Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 1998)

Science news and science current events archive October, 1998.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 1998

"Swing" Test May Identify Those At Highest Risk Of Death From Congestive Heart Failure
A new test that measures swings in heart rate during the day may help identify individuals with congestive heart failure who are at the highest risk of dying from the condition within a year. The test measures heart rate variability (HRV), the amount by which the heart rate changes from slow rates to fast rates in one 24-hour period.

Space Might Enhance Gene Transfer In Plants
Scientists are finding that plants can serve as

Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Leads To Lower Child IQ Scores, Language Skills
Prenatal cocaine exposure lowers IQ and language performance scores and results in thousands of children each year who enter school needing special education services, according to a new study by three Brown University researchers.

Does Initial Management Affect The Rate Of Repetition Of Deliberate Self Harm? Cohort Study
Patients who inflict self harm and discharge themselves from hospital before they have undergone a psychiatric assessment are more likely to repeat their actions, say Dr. Mike Crawford and Professor Simon Wessely from the Institute of Psychiatry.

33,000 Web Tests Show Unconscious Roots Of Racism, Ageism
People have taken more than 33,000 tests that measure unconscious components of prejudice and stereotyping in the first week since twin Web sites were opened to the public by University of Washington and Yale psychologists. Results show test takers show a preference for white over black and young over old.

Stress Hormone Levels Predict Length Of Gestation In Human Pregnancy
Levels of a stress hormone, corticoptropin-releasing hormone (CRH), measured in mothers in the early third trimester of pregnancy may predict the length of gestation and preterm delivery, according to a study by a University of Kentucky researcher working in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The findings are reported in today's American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

For The First Time, Researchers Test Implantable Heart-Shocker To Correct Shaky Rhythms That Can Lead To Stroke
For the first time, an implantable heart-shocking device has been used to correct atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke. The device, called an Atrioverter, may offer a new treatment for individuals whose hearts are prone to atrial fibrillation.

Dentisty Tips For Older Adults
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty address many aspects of oral health in older people.

Controlled Cell Death
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry/Germany have identified the function of a gene which is responsible for the programmed death of cells. New perspectives can be envisioned for the treatment of diseases which are caused by the malfunction of programmed cell death: specific types of cancer, strokes and Alzheimer's disease.

How Black Americans Faring In An Increasingly Diverse Nation
Uneven progress of African Americans identified in a new report on race in America.

Comprehensive Effort Needed To Prevent And Treat Traumatic Injuries
A comprehensive national effort to prevent and treat injuries from firearms and other sources could save thousands of lives each year, says a new Institute of Medicine report.

Report By East St. Louis Residents Lauds University's Work In Community
City residents who were skeptical in 1990, when University of Illinois faculty and students arrived bearing ideas for revitalizing decaying, semi-abandoned neighborhoods, have handed the U. of I.'s East St. Louis Action Research Project a fairly glowing report card.

Seeing Through Steel: INEEL Developed Technology Identifies Chemical Weapons
INEEL researchers have developed a portable system that identifies chemical weapons inside warheads -- without opening the projectiles up. They recently evaluated rusty, World War II-era U.S. warheads uncovered in the Solomon Islands. The projectiles contained mustard gas, and can be safely destroyed in a chemical weapons incinerator.

Magnetic Manipulation For Molten Metals
Powerful magnetic forces are now being used to levitate, stir and dam the flow of molten metal in the production of steel and aluminium. New research from Cambridge and Oxford universities is allowing manufacturers to produce cleaner, higher quality metals and alloys in less polluting and cheaper processes.

R&D Investment Up, Federal Contribution Down - Special Chemical & Engineering News Report
For the fourth year in a row, investment in American research and development is expected to outpace the strong growth of the U.S. economy, despite a decrease in federal R&D dollars, according to a special report in the Oct. 19 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Nurses Can Safely Manage Half Of Out Of Hours Calls In Primary Care
Val Lattimer and colleagues from the University of Southampton report on their trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of nurse telephone consultation in out of hours primary care. They found that the system halved the out of hours workload of general practitioners and was at least as safe as the existing service.

New Penn State Scanner Probes Sub-Surface Over Broad Temperature Range
Penn State engineers have developed a prototype ultrasonic scanner, or acoustic microscope, that can image the interior of a material as it responds to temperature changes by melting, deforming or solidifying.

