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ACS in the News - January 21, 2010

ACS in the News - January 21, 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.

Times of India (New Delhi, India: daily circulation 3.15 million)
“Blueberry juice boosts memory”
January 21, 2010

A few glasses of blueberry juice a day may help improve memory in older adults, says a new study. In a report, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers have stated that blueberries, one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals , improve memory. They said the study, which involved scientists from the University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Canadian department of agriculture, establishes a basis for comprehensive human clinical trials to determine whether blueberries really deserve their growing reputation as a memory enhancer. Robert Krikorian and colleagues point out that previous studies in laboratory animals suggest that eating blueberries may help boost memory in the aged. In the study, one group of volunteers in their 70s with early memory decline drank the equivalent of 2-2 l/2 cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice.

Times of India (New Delhi, India: daily circulation 3.15 million)
“Classrooms ‘more polluted than outdoors’”
January 21, 2010

School classrooms are more polluted than outdoor places, a new study claims. Scientists in Australia and Germany insist some school classrooms may contain higher levels of airborne ultrafine particles. The experts fear children easily inhale these particles deep into the lungs. Lidia Morawska with her team studied levels of ultrafine particles in 3 elementary school classrooms in Brisbane, Australia. They found that on numerous occasions ultrafine particle levels in the classrooms were significantly higher than outdoors. (Environmental Science & Technology)

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: daily circulation 226,591)
“Ancient Egypt's toxic makeup fought infection, report finds”
January 19, 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. The lead-based makeup used by the Egyptians had antibacterial properties that helped prevent infections common at the time, according to a report published in Analytical Chemistry, a semimonthly journal of the American Chemical Society. Neal Langerman, a physical chemist and the president of Advanced Chemical Safety, a health safety and environmental protection consulting firm, said, "You probably won't want to do this at home, especially if you have a small child or a dog that likes to lick you." Nonetheless, Langerman said, it makes sense that the Egyptians were attracted to the compounds.

RedOrbit (Dallas, Tex.: 5.4 million monthly unique users)
“Blood Test For Schizophrenia”
January 20, 2010

A blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia — the most serious form of mental illness — could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. The disorder, with symptoms that can include hallucinations and delusional thoughts, affects more than two million people in the United States and millions more worldwide. The scientists have already identified several schizophrenia biomarkers in the blood and are working with a company that plans to launch a blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia in 2010.

Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.: daily circulation 53,967)
“Your life; Iron, copper problems; Schizophrenia testing”
January 21, 2010

Scientists are stepping up their efforts to alert older people about the importance of reducing their iron and copper intake as they age. Copper and iron are essential nutrients -- especially to the reproductive health of younger people. But after age 50, high levels of these metals can cause cell damage that have been linked to Alzheimer's, heart disease and other serious disorders. A new report in the American Chemical Society's Chemical Research in Toxicology recommends the following for people over 50: avoid vitamin pills with copper and iron; lower meat consumption; avoid water from copper pipes; donate blood regularly; and take zinc supplements to lower copper levels… A blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News. The article points out that the disorder involves not only the brain, but also abnormal levels of certain proteins that appear elsewhere in the body.

TG Daily (Westlake Village, Calif.: 136,500 monthly unique users)
“Jeans double as rechargeable batteries”
January 21, 2010

In response, presumably, to massive public demand, scientists have developed a way to recharge cellphones and the like by plugging them into your clothing. Stanford university scientists can now change ordinary cotton and polyester into 'conductive energy textiles' which double as a rechargeable battery. The technique uses 'ink' made from single-walled carbon nanotubes which, when applied to cotton and polyester fabrics, has an excellent ability to store electricity. The fabrics were just as flexible and stretchable as regular cotton and polyester. And the engineers even remembered to check that they could cope with laundering. Their report appears in ACS' Nano Letters.

Gizmag (St. Kilda, Australia: 924,400 monthly unique users)
“Biosensor paper strip test for safe drinking water”
January 18, 2010

Engineers at the University of Michigan have developed a strip of paper infused with carbon nanotubes that can quickly and inexpensively detect a toxin produced by algae in drinking water. The paper strips perform 28 times faster than the complicated method most commonly used today to detect microcystin-LR, a chemical compound produced by the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) commonly found on nutrient-rich waters. Microcystin-LR is among the leading causes of biological water pollution and is believed to be the culprit of many mass poisonings going back to early human history. Microcystin-LR (MC-LR), even in very small quantities, is suspected to cause liver damage and possibly liver cancer. The substance and others like it are among the leading causes of biological water pollution. (Nano Letters)

ABC Science (Sydney, Australia: 654,000 monthly unique users)
“Nanotechnology to make buildings cooler”
January 21, 2010

A heat pump based on nanoparticles could one day cool buildings without the need for energy-intensive air conditioning, say Australian researchers. Applied physicist Professor Geoff Smith and Dr Angus Gentle of the University of Technology, Sydney report their findings online this month in Nano Letters. In a warming world, the reliance on energy-intensive air conditioning has become an increasing problem. The hotter it gets, the more energy we use on air conditioning, and the more greenhouse gases are produced - meaning peak energy use now occurs in summer.

… From the Blogs

The Autism News
“Autism Chemistry Camp a Success”
January 20, 2010

For the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger Syndrome, even those who are highly functioning, finding someone who can tell them what their kids can do versus what they can’t do is often a challenge. Watching his son gain a merit badge in chemistry as a Boy Scout got Matsunaga thinking and as head of the Southern Arizona Section of the American Chemical Society he found an opportunity to draw awareness to autism while helping to integrate adolescents with autism into greater society. Through an American Chemical Society innovative program grant Matsunaga was able to put together a team to introduce children ages 11 to 15 with highly functioning autism to the world of chemical science on the UA campus.

India News Magazine
“Blueberry juice sharpens memory in the aged”
January 21, 2010

A few glasses of blueberry juice a day may help sharpen memory in the aged, says a new study. Scientists have unearthed proof that blueberries, one of the richest source of healthy antioxidants and other phytochemicals, improve memory. A control group drank some other beverage. The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests, the scientists say, according to a release of the American Chemical Society.