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Can't get there from here

By | August 15, 2000

In the 10 August Nature, Burch and Chao find that two populations of an RNA virus, derived from a single ancestral phage, repeatedly evolve towards different fitness maxima (Nature 2000, 406:625-628). The average fitness of one of the final phage populations is actually lower than that of the starting clone, suggesting that the original individual was at the peak of a local maximum of fitness. The existence of these different and non-overlapping solutions to maximizing fitness suggests that the

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Destruction before salvation

By | August 15, 2000

Mouse models of cancer are primarily soft tissue sarcomas and lymphomas, whereas 90% of human cancers are epithelial in origin. In the August 10 Nature, Artandi et al. suggest that the difference arises from higher levels of telomerase (the enzyme that adds a protective cap on the end of chromosomes) in mice (Nature 2000, 406:641-645). When the researchers combine a mouse telomerase knockout with a mutation in the tumor suppressor p53, non-reciprocal translocations appear, followed by epithelial

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Black-blood MRI

By | August 14, 2000

A new MRI technique may identify vulnerable atheromatous plaques likely to rupture.

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NEW YORK, Aug 10 (Praxis Press) Small studies have shown that many children born as extremely preterm infants suffer from neurologic and developmental disabilities, but confirmation by a large-scale study has been lacking. To address this issue, Wood and colleagues conducted a prospective study of all infants born at 20 through 25 completed weeks of gestation in the United Kingdom and Ireland during a 10-month period beginning in March 1995. They measured development, neurologic function, and oc

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Stenting and fibrinolysis

By | August 14, 2000

Stenting plus abciximab gives better clinical outcome than thrombolysis after acute MI.

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A polymerase for sister chromatid cohesion

By | August 10, 2000

Cohesins , the proteins that are thought to anchor sister chromatids to one another before anaphase, must be present during DNA replication if cohesion is to be established. In the 4 August Science Wang et al . provide a possible link between replication and cohesion (Science 2000, 289 :774-779). They describe an essential DNA polymerase in budding yeast that both has polymerase activity and is required for sister chromatid cohesion. They suggest that the replication fork m

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Hepatitis C

August 10, 2000

NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Praxis Press) Firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens in their lines of work. In response to concerns about hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection rates among such workers, the Centers for Disease Control evaluated the findings of studies in 4,433 first responders. Data from four major city health organizations and the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services of Connecticut was used. The prevalence of HCV infection

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Many mutant mice

By | August 10, 2000

In the August Nature Genetics , two groups report on their ongoing large-scale projects to produce mouse mutants using the chemical mutagen ethylnitrosourea. An English and French group have screened over 26,000 F1 progeny for dominant defects in growth and development, and a subset of these for defects in neural and behavioral function and blood chemistry (Nolan et al ., Nat. Genet . 2000, 25 :440-443). Their results are cataloged in Mutabase . Approximately half of the

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Melanoma

August 10, 2000

NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Praxis Press) Several patient attributes have been linked with a later stage of melanoma at the time of diagnosis, which in turn confers a poorer prognosis. Van Durme and colleagues studied sociodemographic variables in 1,884 patients diagnosed with melanoma. Regional lymph node or distant metastases were present in 12.9% of patients. A late-stage diagnosis was significantly more likely among patients who were single (odds ratio, 1.5), male (odds ratio, 2.2), smokers (odds ratio

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Smoking and cataracts

August 10, 2000

NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Praxis Press) Although cigarette smoking has been shown to be a risk factor for age-related cataracts, data are inconclusive about the risk of cataracts in individuals who have quit smoking. To examine the association between smoking cessation and the incidence of age-related cataracts, Christen and colleagues performed a prospective cohort study from 1982 through 1997, with an average follow-up time of 13.6 years. The study participants consisted of a total of 20,907 US male ph

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