Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 1999)

Science news and science current events archive September, 1999.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 1999

Magnet therapy: what's the attraction?
A University of Maryland physics professor raises doubts on the practice of using magnets to relieve pain--with some simple experiments you can try at home.

New series tackles complementary medicine
This week's BMJ sees the beginning of a new series of the ABCs of Complementary Medicine. This first issue looks at what is actually meant by the term 'complementary medicine'; how this area of medicine developed; how practitioners are trained and regulated and how they might approach the treatment of patients.

Old electronics are new again
Researchers at CPU Tech, a privately held California-based company, are developing a core processing architecture that will make it possible to upgrade high-end embedded electronic systems while retaining the value of time-tested application software and development tools.

Differences in human brain chemistry may account for different responses to stimulants
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that appears to account for the different levels of euphoria people experience when taking a stimulant drug, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

OHSU scientists locate 'fat thermostat' in brain
Oregon Health Sciences University Researcher Roger Cone, Ph.D., in cooperation with William Colmers, Ph.D., at the University of Alberta have discovered one of the mechanisms of the brain that apparently memorizes and regulates a person's weight. The mechanism located in the hypothalamus has been named the adipostat by researchers due to the fact that it essentially acts as a fat thermostat.

Mayo Clinic study finds machinery leading cause of childhood farm injuries
A Mayo Clinic study has found that farm-related injuries to children and adolescents have increased 10.7 percent in the last decade. The same study has found that the Upper Midwest accounts for almost 42 percent of the deaths from farm- related injuries in children in the United States.

Severity of hurricane season can be predicted by studying El Niño, NASA Marshall scientist finds
The severity of hurricane seasons can be predicted by studying the influence of the El Niño weather pattern, concludes a study by Robert M. Wilson, a research scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

UCSF researchers discover new piece of puzzle in cancer development
UC San Francisco researchers have identified a new variable in the process that causes cells to become cancerous, and the finding, described as

Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center adds new dimension in radiation treatment
A next-generation radiation therapy system that allows physicians to

Humus/Mineral interaction
A group of Penn State-led researchers has shown that, for some fossil fuel-based pollutants, increasing the humus content of the soil increases, rather than decreases, the likelihood that the contaminant will move to ground water.

From lemurs to gorillas, new book explains primate anatomy
Like mapping a sometimes trackless jungle, primatologist Friderun Ankel-Simons, in her new book Primate Anatomy, has mounted an exhaustive expedition into the complexities of the form and function of humans' closest relatives. And like any good scientific expedition, she has returned from her journey with much knowledge, but also many unanswered questions.

UB scientists find breast-cancer risk may be influenced by gene that regulates serum triglycerides
University at Buffalo researchers have shown for the first time that a variant of the apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene, known as apoE 4, may increase the risk of breast cancer by inhibiting the elimination of serum triglycerides from the bloodstream.

Scientists identify novel component of cell-fate pathway
Researchers have identified a new component essential for the proper development of all animals. The discovery should lead to a better understanding of the molecular and biochemical details that control cell fate and growth and may permit scientists to influence developmental processes, like those that lead to cancer.

OHSU Researcher studies possible negative impacts of long-term soccer play
Oregon Health Sciences University researcher studies long- term impacts of 'heading' soccer balls and concussions. Research was conducted in cooperation with Dutch neuropsychologist Erik J.T. Matser. The study found that soccer players scored lower on some planning and memory tests than athletes who do not receive repeated subconcussive or concussive blows.

Robots to the rescue
A pipe-crawling rescue robot has been designed by students in North Carolina to listen for survivors trapped deep inside buildings wrecked by earthquakes and explosions. The robot runs on compressed air and can crawl like a caterpillar through gas, water and sewerage pipes within buildings.

Mass extinction of freshwater species in North America
The first estimate of extinction rates of North America's freshwater animals shows that they are the most endangered group on the continent.

Researchers pinpoint chemical signal that speeds mating process
Researchers at the University of Chicago have discovered a substance produced by male salamanders that acts on female salamanders as a chemical signal to speed up the courtship process and hasten mating. This is the first time that researchers have clearly pinpointed a single protein that directly influences female receptivity.

