Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 1997)

Science news and science current events archive June, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 1997

Simple Sound Can Be Really Cool
It's a chilling thought--using a loudspeaker to power your refrigerator, without use of refrigerants that can harm the environment. A Purdue University engineer is developing a prototype device that uses sound waves to cool, and he plans to have it operating by July.

Rosier Picture Of Life After Prostate Surgery
A new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows today's prostate surgery patients recover remarkably well, and very few regret having the operation. The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Estrogen Use May Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease
A study from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) adds more eidence that women who use estrogen appear to have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD).

When Marriages Fail, The Home Is Often A Major Source Of Conflict
Home may be where the heart is, but when homes and hearts break apart, the family home is less a haven and more a source of stress and conflict, a University of Illinois professor reports

Game Over: Counterpart Discoveries Show Gamma-Ray Bursts Are Cosmological
After nearly 30 years, scientists finally can answer the question

Solid Curriculum And Strong Teaching Outweigh Negatives In Math And Science Learning
U.S. forth-graders' performance on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) proves that students can overcome factors that traditionally are blamed for poor learning, if challenged by a solid curriculum based on national education standards coupled with competent teaching, according to officials of the National Science Foundaton (NSF).

Women With Breast Cancer Fare Better At Multi-Disciplinary Clinics, Henry Ford Hospital Study Shows
Henry Ford Health Hospital researchers have found that women with breast cancer, who are treated at a full-service multi-disciplinary clinic, receive faster diagnosis and treatment and are more satisfied with their care than women treated by scheduling separate appointments with a number of physicians.

Molecular Anchors Provide New Uses For Liquid Crystals
An elegantly simple method of

New Findings Point To Use Of Antioxidant Vitamins To Improve Cardiac Patient Outcomes
Antioxidant vitamins appear to protect against aging and disease by quelling the corrosive activey of free radicals. Now a new study shows that free-radical injury also likely occurs following heart bypass surgery or treatment for a heart attack, suggesting that antioxidant compounds might play a role in mitigating that damage.

Chloroplasts Connect Via Tubes To Share Material
Chloroplasts, the green globules inside plant cells responsible for photosynthesis, communicate via slender tubules that exchange proteins, Cornell scientists find using a unique laser-microscope.

Immune Globulin Injections May Allow Young Adults With Damaged Hearts To Recover Without Heart Transplants
Injections of immune globulin may enable adults with hearts severely damaged by acute cardiomyopathy to recover without heart transplants, according to results of a new study published in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation

Ultrasound Screening For Fetal Anomalies: Is It Worth It? A New York Academy Of Sciences Conference
Just how effective is ultrasound screening in detecting anomalies -- birth defects and abnormal growth patterns -- in utero? This question and the medical, economic, and ethical issues it encompasses will be debated June 23-25 at

Book By Walker And Shipman Wins Major Science Book Award Grand Prize
The General Prize in the 1997 Rhone-Poulenc Prizes for Science Books, which has been described as the most prestigious prize for science writing in the English language worldwide, has been awarded to the Penn State husband-wife team of Alan Walker and Pat Shipman. They win approximately $16,500 (10,000 British pounds) for their book titled

MACS And ACTG Studies Advance Understanding And Clinical Use Of HIV Prognostic Markers
In two of the most definate studies of prognostic markers for HIV disease published to date, investigators supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have found that combining HIV and RNA measurements with CD4+ T cell counts provides the most accurate prediction of disease progression in HIV-infected individuals.

Low Levels Of The Fat Cell Hormone Leptin In Amenorrhea
The predictive value of leptin, body mass index, fat mass and precent body fat for a lifetime occurence of amenorrhea was assessed in this study. The results show that a critical leptin level is needed to maintain mansrtruation. This research has implications for the evaluation and treatment of many physiological and pyschological disorders, especially eating disorders.

Staph Bacteria--Most Common Cause Of Hospital-Based Infection--Cost New York City $435.5 Million And Claimed 1,400 Lives In 1995
The first study of the economic impact of Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections in the New York area shows that 13,550 cases in 1995 cost $435.5 million and claimed 1,400 lives. The Lewin Group conducted the study, under the direction of Robert J. Rubin, M.D.

Impacts Of Sweden's Nuclear Power Phaseout Addressed In New RFF Book
As the Swedish parliament moves closer to phasing out nuclear power, a new book published by Resources for the Future suggests that Sweden has much to lose--economically, environmentally, and in terms of health and safety--and little to gain from an early retirement of its nuclear power industry.

