Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 1998)

Science news and science current events archive March, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 1998

New Guidelines To Improve Public Understanding
Feeling more confused than enlightened after reading or hearing about the latest dietary study du jour? Newly- released guidelines, based on an advisory group convened by the Harvard School of Public Health and the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, aim to help the public have a better understanding of emerging nutrition, food safety and health science.

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop Robot That Chews Asbestos Off Of Pipes
Carnegie Mellon robotics researchers, working under a $2 million contract from the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Technology Center, have developed a crawling robot that removes asbestos from the outsides of pipes.

Electronic Nose Knows When Seafood Is Safe
To combat the rise in food-borne illnesses, University of Florida scientists are the first in the nation to begin testing highly accurate electronic noses. The devices have a big advantage over conventional testing methods in detecting pathogens that could cause disease.

Wee Objects Dwarf All Previous Self-Assembled Molecules
Three-dimensional objects recently created by two University of Rochester engineers are the largest synthetic structures ever made by a technique known as self-assembly, where molecules organize themselves into larger structures. What's more, they glow, or fluoresce, and they are among the most well defined, discrete structures scientists have ever created through self-assembly. Engineers report this work in the March 20 issue of Science.

Internet Advertisements Less Enjoyable Than Other Ads, Survey Shows
With few exceptions, Internet advertising isn't very amusing. That's the consensus of U.S. Internet users recently surveyed about their attitudes toward Internet advertising. The new study finds that consumers think Internet advertising is a lot more informative (62 percent) and trustworthy (48 percent) than it is entertaining (38 percent).

New Test Opens Window On Corrosive Free-Radical Activity In Individuals
Do antioxidant vitamins protect healthy people from free- radical damage? Can some diseases be slowed or reversed with antioxidants? Perhaps surprisingly, no measurement technique has existed to easily and directly assess the corrosive effects in individuals of these highly reactive types of oxygen. Now, scientists have developed such a test.

Pitt Researchers Develop Strategy To Use Dendritic Cells To Treat And Prevent Tumors
A study published in the April 1 Journal of Immunology, by University of Pittsburgh researchers found that exposing dendritic cells to tumor cells creates a cancer vaccine that effectively prevents tumor development in healthy mice and reduces tumors in 80 percent of mice with established tumors, prolonging their survival.

Pennsylvania's R&D Climate Improving
Pennsylvania's overall economy is getting a boost from recent increases in federal funding for research and development (R&D), despite decreases in defense spending. Increased funding for non-defense agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), could make up for dollars lost from further potential defense cuts, says a report released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Blood Clotting Disorder -- A New Heritable Risk Factor?
Blood clotting abnormalities, which have emerged as a potential risk factor for heart disease and stroke, appear to run in families, according to two studies reported today at the American Heart Association's epidemiology and prevention conference.

Detailed Images From Jupiter Moon Europa Point To Slush Below Surface
The latest, most detailed pictures of the Jupiter moon Europa lend more support to the theory that slush or even liquid water lurks beneath the moon's surface. Those pictures were presented and discussed by scientists from Brown University and NASA during a press briefing today on the Brown campus.

Predicting Cancer Therapy Success Rates For Patients, Before Treatment
Researchers are a step closer to predicting how well antiestrogen therapies, such as Tamoxifen, will treat cancer in individual patients thanks to new radiotracer chemicals developed at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis.

Clinical Pharmacists Improve Outcomes Of Heart Failure Patients
Patients with progressive heart failure commonly take up to a dozen medications, see numerous physicians in and out of the hospital and often suffer from other disorders.

Three-Dimensional Structure Of Human Lung Tryptase Determined, An Enzyme Involved In Allergic Asthma
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried/Germany, working in collaboration with their colleagues at the University of Muenchen have recently unravelled the three-dimensional structure of beta-tryptase, a mast cell-specific serine proteinase that may be involved in causing asthma and other allergic and inflammatory disorders (nature, 392, 306-310).

Study Of Microbes May Hone Predictions Of Mining Impact
By tracing the abundance and distribution of bacteria in an abandoned California mine, scientists may have found a better way to predict the potential environmental consequences of mining metal ores.

Pitt Researchers Find Way To Block Cellular Growth Pathways And Inhibit Tumor Growth
At the annual American Association of Cancer Research meeting in New Orleans, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers are presenting exciting evidence from animal models that blocking two cellular growth pathways causes tumor cells to die.

