Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2004)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2004.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2004

Two asteroid fly-bys for Rosetta
Today the Rosetta Science Working Team has made the final selection of the asteroids that Rosetta will observe at close quarters during its journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Steins and Lutetia lie in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

INEEL designing prototype system for Yucca Mountain repository
The INEEL is designing a prototype, remotely controlled system that will permanently close spent nuclear fuel containers before they are put in a government disposal repository. Nevada's Yucca Mountain is being studied as the site for the repository. The system is called the Waste Package Closure System, and the INEEL will test its operation and equipment. Construction of the prototype is scheduled to start this year.

Intensive statin therapy reduces amount of plaque buildup in arteries compared to moderate treatment
Patients with coronary heart disease who received intensive lipid-lowering treatment had less progression of coronary atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) than patients treated with a moderate lipid-lowering regimen, according to a study in the March 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

USP releases first-ever case study book to advance medication error prevention
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) today released Advancing Patient Safety in U.S. Hospitals: Basic Strategies for Success, a first-ever case study book featuring actual hospital medication errors and steps taken to prevent similar mistakes.

Claritas Fossae tectonic region on Mars
These Mars Express images show Claritas Fossae, an ancient tectonic region on Mars, west of Solis Planum, a tectonic and volcanic area south-east of the Tharsis volcano group.

Introducing the patient safety series
Health care providers, hospital administrators, and politicians face competing challenges to reduce clinical errors, control expenditure, increase access and throughput, and improve quality of care. The safe management of the acutely ill inpatient presents particular difficulties. In the first of five Lancet articles on this topic, Julian Bion and J Heffner from the University of Birmingham, UK, and colleagues discuss patients' safety in the acute-care setting.

Coronary aneurysms are independent predictor of mortality, should be aggressively monitored
The results of a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 53rd Scientific Sessions in New Orleans concludes that coronary aneurysms -- regardless of size -- are associated with a increased risk of death over a five year period and should be aggressively monitored.

Exercise improves cancer survival, reduces cancer risk, scientists say
Regular exercise, long associated with better cardiovascular health, muscle tone and weight control, also may help prevent certain cancers and improve the odds of cancer survival.

Educational program increases some safety behaviors for older drivers
A one-on-one intervention for older drivers that addressed the participant's own driving needs, lifestyle, and visual problems was successful in changing driver behavior, leading them to avoid challenging or unsafe driving situations, but was not successful in reducing collision rates.

High death risk among young people in hospital with diabetes
Young people admitted to hospital for diabetes have an increased risk of death in the following three years, not only from natural causes but also from suicide, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Natural enemies help scientists untangle tropical forest food webs
British ecologists have gathered compelling new experimental evidence on how tropical rain forest food webs are constructed, findings that may have important implications for their environmental management. The research reported in Nature today (18 March) demonstrates how species that never meet may nevertheless influence each other's ecology through shared parasites, and confirms the action of an important ecological theory in the highly biodiverse rain forest environment.

Human rights abuses common in southern Iraq between 1991 and 2003
Nearly half of the households surveyed in southern Iraq report that human rights abuses occurred among household members between 1991 and 2003, according to a study in the March 24/31 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Viruses may be environmentally friendly decontaminants
Viruses could become the next generation of environmentally friendly decontaminants, replacing harmful chemicals like chlorine dioxide in cleaning up areas exposed to anthrax spores, according to findings released today at the American Society for Microbiology's Biodefense Research Meeting.

Family discipline, religous attendance cut levels of later violence among aggressive children
Aggressive 15 year olds who attended religious services, felt attached to their schools or were exposed to good family management were much less likely to have engaged in violence behavior by the time they turned 18, according to a new multi-ethnic study of urban youth by University of Washington researchers.

Problems controlling anger lead to weight gain for teens
Teenagers who don't manage their anger, either by suppressing feelings, or the other extreme of losing one's temper, are at higher risk for weight gain than those who do.

Common virus may contribute to uncommon bone disease in children
A common virus may play a major role in causing a painful disease of immune cells that attacks children's bones, according to a new study from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The research may eventually lead to an easier diagnosis and to more effective treatments of the disease, Langerhans cell histiocytosis

New polyelectrolyte inks create fine-scale structures through direct writing
Like spiders spinning webs, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are creating complex, three-dimensional structures with micron-size features using a robotic deposition process called direct-write assembly.

Scientists find more keys to the North Pacific Ocean's climate
Using satellite and other data, scientists have discovered that sea surface temperatures and sea level pressure in the North Pacific have undergone unusual changes over the last five years. These changes to the North Pacific Ocean climate system are different from those that dominated for the past 50-80 years, which has led scientists to conclude that there is more than one key to the climate of that region than previously thought.

