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Vaginal microbicides currently in clinical trials may be the only weapon that will protect women against infection from HIV but they may actually be of more benefit to men than women, according to a new UCLA AIDS Institute study.

Microbicides are compounds that can be applied inside the vagina to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting trials of second-generation microbicides that are based on antiretroviral, or ARV, drugs.

The study, which used novel mathematical models to simulate clinical trials and population-level transmission of HIV, appears July 7 in the online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Violence between partners, friends and acquaintances appears prevalent both before and during college, according to results of a survey of students at three urban college campuses published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The transition from living at home to attending college may increase adolescents' vulnerability to relationship violence, according to background information in the article. Factors associated with this risk include less parental monitoring and support, isolation in an unknown environment and a strong desire for peer acceptance that can change behaviors toward others.

Christine M.

Is baseball biased toward left-handed pitchers? Indeed it is, says David A. Peters, Ph.D., McDonnell Douglas Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis (and uber baseball fan) and he says he has the data to prove it.

There's no question left-handed pitchers, even less than great ones, can last a long time in baseball. But 90 percent of the world is right-handed yet only 75 percent of baseball players are. Is that because left-handed pitchers do better against right-handed hitters so teams develop more left-handed hitters toi counter that or is it part of a vast, left-hand conspiracy?

If you weren't living under a scientific rock for the last 20 years, you know that everyone from environmental groups to Senator and then Vice-President Al Gore believed biofuels were the renewable way to cut dependence on foreign oil and have a cleaner environment.

If you weren't living under a scientific rock for the last 20 years and know anything about how biofuels are made you always knew that was complete hoopie, but it wasn't until a Republican president and Congress agreed they were good that everyone knew they must be terribly wrong.

But biofuels are not as bad today as some make them out to be, just like they were not as good as many of those same people used to make them out to be. Renewable energy continues to be the goal and biofuels can be a part of that, though most have switched to wildly optimistic projections about solar energy as the magic cure-all of the future now.

Unless you are Scrooge McDuck or have a life-size poster of Dr. Eric R. Pianka on your wall, you probably like to see babies smile. It isn't just you. In a mother, her baby's smile also lights up the reward centers of her brain, just like free money, wrote Baylor College of Medicine researchers in Pediatrics today.

Not only could findings like this help scientists learn more about the magic of the mother-infant bond, it could also tell us how it sometimes goes wrong, said Dr. Lane Strathearn, assistant professor of pediatrics at BCM and Texas Children's Hospital and a research associate in BCM's Human Neuroimaging Laboratory.

To study this relationship, Strathearn and his colleagues asked 28 first-time mothers with infants aged 5 to 10 months to watch photos of their own babies and other infants while they were in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. The machine measures blood flow in the brain. In the scans, areas of increased blood flow "light up," giving researchers a clue as to where brain activity takes place.

Tabebuia impetiginosa, commonly known as Pink Ipê, is a deciduous tree, native to Central and South America, and is related to magnolias.

With obesity levels rising (and people apparently unwilling to eat moderately) scientists have been searching for ways to mitigate obesity and the related conditions it brings, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Scientists from Germany have recently discovered that extracts of Tabebuia impetiginosa, a traditional herbal remedy, can act to delay the absorption of dietary fat in animal models. They believe that the extract could be incorporated into a food supplement which may not only reduce obesity, but also lessen the risk of development of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.