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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AGING

Decrepitude can wait

"The Youth Pill" (Current, $26.95)

Like a modern-day Ponce de Leon, science journalist David Stipp sets out in search of the Fountain of Youth -- in capsular form -- in his book "The Youth Pill." As a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine, Stipp had "gotten hooked on aging science and followed it more closely than any other topic I covered." His book was inspired, in part, by the 2006 Harvard study that found that daily doses of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, seemed to induce anti-aging effects in mice. He believes that drugs called CR mimetics -- which mimic the benefits seen in lab rodents that were fed a reduced-calorie diet -- in the near future will be capable of postponing the onset of major diseases for five to 10 years. Stipp also predicts that someone involved with the molecular biology of life-span extension will win a Nobel Prize before 2020.

SCIENTIFIC ETHICS

Skirting the rules

Monitor on Psychology, July/August issue

Ethical crimes in the laboratory don't always fall into the "big three" -- fabrication, falsification and plagiarism -- that constitute fraud, according to the article "Sins Against Science." Most misdeeds fall into the category of "everyday misconduct." According to the article, the National Institutes of Health forbids a researcher from taking leftover chemicals or other materials purchased through a grant for one study and using them in a different study. The researcher is supposed to buy a redundant bottle of the chemical, "but of course I use [the chemical] for something else," admits an anonymous scientist. In addition to skirting bureaucracy, the article cites pressures to publish, get tenure or win grant money as motivations to fudge data.

-- Rachel Saslow


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