Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 1996)

Science news and science current events archive October, 1996.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 1996

New Way To Coat Fibers Leads To Cheaper Means Of Filtering Pollutants
The development of activated, phenol-coated glass fibers represents a potential breakthrough in the adsorption of environmental contaminants, a team of University of Illinois researchers reports

Stroke Survival, Disability Influenced By Who Cares For Patients, Study Finds
Older people who suffer strokes appear to have a better chance of survival, with less disability, if they are cared for primarily by a neurologist rather than a medical generalist while in the hospital, according to a study of Medicare outcomes data

Researchers Find Genetic Clues To Intestinal Disease
In a series of recently published studies, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that an intestinal disease affecting 400,000 people in the United States is actually a variety of related disorders that can be inherited and cause similar symptoms in close relatives. The findings will help physicians predict who will get the disease, called Crohn's disease, speed diagnosis, and help determine the best treatment for each individual ohns.jh.html:+: --

Computer Software Predicts Gestation Length And Risk Of Pre-Term Birth
A new method, the Mittendorf-Williams Ruleª, more accurately predicts a pregnant woman's due date and identifies those at risk for preterm delivery. After more than 150 years as the standard method of determining a due date, the days are now numbered for Naegele's rule

Cholesterol Anchor Helps Signaling Proteins Direct Development
A quirky genius of the protein family has sprung another surprise on scientists, and its newest stunt has revealed that cholesterol, often villified for its role in heart disease, actually wears a white hat during the earliest stages of life

Healthy Habitats Reduce Chemical Impacts On Aquatic Life
New testing methods utilized by South Carolina Sea Grant ecotoxologist Thomas Chandler show that thriving estuarine habitats can help absorb and reduce some impacts of toxic chemicals on aquatic creatures

Study Shows Major Savings In Supervising TB Care
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown for the first time that spending more time and money up front to keep tuberculosis patients on strict drug regimens saves money in the long run

Brookhaven National Lab Named Drug Addiction Study Center
The biochemical origins of drug addiction, and possible ways to block those addictions, will be the focus at a new study center using PET imaging at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.To be funded by White House Drug Policy Office, NIH Drug Institute & DOE

Heart Attack Outcomes Are Similar With Anti-Clotting Drugs And Balloon Angioplasty, University Of Washington Study Shows
Heart attack patients admitted to community hospitals show nearly identical survival rates, whether treated with powerful anti-clotting drugs or with balloon angioplasty. This conclusion is drawn by University of Washington researchers publishing results of their study of more than 3,000 patients in the Oct. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Engineers Find Potential Health Risks From Water-Saving Shower Nozzles
Environmental engineers at the University of Cincinnati and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found that some water-saver shower nozzles have potential health risks. Depending on the shower head's design, the nozzle can produce a significantly larger number of inhalable particles. When there is a contaminant in the water or the nearby environment, that means the contaminants can be carried deep inside the lung

Six-Year Drilling Project to Uncover One Million Years of Earth History
Scientists will drill as much as a million years into the geologic history of the Earth to study the evolution of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, under a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation.

Brain's Role In Recalibration Of Eye-Hand Coordination Pinpointed In Nature.
A region of the brain believed important for maintaining the calibration between visual and motor systems necessary for accurate eye-hand coordination has been indentifies in human subjects, report researchers from Emory University and the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Oct. 17 issue of Nature

NCAR Scientist Models Earth's Climate and Vegetation Patterns At Last Glacial Peak
Climatologist and geologist Benjamin Felzer, for the National Center for Atmospheric Research has used computer models of climate and vegetation to find which plant types our ancestors wandered among 21,000 years ago. Felzer presented his work at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver on October 30.

Researchers Seek Meteorites In Coal Mines
Looking for a meteorite is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for fossil meteorites, which fell in the distant past and are now embedded in sedimentary rock, is even more difficult, but Penn State researchers think they have a way to pare down the haystack.

Neutron Technique May Help Coal, Cement Industries
A nonintrusive inspection technique, developed by DOE's Oak Ridg National Laboratory and Western Kentucky University researchers, can analyze the content of coal and cement and detect explosives and drugs

Jupiter's Largest Moon Has Thin Oxygen Atmosphere
A Johns Hopkins-led team using the Hubble Space Telescope has found evidence of a thin oxygen atmosphere on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon. The same team previously detected an oxygen atmosphere on Europa, another Jovian moon. The team has also found evidence that Ganymede, like Earth, has polar aurorae.

