Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2000)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2000

Biomolecular motors with propellers can live inside cells
Nanobiotechnologists at Cornell University have built and pilot-tested the first biomolecular motors the size of virus particles with tiny metal propellers. (Science Nov. 24, 2000)

Bone-conserving hip replacement option good choice for younger patients
A study published in September's British Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery concludes that a hip replacement device developed at Mayo Clinic is successful in conserving bone, making it an attractive choice for younger patients.

Common mode of action likely in gene-activation molecules linked to cancers
Scientists have identified the structure of an important gene-activation molecule linked to cancers. Comparing the structures of several molecules with related function but dissimilar composition, they found unanticipated structural similarities. The findings suggest a common mechanism of action and raise the possibility of developing anti-cancer drugs based on structural insights.

Study finds public health issues not addressed by physicians lobbying Congress
Physicians are frequent and effective lobbyists on Capitol Hill, but their lobbying efforts do not generally address public health issues, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine that appears in the November 27 issue of the

New genes implicated in neurodegenerative diseases
In the November issue of Nature--Baylor College of Medicine researchers find genes involved in pathways not previously known to be associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Discovered using Drosophila to study SCA1, an inherited polyglutamine disease related to Alzheimer's, the new genes are involved in RNA processing, transcriptional regulation, and cell detoxification.

Grant of the Max Planck Research award 2000 in Berlin
On November 29th 2000 the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are granting the Max Planck Research Award for the year 2000 to four scientists working abroad and eight scientists working in Germany.

Cell studies may further gene therapy prospects for head and neck cancer
New laboratory research at the University of North Carolina appears to kindle prospects of finding ways to treat head and neck cancer with gene therapy.

Scientists reveal details of brain cell communication: implications for learning & memory
The extremely tiny size of synapses and the limitations of conventional experimental techniques have hampered detailed studies of these essential structures. (One trillion synaptic compartments, or

Gossard awarded prize for new materials
Arthur Gossard, professor of materials and of computer and electrical engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has been awarded the 2001 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials by the American Physical Society. The prize, sponsored by IBM, consists of a $5,000 award.

Heavy meals may trigger heart attacks
An unusually heavy meal may increase the risk of heart attack by about four times within two hours after eating, according to a study presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000.

Adding variety to an exercise routine helps increase adherence
Researchers now have scientific proof that variety is the spice of life -- at least in the workout room. Adding some variation to your exercise routine may be the best way to make you stick with it, according to a University of Florida study.

Weeding out better wines
Australian winemakers are known worldwide for the high quality of their wines and the lack of contaminants in them. Adelaide University researchers are ensuring that the reputation of Australian wines remains high with a project to develop techniques of vineyard weeding that dispense with herbicides and pesticides.

SU scientist receives patent that could revolutionize medical magnetic resonance imaging
Arnold Honig, professor of physics in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, has developed a new method for polarizing the Xenon 129 gas used in some magnetic resonance imaging procedures. The process could potentially produce about 150 liters of highly polarized Xenon gas a day, at a lower cost than methods currently in use.

Emory researchers report abnormal gene silencing may lead to breast cancer progression
Emory University scientists have discovered that a mistake in the way DNA is labeled and packaged by methyltransferase enzymes could lead to the abnormal silencing of TMS-1, a gene that plays an important role in keeping breast cancer cells in check, thus contributing to breast cancer progression.

Brookhaven Lab researchers develop a technique to measure defects in materials with unprecedented accuracy
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a technique to detect defects in materials with picometer accuracy -- the highest accuracy ever achieved in such measurements. The research is reported in Physical Review Letters (11/20/00).

Molecular clue to Alzheimer's mystery found
Researchers have linked a molecule found in brain cells to levels of presinilin proteins. Mutations in genes coding for presinilins cause Alzheimer's disease, AD. They also found abundance of the molecule, called ubiquilin, in tangles of dead cells of brains with AD and Parkinson's disease.

UCSF study shows that drug administered during heart procedures preserves blood flow into the heart muscle
A drug commonly used during invasive heart procedures not only helps maintain blood flow through the large blood vessels that have been enlarged during the procedure by balloons and metal tubes, but also preserves blood flow through the smaller blood vessels downstream that may become blocked by debris.

