Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 1999)

Science news and science current events archive July, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 1999

National Science Board to meet (July 29-30)
Journalists are invited to attend the next open session of the National Science Board (NSB) on Thursday, July 29, and related events on Friday, July 30, at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

NOVANTRONE application for multiple sclerosis granted priority review by FDA
FDA review of NOVANTRONE data to be completed within six months

Cigarette price increases will cut youth smoking by 26 percent
The decision by manufacturers to raise the price of cigarettes last year will have a significant impact on whether young people take up smoking and how much tobacco farmers grow in the future, according to a Virginia Tech study.

Mobile DNA sequences could be the cause of chromosomal mutations during the evolution of species
Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have discovered that the origin of a natural alteration present in the chromosomes of most Drosophila buzzatii specimens is due to the action of independent DNA sequences, called transposons. The evolutionary success of this kind of alteration and the presence of transposons in every living organism suggest that transposons could be the cause of chromosomic changes associated with the evolution of species.

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville scientists show that specially created molecules can cross blood-brain barrier
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville scientists have shown that a specially created molecule injected into the belly of a rat can cross the nearly impassable blood-brain barrier and can stop the chemical reaction in the brain that the molecule was designed to impede.

Hepatitis C's interferon resistance mechanism discovered
HHMI researchers have discovered that hepatitis C virus can mimic one of the molecular targets of interferon, which may block the drug's ability to kill the virus.

Researchers find missing spring in circadian clock of mammals
Disruptions of circadian cycles in humans have dramatic sociological and medical implications ranging from the jet- lag of the traveling businessmen to the timing and dosage of many medications. In the current issue of Cell, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report the identification of an exciting piece in the puzzle for our understanding of the cellular machinery that makes mammals, including humans, tick.

Florida installs wind monitoring devices on 10 South Florida homes
The Florida Department of Community Affairs today launched the Florida Coastal Monitoring Project, an unprecedented initiative that will have a significant impact on the study of wind behavior on coastal homes. As part of the initiative, 28 sensors to monitor wind speed and pressure will be installed on 10 South Florida homes.

Spare beds are crucial to cope with growing number of emergencies, but are emergencies really increasing?
The National Health Service (NHS) must recognise that maintaining some empty beds, with staff on hand, is not wasteful, but a cost which must be incurred if a quality service to patients is to be sustained, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

Pacific Northwest developments earn spots in top 100 list
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory aren't in the business of winning awards, but their commitment to solving some of the nation's most complex problems rarely fails to garner attention. Six of the laboratory's technologies are part of R&D Magazine's list of the 100 most significant innovations of 1998.

Media advisory: Planning for 1999 fall meeting and 2000 ocean sciences meeting
Please mark the dates for two important meetings: Fall Meeting in San Francisco (December 13-17) and Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Antonio (January 24-28). Both will feature press conferences and related events.

Readily available emergency contraception has not replaced conventional methods in adolescents in Finland
Readily available emergency contraception has not become a contraceptive choice replacing conventional methods among adolescents in Finland, report researchers in this week's BMJ. The authors also found that easy access to contraceptive services and intensive sex education had not increased adolescent sexual activity.

Study suggests need for better pain management in newborns
During nursing and medical procedures in the hospital, premature infants respond to pain and can tell the difference between more and less painful procedures. They also react more to pain as they grow older, a new study finds. The researchers recommend universal pain management in newborns to reduce the acute and long-term impact of early procedural pain.

Research models high-efficiency materials in air filters
Devices with air filters may have to run at slower speeds to use new, high-efficiency filter media to their full potential. A study revealed that at high airspeeds, contaminants are likely to collect on the filter's front that utilized the new materials, instead of spreading through the whole filter.

Ratchet effect solves one problem in superconductors
A serious obstacle impeding the application of superconductor devices -- lines of trapped magnetic flux -- can be overcome by employing a common mechanism, the so-called ratchet effect. The solution is attractive because it does not require sophisticated material processing to make it work.

