Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2002)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2002.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2002

Researchers show COX-2 inhibitors interfere with bone growth, healing
Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have found that selective COX-2 inhibitors - a class of medications widely prescribed for painful inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis - interfere with the healing process after a bone fracture or cementless joint implant surgery.

Virus decimates algal blooms
As soon as the pest algae run out of nutrients, viruses attack and abruptly end the algal bloom. This is revealed in a three-year international study under the leadership of the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. This knowledge opens up opportunities for using natural enemies to remove algal blooms in isolated areas.

Societies raise concerns about document removal from US Department of Education Web site
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Library Association (ALA), in concert with 12 other national organizations, have joined in an effort to retain documents on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site. In a letter to Education Secretary Rod Paige, the 14 professional organizations have requested that all U.S. Department of Education materials retain the level of accessibility now available.

Environmental enrichment reverses learning impairments caused by lead poisoning
A study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that environmental enrichment can reverse the long-term learning deficits caused by lead poisoning. Lead poisoning remains a major public health problem with an estimated 34 million housing units in the United States containing lead paint. The study is the first to demonstrate that the long-term deficits in cognitive function caused by lead can be reversed and offers a basis for the treatment.

Once big bad wolf, now man's best friend: Science studies trace dogs' origins
Domesticated dogs first appeared in East Asia, spread across Asia and Europe, and then accompanied their two-legged companions into the New World 12,000-14,000 years ago. This scenario is suggested by two reports in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This news release is also available in
Stanford trial studies vastly shorter radiation time for breast cancer treatment
A new radiation approach being tested at Stanford University Medical Center could shorten the overall treatment time for women with breast cancer. Participants will receive a single dose of radiation at the time of surgery rather than the usual six-week course of radiation therapy. The clinical trial is now recruiting patients.

Growth hormone, sex steroid combination 'not ready for prime time'
In the first study of the separate and combined effects of growth hormone and sex steroids in healthy older men and women, investigators found that growth hormone replacement substantially increased lean body mass and decreased fat mass in both sexes. But the researchers also reported a number of side effects, which raise important questions about the safety of using growth hormone alone or in combination with other treatments that are often touted as so-called

Zinc supplementation reduces diarrhea and death in Bangladeshi children
Zinc supplementation given to children suffering from diarrheal disease greatly reduced their risk of death and illness, according to a study conducted by an international team of scientists working in Bangladesh. These findings are published in the November 9, 2002 of the British Medical Journal.

Infants build knowledge of their visual world on statistics
Baby's first look at the world is likely a dizzying array of shapes and motion that are meaningless to a newborn, but researchers at the University of Rochester have now shown that babies use relationships between objects to build an understanding of the world. By noting how often objects appear together, infants can efficiently take in more knowledge than if they were to simply see the same shapes individually.

Getting the jump on hackers
Engineering researchers at Virginia Tech are attempting to protect battery operated computers from security attacks that could drain their batteries.

Multitasking genes manage related traits in plants
Think of it as finding the ultimate genetic engineers. A plant biologist at Michigan State University has harvested clues about genes that coordinate the development of plant parts that must work together. The work, published in the Nov. 28 issue of the British science journal Nature, points to a single mechanism that regulates the growth of related parts in flowers - kind of a genetic project manager.

UT Southwestern scientist helps identify gene that may lead to treatments for sleep disorders
A researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has helped uncover key information in the treatment of sleep disorders by identifying a gene that controls the rhythmic behavior of animals.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet Nov. 19, 2002
Highlights include: AAFP and ACP-ASIM guidelines show how migraines should be treated - and can be prevented, Women over age 75 benefit from mammography, Post menopausal hormones + alcohol substantially increase risk of breast cancer, and more.

First potentially clinically useful independent marker for lung cancer identified
US scientists have identified the first clinically useful independent prognostic marker for early lung cancer. Results are revealed at a joint European-US cancer conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday 20 November.

Protecting babies from RSV could reduce the chances of wheeze and asthma during childhood
Researchers from Imperial College London and St Mary's NHS Trust have discovered that keeping people with coughs and sneezes away from young babies may cut the likelihood of developing wheeze or asthma later in childhood.

