Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 1999)

Science news and science current events archive November, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 1999

Trade, science, risk, precaution: Issues for Seattle
Has the international community failed to heed Britain's hard won experience on food safety, risk and consumer confidence? This would appear to be the case from the World Trade Organisation's current handling of risk issues. In a letter to be published this week in the prestigious science journal Nature(1), ten leading UK environmental researchers point to some serious weaknesses in the WTO's current approach to risk assessment and product safety.

Novel anti-cancer agent shows minimal side effects with preliminary evidence of tumor shrinkage
On November 16, 1999, researchers will present data on an ongoing Phase I clinical trial during the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference in Washington, DC. The data shows that CCI-779, a derivative of rapamycin, an immunosuppresive agent, is well-tolerated and may have antitumor activity.

Where you live may help predict risk of early death from heart disease
The state in which you live may help predict your risk of early death from heart disease, according to research being presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Rockwell awards $1 million scholarship endowment to Clemson University
Continuing its investment in South Carolina's economic infrastructure, Rockwell today announced a $1 million endowment to Clemson University to fund scholarships for students in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.

Depression - not high blood sugar - implicated in heart disease among Type 1 diabetics, finds University of Pittsburgh study
Symptoms of depression--not high blood sugar--predict coronary heart disease among people with Type 1 diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) in a report published in the January 2000 issue of Atherosclerosis.

Scientific societies honor creation of the Mexican steroid hormone industry
Chemistry societies in the United States and Mexico will designate the creation of the Mexican steroid industry an International Historic Chemical Landmark in a ceremony Dec. 2 in Mexico City.

Dawn of a new era in space transportation
The leaders of NASA's advanced space transportation activity have a vision for the opening century of the third millennium: human settlements on other planets within 100 years.

Geography and physician caseload are key factors in oophorectomy rates, according to Yale study
Whether or not a woman's ovaries are removed during hysterectomy depends partly on where she lives and her surgeon's experience, according to a Yale School of Medicine study. Published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study raises concerns that women are not being presented with the information needed to make the decision to remove or keep their ovaries.

Jupiter's atmosphere gives clues on how solar system started
A new analysis of data collected by the Galileo spacecraft's suicide plunge into Jupiter's roiling atmosphere has stamped a huge question mark over the prevailing models of how our solar system formed. The finding has been put forward by an international team of scientists.

Local students unleash a genie and make elephant toothpaste
Students will investigate the unexpected: how to make toothpaste for elephants, unleash a genie and see what happens when chemists mix glue and borax.

Do reassuring computers give pilots a false sense of security?
Prompts by computer systems designed to reduce human error in aircraft cockpits or nuclear plants can have the opposite effect. In this new study, American researchers found that those prompted by a computer performed no better than those who relied on instruments alone.

Puzzle of galactic evolution solved
Massive clouds of gas, discovered long ago but only recently identified as being within the margins of the Milky Way, play a key role in the ability of the galaxy to churn out new stars by raining gas onto the plane of the galaxy, a new report suggests.

First science results from giant Hobby-Eberly Telescope reported
The commissioning phase for the innovative William P. Hobby- Robert E. Eberly Telescope (HET) in West Texas has ended and the early operations phase had begun, marking the beginning of regular use of the HET for science. The first paper based on observations with the HET is scheduled to be published in January 2000. The telescope's early results are in the areas of spectroscopic surveys and time-domain astrophysics.

New books view storms, the stratosphere, and more
A global perspective on storms, a glimpse into creeping degradation of the Aral Sea, and a portrait of the stratosphere await readers of recent books by National Center for Atmospheric Research scientists. More specialized works examine atmospheric chemistry and global change and present new statistical methods.

Argonne, IBM, VA Linux team for testbed
Argonne National Laboratory, IBM and VA Linux have teamed to develop

Human genome bears a virus related to HIV-1
Tiny snippets of DNA, buried in the human genome, reveal that an ancient family of viruses took up permanent residence in our simian ancestors some 30 million years ago. This viral DNA resembles a gene that HIV uses during its reproductive cycle within human cells.