Families, media and education crucial in preventing eating disorders
The process of educating young people on the prevention of eating disorders needs to start as early as middle-school, emphasizes Danny J. Ballard, a Texas A&M University health education professor. Ballard said that 5 to 10 million women and a million men in the United States suffer from some type of eating disorder or borderline condition that could lead to an eating disorder.

Existing therapies applied to new use in broader spectrum of cancer care
Drugs approved for treatment of specific maladies sometimes show unexpected benefits. Researchers at the 95th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research demonstrated highlighted how some drugs may one day offer previously unforeseen benefits for patients.

Emory researchers find race and gender gaps in treatment of heart attack
Despite increasing attention to sex and race related disparities in the management of myocardial infarction over the past decade, Emory scientists say there are gender and racial gaps in the U.S. between heart attack therapies white men receive and those offered to women and blacks.

NSF invites media to apply to report from North Pole on climate research
The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites members of the news media to apply for the opportunity to report from the North Pole on a major scientific initiative to understand changes in atmospheric circulation and ocean currents near the Pole that scientists believe have far-reaching effects on global climate.

Smelly air cannon to tempt shoppers
A new Japanese device that squirts enticing aromas at customers as they walk through stores is so accurate it can actually track the person using a camera mounted on top and aim the smell directly at the target's nose. Is this ingenious in-store advertising or will customers object to having scents forced upon them?

Undergraduate research experience advances education
As an undergraduate research project, Cindy Schreiber decided she would streamline the PCR process to increase the rate at which DNA samples are replicated. She completed, but did not test a new process. Most of her discoveries were about research and her own interests.

Novelty-seeking teens may be more easily influenced by tobacco advertisements
Scientific data indicate that teens' receptivity to tobacco marketing campaigns may play an important role in the choice to start smoking. Building on this research, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University found that teens with high levels of the novelty-seeking trait may be more than twice as likely as those low in the trait to be moderately to highly receptive to tobacco promotional campaigns.

Step towards building tiny, molecular motors achieved by Hebrew University, UCLA scientists
A step towards building tiny motors on the scale of a molecule has been demonstrated by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

2004 Behavioral Sciences/Health Services Award to Helen Gift
Dr. Helen Gift (Ruth Stafford Conabeer Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Organizational Systems and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, Brevard College, North Carolina) has been named the 2004 recipient of the Behavioral Sciences & Health Services Research Award, presented by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), convening today for its 82nd General Session.

National Nanotechnology Initiative workshop
An NNI Workshop on Nanoscience Research for Energy Needs will be held in Crystal City, VA from March 16-18, 2004. Media are invited to attend this workshop where leading scientists and engineers from government, academia and industry will exchange information, research findings and ideas toward defining opportunities and goals in energy-related research for the next decade and determining the special opportunities that the field of nanoscience affords to energy research.

A new hypothesis about Alzheimer's disease
A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has proposed a new theory about the cause of Alzheimer's disease, the progressive neurodegenerative disorder that currently afflicts some 4.5 million Americans. According to the hypothesis, the disease arises as a consequence of inflammation, which creates abnormal metabolites out of normal brain molecules.

Erectile dysfunction has devastating effect on morale
The launch of sildenafil (Viagra) had an adverse effect on the morale of men who found it did not work, according to new research. It also reveals that men are more distressed by impotence than has generally been realised.

First silicate stardust found in a meteorite
In the March 5 issue of Science, Ann Nguyen of Washington University in St. Louis and her advisor, Ernst K. Zinner, Ph.D., research professor of physics and of earth and planetary sciences, both in Arts & Sciences, describe nine specks of silicate stardust -- presolar silicate grains -- from one of the most primitive meteorites known.

MIT adds artistic spin to study of electromagnetism
The winning images in MIT's first annual

Memories are harder to forget than currently thought
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that memories are not as fluid as current research suggests. Their findings challenge the prevailing notion on how memories are stored and remembered - or that a recalled memory could be deliberately lost as it is

Diets high in fat and animal protein linked to increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Consuming foods high in animal protein, saturated fat, eggs and dairy leads to an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system, part of the body's immune system, Yale researchers have found.

2004 Pharmacology/Therapeutics/Toxicology Award to Haas
Dr. Daniel Haas, Professor of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, has been named 2004 recipient of the Pharmacology, Therapeutics, & Toxicology Research Award, presented today during the Opening Ceremonies of the 82nd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), convening at the Hawaii Convention Center. The award, supported by the Whitehall Robins Company, is one of the 15 Distinguished Scientist Awards conferred annually by the IADR.

