November 29, 2002
Yellow Molecule Comes Up Big - Science
This article explains that the common bloodwork component bilirubin is the body's most powerful antioxidant. Bilirubin is "the toxic yellow molecule at the end of the biologic degradation of hemoglobin". Bilirubin works in partnership with biliverdin reductase. When a bilirubin molecule encounters a free oxygen radical, it is converted to biliverdin. Then biliverdin reductase converts it back into bilirubin.
Above-average levels of bilirubin are associated with "better alertness in newborns, a lower risk of coronary artery disease and cancer in adults, and less damage from stroke in animal models."
Age secrets of little worm - BBC
This article describes a genetic assay of the genes in the worm c. elegans. The researchers found that out of the worm's 19,626 genes, only 164 changed as the worms aged. And of great significance, 2 out of c. elegans' 26 "heat-shock" genes that play an important roles in the folding and shaping of various proteins were found among the 164 genes that deteriorated with age. This could lead to malformed, harmful proteins inside a cell, causing it to age.
Interestingly, researchers found no evidence that free-radical damage plays a role in aging.
FDA approves drug to stimulate bone growth - Nando Times
This seemed interesting because of its implied ability to restore youthful bone growth.
Europe, US Launch Mega-Rocket Race - SpaceDaily
This article affirms the burgeoning overseas competition with the U. S. in the satellite-launching business, and ultimately, I think, in the exploration and colonization of space. Given that there is every kind of mineral wealth in the asteroid belt.... (The 1930's were awash with space operas featuring the mining of the asteroids and the moons of Jupiter.)
India-Russia cruise missile ready for military use in two years - SpaceDaily
South Korea postpones launching landmark liquid-fuel rocket - SpaceDaily
These articles underscore the spread of space and missile technology around the world.
Do Memory Enhancing Supplements Work? - ABC
This article basically says that purveyors of memory enhancing supplements haven't rigorously demonstrated that their products work.
Dr. Sid Gilman, professor and chair of the department of neurology at the University of Michigan, concurs. "There is no current evidence provided by rigorous double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials that any of these substances can improve memory in the aging brain,"
Alternatively, "While there are reasons to believe that some of the ingredients might work, there is no convincing scientific evidence that they do work to improve or forestall normal age related memory losses," said Dr. Bruce Cohen, president and psychiatrist in chief at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass."
On the other hand, it takes years, if not decades, plus enormous amounts of money to accumulate enough rigorous double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials to prove to the satisfaction of critics that any given biological modifier works. (It may require running the trials long enough that the current crop of critics has retired.)