Boston, MA - Among pregnant women infected with HIV, the use of antiretroviral (ARV) medications early in pregnancy to treat their HIV or to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects in their infants, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). It is one of the largest studies to date to look at the safety of ARV use during pregnancy.
While the study found that overall risk was low--in keeping with previous research that has found ARV use in pregnancy to be generally safe--the researchers did find that one ARV drug, atazanavir, was associated with increased risk of birth defects and they said it should be studied further.
By Adele Williams, University of Surrey
Picture this. Your prize horse needs a vaccination. Who should turn up to deliver this but a veterinary graduate of ten years, specialist in equine internal medicine and teacher to veterinary undergraduates.
Today is your lucky day! Or not.
“I specifically requested one of the male vets, but it is just a vaccination so I do hope you’ll be able to do that …”-->
The adult human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells. Microbes, mainly bacteria, outnumber body cells by 10 to 1. This huge community of microbes, called the microbiome, affects the health, development and evolution of all multicellular organisms, including humans, according to the latest craze in health supplement marketing and plenty of science papers latching onto the fad.
Symbiotic microbes can help prevent infection by disease-causing pathogens but sometimes the interaction goes the other way, with a pathogen or disease disrupting the normal community of symbiotic bacteria. In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists from UC Santa Barbara say that a fungal pathogen of amphibians does just that.
Black holes aren’t black. Warner Bros.
By Alasdair Richmond, University of Edinburgh
Note: this article has spoilers.
In Interstellar’s near-ish future, our climate has failed catastrophically, crops die in vast blights and America is a barely-habitable dustbowl. Little education beyond farming methods is tolerated and students are taught that the Apollo landings were Cold War propaganda hoaxes.-->
What will McDonald’s do?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday cleared a genetically engineered potato with two innovations that help both consumers and producers: The Simplot Innate potato resists bruising, which makes it more appealing to consumers (even though bruising generally does not impact the quality of the starchy vegetable); and it’s been modified to produce less of the chemical acrylamide when fried.
Acrylamide has been linked to cancer in rats although there is no clear evidence that it poses harm to humans.
This is a commonly used argument, indeed often taken for granted. We can simulate physics on a computer. So what is to stop us eventually simulating your whole body including your brain? And if so, is it not just a matter of time, and increasing computer power before we have exact simulations of humans as computer programs? Programs whose behaviour is indistinguishable from humans?
This is a staple of many science fiction stories of course. But some logicians, philosophers and physicists think there are flaws in this argument.
We know the laws of physics are incomplete. Could there be physical processes which for some reason are impossible to simulate using a computer program? And could processes like that go on in a human being?-->
In the NFL, teams share revenue from national television contracts and to sell local tickets, if a team has not sold at least to a specific threshold, the game is blacked out locally. If enough people are attending, the game is shown to fans in the region
That appeals to 'hometown' fans. One satellite network shows all games to its package subscribers but otherwise fans are only going to see their local team. If they don't have one, they see something nearby. It is a rule and there is no choice.
In the modern mobile population, that may not be a wise strategy. Fans no longer live within an hour of where they grew up and a new paper finds that choosing to broadcast the local team isn't always the smartest ratings decision. Writing in
By David A. Weintraub, Vanderbilt University-->
Let’s talk about gastrulation. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s not as disgusting as it sounds. Gastrulation is a process in early embryonic development which leads to the generation of the three germ-layer tissues- ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm- from which all other tissue-types in the body are erived.
The early (amniote) embryo coverts from a bilaminar structure of epithelial tissue plus and extra-embryonic layer, to a trilamiarone. A second function of gastrulation is that it defines the anterior-posterior body axis for the first time. In other words, it begins to distinguish the head end of the embryo from the tail end- this is pretty important if you want all your bits and pieces in the right place later on!
By Ian Bailey, Lancaster University
Scientists working on an experiment at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the US have taken a step forward in developing a technology which could significantly reduce the size of particle accelerators. The technology is able to accelerate particles more rapidly than conventional accelerators at a much smaller size.-->
By Vanessa Brown, Nottingham Trent University-->
Will the medicines you take make their way back into your food? They might, especially of you take your cue from an old Yorkshire song which deals with human recycling in the food chain, via worms and ducks. Now, research  from the university of York (where else?) has studied one step of this process in detail.
By Mark Israel, University of Western Australia
There are a few things you might need for an experiment involving beagles and the side effects of contraceptive pills. Animal research ethics aside, beagles might be a good start.-->