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SCIENCE
July 11, 2012 | By Erin Loury, Los Angeles Times
Treatment drugs can do more than improve the health of people with HIV: If administered early, medications can also reduce the spread of the disease to sexual partners and may help stem the AIDS epidemic. But many logistical hurdles stand in the way of making this strategy feasible, affordable and effective, according to experts writing in Tuesday's edition of the journal PLoS Medicine. The medications in question are antiretroviral therapies, which prevent HIV from multiplying and drastically diminish the amount of virus circulating in the blood.
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NEWS
December 11, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan
Want to get people to eat more salad and less junk food? Make vegetables cheaper and soda more expensive. It's not exactly a new idea, but a study out Tuesday offers some fresh support for those in favor of using sin taxes and subsidies to steer people toward a more healthful diet. The study , published online by PLoS Medicine, is a meta-analysis of 32 other studies that use statistical modeling to gauge the impact of various tax and subsidy policies. Overall, it found that consumers buy less of something when the price goes up and they buy more of it when the price goes down.
SCIENCE
July 30, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Women, wouldn't you like to know your precise risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer? And wouldn't you like to know what changes you could make in your life to reduce that risk? Researchers from the National Cancer Institute would like to help you. They've just published a study in the journal PLOS Medicine that takes a significant step toward that goal. Ruth Pfeiffer , a senior investigator in the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and colleagues focused on the predictive value of more than a dozen variables, including a woman's body mass index , number of children she has, how long she took birth control pills, whether she used hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, family history of gynecological cancers, and use of cigarettes and alcohol.
NEWS
November 8, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
It will be an even 20 for Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, who announced Tuesday that they're expecting their 20th child. The Duggars, stars of their own TLC show, are a source of fascination for some people, since super-sized families aren't the norm the way they were about a century ago. Michelle Duggar, you'll recall, didn't have such an easy time around with her last pregnancy in 2009. Daughter Josie was delivered early when it was discovered that Michelle had preeclampsia and gall bladder problems (Josie is now doing fine)
HEALTH
January 20, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Are people who suffer from mental illnesses more likely to commit violent crimes? That question has been on the nation's mind since a 22-year-old community college dropout with a history of odd behavior was charged with shooting 19 people outside a Tucson supermarket this month, killing six and wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who police say was his target. The answer may seem obvious to the general public, given the popularity of movies, TV shows and books in which mentally unbalanced individuals are portrayed as homicidal maniacs.
NEWS
January 5, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Before embarking on a medically invasive, expensive and emotionally taxing effort to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization, it sure would be nice to get a good sense of whether it’s likely to work. After all, only about 1 in 4 attempts resulted in a live birth as recently as 2007. So researchers from England and Scotland scoured data from more than 144,000 IVF cycles in the United Kingdom and looked for factors that might predict which couples stood the best chance of having a baby with assisted reproduction and which faced long-shot odds.
SCIENCE
September 5, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Researchers have discovered a gene mutation that protects people in Southeast Asia against malaria in much the same fashion that a sickle cell trait protects Africans from the disease. But while the sickle cell protects against the frequently lethal form of the disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum , the newly discovered gene mutation protects against Plasmodium vivax , which is generally thought to be more benign. Malaria causes an estimated 1 million deaths per year worldwide, and at least half the world's population lives in areas at risk for the disease.
NEWS
June 20, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Multinational food corporations have a growing influence on the health of people around the world, including obesity, and their actions need greater scrutiny, according to an editorial Tuesday in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine. The editorial kicks off the journal's three-week series looking at what it calls “Big Food.” The first articles, and the editorial, criticize not just the food companies but also officials charged with protecting public health. “The big multinational food companies control what people everywhere eat, resulting in a stark and sick irony: one billion people on the planet are hungry while 2 billion are obese or overweight,” the editorial says.
SCIENCE
May 12, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
Taking folic acid supplements for a year before conception reduces the risk of very premature birth by at least 50%, researchers reported Monday. Shorter courses of the supplement were not as effective, according to the study of nearly 35,000 women reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine. Folic acid's effectiveness in reducing the risk of neural-tube and other birth defects -- even without such a long course -- is long established.
WORLD
September 28, 2008 | Richard Boudreaux, Times Staff Writer
With $3 billion in new pledges, world leaders say they believe that an ambitious goal to stop deaths from malaria by 2015 is finally within reach. A plan billed as the most comprehensive ever to tackle the mosquito-borne disease, which kills nearly 1 million people each year, was unveiled last week at a United Nations gathering of heads of government, global health leaders and philanthropists.
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