Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2001)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2001.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2001

Bruce Stillman, Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, on stem cell research
Bruce Stillman, director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, verbalizes his support of stem-cell research, noting the promise and hope of such work. Stillman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), leads some 260 scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in their groundbreaking basic research in cancer, neurobiology, plant genetics and bioinformatics.

Famous coral reefs damaged due to global warming will take a century to recover, says new research.
AS world leaders continue to debate climate change, new research has revealed reefs damaged as a result of global warming in one of the world's most exclusive diving areas (Rangiroa, French Polynesia) will take at least a century to recover.

Experiments indicate normal visual experience necessary for proper brain development
Duke University Medical Center researchers have developed evidence in animal experiments indicating that - while the brain's structures are prewired to enable development of the visual system - normal visual experience is required for complete maturation. Without such visual experience, the scientists' experiments indicated, the visual system fails to establish proper connections and is incapable of normal function.

August media highlights - GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY
August GEOLOGY Highlighted Articles: -Demonstration of significant abiotic iron isotope fractionation in nature. -How many Pacific hotspots are fed by deep-mantle plumes? -Metal leaching and inorganic sulfate reduction in volcanic-hosted massive sulfide mineral systems -Paleoclimatic significance of Phanerozoic reefs -Low seismic-wave speeds and enhanced fluid pressure beneath the Southern Alps of New Zealand -New evidence for the geological origins of the ancient Delphic oracle (Greece). August GSA TODAY Highlight: Rock Varnish: Record of desert wetness?

Benefits from Alzheimer's plaque-producing reaction? Science study proposes role in gene expression
The molecule that spawns

Family stress a factor in asthma
A new study, believed to be the first of its kind, has established an important link between the quality of life of children with asthma and the level of stress in their family environment.

Pressing need to separate CPG wheat from chaff
High-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have the potential to improve care and patient outcomes, but many clinicians argue that there are too many, and particularly, too many of dubious quality. Ian Graham and coauthors used a standardized guideline appraisal instrument to assess the quality of 217 guidelines related to drug therapy developed or endorsed by Canadian organizations from 1994 to 1998.

Heroin users' mystery a hope for back pain sufferers
A WORLD-FIRST study of acute pain in former heroin users could also benefit thousands of people who suffer from chronic back pain.

Racing to unlock the secrets of the ocean floor
Down deep in the dark, cold ocean waters, unseen by humans for all eons of preceding time, communities of strange life forms thrive. Using a apparatus much like the lunar lander that carried astronauts to the moon's surface, Texas A&M University researchers are working to understand those organisms and the novel processes that allow them to survive their eerie, lightless environment before industrial activities inadvertently disrupt these sea bottom habitats forever.

Health service in "political denial" about need for rationing, claims leading economist
The main policy issue for the National Health Service is not whether to ration health and social care, but how to do it, says leading health economist, Professor Alan Maynard.

Patients with diabetes can test new glucose monitoring device that just might make finger prick test obsolete
The University of Maryland Joslin Diabetes Center will be one of 10 centers nationwide studying a potential new tool that, if effective, would be

More sexual partners may increase risk of prostate cancer
Men should already know that sex with multiple partners, especially unprotected sex, can increase their risk of contracting HIV and various venereal diseases. They also can add that it may raise their odds of getting prostate cancer in middle age, according to a new study.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Wellcome Trust to hold joint genome research conferences
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Wellcome Trust announce the establishment of a joint international scientific conference series to be held at Hinxton, UK. The conferences will follow a format similar to traditional Cold Spring Harbor meetings, in that the majority of oral presentations will be drawn from openly submitted abstracts on the basis of scientific merit.

Scientists examine the seas our ancestors fished to better understand today's changing oceans
Imagine the world's oceans teeming with whales, sea turtles and fishes, with shellfish so abundant they posed a hazard to navigation. Only in a Jules Verne classic fantasy? Not so. A group of scientists from several research institutions has recently depicted that such rich ocean life existed in the not-so-distant past. Writing in the journal Science, the scientists have documented long-term effects of fishing and provided a framework for repairing coastal marine ecosystems that have collapsed from centuries of overfishing.

Second breast cancers may be more difficult to treat in women who take the drug tamoxifen, study suggests
A new study confirms that tamoxifen use decreases the risk of a second cancer, but it also finds that the drug may cause a fivefold increased risk of estrogen-receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer -- a cancer that is more difficult to treat -- in the breast opposite, or contralateral, to the initial tumor.

