Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2000)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2000

Stepfathers invest significant resources in stepchildren
In time for Father's Day: Contrary to popular perception, stepfathers do invest significant amounts of both money and time in their stepchildren, according to researchers studying the life histories of American stepfathers.

Pitt research shows early lead exposure is a significant cause of juvenile delinquency
Children exposed to lead have significantly greater odds of developing delinquent behavior, according to a University of Pittsburgh researcher. The study results, directed by Herbert Needleman, M.D., professor of child psychiatry and pediatrics, were presented today at the 2000 Pediatric Academic Societies and American Academy of Pediatrics Joint Meeting.

Witebsky Center to sponsor conference on TMJ disorders
The Ernest Witebsky Center for Immunology at the University at Buffalo will sponsor on Aug. 4-6 one of the first scientific conferences to address the combined issues of diagnosis, treatment and the body's immune response to implants for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and diseases and disorders affecting it.

Intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes reduces costs overall
Conventional management of type 2 diabetes is through diet. A paper by Gray and colleagues in this week's BMJ shows that an alternative treatment using intensive blood glucose control in these patients significantly increases treatment costs but substantially reduces the cost of complications and gives increased time free of complications.

NASA-Goddard scientists to highlight new earth science insights at spring 2000 AGU meeting
New Earth science insights by scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.) will be reported at the 2000 American Geophysical Union spring meeting in Washington, D.C. This

Key DNA enzyme can tolerate more mutations than expected
DNA replication is far more chaotic than previously thought. A paper from University of Washington researchers says that a DNA polymerase, Taq, commonly used for scientific study, can tolerate many different mutations and remain functional. This could help explain evolution, how organisms develop resistance to antibiotics, and more.

Biological legacies a key of ecological rebirth after Mount St. Helens eruption
Even in desolate-looking areas after the eruption of Mount St. Helens there were

Introgen Therapeutics reports progress in gene therapy studies at annual ASCO meeting
Introgen Therapeutics today presented data from its clinical studies of adenoviral p53 gene therapy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting in New Orleans. Data showed promising Phase II interim results using a patented adenoviral p53 therapy in conjunction with radiation therapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

Researchers hope to solve cosmic mystery
Researchers at Michigan Tech are playing a major role in what many have dubbed the largest truly international scientific collaboration in history. More than 250 scientists from 50 institutions representing 19 countries have joined forces in an attempt to solve the mystery and find the source of high- energy cosmic rays that have bombarded the earth since the beginning of time.

Sleep apnea likely to lead to hypertension
Armed with the strongest evidence to date, researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical School have established that sleep apnea -- episodes of breathing pauses during sleep -- is likely to be an important cause of hypertension.

'Smart' material grows dumber with shrinking size, scientist says
As active materials become increasingly smaller for the next generation of smart materials systems, the need to understand and predict material response becomes critical. At the University of Illinois, an experimental investigation into how the properties and responses of smart materials -- such as piezoelectric ceramics -- change as a function of size has yielded a few surprises.

Women's death rate inequalities - the answer lies in the home
If health researchers want to find out about differences in mortality rates in women they need to consider not just their jobs but their home life as well. A paper in this week's BMJ suggests that - unlike male mortality rates - those for women are best predicted by scales which are based on the household situation and so reflect the modern working woman's

Immune system switch controls destiny of white blood cells
By increasing or decreasing levels of a specific protein, HHMI researchers can control the developmental destiny of white blood cells. The discovery raises the possibility that scientists might be able to throw the switch by using drugs or gene therapy to jump-start the proper development of immature blood cells whose maturation is stalled in certain cancers.

Teens can help design school obesity programs
The recommendations of teens may help in the design of effective school-based obesity prevention programs, suggest the results of a study of teen focus groups. U.S. adolescent obesity rose from 5.7 percent during the years 1976-1980, to 12 percent during the years 1988-1994, according to data cited in the study.

On-the-job lead exposure could increase Alzheimer's risk
Occupational lead exposure may have long-term effects and dramatically increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in later years, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, April 29 - May 6, 2000. People who have worked in jobs with high levels of lead exposure are up to 3.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Slower rate of rewarming reduces cognitive declines after major heart surgery
For years, surgeons have been performing successful open heart surgeries on their patients only to find that many of them suffer cognitive deficits afterwards in such areas as memory, concentration and attention, some for as long as five years after surgery.

