SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Biomedicine: A Senator's Illness in America, Hybrid Embryos in Britain
The announcement last week that U.S. senator Edward Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor (a glioma) prompted many media outlets to report on the treatment options and prognosis for this medical condition.
In other news, the British parliament approved research using hybrid embryos that contain human and animal material. Experts said cytoplasmic hybrids are never likely to be transplanted into sick patients, and any insights about diseases revealed through this line of research are probably years away.
Meanwhile, U.S. health officials expressed concern that narcotic painkillers and other legitimate pharmaceuticals are replacing illegal substances as the drugs of choice among drug abusers.
According to a study released at the American Urological Association's annual meeting, a "wait-and-see" approach is appropriate for men who have low-risk prostate tumors that have not spread. But many patients still opt for treatment, preferring not to take any chances.
And a Mayo Clinic study found a sharp rise after 2003 in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer there who decided to have mastectomies rather than lumpectomies. Researchers said one possible explanation is that magnetic resonance imaging is detecting more growths than mammography.
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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos
Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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