Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 1999)

Science news and science current events archive January, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 1999

Gene Therapy Incorporates Molecular Rheostat For Controlled, Long-Term Drug Delivery
Using a unique combination of innovative technologies, scientists have demonstrated the ability to introduce therapeutic genes into the body and then, further, to precisely control the activity of those genes with a drug that could be given as a simple pill.

Wake Forest University Wins $7M Grant To Study The Causes Of Alcohol Addiction
The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse of the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $7 million grant to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center to study alcohol addiction. The studies will provide insights into brain processes that lead to alcoholism.

NIAID-Supported Scientists Discover Origin Of HIV-1
NIAID-supported scientists report that they have discovered the origin of HIV-1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic. A subspecies of chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa has been identified as the original source of the virus.

More Tools May Be At Hand To Combat Global Warming
Farms, forests and grasslands around the world can play an important role in combating global warming in the 21st century by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing (sequestering) it in the soil.

UCSF Study Finds Patients Willing To Talk About Risky Behavior
A new University of California San Francisco study has found that patients are willing to discuss risky behavior with their primary care physicians and that it matters little whether they do that face-to-face or with the help of technology.

Frequent Digestion Complaints May Mean Calling In Psychiatrist
Patients who repeatedly seek treatment for digestive tract symptoms but show no evidence of organic disorder should be identified early on so the psychiatric aspects of their conditions can be examined and treated, say British researchers. They say this would result in better health prospects for the patients and better use of limited health care resources.

Research Describes Human Origins Debate Before Darwin
Common wisdom holds that Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was the spark that ignited the debate about human origins. But when Darwin's revolutionary work was published in 1859, the intellectual and spiritual controversy that colors nearly any discussion of where humans come from was already a two- decade-old phenomenon in the United States.

Experimental Antibiotic Promptly Kills Drug-Resistant Bacteria In Studies
New findings by Dr. Stephen Zinner and colleagues at Brown University suggest that the compound moxifloxacin is a potential treatment against a range of drug-resistant infectious organisms that produce serious, even deadly illnesses.

In Marital Arguments, Resignation May Have Its Reward
When husbands and wives argue, researchers have discovered, blood pressure goes up more if one spouse perceives the other as relatively dominant, but less if that spouse considers the other so clearly dominant that the argument is impossible to win or at least not worth the effort.

AGU Adopts Position On Climate Change And Greenhouse Gases
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have substantially increased as a consequence of human activity. They are expected to impact climatic change in ways that are still uncertain. AGU believes that the present level of scientific uncertainty does not justify inaction to mitigate or adapt to human- induced climate change.

Lowering The Cesarean Delivery Rate: Weighing The Risks
Four Harvard physicians are strongly recommending a moratorium on efforts to further reduce the national cesarean section delivery rate until the safety of mothers and babies can be assured. The four obstetricians suggest that economic forces, rather than the well-being of patients, may be driving the US government's goal of reducing the cesarean section rate.

Serendipity: Cell Structure Study Uncovers Taxol's Secrets
Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have learned exactly how the anti-cancer drug Taxol kills tumor cells. Their new insight into Taxol, happened upon during a study of molecular structures related to cell division, may aid researchers in developing more advanced cancer-fighting drugs.

News AIDS Vaccine Aims To Catch Virus In The Act
By tricking HIV into showing more of itself than usual, researchers have produced antibodies capable of neutralizing the many infective strains of the virus isolated from humans. This research holds promise for a new approach to developing a broadly effective vaccine against the virus that causes AIDS.

Women With Cancer Want More Control
Women with cancer want increased control and better information about their treatment options, concludes new research by David Hess, professor of anthropology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, is documented in a new book titled, Women Confront Cancer: Making Medical History by Choosing Alternative and Complementary Therapies (NYU Press), which includes a series of interviews with 21 women with cancer (mainly breast cancer.)

Adult Cells Undergo Identity Switch Reported In Science
A new study indicates that adult stem cells--previously assumed to be permanently wedded to their specialized roles in the body--can shed their identities and reinvent themselves as different types of stem cells. The findings raise the possibility that in the future adult stem cells could be used to supply a variety of new cells for important therapeutic uses.

