Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2001)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2001.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2001

Supervised tuberculosis preventive therapy works for injection drug users
Spending more time and money up front to keep injection drug users with latent tuberculosis (TB) on strict, anti-TB regimens will improve patient outcomes and save money in the long run, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Physicians miss opportunities to improve care for oldest asthmatics
Approximately one in five older people -- even those with good health insurance -- misuse their asthma drugs, and doctors fail an even greater proportion by not managing their care aggressively or giving them enough information to manage symptoms on their own, according to a report from Johns Hopkins researchers expected at the American Thoracic Society's annual meeting today.

A blueprint for better cholesterol-lowering drugs
A better strategy for developing more effective cholesterol- lowering drugs may come from the work of HHMI researchers who have produced the first studies of the structural mechanism by which the widely prescribed statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Zocor, lower cholesterol.

Improving industrial prospects for new superconductor MgB2
The industrial prospects for Magnesium Diboride (MgB2), the common laboratory chemical turned superconductor 'discovered' in January this year, appear to be more encouraging following the demonstration that introducing internal structural defects could improve its performance in practical applications such as hospital Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.

Doubling of deaths from liver cancer in last 30 years
Deaths from liver cancer have almost doubled in the past 30 years, shows research in Gut. A relatively rare type of liver cancer arising from the bile ducts-intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma-accounts for virtually all of the increase.

Experts discuss recommendations of NY state task force on genetic testing
A symposium on May 30 at NYU School of Medicine will discuss the NY State Task Force's recent recommendations for safe and effective genetic testing. Sponsors are: The Master Scholars Program at NYU School of Medicine, New York Academy of Medicine, and the NY State Task Force on Life and the Law.

UMass researchers to build South Pole receiver; expected to offer new perspectives on galactic evolution
A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts, has received three federal grants totaling more than $1.79 million to build and improve a receiver that can detect the presence of nitrogen plus, one of our galaxy's basic components. To date, there is no receiver that can detect nitrogen plus from the Earth's surface.

Unusual source of ocean water contamination may rewrite environmental textbooks
A team of researchers may rewrite environmental textbooks after uncovering evidence that a saltwater marsh is a source of fecal bacteria contaminating one of California's most popular beaches. The conclusions are reported in the June 15 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

PET scans identify breast-cancer patients who will respond to hormone therapy
New research shows that PET scans can often identify which women with advanced breast cancer are likely to respond to hormone therapies such as tamoxifen.

World's largest scientific society providing scientific publications to Canadian academic research institutions
The American Chemical Society has reached an agreement with the Canadian National Site Licensing Project that gives academic research institutions across Canada access to the entire catalogue of ACS Web Editions, the online version of ACS scientific journals.

Novel ceramic foam is safe and effective insulation
Israeli researchers have begun pilot-scale production of a new high-temperature thermal ceramic insulator that may become a safe and economical substitute for asbestos and other potentially harmful ceramic fibers now in use.

"Save Your Voice" - new hope for laryngeal cancer patients
Results of an eight-year national clinical trial show that combining chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same time offers patients with advanced cancer of the larynx, or voice box, better hope of preserving their voice. The findings are to be presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting on May 12, 2001. Results are published in abstract #4 in the ASCO Program/Proceedings.

Mucolytic drugs may benefit patients with severe pulmonary disease
Patients who suffer frequent, prolonged or severe recurrences of chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may benefit from regular use of mucolytic drugs for at least two months, according to a review in this week's BMJ.

Researchers find first gene that increases risk of Crohn's disease
A research team has identified the first genetic abnormality that increases susceptibility to Crohn's disease. Mutations of a gene involved in the immune response to bacterial infection dramatically increase risk. This provides the first real insight into the causes of Crohn's. A companion paper confirms the link in French patients.

Merrill Lynch wins corporate/government O.R. prize
Merrill Lynch's successful introduction of its new brokerage service, which lets clients choose from a range of traditional and online investing for a single fee, resulted in its selection as winner of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Overweight and obesity may contribute to risk of stroke in men
As a man's body mass index (BMI) increases, so does his risk of stroke, according to a study presented today at the American Academy of Neurology's 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

Sexual function, quality of life, maintained in prostate cancer patients after 3D conformal therapy as compared to seed implants
A survey has shown that all things being equal, patients with early stage prostate cancer who had standard 3D conformal radiation - radiation with a beam - are much more likely to retain sexual function similar to before treatment than those who received standard radiation therapy and radiation through implanted

Ethnobotanist warns of mixing herbs with traditional medications
If you take herbs for medical purposes, tell your doctor, an ethnobotanist warns. If you are a physician or nurse treating a patient, ask what herbs the patient might be taking and consider the consequences related to possible interactions with prescribed medications or how long- term uses may affect diagnosis or treatment.

