Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 1996)

Science news and science current events archive November, 1996.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 1996

Science-Based Management System Could Lessen Water Disputes
A new computer-based system will help establish a scientific basis for equitable and sustainable water resources management for the Nile River basin and other areas of the world where water is a precious and often fought-over resource. The integrateddecision support system developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Weather Service, is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations.

EPRI Pilots New Water System For Healthier Habitats
Animals at the Central Park Wildlife Center in New York City will soon get a cleaner, healthier habitat with the introduction of a state-of-the-art electric-based water system, which uses ozone rather than chlorine to purify the Center's aquatic exhibts.

Value of Biodiversity For New Product Research Found To Offer Few Conservation Incentives
Two new studies by researchers at Resources for the Future suggest conservation advocates may be overstating the promise of biodiversity prospecting -- the search for new products among genes found in wild organisms that may be of potential commercial value -- as a mechanism for financing the conservation of biological diversity

Evolution On The Fast Track
A dramatic discovery, reported by a University of Wisconsin scientist in the Nov. 21 Nature, shows that altering a handful of genes can quickly send an animal down the road to becoming a new species. The finding helps explain biological diversity, and seasonal and geographic variation in animal appearance

Researcher Finds Nicotine Inhibits Alzheimer's
No cure exists for Alzheimer's Disease, but a group of Case Western Reserve University researchers has found in test tube studies that nicotine inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque -- the toxic substance found in the brains of Alzheimer's patientsand suspected as the cause of the devastating memory loss

OHSU Researchers Find Estrogen/Progestin Therapy More Beneficial Than Estrogen Alone
Researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University have discovered that a new hormonal drug combination allows post-menopausal women to get the benefits of estrogen without experiencing the side effects of menses-like bleeding. Their findings appear in the Nov. 6, 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association

First Dynamic Voltage Restorer Enters Utility Service
A new device keeps sensitive industrial equipment operating through voltage fluctuations to maintain profits

New, Potentially Serious Disease Of Coral Discovered Off Florida Coast, Says University of Georgia scientist
A disease apparently new to science is attacking coral reeefs near Key West, Fla., and scientists still don't know what is causing the disease -- or how to stop it, according to a researcher from the University of Georgia

Drinking Water, Air Pollution Should Be Top Priorities for Nation's Capital
Researchers at Resources for the Future have released the findings of one of the first and most comprehensive evaluations of the District of Columbia's environmental condition that pinpoint the cityĆ¢s often-unsafe drinking water and growing air pollutionas problems of highest priority.

Differences Found Between Expectant Women With High Blood Pressure
Although an expectant mother's high blood pressure may cause fetal stress and premature birth, a new study provides evidence that mild maternal hypertension actually accelerates maturation of the lungs and nervous system in infants.

Vaccination Can Prevent Death And Disease Without Killing A Virus
Scientists may want to rethink the current theory that to be effective, vaccines must completely eliminate an invading virus. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical School have shown that vaccination can reduce or prevent fatal immune responses to a virus in mice, even though the virus continues to live in the animals.

New Study Suggests E-Mail And The Internet Enhance Classroom Learning
ATHENS, Ohio -- E-mail and Internet use in the college classroom could enhance students' learning of course subject material, a new study suggests. Forty percent of students participating in an Ohio University project reported that use of electronic communication contributed to their learning in courses ranging from mathematics to music to management

Duke Studies Find Little Difference In Outcomes Between Bypass Surgery And Angioplasty For Diabetics
In contrast to the findings of a recent, highly publicized clinical trial and subsequent federal recommendation, two Duke University Medical Center studies suggest that diabetics with severe coronary artery disease do equally well if they receive either angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery

Animal Studies Indicate Aging Brain Responsive To Estrogen
Duke researchers have found that aging female rats treated with estrogen show more connections in a brain area associated with memory formation than did similar untreated rats. The scientists believe their finding offers evidence that minor memory lossessometimes associated with aging might be alleviated by replacing estrogens

Mystery Of Ancient Port City In Mediterranean May Be Solved
The mystery of why a virtually unknown, 2,400-year- old port city on the Mediterranean Sea was founded, thrived for centuries and then abruptly collapsed may have been solved by a University of Colorado at Boulder historian.

Researchers Use New Technology To Link Brain Cell Energy Deficits To Parkinson's Disease
Reseachers at Emory University report at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting on the use of new technology to link brain cell energy deficits to Parkinson's disease. This new technique should also be useful for studying Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, stroke and epilepsy

Removable Filter Catches Deadly Blood Clots Red-Handed
A team of Johns Hopkins physicians placed a temporary metal filter inside a major vein to catch a life-threatening blood clot in a bedridden patient. The successful procedure is believed to be the first use of the temporary filter in the United States and is of potential use in thousands of accident victims to catch pulmonary emboli.

