Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 1997)

Science news and science current events archive September, 1997.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 1997

Researchers Develop Superior Method For Producing Butanol
Butanol producers may return to the corn fields following a dramatic improvement in the fermentation process that is making the corn-based version of the chemical more than 60 percent cheaper to produce than with traditional fermentation processes.

New Test May Improve Treatment Of Kidney Disease
Why some patients with kidney diseases respond well to certain medications and others do not has continued to stump physicians. With no means to test the medications besides trial and error, finding the right treatment is often a frustrating experience for physicians and their patients.

Artificial Intelligence Improves Heart Attack Diagnosis
Drawing on artificial intelligence technology, researchers have for the first time found that machines show promise of improving on human's ability to diagnose heart attacks, according to a study in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Trojan Horse Virus Controls Hiv Infection
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grantees at Yale University have converted a common livestock virus into a Trojan horse that selectively targets HIV- infected cells and then destroys them.

Mouth-To-Mouth Ventilation's Role In CPR Questioned
An expert panel suggests that in adult cardiac arrest, mouth- to-mouth ventilation as a part of CPR rarely helps and may even harm the patient. It can interfere with chest compressions, cause significant adverse effects, make CPR more difficult to teach, learn and perform, and dissuades bystanders from initiating therapy.

New Land Mine Detectors May Help Fulfill Princess Diana's Dream
A revolutionary new land mine detection system, developed at the University of Florida originally for military use, is ready to be converted for a humanitarian effort to rid the world of leftover land mines lurking in former war areas.

Recidivism Rates Drop 21 Percent For Juveniles In Family Solutions Project
A program that combines first-time juvenile offenders, their parents and siblings with counselors has shown a 21 percent decrease in recidivism rates when compared with juveniles who didn't complete the program.

MGH-Led Team Finds Gene For Crippling Neurologic Disorder
A research team led by investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital has identified and cloned the gene responsible for early-onset dystonia, a crippling, inherited neurological disorder that begins in childhood.

In Diabetics, Unsteady Blood Sugar Level Predicts Higher Risk . . .
Wide swings in blood sugar levels can spell trouble, a study of elderly diabetics in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation finds.

Duke Obtains FDA Designation For Pompe Disease Therapy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Duke University's application for Orphan Drug Designation for a new therapy for Pompe disease, an inherited and usually lethal glycogen storage disease that often afflicts children, Duke officials announced.

AAAS Letter To Congress Urges Attention To Human Rights
Legislative proposals for the regulation of cryptography technologies should be carefully evaluated for their effects on the work of U.S. human rights groups, says the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in a letter to Congress today.

New, Environmentally Friendly Technique For Separating Liquids Invented At UNC-CH
An 'exciting' new industrial process for separating liquid chemicals from one another -- a technique that promises to cut release of toxic substances into the environment -- has been developed by chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues.

Study: Hydrogen Bonds Aren't Key To DNA Pairing After All
Hydrogen bonds play at best only a peripheral role in the accurate pairing of DNA bases, University of Rochester researchers have shown, overturning the conventional wisdom long held by biochemists. The finding forces scientists back to the drawing board to revisit the fundamental question of what1s really behind the amazing fidelity of DNA replication.

Zebra Mussels Are Spreading Rapidly, USGS Reports
Zebra mussels expanded their range in the past year, invading 11 new lakes in the Great Lakes region and dramatically increasing in Lake Champlain, according to U.S. Geological Survey biologists.

Conversation An Active Element In Comforting
When you're upset, putting the hurt into words is probably the best thing you can do to get over it, says a Purdue University expert on communication.

Will Your Child Become An Overweight Adult? Step On The Scale
Doctors frequently encounter overweight children in their medical practices. However, it can be difficult for doctors to know whether they should label a child as overweight and intervene with advice on nutrition and activity. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a child's chance of obesity is greatly increased if he or she has at least one obese parent.