Knoxville Company Looking To Grow With ORNL Technology
Sarcon Microsystems sees a bright future in infrared imaging, a technology developed in part at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory that could ultimately save lives on roads, in buildings and in the sky.

Women, Ethnic Groups Wait Longer For Liver Transplantation
A Johns Hopkins School of Public Health study of the factors that influence how long a person who needs a liver transplant has to wait has shown that women, Hispanic-Americans, Asian- Americans, and children waited longer than other groups for transplants.

Women Can Inherit Drinking Problem Too, Study Finds
In the first major twin study to compare genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the risk of alcoholism in both sexes, researchers have found that genetics plays an important role in determining alcohol dependence in women as well as in men.

Liquid Crystals Light Up Simple Chemical Test
An ingenious new liquid crystal assay being developed at the University of California, Davis, might one day replace slow, costly, laboratory-dependent chemical analyses with a test that could give results in minutes for less than a dollar, virtually anywhere.

Historian Says It May Be Possible For African-Americans To Determine Information On African Ancestors
A University of Georgia historian had discovered that it is possible for African-Americans to begin identifying particular ethnic cultural and social influences once thought irrecoverable.

Growth Factors Shown To Increase Vitamin C In The Immune System
Ever since vitamin C was found to prevent scurvy -- a disease that has killed millions of people throughout history -- scientists have known that the vitamin plays an essential role in the body's defense against disease. Immune cells, for example, are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C, but just how this process occurs, has largely remained a mystery.

IFT Announces 1998 Achievement Award Winners
Twelve outstanding food scientists will be honored with Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Achievement Awards for food science and technology at IFT's 1998 Annual Meeting and Food Expo in June.

Study Shows Weight Loss, Dietary Changes Achievable For Many Older People
Older adults with high blood pressure can be quite successful at changing their eating and exercise habits ­ and can often stop taking blood pressure medicine as a result, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and three other medical centers reported in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association

University Of Colorado Satellite Begins Returning Science Data
Three science instruments launched Feb. 26 aboard a $5 million satellite designed and built by University of Colorado at Boulder students, faculty and engineers have been turned on and are returning science data, said project scientists.

Superacids: A New Generation
Chemists have found a key to producing a new generation of superacids, substances which are important research tools in fuel cell technology and the chemical and petroleum industries.

The First Case Of Alzheimer's Disease: Original Brain Sections Found
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried/Germany, and at the University of Munich have rediscovered brain sections of the first case of Alzheimer's disease. A special report is soon to be published in the journal Neurogenetics. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in adult life and affects many million people worldwide.

Link Made Between Human Growth Hormone, Bone Quality In Mice
Laboratory mice which have been genetically altered to produce human growth hormone grow to be 25-30 percent larger than normal mice---with much of that size difference coming from bigger bones, according to researchers.

Lights, Camera ... Reaction: Charting The Biological Effects Of Light InBillionths Of A Second
Scientists have taken the first

High Altitudes May Be Harmful To Some Infants
An investigation into the effect of a reduction in oxygen supply to infants, such as may occur as a result of a respiratory infection, during air travel or whilst at high altitude found that a small number of infants unpredictably had severe falls in oxygen saturation. The study may contribute to understanding the relation between respiratory infections, airway hypoxia and sudden infant death syndrome.

Informed Consent: Edging Forward And Backwards
Smith says that informed consent within practice, research and publication is coming increasingly to the fore, as the balance of power in the doctor patient partnership tips towards patients. He says there is no simple solution to the question of acceptable limits of informed consent in medical studies - it complicates the matter further.

The Kyoto Protocol: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Depend On Future Of China
China's future energy import needs will dramatically affect the global environment and energy security, says Jon Erickson, assistant professor of economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. China's future energy import needs will dramatically affect the global environment and energy security, says Jon Erickson, in a Science magazine article, co-written with Thomas Drennen of Sandia National Laboratory titled

Alzheimer's Disease Can Be Diagnosed In The Very Early Stages
Alzheimer's disease can be clinically diagnosed about two years earlier than is generally thought, according to a large study of aging people. The research shows that even very mild forms of the disorder can be distinguished from the memory changes that occur with normal aging.

University Of Georgia To Help Archive, Preserve Thirty Years Of Materials From Foxfire Project
A team of anthropologists from the University of Georgia has joined the Foxfire Fund, Inc., to help preserve more than 2,000 hours of interviews on audio tape, along with other resources, regarding the cultural history of the southern Appalachians.