Professor Will Connect With Students Live From China Dinosaur Site
On Thursday, Jan. 21, science students at two Indiana schools will communicate live via internet with Purdue University research Richard Hengst, who is on a scientific expeidition to a dinosaur site in southwest China.

Isolation, Anger Roads To Illness Go Through The Heart
One way that social isolation and suppressed anger can get

Despite Progress, More Action Needed To Protect Medical Students From Exposure To Disease Through Accidental Needlesticks, UCSF Study Finds
While health workers' risk of exposure to infectious disease through accidental needlesticks has been greatly reduced through comprehensive training programs and the introduction of new safety devices, a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco finds that medical students remain at high risk of exposure.

Many Middle School Boys Carry Weapons To School
Three percent of North Carolina middle school students had carried a gun onto school property and 14.1 percent had carried a knife or club to school, a research team from Brenner Children's Hospital and the Brenner Center for Child and Adolescent Health report in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Fossil Eggshells Hold Clues To Major Animal Extinctions As Reported In Science
A group of U.S. and Australian researchers have found that humans were probably responsible for a major extinction event that saw the demise of more than 85% of Australia's large animals. The cause may have been ecological disruption due to burning by the continent's early human inhabitants.

Goldberg Contestants 'Tee Up' In 1999
Purdue University students will be adding a new hazard to the game of golf in the 17th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Feb. 13. The winner of the competition will represent the university at the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, to be held at Purdue on April 10.

Major Heart Defects Can Be Identified In Fetuses By 14 Weeks Of Gestation
In fetuses, identifying increased accumulation of fluid behind the neck by ultrasound scan at 10 - 14 weeks of gestation reveals 55 per cent of major heart and artery defects, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

Foundations For A European Civil Code - Ambitious Jurisprudential Project Initiated
Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), German jurists are now embarking on the creation of foundations for a common European civil code aimed at unifying hitherto independent legal systems.

AAAS Symposium Asks, "Will New Accountability Requirements Hinder Scientific Advance?"
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A panel of scientists and research program evaluators will address the national science policy issue,

Here A Beam, There A Beam
Physicists at the California Institute of Technology recently succeeded in transporting a quantum state of light from one side of an optical bench to the other without it traveling through any physical medium in between.

Apple Browning Significantly Delayed In USDA Tests
U.S. government scientists have come up with a way to keep apples from turning brown for up to five weeks after they've been sliced or peeled. The new technique, which uses natural products and doesn't require special packaging, could eventually have a major impact on the marketability of fresh- cut fruit.

This Week's Gamma-Ray Blast Is The Latest In A 30-Year Tale Of Cosmic Discovery
Gamma Ray Bursts have puzzled scientists for over 30 years, since their discovery in 1967. With new discoveries coming at an ever-quickening pace, scientists review the history of this new branch of astrophysics and its implications for understanding our universe.

UF Researchers: Gene Therapy Replaces Critical Protein In Animal Model Of Often-Fatal Lung-Liver Disease
Using an increasingly promising tool from their gene therapy arsenal, scientists have hit on an innovative way to replace a crucial protein that protects the lungs from the destructive action of an often-fatal lung-liver disease.

UF Researcher Finds Way To Slow The Aging Process
A professor in the University of Florida's College of Health and Human Performance found that anti-oxidant intervention, which can come from taking vitamin supplements or from a steady routine of exercise, slows parts of the aging process.

From Inflammation And Autoimmunity To Nerve Regeneration And Protection
ANAHEIM, CA, January 24, 1999 -- New concepts, revealing a unique and surprising relationship between the central nervous and the immune systems, were presented today by Prof. Michal Schwartz of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Lowering Of Unrealistic Public Expectations Is Only Way To Save NHS
The demise of the NHS may lie in the mismatch between what is expected by patients and what can be provided by the health service, says Dr Richard Smith in an editorial in this week's BMJ.

Computer Matching
A group of medical researchers in Boston have developed a computer matching technique to compare two large sets of medical records with limited intrusion into patients' privacy. The authors describe their alogrithm code and its application in the January/February issue of Public Health Reports.