Ancient Indians In Iowa May Have Grown Weeds As Crops, Scholar Says
Had history gone another way, traditional American Thanksgiving Day dinner might have included dishes made from common weeds. A team of University of Illinois archaeologists has found that in addition to corn, beans and squash, the residents of a prehistoric village in Iowa consumed a gruel made from common weeds.

Researchers Close In On Source Of Peanut Allergy
Johns Hopkins scientists searching for the culprits behind peanut allergy have shortened the suspect list from 30 peanut proteins to seven, an important step towards effective treatment of a stubborn and sometimes life-threatening allergy that may affectone in every 200 children and thousands of adults

A Surgical Semiconductor Laser With More Precision And Power
By making some simple modifications to semiconductor lasers, a pair of University of Rochester researchers has devised a way to make them perform with the power and precision that laser surgeons routinely demand. These small, relatively inexpensive lasersmight replace more powerful and costly gas lasers in treating a variety of medical conditions.

WSU Scientist Discovers Compounds To Limit Lung Disease
A Wichita State University distinguished professor has developed two new classes of organic compounds that show promise in limiting damage caused by lung disease and possibly other inflammatory diseases. The compounds which were recently patented, are unique because scientists can change the makeup of the compounds, thereby changing their disease-fighting abilities

POWERDIGM Switch Improves Power Quality, To Be Installed At Ford Motor Co.
The Electric Power Research Institute will demonstrate a PowerDigm solid-state transfer switch at the Ford Motor Company. The switch is expected to protect the plant from costly power interruptions

Impact of Meteorites, Drop in Sea Level Caused Mass Extinctions 65 Million Years Ago
The scientific dispute over what caused the extinction of 70 percent of all species worldwide 65 million years ago is closer to a resolution, with new research by scientists from UCLA and the University of Washington. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Icing Still Poses Threat To Small Planes Despite Redesign Of Deicing 'Boot'
In severe conditions, the formation of ice on the wings of small commuter aircraft can compromise the safety of passengers and crew, says a University of Illinois researcher

Gene Identified For Most Common Form Of Fanconi Anemia
The gene involved in the most common form of an inherited, often fatal disease called Fanconi anemia, which causes severe bone marrow failure, birth defects and a type of leukemia, has been isolated and cloned by scientists in an international consortium of six centers, including The Rockefeller University. The work appears in the November Nature Genetics

UM Doctors Show Ways To Improve Success Of Pancreas Transplants
In a new study, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center have shown that pancreas transplants alone can be as successful as combined pancreas/kidney transplants. The improved success rate is due to advances in preventing organ rejection and a better method of determining early rejection of the pancreas. The study is published in the October 7 issue of Annals of Surgery

UNC-CH Medieval History Scholar Finds Women Chief Brewers, Children Drank Ale
CHAPEL HILL -- People who think under-aged drinking is a modern phenomenon may reconsider when they hear what a medieval history scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has discovered

Cornell Scientists Find Way To Boost Rice Crop Yield -- They'll Walk On The Wild Side
Cornell University plant breeders have located two QTLs in the genome of the wild rice O. rufipogon which, when transferred to the domestic Oryza sativa rice, boost production 15 to 17 percent

Study Examines How Mechanisms Evolve To Regulate Bee Development
With a little hormone jump start from researchers, male honey bees, known as drones, whose only job is having sex, get to work early. The hormonal mechanism, researchers say, has a genetic basis, because the drone sons of fast worker bees inherit accelerated development

How Smokeless Tobacco Damages The Mouth
The process by which smokeless tobacco injures the mouth has been identified by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In hamster studies, they determined for the first time that exposure to smokeless tobacco makes blood vessels in the mouth leaky leading to inflammation and produces bradykinin, a potent pro-inflammatory peptide

Inner-City Residents At Risk For Rat-Borne Bacterial Disease
Residents of deteriorating inner cities are a newly identified population at risk for a bacterial disease carried by rats, according to a Nov. 15 Annals of Internal Medicine study led by Joseph M. Vinetz, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Elephants, Gold, Singing Boys And Red Coral: Ancient Port Offers Lessons For Today's Traders, Archaeologists Say
Elephants, gold, singing boys and a host of other commodities moved through the ancient Ptolemaic-Roman port of Berenike from at least the third century B.C. until the late fifth or sixth centuries A.D. -- much longer than previously assumed -- largely because of favorable prevailing winds, but also because entrepreners

Older Men Faster Than Older Women At Sudden Stops, Say U-M Researchers
University of Michigan researchers reported at the Gerontological Society of America meeting today that healthy and active older women need more time to stop when suddenly confronted with an obstacle while walking than do healthy, active men in the same age range. Could explain higher rates of falls in older female

