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November 09, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-09

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November9, 2004






Preliminary research shows lasting effects of
cigarette smoking similar to heroin and morphine

By Kingson Man

0 Daily Staff Reporter

chemical by making it radioactive and then traced its
path through the brain as it was used up. The areas of
the brain that were more active during smoking con-
sumed more of the chemical, and lit up under the PET
Smoking helped downplay reported feelings of
stress and increased relaxation, said Ed Domino,
pharmacology emeritus professor and one of the
principal investigators behind the research. "Certain
areas in smokers' brains turned up and certain areas
turned down."
But regular smokers showed consistently stronger
responses, demonstrating greater ability to handle
stress and create feelings of well-being. However,
the authors of the study emphasized that these ben-
efits were greatly outweighed by the risks of smoking.
"Smoking is a terrible thing," Domino said.
In addition, some of the cigarettes used in the study
were de-nicotinized and had to be specially obtained
from the Philip Morris Research Center. Surprisingly,
smokers couldn't tell the difference between normal
cigarettes and those with the highly addictive nico-
tine removed. The opioid levels in the subjects' brains
increased for both types of cigarettes, suggesting the
large role played by psychological addiction.
Domino acknowledged the irony of accepting
research support from a cigarette manufacturer.
"I have a love-hate relationship with the company.
But they should cough up the dollars and support
research, " said Domino.
Under terms ironed out in a series of settlements
between the tobacco industry and state attorneys gen-
eral in 1998, Philip Morris committed itself to fund-
ing smoking research.
On the industry's commitment to anti-tobacco
research, Domino only said the test cigarettes "all
tasted pretty lousy," and hoped to use the subjects'
own preferred brands in the next study.
The preliminary experiment enlisted six pack-a-day
smokers who were paid about $100 an hour to light up.
However, Domino was quick to emphasize that the
participants "had to work for it." The subjects weren't
allowed to smoke for 12 hours prior to the study,
with carbon monoxide breath-detectors and nicotine
blood-detectors catching any cheaters. By the morn-
ing of the trials, the subjects were "really anxious,
really craving a cigarette," Domino said.
They were then placed in a PET scanner lying
on their backs with their heads restrained for three
hours, while smoking under controlled conditions.
The equipment had to be specially modified to allow

smoking while scanning.
Taking place inside the University hospi-
tal, Domino said the cigarette smoke had to
be handled like "poison gas," with the smok-
ers using fans and modified gas masks to
catch their exhalations. The noxious smoke
was sent directly into the hospital's central
vacuum system, mixing with the rest of the hos-
pital's waste gases and finally "blown out from the
roof into the skies of Ann Arbor."
Great pains were also taken to accommodate
the lab technicians who couldn't tolerate the
smoke. They were reassigned to a different area
or allotted breaks during testing. This agree-
ment to allow smoking inside the hospital was
reached only after three years of cajoling by
This pilot study of six male smokers will also be
improved upon in the future by
increasing the sample size and
incorporating female subjects..
The team is also looking into
delivering nicotine intravenously
to isolate the chemical's effects from other
psychological variables. It would mean a
cleaner process, although intravenous nico-
tine is more expensive to obtain and tightly
regulated by the FDA.
Jon Kar Zubieta, a University
psychiatrist and neuroscientist who
helped lead the study, described '
the interaction of tobacco, and
especially nicotine, with brain
chemistry as "a fascinating
area that we're just begin-
ning to understand, espe-
cially when it comes to
correlating neurochemistry
with behavior."
However, the correlation
between neurochemistry and
behavior shouldn't be mis-
construed by students to help
justify their smoking on the
grounds of building stress resis-
tance, Domino warns. "The brain
changes with any drugs you take,"
said the pharmacology veter-
an. "Of course, it changes
permanently with learn-
ing, too."

Rural school board approves teaching of creationism

By Naila Moreira
Daily Staff Reporter

Even after decades of scientific backing, the
evolutionary theory of "survival of the fittest"
hasn't quite proven itself the fittest everywhere
in the contentious arena of science education.
The small town of Grantsburg in northwest Wis-
consin recently revised its school curriculum to
allow the teaching of creationism.
During a review last month of the science cur-
riculum for this district of about 1,000 students,
the Grantsburg school board added language
calling for inclusion of "various models/theo-
ries" of origin in science classes.

