Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 1999)

Science news and science current events archive August, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 1999

One in seven adolescents still doesn't have health insurance
One in seven U.S. children aged 10 to 18 is not covered by health insurance. That figure has not changed in more than a decade, even though government-funded health plans now cover more children and teens.

Mosquitoes have discriminating tastes, UF researchers find
If you think mosquitoes like you better than they like other people, you're probably right, say University of Florida researchers. In a study to determine whether the tiny vampires choose their victims or feed indiscriminately, UF entomologist Jerry Butler and research assistant Karen McKenzie found that mosquitoes do, indeed, choose.

Screening and intervention for domestic violence lags behind need
Hundreds of women in California who experience domestic violence are not getting the attention they need from their primary care physicians, according to a study released by the University of California, San Francisco.

Cedars-Sinai is first site in California offering LDL apheresis to treat severehypercholesterolemia
While the majority of patients with extremely high LDL cholesterol (also called

'Hard' NP-complete computer problems explained
A group of physicists and computer scientists has shown that some computer problems which take far too long to solve contain abrupt mathematical 'phase transitions' similar to those occurring in statistical physics. The work could lead to ways to shorten computing time on difficult scheduling and search problems.

Proposed security restrictions would restrict scientific discovery
Tighter restrictions in the wake of alleged security breaches at the nation's laboratories could jeopardize the free exchange of scientific information. The AAAS Board of Directors has adopted a resolution that reiterates the organization's position to safeguard open communications among the world's scientific communities.

Among Puerto Ricans, immigrant status overrated as barrier to adequate prenatal care
Contrary to common perceptions, psychological factors, rather than the liabilities of migration from Puerto Rico, bar Puerto Rican women living in the United States from access to adequate prenatal health care, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

Donation valued at $12 million: Hoechst Research & Technology donates cut resistant fiber patents to Clemson University
Hoechst Research & Technology donated patent and other intellectual property rights (valued at $12 million) for its aramid cut resistant fiber technology to Clemson University's Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films. Potential uses include improved protective garments for use by law enforcement personnel and other industrial workers.

Population shifts, not storms, have caused rise in property losses
Don't blame staggering property losses of the 1990s solely on changing weather or global warming. A review of 50 years of insurance and weather records puts the blame on the movement of an ever-growing U.S. population to the coasts and major urban areas.

Stigma of mental illness still exists
Although the American public does not view all people with mental illness uniformly, evidence of stigma toward the mentally ill remains, results of a new national survey reveal.

Mayo Clinic study reports that centenarians do well following surgery
It's not how old you are; it's how sick you are -- at least when it comes to recovery following surgery. This is the major finding of a Mayo Clinic study of 31 men and women 100 years old or older.

Scientists image key steps in bacterial infection
For the first time, scientists have obtained 3-D snapshots of crucial steps in bacterial infection. One set of X-ray images should aid in the fight against bladder infection. A second set captures a key event in kidney infection.

Drought worsens, spreads
The USGS reports that this summer's drought, already the century's third worst in the Mid-Atlantic, continues to worsen and is spreading into northeastern states, the Carolinas and west into Ohio and Indiana. Meanwhile, in the Mid-Atlantic, drinking water supplies are being threatened in some areas as salty ocean water moves upstream into normally freshwater areas

Whole-organ pancreas transplants and partial liver transplant programs arepriorities for renowned transplant surgeon at Cedars-Sinai
A functioning whole-organ pancreas transplant is the only therapy available that can reliably remove the need for insulin injections in a Type I diabetic. Implementation of a kidney/pancreas transplant program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and guiding the development of programs in partial liver transplantation for both adults and children are top priorities for Christopher R. Shackleton, M.D., who recently joined the medical staff.

Children are at greatest risk of eye damage during the eclipse
Children should be closely supervised during the eclipse as they are one of the groups most at risk of eye damage, says a consultant ophthalmic surgeon in this weekend's BMJ.

Renowned researcher in prenatal diagnostics joins Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has served as the Los Angeles area's training and quality assurance center since the

First NIH clinical trial for interstitial cystitis begins
Eight medical sites funded by the National Institutes of Health are enrolling patients for a clinical trial using the oral drugs Elmiron and Atarax for interstitial cystitis, which affects an estimated 1 million people, mostly women.

Conscientious heart patients less likely to die
Heart patients who faithfully take their prescribed medication are significantly less likely to die suddenly than those who do not -- even when that medication turns out to be a placebo, Canadian investigators report.