Versatile immunosuppressant drug may have new role in radiotherapy for cancer
The versatile immunosuppressant drug rapamycin may have yet another role - boosting the effectiveness of radiotherapy in cancer patients, a US doctor tells a joint European-US cancer conference in Frankfurt on Thursday 21 November.

Mediterranean diet could reduce risk of coronary artery disease in Asian populations
Results of a study in this week's issue of The Lancet highlight how the adoption of a Mediterranean-style diet could help reduce cardiovascular disease in Asian populations, especially among Asian people living in western countries.

2002 Canon National Parks Science Scholars named by U.S. National Park Service and AAAS
Ramona Maraj has plenty of

Statin drugs may help patients with heart valve disease avoid surgery
A study by Mayo Clinic researchers indicates that narrowing of the heart's

Discovery may dramatically reduce liver transplants in children
A discovery being published this week in

Wildlife researcher captures jaguars with camera
A Virginia Tech researcher uses infrared remotely triggered cameras to photograph jaguars. Because jaguars have distinct coat patterns, individuals can be identified from photographs and a

November Shuttle mission kicks off 3rd year of Space Station science, to deliver 3rd truss
Next week, Space Shuttle Endeavour will deliver to the International Space Station (ISS) the third piece of the Station's exterior truss backbone, and kick off the third year of science inside the orbiting laboratory by bringing up a new load of scientific experiments.

Guidelines issued for metabolic complications related to HIV & antiretrovirals
The first comprehensive recommendations for assessing, monitoring and treating metabolic complications such as insulin resistance and abnormal body fat distribution that are occurring in association with HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy have been issued by an International AIDS Society-USA (IAS-USA) volunteer panel.

National science board to meet November 21
Journalists are invited to attend the next open session of the National Science Board (NSB) on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002 at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1235, Arlington, Va.

Researchers link teen sex to early friendships, steady dating
The nature of preteen friendships can play a key role in determining whether or not a child will engage in sexual activity early in adolescence, a new study suggests. For example, researchers found that boys who had mostly female friends when they were preteens were more likely to have had sex by age 16 than were other boys. However, the same wasn't true for girls who as preteens had mostly male friends.

K-State microbiologist secret agent in battle against E. coli, other foodborne pathogens
Kansas State University food scientist Daniel Y.C. Fung is evaluating a new instrument for processing food samples for microbiological analysis. The instrument, the PULSIFIER, allows researchers to obtain bacteria and pathogens from food without breaking up the food extensively.

Phase transition in bilayers could affect their performance
Phospholipid bilayers that mimic cell membranes in living organisms are of interest as substrates for biosensors and for the controlled release of pharmaceuticals. To better understand how these materials behave with embedded proteins, University of Illinois scientists have studied the phase transition in a supported bilayer and discovered some fundamental properties that could affect the material's performance in various applications.

Too many turtles may end up as roadkill
Turtles and roads are a bad combination. Nearly half of the 55 turtle species native to the U.S. are declining and new research suggests that car and truck collisions are partly to blame.

Photonics center receives $1.1 million DOE award
Wang and his colleagues are developing single-crystal sapphire-based sensors that can operate reliably in the high temperature and corrosive environment of integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC) plants.

Turbulence restrains itself
Like rapidly flowing gases and liquids, magnetically confined plasmas in tokamaks and related fusion devices exhibit a high degree of turbulence, which can generally destroy the optimal conditions for producing fusion energy. In a deeply encouraging new result, scientists have experimentally confirmed that turbulence can actually limit its own ability to wreak havoc.

Overfishing may diminish genetic diversity even when millions of fish remain
Populations of marine fish may lose genetic diversity even if fishing stops while there are still several million individuals - a number previously assumed to be enough to preserve a diverse gene pool. Losing the diversity of key genes can render a population less productive and unable to adapt.

X-rays squeeze fuel to generate nuclear fusion energy
Working toward the vision of generating clean energy from nuclear fusion, researchers have successfully imploded fuel capsules by bombarding them with intense x-rays. The results show that the process generates significant fusion and that the implosion method looks capable of generating large-scale energy production.

