Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2000)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2000

Current HIV treatment guidelines may result in more men than women being eligible for treatment
Helping to clarify a long-standing issue, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins shows that women carry lower levels of HIV in their blood than men, especially during early phases of the infection, but have the same risk as men of developing AIDS. One consequence of the findings: viral load thresholds used by doctors to begin anti-retroviral drug therapy could result in more men getting offered treatment than women, particularly early in the course of infection.

Marriage, alcohol and violence
  • The exact relationship between alcohol use and marital aggression has been unclear.
  • A recent study has found that alcohol can contribute to marital violence under certain circumstances.
  • Alcohol seems to exacerbate marital problems when conflict already exists.
  • Different drinking patterns by the husband and wife may be an additional source of conflict

Young women with heart disease at risk of 'menstrual angina'
Young women with heart disease seem to be at risk of

Risk factors for heart disease not to be ignored in youth
Teenagers and young adults who have risk factors for heart disease have fatty plaques in their arteries that indicate varying stages of atherosclerosis - from the earliest signs of blockages to the more dangerous advanced stages - according to a study in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Polymeric chains in 'Flatland' reveal surprises, researchers say
Contrary to what scientists have long thought, recent experiments at the University of Illinois have revealed that flexible polymers stuck to a solid surface crawl around in a very different way than they would in the bulk. This is important because the properties of polymers at surfaces play a central role in issues as wide-ranging as adhesives, coatings and biomedical implants.

Nurse clinicians at UCSF's perinatal AIDS center optimize care for pregnant HIV-infected women and their babies
A University of California, San Francisco program that uses certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners as primary care givers has significantly reduced transmission of HIV from mother to child, according to a study presented today (July 10) at the XIII International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

NYU announces establishment of a center for comparative functional genomics
New York University today announced the formation of a Center for Comparative Functional Genomics. This major new initiative will use state-of-the-art tools of biology, mathematics and computer science to determine the function of novel genes that are being uncovered in genome sequencing projects.

Findings presented on Alzheimer's disease, brain gymnastics, and lead
Keeping physically or mentally active outside of work in midlife may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, according to research at Case Western Reserve University. Research also has shown that people who have worked in jobs with high levels of lead exposure are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Boston University scientists uncover the secret to movement in super-cooled water
Scientists at the Center for Polymer Studies at Boston University and at the Universitá di Roma La Sapienza have created a computer model that is useful in understanding how molecules move through super-cooled water. This finding is key to understanding the processes that allow life to continue in sub-zero conditions.

Diabetes drug may be useful in treating AIDS-related syndrome
A pilot study using metformin, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, indicates that the medication may be useful in treating HIV lipodsytrophy, a disorder of fat metabolism that occurs in people with AIDS, particularly those taking combination antiretroviral treatment.

Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program expands to become national
The Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP) will be expanded to a national competitive awards program available throughout the United States. The primary purpose of the program, which is funded by The Merck Company Foundation and administered by AAAS, is to support interdisciplinary research experiences for undergraduate students in chemistry and biology. The expansion will begin in 2001 and continue through 2009.

Biodegradable stents in human arteries for the first time
A biodegradable arterial stent, a tube that is inserted into clogged blood vessels to restore proper blood flow, has been successfully tested in human patients for the first time researchers report in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Former Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center marrow transplant patients to celebrate life at a reunion in Seattle
Sharing memories, dreams and hopes for the future, veterans of the battle with cancer and other life-threatening diseases will converge on Seattle August 3-5, 2000, for Spirit of Seattle 2000, a former patient reunion. Celebrating life will be the highlight of this three-day whirlwind affair.

Life from the skies
Life may not have emerged from the sea but high in the sky, according to a startling new theory. An international team of researchers proposes that droplets floating around in the atmosphere, thrown up by the oceans, could have provided just the right conditions needed to form the complex molecules of life.

Are we misinterpreting the scale of post-traumatic stress?
The belief that distress, caused by traumatic experiences during violent conflicts, is a precursor for psychological disturbance is called into question in this week's BMJ.

U-M scientist finds molecule plants use to control early cell development
University of Michigan scientist Steven Clark has taken a major step toward understanding one of life's oldest mysteries--how genes work together in plants to turn generic cells into specialized cells destined to become leaves, stems or flowers.

Exercise and weight loss effective in reducing high blood pressure for overweight individuals
Although exercise alone was effective in reducing high blood pressure, the addition of a behavioral weight loss program enhanced this effect, according to an article in the July 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a member of the Journal of the American Medical Association family of journals.

