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A study has identified a protein that appears to play a key role in protecting people infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the bacterium that causes tuberculosis — from developing the active form of the disease. The protein, interleukin-32, was discovered to be one biomarker of adequate host defense against TB.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and collaborators at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, have protected nonhuman primates against Marburg virus, also known as Angola hemorrhagic fever.

There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved for human use and no post-exposure treatment that has completely protected nonhuman primates against MARV-Angola, the most deadly Marburg viral strain, with a mortality rate of up to 90 percent. This virus, which is in the same family as Ebola, has a rapid disease course (seven to nine days) in nonhuman primates. There have been two recent imported cases of MARV HF to Europe and the United States, further increasing concern regarding the public health threat posed by this deadly virus.

Calcium buildup in the coronary arteries of chronic kidney disease patients may be a strong indicator of heart disease risk, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health assert that coronary calcium outperforms two other commonly used measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in predicting the risk of heart disease among individuals with kidney disease.

Approximately 50 percent of all patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) die from cardiovascular disease, but some previous studies concluded that conventional risk factors for predicting heart disease -- such as blood pressure and lipid levels -- were not as useful in CKD patients.

When America invaded both Iraq and Afghanistan, critics of President George Bush insisted that Muslim countries were not ready for democracy and he would fail. 

Were they right? Does Islam only lend itself to dictatorships?

The record in the past hundred years is not good. What was once a cradle of scientific thought hasn't produced anything meaningful since the new fundamentalism took hold. But sociologists say Muslims may be ready than western liberals think.   

The moon is a tranquil place but an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets suggests that periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon's coldest craters through the process of sparking - it just took eons.

The article proposes that high-energy particles from uncommon, large solar storms penetrate the moon's frigid, polar regions and electrically charge the soil. The charging may create sparking, or electrostatic breakdown, and this "breakdown weathering" process has possibly changed the very nature of the moon's polar soil, suggesting that permanently shadowed regions, which hold clues to our solar system's past, may be more active than previously thought.

The recently published genome of Brassica napus — commonly known as canola — paves the way for improved versions of the plant, which is used widely in farming and industry.