Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 1997)

Science news and science current events archive October, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 1997

Scientists Conduct First Large-Scale Study Of Lake Superior
When the ice creaks, groans, and finally breaks up on Lake Superior next spring, a team of limnologists and oceanographers will launch a five-year study of a dramatic near-shore current in the lake. The current is called the Keweenaw Current because of its proximity to Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, and is considered the strongest current of its kind in the world.

National Center For Earthquake Engineering Research Gets $10 Million Grant From National Science Foundation
The University at Buffalo's National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research has been awarded a $10 million grant by the National Science Foundation to support a Center for Advanced Technologies in Earthquake Loss Reduction. The award brings to more than $56 million the total NSF funding received by the center.

New Mathematical Model Could Help Predict Health Of Offshore Areas Where Rivers Enter The Sea
A new mathematical model, coupling both physical and biological effects, could be a crucial step in predicting the health of near-shore ocean environments where rivers enter the sea.

Blindness, Kaposi's Sarcoma And Extraocular Complications Of CMV Are Delayed In AIDS Patients Given Antiviral Pill And Eye Implant
Simultaneously giving AIDS patients the antiviral ganciclovir via pill as well as in a tiny pellet implanted in the eye delays or prevents complications of cytomegalovirus say Daniel F. Martin, MD, during his presentation at the Sixth European Conference on Clinical Aspects and Treatment of HIV Infection.

Cancer Slowed When Blood Vessel Growth In Tumors Blocked
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have been able to significantly slow the growth of tumors on rats by preventing the tumors from

Testosterone And Working Memory; Epilepsy And Schizophrenia; Toxins And Neuron Death; Oregon Researchers Present Findings At Society For Neuroscience
At this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting, researchers from Oregon Health Sciences University are presenting findings on testosterone supplementation and working memory in older men, the delicate balance between epilepsy and schizophrenia, environmental toxins that destroy neurons, and a peptide that could someday be used to regulate sleep.

Yale Study Takes A New Look At Links Between Menopause And Mood Disorders
As the number of women who are experiencing menopause triples, the demand for more effective treatment of symptoms such as mood changes is also expected to increase. To address this situation, a psychiatrist at Yale University School of Medicine has launched a major series of studies on mood disorders and menopausal women that may offer relief for some symptoms of menopause.

Video Monitoring Can Improve Hospital Emergency Care
Videotapes showing anesthesiologists intubating the airway of severely injured patients to enable them to breathe revealed a number of performance deficiencies not captured in written reports by doctors after the fact. Evaluation of the videos led to improvements in equipment configuration and training to prevent future problems.

Mapping of Anxiety-Related Regions in the Brains Of Women with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Female patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and age- and gender-matched healthy controls were studied with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and with single photon emission tomography (SPET) by using a new specific benzodiazepine receptor radioligand. This study shows that the benzodiazepine receptor binding was significantly decreased in the left temporal pole among patients with GAD when compared with controls.

Affordable, Hand-Held Biosensor For Diagnostics
A portable, hand-held biosensor capable of detecting a wide range of medically important chemical compounds has been created by a team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego. It may represent a new type of practical, affordable device for many applications, including the screening of chemicals for drugs and diagnosing illness at the bedside.

Prof Uses Media To Help Explain Macroeconomics
Simon Fraser University economist Peter Kennedy turned to journalism for help when he decided to write a radically different kind of textbook which would explain the mysteries of macroeconomics to new students. After explaining basic concepts, Kennedy presents more than 500 newspaper quotes in Macroeconomic Essentials for Media interpretation (The MIT Press).

New Cancer Radiotherapy Shows Promise
The use of Bismuth-213 is rendering targeted alpha-particle cancer therapy feasible. The Bismuth-213 isotope is produced in the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU), one of the European Commission1s Research Centres in Karlsruhe. First ever tests carried out at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York on leukemia patients showed very encouraging results with no significant uptake of the isotope outside the target areas of bone marrow, liver and spleen.

UGA Researchers First To Determine That Leptin Causes Death Of Fat Cells
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia are the first to determine that the hormone leptin causes the programmed death of fat cells rather than simply reducing them in size.

Yale Sonar Robot Modeled After Bat And Dolphin Echolocation Behavior
A robot inspired by the ability of bats and dolphins to use echoes for locating prey is causing robotics experts to reevaluate the relative merits of sound waves versus camera vision for exploring new environments. The sonar device, which was designed and created by Yale University electrical engineering professor Roman Kuc, is so sensitive that it can tell whether a tossed coin has come up heads or tails.

Working Memory Theory Of Brain Organization Corroborated By Pet Images Of ADHS Patients
The first study to evaluate working memory in persons with ADHD using PET reported by Emory University researchers on Oct. 26 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Gene Therapy Can Prevent Complication From Transplant Failure In Animal Model
A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center may lead to the use of gene therapy for the prevention of chronic organ rejection, a major cause of patient death following transplantation.

