Science  14 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5746, pp. 207
  1. EXHIBITS: Colonial Doctoring

    If you're tracing the history of smallpox vaccination in the United States or probing past inequalities in health care, reach for the virtual bookshelf at the new site Medicine in the Americas. The collection from the U.S. National Library of Medicine houses scanned versions of eight medical books published between the early 18th and early 20th centuries. It includes a 1721 offering which advocates inoculating patients with material from smallpox sores to prevent a serious case of the disease. You can also browse a pioneering 1903 assessment of the health of the growing African-American urban population. In Atlanta, Georgia, the death rate from pneumonia and tuberculosis was 137% higher among African Americans than among whites, a disparity the report blamed partly on inadequate medical care: “Here in this city of push, pluck and Christian progress, there is not a decent hospital where colored people can be cared for.” Curator Michael North plans to add 100 more titles on medicine throughout the Americas.

  2. EDUCATION: The Silicon Planet

    Students have the whole world in their hands—or at least in their computers—at the tutorial Discover Our Earth at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Mapping exercises for high school and lower-division college classes explore plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other geoscience fundamentals. One chart, for instance, shows that many of the large quakes in the 1980s shook the youngest parts of the sea floor, the dynamic areas where new crust is extruding. Visitors can zip over volcanoes in Hawaii and the Cascade Range of the western United States and fire up interactive simulations. One covers the buoyancy of Earth's crust floating on the underlying mantle, which helps determine elevation.

  3. IMAGES: Charting Brain Receptors

    Red marks the spots with the highest density of serotonin transporters in a labeled slice of a human brain. The transporter helps recycle the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a role in schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. Researchers studying the distribution of neurotransmitter receptors and transporters in the brain can get an eyeful at this new atlas from Columbia University. The images map the abundance of receptors that might contribute to psychiatric illnesses and neurological disorders. Users can view slices from various parts of the brain and from different orientations. You can also compare tagged brain slices with PET and MRI scans of patients.

  4. RESOURCES: Bioethics Conversation Starter

    From the morality of tinkering with human genes to the complexities of determining the order of authors on a paper, tough ethical questions await tomorrow's biomedical researchers. This new Web site from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) aims to spur future scientists to think about these issues. The content complements a free DVD users can order from HHMI that features conversations with more than 30 scientists, ethicists, patients, and other commentators. Covering topics such as genetic alteration and scientific integrity, the site provides discussion questions, case studies, and reading lists.

  5. DATABASE: Doing the Splits

    Cell division involves intricate molecular choreography that would make Busby Berkeley envious. You can learn more about the genes that control mitosis, meiosis, and related processes at GermOnline, hosted by the University of Basel in Switzerland. Although data for brewer's yeast predominate, the site also offers information for humans and 10 other species. GermOnline builds on gene descriptions submitted by researchers. Users can scan the database by categories such as species, biological process, and molecular function. The resulting locus report includes links to gene and protein sequences and to studies or sites that hold gene activity measurements from microarrays.

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