In Brief; March 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Leutwyler; 3 Page(s)
Clues from Scleroderma New results have shed light on why the body sometimes attacks its own tissues: Antony Rosen and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University developed novel means for tracking the biochemistry behind scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder that damages the arteries, joints and internal organs. They found that toxic oxygen products, caused by an irregular blood supply, break apart common tissue molecules when high levels of metals are present. The fragmented molecules then present unfamiliar facades to the immune system, which produces antibodies against them.
Rapid-Fire Gamma Rays Four gamma-ray bursts, recorded by NASA instruments over two days last October, have shot down several key theories. Astrophysicists long thought that whatever caused the high-energy events, which usually occur at random throughout the sky, might well be destroyed in the making. But this new series appeared too quickly, and too close together, to support that idea.