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ACS in the News - February 1, 2010

ACS in the News - February 1, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Click on the links below to view the published article. Full-text articles can also be found in the attached document at the bottom of the page.

Huffington  Post (New York, N.Y.: 26.6 million monthly unique  users)

“The  Secrets in Smoke”

January 29,  2010

In 1854, the essayist Henry David  Thoreau published an ode to a morning fire: "Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird...  Lark without song, and messenger of dawn." Scientists, of course, saw the hazing  blue of wood smoke - or any smoke derived from burning plant material - as  something less poetic. In particular, the smoke from dried leaves of the tobacco  plant attracted serious attention from chemists by the end of the 19th century.  Since then researchers have identified an astonishing 4,000-plus chemical  compounds in tobacco smoke. Only a small proportion of these are hazardous,  although we've learned from experience, that's more than enough. But what makes  that number so interesting is that it tells us - shouts at us, really - that  plant smoke is incredibly, amazingly complicated. I mean, why would nature turn  a burning leaf into such an explosion of chemical notes and signals? As it turns  out, a paper published this week in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Natural  Products offers some real insight into that question. The study by  scientists in South Africa and Europe, builds on earlier work showing that some  elements in the smoke from forest fires contains materials that literally  encourage seeds to propagate, to begin regrowing the forest. In fact,  researchers have discovered that by creating "smoke water" - bubbling wood smoke  into water - that the result will stimulate many seeds to begin sprouting.

Times  of India (New Delhi, India: daily circulation 3.15  million)

“Indian  scientists to interact with international  experts”

January 29,  2010

The Udai Pratap College in  association with the Laser and Spectroscopy Society of India, Banaras Hindu  University (BHU) will be organising a three-day international workshop on  spectroscopic signatures of molecular complexes and ions in our atmosphere and  beyond at the KN Uduppa auditorium, BHU from February 2-4. Talking to reporters  on Friday, convener Dr Vipin Bahadur Singh said the the workshop will emphasise  on the importance of the rapidly expanding area of knowledge and provide an  opportunity to younger Indian scientists to interact with leading international  experts. About 25 distinguished experts from India  and abroad would take part in the workshop. There would be plenary talks, oral  presentation and poster presentation. Among the foreign experts, Dr Leforestier  from France, Dr Fusakazu  Matsushima from Japan and  Dr Joseph Francisco from the  U.S.

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.: daily circulation  279,032)

“Can  We Achieve a Sustainable Future? The Role of Green  Chemistry”

February 1,  2010

Sustainability at its core means  survivability, and green chemistry hopes to ensure that we’ll be happy, healthy,  and here in the future. Dr. Robert  Peoples, director of the ACS Green  Chemistry Institute, leads a lively dialog about green chemistry’s  role in weaning us off petroleum and tackling the challenges of global  sustainability.

Discovery  News (Silver Spring, Md.: 3.2 million monthly unique  users)

“Forget  Gingko: Try Blueberries for Improved Memory”

January 29,  2010

There may be a simple way to ease  the memory lapses and brain slips that typically accompany old age: Eat more  blueberries. In a small study, older adults who drank a couple cups of blueberry  juice a day improved their scores on a learning and memory task by 20 percent.  Studies in animals have linked blueberries with brain function, but this is one  of the first such studies in people. The results, while still preliminary,  suggest that blueberries might just live up to their reputation as "superfoods."  For the next 12 weeks, participants drank three glasses of blueberry juice a  day, for a total of between two and two and a half cups. The exact amount they  drank depended on body weight. During the last week of the study, participants  took the memory tests again. Out of a possible score of 20 on the paired-words  task, the average score was about 9 before the juice drinking began. Three  blueberry-filled months later, average scores rose to about 13, the researchers  reported in the Journal of Agricultural and  Food Chemistry. That's a 20 percent improvement.

