Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2001)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2001.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2001

How worlds collide: Geophysicists revive the great plate debate
What drives tectonic plate movement? At the

Wake Forest professor to evaluate managed care patient protection laws
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a $583,964 grant to Wake Forest University School of Medicine to support an evaluation of managed care patient protection laws, under the direction of Mark A. Hall, J.D.

Astronomers discover more than 150 rapidly moving stars in the Milky Way
Astronomers have found 154 rapidly moving stars towards the center of our galaxy and our brightest neighboring galaxy. The findings are being presented today by Dr. Andrew J. Drake of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the Massive Compact Halo Objects (MACHO) collaboration, during the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, Calif.

Substantial increase in childhood obesity since 1984
The prevalence of obesity in children is low, but it has increased substantially since 1984, according to a study in this week's BMJ.

New O.R. model tackles conflicting demands of Section 8 housing, communities
A new operations research model helps planners resolve the conflicting demands of Section 8 housing families and host communities by developing a variety of alternate relocation plans, according to a study published in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMSĀ®).

Genome project finds the 'triggers' for E. coli illness
The newly completed genomic sequence of E. coli O157:H7 reveals how these potentially deadly bacteria are armed with a surprisingly wide range of genes that may trigger illness.

Energy density: a new way to look at food
Just in time for New Year's resolutions, a new book from Mayo Clinic is available to help potential dieters stay on track. The book, Mayo Clinic on Healthy Weight, recommends paying close attention to the

Gene therapy for muscular dystrophy
In a study of Muscular Dystrophy, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that a common delivery system used in treating the disease through gene therapy may trigger an immune response in mice unless it is used in combination with a muscle-specific promoter that localizes the expression of genetic material. In their published findings, the Penn researchers state that it is

NASA second generation reusable rocket program opens its doors at Marshall Center
NASA has created a new program office to lead its effort to enable development of a new reusable launch vehicle for flight in 2010 that will be dramatically safer and less expensive than today's rockets.

Not seeing is believing when it comes to event horizon evidence
NASA's two Great Observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, have independently provided what could be the best direct evidence yet for the existence of an event horizon, the defining feature of a black hole and one of the most bizarre astrophysical concepts in nature.

As the grasslands change and disappear, what happens to the birds?
A new study examines how the changing landscapes of the Great Plains are affecting birds living in and migrating through the region.

Study shows nitrous oxide reduces children's anxiety and pain during suturing
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is more effective in sedating young children during facial suturing than the more traditional use of an oral pain medication.

Idun develops new drug screen for treatments of stroke, heart attack, and cancer
Idun described the recreation of a biological reaction that occurs in human cells and is part of the apoptosis pathway. This assay is being used to help understand the mechanism of apoptosis at the molecular level. This development was presented at the Molecular Mechanisms of Apoptosis Meeting in Keystone, Colorado.

Novel larynx organ preservation surgery
University of Pennsylvania study conclusively demonstrates the existence of a valid and effective alternative to the drastic procedure of total larynx removal. This partial voice box resection procedure can be just as effective as a total Larynx removal, with significant improvement to a patients quality of life and needs to be presented as an option to suffers of Larynx cancer

First human circadian rhythm gene identified
HHMI researchers exploring the genetic basis of a rare syndrome that causes people to fall asleep and awaken earlier than normal have pinpointed the first human gene that controls circadian rhythm. The finding links the human circadian system and that of animal models such as Drosophila, mice and hamsters.

February media highlights: Geology and GSA today
Highlights include the relationship of gas hydrates to climate change and composition of Earth's atmosphere, possible chaos regions on Io, new understanding of the intraplate seismicity of the New Madrid area of the eastern U.S., submarine growth and internal structure of ocean island volcanoes, and the Chengjiang Biota and exceptional preservation of fossils.

U Penn researchers combating blindness from diabetic retionopathy in local community with 4 Sight program
Program aims to promote early detection and intervention, preventing blindness in adult diabetics in researcher's own West Philadelphia neighborhood.

