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Groups call for strict conflict rules

By | February 28, 2008

Two national academic associations have called on US academic institutions to develop and implement rules that manage institution-wide conflicts of interest and refine rules that deal with conflicts among faculty of medical schools, teaching hospitals, and research universities. The linkurl:report,;https://services.aamc.org/Publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=Product.displayForm&prd_id=220&prv_id=268 issued today (Feb. 28) by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American A

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MA debates life sciences bill

By | February 28, 2008

Massachusetts' $1 billion linkurl:life sciences bill;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53359/ is inching closer to approval. A preliminary vote yesterday in the House of Representatives supported the measure, which is being debated further today, according to the House clerk's office. The bill, which is expected to pass in both the House and the Senate, would provide $500 million toward building facilities and buying equipment, and $250 million would go towards creating tax benefits an

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USPTO upholds stem cell patent

By | February 28, 2008

One of three stem cell patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is valid, according to a non-final ruling issued on Monday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The three WARF patents have been under examination by the USPTO, beginning in linkurl:October, 2006,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/25037/ when challenges were brought by the Public Patent Foundation in New York and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) in Los Angeles. Decisio

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Listening to prozac, for autism

By | February 27, 2008

Just what is it about autism that produces the three hallmark behaviors of social impairment, language difficulties, and rigidity, or an "insistence on sameness'? Scientists at this year's Keystone meeting on the pathophysiology of autism in Santa Fe, NM, are looking for clues from a molecule we hear an awful lot about in discussions of non-autistic brain activity: Serotonin. It turns out that a significant number of children with autism -- up to 30% -- have elevated levels of serot

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Targeted UCSC animal researcher speaks

By | February 27, 2008

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) cancer researcher whose home was linkurl:invaded;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54379/ last Sunday, has commented on the attack to the linkurl:__Santa Cruz Sentinel__.;http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8370044?source=most_viewed The researcher, who remains unnamed for security purposes, told the __Sentinel__ that her family was celebrating the birthday of one of her two small children in the front of the house Sunday afternoon, when

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Embryonic origins of autoimmunity

By | February 26, 2008

linkurl:Autoimmune;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53106/ diseases may not stem from defects in the immune system alone. Rather, developmental genetic abnormalities in organ tissues may make those organs more susceptible to autoimmune disorders, according to a linkurl:paper;http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/icb20086a.html published online today in Immunology and Cell Biology. "The former explanations of how these [autoimmune] diseases occur weren't totally

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Senator questions open access mandate

By | February 26, 2008

More questions have come up over the new National Institutes of Health public access mandate and its fairness to journal publishers. Two weeks ago Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter sent a letter to NIH director Elias Zerhouni questioning whether the NIH had adequately discussed the mandate with journal publishers before implementing it. Specter is a ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIH funding. The NIH public access mandate was passed with the congressional app

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UCSC animal researcher targeted

By | February 26, 2008

Attackers broke into the home of a University of California, Santa Cruz scientist who uses animals to study breast cancer and neurological disorders, on Sunday (Feb. 24), according to the linkurl:__Santa Cruz Sentinel__.;http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8360836 Another California animal researcher - UCLA neurologist, Edythe London - has been the target of linkurl:vandalism;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54287/ recently, with an animal rights group claiming responsibility for linku

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What role of autism in Fragile X?

By | February 26, 2008

This morning's session at the Keystone meeting on the pathophysiology of autism in Santa Fe, New Mexico, focused on the disorder's link to Fragile X syndrome. Like autism, Fragile X is associated with behaviors such as high social anxiety, gaze avoidance, and speech problems. A significant number of people with Fragile X - estimates range wildly from 5 to 60% - have autism, but a smaller number of linkurl:autistic cases are associated with Fragile X;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/d

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Autism, in its early days

By | February 25, 2008

It's a small Keystone meeting on the pathophysiology of autistic syndromes here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but you can feel the excitement among the 100 or so attendees, as they muddle their way through early data in this growing area of research. There are only nine posters being presented today -- but, according to co-host Pat Levitt from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, all are important. This is in contrast to the last Keystone I attended on stem cell biology in Whistler, British Columbia, in 20

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