Gene Discovery Could Overcome Aluminum Barrier To Higher Wheat Yields Worldwide
A U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist and colleagues in three other countries have found a gene in rye that could help wheat, a major food staple, grow on millions of acres worldwide that are now hostile to the crop

High-Risk GI Surgery Patients Do Better At Major Medical Centers
Patients undergoing high-risk, complex gastrointestinal surgeries are far less likely to die if they are in hospitals that do a lot of them, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Moreover, they won't pay any more for the added safety. Results of the study will be presented at the American College of Surgeon's annual meeting in San Francisco, CA.

Biocontrol: The Hit Or Miss Method Of Pest Control?
A special feature in the October issue of

Universities To Develop Landmine Detection Technology
A consortium of five universities will begin to develop an array of new sensors -- including chemical, radar, magnetic, infrared and sound -- to detect the land mines that endanger the populations of more than 60 nations

New Light on Soviet Bomb Program
The November 1996 special issue of Physics Today contains new details of the Soviet bomb program in the 1940s and 1950s.

Proposed Biomass-Fired Power Plant Will Create Electricity While Clearing Contamination in Belarus
Researchers plan to test a way to decontaminate Belarus forests contaminated 10 years ago by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. In the plan announced by Sandia National Laboratories, contaminated wood would be burned in a pilot biomass power plant to create electricity and capture radionuclides in the ash

Sea Grant Research Aiming To Sink Shipworm Damage
Research by Delaware Sea Grant scientist may lead to new environmentally-friendly controls of shipworms which have caused millions of dollars of infrastructure damage in U.S. coastal ports.

Gene Therapy For Anemia Succeeds In Animal Model
By injecting custom-built genes into muscle tissue in mice, University of Chicago researchers produced a lasting therapeutic response. This is the first demonstration that an injected gene, without a viral delivery system, could secrete enough protein into the bloodstream to make a clinical difference, and keep doing it indefinitely.

MSX Infrared Observations Of The Galactic Center
The Science Team for the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) satellite has released the highest resolution mid-infrared maps of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy. The resolution is about 15 times better than the previous best infrared observationstaken by the IRAS satellite.

Cryosurgery Offers New Hope For Liver Cancer Patients
A surgical procedure that literally freezes cancer in its tracks is giving hope to patients who have not been helped by tradional therapy. Emory University Hospital surgical ocologist Charles Staley describes the new procedure

Millipede's 'Barbed Grappling Hooks' Thwart Predators, Scanning Electron Microscope Study Reveals
Microscopic examination has revealed the defense secret of a tiny millipede that was entangling its enemies millions of years before porcupines and Velcro came along.

Discovery Of Cell Sites May Shed Light On How Bodily Systems Interact
Scientists have located -- and produced a vivid picture of -- specific cells that contain receptors for a hormone-like substance made by the immune system and associated with declines in growth-hormone production in animals with bacterial infections.

Depression Linked To Bone Loss
Depression may increase a woman's risk for broken bones. The hip bone mineral density of 24 women with a history of major depression, average age 41, was found to be 10-15 % lower than normal for their age -- equivalent to that of 70-year- old women and increasing risk of fracture by 40 percent over 10 years

Federal Support Declines For University R&D Facilities
The nation√Ęs top universities are postponing construction of new science and engineering (S&E) research facilities. Instead they are spending funds to shore up existing facilities -- even as they report decreasing S&E building space on their campuses

UF Scientist's Oyster Discovery Gives Clues About Evolution
Understanding why an ancient oyster became as large as a dinner plate may help answer the evolutionary riddle of how generations of dinosaurs and other animals grew. Throughout the animal world, descendents are often bigger than their ancestors, a scientific puzzle being studied by Douglas Jones, a UF paleontologist studying growth rings in shells of fossilized oysters.

World's Most Studied Glacier Surges Again
The world's most studied glacier surged recently at least four years ahead of when scientists were expecting it to. Geophysical Institute Professor Will Harrison has studied the Variegated Glacier for nearly 25 years. His research has contributed to thescientists' understanding of surging glaciers

Component In Soy Products May Be Substitute For Estrogen Treatment
Soy protein used for six months by nutrition scientists in a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for 66 postmenopausal women increased bone-mineral density, providing evidence that a key compound in soy products -- isoflavones -- could be a substitute for estrogen treatment.