Support needed for elderly breast cancer patients and for independent academic research
Safeguarding academic research, improving individual risk assessment, paying attention to elderly breast cancer patients and rethinking on care after breast cancer were four areas highlighted by participants at the close of the 4th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-4) in Hamburg today (20 March 2004).

Clear information, privacy vital when breaking bad news
Women whose ultrasounds show fetal abnormalities want clear information about results as quickly and as empathetically as possible, says a new study by researchers at University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital and York University.

Ohio State wetlands professor wins prestigious Water Prize
Years of studying wetland behavior have paid off for Ohio State University professor Bill Mitsch, who today became co-recipient of the prestigious 2004 Stockholm Water Prize. For water scientists, winning the Stockholm Water Prize is equivalent to winning a Nobel Prize, said Mitsch.

Long-lasting medication shows promise for treatment of heroin addiction
Scientists funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report that a single injection of a sustained-release formulation of buprenorphine effectively relieved withdrawal symptoms for 6 weeks in heroin-dependent patients. A tablet form of buprenorphine, a medication developed through research also supported by NIDA, is already used in the United States and around the world as a once-daily treatment for opioid dependence.

Undisturbed Amazonian forests are changing, say scientists
A research team of U.S. and Brazilian scientists has shown that rainforests in central Amazonia are experiencing striking changes in dynamics and species composition. Although the cause of these changes are believed to be completely undisturbed, old-growth forests is uncertain, a leading explanation is that they are being driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Study offers new model for breast cancer
A team in the lab of scientist Robert Weinberg at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has successfully grafted human breast tissue into the mammary glands of mice. As a result, the mice formed functional breasts that are capable of producing human breast milk. More importantly, some of these mice were engineered to form early stage breast tumors like those found in humans.

Household activities release a cloud of dust, increasing exposure to particulate pollution
Ordinary household activities, from dusting to dancing, can increase your exposure to particulate pollution, according to a new study. Whether you are cutting the rug or just vacuuming it, you may be inhaling tiny dust particles that could be harmful to your health.

New approach limits damage after heart attack and improves survival, say Scripps Research scientists
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has developed a potential new treatment for heart attacks. The therapy inhibits fluid leakage from cardiac blood vessels following a heart attack and thereby significantly prevents long-term heart damage and improves survival.

Los Angeles kids benefit from new asthma identification process
Researchers from the Los Angeles-based Breathmobile Program have designed a new comprehensive, school-based method of identifying inner-city children with asthma, says a study in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. The new identification method utilizes a specially designed parental survey and scoring method to efficiently and accurately assess the prevalence and severity of asthma and the occurrence of poorly managed asthma in school-age children in an urban setting.

VLT smashes the record of the farthest known galaxy
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, and the magnification effect of a gravitational lens, French and Swiss astronomers have provided a strong case for what is now the new record holder - and by far - of the most distant galaxy known in the Universe. Named Abell 1835 IR1916, the newly discovered galaxy has a redshift of 10. It is therefore seen at a time when the Universe was barely 3 percent of its current age.

Drug for erectile dysfunction appears safe for some men with congestive heart failure
Carefully selected men with congestive heart failure appear to be able to safely take sildenafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), if they are not taking nitrates to treat their heart condition, and have no evidence of myocardial ischemia, according to an article in the March 8 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Metabolic 'footprint' may be new measure of obesity risk in kids
Levels of a fat protein, called adiponectin, which is linked to heart disease in adults, is significantly lower in overweight children and young adults, researchers said today at the American Heart Association's 44th annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Success of nicotine patches linked to genetic make-up
The effectiveness of nicotine patches seems to be related to genetic make-up (genotype) in women, but not in men, finds new research.

Harvard chemist wins national award for lifetime contributions to science, medicine
Elias J. Corey, Ph.D., of Cambridge, Mass., will be honored March 30 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for decades of achievement, such as developing simple, logic-based rules and strategies to assemble complex compounds for medicines and a host of other products. He will receive the 2004 Priestley Medal, the Society's highest honor, at its national meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

Nerac rebuilds TOC Journal Watch service with new search engine
Now monitoring favorite journals is easier than ever through Nerac's new TOC Journal Watch. Delivering the table of contents from a selection of 21,000+ publications, TOC Journal Watch provides a one-stop solution to monitoring journals in all areas of science, technology and business. 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