‘Curry’ drug could help brain
Studies on animals suggest that a new hybrid drug, made in part from the chemical in the yellow spice turmeric, could help regenerate brain cells after a stroke, researchers said on Wednesday. The molecular compound is made with curcumin, a natural yellow pigment that originates from a perennial herb called Curcuma longa and is popular in South Asian and Middle Eastern foods, particularly curries. Human trials on the drug, which works by restoring pathways that feed neurons, could begin soon, according to scientist Paul Lapchak of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The new drug does not attack clots, but if administered to rabbits in one hour, which translates to three hours in human time, it “reduced stroke-caused ‘motor deficits’ — problems of muscle and movement control,” the study said.
Giffords asks for toast
Representative Gabrielle Giffords has begun speaking as she continues her recovery a month after being shot in the head — and one of her first requests was for toast. The 40-year-old, shot at point-blank range on Jan. 8, is talking more and more every day as she undergoes rehabilitation in a hospital in Houston, Texas, a spokesman said on Wednesday. “All I can tell you is that she requested toast ... she asked for it at breakfast the other day. And she’s speaking more and more and doing more and more with each passing day,” said the spokesman, C.J. Karamargin.
Shirtless congressman quits
A married New York congressman accused of sending a shirtless photo of himself to a woman resigned on Wednesday, saying he regretted actions that had hurt his family and others. The gossip Web site Gawker reported on Wednesday that Representative Christopher Lee, a two-term Republican with a young son, had e-mailed the photo to a woman he met on the Craigslist classified-ads Web site. Lee said in an e-mailed statement that his resignation was effective immediately.
Dozens detained for fraud
Authorities have detained 42 people and are seeking more than 100 others in an expanding housing construction fraud investigation, the country’s attorney general said on Wednesday. Prosecutors are seeking to crack down on construction companies accused of scamming home-buyers. President Hugo Chavez recently called for action against companies accused of fraud and of speculating with home prices. He has cited complaints from buyers that they were illegally charged inflation adjustments on unfinished apartments.
Over 40s twice at risk
Men diagnosed with testicular cancer at 40 years of age or older have twice the risk of dying from the disease as younger patients, according to a study of nearly 28,000 men. This was true even when initial treatment and the extent of the disease were taken into account, according to findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Mortality was doubled in patients diagnosed over the age of 40, the study found. However, those diagnosed after 1987 were less likely to die during follow-up than men diagnosed earlier, possibly due to the introduction of a certain kind of chemotherapy about 10 years earlier. Several factors may account for the age-related mortality difference, including the fact that many older patients are often not treated with the same intensity as younger patients, the researchers said.