21st Century Medicine (Scientific American Special Online Issue No. 30)

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Special report - the future of physics by Scientific American Magazine

Lee Nelson Many, perhaps all, people harbor a small number of cells from genetically different individuals—from their mothers and, for women who have been pregnant, from their children. What in the world do these foreigners do in the body? Nicolelis taps into the chatter of neurons to drive robotic prosthetics.

Scientific American Frontiers S07E04 Going to Extremes

More at www. Early stars partially composed of dark matter may have been too bloated for fusion. Our new video podcast kicks off with a quick take on the stuff that makes up most of the mass in the universe. All rights reserved. No part of this issue may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording for public or private use, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Periodicals postage paid at New York, N. Canadian BN No. Publication Mail Agreement Subscription inquiries: U. Send e-mail to sacust sciam. Michael Wigler thinks that he knows. Science imitates art. How does Bluetooth work? Do antibacterial soaps do more harm than good? Nicolelis A new nationwide education plan will allow Brazil to reach its full potential. Sachs Sound economic solutions, not military ones, offer the most reliable route to peace for undeveloped nations. She is also a leader in planning for the International Polar Year.

She is currently a professor of medicine at the University of Washington. Consider this partial list of issues that the next president of the U. How many of the current candidates for the presidency have stated clear positions on those subjects? What reasons would they give for their stances, and how well could they defend them? The answers could be broadly illuminating. The policies of the U. One of the more no- torious moments of the campaign season oc- curred last May during a debate among the Re- publican candidates, when three of them went on the record as not believing in the theory of evolution.

Voters are undoubtedly better off knowing that to be true. It is at least as important, however, to know how all the candidates would set science priorities and direct tech- nology to positive ends. In December a grassroots bipartisan movement of concerned citizens operating as Science Debate issued a call for a debate that would focus exclusively on is- sues relating to the environment, health and medicine, and science and technology policy.

Twelve Nobel laureates and other scientists are among the signatories to the petition, but so, too, are sitting congres- sional representatives, former presidential science advisers, business leaders and oth- ers the list is still growing as this goes to press. Support has come swiftly from both Republicans and Democrats, as it should. Readers can learn more about the effort online at www.

Outside the U. We salute their enterprise and wish them well with this bold experiment. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies evaluate medicines for terminal disease states, par- ticularly cancer. Built into the evaluation process is the assumption that the truly sick individuals allowed to participate in clinical studies generate treatment data that are directly relevant to earlier-stage patients. Although this may be the case in many situations, it is used as a truism that is perhaps unprov- able.

We then encounter the ethical dilemma of whether to permit earlier-stage patients, who have more established treatment op- tions, to use an experimental drug that has at least the potential to help them more than current and painful chemo- therapy and radiation treatments. As in other political and social move- ments, failure to build support for a goal does not mean it should be abandoned.

Please allow three to six weeks for processing. Furthermore, many people invariably awaken a few min- utes before their alarm clock sounds. The authors are all employees of NASA or Lockheed Martin the lead contractor on the project , and this article represents a disturbing trend of presenting press releases or puff pieces as articles with journalistic integri- ty. A serious article on this project could have been written by a real science jour- nalist, who would have weighed the claims of the NASA staff. Computingaplanetaryorbitcanbecarried to many decimal places with accuracy.

De- termining the level of anger in a given pop- ulation can only be computed with statisti- caluncertainty. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. There are 10 full-time judges in the court, who have all heard the case. Australia plans to phase out the sale of incandescents, but working ones will not be removed. Other efficient light sources, such as light-emitting diodes, have not been ruled out. We regret that we cannot answer all correspondence.

But our caution was not due to any mistrust of our results. Our overcau- tiousness stemmed primarily from the fact that, as chemists, we hesi- tated to announce a revolutionary discovery in physics. War- ner, president of the Carnegie In- stitute of Technology. Workman states em- phatically that mountaineering conditions in Asia are far more ar- duous than those in Switzerland or the Rockies.

Science Nation

Only by spending nights at higher altitudes than Al- pinists have ever before rested, did she succeed in her record exploit. Spy describes another of those bril- liant inventions with which H. Paine generates steam with- out a boiler, from water which never boils, in a tank which never gets hot, and which is to take the place of the huge death-deal- ing steam boiler!

Rather cold air and low relative humidi- ty seem to do the trick. The virus was most stable at relative hu- midities of 20 to 40 percent: dry air leads to smaller water droplets on which viruses are carried, enabling them to re- main airborne for long periods. In the cold, cilia in the respira- tory system work more slowly, enabling the virus to spread in the respiratory tract and to dis- perse in a sneeze or a cough. The tech- nique is based on fractals, repeating patterns of varying scales, as seen in the so-called Julia set, shown at the right.

Richard P. Taylor, a Univer- sity of Oregon physicist who originally designed the fractal analysis, claims the Case West- ern team has misapplied his technique, which, he says, should be used with other au- thentication methods, such as materials analysis.

