A roundup of some recent findings about those pesky inborn differences that Leftists say do not exist

More race differences: "The highly charged discussion about what role, if any, race plays in medicine has taken a quiet but significant turn. The pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough has begun testing a hepatitis C drug, codenamed SCH 503034, and has specifically excluded African-American patients from the Phase 2 trial - the stage that attempts to find the right dosage. The exclusion has led two patient groups to accuse the company of racism. For reasons unknown, black patients have a lower response rate than whites to standard therapies for hepatitis C. Schering-Plough says the exclusion will make the drug trials "more prudent and scientifically valid", and that African-Americans can come on board as the study advances (and as the law requires)."

Another difference between male and female brains: "A key part of the brain involved in processing emotionally influenced memories acts differently in men and women, even in the absence of stimuli, University of California, Irvine researchers have found. Larry Cahill, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurobiology and behavior, and Lisa Kilpatrick, Ph.D., a former postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory, have found that the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure found on both sides of the brain, behaves very differently in males and females while the subjects are at rest. In men, the right amygdala is more active and shows more connections with other regions of the brain, even when there is no outside stimulus. Conversely, in women, the left amygdala is more connected with other regions of the brain. In addition, the regions of the brain with which the amygdala communicates while a subject is at rest are different in men and women."

Genes and aging: "In 2003, Nir Barzilai and Gil Atzmon, who study aging at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, discovered that people with a certain polymorphism of the cholesterol-influencing gene CETP lived longer than those without it (ScienceNOW, October 2003). Now the researchers have identified another part of the longevity code. In a study reported in this month's issue of PLoS Biology, Barzilai and Atzmon examined the genetic makeup of 213 centenarians. All were Ashkenazi Jews, a group with a relatively uniform genetic pool in which differences tend to stand out. The researchers also compared the centenarians' children with a control group comprised of individuals whose parents died before reaching 85. They found that 25% of the centenarians carried a particular variation of the gene APOC3, which helps determine cholesterol levels. The same variation was found in 20% of their children but only 10% of the control group, suggesting that long life runs in families. Those with the polymorphism were 15% less likely to have high blood pressure and had a significantly decreased risk for cardiovascular disease or diabetes".

Another physical basis for IQ: "Fast language learners have more white matter and less symmetrical brains, a new scanning study has revealed. The results among the first to link brain differences to language learning aptitude in healthy people, says Narly Golestani at University College London, UK. "The bigger picture is that we're starting to understand that brain shape and structure can be informative about people's abilities," she says. Those in the study who were quickest to hear subtle differences in sounds from a foreign language were found to have the greatest amount of white, fatty tissue in a brain region responsible for sound processing. "It could be that this translates into greater efficiency in the brain," comments Adam Brickman, who researches brain structure the Columbia University Medical Center in New York".


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