Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 1998)

Science news and science current events archive November, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 1998

Rheumatic Fever Reports Increasing In The Utah Area
Rheumatic fever, which seemed almost eradicated in the United States in the early 1980s, is on the rise again. A similar resurgence of rheumatic fever in the mid-1980s worried medical professionals, and this time the number of cases seems to be rising even faster, says the study's lead author.

Hopkins Research Team Cultures Long-Awaited Human Embryonic Stem Cells
A team of scientists has isolated and identified human stem cells and proved them capable of forming the fundamental tissues that give rise to distinct human cells such as muscle, bone and nerve. This feat has for decades been one of basic science's holy grails, and while scientists have found stem cells in mice and higher animals, this is believed to be the first time researchers have cultured human embryonic stem cells.

Cutting The Time And Cost Of Developing New Cures: Lord Sainsbury Launches World's First Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometer In York
Identifying promising drugs that could lead to life saving cures in the future can take eight to ten years and cost as much as £200 million. The AMS can investigate large numbers of drugs for pharmaceutical companies, significantly speeding up drug development by quickly identifying the most promising. In some cases it may cut development time by up to six months.

Doctors Testing New Technology, Seek People At Lung Cancer Risk
CHAPEL HILL - Physicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine are seeking people at high risk of developing lung cancer to participate in a new study aimed at saving lives by detecting tumors earlier.

New Form Of Inherited Dwarfism In Large Pakistani Family Caused By Genetic Mutation In A Pituitary Receptor
Northwestern University researchers have identified a new, genetically inherited form of dwarfism in a large, inbred family from a remote area of Pakistan. Tests linked the autosomal recessive disorder to a gene on chromosome 7 that codes for growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor.

New Study Offers A Twist On Evolution Of Animal Postures
A new Ohio University study of how alligators walk is putting an unusual twist on the theory that animals with erect postures, such as birds and mammals, evolved from crawling on their bellies to walking erect.

Cholesterol Inhibitors In Garlic Identified
Penn State nutrition researchers have identified a group of chemicals in garlic that decreases cholesterol production by liver cells 40 to 60 percent in laboratory tests. The study is among the first to pinpoint the specific garlic constituents that may be responsible for the cholesterol- lowering effects observed by researchers earlier in both animal and human feeding studies.

Swedenvironment No. 3 Highlights
- Suggestions For An Integrated Product Policy
- New Environment Minister: Kjell Larsson
- Eleven Environmental Indicators
- Environmental Information For Fincancial Markets

Swedenvironment is a newsletter from Ministry if the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Chemicals Inspectorate in Sweden.

Chopping And Cooking Affect Garlic's Anti-Cancer Activity
Penn State researchers have shown that microwave heating or roasting garlic can diminish or destroy its anti-cancer activity - unless the herb is chopped or crushed, and allowed to

Brain Tumor Patients Offered New Hope With Expanded Trial Of Promising Therapy
Brain tumor patients whose tumors have regrown after treatment, or whose tumors are inoperable, can now receive a promising experimental radiation therapy being offered by Brookhaven National Laboratory. The new clinical trial of boron neutron capture therapy expands the number of glioblastoma multiforme patients who can receive the therapy.

Scientists Locate A Genetic 'On/Off Switch' In Diphtheria; Find May Yield Antibiotics That Won't Boost Bacterial Resistance
Researchers at Brandeis University and the Boston University School of Medicine have pinpointed a genetic repressor that can single-handedly morph diphtheria from a mild-mannered bacterium into a lethal parasite. This tiny complex could open up resistant strains of killers such as diphtheria, staph, and flesh-eating bacteria to a new class of drugs that won't induce resistance.

Astrophysicists Use Virtual Reality To Chase Earth's Tail
Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick are using a 3D virtual reality system to research the Earth's electromagnetic tail.

Mouse Study Trumpets New Way To Preserve Species
In a popular Dr. Seuss book, Horton the elephant is tricked into hatching a bird's egg. Now, in a real-life story, scientists have

New Surgical Strategy For Congestive Heart Failure May Reduce Need For Heart Transplants
A new surgical procedure may help extend and improve the lives of people with severe congestive heart failure (CHF), according to research presented today at the American Heart Association's 71st Scientific Sessions.

Virginia Tech Research Group Presents Improved Dental Materials
Virginia Tech graduate student Nazan Gunduz and her fellow researchers in chemistry have developed improved dental materials that require one less step to process, to get you out of the dentist's chair faster. Your fillings will last longer, too.

Process Of Care, Use Of Hospital Resources Is Different Among Hispanic Heart Patients
Duke University Medical Center researchers found in a study involving hospitals across the nation that Hispanics experienced a median delay of nine minutes from the onset of heart attack symptoms until they received medical therapy when compared with non-Hispanics. When they were treated, Hispanics also received fewer invasive procedures, such as cardiac catheterization and coronary by-pass surgery.