National award recognizes local researcher Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton of Guilford, Conn., will be honored August 24 by the world's largest scientific society for designing molecules that recognize and bind to other molecules-- in some cases, turning off cancer growth. He will receive the 1999 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society at its national meeting in New Orleans.

Factor for acquiring skin barrier function identified
Researchers at the University of Chicago have discovered a critical factor necessary for the skin to acquire its barrier function--the ability to keep water in and microbes out. Their findings, based on knockout mouse studies, provide researchers with an animal model on which to test novel therapies for premature babies whose skin has not acquired barrier function.

Psychological attributes, not physical gifts, of young athletes predict success, say coaches in a new study
In a new study examining how much psychological and physical characteristics matter in the development of young athletes, psychologist Shari Kuchenbecker, Ph.D., found that psychological factors were most important in achieving athletic success. And too much pressure and criticism were the most harmful to a young athlete's development. These findings will be presented at the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston.

Elvis of E. coli releases second food safety music CD
Who says learning about a serious subject, such as food safety, can't be fun? Certainly not Carl K. Winter, Ph.D., also known as the

Landmark obesity study
Scientists at Denver's Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation report a novel method for treating obesity in mice that could lead to treatments for overweight people. Published in Nature Medicine, the finding is a dramatic new approach focusing on fat storage rather than on controlling appetite.

Even in the Amazon jungles, treatment for heat exhaustion is the same as it is right here at home
Whether you plan to trek through the Peruvian Amazon or ride a bike on a sunny day in Los Angeles, Dr. Hardy, director of the Integrative Medicine Medical Group at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, says preparing yourself ahead of time for the heat is the most important preventive measure you can take.

USGS 'put me on hold' so popular that new number is installed -- or buy it on a CD
The information that callers hear when they get put on hold after calling the U.S. Geological Survey, is so interesting that some of them are calling back and asking to be put on hold. Now they can do just that by calling 650-329-2288.

12-year-old Oregon girl is first child to receive new bone growth material in her skull
Physicians at Oregon Health Sciences University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital have applied bone morphogenic protein to huge holes in 12-yr-old Emily Lang's skull. BMP ignities a molecular and cellular process prompting the body to grow new bone structures. Emily first had BMP applied to a small hole in her skull last year. Since then 70 percent of that gap is now filled with bone. On Aug. 23 she received another dose, this time across her entire forehead.

Cigarette brand switchers more likely to quit smoking
Smokers who switch to lower tar or nicotine cigarettes for 'health reasons' are more likely to subsequently quit smoking compared with those who continue to smoke regular cigarette brands, according to researchers at the University of Memphis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Minnesota and the U.S. Air Force.

Immune molecule found to kill indirectly by closing receptor to live-saving help
Instead of killing damaged cells directly as once believed, an immune molecule works behind the scenes, shutting down receptors within neurons that normally welcome a separate life-saving protein with open arms, a team of scientists say. The discovery sheds new insight on the cross-talk of two proteins within damaged cells, suggesting a new way to approach the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Study finds parental influence still important during adolescence
New research suggests that parents continue to influence their adolescents' behavior, even as friends and schools loom larger in teens' eyes. A study at Ohio State University used a national data set to track 1,725 children for five years, beginning when they were between 11 and 17 years old.

Risk factors for stroke after heart surgery identified
A new study helps identify which individuals may have the highest risk of stroke following heart surgery. Reporting in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that heart surgery patients who had previously had a stroke faced the highest risk. They had a 14-times higher risk of having a new stroke during or after surgery.

Rescuing brain cells in stroke patients from the brink of suicide
For several days after a patient suffers a stroke, brain cells are bombarded with molecular 'pro-death' signals carrying such bad news about the brain environment that cells are tempted to commit suicide. University of Rochester scientists have enlisted an unlikely ally, the herpes virus, to help brain cells choose life.

Drug companies responded poorly to requests for information from doctors in Pakistan
Many doctors in the developing world do not receive adequate or appropriate responses when they request product information from drug companies, claim doctors from Pakistan in this week's BMJ.

USGS scientists monitor aftershocks, survey damage patterns in Turkey
Nine scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey are in Turkey to monitor aftershocks and survey damage from the 7.4 earthquake that struck western Turkey early Tuesday. The scientists work may be monitored at
Burglary rates may be down because drug trafficking is up
The sharp decline in burglary rates since 1980 is linked to a corresponding increase in drug trafficking and various kinds of fraud, according to two researchers.

