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ACS in the News - January 7, 2010

ACS in the News - January 7, 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.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Calif.: daily circulation 723,181)
“Coal cancer rates in China linked to mass extinction event 250 million years ago”
January 6, 2010

Dual-degree chemistry and paleogeology PhDs will no doubt love this peculiar connection unearthed by researchers and presented by the journal Environmental Science and Technology, a publication of the American Chemical Society. The British and Chinese researchers were studying the unusually high rate of cancer among nonsmoking women in parts of Yunnan province. Numerous studies point to the use of coal as a fuel in open hearths, but the question of why the cancer rates were higher than in other areas where coal is burned in homes has puzzled scientists. Lead author David J. Large, from the University of Nottingham, suggests that silica from the volcanic event blamed for mass extinctions about 250 million years ago precipitated onto the peat bogs that over time became the coal deposits mined in the region. Chemical interaction between the mineral and volatile organic compounds may be the culprit for the high cancer rates, the authors suggest. (New York, N.Y.: 45.8 million monthly unique users)
“Will We Ever Know the Truth About Amalgam?”
January 6, 2010

Amalgam fillings are perhaps one of the most controversial topics in dentistry. The ongoing concern regarding the safety of this type of metal filling seems to easily ignite a very passionate debate, mainly from those opposed to the use of amalgam - more specifically mercury - in dentistry… Now, to add more fuel to the already smoldering mercury issue comes a study recently published in the online journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemical Research in Toxicology. The study, "The Chemical Forms of Mercury in Aged and Fresh Dental Amalgam Surfaces", conduced by Graham George, Satya Singh, Jay Hoover, and Ingrid Pickering, from the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Geological Sciences and College of Dentistry, examined both freshly placed amalgam and fillings that were placed about 20 years ago. Using a special x-ray technique to examine the fillings, the scientists found the fresh amalgam contained metallic mercury, which is known to be toxic. The aged fillings contained a form of mercury known as beta-mercuric sulfide (metacinnabar). This form of mercury is considered unlikely to be toxic to the body.

Times of India (New Delhi, India: daily circulation 3.15 million)
“Soon, therapeutic socks to help diabetics”
January 7, 2010

Texas researchers have announced the development of first-of-its-kind cloth that releases nitric oxide gas — an advance that will help people with diabetes and preserve organs harvested for transplantation. The porous material termed zeolites, incorporated into the cloth, point the way to therapeutic bandages and wraps that can deliver healing nitric oxide. It is a known fact that nitric oxide (NO) helps increase blood flow and regulates a range of other body functions. Scientists have tried for years to find practical ways to store and deliver NO for use in medicine. Lead researchers Kenneth Balkus and Harvey Liu believe that zeolites may work as it can soak up and store large amounts of gases like NO. The study appears in ACS’ Chemistry of Materials, a bi-weekly journal.

RedOrbit (Dallas, Tex.: 4.9 million monthly unique users)
“Fancier Fakes: Makers Of Bogus Prescription Drugs Pose New Challenges”
January 6, 2010

Manufacturers of counterfeit prescription drugs are embracing new tactics to deal with an estimated $75-billion-year market in knockoffs, a battle that is far from being won. That's the focus of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. Counterfeiting ploys include embracing the same technology that pharmaceutical companies use to identify their products as genuine… The article describes how law enforcement officials and other anti-counterfeiters are responding with new security approaches. Yet any new security features for packaging last only about 18 months before counterfeiters can produce mimics, according to the article.

Thaindian News (Bangkok, Thailand: 2.5 million monthly unique users)
“‘Nanodragster’ speeds the course towards Next-Gen molecular machines”
January 7, 2010

Texas scientists have created a “nanodragster” that could pave the way for development of a new generation of futuristic molecular machines. The vehicle - only 1/50,000th the width of a human hair - resembles a hot-rod in shape and can outperform previous nano-sized vehicles. James Tour, Kevin Kelly and colleagues noted that the ability to control the motion of small molecules is essential for building much-anticipated molecular machines. Some of these machines may find use in manufacturing computer circuits and other electronic components in the future. The study has been published in ACS’ Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal.

The Medical News (Sydney, Australia: 385,700 monthly unique users)
“High blood pressure drugs may be useful in preventing and treating diabetic retinopathy”
January 7, 2010

Scientists in Massachusetts are reporting new evidence that certain high blood pressure drugs may be useful in preventing and treating diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of vision loss in people with diabetes. The study, the largest to date on proteins in the retina, could lead to new ways to prevent or treat the sight-threatening disease, they say. The findings are in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication… The scientists analyzed proteins from the retinas laboratory mice with normal blood pressure and diabetes and compared them to those of non-diabetic mice. They identified 65 abnormal proteins in the diabetic mice out of more than 1,700 proteins in the study. Treatment with the ARB medication, candesartan, prevented the abnormal changes in more than 70 percent of the proteins.

The Michigan Daily (Ann Arbor, Mich.: daily circulation 18,000)
“'U' study gets up-close look at bone tissue to help track disease”
January 6, 2010

Chemistry and Biophysics Prof. Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy is an avid fan of The Magic School Bus, much like his children. Inspired by the science series’ exploration of inaccessible environments, Ramamoorthy led his research team to analyze and probe the contents of bone. Published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society last month, Ramamoorthy’s study relied on solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance imaging — the technology that led to the development and widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — to look closely at a sectioned piece of bovine bone and observe the results of removing water molecules from the makeup of the bone.

… From the Blogs

“China's pursuit of clean water”
January 6, 2010

The quality of drinking water in large swaths of rural China has steadily deteriorated with the country’s rapid industrialization. As the number of villages with unsafe water reaches alarming proportions, new initiatives are getting under way to reverse the damage. Over the past two years, two nongovernmental organizations have launched campaigns to improve the quality of water that Chinese rural residents drink. Using different strategies, the two groups offer complementary approaches to solving the problem of polluted drinking water in many parts of China. (Chemical & Engineering News)

Healthier Talk
“The Silent Killer in Your Home”
January 7, 2010

Stress has been aptly called "the silent killer" and has been identified as the number one cause of death.  Creating a relaxing and rewarding home environment can make a big difference in beating stress as well as enjoying life more fully… Scientists in Japan have reported the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances does indeed alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels. The study, which appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, exposed lab rats to stressful conditions while inhaling and not inhaling linalool, which is a fragrance found naturally in lavender, mint, coriander, bergamot, lemon, mango and many other fragrant plants. After inhaling linalool, the rats which were exposed to stressful conditions had stress-elevated levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes return to near normal levels.