Health

Antibiotics to treat pneumonia

MRC scientists have recently discovered that a significant proportion of pneumonia in children is not caused by a virus, but by a bacterium - the pneumococcus. This has important implications for the treatment of children. World Health Organisation statistics state pneumonia as the leading cause of death in children worldwide. Almost four million children die of the disease each year - most of them in developing countries.

Blacks in South Africa may hold key to kidney stones

Many women may disagree, but the pain of passing a kidney stone - they usually get shoved out through the narrow urinary tract - has often been compared to the pain of childbirth. Kidney stones are formed when the concentration of minerals and substances like calcium oxalate, phosphate, oxalic acid and uric acid are too high in the urine. These then break out of the urine and begin to pack onto each other, or crystallise, in the kidneys, becoming what are known as kidney stones. Some stones are as small as a grain of sand, others the size of golf balls or even, in extreme cases, a hand-sized...

Essential smell gene may provide key to new insect repellents

Repellents that block gene might help fight malaria and other infectious diseases Insects navigate by smell to find food, mates and, in the case of disease-spreading mosquitoes, humans to bite. Researchers at Rockefeller University report in the September 2 issue of Neuron that insects' ability to detect odors depends on a single gene. Fruit flies lacking the gene, known as Or83b, cannot smell. Because the gene is found in a wide variety of insect species, the results point to a new strategy for developing insect repellents. Repellents that block the gene, and thus prevent disease-carrying...

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