Friday, March 30, 2007
And that's not the only wonderful science brings us today.
Canadian researchers have identified a peptide, which they are calling innate defense regulator peptide (IDR-1), that appears to be able to upregulate the innate immune system without a dangerous inflammatory response, offering hope against antibiotic resistant infections (among other things).
The battle against HIV/AIDS may get some new help now, as the WHO has published its recommendation that heterosexual men in sub-Saharan African be circumcised as a preventive measure. Now, I won't re-hash all the innumerable problems with this approach and its announcement (go here for a good, if shrill, discussion), but if it has any chance of helping, I say go for it. The potential harm is minimal, especially if the media is willing to be a little, teensie bit responsible about it.* In a possibly-more-important discovery, a US-UK team of researchers have found that green tea's famous epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) could help stop HIV, by interfereing with its ability to bind to cells. The work is really preliminary, but also has tons of potential.
* OK, so there's a good chance this'll be a disaster.
* * I don't actually buy any of this ADD stuff. 50 or 100 years ago, people who were interested in lots of different things and didn't like to do one thing too long were called "Renaissance Men," which was a compliment. Now we get tossed on Ritalin and told to settle down, which makes no one happier.