Sandia to release first risk-based approach to building management software for use by GSA-- Tool against terrorism and other disasters
RAMPART, software developed by Sandia National Laboratories that is the first risk-based approach to building management, may soon help the General Services Administration (GSA) assess the risks of terrorism, natural disasters and crime to the nearly 8,000 federal buildings it manages nationwide.

New finding may identify unknown agents of mad-cow disease
UIC researchers, working with yeast, have found that the presence of one prion protein can spark the formation of other unrelated prions. They also devised a screening test that can be used to pinpoint unidentified prions-- the first genetic assay for these mysterious biological agents.

SAGE pronouncements on long life
Does the secret to long life lie in the genome? This month in Genome Research, researchers report genes associated with longevity in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Their results yield clues to the distinctive biology of long-lived worms.

Virco HIV resistance tests can predict response to therapy
A study presented today at the 1st International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment shows that Virco's resistance tests can predict clinical response to HIV treatment for up to two years. Patients who received three or more 'active drugs' (as measured by the resistance tests) experienced significantly better clinical responses than patients receiving fewer active drugs. This is the first evidence of the long-term benefits of resistance testing, previous studies typically only lasting 16-24 weeks.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for July (1st Issue)
Newsworthy research in the 1st issue for July of the American Thoracic Society journal includes a study revealing the most cost-effective, efficient, and successful method of uncovering active tuberculosis in jail inmates; research showing upper respiratory disease detected in chronic heartburn patients who suffer from acid reflux; and an article demonstrating how a compound in apples is associated with improvement in symptoms for chronic pulmonary disease.

Soil suggests early humans lived in forests instead of grasslands
Carbon isotope evidence in almost 6-million-year-old soils suggests that the earliest humans already were evolving in - and likely preferred - humid forests rather than grasslands, report a team of scientists working in Ethiopia.

Male infertility: Scientists discover candidate gene for impaired spermatogenesis
Researchers in the Netherlands believe they have identified a gene that is involved in causing infertility in men.

Health system fails children exposed to domestic violence
Children whose mothers are victims of domestic violence are at high risk of physical and psychological ill health, yet these children are being failed by the health system, finds a study in this week's BMJ. New strategies are urgently needed to meet the needs of these largely

Pre-pubescent boys' and girls' brains process faces and expressions differently
To recognize faces and identify facial expression, both with equal skill, pre-pubescent boys use more of their right brain and pre-pubescent girls use more of their left brain. This suggests that the brains of males and females are organized differently before adulthood, and may mean that men and women who suffer brain injuries will benefit from different treatment regimes.

The Oceanography Society dedicates journal issue to URI Dean John Knauss
Not many people have seen Dr. John Knauss at a loss for words, but he was speechless on Saturday when presented with the current issue of the journal Oceanography, specially published by The Oceanography Society (TOS) as a tribute to his accomplishments as a scientist, an educator, an administrator, a leader, and a gentleman.

Brown dwarfs are stellar embryos evicted by siblings, according to study
Brown dwarfs, essentially stunted stars, were most likely ejected from newborn, multiple-star systems before they had a chance to accumulate enough mass to ignite the hydrogen in their interiors and flower, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Pregnancy, drugs & alcohol, emotional instability: what nightmares are made of
Psychopathology is the study of emotional, behavioral and psychological problems. Pregnant women with co-occurring alcohol and drug dependencies have a unique psychopathology. They have more symptoms of depression, anxiety, impulsivity, aggression and suspiciousness. Drug-dependent women who are also alcohol dependent have special treatment needs.

Costs of family caregiving for elderly with cancer are significant, often forgotten
Elderly people who have recently undergone treatment for cancer need more care from family members, which translates nationally into an often-overlooked cost of nearly $1 billion a year, a new study finds. The researchers suggest these costs be considered when estimating the total costs of cancer treatment for the elderly.

Virtual reality helps astronauts adapt to life in space
National Space Biomedical Research Institute researchers are developing a virtual-reality training tool for astronauts to alleviate disorientation problems, which can lead to confusion when performing simple tasks such as reaching for a tool or finding their way in the multiple compartments of the International Space Station. The virtual-reality training device can help astronauts learn techniques and pre-flight strategies they can apply in space to help them navigate a large and complex space vehicle.

Extreme precipitation linked to waterborne disease outbreaks
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have conducted a study comparing precipitation in the United States and outbreaks of waterborne diseases. The results showed that more than half of the outbreaks over the past 50 years were preceded by extremely high levels of precipitation, thus suggesting a link between heavy rainfall and waterborne disease outbreaks.

