Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2001)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2001.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2001

Homeground ecology 101: Sara Stein to speak at ESA Meeting
On Sunday, August 5 at 5:00 p.m. Sara Stein, acclaimed natural science writer and gardener, will speak at the public plenary session of the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

Chronic Lyme disease symptoms not helped by intensive antibiotic treatment
The New England Journal of Medicine reports findings that an intensive 90-day course of intravenous and oral antibiotics was no better than placebo at helping patients with chronic symptoms of Lyme disease. The findings will appear online and in July 12th print editions.

University of Pittsburgh leads major national study on treating patients who have diabetes and heart disease
Recruitment has begun for a national, 40-center study that will determine the best way to treat patients who have coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. CAD is the top killer of people with type 2 diabetes. The University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health is coordinating the study.

INEEL requests design proposals for new subsurface geosciences laboratory
The Subsurface Geosciences Laboratory (SGL) at an estimated total project cost of $140 million to $170 million, will offer unique research capabilities needed to address the Department of Energy's environmental missions. The new facility will enable researchers to advance the fundamental understanding of biological, geological, chemical, and physical processes that affect contaminant behavior in the subsurface. INEEL plans to select the architects for conceptual design in June 2001.

The first cuneiform digital library on the internet
Researchers see new possibilities in reconstructing knowledge of early cultures / Cooperation among the Berlin Vorderasiatisches Museum, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, June 5, 2001
1). Home Monitoring System Shows Promise for Blood Pressure Control;2). Two Views on Changing Pricing of Pharmaceutical Drugs; 3). Unrecognized Heart Attacks in Women Not as Frequent as Once Thought

Children who had heart surgery 20-30 years ago need to check in again, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Adults who, as children, had surgery to correct congenital heart defects are failing to keep in touch with their cardiologists - and that could endanger their future health, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

New wireless architecture would extend cell-phone coverage to where it is needed most
A new architecture for next-generation wireless systems for cellular phones proposed by University at Buffalo researchers could provide an efficient and flexible way to extend outdoor coverage, as well as provide indoor coverage, without building additional cellular phone towers.

Beyond global warming: Where on Earth are we going?!
Planet Earth has entered an era that has no precedent. It is now apparent that these changes are cumulative and could accelerate the Earth into a different state with implications for its habitability. This striking message comes from global change scientists around the world as they prepare to meet in Amsterdam in July for one of the biggest and most international conferences ever held in this growing field of science.

Fear, anxiety affect pain
Human emotion can be a powerful force, acting as the fuel for everything from improbable sports championships to tragic acts of violence, and now there's evidence showing how powerful human emotional states can be when it comes to determining a person's ability to feel pain.

World's largest scientific society convenes its regional meeting June 11-13 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
More than 450 research findings will be presented from June 11-13 at the 33rd Central/Great Lakes joint regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Over 500 scientists and students are expected to attend the meeting at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

UM's Greenebaum Cancer Center among first nationwide to test promising new drug in kidney cancers
The University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center has begun to study a new drug called Iressa that has shown promising results in treating lung and prostate cancer patients. The new study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, is looking at the drug's effectiveness in treating kidney cancer patients.

UCSD biologists identify 548 genes in the fruit fly likely to play a role in human genetic diseases
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified genes in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, that appear to be counterparts of genes responsible for more than 700 different genetic diseases in humans.

Test can predict whether whiplash will lead to disability
A test of neck movement can predict which people with whiplash injuries will be disabled a year later, according to a study published in the June 26 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

INTERSECT 2001
Electrical activity observed at every level in the universe, the interconnectedness of all things and the convergence of new scientific discoveries with ancient human records will be the special focus of this historic event. Featuring Rupert Sheldrake, Bruce Lipton, Anthony Peratt, Dave Talbott & Wal Thornhill

Study says bleaching could be a hidden strength for corals
The global phenomenon of bleaching, in which reef-building corals lose their colorful algae and become white during times of stress, may actually allow some corals to adapt to global warming and other environmental change.

NASA Marshall scientist seeks improved methods for weather prediction in southeast U.S.
A new NASA-developed technique to improve numerical weather prediction - one that looks to the ground as well as the clouds - may one day help forecasters increase the accuracy of spring and summer weather predictions.

