SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Kennedy's Recovery -- And a New Treatment for Brain Cancer
The story of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy's brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center continued to be the focus of media attention last week. The 76-year-old senator was said by his doctors to be making "an excellent recovery." He left the medical center June 9 to fly back to Cape Cod.
Meanwhile, Duke researchers reported that a vaccine under clinical trial has been found to double survival time for those who have the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme.
And it appears that a drug that prevents bone loss during breast cancer therapy also substantially reduces the risk of the cancer's return. Medical researchers said this was the first large study to affirm wider anti-cancer potential for bone-building drugs called bisphosphonates.
Another study suggests that red wine may be much more potent in slowing the aging process than was previously thought. The New York Times said the study is part of a new wave of research that may increase longevity.
A new survey found that teen sexual activity in the U.S. may be increasing, after a decade-long decline, and that fewer high school students are opting to use condoms. But the survey did not provide sufficient data to indicate a definite trend, officials said.
In does appear, however, that race and where Americans live have a big impact on the quality of medical treatment they receive. Overall, black Americans with diabetes or vascular disease are nearly five times more likely than whites to have a leg amputated, researchers reported.
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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
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