Researchers seek clues to help newborns with abnormal lungs
Penn State medical researchers have found low blood-plasma levels of nitric oxide (NO) in mouse newborns, which are born with hypoplastic or abnormal lungs, the first study to show such a relationship.

Brain scans of Gulf War veterans show brain damage
Brain scans of veterans who returned from the Gulf War sick show evidence of significant brain-cell loss, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers.

Among the elderly, men perceive poor health status better than women
Elderly men who rate their health as poor are more likely to die than are elderly women who rate their health similarly, according to a new study. Women may perceive both serious and mild illnesses as evidence of poor health, while men are more likely to focus on life-threatening conditions.

Using a mouse model, reserchers now understand changes occurring in the brain before the onset of Huntington's disease
In a collaborative study conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers used a mouse model to identify changes that occur in nerve cells in the early stages of Huntington's disease. They identified several signaling molecules that could be targeted for future therapies. The results are reported in the May 22 issue of the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

A droid that can change shape
Researchers in Massachusetts have developed a robot that can build itself then melt itself down when it has completed a task and recycle itself. This polymorphic robot can literally change its shape to suit a particular job in hand, making it able to adapt to strange and unpredictable environments.

Conference to examine polymer technology
The materials and technology of the 21st century will be under examination when a major industrial research conference, the 11th annual Polymer Outreach Program symposium, is held at Cornell University May 22 and 23.

Women who have Caesarean or assisted vaginal delivery are more likely to be rehospitalized, UW study says
Women who have Caesarean or assisted vaginal delivery are at a higher risk of rehospitalization than women who have unassisted delivery. It's already known that various forms of delivery can lead to complications; this study looks at the the reasons and rates at which complications might land women in a hospital.

Air New Zealand honored in operations research competition
Air New Zealand has been honored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) for innovations in the complex art of crew scheduling that realize more than $7 million a year. The project brings improved service to passengers and increased ability to meet air crews' assignment preferences.

Northwestern researchers clone gene responsible for inner ear motor
Hearing scientists and molecular biologists at Northwestern University have cloned a gene, named after the musical notation presto, that is critical to the functioning of the outer hair cell, a sensory receptor cell unique to the mammalian inner ear. The discovery advances the understanding of the genetics of hearing disorders.

Carnegie Mellon's Carnegie Symposium on Cognition
Advances in understanding how the brain organizes and interprets information that the eye sees will be explored at the Carnegie Symposium on Cognition June 2-4 at Carnegie Mellon.

Patient survival rates higher in neurologic intensive care unit
Patients with serious neurological conditions may have a better chance of survival in a Neurological/Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU) rather than a general Intensive Care Unit (ICU), according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 52nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, April 29 - May 6, 2000.

Selected science students to perform simulated brain surgery at Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
Seventh- and 8th-grade students at the third annual

Psychologically abused women experience significant physical and mental health problems
Women experiencing psychological intimate partner violence were more likely to report poor physical and mental health than women who were not abused, according to an article in the May issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of Family Medicine, a member of the JAMA family of journals.

Scientists on scent of better coyote management
Based on observations that coyotes without puppies are less likely to attack livestock, scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to produce new fragrances to lure the elusive animals into consuming birth control drugs. Fewer pups means fewer attacks, which should result in fewer coyote shootings, they say.

Scientists find unique nuclear DNA structure
For the first time since Watson and Crick described the double helix, a new and stable nuclear DNA structure has been discovered and described -- elucidating the process by which different classes of immunoglobulins (antibodies) are produced and helping researchers to understand how Burkitt's lymphoma comes into being.

New findings on asthma and allergies at American Thoracic Society meeting
New findings presented at a press panel of the American Thoracic Society meeting in Toronto include a new study showing high levels of asthma-triggering allergens in U.S. homes, a study revealing almost six in 10 Canadians with asthma do not have their disease under control, and a possible link between living in high-crime areas and the development of asthma.

Doctors should look for drug misuse in young patients with stroke
The growing pandemic of cocaine use in Western society is providing increasing evidence of its association with intracerebral haemorrhage. In this week's BMJ, Andrew McEvoy and colleagues warn doctors to be alert both for drug misuse and an underlying vascular cause in cases of young patients with haemorrhagic stroke.

Susan Okie receives microbiology communcations award
Susan Okie, medical reporter at The Washington Post, has been named the recipient of the 2000 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Public Communications Award. Her winning entry is a two-part series that examines the advances made toward eliminating tuberculosis and the current worldwide resurgence of the disease.

