Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2002)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2002.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2002

Academic couples at same university are happier
Academic couples at same university are happier and report less stress than couples where one spouse works at a university and the other works elsewhere, a new CU study reports.

Laser-like beam may break barriers to technological progress
Researchers have created a sharply focused, laser-like beam of ultraviolet light using a device that could fit on a dining room table. Scientists and engineers will be able to use this extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light source to measure and manipulate objects at the scale of nanometers (billionths of a meter).

Livermore scientists create highest resolution global climate simulations to date
Atmospheric scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have performed the first global climate simulations with spatial resolutions of roughly 50 km (30 miles). This capability will be used to assess climate change and its societal impacts.

Latest ice core may solve mystery of ancient volcanic eruptions
Ohio State University researchers have returned from an expedition in southeastern Alaska with the longest ice core ever drilled from a mountainous glacier. The core measures 460 meters (1,509 feet) and is 150 meters (492 feet) longer than the previous longest core - a record of ice from the Guliya ice cap in western China that eventually relinquished a climate record stretching back 760,000 years - the oldest such record retrieved to date.

South Asian patients are missing out on cholesterol drugs
Patients in general practices with a greater South Asian population are less likely to be prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs, despite being at a higher risk of coronary heart disease than white patients, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Nerve cells' death different from other cells'
Writing in the July 12 issue of the journal Science, Hopkins-led researchers say they have identified in neurons a novel form of

Drug resistance may prove more pervasive in African HIV
Genetic differences between the HIV prevalent in Africa and the subtype dominant in the United States and Western Europe appear to amplify the effects of drug-resistant mutations in the African strains.

Prenatal zinc supplementation could impair childhood mental development
Authors of a study in this week's issue of THE LANCET caution that the provision of zinc supplementation to pregnant women in developing countries could impair the early mental development of their children.

Similar pathways may be involved in hereditary and sporadic ovarian cancers
New research suggests that hereditary and sporadic ovarian cancers may share similar genetic pathways that lead to the disease. The findings appear in the July 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

This old house may put its occupants on path to good health
Residents of urban and suburban homes built before 1974 are much more likely than residents of newer homes to walk a mile or more at least 20 times each month, according to new research.

Other Highlights in the July 3 Issue of JNCI
Other highlights of the July 3 issue of JNCI include a study suggesting that anethole dithiolethione can help delay the progression of bronchial dysplasia in smokers, a study suggesting that vitamin B12 may be used as an effective carrier molecule of chemotherapy drugs, a study examining the relationship between aminopeptidase and leukemia cell apoptosis, and a review suggesting a mechanism for how certain dietary and other factors may promote colon cancer.

Aspirin within two days of ischemic stroke reduces deaths
Giving patients aspirin within 48 hours of the onset of an acute ischemic stroke can reduce death and severity of stroke, according to a joint scientific statement from the American Stroke Association and the American Academy of Neurology.

UCSD receives grant to develop flexible metal composite
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering have received a $2.5 million Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant to develop and test a metallic composite material capable of changing shape and then returning to its original form.

New research site established in Australia to help predict climate change
Since acute weather conditions, like monsoons and drought, can wreak havoc on a region's economy and population, these events need to be accurately simulated and forecasted by weather and climate models. Drought and monsoons are conditions that occur at the U.S. Department of Energy's newest Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Darwin, Australia, a location that will enable scientists to collect new data important to refining computer models that simulate climate change.

UCLA scientists develop prostate cancer tracking system
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center have demonstrated for the first time that they can locate difficult-to-detect prostate cancer metastases in laboratory models, a discovery that could lead to safer and more effective gene-based treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

Ocean aquaculture: Technology, business practices, policies & caviar
Sections of this week's news include:

Retiree drug costs will remain steep under house plan, Emory study shows
Contrary to widespread expectations of substantial relief in the offing, Medicare beneficiaries, overall, will still have to pay 70 percent of the costs of their prescription drugs under the terms of the Medicare drug plan passed by the House of Representatives on June 28, according to an analysis by Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD, chairman of Health Policy and Management at Emory University.

Jefferson Lab experiments shed light on proton spin mystery
Physicists have long wondered how the properties (including spin) of protons and neutrons inside an atomic nucleus can be explained in terms of quarks, their most elementary particles. A series of recent experiments at Jefferson Lab might lead toward a better understanding of the spin of protons and neutrons.