Endangered Species Act Impact
Adequate economic data currently are not available to determine the economic impacts of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), according to environmental economist Jay Shogren at the University of Wyoming

New Blood Pressure Guidelines For Children Released
With the release of a new report, doctors can more accurately assess blood pressure levels in all children, regardless of differences in growth rates. Updated guidelines issued by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program include height percentiles in blood pressure tables, helping physicians diagnose children with high blood pressure

NHLBI Cord Blood Transplantation Study Begins
The first multicenter study of umbilical cord blood transplants from unrelated, newborn donors was announced by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health

UW Professor's Research May Provide Key To Alzheimer's Disease
Sept. 30, 1996 -- Research on the brain of a small amphibian is shedding new light about a debilitating and tragic disease in humans, according to a University of Wyoming scientist. Jim Rose, a professor in the UW Department of Psychology, is studying hormones in small amphibious newts that could improve our understanding of human brain activity

Changing Continental Runoff Patterns Could Change Ocean Circulation
Human alteration of major waterways may cause more problems than drought downstream, according to a Penn State geologist who is studying circulation models of the ancient oceans.

First-Time Discovery: Social Structure Of Ant Colonies Could Have Important Role In Gene Flow And Origin Of Species
A team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Rochester has discovered the first evidence that social behavior apparently dictates genetic flow within a single species of social insects.

A Bad Year For Bay Blooms:Dinoflagellates Cause Fish Kills in Ponds and Tanks
Record-breaking rainfall and last winter's snow melt, combined with relatively moderate temperatures, have caused major plankton blooms in the Chesapeake Bay this year, affecting not only the Bay's ecology but also research facilities and fish farms that depend on Bay water for their operations.

Grafted Motor Nerves Found Effective
A Johns Hopkins animal study suggests that grafted motor nerves may be more effective than sensory nerves for restoring movement. The findings eventually may lead to improved treatment for facial nerve injuries and other nerve peripheral damage in people

Weizmann Institute Groundwater Sampler Helps Assess Pollution Spread
A Weizmann Institute of Scie nce groundwater sampling system, recently recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as useful sampling technology, tracks down microscopic particles that act as vehicles for the spread of groundwater pollutants, asreported in the current issue of *Environmental Science and Technology*

Science Landscape May Aid US Intelligence Services,
A computerized, virtual reality landscape de- picts the changing face of science by means of mountain peaks, ridges, hills and trails. The land- scape can provide intelligence services information about the movement of technology across industries and re

Northwestern Scientists Discover How Herpes Simplex Virus Infects Cells
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a human protein that provides a pathway for herpes simplex virus to infect certain types of human cells. This human protein is not only the first

Interactive Math Makes For Active Learning in Philadelphia
Students who might not be expected to perform well in mathematics are beating the odds in the Philadelphia public schools -- passing challenging courses at rates 20 to 30 percent higher than their peers -- using materials developed with support fromthe National Science Foundation (NSF)

Lab Results And Real World Out Of Sync
The way that soil minerals break down and how they react with groundwater are important bits of information for anyone studying groundwater pollution and soil contamination, but sometimes the information gathered in the lab doesn't quite match what happens in the real world, according to Penn State geologists.

Few Pelicans Survive Oil Cleanup, Researchers Report
Despite heroic rescue efforts by people after oil spills, few birds cleaned and released back into the wild survive more than one or two years, according to a new report by University of California, Davis, researchers. The results support growing evidence that rehabilitation techniques have not been effective

New Compound May Aid Hunt For Stroke Drugs
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a tiny protein that, if used as a prototype, could speed the search for drugs to stop the serious brain damage that often follows a stroke

New Technology To Help Measurement and Study of Earthquakes
Scientists have begun installing a network of 250 Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that will continuously measure the constant, yet physically imperceptible, movements of earthquake faults throughout southern California. This information should help researchers forecast future earthquake hazards in the greater Los Angeles area

UMass Astronomers Report Comets May Have Interstellar Chemicals To Earth
The brightest comet of 1996 -- Comet Hyakutake -- may have shed some light on a question that astronomers have asked for centuries,

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