Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2000)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2000

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons receives $2.4 Million grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) has been awarded $2.4 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The grant will enable Columbia to find new ways to combine basic biomedical research with clinical treatment of patients by augmenting its efforts in systems biology.

Low levels of salivary cortisol associated with aggressive behavior
Low salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with early onset and persistence of aggressive behavior. Boys with consistently low levels began antisocial acts younger, exhibited three times as many symptoms of conduct disorder, and were three times as likely to be named by their classmates as

The star splitter: Microlensing technique pioneered by NSF researchers finds black holes
Two international teams of astronomers supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently used another

Emory treats bladder problems using new nerve stimulation procedure
Physicians in the Emory University Continence Center are offering patients new hope for solving severe problems of urinary control that have not responded favorably to more traditional therapy options, including pelvic muscle exercises and medications. The new therapy, called InterStim, sends mild electrical impulses to the sacral nerves in the lower back that control bladder function.

Spontaneous movements often occur after brain death
Many brain-dead patients have spontaneous movements such as jerking of fingers or bending of toes that can be disturbing to family members and health care professionals and even cause them to question the brain-death diagnosis. These movements occur in 39 percent of brain-dead patients, according to a study published in the January 11 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Rapid size change in introduced fruit fly indicates it is evolving as it invades North America
New evidence stemming from the accidental introduction into the Americas of an Old World fruit fly, which has exhibited one of the fastest evolutionary changes ever recorded, is boosting the perception that evolution may be part of strategy used by invading species.

Chemical probe reveals ultrafast movements of DNA proteins
The strands of compounds making up the DNA molecule vibrate, stretch, and swing to and fro in tiny movements that last only a fraction of a second. While scientists suspected that DNA could move this way, the technology didn't exist to confirm their suspicions until now.

University of New Orleans launches Quest
Is New Orleans the next Atlantis? The environment triumphs in the war against corrosion? New Orleans be an information technology leader in the 21st century? With the launch of Quest: A journal of research, technology and scholarly activity at the University of New Orleans, these questions will be addressed and much more.

School violence: Frustration is a key factor
America's current nightmare, school violence, can be curtailed more successfully, UC graduate student Stephen Haas says. Recent research by Haas strongly suggests he has found a tool that can make it happen.

Astronomers use Hubble telescope to further Hubble's research
Seventy-five years after Edwin Hubble demonstrated that the universe extended beyond the Milky Way, three University of Washington astronomers using the telescope that bears his name have made some surprising discoveries about one object of his research.

Side effects of prostate cancer surgery far less when performed by specialist
Many men with prostate cancer may endanger their lives by avoiding prostate removal, unwilling to deal with the surgery's reported side effects. Now, in a study reported in the January issue of Urology, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that when patients seek out a surgeon highly experienced in the procedure, they are far more likely to remain continent and potent than if their operations were done by a less experienced doctor.

NASA announces research grants in microgravity materials science
NASA has selected 65 researchers to receive grants totaling approximately $22 million over four years to conduct microgravity materials science research on Earth and in space. This research offers investigators the opportunity to use a microgravity or low-gravity environment to enhance the understanding of fundamental physical and chemical processes associated with materials science.

Researchers find new mechanism for growing new blood vessels
Cardiology researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have discovered a potentially more potent way to grow new blood vessels in the heart to bypass clogged arteries. The findings may have potential applications in treating coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.

UMass engineering student redesigns deodorant casing; wins national contest
University of Massachusetts engineering student Nathaniel Mulcahy redesigned the Mennen Speed Stick. His

Eating disorders continue to increase in young females
The incidence of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa continues to increase in young females, according to recent data from Mayo Clinic

Clinton to unveil science roadmap
In a major speech today at the California Institute of Technology, President Clinton is expected to unveil his science and technology initiatives. The new century's great innovations will undoubtedly be the result of what scientists have been doing for hundreds of years, asking questions about our world.

Testing gives glimpse of future learning problems, study says
Parents fear their prematurely born baby will have serious learning or behavioral problem down the road. But a specific test used to gauge developmental abilities -- sometimes given to children before they enter school - may offer an idea of whether or not their child is at risk for future problems.

