Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2000)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2000

New observations of sun's interior shed light on magnetic field activity
Scientists have detected changes in the rotation rates of violent, charged gases some 130,000 miles beneath the sun's surface, a finding that may help them better understand the physical dynamics of the 11-year solar cycle that affects Earth.

Implanted chemotherapy 'pump' as standard treatment for liver metastases presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology Cancer Symposium
The use of an implanted chemotherapy pump to treat cancer that has spread to the liver will be presented at the Society of Surgical Oncology's 53rd Annual Cancer Symposium by Elin R. Sigurdson, M.D., Ph.D. of Fox Chase Cancer Center on Thursday, March 16 in New Orleans, La.

Changes in processes can substantially reduce error
Two studies in this week's BMJ look at how changes in the way things are done can have a significant impact on safety.

Astronomers meet at Arecibo to discuss next-generation radio telescope
More than 60 radio astronomers affiliated with the SKA U.S. Consortium held their first meeting Feb. 28 and 29 at Arecibo Observatory, to discuss plans for the Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope composed of perhaps 1,000 antennas spread out over more than 600 miles

Earlier detection for breast cancer in sight
Scientists in the Materials Science department at Cranfield University have been looking at ways to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer. They believe that a different type of X-ray can lead to earlier detection of the condition and therefore earlier treatment.

From smoking to sumatriptan, researchers present important new findings on the impacts of drug metabolism
Pharmacologists from across the country and around the world will offer more than 350 presentations during the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics annual meeting March 15-18 at the Century Plaza Hotel & Tower.

Chiron reports on discovery of novel men B vaccine candidates based on whole genome sequencing of Neisseria meningitidis by TIGR
Chiron's research team together with collaborators at The Institute for Genomics Research (TIGR)and the University of Oxford have determined the complete genome sequence for Neisseria meningitidis, the bacterium primarily responsible for meningococcal disease. Chiron has used this information to identify novel vaccine candidates against meningococcal B disease.

Cambridge researcher receives national award: Found better ways to make drugs, plastics and other products
Chemist Stephen L. Buchwald of Newton, Mass., will be honored on March 28 by the world's largest scientific society for developing, analyzing and finding better ways for researchers to make pharmaceutical drugs, plastics and other products. He will receive the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry at the Society's national meeting in San Francisco.

MTBE threatens thousands of public drinking wells
As many as 9,000 community water wells in 31 states may be affected by contamination from the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) due to their proximity to leaking underground storage tanks, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, published by the American Chemical Society.

Searching for biochemical markers in children of alcoholics
  • Genetic factors contribute up to 40 percent to the risk of developing alcoholism.
  • Environmental factors likely contribute the remaining risk.
  • Those considered most at risk are children of alcoholics (COAs).
  • Not all COAs become alcoholics.
  • Biochemical markers or

    Research findings by Gladstone/UCSF team show apoE3 inhibits Alzheimer's memory impairment
    Researchers from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and the University of California, San Francisco have found that the natural brain protein apolipoprotein E3 (apoE3) prevents memory problems associated with Alzheimer's disease.

    Discovery regarding feline leukemia virus may shed light on mechanics of HIV infection
    Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington have discovered a mechanism of feline leukemia virus infection that may open a new window of understanding into the process of how retroviruses such as HIV infect humans.

    Government will fall short of cancer targets by 2010
    The UK government will fall short of its target of 100,000 fewer cancer deaths among the under-75s by 2010 unless it tackles socio-economic inequalities, shows research in this week's BMJ.

    Falling snow can create a noisy nuisance... underwater
    Snowflakes falling gently onto the water; nothing could be more quiet and peaceful... for humans. New research shows these falling flakes can create an enormous racket to the ears of marine animals and sensitive sonar.

    Gene tracking follows cells from embryo to adult
    Scientists have developed a sophisticated genetic tracking system that allows them to follow the migration of cells as they stream from the embryonic mouse brain to the developing body, including the primordial jaw where they contribute to the formation of teeth and supporting structures. This is the first time a group of embryonic cells has been 'tagged

    Do US ecosystems balance US fossil fuel use?
    Atmospheric carbon dioxide gradients suggest that uptake of carbon dioxide by US forests may balance US fossil fuel use. New model calculations and data, published in Science (16 March 2000) by David Schimel of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena/Germany and a group of international researchers suggest lower carbon uptake. Carbon dioxide fertilization, once thought to be the only cause of carbon storage, accounted for only a third of the observed total.

