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Taken from Medical News Today
"Getting More Anti-Cancer Medicine Into The  Blood"



Scientists are reporting successful application of the technology used  in home devices to clean jewelry, dentures, and other items to make anticancer  drugs like tamoxifen and paclitaxel dissolve more easily in body fluids, so they  can better fight the disease. The process, described in ACS' journal,  Langmuir, can make other poorly soluble materials more soluble,  and has potential for improving the performance of dyes, paints, rust-proofing  agents and other products. The scientists describe using sonification,  high-pitched sound waves like those in home ultrasonic jewelry and denture  cleaners, to break anti-cancer drugs into particles so small that thousands  would fit across the width of a human hair. Each particle of that power then  gets several coatings with natural polysaccharides that keep them from sticking  together. The technique, termed nanoencapsulation, worked with several widely  used anti-cancer drugs, raising the possibility that it could be used to  administer more-effective doses of the medications. The report also described  successful use to increase the solubility of ingredients in rust proofing  agents, paints, and dyes.

Taken from Scientific American
"Broccoli Fights Cancer By Clearing Bad Tumor  Suppressors"



Generations of American children have been told, “Eat your  broccoli!” And for decades, researchers have known that broccoli and related  vegetables like cauliflower and watercress appeared to lower the risk of some  cancers. And that compounds in the vegetables could kill cancer cells. But how  the cruciferous veggies worked their medical magic was a mystery. Until now.  Because researchers have figured out just what broccoli does that helps keep  cancer in check. The work appears in the Journal of Medicinal  Chemistry. Proteins coded by the gene p53 help keep cancer from  starting to grow. But when the p53 gene is mutated, the protection is gone.  Mutated p53 is implicated in about half of all human cancers. Broccoli and its  relatives are rich in compounds called isothiocyanates, or ITCs. And these ITCs  apparently destroy the products of the mutant p53 gene, but leave the healthy  p53 proteins alone and free to suppress tumor development.

Taken from Time
"Oil Spill: Months Later, Questions Remain Over  Chemical Dispersants"



We're only a couple of months shy of the one-year anniversary of the  Gulf oil spill, but there's still a great deal of uncertainty over just what  happened—and what might be left over. As I've written before, recent studies  seem to jibe with the government's earlier reports suggesting that much of the  oil in the Gulf has either evaporated or been broken down by bacteria. (Other  scientists, however, still have their doubts.) But hydrocarbons weren't the only  thing that spilled into the Gulf when BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on  April 20 last year. The joint industry/government response team also injected  roughly 800,000 gallons of dispersant in the deep water at the site of the  leak—something that had never been done in an oil spill response before. There  was no shortage of environmental worries about the chemical dispersants when  they were used, although the Environmental Protection Agency—after the  fact—ruled the chemicals safe... It turns out the case still isn't closed.  According to a forthcoming study in the journal Environmental Science  & Technology, the dispersants used to help clean up the oil spill  did not break down as quickly as scientists had expected—meaning that the  chemicals are likely still floating in the deep Gulf, at detectable levels.

Taken from Food Navigator
"Study reveals the foaming properties of gluten  protein"



The foaming properties of gliadin – a gluten forming  glycoprotein – may be affected by the pH of food systems, as well as the  concentration of salt. The study, published in the Journal of  Agricultural and Food Chemistry, finds that one particular type of  gliadin, known as gamma- gliadin, is mainly responsible for its foaming  properties. The study also suggested that foam stability was best at neutral and  alkaline pH values. Researchers into foam-based food products, such as whipped  cream, ice cream, sorbets, and mousses, continues, with food companies such as  Unilever leading the way: Stability is an issue with food foams. The new  research found that, at neutral and alkaline pH values, foams were quite stable,  with more than 60 per cent of the foams still being present after 60 min.

