The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 24, 2002 - 3
UCLA links gene to
* lactose intolerance
'U' to suspend,
Solitude and art
Researches at the University of Cal-
ifornia Los Angeles School of Medi-
cine have linked the inability to digest
lactose to two genetic mutations that
hinder the lactase-phlorizin hydrolase
gene, which may cause someone to be
With this information, new tech-
niques could be developed for simpler
diagnostic tests using DNA from a
blood sample to identify those who
are lactose intolerant.
At least one of the variants was
found in 196 Finnish, and 40 Italian,
German, or South Korean individuals
in the study. The second mutation
was present in 220 of these cases.
Eighteen percent of the 938 Finnish
blood donors tested positive for the
gene as well, which is consistent with
results from a previous similar study.
Analogous results were also found
after testing French, North American,
and African American individuals.
This lead Dr. Peltonen, one of the
investigators, to conclude that the
mutation must be very old and the
original form probably became mutat-
ed thousands of years ago when
humans started dairy culture.
UK invests $15
million in 'genetic
Britain's $15 million plan to create
a network of "genetic knowledge
parks" was announced last Wednes-
day in effort to keep the country at the
cutting edge of the genetics revolu-
Government funds will be used to
build six parks that would provide a
range of diagnostic test for single and
multi-factorial gene disorders. The
centers would also facilitate research
on drug treatments and methods to
monitor disease progression.
The research would also spawn new
companies specializing in genetic
Lung cancer less
likely for those with
The odds of developing lung cancer
may be lessened for those who carry a
particular genetic polymorphism,
according to researchers at Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Individuals who have a genetic
mitain of the myeloperoxidase
enzyme have a lower risk of lung can-
cer relative to those with the more
common type of enzyme, according to
Dr. Brian Weinshenker and his col-
The enzyme is found in white blood
cells that congregate in the lungs of
smokers due to inflammation.
Researchers correlate the degree of
the MPO enzyme concentration to
lung cancer risk.
Their investigation evaluated the
DNA of 307 patients with lung cancer
and a similar group of 307 people
who did not have lung cancer. Of the
patients, those with two copies of the
genetic variant, representing about 3
percent of the population, had a 60
percent reduced risk of developing
Having only one varient is reported
to be only a slight reduction in risk
and smoking is a reported sevenfold
increase in lung cancer risk.
Mice aid in spinal
Researchers at the Wistar Institute
in Philadelphia say that the key to
spinal cord injury recovery is not in
an enhanced regenerative capacity
but in limiting the scarring process
In mice, where there was no physi-
cal barrier of scar tissue to inhibit
progress, neurons on both sides of the
injury site were able to grow and
restore connections with each other
over a period of 2 to 3 weeks with
considerable recovery and function.
Investigators confirmed that is scar
tissue, a protein matrix, that inhibits
the ability of neurons to regrow their
axons across the injury site.
The research suggests that drugs
able to biochemically block scar-tis-
sue formation have potential.
- Compiled by
Daily Staff Reporter April Effort.
By Kara Wenzel
Daily Staff Reporter
The University Advisory Committee
on Labor Standards and Human Rights
has not asked the administration to sus-
pend its contract with the New Era Cap
Company despite evidence of labor vio-
lations in the company's Derby, N.Y.,
The Worker Rights Consortium, a
labor-monitoring association hired by
the University, released a preliminary
report on New Era in August citing
"that there is at the very least substantial
credible evidence of serious, and in
some instances, ongoing non-compli-
ance by New Era with codes of conduct
Advisory committee chair and Social
Work Prof. Larry Root said the commit-
tee is not at the point to recommend that
the University alter its contract.
"Supposedly within a week and a
half we will receive more information,
and if it turns out that they are in viola-
tion, then we'll discuss what to do,"
New Era's contract is renewed annu-
ally, and last fall it was renewed without
labor violations being brought to the
attention of the committee, he added.
