By Beth Satkin Brown Daily Herald

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – In a controversial move, Yale University announced this month that it plans to offer the abortion pill RU-486 under its standard health plan.

The new abortion drug, also known as mifeprex, induces a miscarriage when taken in the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

Yale University Health Services already offers the “morning after” pill and offers surgical abortions under its health plan for students and staff.

Some students and activist groups like the Yale Pro-Life league have already complained that RU-486 should not be offered through the university’s health plan, which draws funds from student tuition.

Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy dismissed these concerns as unrealistic.

“Health insurance patients who are receiving care through a health facility through an insurance plan do not pick and choose which services are available from that provider,” Conroy said.

“A male patient is never going to need the services of the obstetrics and gynecology … but that’s the whole philosophy of insurance – that the group supports it so that no single person is burdened,” Conroy added.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved RU-486 – available only by prescription – in September because it is thought to be safer than surgical abortions.

RU-486 has been available in Europe since 1988 and more than 600,000 European women have undergone medical abortions using the drug.

Most university health centers, including Brown Health Services, will not dispense RU-486 in the near future. But the possibility of offering RU-486 has not been ruled out for the future, according to Dr. Edward Wheeler, co-director of Health Services.

Wheeler said that physicians who dispense RU-486 must be skilled in reading ultrasounds and measuring the size of the uterus to determine how far along a woman is in her pregnancy – procedures Brown is not currently equipped for.

Doctors must also be prepared to handle any complications that may arise from medical abortion, such as heavy bleeding, he said.

“We would have no objection to carrying RU-486, but we’d have to convince ourselves that we could handle it if complications arose,” Wheeler said.

Conroy said Yale has all the necessary resources to carry out its procedures safely.

Harvard University will reimburse students who receive the abortion drug at local hospitals, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Brown will continue to facilitate making appointments for students seeking an abortion and provide counseling both before and after the procedure.

Student Creates Bomb Scare, Closes Community College Campus

By Clarissa Aljentera Spartan Daily

SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose State University junior LaDonna artinez was frightened for her safety when she found out about the bomb threat that evacuated De Anza College early Tuesday morning.

San Jose Police and De Anza campus security cleared the 112-acre Cupertino campus around 9 a.m. after suspicions of a “Columbine-style attack.”

SJPD arrested a 19-year-old man Monday evening, searched his house and found plans of a possible bombing to take place on De Anza’s campus Tuesday afternoon.

SJSU’s campus is similar to De Anza’s because both are open.

“The classroom buildings are accessible,” said Martinez a child development major. “Anyone can walk off the street and go into the building. It is scary.”

De Anza, located 10 miles from SJSU, has more than 25,000 students according to their Web site.

SJSU’s undergraduate population is 20,000 and the total number of students is 27,000.

De Anza’s campus was blocked off for most of Tuesday. Police vehicles and campus security were posted at each entrance on campus to prevent people from walking or driving on.

San Jose police were called in to search the campus but found nothing as of Tuesday evening. According to signs posted around the campus, classes are scheduled to resume today.

SJPD arrested Al DeGuzman at his residence after a Longs Drugs photo technician saw pictures of DeGuzman posed with illegal items.

DeGuzman had possession of 30 pipe bombs, 20 Molotov cocktails, a sawed-off shotgun and a sawed-off rifle, according to Sgt. Steve Dixon, the SJPD press information officer. Dixon said they also found 2,000 rounds of ammunition and an audio tape stating his intentions.

“It was very clear that he would attack today at 12:30 p.m. and that he would start setting the devices at 4:30 a.m.,” Dixon said.

SJSU senior Chris Crosby said an attack on SJSU could be more likely than on De Anza.

“I wouldn’t expect anything to happen at De Anza,” said Crosby, an art major. “The fact that it happened there means it could be more likely here.”

San Jose State University sophomore Maegan Ladeau was surprised to learn of a bomb threat that evacuated De Anza College early Tuesday morning.

“I’m surprised it would happen anywhere, especially so close,” said Ladeau, a sophomore in marketing. “San Jose has a lot of people and size doesn’t make a difference.”