Earthquake Shakes Up More Than Alabama
Moderately damaging earthquakes occur about every 20 years in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Because of the types of rocks found in the East, earthquake waves travel much farther than they do in the West, so an Eastern earthquake is felt over a much larger area.

Stress Of Caring For Older And Ill Relatives Can Lead To Serious Depression Or Resentment For Caregivers
A University of Georgia psychologist has developed a new model that can help predict whether those caring for ill, older relatives will suffer from depression or resentment

Geologist Finds Evidence Supporting Mysterious Ancient Sea
University of Cincinnati geologist Warren Huff and his collaborators have evidence from ancient volcanic ash beds which supports the notion of an ancient Iapetus Ocean. Other geologists have argued that North and South America were too close together to allow the ocean to exist. In contract, Huff's evidence indicates the two continents were literally poles apart.

$3 Million From Defense Department Will Fund Next Phase Of UT Southwestern's Gulf War Syndrome Research
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has received $3 million from the Department of Defense for research that will led to testing and treatment for veterans suffering from what has been termed Gulf War syndrome.

Vertex Neurophilin Compound Accelerates Nerve Regeneration In Rodent Models Of Central And Peripheral Nerve Injury
Vertex is developing small molecule compounds that promote nerve growth in central and peripheral nerve injury. Vertex will announce that an orally administered neurophilin compound, VA-10,367, accelerates functional recovery and nerve regeneration in rodent models of spinal cord injury and peripheral nerve injury.

Boston University Goes Online As Partner In National Computational Science Alliance
Boston University has added 128 processors to its Silicon Graphics Origin2000TM system, for a total of 192 processors as it joins research partners across the nation in an alliance to build the infrastructure that will link many of the world's most advanced computers.

New Study Addresses Urgency Of Conserving Lifesaving Medicinal Plants
As the demand for plant remedies soars, how can we protect the natural plant populations from loss of habitat, over- harvesting, and even extinction?

Study Finds Attitude Toward Exercise May Affect Health Benefits Of Working Out
The benefits of an exercise regimen in building resistance to disease may depend on attitudes toward the exercise, not just on whether people put themselves through the paces.

Planning Researcher Finds Best Neighborhoods Aren't Always Best At Preventing Infant Mortality
A planning researcher at the University of Cincinnati analyzed 15 years worth of data on infant mortality rates and found that the wealthiest neigbhorhoods don't always have the lowest rates of infant deaths. Chris Auffrey will present his findings in November at the meeting of the American Public Health Association.

Medicare Reimbursement System Encourages Increased Payments To Rehabilitation Hospitals
The economic incentives of Medicare's reimbursement system for rehabilitation hospitals encourages millions of dollars in increased payments each year. This was the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers with the University of Washington for the federal Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) and reported in the Oct. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Radiation Therapy Keeps Arteries Open After Angioplasty
Using low doses of radiation immediately after angioplasty can significantly reduce the risk that a heart patient's arteries will once again become too narrow in the future, a new study has found. An estimated 600,000 patients undergo such interventional procedures a year and researchers say up to 90 percent of these patients could be eligible for this new use for radiation therapy.

SFSU Astronomer Sees Cataclysms At Heart Of Million-Star Cluster
Peering into a massive swarm of ancient stars in our Milky Way galaxy, the Hubble Telescope has given astronomers the first chance to study rare cataclysmic events produced by colliding stars.The research provides a portrait of suns hurtling into catastrophic crashes while others become trapped in inescapable orbital duets.

Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders Linked To Teen Parenthood
Young people with early-onset mental illnesses--such as depression, anxiety disorders, and conduct disorders--are more likely to have children in their teenage years, according to a new study by a team of researchers at Harvard Medical School and other institutions.

Penn Scientists Develop Novel Procedure To Make Cancer Vaccines
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center researchers have devised a unique and rapid way to transform plentiful monocytes into battle-ready dendritic cells to make a new kind of cancer vaccine. In test-tube cultures, the modified cells have already shown their ability to activate T cells within one week.

Expert To Address Web Accessibility For Persons With Disabilities
Information technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives through its impact on work, commerce, scientific and engineering research, education and social interaction. Technology developed for the

Common Drugs May Prevent Antibiotic-Induced Deafness
University of Michigan scientists have found that iron chelators can prevent deafness in guinea pigs exposed to antibiotics that damage delicate hair cells in the inner ear. The U-M research could lead to a way to eliminate the threat of deafness to individuals treated with a common class of antibiotics.