    More passengers in car increases risk of fatal crashes for teen drivers
    The risk of death in a car crash increases significantly as the number of passengers driven by 16- and 17-year-olds increases, according to a study in the March 22/29 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

    Synthetic rubber kills germs on contact
    The first synthetic rubber that kills bacteria and other pathogenic organisms on contact will be described March 27 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco. The material -- whose killing power is renewable - - proved effective in laboratory tests against bacteria, according to researchers.

    Turning biomass waste into auto fuel
    Cornell researchers are using enzymes to break down solid biomass waste into a renewable energy form. They say there is sufficient biomass waste available to supply all of the organic chemicals that are consumed annually in the United States and still have enough left over to convert to auto fuel.

    Purdue researcher finds space fertile arena for gene transfers
    Biotechnology may have found a new home in space, based on Purdue research that found genetic engineering of soybeans in microgravity was 10 times more successful than on earth.

    Study by UB neurosurgeons finds that cigarette smoking is linked to size of brain aneurysms
    Cigarette smoking appears to increase the risk for developing large brain aneurysms in patients who are predisposed to these life-threatening, blood-vessel malformations, a study headed by researchers in the University at Buffalo Department of Neurosurgery has shown.

    New horizons, treatments in anticancer chemistry
    With the help of chemistry, researchers are continuing their quest to keep cancer in check. A futuristic cancer vaccine and several tumor-inhibiting compounds derived from natural products are among the research papers being presented March 27-28 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

    Vaccine study to target bioterrorism threat
    Smallpox may be officially eradicated according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but, because of bioterrorism concerns, the Saint Louis University School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development has begun a study to determine the safety and effectiveness of a smallpox vaccine. (Correction added to release on 15 March 2000.)

    Non-addicting drug offers narcolepsy sufferers safe option
    Modafinil, the first nonaddicting drug for people suffering from narcolepsy, offers safe and effective relief from excessive daytime sleepiness associated with the disorder, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology's scientific journal. The study is the first to verify that modafinil does not create dependency or lingering withdrawal symptoms.

    UCSD-Salk Institute awards presented to Christopher Reeve, Dr. Donald Seldin, Genentech, Inc. and Dr. Dennis Slamon
    The first UCSD-Salk Institute Service Award was presented to Christopher Reeve. The international symposium,

    Anti-cocaine vaccine produces antibodies and is shown to be safe in Phase 1 study conducted by Yale researcher
    A therapeutic cocaine vaccine designed to suppress the high addicts get from taking cocaine is safe and produced cocaine antibodies in humans, a Yale study finds. The vaccine, TA-CD, is designed to generate drug-specific antibodies, which bind to cocaine and prevent it from travelling to the brain from the bloodstream. This neutralizes its psychoactive effect.

    Study finds some bottled water has more bacteria and less fluoride than tap water
    Researchers compared the bacterial content and fluoride levels of 57 samples of bottled water with tap water from Cleveland's four water treatment plants. Some of the bottled water had more bacteria than the tap water, and only three bottled waters contained the recommended amount of fluoride.

    Concorde to blame for missing pigeons?
    Concorde may be to blame for putting thousands of racing pigeons off course, say scientists in California. Shock waves from Concorde's sonic boom could be temporarily or permanently deafening the pigeons to infrasound -- thought to be the key to the birds' map sense.

    Nobel prize winner Mario Molina to speak at world's largest scientific society meeting
    Dr. Mario Molina, Nobelist and environmental science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will speak at the 219th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco. Molina's talk,

    OHSU researchers first to use new technology to spot rare eye infection
    Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have used a confocal microscope to locate an organism called acanthamoeba in the eye. The organism can cause serious eye infections. Acanthamoeba often surfaces in the eyes of contact lens wearers.

    New plastic heals damaged nerves
    A new plastic, or polymer, that uses electric stimulation to help regrow peripheral nerves is being explored as a way to treat nerve damage, according to findings to be presented March 29 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

    New research proves fullerene can be cosmic carbon carriers
    Buckyballs and other fullerenes encapsulate extraterrestrial noble gasses that, delivered to Earth and other planets via meteroids, could have contributed to devlopment of life- supporting atmospheres and death of the dinosaurs. The discovery provides a new tool for tracing extraterrestrial events in Earth's geological and biological history.

    UMass microbiologist's Nature article contributes to understanding of how cells divide
    A University of Massachusetts microbiologist is one of a group of six researchers offering a major step forward in developing a model explaining DNA repair, recombination, and replication, in a report appearing in today's issue of the journal Nature.