Don't brush off importance of children's oral health
February is National Children's Dental Health Month. The first comprehensive study on the nation's oral health released recently by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General calls dental and oral diseases a

Atomic structure identified for gene-regulating molecule: Broad implications for cancers, autoimmunity, developmental disorders
Flaws in the regulatory molecules that turn genes on and off have been linked to many serious medical conditions. Now, scientists have identified the three-dimensional atomic structure of the switching subunit of one of the most common of these regulatory molecules, implicated in cancers, autoimmune dysfunction, and a mental-retardation syndrome.

New protein thwarts HIV attachment
HHMI researchers have synthesized a protein that jams the

Convenience is key in contact lens choice
Patients wearing contact lenses overwhelmingly prefer disposable extended-wear contacts to disposable daily-wear lenses. Fifty patients compared the two modes of contact lens wear. Twice as many patients (31, or 65 percent) preferred the disposable extended wear lenses, compared to those who (17, or 35 percent) favored the daily disposable contacts.

Penn's Head Injury Center receives $110,000 NFL charities grant to study long-term effects of concussions
Physical contact is a part of every football game, but few things can sideline an otherwise healthy athlete faster than a concussion. To study the long-term effects of concussions, NFL Charities has awarded a $110, 000 grant to the Head Injury Center of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.

Tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention has no heart-related effects
The breast cancer prevention drug, tamoxifen, does not influence cardiovascular risk in healthy women or in women with coronary heart disease, according to a study published in the Jan. 3 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Chandra reveals the X-ray glint in the Cat's Eye
Scientists have discovered a glowing bubble of hot gas and an unexpected X-ray bright central star within the planetary nebula known as the Cat's Eye using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The new results, presented today at the American Astronomical Society meeting, provide insight into the ways that stars like our Sun end their lives.

Risk for Alzheimer's disease in African-American and Caribbean Hispanic seniors is twice that of whites
Researchers at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute have found that the risk for developing Alzheimer's is elevated in African-Americans and Caribbean Hispanics. This increased risk remained even when researchers took into account the subjects' history of stroke, hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes, as well as level of education or literacy, which the researchers previously found to be associated with Alzheimer's.

Terascale computing system comes on-line
The new Terascale Computing System (TCS) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has begun operation well ahead of schedule and is exceeding performance expectations. When NSF last August selected the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) as the TCS site, the agreement called for the system's first components to be operational by February 1, 2001.

NSF grant extends support for interconnecting national research networks
The National Science Foundation has awarded $2.5 million dollars to the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR) to continue technical, engineering and traffic analysis support to the high-performance networking and applications communities. The grant extends by one year NLANR's original three year cooperative agreement to support universities and institutions in connecting to the nation's research networks.

NEAR Shoemaker primed for final weeks in orbit
The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft -- the first to orbit an asteroid -- embarks on a series of low-altitude passes over 433 Eros this month in a prelude to its daring February descent to the surface of the rotating, 21-mile-long space rock.

UNC-CH study indicates special vaccines could prevent insulin-dependent diabetes
Results of a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill medical study suggest that vaccines can be made using plasmid DNA that would inhibit development of insulin-dependent diabetes, a growing health threat in the United States.

Georgetown researchers present findings at two-day conference on Gulf War illnesses
Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center will present findings of their research on Gulf War illnesses at the

Texas A&M geologist seeks ways to squeeze more oil from mature fields
When he says

Former American Astronomical Society president, Frank Shu, awarded Dannie Heinemann Prize
Frank Shu has been awarded the 2000 Dannie Heinemann Prize for Astrophysics. The award was presented this morning at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers taking place in San Diego.

Hubble's ultraviolet views of nearby galaxies yield clues to early universe
Astronomers are using these three Hubble telescope images of nearby galaxies to help tackle the question of why their distant relatives have such odd shapes, appearing markedly different from the typical

Scientists identify gene for the leading form of dwarfism
After a 10-year search, scientists have identified the gene responsible for the most common form of dwarfism. The finding should enable doctors to identify carriers of the genetic mutations, may lead to a better understanding of dwarfism generally, and may someday lead to a treatment for the disease.

National study to assess impact of anti-seizure medications on unborn children
About 24,000 children in the United States are born each year to women with epilepsy and the vast majority are fine, but a national study aims to further level the playing field. Researchers want to know if the medicines the mothers-to-be must take to control seizures have a negative, lasting impact on their babies' developing brains.

LabNotes -- Research highlights from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Quarterly news tipsheet from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In this issue:
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