Breakthrough made in electronics technology
Researchers at Oregon State University have made a significant breakthrough in the technology to produce crystalline oxide films, which play roles in semiconductor chips, flat panel displays and many other electronic products.

Framingham heart study finds strong link between overweight/obesity & risk for heart failure
According to a new study, excess body weight is strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of heart failure. This risk, which increases continuously with increasing degrees of body weight, is 34 percent higher for overweight individuals and 104 percent higher for obese persons.

Clues to the evolution of photosynthesis
Scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) have completed the genomic sequence of a green-sulfur bacterium, Chlorobium tepidum, which provides important insights into the evolution and the mechanism of photosynthesis.

Market potential exists for superconductivity in medical, energy, transportation sectors
From new medical and communications devices to super-efficient power systems, the science of superconductivity has enormous potential in the marketplace, according to a report to be released in Houston on Aug. 8. The 2002 Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC2002)
UCLA researchers cool hot silicon chips by spraying them with water
Borrowing from a method often used to cool down on a hot summer day, UCLA researchers are coaxing more efficiency out of hot silicon chips by spraying them with water. This can improve the efficiency of communications aboard unmanned aircraft and the performance of electric car and train motors.

Let's talk about sex -- And pain
Dr. Irv Binik, a Psychology professor at McGill and director of the Royal Victoria Sex and Couple Therapy Service, has been looking into the problem of pain during intercourse among women. He focuses particularly on the problems of dyspareunia and vaginismus, both of which are types of recurrent acute pain during intercourse.

Concern over rising rates of syphilis in England
Syphilis is on the increase again. In this week's BMJ, Lorraine Doherty and colleagues report on four recent outbreaks in England and discuss the public health measures needed to contain it.

Researchers discover molecular 'switch' that tells body to store or burn fat
An enzyme called SCD-1 plays a crucial role -- through the hormone leptin -- in signaling the body to either store fat or burn it, report a team of scientists in the July 12 issue of the journal Science.

Treatment for behavioral disorders in children with autism
One of a newer class of anti-psychotic medications was successful and well tolerated for the treatment of serious behavioral disturbance associated with autistic disorder in children ages 5 to 17.

Ames Laboratory puts the 'squeeze' on communications technology
Ames Lab researchers have developed a software program that optimizes communication functions for both supercomputers and large computer networks.

Independent study: DEET products superior for fending off mosquito bites
In a new comparative study of insect repellents containing the chemical commonly known as DEET and plant-based repellents, products with DEET showed by far the greatest effectiveness in preventing mosquito bites, medical researchers say.

Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, July 2, 2002
Highlights from this tip sheet include: 'USPSTF recommendations on using drugs to prevent breast cancer;' 'Annals of Internal Medicine Celebrates 75 years;' and 'Should blood enzyme levels for liver disease be changed?'

Developer of anthrax quick test finds similar test for strep throat
The culprit in bacterial streptococcus pharyngitis, or strep throat, can be vicious. Ask a parent who suspects their child has caught the virus, or the family of 29 Texans, including nine children, who died in 1997 after the bacteria manifested itself into a flesh eating disease. This virulent disorder used to cause physicians to order patients to immediately start taking antibiotics - even when a bacterial origin had not been established.

Planning better evacuations
A software application designed to assist public officials with emergency evacuation decisions is being developed by scientists at the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University.

On-line home shopping habits go under the spotlight
The buying habits of Internet shoppers from home have become the focus of attention at the new Home Shopping Research Unit at Cardiff University. They are scrutinising home shopping trends and experiences in order to help businesses trade more profitably and to help them better understand customer demands.

U-M scientists to develop nanosensors for astronauts
Along with space suits, freeze-dried food and barf bags, tomorrow's astronauts may travel with nanomolecular devices inside their white blood cells to detect early signs of damage from dangerous radiation or infection.

Light from gas bubbles: Sonoluminescence measured
A gas bubble excited by ultrasound turns a tiny fraction of the sound energy into light. This phenomenon, called sonoluminescence, has been observed for decades.

