"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

So Maybe Hard Work Could Kill You 

A small study of Olympic wrestlers indicates that Hepatitis B, which can cause liver damage, failure, and death, can be transmitted through sweat. This is fairly scary - if hep-B can be transmitted this way, what about other things? As far as hep-B is concerned though, it's just more evidence that we need comprehensive vaccinations. Hepetitis B is a very stupid way to die, especially in the US where vaccine is readily available.

On the other hand, sweating isn't always a bad thing: it can be part of losing weight, for which there may be yet another good reason. A presentation at the AAAS meeting this year highlighted a growing problem of obesity in the medical arena: being really fat can make otherwise safe drugs become toxic. Acetominaphen (Tylenol) is one of the biggest problems. The data here are sketchy, but worth noting. Drugs are an important part of our lives ;-)

There is some good news on the drug front today, on both the HIV and malaria fronts. Sanofi-Aventis' neglected disease program has just released - off patent! - a tailored dose, combination pill for malaria. ASAQ combines two potent antimalarials, artesunate and amodiaquine, into one pill, with single-pill doses for adults, children, and infants. The idea is that ASAQ will be manufactured locally, making is cheaply available to poor parts of the world (where malaria does its damage). Its production could, additionally, help develop economies.

Pfizer released news this week of the first HIV drug to interact with the crucial CCR5 receptor - a goal since that protein's role in infection was discovered in the 1990's. The new drug is of course on fast-track regulatory review, and could begin use later this year, bringing new hope to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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