Washington state researchers receive award for making genetic analysis easier
Chemists Michael W. Reed, Ph.D., Igor V. Kutyavin, Ph.D., Sergey Lokhov, Ph.D., and Eugeny A. Lukhtanov, Ph.D., of Epoch Biosciences Inc. in Bothell, Wash., were honored June 15 by the American Chemical Society for creating better tools for genetic analysis. They received one of two 2001 Industrial Innovation Awards at the Society's Northwest regional meeting in Seattle.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Tip Sheet for June 2001
This month's medical tip sheet from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center includes the following topics: 1) New experimental artificial disc for spinal disorders 2) Baker's dozen weight management tips 3) New diagnostic tool improves detection of lung cancer that has spread 4) New hope on the horizon for allergy sufferers - Anti IgE drugs; 5) Expert on medical aspects of organ transplantation receives prestigous award

Study uncovers structure of key molecule responsible for clearing drugs from the body
Chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and GlaxoSmithKline have succeeded in determining the structure of a key molecule in the liver responsible for metabolizing more than 60 percent of drugs taken by humans.

Biotechnology promises major advances for U.S. Army
A report being released today (Wednesday, 6/20) recommends that the U.S. Army take advantage of dramatic advancements in biotechnology that promise to help soldiers survive and perform better in the 21st century.

Illinois researcher receives award for developing a better sunscreen
Craig A. Bonda of the C.P. Hall Company in Bedford Park, Ill., will be honored June 11 by the American Chemical Society for developing a better, longer-lasting sunscreen. He will receive one of four 2001 Industrial Innovation Awards at the Society's Central/Great Lakes joint regional meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich.

American Sociological Association holds 2001 Annual Meeting
The American Sociological Association's (ASA) 96th Annual Meeting will convene August 18-21st at the Hilton Anaheim and the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA. More than 550 sessions will be held on a wide range of topics including social inequality, race and racism, work/labor markets, immigration, education, youth and families, health, political sociology, popular culture, and more.

Researchers identify protein important for beginning gene-activation process
Researchers at Penn State have identified the single protein that initiates the gene-activation process. The discovery promises potential applications in the effort to combat diseases such as cancer and leukemia.

Study finds marijuana use may pose health threat to baby boomers
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess have found that people who smoke marijuana may increase their risk of a heart attack. A person's chance of having a heart attack, particularly those who are already at risk for heart disease, increased nearly five times during the first hour after smoking marijuana.

High homocysteine levels are strongly associated with all-cause mortality among elderly
A high serum level of total homocysteine (tHcy) is generally accepted as a predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. In a 4-year prospective study of 4,766 Norwegian subjects initially aged 65-67 years old, Vollset et al. found a strong association of elevated tHcy and all-cause mortality. Their results reinforce the importance of addressing the tHcy problem from a wider perspective than that of CVD risk alone.

Microbes and the dust they ride in on pose potential health risks
Potentially hazardous bacteria and fungi catch a free ride across the Atlantic, courtesy of North African dust plumes. Government researchers who made the discovery believe the stowaway microbes might pose a health risk to people in the western Atlantic region.

Older blacks face higher disability risk, Univ, of Fla. study shows
The golden years are more likely to be tarnished for black Americans, who face a higher risk of disabilities than their Latino and white counterparts.In the first national survey of differences among older ethnic groups, researchers found nearly 20 percent of blacks age 70 and older lost the ability to perform personal tasks such as eating, dressing and bathing.

Grant for cervical cancer prevention on Crow Indian reservation awarded in Montana
A program aimed at lowering the number of deaths from cervical cancer on the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana begins July 2001. Called Messengers for Health, the program targets Native American women, who have the highest rate of cervical cancer among all minority populations in the U.S. It's funded by the American Cancer Society.

Laboratory study shows measles vaccine may offer novel approach for treating lymphoma
The virus strain used worldwide for more than 30 years to produce the measles vaccine may be effective for another purpose -- fighting lymphoma, a group of cancers that originate in the lymphatic system.

Penn researchers explore the role of cell suicide in the development and treatment of cancer
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers identified the essential role of two proteins, Bax and Bak, in apoptosis. Cells lacking these proteins cannot be killed by chemotherapy or irradiation - demonstrating that those therapies treat cancer by forcing the cancer cell to commit suicide.

Development of important immune cells relies on more complicated influences than scientist had thought
As an important family of white blood cells divides into separate identities, it relies on a much more complicated pattern of differentiation than current scientific thinking has held. The Th1 and Th2 cells are products both of internal and external programming, according to findings by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center's Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.

Genomic leaders receive 2001 Biotechnology Heritage Award
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) have awarded the Biotechnology 2001 Heritage Award to Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute; and J. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics, for their key roles in the sequencing of the human genome. The annual award will be presented at the BIO 2001 International Convention and Exhibition.