UF Joins NASA's Virtual Astrobiology Institute To Look For Life On Mars
Chemists at the University of Florida have teamed with NASA and several other prestigious institutions to form a virtual Astrobiology Institute to study the origin and evolution of life in the galaxy. Five UF chemists are looking for a universal feature in genetic material that also may be found in potential Martian life.

Cognitive Processes Can Make "False" Or "Illusory" Memories Hard To Avoid
Give people fair warning that you are about to trick them into recalling something that never happened and most will still fall prey to the deception, creating

Montana State University Scientist Contributes To Latest Dinosaur Discovery
Egg shell analysis by a researcher at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., help confirm findings of rare sauropod embryos in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Frankie Jackson, a research associate at Montana State University-Bozeman, is one of six scientists who described the discovery in the Nov. 19 issue of the journal Nature.

1998 Hurricane Season Probably A Taste Of Seasons To Come
Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray and his associates believe the 14 Atlantic Basin storms this year are just a harbinger of hurricane seasons to come. The team underestimated the number of storms for this season but believes the future will bring more intense storms along the U.S. East Coast.

Smoking-Related Deaths On The Rise Among American, French Women
Smoking-related illnesses and deaths among American and French women have risen sharply in recent years, despite vigorous anti-smoking campaigns on a global scale, says a Penn State researcher.

New Drug "Cocktails" Prove Effective Against Hepatitis
CHICAGO, November 9 - At The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 1998 Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 6 - 10, some of the world's top biomedical researchers unveiled studies of drug therapies that are offering new hope in the fight against Hepatitis B and C. Another study examined the role of a newly discovered virus in liver disease.

New Phylloxera Strain Poses Threat Primarily To Grape Nurseries
A new form of phylloxera -- related to the subterranean insect that cost California's premium winegrape industry more than $1 billion in replanting costs during the last decade -- has appeared in three of the state's grape nurseries over the last two years. One of the University of California's leading experts on the pest says the new type of phylloxera does not pose a major threat to growers who have switched to resistant rootstock.

Results Of Poisoning Visible In Urine
Toxic substances release chemical compounds which can quickly react with human tissue, thereby causing damage. Up to now, it was not easy to identify this damage at an early stage. Recently, toxicologists at Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit, funded by NWO, have discovered substances formed during this reaction of free radicals with the tissue, which are excreted in the urine within a few days. This discovery makes it easier to determine the damaging effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Sunless Tanning Agents Provide Continuous Sun
Researchers have discovered that the chemical reaction of your skin with the active ingredient in sunless tanning agents offers continuous and unique protection from the sun, regardless of a person's activities.

UC Santa Cruz Seismologists Detect Origin Of Volcanic Hotspot That Created The Hawaiian Islands
A massive plume of hot rock rising through the Earth and erupting through the ocean floor has been building islands in the central Pacific, including Hawaii, for 80 million years. Now scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, may have located the origin of the Hawaiian plume at the boundary between Earth's mantle layer and its core.

Brain Study Sheds Light On The 'Phantom Limbs' Of Amputees
For some amputees, the pain and disability of losing an arm or leg are followed by a lifetime of other disturbing effects. In this week's Science, researchers paint a new picture of the changes that occur deep in the brain after amputation.

National Science Board Open Session Set For Nov. 19
Journalists are invited to attend the next open session of the National Science Board (NSB) on Thursday, November 19 from 1:50 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.

History Of The Rainforest Told In Song
The history of Australia's tropical rainforests is being deciphered from an utterly original medium - the music of the birds inhabiting it.

Researchers Announce Breakthrough In Transgenic Animal Technology
Research reported in the November 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may herald a new era in biopharmaceutical production. Work performed by dairy scientist Robert Bremel, and by Gala Design LLC, a Sauk City, Wis. company, has resulted in breakthrough increases in the efficiency of the production of transgenic livestock.

The Selling Of Olestra
Marion Nestle, Chair, Dept of Nutrition and Food Studies, NYU, and member, Science Board of the FDA, explores FDA's decision to approve olestra as a safe food additive while requiring foods containing it to carry a warning about its potential hazards. Nestle calls for changes in the relationships between corporations and government and health professionals in the growing trend by the current food regulatory system to move toward alliances with industries.

"White-Coat" Hypertension Not Serious Health Threat, Study Says
Seeing a doctor or a nurse with a blood pressure monitor raises some people's blood pressure, but researchers say this

"Silent" Heart Damage Not So Quiet For Some Women With Heart Disease
Women with heart disease feel more chest pain during mental stress than men. Researchers tested the effects of psychological stress on ischemic heart disease -- a condition where the heart's demand for oxygen is greater than its supply.