NIH, D.C. mayor's office, and D.C. Asthma Coalition report on state of asthma in U.S. at official U.S. World Asthma Day press conference
To mark the 2nd annual observance of World Asthma Day, federal and local government officials and Washington, D.C., community leaders today reported that the prevalence of asthma continues to rise in the United States, and the burden is greatest in low-income and inner-city communities. However, partnerships between the federal government and local community-based organizations are beginning to make a difference.

Give it a thought -- and make it so
Glancing at a stereo and turning it on with a thought may have once been science fiction, but inside a virtual world at the University of Rochester, people are listening to music by simply wishing it so. The research links a brain and computer in a virtual but complex environment.

Columbia takes 'breathtaking' steps to reduce asthma deaths in northern Manhattan
Columbia Presbyterian physicians have launched an aggressive new project to help Washington Heights/Inwood residents with asthma control their illness and live symptom-free. The Columbia University Asthma Coalition, a three-year project funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is the first outreach project to target the largely Dominican-American community.

Lutein supplements may improve vision
A substance found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks may improve vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other degenerative eye conditions, according to a study published by a Johns Hopkins researcher, whose subjects were recruited from the Internet and tested via e-mail.

The New England Journal of Medicine publishes important Parkinson's disease study
Results indicate that the Parkinson's disease treatment Requip managed Parkinson's disease symptoms for up to five years with a low risk of dyskinesias. Dyskinesias are debilitating involuntary body movements that are often the result of long-term levodopa therapy. This landmark study promises to change the way physicians treat the early stages of the disease.

Aqua lung: Indoor hot tubs found to be source of lung disease
Microscopic organisms contained in aerosols generated by indoor hot tubs can cause lung disease in the people who regularly use them, a National Jewish physician reports today at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.

New research on maritime alcohol: A few sips may sink ships
New findings published in the current issue of the journal Addiction suggest that low doses of alcohol may impair sailors who are unaware that their skills are diminished.

UI study finds residential radon exposure poses a significant lung cancer risk
Long-term exposure to radon in the home is associated with lung cancer risk and presents a significant environmental health hazard, according to a study by researchers at the University of Iowa. The results are published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

New therapy uses viruses to attack bacteria
Researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine are using a new strategy to combat bacterial infections. They're using viruses to attack them. The results are reported today at the 100th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Stop the bleeding
Doctors may eventually use sound waves to halt haemorrhages deep within the body without having to slice into a patient. A team in Seattle have discovered that high-intensity ultrasound beams can accelerate natural clotting and stop bleeding.

Researchers find skull remains pointing to first hominids out of Africa
A University of Florida anthropologist is part of an international team whose discovery of early human skull remains in the Republic of Georgia represent the earliest known human ancestors from Eurasia and also may belong to the first hominid species to journey out of Africa. The findings will appear Friday in the journal Science

AVAX Technologies' O-Vax™ cancer vaccine induces positive immunological and clinical outcomes in patients with advanced ovarian cancer
AVAX presented data at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on its autologous cell vaccine for ovarian cancer (O-Vax™). Data gathered from an ongoing Phase 1/2 trial in patients with advanced ovarian cancer extend earlier findings indicating that O-Vax induces a positive immunological and clinical response in ovarian cancer patients who are refractory to conventional chemotherapy.

Study reveals enzyme that behaves like a 'quantum inchworm'
Little is known about the actions of the tiny, critically important machines that maintain DNA, the chemical code coiled inside all living cells. Now UC Davis researchers have peered under the hood of one such machine to reveal new details about the workings of these essential housekeepers.

Quality of life returns to normal in year following brachytherapy
In the first study of its type, Wake Forest University investigators reported today (May 3) that the quality of life for prostate cancer patients returns to normal within one year after implantation ofpermanent-source brachytherapy, and symptoms essentially disappear.

UT Southwestern researchers recommend very high fiber diet for type II diabetics
A very high intake of dietary fiber, mostly from fruits and vegetables, lowers blood glucose levels in diabetics, a study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas shows.

'Scarlet E' still taints media, still distorts epilepsy
The age-old stigma against people with epilepsy is alive and well in the print media. That's the consensus of neurologists at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland who screened several hundred recent popular press articles on epilepsy/seizures for misinformation or outright errors. Their study appears in this month's edition of the journal Neurology in an article titled The Scarlet E. 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