Snapshot of new drug marks a major advance by Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers
MSKCC scientists have achieved a major milestone in a line of research that has spanned a quarter-century: the first-ever molecular

High brain centres teach lower brain to adapt to injury
Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that higher brain centres act as

Woman professor shatters 'glass ceiling'
The so-called

Good seed, bad seed: Evolution divides the plant world
Rose may be a rose in some books, but in actuality flowers are deeply divided - that is, between eudicots and monocots, the two major classifications of flowering plants. In the September issue of Genome Research, scientists show that gene order differs considerably between Arabidopsis, the model eudicot of the mustard family, and rice, a model monocot.

Biologically inspired electronics leads to higher fidelity
Drawing upon the extraordinary ability of neuronal networks in the brain to separate signal from noise led a group of researchers at Boston University's Center for BioDynamics (CBD) and Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a biologically inspired model that will improve the fidelity of electronic devices.

Space Transportation Day '99 to detail NASA's latest technology plans, programs
NASA's future space transportation plans -- from next year's experimental rocket planes to the starships of the next millennium -- will be the focus of Space Transportation Day '99 October 27 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

New techniques to foil cyber intruders
Researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., are developing new statistical techniques to aid human operators in detecting and defending computer networks against intrusion.

ICAAC highlight: MAC prophylaxis can be safely discontinued in HIV-infected patients who respond to HAART
Prophylactic treatment for the opportunistic infection known as MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex) can be safely discontinued in most HIV-infected patients whose CD4+ T-cell levels show sustained increases in response to potent antiretroviral therapy, according to interim results of a study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Scottish study shows lack of mental health service for children entering care
A considerable proportion of young children have a serious psychiatric disorder at the time they enter local authority care, but are not receiving mental health services, according to a report in this week's BMJ.

Engineer proposes new building code for quake-stricken Turkey
A structural engineer from Purdue University is proposing an unorthodox approach for simplifying the design of earthquake- resistant buildings in Turkey, which presently has a code that may be too sophisticated for practical use.

UCSF to attack HIV at molecular level with new center and $7 million in state funds
The UC San Francisco AIDS Research Institute has launched a major new center that will focus solely on biomedical approaches to HIV prevention, including vaccine development.

Neal Lane, science advisor to the President, honored
The world's largest scientific society has honored Neal F. Lane, Ph.D., with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Public Service Award for his continued leadership and support in the advancement of science education and science policy. The ACS Public Service Award is given annually to recognize an outstanding individual who has worked to promote the expansion of scientific knowledge for the benefit of all of society.

Striking back at biological invaders
A special news section in the 17 September issue of Science highlights how scientists are fighting back against invasive species--exotic plants and animals that colonize and often wreak havoc on native ecosystems. Predicting and combating these invasions through a variety of means has become a top priority of ecologists around the world.

Analysis suggests women treated for breast cancer do better with axillary node dissection
The rate of breast-conserving surgery to treat breast cancer has increased steadily since the mid 1980s. However, many women with early stages of the disease do not receive axillary node dissections, which could mean a lower chance of survival after 10 years, according to a University of Iowa- led analysis.

Materials World tip sheet
Contents of the September Issue 1999 include:
  1. An e-fab way for making the micro world
  2. Bashing buildings to check for earthquake damage
  3. Capillary 2 for faster loos
  4. Wasteful Waste Recovery Targets


Study indicates Indian Ocean monsoon similar to El Niño phenomenon in Pacific
A research campaign in the Indian Ocean indicates there are ocean-atmosphere interactions similar to El Niño events in the Pacific, but are not always tied to El Niño as previously had been believed by climate researchers.

New microscopy method reveals molecular map of biological surfaces
A team of biophysicists have developed a new method in atomic force microscopy that gives the instrument the capability of mapping not just the topography of biological molecules, but also identifying their biochemistry simultaneously. The technique's nanometer-scale mapping of biomolecules opens the door to a wide variety of biotechnology applications.

