Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 1997)

Science news and science current events archive July, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 1997

UB Research Improves Batteries' Performance, Could Cut Their Manufacturing Costs
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have improved the current-carrying capabilities of batteries by using thermal oxidation to change the electrochemical behavior of the form of carbon used in them. The results are being presented at the Biennial Conference on Carbon and will be reported in the journal Carbon.

Mother's Milk: Nutrition And Nurture For Infants -- And The Best Defense Against Disease
Breast-fed babies experience fewer and less serious incidences of disease and allergy than formula-fed babies. Gastrointestinal, respiratory, and middle-ear infections, in particular, are greatly reduced in breast-fed infants. In recent years, scientists have begun to explore what makes breast milk so protective for infants.

Pacific Northwest Developments Named In Top 100 List
Technologies developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have claimed three of the top 100 slots in R&D Magazine's list of the most significant innovations for the last year.

Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Proves Effective In Children
A new type of influenza vaccine given in a nasal spray is very effective at preventing the flu in healthy young children, according to results from a large multicenter study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the biopharmaceutical company Aviron.

Physical Activity Message For Parents From New Survey: No More Excuses
More than half of all children who say they don't get enough physical activity blame lack of time or homework, according to a new survey. But two out of three parents who say their youngsters don't get enough activity point to a lack of interest or competition from TV, video games, and computers as the real reasons.

Declaration On Human Genome And Human Rights
Paris, July 28 - A Draft Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights with guidelines on genetic research and practices was adopted by an inter-governmental committee at the end of a four-day meeting at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris early Saturday.

Gwynn May Top Cobb As Baseball's All-Time Hitter
Come late July, outfielder Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres could best the late, great Ty Cobb as the top hitter in baseball history. So says Dr. Michael Schell of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after investigating a baseball mystery.

Theory Supporting Radical Heart Surgery Proposed By Penn Surgeon
A mathematical model that explains the scientific basis of the Batista procedure -- a radical heart reduction surgery -- has been developed at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. This theory could help to better select appropriate candidates for the controversial procedure. It may also provide insights into heart-failure mechanics.

Stopping "Cellular Suicide" Could Boost Production In Biotech Labs
Stopping human cells from committing suicide when their environment changes is crucial to the biotechnology industry, which uses such cells to manufacture pharmaceuticals. A team of engineers and scientists at Johns Hopkins is working to disable the weapons the cells use to kill themselves.

Hopkins Testing New Uses For Improving Sight With Laser
Johns Hopkins researchers are testing a new laser operation that could do for farsighted eyeglass wearers what surgery has long offered the nearsighted: clear vision without glassess or contact lensesort

Inhibiting Cell-Death Gene May Slow ALS Progression
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital have found that a cell-death gene may play a role in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). In the July 3 Nature, they report that inhibiting the ICE cell-death gene slowed the progression of an ALS-like illness in mice.

CSIRO Discovery Fights Cell Ageing
CSIRO scientists have discovered a natural substance (beta alanyl histidine) that rejuvenates ageing human skin cells. Three new skin care products containing this substance are being launched

New Plant Mutation Produces Tap Root With Large Amounts Of Oil, Proteins, And Starch
A new mutation in Arabidopsis has been discovered that makes a tap root with large amounts of oils, proteins, and starch-- a discovery that could lead to genetically engineered plants that store commercially useful amounts of these materials. The discovery could also lead to the creation of more nutritious root crops to feed the world's burgeoning population.

Digging For Earthquake Clues In The Hayward Fault
Dr. David Schwartz of the USGS and Dr. William Lettis, of Lettis and Associates, are heading up a team of scientists from the USGS, the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company to study the soil layers in two 10- foot-deep trenches cut into the face of the northern segment of the Hayward fault.

DNA Shows Neandertals Were Not Our Ancestors
A team of U.S. and German researchers has extracted mitochondrial DNA from Neandertal bone showing that the Neandertal DNA sequence falls outside the normal variation of modern humans.

Microlithography Yields Polymers That Emit Patterns Of Light
Researchers have created the first light-emitting diode (LED) made of polymers that can be treated with everyday chemical techniques to emit distinct patterns of light. The development opens the door for the evolution of plastic LEDs from humble indicator lights on electronic devices into increasingly sharp and sophisticated displays.

