Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2000)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2000.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2000

Researchers design test for visioning ability
Two Penn State researchers have fine-tuned a test measuring one of the key components of leadership: the ability to shape a long-range vision for one's company, church or local school district.

Regression of advanced kidney cancer seen with allogeneic stem cell transplantation
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health report that advanced kidney cancer, a disease notoriously resistant to therapy and usually fatal, can be completely or partially reversed in some patients with the use of blood stem cell transplants from a healthy sibling donor

Use of complementary and alternative medicine before surgery poses risk to patient safety
A new study by Columbia Presbyterian researchers cautions patients about to undergo cardiac surgery on the risk for potential adverse reactions from the use of alternative and complementary medicines. The study suggests that because the use of complementary and alternative medicine is so prevalent, health care providers should be aware of the serious implications for patient safety, especially in acute care situations.

Himalyan ice cores reveal climate warming, catastrophic drought
Ice cores drilled through a glacier four miles up in the Himalayan Mountains have yielded a highly detailed record of the last 1,000 years of earth's climate in the high Tibetan Plateau. The cores show both the last decade and the last 50 years were the warmest in 1,000 years.

Chemical found in computer can cause allergy, sickness
New research suggests that emissions from the plastic of your computer's video monitor may be affecting your health, according to a Swedish study presented in the current (Sept. 15) edition of Environmental Science & Technology, a peer- reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Cutting-edge TV technology arrives at NASA; First high-definition equipment from Dreamtime readied for missions
Specialists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama have received, assembled and tested the first of a two-phase high-definition television equipment package provided by NASA's multimedia commercial partner, Dreamtime Holdings Inc.

DNA 'photofits' for tumours - the future of breast cancer treatment
Advances in molecular genetics mean that within the next few years breast cancer patients will have their own molecular profiles, or DNA 'photofits' of tumours. This will determine what treatment, in what amount, and for what duration will work best for the individual.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to lead international team to accelerate investigation of immune-related genes
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to lead a $20 million NIH initiative cataloging the HLA gene complex and explore its differences. A network of nearly 200 laboratories in 70 countries will set up a centralized HLA gene database and develop tools to decipher this genetic Rosetta Stone of immunology.

Decision to abolish gender testing at Sydney Olympics supported by Yale physician
The International Olympic Committee decided to abolish gender testing at the summer Olympics in Sydney, on a trial basis. A Yale physician writes in a commentary in The Journal of the American Medical Association that it's about time. Myron Genel, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at the Yale School of Medicine, says gender testing is difficult, expensive, potentially inaccurate and discriminatory against women with disorders of sexual development.

The internet in Latin America: the lessons of connectivity
OTTAWA - Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has been supporting various research projects designed to assist Caribbean and Latin American countries in using the Internet as a development tool. These projects have, for example, enabled people in villages along the Amazon to overcome their isolation, or helped city-dwelling youngsters in Ecuador to rebuild their lives. What have these experiences taught us? Full release available Monday September 25 on our website.

NYU/Yale research team explores neural basis of racial evaluation
A team of researchers from NYU and Yale have published a study that uses fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to explore the role of the amygdala in the unconscious evaluation of racial groups. The researchers found that subjects who showed a larger race evaluation bias, as detected in a mental association task and a startle response, also showed greater activity levels in regions of the amygdala while viewing unfamiliar black compared with white faces.

USGS scientists warn: West Nile virus is on the move
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey in Madison, Wisc., confirmed today that West Nile virus is on the move and is likely to head south. Dr. Robert McLean, director of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison said the virus, which has spread from the New York area south into Pennsylvania and Maryland, can now travel much further south and west because of the numbers and species of birds it has infected this year.

Recording studio that spans a continent
On Saturday September 23, a jazz group will perform in a concert hall at McGill University in Montreal and the recording engineers mixing the 12 channels of audio during the performance will not be in a booth at the back of the hall, but rather in a theatre at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Weight training may improve strength, health of older men
Men over 60 may be able to increase their strength by as much as 80 percent by performing intense weight training exercises, according to physiologists involved in studies of the health benefits of weight lifting. The researchers also have found that older men gain strength at the same rate as men in their 20s.

Promising HIV vaccine strategy identified in monkey studies
Vaccines designed to trigger an immune response to a small HIV protein called Tat could be a promising way to fend off the virus, intriguing new data suggest. According to a report in this week's journal Nature, 'killer' T cells targeted to the Tat protein can effectively contain simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the monkey version of HIV, during the natural course of early infection.

Childhood behavior problems predict emotional baggage for young adults
Childhood behavior problems such as temper tantrums, bullying or destructiveness increase the risk of emotional trouble for the young adult, a Penn State expert says.

