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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Indiana Science Monthly flag

Vol. 3, no. 5
Feb. 14, 2006

Indiana Science Monthly is a selection of recent news stories about Indiana University scientists and their research. Comments or questions about this newsletter may be directed to David Bricker, Office of Media Relations (812-856-9035 or

January science news:
* Birdsong chorale
* Crashing the Internet's "rich clubs"
* Comparing diabetes to Alzheimer's

January science news

"Insulin in the brain" (MEDICINE)
Boston Globe
Jan. 30, 2006

EXCERPT: A small but growing chorus of scientists is becoming convinced that insulin is just as important to the brain as it is to the body... The body needs insulin to convert sugar in the bloodstream to energy. People whose bodies either don't make enough insulin or don't process it correctly develop Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to poor circulation, kidney failure, blindness, and death.

* Some doctors have suggested Alzheimer's disease, which is traditionally thought of as a brain ailment, is actually a type of diabetes. Indiana University School of Medicine Professor of Psychiatry Hugh Hendrie tells Boston Globe reporter Scott Allen, "It is a real stretch to call Alzheimer's disease Type 3 diabetes," averring Alzheimer's is too complicated to be caused by an insulin deficiency. Hendrie is co-director of the Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders.


"2006 ACS National Awards Winners" (CHEMISTRY)
Chemical & Engineering News
Vol. 84, no. 5
Jan. 30, 2006

EXCERPT: Following is the fifth set of vignettes of recipients of awards administered by the American Chemical Society for 2006. C&EN will publish the vignettes of the remaining recipients in successive February issues. An article on Paul S. Anderson, 2006 Priestley Medalist, is scheduled to appear in the March 27 issue of C&EN, along with his award address.

* IUB chemist Richard DiMarchi has won the American Chemical Society's Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management for his work in discovering and developing new protein-based drugs. DiMarchi is quoted: ""When done with appropriate caution, you can build proteins that are safer, more efficacious, and more convenient." The award is sponsored by Dow Chemical.


"Just Duet" (BIOLOGY)
Science News
Vol. 169, no. 4
Jan. 28, 2006

EXCERPT: As the morning mists rose on the slopes of Ecuador's Pasochoa volcano, the burbling of plain-tailed wrens came through the bamboo thickets. Two researchers started their standard procedure of catching wrens, banding them, and letting them go. Soon, however, they were startled when a small cluster of wrens settled into a bush and began singing together. It turned out to be "one of the most complex singing performances yet described in a nonhuman animal," says Nigel Mann.

* IUB anthropologist Kimberly Dingess and SUNY at Oneonta biologist Nigel Mann recently analyzed a chorus of the birds, and found their interactions to be startlingly new.
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"Networks: Exclusive clubs exposed" (INFORMATICS)
Vol. 439, no. 7074
Jan. 19, 2006

EXCERPT: Alessandro Vespignani and his colleagues at Indiana University in Bloomington report a new approach to measuring rich-club ordering. They find that rich clubs genuinely exist among scientists, but for the Internet and protein networks there is actually less communication among rich nodes than expected by chance.

* Professor of Informatics (IUB) Alessandro Vespignani's paper in Nature Physics, "Detecting rich-club ordering in complex networks," is making quite a splash.
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"Water flea genome is sequenced" (BIOLOGY)
United Press International
Jan. 18, 2006

EXCERPT: An organism widely used in genetics vs. environment studies has joined mice, rats, dogs, humans and other species whose genomes have been sequenced.

* Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics (IU Bloomington) scientist John Colbourne led the project. With the completion of the Daphnia pulex genome, Colbourne and other scientists hope the tiny crustacean will be used by an increasing number of ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and others.


"Human experiment guidelines reviewed" (MEDICINE)
The Scientist
Jan. 13, 2006

EXCERPT: The public commentary period ended Friday (January 13) for the new draft guidelines from the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) on reporting adverse events during clinical trials -- with some critics expressing concern that the new rules, if passed, may discourage researchers from reporting side effects.

* In setting guidelines, a big challenge is making sure patients are safe while also making sure researchers are able to generate accurate and useful information from patient studies. IU Center for Bioethics (IUPUI) Director Eric Meslin invokes an osmotic metaphor in telling The Scientist reporter Trevor Stokes, "Any filter that you put up runs the risk of filtering out valuable data... This is the challenge whenever you put a semi permeable membrane into this stream of data."


"Increasingly, Wired for Sound" (MEDICINE)
Washington Post
Jan. 10, 2006

EXCERPT: One afternoon in 1999, Denise Portis's son Christopher fell and hurt himself badly. But Portis didn't answer his cries. The reason: She couldn't hear him. Since age 27, she'd been living with a profound and progressive hearing loss, its cause unknown. She thought she'd adapted. Then the incident with Christopher "shook my world," the Frederick woman recalls.

* Cochlear implants are getting more sophisticated, but the fact remains, recipients still "hear" sound differently than people with normal hearing. After the computerized device is surgically implanted, patients require training in their use. IU School of Medicine Otolaryngology Chair Richard Miyamoto tells Washington Post reporter Ranit Mishori, "The question really is how hard the person will work to learn to use the device."


"From Bacteria to Us: What Went Right When Humans Started to Evolve?" (BIOLOGY)
New York Times
Jan. 3, 2006

EXCERPT: Why, Michael Lynch wants to know, don't we look like bacteria? ... Evolutionary biologists generally agree that humans and other living species are descended from bacterialike ancestors. But before about two billion years ago, human ancestors branched off.

* New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer attempts a review of IUB evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch's latest research on the origins of eukaryotes.
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* * * * Do you have an important and/or interesting paper in press? A major event or presentation coming up? Please contact IU Office of Media Relations science writers David Bricker at 812-856-9035,, or Hal Kibbey at 812-855-0074,

Indiana Science Monthly is produced for internal use only. If you have received this eMail in error, or do not wish not to receive this monthly eMail, or if you have a news item for the next edition of ISM, please contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035,