Taken from Science News
"Amoebas in drinking water: a double  threat"



Amoebas — blob-shaped microbes linked to several deadly diseases —  contaminate drinking-water systems around the world, according to a new  analysis. The study finds that amoebas are appearing often enough in water  supplies and even in treated tap water to be considered a potential health risk.  A number of these microorganisms can directly trigger disease, from a blinding  corneal infection to a rapidly lethal brain inflammation. But many amoebas  possess an equally sinister if less well-recognized alter ego: As Trojan horses,  they can carry around harmful bacteria, allowing many types to not only multiply  inside amoeba cells but also evade disinfection agents at water-treatment  facilities. Even though recent data indicate that amoebas can harbor many  serious waterborne human pathogens, U.S. water systems don’t have to screen for  the parasites, according to study coauthor Nicholas Ashbolt of the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in  Cincinnati. He coauthored a study of amoebas’ “yet unquantified emerging health  risk” in the February 1 in Environmental Science &  Technology.

Taken from Chemistry World
"US cost savings must spare science, Obama  says"



President Obama, in his 25 January State of the Union  speech, sought to calm concerns that major budget deficit reduction efforts will  mean steep cuts for science agencies and researchers who depend on their grants.  Although the president proposed freezing domestic spending for the next five  years, he stressed the importance of continuing investment in innovation through  increased government spending on research, technology and education. 'This is  our generation's Sputnik moment,' Obama asserted, suggesting the US must reach a  level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.  'In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that  goal,' the president stated. 'We'll invest in biomedical research, information  technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will  strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for  our people.' The US research community is celebrating such support for science  in tough economic times. But some, like the American Chemical  Society (ACS), say it is too early to tell how Congress will react to  Obama's plea for investment, or what effect it might have on science agencies  and researchers. 'We will need to wait and see whether Republicans will embrace  Obama's call for investment in research and development, education and  infrastructure before we can predict impact on the field of chemistry,' ACS  spokesperson Glenn Ruskin tells Chemistry World.

Taken from Nature
"West Africa's toxic problem"



Researchers cruising off the western coast of Africa have confirmed the  presence of mysteriously high levels of airborne toxic polychlorinated biphenyls  (PCBs). The production and use of these chemicals is now largely banned by  national laws and under the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic  Pollutants — because of worries over their potential for causing cancer and  other health problems. The reason the levels detected off the West African coast  are a surprise — and a cause for concern — is that this region has not  previously figured highly in thinking about the pollutants. "We found high  levels of PCBs in a region of the world where we wouldn't expect to find them, "  says Rosalinda Gioia, an atmospheric pollution researcher at Lancaster  University, UK, and the lead author of the report of the high levels in  Environmental Science & Technology. "In the global  inventories of PCBs, Africa does not really represent a place where PCBs were  sold or used," she says. "Of course, the long-term exposure to these levels of  PCBs could lead to adverse effects to human health; however, a detailed  toxicological study is needed in order to determine the effects."

Taken from CBS News
"World's Tiniest Rope May Lead to New  Nanostructures"



Scientists have braided a rope that is less than a millionth of a meter  in diameter, a major step toward self-assembling materials important for  nanoscale construction and medicine. Polymers, or long chains of molecules, were  coaxed into braiding themselves into wispy nanoscale ropes that approach the  structural complexity of biological materials. The work is the latest  development in the push to develop self-assembling nanoscale materials that  mimic the intricacy and functionality of nature's handiwork, but which are  rugged enough to withstand harsh conditions such as heat and dryness. Although  still early in the development stage, the research could lead to new  applications that combine the best of both worlds. The research was published in  a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Taken from the Jerusalem Post
"Researchers develop coated paper to preserve  packaged food"



A special paper that, when used as food packaging, holds products  together while killing bacteria that cause spoilage has been developed by  scientists at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced  Materials. Dubbed “killer paper,” the product is coated with silver  nanoparticles and has been proven successful in lab tests. The invention was  recently described in an article titled “Sonochemical Coating of Paper by  Microbiocidal Silver Nanoparticles” in the American Chemical Society journal  Langmuir. The team was headed by Prof. Aharon Gedanken,  director of Bar-Ilan’s Kanbar Laboratory of Nanomaterials. He and colleagues  noted that silver already finds wide use as a bacteria-fighter in certain  medicinal ointments, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and even Israeli-developed  odor-resistant socks.