How Dry Is The Tropical Free Troposphere? Implications For Global Warming Theory
In the June 1997 BAMS, scientists report the low humidity of the tropical free troposphere is playing a previously-overlooked central role in atmospheric dynamics, possibly accounting for

Colorado State Researcher Uses Natural Chemicals To Battle Major Corn Pest
Colorado State University researcher Lou Bjostad is using ingredients available at most grocery stores and a food processor to battle the corn industry's peskiest pest. Bjostad's mixtures are proving to be just as effective as man-made chemicals aimed at killing Western corn rootworm, but without toxic effects to the environment.

It May Be Baby Talk, But 'Parentese' Is An Infant's Pathway
An international study shows that infants are so good at analyzing the exaggerated form of speech called

Weather In Upper Atmosphere Can Impact Telecommunications
Local weather is of concern to builders and building designers, but few satellite designers or telecommunication engineers fully consider ionospheric weather when planning their systems, says Penn State researchers.

Half Of Ovarian Cancers Linked To More Ovulatory Cycles
A biological link between half of all ovarian cancers and the number of times a woman ovulates over her lifetime has been identified by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, suggesting that ovulation suppression has a protective effect.

C. David Allis Named Wilson Professor Of Biology
C. David Allis, an internationally recognized expert in molecular and cell biology at the University of Rochester, has been named the Marie Curran Wilson and Joseph Chamberlain Wilson Professor of Biology.

Photonics: Driving The Economy Of The Future
Industry leaders will preview new products and technologies and explore the growing importance of photonics to a wide spectrum of industries ranging from defense and telecommunications to health care and consumer products. Boston University Photonics Center, Boston, Mass. Thursday, October 23, 1997, 8 am - 4:30 pm.

Gene Therapy In Mice Delays Onset Of Lou Gehrig's Disease
Scientists studying mice genetically engineered to develop familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, have found that the human gene Bcl-2 may delay the onset of ALS. ALS is the most common motor neuron disease in humans. Currently, the only treatments for ALS are mechanical ventilation and, to a lesser extent, the drug riluzole.

U.S. Literacy: UD Educator Cites "Huge Inequalities" In Reading Performance
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Only Finnish children read better than U.S. kids--yet, too many 17-year-old minority children read at roughly the same level as the average 13-year-old white child, a University of Delaware educator reported July 10, when he urged U.S. policymakers to help correct such

Research Accelerates Toward Faster Personal Computers
The technology that makes the fastest computers so fast-- parallel processing--is starting to wend its way from the research community into personal computers, and a Purdue University engineer is helping speed that delivery with a new program, that automatically translates conventional computer programs so they can run faster.

Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine By U-M Researcher Is 93% Effective
A nasal spray influenza vaccine pioneered by Hunein F. Maassab, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, has proved 93 percent effective in a major study of 1,600 children across the country. Influenza kills 20,000 people each year in the United States alone.

Penn Researchers Prove Smoking Increases Risk Of Brain Complication
Researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, a scientific link between smoking cigarettes and cerebral blood-vessel damage. In a report to be published in the September 1997 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery, the scientists have shown that smoking increases one's risk of cerebral vasospasm following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Fact Memory Spared Despite Hippocampal Damage
Even if the brain's hippocampus is damaged by early oxygen deprivation, memory for facts is spared, researchers report in the July 18th issue of Science. Such children suffer amnesia for events, but can acquire knowledge and score average grades in school, say a British ICH / NIMH team.

Milk Extract May Heal Wounds And Smooth Wrinkles
Researchers in Australia have found that some of the chemicals found in milk may speed up the healing of wounds

NIH Scientists Identify Gene For Fatal Childhood Disorder, Niemann-Pick Type C
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified a gene alteration associated with the fatal childhood cholesterol disorder Niemann-Pick type C (NPC). Learning how the gene functions may lead to the first effective treatment for the disease and to a fundamental new understanding of how cholesterol is processed in the body

Diagnostic Test Could Cut Down On Number Of Unnecessary Angioplasty Procedures, Study Shows
A readily available, but underused, diagnostic test could help prevent unnecessary angioplasties, a procedure used to clean out blocked blood vessels to the heart, report researchers in today's Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Leading Japanese Legislator To Outline Strategies
Japan's strong support for basic research under the pressure of recent budget constraints will be the subject of a lecture by the Honorable Koji Omi, a leading member of the House of Representatives for the National Diet of Japan. The lecture is sponsored by the American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS) and the Embassy of Japan.

Protein Reverses Vascular And Nerve Damage In Diabetic Rats
A human protein may effectively prevent and even reverse cardiovascular disease in diabetics. Researchers discovered that large doses of C-peptide, a by-product of the production of insulin, repaired damaged blood vessels and nerves in diabetic rats. The study is described in the July 25, 1997, issue of Science.

