Memories Being Formed Within The Human Brain
The birth of a memory -- the split second when the human brain encodes an event for future reference -- has been captured through sophisticated neuroimaging and used to predict accurately whether a specific experience will later be remembered or forgotten, according to research published August 21 in Science.

Should Doctors Perform An Elective Caesarean Section On Request?
Rates of Caesarean section are rising and mothers' requests for elective Caesarean section in an uncomplicated pregnancy are common. Performing a Caesarean section when it is not clinically indicated has traditionally been considered inappropriate but views may be changing, as reported by Sara Paterson-Brown from Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London and Olubusola Amu and colleagues from Leicester General Hospital.

Centrifugally Launched Ball Bearings Could Propel Spacecraft
Small ball bearings, slung from orbiting centrifuges, could one day be used to boost satellites into higher orbits, launch spacecraft to distant planets, or slow satellites and returning space probes for safe re-entry into the atmosphere, say researchers at the University of Illinois.

Paper Wasp Queens Wait To Hijack Or Adopt
A Cornell researcher has found that certain female paper wasps (Polistes dominulus)

The 1848 Public Health Act And Its Relevance To Improving Public Health In England Now
1998 is the 150th anniversary of the Public Health Act. Chief Medical Officer, Sir Kenneth Calman, reflects on today's public health challenges. He argues that the public are allies of the medical professions, not enemies, but doctors need to communicate with the public more effectively, especially about risk and uncertainty.

Scientists Discover How Bacteria Protect Themselves Against Immune System
Scientists at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati have discovered a major mechanism by which bacteria protect themselves against the human immune response - a discovery that opens the door for development of a new class of antibiotics to fight infection.

Two Modes Of Aging Discovered In Fruit Flies
Balancing the need to survive with the need to reproduce, female Mediterranean fruit flies appear to age in two distinct modes, depending on the availability of food, reports a team of researchers led by UC Davis insect demographer James Carey. The study suggests reproduction may be a pacemaker of aging.

Media Briefing On "Survey 2000": Sociology Meets The Internet
A media briefing on Survey 2000, an unprecedented effort to collect original social-scientific data over the Internet, will be held during the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association on August 24th at 3 PM. Survey 2000, a collaboration between National Geographic and a team of distinguished sociologists, will generate a snapshot of life on Earth at the end of a long century.

International Study Finds Statins Raise Good Cholesterol, Wake Forest Physician Reports
A new international study shows a class of drugs known as statins raises levels of the good cholesterol, John R. Crouse III, M.D., reported in a presentation today to the European Society of Cardiology in Vienna.

Educational Programs May Not Reduce Risk Of Sexual Assault
Educational programs intended to reduce women's risk of sexual assault may not be very effective. Researchers followed 54 women seven months after they participated in a short sexual assault education program. The women were equally likely to experience sexual assault after participating in the program as women who didn't participate.

UCSF Researchers Identify Molecule Involved In Early Stage Of Atherosclerosis In Mice
University of California San Francisco researchers have demonstrated in genetically engineered mice that a molecule known as MCP-1 plays a key role in promoting the migration of white blood cells into the lining of arteries, an event that ultimately leads to atherosclerosis.

University of Florida Research Shows Zinc Triggers Body's Defenses
Summer cold sufferers take heart: A new University of Florida study offers new evidence that zinc -- the latest rage in cold remedies -- may provide immediate protection against disease.

Chemistry In Sports
Chemistry steps to the plate during the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, being held here August 23-27, as top professionals in both chemistry and sports discuss the special bonds that unite the two fields.

New Tests Show
A motor fuel made from corn, paper, wood chips and other biomass waste products produces significantly fewer noxious emissions, according to just released test results, and is being proposed by the Department of Energy to be added to its list of officially recognized alternative fuels.

American Heart Association Journals Go Online
With the debut of its new World Wide Web (www) site, medical news from the American Heart Association will be more accessible than ever. The site, AHA Journals Online (, which goes online August 11, provides full text and graphics for the five AHA journals.

Enzyme's Structure Yields Blueprint For Antibiotic Resistance
A team of biologists has determined the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme that allows certain bacteria to resist the killing effects of the antibiotic gentamicin. The structure is also shared by a number of proteins involved in basic biological processes, including circadian rhythms and gene regulation.

AHA Comment: "Randomized Trial Of Estrogen Plus Progestin For Secondary Prevention Of Coronary Heart Disease In Postmenopausal Women
The JAMA paper reports on the HERS study, designed to determine whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) reduces risk for non-fatal heart attack or death from coronary heart disease in post-menopausal women with established heart disease.

Sunlight Poses Universal Cataract Risk
Exposure to sunlight increases risk of getting cataracts, according to a Johns Hopkins study.

Program Helpful In Reducing Sexual Assault, Study Finds
Studies of a three-hour sexual assault risk-reduction program developed at Ohio University suggest it may help reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

Chemistry Goes To Any Links: The Scientific Search For A Better Golf Ball
Chemist Tom Kennedy is pretty much your typical weekend golfer. He carries about an 18 handicap, doesn't get much time to practice, and is always on the lookout for a ball that will give him a few extra yards. But there's one thing that sets Kennedy apart from the rest of the world's hackers: If he isn't satisfied with the ball he's using, he'll simply make another one. 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