Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2002)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2002.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2002

First study of Viagra(R) in black men demonstrates treatment as effective, well tolerated
In the first study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Viagra (R)(sildenafil citrate) in black men with erectile dysfunction (ED), approximately eight out of 10 patients reported improvement in their erectile function and ability to have sexual intercourse after taking Viagra for six weeks, according to data scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

American Medical Women's Association honors Dr. Marianne Legato with 2002 Women in Science Award
Marianne J. Legato, M.D., F.A.C.P., has received the 2002 Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA). The award, sponsored by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, is presented to a woman physician who has made exceptional contributions to medical science, especially in women's health, through her basic and/or clinical research, her publications, and leadership in her field.

Physics tip sheet #14 - May 22, 2002
Highlights of this issue include the perfect atomic rake, three-dimensional high-density memory, an improved slow-light proposal and a model of cardiorespiratory synchronization in humans. Also included are reports on the relationship between learning and predicting for neural networks, how black holes ring loud and a review of particle physics probes of extra spacetime dimensions.

Elderly colon cancer patients benefit from chemotherapy and surgery
Approximately 50 percent of elderly patients who have advanced, but not metastatic, colon cancer do not get chemotherapy after surgery. But a new statistics-based study by Columbia Health Sciences researchers reveals that elderly people with colon cancer live longer when they receive both types of treatment.

CF Foundation seizes proteomics for drug discovery
CF Foundation funds teams of scientists around the world to apply proteomics technology to discover cystic fibrosis drug targets and biomarkers.

Mechanics of bacterium's toxin being unraveled
Researchers are unraveling the mystery of what happens when a bacterium's toxin hits its cellular target. In an age of growing antibiotic resistance and a threat of bioterrorism, such knowledge may help to open new lines of treatment, says a microbiologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

UF researchers discover blood stem cells
Stem cells found in the bone marrow of adult mice don't just evolve into key components of blood--they are able to build blood vessels.

Radiation rids arteries of re-narrowing for up to five years
People who received radiation in their arteries during angioplasty had a reduced risk of artery renarrowing for up to five years compared to those who got only angioplasty, according to a report in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Prehistoric human footpaths lure archaeologists back to Costa Rica
Ancient, buried footpaths visible using satellite instruments but invisible on the ground to the human eye will be studied in Costa Rica this summer after a 20-year hiatus by University of Colorado at Boulder and NASA archaeologists.

Mountain streams with rhythm?
Turns out that picturesque mountain stream you've always admired doesn't just burble randomly down the hillside: It marches to the measured cadence of its own drummer. Geographer Anne Chin has discovered that like their flatland cousins, mountain streams meander too. It's just that they meander vertically, dropping from pool to pool at a rhythmic, periodic rate.

Continued disruption of movement among alcoholics despite abstinence
  • Most alcoholics do not display the obvious medical, cognitive or motor abnormalities that can accompany alcoholism.
  • Rigorous neuropsychological examination, however, has revealed mildly to moderately severe cognitive and motor deficits even in abstinent alcoholics.
  • A new study finds that deficits in speed and efficiency of movement may linger despite abstinence.


Study: Katie Couric wakes up America on colonoscopy screening
Colonoscopies in America increased nearly 20 percent after Katie Couric underwent a live, on-air cancer screening, University of Michigan researchers report today. The results show the power of having a celebrity spokesperson for a disease or condition.

Directed antisense expression moderates feeding and weight gain
Rats receiving the hormone ghrelin as a direct injection into the hypothalamus respond with vigorous feeding and reduced fat metabolism.

Hot polymer catches carbon dioxide better
A new and economical technology for the separation and capture of carbon dioxide from industrial processes could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to the atmosphere. Scientists at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing a new high-temperature polymer membrane to separate and capture carbon dioxide, preventing its escape into the atmosphere.

HIV vaccine research is 'best hope' for controlling AIDS pandemic
May 18th marks the Fifth Annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which highlights research advances and the challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and underscores why developing preventive HIV vaccines offers the best hope for controlling the AIDS pandemic. Thousands of volunteers worldwide who have participated in studies to test candidate HIV vaccines will be recognized.

