2/17/2005:

Intermediate Word:  ballista (a) catapult  (b) Roman dancer  (c) hoop skirt  (d) set of artillery tables
Difficult Word:
  culverin -  (a) covered ditch  (b) pigeon  (c) 18th-century priest  (d) carrying case for Bible

Breast tumour Diet doubts attacked by experts  - BBC  Heart experts say a study which shows a lack of health benefits from a low-fat diet failed to take into account other risk factors. A US study of over 19,500 women found cutting back on fat for almost a decade failed to offer significant protection against some cancers and heart disease. But British experts say salt levels were not cut, and many of the women were overweight or obese. Their rates of heart disease fell by just 3%, while blood levels of "bad" cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), dropped by only 2.4%. Reducing fat consumption did produce a 9% decrease in colon polyps which can lead to colon cancer.  
Finns in playground Finns are urging the elderly to join in at the playground  - BBC  At the Santa Claus Sports Institute in Lapland, a group of elderly Finns leap around on climbing frames, swinging on the swings and bouncing on a see-saw that is more of a people launcher than anything I remember from my days on the playground. It is the latest Finnish wheeze to get people more active. A team at Rovaniemi Polytechnic studied one group of 40 people, aged between 65 and 81, and found there were significant improvements in balance, speed and co-ordination after just three months of larking about on the climbing frames and play equipment.    

Scientists Force Viruses To Evolve As Better Delivery Vehicles For Gene Therapy - Science Daily  Left: Most humans are host to a benign virus called AAV, or adeno-associated virus. This molecular model shows the proyeins that comprise the outer coat, or capsid, with portions recognized by the immune system colored yellow. The red and blue regions are those that changed as a result of directed evolution, though only the red alterations appear responsible for making the virus less susceptible to antibody neutralization. (David Schaffer/UC Berkeley)  "Starting from scratch, just trying to rationally decide which two amino acid changes to make on the virus, there is no way you would have guessed those two," Schaffer said. "Using the same algorithm as nature came up with - evolution - to solve the problem, is the best way to do it." Since each generation takes about a month, Schaffer predicted that many types of new and improved strains could be created in a few months' time, and certainly in less than a year. He is pursuing experiments now using pooled human blood serum. "Nature never evolved it to be a human therapeutic, so, in a sense, we have to re-evolve it" 




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