Cedars-Sinai Medical tip sheet for Sept. 21
1. Prenatal Diagnostics Pioneer Joins Cedars-Sinai; 2. Mitral Valve Prolapse; 3. Ventricular Assist Surgery; 4. New Dimension in Radiation Therapy

Stress and social support linked to prostate cancer
Men with high levels of stress and those with less satisfying contacts with friends and family members have high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood, a marker for the development of prostate cancer, new research shows.

Gamma/Delta T cells essential to regulating airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma, other lung diseases, according to National Jewish researchers
Airway hyperresponsiveness, a feature commonly found in diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and environmental lung diseases, may be linked to a lack of gamma/delta T cells in the lungs.

Millennium and the Whitehead Institute identify novel protein important in fat absorption
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: MLNM) and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research today announced the discovery of a novel protein, FATP4, involved in fat absorption. Data relating to the identification and function of the protein appear in today's issue of the journal Molecular Cell.

Inform doctors when taking herbs and dietary supplements
Although herbs and dietary supplements appear to have beneficial effects on depression, anxiety, insomnia and memory problems, new research shows that potential side effects exist. Millions of depressed or sleepless patients mix prescription medicines with alternative therapies and many do so without informing their doctors.

Ancient viruses lurking in polar ice
Prehistoric viruses are lying dormant in the polar ice caps- and a rise in temperature could unleash them into the atmosphere, causing lethal epidemics. This warning follows the discovery by American researchers of an ancient virus in Arctic ice.

Starbursts triggered by violent collisions lit up young galaxies in the early universe, according to new study of galaxy evolution
More than 10 billion years ago, the precursors of today's massive galaxies were being built from smaller galaxies that collided and merged, triggering violent bursts of star formation, according to a new study that sheds light on the nature of the most distant galaxies observed by modern telescopes.

Infants of depressed mothers show atypical brain activity
Infants of depressed mothers are more likely than infants of nondepressed mothers to have atypical brain activity, according to researchers at the University of Washington. When compared to infants of nondepressed mothers, infants of depressed mothers had less left frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) activity relative to right frontal EEG activity.

Revived drug prevents malaria, skirts drug resistance
A chemical ranked with the second-string players in the world's continuing contest with malaria has reappeared as a new drug, apparently capable of preventing the disease. Paired with an older, standard drug, it provides protection with an unusually small risk of drug resistance.

Patients taking high blood pressure medication benefit from frequent dental care
Many patients putting off a trip to the dentist can add

Student's scrutiny of quarks named among nation's best research by an undergraduate
A University of Rochester student has been named the best undergraduate researcher from a Ph.D.-granting university by the American Physical Society. Govind Krishnaswami was honored for his research on the distribution of quarks, the particles that make up the proton, and the speed of their movement.

New technique identifies M. tuberculosis genes
Using a new technique, biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have identified 15 M. tuberculosis genes that are expressed only when the bacteria are growing in the immune system's prime gatekeeper, a disease-fighting cell called a macrophage.

New data provide further evidence of effectiveness of targeted delivery of Relenza and efficacy in both A&B strains
The targeted delivery of Relenza results in high concentrations of the drug in the primary site of viral replication, the lungs, up to 24 hours after inhalation. It is also effective against A& B strain influenza, and reduces complications requiring antibiotics.

All fats are not created equal: Some fats may protect the heart
Limiting the amount of saturated fat, such as butter or animal fat, in your diet is a good idea. Now the American Heart Association is recommending that you replace some of that saturated fat with monounsaturated or polyunsatured fat. Monounsaturated fat is abundant in olive and canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn or soybean oil.

Wistar scientist receives Arthritis Foundation award
Wistar scientist, Lisa Spain, PhD, received the 1999 Stewart J. McCracken, MD Award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. She was chosen for the award because her research project on the formation of T-cells during fetal development in mice earned the highest rating in Eastern Pennsylvania.

University Of Wisconsin to launch center to study how emotions affect health
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists will study how the emotions affect health at a new center funded by the National Institutes of Health. The $10.9 million center's goal is to gain a clearer understanding of how emotions are encoded in the brain and then influence other body systems that affect health.

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