How Ritalin Enhances Memory: Clues Provided By Brain Scans of ADHD Patients Using The Drug
Scans of brain activity in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are significantly different from scans of adults without ADHD, yet few differences are noted between scans of these two groups once the ADHD patients begin to take the drug Ritalin, report researchers from Emory University at this week's meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Inflammation In Blood Vessels Slows Clot-Buster Treatment For Heart Attack
Long-lasting inflammation is already thought to precede and help trigger a heart attack, but now research shows that inflammation may also limit the effectiveness of clot-busting treatment.

What Predicts Angioplasty Results?
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology found that long-term results after balloon angioplasty were determined by whether the patient had diabetes or hypertension and the degree of coronary heart disease. These factors -- rather than the immediate success of the angioplasty or the extent to which angioplasty restored blood supply to the heart -- determined success.

Scientists Find First Protein In Central Nervous System Junctions
Scientists have identified the first protein needed for synapse formation in the central nervous system. Synapses are connections between cells that make the nervous system function. Due to a bizarre twist of evolution, the protein also appears essential for using a trace element called molybdenum.

Penn Physicians Develop Clinical Guidelines For Herbal Therapies
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center physicians have developed a list of clinical guidelines to aid physicians in advising patients about herbal products as therapeutic agents.

Medical Tip Sheet - November 1, 1998
1. Intraoperative Duplex Scanning
2. Malignancy Gene Discovered
3. First Heart/Liver Transplant in western U.S.
4. Human Brain Transplantation Protocol Approved
5. Fully Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery

Material Choices For The Chemical Industry
The latest developments affecting materials selection in the chemical industry will be discussed at a conference to be held on 24-25 November 1998 at The Institute of Materials, London, UK.

Joblessness Link To Suicide
Suicides make a substantial contribution to the numbers of premature deaths and, in order to try to prevent people taking such action, there is a need to understand who is at risk. Research in this week's BMJ finds that the link between suicide and unemployment is more powerful that other socio- economic measures.

Mechanism By Which Estradiol Protects Women From Heart Disease Suggested By Emory Team
Scientists have long known that female sex hormones such as estradiol protect women from cardiovascular disease. But understanding how estradiol protects arteries from the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol associated with dangerous atherosclerotic plaque formation has eluded researchers. Emory University researchers offer an explanation at this week's 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association.

Bottoms Up! Purdue Studies Link Beverages To Weight Gain
Eat, rather than drink, your holiday treats this season if you want to avoid gaining weight, suggests new research from Purdue University's foods and nutrition department.

The Heart-Healthy Cup Runneth Over -- With Grape Juice
Purple grape juice seems to have the same effect as red wine in reducing the risk of heart disease. Researchers were interested in finding out how to get the benefits of clot inhibition seen with red wine, but without the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

EMAP II: A Cytokine Regulated By Apoptosis
Endothelial monocyte-activating polypeptide II (EMAP II) is a proinflammatory cytokine and a chemoattractant for monocytes. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research (Bad Nauheim, Germany) have demonstrated a regulatory role for apoptosis in the processing of the EMAP II precursor to the biologically active form, implicating EMAP II in the attraction of monocytes to sites of apoptosis.

Study Proves Unequal Leg Length Can Contribute To Osteoarthritis
CHAPEL HILL - Legs of unequal length can contribute to osteoarthritis as well as knee and hip pain, according to a first-of-its-kind University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine study.

Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Demonstrates Potent Activity Of A Ribozyme Targeted Against The Hepatitis C Virus
Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that HEPTAZYME (TM), a ribozyme designed to selectively destroy Hepatitis C Virus RNA, was effective in decreasing Hepatitis C Viral RNA in cell culture assays.

Sandia, Compaq Smash World Record In Large Database Sorting
A government lab -- interested in better defense simulations and in providing tools to identify patterns of medical fraud as well as threats to on-line banking and communications systems -- teams with the largest maker of personal computers, Compaq -- interested in $15 billion data market -- to assemble an off-the-shelf computer called Kudzu that sorts information three times faster than the previous record (held by a supercomputer) at 2/3 the cost.

Nation's Leading Biomedical Researchers Present Breakthroughs in Liver Disease
The nation's leading biomedical researchers will present breakthrough therapies and technologies in liver disease November 8 through November 10 at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the leading medical organization for liver research.

NCAR Flies Research Aircraft Below Leonids Meteor Storm
Research aircraft from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Air Force will bring new scientific instruments and high-definition TV cameras to the west Pacific in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe the Leonids meteor shower in stereo at its rare peak on November 17. The experiment is headed by NASA.

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