Infectious And Parasitic Diseases Still Threaten World Health
More than 17 million people were killed by infectious and parasitic diseases last year, and most could have been avoided, according to a new report co-written at Argonne National Laboratory

Nutrients, Ground Water, And The Chesapeake Bay - A Link With Pfiesteria?
Scientists from the USGS and other agencies involved in Chesapeake Bay studies are working together to understand the delivery of nutrients from the land into the Bay and the relationship of nutrients to Pfiesteria-like organisms and ultimately fish health.

Diversifying Industrial R&D Key To Future Of Florida's High-Tech Enterprise
A new report from AAAS predicts long-term uncertainity for Florida's federal R&D funding. Its future as a high-tech leader will be dependent upon the state's ability to diversify its industrial R&D programs.

Testosterone Linked To Violence In Female Inmates
Higher testosterone levels are linked with criminal violence and aggressive dominance among women in prison, says a Georgia State University study. Researchers measured testosterone in 87 female inmates at a maximum security prison and found it associated with both the violence of the women's crimes and their aggressive dominance in prison.

'Virtual lab' Lets Students Tackle Engineering Tasks On The Web
A Johns Hopkins University professor has built a

Molecular Piracy Turns Protein Into Traitor
An act of molecular piracy may put Glaxo Wellcome scientists on the track of drugs that would prevent HIV from entering human cells. HHV-8 appears to have stolen a gene from the human host which codes for a chemokine. The virus then transformed it into a potent and broad-spectrum blocker of our chemokine system.

Antioxidant-Enhancing Drug Partly Rescues Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss may be caused partly by free- radical oxidative damage to sensory cells in the inner ear, and a drug called R-PIA can lessen the extent of damage by enhancing antioxidant activity, researchers in the University at Buffalo1s Center for Hearing and Deafness have found.

Future Supersonic Jets Pose Problems For Jet Fuel
The next generation of advanced supersonic aircraft will be cooled by jet fuel, but researchers must first find a way to prevent fuel degradation and carbon deposition.

Parenting Course Helps Young Fathers Say 'It's My Child, Too'
Young fathers, barely more than children themselves, are learning how to be good dads thanks to a Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service class on fathering called

Study Links Trans Fatty Acids To Breast Cancer
Analyzing tiny fat samples from 698 European women1s buttocks revealed that those with breast cancer had higher levels of trans fatty acids stored in their bodies than women without breast cancer, according to a new international study.

NIH Consensus Development Conference On Acupuncture
NIH Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture November 3-5, 1997 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, Maryland Contact: Bill Hall, 301-496-4819,

Radio Observations Provide New Clues To Nature Of Gamma Ray Fireball
A team of astronomers using a pair of National Science Foundation (NSF) radio telescopes has made the first measurements of the size and expansion of a mysterious, intense

UGA Researchers In Midst Of Largest Study Of Mediator Skills Ever Conducted
University of Georgia professors will present results from the first two years of a four-year study on mediation skills at this weekend's American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy annual meeting in Atlanta.

Formal Opening Of XMaS In Grenoble
XMaS - One of Europe's most powerful instruments for studying the properties of magnetic materials will be formally opened (Thursday, 19th September) at the European Synchroton Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France.

Nationwide Hunt For Rheumatoid Arthritis Genes Launched: National Institutes Of Health And Arthritis Foundation Announce Research Partnership
The NIH (NIAMS and NIAID) and the Arthritis Foundation are joining forces to support a national consortium of 12 research centers in the search for genes that determine susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis. In what is the largest such effort in the world, researchers plan to collect medical information and genetic material from 1,000 families nationwide in which two or more siblings have rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers Discover First Animal Strain Of Hepatitis E Virus
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md., have identified a strain of hepatitis E virus in pigs that is very similar to the strain that causes disease in humans.

Program Helps Nursing Home Staff And Families Communicate
Cornell gerontologist, Karl Pillemer, has developed a program and published a manual called

National Study Finds Family, School Ties Help Protect Teens From Risky Behavior
Strong and supportive ties between parents and children help protect adolescents against a variety of risky behaviors, including substance abuse, early sexual activity, pregnancy, emotional distress, suicide and violence. That¹s one of the major conclusions of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).

Hospital-Acquired Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Triple Costs And Lengths Of Hospitalization
Duke University Medical Center researchers have put a price tag on the most common hospital-acquired infections that can prolong and increase the cost of a patient's stay in the hospital.