Fiber In Diet Not Enough; American Heart Association Calling For Higher Intake To Fight Heart Disease
Americans are getting about half as much fiber in the diet as they need, according to a new report from the American Heart Association that appears today in its journal Circulation. Eating enough fiber-rich foods is part of a diet to lower blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, says Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., author of the article.

Low-Tech Is Best For Averting Cardiovascular Disease Epidemic In Developing World
A wave of cardiovascular disease is poised to sweep through the developing world, and the best way for those countries to cope is not with high-tech medical gadgetry but with low-cost investments in education and prevention programs, says a University of Rochester expert at a meeting this week on preventive cardiology.

Ozone 'Chat Room' Provides Real-Time Air-Quality Research
Environmental scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a revolutionary Internet air pollution

Students Can E-Mail Argonne Scientist On Arctic Expedition
This summer, students and teachers from around the world will have the opportunity to communicate via e-mail with a scientific expedition to the arctic. Argonne chemist Ken Anderson will be one of six researchers traveling to Axel Heiberg Island, and will maintain contact via satellite link.

Muscle Growth May Be Limited In The Elderly, New Research Suggests
Older people who begin to exercise following a period of inactivity may find that their muscle development isn't what it used to be. An Ohio University study suggests that aging-related muscle changes may limit the elderly to same amount of muscle growth as that of young people who don't exercise

New Evidence For Corn's Ancestry Could Lead To Insect And Drought Resistant Crops
Scientists continue to debate the ancestry of domesticated corn. But Duke University researcher Mary Eubanks said she has mounting evidence that corn emerged from the interbreeding of two different wild American grasses

"Superluminal" Jet Sources Close To Home
Astronomers have recently discovered powerful jets of material, turning on and off like a faucet and spewing forth from black holes with velocities nearly the speed of light - nearby in our own galaxy. NASA astronomer Dr. Alan Harmon will detail these findings on June 11 at the 190th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Winston-Salem, NC.

Study May Reveal Clues To Friedreich's Ataxia
The cause of the slow decline of Friedreich's ataxia patients has always eluded researchers. A new study in the June 13, 1997, issue of Science may offer an explanation for this neurodegenarative disease and eventually lead to the development of treatments.

Carnegie Mellon's Nomad Robot Begins 125-Mile Trek In Chilean Desert
Carnegie Mellon's Nomad robot, funded by NASA begins its trek through Chile's Atacama Desert, testing its ability to navigate, explore and do remote science as if it were on another planet. Planetary scientists will use it to simulate Mars and Moon missions.

Milestone Reached In Human Genome Research
Scientists have analyzed the longest continuous segment of human DNA ever sequenced, and, in doing so, have uncovered some powerful an surprising information about the human immune system that may one da help doctors prevent diseases such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Athletes Should Avoid Short-Cut Methods To Lose Weight
When athletes, particularly wrestlers, use short-cut methods to lose weight fast, they both endanger their health and hurt their performance.

Earthquake Could Cause Flooding Of Yucca Mountain Repository, Study Says
An earthquake in the vicinity of the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain could cause groundwater to surge up into the storage area, according to a new study by two University of Colorado at Boulder geophysicists.

Diabetes: Cholera Toxin Lends A Hand
Charles Thivolet (INSERM Unit 499, Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetes, directed by Jean-Paul Riou in Lyon) is devloping a new way to prevent diabetes by protecting insulin-producing pacreatic cells through oral insulin administration. In an article published in PNAS, he reports that the action can be amplified by concomitantly stimulating the immune system with cholera toxin.

Hopkins Research Finds Dialysis Choice Depends On Pediatric Experience
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center report that treatment centers seeing a higher precentage of pediatric patients are more likely to use a less invasive method of dialysis for children with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), while centers seeing fewer children tend to prescribe a more time-invasive and restrictive dialysis method.

Land Mine Detection Captures Attention Of ORNL, DOE Labs
Land mine detection and demining efforts of the Department of Defense are going high-tech with the assistance of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and nine other Department of Energy labororatories.

Clinical Model Helps Predict Heart Failure Patients
Doctors have a new set of medical tools to help identify seriously ill patients for whom transplants might safely be deferred. Researchers described in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation a clinical model that accurately predicted survival among groups of patients with moderate to severe heart failure.

16-Year Study Is Further Evidence That Estrogen Replacement May Be Protective Against Alzheimer's Disease
Scientists at the National Institutes on Aging and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center have shown that a history of estrogen replacement therapy in women after menopause was associated with a reduction, by over 50 percent, in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This study is important because it is one of the first long-term analyses of estrogen's effect on Alzheimer's disease.

