Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 1999)

Science news and science current events archive March, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 1999

Drilling Project To Plumb Million Years Of Volcanic Island History
The Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project is set to begin boring through 15,000 feet of lava flows on the Big Island of Hawaii March 15. The project--a collaborative effort of the University of Hawaii, University of California and California Institute of Technology--will analyze core samples dating back a million years to study mantle plumes and volcanic island formation.

Who Cares For You When You're Ill
The presence of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and the debate that surrounds it, is the subject of a new study by U-M researcher Peter D. Jacobson.

Doing Housework: The 'Ideal' Fair Share
Researchers have calculated that employed husbands and wives should each do less than half of the household chores - 45.8 percent each to be precise - to keep their personal distress levels at a minimum. For those who keep house, the ideal share is 80 percent. No men in the study placed themselves in the

Common Respiratory Virus Identified As One Cause Of Heart Muscle Damage That Can Lead To Sudden Death
DALLAS, March 16 -- A common respiratory virus can infect the hearts of adults -- young and old -- and cause heart muscle damage that can shorten life and cause sudden death, according to a study in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Breast-Feeding Hormone Lowers Nursing Moms' Blood Pressure
A new study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill links increased levels of the hormone oxytocin to lower blood pressure among mothers who nurse their babies. The findings help explain why many breast-feeding mothers report feeling mellow and relaxed after nursing.

Seattle Researchers Zero In On Location Of Gene For Inherited Prostate Cancer; Gene Also Linked To Brain Cancer
Scientists in Seattle have mapped the region of a gene associated with prostate cancer that runs in families. The gene also may trigger an inherited susceptibility to primary brain cancer.

UB Oral Biologists Find Link Between Gum Disease And Passive Exposure To Tobacco Smoke
Passive smoking, implicated in middle-ear infections and asthma in children, also may be a major cause of periodontal disease in adult non-smokers, the first study to look at this relationship has shown. Research conducted by oral biologists in the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine has shown that passive exposure to tobacco smoke may increase the risk of developing gum detachment and bleeding gums in adults by up to 70 percent.

500 Bay Area Women And Teens Will Attend UCSF Conference On Women's And Teen Health, Saturday March 20
More than 500 Bay Area women and teen girls are expected to attend UCSF's sixth annual Women and Teen Health 2000 symposia, called

Treated Clothing Detoxifies Pesticides
Clothes may soon be able to protect agricultural workers, or even weekend gardeners, from more than the sun. Scientists at UC - Davis say they have made cotton fabrics with built-in pesticide detoxifiers. Clothes made with the new material could be cleaned and the detoxifying chemicals reactivated simply by washing them with bleach.

New Drug Shown Effective Against Vancomycin-Resistant Bacteria
Northwestern University Medical School researchers have successfully used a new drug, linezolid, in a patient with a severe bacterial infection that was resistant to all antibiotics, including vancomycin.

Researchers Uncover Clues About Gateway To The Brain
Scientists have uncovered evidence about the workings of one of the gateways into the brain. Their findings suggest approaches to control the gateway with drugs, which could have implications for treating AIDS, depression, cancer and other diseases that affect the brain.

Online Shopping A Market Waiting To Happen In Eastern Europe
Nearly everything under the U.S. sun can be purchased online. But the Internet and World Wide Web can't get mukluks to Moscow, caviar to Kiev or vodka to Vladivostok. The Web, says a University of Illinois researcher, still has a long way to go before it becomes an indispensable tool of advertising and sales in the region.

Autopsy Of An Explosion
The cause of visable light emission, and whether or not it was beamed or isotropic are discussed in a paper co-authored by Briggs and Dr. Titus J. Galama, a University of Amsterdam astrophysicist, along with colleagues from other institutions around the world. The paper,

Decline In Vaccination Could Lead To Resurgence Of Rubella
Uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in the UK has declined since 1995 because of public anxiety about the safety of the vaccine. Pat Tookey and Professor Catherine Peckham from the Institute of Child Health in London warn that this might lead to a resurgence of rubella in the UK.

Urine Test For Cancer Under Development
Scientists are developing a test that, for the first time, is allowing them to monitor urine for chemical indicators of cancer. It is hoped the test may one day allow early screening, even telling patients what type of cancer they have and its stage of advancement. The researchers say treatment progress might be monitored with the same test.

Boston University TERRIERS Team Gearing Up To Launch Satellite: Preparation For Shipping To Vandenberg Air Force Base Begins
TERRIERS, a satellite designed and built by a team of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty at Boston University, is now being prepared for shipping to Vandenberg Air Force Base, where it will be launched on April 7, 1999.