Spouses of heart disease patients face high risks themselves
Women whose husbands are recovering from heart attacks or open heart surgery may have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease themselves, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Atmospheric spacecraft shipped to Goddard for pre-launch testing
The TIMED satellite, designed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to investigate the Sunn's effects on Earth's atmosphere, has been shipped to NASA for testing in advance of a planned May 2000 launch.

Chewing tobacco use linked to dental caries
If you think a 'chaw' of tobacco won't hurt you, chew on this: Chewing tobacco users are more likely to develop dental caries, particularly on the root surfaces of their teeth, than those who don't use tobacco, say scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Heads up!
The upcoming Leonids meteor shower (Nov. 17-18) is expected to be the biggest in decades and perhaps for the next century. While we are safe on the ground, satellite operators are concerned that even small impacts could short-circuit satellites. NASA will coordinate a team that helps track changes in the shower that could be a storm.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Olive oil and cooked vegetables may help
A new Greek study discusses the possible protective and mediating effects of cooked vegetables and olive oil as dietary intervention for rheumatoid arthritis. The authors propose a metabolic mechanism through which olive oil appears to protect against development of RA and inhibit its inflammatory response.

Physician writes 'Insider's Guide' for managing Type-I diabetes
Drawing on his professional, as well as his personal experience, a University of Maryland School of Medicine physician has written the first set of comprehensive, concise and practical guidelines for primary care doctors to help their patients with Type I diabetes to prevent complications. The 20 guidelines are published in the November issue of American Family Physician, a journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

New studies show death rates significantly lower when major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease are absent
Data from two long-term studies show that people with the most favorable levels of all three major coronary risk factors (blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and cigarette use) experienced markedly lower death rates from heart attack and stroke, as well as notably increased life spans.

Photos available: flight commemorates 70th anniversary of first flight to South Pole
Seventy years to the day after Adm. Richard E. Byrd became the first person to fly over the South Pole, a ski-equipped New York Air National Guard LC-130 landed at the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on Nov. 29, 1999 (local time).

Rural women remain vulnerable to joblessness
Low-skilled female workers in rural areas are likely to lead a return to welfare roles in a future economic downturn, an eventuality for which social service agencies should prepare, according to a Virginia Tech study.

Challenges of welfare reform
A new study about a population whose needs have been overlooked by welfare reform: those with mental health problems and those who suffer form drug dependence.

Orphan drug funds to be used in testing new treatment for a rare but deadly form of stroke
Johns Hopkins scientists, using funds from a Food and Drug Administration Orphan Drug Award, will test a new way of treating intracerebral hemorrhage with intraventricular extension, a disorder that often hits younger people and African-Americans.

American Heart Association updates 'mini stroke' guidelines
New blood thinning medications are among the significant medical and surgical advances that have occurred over the past five years for the treatment of

How a gene tells plant to reject its own pollen
Cornell University researchers have unlocked a long-standing biological mystery: why some plants don't permit fertilization by their own pollen. A gene that tells the stigma-based receptors which pollen to accept or reject.

Human plague cases increasing in Southwest
Biologists at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in Sevilleta, New Mexico, have found that human plague cases in New Mexico occurred more frequently after wetter than average winter- spring time periods.

Novel insect eye could be an old way of seeing
An unusual type of eye -- resembling a tiny raspberry and possibly following a design principle that vanished with the extinction of trilobites hundreds of millions of years ago -- lives today in a parasitic insect, Cornell University biologists report.

Building molecules one at a time
Cornell university physicists have used a scanning tunneling microscope to form bonds between single molecules of carbon monoxide and iron atoms, confirming that true chemical bonds were formed by measuring the

Study: Insecticide sprays can target feeding habits of pests
Farmers may be able to spray insecticide to target the feeding habits of species that most threaten their crops, according to an Ohio State University study. Researchers have developed a method to predict the combination of insecticide concentration, droplet size, and droplet number most lethal for a particular species.

You can't see it, but it's real: Glass ceiling is solid
A University of Cincinnati sociologist's analysis, published in the November issue of

Parents can impact their children's attitudes toward violence
Parents' attitude toward fighting has greater impact on their children's aggressive behaviors than any other family factor, a new survey of 8,865 Texas middle school students finds.

