Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2000)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2000

Genes may help protect kidneys from diabetes damage
Ohio University scientists have identified genes that may be involved in protecting the kidneys of diabetics from damage, a first step in the development of a drug or therapy for millions of people who suffer from kidney failure as a result of the disease.

Penn researchers discover cause of kidney failure in diabetic mice
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have demonstrated in an animal model that diabetic kidney failure is triggered by a protein that can be neutralized, thus effectively blocking the development of kidney disease -- which is one of the most deadly side- effects of diabetes. The new finding appears in the July 5 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

MIT 'Star Wars' technology applied to breast cancer
An MIT researcher's work ten years ago on

Enzyme may protect nerve cells from brain disorders
Telomerase, an enzyme believed to have a role in determining the life span of cells, also may protect nerve cells against decreased function and premature death caused by Alzheimer's disease and other age-related neurological disorders.

Physical activity, including walking, associated with substantial reduction in risk for stroke in women
Increasing physical activity levels are associated with a substantial reduction in risk of total and ischemic stroke in women, according to an article in the June 14 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's seeks patients for major research study comparing different options to treat knee pain from damaged cartilage
The effectiveness of an autologous cartilage repair method is being studied at the Cartilage Restoration Center at Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. Rush is one of 20 sites in the United States and Canada participating in a new international research study comparing different treatment options for injury to articular cartilage in the knee.

Treatment speeds skin-wound healing in diabetic mice
Scientists have identified a sequence of amino acids found in a common blood protein that accelerates healing of hard-to- treat skin wounds in mice. The substance healed skin puncture wounds in obese diabetic mice in just eight days rather than 20 days to 42 days in untreated mice.

Data underscores postive safety profile of Avandia
Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate, SmithKline Beecham)shows no sign of troglitazone-like (Rezulin, Warner-Lambert)liver toxicity, according to data presented at the American Diabetes Association 60th Scientific Sessions meeting.

Salmon expert resource guide website
The National Sea Grant College Program has available on-line, (PDF), its 70-page

'Lives on hold' -- the emotional costs for 'super copers'
Infertility and the strains imposed by treatment can produce almost unbearable highs and lows of emotion among couples, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Bologna, Italy, heard today (Monday 26 June).

Don't opt for ART too soon, doctor urges patients and centres
A Dutch gynaecologist has told a fertility conference that many couples wanting a baby are rushing to demand treatment too soon.

Nine cancer centers share $8.9 million grant to improve treatment for neuroblastoma, a cancer that strikes children
With an $8.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, nine institutions have joined to develop and test new treatments for neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer that only strikes children. Pediatric oncologists from UCSF and USC lead the clinical consortium and the research program aiming to speed treatments to the bedside.

UI researchers solve 32-year-old mathematics problem
University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory have solved an applied mathematics problem that had challenged computer scientists for 32 years.

Study shows that people often get better adjusted as they age
Being productive, having good interpersonal relationships and behaving compassionately toward others are signs of psychological health and can improve as we age, according to three longitudinal studies that examine psychological health over a 50-year period. The study, reported in this month's Psychology and Aging, which is published by the American Psychological Association, also shows that even not-so- healthy teenagers can become healthier as they age.

Dual trained doctors treat mind and body together
An estimated 15 percent of all people with medical problems also have a serious psychiatric problem, yet physicians without specialized psychiatric training are treating 90 percent of those problems.

New approach to antibiotic resistance
Like weeds in a garden, disease-causing bacteria resist our efforts to stamp them out. Now researchers have a new tool to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The achievement is reported in the May 31 edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

People link career success with names, study finds
Who would more likely be successful as a plumber, Marge or Susan? As a construction worker, Jack or Wesley? A new Ohio University study on names and occupations suggests that people subconsciously predict career success for those with names that more closely match the gender stereotype associated with a profession.

Researchers pin down phenomenon of 'pinning' of magnetic layers
Researchers have made the first direct images of the enigmatic alignment of magnetic domains on both sides of an interface between ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic films - - an example of 'pinning' in the kind of layered magnetic structure vital to advanced computer recording heads and memory devices of the future.