Scientists help end sewage discharges to Boston Harbor
An extraordinary interdisciplinary scientific effort started in 1987 has helped the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority end sewage discharges to Boston Harbor. A $20 million science program helped MWRA and others site a 9.5 mile outfall tunnel in Massachusetts Bay and design a long- term modelling and monitoring program.

Language production tasks can shift from left to right brain hemispheres after damage
Columbia-Presbyterian researchers find evidencereport that rather than being completely 'hard wired', structures on one side of the brain can take over certain language functions normally achieved by a damaged region on the opposite side. side. The study, published in the September 2000 issue of the journal Neuropsychologia, may provide insights into the brain's compensatory responses to injury.

New lab could help robots "feel" more like humans
If robots are going to have a sense of

Misbehaving children's concern for others decreases as they enter the elementary school years
A new study finds that in the early years of life, aggressive and disruptive children can show concern for the welfare of others. However, this concern can decrease as the children reach school age. The study also shows that environmental factors such as warm and supportive parenting may play a role in promoting children's prosocial development.

Alcohol and the human fetal brain
  • The first step in the metabolism of alcohol is its conversion to acetaldehyde (AcHO).
  • AcHO is a highly reactive and toxic chemical that can damage the cells of all living things.
  • In adults, AcHO is blocked from entering the brain.
  • The prenatal brain may metabolize alcohol differently than the adult brain.
  • Researchers found an unexpectedly high and rapid accumulation of AcHO in developing brain tissue.


How Salmonella bacteria protect against death by iron
HHMI researchers have discovered a survival mechanism that Salmonella bacteria employ to detect and protect themselves from high levels of iron in the environment. The newly discovered iron sensor provides double-barreled protection since it allows Salmonella to fend off the antibiotic polymyxin, which is produced by a soil microbe.

American Thoracic Society journal news tips for September
News from the American Thoracic Society September journals includes research showing that urban living constitutes the biggest risk for asthma in children; tuberculosis (TB) has become the most common opportunistic infection in human immuno- deficiency virus (HIV); and that prenatal steroids directly increase the production process of surfactant in very premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

Massive new research effort will map inner workings of cells - San Francisco VA Medical Center chosen to host core laboratory
A new $50 million dollar research program launched this month will begin the daunting task of mapping out the thousands of molecular interactions that cells use in responding to their environment. The San Francisco VAMC will host one of the five core research labs that will collaborate on this project.

Preparations under way for final phase of testing to qualify unique engine for X-33 rocket plane
Preparations are under way at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., for the final phase of testing to qualify the innovative linear aerospike engine that will power the experimental X-33 rocket plane being developed by a Lockheed Martin-led industry team and NASA.

Scientists decipher the 'zip codes' that direct cells in the bloodstream to bodily tissues where they're needed
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have determined how cells coursing through our blood

AIDS researchers call for unity to speed up vaccines
At the Institute of Human Virology meetings in Baltimore, AIDS researchers Robert Gallo of UMBI, Seth Berkeley of IAVI, Luc Montagnier of Queens College and formerly of the Pasteur Institute, and Peter Piot of UNAIDS share the sentiment of many colleagues by calling for cooperation to spur progress toward vaccines.

NSF funds planning for earthquake engineering simulation lab
The National Science Foundation today announced the first steps toward creating a national virtual laboratory for earthquake engineering. The proposed 'NEESgrid' will allow researchers in structural engineeering, tsunamis, and geotechnical engineering to share experimental equipment, computational resources, and data.

New Madrid earthquakes still threaten the central United States, scientists conclude
The threat of large earthquakes striking the New Madrid seismic zone remains all too real for people in St. Louis, Memphis and other parts of the central United States - despite recent reports to the contrary. That is the conclusion of a new study by geophysicists Shelley J. Kenner and Paul Segall published in the journal Science. According to the authors, devastating earthquakes could rip through the New Madrid seismic zone along the Mississippi River sometime this century.

Scientists reveal new HIV vaccine target
Scientists have shown for the first time, using a nonhuman primate model, that the AIDS virus avoids the body's strongest immune responses during the first few weeks of infection. The finding, which appears in the Sept. 21 issue of Nature, opens the door to new vaccine directions.

Four new NSF centers will explore methods to create innovative materials
The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the establishment of four new Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) that will explore innovative materials and stimulate the integration of research and education in the field of materials science. NSF will invest $24 million over five years in the centers.

Researchers receive federal funds to study marine organisms and potential products on oil platforms
A treasure trove of biological material, in the array of marine organisms -- from starfish to mussels to sponges -- attached to oil platforms or living around them, will be studied intensively in a search for potential medicines and products, as a result of a cooperative agreement and award from the U. S. Department of Interioras part of President Clinton's oceans initiative. The potential medicines include anti-cancer and anti-inflammation agents.

