Aids 'finds sanctuary from drugs' in brain
The Aids virus can continue to damage the brain, attacking regions that control movement, language and feeling, even when patients are receiving the most effective treatment, according to new research. "Two big surprises came out of this study," explained Dr Paul Thompson, a British researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the first author of the paper with colleagues the University of Pittsburgh publishes today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "First, that Aids is selective in how it attacks the brain," he said. "Second, drug therapy does not appear to slow the damage. The brain provides a sanctuary for HIV where most drugs cannot follow."
The Daily Telegraph
Can't sleep? Blame your parents
If you are one of those people who drops off instantly into a deep sleep every night, then the chances are you inherited the ability from your parents. For those who toss and turn there is no hope: good sleep is encoded in the genes, say researchers. Hans-Peter Landolt and his team at the University of Zürich compared the sleep patterns and DNA of two groups. The first contained people who find that caffeine disrupts their sleep. The second group fall asleep easily, even after a strong black coffee late at night. The difference in sensitivity to caffeine is thought to be related to our ability to process an energy-rich compound, adenosine. "Caffeine is an antagonist for adenosine sensors, blocking the binding sites and preventing people from feeling sleepy," said Dr Landolt.
The Guardian, The Times
Red tape has driven me out, says clone pioneer
The professor who cloned the first human embryo in the West said yesterday that red tape and a lack of funds had driven him to leave Britain for a better-funded post abroad. The Prime Minister has declared that the Government wants to make Britain the "science capital of the world". But "there is too much talk and too little action", said Prof Miodrag Stojkovic who, with colleagues at Newcastle University, announced in May that they had cloned a human embryo. Yesterday, Prof Stojkovic explained why he and his wife, Petra, a technician, took up the offer from the Prince Felipe Research Centre, in Valencia, Spain, where he will be become deputy director and lead its regenerative medicine effort from January.
The Daily Telegraph
Return of the lynx?
Lynx could be reintroduced to Britain following the uncovering of new evidence that suggests the species became extinct as the result of human activity. Radiocarbon dating of bones and the reinterpretation of an early medieval poem show that the Eurasian lynx was a native species until the sixth or seventh century. David Hetherington, from the department of zoology at the University of Aberdeen, said: "Taken together these findings indicate that lynx survived the change in the climate, and were most probably driven to extinction when people cut down the forests and effectively destroyed the lynx's habitat.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Independent
Dummy may help to reduce cot deaths
Babies should sleep in their parents' bedroom - but not in their bed - and should be given a dummy at bedtime in order to lessen the risk of cot death, according to research in the United States. Both measures may help to keep babies from sleeping too deeply, which is thought to be a problem for infants prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the American Academy of Paediatrics has claimed. Last year 30 deaths from SIDS were diagnosed in the UK, compared with more than 60 in 1992. The drop has been attributed to advice not to put babies on their stomachs when they sleep. However, Anthony Busuttil, the professor of forensic medicine at Edinburgh University and an expert in cot death, said the new research while valid, was not a major development.
China to launch second crewed spaceflight
China is to launch its second crewed spaceflight on Wednesday. The Shenzhou VI mission will leave from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, says the Chinese government news agency, Xinhua. An official from the Jiuquan centre told Agence France-Presse the flight was scheduled for 0900 local time (0100 GMT), although, as with all launches, bad weather or technical hitches could cause delays. Six "taikonauts" have already arrived at the centre. Two have already been chosen for Wednesday’s five-day mission, reports Xinhua, but their names have not been released. Previous news stories have identified Zhai Zhigang and Nie Haisheng as the leading candidates.
New Scientist, The Scotsman