Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

ACS in the News - January 19, 2010

ACS in the News - January 19, 2010

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

New York Times (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation 928,000)
“The Platypus Is Cute but Far From Harmless”
January 18, 2010

In “The Nutmeg of Consolation” by Patrick O’Brian, the 14th in his series of maritime novels, the good Dr. Stephen Maturin’s unabashed joy at finally seeing a platypus in Australia is almost immediately tempered by the incapacitating pain he experiences when he is stung by poisonous spurs on the animal’s rear legs. Dr. Maturin could be forgiven if he didn’t know that the platypus is among the few mammals that produce venom (and with platypuses, only the male does). Even those who know about platypus venom do not really know much about it. They know a little more now. Researchers in Japan have identified some of the constituents of the venom that may help make it so painful. Using high-performance liquid chromatography and other techniques, 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 the building blocks of proteins. Their findings are reported in The Journal of the American Chemical Society.

New York Times (New York, N.Y.: daily circulation 928,000)
“Ancient Egypt’s Toxic Makeup Fought Infection, Researchers Say”
January 18, 2010

The elaborate eye makeup worn by Queen Nefertiti and other ancient Egyptians was believed to have healing powers, conjuring up the protection of the Gods Horus and Ra and warding off illnesses. Science does not allow for magic, but it does allow for healing cosmetics. The lead-based makeup used by the Egyptians had antibacterial properties that helped prevent infections common at the time, according to a report published Friday in Analytical Chemistry, a semimonthly journal of the American Chemical Society. “It was puzzling; they were able to build a strong, rich society, so they were not completely crazy,” said Christian Amatore, a chemist at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and one of the paper’s authors.

The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 359,700 monthly unique users)
“Scientists discover potential biomarkers to predict the spread of colon cancer”
January 18, 2010

Scientists in China are reporting discovery of two proteins present in the blood, of people with colon cancer that may serve as the potential biomarkers for accurately predicting whether the disease will spread. Their study is in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication. Maode Lai and colleagues note that in 2008, 150,000 new cases of colon cancer and over 50,000 deaths from the disease occurred in the United States alone. In an effort to identify useful biomarkers for tracking the spread of colon cancer, the scientists compared proteins produced by primary, or original, tumor cells to those of metastasized cells came from a single individual with colon cancer. They identified two proteins that occurred at significantly higher levels in the metastatic cells than in the primary cancer cells. The two proteins could serve as potential biomarkers in a blood test for predicting the spread of colon cancer, allowing earlier intervention and treatment, the scientists say.

Consumer Affairs (Los Angeles, Calif.: 1.5 million monthly unique users)
“Scientists Develop Cheaper Version Of Tamiflu”
January 15, 2010

Tamiflu has emerged as one of the preferred weapons in the battle against flu, both seasonal and the H1N1 virus, but it has at least one drawback -- it tends to be costly. But a group of scientists claim to have developed an alternative method for producing the active ingredient in Tamiflu. The new process could expand availability of the drug by reducing its cost, which now retails for as about $8 per dose. Their study is in ACS' Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal… The scientists describe a new process for making the drug that does not use shikimic acid. They found that D-ribose, a naturally-occurring sugar produced by fermentation in large scales, potentially provides an inexpensive and abundant source of starting material for making the drug. D-ribose costs only about one-sixth as much as shikimic acid.

KRIV Fox 26 News (Houston, Tex.: 50,400 monthly unique users)
“Rice's Tiny Car Could Build Big Future”
January 18, 2010

Researchers at Rice University are testing the tiniest dragsters ever built. They are so miniscule, you could park 30-thousand of them across the width of a human hair. Each one is a single molecule, made up mostly of carbon atoms. “This actually is a nice high resolution image of the molecule,” says Associate Professor Kevin Kelly, pointing at an image on a computer screen, “where you can see the two large back wheels and the two smaller front wheels.” “In 100 years,” Tour says, “instead of building buildings like we build them, by bringing in bricks and sticks and mortar, what we do is we have nano-size machines and they assemble from the bottom up.” (Organic Letters)

