Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2002)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2002.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2002

Failure of critical protein connection at heart of cardiomyopathy
The failure of dystrophin, one of the building blocks that literally holds heart muscle cells together, can cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition in which the pumping chambers of the heart enlarge and cannot pump adequately, according to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report in today's issue of the journal The Lancet.

School-based program effective in lowering teens' HIV risk
A high school-based educational program led by teachers has longer lasting effects in preventing risky sexual behavior than a program led by peers, according to a new study. The research also indicates that teaching young people about safe sex does not lead to an increase in their sexual activity.

Manhattan Project: A Living Legacy
The Manhattan Project, the top-secret effort during World War II to develop the atomic bomb, left an indelible legacy. Manhattan Project veterans and eminent historians will examine the Manhattan Project and its lessons for the 21st century at a Symposium on the Manhattan Project from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 27, 2002. The Atomic Heritage Foundation is presenting the Symposium at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1530 P Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

South African government urged to take action in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission
Leading South African scientists, writing in a Commentary in this week's issue of THE LANCET, are calling on their government to implement antiretroviral drug programmes without delay to reduce the vertical transmission of HIV-1 infection from pregnant women to their children.

New center to study deadly microbial pathogens
The Keck Center for Functional, Structural, and Chemical Genomics of Microbial Pathogens will unite 20 UW faculty to exploit the full medical potential of existing and forthcoming microbial genome sequences. In addition, the Keck Center will attract new faculty in the areas of mass spectrometry, crystallography, and proteomics. In the United States, the rate of deaths caused by infectious disease has grown from 36 per 100,000 in 1981 to at least 63 per 100,000.

Flexible ceramic material is a 'plumber's nightmare'
Using nanoscale chemistry, researchers at Cornell University have developed a new class of hybrid materials that they describe as flexible ceramics, with a structure so convoluted it has been dubbed

Swedish trials suggest modest benefit for screening mammography
New data with longer follow-up from four Swedish trials published in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggests there may be a modest benefit from screening mammography for women aged 55 years or over.

Physics tip sheet #3 - March 6, 2002
Highlights of this issue include the microscopic cause of friction, ping-pong polymers, matter-wave interferometry and fermionization of cold bosons. Also included are reports on the stability of sand dunes, stripy superconductors and one-way heat flow.

Heavy drinking by both sexes is a cause for concern
Heavy drinking is common and a cause for concern in both young men and young women, according to a letter in this week's BMJ.

Brain's cleaning crew may aid learning, memory formation
Can't remember where you put your keys, or how to retrieve your voicemail? Your brain's cleaning crew may be asleep on the job. Molecular

Movement without senses coded into neurons, says University of Toronto researcher
An animal's ability to move - like the kicking of a developing baby or the crawling and walking of insects - is intrinsic, not dependent on sensory stimulation, says a University of Toronto neurobiologist.

Novel anti-coagulant clears hurdle
Duke University Medical Center cardiologists report that an experimental anti-coagulant that prevents the formation of blood clots earlier in the coagulation process than other agents has cleared another hurdle in becoming a potential new treatment for patients with coronary artery disease.

As heart patients flock to alternative medicine, hazards may lurk
Nearly three-quarters of heart patients surveyed in a new University of Michigan study used some kind of alternative medicine approach to help them heal, but dietary supplements chosen by one-third of them could actually interact with their heart medications to raise their risk of further health problems. Fortunately, the vast majority of those who used alternative medicine techniques told their doctors about it, and also kept up with their prescription medications.

Surgeons don't offer women choices of treatment as often as they could
Research carried out at the Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, has revealed that breast cancer surgeons do not always offer a choice between mastectomy and breast-conserving surgery to women with early stage breast cancer, even when either option is medically appropriate.

Novel silicon-based gas sensors offer potential for low-cost arrays integrated with electronics
A new type of sensor based on porous silicon and a unique metallization process could offer enhanced sensitivity, reduced power demands and lower cost compared to existing technologies for detecting gaseous compounds important in environmental, food and biomedical applications.

Discovery supports theory of a single species of ancestor
The discovery of a million-year-old skull in Ethiopia indicates that a single species of human ancestor, Homo erectus, ranged from Europe to Africa to Asia in the Pleistocene era, according to the cover article in the March 21 issue of the journal Nature.

Behind the big dry
A 27-year dry spell affecting the southwestern part of Australia could be a foretaste of future national experiences under the Greenhouse Effect.