Presidential Awards Honor Mentoring Efforts Of 19 Individuals And Institutions
The White House today announced that ten individuals and nine institutions are winners of the 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Bering Land Bridge Conference In Colorado Slated For Sept. 20
Scores of scientists from around the world will be in Colorado Sept. 20 to Sept. 23 for a conference on the prehistoric environment of the Bering land bridge, believed to be the migration corridor for the earliest North Americans.

Mutant Gene Not Sole Explanation For Hiv Non-Progression
A recently described genetic mutation does not fully explain why a small proportion of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remain completely well for a decade or more, according to investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Gene Mutant Leads To Five-Fold Heart Attack Risk
Researchers have found a mutation in a fat-dissolving gene that raises the risk of heart attack by five-fold compared to individuals with a normal gene. Reporting in today's American Heart Association journal Circulation, they say the gene mutation may place 1 in 1,500 individuals at increased risk for heart attack.

Medical School Aims To Produce More Sensitive, More Caring Physicians
The University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is developing a model program to train prospective doctors how to empathize and communicate with their patients.

Pharmaceuticals Manufactured In Insect Larvae
Thanks to the confluence of a new technology in virology and a recent patent in rearing insects, scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research Inc. (BTI), located at Cornell University, have found a better way to produce commercial quantities of pharmaceutical proteins out of insect larvae.

New State Of Matter Found In High-Temperature Superconductors
Experiments on yttrium-barium-copper-oxide superconductors have generated a clearer understanding of the peculiar behavior of this unconventional behavior. Illinois researchers say they've found the first example of a solid superconductor displaying broken time-reversal symmetry.

Pioneering Team Spending Winter Atop Greenland Ice Sheet
Winter has already begun for a crew of four who will spend the entire season atop the Greenland ice sheet studying the weather at a remote outpost called Summit. The camp at the apex of the ice sheet, where the sun will set in November and not reappear until late January, is the first attempt supported by the National Science Foundation to over-winter in Greenland.

Super-Thin Computer Screens Near Reality For Use In Tight Spaces
Hospital rooms and fighter plane cockpits are perfect places for super-thin color computer monitors that will result from technology being developed at the University of Florida. Researchers are working to provide color for computer screens so small they can be mounted on the head with colors comparable to a television.

Chernobyl Animals Highly Contaminated But Undeformed
Wildlife near Chernobyl, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, not only survives, it abounds in the area, now largely abandoned by humans. University of Georgia researchers have found genetic changes but no deformities in several species of fish and rodents examined near Chernobyl in eight expeditions to the area since 1991.

Pawpaw Shows Promise In Fighting Drug-Resistant Tumors
A Purdue University researcher has found compounds in the bark of the pawpaw tree that have shown some success in fighting drug-resistant cancers. Details will be presented Thursday, Sept. 11 at the American Chemical Society national meeting in Las Vegas.

Immigrant Study Provides New Insights
Legal immigrants are more educated as a group than native-born U.S citizens, according to a just-released survey of new immigrants. This news is among many valuable findings about an increasingly important group in American society. The findings come from a new comprehensive survey funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with support from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Researchers Discover Probable Molecular Site Of Alcohol And Anesthetic Actions
Researchers have identified a region on the surface of nerve cells that may be essential for the actions of anesthetics, opening a door to rational design of new medications. The same site may be responsible for the depressive effects of alcohol and could provide insights into the genetics of addiction.

Stiffening The Spines Of Large Space Structures
Stanford doctoral student E. Harrison Teague has developed a dynamic control system for large, flexible space structures that prevents destructive vibrations. It relies on signals from the Global Positioning System, the Department of Defense's satellite navigation system, to track the positions of different parts of the structure with centimeter-level precision.

Endometriosis Symptoms Improve Dramatically After Surgery For Most Women UB Prospective Study Finds
A prospective study of surgical treatment for endometriosis has shown that the majority of women who undergo surgery for the condition experience dramatic improvement in pain and discomfort. Conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo, it is reported in the Journal of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. 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