The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 1, 1997 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 1, 1997
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Page 17
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THE SALINA JOURNAL V SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH HEALTH THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1997 C5 Creators believe muscular mice offer variety of scientific benefits Psychiatrists say Alzheimer's patients shouldn't drive By The Associated Press Scientists say farmers could increase meat on their chickens, cattle By MATT CRENSON The Associated Press NEW YORK — With a single genetic switch, scientists have created a strain of supermice two to three times more muscular than usual, with big, broad shoulders and massive hips. The genetically altered giants can't outpace speeding locomotives, or leap much of anything in a single bound. But their creators believe the mice could spur a revolution in the treatment of muscular dystrophy and similar diseases, and perhaps even transform the livestock industry, where bigger muscles would mean more meat. The supermice were made by Se-Jin Lee, Alexandra McPherron and Ann Lawler, molecular biologists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The researchers created the mice by deleting a single gene that appears to limit muscle growth. "They do look a little strange," McPherron said. She and her colleagues describe the mice in today's issue of Nature, a British scientific journal. Aside from their musculature, TBREAST CANCER The Associated Press A genetically altered mouse (left) towers over a normal-sized mouse In this handout photo from Johns Hopkins researchers. the mice are physically identical to their scrawnier kin. The Hopkins scientists created the burly beasts by knocking out the gene for a growth factor they discovered. Growth factors are proteins that either stimulate or suppress the growth and division of certain cell types, such as bone or nerve — or muscle. It turns out the growth factor the Hopkins researchers found, myostatin, inhibits muscle growth. The researchers found that out as soon as they saw the mice they had bred without the gene. Drugs could be developed that block the action of myostatin, for example. Those drugs might counteract some of the muscle wasting that occurs in diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cachexia, a muscular deterioration that accompanies AIDS and some forms of cancer. There's also the possibility that farmers could breed overdeveloped poultry and cattle, because the researchers have found a corresponding gene in chickens and cows. Not only would those animals produce really impressive cuts of meat, but it would be lean meat because eliminating myo- statin affects only muscle. It does not increase fat production. "We could end up with chickens with two to three times the amount of meat," Lee said. It's a long road to reaping the benefits of myostatin, however. "This is hypothesis, this is projection, this is a possibility raised by these studies," said Joan Mas- sague, a research scientist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancel- Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in New York City. "Only time will tell." WASHINGTON -- Doctors should order Alzheimer's patients to give up their car keys because victims can cause car crashes even in the early stages of the mind-robbing disease, the American Psychiatric Association recommended Wednesday. Writing a prescription against driving — so relatives have something to use as leverage when patients forget — may help. But doc- tors also may have to consider breaching patient confidentiality to report dangerous Alzheimer's drivers to authorities, say the association's first guidelines on caring for the nation's 4 million Alzheimer's patients. Study: Exercise may limit breast cancer By Scripps Howard News Service Researchers gave women still more incentive for regular exercise, reporting today that women who devoted at least four hours of leisure time a week to physical activity reduced their risk of breast cancer by more than one-third. --".Our results support the idea that physical activity protects against breast cancer," Dr. Inger Thune and colleagues a the University of Tromso and the Cancer Registry of Norway report in The New England Journal of Medicine. , The researchers also found a 52 percent reduction of risk among women who do heavy manual labor as part of their jobs. Based on more than 13 years of watching more than 25,000 women, the study is the largest of more than a dozen supporting a positive effect from exercise. The researchers found the greatest risk reduction from regular exercise, such as walking, bicycling or swimming, occurred among women who were lean of body, under the age of 45 and who had continued to exercise over a period of three to five years. The researchers speculate that since the age of onset of menstruation can be delayed by intensive exercise and that later menstruation also reduces the risk of breast cancer, that there may be a hormonal link to exercise and cancer. "Over the long term, vigorous training and moderate leisure time activity may decrease estra- diol and progesterone secretion," they said. But Dr. Anne McTiernan of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said she doubts the amount of exercise reported in the study is sufficient to reduce hormonal stimulation of the breast. McTiernan noted that only 50 women in the entire study group reported "engaging in regular vigorous training or competitive sports several times per week." But she agreed with Dr. Thune and colleagues that the reduced obesity from regular exercise is likely to play some role, since there is strong evidence that obesity later in life increases the risk of breast cancer, apparently because fat displaces estradiol and sets up greater estrogen exposure in post-menopausal women. Wishing You Success! Say Congratulations to your favorite graduate with their photo in our special tribute to the graduating class of 1997, Sunday, May 25th. Only *15 i Includes photo, graduate name & school. *Ads must be pre-paid If photo is to be returned by mail, a self-addressed stamped envelope must, be included with order. Deadline: Tuesday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. Send or bring photo and form with payment to: ^Salina Journal P.O. Box 740, 333 South 4th St. Salina, KS 67401 (913)823-6363 Graduates Name:. I Your Name: I Address:— School:. City/State/Zip:. | Phone: ( )__ • Signature: Credit Card#_ . Exp:. y Remember To Include The Graduates Photo! .. 'J. 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