Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 1998)

Science news and science current events archive May, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 1998

"Noisy" Ventilators Are Better Ventilators
A new model of ventilator assisted lung function developed at Boston University may improve gas exchange in patients with lung injury and minimize additional trauma. In the model, air pressure is varied by adding

Perkin-Elmer, Dr. J. Craig Venter, And TIGR Announce Formation Of New Genomics Company
The Perkin-Elmer Corporation, Dr. J. Craig Venter, and The Institute for Genomic Research announced that they have signed letters of intent relating to the formation by Perkin- Elmer and Dr. Venter of a new genomics company. Its strategy will be centered on a plan to substantially complete the sequencing of the human genome in three years.

ASU Discovery Is First Evidence Of Hydrothermal Activity On Mars
Planetary geologists at Arizona State University have discovered hematite on Mars, and with it the first evidence of a hydrothermal system on the Red Planet. Hematite is formed by thermal activity or by standing bodies of water. The discovery could have implications for the possible development of life.

Africa At The Turning Point
Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical turning point in its efforts to address the dual challenge of rapid population growth and poor reproductive health, according to a new Population Action International study, entitled

High-Pressure Chambers Could Prevent Paralysis After Spinal Cord Injury
High-pressure chambers used to treat deep sea divers for decompression sickness could play a key role in preventing permanent spinal cord damage and paralysis to many of the thousands of Americans who suffer spinal cord injuries every year, a doctor from Scotland reported today.

Study Shows Child Health Plus Eases Access, But Some Barriers Remain
While state-funded health insurance for children of the working poor can reduce financial barriers to accss, non- financial barriers continue to discourage the use of services for minority groups. That is among the key findings of a University of Rochester study being presented at the 1998 Pediatric Societies' annual meeting.

Gene May Hold Key To Treating Life-Threatening Cholesterol
Findings from a study, in which a gene that speeds cholesterol metabolism was turned off, will help scientists develop better drugs for controlling life-threatening levels of the substance, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas reported in the May 29 issue of Cell.

Anti-Angiogenesis: A New Weapon In Cancer Therapy
As reported this week, Dr. Judah Folkman's work in cutting off a tumor's blood supply seems critical to the removal of tumors and the prevention of metastases. Related work is being done by Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, using an anti-VEGF receptor ribozyme to inhibit angiogenesis and restrain tumor growwth.

Ulcer-Causing Bacteria Also May Be Associated With Heart Disease
DALLAS, May 5 -- Infection by a particularly strong strain of bacteria normally associated with stomach ulcers could be a contributing factor to heart disease, according to a report in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Ancient Pueblo Great House Yielding Unexpected Findings
Excavations of a Pueblo site in the Four Corners region linked to the Chaco culture that once dominated the Southwest indicate the site was still occupied well after the collapse of the ancient empire about 1125.

Scientists Discover Proteins Which Help Set The Body's Clock
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have discovered the proteins which help set the body's daily clock. Cryptochrome 1 and 2 were found in almost all body cells studied; large amounts of CRY 1 were found in the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms.

Active Packaging Enhances Safety And Quality Of Perishable Foods
Stealth scavengers sound like characters out of a science fiction film. In reality, they are substances used in one of several new packaging technologies that extend the freshness of foods and provide added consumer convenience. These technologies will be presented at the Institute of Food Technologists' 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO in Atlanta June 23.

40% Of Developing World Infants Stunted
Almost 40 percent, or about 184 million, of the developing world's children under 5 outside of China have stunted growth, reports a Cornell University nutritionist and statistician. Although stunting is declining by about .5 of a percentage point each year, more than half the children in some regions of the developing world, such as Southeast Asia, have severe growth deficits, says Edward Frongillo, associate professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell.

Pediatric Academic Societies Report Progress In Children's Health
Among research findings making news at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in New Orleans May 1-5 are studies on the effects of cocaine exposure on unborn babies, school-based intervention for obese children, doula support during labor and delivery, and successful gene therapy.

Study Shows Zebra Mussels Can Colonize Sand And Mud
Researchers have found that zebra mussels have built colonies on the sandy and muddy bottom of Lake Erie, a habitat previously thought incapable of supporting the animals. Since debut in the mid-1980s, researchers believed that these bivalves could only colonize hard, underwater surfaces such as rocks, clams and runoff pipes.

Drugs Account For 80% Of Poisoning Deaths Nationwide, Which Have Increased 25% In The Last Ten Years
A study conducted by researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)--which analyzed data on poisoning injury deaths--revealed that 80% of these deaths are drug- related. Poisoning was ranked as the third leading cause of injury mortality, following deaths from motor vehicle traffic injuries and firearm injuries.

