Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 2000)

Science news and science current events archive October, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 2000

CU-Boulder graduate school awarded $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant
The University of Colorado at Boulder has received a five- year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, according to Chancellor Richard L. Byyny.

Experimental 'brain pacemaker' alleviates seizures in rats
Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered a promising new way to alleviate epileptic seizures by stimulating a facial nerve that extends into the brain, disrupting the cycle of seizure activity. Their experiments in rats also involved testing the concept of a

University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist is named ESA president
Stephen Carpenter has been elected the new president of the Ecological Society of America.

Public programs encourage retirement at 60, says research
Today's Canadian seniors benefit most from government retirement programs if they stop working between 60 and 61 years of age, says University of Toronto economist Michael Baker.

Recovery from spinal injury
Victims of debilitating spinal cord injuries may in the future have greater chances for recovery of some locomotive functions, thanks to pioneering spinal cord research by Texas A&M University neuroscientist James Grau.

CCI-779 shows positive safety profile and potential anti-tumor activity
Novel anticancer therapy CCI-779 targets abnormal cell growth, with a generally mild to moderate side-effect profile, according to new data presented today at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Further findings revealing the role of CCI-779's target, the recently discovered mTOR3 pathway, were also presented.

Study shows way to grow new blood vessels in the heart
Damage from heart attacks may be partially reversible in the future, with recent discoveries being made at Ohio State University. Scientists here are seeking new methods for patients to grow blood vessels in the heart to replace the ones they've lost in a heart attack.

Investigational drug study may determine if lung cancer is preventable in cigarette smokers
Researchers at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University are seeking participants for a National Cancer Institute-sponsored study of an investigational drug that may prevent cigarette smokers from developing cancer.

New evidence indicates Four Corners Puebloans migrated far south after 1300
New evidence indicates while many Pueblo groups that abandoned the Four Corners area about 1300 migrated south to settle in northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, others made a swift, southernly migration up to 250 miles long.

Federal agencies join hands for second year of leading-edge education research
The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Education (ED), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have announced the second round of awards under the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI), supporting research aimed at improving education in reading, math and science from preschool through high school.

Lead accelerates aging process years after exposure
Lead exposure on the job can cause progressive declines in memory and learning abilities nearly two decades later, according to a study in the October 24 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Blooming health thanks to a frog
In the October 15 issue of the scientific journal Genes & Development, Dr. Hong Yan and his team at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia detail their use of frogs to investigate how the gene defective in patients with Bloom's Syndrome functions.

Study shows air pollution slows lung function growth in children
Common air pollutants slow children's lung development over time, according to results from the University of Southern California-led Children's Health Study.

Initial results from first international trial of immunotherapy show it may help some melanoma patients
Preliminary results from the first ever Phase III trial of immunotherapy show that it has no advantage in melanoma patients with advanced disease. But in patients who have not yet developed symptoms from the spread of their cancer, the treatment may be promising.

Dutch men and women exposed to famine in utero have poor lipid profiles
Adult men and women who were exposed to famine in utero during the earliest stages of gestation exhibit an abnormal lipid profile, according to research published in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Participants in the study exposed in early gestation had significantly higher cholesterol levels than other groups. These findings suggest that maternal malnutrition in the first trimester permanently alters the lipid profile of the offspring later in life.

Emory-led research group awarded NCI grant for developing novel anti-cancer drugs
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a $3.8 million grant to establish a National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group (NCDDG) at Emory University in conjunction with the University of Georgia and Wayne State University. The group will develop new anti-cancer drugs based on sphingolipids, a category of compounds that recently have been discovered to restore many cell behaviors that are out of control in cancer.

INEEL researchers create mighty magnets with minuscule structure
Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory researchers have discovered a way to make magnets used in computer hard drives and motors more powerful and durable, while also slashing their manufacturing costs

Book helps parents over hurdle of having 'the talk' with their children
Most parents and children dread the time when they sit down and have

Interferon Alfa 2b extends overall survival and relapse-free survival in patients with high-risk melanoma, reports University of Pittsburgh-led U.S. I
Interferon alfa 2b unequivocally improves survival in adult patients who have surgically treated melanoma considered at high risk of recurring, according to a definitive, large- scale study headquartered at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Results are being presented Oct. 16 at the European Society of Medical Oncology in Hamburg, Germany.

