Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2001

January 23, 2001

HEALTH - Better CPR a heartbeat away? . . .

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could get a beneficial jolt because of an ORNL study that has produced some startling results. Researchers found that the direction and magnitude of the flow depends upon the frequency of the forcing function. During CPR, it's not known whether the heart acts as a pump or as a passive conduit for valveless pumping. This research, which uses computational fluid dynamics, could help scientists and the medical profession better understand the mechanism of blood flow during CPR. That knowledge could lead to the development of more effective CPR techniques. [Contact: Chuck Romine]

TRANSPORTATION - Safer skies . . .

Air travel could become even safer in the future because of work being done by researchers at ORNL and the National Transportation Research Center. In one project, researchers are applying work done to make the nuclear industry safer to identifying precursors to airline accidents. By studying and coding the chains of events that contribute to or cause aviation accidents, researchers hope to prevent similar accidents in the future. In another project for the Federal Aviation Administration, researchers are identifying situations that could lead to accidents during landings. By using radar data obtained from "black boxes," they hope to develop a tool that would help pilots avoid approaching the runway too fast or at the wrong angle. [Contact: Terri Rose]

ENVIRONMENT - Ocean's biology under spotlight . . .

For the first time, scientists have a clear picture that shows regions of the ocean where limited iron dust deposition may be influencing ocean biological activity. It's significant because scientists know that adding iron to the diet of marine plants has been shown to boost the amount of carbon dioxide-absorbing phytoplankton. Oceanic phytoplankton remove nearly as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year as all land-based plants, so a better understanding of the relationship between iron coming from the deserts through the atmosphere into the ocean could prove useful. The study used two new technologies - satellite remote sensing and complex numerical models that were run on supercomputers. [Contact: David Erickson]

VEHICLE SAFETY - Driving dangerously . . .

Drivers bombarded with phone calls, e-mails and other distractions are more likely to make mistakes. That's no big surprise, but it's been confirmed by an ORNL study in which several drivers missed turns, ran stop signs and sometimes crashed while using in-vehicle information systems and devices. Fortunately, no one was injured and no property was damaged because the study was done with a driving simulator. The study consisted of 36 participants who were asked to drive while talking on a cellular phone, using a navigation system, receiving news from the internet and responding to a forward collision warning system. The research is sponsored by the Department of Transportation's Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, part of which is concerned with how drivers function with multiple in-vehicle information tasks. A technical report should be available sometime in the late summer. [Contact: Phil Spelt]
To arrange for an interview with any of these researchers, please contact Ron Walli of Communications and Community Outreach at (865) 576-0226;

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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