University Of Cincinnati Biologists Find Evidence For Unusual DNA Repair InArchaea
University of Cincinnati biologists Dennis Grogan and Michelle Reilly will report on the unusual genetics and a possible mechanism for DNA repair in the archaea species Sulfolobus acidocaldarius Wednesday, May 20 during the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Genetic mapping experiments with Sulfolobus mutants have shown an unusually high rate of genetic recombination. Sulfolobus lives in hot, acidic conditions which greatly increases the risk of DNA damage.

Columbia Astronomers Detect Biggest Explosion Ever Observed
Thanks to the quick action of an ³astronomical SWAT team² at Columbia University, scientists today reported that they had detected the largest explosion ever witnessed. The gamma-ray burst lasted about a second last Dec. 14, releasing almost as much energy as the 10 billion trillion stars in the universe combined.

Smart Filter Removes Sulfur, Refines Crude Oil
A new, inexpensive filter efficiently removes sulfur and other impurities from crude oil and serves as a miniature refinery to upgrade the crude, a University of Southern California researcher reports. The process is far more environmentally benign than existing methods.

'Cats' Paws And Catapults' Offers Enlightening Tour Of Natural, Human Technology
Duke biologist Steven Vogel has just returned from an odyssey into two very different realms -- the rigid, right-angled, dry world of human technology constructed in big factories; and the pliable, curvy, often wet world of natural technology built from tiny cells.

Scientists Report Rainfall Measuring Mission, Including Marshall-Managed Lightning Sensor, Exceeding Expectations
Weather and climate researchers are gaining unprecedented insights into rainfall-producing cloud systems over the tropical land masses and oceans from instruments flying aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission -- a joint NASA and Japanese Space Agency spacecraft. Initial information received from the rainfall-measuring observatory is exceeding expectations for accuracy and resolution, scientists say.

Are Changes In Gender Roles Causing More Men To Suffer From Depression?
A rising number of men are committing suicide, but is this because more of them are suffering from depression? Dr Polash Shajahan and Dr Jonathan Cavanagh from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland examine whether this could be due to changes in gender roles over the last 20 years.

Innovated Strongsville Chemistry Teacher Honored For Outstanding Efforts
It is unique and creative thinking like this which led the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, to name Fen Yu-Lewis the winner of the Central Regional Award in High School Chemistry Teaching. Yu-Lewis, who teaches at Strongsville Senior High School, will receive this award at the Morley Award Banquet, as part of the American Chemical Society's Central Regional Meeting in Cleveland on May 27.

Neurotransmitter-Induced Electrical Activity Identified As Key Regulator Of Synaptogenesis
Synaptic contacts are believed to provide the morphological basis for information processing in the brain. Joachim Kirsch and Heinrich Betz from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt/Germany) report in

Biochemists Gain Crystal-Clear Insight into 'Ancient' Enzyme
Biochemists from the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University Medical Center have reported analytical studies revealing unexpected new insights into how two very different molecules - a protein and an RNA - work together to form an enzyme that performs one of the fundamental tasks of constructing the protein-making machinery of the cell.

Secondary Prevention Of Heart Disease Should Be Improved
Campbell et al from the University of Aberdeen, find that even though there are known benefits to the implementation of secondary care to patients with coronary heart disease, there seems to be plenty of opportunity for improving procedures within general practice.

Cells Say The Darndest Things
In an important early step toward understanding the chemistry of human thought, Stanford chemists have managed for the first time to read the individual chemical messages that cells exchange.

Alzheimer's Disease Patients May Benefit From Muscle Relaxation
Simple muscle relaxation techniques may help people with Alzheimer's disease control some behavioral problems associated with the disorder while improving their mental performance, according to a new study by an Ohio University researcher.

Surgical Removal Seems Best Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Despite technical refinements in the use of radioactive

Space Shuttle
A technique developed to help astronauts stave off problems with their blood vessels in zero gravity may become an important tool in helping prevent strokes among the estimated 50 million Americans who have high blood pressure.

Inhibitor Shows Potential To Protect Infant Brain
Several biotech companies are exploring the idea that compounds called caspase inhibitors might minimize the brain damage that results from blood and oxygen shortage. Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that one such compound protects newborn rats from damage.

Breakthrough: Scientists Create 3-D Map Of Cell Membrane Ion Pump At Near Atomic Resolution
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in mapping the structure of an ion pump in cells' plasma membrane - the

Jefferson Scientists Hopeful That Understanding Tumor-Suppressor Protein Function May Someday Lead To Treatment
Scientists at Jefferson Medical College appear to have an important clue to the workings of a gene that normally protects against cancer. Ultimately, by understanding how both the normal and the damaged gene work, scientists may be able to find ways to interfere with the development of cancer.

