Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 1998)

Science news and science current events archive June, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 1998

Vaccine Kills Spreading Cancer In Animal Model
Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a vaccine that, in mice, can alert the immune system to the presence of stray cancer cells and significantly reduce their blood-borne spread.

Whitaker Foundation To Fund AAAS Science Journalism Awards Through 2001
The Whitaker Foundation, a private nonprofit organization supporting biomedical research and education, has announced it will continue to fund the AAAS Science Journalism Awards through 2001.

HIV Infected Adults In UCSF Study Show Evidence Of Thymus Activity
Contrary to the widely held belief that the thymus -- an organ essential for producing competent immune cells -- is not functional in adulthood, researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have shown that half of the HIV-infected patients in a recent study appear to have substantial thymus function.

NIDR 50th Anniversary Symposium
This half-day symposium will feature leading scientists from academia, industry, and NIH discussing their current work in two major areas: bone biology and human disease, and infection and immunity. Topics include osteoporosis, gene therapy, and the global threat of new and re-emerging infections.

Researchers Suggest New Disease Model May Some Day Lead To Effective Drugs ForHIV-Associated Dementia
Researchers have long believed that macrophages, the scavenger cells of the immune system, do not divide.

Unhealthy Lifestyles Not Primary Cause Of High Mortality Rates
Study shows that health risk behaviors account for only a small part of the excess mortality among Americans with low levels of income and education, according to Paula Lantz, assistant professor of health management and policy at the U- M School of Public Health.

Social Security News: Privatization Can't Cure $6.6 Trillion 'Ponzi Scheme,' UD Economist Reports
Nothing can save 40-something Baby Boomers from getting a raw deal at retirement because they're mired at the bottom of a massive pyramid or Ponzi scheme, according to a University of Delaware economist whose analysis of the Social Security system appears in the new issue of Humanomics, an international social science journal. Since 1940, U.S. retirees have received an estimated $6.6 trillion dollars more in benefits than they've paid in taxes, William T. Harris reports.

18 Millionth Chemical Substance Entered In World's Largest Database Of ChemicalInformation
Chemical Abstracts Service added the 18 millionth chemical substance to its database. The substance, identified in a patent application from Merck and Co., is an intermediate compound in the preparation of tachykinin receptor antagonists.

Chaos Comes To Light In Asymmetric Microlasers, Making Them A Thousand Times More Powerful
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden/Germany, Yale University and Bell Laboratories have demonstrated novel, asymmetrically-shaped semiconductor microlasers with more than 1,000 times the power of earlier, symmetric counterparts (Science, vol. 280, 5 June 1998). Their design exploits chaotic ray dynamics to achieve unique emission characteristics.

States Must Be Held Accountable For New Health Plans For Children
A 1997 law expanding health insurance for children by $24 billion offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve children's health, but the federal government must take immediate steps to ensure that states meet the new programs' goals, according to two new Institute of Medicine reports.

New Tests Demonstrate MuchLarger, More Specific Immune Responses To Viruses
Using novel assays described as the new

Forum Urges Medicare Reform To Emphasize Health Promotion
Successful aging in America will be aided by the expanded ability of Medicare to provide preventive services and incentives for wellness promotion, scientists warned today at the U.S. Capitol. The authors of the book,

IFT Announces 1998 Food Science Journalism Award Winners
Three journalists will be honored for excellence in food science reporting at the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT's) 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO in Atlanta June 20. One winning story in each category (newspaper, consumer magazine, and television) was selected by a panel of judges based on compelling interest, sound science, effective communication, and good balance.

Research Shows That If One Identical Twin Is Prey To Nightmares, Often The Other Is Too
Do axe-wielding madmen make regular appearances in your dreams? If so blame your genes. Finnish scientists have found that identical twins are twice as likely to share the trait of having frequent nightmares as nonidentical twins. Their findings also link frequent nightmares with mental illness.

Brain And Psyche: The Neurobiology Of The Self
The Whitehead Institute will hold its third annual press seminar,

How Reliable Are League Tables?
Marshall and Spiegelhalter describe a new statistical technique that can be used to quantify the uncertainty about ranking. They find that rankings were not entirely meaningful and therefore it would be unwise to take them too seriously. Positions in ranking can alter radically year on year, but this does not necessarity mean that a significant change in the success rate has occured.

Research Uncovers A Key To Aging And Lifespan Determination
A research team has identified a critical weakness in the defence against aging after increasing the life expectancy of fruit flies by 40 percent by injecting them with human a gene known to be a key factor affecting aging and lifespan.

