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Global warming and the destruction of natural habitats will lead to significant declines and extinctions in the world’s 8,750 terrestrial bird species over the next century, according to a study conducted by biologists at the University of California, San Diego and Princeton University.

Their study, the first global assessment of how climate change and habitat destruction may interact to impact the distribution of a large group of vertebrates over the next century, appears in the June 5 issue of the journal PLoS Biology.

Like hobos on a train, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, uses a pre-existing transport system to leave one infected cell and infect new ones, Hopkins scientists have discovered. Their findings, published in the June issue of Plos Biology, counter the prevailing belief that HIV and other retroviruses can only leave and enter cells by virus-specific mechanisms.

In head-to-head trials of two drugs, the one deemed better appears to depend largely on who is funding the study, according to an analysis of nearly 200 statin-drug comparisons carried out between 1999 and 2005.

UCSF researchers examined 192 published results of trials comparing one cholesterol-lowering statin drug to another, or to a non-statin drug.

Robotic surgery may be coming to your town. Robots that perform surgery can be driven by surgeons who no longer stand by the patient, but direct the operation from a computer console. In most cases the surgeon is seated at a console within the theatre, only a few metres away from the patient.

Now a team of surgeons and scientists have shown that the surgeon and robot can be linked via a 4,000 mile Internet connection or even by satellite.

Mechanical 'artificial hearts' can be used to return severely failing hearts to their normal function, potentially removing the need for heart transplantation, according to new research.

The mechanical devices, known as Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), are currently used in patients with very severe heart failure whilst they await transplantation. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that using an LVAD combined with certain drug therapies can shrink the enlarged heart and enable it to function normally once the LVAD is removed.

During the evaluation of competitive athletes, a history or a documentation of cardiac arrhythmias has become particularly important because arrhythmias may be the initial expression of an underlying cardiac disease or of primary electrical disorders, sometimes early manifestations of potentially life-threatening events. Cardiac arrhythmias are among the most important causes of non-eligibility to sports activities, and some arrhythmogenic diseases are three times more frequent among athletes than among sedentary subjects of the same age.

Implanted pumps improved heart function enough in a small percentage of patients awaiting a heart transplant that they were able to leave the hospital without a pump and without a new heart, according to a study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The heart-assist devices also significantly improved the cardiac function in many other heart failure patients.

Commonly used by around 10 million people in east Africa and countries in the Arabian peninsula, chewing khat for its stimulant properties has also become popular in the UK among immigrants of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities.

Technically advanced molecular imaging provides a 3-D way to significantly improve the diagnosis of heart disease, according to researchers.

The Huygens Atmosphere Structure Instrument (HASI) scored a first in 2005 by measuring the electrical conductivity of Titan’s atmosphere. The results hint at a new way to investigate the subsurface layers of Titan and could provide insight into whether or not Titan has a subsurface ocean.