United  Press International (Washington D.C.: 2 million monthly unique  users)

“Ginkgo:  Risk of seizures in epileptics”

January 30,  2010

An herbal remedy may raise the risk  of seizures in people with epilepsy, German researchers warn. Eckhard Leistner  and Christel Drewke of Institut fur Pharmazeutische Biologie, Rheinische  Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat, say the remedy -- pills or teas from the leaves  or raw or roasted seeds of Ginkgo biloba used to treat an array of maladies  including Alzheimer's disease and blood vessel blockages -- contains potentially  toxic ginkgotoxin that may affect a chemical signaling pathway in ways that  trigger epileptic seizures. The researchers reviewed 10 studies and they say  there is evidence Ginkgo can interact with anti-seizure medications and reduce  their effectiveness. The review is published in the Journal of Natural  Products.

Charlotte  News & Observer (Charlotte, N.C.: daily circulation  187,633)

“Science  Briefs”

February 1,  2010

The platypus found in Australia is among the few mammals  that produce venom. Now researchers in Japan know a little more about what  makes it so painful. Using high-performance liquid chromatography and other  techniques, the team Masaki Kita of the University of Tsukuba, Daisuke Uemura of the Nagoya University and colleagues analyzed venom  samples and identified about a dozen peptides, small chains of amino acids that  are building blocks of proteins. Their findings are in The Journal of the American Chemical Society.  In earlier laboratory studies, the researchers found that crude venom caused  cultured nerve cells to take up calcium ions slowly and continuously. This gave  a hint as to how the venom acts, because calcium flux into nerve cells is linked  to the sensation of pain. One of the peptides identified, called heptapeptide-1,  was shown to increase calcium ion flux by itself.

New  Scientist (London, England: weekly circulation  170,000)

“Nanoprinter  could have cells lining up to be tested”

January 31,  2010

Borrowing a trick from the office  photocopier may make it possible for a nanoscale printer to precisely manipulate  biological cells for use in artificial tissue… This process produces an  imbalance in the quantities of positive and negative ions in the printed ink,  but the team realised that by switching the polarity of the voltage, they could  solve that problem and also print intricate patterns of positive or negative  charge onto the substrate (Nano  Letters).

Science  Daily (Rockville, N.J.: 3.6 million monthly unique  users)

“Hospital  Scanner Could Curb Nuclear Waste Threat”

February 1,  2010

Medical equipment used for diagnosis  of patients with heart disease and cancer could be a key weapon in stopping  nuclear waste seeping into the environment, according to new research. A team of  scientists from the Universities of Manchester and Leeds have joined forces with  experts in nuclear medicine at Manchester Royal Infirmary, using medical  gamma-ray cameras to track radioactive isotopes in soil samples from a  US civil nuclear site. The research  was published in a special edition of the American Chemical Society journal  Environmental Science and  Technology.

Medical  News Today (U.K.:  928,500 monthly unique users)

“New Computational  Tool For Cancer Treatment”

February 1,  2010

Many human tumors express  indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an enzyme which mediates an immune-escape in  several cancer types. Researchers in the Molecular Modeling group at the SIB  Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and Dr. Benoît J. Van den Eynde's group at the  Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Ltd (LICR) Brussels Branch developed an  approach for creating new IDO inhibitors by computer-assisted structure-based  drug design. The study was presented in the January 2010 online issue of the  Journal of Medicinal  Chemistry.

… From the  Blogs

Herbal  Remedies

“Dates Lower The  Risks Of Heart Attack And Protect Arteries”

January 27,  2010

According to the findings of a  research leaded by Prof. Michael Aviram of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of  Medicine and the Rambam Medical Center (Israel), eating 100 g of Medjool  dates a day is linked to numerous wonderful health benefits which we frequently  neglect. The results of this interesting study were published the last autumn in  the Journal of Agricultural and Food  Chemistry.

Health  News

“Herbal  remedy’s epilepsy warning”

February 1,  2010

People with epilepsy should be  warned that using a popular herbal remedy may increase the risk of seizures,  researchers say. German scientists, writing in the Journal of Natural Products, said they had  found 10 written reports of seizures linked to ginkgo biloba. They said they  were convinced the herb could have a "detrimental effect."

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