Researchers Identify New Component Of Circadian Clock
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified a protein that partners with the mammalian CLOCK protein to regulate circadian rhythms. Together, the two proteins appear to induce transcription of circadian rhythm genes. Their findings are published in the June 5 Science.

Good Manners Put The Brakes On "Road Rage"
A major cause of anger while driving is the inconsiderate and discourteous behaviour of other road users - not blatant law- breaking. If drivers adopted better road manners much of Britain's reported 'road rage' could be eradicated.

Scientist Receives Prestigious Award
A prestigious foundation devoted to furthering biomedical research recently honored a UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas scientist for discovering a hormone that plays an important role in cardiovascular disease.

Student Looks Forward To Very Cool Research Opportunity
A Purdue University forestry major from Michigan will spend the first semester of his junior year on a continent completely devoid of trees. The National Science Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America have chosen Benjamin Hasse of Kingsford, Mich., as their candidate to spend next fall helping Antarctic researchers.

Ten Win Actuarial Research Competitions
Top actuarial research awards have been given for 1997 by the Actuarial Education and Research Fund and the Society of Actuaries.

Duke Researchers Call Gene Therapy A Promising Strategy For Sickle Cell Anemia
In a first step toward an effective treatment for sickle cell anemia, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have shown that they can use a new type of gene therapy to correct the defect in human blood cells.

Not Only Expert Panels But Practicing Physicians Should Contribute To Practice Guidelines
A Harvard Medical School study suggests that in certain cases, medical practice guidelines and the treatment recommended by practicing physicians may be two different things. The researchers say that evaluations of medical practice, part of the basis of practice guidelines, should be founded on the beliefs not only of expert panels but also of practicing physicians.

Now Chemistry Keeps Salty Taste Balanced In Smoked Fish
People who love kippers for breakfast, smoked salmon on their bagels, and caviar on their canapés, should welcome news of a new technique that could help to assure these delicacies contain precisely the right amount of salt.

Educational Intervention Can Reduce Sexual Behaviors Known To Transmit HIV
HIV behavioral interventions can cut high-risk sexual behaviors in half and more than double the regular use of condoms, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

World's Most Powerful Microlasers
Using chaos theory, scientists from Yale and Bell Labs have demonstrated novel semiconductor microlasers with more than 1,000 times the power of conventional, disk-shaped microlasers. The lasers are only 0.05 millimeters in diameter, or roughly the width of a human hair. The discovery brings scientists a step closer to developing faster fiber optic communications and faster computers that use light instead of electrons in some components.

Montana And Other Scientists Report On Life In The Ice
Scientists at Montana State University-Bozeman, NASA and elsewhere have found microorganisms living six feet into the ice that covers Lake Bonney in the Antarctic Dry Valleys. How these organisms survive in the extreme cold and the model they present for life on other planets is discussed in a paper published June 26 in Science.

New Packaging Sweetens Grapefruit Juice
The bitter taste commonly associated with packaged grapefruit juice has long soured many potential consumers. But now Cornell University food scientists say they have developed a special type of

UT Southwestern And Komen Foundation Offer Breast-Care Fellowship
The Center for Breast Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation have teamed up to offer a new one-year fellowship for physicians interested in the multispecialty care of breast- cancer patients.

University Of Georgia Researchers Help Design Decision Support System For Forest Managers And Owners
Let's say you own a hundred acres of forest in the mountains of North Carolina. You want the land to stay beautiful, but you also want to sell some timber to put your kids through college. Years ago, your best bet would have been to cut and pray, but not any more. A new decision support system that researchers from the University of Georgia helped design could make your job vastly easier.

The Shape Of Life: How Does The Computer "Know" When It Sees It?
Looks may not be everything, but they may indicate whether something was alive - here, or on Mars. To find out if looks and shape can be a signature of life, scientists are developing

Synthetic Detergent Found To Fight Multi-Drug Resistance
A synthetic detergent found in commonly used household cleansers could be effective in treating multi-drug resistance, according to a University of Toronto study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Physiology.

Photosynthetic Harvest Inc. Harnesses The Power Of Nature's Chemical Factories By "Milking" Green Plants For Valuable Natural Products
Our novel biotechnology enables us to literally tap a billion years worth of chemical synthesis capabilities hidden within the genetic systems of green plants to pose new options to emerging problems such as multi-drug resistant microbes, pesticide resistant insects, and cancers that are non- responsive to existing therapies.

