Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 1997)

Science news and science current events archive November, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 1997

Scientists Use IGF-I To Grow New Membranes Around Neurons
University of Michigan scientists have used an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-I to stimulate growth of a myelin membrane sheath around neurons. Scientists believe understanding how growth factors affect neural development could lead to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Vitamin C Shown To Cross The Blood Brain Barrier
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how to get large amounts of vitamin C past the blood brain barrier so that it is transported and retained in the brains of laboratory mice. This finding may prove useful in efforts to slow the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. The investigators report their findings in the December 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Laser That Drills Holes In The Heart Cuts Chest Pain, Hospitalizations
Using a laser to drill tiny holes in the heart to provide new blood flow dramatically reduces chest pain and cuts hospitalizations for individuals whose heart disease makes them poor candidates for surgery or angioplasty, according to a report today at the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Sessions.

Virginia Tech Study Shows Shift In Learning Process Through Technology-Enriched Courses
The assessment of a collaborative project between Virginia Tech's biology department and its educational technologies unit reveals a transformation in the way college students learn when exposed to technology-enriched courses. Students enrolled in courses designed with significant computer-based elements reported more active engagement with course work and investing more of their own time in the course.

Zapped Arteries Remain Largely Clean And Clear Six Months Postangioplasty, Per BERT-1 Results
Coronary arteries remain open six months after mild irradiation in 90 percent of postangioplasty patients evaluated inthe Beta Radiation for Restenosis Trial (BERT-1), reports Emory University at the 70th American Heart Association 70th Scientific Sessions.

Dystonia Linked To Specific Brain Defect
Three separate observations have spawned a new idea about dystonia, a brain disorder that makes muscles contract and go into spasms. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest that dystonia results from a shortage of cellular receptors for dopamine, one of the brain's chemical messengers.

Hopkins Team Shows New Ways To Prevent Brain Damage During Cardiac Surgery
An unlikely team of heart surgeons and brain chemistry experts at Johns Hopkins has experimental evidence that some common drugs including anti-seizure medications may reduce or eliminate the most feared risk to people facing heart bypass surgery -- inevitable, if often subtle, brain damage.

Strokes After Heart Attacks Increase Costs Of Medical Care By 56 Percent
In the first economic analysis of its kind, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found that heart attack patients who suffer from a stroke shortly after the heart attack have a 56 percent increase in their medical bills.

Global Climate Change Recorded In Antarctic Marine Fossils
An ancient type of marine community typical of 450 million years ago has resurfaced in Antarctic fossils of near-modern age. A National Science Foundation-sponsored expedition to Seymour Island off the Antarctic Peninsula unearthed an ecological anomaly: fossil communities only 40-million-years-old dominated by brittle stars and sea lilies (marine invertebrates like starfish).

Older Moms Have Favorite Children And Admit It
Cornell University gerontologist finds that 80 percent of older moms have favorite children and most children think -- wrongly -- that they are it. Moms tend to favor children who had problems out of their control.

Science's Next Wave Receives $825,000 Grant To Create Grants And Fellowships Database For Young Scientists
Science's Next Wave (, a Web site with information on careers for young scientists, today received a $825,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The grant will be used to create an extensive database on fellowships, graduate programs and job openings useful to young scientists looking for career information.

Intralase Will Develop Laser Systems For Eye Surgery
A new University of Michigan spin-off company---IntraLase Corporation---will develop and market a new generation of lasers for high-precision medical applications. The lasers will cut delicate structures, such as the cornea of the eye, while avoiding damage to overlying or adjacent tissue--- something not possible with current clinical laser technology.

What Brain Science Doesn't Tell Us About Children And Learning
Parents and educators are looking in the wrong place when they attempt to apply brain science to improve early learning and classroom experiences. Neuroscience gives us no reason to believe that children's early years are the most important time for human learning. These are some of the conclusions reported in November's lead article entitled,

Anti-Clotting Drug Used During Angioplasty Reduces Need For Subsequent Bypass Surgery
An analysis of data from three multi-center trials has shown that 19 percent fewer angioplasty patients required coronary artery bypass graft surgery within six months if they received a monoclonal antibody drug just prior to the procedure, Duke University Medical Center researchers reported Monday.