Tipper Gore Alerts Parents About Increased SIDS Incidence During Cold Winter Weather
The cold, fall weather is bringing out the heavy clothes and blankets -- and also a warning to parents of infants from Tipper Gore, national spokesperson for the

Many Medical Screening Tests May Be Unnecessary.
Doctors can face an ethical dilemma when patients request screening tests - such as those for breast cancer and prostate cancer - that may be ill-advised under certain circumstances. Four authors explore that predicament in the article

Study: Social Drinking During Pregnancy Risks Infant Health
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Harlow Primate Laboratory demonstrates for the first time in a laboratory setting that even moderate drinking can harm infant development.

UT Southwestern Study Finds Common Pain Reliever Can Cause Liver Damage, Especially Mixed With Alcohol
High doses of acetaminophen, especially when mixed with alcohol, caused liver injury in some patients, researchers from UT Soputhwestern Medical Center at Dallas report in the Oct. 16 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

UW To Help Lead $20 Million Earthquake Hazard Prevention Project
University of Washington researchers will play a leading role in a $20 million effort to identify and mitigate potential earthquake hazards in urban areas along the Pacific coast. The UW joins eight California universities in the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center announced today by the National Science Foundation.

Potential Test For Lou Gehrig's Disease At Hand
Good results in preliminary studies of a potential diagnostic test for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have led Johns Hopkins scientists to call for an expanded trial immediately.

Frontier Geology Uncovers Mesozoic Asia
In the Mesozoic era, the Asian continent was assembled beneath the feet of roaming dinosaurs. On Oct. 21 at the AGU meeting in Salt Lake, Stanford geologists report on the picture of Asian geology that emerges from 12 years of studies in post-Cold-War China, Mongolia and East Russia.

Avigen Demonstrates Gene Therapy Success In Treating Animal Model Of Parkinson's Disease
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors effectively delivered gene therapy in an animal model of Parkinson1s disease. Abnormal movement decreased significantly in Parkinsonian rats receiving one or both genes for two enzymes involved in dopamine production, with animals receiving both genes improving more than rats receiving only one of the genes.

Epic Of Evolution Conference Brings Science And Religion Together November 12-14
A group of scientists, philosophers, and theologians will identify the common ground between science and religion and the discuss the latest research in the evolutionary sciences. The Epic of Evolution Conference is sponsored by the AAAS Program on the Dialogue Between Science and Religion and The Field Museum.

NSF Funds Earthquake Research Centers In California, Illinois And New York
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named three centers to conduct and coordinate earthquake engineering research for the nation. They will be located at the Universities of Illinois and California and the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Portions Of Male Sparrow Brains Grow When Birds Paired With Females
A new study indicating that portions of bird brains enlarge in response to social factors adds to the mounting evidence that brains of higher animals change over time. A University of Washington researcher said parts of the brains of male sparrows housed with females were 15 to 20 percent larger than the brains of other birds living with males or in isolation in a report to the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting.

St. John's Wort Study Launched
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching the first U.S. clinical trial of St. John's wort, an herb widely used in Europe to treat depression. In the 3-year study, 336 patients with major depression will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment arms for an eight-week trial.

Japan Seeks Guidance From UF Organ Recovery Experts
As Japan on Thursday legalizes organ transplants from brain- dead donors, officials are turning to the University of Florida for guidance as they struggle to educate their citizens -- many of whom believe death occurs only once the heart stops beating.

Unique Interactive Health Kiosks Distributed In Michigan
The University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center is launching a statewide network of interactive computer kiosks to link residents with up-to-date health information. The $1 million project, was funded by proceeds from the state tobacco tax. The highly interactive system is the first health-related project of its kind in the nation.

Photocatalytic Air Cleaning System Promises To Help Allergy Sufferers
Allergy and asthma sufferers soon may have a new weapon in their fight against airborne enemies: an indoor-air cleaning system that uses light and simple chemicals to destroy the dust mites and mold spores that cause many allergies.

HIV Subterfuge Revealed
NIAID researchers have found that even when HIV does not enter a cell, proteins in the outer envelope of the virus can bind to a molecule called CCR5 on the cell's surface and initiate a biochemical cascade that sends a signal to the cell's interior. This signalling process may activate the cell, making it more vulnerable to HIV infection.

Sports Scientists Say Weight Lifting Is Key In Preventing Severe Injuries
A three-year study of athlete injuries shows that players who follow a controlled strength-training program reduce their chances of suffering from severe injuries.

Gene Therapy, Robotics, Depression, Physical Activity, Sexual Problems--Among Topics Of American Heart Association's Scientific Meeting, Nov. 9 To 12
Research findings on a novel mechanism underlying progression of congestive heart failure, evidence that gene therapies can restore blood flow in obstructed blood vessels, and the first indication that high blood pressure can cause sexual problems in women will be among the subjects of the over 4,000 presentations at the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Sessions, Nov. 9 to 12, in Orlando, Fla.

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