Researchers explain decade-old riddle: why does silicon energy barrier exist?
Chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have answered an important decade-old scientific riddle that has been the subject of hundreds of research papers about hydrogen - the simplest element - and properties of silicon, which are at the heart of the microelectronics revolution.

Cycle helmets do protect against head inquires
The number of serious head injuries among cyclists of all ages has fallen as a result of increasing helmet use, despite doubts about the effectiveness of helmets, particularly for adults, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Aslera™ improves bone mineral density in lupus patients
Aslera™ (GL701 or prasterone) improves bone mineral density (BMD) and prevents BMD loss in female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) treated with prednisone, according a Phase III placebo-controlled, double- blind multicenter study. Genelabs Technologies, Inc. is developing GL701 for SLE.

Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, October 3, 2000
1) - Cancer Doctors' Attitudes and Practices Regarding Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Influenced by Training, Time, and Health Care Resources; 2) Common

Lawrence Livermore Lab pioneers advanced radiation treatment for cancer
LLNL has developed an advanced method for targeting tumors with radiation treatment. It's called Peregrine and the technology could eventually save thousands of lives each year. It's just been approved by the FDA and has been licensed to NOMOS Corporation. It will soon be in the medical community and could change the way cancer is treated in America. City of Hope in California has purchased the first system.

NIAID awards major malaria vaccine research contract
In its continuing efforts to promote research on vaccines to prevent malaria, NIAID recently awarded a seven-year, $43.8 million contract to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for malaria vaccine production and support services. The contract will support the transition of new malaria vaccine candidates from discovery in the laboratory up to clinical trials.

When ball meets bat, the hands no longer matter: Physicist shows that grip does not make a difference during contact
In a new paper, a University of Illinois researcher says the grip on the bat during contact with a baseball does nothing to affect the power delivered to the ball. Even if the hitters were to let go of the bat right before contact, the batted ball would have the same speed and trajectory, he has found.

Dual-earner couples follow traditional gender roles
Dual-earner couples might seem to have new-millennium marriages. But their strategies to manage work and family turn out to be a variant of the traditional breadwinner/homemaker division. It's still the husbands' career that gets priority, says a study by Phyllis Moen of Cornell University, published in the current issue of Social Problems (August 2000).

Using Hubble data, scientists show Io's mantle is similar to Earth's
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have determined the eruption conditions of Jupiter's satellite Io and concluded that the moon has a differentiated mantle similar to Earth's. The scientists used Hubble data, the first time that telescope data has been used to study present-day interior processes of a solar system body.

Gender differences in private substance abuse treatment retention
  • Longer stays in alcohol and drug treatment lead to better post-treatment results.
  • Factors leading to a successful stay in treatment seem to differ by gender.
  • For women, staying in treatment was predicted by being unemployed, being married, having higher incomes, and having lower levels of psychiatric problems.
  • For men, staying in treatment was predicted by being older, receiving employer pressure to enter treatment, and having a goal to abstain.


Food poisoning bugs thrive in crop sprays
Eating fresh fruit may make you sick. Researchers in Canada have discovered that pesticide sprays encourage life- threatening bacteria to grow on crops, which could pose a threat to people eating raw fruit and vegetables.

U.S. science delegation headed for U.N. international climate negotiations in The Hague
Ten of the top experts from the University of California (UC) and other leading institutions involved in many aspects of global climate change research will participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP-6) taking place in The Hague, Netherlands, Nov. 13-24.

Radiation therapy controls voicebox tumors and saves voice
Radiation therapy controls tumors of the voicebox almost as well as surgery, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The treatment also restores the quality of the voice

UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center program triumphs
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center basic scientists and clinical researchers have received a highly coveted grant from the National Cancer Institute that they say will fuel their ongoing mission to methodically and aggressively move in on prostate cancer.

Climate change, fishing, alter salmon abundance
Clues left by decaying salmon at the bottom of five Alaska lakes point to climate change and over-fishing as two causes of the state's boom and bust salmon runs, according to a study by Alaskan and Canadian researchers published today (October 27) in the journal, Science.

Moderate vitamin E supplementation may lower diabetics' cardiovascular risk
Diabetics have a 3- to 4- fold risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is their leading cause of death. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Engelen et al. found that a moderate dose of vitamin E may correct the lipid peroxidation disorders that lead to increased CVD risk in diabetics. A moderate dose of the antioxidant vitamin E slowed the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, although lipid profiles and glycemic index did not change.

