ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH



Alzheimer's research
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Iron deficiency may play a role in Alzheimer's disease, according to an Oakland, Calif., researcher. The finding could be a big step in understanding and ultimately delaying or preventing the disease.
A shortage of a specific type of iron starves brain cells to death, says biochemist Hani Atamna of Children's Hospital and Research Center. This discovery may be a key piece to the puzzle of how Alzheimer's disease destroys brain cells and causes progressive dementia.
It is very important to have enough iron in your system as you age, said Atamna, who compares the brain to a bank account.
Once you retire, you stop making deposits into your bank account and start withdrawing money. If you start with more savings, your account will last through a longer, more comfortable retirement.
The same holds true with your brain, Atamna said, but with iron and other vitamins as the currency. Somewhere in middle age, your brain's bank account undergoes a change and stops taking in funds and starts slowly cutting into its savings.
Though this research doesn't prove an iron deficiency causes Alzheimer's, Atamna believes it may be possible to slow down, or even delay the onset of the disease by starting out with a fatter brain bank account, full of iron and other important vitamins.
Justice Department: Raidat high school was lawful
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A guns-drawn raid at a high school last year did not violate civil rights laws and the case is closed, the U.S. Justice Department said.
The decision means there will be no criminal charges, said Andy Savage, a lawyer for officers in the sweep at the Goose Creek high school.
Fifteen officers entered Stratford High School's main hallway and ordered 130 students to the floor Nov. 5 of last year. They used plastic ties to handcuff 18 students, and school officials opened and searched 17 book bags using a drug dog.
Police found no drugs or weapons, but the raid frightened children, provoked marches and lawsuits and brought national media attention and the resignation of the school's longtime principal.
Terry Nichols decidesnot to appeal conviction
PONCA CITY, Okla. -- Deciding at the last possible moment not to appeal his conviction, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols brought his case to a final close, saying he hoped it would begin a "long-awaited healing process."
For Nichols, it means a life in prison with no further recourse. And while it also means that he won't risk facing the death penalty ever again, survivors and families of the victims say his decision comes as a relief.
"I think he probably realized the futility of the whole thing," said bombing survivor Florence Rogers, the retired chief executive of the Federal Employees Credit Union.
Eighteen people in the credit union and 150 others in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building were killed in the April 19, 1995, bombing.
Nichols' attorney, Brian Hermanson, announced Nichols' decision Thursday, the deadline to notify the court if Nichols planned to appeal his conviction and life prison sentences on 161 counts of first-degree murder.
"After careful consideration, Terry Nichols has decided not to file an appeal of his state convictions in order to immediately bring this case to a close," Hermanson said in a brief statement read in the lobby of the federal courthouse in Ponca City.
U.S. troop reduction
SEOUL, South Korea -- Top U.S. and South Korean defense officials failed today to agree on a timeline for the planned reduction of American forces on the divided peninsula amid Seoul's concerns the departing troops will weaken its defenses against North Korea.
The redeployment of some 12,500 troops away from South Korea is part of Pentagon plans for a worldwide realignment of American forces that President Bush has said would help the United States better respond to today's threats. His Democratic challenger, John Kerry, has criticized the move, saying it would embolden North Korea even as the international community seeks to get the communist nation to give up its nuclear ambitions.
At talks today in the South Korean capital, the sides agreed that 3,600 U.S. troops who have already left here for Iraq would be part of the redeployment. U.S. officials have previously said all the reassigned troops would depart by the end of 2005, bringing the total remaining to about 24,500.
But that timeline is now under discussion, U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Lawless said after two days of talks with his South Korean counterpart Ahn Kwang-chan, deputy defense minister for policy.
Combined dispatches

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