Transgenic fish could threaten wild populations
Purdue University researchers have found that releasing a transgenic fish to the wild could damage native populations even to the point of extinction.

World Summit Against Cancer in the New Millennium
To address the growing public health problem of cancer, an international group of government officials, leading researchers and patient advocates commit to the prevention and treatment of cancer - the signing of The Charter of Paris against Cancer during the World Summit Against Cancer in the New Millennium. Signatories include Jacques Chirac, president of the Republic of France; Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel; and Richard Klausner, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute, U.S. NIH.

Environmental Health Institutes' centers to breed mice with human-like gene variants
To help learn more about how human bodies repair their environment-damaged DNA and control their cells' life cycles, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will fund up to five research centers to develop and breed mice with genetic variations that are more like humans' in these regards. The Centers will provide the special, mutant mice for scientists throughout the National Institues of Health, of which NIEHS is a part, and to other research programs as well.

Size of brain linked to violence
Men who are most prone to rage and violence have significant deficiencies in a brain region that enables most people to learn moral sensibilities, University of Southern California researchers led by psychopathologist Adrian Raine have shown in a study published in the Feb. 1 Archives of General Psychiatry.

2000 Ocean Science Lecture Series
Harbor Branch will host a series of ten (10) Ocean Science Lectures, beginning Thursday, January 20, 2000 and continuing every Thursday evening until March 23, 2000. This series has been developed to share with the community the diversity of expertise and exciting research activities currently underway at Harbor Branch. The lectures will feature Harbor Branch scientists, researchers and support staff as they present the most recent findings from their various programs.

Cocaine goes straight to the heart
The fashion for snorting cocaine may be causing a wave of heart disease among young people. Researchers in Michigan have discovered that the drug activates part of the immune system to destroy cells in healthy cardiac tissue.

Professors' model outperforms movie screen exhibitors at box office
Three professors' mathematical model for choosing films can do between 30 % and 120 % better at the box office than movie exhibitors' own choices, according to a study in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMSĀ®).

2000 Ocean Sciences Meeting: Information for media representatives
The 2000 Ocean Sciences Meeting, sponsored by AGU and ASLO, will take place January 24-28 at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Traumatic stress disorder, dementia linked in WWII vets
For World War II and Korean War veterans who develop dementia as they age, there's a risk that painful war memories may be unlocked, triggering violent episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports Dr. Deirdre Johnston of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in January's issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Heat can help maintain muscle mass in immobilized limbs, study shows
Heat therapy can reduce the amount of muscle lost during limb immobilization, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Florida and Juntendo University in Japan. The study has broad implications for people who must have their limbs immobilized because of bone injury or during bed rest as well as for astronauts, whose muscles often atrophy in the weightlessness of space.

Black breast cancer patients given appropriate treatment do as well as whites, finds University of Pittsburgh researcher
Blacks and whites with same-stage breast cancer see similar outcomes when their treatment is appropriate for their conditions, suggesting that physiological responses to treatments are not responsible for poorer outcomes among blacks. Thus says a University of Pittsburgh researcher in a paper published this week by the American Cancer Society.

European action needed to ensure children receive appropriately tested medicines
Children in Europe are being denied the same rights as adults in relation to receiving treatment with drugs that have been fully tested, report a team of European researchers in this week's BMJ.

Prions are modular
In complimentary papers coming out in Science and Molecular Cell, researchers at the University of Chicago describe how prions--proteins that can exist in two different conformations and can pass their particular conformation from one generation to the next without any change in DNA--are modular. This discovery may convert these esoteric proteins into one of the most valuable tools in modern molecular biology.

Secret language of pre-teens focus on idealized goals
Young girls internalize the language of teen magazines but find it too embarrassing to say aloud, says a professor of semiotics and communications theory at the University of Toronto's Victoria College.

Cooperation, not competition, to usher in new era of federally funded cancer research
In the new millennium, cooperation rather than keen-eyed competition may signal a new era of federally funded research for the nation's top scientists who develop and study mouse models of cancer. Such models have revolutionized the ability to probe mammalian biology and human disease.

