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ACS in the News - January 8, 2010

ACS in the News - January 8, 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, N.Y.: 13.3 million monthly unique users)
“Cataclysm That Killed Dinos Still Taking Lives Today”
January 7, 2010

The tremendous volcanic eruption thought to be responsible for Earth's largest mass extinction — which killed more than 70 percent of plants and dinosaurs walking the planet 250 million years ago — is still taking lives today. Scientists investigating the high incidence of lung cancer in China's Xuan Wei County in Yunnan Province conclude that the problem lies with the coal residents use to heat their homes. That coal was formed by the same 250-million-year-old giant volcanic eruption — termed a supervolcano — that was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. The high silica content of that coal is interacting with volatile organic matter in the soil to cause the unusually high rates of lung cancer. The study that helps solve this cancer mystery appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology under the title "Silica-Volatile Interaction and the Geological Cause of the Xuan Wei Lung Cancer Epidemic."

United Press International (Washington D.C.: 1.8 million monthly unique users)
“Fake drugs getting more sophisticated”
January 7, 2009

Those who make counterfeit prescriptions are using new tactics to get a piece of the estimated $75-billion market in knockoffs drugs, U.S. researchers say. An article in Chemical & Engineering News says counterfeiting ploys include embracing the same technology that pharmaceutical companies use to identify their products as genuine. Sarah Everts, associate editor of Chemical & Engineering News, said today's fake drugs do not just look like the real thing, they may contain small amounts of real active ingredients like pain relievers such as acetaminophen to thwart testers or fool patients into thinking they're getting better.

Medical News Today (U.K.: 928,500 monthly unique users)
“Nitric Oxide-Releasing Cloth For Therapeutic Socks And Wrap For Donor Organs”
January 8, 2010

Scientists in Texas are reporting development of a first-of-its-kind cloth that releases nitric oxide gas - an advance toward making therapeutic socks for people with diabetes and a wrap to help preserve organs harvested for transplantation. The study is in ACS' Chemistry of Materials, a bi-weekly journal… The scientists describe development of a new bandage composed of nitric oxide-absorbing zeolites embedded in a special water-repellant polymer. In experiments with laboratory rats, the bandage slowly released nitric oxide and increased blood flow. "The bandage could be used to wrap a donor organ ensuring intimate contact and direct delivery of nitric oxide," the report states. "Additionally, these interwoven fabrics could also find applications in smart textiles such as NO-releasing socks for diabetic patients, who have been shown to produce less nitric oxide than healthy patients."

Chemical & Engineering News (Washington D.C.: monthly circulation 135,000)
“ACS Debuts Chinese-Language News Site”
January 7, 2010

The American Chemical Society has begun offering its news releases on publications authored by Chinese scientists, in Chinese—an effort it hopes will help raise the visibility of research done by Chinese scientists in the local Chinese media. The releases are available to Chinese journalists through an ACS-managed site on Chinese EurekAlert! ( "We're trying to reach not just the major news media outlets in China but also the local hometown community newspapers," says Michael Woods, assistant director of science communications in the ACS Office of Public Affairs. "We know from feedback that we get from scientists that one of the greatest benefits of publication in ACS journals is the response the scientists receive in their local communities." Increased awareness of advances by Chinese scientists in China may have other benefits as well. "It may encourage students in smaller Chinese communities to consider a career in chemistry," says Woods. "And it may lead other individuals in the community to support the research."

Science 360 News Service (Arlington, Va.: 125,900 monthly unique users)
“'Nanodragster' Races Toward the Future of Molecular Machines”
January 7, 2010

Scientists in Texas are reporting the development of a "nanodragster" that may speed the course toward 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. Their report is in ACS' Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal.

NewsRX (Atlanta, Ga.: 25,300 monthly unique users)
“Fast, accurate urine test for pneumonia possible, study finds”
January 8, 2010

Doctors may soon be able to quickly and accurately diagnose the cause of pneumonia-like symptoms by examining the chemicals found in a patient's urine, suggests a new study led by UC Davis biochemist Carolyn Slupsky. Pneumonia is a lung infection that annually sickens millions of people in the United States, resulting in approximately 500,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. A rapid, accurate diagnostic test for pneumonia could save lives by enabling doctors to begin appropriate treatment earlier. Findings from the study, conducted by Slupsky and colleagues in Canada and Australia, are discussed in a research profile in the December issue of the Journal of Proteome Research. A patent is pending on the diagnostic procedure.

BBC News Online (London, England: 50 million monthly unique users)
“Cleopatra's eye make-up 'had health benefits'”
January 8, 2010

The heavy eye make-up favoured by ancient Egyptians such as Cleopatra may have had medical as well as aesthetic benefits, French research suggests. The study, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, suggests it helped to protect against eye disease. The key appears to be lead salts contained in the make-up. At very low levels, salts produce nitric oxide, which boosts the immune system to fight off bacteria which can cause eye infection. (Evergreen, Va.: 1.2 million monthly unique users)
“Scientists Investigate How Fireflies Emit Different Colors of Light”
January 7, 2010

There are more than 2,000 species of fireflies around the world, many of which are best known for their bioluminescence… In a recent study, a team of scientists has proposed a new explanation for firefly color modulation in the Japanese Genji-botaru firefly that contrasts with previous explanations. Using recent X-ray data and theoretical simulations, the researchers suggest that the wavelength of the emitted light depends on the polarity of the microenvironment in the firefly’s light-emitting molecules. Lead author Isabelle Navizet from Beijing Normal University and University Paris-Est, along with coauthors from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Université d'Aix-Marseille, and Lund University, have published their results in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

… From the Blogs

North Carolina Biotechnology Center
“Catawba Senior Wins ACS Prize”
January 7, 2010

A Catawba College student who won a $5,000 undergraduate research award from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center last year has added another major feather to his academic cap. Nathaniel Griffin, a senior from the Wilkes County town of Boomer, N.C., who is pursuing a double major in chemistry and biology, has won the American Chemical Society's (ACS) 2010 Student Leadership Award. Griffin will get the award at the 2010 ACS Leadership Institute in Fort Worth, Texas, January 22-24.

Digital Online Diary
“Scented Candles Can Cause Cancer?”
January 8, 2010

A new study and warning issued by the American Chemical Society might make them change their mind, since it shows paraffin, scented candles can actually cause cancer if lit on a daily basis. Basically, natural scented, beeswax (or soy or vegetable) candles are OK, no matter how often we want to light them, the study says. Those that contain paraffin and artificial scents are not, though, being linked to a plethora of affections, including asthma attacks, lung cancer and all sorts of allergies