UM study finds no benefit in a popular heart supplement
A popular nutritional supplement taken by many patients with congestive heart failure has no effect on improving heart function or relieving symptoms, a University of Maryland Medical Center study shows. The results will be presented at the 72nd Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association on November 10 in Atlanta, Georgia. The supplement, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is taken by many heart failure patients and can cost up to $47 a bottle.

World's most sophisticated electronic classroom
Researchers from the McGill Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Centre for Intelligent Machines have developed a control system for classrooms that

Yale research team first to describe molecular-sized memory
Computer storage capacity can be vastly increased using a molecular memory based on a single molecule, a research team from Yale and Rice Universities has discovered. The discovery attacks one of the major problems facing the microelectronics industry -- cost. Detailed results of the study will be presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6, 1999.

Poll shows state residents give governor high marks
Governor Jim Hunt gets higher marks from N.C. residents for doing his job well than President Bill Clinton and U.S. senators John Edwards and Jessie Helms, according to a new survey conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Improved biodegradable hydrogels
Two novel biodegradable hydrogels developed by a Cornell University fiber scientists have potential applications for controlling and delivering many kinds of medications inside and outside the body, for anchoring biological substances such as skin and vascular tissues and may even be used to introduce viruses to the body for gene therapy.

Annals Of Internal Medicine - tip sheet for November 2, 1999
1) Eradicating H. Pylori Reversed Iron Defiency Anemia in a Study of 30 Patients; 2) Elderly Heart Attack Patients Are Not Getting Early Beta-Blockers; 3) Treating All Type 2 Diabetic Patients with ACE Inhibitors Improves Quality of Life; 4) Blood Drawn from a Long-Term, Indwelling Catheter is Clinically Useful.

U-M scientist discover how viruses hide inside human cells
University of Michigan scientists have discovered how some viruses can hide inside the nucleus of human cells for long periods of time---without producing symptoms or triggering an immune response---by attaching to host cell chromosomes.

Genetic information of world's most radiation-resistant organism decoded
US DOE-funded researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) describe the complete genetic sequence of the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans. Its remarkable ability to repair DNA damage completely in a day and go on living offers researchers tantalizing clues to better understanding of cancer which is frequently caused by unrepaired DNA damage. Genetically engineering the microbe could lead to improved ways to clean up pollution and to new industrial processes.

Substance used to treat complications from diabetes also proves to work as antioxidant
A substance used for decades in Europe to treat diabetic neuropathy, or nervous-system complications, also functions as an antioxidant in humans, according to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Southeast appears to have a unique type of Lyme disease
The Southeast appears to have its own version of the tick- borne ailment Lyme disease that is not detectable by most standard tests, according to Georgia researchers. Extensive laboratory testing of 23 adults with the characteristic bull's eye rash showed that 70 percent were not infected with the spirochete known to cause Lyme disease, according to the study published in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology.

Results from study of fetal surgery to treat spina bifida published in JAMA
The first comprehensive follow-up of 29 babies, born after undergoing fetal surgery at VUMC to repair spina bifida, show a significant reduction in the need for shunts to relieve hydrocephalus.

University of Toronto professor believes religious text Jewish, not Christian
An important book of the Bible, believed for centuries to be the work of a Christian author, may have been written by a Jew, says Professor John Marshall, author of Parables of War: Reading John's Jewish Apocalypse.

Chimpanzee subspecies are genetically mixed and more diverse than humans, according to research in 5 November 1999 Science
A new study suggests that chimpanzee subspecies may be more genetically variable than humans and also more closely related to each other. The study's results impact on a number of hot topics in evolutionary anthropology, including the origin of modern humans, great ape conservation, and chimpanzee culture.

Illness severity, not age, predicts death in older sick people
Age plays only a small role in the risk of short-term death among seriously ill people, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. People who were the sickest had the highest risk of death, according to the report in the Nov. 16 Annals of Internal Medicine.

New study shows gamma tocopherol may boost risk of knee osteoarthritis
A component of vitamin E known as gamma tocopherol may somehow contribute to arthritis, a unique new study of vitamin E and the painful degenerative illness suggests. 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