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Researchers Crack Major HIV Mystery 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-the-pathogen-with-the-candlestick-in-the-cell-membrane dept.
mrspoonsi sends this news from Scientific American: "The difference between HIV infection and full-blown AIDS is, in large part, the massive die-off of the immune system's CD4 T-cells. But researchers have only observed the virus killing a small portion of those cells, leading to a longstanding question: What makes the other cells disappear? New research shows that the body is killing its own cells in a little-known process. What's more, an existing, safe drug could interrupt that self-destruction, thereby offering a way to treat AIDS. The destructive process has caught scientists by surprise. 'We thought HIV infects a cell, sets up a virus production factory and then the cell dies as a consequence of being overwhelmed by virus. But there are not enough factories to explain the massive losses,' says Warner Greene, director of virology and immunology at the Gladstone Institutes, whose team published two papers today in Science and Nature describing the work. Greene estimates 95 percent of the cells that die in HIV infections are killed through pyroptosis, so the findings raise hope for a new type of treatment that could prevent HIV from progressing into AIDS. 'Inhibiting activation of the immune system is not a new concept, but this gives us a new pathway to target,' says Robert Gallo. And in fact, a drug already exists that can block pyroptosis."
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Researchers Crack Major HIV Mystery

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  • by toQDuj (806112) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:01PM (#45750489) Homepage Journal

    This is how you milk science. I won't contest that it is incredibly useful, but the decision to publish in *both* Nature and Science shows the direction science is heading in. All for papers.

  • by hey! (33014) on Friday December 20, 2013 @09:03PM (#45750815) Homepage Journal

    Lesbians, by this logic, are God's chosen, since female-to-female transmission of HIV is extremely rare.

  • by Arker (91948) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:44AM (#45751809) Homepage Journal
    It's a good question. All I see in this paper is fresh discovery of the same facts that were well known among skeptics like the Perth group back in 1990s. Is it really such a bizarre virus that acts like no other virus, kills like no other virus, and manages to hide the way it works so well that decades of research still leave us guessing? Or is it just a weak virus that cannot survive inside an uncompromised immune system and thus serves as a great diagnostic for immune problems that it does not actually cause?
  • Yess!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by formfeed (703859) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:06AM (#45751885)

    Face it, God hates fags.

    Skin cancer is prove that God hates Scandinavians.
    Current society is prove that God hates women.
    Diabetes is prove that God hates chocolate.
    Your comment is prove that God hates people.

  • by Nightlight3 (248096) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:57AM (#45752219)

    Epidemiology by itself isn't a junk science. It crosses into junk science when someone leaps from observed statistical associations on non-randomized samples to wishfully ($$$) declaring causal relations. Such associations are at best a hint that there may be causal relation, but one needs hard science, such as randomized trials or animal/human experiments to find out what kind of links (e.g. causal or protective/therapeutic) connect those correlated variables.

    That's how it is done in normal science, you use statistical hint to make hypothesis that is followed up with hard science. But antismoking "science" is stuck on the same hint since 1950.

    And it is not for lack of trying hard science. There were thousands of experiments done since then. The problem was that they all went the "wrong" way -- the smoking animals live longer, perform better on cognitive tasks, get cancers less often, etc. What can poor scientific mercenaries do, when their bosses want the opposite result, but stick with what works, parrot the statistical hints disguised as "science." This was so unusual pattern that already in 1958, the father of modern statistical methods, famous British mathematician R. A. Fisher noticed it and wrote [] (pdf; this article also contains a very readable exposition of the sample randomization topic):

    "Most of us thought at the time, on hearing the nature of evidence, which I hope to make clear a little later, that a good prima facie case had been made for further investigation. But the time has passed, and although further investigation, in a sense, has taken place, it has consisted largely of the repetition of observations of the same kind as those which Hill and his colleagues called attention to several years ago. I read a recent article to the effect that nineteen different investigations in different parts of the world had all concurred in confirming Dr. Hill's findings. I think they had concurred, but I think they were mere repetitions of evidence of the same kind..."

    Yet, the antismoking "science" still rests its case squarely on the same kind of soft/junk science that Fisher objected to over half a century ago.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928