Public Release: 

Highlights of American Chemical Society's national meeting in Boston

American Chemical Society


BOSTON -- Nearly 7,000 presentations on cutting-edge scientific research are on the agenda for the 224th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Aug. l8-22, in Boston, Mass. An estimated 15,000 scientists are expected to attend the meeting, which will be held at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., and surrounding hotels.

Highlights include:

  • Antibacterial contact lenses that outlast existing lenses
  • Medical marijuana (without the high) for pain and inflammation
  • Eradicating treatment-resistant head lice
  • A "broccoli pill" to help prevent breast cancer
  • How irradiation affects our food and packaging

News releases and advisories will be posted on the World Wide Web, on an embargoed basis, at under the "ACS 224th national meeting" button. They will also be posted at when the embargoes are lifted.

The meeting is open to accredited news media. The pressroom will be located in Room 301 of the convention center. It will be open for on-site registration from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday through Wednesday, Aug. 18-21, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Thursday, Aug. 22, from 8 a.m. to noon, Eastern Time.

News media must register at the pressroom to receive badges for admittance to events. Press kits will include a complete set of meeting abstracts, news releases on selected research papers, and a schedule of news briefings. For more information, contact Charmayne Marsh at the telephone numbers listed at the top of this page.

Sunday, Aug. 18

  • Needle-free blood glucose monitors -- A special one-day symposium and subsequent panel discussion will feature the latest developments in noninvasive and minimally invasive blood glucose monitors for diabetes, which is on the rise in this country. The new devices are expected to replace painful needle sticks in an effort to ease monitoring and help reduce complications from the disease, such as blindness, kidney disease and circulatory problems. (ANYL 7-12, 19-24, Sunday, Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m - 4:15 p.m., panel discussion begins at 4:15 p.m. -- all papers embargoed for Sunday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 a.m. -- Sheraton Boston, Back Bay Ballroom D)

  • Environmental chemistry of coastal water contaminants -- A two-day symposium will examine the environmental chemistry of organic contaminants, including PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, PAHs and petroleum hydrocarbons, in coastal waters and sediments. The symposium will honor James G. Quinn, Ph.D., a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, whose studies have helped improve the region's coastal ecosystems, including Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. (ENVR 1-8, 15-22, Sunday, Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m - 5:15 p.m., Convention Center, Room 203; ENVR 31-37, Monday, Aug. 19, 8:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m., Convention Center, Room 203)

  • Extraterrestrial life? A three-day symposium on chemical studies important in astrobiology will feature topics ranging from the chemical precursors of life to the possibility of life in outer space -- and what form(s) it might take. (PHYS 9-13, 28-32, Sunday, Aug. 18, 8:35 a.m - 5:20 p.m., Convention Center, Room 111; PHYS 49-53, 68-72, Monday, Aug. 19, 8:20 a.m. - 5:20 p.m., Convention Center, Room 111; PHYS 97-101, Tuesday, 8:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. , Convention Center, Room 110)

  • Diversity in the 21st century: factors for success -- ACS President Eli Pearce hosts this special symposium featuring a distinguished panel of industry and government leaders who will address what is needed to ensure the continuing success of women in the sciences in the new millennium. Among the speakers is National Science Foundation Director Rita Colwell. (This symposium will be held Sunday, Aug. 18, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m., at the Convention Center, Room 202)

  • Converting gasoline to hydrogen for fuel cells -- One of the problems with introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the market place is that you can't drive down to the corner gas station and fill up with hydrogen. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois are attempting to solve that problem with a reformulation system that could be put in vehicles to convert gasoline to hydrogen. Fuel cells could potentially double the miles per gallon over what you get in a gasoline engine and also dramatically reduce emissions pollution. (FUEL 29, Sunday, Aug. 18, 3:30 p.m., Back Bay Hilton, Belvedere B)

  • Take your broccoli pill -- That morning regimen of vitamins may someday include a "broccoli pill" to help ward off breast cancer. If human studies confirm findings of animal studies involving a synthetic version of a cancer-fighting compound found in broccoli, a University of Illinois scientist says it could be developed into a once-a-day pill or vitamin component for cancer prevention and be on the market in seven to ten years. (MEDI 98, Sunday, Aug. 18, 8:00 p.m., and Monday, Aug 18, 8:00 p.m., Convention Center, Hall B)

Monday, Aug. 19

  • Women at the forefront of chemistry -- This special ACS presidential symposium features young chemical scientists whose research is expected to have significant impact during this century. (PRES 1-10 -- This symposium will be held Monday, Aug. 19, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., at the Convention Center, Room 208)

  • Blueberries and the brain -- Studies at Tufts University in Boston show that adding blueberries to the diet of laboratory rats used as models for Alzheimer's disease improved the rats' neuronal communication ability. The studies suggest blueberries might restore certain 'signaling' molecules in the brain, a finding the researchers call "particularly striking" in animals used as Alzheimer's models. (AGFD 42, Monday, Aug. 19, 9:55 a .m., Marriott Copley Place, Salon C)