Nile crocodiles threatened by alien weed
Nile Crocodiles face local extinction at Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa, due to the invasion of an exotic weed in their nesting habitat. Earthwatch-supported scientists Drs. Alison Leslie (University of Stellenbosch) and James Spotila (Drexel University) report that the plant shades nesting areas, significantly cooling nest temperatures and resulting in primarily female hatchlings due to temperature-dependent sex determination.

Nuclear medicine image of the year
An image of Alzheimer's disease plaques and tangles is Nuclear Medicine's Image of the Year. The image, by Jorge Barrios of UCLA shows the characteristic plaques and tangels of Alzheimer's disease, suggesting the disease showing how the disease can be identified early. Announced at the Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting.

Physician honored for work with minorities
The American Heart Association presented its Louis B. Russell Jr. Memorial Award to Richard Allen Williams, M.D., Encino, Calif., for his work with underserved populations. The award was presented during the organization's annual Delegate Assembly in June.

Climate change and coral reefs
Corals are sensitive to their environment, but their fate may be determined this next century by the relative rates and timing of sea level rise, global warming, and other anthropogenic impacts. Disentangling these effects is a complex problem. Adaptability of coral reefs is underestimated, said Malcolm McCulloch (Australian School of Earth Sciences, Canberra).

AAPS announces short course on computer simulation
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) will hold the AAPS Short Course on Computer Simulation and its Role in Drug Development Research, September 20-21, 2001 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

Biologists: Cell nucleus surface more complicated than expected
From middle school through college, students are taught that each plant or animal cell has a nucleus - a simple, round sphere containing the organism's genetic blueprint. In an accidental discovery, however, researchers at North Carolina State University have found it's not that simple, after all.

Strategies to cut risky sexual behaviour may do more harm than good
Strategies aimed at changing sexual behaviour to prevent the transmission of HIV should not be assumed to bring benefit and potentially may even do more harm than good, finds a study in this week's BMJ. More rigorous evaluation of such interventions is needed, report the authors.

Oceanic bacterial photopigments convert light into biochemical energy
A new energy-generating, light-absorbing pigment called proteorhodopsin is widespread in the world's oceans, say scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Their discovery is reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Kansas State University's Paul to study arsenic awareness and knowledge in Bangladesh
More than 70 million people in Bangladesh, mainly living in rural parts of the country, are drinking water pumped from tube wells contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring arsenic, a poisonous element. An extensive irrigation program intensified the pollution and now many people are suffering from a skin disease because of the arsenic.

Virus found to carry antibiotic against E. coli
Part of a small virus that attacks only bacteria acts like an antibiotic to destroy E. coli, researchers with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station have found. A report on the antibiotic action of the small virus,

NIAID collaboration yields new test for Lyme disease
A new test developed with NIAID funding has been shown to be highly accurate and sensitive for detecting antibodies to Lyme disease and was recently licensed by the FDA.

T cell killing in ADA-SCID
Although many different molecular defects can lead to immunodeficiency, mutations in the adenosine deaminase (ADA) gene were the first identified lesions that cause severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), affecting both B and T cell development. Despite this long history, the cellular events that lead to the death of lymphocytes in children with diseases of purine metabolism, such as ADA-SCID, have never been clear.

Venus holds clues to finding Earth's platinum and diamonds
Modern Venus is similar to early Earth when precious resources were formed. Usually in a quiet state, Venus does enter into periods of intense volcanic activity. The old surface is destroyed and a new one is created. In its early history when life evolved, Earth worked in a similar way.

Walnut consumption may reduce heart disease risk by beneficially redistributing cholesterol
Although consumption of as little as 5 ounces of nuts per week has been shown to reduce cardiovascular (CVD) risk by 30-50%, most studies have not differentiated the effects of specific types of nuts. Walnuts are unique as a rich source of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In a study of older subjects, Almario et al. demonstrated that walnuts added to the diet have a dual effect of lowering both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Premature babies show poor school performance
Up to a third of children born between 32 and 35 weeks gestation will have some form of school problem, finds a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood. Given the large number of surviving children in this gestational age group, this finding has important implications for educational services, report the authors.

USGS finds mixing between California spotted owls and northern spotted owls
Findings published in June's edition of the journal Conservation Genetics indicate that a significant zone of genetic mixing is occurring between northern spotted owls and California spotted owls, particularly in extreme northern California and southern Oregon. The findings suggest there is relatively little genetic diversity within the overall species relative to other bird species and that the genetic diversity within local populations may suffer from further population fragmentation.

Astronomers report galactic baby boom
A pair of young astronomers has found a bumper crop of

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