Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 1997)

Science news and science current events archive May, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 1997

Vitamin Supplements May Help Asthmatics Cope With Air Pollution
Simply taking antioxidant vitamins could help asthmatics exposed to polluted air breathe easier. Preliminary results of a study conducted at the University of Washington School of Public Health were presented Tuesday, May 20, at the American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society International Conference

Study Finds Growing Trend In Postmortem Sperm Procurement
Since 1994, the postmortem procurement of sperm without consent is being requested and performed throughout the United States in increasing numbers, according to a study conducted by the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. The study appears in the June issue of The Journal of Urology.

Daily stresses can trigger heart abnormalities during everyday life
Such common emotions as tension, frustration and sadness trigger frequent and painless heart abnormalities that can lead to permanent heart damage, a research team at Duke University Medical Center has concluded

Study Finds Characteristics That Identify Bullies And Victims
Bullies are controlling, hot tempered and lack empathy for others. Victims lack social skills, blame themselves for their problems and are afraid to go to school. These traits are among the most common indicators of bullying and victim behaviors in children, according to a new study at Ohio University

Survival Better For Kidney Recipients Taken Off Steroids
Weaning kidney transplant recipients off steroids is associated with excellent patient and graft survival, according to a University of Pittsburgh study being presented at the American Society of Transplant Physicians meeting May 11. The study also foud the incidence of rejection was much lower in the patients who no longer took the steroids.

Portland Researchers Locate Genes Associated With A Predisposition To Physical Dependence On Alcohol
Oregon researchers led by Kari Buck, Ph.D., have mapped three gene regions in mice that influence susceptibility to physicial dependence on alcohol. Their finding appear in the May 15, 1997 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.Buck's team found that genes on mouse chromosomes 1,4, and 11 lead to an increased risk for physical dependence on alcohol

Harvard Medical School Researchers Discover Protein That Explains How Egg Cells Prepare To Become Embryos
In the May 16 Science, a Harvard Medical School researcher reports the discovery of a novel egg-cell protein that sheds light on the cell's mechanism for moving particular RNAs to the right places inside the cell in preparation for development into a complex organism

Nonwhites, New Yorkers Have Worst City Housing Quality
Nonwhites and New Yorkers fare worst in a Cornell University housing study of structural adequacy and crowding in seven cities.

New Findings Blame Jump In Hurricane Toll On Coastal Growth, Not Climate Change
A new study indicates that recent U.S. hurricane damages do not reflect any unusual increase in hurricane strength or frequency, but rather a continued flocking of Americans to vulnerable coastal locations. The shift could spell trouble if more hurricanes make landfall in coming years, as they did before 1970.

Value Of The World's Ecosystem Services
If we had to pay for the services that nature provides, how much would it cost? A paper appearing in the May 15th issue of the journal Nature, co-authored by 13 ecologists, geographers and economists, estimates this value at between $16 and $54 trillion per year

Munching Microbes Make A Meal Out Of Toxic Substances
When it comes to cleaning up the environment, the answer may be right under our feet. A Purdue University engineer is investigating how and why bacteria in the soil eat certain toxic chemicals, and he is developing procedures for using the hungry bugs in environmental cleanup efforts

Children With AD/HD Have Significant Functional Disabilities Related to Attention Deficit
Researchers from the University at Buffalo and Children's Hospital of Buffalo have shown children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have as much functional disability as children with mild mental retardation. Results of the study were presented May 5 at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Research.

Geophysicists Catch Eruption Before It Starts
Stanford geophysics graduate student Susan Owen reports to the American Geophysical Union about work on the January 30, 1997 eruption in a new rift on Kilauea volcano. A

Single Crystals Move More With High Voltage
High voltage causes a family of crystals known as relaxor ferroelectrics to deform 10 times more than any other material currently known, according to a Penn State materials scientist.

The Condom Conundrum--How Are We Going To Teach Safe Behavior If Parents Are Afraid To Talk To Their Children About Sex?
When it comes to talking to their teenagers about sex, health and condoms, mum's the word for most American parents.

Solar Wind: Portrait Of A Cosmic Hobgoblin Emerges From New University Of Delaware Data
Solar wind--those hot, charged-up particles linked to power outages on Earth and lost satellites in space--may be even rowdier than some researchers have previously reported, University of Delaware scientists said today during the American Geophysical Union's Spring Meeting

Teaching Older People New Skills Easier Than Previously Believed
The elderly can be taught new skills or enhance old ones more easily than previously believed, say University of Illinois researchers who adapted a learning technique used by U.S. and Israeli fighter pilots

Portland, Ore., Rail Tunnel Serves As Science Lab
A light-rail tunnel under construction in Portland, Ore., is doing double duty as a site to help scientists learn more about earthquake hazards in the area, according to one of the scientists who worked on the project

Many Older Adults Choose Life Over Death No Matter The Quality
Faced with terminal illness or a chronic health condition, a majority of older adults would choose to live, but one-third would let someone else decide their fate, according to a Purdue University study of end-of-life decisions.