New center seeks environment-friendly growth
Cornell University and the University of Southern California will use a seed grant of $175,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce to launch the new National Center for Eco-Industrial Development to promote community development without trashing the environment.

Hopkins researchers develop method to predict response to chemotherapy
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center uncovered a genetic alteration that appears to predict how individuals with an aggressive type of brain cancer will respond to chemotherapy.

Nosebleeds more likely to occur in the morning
Most nosebleeds seem to occur either in the morning or the evening, suggesting that nosebleeds follow a 24-hour (circadian) pattern similar to that of blood pressure, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Flickering quasar helps chandra measure the expansion rate of the universe
Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory have identified a flickering, four-way mirage image of a distant quasar. A carefully planned observation of this mirage may be used to determine the expansion rate of the Universe as well as to measure the distances to extragalactic objects, arguably two of the most important pursuits in modern astronomy.

On-line info leads to gene identification
The gene FGF23, responsible for a rare form of rickets, is among the first, if not the first, gene isolated using online resources from the Human Genome Project. The findings published in November issue of Nature Genetics by Indiana University School of Medicine and Ludwig-Maximilians University (Munich) researchers may present hope for individuals with more common phosphate-wasting diseases and moderate renal insufficiency.

Study ties coffee use with lowered Parkinson's risk
Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the November 14 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Insulin resistance can predict hypertension development, Wake Forest researchers report
How effectively the body uses the insulin it produces is directly related to risk of developing high blood pressure, reported researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center today at the American Heart Association's annual conference.

Old hearts become new again
The elderly are good candidates for heart transplants and can benefit from hearts that might be unsuitable for younger people, researchers report today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000.

Breast cancer symposium set for San Antonio
Top breast cancer researchers and clinicians will attend the 23rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec. 6-9. The Symposium setting provides an ideal format to present for the first time new and late breaking data including data from Phase III trials involving new classes of breast cancer drugs as well as other pertinent information, including recent diagnostic developments.

Earthquake history key to interpreting fault observations
Fault zone models do not always accurately portray earthquake potential and crustal movement in an area because researchers need to consider local earthquake history, according to a Penn State geophysicist.

New grid portal to improve US researchers' access to advanced computing resources
Computational scientists will soon have a powerful new tool for using resources on the national

Monkeys control a robot arm via brain signals
Duke University Medical Center researchers and their colleagues have tested a neural system on monkeys that enabled the animals to use their brain signals, as detected by implanted electrodes, to control a robot arm to reach for a piece of food.

Wet combing is far more effective in detecting head lice than traditional scalp inspection
A study in this week's BMJ suggests that despite the extra effort involved, wet combing is the gold standard for detecting head lice.

Plant and animal bacteria share cell-killing mechanism
Yersinia pestis---the bacterium that causes bubonic plague kills quietly and efficiently by first slipping inside immune system sentinel cells and cutting off the communication lines they need to call for help.

Study provides new details of 'the birth of a virus'
A study published this week by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute provides new details of how retroviruses escape the cell membrane and seek other cells to infect. The study, published in the November 21 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may one day lead to new techniques for arresting the process and preventing the spread of viral infection within the body.

Sheep thrive in GMO feeding trial
Increased wool growth and live weight gain in Merino sheep are the results of a recent Australian feeding trial using genetically modified lupins. The CSIRO trial explored nutritional benefits of lupin seeds genetically modified to incorporate a sunflower gene that stimulates the production of a highly nutritious protein.

DFG establishes 23 new graduiertenkollegs (university graduate training programmes)
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has approved the establishment of 23 new Graduiertenkollegs for 1st April 2001. These are to include five new

Polycystic ovary syndrome may lead to early onset of atherosclerosis, even among thin women, according to University of Pittsburgh study
Young women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have metabolic abnormalities, including higher levels of lipids and insulin, that may result in premature atherosclerosis by middle age, according to a University of Pittsburgh study published in the November issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Food and the circadian clock
Dr. Ueli Schibler and his team at the University of Geneva in Switzerland report on their exciting discovery about how the body sets its own time. This study gives more insight into the circuits connecting brain and body during complex behavioral tasks such as feeding patterns. The results from this and other studies in the same field might ultimately help employees who work on changing shifts, such as nurses or fire fighters, to acclimate their bodies to their schedules.