According to Dixon, the 19-year-old had been fascinated with the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

The Columbine incident took place on April 20, 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher before taking their own lives.

De Anza student Lynh Umali was unfazed by the evacuation. Umali said she tried to park her car on campus at 11 a.m. Tuesday but was turned away because police were searching the premises.

“I had to go around in circles because they cleared the campus off,” Umali said. “I found out from other students that a bomb threat evacuated the whole school.”

Duke Researchers Find New Causes of Cancer Cell Mutations

By Marko Djuranovic The Chronicle

DURHAM, N.C. – In a study that will be published in the upcoming edition of Cancer Research, scientists in the Duke University edical Center have made a discovery that runs contrary to existing paradigms about tumor cell growth.

“It’s a common belief that to cause mutations in the cell you have to have direct damage to the DNA,” said Chuan-Yuan Li, assistant research professor of radiation oncology and the study’s lead author. “[We found] that if you have other stresses not known to be directly damaging to the DNA – such as heat or a lack of oxygen – these also tend to increase the mutation rate in cancer cells.”

Li explained that this finding is important because it could help improve chemotherapy treatments.

“People have known that tumors start out benign, turn malignant and then get worse,” said Mark Dewhirst, professor of radiation oncology and the study’s co-author. “But they haven’t understood this progression or why [the tumors] become genetically unstable.”

Although the research team is still far from understanding the intricacies of the mutation process, the latest finding sheds some light on why cancer cells have such high mutation rates.

Currently, scientists have pinpointed causes of high mutation levels for only a handful of cancer types – those in which the cell’s ability to repair its own DNA has been lost. When a cell can no longer repair its own DNA, the chances of a mutation during cell division jump from one-in-a-million to one-in-a-thousand.

But in many cancers, the cells have retained this self-repair ability, leading researchers to believe that there is more to cancer than chance alone. This latest discovery may very well prove to be one of the missing pieces of this puzzle.

Tumors grow so fast that the blood vessels cannot keep supplying them with the necessary oxygen, first creating flow instabilities and eventually leading to a lack of oxygen – a condition known as hypoxia. When the cell finally receives the necessary oxygen the chemical interaction releases free radical molecules that, in turn, cause genetic mutations within the tumor.

The research could also have a significant impact on the overall understanding of how some cancer cells develop resistance to common chemotherapy procedures. Scientists currently believe that cancers become impervious to certain drugs because the only cells that continue to reproduce are the resistant ones. But Li’s and Dewhirst’s research may prove that these mutations develop during the treatment as a result of certain stresses such as heat or oxygen deprivation.

Li said that the research team can take several directions in future research, either identifying the genes that may be responsible for the mutations or attempting to induce cancer in normal cells with use of these DNA stresses.

Bust of Professor Found in River

By Mary Sedor The Daily Iowan

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Before the bust of a former University of Iowa professor was stolen, students used to rub his nose for good luck on chemistry tests. There may still be hope for students taking chem classes, because the stolen bust of E. W. Rockwell was found in a Michigan river.

Michigan state police were looking for evidence from another case when they stumbled upon the 1930 bust of Rockwell in the Raisin River in Adrian, Mich., on Jan. 10. After some investigating, Michigan State Police employee Jan Munson discovered the bust belongs on the UI campus.

Alumni and former professors remember the bust of E. W. Rockwell sitting on a pedestal in the Chemistry/Botany Building. When 1955 UI graduate Allen Thomas heard about the return of the Rockwell bust, he said he remembered the bust as having a very shiny nose.

“I was astounded that I remembered it. I don’t know why that is still circulating in my head, but I just know that is right,” he said.

Thomas remembers the bust sitting on a pedestal just outside the large lecture hall in the chemistry building. However, he said he has no recollection of the bust being stolen.

“I think this shows how easily little bits of history are lost,” he said.

Former UI chemistry professor Jack Doyle said he also remembers the Rockwell bust but that he remembers the bust as having a history of wandering around campus.

“Some graduate students, after I don’t know how many drinks, took the bust off of the pedestal. The next night when (my colleague) went to his car, he found the bust sitting behind the wheel,” he said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.