JoAnne's Feed
Apr 20, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Hecklers halt Obama remarks

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A persistent band of hecklers knocked President Barack Obama off message Monday night as he spoke at a fundraiser for the Democratic party and California Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles. Obama was interrupted just after he launched into remarks praising Boxer as a senator who cares about the environment and is passionate about fighting for Californians.

Some folks in the audience apparently wanted to talk about something else as a group of protesters demanding the immediate repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” kept heckling him. ” What about don’t ask, don’t tell?” one protester shouted. “We are going to do that,” Obama said at one point in response to the heckling, an apparent reference to his intention to repeal the policy restricting gays from serving in the military.

Apr 10, 2010

Routine “recess” a hit at White House obesity summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A doctor’s endorsement of frequent recess breaks — and not just for kids — drew an appreciative response from experts meeting at a White House summit on childhood obesity on Friday.

Dozens of child advocates, public policy experts and doctors gathered to brainstorm ideas for first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to wipe out childhood obesity in a generation.

Apr 8, 2010

US states not using new tobacco tax for prevention

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – Fourteen states and the
District of Columbia raised cigarette taxes in 2009, but none
of the new money went to programs to cut smoking and prevent
tobacco-related disease, U.S. health officials said on
Thursday.

Higher cigarette taxes can substantially curb smoking but
states can make an even bigger dent by investing the new funds
in programs to help people quit, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said.

Apr 7, 2010

Smoking may increase risk of multiple sclerosis: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Smoking may increase the risk of multiple sclerosis in people who have other risk factors for the neurological disorder, researchers said on Wednesday.

The findings suggest that smokers who have high levels of a protein that protects against the Epstein-Barr virus, a common herpes virus, were twice as likely as nonsmokers to get multiple sclerosis (MS), the researchers wrote in the online edition of the journal Neurology.

Apr 1, 2010

Too soon to know H1N1 vaccine total: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It is too soon to determine whether tens of thousands of doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine may have to be thrown out if they are not used before their expiration date, a U.S. health official said on Thursday.

The United States ordered enough antigen to make 229 million doses of vaccine as the swine flu pandemic began to ramp up a year ago. About 162 million doses have been shipped and between 81 and 91 million doses have been administered, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Apr 1, 2010

Rare cancer cells captured by imaging device: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A microchip that captures and stores images of rare cancer cells circulating in the blood may provide a way to monitor patients after surgery and could eventually guide treatment, U.S. researchers said in a study published on Wednesday.

Circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, shed from a tumor like seeds and can grow into new tumors. The presence of CTCs in the blood might tip off doctors that a cancer could spread to other parts of the body, the researchers said in the journal Science Translational Medicine. (stm.sciencemag.org/)

Mar 31, 2010

Gene mutation may be key to schizophrenia: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia appears to rupture communication between the two areas of the brain believed to be responsible for memory and may be an underlying cause of the brain disorder, U.S. researchers suggested in a study published on Wednesday.

The study found that a genetic mutation, known as 22q11 deletion and common in schizophrenia patients, hinders communication between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, the researchers wrote in the online edition of the journal Nature (www.nature.com/nature).

Mar 29, 2010

Swine flu season not over, U.S. health officials warn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While swine flu has waned across much of the United States, the southeast is reporting an increase in cases of the H1N1 virus, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

“The flu season is not over yet … H1N1 has remained persistent in the southeast and now those states are experiencing more local and regional activity,” U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told reporters in a conference call.

Mar 29, 2010

Single gene powers hybrid tomato plants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A mutation in a single gene can turn hybrid tomato plants into super producers capable of generating more and much sweeter fruit without genetic engineering, scientists said in a study released on Sunday.

The study also showed that using classic plant-breeding techniques can boost yield as dramatically as using genetically modified organisms, said researcher Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

Mar 29, 2010

Single gene powers hybrid tomato plants-study

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) – A mutation in a single gene can turn hybrid tomato plants into super producers capable of generating more and much sweeter fruit without genetic engineering, scientists said in a study released on Sunday.

The study also showed that using classic plant-breeding techniques can boost yield as dramatically as using genetically modified organisms, said researcher Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

The mutation in one copy of the gene boosted tomato yield by up to 60 percent and increased sugar content, Lippman and colleagues reported in the journal Nature Genetics.

"When this gene is only working at half speed … there’s this rebalance of growth that’s happening that occurs across the entire plant that gives you this increase in yield," Lippman said in a telephone interview.

The yield-boosting power of the gene known as Single Flower Truss, which controls when plants make flowers, worked in different varieties of tomatoes and in different environments, Lippman said.

"No matter what soil type, no matter what sort of irrigation you give it, no matter what fertilization you give it, you’re always having some sort of effect," he said. "We try to keep it conservative and say 60 percent. Sometimes it’s a little lower, sometimes it’s even higher."

When both copies of the gene are working, the result is a completely normal plant. "But when one copy is working, you see the heterosis. This is the magic of the discovery," Lippman said.

Heterosis, or hybrid vigor, is the genetic mechanism that makes offspring of cross-bred plants more vigorous than their parents.

Lippman said the finding could have significant impact on agriculture, and the next step was to look at the effect in corn, soybeans and other crops.

"Our concept about using mutations in the hybrid condition extends beyond tomatoes, and I bet that if people start using this … in other crops that they find similar effects," he said.

Lippman and colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Rehovot, Israel, screened gene mutations in more than 5,000 hybrid tomato varieties.

Plants were tested in fields in multiple locations in 2008 and 2009. Some farmers used pesticides and other did not. The boost in crop yields was consistent, Lippman said.

Tomatoes were one of the first genetically modified crops. Several companies, including Monsanto, did research trials on a weedkiller resistant "Roundup Ready" tomato, but the product was never commercialized, the company said. (Editing by Xavier Briand)




    • About JoAnne

      "Night desk reporter in the Washington Bureau. Holds a Masters degree in Interactive Journalism and currently working on merging new media skills with old media experience. Prior to joining Reuters, worked in broadcasting at two other international wire services (which I won't name here). A perpetual piano student, and not very good, which is perfect for my secret ambition -- lounge piano player."
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