A Deadly Pathogen Found in California Redwoods and
This is Science Today. Plant pathologists were recently
stunned to learn that a deadly pathogen that's killing
thousands of coastal oak trees in the West, has
also been found in California's coastal Redwood
trees and in Douglas fir saplings. It's called sudden
oak death syndrome and according to David Rizzo
of the University of California, Davis, it was first
discovered in California in 1995.
We think the main cause of sudden oak death is a
fungus or fungus-like organism known as Phytophthora
and that is what initially gets in there, it can
kill trees on its own, but often it will stress
trees that other organisms can also come in.
In large trees, Rizzo says the earliest symptoms
are a bleeding or oozing coming directly out of
As the tree goes on it shows less vigor and
often times though, the tree will apparently appear
to die over a period of a few weeks, but the tree
has probably already been infected for quite a while
Researchers are not yet sure how the disease
will impact redwoods and firs. For Science Today,
I'm Larissa Branin.
Interest in Facial Expression Analysis
This is Science Today. In the last year, national
intelligence agencies have become more interested
in the research of Dr. Paul Ekman, a psychologist
at the University of California, San Francisco, who
has been analyzing facial expressions for over four
Ekman: I first became interested
in looking at expression and gesture when I was a
graduate student and I first started to observe behind
a one-way mirror, group therapy sessions and I thought
that so much of what was going on wasn't in the words
alone, but it was in the expression and the gestures.
Narrator: Since then, Ekman has identified
19 different smiles and analyzed thousands of facial
expressions with a measurement system he created.
His work uncovering the true feelings behind otherwise
deceptive gestures is now being sought by agencies
It takes us about 12 hours to teach people and give
them enough practice so that they can actually use
it in their day-to-day work.
Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.
A Less Invasive, More Accurate Approach to Diagnosing
Certain Kinds of Cancer
is Science Today. Endoscopic ultrasound is a new technology,
which combines video endoscopy with ultrasound. At
the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Kenneth
Chang, a gastrointestinal oncologist, is using this
technique to provide a less invasive and more accurate
approach to diagnosing certain kinds of cancer.
From inside, we can image structures and organs,
such as the pancreas, gall bladder and liver, and
we can also look at the extent of tumors through the
wall of the stomach, esophagus, and make a definite
Chang says this is especially helpful to the patient,
since it eases the anxiety of wondering whether or
not cancer is present.
In patients who we find cancer, endoscopic ultrasound
is very useful for looking at the stage or the extent
that the tumor has progressed, and we're also able
to help the patient pick the best therapy, based on
the extent of their disease.
Currently, there are about 150 hospitals nationwide
using endoscopic ultrasounds. For Science Today, I'm
Better Detection of a Nefarious Disease
This is Science Today. Plague - a disease that has
caused three world epidemics during the course of
human history and killed millions of people - is still
endemic in some parts of the world. Researcher Bert
Weinstein of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
has developed a quick detection system for plague,
which he says really is a nefarious disease.
It manages to make its living by killing all of its
hosts. It kills the flea essentially by starving it
to death and causing the flea to want to bite everything
it can in sight because it's trying to feed and in
the process, spreading the disease, then it kills
the other animals - rodents, or in the case of humans
- humans. And if there are any fleas on those animals,
when the animal dies, they jump off going looking
for new hosts.
Weinstein says another problem with plague is the
generality of the flu-like symptoms.
Plague is very treatable with antibiotics if caught
early, so I think the main thing is just being aware
of any potential exposure.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.
The Psychological Impact of 9/11 Still Lingers
This is Science Today. It's been over a year, but
the national, psychological impact of September 11th
is still lingering - and not just in New York City.
A University of California, Irvine study found that
six months after the attacks, six percent of the population
outside of New York reported symptoms of posttraumatic
stress disorder. Psychologist Roxane Cohen Silver,
led the study.
Silver: It is important for us to recognize that
people did not have to be directly exposed to the
trauma to maybe have some kind of psychological response
The study also found that those who tended to 'give
up' or disengage, were more likely to be distressed.
The more traumas you had had in your life, the more
likely you were to disengage. But, it wasn't as simple
as that because some people disengaged who had not
have prior trauma. What really seems to help us understand
who would remain distressed were the early strategies
that people used to cope with the trauma.
Science Today, Larissa Branin.