Taken from RedOrbit
"Latest American Chemical Society Podcast:  Biodegradable Foam From Milk Protein And Clay"
January 20


The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's (ACS)  award-winning podcast series, "Global Challenges/Chemistry  Solutions," focuses on development of a new ultra-light biodegradable  foam plastic material made from two unlikely ingredients: The protein in milk  and ordinary clay. The material could be used in numerous products, researchers  report in the ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal. The finding comes amid  ongoing concern about plastic waste accumulating in municipal landfills, and  reliance on imported oil to make plastics. David Schiraldi, Ph.D., of Case  Western Reserve University, explains that 80 percent of the protein in cow milk  is a substance called casein, which already is used in making adhesives and  paper coatings. But casein is not very strong, and water can wash it away. To  beef up casein, and boost its resistance to water, he and his team blended in a  small amount of clay and a reactive molecule called glyceraldehyde, which links  casein's protein molecules together.

Taken from USA Weekend
"Proven strategies to get the most out of  life"



As you get older, your body and mind change — it's a normal  part of aging that you don't get much say in. Your skin wrinkles, gray hairs  sprout, joints start to ache. Sometimes, though, those changes raise your risk  of health conditions and disease — and that's where your choices, lifestyle and  habits can influence your fate. On average, Americans are living well into their  70s, and many are enjoying good health. Here are some science-based strategies  to help you deal with the most common conditions affecting seniors — and make  the most of your life: Add berries to your diet. According to studies presented  at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, fresh  or frozen strawberries, blueberries and acai berries may help slow the brain's  natural aging process. Scientists found certain compounds in berries (and  possibly walnuts) activate the brain's "housekeeper" cells that clean up and  recycle toxic proteins, which have been linked to age-related mental decline and  memory loss.

Taken from Medical News Today
"Small Molecules May Prevent Ebola  Infection"


Ebola, a virus that causes deadly hemorrhagic fever  in humans, has no known cure or vaccine. But a new study by University of  Illinois at Chicago scientists has uncovered a family of small molecules which  appear to bind to the virus's outer protein coat and may inhibit its entry into  human cells. The results are to be published in the Journal of Medicinal  Chemistry and are now online. Previous studies have shown that small  molecules can interfere with the Ebola infection process, says Duncan Wardrop,  associate professor of chemistry at UIC and corresponding author of the new  study. But almost all of these compounds "appear to exert their effects by  altering the cells' response to the virus once it's entered the cell -- by which  time it's too late," he said. The new findings demonstrate that it is possible  for a small molecule to bind to the virus before it has a chance to enter the  cell and thereby prevent infection, he said.

Taken from The Medical News
"Dried blood spot technology finds new role in  developing lifesaving medications"



The blood test procedure used on newborn infants  for 40 years is finding a second life in the search for new lifesaving  medications, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical  & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. C&EN  Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that collecting drops of blood from  patients and depositing the drops on special paper cards to dry has been used  for decades to screen newborns for hereditary disorders and infectious disease.  But the dried blood spot technology has found a new role at pharmaceutical  companies in the development and testing of new drugs. The approach, possible  now because modern lab instruments are more sensitive, has distinct advantages.  The dried blood approach, for instance, involves taking only a few drops of  blood from patients in clinical trials, and these can be stored and shipped more  easily and inexpensively than liquid samples. Those advantages, alone, could cut  the cost of introducing new drugs by millions of dollars, the article indicates.