Helicobacter pylori infection most common in early childhood
A bacteria that causes stomach ulcers infects most people before they reach age 10, according to a Baylor College of Medicine study published in the March 16 issue of the Lancet. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is one of the most common bacterial infections worldwide and is a major cause of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and stomach cancer. The study demonstrates how important it is to target H. pylori treatment and prevention strategies to young children.

Students more afraid to attend school after Columbine
Teenagers reported that they were more afraid to attend school after the shootings at Columbine High School three years ago, according to the results of a large national study published in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has awarded Jeffrey Kordower, PhD, at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center and Ronald D. McKay, PhD, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a $600,000 grant to pursue the development of a cell line specifically designed to advance the study and treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Stanford scientist seeks participants in NASA hypergravity study
If you`ve ever wanted to experience the sensation space shuttle astronauts feel during liftoff and landing - or if spinning around in circles all day inside a large NASA centrifuge is your idea of a good time - then Human Biology Professor Malcolm Cohen wants to hear from you. Cohen is looking for participants in a groundbreaking study to determine the extent to which people can tolerate prolonged exposure to increased gravitational force - or hypergravity.

Going beyond the genome
A collaboration of scientists has completed the largest analysis, to date, of protein localization in any eukaryote. Published in Genes & Development, the researchers report on their effort to characterize the proteome of baker's yeast. This work represents a major advance in S. cerevisiae proteomics, but it promises to be just the tip of the iceberg in these post-genomic times.

New evidence on revolutionary brain pacemaker for Parkinson's Disease patients
The European Parkinson's Disease Association (EPDA) announced today new evidence on the current uptake of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease patients and despite its success there are still large numbers of patients waiting or denied access to the therapy.

Stable silicon layer makes flat-panel display cheaper
In a joint project between the Technology Foundation STW and the energy agency Novem at Utrecht University, researchers have developed new silicon layers which are more stable and cheaper than the present amorphous silicon layers. The electronic properties of the present layers in laptop screens and solar cells deteriorate if the material is under 'stress', for example due to sunshine or a voltage.

Researchers determine best possible drug option for cardiac arrest
Data published in the New England Journal of Medicine by St. Michael's Hospital/University of Toronto researchers demonstrates that the anti-arrhythmic agent IV amiodarone is almost twice as effective as lidocaine in keeping patients alive to hospital. As a result of this study, amiodarone is carried by Toronto ambulances responding to cardiac arrests and there are major implications for the recommended standard of treatment of cardiac arrest by paramedics and hospitals across North America.

The answer to educating students: linking cognitive psychology, mathematics education, and learning
A lecture sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science examines questions about human learning potential, the development of higher order cognitive processes, and acquisition of new mathematical knowledge.

Scientists reveal secrets of infectious childhood heart disease
Researchers have discovered important clues as to why a common bacterium can sometimes lead to a dangerous heart infection in children. The bacterium, group A Streptococcus (GAS), causes acute rheumatic fever, the most common infectious cause of childhood heart disease in the world.

USC researchers define role of protein, discover cause of chromosome damage
Pinpointing oxygen as the cause of routine chromosome damage and defining the role of a key protein in the repair of that damage are the subjects of two recently published papers from researchers at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

U.S. forests may be products of pollution
Studies of pristine forests in South America found that the cycling of nitrogen, an essential nutrient, was quite different than expected, and it suggests that many forests of North America and Europe actually have an unnatural ecology driven largely by air pollution, acid rain and artificial nitrogen fertilization. It makes clear that the impact of humans on our natural forest ecosystems may already be much greater than previously realized.

NIAID unveils bioterrorism research agenda
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases today released the NIAID Counter-Bioterrorism Research Agenda for CDC Category A Agents, a document describing the Institute's accelerated research plan for the most threatening agents of bioterrorism. The agenda outlines the research NIAID will undertake to help protect civilian populations from diseases such as smallpox, anthrax and plague should they be unleashed intentionally by those who wish to do harm.

Alcohol and cancer
Highlights include Drinking alcohol is linked to a greater risk of tumors in the esophagus, mouth, larynx and liver, alcoholics also have a greater incidence of genetic damage than normal, a new study has found that alcohol contributes to the destructiveness of certain carcinogens, acetaldehyde, the first product of alcohol metabolism, appears to play a key role in the damage.

Parental rules linked to safer teen driving
Parents can play an important role in promoting safe driving habits in teens, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of Health Education & Behavior.

Attitude about exercise
Adolescent girls who feel confident about their physical abilities enjoy exercise more than those girls who go into the activity doubting their skills, according to a study to be published in the March issue of Nursing Research.

