Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2003)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2003.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2003

X-37 completes structural tests in preparation for atmospheric flight test program
An approach and landing test version of the X-37, a spacecraft designed to demonstrate technologies for NASA's Orbital Space Plane Program, successfully completed structural testing in Huntington Beach, Calif. The series of ground-based, proof tests are intended to verify the structural integrity of the X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle. The tests apply pressure to the vehicle, simulating flight stresses and loads the X-37 may encounter in flight.

Technology creates new concerns for dying older patients and their families
New technologies available in the management of dying now put older patients and their families in a shared dilemma with doctors, often without any proper understanding of the issues, according to new research funded by the ESRC as part of its Innovative Health Technologies Programme.

Invasive marine animals get bigger
Animals and plants that are innocuous in their home environment can become rampaging pests when they invade a new area. A new study shows that for a wide group of marine pests, invasion is coupled with a marked increase in body size.

Genome researcher analyze chromosome 7
A detailed analysis of the reference sequence of chromosome 7 has uncovered structural features that appear to promote genetic changes that can cause disease, researchers from the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium said today.

Busy weeks ahead for high-flying students
From 16 to 31 July, 32 international student teams of researchers will gather in Bordeaux, France, to fly their experiments in zero-gravity on board a specially adapted Airbus A-300.

Scientists find gene that protects against potato blight
Scouring the genome of a wild Mexican potato, scientists have discovered a gene that protects potatoes against late blight, the devastating disease that caused the Irish potato famine. The discovery of the gene and its cloning by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was reported today (July 14) in online editions of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Golden legacy for ESA's observatory
Scientists are celebrating the thousandth scientific publication from ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). ISO is fast becoming one of the world's most productive space missions, even though its operational life ended in 1998.

Jefferson lab staff develop and teach safety class at particle accelerator school
Attendees from across the Department of Energy complex, the Department of Defense, Rutherford Lab in the UK, and CERN in Switzerland attended this first-of-its-kind class. USPAS is a DOE sponsored program designed to teach basic and advanced accelerator engineering and physics subjects in an intense two-week curriculum. The school is based at Fermilab in Chicago. Classes are offered semiannually with the next set planned for Santa Barbara, Calif., in June 2003.

Pitt researchers find genes for depression; Play role in mood disorders, shorter lifespan
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have completed the first survey of the entire human genome for genes that affect the susceptibility of individuals to developing clinical depression, locating a number of chromosomal regions they say hold the genetic keys to a variety of mental illnesses, including major depression, certain addictions and even longevity.

Swedish researchers link endometriosis with increased risk of some cancers
Women with endometriosis have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, endocrine and brain cancers, according to Swedish research - report to European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual conference Wednesday 2 July.

Rutgers scientists post a genetic road map to sources of disease
Geneticist Tara Matise and colleagues have produced a map that will help pinpoint the genes linked to such serious diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure and schizophrenia. This linkage map is based on the amount of the interaction or recombination taking place among nearly 3,000 genetic markers whose positions are known. The markers used are single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

OneWorld Health licenses compounds from Yale, U of Washington to treat major parasitic diseases
The Institute for OneWorld Health has licensed highly potent azole compounds from Yale and the University of Washington that could result in new medicines for parasitic diseases, initially for Chagas, in the developing world, and new antifungals for the developed world. The compounds broaden OneWorld Health's product portfolio for Chagas disease, which afflicts up to 18 million people in Latin America, and at least 50,000 to 100,000 in the U.S. The license also creates a unique dual market opportunity.

Researchers zero in on new drug combination strategy
Researchers at Whitehead Institute have developed a systematic approach to the discovery of novel combination drugs, a method they used to identify several new pairings with significant therapeutic promise, including a new combination that kills an infectious, drug-resistant strain of the yeast Candida albicans while leaving human cells unharmed.

Strategy to treat AIDS patients in Africa with less drug, reduced toxicity set for clinical test
An AIDS-treatment strategy to reduce the overall amount of drugs needed to control a patient's HIV infection by about a third has been approved for clinical testing in South Africa. If successful, the new approach would permit resource-poor countries overburdened by the epidemic to extend care to many more patients. Patients would also benefit from reduced exposure to the toxicities associated with HIV drugs. But government funding guidelines may mean this promising study never happens.

Beagle 2 tests successfully completed
On Friday 4 July, and Saturday 5 July 2003, engineers successfully carried out overnight tests on the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2.

