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Science Updates Archive 5

For today's breaking news please see Today's Health and Bioscience News. For more Science Updates please see our Science Updates Archives

Gene Therapy for Broken Hearts - A genetic engineering experiment conducted by cardiologists at Johns Hopkins University suggests that an effective gene therapy for heart failure and irregular heartbeats is feasible.

High Speed Gene Mapping - A new gene mapping technique should greatly speed the work of geneticists involved in the international Human Genome Project, report researchers.

Hiroshima Still Controversial - Fifty years after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the decision making process that led to the event remains controversial and raises questions about political decision making today, say a collection of scientists and scholars, some of who participated in the original Manhattan project.

Breast Cancer & Hormone Replacement - Hormone replacement therapy does not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, according to the results of a large study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

More Clues to Origin of Life - Two recent studies provide additional support for the presence of RNA as an essential ingredient in the primordial soup of pre-biotic Earth.

Stress Hormone Research - New understanding of how the "stress hormone" (corticoptropin releasing hormone or CRH) acts on the body's immune and nervous system could open up new methods for the treatment of infection, inflammation, cancer and perhaps AIDS, according to Julio Licinio, MD and associates, Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Bed Wetting Gene - The identification of a genetic marker for nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of this common disorder, according to Danish researchers.

Ob Gene Product: Weight Loss Wonder? - A protein product of the recently identified obesity gene (ob) appears to cause weight loss in experimental animals, reported researchers in a series of news studies.

At Gene- Bonanza for Cancer Research - The discovery of a gene for a rare inherited childhood neurological disorder called ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) also has significant implications for cancer researchers, reported an international team of researchers.

New Class of AIDS Drugs Offers Promise - A new class of antiretrovirals known as protease inhibitors appear to offer promise in bolstering the treatment of patients with AIDS, according to reports at an investigators meeting here.

Two HIV Tests May Not Be Enough - One or even two negative tests for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not mean that infection --and the possibility of developing AIDS--will not occur, according to recent findings from Dr. Jean Jacques Lefrere, and his associates at Institut National de Transfusion Sanguine, Saint Antoine Hospital.

Cheddar Cheese May Cut Cancer Risk - A fatty compound found in hamburgers and cheddar cheese appears to have anti-cancer effects, report researchers from Washington State University.

CDC- Tap Water May Be Unsafe - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a statement advisin\ g people who are immunocompromised to consider alternatives to untreated tap wa\ ter. The CDC action, based on concern about contamination with the Cryptosporid\ ium parasite, marks the first time any Federal government agency has issued suc\ h a blanket water quality warning.

Atavistic "Werewolf" Gene Localized - The localization of a gene for a rare hair growth disorder provides new information on the genetics of hair growth and highlights the phenomenon of atavistic expression of dormant genes.

Weak Form of HIV May Provide Immunity - A less virulent strain of HIV (HIV-2) appears to offer natural protection from the virus that causes AIDS, report researchers from Harvard University. The finding offers encouragement to scientists attempting to develop AIDS vaccines.

More Genetic Pieces in the Obesity Puzzle - The recent discovery of another gene associated with obesity could help explain the physiological mechanisms of overeating, obesity and certain types of diabetes, report researchers.

DNA Provides Better Flu Vaccine - An experimental DNA plasmid vaccine appears to overcome some of the limitations of current vaccines by offering protection against a wide variety of strains, report researchers.

Anti-Colon Cancer Enzyme Identified - An enzyme dubbed Pla2s (secretory type II phospholipase A2) appears to provide protection against colon cancer, while mutations in the gene associated with the enzyme are associated with an increased cancer incidence, report researchers from Thomas Jefferson University.

Microbial Communities Reveal Health of Environment - New techniques for measuring the diversity of bacteria in a specific habitat are helping to assess the ecological integrity of the environment at the most fundamental level, reported researchers at the annual meeting of the North American Benthological Society.

Experts Not Optimistic About Amazon - The past 50 years of human activity in the Amazon have reduced large tracts of lush, biologically diverse forest to virtually useless grassland, unfit even to graze cattle. And there is little indication that this trend is changing, according to Hilgard O'Reilly Sternberg, professor emeritus of geography, UC Berkeley.

El Nino and Mississippi Flooding - Small changes in global climate patterns could produce great increases in the frequency of catastrophic floods like those seen recently in the Missouri and Mississippi River valleys, according to researchers at Penn State University.

Cancer Specialists Ponder Ethics of New Tests - The development of a genetic test for determining breast cancer risk highlights a number of the medical and ethical issues that are bound to become more pressing as the number of genetic tests for different cancers proliferate, reported researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

New Gene-Based Treatment Approaches - Gene therapy, immune system modulation and genetically engineered antibodies are all promising fronts in the war against cancer, reported researchers at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Men Haven't Changed in 270,000 Years - A survey of genetic information contained in the Y chromosomes of modern day men suggests that Homo sapiens descended from a single group of male ancestors, and that this occurred more recently than previously believed.

Ebola Reported Spreading - Two cases of possible Ebola infection have been reported in the capital of Zaire, a city of five million people.

Ivory Coast Ebola Could Lead to Source - A new strain of the Ebola virus has been isolated from the blood of a Swiss zoologist who had performed an autopsy on a chimpanzee which had been infected by the same virus in the wild, according to a team of researchers from the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

AIDS Vaccine? - While a successful AIDS vaccine continues to elude researchers, several new developments suggest progress is being made towards fulfilling what remains one of the key goals of medical research.

Homocysteine and Heart Disease - Coronary artery disease now joins the list of diseases associated with increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine, according to a study conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DNA Test For Chlamydia - A new DNA test for Chlamydia trachomatis genitourinary infections in women is substantially more sensitive than other more invasive methods used to identify what is now the most commonly sexually transmitted pathogen in the United States and other western countries, according to the results of a multicenter investigation.

Brain Infusion For Parkinson's Disease - Natural proteins derived from brain cells may offer a new therapeutic approach to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, report researchers.

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