Natural antifreeze yields secrets
Fish in the icy seas around the North Pole and Antarctica have proteins in their blood that act as a natural antifreeze. Now researchers at the University of California, Davis, are closing in on just how those proteins work. The research could lead to safer storage for food or blood products. It may also help scientists understand how bones and sea-shells are made and how mineral deposits can cause kidney stones and heart disease.

Nausea sometimes a red flag for anxiety and depression
People who experience nausea may be suffering from anxiety or depression, possible causes that should be investigated before aggressive treatments are begun for gastrointestinal disorders, according to a new study.

HHMI awards $2 million to European Molecular Biology Organization
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded $2 million to the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) to help launch the careers of young scientists in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Different parts of the brain handle fantasy and reality
The ability to recognize objects in the real world is handled by different parts of the brain than those that allow us to imagine what the world is like. That is the result of a brain mapping experiment published in the March 28 issue of the journal Neuron.

Genetic causes of hypertension identified
Researchers at the University of Virginia and Georgetown University have identified three abnormalities in a single gene that are linked to hypertension. Possessing any of these genetic variations increases the likelihood of developing essential hypertension, the most common class of high blood pressure. Their study, the result of an 18-year UVa-Georgetown research collaboration, appears in the March 19 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A new step towards worldwide collaboration on linear colliders
In February the DOE's SLAC was the focal point for discussion and long term planning in global high-energy physics. A process of research and development, meetings and discussion has allowed the world's High-Energy Physics community to move towards a common vision on the next major facility.

Seeing the universe in a brand new light
Scientists at Northwestern University have developed a novel device that could lead to an ultraviolet (UV) light detector approximately 10 times more sensitive than the UV detectors now on the Hubble Space Telescope, allowing astronomers to observe important objects throughout the universe for the first time.

American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for March (second issue)
Newsworthy journal articles point out that men 65 and older had a higher incidence of bacterial pneumonia, developed more complex cases, and suffered higher disease mortality; and that Los Angeles County, although it had the second highest number of tuberculosis (TB) cases reported in a metropolitan area, showed a very low rate of multidrug-resistant TB transmission over a five-year period.

Timing of chemical signal critical for normal emotional development
A signaling protein suspected of malfunctioning in anxiety and mood disorders plays a key role in the development of emotional behavior, report NIMH-funded researchers. Mice lacking it in frontal brain circuits during an early critical period fail to develop normal reactions in anxiety-producing situations.

Cholesterol bad for brain too, UCSF study says
Higher cholesterol levels are not only bad for the heart and blood vessels, they increase the risk of cognitive impairment, the precursor to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study of elderly women by UCSF researchers

Poor patients twice as likely to die from heart disease
In the first analysis of its kind, Duke University Medical Center researchers have shown that the poorest of poor Americans are more than twice as likely to die of severe heart disease than similar patients with higher incomes. Furthermore, it may be that the main explanation comes from what happens in these patients' lives after hospital discharge.

Study shows synthetic pheromone in women's perfume increases intimate contact with men
Women's perfume laced with synthetic pheromones acts as a sexual magnet, increasing the sexual attractiveness of women to men, San Francisco State University researchers conclude in the current issue of the quarterly journal Physiology and Behavior. The study, the first to independently test a sex attractant pheromone for women, showed that 74 percent of women wearing the pheromone saw an increase in the following sociosexual behaviors: kissing, foreplay, sexual intercourse, sleeping with partner, and dating.

UCSF study shows breast cancer screening programs that interpret the most mammograms
Accurate diagnoses are directly related to the number of mammograms interpreted by a physician, according to a UCSF study published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Smokers disillusioned and over-optimistic about quitting
Most smokers are disenchanted with smoking and would not smoke if they had their time again, according to a letter in this week's BMJ. It also shows that smokers' expectations of how soon they will quit greatly exceed rates of quitting observed in recent history.

Baldness induced by dopamine treatments may be reversible
Two women with Parkinson's disease who developed alopecia (baldness) while being treated with the dopamine agonists pramipexole or ropinirole found that the hair loss stopped after the drugs were discontinued and replaced with a new treatment. The study is published in the current issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers develop blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's-type changes in mice
Researchers have for the first time used a blood test to identify Alzheimer's-type changes in living mice. The test, developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Eli Lilly and Company, predicts the amount of amyloid plaque in an animal's brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. To date, the only way to definitively diagnose this disease in humans is by examining a person's brain after death.

Wake Forest commercializes new soy technologies through licenses
Wake Forest University School of Medicine has licensed three soy-related technologies to Physicians Laboratories of Kernersville, which will use the technologies to develop

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