Taken from MSNBC

"'Killer paper' eyed for safer  food"


Scientists have developed a technique to coat paper with nanoparticles  of silver — a combination that makes the paper lethal to bacteria such as E.  coli and potentially suitable as a food packaging material. Silver is widely  used to fight bacteria, and silver nanoparticles are already found in textiles,  fibers, plastics and metals for biomedical applications. The technology is used  in wound dressings and microbial resistant catheters, as well as consumer  products such as odor-resistant socks (and even space underwear). Until now,  scientists have been unable to deposit the particles of silver — each one-50,000  the width of a human hair — onto paper. The new method involves the use of  ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, to anchor the particles on paper. The  technique was pioneered by a research team led by Aharon Gedanken at the  Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University in  Israel, and described last month in the journal Langmuir,  published by the American Chemical Society.

john simpson

How Salt Battles Road Ice

Posted by john simpson Jan 19, 2011

Taken from PBS NewsHour
"How  Does Salt Battle Road Ice?"



Since as early as the 1930s, a variation on simple table  salt has been used to keep wintry roads from getting dangerously slippery. The  mechanism is simple: When liquid water freezes into ice, the loose water  molecules arrange themselves into a more ordered structure. Salt slows this  process. "Any impurity disrupts water molecules' ability to find each other and  to organize in the right way," said Joel Thornton, professor of atmospheric  sciences at University of Washington in Seattle. "When you add salt to the road,  what you're doing is you're adding impurities to the water so you disrupt the  water's ability to form ice." As salt dissolves in water, it breaks down into  two ions: one sodium ion and one chloride ion per sodium chloride molecule.  These ions are foreign particles in the water, and they disperse water  molecules, pushing them apart, and making it harder for ice to form. As salt is  added, the freezing point drops. "So instead of freezing at 0 degrees Celsius,  it might freeze at -4 degrees Celsius, depending on how much salt is dissolved  in the water," said Kenneth Smith, a retired analytical chemist  and chair of the American Chemical Society's Division of Environmental  Chemistry. "The more salt is dissolved in the water, the more the  freezing point is depressed."

Taken from the NSF's Science360 News Service
"New Today on Science360 Radio: Global Challenges/  Chemistry Solutions: Biodegradable Plastic Made From Milk And  Clay"
January 19


With continuing concern about plastic waste accumulating in  municipal landfills, and reliance on imported oil to make plastics, scientists  have created an ultra-light biodegradable foam plastic material made from two  unlikely ingredients. A study in ACS’ Biomacromolecules,  reports that researchers have actually used the protein in milk and ordinary  clay. Here is lead author David A. Schiraldi, Ph.D. of Case Western Reserve  University … “We believe this new ‘green’ foam plastic can have a wide range of  uses. For example, we can see it in furniture cushions, insulation, packaging  and many other products. By replacing standard foam this could have an important  impact on better protecting the environment from debris.” An advantage of this  new technique is that the materials are readily available and producing the  biodegradable foam would be rather easy.

Taken from U.S. News & World Report

"Health Buzz: Smoking Damages DNA Within Minutes,  Study Finds"

Cigarettes damage the body within minutes of taking a puff, new research  suggests. In a small study, scientists tracked the level of a chemical  associated with cancer—one polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)—in 12 smokers  and found it began damaging their DNA within 15 to 30 minutes of finishing a  cigarette, according to a report published in the American Chemical Society's  journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. "Almost everybody  knows that smoking can cause lung cancer," Martin Dockrell, director of policy  and research at the advocacy group Action on Smoking and Health, told BBC  News. "The chilling thing about this research is that it shows just how  early the very first stages of the process begin—not in 30 years, but within 30  minutes of a single cigarette. But it is never too late to quit."

Taken from TreeHugger
"Biofuels Can At Most Supply Half of Global Fuel  Demand Before Cutting Into Food Production"



It's a few years behind the now-passed biofuels-as-panacea  hype, but research published in the Environmental Science and  Technology finds that while a fairly significant amount of the current  global liquid fuel demand can be satisfied by biofuels, without cutting into  agricultural land, it's a far, far way from being a full substitute for fossil  fuels. Within the boundaries of determining how much land around the globe could  be used to produce grass crops for biofuels with "minimal impact on agriculture  or the environment," civil and environmental engineering professor Ximing Cai's  team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concludes that about  1,107 million hectares (4.27 million square miles) could be put into biofuel  production. That's enough for 26-56% of current liquid fuel demand--there are  obviously lots a variables at play. That billion hectare figure includes  so-called marginal grassland, which could be used to grow low-impact  high-diversity grasses that, though they have lower yields than other biofuel  grasses such as miscanthus or switchgrass, can be still harvested to produce  energy while at the same time maintaining grassland.