Ancient quakes leave mark from Kentucky to New York
A team of University of Cincinnati geologists led by Professor Carlton Brett have found traces of ancient earthquakes stretching from Kentucky to upstate New York. The quakes occurred during the Ordovician roughly 450 million years ago. Data will be presented at Geological Society of America meeting in Reno.

Insulin precursor linked with increased stroke risk; may represent new risk factor
Researchers may have identified a new marker to spot individuals at risk of a first stroke, according to a study reported in the December issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

New project allows commuters to keep tabs on their bus by cell phone
For Puget Sound-area commuters who are wondering where their bus is, the answer is now as close as the cell phone in their pocket. A new project by University of Washington engineers that is catching the attention of transportation officials around the country gives mass transit riders real-time information on nearly 1,000 buses. All they need is a cellular telephone that can access the World Wide Web.

Drug study: price is more effective than punishment
New research at Adelaide University in Australia has found that the cost of marijuana -- not the legal punishment for marijuana offences -- is the real key to reducing the amount of the drug used.

Student will scale peak to send diabetes message, do research
On Jeremy Ackerman's 15th birthday, he learned that he had diabetes. His parents were dismayed, but young Ackerman set out to learn more about the disease and to learn how to manage it so he could still do the things he wanted to do. He and 15 other Type 1 diabetic athletes from around the world will travel to Argentina Dec. 26 to climb Cerro Aconcagua, which, with a summit of 22,830 feet, is the highest point in the Western Hemisphere.

Ecology of Infectious Diseases grants jointly announced by National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation
Initial awards have been announced to fund 12 research projects under the new Ecology of Infectious Diseases initiative. The joint NIH-NSF initiative supports efforts to understand the underlying ecological and biological mechanisms that govern relationships between human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases.

Heart attack victims more vulnerable to risk factors, Wake Forest researchers report
Smoking and having low levels of

New antipsychotic drugs combined with nicotine patch help schizophrenics quit smoking
A Yale study shows schizophrenics who took the newer anti- psychotic drugs along with the nicotine patch had nearly triple the success rate quitting smoking as schizophrenics taking more traditional anti-psychotic medications and the nicotine patch.

Breast cancer susceptibility gene
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and the second leading cause of mortality from cancer. Mutations in the so-called breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA1, account for 40-50% of early onset familial breast cancer cases. Recently, scientists have discovered that the protein ATR is responsible for activating BRCA1 in response to UV light-induced DNA damage. This discovery provides the first evidence that ATR may be the newest breast cancer susceptibility gene.

Carnegie Mellon statistical study shows with extreme confidence that ballot cost Gore votes
A statistical, county-by-county analysis of the Florida vote by a Carnegie Mellon University Social and Decision Sciences Professor shows

SFVAMC/UCSF researchers develop lead for a new Alzheimer's disease drug - a fragment of a brain growth protein
In findings that could lead to a new Alzheimer's disease drug, researchers at San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco have isolated a protein fragment that nurtures brain cells, an effect that could prevent loss of brain function caused by the disease.

Holiday tip sheet from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The Holiday Tip Sheet for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center includes tips on: 1) Coping with diabetes during the holidays; 2) Coping with depression and dress during the holidays; 3) Successful weight management during the holidays; 4) Coping with loneliness and grief during the holidays; and 5) Coping with alcohol dependency during the holidays.

Social class difference exists in coronary heart disease
A study in this week's BMJ finds an unequivocal social class difference in coronary heart disease amongst men and women in their 30s. These findings have important implications for interventions aimed at reducing inequalities in heart disease.

UCSD bioengineer to receive President's National Medal of Science
The White House announced today that Yuan-Cheng Fung, fondly known as the father of biomechanics, will receive the President's National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor. Fung, a professor emeritus of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering, will be recognized at an awards dinner scheduled for December 1 in Washington, D.C.

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