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A HAART Attack

By | February 2, 2004

An ongoing regimen of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) keeps HIV from exploding into AIDS. In the clinic, where patients precisely follow the HAART program, it wipes out detectable virus in more than 90% of patients. In the real world, where patients forget a pill here and there, the success rate falls to 50% or 60%, says Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, HAART itself creates problems.Few, if any, patients could stay with HAART forever. "There are lots of prob

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Playing Hide and seek The Deadly Way

By | February 2, 2004

Figure 1By November 2003, 40 million people worldwide – 5 million more than the year before – were infected with HIV. In 2003, three million died of AIDS, bringing the total number lost to the epidemic to nearly 32 million people, the size of the population of Canada.This insidious disease continues to prove itself. When this virus turns on, modern medicine can attack and kill, but it cannot cure. HIV hides. It slips inside other cells and waits. It can wait in reservoirs for years,

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Smoking Out the Enemy

By | February 2, 2004

Figure 1Hope was once high that, over time, antiretroviral therapy would rid patients of HIV-infected cells. Such hopes hinged on the presumption that these drugs could reach any and all HIV reservoirs.That's clearly not the case, as the title of a recent conference in the French West Indies attests: the 1st International Workshop on HIV Persistence during Therapy. "HIV persistently replicates, even in infected patients whose levels of plasma viremia have fallen below detectable levels while on

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Enzymology's New Frontiers

By | January 19, 2004

Investigators are learning about structures and rethinking old theories

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The 2003 Readers' Choice Awards

By | December 15, 2003

"Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."--Winston Churchill Centrifuges, imaging systems, pipettes, PCR instruments, microscopes, and more--all indispensable components of the scientist's toolbox. They make science happen. Moreover, they make science compelling. Why else would television programs such as CSI and The X-Files devote so much screen time to such high-tech gadgetry? Most labs have these things, and naturally, researchers have their preferences. So, like last year, we

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Microbial Multicellularity

By | December 1, 2003

Eye of Science / Photo Researchers, Inc. "The general character and structure of the rod-like individuals, together with their vegetative multiplication by fission, renders their schizomycetous nature as individuals a matter hardly to be doubted: but, on the other hand, the question may fairly be asked whether the remarkable phenomena may not indicate a possible relationship in other directions." --Roland Thaxter, 1892 While walking through the New England woods one day in the late 19th c

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Ernst Mayr, Darwin's Disciple

By | November 17, 2003

Christine Bahls His hair is pure white; his speech, still tinged with his native German, is a tad slow. The body bows a bit to its achieved 99 years--even living legends shuffle in slippers and need sweaters. Ernst Mayr, who began studying birds and ended up studying the world, who introduced biodiversity into the synthesis of evolutionary biology, thereby evolving a new strain of study, cannot let science go. Each morning, he critiques someone's work, pours over his own pending publication,

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Mechanisms of Speciation

By | November 17, 2003

Mechanisms of Speciation New examples of sympatric speciation revive some nagging questions | By Leslie Pray "A new species develops if a population which has become geographically isolated from its parental species acquires during this period of isolation characters which promote or guarantee reproductive isolation when the external barriers break down." --Ernst Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species, 19421 The duration of a cell cycle lasts anywhere from one hour to one day; Droso

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Cutting Neurons Down To Size

By | November 3, 2003

© Mehau Kulyk/Photo Researchers, Inc. A typical neuron's axons and dendrites, when loaded with dye and magnified, resemble long, untended tresses on an extremely bad hair day. They extend wildly, usually to one side, and then bend at weird angles as their ends split into branches and sub-branches. This neuronal coiffure must appear even more chaotic before the nervous system has undergone the developmental equivalent of a crew cut crossed with a topiary trimming. From the late embryonic

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Best Places to Work in Academia: Non-U.S. Rankings

By | October 20, 2003

Best Places to Work in Academia: Non-U.S. Rankings No. 1 Non-US: Dalhousie University Courtesy of Dalhousie University A sense of community and cooperation makes Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a great place to work, says Benjamin Rusak, professor of psychology, psychiatry, and pharmacology. Here, researchers and faculty often find themselves "looking inward for partners for projects," says Rusak. Dalhousie was chosen in the "Best Places" survey as the number one place to w

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