Montreal Gazette
"Quebec forest fires cast wide  pall"


When lightning sparks a fire in a Quebec forest, people  living as far as 1,000 kilometres away can end up breathing polluted air. A new  study has found air pollution levels in northern New York state jumped last  summer as more than 50 forest fires burned around La Tuque, about 300 kilometres  northeast of Montreal. Researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.,  found the amount of fine particulate matter, one component of air pollution,  soared to 18 times its normal level because of smoke blown south from  Quebec.. Yungang Carl Wang, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental  engineering at Clarkson University, noticed the change in air quality that day.  “We normally can see a whole blue sky in upstate New York,” said Wang, one of  five researchers who did the study, published in the scientific journal  Environmental Science and Technology. “The sky looked smoky and  hazy.” Wang has been doing urban-air quality studies for the last five years. He  said while he expected to see some deterioration in air quality because of the  forest fire smoke, he didn’t expect it to be as large as it was.

Taken from The Globe and Mail
"Headaches by the glass: Why wine isn't always a  pleasure"
January 11


Wine is synonymous with pleasure, yet it’s a source of pain  for many frustrated drinkers. Allergic reactions, including headaches, skin  rashes and runny noses, affect as many as 8 per cent of wine drinkers, according  to some estimates. Now, recent news out of Denmark could spell hope for many  sufferers. Scientists have isolated molecules in wine that may be the source of  a large number of these allergies. And here’s the twist. They are substances  unrelated to such usual – and often falsely accused – suspects as sulphites,  tannins and pesticides. The discovery could lead to new winemaking techniques  that would reduce or remove the culprit molecules, ushering in an era of  headache-free merlots and pinot grigios for those with sensitivities. Giuseppe  Palmisano and his colleagues report in the Journal of Proteome  Research that substances called glycoproteins – proteins coated with  sugars – could be at the root of many wine allergies. Similar molecules in  latex, ragweed pollen and olives have been shown to provoke nasty bodily  reactions, but Dr. Palmisano believes that he is the first to identify  potentially allergenic glycoproteins specific to wine.

Taken from Scientific American
"Paying Waste: Sewage Contains More Usable Energy  Than Scientists Thought"
January 11


Is what you flush down the toilet wasted energy? People  living in countries with flush-toilets and running water produce a huge amount  of wastewater daily. This water, thanks largely to excrement, is full of organic  compounds that store usable energy in their chemical bonds. Several methods can  be employed to harvest it—for example, engineers can extract methane through  anaerobic (oxygen-free) digestion, or produce electricity using microbial fuel  cells. In the past several years an increasing amount of research has focused on  developing and improving on these methods, as harnessed sewage power could help  water treatment plants produce enough power to meet all their own  consumption—and even serve as a fuel source in developing countries where  supplies are currently unreliable. But just how much usable energy does raw  sewage hold? This was the question posed by the authors of a study published  January 5 in Environmental Science & Technology. Their  answer: wastewater likely holds a lot more than was previously thought.  Elizabeth Heidrich, a PhD student at Newcastle University in England and lead  author of the new study, studies microbial fuel cells—devices that generate  electrical current by capturing the electrons freed as bacteria break down  organic matter in wastewater. As she was preparing her doctoral research project  she decided to determine how much energy engineers could count on wastewater to  provide. "It seemed like an obvious question to start with," she explains—which  was why she was surprised that hardly anyone had previously asked it.