Quality health care means more than just access
The patient's bill of rights legislation now under debate in Washington may focus heavily on the right to sue HMOs and expanding patients' access to health care, but it fails to address how to improve recently documented quality problems, says a Penn State researcher.

Sandia software makes bomb 'bots smarter
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have unveiled a wheeled police robot that makes many of the

International science competition
Ten U.S. teens will compete in this year's

New great white shark study has conservation implications
A new study spearheaded by a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher that indicates male great white sharks roam Earth's oceans much more widely than females has implications for future conservation strategies for the storied and threatened fish.

Undergrads' invention can help disabled kids enjoy playgrounds
Johns Hopkins engineering undergrads have invented a portable lifting device to help disabled kids use playground equipment.

An epidemic may have gone unnoticed--DDT use in US linked to premature births in the 1960's
Heavy U.S. use of DDT before 1966 may have produced a previously undetected epidemic of premature births, a new study shows. The scientists said they found elevated levels of DDT's breakdown product, DDE, in the stored blood of mothers recorded as giving birth to premature or low birth weight infants.

Drugs from sea study finds sponge health link to bacteria
In research aimed at finding natural compounds from the sea for drugs and other products, a team of scientists report in the journal Marine Biology on a bacterium that seems to provide an essential

USC study shows raloxifene may increase ovarian cancer growth rate
The drug raloxifene may increase the growth rate of ovarian cancer and its risk of recurrence, according to researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Speaking at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting, David Tourgeman, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School, presented data on the effects of raloxifene both alone and in combination with estradiol on ovarian cancer cell lines in the laboratory.

Depression common in single mothers receiving welfare
Single mothers of young children receiving welfare are more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms that may indicate clinical depression, yet few receive mental health treatment, according to research conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study, appearing in Women and Health, looks at the factors in these women's lives that contribute to depressive symptoms, and examines whether these symptoms may prevent the women from gaining employment and becoming independent from welfare.

Alcohol-related problems among high-risk college-age drinkers significantly reduced by brief intervention program
A brief non-confrontational intervention program administered to high-risk college-age drinkers when they entered college had long-lasting effects that persisted over four years in reducing the number of alcohol-related problems.

Naples Yellow: An old pigment adds a new shade to authenticating art
In efforts to aid the authentication of art, crystallographers have constructed a

Fatal attraction: Satellites to determine sea lions deaths
It could be a classic tabloid headline off a supermarket shelf -

Study of teens in four cities finds drug treatment effective
The first large-scale study designed specifically to evaluate drug abuse treatment outcomes among adolescents found that community-based treatment programs can reduce drug and alcohol use, improve school performance, and lower involvement with the criminal justice system.

Research funded to test new breast cancer medicine
Virginia Tech researchers in human nutrition and dairy science are beginning animal trials to test a new compound against breast cancer.

APS awards more than $200,000 to its 2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship winners
The American Physiological Society has announced the winners of its 2001 Postdoctoral Fellowships in Physiological Genomics. The two-year award will provide funds totaling $69,000 to each of the three winning scientists including stipend and a mini research grant for each year.

Intercure Scientific Advisory Board convenes to review company's resperate medical device for hypertension
International Hypertensive Experts Sees Potential for Broad Acceptance of RESPERATE by Physicians, Patients Alike In the Treatment of High Blood Pressure InterCure, Ltd. (
Arctic ecosystems being nibbled away
The Arctic's fragile ecosystems are threatened by disturbances from petroleum development to ecotourism. New research shows that even small disturbances may permanently damage tundra: for instance, the single pass of a heavy tank- like tracked vehicle can drain an Arctic meadow.

NTP plans to look at common viruses, radiation, cooking by-products for new carcinogen report
The National Toxicology Program announced today it plans to review three viruses, three forms of radiation, two substances formed in cooking, and a variety of industrial exposures for possible listing in the eleventh edition of the federal Report on Carcinogens, which will be published in 2004.

Outreach critical to the future of agriculture education
Universities of the future must be connected globally, yet be locally accountable. That's the overall message from key speakers at the Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture Conference taking place in San Francisco through Saturday (7/14).

Evidence reveals highly oxidizing environment at South Pole
A team of scientists led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has found a surprisingly high level of an air-purifying oxidizing agent in the near-surface atmosphere over the South Pole. The finding has implications for interpreting historical global climate records stored in Antarctic ice cores. 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