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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Indiana Science Monthly flag

Vol. 3, no. 1
Oct. 5, 2005

Indiana Science Monthly is a selection of recent news stories about Indiana University scientists and their research. Comments or questions about this newsletter may be directed to David Bricker, Office of Media Relations (812-856-9035 or

September science news:
* Cicada video wins top prize from NSF, Science
* Fold laundry, live another five years
* Predicting weather disturbances in real time

September science news

"Brain disconnects during deep sleep, UW study says" (PSYCHOLOGY/COGNITIVE SCIENCE)
Knight Ridder/Tribune wire
Sept. 29, 2005

EXCERPT: As we slip into deep sleep, higher regions of our brains take a vacation from each other, disconnecting so much that consciousness is snuffed out and a once highly integrated organ becomes separated, according to a groundbreaking experiment by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

* In evaluating the U-W Madison study, Indiana University Bloomington psychologist Olaf Sporns tells Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Fauber, "Understanding consciousness is no small thing... It has become a scientific frontier. It's there from the moment we open our eyes in the morning." The article ran in papers that subscribe to the Knight Ridder/Tribune wire.


"Vaccines against sexually transmitted diseases" (MEDICINE)
Knight Ridder/Tribune wire
Sept. 25, 2005

EXCERPT: A wave of experimental vaccines against sexually transmitted diseases could revolutionize the prevention of such infections during the next few years, but there's a catch: The shots probably will work best when given to children as young as 11... The first such vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus -- the leading cause of cervical cancer -- could be submitted for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by year's end. Another vaccine against genital herpes is in advanced clinical trials, and shots for gonorrhea and chlamydia are in the works.

* IU School of Medicine pediatrician Gregory Zimet has surveyed parents for their opinions on immunizations. He tells Chicago Tribune health reporter Tran M. Phung, "For most parents, the moral decision is to protect their children."
(May require a subscription)


"Random Samples: No talking" (CHEMISTRY/INFORMATICS)
Vol. 309, iss. 5743
Sept. 23, 2005

EXCERPT: Two members of an American Chemical Society (ACS) committee have resigned to protest what they say is the society's tight-lipped handling of its battle against a free federal chemical database.

* IU Informatics (Bloomington) researcher Gary Wiggins told Science magazine reporter Constance Holden, "It's mostly because they're not talking about it openly." Several IUB researchers have long championed a globally accessible database of chemical information for educational purposes. Among them are Wiggins and IUB chemist John C. Huffman, Sr.
(Requires a subscription)


Two cicadas mate

Photo by: Chris Simon

Print-Quality Photo

"Visualization Challenge: Noninteractive Media" (BIOLOGY)
Vol. 309, iss. 5743
Sept. 23, 2005

EXCERPT: They're back. Plant biologist Roger Hangarter of Indiana University, Bloomington, knew the cicadas were coming, but he didn't intend to document the event -- until they began to emerge, spectacularly, in his own backyard.

* IUB biologist Roger Hangarter and documentarian Samuel Orr won first place in the non-interactive video category of a Science/National Science Foundation-sponsored visualization contest. Science and NSF asked the nation's scientists to take hard-to-comprehend science and make it visually appealing. Hangarter and Orr's "Return of the 17-Year Cicada" short film chronicled the brief above-ground lives of Brood X periodical cicadas.

IU press release:
(Includes links to the video)


"F.D.A. Had Report of Short Circuit in Heart Devices" (MEDICINE)
New York Times
Sept. 12, 2005

EXCERPT: Months before the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert in June about problems with Guidant Corporation heart devices, the agency received a report from the company showing that some of those units were short-circuiting, agency records obtained by the New York Times show... But the agency did not make that data public at the time because it treats the information it receives in such reports as confidential. While the agency has a policy of reviewing the reports within 90 days, it is unclear when regulators did so within that time frame or how they first interpreted the information.

* IU School of Medicine cardiologist Douglas Zipes believes doctors were not adequately informed in advance of clinical trials. Zipes tells New York Times reporter Barry Meier, ''It would help us put into better perspective the quality of each manufacturer's devices."
(Access to full article requires a fee)


"Project to provide better weather tracking" (COMPUTER SCIENCE)
United Press International
Sept. 7, 2005

EXCERPT: A group of U.S. universities is participating in devising technology to more accurately predict and track weather events such as hurricanes... The Linked Environments Atmospheric Discovery project seeks to create a high-speed computing network infrastructure to help meteorologists issue more timely and accurate forecasts of hurricanes, tornadoes and other dangerous weather conditions.

* Computer scientists Dennis Gannon and Beth Plale are working on a project called LEAD, or Linked Environments Atmospheric Discovery, that will predict weather patterns in real time, rather than through discreet time-point analyses, the method by which the National Weather Service currently predicts weather.

IU Informatics press release:


"Emerging Science Note: Pass the Dustpan" (KINESIOLOGY)
National Public Radio: Living on Earth
Sept. 3, 2005

EXCERPT: Improving your home could also improve your health, especially if you have a history of hypertension... Scientists at Indiana University found normal household chores -- like cleaning and gardening -- can significantly reduce high blood pressure.

* Living on Earth reporter Jennifer Chu reported on IU HPER kinesiologist Janet Wallace's recent study tracking the blood pressure of domestic busybodies. Living on Earth is aired by approximately 300 NPR-affiliated radio stations.

IU press release:


* * * * Do you have an important and/or interesting paper in press? A major event or presentation coming up? Please contact IU Office of Media Relations science writers David Bricker at 812-856-9035,, or Hal Kibbey at 812-855-0074,

Indiana Science Monthly is produced for internal use only. If you have received this eMail in error, or do not wish not to receive this monthly eMail, or if you have a news item for the next edition of ISM, please contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035,