ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: June 20, 2007
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In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists in Spain are reporting identification of blood proteins that seem to be involved in aspirin resistance, a condition that prevents thousands of patients from reaping aspirin’s beneficial effects in protecting against heart disease and stroke. The study is scheduled for the July 6 issue of ACS’s Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly journal.
Antonio J. Lopez-Farre and Carlos Macaya and colleagues describe what they term the first use of a powerful technology called two-dimensional electrophoresis to study changes in different proteins present in two groups of patients with coronary artery disease, the underlying cause of most heart attacks. One group of patients was aspirin-sensitive and the other had aspirin resistance.
The researchers found increased levels of three proteins involved in the binding of vitamin D in patients with aspirin resistance. They also describe additional laboratory experiments demonstrating that those proteins can inhibit aspirin’s effects in preventing blood clots. “These results may aid future development of more effective therapies for aspirin-resistant patients,” the study concludes.
In an advance toward a new era in recycling of plastics, scientists in Japan are reporting development of a process that breaks certain plastics down into their original chemical ingredients, which can be reused to make new, high quality plastic. That approach fostered recycling of beverage cans, scrap steel, and glass containers, which are melted to produce aluminum, glass and steel. However, no process has emerged to depolymerize, or breakdown, the long chains of molecules that make up millions of pounds of polymer, or plastic, materials that are trashed each year. Instead, recycling of certain plastics involves melting and reforming into plastic that is less pure than the original.
Akio Kamimura and Shigehiro Yamamoto report invention of an efficient new method to depolymerize polyamide plastics — which include nylon and Kevlar — in an article scheduled for the July 5 issue of ACS’ Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal. The technology, still at the laboratory-scale stage, does not require costly pressure chambers, extreme temperatures, or high energy inputs. Rather, it uses ordinary laboratory glassware.
The method relies on ionic liquids, liquids that contain only ions (atoms with an electric charge) and are powerful solvents. Researchers used an ionic liquid that changed nylon-6 into its component compound, captrolactam, and could be recycled and reused multiple times. “This is the first example of the use of ionic liquids for effective depolymerization of polymeric materials and will open a new field in ionic liquid chemistry as well as plastic recycling,” the report states.
Both red and white wine may have previously unknown health benefits at the very start of the journey described in that classic childhood food rhyme, “Through the lips and round the gums, look out stomach here it comes.” That’s the conclusion of a new study scheduled for the July 11 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
Gabriella Gazzani and colleagues in Italy point out that previous studies suggested that moderate wine consumption has health benefits after reaching the stomach and digestion — in protecting against heart disease and cancer. In addition, wine’s antibacterial activity has been recognized since antiquity, when wine was used to treat infected wounds. Until now, however, scientists had not investigated whether wine could combat harmful oral bacteria, the researchers said.
Their study showed that red and white wine were effective in controlling the growth of several strains of streptococci bacteria that are involved in tooth decay, and some cases of sore throat. “Overall, our findings seem to indicate that wine can act as an effective antimicrobial agent against the tested pathogenic oral streptococci and might be active in caries and upper respiratory tract pathologies prevention,” the study states, noting that tests now are underway to determine wine’s effects on those diseases in humans.
New evidence reported in ACS’s Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) suggests that anti-idling advocates are on the right track in an ongoing debate over exhaust emissions from school buses.
In a study scheduled for the July 15 issue of ES&T, a semi-monthly journal, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s John S. Kinsey and colleagues note that regulatory agencies and school districts have issued guidance or regulations limiting the idling of school buses while students are getting on and off. Those actions resulted from studies of children’s exposure to airborne diesel pollutants during loading and unloading buses.
However, questions still arise on whether restarting school buses might result in higher emissions of diesel pollutants than occur during continuous idling. The new study measured diesel emissions from a limited number of school buses under both scenarios. It concluded that restarting buses would result in fewer emissions, so long as buses depart quickly after restart without any extended period of idling.
The pharmaceutical industry is going to the dogs — and the cats — as people in the United States and other countries devote more income to keeping beloved pets healthy and comfortable, according to an article scheduled for the June 25 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. U. S. pet owners alone spent $18.5 billion last year on veterinary care, medications, and other non-food supplies, a figure expected to grow by more than 6 percent annually.
Written by C&EN associate editor Rachel A. Petkewich, the article describes how global pharmaceutical companies, best known for making medicines for humans, have animal health divisions that are devoting more effort to discovering and developing new kinds of medications for companion animals. That research already has yielded a bounty of new medicines and vaccines to keep Fido and Fluffy healthy and comfortable. Petkewich cites, for instance, the first diet drugs for dogs; the first approved drug for vomiting in dogs, including vomiting due to motion sickness or cancer chemotherapy; and a new medication for the barking and other undesirable behavior of separation anxiety, which can occur when dogs are left home alone.
Just as drug companies are shifting some human health focus to geriatric medications, their animal health divisions are working on products to treat cancer, heart disease and other age-related conditions in companion animals. People also may benefit from the increase in research on animal health, with products originally developed for animals being repurposed for diseases in humans, Petkewich notes.
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