Scientists Make Progress In Gene Therapy For Heart Disease
Johns Hopkins scientists have successfully used a virus to supply a missing gene and its enzyme product to muscle cells in animals and humans for an extended period. The achievement could have implications in the treatment of an inherited fatal heart disease in children called Pompe's disease

Earth's Inner Core Not A Monolithic Iron Crystal, Say UC Berkeley Seismologists
A new analysis of seismic waves traveling through the center of the Earth disproves a neat hypothesis that many geophysicists had secretly hoped was true, that the planet's inner core is a perfectly aligned mass of iron crystals nearly 1,500 miles across

Atomic Force Microscope Probes Living Heart Cells
Heart cells'

Gasoline Additive Found In Urban Stormwater Runoff and Ground Water, But Levels Are Low
The gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether) was detected in some urban stormwater samples collected in 16 cities and metropolitan areas by the U.S. Geological Survey; all detections of MTBE were less than the lower limit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's draft lifetime health advisory for drinking water.

Latchkey Youth At Much Greater Risk For Alcohol And Drug Use
About half of middle-school-age kids routinely spend time home alone after school, according to estimates. Those who do are much more likely to experiment with alcohol or drugs, says a University of Illinois researcher, based on a survey of fifth through seventh-graders work in three communities.

Medicinal Leech May Offer Clues To Neural Regeneration
Purdue University researchers have found that nitric oxide synthase, or NOS, is activated when axons are damaged in the medicinal leech, an invertebrate known for its ability to regenerate its neural connections. The group is now conducting followup studies to see what role NOS may play in neural regeneration

Sea Turtles Have Favorite Oceanic Routes
Satellite tracking transmitters attached to leatherback turtles show that the turtles follow ocean corridors a few hundred miles wide from Central America toward the Galapagos Islands. Study of migration routes is important in protecting this endangered species, the researchers say.

New System Reduces Hospital Readmissions For Congestive Heart Failure Patients
A physician at the University of Illinois at Chicago has developed a home monitoring system that helps congestive heart failure patients reduce their readmissions to hospitals. The system allows patients to transmit key medical information to doctors from their homes.

Overcoming 'Cocktail Party Effect' May Help Babies Learn Language
Infants at a surprisingly young age can overcome the

Successful Drug Prevention Study Reduces Anabolic Steroid Use Among High School Athletes
Scientists at Oregon Health Sciences University have designed a successful drug prevention program to help high school athletes resist the temptation to take anabolic steroids. Their findings appear in the Nov. 20, 1996 issue of JAMA and detail an effective educational project known as the ATLAS program.

Flaw Detection System May Help Save U.S. Textile Jobs
On-line sensors at three United States textile plants are providing information at will help keep textile industry jobs in the U.S. and improve quality of domestically produced fabric. The sensors are part of the American Textile Partnership's Computer-Aided Fabric Evaluation project, developed by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant, and other DOE laboratories

New Therapy To Prevent Stroke Disability Now Available
People who are having a stroke now have access to a new, FDA-approved drug that reduces the chance of permanent disability. The therapy is available through a new Brain Attack Team at the University of Maryland Medical Center and at other hospitals around the country. To receive the therapy, people must get to one of those hospitals within three hours after stroke symptoms begin.

Hypertension Risk Linked To Pain Control Centers Of The Brain
Some people at high risk of developing hypertension may have a problem in a part of the brain that controls pain sensitivity, according to new research at Ohio University. The work was published in a recent issue of Psychophysiology

Using Starter Fertilizer On No-Till Corn Increases Yield, Study Shows
Using a starter fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphate blend on three Illinois no-till farming sites increased yields dramatically over three years -- more than covering initial investment costs

Northwestern Study Finds Possible Link Between Alcoholism, Smoking
Striking new biochemical evidence that shows a link between alcoholism and nicotine addiction has been discovered by pharmacologists at Northwestern University Medical School. Northwestern researchers reported that alcohol modifies the activity of a neuronal nicotinic receptor -- the same target site in the nervous system that is altered by exposure to the nicotine in tobacco

Blood Vessel Troubles May Lead To High Blood Pressure
Blood vessel abnormalities that disrupt normal blood flow may contribute to high blood pressure, according to a study at Johns Hopkins and Veteran's General Hospital in Taiwan. Determining whether high blood pressure causes or results from arterial blood-flow problems may improve understanding and eventually treatment of heart disease, the nation's leading killer, the researchers say.

Green Lantern May Turn Jellyfish Glow Into A Powerful Marker For Studying Expression Of Genes
The new green lantern is a newly described three-dimensional structure of a fluorescent protein found in jellyfish, a structure that looks like a glowing green lantern. The discovery, by crystallographers at the University of Georgia, could help make it easier to use the protein as a biomarker

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