Experimental drug reverses effects of Fabry disease in mice
A new experimental drug is the first treatment shown to reverse the effects in mice of a hereditary, incurable disorder called Fabry (Fah-BRAY) disease. This genetic mutation prevents cells from removing waste products that accumulate within the kidneys, heart and blood vessels. Death occurs in early adulthood from renal failure or cardiovascular complications.

Potentially hazardous asteroids mapped
Astronomer William Bottke at Cornell University estimates that 900 asteroids a kilometer in diameter or larger present a potential hazard to life on Earth. Some pass within a few moon distances of Earth every year.

Fine-tuning the search for biochemical characteristics of alcoholics
  • Genetic factors are known to contribute to the development of alcoholism.
  • Biochemical characteristics can help identify those people with a predisposition for alcoholism.
  • The enzyme platelet adenylyl cyclase may be such a biochemical marker.
  • The marker seems to work best among abstinent drinkers.

High risk of heart disease found in families with elevated blood triglycerides
In the first study of its kind in families, researchers have shown that elevated triglycerides - a blood fat - sharply increase a person's risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person's blood cholesterol is normal.

Study: crime, lack of PE, recreation programs lead U.S. adolescents to couch-potato lifestyles
Lack of access to school physical education programs and community recreation centers significantly decreases the chance that U.S. adolescents will be physically active, a major new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows.

'Radical' discovery dedicated a National Historic Chemical Landmark
University of Michigan chemist Moses Gomberg's discovery of organic free radicals will be designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, on June 25 at the university's Ann Arbor campus.

Booming fish farming industry depleting world fish supplies
Ten leading experts - ecologists, economists, fisheries and aquaculture specialists evaluated whether farm-raised fish add to the global food supply, as intended, or contribute to the depletion of fish populations worldwide. This international team of specialists found that in some cases, aquaculture does more harm than good.

NSF workshops report on underrepresentation of women and minorities in information technology
The National Science Foundation has released a pair of reports summarizing recent

Risk map will help predict encephalitis outbreaks
Florida researchers are combining satellite surveillance data from NASA, weather information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, and a map of North America to develop a map that would change as various indicators for encephalitis show up or disappear across the country. The hope is that a risk map could provide valuable time for officials to educate residents about the risk of encephalitis and prevent an outbreak.

NIAID-industry partnership leads to promising new tuberculosis drug
TB, the world's leading killer among infectious diseases, has not faced an effective new class of drugs for more than 30 years. Now, a promising new candidate drug, developed by scientists at PathoGenesis Corporation in Seattle, has unique properties that may make it superior to current anti-TB compounds. Collaborative studies performed with scientists at NIAID determined how the drug works.

ORNL joins computing elite, surpasses 1 teraflop
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 20, 2000 -- Recently acquired supercomputers from IBM and Compaq have made Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) home to the most powerful unclassified computers in the nation and are advancing its leadership role in computational science.

Using PET scan technology to study alcohol's effects on the brain
  • Alcohol has both sedative-like and stimulant-like effects on the brain.
  • Benzodiazepines, which have a sedative effect, are used as sleeping pills.
  • Alcohol and benzodiazepines both facilitate brain GABA activity, which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter system in the brain, yet they have different behavioral effects.
  • This study compares the effects of alcohol with those of benzodiazepines.

Purdue researchers clean up petroleum spills with plants
A husband and wife research team at Purdue University has pioneered the use of plants to help clean up soil contaminated with petroleum products. The Environmental Protection Agency and industry researchers already use methods developed by the Purdue team at several petroleum spill sites across the nation.

Future scientists gather for Pan-American conference
More than 140 future scientists - currently college students in chemistry and chemical engineering - from 16 Western Hemisphere nations will meet with educators and employers later this month in Puerto Rico for an unusual conference sponsored by the world's largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society.

Worrying rise in high risk sexual behaviour among homosexual men
The first ever report of an increase in unsafe sex among gay men in England appears in this week's BMJ, representing a worrying shift in behaviour twenty years after the start of the HIV epidemic.

U.S. to send best and brightest to Singapore for second APEC Youth Science Festival
Twenty of the nation's most talented and innovative young scientists will go to Singapore July 25-August 2 as a delegation to the second biennial Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Youth Science Festival.

