NEWS OF THE WEEK
patients in the region had picked up the virus
while traveling in endemic areas in Africa,
Europe, and Asia.
Since the first two locally acquired cases
were confirmed on the French section of
Saint Martin in
virus has been
Between 16 and
23 January alone,
498 new cases
in the Caribbean,
including on the
islands of Dutch
the British Virgin
Islands, according to the European Centre
for Disease Prevention and Control.
The chikungunya virus, first detected
in Tanzania in 1952, is primarily transmit-
ted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are
also responsible for spreading dengue fever.
Symptoms can last for weeks or months, and
there is no vaccine or cure.
Strikes Back at Allegations
Scientists accused of data manipulation in a
large Alzheimer’s study are staunchly defend-
ing the integrity of the data, but acknowledge
shortcomings in the project’s management.
The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper,
claimed in its 10 January issue that research-
ers behind the ongoing $31 million Japanese
Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
(J-ADNI) changed details of memory tests
long after data were collected and that some
participants were improperly included
(Science, 17 January, p. 234).
Neuropsychiatrist Takashi Asada of the
University of Tsukuba, who oversees the
study’s clinical side, calls the story “
completely fake.” After a standard prepublication data check turned up possible inputting
errors, researchers double-checked their
records and made changes, but did not falsify data, Asada maintains. Patients above
the study’s 85-year age limit were enrolled
by mistake, he says, and will be omitted
from analyses and publications. Several U.S.
Alzheimer’s researchers have voiced support
for their Japanese colleagues via Alzforum.
The University of Tokyo, where an ethics
committee approved the project protocol, has
agreed to a health ministry request to investi-
gate the research. http://scim.ag/J-ADNI
Lunar Rover in Peril
It may be curtains for China’s moon rover.
On 25 January, the Chinese defense science
agency announced that the Jade Rabbit rover
had encountered a mechanical “
abnormality” just before entering hibernation mode
to wait out the 2-week-long lunar night. The
rover simply was unable to move, explains a
mission scientist. He says that engineers are
holding out hope that the frigid lunar night
will “change the status a bit” and allow them
to solve the problem.
A failure to rouse Jade Rabbit after the
lunar day dawns next week would scut-
tle a big chunk of the mission’s scientific
program. The rover began its anticipated
3-month mission on 14 December by
probing surface geochemistry and taking
ground-penetrating radar images as much
as 100 meters deep—a lunar first. But even
if sunrise brings bad news, the Chang’e-3
lander will soldier on alone, using its ultra-
Italy Faces E.U. Fine Over
Animal Testing Directive
A legislative stalemate over animal research
could become very costly for Italy. On 23
January, the European Commission asked the
E.U. Court of Justice to impose a fine of more
than €4.5 million per month on the country
for failing to incorporate a 2010 E.U. directive on animal testing into national laws by 10
November 2012. The directive aims to mini-
mize the use of animals in research and stan-
dardize animal protections across the union.
Six other countries are also delinquent, but so
far only Italy has faced a penalty.
While Italy awaits the courtís decision,
a draft law is wending its way through the
political system that would impose limitations well beyond those required by the
European Union, but would postpone until
2017 some of the most controversial parts
of the directive, including bans on drug
abuse research involving animals. Scientists have spoken out against the bill, while
animal rights activists have launched ˇerce
demonstrations and even personal attacks on
Italian researchers. A decision on the law is
expected in March. http://scim.ag/EUfine
Saint Martin 2
Chikungunya Gains Foothold
In the Americas
The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus
appears to have established itself in the
Caribbean, raising fears that the disease,
which causes high fever and debilitating joint pain, will soon make its way to
mainland North and South America. The
outbreak represents the first time mosquitoes have spread the virus between people in
the Americas. Previously, all chikungunya
AROUND THE WORLD
Better days. Jade Rabbit on the moon last week.
Bad sign. Characteristic rash and vector (Aedes
aegypti) of chikungunya.