News
Q&A: Scientist and Advocate BethAnn McLaughlin
Q&A: Scientist and Advocate BethAnn McLaughlin
Anna Azvolinsky | Aug 7, 2018
The neuroscientist talks about her experiences with trying to change how the scientific community copes with sexual assault and harassment.
Harmless Energizers or Dangerous Drugs?
Barry Palevitz | Dec 8, 2002
Photo: Barry Palevitz HELP OR HINDRANCE? Ephedra-containing products like those pictured above are coming under increased scrutiny. You've probably seen the ads in the supermarket checkout aisle, or on radio and TV. "I lost 63 pounds with Hydroxycut," screams the headline in Cosmopolitan, above pictures of a woman going from corpulent to bathing-beauty trim in 19 weeks. "Diet Fuel changes the shape of your life," claims another ad, this time sporting an ab-flashing model in boxing gloves
ACEs Wild
Steve Bunk | Dec 8, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of King Pharmaceuticals OLD DRUG, NEW USES: Ace inhibitor ALTACE Clinical trials are under way in the United States to test new uses for angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, as lab researchers around the world continue to compile evidence of further possibilities for the antihypertensive drugs. Meanwhile, a paper to be published this month presents a detailed theory that ACE functions at the start of a signaling pathway common to major diseases that are other
Above and Beyond
A. J. S. Rayl | Dec 8, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of NASA ON THE HORIZON: New technologies will protect the health of astronauts on long space flights. Researchers at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) are developing technologies to identify and monitor anticipated and unanticipated microorganisms in space--technologies, they suggest, that could also help to more efficiently diagnose medical conditions down here on Earth, as well as help detect biological hazards in this post-Sept. 11 world.1-3 Geo
Activists Broaden Efforts
Ted Agres | Nov 24, 2002
Animal welfare activists, smarting from a defeat in Congress, plan to campaign across the United States to convince state legislators that laboratory rats, mice, and birds used in biomedical research require greater protection than afforded by federal law. Most major US research organizations, however, maintain that the 15 to 20 million animals used in labs--about 95% in biomedical research--are adequately protected under existing public and private regulations. More federal oversight, they sa
Out of Africa: A Database of 7,000 Useful Plants
Silvia Sanides | Nov 24, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of G.J.H. Grubben GENETIC DIVERSITY: Fruits of the Scarlett eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum), of which the immature fruits and leaves are used as vegetables. European and African scientists have launched an ambitious project to review the current literature about useful plants of tropical Africa. From 2003 to 2013, researchers will examine and update all written documentation about approximately 7,000 commodity plants in 47 African countries and islands from the Tropic of C
Flower of a Find
Barry Palevitz | Nov 24, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden AN ENTREATING FIND: Flowers of the Hooglandia tree, a newly discovered plant genus from New Caledonia When Peter Lowry and Gordon McPherson explored the rich flora of New Caledonia last May, the last thing they expected to find was a new genus. Discovering new species isn't unusual, but a new genus? "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," admits Lowry, a head curator for the Missouri Botanical Garden. Lowry is based at the Natural History Muse
An Odyssey in Science and Art
Barry Palevitz | Nov 10, 2002
Artwork ©2001 Alan Campbell Studios COSTA RICA BEAUTY: Campbell's work includes images like this Costa Rican banana tree. Alan Campbell's studio in a second-story loft overlooking downtown Athens, Ga., has the unmistakable stamp of a painter. Daylight streams through large windows; brushes, paints, and tools sit in assorted cans and mugs; canvasses and prints stand on easels, lean against walls, and lie flat on tables. The University of Georgia's (UGA) north campus quad, home to th
Chaperones to the Rescue
Steve Bunk | Nov 10, 2002
Image by Joel Ito and P. Michael Conn The first clinical trials to test protein misfolding therapies are so new that researchers haven't yet agreed on a collective name for the compounds being administered. Variously dubbed chemical chaperones, pharmacological chaperones, and pharmacoperones, these small molecules correct the misfolding of proteins that recent research has implicated in a host of diseases, both rare and prevalent. In such "conformational" diseases, misfolded proteins may lose
UK Biobank to go on the Political Agenda
Helen Gavaghans | Nov 10, 2002
Image: Erica P. Johnson The UK Biobank aims to recruit 500,000 people for population studies of the interactions among lifestyle, genes, and disease, but some opponents question whether the massive effort is structured properly to do an adequate and ethical job. Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North), chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, is to host a meeting in December of members of parliament and the project's funding bodies and critics. UK Biobank has yet to
Biofuels for Fuel Cells
Myrna Watanabe | Nov 10, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Lee Petersen Researchers from Ascent Power Systems examine a large-area fuel cell component. Could the world's waste--peanut shells from Georgia, coconut shells from the Philippines, pig-farm waste from China, or even left-over gas from Japanese-beer kegs--be the answer to the next energy crisis? Probably not, but a number of companies and individuals are touting the benefits in a variety of ways. Talk abounds about fuel cells and the "hydrogen economy," spurred by rec
Solid Gold Sheepstakes
Ricki Lewis | Oct 27, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Agricultural Research Service Move over, Dolly. In the famous sheepstakes, Solid Gold (1983-1993) came first. Solid Gold is the first known sheep to have the callipyge condition--Greek for "beautiful buttocks"--and his descendants are shedding light on genomic imprinting, the difference in expression of a gene depending on which parent transmits it. In humans, derailed genomic imprinting causes cancer, autism, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. In 1983, a lamb was born
Imaging Early Alzheimer Disease
Ricki Lewis | Oct 27, 2002
Image: Courtesy of Dan Skovronsky  The radioactive thioflavin T derivative specifically labels amyloid plaques in the brain of a living mouse (arrows, panel a). Postmortem specimen labeled with a flourescent dye for amyloid (panel b) confirms specific labeling of plaques in vivo. When actor Charlton Heston announced in August that he is "suffering symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease," he used qualified language because diagnosis is possible only postmortem. The lack of a clear s
But What About the Others?