Israeli Ban On Ethiopian Blood Was Flawed Policy, Yale Researcher Concludes
Israel's 1996 decision to discard blood donated by Ethiopian immigrants was unjustified based on the infinitesimally small danger of HIV infection, concludes Yale management scientist Dr. Edward H. Kaplan, who notes that there is a comparable HIV infection rate among Americans, who are not subject to a similar Israeli ban.

Heart Attack Survivors May Benefit More With A Stent Rather Than Angioplasty
DALLAS, June 30 -- Implanting a stainless steel coil -- called a stent -- to keep blocked arteries open is more effective for people who have had heart attacks than simply expanding the vessels with conventional balloon angioplasty, a Dutch study shows.

PSA To Debut At National Oceans Conference
A new public service announcement will make its debut at the National Oceans Conference in Monterey June 11 - 12. The theme of the PSA, narrated by American Oceans Campaign President Ted Danson, is connections.

Rats With Damaged Spine Partially Recover In Weizmann Institute Study
An innovative treatment developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science partially reverses paralysis in rats with damaged spines according to a report in the July issue of NATURE MEDICINE.

One-Time Needles Don't Reduce HIV Among Addicts, Study Shows
Needle-exchange programs that would provide addicts with syringes that are hard to reuse will find HIV rates not dropping but increasing, according to an article in this month's special edition of a journal published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

OHSU Scientists Begin Human Trials Of A Drug Aimed At The Underlying Cause Of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
For the first time, patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia will receive an investigational drug therapy aimed precisely at the molecules causing their cancer. The research leading to the drug was conducted at Oregon Health Sciences University, the lead center for this trial.

Scientists Develop New Computer Program To Speed Determination Of Gene Function
A computer program recently developed at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has found the markers on all DNA sequenced so far in the international Human Genome Project, and the list is now available on the Internet.

Tracking Pulsars By Their Twinkle
Radio astronomers have found a way to use the twinkling of stars to measure the velocity and distance of speeding neutron stars called pulsars that have escaped from the galaxy. The method combines computer modeling with two of the world's largest radio telescopes, the Very Long Baseline Array and the Arecibo Observatory.

Pacific Northwest Computerizes Crime Fighting
Computer scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are updating Washington state crime databases to help police share information on unsolved cases and track criminals on parole. Through these databases, officers can retrieve shared information on offenders previously inaccessible and do so within minutes rather than days or weeks.

Fact Sheet -- Rectal Administration Of Diazepam For Acute Repetitive Seizures (RADARS) Study
Funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), RADARS (Rectal Administration of Diazepam for Acute Repetitive Seizures) was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of rectal diazepam gel (Diastat®) when administered by nonmedical personnel in non- acute care settings.

Half Of All Doctors Are Below Average
Dr Jan Poloniecki writes that it will be be of little value if the Bristol case before the GMC is resolved merely by striking off three doctors. It will be of great value if the case establishes that the health service should now equip itself to provide people contempelating an operation with a numerical estimate of the chances of failure.

Teen Marijuana Use Is Fueled By Change In Attitudes
Changes in student attitudes about marijuana, not a general rise in rebellious or delinquent behavior among the teen-age children of baby boomers, are driving recent increases in the use of the drug. One of the key findings from a University of Michigan analysis of the reasons behind historic fluctuations.

Georgia Scientists Study Salt Marsh To Understand Global Warming
An interdisciplinary team of Georgia scientists has found a surprisingly high rate of carbon and nutrient turnover by microbes in one of Georgia's coastal salt marshes, a highly productive ecosystem.

Pioneer In Nuclear Medicine Wins Lifetime Award
On Monday, June 8, Henry N. Wagner Jr., MD, a professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and a pioneer of nuclear medicine, will receive the Cassen Award, a lifetime achievement award, at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine 1998 in Toronto, Canada. The Society is recognizing Wagner for his use of radioactive materials in the diagnosis, prevention, and monitoring of disease.

Researchers Discover Way To Grow New Kidneys In Rats
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a novel way to grow new kidneys that may one day lessen the need for human donor organs. When they placed a developing rat kidney inside the abdominal cavity of an adult rat, it became a smaller version of an adult kidney.

University Of Pittsburgh Scientist Discovers How A Novel Vitamin K Stops Cancer Cell Growth
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered how a novel form of vitamin K exerts its cancer-killing effects in primary liver cancers, which are notoriously resistant to chemotherapy. The research results, published in the May issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, describe an important new way to treat, and possibly prevent, cancer by triggering programmed cell death.

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