Taken from United Press International
"Scientists look for better rat  poisons"
January 12


Scientists are working on lethal baits that lure rats as  effectively as the Pied Piper did in the children's classic fairy tale. Modern  rat poisons, based on anticoagulants, are effective, but are harmful to humans  and other animals, and rats are developing resistance, so scientists are  searching for new poisons, the American Chemical Society weekly  newsletter reported Wednesday. A major challenge is involves tracking whether  the poison actually is being consumed by rats or by other animals, the chemical  society said. Scientists report making progress on this issue, which includes  use of special fluorescent dyes to track how much bait rodents eat and studying  fecal of their predators to identify possible contamination routes.

Taken from the Times of India
"Thirdhand smoke, a big health  hazard"
January 13


A new study has suggested that ''thirdhand smoke''- the  invisible remains of cigarette smoke that deposits on carpeting, clothing,  furniture and other surfaces- may be even more of a health hazard than  previously thought. The study has extended the known health risks of tobacco  among people who do not smoke but encounter the smoke exhaled by smokers or  released by smoldering cigarette butts. Yael Dubowski and colleagues noted that  thirdhand smoke is a newly recognized contributor to the health risks of tobacco  and indoor air pollution. In an effort to learn more about thirdhand smoke, the  scientists studied interactions between nicotine and indoor air on a variety of  different materials, including cellulose (a component of wood furniture),  cotton, and paper to simulate typical indoor surfaces. They found that nicotine  interacts with ozone, in indoor air, to form potentially toxic pollutants on  these surfaces. The findings were published in ACS' journal  Environmental Science and Technology.

Taken from Wired Magazine
"Nanoparticles  in Sewage Sludge May End Up in the Food Chain"



Plants and microbes can absorb nano-sized synthetic  particles that magnify in concentration within predators up the food chain,  according to two new studies. Nanoparticles can be made of countless different  materials, and their safety isn’t well-understood. Yet the minuscule specks are  infused into hundreds of consumer products ranging from transparent sunscreens  to odor-eating socks. From there, they can wash down drains, ultimately ending  up in the sewage sludge of wastewater treatment plants. About 3 million tons of  dried-out sludge is subsequently mixed into agricultural soil each year. “We  wanted to look into the possibility of nanoparticles getting into the food chain  in this way,” said environmental toxicologist Paul Bertsch of the University of  Kentucky. “What we found really surprised us.” To explore nanoparticle  absorption in the food chain, Bertsch’s team raised tobacco plants in a  hydroponic greenhouse. While the plants grew, the team added super-stable gold  nanoparticles to the water to mimic consumer nanoparticles in wastewater sludge.  Gold nanoparticles built up in tobacco leaf tissue, and tobacco hornworms that  ate the plants accumulated concentrations of the nanomaterials about 6 to 12  times higher than in the plant. “We expected [nanoparticles] to accumulate, but  not biomagnify like that,” said Bertsch, co-author of the Dec. 3 study in  Environmental Science & Technology.

Taken from NSF's Science360 News Service
"Household sewage: Not waste, but a vast new energy  resource"



In a finding that gives new meaning to the adage, "waste  not, want not," scientists are reporting that household sewage has far more  potential as an alternative energy source than previously thought. They say the  discovery, which increases the estimated potential energy in wastewater by  almost 20 percent, could spur efforts to extract methane, hydrogen and other  fuels from this vast and, as yet, untapped resource. Their report appears in  ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology. Elizabeth  S. Heidrich and colleagues note that sewage treatment plants in the United  States use about 1.5 percent of the nation's electrical energy to treat 12.5  trillion gallons of wastewater a year. Only one other study had been done on  wastewater's energy potential, and Heidrich thought that the results were too  low because some energy-rich compounds were lost to evaporation. In the new  study, the scientists freeze-dried wastewater to conserve more of its  energy-rich compounds. Using a standard device to measure energy content, they  found that the wastewater they collected from a water treatment plant in  Northeast England contained nearly 20 per cent more than reported  previously.