Rape: international action is not enough
At least one in every five women experiences rape or attempted rape during her lifetime, yet international efforts to prevent sexual violence are failing because the judicial system is so often stacked against women, according to an editorial in this week's BMJ.

The environment and cancer
In the fourth article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal series on Environment and Health, Dr. Richard Clapp of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University, reviews the relationship between environmental exposure and cancer.

New developments in identifying most-at-risk breast cancer patients
The key to recognising which women with breast cancer are likely to develop secondary disease may be a protein called maspin. The amount of maspin produced by breast cells is associated with a reduced risk of relapse.

Genome sequencing sheds light on bacterium harmful to newborns
Scientists completed sequencing the genome of Ureaplasma urealyticum, a sexually transmitted bacterium commonly found in adults but, if passed on to newborn infants, can cause in them meningitis, pneumonia, and even death.

Hopkins wins $14 million NIH grant for genetic cardiopulmonary disease research
The Johns Hopkins Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine has received a $14 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to identify genes involved in 10 heart and lung diseases, with the goal of enhancing their diagnosis and treatment. The grant will be distributed over the next four years, and the division will have a chance to renew for an additional four-year period.

Millennium and Bayer industrializing drug discovery process through ongoing successful research alliance
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Bayer AG are moving more than 70 disease-relevant validated drug targets into high- throughput screening or lead identification in the first two years of their five-year alliance. The companies streamlined the genomics-centered process with Millennium industrializing the identification, characterization and validation of target proteins and Bayer conducting large-scale high-throughput screening.

Fish oil and vitamin E reduce levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in rheumatoid arthritis, UB study shows
A study by University at Buffalo researchers has shown that fish oil and vitamin E are promising potential therapies for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

The human side of restoring nature
Environmental restoration is about more than plants and animals. In a newly released book, Restoring Nature: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities, researchers explore the realm of human-nature interactions, of differing values and understandings about nature, and how that information can be effectively used to guide science and policy.

Breaking Medical News
AASLD encourages the media to attend the more than 1,200 presentations covering liver-related diseases featuring previously-unpublished findings on such diverse topics as:

· Genetically-determined alcoholic liver disease
· Therapeutic liver regeneration with pancreatic cells and bone
marrow stem cells
· The role of viral infection in the development of primary biliary cirrhosis
· Liver cancer emerging as a frequent consequence of chronic viral hepatitis

Inhaled steroids safe and effective for children with asthma, NHLBI study shows
The NHLBI's 5-year, 8 center Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) showed that inhaled corticosteroids provide superior asthma control. Their only side effect was a temporary one -- a small reduction in the children's rate of growth observed just in the first year of treatment. The inhaled corticosteroids significantly reduced airway hyperresponsiveness but did not improve measures of lung function.

Cheesecloth-like device bends light with little loss: May improve lasers, optical communications, photonic computers
A tiny bar that in appearance resembles cheesecloth has bent infrared beams with very little loss of light in laboratory experiments at Sandia National Laboratories. The simple, inexpensive, essentially two-dimensional artificial crystal may drastically reduce the energy needed to start and operate a laser, act as a wire for light, more efficiently relay optical signals, and ultimately help develop photonic chips.

Virco first to use artificial intelligence to unravel the mystery of HIV drug resistance
Data presented today at the 5th International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection for the first time revealed the mutations in the genetic code of HIV that make the virus resistant to the HIV drug, d4T (stavudine). The mutations were identified using an artificial intelligence technique known as neural networks.

Improving quality of life for brain cancer patients is reasonable goal, study shows
In the first study of its kind, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have used standardized methods to identify neurologic and psychiatric problems in adult brain tumor patients shortly after diagnosis, opening a doorway to improving certain issues affecting patients' quality of life.

Sea may be source of future medicines
A great diversity of actinomycetes bacteria with potential as sources of medical drugs have been found living in marine sponges. About 70 percent of natural antibiotics come from actinomycetes already, but from soil-borne species.

Long-term study revealed low stroke rates associated with vitamin C level in bloodstream
Individuals with high blood levels of vitamin C have significantly reduced risk of stroke, according to a long-term study reported in the October issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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