Chemistry in the news papers, November 2008

Herbal remedy equal to Prozac

St John’s Wort can be as effective at treating depression as standard antidepressants, but with fewer side effects, a review of 29 previous studies has shown. However, trials conducted in German-speaking countries - where the herb is more commonly prescribed - were more likely to be positive, suggesting a potential bias in the data. 
The Telegraph  , 8 October 2008 

Solar power for the Pope 

The first solar panels have been installed on the roof of the papal audience hall in the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has made conserving the Earth’s resources a concern of his papacy, and Rome is blessed with lots of sunshine. The cells should generate enough power to light, heat or cool the hall. 
The Guardian  , 30 September 2008 

Chemical castration 

Poland is to become the first EU country to mandate chemical castration for convicted paedophiles. The new legislation was triggered by a recent incest case involving a man accused of fathering two children by his young daughter. The drugs are designed to take away sexual urges. 
The Telegraph  , 26 September 2008 

Dopamine decides your size 

A chemical imbalance in the brain could be behind the reason why some people stay thin, while others gain weight, say US scientists. A new study has found that eating fatty or sugary food may trigger the release of less dopamine in overweight people, leaving them less satisfied and more likely to overeat.  
The Independent  , 17 October 2008 

Solar panels targeted by thieves 

Police departments in California, US - the country’s biggest market for solar panels - are reporting a rash of burglaries of solar panels from house roofs. Solar panel suppliers are urging customers to install video cameras and alarms, after a spate of burglaries. The stolen panels later appeared for sale over the internet. 
The New York Times  ,24 September 2008