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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Fewer Bacteria Found in Women's Offices

Men's offices have 10 to 20 percent more bacteria than women's offices, and offices in New York City house more bacteria than those in San Francisco. These are among the findings of a new study that looked at bacteria in more than 90 offices in three cities--San Francisco, New York and Tucson--on chairs, desktops, phones, computer mice and keyboards.

In other biomedical news, a technique for "washing" lungs before they are transplanted could increase the number of organs suitable for donation, according to medical researchers. A trial led by Newcastle University in England is trying to improve the quality of lungs by pumping nutrients and oxygen through them.

An overabundance of connective tissue devastates organs such as the liver, heart, and lungs. A new study suggests that fragments of a promising cancer drug can rein in fibrosis, which is currently untreatable.

Clinical trials for breast cancer drugs are focused on shrinking existing tumors, not preventing cancer spread. According to the National Cancer Institute, this emphasis is stifling the discovery of chemicals that could prevent metastasis--costing money and patient lives.

A federal task force cautioned last week that women who are past menopause and healthy should not take hormone replacement therapy in hopes of warding off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease.


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PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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