"There is no reason to think the infor-
mation we get from the WRC is not reli-
able," said LSA sophomore and
advisory committee member David
Deeg. "We have more than enough
information to act. The committee con-
tinually asking for more information is a
sort of stall tactic."
Deeg said he believes the administra-
tion does not want to suspend the New
Era contract because it would compro-
mise the University's financial relation-
ship with New Era.
Root said New Era feels the WRC
conducted a biased investigation; there-
fore, the advisory committee is giving
New Era more time to provide a non-
biased third party report.
Three universities, including Duke
University, the University of Wisconsin
at Madison and Georgetown University,
did not renew their contracts with New
Era because of labor problems, and the
University of North Carolina renewed
its contract for 90 days citing possible
labor problems, Deeg said.
"Our yearly contract ran out at the
end of October, and our administration
did not renew it," said Allison Brim, a
Duke University student and member of
Students Against Sweatshops. "The
"This is not a cut
of contract we're
asking for, just a
- David Deeg
president of our university sent a letter
to New Era telling them our contract
will be suspended until the accusations
about worker injustices are improved."
Members of the University of Michi-
gan campus group Students Organizing
for Labor and Economic Equality took a
trip to Derby to offer their support for
striking New Era workers last weekend.
"The workers are being asked to take
a $7 wage cut from the $13 wage they
earned, and they just can't afford that,"
said LSA sophomore and SOLE mem-
ber Jackie Bray said. "They have five
times the incidence of injury than the
"We made a huge paper-mache hat
on the Diag and had students sign cards
showing solidarity for the striking work-
ers," said Mike Swiryn, RC sophomore
and SOLE member. "We got to stand on
the picket line with (the striking work-
ers) and talk with them."
Swiryn said he believes "this entire
University has a responsibility to these
people - students want to see more
During a meeting last Friday, SOLE
members asked the advisory committee
to tell the administration to suspend the
New Era contract until the labor prob-
lems are improved, Bray said.
"This is not a cut of the contract
we're asking for, just a suspension,"
Deeg said. "There's no reason when
they fix the problems we couldn't
resume the contract."
In the past, WRC reports have pro-
vided substantial evidence to suspend
contracts and improve labor violations.
"The first report we received from the
WRC on the situation with Nike in
Kukdong was followed up with actions
that ended up being a big success for
everyone involved," Deeg said.
"New Era won't cooperate with the
WRC, so they can't release a final
report," Bray added. "But that shouldn't
mean we can't take the same types of
actions other universities have."
College of Engineering senior Mike Kuck contemplates a landscape painting at the University's Museum of Art.
Enneerng prof. lauded
for laser phsc eerc
By Tyler Boersen
Daily Staff Reporter
The University has recognized an
Engineering professor for his work
with lasers by ask-
ing him to give the
2002 Henry Rus-
sel lecture, the,
highest honor thet
bestows upon a
has been studyingM
and building Mourou
lasers much of his life, and is interna-
tionally distinguished as a leader in
"It is a very, very great honor for
me," Mourou said from his office at
the Center for Ultrafast Optical Sci-
ence, the research lab he founded and
has directed for the last 10 years.
The center, funded primarily by
grants from the National Science
Foundation, has pioneered lasers that
utilize extremely short impulses.
Because of the duration of the impuls-
es, these lasers yield tremendous
power and great accuracy.
"We are in a femto-second time
scale where the pulse travels a distance
only a fraction of a piece of hair,"
Mourou said. "That means that if
power is energy divided by time, even
if we have an extremely small amount
of energy like one joule, the time is so
short that you can produce an extreme-
ly high power."
Lasers developed at the laboratory
are currently producing power in tens
of terawatts. In comparison, Mourou
said it would take 1000 Hoover dams
producing at 1 gigawatt to generate a
"It's not that they are producing a lot
of energy," he said, "but the energy is
produced in a time so short that power
is enormous. For the first time we can
reach intensity levels only repro-
ducible in astrophysics - the stars."