Full collection of R. J. Reynolds "Joe Camel" campaign documents now online
Eight years after the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was first challenged for targeting minors in its Joe Camel ad campaign, 80,000 pages of once-confidential documents, including details of the tobacco company's youth marketing strategies, have been placed online by UC San Francisco.

The private finance initiative is a 'free lunch' that could destroy the NHS
The British government should abandon the private finance initiative (PFI) and come up with an alternative that will allow the modernisation of the NHS, says editor Dr Richard Smith in this week's BMJ.

Lemurs critical to regeneration of Madagascar forests
The dry forests of western Madagascar are unusual: they have among the greatest diversity of trees in the world but the lowest diversity of animals that disperse the seeds. New research shows that without the brown lemur, these forests fail to regenerate completely on their own.

New bone marrow transplantation technique promises safer, more effective cancer treatments
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have devised a safer, more effective strategy for bone marrow transplantation that does not require the use of drugs that globally suppress the immune system. A report on the new technique, demonstrated in mice, appears in the July 16 issue of Science.

Technology lifts-off in time for new space shuttle
A new composite curing technology that uses high energy electron beams is set to allow composite materials to take centre stage in the development of new aerospace vehicles, such as the proposed Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft and the space shuttle replacement, Venture Star.

New components of machinery that carries genetic information from nucleus
Researchers have reported discovering the first elements of what is apparently a molecular signaling pathway important for regulating how genetic information leaves the nucleus to begin its working life as a blueprint for the cell.

Duke/Novalon researchers identify potential mechanism behind tamoxifen resistance in breast cancers
Scientists have identified a likely reason why the breast cancer drug tamoxifen stops working in women who use it for more than five years. They say their discovery could lead to new drugs that either work better than tamoxifen or prevent a woman's resistance to the drug.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards $12.7 million in grants to biomedical research institutions
Thirty-five biomedical research institutions in 25 states will receive $12.7 million in grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to enrich science education in local schools and help attract a broad range of students to biomedical careers. A
UK researcher develops nicotinic drugs with R.J. Reynolds
Nicotine researcher Peter Crooks, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, and tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds may seem like an unlikely pair, but together they're hoping to develop new drugs which provide benefits from relieving pain to improving memory.

Dieters need intensive support during holidays
With daily support from weight counselors, dieters can resist holiday temptations, new research shows.

Spy flies
A biologist from the University of California Berkeley, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, has identified the principles that explain not only how insects stay aloft, but also how they steer and maneuver.

The Tour de France--In terms of jelly donuts
What activity expends the most calories (in terms of jelly donuts)every day for a Tour de France competitor (and everyone else)? The answer may surprise you.

Allergy-producing cells are also 'do-gooders,' helping stave off infections
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered that mast cells -- the same cells responsible for the miseries of allergy - also recognize harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and dangerous strains of E. coli and alert the immune system to destroy the bacteria.

Scientist honored for developing techniques to explore relationships among members of complex microbial communities
Dr. David A. Stahl, professor of civil engineering at Northwestern University, will be honored for his influential contributions to the fields of microbial evolution and environmental microbiology with the 20th annual Bergey Award. It will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology Conference on Microbial Biodiversity honoring the Centennial of ASM's founding, Aug. 5, in Chicago, Ill.

Ode to a Grecian conference
Black holes, neutron stars and other high energy phenomena were the focus of a NATO Institute held in Crete in June, 1999.

Bracing for impact
Professional and amateur astronomers are preparing to observe the Moon on July 31st when Lunar Prospector plunges into a permanently shadowed crater in search of water. This story explains what scientists expect to happen when the spacecraft hits the Moon and how amateurs might be able to observe the impact.

Many patients with diabetes do not follow advice to monitor blood glucose
People with diabetes do not self-monitor their glucose levels as often as they should, find researchers in this week's BMJ. The authors say that self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is linked with the ability to achieve better control of blood sugar levels, in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Penn State engineers boost tracking ability of robotic "eyes"
By coupling the latest computer vision and control techniques, Penn State engineers have developed a model robotic system with enhanced ability to track moving targets in real world environments.