New Material Shows Superior Lubricating Properties
A material discovered at the Weizmann Institute of Science has shown superior properties as a machine lubricant, as reported in the June 19 issue of Nature. When compared with the best existing lubricants, it reduced friction to less than half and cut wear on parts by up to six times. Using the new material would significantly increase the lifespan and efficiency of machinery.

Fluctuating Cholesterol Levels In Youths, Differences In Girls' Body Fatness Calls For Re-Examining Guidelines Says Houston Team
A new study on growth in children and teenagers confirms striking fluctuations in blood cholesterol levels, suggesting that normal cutpoints for testing may need to be re-examined, says Darwin Labarthe, M.D., Ph.D, the report's lead author.

Internet Moves Toward Privatization
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today an action that moves the Internet toward privatization. Internet Protocol number assignments will soon be handled by a non- profit organization.

Fruits And Vegetables Contain Plant Chemicals That Lower Cholesterol, Says American Heart Association
Some plants appear to contain cholesterol-lowering substances that may give Americans another reason to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables

Inhibition Deficit, Not Quick Reactions, What Sets Impulsive People Apart
Impulsive people, such as children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are quick to act. What sets them apart from people with normal behavior, however, is not speed. It's the inability to brake, researchers say.

Making Photonic Devices 1000 Times Smaller
Researchers at Northwestern University have constructed a tiny photonic resonator that is a hundred times smaller than hecros etion of a human hair--so small that it can only be seen with an electron microscope.

New Software Robot Uses UW Technology To Make On-Line Shopping A Breeze
Frustrated Internet shoppers who are unable or unwilling to wade through a flood of World Wide Web sites to find what they're looking for soon can call on a computer software robot named Jango to help with their on-line shopping. Using technology developed by University of Washington computer scientists, Jango automatically searches the web and quickly compiles a report listing vendors, prices and reviews for a desired product.

Clues To Impaired Male Infertility In Knockout Mouse At Jackson Lab
A unique mouse model developed by Jackson Laboratory and Canadian researchers exhibits significantly reduced male fertility, suggesting a critical role in reproduction and early embryonic development for the knocked-out gene known as PC4 (proprotein convertase 4).

Office Of Technology Policy And The Japan Documentation Center To Host International Conference On Japanese Information
This conference will tackle key current policy developments in Japan which are playing into the U.S.'s ability to access, at all levels, Japanese information.

Two Drugs Better Than One For Treating Children With Symptomatic HIV
Initial therapy using zidovudine (AZT) combined with either lamivudine (3TC) or didanosine (ddI) is far more effective at staving off disease progression or death in children with symptomatic HIV disease than using ddI alone, according to a large multicenter study supported by the National Institues of Health (NIH).

Population-Based Study Shows Vitamin C May Be Antioxidant
A study of vitamin C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University at Buffalo epidemiologists, has shown people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker for oxidative stress. The results were presented today at the annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Studies At Colorado State University's Animal Tumor Center Point To New Treatments For Cancer In Humans
A pair of veterinary cancer researchers at Colorado State University are studying ways to use a breakthrough treatment that helps eliminate cancer in dogs to treat human cancers, including breast tumors.

Self-Assembled Inorganic Film Fights Corrosion, Holds Catalysts
For more than a decade, scientists have known about the ability of monolayers of organic molecules to self-assemble, but the self-assembly of inorganic molecules had remained an elusive goal. Recently, two University of Illinois scientists devised a way of modifying metal surfaces with self-assembled monolayers of an inorganic compound

Above-Average Hurricane Season Forecast Stands; Colorado State's Gray Says Global Climate Factors Point To More Active Storm Era
Noted hurricane forecaster William Gray releases his prediction for hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin. Gray, a professor at Colorado State University, predicts above-average activity for 1997, with 11 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes and three intense hurricanes

Estrogen Benefits The Eyes, Study Shows
While estrogen's ability to prevent bone loss and heart disease in postmenopausal women is established, here's something new: estrogen may benefit the eyes. A study in the June issue of Ophthalmology found a reduced incidence of lens opacities, precursors of age-related cataract, in postmenopausal women taking estrogen

Metal-Detecting Molecules May Find Use In Process Water Recycling, Groundwater Cleanup, Virus Detection, And More
A biochemical technique being refined at Sandia National Laboratories may soon enable sensors that can in seconds detect the equivalent of one contaminant particle among a billion other molecules in waste streams. 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