Deaths by drowning fall, but pools abroad still 'a major concern'
The number of children drowning in the United Kingdom has declined between 1988-89 and 1998-99. However drownings in pools abroad and in garden ponds have risen significantly, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Scientists produce long, hair-like nanotubes
For the first time, researchers have created a simplified method for making long, continuous, hair-like strands of carbon nanotubes that are as much as eight inches in length. This breakthrough, reported in the May 3 issue of Science, is a first step toward creating such products as microcables for electrical devices or mechanically robust electrochemical actuators for artificial muscles.

Case study highlights importance of early detection of testicular cancer
A case study in this week's issue of THE LANCET highlights how young men put their lives at risk by hiding large testicular lumps.

New diagnostic faecal test could identify colorectal cancer
Authors of a research letter in this week's issue of THE LANCET describe a new technique where the detection of a specific protein in faeces could be a marker for colorectal cancer.

Researchers gain insight into function of memory enhancing drugs
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have come one step closer to understanding how experimental, memory-enhancing drugs affect the brain on a molecular level. The researchers published their results in the May 16 issue of Nature. The finding provides an important insight into the mechanisms that regulate the sensitivity of brain cells to neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that the cells use to communicate with one another.

Vitamin D may be crucial in preventing colon cancer
New studies by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute indicate that vitamin D protects against colon cancer by helping to detoxify cancer-triggering chemicals that are released during the digestion of high-fat foods.

Researchers investigate needs of family members when a patient dies
Researchers investigate ethical obligations to the families of patients who die.

NHGRI prioritizes model organisms for sequencing
The National Human Genome Research Institute has prioritized the next group of organisms to be considered for entry into the sequencing pipeline as the current efforts with human, mouse and rat approach completion. The organisms designated as high priority for having their genome analyzed include chicken, chimpanzee, several species of fungi, a sea urchin, a microscopic animal commonly used in laboratory studies called Tetrahymena, and the honey bee.

Hemorrhagic fever viruses examined as potential bioweapons
The Working Group on Civilian Biodefense says Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, and other viruses that cause deadly hemorrhagic fever illnesses could be used as biological weapons. The Working Group is a panel of 26 experts convened by the Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The group's consensus statement is based on an analysis of published research and offers public health and medical guidelines for managing a potential attack.

Natural compound used in India reduces cholesterol by blocking metabolism-controlling receptor
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers have helped prove that a naturally occurring compound used for centuries as a dietary supplement in India can help lower cholesterol levels.

Researchers compare anthrax genomes
In a pioneering use of genomics as a tool for the forensic analysis of microbes, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., and at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff have found new genetic markers that distinguish the Bacillus anthracis isolate that was used in last fall's bioterror attack in Boca Raton, Florida, from closely related anthrax strains.

Cutting edge
Scientists have long toyed with the idea of putting to work a special class of biological catalysts, called ribozymes, as therapeutic agents. These molecular scissors would harness the activities of overly active genes that contribute to diseases like cancer by cutting their immediate products, messenger RNAs, into unusable pieces. The advantage of this approach, is that these molecules can be made to recognize very specific targets. This is reported in this month issue of EMBO reports.

Warming temperatures may freeze North American timber industry
Global warming trends may seriously harm North America's stronghold on the timber production industry, a recent study suggests. But rising temperatures could mean an economic boom for the timber industry in regions with subtropical climates, such as South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Global warming may cause forest growth patterns to slowly change.

Biologists take new look at metabolism
Research in metabolism published in this week's issue of Nature explains that the relation between rates of metabolism and body mass in animals may be more complicated than current models can describe. The authors offer a new model, and a new understanding of the problem, as Ewald Weibel says in the News and Views section of the journal.

MIT's biorubber ushers in new possibilities in tissue engineering
Scientists from around the world have been contacting an MIT lab for samples of

New partnerships set to reshape NASA science modeling
NASA is joining with leading university and government researchers to develop software frameworks that will enable more realistic simulations of natural phenomena and interpretation of vast quantities of observational data on high-end computers.