High Wire Act May Be The Best Way To Explore Europa
Using a tether to grab power from Europa's magnetic field may allow future spacecraft to explore that intriguing moon

Prevention Research Conference Looks At Science Of Evaluating Intervention Options
The scientific evaluation of components of prevention programs will be discussed in a free conference sponsored by Arizona State University's Preventive Intervention Research Center entitled

Hi-Tech Manure Spreader Latest Precision Farming Development
A liquid-manure applicator under development at Purdue University can be incorporated into a precision farming setup that uses computer-directed equipment and satellite- oriented GPS (geopositioning) technology. The hi-tech manure applicator is the first of its kind in the nation. This isn't a load of you-know-what.

User-Friendly Brace Helps Paraplegics To Walk
Dutch rehabilitation technologists have developed an orthopedic brace which makes it possible for paraplegics to carry out all kinds of everyday activities again. The brace is more versatile and easier to transport than previous models. It also allows the patient to bend his knees. The device was developed by a team from Twente University of Technology and 'Het Roessingh rehabilitation centre in Enschede. Funding was provided by the Netherlands NWO- Technology Foundation (STW).

Paint Changes Color To Reveal Corrosion On Aircraft
Researchers are developing an early warning system for aircraft -- paint that changes color when the metal beneath it begins to corrode. While maintenance crews can search for corrosion with several high-tech tools, this may be less expensive and more sensitive, because it makes corrosion visible to the naked eye.

Researchers Identify Biochemically Distinct Pain Phenomena, Conclude Better Pain Relief At Lower Morphine Doses Is Possible
In the not-too-distant future, patients in pain may be better treated with fewer side effects using lower morphine doses combined with new painkillers already under development, according to a new study reported by researchers from the University of California San Francisco in the March 26 issue of the scientific journal Nature.

MIT's Mini Respirator Breathes Life Into Mutant Mice
A miniature respirator developed by MIT engineers is breathing life into newborn mice. The machine, essentially a tiny version of the

RNA-Dendritic Cell Combo Shows Promise As A Universal Cancer Vaccine
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center reported Tuesday that they have taken a significant step forward in the laboratory in demostrating that a person's own immune system may be the best weapon they have to fight cancer.

10-Minute Exercise Sessions Effective Treatment For Obesity
Several short sessions of exercise with available home training equipment may be the most effective exercise program for obese patients, according to study results presented today by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the 1998 Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Vitamin D Deficiency Appears Common In Hospital Patients
A surprising number of adult hospital inpatients are deficient in vitamin D, a nutrient required for the maintenance of healthy bones. In their study of 290 patients admitted to the hospital's medical service, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers found that 57 percent could be considered deficient in vitamin D and 22 percent severely deficient.

Rotating A Single Oxygen Molecule
Cornell University researchers have isolated a single oxygen molecule adsobed on a platinum and caused it to rotate on command by applying pulses of current from a scanning tunneling microscope. The principle could some day be applied for data storage in ultra-small devices.

Finding A Parking Space Can Be A Science, Operations Research Study Shows
Drivers who want good parking spaces at malls can follow two time-saving strategies, according to an article in this month's edition of a journal published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The strategies have implications for manufacturers developing intelligent transportation systems and parking lot designers.

Research Indicates Molecule Sabotage May Slow Brain Cancer
For the first time, researchers have found that a particularly lethal form of brain cancer tramples through healthy tissue with the help of a tumor-specific molecule. They hope that methods that can debilitate the molecule, brain-enriched hyaluronan binding protein (BEHAB), will slow the progression of the disease.

New Book On Composite Materials Available
Michael W. Hyer, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, is the author of a new book published by WCP/McGraw-Hill titled

Genetic Make-Up May Determine Response To Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
Genetic make-up may significantly influence how a person responds to a cholesterol-lowering drug, according to researchers who presented their findings at the American Heart Association's epidemiology and prevention conference today.

Understanding Dark Matter: At UD, Bartol Researcher's Cosmic Pursuits Earn Prestigious Humboldt Prize
The famous Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473- 1543), forever changed our world-view by arguing that the Earth is not, in fact, the center of the universe. Today, Qaisar Shafi of the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware is taking that argument one step further. Roughly 90 percent of galaxies and other large cosmic structures is invisible

Soy Phytoestrogens Reduce Carotid Atherosclerosis As Much As Premarin
Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy markedly reduces the occurrence of atherosclerosis in the internal carotid artery in monkeys, a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center research team reported today. Hormone replacement therapy from soy protein with phytoestrogens provided equivalent stroke-prevention benefits to the standard Premarin therapy. 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