Tripoli Six–moving toward resolution

The strange and tragic case of the Tripoli Six, a group of 5 Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor working in Tripoli, Libya, is finally drawing to a close. The six health workers had been found guilty of infecting up to 400 children in the hospital where they worked with HIV, and had previously been sentenced to death–even though the science had shown that the epidemic began prior to the arrival of the workers. This saga has been dragging on for the better part of a decade (Declan Butler at Nature has a very nice story here discussing the various twists and turns along the way), but now, as Revere reports (continued below):
Continue reading “Tripoli Six–moving toward resolution”

Be a scientific consultant for the Clergy Letter Project!

By now, regular readers will probably be familiar with The Clergy Letter Project spearheaded by Michael Zimmerman. Formulated in part to respond to the framing of the evolution controversy as a battle between science and religion, the letter now boasts more than 10,700 signatures from clergy, and have sponsored Evolution Sunday events for the past 2 years.

Well, Zimmerman has a new project now:

Our latest initiative is to create a list of scientists around the world who are willing to answer scientific questions posed by clergy who are supportive of modern science in general and evolution in particular ( In just a bit over three weeks, we already have over 200 scientists signed up to help out. I hasten to add that the information these scientists will be providing will be solely of a scientific nature and thus their personal religious inclinations are absolutely irrelevant.

In addition to creating a useful resource for clergy, I am hoping for the list to make a major political statement: religious leaders and scientists can work together – despite what religious fundamentalists claim. I also would very much like to have more names on this list than the number of scientists the Discovery Institute has on a list it trumpets of scientists claiming to “question” evolution.

If you’re interested, drop an email to Michael ( and include your name, title, address, area(s) of expertise, and email address–and spread the word!

While I’m out…

Traveling yet again today (things finally calm down in September, I think). In the meantime, here are a few posts from elsewhere I’ve been meaning to highlight:

Some more background for those of you who may not be up to speed on HIV/AIDS: AJ Cann explains what we know (and don’t know) about how HIV causes AIDS.

Speaking of HIV, ERV has 4 years to come up with an HIV vaccine, and another bad story about science in the media.

David asks if biologists have physics envy. I think I just have other-fields-of-biology envy, and want to do it all.

PZ has a very nice posts explaining the folly of debating creationists, along with alternatives to debate that will still allow scientists to get their message out.

And finally, Revere has the latest news on the Tripoli Six.

Grand Rounds 3.42

Welcome to Aetiology and this week’s edition of Grand Rounds. It’s my pleasure to host this carnival for a second time, and I greatly appreciate all of you who sent along submissions for today’s round-up.

I want to start by briefly mentioning what looks to be an excellent new source, especially for those of us who do a lot of lecturing and are always looking for good images. Via John at Stranger Fruit I found that Wellcome has released a gallery of medical images to the public. I’m featuring a few below, but the site is worth a browse when you have a few extra minutes.

So, without further ado, on with the show…
Continue reading “Grand Rounds 3.42”

HIV+ toddler booted from campground

Last year, Seed magazine and Scienceblogs noted the 25th anniversary of the recognition of AIDS. You’d think that in all that time, especially with the identification of HIV and all the public education campaigns in the 1980s, people would realize by now that HIV isn’t spread by casual contact. You can’t get it by sharing drinking glasses, by coughing and sneezing around others, by being in the same swimming pool. However, the message still hasn’t gotten out in some areas, it would seem, as a two-year old HIV+ boy was restricted from using the pool and showers at an Alabama campground. More information and video after the jump.
Continue reading “HIV+ toddler booted from campground”

From the “..what the hell?” files…

I rarely watch TV, and probably the last time I was a regular viewer of any evening news program was in graduate school, pre-kids. However, I’ve peripherally followed the Katie Couric drama, her move from the Today show to CBS Evening News, and her subsequent disappointing ratings. I’ve had a mixed opinion of her for awhile; I think her work to raise colorectal cancer awareness has been a huge positive, but she screws up my opinion of her with things like her “no atheists in foxholes” comment. So I wasn’t completely surprised, but am still a bit confused, over her new target: sputum.

Continue reading “From the “..what the hell?” files…”

Help the Livingstone Performing Arts Foundation

Every time you love just a little
Take one step closer, solving a riddle
It echoes all over the world

Every time you opt in to kindness
Make one connection, used to divide us
It echoes all over the world

–Dar Williams, Echoes

I write about African countries with some regularity on here. The continent is, of course, one of the central areas for so many infectious diseases, including the big three (HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis). Sometimes I document the science; other times I’ll write about what is being done to help (for example, these clever designs, or money raising events. Over at Genomicron, though, T. Ryan Gregory notes a much more personal connection to assistance in Africa: his parents are moving to Zambia to aid the town of Livingstone, just a few miles from Victoria Falls.

His parents are spearheading this by themselves, and working tirelessly to raise funds and awareness–and this is where we come in. Gregory notes that there are many ways to help. Obviously, money is always welcome (you can donate here), but they’re also in need of many basics: textbooks (especially for younger kids), science equipment, sound and lighting equipment, etc. Perhaps you could also donate work to be sold to benefit the charity rather than give a cash donation–lots of “outside of the box” ideas in the linked post. Even if you can’t donate, you can always spread the word about The Livingstone Performing Arts Foundation to friends and relatives who might be interested.

All you ever wanted to know about hormones and menopause

Over at Neurotopia, Evil Monkey has been busy writing up a series on hormone therapy.

Part One: history and basics. (Be sure to check out the 1960s-era ads for hormone replacement therapy too…be warned that they might raise your blood pressure).

Part Two: types of HRT and consequences, including material on the Women’s Health Initiatives that have received a lot of press over the past several years.

Part Three: cognitive consequences.