Genetic mutation plays major role in adrenal cancers
New research suggests inherited genetic mutations play a larger role than previously thought in the development of a rare form of adrenal cancers called pheochromocytomas, or

'Bad bubbles,' semiconductors, new furnaces make Space Station 'hotbed' for materials research
Scientists will soon turn the International Space Station into a materials research laboratory to study

Kansas State distinguished professor edits book on strategies to prevent humanitarian emergencies
Since the end of the cold war, civil wars and state violence have escalated, resulting in millions of deaths. These conflicts are often rooted in greed and are likely to occur where the state is weak, venal and subject to extensive

Drinking wine, particularly white wine, may help keep lungs healthy, UB study finds
Drinking wine appears to be good for the lungs, a University at Buffalo study has shown, and in this case, the primary credit goes to white wine rather than red.

Geologists show how wetlands can clean up acid mine drainage
University of Cincinnati geologists studying wetlands in Indiana and Ohio have identified key factors which determine constructed wetlands will be effective in cleaning up acid mine drainage.

Supportive spouse, family, friends contribute to 'successful aging'
Friends, family and positive experiences accumulate over a lifetime to help counteract the normal wear and tear of life, according to a new study in the May/June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. Men and women who had good childhoods and good marriages scored considerably better on a measure of aging that includes a broad range of biological risk factors for disease and death.

New method links rainfall patterns to developing El Niños
NASA researchers have created a tool that can predict El Niño events months before they occur, by linking variations in rainfall patterns over the Indian Ocean with developing El Niños. Scott Curtis of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), and Robert Adler of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., developed an El Niño Prediction Index (PI) formula that uses satellite-based rainfall data.

NSF grants to boost homeland security research
A series of new grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support research related to the terrorism and anthrax incidents of Fall 2001 and will contribute to homeland security objectives.

Mature stem cell transplants linked to treatment of cerebral palsy
Whether transplantation of mature stem cells can help babies with cerebral palsy is the study focus of a Medical College of Georgia physician-scientist. Dr. James E. Carroll, chief of the Section of Pediatric Neurology, has received a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to pursue whether brain damage that occurs during the birth of these babies can be repaired with transplants.

Meta-analysis of zinc supplementation shows positive growth effects for infants and children
In a meta-analysis of the effect of zinc supplementation on children's growth in countries around the world, Brown et al. found that, overall, zinc supplementation of infants and children produced positive growth responses in height and weight.

Chemoembolisation offers survival benefit for peple with liver cancer
People with liver cancer that cannot be treated with surgical resection or transplantation could have an increased two-year survival if they are given chemoembolisation-a procedure in which blood supply to the tumour combined with the effect of chemotherapy inhibits cancer growth.

Three-D images shed light on first steps of RNA synthesis
The first three-dimensional images of the initiating form of the molecular machinery in bacteria that

Students invent voice-activated grasping tool for disabled man
Using two motors, speech-recognition software and an exo-skeleton inspired by science fiction, three Johns Hopkins University undergraduates have built a muscle enhancement device to help a disabled man grasp and lift a cup, a book and other household items.

Rice physicists observe new 'atom wave' phenomena
In the May 9 issue of Nature, Rice University physicists show for the first time that ultracold atoms can form bright

Pentoxifylline beneficial for treating leg ulcers
Results of a systematic review in this week's issue of THE LANCET suggest that the drug pentoxifylline could be effective in the treatment of leg ulcers, either in addition to compression therapy, or as sole treatment when compression therapy is not effective.

Substance abuse increases in New York City in aftermath of September 11th
Survey results indicate that smoking and alcohol and marijuana use increased among residents of Manhattan during the five to eight weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Making embryos male
Dr. Blanche Capel and colleagues have determined that a cell-signaling molecule called Desert Hedgehog, or DHH, is required for the differentiation of male-specific Leydig cells in the developing embryo. Fetal Leydig cells are the cells within the testis that produce testosterone during development, and thereby impart secondary male sex characteristics to the embryo, including the internal and external male genitalia.

Planning could preserve urban forests for future enjoyment
Provisions for fire prevention and fire fighting including restrictions on campfires, prevention of illegal dumping and control of tree vandalism can go a long way toward maintaining the viability of urban forests, according to a Penn State researcher.

Study suggests infants 'tune in' to familiar face groups
How good are you at recognizing the faces of monkeys? A new study suggests that you were very good at six months of age, but by nine months you were only good--or at least fast--at discriminating between faces of people.

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