Hal Cohen | Oct 27, 2002
Image: Anne MacNamara "The history of modern science might be written without going outside the names of the Nobels." --Cosmopolitan, 19061 The Nobel Prize earned universal prestige a mere five years after its inception. With the 102nd Nobel awards this month, the Nobel Foundation continues to lavish acclaim among a thin upper crust of innovators in the life sciences. But the tradition of the science community's grumbling at the Foundation for its omissions will no doubt proceed unabated i
Gene Therapy Trials Hit Obstacle
Brendan Maher | Oct 27, 2002
For nearly three years, a child with a deadly genetic disease, which left him without functioning B or T cells, has led a relatively normal life. Doctors in France virtually engineered a working immune system for him through gene therapy.1 Early this month, however, researchers revealed that the gene therapy technique used to treat this child's X-linked severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) probably led to a leukemia-like syndrome. The engineered T cells inevitably began proliferating out o
Righting the Rainbow
Steve Bunk | Oct 13, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service, Thomas L. Wellborn, Jr. DEADLY PARASITE: Myxobolus cerebralis causes whirling disease, a trout-killing infection that is devastating in some wild trout populations. In a Quonset hut dubbed the "parasite factory" on the University of California's sprawling Davis campus, the bed in a tankful of water is strewn with what looks like snippets of rusty thread: worms that harbor a deadly European parasite called Myxobolus cerebralis. It causes wh
Phenotype Database Opens for Business
Potter Wickware | Oct 13, 2002
Graphic: Courtesy of PharmGKB  THE PYRAMID: A summary of the phenotypes that can be related to genotypes in pharmaco-genomics. Why does the cold medication that makes you sleepy give your friend the jitters? Diet, perhaps, or gender, but equally likely are your respective genetic backgrounds. With the era of personalized medicine approaching, individual responses to drugs are set to capture ever more attention from scientists and practitioners, and as a harbinger of the trend, the world'
SNP Technology Focuses on Terror Victims' IDs
Larry Hand | Oct 13, 2002
Graphic: Courtesy of Orchid Biosciences  SNP-based identifications are possible with fragments one-fourth the size needed for other methods. A well-lit, chrome-and-steel room hums as a robot uses multiple arms to carry 384-well plates from their platforms into readers, where an "SNPscope"--which has the capacity to read just a few pixels of fluorescence--captures data from the entire plate in six minutes and automatically transfers it to computer screens. A half-dozen researchers and ana
Acrylamide in French Fries
Barry Palevitz | Oct 13, 2002
Finding acryl-amide--a reagent biochemists use to separate proteins, and a neurotoxin and suspected carcinogen--in fried and baked foods was surprising enough.1 What really puzzled food chemists was how it gets there. Now four research groups may have solved the mystery. In papers from the University of Reading in England and the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland,2,3 and a report from Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, delivered before the Association of Official Analyti
Gene Therapy Marches Forward
Hal Cohen | Oct 13, 2002
Illustration: Erica P. Johnson After years of methodically lumbering along with antisense and gene knockout technologies, gene therapy has been given fresh legs. Techniques such as RNA interference (RNAi)--small nuclear RNAs to mask aberrant splice sites--and transposon technologies that extend the lives of transgenes are offering more applications than previously thought possible. A trio of recent papers highlights these approaches to gene therapy. RNAi is being used to boost gene therapy ef