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Pills & particles



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HIV TRANSMISSION: Anti-retroviral drugs in the treatment of AIDS have finally proven their might. Apart from treating the disease, they also help in lowering transmission risk - sometimes by 96 per cent, depending on when the patient is started on the drugs. The journal Science voted this as the scientific breakthrough of the year. This was the result of a massive clinical trial among nearly 1, 800 heterosexual couples across nine countries. While scientists have been hinting at this beneficial side effect of taking anti-retroviral drugs, this tightly controlled trial finally proved it. The group, which was on the drug, experienced 41 per cent lower health problems than the group which didn't take the drugs. 2011 also saw the introduction of a new oncedaily pill for the treatment of HIV in 27 countries of the European Union. The new drug, Eviplera, combines three anti-retroviral treatments in a single dose so HIV patients only need to pop one pill a day. Fifteen years ago patients were required to take as many as 20 tablets a day to treat the condition.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


HIV TRANSMISSION: Anti-retroviral drugs in the treatment of AIDS have finally proven their might. Apart from treating the disease, they also help in lowering transmission risk - sometimes by 96 per cent, depending on when the patient is started on the drugs. The journal Science voted this as the scientific breakthrough of the year. This was the result of a massive clinical trial among nearly 1, 800 heterosexual couples across nine countries. While scientists have been hinting at this beneficial side effect of taking anti-retroviral drugs, this tightly controlled trial finally proved it. The group, which was on the drug, experienced 41 per cent lower health problems than the group which didn't take the drugs. 2011 also saw the introduction of a new oncedaily pill for the treatment of HIV in 27 countries of the European Union. The new drug, Eviplera, combines three anti-retroviral treatments in a single dose so HIV patients only need to pop one pill a day. Fifteen years ago patients were required to take as many as 20 tablets a day to treat the condition.

THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN: 2011 has been a year of turning science fiction into possibilities. Kepler 22-b, a planet said to closely resemble Earth, was discovered. The planet is 600 light years (you will have to travel for 600 years at the speed of light to reach it) away from here and is about two and a half times the size of this planet. The temperature of the planet, though, is at a balmy 22 degrees centigrade. Discovered by the Kepler space telescope, Kepler 22-b revolves around its "sun" in 290 days but scientists are yet to figure out whether the planet is primarily in gas, liquid or solid form.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN: 2011 has been a year of turning science fiction into possibilities. Kepler 22-b, a planet said to closely resemble Earth, was discovered. The planet is 600 light years (you will have to travel for 600 years at the speed of light to reach it) away from here and is about two and a half times the size of this planet. The temperature of the planet, though, is at a balmy 22 degrees centigrade. Discovered by the Kepler space telescope, Kepler 22-b revolves around its "sun" in 290 days but scientists are yet to figure out whether the planet is primarily in gas, liquid or solid form.

ZAPPING MALARIA:A year-long study has given birth to a promising prototype vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, which is responsible for almost 2. 3 per cent of deaths worldwide. The disease affects the poor the most, especially in least developed countries. The trial for the prototype, known as RTS, S, involved more than 15, 000 children from seven African countries. No such vaccine has reached this stage of advanced development before.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


ZAPPING MALARIA:A year-long study has given birth to a promising prototype vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, which is responsible for almost 2. 3 per cent of deaths worldwide. The disease affects the poor the most, especially in least developed countries. The trial for the prototype, known as RTS, S, involved more than 15, 000 children from seven African countries. No such vaccine has reached this stage of advanced development before.

GUTSY BUGS:Everyone has a specific blood type and now it seems a specific digestion type. According to research, everyone has a specific enterotype - a certain group of microbes - that pioneers and colonises the gut from infancy. This discovery has significant implications at a time when antibiotics are increasingly becoming ineffective. Medical practitioners can now look at the "good" bacteria and their effect on health, diet and digestion.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


GUTSY BUGS:Everyone has a specific blood type and now it seems a specific digestion type. According to research, everyone has a specific enterotype - a certain group of microbes - that pioneers and colonises the gut from infancy. This discovery has significant implications at a time when antibiotics are increasingly becoming ineffective. Medical practitioners can now look at the "good" bacteria and their effect on health, diet and digestion.

NOT LONGER BUT BETTER: A groundbreaking discovery by the Mayo Clinic was voted into the top ten list by the Science journal. The Clinic's trial on mice was successful in stopping the onset of age-related diseases and disabilities for the first time. The trial proved that age-related syndromes could be delayed or even prevented by eliminating senescent cells, which are those that have stopped dividing and are no longer viable. While the mice which were treated did not live longer than the group that wasn't, they did live a better life till they died.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


NOT LONGER BUT BETTER: A groundbreaking discovery by the Mayo Clinic was voted into the top ten list by the Science journal. The Clinic's trial on mice was successful in stopping the onset of age-related diseases and disabilities for the first time. The trial proved that age-related syndromes could be delayed or even prevented by eliminating senescent cells, which are those that have stopped dividing and are no longer viable. While the mice which were treated did not live longer than the group that wasn't, they did live a better life till they died.

FASTER THAN LIGHT?: Though still being investigated for any possible error, an experiment at CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory, in September, found sub-atomic particles that travelled faster than the speed of light. The results shocked the scientific community, as it meant questioning Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which transformed modern physics in the last century. It also opens up the possibility of time travel or going back in time, till now only seen in science fiction films. THE SEMI-GOD PARTICLE Though a bit unglamorously named as the chi b (3P), this newly discovered particle (a boson) in another high profile experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe (a 27-km long tunnel on the border of France and Switzerland) holds hope for finding the "god particle" also known as the Higgs boson. When found, the god particle will hold the key to the mystery of how most matter and the universe is held together.

Pills & particles

December 31, 2011


FASTER THAN LIGHT?: Though still being investigated for any possible error, an experiment at CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory, in September, found sub-atomic particles that travelled faster than the speed of light. The results shocked the scientific community, as it meant questioning Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which transformed modern physics in the last century. It also opens up the possibility of time travel or going back in time, till now only seen in science fiction films. THE SEMI-GOD PARTICLE Though a bit unglamorously named as the chi b (3P), this newly discovered particle (a boson) in another high profile experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe (a 27-km long tunnel on the border of France and Switzerland) holds hope for finding the "god particle" also known as the Higgs boson. When found, the god particle will hold the key to the mystery of how most matter and the universe is held together.

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