Walking Without Moving: Proton Diffusion In Water
Nearly 200 years after its initial conception, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart and the New York University have unravelled the so- called

New Worlds Of Order, Argentine Ants Succeed By Outnumbering The Competition
The voracious appetite of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) and their tendency to displace native ants has been well documented, but the specific mechanisms used by the insects have been unclear. Now a new study, published in the January issue of Ecology, reveals some interesting findings about these aggressive ants.

Table of Contents, Public Health Reports
The January/February issue of Public Health Reports.

Life On The Edge
NASA and educators join forces to provide a hands-on experiment for students to learn about life in extreme environments. The program begins this week at 14,249 ft.

Programmable Cells Open Window Of Opportunity For Gene Therapy
In the fast-paced world of genetics research, work conducted in Detroit has begun to unravel the mechanism that is responsible for the direction each cell takes in its development from the generic cells of the embryo to the specific cells of each tissue. The research shows that any cell can be reprogrammed and that the reprogramming is reversible.

Long Distance Truckers In India Are Spreading HIV
In this week's BMJ, researchers report that the sexual behaviour of long distance truckers in India plays a fundamental role in spreading HIV infection throughout the country.

New Findings On Lung Transplantation And Esophageal Cancer To Be Released At Society Of Thoracic Surgeons Meeting
A number of pages are being presented by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) researchers at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Thirty-Fifth Annual Meeting Monday, Jan. 25, through Wednesday, Jan. 27, in San Antonio. Following are highlights of clinical findings that will be presented.

Want To Eat Less Fat? Resolve To Read Food Labels
Do food-nutrition labels really help people choose healthier, lower-fat foods? Or does reading the

Plastic Cars - The "World Cars" Of The Future
Plastic cars that are lightweight, fully recyclable, cheap to run and extremely fuel efficient are likely to be the vehicles for the developing world. Cars similar to the Chrysler Composite Concept Vehicle (CCV), with body panels made entirely from plastic moldings are likely to become more commonplace as manufacturers seek to drive down costs and improve performance.

Serotonin May Be Better Target For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Treatment
Ritalin has long been used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers thought it worked by altering dopamine levels in the brain. Now HHMI researchers show that serotonin may be a better target than dopamine for ADHD treatment.

U.S. Scientists Get First-Hand Look At Cuba's Science Programs
Observations of the state of science in Cuba, based on discussions with Cuban scientists and U.S. scientists just back from an international scientific meeting in Havana, are reported in this week's edition of the magazine Chemical & Engineering News.

Nation's Most Highly Honored Young Researchers/Teachers Convene In Washington
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards support exceptionally promising junior faculty who are committed to the integration of research and teaching. Wishing to cultivate their professional career development, NSF places a high value on this teaching-research synthesis as integral to stimulating the discovery process enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning.

Brace Helps Knee Arthritis Sufferers Avoid Surgery, Improves Quality of Life
A leg brace can help some patients with osteoarthritis of the knee delay or even avoid costly knee replacement surgery. Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have found the device significantly decreases pain and improves mobility.

American Association Of Pharmaceutical Scientists Announces PharmSci™, The Association's First Online Journal
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) announces the launch of its new exclusively online journal, PharmSci. This electronic medium permits a new approach to scientific publishing. PharmSci will offer a forum for the rapid exchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge in the pharmaceutical sciences.

Scientists, Using Flies, Trace Genetic Links To Cancer
New research on brain tumors is demonstating the usefulness of the fly as a model in cancer research.

Chemists To Meet March 21-25 In Anaheim
The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, will hold its spring national meeting Sunday, March 21 through Thursday, March 25,in Anaheim, Calif. Findings to be discussed range from the latest research on how to treat obesity to the use of geochemicals in detecting extraterrestrial life.

Extrasolar Planets Favor Stars With Overabundance Of Heavy Elements
A three-year spectroscopic survey shows a group of stars near our solar system have a concentration of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium that is two to three times greater than other nearby stars that are like our sun, according to a University of Washington astronomer.

UNC Professor One Of 10 International Recipients Of A $1 Million McDonnell Foundation Centennial Fellowship
Dr. Keith A. Wailoo, associate professor of social medicine and history at UNC-CH, has been named one of 10 international recipients of a $1 million fellowship, which targets early career scientist-scholars for work that will contribute substantially to the development of knowledge and its responsible application in the next century. 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