Casinos And Airplanes Better Equipped Than Most Doctor's Offices To Handle Cardiac Arrest
Compact devices that shock the heart into a correct rhythm to treat cardiac arrest are found on many firetrucks, police cars and even in casinos. But are the devices, called automated external defibrillators (AEDs), in your doctor's office?

Robotics, The Next Frontier In Operations, Heart Surgery
Robots are being tested as a new way to help surgeons perform heart operations, according to researchers who spoke here today at the American Heart Association's 70th Annual Sessions.

The New York Botanical Garden Publishes Study On Pines Of Latin America
Many people tend to think of pines as a genus largely distributed in forests of the temperate region. They are unaware of the importance of tropical pines. The New York Botanical Garden's latest publication, PINUS (PINACEAE) examines pines native to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

USGS Scientists Gear Up For El Nino
From the West Coast to South Florida, the U.S. Geological Survey is gearing up as part of the scientific front line in studying and reducing the impact of El Nino.

Researcher Gains 30,000% Saving Using "Bargain Basement" Chemistry To Create Complex Industrially Useful Molecules
Dr Mike Hannon, from the University of Warwick's Department of Chemistry, has devised a method using what could be described as innovative

Take-Charge Attitude Offsets Frailty For Oldest Old
Even for those in their 80s and 90s, physical frailty can be offset, in part, by an undimmed sense of mastery, the feeling of actively being in charge of your own life, a Penn State study has shown.

New Yale Study Demystifies Cognitive Centers Of The Brain
Scientists at Yale University School of Medicine used physiological techniques to map the prefrontal cortex of primates as they were shown visual stimuli. Research reveals that neurons code individual items of visual information

Protein 'Heroes' Block Genetic Mutations
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered that two repair proteins perform a truly 'heroic' act, stopping genetic mutations dead in their tracks. The findings are reported in the November 14 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Statement By Richard Zare On Domain Names
The Administration has stated that it supports the continued privatization and commercialization of the Internet and is committed to completing the transition to private sector governance. The National Science Board (NSB) agrees, and has issued a resolution that the NSF should no longer be involved in domain name registration.

Reading Intervention Helps Children Overcome Speech Problems
Children with speech problems can significantly improve their language skills simply by hearing their parents read to them every day, according to a new study at Ohio University. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association held Nov. 20-23 in Boston.

Fish Diet Better Than Vegetarian Fare At Lowering Lipoprotein (A) -- One 'Bad' Fat
Eating fish -- lots of fish -- is better than a vegetarian diet in reducing the level of one heart-imperiling fat in the blood, an international research group reported today at the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Sessions.

Complex Carbohydrate Spheres Protect Islet Cells; Allow Them To Function Properly
Duke University Medical Center researchers have developed special spheres to protect insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells, an achievement they feel improves the possibility of islet cell transplantation as a viable treatment for diabetes.

"Mighty Mice" Gene Is Mutated In Beefy Bovines
The same genetic

Cell Article: Single Genetic Locus Linked To Top Cancer-Targeted Biochemical Pathways
While identifying a new cancer-fighting tumor suppressor gene called ARF, scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have made another, potentially more far-reaching discovery, that a single genetic locus called INK4a encodes protein products that regulate the most frequently targeted biochemical pathways in human cancers.

MGH Team Identifies New Immune Activity That May Control HIV Levels
Researchers have identified an activity by the human immune system that seems to suppress replication of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The discovery may explain why a tiny group of those infected with HIV remain healthy for many years and indicates the possibility of duplicating that response in others.

Study Findings May Lead To Earlier Diagnosis And Treatment Of Atherosclerosis
Earlier diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis may be possible using specially engineered, gas-filled microbubbles, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

Marine Corps' First CRADA Goes To New PSU Institute
The U.S. Marine Corps announced today (Nov. 21) that it has entered into a landmark cooperative agreement with the Pennsylvania State University for the research of innovative ideas, technologies and policies in support of non-lethal defense options.

Graduated Licensing is the Solution to the Teen Crash Problem
The crash rate for 16-year-olds is eight times that of drivers ages 20 and older. Seventeen-year-olds fare not much better. The solution is the adoption of graduated licensing systems in which novice drivers are granted driving privileges restricted to low risk situations that expand as their age and experience grows.