Space Shuttle Flies Solar Instrument Developed At NCAR
The space shuttle Discovery, scheduled for takeoff Thursday, October 29, is carrying a white light coronograph (WLC), an instrument for studying the sun's corona, developed at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. With the WLC, researchers have a tool to determine densities of the corona.

Surgically Inducing A Heart Attack May Help Reduce Symptoms In Those WithEnlarged Hearts, Scientists Say
Injecting alcohol into the walls of the heart and deliberately inducing a heart attack can ease the symptoms of a genetic enlargement of the heart, report researchers.

Penn Researchers Find Negative Bias In Newspaper Coverage of Managed Care -- In "Media Vs. Managed Care," Media Takes Round #1
University of Pennsylvania researchers find negative bias in newspaper coverage of managed care. Two-thirds of print articles analyzed provided a negative representation of this growing form of health insurance.

Trace Amounts Of Nicotine Raise Blood Pressure In An Animal Model
Minuscule amounts of nicotine--comparable to the trace amounts found in the blood after only fifteen minutes of exposure to second hand smoke--can trigger the release of chemicals that raise blood pressure in an animal model, report researchers from the University of Chicago in the October 13 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study Documents Attitudes About Assisted Suicide Among Patients With Lou Gehrig's Disease
In the first survey of Oregon patient attitudes about physician-assisted suicide, researchers have found 56 percent of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) would consider assisted suicide. But patients were much less certain about actually taking a lethal dose of medication.

Science Writers Workshop
A Science Writers Workshop will be held on the topic of CARDIOVASCULAR GENETICS, 10 a.m., October 28, 1998, during the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, Rm. A106 Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado.

Faith And Health: Divine Intervention Or Good Behavior?
Religion and faith appear to exert positive effects on people's health, but that doesn't necessarily mean divine intervention is at work, scientists say. Instead, they see the handiwork of behaviors that previous research has shown promote health and fight disease: increased social support, coping skills and a positive self-image.

Hopkins Sacrifices Telescope, Safeguards Sky-Mapping Project
A little telescope at Johns Hopkins, used only for students and public viewing, not for research, has come to the rescue of the ambitious Sloan Digital Sky Survey project.

Innovative Database Developed For The Study Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A database designed to accelerate research on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is now

Ribozymes To The Rescue: New UF Gene Therapy Shows Promise For Treatment Of Inherited Blindness
University of Florida researchers have designed a new genetic weapon that can--in laboratory animals--significantly slow progression of retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of inherited human blindness.

Rapid Population Growth Is Still A Problem
Population growth will continue, notes demographer John Bongaarts in the October 16, 1998 issue of Science. Fertility rates in developed countries are not as low as they appear to be because reported fertility measures do not reflect the fact that couples are still having about two children--they're just having them later in life.

Hurricane Georges Damages Chandeleur Islands--New Orleans' First Line Of Storm Defense
Aerial flights on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Georges hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, revealed what one USGS scientist called the worst damage to the Chandeleur Islands that he had seen in more than a decade. The string of islands buffers the mainland from both the wind and storm surges associated with hurricanes, tropical storms and winter storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fully Endoscopic Brain Surgery At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
A new type of minimally invasive, fully endoscopic skull base brain surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center gives surgeons a panoramic view of pituitary tumor sites and results in reduced operating time, fewer complications, no scarring, less discomfort for the patient and a dramatically shorter length-of-stay.

Same Parts Of Brain Move Eyes And Shift Attention
If you've ever tried to sneak a peak at someone without them knowing, you may be surprised to learn that the parts of the brain that control eye movements are the same as those that shift attention. Researchers in St. Louis reached this conclusion using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Researchers Identify Risk Factors For Infants Most Likely To Be Homicide Victims
An infant's chances of becoming a homicide victim during the first year of life are greatest if he or she is the second or later born child of a teenage mother, according to a study in the October 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The authors noted, however, that other studies of nonfatal child abuse suggest that a program to have home nurses visit expectant teenage mothers regularly could reduce the infant homicide rate.

