Did you know?
- that twenty-one governments around the Pacific rim have
vowed they will give internet access to everyone in the region by 2010.
- that Britain is to commit more than 24,000 troops and 18
warships to a European Defence force.
- that scientists have discovered a gene mutation that can
double the life span of fruit flies. Researchers at the University of
Connecticut Health Center have found that the life span of the flies was
extended from an average of 37 days to 70 days. Some flies in the study
lived 110 days. The same long-life gene exists in humans, said Dr. Stephen
L. Helfand, senior author of the study, and "offers a target for future
drug therapies aimed at extending life."
- that since 1997, 11 popular prescription drugs have been
pulled from pharmacies after causing deaths or serious injuries. The latest,
Lotronex, was banned recently for causing deadly intestinal side effects
just nine months after it began selling. Likewise, five others were
withdrawn roughly a year after hitting the market. Some critics say FDA
approves new drugs too quickly. Under congressional pressure, the FDA has
sped up: Average review time for new drugs was 14.6 months in fiscal 2000,
down from 34.3 months in 1993. Drugs deemed breakthroughs, and drugs
whose makers pay special fees to FDA, can get a speedier six-month review.
- that scientists have deciphered for the first time the
entire genetic makeup of a plant. The breakthrough has been hailed as a
milestone in genetics that will accelerate our ability to grow better food
and identify the drugs of tomorrow.