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Benefits of 'Good' Cholesterol Questioned

A new study finds that "good" cholesterol might not boost your heart health as doctors once thought. The study looked at the genes of about 170,000 individuals, looking for variations in DNA that earlier research shows naturally raise HDL levels in those who possess them. After looking for these 15 genetic variations, the researchers discovered that none of these variations actually reduced the risks for having a heart attack.

In other biomedical news, by sequencing more people more thoroughly than ever before, researchers have affirmed that rare genetic variants--those carried by fewer than five people in a thousand--are widespread and likely to have an important role in human health.

By combining high doses of two new drugs against advanced melanoma, scientists were able to delay for months the cancer's ability to evade the therapy aimed at a tumor's molecular weak spot.

An FDA panel on Tuesday recommended approval of the first rapid, over-the-counter HIV test. It could gain final approval later this year.

In a clinical trial, people who are genetically guaranteed to suffer from Alzheimer's disease years from now--but who do not yet have any symptoms--will for the first time be given a drug intended to stop them from developing it, federal officials announced.

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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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