New test identifies B-cell tumor markers
In the United States, multiple myeloma accounts for about one percent of all cancers, and approximately 12,500 new cases are diagnosed every year. Current methods for identifying and monitoring patients' B-cell lineage tumors such as myoloma rely on electrophoresis-based testing for Bence-Jones (BJ) proteins. This type of testing, usually performed on urine specimens, is expensive, time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate.

New scanner holds promise of better breast cancer detection
A new high-resolution nuclear medicine imaging scanner specifically designed for breast exams could increase physicians' ability to determine if a woman has breast cancer. Called a high-resolution breast-specific gamma camera (HRBGC), it was able to detect more (78%) malignancies than a standard gamma camera and was better at detecting lesions <1cm. It also detected 3 lesions that were not visible with mammography; in areas of dense breast tissue.

Study of cloud ice crystals may improve climate change forecasts
During July in southern Florida, scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. will join others to investigate high tropical cirrus clouds composed of tiny ice crystals.The researchers hope to determine how the clouds form, how they limit the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth and how they trap heat rising from the surface and lower atmosphere. This key information will help improve computer programs that forecast global climate change.

Saint Louis University maps schools to help police in the event of Columbine-like violence
A new computer-based program developed at Saint Louis University could help police save lives when responding to a school shooting or other emergency. The Crisis Intervention Response Application provides 360-degree images of two of St. Louis' largest high schools, as well satellite imagery and aerial photographs of buildings' exteriors. Created after the Columbine massacre and other school shootings, the program could serve as a model for other school systems around the nation.

2002 ESA award winners
The Ecological Society of America is proud to announce the following winners for ecological achievement. The awards will be given at ESA's 87th Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona on August 8, 2002.

Breakthrough in creating bio-artificial organs at Hebrew University-Hadassah Dental School
Today people often must wait for months when they need an organ transplant. In the future, they may be able to simply give a tissue sample and then wait a week or two as the sample is used to custom-build the necessary organ, thanks to research conducted by Hebrew University Ph.D. candidate Gadi Pelled, DMD.

Study sheds light on 'dark side' of the knee
As orthopedic surgeons come to appreciate the important role of the so-called

Low hemoglobin means high risk for mobility problems in elderly women
The amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin circulating in the blood of older women could have an impact on the risk for mobility problems, Johns Hopkins physicians have found.

Immune system component found common to both humans and worms
The innate immune system -- one of the most basic aspects of the overall immune response -- sets off the initial steps of the body's response to pathogens. Researchers have known that key components of innate immunity are conserved across a variety of animals, and now scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that these same elements are used by the lowly worm as well.

NASA to study lightning storms using high-flying uninhabited vehicle
To better understand both the causes of an electrical storm's fury and its effects on our home planet, NASA and university research scientists will use a tool no atmospheric scientist has ever used to study lightning -- an uninhabited aerial vehicle.

Ethical committee members have different views on how to evaluate clinical trials
Members of ethical committees, which decide whether or not to grant approval for phase two clinical trials, infrequently use systematic methods when weighing up the risks and benefits of a study, according to research published on Thursday 1 August in the Annals of Oncology, the journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology.

Washington University receives $2.2 million funding from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Washington University in St. Louis will receive $2.2 million over four years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to provide wide-ranging services and support for undergraduate and K-12 science education. Sarah CR. Elgin, Ph.D., professor of biology, directs the Washington University Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program. Washington University was funded at $1.7 million, plus interest, in 1992, $1.4 million in 1994 and $1.7 million in 1998 from the HHMI program.

Academic Medicine highlights strong DMS education in patient care
Dartmouth Medical School physicians and researchers have collaborated on projects that address how to meet the challenges of teaching aspiring doctors in the outpatient setting. They are featured in a series of five special-themed articles reported in the July Academic Medicine, the journal of the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Japanese shore crabs invade Penobscot Bay, Maine
Japanese shore crabs, square-shaped crustaceans that pose a direct threat to soft-shell (steamer) clams, mussels, and possibly lobsters, were discovered July 13, 2002, by Cornell University marine biologists in Owl's Head, Maine, in Penobscot Bay.

Dual action drug fights heart failure
A dual-action drug, called omapatrilat, was found to be as good as a standard ACE-inhibitor in reducing the risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure, according to a report in today's rapid track Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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