San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.: daily circulation 230,870)
“Yen, distinguished USC professor, Altadena resident, dies”
January 18, 2010

Teh Fu "Dave" Yen, an environmental chemist and professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and a 40-year member of the USC faculty, has died, university officials announced Monday. Yen, who lived in Altadena and is survived by his wife, Shiao-Ping, died Jan. 12 at a local hospital. He had just celebrated his 83rd birthday. Yen was a professor in the environmental engineering program in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, USC officials said in a statement. Yen produced more than 500 papers and was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 26 books. He was a founder of the geochemistry division of the American Chemical Society and an editor, founding editor or editorial board member of numerous technical journals.

AlterNet (San Francisco, Calif.: 958,500 monthly unique users)
“Why You Should Fear Your Sofa, Baby Stroller and Nursing Pillow”
January 18, 2010

For good or ill, California often leads the nation's social and cultural trends and legal standards. California's passion for organic, local food, for example, has spread across the nation. Here's the "ill" part. In 1972, California passed legislation requiring flammability standards for upholstered furniture and baby products like high chairs, strollers and nursing pillows. Blum is now working with scientists and manufacturers to create more sustainable furnishings, electronic and building materials. In an interview with the Chemical and Engineering News, she said, "I believe that using green chemistry to develop safer material is not only vital for the health of the world but would also be more profitable for industry." (Springfield, Mo.: daily circulation 60,889)
“Expert explains findings on coal tar”
January 16, 2010

A local environmental group that wants a citywide ban on a parking lot sealant hopes its latest effort convinces City Council members to take action. The Environmental Advisory Board trotted out Tom Ennis of Austin, Texas, on Friday as the council's Community Involvement Committee continued to research coal tar sealants and whether to recommend a ban. "Here's the punch line," Ennis said. "Coal tar sealant products have a median PAH of 70,000 parts per million. Typical asphalt sealants are 700 ppm. There are other products out there with lower PAHs." Ennis went on, saying that 35 percent of the 58 watersheds sampled were impacted by PAHs. He also noted that coal tar sealant chips off at about 3 percent a year. "Is this harmful in these concentrations? They are significantly toxic. We had tadpoles in Dixie cups that in six days died from concentrations you will find next to a parking lot," Ennis said. "And we find concentrations in our streams a tenth of the level that it takes to kill a tadpole in six days. We also found that it degrades the quality of aquatic species, the diversity of species and the number of species." Ennis said after the meeting that Austin's findings have been published by Environmental Science and Technology, a leading journal within the industry.

Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Fla: daily circulation 63,350)
“Reservations due today for Chemical Society meeting”
January 18, 2010

The Pensacola section of the American Chemical Society will have its next meeting Thursday at Landry's Seafood House. Mike Steltenkamp, environmental manager for the International Paper Pensacola Mill, will provide a progress report on the mill's transformation project. The meeting starts with a social at 6 p.m. Reservations are due by noon today to Bruce Lysek at 968-8822.

… From the Blogs

Healthy Living
“Nutrient-rich, low-calorie diets actually reprogram fat cells to keep the body thin”
January 19, 2010

A study appearing in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research has given further insight into the correlation between calorie restriction and weight loss. While it is known that calorie-restricted diets are effective at helping people to lose weight, it has now been found that fat cell proteins play an important role in regulating bodily fat stores and extending life.

American Medical Clinic
“News of Antioxidants in Coffee not a license to manufacture, it is a mainstay in health schemes”
January 19, 2010

Coffee is a major source of antioxidants in the American diet, as recently reported at the meeting of the American Chemical Society by Dr. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton, but "that's not a license to it as the linchpin of your health therapy" says Dr. Keith I. Block of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care & Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois. Vinson recently found that, based on both the concentration of antioxidants in coffee and the relative Amounts we consume of coffee and the more conventionally recognized sources of antioxidants - fruits and vegetables - coffee contributes more to our host antioxidant than any other food.