Miniature implantable sensor likely lifesaver for patients
Using a tiny wireless sensor developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, doctors will know in minutes instead of hours if an organ is getting adequate blood flow after transplant or reconstructive surgery.

Researcher earns prestigious Fernbach Award
Robert Harrison of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been named recipient of the Sidney Fernbach Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

New genetic option for thwarting cancer
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that eliminating a gene involved in spurring cell growth thwarts the development of cancer.

UF study suggests schools boost empty calories to raise test scores
Faced with ever-increasing pressure to boost state-mandated test scores, some school districts have sought an advantage by pumping up their pupils with extra calories from junk food, a study conducted at the University of Florida suggests.

New NSF 'middleware' advances collaborative research and education
A new suite of software products that allows researchers to manage massive physics datasets online, simulate earthquakes via large

New books show social side of weather and climate
If someone you love loves nasty weather or worries about our changing climate, your shopping list should include one of these books. Three provide ideas for grappling with some of the major environmental challenges of our time. The fourth is for folks interested in where to find the best and worst weather in the world.

Non-invasive imaging technique detects plaques beginning to form in vessels
A new imaging method successfully identifies miniscule, young blood vessels that form during the development of plaques, according to a study in rabbits led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. These plaques are akin to atherosclerosis in humans, the primary cause of heart attack and stroke.

Examination of ancient Peruvian sites challenges current theories
Sites once occupied by the ancient people who created some of the pre-Columbian world's most exquisite art, largest ground drawings, most ingenious hydraulic engineering and most intense

Aspirin inhibits ovarian cancer growth, lab study finds
Aspirin may inhibit ovarian tumor growth, according to a new laboratory study by the University of South Florida College of Medicine.

Feeding your fat
The growing prevalence of obesity represents a critical public health concern yet the factors controlling the buildup of fat within our bodies are not completely understood. Felix Kreier and colleagues from the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, have revealed for the first time that during the body's

NIST 'pins' down imaging system for the blind
Seeing is believing, unless you're blind or visually impaired. To this group, NIST says,

No shortage of mysteries on Venus
What kind of mysteries and scientific intrigue await the European Space Agency's Venus Express once it has left Earth for its nearest planetary neighbour in 2005? A closer inspection promises to reveal a planet that is hugely different from our own despite a few similarities.

New study provides molecular-level understanding of common anti-malarial drugs
The study by researchers at TransForm Pharmaceuticals and The Weizmann Institute can be applied to further discovery and design of research that may overcome the problem of drug resistance that has developed to the Malaria parasite. The data showed that the current drug resistance issues can be overcome by better targeting a crystal byproduct that is formed by the parasite during the digestion of hemoglobin. The study further demonstrates the importance of examining biophysical crystals as drug targets.

Astrophysical jets in the lab
Many astronomical objects, from galactic nuclei to black holes surrounded by accretion disks, emit very long plumes of plasma, called astrophysical jets. In a new laboratory plasma experiment, researchers show how magnetic forces can create these jets.

Animal studies prove hormone replacement therapy improves memory, report Pitt researchers
For estrogen to enhance learning and memory, cholinergic neurons, which are nerve cells in the brain, play an important role in those skills, suggest animal studies performed by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and reported in the November issue of Hormones and Behavior, the official journal of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

Common human virus may be associated with colon cancer, according to Temple researchers
An association between a common human virus and colon cancer has been established by a group of researchers from Temple University, suggesting a possible role for it in the development of cancer in the human intestinal tract.

CHF receives oral history grant from Gerstacker Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has received a grant from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation in the amount of $250,000 to endow the E. N. Brandt Oral History Program. The new program will record and make known the growth of the American chemical industries in the words of the entrepreneurs, scientists, and managers who made the growth and expansion possible.

Sertoli cell transfer restores sperm production in infertile mice
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have successfully transplanted specialized cells that are critical to sperm development in mice, restoring sperm production in once-infertile animals. The research may give scientists a better understanding of how Sertoli cells -- which surround spermatogenic stem cells -- nourish sperm production and the survival of stem cells.

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