This is SCIENCE IN
THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm
I'm Barbara Klein. This week, we will
tell about cancer. Health experts say it
will soon become the world's leading killer.
We also will present evidence of a suspected link between tobacco smoke
and behavioral problems in boys with asthma.
And, we will tell about an effort to count all of the world's sea
experts say cancer will become the leading cause of death in the world by the
year two thousand ten. An agency of the
World Health Organization released a report on cancer last month. Health experts predicted the number of people
who die from cancer will soon be greater than deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis
and malaria combined. The experts say
more people will die from cancer than heart disease, the current leading
The report says one reason for the
growing deadliness of cancer is more people smoking cigarettes in developing
countries. The report says forty percent
of the world's smokers are believed to live in China and India alone.
things are believed to have an effect.
They include high fat diets, fast food meals and reduced physical
WHO report says an estimated twelve million people will be found to have some
form of cancer this year. It predicts
that more than seven million people will die early from the disease. And, more than five million of the new cancer
cases will involve people in developing countries.
The number of cancer
cases and deaths from cancer are expected to increase one percent each
year. Experts are predicting the largest
increases will be in China, Russia, and India.
new treatments, the WHO said, the number of new cancer patients could increase
to twenty-seven million a year by twenty-thirty. The number of them who die each year from the
disease could reach seventeen million.
A few kinds of cancer are more common in
some areas. For example, the rate of
breast cancer in Japan, Singapore and Korea is now three times what it was
forty years ago. Stomach cancer has become
more common in some areas where food is often not stored in a cold place.
report says the number of men and women dying from cancer has dropped in the
United States. It was the first reported
drop in American cancer cases and deaths since the nation began collecting such
Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the report last month. It said the drop was mainly the result of
fewer cases of lung, prostate and colorectal cancer in men. In women, it resulted from fewer cases of
breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
American Cancer Society says governments can do things to help prevent the
increase in cancer cases and deaths. One
idea is to provide poor and developing nations with vaccines that help to
prevent some cancer-causing infections.
One example of a cancer causing infection is human papillomavirus. This virus can cause cervical cancer in
Another suggestion is more
support for tobacco-control programs.
And the Cancer Society also says health officials and governments should
invest in cancer research and early detection.
An American study has shown a link between tobacco
smoke and behavioral problems in boys with asthma. The problems include higher than normal
levels of excitability, aggression and depression.
Researchers with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Medical Center carried out the study.
They examined two hundred twenty boys and girls. All of the children were between six and
twelve years old. Sixty-one percent of
them were boys. Fifty-six percent were
percent of the children had moderate to severe asthma. The other boys and girls had milder forms of
the breathing disorder. Each child had
no other health problem.
To be considered for the study, children were supposed
to be close to cigarette smoke at least five times a day. The researchers asked parents to estimate the
number of cigarettes smoked near each child.
The average was thirteen cigarettes a day.
researchers tested blood from the children for evidence of cotinine, a tobacco
byproduct. Cotinine levels in blood are
often used to measure exposure to tobacco smoke. The researchers compared cotinine levels to
behavioral problems that parents observed in the children during a two-week
study found the girls were breathing in more tobacco smoke than the boys. But there was no increase in behavioral
problems among the girls. For
the boys, the results were different.
The more contact the boys had with tobacco smoke the more likely they
were to have recognizable behavior problems, such as extreme excitability and
aggression. The boys also were more
likely to have signs of emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
researchers say more studies are needed to learn the reason for the different
effects of tobacco smoke on boys and girls.
They say their findings show that even low levels of smoke may cause behavior
problems in children with asthma or others at risk.
Kimberly Yolton was the lead writer of the report. She says there is no information to explain
in detail why tobacco smoke causes behavioral problems in children with
asthma. But she says there is much
evidence that nicotine in tobacco smoke affects the nervous system, and child
development and behavior.
report appeared last month in the Journal of Development and Behavioral
For the first time, researchers are creating a complete
count of the world's sea life. The project,
called the Census of Marine Life, is to be carried out over ten years. The census is to be finished in two thousand
ten. Researchers from more than eighty
countries are involved in the project.
It is being paid for jointly by governments, businesses and other groups.
the researchers announced some of their findings. Bob Gagosian works for the Consortium for
Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C. He
helps to supervise the project.
GAGOSIAN: "There are about two thousand scientists worldwide
involved. Just about every country is
involved in some way. Everywhere they
have gone they have found new things.
The ocean basically is unexplored from the point of view of marine
was Bob Gagosian of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Researchers have placed small markers on
hundreds of fish and marine animals.
This lets them watch their movement by satellite and identify the areas
where sea creatures gather.
Ron O'Dor is a scientist with the Census for Marine
Life. He says current knowledge of life
on the ocean floor is especially limited.
O'DOR: "Ninety percent of all the information we have is
from the top hundred meters of the ocean."
That was Ron O'Dor of the Census for Marine Life. He says the sea floor is, on average, four
thousand meters deep. So scientists are
using robotic devices that can dive far below what people have seen in the
past. They are now discovering strange,
new species of plants, animals and organisms surviving near hot currents that
come out of the ocean floor.
Among the project's findings
is one that a group of Antarctic islands are richer in animal life than the world
famous Galapagos Islands.
report in the Journal of Biogeography describes how a team from the British
Antarctic Survey and University of Hamburg searched the South Orkney
Islands. The team spent seven weeks searching
the South Orkney Islands in two thousand six.
They searched as deep as one thousand five hundred meters underwater. The species they found were compared to information
gathered over the past century. The team
found the islands and nearby waters are home to more than one thousand two
hundred known species.
Since the census began, more than five thousand three
hundred new marine animals have been identified. Scientists have found a new species of blind
lobster and giant bacteria, to name a few. In all, researchers say they hope to find
examples of two hundred thirty thousand species during the census. Some say that is still only a small
percentage of all the creatures living in the sea.
This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS program was written by Lawan
Davis and Brianna Blake, who also was our producer. I'm Barbara Klein.
And I'm Steve Ember.
Join us again next week for more news about science in Special English
on the Voice of America.