Virtual tour turns building inside out
The new Engineering and Mathematical Science building at Adelaide University has a number of innovations to its credit. One of them is that it can now be used as a research and teaching resource for courses taught inside it.

NSF helps grow Africa's internet
The Internet is gaining a stronger foothold in Africa thanks to a new public/private collaboration that promotes networking expertise on the continent. With partners in the U.S. and Europe, African network engineers are learning to deploy the latest information technologies for research and higher education.

Long-acting OxyContin ® tablets now available in 160 mg strength to relieve persistent pain
For patients suffering from moderate to severe pain that requires treatment for more than a few days, OxyContin ® (oxycodone HCl controlled-release) Tablets C-II are now available in a 160 mg strength. This dosage is for patients requiring daily oxycodone doses of 320 mg or more. OxyContin is the only oral oxycodone that acts for 12 full hours to relieve pain -- making it the longest-lasting oxycodone on the market.

Cancer gene related to fruit and vegetable growth
The cellular mechanism that through millennia of evolution has created plump and juicy fruits and vegetables could be the same mechanism that triggers the proliferation of cancer cells in humans and animals, say Cornell scientists in the journal Science (July 7, 2000).

Sons of alcoholics: The early school years
  • Children of alcoholics (COAs) may be at risk for lower intellectual, cognitive and academic performance.
  • COAs with a co-existing antisocial personality disorder may be at even greater risk.
  • Parental cognitive abilities and educational attainment may also determine offspring performance.
  • Parental alcoholism, conduct disorders, and low cognitive abilities and educational achievement may all contribute to COA's poorer cognitive and educational outcomes

Study finds some people genetically predisposed to tuberculosis
In the August issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, a report presents evidence for a major genetic component to TB susceptibility. People with at least one high-risk copy of this genetic region are ten times more likely to develop TB. A better understanding of the genes involved in this susceptibility should lead to better control of infection and better treatment for tuberculosis.

Do actions speak louder than words? When girls and boys tell aggressive stories, girls are more likely to act out, National Jewish research says
When girls and boys tell stories with similarly aggressive themes, the girls are more likely to have behavior problems at home or school than the boys, according to research released today by National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

UK study finds men also have a biological clock
The older a man gets, the longer it is likely to take his partner to conceive, irrespective of her age. The first study in a general population to provide clear evidence that the age of the man, as well as the woman, is an important factor in conception.

Molecular structure key to allergies and asthma is identified
Northwestern University and Harvard Medical School researchers have identified the structure of the interaction complex of two molecules that are central to the allergic response. The discovery of how the antibody binds to the mast cell receptor could lead to the development of drugs that attack allergies at their source.

Antiretroviral drugs require 95 percent adherence to work, find researchers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
HIV patients must be at least 95 percent adherent to antiretroviral therapy for the drugs to work, report investigators from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. And physicians often are wrong about their patients' adherence. Results of the study are in the July 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Study of Agenerase® combined with low-dose ritonavir in PI-experienced patients combination raised plasms levels of amprenavir
Preliminary results of a study of the protease inhibitor (PI) Agenerase (amprenavir) suggest that plasma levels of amprenavir are raised by adding a low dose of the PI ritonavir. The research was presented July 11, 2000, at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

Researchers create blueprint for tuberculosis vaccine development
In an effort to control the alarming spread of tuberculosis (TB) across the globe, a team of researchers has created a strategic plan or

Firm parental rules can deter or delay teen use of alcohol, marijuana
There's new evidence that parents can prevent or delay their children from using alcohol and marijuna if they set clear rules and expectation -- even if the relationships between parents and children seem strained during the teen years

Statement from Dr. Claude Lenfant on discovery of the gene for primary pulmonary hypertension
Dr. Lenfant comments on the significance of the identification of a gene associated with this rare but usually fatal lung disorder, calling it a major breakthrough that should lead to the design of more effective therapies.

Study at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke Medical Center reports short-term benefit in treating autism with antibiotic agent
Researchers at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago have shown that some children suffering from autism may experience short-term but dramatic improvement during treatment with appropriate antibiotics. The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of Child Neurology.

BRCA1 cancer gene plays pivotal role in DNA control complex
During the last decade, researchers have been able to link mutations in the BRCA1 gene to familial cancers. The actual mechanism involved, however, has eluded them. In a new study, scientists at The Wistar Institute report the BRCA1 protein lies at the catalytic heart of a vital DNA control complex.

