- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2001

Research could lead to insulin pills

CHICAGO — Purdue University scientists believe they've found a way to make insulin for diabetics available in pills instead of daily shots.

The breakthrough is a new acrylic-based, gel-like coating on the pills to improve the body's absorption of insulin. Injections under the skin allow insulin to be absorbed slowly enough to control blood-sugar levels. But efforts to control diabetes with insulin pills have failed because the body digests them much too quickly.

The new product, so far tested only in diabetic rats and dogs, "can potentially overcome these barriers," said researcher Nicholas Peppas, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Purdue.

The research was among reports on yesterday's agenda at the start of the American Chemical Society's five-day national meeting in Chicago.

Woman, 83, arrested for 'air rage'

ST. JOHN'S, Canada — An 83-year-old woman has been arrested in the latest incident of "air rage" after she attacked two crew members, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland, airport personnel said yesterday.

The Canadian woman was aboard a Canada 3000 flight from Toronto to Manchester in Britain when she set upon the crew. The reason for the woman's anger was not clear.

She was arrested shortly after the plane landed and taken for a psychiatric evaluation at a local hospital.

Fewer sharks spotted off Florida coast

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Beach officials said they will decide today whether to reopen an area where at least nine persons have been bitten by sharks in the past week.

The one-mile stretch of the beach near Daytona Beach was closed following the attacks, including an 18-year-old surfer nipped on the thigh and foot Saturday.

At least three sharks were spotted off the closed zone yesterday, down from several dozen sighted Friday by helicopter.

There have been at least 19 shark attacks off New Smyrna Beach this year, almost half the number reported in the world. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

Missing student returns to U.S.

NEW YORK — A Yale University student missing for more than three weeks in South Africa, where she was studying on a Fulbright grant, returned to the United States yesterday.

Natasha Smalls, 20, told her parents on July 26 that she had been released from a psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe where she had been injected with medication. She also told her parents that she had been assaulted in March. Miss Smalls had been studying at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa.

The Smalls criticized the State Department for not doing more to help.

"I felt that if I was white, they would have reached out more," Glory Smalls said at a news conference at Kennedy Airport. The Smalls are black.

Co-developer of vaccine dies at age 72

LOS ANGELES — Harry Meyer, co-developer of the German measles vaccine and a former assistant surgeon general, has died of lymphoma, family members said yesterday. He was 72.

Mr. Meyer, who retired as assistant surgeon general of the United States in 1986, died Aug. 19 at the Kenmore, Wash., home of his stepson, Stephen Bernheim. He had lived in Friday Harbor in Washington state since 1993.

As co-developer of the vaccine, Dr. Meyer helped save millions of children from birth defects such as blindness, cerebral palsy, deafness and heart defects.

Dr. Meyer and his co-researchers at the National Institutes of Health focused on German measles, or rubella, after a 1964 epidemic of 12.5 million cases in the United States resulted in 20,000 children with birth defects. The vaccine, introduced in 1966, was later refined into the vaccine known as MMR, for mumps, measles and rubella.

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