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A new discovery could lead to treatments which turn off the inflammation in the lungs caused by influenza and other infections, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Immunology.

The symptoms of influenza, such as breathlessness, weight loss and fever, are made much worse by the immune system responding in an exaggerated way to the virus, rather than by the virus itself. The virus is often cleared from the body by the time symptoms appear and yet symptoms can last for many days, because the immune system continues to fight the damaged lung.

A national survey into the bedroom behavior of British women has revealed that 46% percent never or rarely achieve orgasm. The survey, conducted by Scarlet magazine and the makers of the PelvicToner to mark National Orgasm Day on July 31, polled over 2000 women across the country and found that women with better pelvic floor muscles were also enjoying better sex lives.

The survey is ongoing at http://www.orgasmsurvey.co.uk. The latest survey results can be downloaded from the site.


UPDATE: See a video clip here


Total solar eclipses take place when the Earth, Moon and Sun are aligned and the shadow of the Moon touches the surface of the Earth. At mid-eclipse, observers within the lunar shadow briefly see totality, where the silhouette of the Moon completely covers the Sun, revealing the beautiful outer solar atmosphere or corona.

On August 1st, 2008 there will be a total eclipse visible from Canada, northern Greenland, Svalbard, the Barents Sea, Russia, Mongolia and China.

People in the British Isles will see a partial solar eclipse, with between 1/10th and 1/3rd of the Sun obscured by the Moon.


Global climate change could explain the explosion in marine biodiversity that took place 460 million years ago, according to researchers from INSU-CNRS Laboratoire PaléoEnvironnements et PaléobioSphère (CNRS)Université Claude Bernard Lyon and Australian National University in Canberra.

They have found evidence of a progressive ocean cooling of about 15°C over a period of 40 million years during the Ordovician, a geologic period extending from 490 to 440 million years ago. Until now, this geologic period had been associated with a "super greenhouse effect" on our planet. The results from this study were published in the July 25, 2008 issue of Science.

A collaboration between chemists and biologists has made it possible to identify the effects of a new class of molecules, polyoxometalates, primarily composed of metals and oxygen.

Polyoxometalates are anionic inorganic metal oxide structures that have valuable catalytic properties. These molecules are very powerful inhibitors of a specific protein kinase, CK2, an enzyme that is overactive in a number of cancers. The enzyme's instrumental role in controlling cell proliferation and survival makes it an important target in the search for new medications.

Individuals affected by celiac disease (gluten intolerance) often present an altered calcium (Ca2+) metabolism that can cause osteopenia, a bone mass decrease due to the impaired adsorption of this mineral, which can lead to osteoporosis (in 35-85% of the cases).

This phenomenon is particularly frequent among late-diagnosed celiac patients, as in the case of adult people, but can be present in children too.

With the aim of recognizing calcium metabolism alterations and impaired bone mineralization, laboratory and radiology exams, such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), are often performed. These exams – that provide information on the health status of the bones before the onset of a specific therapy (namely the gluten-free diet) and help to monitor the progression of the bone disease once the diet is started - are nowadays indicated in children too. But are they really necessary in the celiac child?