    Doctors reinvent the house call
    Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (P&S) at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC) and SUNY Upstate Medical University have received a $28 million grant from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to bring health care into the homes of underserved rural and inner-city residents with diabetes -- the largest telemedicine effort ever funded by the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services.

    'Solar heartbeat' discovered
    Astronomers from the National Science Foundation's National Solar Observatory (NSO) have discovered a solar

    March advanced space transportation media update
    Taking another step toward making future space transportation more like today's air travel, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and its industry partners have completed a series of successful tests on air-breathing rocket engines.

    Moriches researcher receives national award: Studies nuclear fusion and the sun: How long will it shine?
    Chemist Richard L. Hahn of Moriches, N.Y., will be honored on March 28 by the world's largest scientific society for his work with solar neutrinos, high-speed particles from which researchers learn about the sun and nuclear fusion. He will receive the American Chemical Society Award for Nuclear Chemistry at the Society's national meeting in San Francisco.

    Toughened glass may not be all that it's cracked up to be
    Toughened glassware, used to minimise the risk of injury in bars, may not be all that it's cracked up to be. And there is an urgent need for it to conform to recognised standards. Bars and pubs in the UK have largely switched from annealed (normal) glassware to the hardened variety.

    Aging marijuana smokers face sharply higher risk of heart attack soon after using drug
    Middle-aged and elderly marijuana users increase their risk of a heart attack by more than four and a half times during the first hour after smoking the drug, according to a study being presented today at the American Heart Assocation's 40th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

    Mother's risk of death from cardiovascular disease doubled for every kilo less her baby weighs at birth
    A mother's risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is doubled for every kilo less her baby weighs at birth, shows research in this week's BMJ.

    UCSD researchers link angiogenesis factor with myocardial ischemia andinfarction
    UCSD researchers have linked Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) to heart disease and heart attack in human patients. Their findings, reported in the March 2 New England Journal of Medicine, suggest a defensive molecular mechanism launched by the body to protect against the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation on the heart.

    Boston study finds marijuana use can trigger heart attack
    In the first hour after smoking marijuana, a person's risk of a heart attack can shoot up nearly five-fold, say researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The study is believed to be the first to document a link between smoking marijuana and heart attacks.

    Protein switch controls proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells
    A research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital has identified a key protein that appears to control the development and proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells. These cells, which are found in the bone marrow and blood, are capable of developing into any kind of blood cell. The discovery of this molecular switch, a protein called p21, may significantly broaden the application of stem cell transplants.

    Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Consortium hosts open house to showcase robotic technologies
    Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Consortium will showcase the growing robotics industry in Western Pa.The NASA-sponsored consortium opened in 1996 with three projects. Today scientists work with more than 18 companies, industrial consortia and government agencies on projects including robotic forktrucks, citrus sprayers, drowsy driver monitors.

    Depression and anxiety linked to hypertension
    People who experience symptoms of depression or anxiety are at increased risk of developing hypertension, suggest the results of a two-decade study. The increase in risk associated with depression or anxiety is similar among white women and all men but is substantially higher among black women.

    New technique improves accuracy of gene tests
    Researchers have developed a new technique promising to significantly improve the accuracy of genetic testing or cancer and many other diseases. The process, published in the journal Nature, could significantly improve the diagnosis of mutations responsible for most hereditary cancers, such as retinoblastoma, hereditary breast cancer, and hereditary colon cancer.

    New science resources available from the ESA
    Three new publications are now available from the Ecological Society of America: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning; Biotic Invasions; and Applying Ecological Principles to Management of the U.S. National Forests. These publications are available through the Issues in Ecology Series, which is designed to present major ecological issues in an easy-to- read manner.

    Foods of the future
    Selection, design and safety of the foods people will eat over the next 25 years is the focus of a special symposium being held March 27 in San Francisco during the weeklong national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

    UT Southwestern to study effect of low-carbohydrate diet on kidney-stone formation and bone loss
    A resurgence in interest in the high-protein, low- carbohydrate diet has prompted two doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas to zero in on the fad diet to see if it increases the risk of kidney stones and loss of bone.

    Potent anticancer agent found in hazelnuts
    The active chemical of the anticancer drug Taxol® has unexpectedly been found in hazelnuts -- the first report of the chemical being found in a plant other than the yew tree, according to research to be presented March 29 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco

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