Published: Thursday 15 July 2004

the good dose: As per a study by the US-based National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a combination of three drugs -- didanosine, lamivudine and efavirenz -- given for a week as a single daily dose (followed by seven days of no treatment) is quite effective in controlling the AIDS virus. "Via this method, not only can the drug cost be reduced but drug-related toxicities can also be brought down. Our findings may have relevance for resource-poor countries," says Mark Dybul, who led the study.

deadly food: Baby food available in Europe, the US, South Korea and South Africa contains worrying levels of disease-causing microbes. These are the findings of a survey conducted by researchers from the UK-based Nottingham Trent University. The main concern was the presence of the bacterium Enterobacter sakazakii, which causes fatal outbreaks of meningitis among children. The bug has been found in powdered infant formula before, but this study is the first to detect it in dried infant food. The researchers analysed more than 200 samples of powdered infant formula, dried infant food and milk powder for the presence of a variety of bacteria. Eight out of 82 powdered infant formula samples tested contained stomach bacteria; so did 12 out of the 49 dried infant food samples studied.

hope for corals: Corals swap algae partners throughout their life to face ecodegradation. These are the findings of researchers from the US-based University at Buffalo. Under normal conditions, corals survive and thrive by having a 'symbiotic' relationship with the single-celled algae called zooxanthellae, which live inside them. As per the findings, during environmental stress, such as the ocean temperature rising, the corals tend to have more densities of those sub-species of zooxanthellae that can provide them with high levels of energy. The rapid 'symbiont reshuffling' is the key mechanism adapted by the corals to face any adverse changes.

more money, more weight: Obesity is also rampant among women in the developing countries, as per a research. Until now it was believed that the disease is mostly prevalent in the industrialised nations. Scientists from the US-based University of North Carolina and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, analysed 149,000 women from 37 countries, including Brazil, China and India. They found that poor and less educated women are most at risk. Moreover, the problem begins when a country's average per capita income is US $2,500 or more. Reason -- less labour-intensive work, cheaper food and a lack of awareness about the health risks.

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