Currents

    Cal Makes Courses Available on Google

    UC Berkeley made history as the first university with its own page on the Google Video Web site with its announcement this week that it will be delivering course lectures and symposia free of charge through the popular site. Viewers of the page will be able to access about a half-dozen full courses, with subjects ranging from physics to biology to business. The campus is set to further its “coursecasting” agreement with Google Video in the coming months, and has made limited academic content available to the public for downloading since 2001.

    Campus Appoints Stem-Cell Director

    UCSD School of Medicine cellular and molecular medicine professor Larry S. B. Goldstein was named director of the UCSD Stem-Cell Program last week.

    Goldstein has poineered UCSD stem-cell research in the form of the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, a collaborative consortium formed last spring by UCSD, the Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He was also involved with California’s Proposition 71, serving as co-chair of the initiative’s scientific advisory committee. Proposition 71, which voters passed in 2004, allocated $3 billion in research funding for stem-cell studies across the state.

    As head of the program, Goldstein will be working to integrate stem-cell research at UCSD, and will use the $1.2 million provided by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to the campus to train 16 scientists in the field of stem-cell biology and medicine.

    Study: Menthols Make Quitting Harder

    Although both menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes are equally harmful to lung and cardiovascular tissue, a new study by UC San Francisco scientists suggests that people who smoke menthol cigarettes may have a harder time quitting.

    The study, which followed 1,200 smokers over 15 years, found that menthol smokers were almost twice as likely to relapse after quitting and also were less likely to stop for substantial periods of time. The authors of the study noted that the physiological effects of menthol may explain the reason why menthol smokers have a harder time quitting.

    Menthol’s cooling and local anesthetic effects may enhance smoking pleasure, and it also increases breath-holding and decreases nicotine metabolism, thus increasing blood-nicotine levels. The study found that about 69 percent of people who smoked menthol cigarettes in 1985 still smoked, compared to about 54 percent of nonmenthol smokers.

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