  • Honey: a sweet way to fight cholesterol -- A study of blood taken from men who drank a blend of water and honey for five weeks indicates that the mixture, about four tablespoons per 16-ounce glass, improved the antioxidant levels in their blood. The University of Illinois researcher who conducted the study says this means honey may have the potential to protect against heart disease. (AGFD 44, Monday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m., Marriott Copley Place, Salon C)

Tuesday, Aug. 20

  • Fighting cancer with food and drugs -- Leading researchers in the area of cancer chemoprevention - delaying or preventing cancer by food and drugs -- will present updates on their most recent research during a special one-day symposium. Featured studies include known cancer-fighting foods such as broccoli, grapes and strawberries as well as general discussions about drug discovery and synthetic compounds related to cancer prevention. (TOXI 30-34, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon, Marriott Copley Place, Salon J/K)

  • Head lice -- University of Massachusetts researchers are growing mutant strains of head lice in their laboratory in hopes of finding a way to defeat the increasing resistance of the insects to conventional treatment. Limited studies show resistance levels ranging from 50 percent to 98 percent in different parts of the country. Up to 12 million school-age children are infected with head lice every year in the United States. (AGRO 47, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1:00 p.m., Marriott Copley Place, University Hall)

  • Irradiated mail damage -- Last year's incidents of anthrax-tainted letters prompted postal officials to irradiate mail sent to some locations in the nation's capital. One of the unexpected results though was that some irradiated paper became so brittle it fell apart from simple handling. One researcher says this has caused federal officials at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives to photocopy large amounts of documents they receive in the mail. (AGFD 130, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1:10 p.m. -- embargoed for Monday, Aug. 19, 1:00 p.m. -- Marriott Copley Place, Salon D)

  • Improving artificial joints -- A special symposium will feature recent advances in the use of synthetic polymers for total joint replacements, including the hip and knee. (PMSE 121-128, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Westin Copley Place, Essex Northeast)

  • Astronaut food pouches need to be stronger -- The seals on some irradiated food pouches used by astronauts have significant losses in strength, according to studies by the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in Natick, Mass. The pouches are intended for use aboard the International Space Station and NASA's Space Shuttle. (AGFD 135, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 3:35 p.m., -- embargoed for Monday, Aug. 19, 1:00 p.m. -- Marriott Copley Place, Salon D)

  • Butter flavor vapors pose occupational hazard -- Tests show that inhaling vapors from butter flavoring, at levels similar to what can be experienced by workers in microwave popcorn manufacturing plants, damages the lining of nasal and lung air passageways in rats. The findings suggest these vapors have the potential to harm workers' respiratory tracts when high concentrations are inhaled in the workplace setting. The tests were done at the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in West Virginia. (AGFD 148, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 4:00 p.m., Marriott Copley Place, Salon C)

Wednesday, Aug. 21

  • Marijuana or aspirin? -- People suffering from chronic-pain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, could soon find relief from a synthetic derivative of marijuana, but without the "high" associated with the natural compound. Researchers say the synthetic version is much more powerful than THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and could even replace aspirin as a leading pain-relief medicine. (MEDI 333, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 9:00 a.m., Convention Center, Hall B)

  • Chemical and biological terrorism -- A special ACS presidential event, "Chemical and Biological Terrorism," is the title for a symposium featuring speakers from the top levels of the federal government -- including the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control -- and several of the leading research centers in the country -- including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin and Texas A&M. The symposium is cosponsored by the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology. (TOXI 122-125 -- This Presidential Event will be held Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 1:00 p.m. - 5:10 p.m., at Marriott Copley Place, Salon J and K )

  • Wine is fine in any type of glass -- The shape of a glass doesn't make any difference to most people when it comes to the flavor of wine. Nor does the shape affect the concentration of the wine's polyphenolics, which are considered good for your heart. Those are the findings of sensory and instrumental tests done as part of a University of Tennessee undergraduate research project. Untrained panelists, defined as "the average wine consumer," were used to sample the wine in the sensory testing. (AGFD 163, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 1:35 p.m., Marriott Copley Place, Salon C)

  • Extending the wear time for contact lenses -- "I'm ready to put them in my eyes right now," says the Texas researcher who has developed an antibacterial coating for contact lenses. The coating, made from selenium, allows contacts to be left in for up to two months without removing them for cleaning and disinfection, he claims. The FDA only recently approved contacts that can be left in for 30 days. (PMSE 229, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2:00 p.m., Westin Copley Place, Essex Northeast)

Thursday, Aug. 22

  • Yeast fights anthrax -- The threat of anthrax could be thwarted by baker's yeast. A compound found in the yeast significantly increased the survival rate of mice infected with lethal anthrax spores. It's the first demonstration that the compound enhances the immune system's ability to kill the spores. (CARB 99, Thursday, Aug. 22, 1:20 p.m. -- Embargoed for 1:15 p.m. -- Sheraton Boston, Republic B)

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