Who Gives Better Care To Heart-Attack Patients, The U.S. Or Canada?-Study Raises Questions About The Benefit Of Certain Cardiac Procedures
Though U.S. physicians performed many more cardiac procedures to treat elderly heart-attack patients than did Canadian physicians, the patients in the U.S. were just as likely to die within one year as those in Canada, according to a study by Harvard researchers and their colleagues that appears in the May 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine

Possible New Hominid Species May Be Oldest Known European
A group of Spanish researchers working with fossils from a Lower Pleistocene cave site in Atapuerca, Spain, say they've identified a new species of hominid. This new hominid may represent the oldest known European and the last common ancestor of modernhumans and Neandertals. The findings will be published in the 30 May issue of the journal Science

TV Game Shows Provide Educational Benefits For Kids, Research Suggests
Parents shouldn't be so quick to turn off the television if their children are watching

Study Provides Baseline Measurements Of Viral Load In Pediatric AIDS
The amount of HIV in the blood of perinatally infected infants peaks at 1 to 2 months of age and then declines slowly to level off at 24 months at relatively high concentrations compared to those for an adult, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Colorado State University Researcher's Detective Work Uncovers Clues To Save West's Endangered Fish
Darrel Snyder's keen ability to identify fish smaller than the tip of a pencil is aiding efforts to restore the populations of endangered fish in Colorado and the West. Snyder, a fish larvae taxonomist at Colorado State University's noted Larval Fish Laboratory, is one of a handful of people in the world who can identify days-old fish and find vital clues important to their survival.

Why The Heart Stops Pumping: Researchers Identify Cellular-Molecular Defect In Heart Failure
A silent defect in the pumping mechanism of the heart has been discovered by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The same defect is found in heart cells enlarged due to hypertension and in heart failure

New Cook Coronary Stent Receives FDA Clearance
Cook Incorporated has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance to market its new low-profile GR II® Coronary Stent in the U.S. Cook's GR II® Coronary Stent, available in 20 mm and 40 mm lengths, is indicated for treatment of acute or threatened vessel closure in patients with failed interventional therapy in vessels with reference diameters in the range of 2.1 mm to 4.0 mm

Prolonged Treatment With Methylprednisolone Improves Recovery In Spinal Cord Injured Patients
Since 1990, thousands of spinal cord injured patients have received the first effective treatment for acute injury. Now, a new study shows that giving the drug for a longer period of time can significantly improve recovery over the standard treatment.

Excess dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR) Exon III seven repeat allele in opioid dependent subjects
Both twin studies in humans and studies on the pharmacogenetics of opioid addiction in rodents point to a role for heritability as a contributing factor in the development of drug dependence. This study may be the first to show a significant link betweena specific genetic polymorphism and opioid dependence in humans

First New Coronary Stent Since 1994 Could Saves Thousands From Heart Surgery In U.S.
Thousands of U.S. heart disease patients who might otherwise require heart bypass surgery can instead now receive a new, advanced coronary stent which for the first time allows cardiologists to nonsurgically treat blockages in many of the heart's small, severely curved blood vessels.

Researchers Find Production Point Of Key Protein In Fragile X Syndrome
Efforts to understand the mechanism for the most common cause of genetically inherited mental impairment in males have been bolstered by University of Illinois researchers who have found that the synthesis of a key protein occurs in an unexpected location in the brain. A second study sheds light on the protein's importance.

Little League Elbow Can Lead To Permanent Injury
Without simple but necessary precautions,

Chart Predicts Whether Surgery Will Cure Prostate Cancer
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and other institutions have refined a chart that helps physicians determine how advanced a prostate cancer may be and guides treatment decisions

Sadness, Depression Can Bring On Or Worsen Symptoms In Asthmatic Children
Strong emotions -- particularly sadness, depression or a sense of loss -- trigger chemical signals that can cause or intensify asthma symptoms in asthmatic children, University at Buffalo researchers have found. Their study is reported in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Major Downsizing Of The Physician Workforce Will Be Needed
Researchers at the Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Health Professions estimate the specialty-specific reductions or downsizing of the physician workforce that would be required if the nation is to maintain the physician specialtyto population ratios that exist today--a third for specialists and one fifth for primary care physicians.

AIDS Virus Risk In Women May Be Enhanced
Women may be more vulnerable than previously assumed to contracting the AIDS virus from their male sexual partners, according to findings by Dartmouth Medical School and VA Medical Center researchers.