Universities to compete in second annual autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) competition
This year's competition, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, will be held Aug. 6-8 at the Naval Systems Warfare Center's Coastal Systems Station in Panama City, Fla.

Cinnamon is lethal weapon against E. coli O157:H7
When cinnamon is in, Escherichia coli O157:H7 is out. That's what researchers at Kansas State University discovered in laboratory tests with cinnamon and apple juice heavily tainted with the bacteria. Presented at the Institute of Food Technologists' 1999 Annual Meeting in Chicago on July 27, the study findings revealed that cinnamon is a lethal weapon against E. coli O157:H7 and may be able to help control it in unpasteurized juices.

Meditation decreases blood pressure
Transcendental Meditation decreases blood pressure by reducing constriction of the blood vessels and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease, new research shows. Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia examined how Transcendental Meditation decreases constriction of blood vessels and effects the heart's output.

New coating could lead to safer, more convenient asthma drugs
People who suffer from asthma won't have to breathe into inhalers repeatedly throughout the day -- or worry about harmful side effects of asthma drugs -- if a new coating proves as successful in humans as it has in rats. The coating covers tiny drug particles contained in many asthma inhalers with a polymer 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Chemists' pay rises at three times the rate of the Consumer Price Index
Chemical professionals' salaries rose 4.6 percent in the past year, according to the American Chemical Society's annual survey of its members, reported in this week's issue of Chemical & Engineering News. The world's largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society includes nearly 159,000 chemical scientists in its membership.

New MIT probe gathers data for better polymers
In work that could lead to superior varieties of nylon and other commercially important polymers, MIT engineers have developed the first probe that can detect the motion of molecules in these materials as they are being stretched.

Chemists hold national meeting August 22-26
Symposia on the origin of elements in the solar system, pesticide residues in eggs, Gulf Coast environmental problems and food and chemistry in the next millenium are among topics to be discussed at the 218th national meeting August 22-26 of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Keck Foundation supports research at the edge
The Initiative for the Design of Bio-Inspired Materials, a research team comprised of University of Chicago biologists, chemists and physicists with common interests, has received a $2-million two-year grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles to explore a new direction in science, the creation of new physical materials based on biological templates.

Help with 'screamingly radioactive' storage tanks: Nonradioactive substitute created to aid nuclear waste clean-up
Synthetic goods are generally modeled on scarce but desirable materials -- diamonds, fine wools, even fruit juices. Jim Krumhansl's offering to the world is a bit different. Krumhansl has created synthetic sludge.Unappetizing, perhaps? You thought there was enough of the real thing? But the unusual product, which harmlessly mimics the deadly sludge found in underground nuclear waste storage tanks, could save U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

USGS adjusts the magnitude of Turkey earthquake
On the basis of additional data, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has updated the magnitude of the destructive earthquake that struck western Turkey early Tuesday, to 7.4.

NASA scientist to see 22 years pay off with release of first images from world's most powerful x-ray telescope
When the first images from the world's most powerful X-ray telescope are released this week, no one awaits them with greater anticipation than the scientist who's spent 22 years helping make those images possible.

Dr. Martin Weisskopf of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is the project scientist for the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

New Wake Forest study to pin down soy's active ingredient
Scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine are beginning a five-year study to determine which ingredients in soybeans are the active ones in protecting against heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoporosis.

Parental home is still most important haven for unmarried moms
Most first time, never-married mothers live with their parents, both before and after the birth of their child, but co-habitation with a male partner is on the increase, a Penn State study has shown.

Treatment for ADHD appears to reduce risk of substance abuse
Boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHDH) who are treated with medications - usually stimulant drugs like Ritalin - are one-third as likely to develop substance abuse or dependence as are boys with ADHD who receive no treatment, according to a study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

New study from researchers at University of Georgia suggests condom use sends positive message to partner
A new study by a professor of speech communication and two graduate students at the University of Georgia has shown for the first time that the use of condoms, especially in first- time sex, may lead to closer, more intimate and longer- lasting relationships.

Study reveals how brain controls eating in normal rats
From the belly to the brain: a new study by Boston researchers shows how the fat hormone leptin works in the brain to trigger the nerve cells that control eating. The study adds important details about how leptin, which is released into the blood stream from fat, may control the cognitive aspects of feeding behavior. 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