Doctors And Nurses Must Be Mindful Of Their Jargon
Dr David Hutchon, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist says that the word

UNC-CH Studies Show Medicine Can Reverse Osteoporosis From Transplants, Cystic Fibrosis
Studies of a drug known as Pamidronate indicate that the drug is highly effective in partially reversing the bone weakening known as osteoporosis due to drugs taken after various transplants, including lung transplants in cystic fibrosis patients.

Women's Health Study Reaches Recruitment Goal
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) announced that more than 160,000 women have joined the Women's Health Initiative, a 15-year study administered by the NHLBI, part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers are examining ways to prevent heart disease, breast and colorectal cancers, and osteoporosis.

Cyberschools, Racism, Pig's Kidneys, And Prehistoric Pollution
These are just a few of the topics included among 2700 papers to be presented at the 97th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, December 2-6, at the Philadelphia Marriott.

Hospital Accommodates Blind Writer/Editor/Graphic Designer
October is National Disability Employment Month - Jorian Clair is a writer, editor and graphic designer at Cedars- Sinai Medical Center. Nothing extraordinary about that, right? Wrong. She's also almost completely blind, and has been for the 14 years that she has held this position at Cedars-Sinai.

Hopkins Study Shows Brain Damage Evidence In "Ecstasy" Users
The common street drug

Colorado Scientist Involved In Deep Space 1 Mission
A University of Colorado at Boulder professor is part of a science team working with a miniaturized, futuristic space probe capable of navigating its own way through space and powered by a solar-electric propulsion system.

Hormone Therapy Increases Survival Of High Risk Prostate Cancer Patients
Prostate cancer patients receiving radiotherapy who are at a high risk of dying of the disease have an increased survival rate if they take hormonal therapies for longer than average periods, according to a study conducted by a University of California San Francisco prostate cancer expert.

Effects Of Anesthesia On Labor And Delivery On Breastfeeding
The use of general anesthesia or pain-relief agents given during labor, delivery or the postpartum period should not interfere with breastfeeding, says a Penn State researcher.

DOE Joint Human Genome Effort Exceeds Sequencing Goal
The U.S. Department of Energy today announced that its Joint Genome Institute surpassed its ambitious goal of sequencing 20 million base pairs for fiscal year 1998. The Institute ranks third worldwide in terms of its total contribution of human DNA sequence to public databases.

Kennewick Man Remains To Be Transferred To Burke Museum Noon Thursday
The 9,300-year-old skeletal remains known as Kennewick Man will be transferred to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus in Seattle on Thursday, Oct. 29, from Battelle's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. A van will deliver a sealed container with the remains, which are the center of a lawsuit, at about noon.

BioNumerik Reports The Supercomputer Supported Discovery Of New, Non-Toxic Chemotherapy Protecting Agent
BioNumerik reports a key scientific publication in the October issue of Seminars in Oncology which describes the discovery and mechanism of action of a new, non-toxic second- generation platinum protecting agent which appears to substantially reduce the toxicity associated with anti-cancer drugs such as cisplatin and carboplatin.

Cedars-Sinai Scientist Finds Malignancy Gene In Tumor Cells
A scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has discovered a gene that exists in malignant tumors of the brain, liver, breast, colon, kidney, and reproductive organs, but not in healthy adults, stirring hopes that a vital key to cancer development and progression may have been unmasked.

Changes In Care Lower Costs Of Surgery To Prevent Stroke
Life-saving surgery to prevent stroke is cheaper and takes less time for recovery as a result of changes that have streamlined stroke management, according to a study.

Nurses Learn To Tend To Cultural Differences
Nurses today are learning how to mix a little cultural understanding with the medical care they offer. Purdue University expert Sharon Posey says nurses adjust their nursing care to the sensitivities of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Baseball Fan Creates Algorithm To Divvy Season Tickets
When friends buy seasons tickets together, who goes to the Yankees game? That was the problem faced by a Washington State mathematician, who came up with a unique solution: write a math model complete with a series of algorithms to distribute tickets fairly.

New Study: Naming Trends Change More Often For Girls Than Boys
Much like women's fashions, popular female names shift from trendy to tired in a matter of a few years, while many male names remain as eternal as the necktie, a new Ohio University study suggests.

International Water Research Center Established
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the French conglomerate Vivendi have begun a partnership to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to improve the environmental and economic issues related to urban water and wastewater management. 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