Still A Risky Combination: Smoking And Oral Contraceptives
Today's oral contraceptives have lower doses of hormones than those of the past, but when combined with smoking, they may still pose a significant risk of heart disease, according to research that measured the combination's effects on stress- related changes in blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and fibrinogen, a protein essential to blood coagulation that is implicated in atherosclerosis.

Vertical Strip Drains Increase Dredged Material Storage Area
Dredging the bottoms of harbors and shipping channels to permit the passage of ships may keep commerce flowing smoothly, but it also creates huge mounds of mud that must be disposed of. Once confined containment areas are full, more must be built, at high cost. Now, a team of researchers -- led by a University of Illinois engineer -- has found that prefabricated vertical strip drains offer an economical way to increase the storage capacity of existing facilities.

NASA/NIST Partnership To Pave Way For Advanced Space Observatories
NASA and the National Institute of Standards are partnering to develop standards for large optics, paving the way for advanced space observatories.

Breakthrough? Study Finds Dopamine Cannot Be Source Of Pleasure In Brain
CHAPEL HILL - Dopamine, a chemical messenger believed for more than two decades to be the end point of the brain's pleasure system, appears not to be that molecular reward after all, a new study shows.

News About Osteoporosis: Fruits And Vegetables Prevent Bone Decay
While we hear a great deal about the importance of milk and other calcium-containing foods for bone health, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that fruits and vegetables are also important in the prevention of osteoporosis! The authors evaluated participants from the Framington Heart Study and found that lifelong dietary intakes of potassium, magnesium and fruit and vegetables were determinants of bone mineral density in elderly men and women.

The Gravity Of The Matter
A new Atom Interferometer-Based Gravity Gradiometer developed at Yale University has the potential to outperform existing gravity-sensing technologies while reducing cost and improving reliability.

Unlocking Secrets Of The Body's Inner Clock; Researchers Discover Key Control Mechanism For An Area Of The Brain That Regulates Sleep
Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have found a key regulation mechanism for a tiny area of the brain that regulates sleep. The same naturally-produced chemical that regulates the sleep cycle is also involved in feeding, drinking behavior, reproductive behavior and many other systems.

NSF To Provide $21 Million For Computer Science, Engineering And Math Scholarships
The National Science Board this week approved plans by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide some $21 million to fund 8,000 one-year scholarships of up to $2,500 each to low income students who pursue degrees in computer science, engineering or mathematics.

Media Advisory: Mike McCormack On Energy Resources
As the demand for electricity in the United States continues to grow, electric utility companies are using their reserves rather than building needed new facilities, deepening the potential for brownouts and blackouts and threatening the electricity supply for industrial and residential use, according to Mike McCormack.

Marijuana Not A Factor In Driving Accidents
The safety hazards of smoking marijuana and driving are overrated, says University of Toronto researcher Alison Smiley. Recent research into impairment and traffic accident reports from several countries shows that marijuana taken alone in moderate amounts does not significantly increase a driver's risk of causing an accident -- unlike alcohol.

Growth In U.S. Economy Spurs Increased Mineral Consumption, Says USGS Report
The U.S. economy expanded 3.9 percent in 1998, prompting increased consumption of minerals and mineral-based products, according to a new report of the U.S. Geological Survey. Much of this increase in consumption, however, occurred because of increased imports of mineral-based products, especially steel and other metals, according to the report.

Tip Sheet: Papers At IADR Meeting
A complete list of presentations by U-M faculty and students at the International Association of Dental Research in Vancouver, British Columbia are available upon request.

Study Shows Hormone Replacement Therapy Does Not Elevate Breast Cancer Risk
A study published in the March 15 issue of Cancer reports that estrogen replacement therapy does not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer in women with histories of benign breast tumors.

Tiny Tools Give New Meaning To 'Cutting Edge'
They look more like stray computer parts than precision medical tools, but Amit Lal's research creations could give surgeons an incomparable new edge in medicine.

New Gene May Play Important Role In Regulating HDL, The 'Good' Cholesterol
Scientists have identified a new human gene that may figure prominently in the regulation of cholesterol levels in the body. When the gene was experimentally overexpressed in mice, levels of HDL cholesterol - the

Penn Researchers Develop Gene Therapy Technique That Reverses Muscle Membrane Weakness In Muscular Dystrophy Variant
Previous gene therapy approaches to treat muscular dystrophy have been hampered by an inability to place therapeutic genetic material into muscle cells. Now researchers have developed a technique that produces widespread transfer of corrective genetic material into muscle. It is hoped the technique would be ultimately transferable to human trials.