Wistar Scientist Awarded American Cancer Society Grant For Research On Gene Therapy
Frank J. Rauscher III, Ph.D., head of The Wistar Institute's Molecular Genetics Program, has been awarded a $224,000 two- year grant from the American Cancer Society. The funds will be used to support his research into the genetic causes of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), a highly malignant tumor found most often in the skeletal muscles of children.

Giant Convective Cells Found On Sun After 30-Year Search
Things the size of Jupiter should be pretty hard to hide, especially when they're staring at us from the face of the Sun. At this week's AGU meeting, scientists report on 30 years of hunting to find giant convection cells that may play a major role in how the Sun rotates and how sunspots move across its face and even influence space weather.

The Science Of Clearance Sales: Retailers Can Save Millions By Taking Markdowns Sooner, Giving Steeper Discounts
Retail chains that conduct clearance sales can increase profits by taking markdowns sooner and giving steeper discounts or donating excess merchandise to charities, according to a study in the current edition of a magazine published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Very Fruitful Collaboration Between French And German Scientists Yields Unusual Insights Into The Structure Of Membrane Proteins
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, and the Institute of Structural Biology in Grenoble, France, used neutron beams to expand current knowledge on structure-function relations in the ion pump bacteriorhodopsin. By using isotope-labeled membranes, areas of different dynamical behavior were detected, and a functionally essential Glycolipid was localized.

Demand For Home Meal Replacements Challenges Food Industry
Today's consumer demand for minimally-processed, easy-to-eat, and nutritious foods has created a booming market for home meal replacements. The challenges of developing these products, while ensuring their safety and quality, will be a focus of the Institute of Food Technologists' 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO in Atlanta June 22.

Association Issues Medical Guidelines For Air Travel
Dr. Russell B. Rayman, the executive vice president of the Aerospace Medical Association, today presented medical guidelines for airline travel prepared by a task force of his association.

Novel Drug Trial To Treat Advanced Prostate Cancer Enrolling Patients At UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center
Advanced prostate cancer patients who have become resistant to standard hormone treatment therapy may be eligible to participate in a UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center clinical trial of a drug that researchers hope will inhibit the growth of blood vessels that nourish tumor cells.

Advisory: Nasal Spray Influenza Vaccine
Researcher Hunein F. Maassab, who developed the nasal spray influenza vaccine now under study by the vaccine manufacturer, said recent reports of the vaccine's protection against otitis media carry even more good news for children. Clinical trials determined the nasal spray vaccine provided a 30 percent protection against otitis media.

Cornell X-ray Containment Fusion Funded
Inertial confinement fusion research at Cornell University has received its first two direct infusions of funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The research focuses on the use of X-rays to bombard and explode hair-thin tungsten wires, creating a plasma contained by a brief but intense magnetic field.

Duke Researchers Finds That Moderate Caffeine Use Boosts Blood Pressure, Potential For Heart Disease
Drinking a few extra mugs of coffee each day can boost blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels enough to increase a person's risk of developing heart disease over a lifetime of moderate caffeine consumption, according to a Duke University researcher.

Help From The Sky When Lost At Sea
The NOAA satellite launch is planned for May 13. The weather satellite will carry search and rescue instruments that can help locate ships, aircraft, and people in distress.

New Estimates Of Petroleum Resources Of The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area
A new fact sheet from the U.S. Geological Survey provides results of the latest assessment of petroleum resources in the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including new estimates of how much petroleum may be present. The USGS estimates that the 1002 area of the Arctic Refuge contains between 11.6 and 31.5 billion barrels of oil (BBO) as in-place resources (95% and 5% probabilities).

Do Termites Use
Just as humans may use naphthalene

Jellyfish Help To Make Sugar Smarter
A gene that causes jellyfish to glow in the dark is being used by Australian scientists as a marker gene in experiments to improve the quality of sugar and other crops.

ASU Scientists Join NASA Astrobiology Institute
Arizona State University has added Exobiologist Jack Farmer and Cosmochemist Laurie Leshin to its strong, specialized programs in planetary geology, environmental science and materials science to form a world-class Astrobiology Center. NASA has announced that this team will be one of five university participants in its new

Incorporating Human Dimensions In Earth System Models
Scientists from a wide variety of disciplines, including atmospheric physics, biogeochemistry, public policy, ecology, sociology, medicine, and economics will gather at a special session of the American Geophysical Union's Spring Meeting in Boston Tuesday May 26 to discuss ways to incorporate socioeconomic factors into developing models of the Earth System.

UF Program Offers Communication Strategies To Hearing-Aid Users
Hearing aids don't restore normal hearing, but they do help and could be more useful to the estimated 85 percent of older Americans who could benefit from the devices but don't wear them, says a UF expert who has developed a program to help hearing aid users. 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