Duke Receives $1 Million Whitaker Foundation Award To Create 'Virtual' Imaging Machines
Just as airplane pilots train on flight simulators, engineers and physicians will be able to

Scientists Close To Finding Gene That Controls Growth Of Lung Cancer
In what may move scientists a step closer to locating a gene that helps control the growth of lung cancer, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found in a new study that fragments of a portion of a human chromosome slow tumor growth in mice and in cell cultures.

Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Brain Imaging Researchers Receive Grants To Study Reasoning And Decision-Making
Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh researchers have received nearly $16 million to collaborate on a first-ever research effort that will use brain imaging to analyze complex human thought processes--how people make plans, make decisions under time pressure or solve problems.

Shuttle Experiment To Shed Light On Future Of Electronics Miniaturization
After 20 years of exploring the esoteric nature of liquid helium when it is cooled to ultra-low temperatures in zero gravity, physicist John Lipa suddenly finds that his work could have important ramifications for the miniaturization in the microelectronics industry. His latest experiment - scheduled to launch in the space shuttle Columbia on Nov. 19 - is called the Confined Helium Experiment (CHeX).

"Flatland" And Confined Superfluid Helium - USMP-4 Science From Flight Day 5
In 1884, mathematician Edward Abbott Abbott wrote a satire about an imaginary world, Flatland, where everything had only two dimensions. More than a century later, scientists are creating their own flatland - or as close as we can get - aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in a very serious attempt to use liquid helium to understand electricity in very small structures.

Fetal Echocardiography Web Site Aims To Improve Detection Of Congenital Heart Disease
Each year, 32,000 infants are born with heart defects in the United States alone. In an effort to better teach physicians how to read and analyze fetal echocardiographic data, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have developed the Fetal Echocardiography Homepage and the Fetal Echo Expert System.

New Research Shows What Makes Cities Visually Appealing
A new study of residents and visitors of two Tennessee cities identified five factors that make a city visually appealing. But the results suggest that most U.S. cities don't do well on visual appeal and are sending messages of

Study Finds Striking Environmental Change In Arctic
Natural causes, not just human-induced forces, played a significant role in an unprecedented warming trend in the Arctic in the last 150 years, according to a study published in the November 14 issue of Science.

Satisfying Sex After Prostate Surgery
Prostate cancer survivors need not kiss their sex lives goodbye, even if they do not qualify for the least invasive form of a prostatectomy.

Crop Devastation To Be Discussed At National Head Blight Forum
More than 140 scientists from around the world will meet at the Sheraton Midway Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, November 10-13, for the First National Fusarium Head Blight Forum.

Research Finds Insulin Ineffective For Many Diabetics
People with type 2 diabetes are routinely encouraged to strictly control their blood sugar at near-normal levels, but a new study indicates this is extremely difficult to do through conventional use of insulin. The study evaluates how effective, safe and costly insulin treatment is in a typical setting.

Penn State Awarded Grant To Study Older African American Twins
The College of Health and Human Development at Penn State has been awarded a $1 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the health and psychosocial factors in older African American twins.

Duke Professor Leads Scientific Team On Antarctic Expedition To Understand Ocean Carbon Cycle
An oceanography researcher from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment is scheduled to leave next week on a 10-week scientific cruise into the Antarctic polar front in an attempt to learn more about how global climate change may affect oceans.

Exercise Improves Heart Function In Elderly People With Heart Failure
Older people with chronic congestive heart failure can significantly improve their functional independence by exercising moderately three times a week, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins physicians.

Adenovirus May Play A Role In Heart Inflammation
Adenoviruses, viruses that cause common upper respiratory infections, may also cause life-threatening heart muscle inflammation in adults, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.

How To Run An Experiment Without Leaving Home
A $20 million crystal growth experiment on board the current flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia is making Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a testbed for the remote telescience that will be the paradigm for research on the planned International Space Station.

Smoking, Drinking, Drugs: The Younger They Start, The Harder It Is To Quit
Youngsters who experiment with tobacco, alcohol or drugs at an early age are less likely to quit than those who start later. After studying the histories of 4,364 youngsters in Canada, researchers also concluded the risk of starting these habits begins even younger than believed -- at 11 and 12.

Prozac Proves Successful In Treating Major Depression In Children And Teens
After four years of study, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers have concluded that the drug Prozac is just as effective for treating major depression in children and teens as it is in adults. 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