Joni Burgin, the Grantsburg superintendent
of schools, said science classes "should not be
totally inclusive of just one scientific theory."
In response, more than 300 biology and reli-
gious studies faculty from across the state have
signed a letter asking the Grantsburg school
district to reverse its decision. Their message
echoes a prior letter signed by 43 deans of Wis-
consin public universities.
University ecology and evolutionary biology
Prof. David Mindell said creationist theories
belong in comparative religions classes rather
than science curricula.
"Intelligent design and creationism are simply
not science," he said. "The science curriculum in

high schools should be scientific."
"Intelligent design" is the notion that Earth's
life is too complex for any explanation other than
design by an intelligent creator.
He explained that scientific theories require a
standard process of inquiry and examination of
evidence, which is not followed by proponents of
"What they posit is supernatural causation,
and of course being supernatural, there is no tan-
gible evidence," he said.
Although Wisconsin state law requires that
evolution be taught, school districts may design
their own science curriculum, said John Dono-
van, a spokesperson for the State Department of

Public Instruction. Creationism can be included.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987,
Edwards vs. Aguillard, struck down a Loui-
siana law requiring any teaching of evolution
to be accompanied by instruction in "creation
science." In the majority opinion, Justice
William Brennan wrote that the Louisiana
statute violated the separation of church and
state by purposefully advancing a specific
religious belief.
However, the court has not ruled definitively
on whether creationism can be taught as part of
a science curriculum.
The court's ruling didn't stop Pennsylvania's
Dover Area School Board from voting last month

to require the teaching of alternative theories to
evolution, such as intelligent design.
In March, the Ohio Board of Education also
narrowly approved a curriculum some critics
claim opens the door to evolution.
The decision to promote creationism in sci-
ence classrooms by these school districts remains
an anomaly nationwide.
However, Mindell said, "we cannot take it for
granted that the science curriculum will remain
unpoliticized around the topic of evolution in
- Daily News Editor Alison Go and the
Associated Press contributed to this report.

Widespread glacial melting
suggests climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say changes in
the Earth's climate from human influences are occurring
particularly intensely in the Arctic region, evidenced by
widespread melting of glaciers, thinning sea ice and ris-
ing permafrost temperatures.
A study released yesterday said the annual average
amount of sea ice in the Arctic has decreased about
8 percent in the past 30 years, resulting in the loss of
386,100 square miles of sea ice - an area bigger than
Texas and Arizona combined.
"The polar regions are essentially the Earth's air condi-
tioner," Michael McCracken,
president of the International "t polar re
Association of Meteorology The p
and Atmospheric Sciences, essentially the
told a news conference
Monday. "Imagine the Earth conditioner. .
having a less efficient air
conditioner." Earth havinp


With "some of the most rapid and severe climate
change on Earth," the Arctic region's melting contrib-
uted to sea levels rising globally by an average of about
three inches in the past 20 years, the report said. Sea lev-
els globally already are expected to rise between another
four inches to three feet or more this century.
"These changes in the Arctic provide an early
indication of the environmental and societal signifi-
cance of global warming," says the Arctic Climate
Impact Assessment, a four-year study by 300 scien-
tists in eight Arctic-bordering nations, including the
United States.
This most comprehensive
ions are study of Arctic warming to
Earth's air date adds yet more impetus
to the projections by many
Imagine the of the world's climatesci-
entists that there will be a
a less efficient steady rise in global tem
perature as the result of
'r. greenhouse gases released
into the atmosphere from
Michael McCracken the burning of fossil fuels
and other sources.
ciation of Meteorology It is based on ice core
eric Sciences president samples and other evi-
dence of climate condi-
tions such as on-the-ground and satellite measurements
of surface air temperatures. Nations participating in the

uBa -~An overview
(32 ipt 4x4 k)and dissection
of the Blue
crpteCad Gene/L com-
(2di puter system
iced) packaging.
p From left: The
2p3c i smallest corn-
"16TBCR ponent of the
2GRcomputer, a
chip with two
W1'12GF/sto the most
4 6Gf Ra complex a
4 NIB compilation of
64 cabinets.
IBM's Big Blue regains title as
world's fastest supercomputer

Susan Joy Hassol, the
report's lead author, said the
Arctic probably would warm
twice as much as the Earth.
A region of extreme light
and temperature changes,
the Arctic's surfaces of ice,
ocean water, vegetation and

air conditione
International Asso
and Atmosphi

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Big Blue has
brought the title of the world's fastest super-
computer back to the United States for the
first time in three years.
International Business Machine Corp.'s
still incomplete Blue Gene/L system was

planned size.
IBM officials downplayed a U.S. manu-
facturer regaining the top spot.
"IBM has dominated the top of super-
computing for a number of years, having
reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the world is not

Besides IBM's Blue Gene/L taking the
top spot, another U.S. supercomputer at
NASA's Ames Research Center grabbed
No. 2 in the world, turning 51.87 trillion cal-
culations a second, or teraflops.
Officials at Tokyo-based NEC, which

soil are important in reflecting the sun's heat.
Pointing to the report as a clear signal that global


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