Everyday Technology Underlies First DNA Computer Logic Gates
A pair of scientists at the University of Rochester has built some of the first DNA computer 'hardware' ever: logic gates made of DNA. Most surprising about Animesh Ray and Mitsu Ogihara's recent work is that they made the DNA logic gates using only themost commonplace biological laboratory techniques, such as DNA ligation and gel electrophoresis.

ORNL Invention Could Make Driving A Little Less Bumpy
A new technique for fixing potholes is being developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. THe process uses microwaves to heat the area to be fixed and the asphalt used to fill the hole. Repairs are seamless andstronger and could greatly extend the lifespan of roads

Bilingual Children Understand Written Languages Sooner Than Monolingual Children, Study Finds
A study of 137 bilingual and monolingual preschoolers finds that those who speak two languages learn to read sooner than those who speak only one.

Colorado State University Study Of Sheep Finds Promising Treatment For Osteoporosis
In a one-year study of adult female sheep, Colorado State University Professor Simon Turner has unveiled a promising non-drug treatment for osteoporosis, a disease that affects 10 million Americans. The study discovered that when ewes were regularly exposed to a metal plate that emitted a subtle but high-frequency vibration, the bone density increased in their hind legs.

Novel Clockwork Controls Found
Dartmouth Medical School geneticists decoding the biological clocks that pace the daily activities of plants and animals have discovered new clues to what makes cells tick. Their discoveries, reported May 2 in the magazines Science and Cell , are expected to advance understanding of how both light and temperature regulate the circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle most organisms -- from plants to people -- share.

New Welfare Limits Likely To Affect Alarming Number of Families
Within eight years, 41 percent of the current caseload of AFDC recipients will reach the 60-month cutoff for lifetime receipt of welfare, according to a new study that examined monthly patterns of AFDC receipt during the 1980s and early 1990s. And within two years, the 24-month work requirements will force states to seek employment or some form of allowable work activity for 52 percent of their current caseloads

Duke Researchers Discover New Molecular Pathway For Sculpting Brain Circuits
Nerve growth factors are more than just a kind of elixir for the brain, as is now thought, according to findings by neuroscientists from Duke University Medical Center. Instead, growth factors actually oppose one another in some cases, shaping neural networks in the brain in response to experience and learning

Adjusting To Climate Shift Better Than Following Typically Advocated Plans
In the face of global warming, the best strategy may be to keep a cool head and learn to adapt, says a researcher at the University of Illinois.

Elusive Micrometeorites May Come From Dawn Of Solar System
Millions of incredibly old, minute, previously undetected invaders enter the Earth's atmosphere every day and until recently, no one has been able to track, count or investigate them, according to a Penn State researcher. These micrometeorites are so small that even when they disintegrate in the atmosphere, they are presently only recordable at high-resolution using the very sensitive 430 megahertz radar system at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

Duke neurologist calls for mandatory reporting of complication rates for carotid endarterectomy
Noting that surveys show physicians are generally poorly informed about the complication rates for a surgical procedure that clears blockages in neck arteries, a Duke neurologist has called for mandatory audits of these rates as a part of a hospital's official accreditation process

Limited Course Of Thalidomide Effective In Treating AIDS-Related Mouth Ulcers
Thalidomide effectively heals severe mouth and throat ulcers in people with HIV infection, according to a study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Asthma-Related Medical Costs Reduced By More Than $13,000 Following Participation In National Jewish Pediatric Day Program, Study Shows
Children with severe asthma who receive medical care at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center Pediatric Day Program have asthma-related medical costs--such as hospital stays, emergency room and doctor visits--reduced from an average of $21,370 a year to an average of $7,740 a year, researchers found.

Neuroscience Teaching Will Use Multi-Media
A scientist and an educational television producer are redesigning the way introductory science of the brain will be taught. Williams's Betty Zimmerberg, associate professor of psychology and chair of Williams College's neuroscience program, and media producer Lance Wisniewski, president of Innervision Media of Salisbury, Mass. will use the latest digital multi-media technology to teach concepts in neuroscience that are difficult to portray in two dimensions

UB And IBM Researchers Report First Experimental Proof Of Maverick Theory Of High-Temperature Superconductivity
Using a thallium thin film fabricated at the University at Buffalo, researchers at UB, IBM and Université Paris-sud have the first irrefutable proof that d-wave theory is entirely responsible for high-temperature superconductivity. Their findings will be reported in the May 29 issue of Nature.

Potassium Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Hopkins scientists have crunched data from 33 previous studies to authoritatively answer an enduring public health question: can potassium lower blood pressure? The answer is yes

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