Taken from R&D Magazine
"Press registration opens for American Chemical  Society National Meeting, March 27-31, 2011"



News media now can apply for registration for the  American Chemical Society's (ACS') 241st National Meeting &  Exposition March 27-31, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif., one of the largest  scientific conferences of the New Year. Held during the International Year of  Chemistry (IYC), it will take place at the Anaheim Convention and Exhibition  Center and at area hotels. With nearly 9,500 presentations on new discoveries  that span science's horizons - from astronomy to zoology -- the meeting will  offer print, broadcast and online journalists a rich assortment of spot news and  feature possibilities. The topics include food and nutrition, medicine, health,  energy, the environment and other fields where chemistry plays a central role.  Some of those presentations will connect with the meeting's theme, "The  Chemistry of Natural Resources." The ACS Office of Public Affairs will operate a  press center in the convention center. It will include a press conference room  and a news media workroom fully staffed to assist in arranging interviews.

Taken from Popular Science
"With New Method, China Can Mass-Produce Light Water  For Its Citizens' Thirst"



In an effort to produce mass quantities of healthier H2O,  Chinese scientists have come up with a new method to change water’s chemical  composition. It involves making light water. Natural water has tiny amounts of  D2O molecules, deuterium and oxygen, mixed in with the dihydrogen monoxide.  Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is an isotope of hydrogen that contains  one proton and one neutron. In North America, typical drinking water has a  deuterium concentration of about 150 ppm, roughly equivalent to a few drops per  every quart. Water with higher concentrations of D2O is known as heavy water,  and it is harmful to plants and animals. By contrast, water with hardly any D2O  — or light water — can boost the immune system and benefit plant and animal  health, according to several studies. In one study from 2003, plant  photosynthesis increased with the use of light water. A study involving mice  blasted with ionizing radiation showed a dramatic difference in survival between  mice that drank light water and mice that drank regular water. It is even used  as a cancer treatment for humans: In 2008, researchers reported that light water  noticeably lengthened the lifespan of terminal cancer patients. The authors  propose a new method involving a platinum catalyst, which quickly removes  deuterium from water using cold and hot temperatures, according to the  American Chemical Society. The result is water with a deuterium  concentration of roughly 125 ppm.

Taken from Chemistry World
"Obama moves to protect research agency  budgets"



President Obama has signed legislation to enable key US  physical science agencies to enjoy consistent budget boosts over the next  several years. Despite the news, academics are still wary about the future of  support for research. The president signed the American Competes Act  reauthorisation without much fanfare on 4 January - the day before the new, more  fiscally conservative Congress convened. The move was celebrated as a signal of  the White House's commitment to preserve America's leadership in innovation,  even amid growing agreement in Congress that the nation's debt must be  drastically reduced. 'It is an acknowledgement that the president is still  committed to advancing the science and Stem [science, technology, engineering  and mathematics] education agenda,' says Glenn Ruskin,  spokesman for the American Chemical Society. The new law  proposes to bolster US National Science Foundation (NSF) funding by roughly 20  per cent to reach $8.3 billion (£5.4 billion) in 2013, and while Ruskin notes  that this does not maintain its original 10-year doubling trajectory, it aims to  provide significant increases and sustained investments for the agency. 'This is  a win in the current economic climate,' Ruskin tells Chemistry World.

Taken from MSNBC

"Studded tires may pose risks to your lungs,  heart"


Drivers who hit the road in winter with studded tires may be  ruining more than just the pavement beneath their cars. They also could be  harming their hearts and lungs. Microscopic road debris kicked up as the tires'  spiky metal posts meet the asphalt could pose risks to health, not only for  drivers, but also for the people living near highways, Swedish scientists  suggest. Researchers collected airborne particles generated as studded tires  rolled over a road simulator at about 40 miles an hour, according to a study  published in the latest issue of the journal Chemical Research in  Toxicology. They then added this dust to a dish containing human white  blood cells, similar to the ones that line the lungs. Researchers found that  important chemical markers changed after being exposed to road debris — higher  levels of three proteins known to increase inflammation and lower amounts of  seven proteins that can protect against it. Inflammation is thought to be a  cause of heart disease.