Jefferson scientist begins clinical trial to study promising Parkinson's disease drug
Scientists at Jefferson Medical College, armed with a newly awarded $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, hope to find out whether a promising, drug, GM1 ganglioside, can improve symptoms, delay disease progression, and in some cases actually restore damaged brain cells in Parkinson's disease patients.

Thunderstorms shed light in mystery of epileptic seizures
Using techniques similar to weather forecasting, researchers at the University of Toronto have begun unravelling the dynamics of seizures -- they are able to predict epileptic seizures using nonlinear dynamics techniques similar to those used in the study of complex patterns like weather prediction.

Formic acid found toward hot galactic molecular cores
In their continuing quest for large interstellar molecules, radio astronomers at the University of Illinois have located dense clumps of formic acid -- the simplest organic acid -- inside the hot star-forming cores in three interstellar molecular clouds.

New, less invasive repair of major artery defect
Physicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are testing a new, less invasive method for repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms, potentially dangerous defects of the body's major artery found often in the elderly.

Adhesive tape connected to hospital infections
Adhesive tape used to secure intravenous catheters may transmit bacteria that contribute to hospital infections, according to a University of Toronto study in the current edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

3-D echocardiography reduces examination times and dramatically improves accuracy of the most common diagnostic test for heart function
The first fundamental breakthrough in diagnostic ultrasound for the heart in more than a decade --real-time 3-dimensional echocardiography-- is now available to instantaneously provide ultrasound scans of the whole heart, rather than a single isolated section. Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, is one of the leading institutions in the world using the new technology.

National Science Board calls for significant new investment in research on the environment
Basic environmental research is essential to the nation's well-being and economic growth, according to a report released today by the National Science Board (NSB), the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The report discusses the need for the U.S. to make a significant new investment in the basic science and engineering discovery necessary to understanding the environment.

Manatees are hard of hearing
Manatees get run down by motorboats because they can't hear them coming, a new study from Florida shows. Sonic beacons attached to boat motors could help warn the manatees away.

Drug dependence: Towards a new treatment?
A new compound has proved capable of reducing drug seeking in cocaine-dependent rats. This compound might help addicts to attenuate their frantic drug-seeking behavior and to reduce the risk of relapse after withdrawal. The effect might extend beyond cocaine to other forms of dependence.

Countdown to discovery
Martin Weisskopf, Project Scientist for NASA's newest Great Observatory -- the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- talks about the upcoming July 20 launch, astronomy, cosmology, and our beautiful and surprising universe.

APS launches new online journal to focus on link between genes and function
The American Physiological Society today announced the launch of Physiological Genomics. This new online journal was created to provide the scientific community with a vehicle for the rapid dissemination of information about genetic physiology -- the influence of genes on physiological function.

UK Markey Cancer Center selected for future cancer information service contract award
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has been selected by the National Cancer Institute as one of 14 organizations for future contract awards to operate its Cancer Information Service (CIS). The Mid-South CIS, located at the Markey Cancer Center, will serve Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Technotes -- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's summer news tipsheet
Research highlights from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

More than half of homeless children have symptoms of depression
School-age children who are homeless have higher rates of mental health problems than other children, research suggests. Researchers found that, of 46 homeless children aged 8 to 12, 57 percent had symptoms of depression, while 13 percent met the criteria for clinical depression. Boys seemed to be particularly at risk.

Kanas presented award for research on psychological effects of space travel
An expert on the psychological effects of space travel, Nick Kanas, MD, associate chief of mental health services at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and UCSF professor of psychiatry, has been presented with the Raymond F. Longacre Award by the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).

NSF hosts first public hearing of the Commission on Women, Minorities
The National Science Foundation [NSF] will host the first open public hearing of the Congressionally-mandated Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development on Tuesday, July 20, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

The lie of the tiger
How can a brightly colored striped tiger be so hard to see moving in jungle shadows? Part of the explanation may be found in new research on the

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