Offspring of premature heart attack victims show early signs of disease
The offspring of adults who have had premature heart attacks show signs of blood vessel disease at young ages, even when they don't have other traditional risk factors for heart disease, report researchers in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

Neural stem cell transplantation - the future for nervous system conditions?
Neural stem cell transplantation could be an effective treatment for many conditions affecting the nervous system. Animal experiments have shown that it can significantly improve radiation-induced spinal cord injury. It has potential to help people with demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, say researchers.

Digital mammography technology installed at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Health System
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Health System today announced its clinical installation of digital mammography technology. Magee has one of the few clinical installations of the GE Medical Systems Senographe 2000D® unit to date. The only FDA-approved digital mammography device, it promises to revolutionize the way doctors detect breast cancer.

California labor market is strong, but workers in poor health don't benefit, UCSF study reports
California's labor market remains strong, according to UCSF researchers. Results of the 2000 California Work and Health Survey (CWHS) indicate high employment rates among all working age Californians, long hours of work and large numbers of workers who report promotions, new and better jobs and increased earnings.

Study: supply chain savings jump 22% for companies that use I.T. to cut lead time
Manufacturers and retailers that use improvements in information technology to shorten the time it takes to produce and deliver a product can realize an average 22% savings in supply chain costs, according to a study published in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMSĀ®).

Nabi reports successful reduction in S. aureus bacteremias at Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC)
Nabi-StaphVAX™, a new vaccine approach to preventing Staphylococcus aureus infections, dramatically reduced blood stream infections in a Phase III study in patients on hemodialysis who are at high risk of infection, according to results presented at ICAAC. Through 10 months, the vaccine reduced infections in these immune compromised patients by 57%.

MS clinical trials confirm approach, demonstrate need to carefully refine targeted peptide therapy
Two clinical trials of a targeted peptide therapy in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) have been halted due to adverse effects. Despite these problems, the findings confirm that the targeted peptide plays a role in the disease and provide valuable information that may help refine this type of therapy.

UC Santa Cruz astronomers forge ahead on giant telescope project
The University of California and the California Institute of Technology have teamed up to design and build a 30-meter telescope, dubbed the California Extremely Large Telescope (CELT). The project is still in the early planning stages, but researchers led by UC Santa Cruz astronomers are making steady progress on the conceptual design for CELT.

Long working days with too few hours' sleep slow responses as much as alcohol
After 17 to 19 hours of staying awake- a normal working day for many people- reaction times are up to 50 per cent slower than they are after drinking alcohol within the legally accepted limits.

Researchers battle drug-resistant HIV on promising new ground
Researchers believe they have found a promising new battleground for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS: a portion of the virus that is unaffected by its myriad mutations. The findings are described in the September 26 issue of Biochemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

DNA-based flu vaccine raises protective immunity
Scientists at the Vaccine Research Center of Emory University have successfully engineered and tested a single-dose, DNA- based influenza vaccine in mice that could serve as a template for more effective vaccines against a variety of viral illnesses, including HIV.

UCSF study points to new dilemmas confronting HIV healthcare providers
The new optimism expressed by healthcare providers treating HIV seropositive patients is mitigated by concerns surrounding treatment decisions and skepticism about the future according to a new University of California, San Francisco study.

Management of osteoarthritis pain
A leading rheumatologist comments on new guidelines for osteoarthritis treatment. The guidelines suggest

New report looks at genome boom in microbiology
Large-scale DNA sequencing of microbes will lead to far reaching advances in medicine, agriculture, and ecology, a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology says.

Tumour blood shutdown enhances effects of treatment
Blood supply is essential to the growth of tumours, and controlling it is an important target for cancer researchers. Combining newer anti-cancer agents which target blood supply with conventional radiotherapy or cell-killing drugs can make cancer cells more vulnerable to attack, say researchers.

Too few intensive care cots for newborns to cope with demand
Demand for neonatal intensive care in the UK outstrips supply, finds research in this week's BMJ.

Brown computer scientists receive grant to speed Internet use
A team of researchers led by Brown computer scientist Stanley Zdonik will search for a way to make using the Internet faster with a $3.2-million grant from the National Science Foundation. The research will focus on creating user

NIGMS Structural Genomics Awards scale up protein structure studies
NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences awards its first grants to structural genomics research centers-- almost $30 million this year to seven projects. The Institute anticipates spending a total of around $150 million on these projects over five years, making NIGMS the world's single largest funder of structural genomics.

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