Thursday, February 18, 2010

NASA’s Final Shuttle Patch Contest

A short period of fasting prior to chemotherapy may protect healthy cells but leave cancer cells vulnerable to drugs, according to a new study. The results are very preliminary, based on animal research and a case study of just 10 people. But if they hold up, doctors could have a new tool for reducing chemotherapy’s side effects and safely administering larger doses. "Side effects aren’t just, ‘Will I lose my hair or not?’" said Valter Longo, a University of Southern California gerontologist. "It’s, ‘Will I be able to receive a high dose or not?’" For the last decade, Longo has studied the effects of caloric restriction on cell function. In lab animals, diets with 25 percent fewer calories than normal are linked to extended, healthy lifespans. The mechanisms are poorly understood, but it seems that dietary stress activates cell-protecting mechanisms. Longo’s specialty is insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, a protein that regulates cell growth. Its production is limited during fasting. In yeast and roundworms, inhibiting IGF-1 has produced record lifespans. According to Longo, people who read about his work elected on their own to try fasting before chemotherapy. "We told them not to, their oncologists told them not to, but the patients went ahead and did it," he said. Cellphone conversations don’t just interfere with driving. Driving dents the capacity to describe and remember cellphone messages, at least for some of the youngest and oldest drivers, a new study finds. FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=sciencenews"Routine driving impedes a person’s ability to relay information from a cellphone call accurately to a conversation partner and to remember key elements of that information, say psychologist Gary Dell of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues. Although many drivers regard talking while cruising a straightaway as no harder than walking while chewing gum, "that intuition is incorrect," Dell says. Both older and younger drivers seated next to a passenger and operating a vehicle in a simulator had more difficulty correctly retelling brief stories, versus retelling stories while sitting in an unmoving "car," the researchers report in the February Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Participants, especially those over age 60, remembered less about stories after simulated driving than after sitting in the unmoving car. That might reflect a greater emphasis on defensive driving among older drivers.



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