Sled Dogs Carry Astrobiology To Dizzying Heights

University Of Pittsburgh Involved In First Successful Example Of Gene Therapy For Pain Control
Using a patented gene vector developed by the University of Pittsburgh, a University of South Carolina-led team is the first to show that gene therapy blocks certain pain responses in animals. This landmark study is published in the March 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Findings Challenge Notion Of Withholding Food To Fight Rotavirus
Malnutrition slows recovery from rotaviral infection, say scientists at the University of Illinois. Their new research, which challenges the long-accepted approach of withholding food to rest the bowels of infants and animals infected with the virus, documents what happens during recovery.

Powerful Anti-AIDS Agent Found In Tears And In Urine Of Pregnant Women
NYU School of Medicine and NIH researchers have identified an ordinary protein present in tears and saliva as the long- sought mystery substance in the urine of pregnant women that is a powerful anti-HIV agent.

New Polyester Products Perform Better And Are Easy To Recycle
New polyesters can improve the way your soda pop tastes and the way your computer is designed, says Timothy E. Long of Virginia Tech. Long will present an overview of technology issues related to polyester chemistry and processing for new applications during the 217th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Anaheim on March 21-26.

Quarterly News Tipsheet -- Research Highlights From Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Research highlights from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By Wits Scientists
Discovery of a new species of fossil animal 260 million years old, which reinforces South Africa as the place of origin of all mammals, will be announced tomorrow by scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Immunex And Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories Advance Enbrel Into Phase II/III Clinical Trial For Chronic Heart Failure
Immunex and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories announced today they are beginning a Phase II/III clinical trial with ENBREL (etanercept) in chronic heart failure patients, one of the first large-scale studies undertaken to evaluate cytokine inhibition, an entirely new approach to studying chronic heart failure. This study will be based on positive results of a Phase I study presented today at the annual conference of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans, LA.

Evidence For A Heart Failure Epidemic Released
Reseachers now have what they see as proof of a heart failure epidemic. And they are issuing a call to action for health care systems to meet the need.

Help On The Way For Victims Of Paralysis
Technology being developed at Simon Fraser University's (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) school of kinesiology is closer to helping victims of stroke or spinal cord paralysis regain voluntary control of paralyzed limbs. That's one of the potential applications of research into a 'nerve cuff' electrode system.

Salmon Syndrome M74: Cause Still A Mystery
Fewer Baltic salmon are now dying from the puzzling M74 syndrome, but salmon deaths could increase again. Despite intensive studies the cause is still not solved. Precautionary treatment with vitamin B1 reduces mortality in salmon hatcheries, but offers no cure for wild salmon, a recent conference in Stockholm concluded.

Berkeley Lab Website Computes Residential Energy Savings Possibilities For Consumers
Coupling decades of research on energy efficiency with the interactivity of the Web, Berkeley Lab has created a website that can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars annually on energy bills. The Home Energy Saver website allows consumers to identify which technologies will save them the most energy and money.

Molecular Modeling Expands Chemistry Students' Experiences
How to teach today's chemistry student more without adding a class or diluting current offerings? That is the challenge that faces university chemistry departments. Virginia Tech faculty members and graduate students are using computers to help undergraduates understand the properties of molecules,

Higher Doses Of Methadone May Do The Trick, New Study Says
Methadone, the granddaddy of replacement treatments for addiction to heroin and other opioid drugs, has been available for 30 years. Surprisingly, studies that show clearly which doses are best at keeping patients from using illegal opioids are rare.

Blue-Green Algae Has Dual Cholesterol Lowering Abilities
Researchers say they have confirmed, for the first time, that blue-green algae taken as a nutritional supplement can significantly lower cholesterol in animals.

Electronics Could Take A Quantum Leap
Physicists at DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and Washington State University are firing positrons into quantum dots - particles 1/1,000th the diameter of a human hair - to characterize the size and electronic energy potential of the dot. Harnessing this energy by hooking several dots together could substantially enhance future electronics.

New Technology Turns French Fry Oil Into Diesel Fuel
The vegetable oil used to cook crispy, golden french fries may soon power diesel engines. Researchers at the DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory have found that used french fry oil can be converted into an environmentally friendly diesel fuel faster and less expensively than current processes while producing an even higher grade fuel.

Interleukin-2 Boosts Cancer Vaccine Effectiveness In Mice
U-M researchers present the results of experiments testing the effectiveness of the vaccine/IL-2 combination on laboratory mice with large, advanced sarcomas or breast cancers. 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