SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Pill Used to Treat HIV May Also Help Prevent It
U.S. drug regulators last week affirmed landmark study results showing that a popular HIV-fighting pill can also help healthy people avoid contracting the virus that causes AIDS.
In other biomedical news, researchers reported that a three-pronged strategy--to knock out renegade immune cells, replace them and revitalize other cells that make insulin--appeared to cure type 1 diabetes in seven out of 12 diabetic mice.
Doctors on a panel revising psychiatry's influential diagnostic manual have backed away from two controversial proposals that would have expanded the number of people identified as having psychotic or depressive disorders.
Elsewhere, researchers have found a set of gene mutations that seem to play a part in some cases of melanoma.
By inserting a mutated gene into cancer patients, researchers have found a way to protect them against the side effects of chemotherapy and boost their odds of surviving a particularly aggressive type of cancer, glioblastoma, a fast-growing and usually fatal brain cancer.
Finally, scientists say that psychopaths have a distinct brain structure. They reached this conclusion after scanning the brains of men convicted of murder, rape and violent assaults. The study showed that psychopaths, who are characterized by a lack of empathy, had less gray matter in the areas of the brain important for understanding other peoples' emotions.
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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
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