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Taylor has examined six of a recently dis- covered cache of 32 suspected Pollock works, of which none so far has reached his mathe- matical criteria. Such urgency was lacking in past assessments because of objections by political delegates. He was not going out on a high note—neither Wilmut nor any of his colleagues had succeeded in cloning an adult human cell by implanting its nucleus into a properly prepared egg, yielding pre- cious embryonic stem cells. Rather his an- nouncement heralded the publication a few days later of a method for directly transforming human skin cells into a form that was essentially equivalent to the em- bryonic kind.

Cloning, Wilmut told re- porters, had become obsolete. The existence of Dolly demonstrated that reprogramming is possible; the ques- tion was how. An adult cell fused with an embryonic stem cell will adopt the embry- onic state, according to a Science study, implying that some cocktail of gene products initiates the change.

The very next year a group led by stem cell bi- ologist Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto Uni- versity in Japan published a recipe for re- programming mouse fibroblasts, cells found in connective tissue. Called transcription factors, these genes act like power strips, activating many other genes at once. Notably, Thomson and his team created iPS cells without using c-myc, a gene that promotes cancer, although they repro- grammed neonatal and fetal cells only, not adultcells. Not only will the school—called King Abdullah University of Science and Tech- nology KAUST —possess one of the 10 largestuniversityendowmentsintheworld, it will also allow women and men to study side by side.

The greatest challenge that the potentially revolutionary school now faces is attracting faculty and students. KAUST will enjoy the legal autonomy that is seen in enclaves elsewhere in Saudi Arabia for foreign oil workers—women will be allowed to drive, for instance, and the religious police will be barred from the premises. Retrovi- ruses insert their DNA cargo into the ge- nome at random, potentially interfering with key genes.

One immediate goal of iPS research is to identify small molecules that could in- duce reprogramming in place of virus- delivered genes. Whatever the source of pluripotent cells, applying them to cure disease is still largely uncharted territory.

In a proof of principle for reprogramming, Hanna and others from the Whitehead lab reported in early December that they used iPS cells with c-myc genetically excised to partly restore to normal the blood of transgenic mice engineered to bear the human gene variant responsible for sickle-cell anemia. KAUST will also endeavor to overcome any isolation researchers might feel by keeping them linked with the rest of the world—allowing scientists to maintain ap- pointments at other universities, for in- stance, and paying for travel to any meet- ing across the globe.


To attract students, the university will initially offer full scholarships, not only to all graduate students but also to overseas juniors and seniors to cover the remaining tuition at their current institutions in re- turn for commitments to enroll at KAUST. In the end, KAUST is aiming for a student popu- lation made up of roughly 40 percent from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states of the Gulf region, 30 percent from countries stretching between Egypt and India, and 30 percent from the rest of the world.

If successful, he adds, other countries in the Arab and Mus- lim world might follow suit. Choi is a frequent contributor. First, individ- uals with the neurological disorder are less likely than others to suffer from cancer; second, they tend to have more children than average—about 1.

The disease is caused by a mutation that sub- stantially lengthens a gene known as hun- tingtin, increasing the number of repeated sequences it contains. The length of the gene varies within the general population and becomes problematic only when it ex- ceeds a certain extent. Although scientists do not know exact- ly why the mutation causes neurons to die, studies suggest that a protein called p53 plays a role. The protein has many diverse functions: it helps to regulate when cells divide and die and when new blood ves- sels form. In addition, animals with the mutation seem to develop the disease only if their bodies can make p Because p53 regulates cell divi- sion, the protein helps to ward off cancer, so it is not ridiculous to think that higher levels might lower cancer risk, Starks says.

Fedorka emphasizes, however, that the relation be- tween immunity and reproductive success is complex; more research would be need- ed to tease out whether ptriggered im- mune changes would actually lead patients to have more children. Others maintain that doctors are sim- ply making better diagnoses. Knutson, Robert E. Tuleya, and Yoshio Kurihara Science , 13 February ; Wang, Douglas A.

Mitchell, William J. Teague, Ewa Jarosz, and Mark S. Hulbert Science , 5 August ; Special Issue: Dealing with Disasters A special section in this issue provided a variety of Viewpoint articles on disaster planning, including:. Policy Forum: U. Changnon and David R. Easterling Science , 22 September ; Kerr Science , 23 April ; Joel Bourne Science , 15 September ; Floodplains Nicholas Pinter Science , 8 April ; The American Red Cross has been active in the Katrina relief effort.

Donations to the organization's Disaster Relief Fund can be made online or by calling Among Katrina's many victims have been scientists, engineers, and teachers who must now rebuild their facilities and classrooms. Princeton University. Dennis Flanagan, who as editor of Scientific American magazine helped foster science writing for the general reader, died at his home in Manhattan on Friday. The cause of death was prostate cancer, according to his wife, Barbara Williams Flanagan. Flanagan, who worked at Scientific American for more than three decades beginning in , teamed editors directly with working scientists, publishing pieces by leading figures like Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling and J.

Robert Oppenheimer. Scientific American Frontiers. Chedd-Angier Production Company. Archived from the original on Retrieved November 24, Skeptical Inquirer.

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