Electronic voting system is vulnerable to tampering
The software believed to be at the heart of an electronic voting system being marketed for use in elections across the nation has weaknesses that could easily allow someone to cast multiple votes for one candidate, computer security researchers have determined.

Self-assembling devices at the nanoscale
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) on Nanostructures, Materials, and Interfaces have demonstrated a technique that could one day allow electronic devices to assemble themselves automatically--giving semiconductor manufacturers a way to mass-produce

Geoscience workshop brings teachers to NCAR
This summer the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is offering 20 middle and high school science teachers a chance to learn more about natural and human-induced changes to Earth systems.

17-year study confirms that lead in the soil descends slowly
In a 17-year experiment on Vermont's Camel's Hump, three Dartmouth researchers find that lead moves very slowly though the soil. Using the highly accurate technique of isotopic analysis for the first time at this field site, the researchers traced several varieties of lead with different atomic weights.

Novel coronavirus confirmed as causative agent of SARS
Leading scientists worldwide investigating the cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) confirm that a novel coronavirus is the primary cause of the disease. The study is published on The Lancet's website (
New way of treating elderly patients with delirium defies conventional medical wisdom
Many older adults become delirious when they are hospitalized. A new way of treating them, developed by Saint Louis University geriatricians, does not use physical restraints and turns to medication only as a last resort.

Study suggests interplay of gene, stress can predict depression
An international team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, King's College London and the University of Outage in New Zealand found that variations in a gene that regulates chemical messengers in the brain could predict who was likely to develop depression after stressful life events. This finding could lead to new treatments and diagnostic techniques for a mental illness that affects millions of people each year.

Researchers discuss trend in customized nutrition recommendations
A panel of six experts presented the opportunities and challenges regarding the development of customized nutrition recommendations for individuals and population groups during a symposium, Tailoring Food Choices to Improve Health: What Role will the Food Industry Play? at the Institute of Food Technologists' annual meeting.

UCLA Center for Astrobiology awarded $5 million
UCLA's Center for Astrobiology has been awarded $5 million of additional research support over five years by NASA for its project

Making sense of bacterial biodiversity
An article in Ecology Letters this month, reports that primary productivity can influence the diversity of bacterial communities. Increasing primary productivity can alter the number of taxonomic groups of bacteria present, and the response can vary among different bacterial taxonomic groups. Bacteria may comprise the majority of the earth's biodiversity, and understanding the relationship between primary productivity and bacterial diversity is an important step toward understanding the processes responsible for the maintenance of bacterial biodiversity.

Revealing the beast within
Peering into a giant molecular cloud, astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a whole new population of very massive newborn stars. With the help of infrared images obtained with the ESO 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at the La Silla Observatory (Chile), the astronomers looked deep into this molecular cloud and discovered four massive stellar clusters, with hot and energetic stars as massive as 120 solar masses.

Scientists find 'fingerprint' of human activities in recent tropopause height changes
Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have determined that human-induced changes in ozone and well-mixed greenhouse gases are the primary drivers of recent changes in the height of the tropopause. Earlier research has shown that increases in the height of the tropopause over the past two decades are directly linked to stratospheric ozone depletion and increased greenhouse gases.

Antibiotic treatment without diagnosis for patients with a sore throat is not cost-effective
The traditional throat culture remains the most cost-effective method to diagnose a strep throat infection, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Medical College of Wisconsin have found in a study published in the July 15 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Collagen-based wound sealant
A collagen-based wound sealant recently developed at Texas A&M University could be an alternative for human and animal wound care treatment.

Cyclacel's biomarker technology shows that CYC202 induces cancer cells to commit suicide
Cyclacel Limited, the UK-based biopharmaceutical company, reported today that it demonstrated through state-of-the-art biomarker technology that CYC202 (R-roscovitine), its lead CDK inhibitor drug candidate, appears to induce cancer cell suicide or apoptosis in patients receiving the drug.

Breast fluid a better option for detecting cancer
A new method of extracting and analyzing fluid from a woman's breast may provide a more accurate, less expensive and noninvasive way to determine a patient's risk for breast cancer or to diagnose the disease in its early stages.

