Behavior Contrasts Studied

Just like boys and girls, male monkeys like to play with toy cars whereas female monkeys prefer dolls, a research project has found.

The discovery is one of many signs of deep-rooted behavioral differences between the sexes that scientists are exploring with the latest tools of genetics and neuroscience.

Researchers have found differences in the structure and functioning of male and female brains -- in humans and animals -- that correlate with different behaviors.

The differences apparently date far back in evolutionary history to the time before humans and monkeys separated from their common ancestor about 25 million years ago, said Gerianne Alexander, a psychologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, who led the research reported in the journal NeuroImage.

In the experiment, researchers put a variety of toys in front of 44 male and 44 female vervets, a breed of small African monkeys, and measured the amount of time they spent with each object.

Like boys, some male monkeys moved a toy car along the ground. Like girls, female monkeys closely inspected a doll's bottom. Males also played with balls while females fancied cooking pots.

U.S. Has 413 Satellites Aloft

The United States has 413 satellites in space snooping for the government, checking on the weather and relaying the latest music -- more than the 382 orbited by the rest of the world combined, a new count finds.

The inventory released by the Union of Concerned Scientists provides details on some of the Pentagon's most secret satellites, which may gather images in the dark or take high-resolution pictures from 12,000 miles away.

The material was gleaned from corporations, academics, governments and satellite watchers.

The group's inventory lists 21 different details on satellites with missions including weather forecasting and transmitting music and news. Perhaps most controversially, the repository includes what is known about top-secret spy satellites run by governments.

The Russians have the second largest number, with an estimated 87 satellites. The Chinese have 34.

Hope for Treating Gout, Colitis

Two novel drug treatments show promise against gout and colitis, painful conditions that plague millions of people worldwide.

Febuxostat, which is awaiting regulatory approval, would be the first new medicine in four decades for gout, which is becoming more common in this country. Gout has long been associated with rich diets.

Infliximab, sold under the brand name Remicade for arthritis and Crohn's disease, was shown to sharply reduce bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other symptoms of ulcerative colitis, another immune system disorder that erodes the large intestine.

The studies are in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

-- From News Services