Louisiana Coastal Wetland Loss Continues
New estimates of Louisiana coastal wetland loss for 1978-90 indicate a loss of about 35 square miles a year of freshwater and non-freshwater marshes and forested and scrub-shrub wetlands. That equates to a total 12-year loss of about 420 square miles--an area equal to twice the size of the populated greater New Orleans area.

Harvard Medical School Researchers Combine Minimally Invasive Fetal Surgery With Tissue Engineering To Fix Birth Defects In Newborns
Harvard Medical School researchers have achieved the first successful repair, in animals, of congenital anomalies by combining video-guided fetal surgery and tissue engineering. The researchers removed tissue from a sheep fetus in uetero, grew the tissue, and used it after the sheep's birth to correct a congenital disorder.

Combining Two Types Of Transistors Results In Improved Circuits
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a method of combining two types of transistors in high- performance devices with a variety of applications, including wireless products and optical communications.

Study Finds Psychological Trauma In Kids Exposed To Violence
Children are exposed to alarmingly high levels of violence, and those with the greatest exposures are at high risk for suffering severe psychological trauma, according to a Case Western Reserve University study of children age 8-14. A companion study links psychological trauma to watching television more than six hours daily.

Scientists Bridge Gap In Cell Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists have found a critical step in communication between cells that promotes such things as bone formation and limb growth. The discovery is important because it adds essential information to the understanding of how cells relay molecular messages, a process that, if disrupted, can result in cancer and birth defects.

Thinking As A Survivor Has Healthy Outcomes For Cancer Patients
Adults experiencing cancer adopt many labels -- survivor, victim, patient, and ex-patient. How early one identifies as a survivor can predict how healthy one's mental outlook is years later, sociologists at Case Western Reserve University report. The team's research findings will appear in the fall edition of

New Approach For Producing Novel Antibiotics Demonstrated
Stanford scientists report in the July 18 issue of Science the development of a new approach for making novel antibiotics that may aid in the fight against the growing drug resistance of many strains of bacteria

Quick Rise In Temperatures Suggests A Blockbuster El Nino For The Late Nineties; NCAR El Nino Colloquium This Month
El Nino is a warming of surface waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean with far- reaching climatic consequences. As the second El Nino of the nineties builds in the Pacific, the NCAR is hosting a colloquium of experts July 20-August 1 in Boulder.

Big Cat Expert Applauds Listing Of Jaguar As Endangered In U.S.
Big Cat expert, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz of the Wildlife Conservation Society, applauds last week's decision to list the jaguar as an endangered species on U.S. soil. Rabinowitz recently released a report on the status of wild jaguars in the southwest.

Genetic Findings In Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity is a common disorder of childhood which has a strong genetic component and which responds to treatment with stimulant drugs which inhibit the dopamine transporter (DAT1). Investigator from Trinity College, Ireland, have found a significant excess of transmission ofa specific dopamine transporter allele in attention deficit hyperactivity.

Temple Psychologist To Study Adolescent Development And Juenile Jutice With $1.25 Million Macarthur Foundation Grant
Psychologist Dr. Laurence Steinberg, a nationally recognized authority on adolescent development, will assemble a multi- disciplinary research team to examine how adolescent development impacts on juvenile offenders processed through the justice system.

New Process Improves Adhesion Of Films Used In Integrated Circuits
University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to make metal and polymer films stick together better. The films are used in making integrated circuits. The technique involves partially embedded copper clusters that act as

Drug Reduces HIV In Men, New UNC-CH Study Shows
Treating men infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, with a drug called delavirdine and other antiretroviral medications cuts the amount of virus in semen and blood by about 90 percent, according to a new study. The virus became undetectable in some volunteers, and even a year after treatment, virus levels in patients remained roughly 50 percent below what they were before treatment, the research showed.

Study Links Weight Loss By Obese Women To Improved Sex Lives
Obese women may improve their sex lives by losing weight, according to a new study. The most common reason endorsed by women in the study for sexual changes was that they felt better about their bodies.

NSF Award Funds Study Of Shape Of Universe
A National Science Foundation award will help a Case Western Reserve University physicist study the shape of the universe by mapping temperature fluctuations throughout space, as well as develop new techniques to detect dark matter, which is believed to comprise much of the mass in the universe.

Biological Defense Research Animated By Engineering Animation, Inc. For The U.S. Government
Engineering Animation, Inc., in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has produced a 3D journey through the body that demonstrates revolutionary biological defense strategies that could protect the body in the event of a bioweapons attack. 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