Fluoronanotubes win prestigious R&D 100 Award
Fluoronanotubes, a fluorinated form of carbon nanotubes created at Rice University, have been named one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year by R&D Magazine. First prepared in the lab of chemist John L. Margrave, fluoronanotubes have unique chemical properties not found in pure carbon nanotubes. They are reactive rather than inert and soluble rather than insoluble. This chemical accessibility opens the door to hundreds of varieties of

A better diagnosis for ovarian cancer?
As with all potentially lethal diseases, the earlier the discovery, the better the chances of arresting it. But how can a woman combat a disease - often called

Tracking ships over the Internet
Radar consoles that improve marine safety by allowing real-time tracking by the coastguard via the Internet.

Physics and medicine in San Diego
A barium shield to protect the fetus during CT scans, better pictures for treating bad blood vessels are among the papers being presented at this meeting of physicists who work in the medical field.

Battle lasers
Laser weapons? This may not be as exotic as fans of Han Solo once thought, thanks to recent leaps forward in the development of a powerful free-electron laser (FEL).

Simulation software beats traditional approach in online course
Students in an online class who learned networking through a commercially available simulation scored higher and retained more course information than students taught with a traditional network-diagramming software package, says a Penn State researcher.

Depression in African-American men may be barrier to high blood pressure control
A study from The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing concludes depression may sabotage efforts to control high blood pressure in urban, African-American men. The researchers found no direct link between depression and high blood pressure, but the depressed men were five times more likely to abuse alcohol, leading to behaviors that counteract efforts to control blood pressure.

The science of summer haircuts
As school-age children begin their summer vacation, many parents urge them to get extra-short haircuts for the hot months ahead. For those parents who receive resistance to this idea, science offers several reasons to back them up. Researchers who study the biology of hair suggest a few advantages -- from a scientific point of view -- of a short summer haircut.

Standard depression treatments found effective for low-income minority women
Researchers at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Georgetown University Medical Center report that the standard short-term therapies for major depression work well for young, low-income minority women. In work published in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that medication and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) treatments are effective options for young Latinas and African-American women.

Hubble tracks down a galaxy cluster's dark matter
Using the powerful trick of gravitational lensing, a European and American team of astronomers have constructed an extensive 'mass map' of one of the most massive structures in our Universe. They believe that it will lead to a better understanding of how such systems assembled and the key role of dark matter.

Polymorphisms may contribute to variations in PSA levels
Polymorphisms in the promoter region of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) gene may contribute to individual variations in PSA levels, according to a study in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Identification of these polymorphims may improve the sensitivity of PSA testing for prostate cancer, the study suggests.

Credit-conscious college students tend to own most cards
College students with higher levels of credit card consciousness - or awareness of both the usefulness and problems of using credit cards -- are the very ones likely to carry larger numbers of credit cards and run up steeper average balances, according to a Penn State study.

Yale researchers identify two types of childhood reading disability
Yale researchers have, for the first time, identified two types of reading disability: a primarily inherent type with higher cognitive ability (poor readers who compensate for disability), and a more environmentally influenced type with lower cognitive skills and attendance at more disadvantaged schools (persistently poor readers).

Standard puts high-speed chips on the fast track
A new type of standard to be issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this summer will help meet the need for speed in semiconductors. The

1st successful national CQI intervention in medicine reported
T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., MD, Professor of Surgery and Physiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, is the lead author of a paper being published in the July 2, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that reports the success of the first randomized trial of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) accomplished on a national scale. The researchers found that a physician-led, intervention could have demonstrable impact on local practices within a two-year period.

Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing more common in Hispanic than white children
Hispanic children are more likely to suffer from symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) than white children, says a study published in the July issue of CHEST. The study also found that SDB was associated with parental report of learning problems in school-age children and that Hispanic boys were more likely to have excessive daytime sleepiness and learning problems than Hispanic girls and white boys and girls.

ES cell model could provide clues to causes, cures for diabetes
By studying embryonic stem cells from a mouse, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a potential model system for elucidating the stages of normal pancreatic development, as well as for developing a much-needed source of insulin-producing cells for the millions of people who need them to treat their diabetes.

JLab's CLAS physicists learn a little more about 'nothing,' get thrown for a spin
Physicists have long known that matter and anti-matter can be created when energetic particles strike one another. The new particles are not really created from

Risk of ectopic pregnancies after IVF declines with age in women with tubal disease
The first study to look at the risk of ectopic pregnancies after IVF in a complete national ART register has unearthed a surprising result - report to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference (Tuesday 1 July). 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