Researchers hope that, due to the
large power in these short laser bursts,
the intense magnetic field will be har-
nessed to reduce particle accelerators
like the three kilometer CERN labora-
tory into mere centimeters. Already,
the lasers have reduced the size of
high-intensity operations to sit on a
tabletop, Mourou said.
"We have taken science that was
done in very, very large government
labs and brought it back to the univer-
sity level," he said.
Because of the extreme precision of
these lasers, researchers have found a
very lucrative application in eye surgery,
and have conducted the first cornea
transplant. Other applications include
X-ray equipment that can depict the
smallest blood vessels, and the ability to
vastly improve communications and
computer technologies. Mourou said
that military applications are not likely.
College of Engineering Dean
Stephen Director lauded Mourou for
his impressive accomplishments.
"He is an outstanding scholar who
has made a significant contribution to
laser technology. He is recognized
worldwide, and has brought consider-
able recognition to the University of
Michigan," Director said.
Mourou, the A.D. Moore Distin-
guished University Professor of Engi-
neering and Computer Science, will
deliver his lecture at the Michigan
League on March 12 at 4 p.m. He plans
to describe the techniques developed
and their applications in engineering,
physics, and medicine.
stores and cut jobs
due to bankrupcty
DETROIT (AP) - Kmart Corp. like-
ly will close hundreds of stores as part of
its restructuring during Chapter 11 bank-
ruptcy, mostly in rural and suburban
areas where competition from other dis-
count retailers is stiff, analysts say.
Among the locations: the Southeast,
where Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a
heavy presence, said retail analyst
Steve Roorda with American Express
But Roorda and others said any-
where from 200 to 700 of Kmart's
2,114 stores will close all over the
country. The number of job cuts, ana-
lysts say, will be in the thousands, with
more exact figures dependent on how
many stores are closed.
"It's everybody's assessment they
need to be pared down," said Conor
Reilly with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
"But it really depends on what their
strategic plan is. ... I don't think they
have any idea what they're going to do."
Tuesday, Troy-based Kmart filed for
Chapter 11, a move that came after
lower-than-expected holiday sales and
fourth-quarter earnings, downgrades by
credit-rating agencies and a stock dive.
In announcing the filing, Kmart said
it will evaluate store performance and
lease terms by the end of the first quar-
ter of 2002, and will close unprofitable
or underperforming stores. Kmart also
said it would reduce staff. It has about
The company would not give exact
figures, but in a letter to employees,
Kmart CEO Chuck Conaway said the
company will close a "significant"
number of stores.
"They will be stores that, because of
their location or other factors, cannot
quickly be turned around and made
profitable," the letter said.
The stores that are most likely to
survive are those in urban areas, ana-
"Kmart's real estate is more defensi-
ble in the urban markets, less so every-
where else," Roorda said.
Reilly said more people drive in the
suburbs, making it easier for people to
choose which discount retailer they go
to. In a larger city, there is more of a
local customer base and less competi-
tion for the No. 3 discount retailer,
"The theory is, in the suburbs the
niche or lack of a niche they're trying
to fill just doesn't fly," Reilly said.
And No. 1 Wal-Mart and No. 2 Tar-
get Corp. are less likely to open loca-
tions in the middle of a large city,
where there is less land to build park-
ing lots and stores. Instead, Wal-Mart
and Target follow the same patterns as
suburban sprawl, Roorda said.
Roorda said he sees Kmart closing
its smaller stores first because they
can't compete in size with larger Wal-
Mart and Target.
What's happening in Ann Arbor today
BASED ON TRUE EVENTS
"Bungalows and Culture
Houses in Japan: West-
ernization and the Imper-
Chime Concert; noon, Ker-
Winterfest; 11:00 a.m. -
5:00 p.m., Second floor,
of Art and Design, 5:00
p.m., Art and Architec-
Sneak Preview of 'The
S.A.F.E. Walk, 763-WALK,