Gene discovery provides link between neurological disorders
The recent discovery of a new gene for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) shows a common link between many neurological disorders. Mutations in this gene, neurofilament light, are also associated with Parkinson, Alzheimer, and Lou Gehrig's disease. Understanding the connection between the diseases will be key to understanding how they arise.

Half fish, half robot
One day your brain could live on in a mechanical shell. A team from America and Italy have created a strange hybrid creature with a sea lamprey supplying brain power to a robot.

Bone marrow produces mature liver cells in humans, Yale-NYU team discovers
Mature liver cells in humans are generated from bone marrow- derived stem cells, a Yale-NYU team has discovered, paving the way for improved treatment of liver damage and disease. 'The long-held belief has been that bone marrow is supposed to produce blood cells and liver is supposed to produce liver cells. Now that we know differently, the goal is to harness the potential of this finding into new avenues for therapeutics,' said Yale School of Medicine professor Diane Krause, M.D.

Pork research news tips
5 Pork Reseach News Tips: ultraviolet light reduces harmful bacteria on pork; computer model lowers swine feed costs; national setback guidelines based on Purdue measures of manure odor; Purdue low-cost feed decreases pollutants and manure odor; Purdue researchers hoping to improve quality of bacon.

DNA details suggest how human chromosomes break, rearrange and cause a genetic disease
Chromosome 22, one of the smallest human chromosomes, is known to be a hot spot for disease. Genetics researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are teasing out details of unusual, unstable DNA structures that make the chromosome particulaly vulnerable to defects and rearrangements that may result in diseases.

Scientists successfully grow insulin-secreting cells to treat diabetes
UCSD School of Medicine scientists have successfully cultured human beta cells that grow indefinitely, and that could potentially serve as an unlimited source of insulin-producing tissue for transplantation to cure people with diabetes, according to reports presented June 11 at the American Diabetes Association's Annual Scientific Sessions in San Antonio.

Does air pollution affect wild flowers?
How does airborne ozone affect wild plants? This summer a team of scientists hope to find the answer in an American mountain range cloaked in ozone. The answer may have important implications for the way we try to preserve rare fauna in the future.

Inner health, outer embarrassment: in between it's interesting history
James Whorton didn't set out to write a history of constipation. But when the University of Washington professor of medical history and ethics researched the idea of diseases of that plague civilization he kept finding references to constipation as the fundamental disease of civilization.

Scared smokeless: study finds smokers kick the habit after diabetes diagnosis
It takes a lot to quit smoking. But a new study finds that even diehard puffers can kick the habit when faced with the life-changing news that they have diabetes, and the realization that, because of the disease, every cigarette they smoke increases their risk for major health problems.

New detection system
A specialized detection coil used in a nuclear quadrupole resonance, or NQR, system for detecting hidden narcotics and explosives has been patented by the Naval Research Laboratory.

Former astronaut and solar physicist wins prestigious award for studies of the Sun
Loren Acton, a former astronaut who founded the solar physics group at Montana State University-Bozeman, has received the George Ellery Hale Prize, a major award in the field of solar physics.

Summer heat spells lights out, but new power company software might keep nation's power on
A recent study headed by Sandia National Laboratories suggests that major power emergencies might be averted if power companies adopt new command and control software that predicts future energy demand rather than simply responds to it. If last year's power outages are any indication, this summer might bring Y2K-like power failures to large areas of the nation as power companies struggle to meet peak daytime electricity drain prompted by widespread air conditioner use.

OSU researchers discover new key to origins of Hawaii volcanoes
Researchers from Oregon State University have discovered that some of the sea mounts originating from the volcanic chain of the Hawaiian

25-minute test distinguishes between different types of schizophrenia
For the first time, a simple test which measures people's response to a sudden loud noise can distinguish between early and later onset schizophrenia. These findings from Dr Tonmoy Sharma's group from the Institute of Psychiatry, published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, could ultimately lead to radical changes in the treatment of schizophrenia, a condition that affects 1 in 100 people in the UK.

Improvements in stroke care already evident
A group of more than 75 hospitals across the nation have made substantial progress in improving stoke treatment, already acting on many of the recommendations of the Brain Attack Coalition published in this week's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association

Underage college drinkers have easy access to alcohol, pay less, and consume more per occasion than older students
Despite the national 21-year minimum drinking age law, underaged drinking is pervasive on college campuses, according to a new study. 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