Pulsars much older than thought, astonomers say
Pulsars -- spinning, superdense neutron stars that emit powerful beams of radio waves and light -- may be older than scientists thought, according to researchers using measurements made with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Very Large Array (VLA).

NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Rich Gannon launches national celiac disease awareness campaign
Nearly one out of every 150 Americans suffers from celiac disease, according to new research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. People who have the genetic disorder are unable to eat foods that contain the protein gluten, which is found in wheat and other grains. The disorder can cause severe intestinal problems, but few people--even those who have the disorder--have ever heard of it.

Dr. Paul Janssen honoured for over 40 years pioneering new therapies for severe mental illnesses
[10th July 2000, Brussels] - Yesterday Dr Paul Janssen received the CINP - Pfizer Pioneers in Psychopharmacology Award for his outstanding work in revolutionising the lives of millions of patients with psychiatric illnesses around the world. Presenting the award, Professor Helmut Beckmann, President of the CINP explained

Studies: Sigmoidoscopy fails to show proportion of colon cancers, polyps
Two studies reported in Thursday's (July 20) New England Journal of Medicine support what many doctors already believed -- that colon cancer screening known as sigmoidoscopy fails to detect a substantial proportion of symptom-free cancers and polyps that may turn cancerous.

Two NHLBI studies confirm finding of gene in primary pulmonary hypertension
Two separate groups of scientists funded by the NHLBI have simultaneously identified a genetic mutation associated with primary pulmonary hypertension. One study appears on Nature Genetics Web site today; the other was released on the Web site of the AJHG on July 20th.

August geology and GSA today highlights
Articles of interest include: impact events and their effects on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life; the role of ecological degradation in mass extinctions; stretching of the Aleutian islands chain along its axis by tectonic forces; global climate change and the relationship between Earth's hemispheres; and thermal monitoring of North Pacific volcanoes from space.

Blocking malaria
Could scorpions help wipe out malaria? Researchers in Mexico have shown that by genetically engineering mosquitoes to produce scorpion venom in their guts, the development of malaria parasites can be blocked.

Pigs at sea reveal latest clues in homicide research
The bodies of homicide victims found at sea or washed up on shore could provide investigators with critical information needed to help solve the crimes. That's why Simon Fraser University forensic entomologist Gail Anderson is analysing underwater activity around six pig carcasses recently anchored in the ocean near Vancouver.

UCSF study finds increased risk of falls and fractures in older women who have urge incontinence
Older women who have frequent urge incontinence have a higher risk of falling and fracturing a bone than women who are not urge incontinent, a University of California, San Francisco study has found.

Scientists record movement of herpes simplex virus in nerve cell
A team of scientists led by Elaine Bearer of Brown University are the first to observe and record the movement of the herpes simplex virus within a living a nerve cell. The research was performed at Brown and at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., using squid taken from local waters.

Cranfield joins the UN fight against land mines
Cranfield University in England and The United Nations have joined forces in the fight against land mines. Next week sees the launch of a new programme to teach people in mine affected countries how to effectivly search for mines in greater safety.

Genuth receives award from American Diabetes Association
Saul Genuth, professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, has received the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.

Fauci presents new data on structured intermittent therapy at XIIIth World AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa
Preliminary results from two NIAID studies of the feasibility of moving HIV-infected patients from a continuous highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimen to structured intermittent therapy in which an individual discontinues, then resumes HAART in a pre-planned, cyclic fashion.

'Healthy-worker effect' can skew true picture of workers' health, UB study shows
The public should be wary of reports boasting that workers health as a group is better than that of the general population, an occupational epidemiologist at the University at Buffalo warns. Such a comparison always will make the group and the company look good because of an innate bias called the

Human immunity to a virus from edible vaccine
Scientists at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore report clinical trials in which human immunity to a virus has been triggered for the first time by a vaccine genetically engineered into a potato.

Kidney transplant proposal reduces wait from 24 to 14 months, improves equity for blacks & women
A proposed new system for assigning kidneys to patients waiting for transplants would reduce the waiting time for transplantation from 24 to 14 months and improve equity for African-Americans and women, according to a study published in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

New method offers better way to rank universities, researchers say
A group of University of Florida researchers has developed a new way to evaluate America's top research universities that they say is more objective, reliable and useful than other popular annual college rankings. 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