Friday 04 December 1998
A DRUG to control epilepsy, which has also shown promise in treating cocaine addiction, could help smokers as well, according to a team from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Experiments on animals showed that the drug - gamma vinyl-GABA, or GVG - reduces the effect of nicotine on the brain by slowing the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter central to drug addiction. GVG blocked dopamine's effects for up to 12 hours. "Nicotine doubles the brain's dopamine level, sending a rush of pleasure and a signal that you should smoke again," said Stephen Dewey, a neuroanatomist. "But an appropriate dose of GVG taken before nicotine exposure can completely block nicotine's effects." The work was reported in the journal Synapse.
THE REASON you have not seen many pictures or data recently from the Galileo spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter's moon Europa, is that it has gone into its self-protective "safe" mode during two of its three fly-bys of the icy body. Scientists at Nasa are now working on a software fix for the problem, which they think is caused by increased radiation as it comes close to Jupiter. Galileo, launched in 1989, has already received 50 per cent more radiation than it is designed for.
A HUGE extinct volcano could be hidden under the west Antarctic ice sheet, suggest American scientists. They say they have found a "caldera" - the rock formation created by the collapse of a volcano's central regions into the empty magma chamber after an eruption. New Scientist reports that the caldera is about 70km across, and probably erupted "within the past 20 million years". If confirmed, it would be one of the world's largest extinct volcanoes. There is no danger of its returning to life, scientists say.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN the ways artists and the rest of us view the world have been detected by scientists investigating the brain activity of people who were asked to sketch faces while lying in a magnetic resonance imaging machine. The scanner, which measures blood flow in different areas of the brain, can accurately monitor the activity levels. Most of the cerebral activity of the non-artists was at the back of the brain, in the area that deals with visual processing, according to Bob Solso of the University of Nevada, in Reno. But in the case of Humphrey Ocean, a British portrait painter, the activity was centred on the right, frontal region, which is usually associated with higher thought processes, reports New Scientist. "It appears the artist is `thinking' the painting as much as he is `seeing' the painting," Dr Solso said.
IF THE euro ever makes an appearance in Britain, the Royal Mint should make every effort to avoid making the coins out of zinc. A study in the US, where some one-cent coins are made of zinc coated in copper, has found that zinc-based coins can cause stomach ulcers in children who swallow them. Coins made from copper or nickel generally pass through the digestive system untouched, but doctors at Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, found that a two-year-old boy suffered severe problems after a coin he had swallowed began to dissolve in his stomach. After he complained of pain, the doctors took X-rays and detected a metal disc full of holes. It was a 1989 coin that he had swallowed four days earlier.
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- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Hitler painting sells for 130,000 euros at auction despite controversy over Nazi dictator's artworks
Strictly Come Dancing results: Steve Backshall sent home after dance off with Sunetra Sarker
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked clip of Lana Del Rey rape video
Band Aid 30: 'Do They Know It's Christmas' storms to number one
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'