Drug may prevent Parkinson's cell death
A drug used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease may also play a role in preventing disease progression, according to a preliminary study using cell cultures. The study was presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, May 5-11, 2001.

NOAA weather service, Sea Grant Program offer rip current safety information
With Memorial Day Weekend signaling the traditional start of the summer beach season, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and National Sea Grant College Program are teaming up to help educate the public about the dangers of rip currents which account for 80 percent of beach rescues annually - 36,000 rescues in 1997.

NHLBI-VA study finds no increased survival from beta-blocker for moderate to advanced heart failure
The Beta-Blocker Evaluation of Survival Trial has found that, overall, the beta-blocker bucindolol does not increase survival for moderate to severe heart failure. Sponsored by NHLBI and VA, the study revealed racial differences in the drug's effects, with black patients receiving no benefit and non-black patients living longer. Other results were consistent with findings from earlier beta-blocker studies.

IBM scientists report significant breakthrough in computer display manufacturing
IBM researchers have invented and developed a new process for manufacturing flat-panel liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that can vastly improve screen quality and viewing angles while saving manufacturers millions of dollars. IBM's new non- contact method uses ion beams and diamond-like carbon to align the liquid crystal molecules inside the LCDs. It is aimed at replacing a process with origins 95 years ago in which a polymer substrate is rubbed by a velvet cloth.

Scientists find heavy HIV levels in patient fluids less than 30 days after start of flu-like symptoms
Scientists have discovered high levels of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in the saliva, spinal fluid, semen and vaginal fluid, as well as in the blood, of patients newly infected by the virus, according to a new medical study. They believe their work suggests an important strategy for curbing the worldwide epidemic.

International collaboration announces results of Gleevec trial for rare form of abdominal cancer known as GIST
An international team of researchers will report on Monday that a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week for its striking success against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) can also benefit the majority of patients with a rare and otherwise incurable form of gastrointestinal cancer.

Fourth annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day honors volunteers for their selfless contributions to HIV research
Friday, May 18, commemorates the Fourth Annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which honors thousands of volunteers worldwide who have literally rolled up their sleeves to receive an experimental vaccine designed to prevent HIV infection in studies. Sites worldwide will host activities to raise awareness about HIV vaccine trials and why a vaccine is the best hope for stoping the spread of HIV.

High-flying UC Berkeley students ride "vomit comet" in search of better way to cut bone loss in space
Four UC Berkeley students used NASA's zero-G airplane to test an improvement to the treadmills astronauts pound regularly to stave off bone loss in space, and found that it works. They confirm findings reported this month by another UC Berkeley research team, who simulated reduced gravity in an Earth-bound lab.

ORNL technology puts power of lab into the field
A point-and-shoot portable instrument to protect people and the environment is a product of some 20 years of research by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientist Tuan Vo-Dinh.

Adults with restless legs syndrome more likely to have ADHD
Adults who have restless legs syndrome are more likely to also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than adults who don't have the sleep disorder, according to research presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, May 5-11, 2001.

UIC biologist awarded cancer research grant
Univ. of Illinois at Chicago biologist Jennifer Schmidt named one of 15 young American scientists/physicians to receive two-year Kimmel grant to fund laboratory basic cancer research. Schmidt's research focuses on genomic imprinting in the regulation of cellular growth.

Research helps understand neural machinery of true and false memories
Researchers have added another piece to the puzzle of how the brain's memory center distinguishes true memories from false recollections of events that might have occurred, but actually didn't. Their discovery that different memory center areas respond differently to such true and false memories will inspire further efforts to explore ever finer details of the neural machinery of memory, the scientists say.

Wake Forest first in world to perform new brain tumor treatment
Physicians at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are the first in the world to treat a brain tumor patient with the newly FDA-approved GliaSite® Radiation Therapy System (RTS). The GliaSite RTS delivers site-specific, internal radiation to malignant brain tumors, treating the target area while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

NHLBI researchers find long-acting beta-agonists not as effective as inhaled corticosteroids in treating persistent asthma
NHLBI researchers report that using long-acting beta-agonists (LABs) alone is not as effective in treating adults with mild-to-moderate asthma as using inhaled corticosteroids alone, but when LABS are used regularly to supplement steroid treatment, they can improve asthma control and enable substantial reductions in steroid doses.

Blood pressure and cholesterol goals for type 1 diabetics are proposed by University Of Pittsburgh researchers
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health have proposed the first-ever blood pressure and cholesterol goals for type 1 diabetics, who are known to be at high risk for coronary artery disease and premature death. Findings will be published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

DDT, PCBs not linked to higher rates of breast cancer, an analysis of five Northeast studies concludes
Scientists who combined data from five large breast cancer studies have found no link to the pesticide DDT or to PCBs, a widespread industrial chemical.

