No Cases of HIV Transmission from Receptive Oral Sex

No cases of HIV transmission through unprotected receptive oral sex were found by researchers at UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in a new study. The study looked at men who have sex with men and who exclusively practice oral sex as the receptive partner. “HIV infection through receptive oral sex is a very rare event?statistically our study showed a probability of zero?and is rarer than HIV infection through receptive anal intercourse using a condom,” said the study’s lead author Kimberly Page Shafer, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF’s CAPS. The findings are being published in the November 22, 2002 issue of AIDS.

Genetic Clash With Mother Doubles Child’s Schizophrenia Risk

Scientists have discovered that infants possessing a cell protein called Rhesus (Rh) factor that their mothers lack are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia in young adulthood. Reported in the December issue of the peer-reviewed American Journal of Human Genetics, the study suggests that the gene that codes for Rh factor is to blame for the higher risk. “Previous studies reported a link between mothers and infants who are Rh-incompatible and a higher rate of schizophrenia in the children later in life,” said Dr. Christina Palmer, a research scientist at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. “Our research is the first to take a genetic approach to examining this increased risk.”

Vigorous leisure activity may reduce risk of preterm birth

Women who engage in vigorous leisure activity during their first and second trimesters of pregnancy may experience a decreased risk of preterm birth, a new study suggests. Vigorous leisure activity includes exercise programs such as swimming laps, jogging at a moderate to fast pace, aerobics or aerobic dance, other fast dancing and moderate to fast bicycling. Preterm birth is defined as delivery before completion of 37 weeks gestation.

Against all odds, researchers find new superconductor in plutonium

Scientists have discovered superconductivity in a most unlikely place: the highly radioactive element used to make nuclear weapons. In an article set to appear Thursday in the journal Nature, a group of researchers, including a University of Florida physicist, report discovering a plutonium-based electrical superconductor. The finding is significant because plutonium, the active ingredient in atomic bombs, has physical properties that should prevent it from behaving as a superconductor – suggesting current theories about this phenomenon may not apply to this element.

Secret Docs Show Tobacco Industry Influence in Black America

Previously secret documents show that tobacco companies provided money, cultivated social and political ties, and aggressively offered free cigarettes to African American leadership groups ?even as the evidence grew that African Americans bear a disproportionate share of the tobacco-related disease burden, researchers at the University of California say.

Terascale Cluster Supercomputer to be Built on Linux, Itanium 2s

Hewlett-Packard and Rice University’s Computer and Information Technology Institute today announced their plans to build Texas’ fastest academic supercomputer, based on HP’s Intel Itanium 2-based workstations and servers. The Rice Terascale Cluster is expected to be the first computer at a Texas university with a peak performance of 1 teraflop, or 1 trillion floating-point operations per second. More than 30 researchers from fields as diverse as biochemistry, political science, physics and computational engineering have already booked time on RTC.

Drugs Found To Have Different Effects In Diabetics After Heart Attack

In a sub-analysis of data from an earlier trial comparing the ability of three agents used to restore blood flow to patients soon after heart attacks, researchers have found that drugs used to prevent blood coagulation appear to have different effects in heart patients with diabetes. These findings, coupled with an assessment of ease of administration and cost compared to other drugs, has lead researchers to recommend the drug enoxaparin, which is a low-molecular weight heparin, for acute heart attack patients with diabetes.

COX-2 Inhibitors Interfere with Bone Growth, Healing

Researchers have found that selective COX-2 inhibitors ? a class of medications widely prescribed for painful inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – interfere with the healing process after a bone fracture or cementless joint implant surgery. Their findings suggest that patients who regularly take COX-2 inhibitors should switch to a different medication, such as acetaminophen or codeine derivatives, following a bone fracture or cementless implant.

Researchers claim advance in quantum cryptography

Researchers have demonstrated a new high-speed quantum cryptography method that uses the properties of light to encrypt information into a form of code that can only be cracked by violating the physical laws of nature. The method promises security even against information security’s greatest foe: the not-yet-invented but still-feared powerful quantum computer, which could break almost any conventional code. The researchers transmitted encrypted data at the rate of 250 megabits per second. Because it uses standard lasers, detectors and other existing optical technology to transmit large bundles of photons, the protocol is more than 1,000 times faster than its main competitor, a technique based on single photons that is difficult and expensive to implement, the researchers say.

Hormones, Antioxidants Could Hurt Older Women with Heart Disease

A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health has found that postmenopausal women with heart disease who took hormone therapy and high dose antioxidant vitamins ? either alone or in combination with hormones ? did not have fewer heart attacks, deaths, or progression of coronary disease. In fact, both treatments showed a potential for harm. Although the actual numbers of deaths in the study were small, participants taking both active hormones and vitamins had the highest death rate while participants on placebo versions of both treatments had the lowest death rate.