Dartmouth research offers clues to new anti-microbial treatments
The race to stay ahead of bacteria that develop resistance to frequently used antibiotics may be paying off. Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) researchers have discovered how to block a pathway many bacteria use to infect organisms.

UM researchers discover 'key' to blood-brain barrier
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have identified a receptor in the human brain that regulates the interface between the bloodstream and the brain, which is known as the blood-brain barrier. This breakthrough could lead to a better understanding of this nearly impenetrable barrier and to treatment of diseases that affect the brain.

New technique to help astronomers deal with wealth of data
New telescopes are giving cosmologists Both their fondest wish and a new dilemma: they can measure the shapes, sizes, and colors of millions of galaxies in our corner of the universe, but how do they make sense of all that new data? Ohio State astronomers are helping answer that question.

Fetal and birth complications increase mental illness risks
New mental illness research offers bold insights into mental health risks associated with fetal and birth complications according to several papers published in the February 2000 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

A crucial protein prevents miscarriages in mice
A mother's immune system must be kept in check so that it does not attack her baby, which contains foreign genetic material. Yet no comprehensive explanation has emerged about how this process, called fetomaternal tolerance, occurs. A research team now has evidence that an immune system protein called Crry (complement receptor-related gene Y) is crucial for fetomaternal tolerance in mice.

Awareness, quick action key to battling canine bacterial disease
Saving the life of a dog with Canine Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome requires quick action by the pet owner and awareness of the disease by the attending veterinarian. The course of the disease from initial recognition of disease to death can be as short as six hours.

'Roadmap' to guide U.S. photovoltaics industry in 21st century
Solar-cell manufacturers and suppliers see photovoltaics (PV) producing at least 15 percent of the additional electrical power the United States will need in 2020. But how will the industry bring down costs, overcome market barriers, increase production and accelerate research and development? The recently released Report of the PV Industry Roadmap Workshop provides a guide.

Gene mutation alters feeding behavior
A tiny transparent worm has enabled the first complete description of the biochemical steps leading from a genetic mutation to a change in behavior, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas investigators reported in the December 24th issue of Science.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine launches major research initiative
Wake Forest University School of Medicine will hire more than 60 new faculty members in five research areas and strengthen its support of other research efforts as part of a $67 million initiative to build on its longstanding research tradition and create a research engine for economic growth

UNC-CH biologists identify new order of marine fungi
Jan Kohlmeyer, professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has now identified a new order of fungi.

Planet search results suggest our solar system may be uncommon
Could many other stars have planetary systems like ours? The answer may not please those who believe such planetary systems are required for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence.

UNC-CH researchers to comb N.C. mountains for iron problem chiefly affecting Scots, Irish
Low-income people in western North Carolina will be tested over the next two years for hemochromatosis, the most common genetic illness in North America, through a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public service and research effort.

ESL classes may help deliver public health messages
A potentially effective way for recent US immigrants to learn about heart disease prevention may be in the English-as-a- second-language (ESL) classroom environment, according to a study that focused on San Diego, CA-based Latino immigrants.

University of Pittsburgh-led team finds biological reason for women's increased risk of smoking-related lung cancer
A gene for a protein that fuels lung cancer growth is more active in women than in men, and nicotine induces activity of this gene, according to a University of Pittsburgh-led team whose report is published in the Jan. 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Chandra images the seething cauldron of starburst galaxy
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has imaged the core of the nearest starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). The observatory has revealed a seething cauldron of exploding stars, neutron stars, black holes, 100 million degree gas, and a powerful galactic wind.

Modern-day butterflies 'invented' by bats
The evolutionary development of modern-day butterflies was so profoundly influenced by insect-eating bats that they could be credited with

Road dust: Rural vehicles emit more pollutants than urban ones
So much for fresh country air. An environmental engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has tested an urban and rural site for vehicular air pollutants, including road dust, and has found that rural vehicles meit more pollutant per mile travelled than urban ones.

Computer conflicts needn't lead to disaster
Hal, the infamous killer supercomputer from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, may not have gone mad had it been fitted with a new system to help bickering computer programs resolve their differences. The

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