HIV drug resistance is increasing in the UK
The prevalence of transmitted HIV drug resistance in the United Kingdom is increasing, according to a study in this week's BMJ. This finding emphasises the urgent need for new approaches to encourage safer sexual behaviour.

Study shows retreat from capitation by Aetna
New evidence of a shift in direction in the managed care industry comes from a study to be published on the Internet May 17 by the policy journal Health Affairs. An analysis of data on physician contracting by Aetna U.S. Healthcare shows the company beginning to retreat from the strategy of delegating financial risk and gatekeeping functions to providers.

Researchers explore social dimension of sex
CWRU psychologists Roy Baumeister and Dianne Tice propose that sex is a social exchange in which women hold the power card. If sex is given too freely, men will take it and run. But if women never have sex, the psychologists say, they lose the power they wield.

Combination of drug and behavior interventions are most effective for treating teenagers with ADHD
Ritalin and other stimulants have become the standard treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in elementary-age children because of their ability to curb disruptive and defiant behavior and allow children to focus. Now, a new study finds that Ritalin also improves daily academic performance and behavior of teenagers.

New satellite study shows vegetation increases in North America
An analysis of vegetation growth in North America between 1982 and 1998 using satellite observations indicates a significant increase in the rate at which carbon is being taken up by plants, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Science study shows age, sex, weather, factors in fluctuating Soay Sheep population
Why do some animal populations fluctuate--abundant at times, or rare at others? Moreover, why would one group of animals fare differently from a similar group, under identical weather conditions? Those are questions ecologists constantly attempt to answer. Tim Coulson and his Cambridge University research team published the results of their 11-year study of wild Soay sheep will be published in the 25 May issue of the international journal, Science.

Point and click under the sea
Born out of the need to adapt software developed for traditional computing applications into the underwater environment, the

Use or non-use of beta blockers provides clues for improving healthcare quality in hospitals
Although it is well documented that using beta blockers is effective in preventing a subsequent heart attack or death, not all hospitals are prescribing them widely for complicated internal reasons, a study by researchers at Yale concludes.

Shuttle motor ready for Utah test May 24 to qualify safety, cost-saving upgrades
A full-scale Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor is scheduled to test fire for 123.2 seconds Thursday, May 24, at a Utah test facility. The test, in Promontory, Utah, at Thiokol Propulsion, an Alliant Techsystems, Inc., company, will be used to qualify a new insulation design on the motor's nozzle to case joint that will improve flight safety and help reduce costs on the motor.

Researchers develop guidelines for treating side effects to cancer therapy
An international group of researchers who met at Columbia in late April is developing guidelines widely applicable for the use of antinausea medications for cancer treatment's side effects. A lack of practical, clear guidelines has led many physicians to use cumbersome or less effective strategies. Often, patients are over- or undertreated with medications for this purpose.

New cholesterol guidelines expected to lead to a tripling of Americans taking cholesterol-lowering drugs
A panel of the nation's top cholesterol experts convened by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has issued new guidelines focusing on preventing coronary heart disease, which is expected to lead to more than 35 million Americans, three times as many as currently, taking cholesterol-lowering medication and more than 65 million following a new recommended diet.

Recently-discovered protein could be key to understanding and preventing Type-2 diabetes, Yale researchers find
A protein called Akt2 or Protein Kinase B plays an important role in maintaining glucose balance, possibly leading to a potential drug target for preventing Type-2 diabetes, Yale researchers report in a study published in the June 1 issue of Science.

Chemical Heritage Foundation announces winner of 2001-2002 Cain Fellowship
The Chemical Heritage Foundation has awarded the 2001-2002 Gordon Cain Fellowship in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship to Arthur Daemmrich. Dr. Daemmrich's project will examine the degree to which private firms have adopted roles traditionally assigned to the state, as well as the implications of this development for government regulation and corporate public affairs.

Jim and Virginia Stowers Add More Than $1 Billion in Securities to Endowment of Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Jim and Virginia Stowers have made an additional gift of securities valued at $1.114 billion to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a step that greatly enhances the Institute's ability to recruit top-quality scientists.

New protein is essential for lung development
A recently discovered protein appears essential for lung development. Mice unable to make a protein called fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9) die at birth with underdeveloped lungs, researchers have found. They suggest that Fgf9 controls lung size and shape.

NSF scholarship for service awards announced at information security colloquium
NSF Director Rita Colwell today announced NSF's first Scholarship for Service program awards to six institutions as part of an interagency, public/private effort to meet nationwide needs for computer security and information assurance professionals. These scholarships will educate and develop professionals for careers in the government or private sector.

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