Voyager boldly goes where no human thing has gone before

Bee venom could be an important weapon in the fight against HIV -- Bees are fantastic little creatures. They pollinate our plants, make honey, and could even hold a cure for HIV. Researchers have found that by creating nanopackages of melittin, the venom component of a bee sting, they can target the virus and smash holes in its protective protein coat. In turn, that leads to dramatically reduce levels of HIV, while the coating on the nanoparticles keeps the venom away from healthy human cell membranes. Lots of work still needs to be done to turn the lab samples into an effective drug, but the results certainly look promising in combatting the deadly sexually transmitted disease. [Science News]

Are sugary drinks as big a killer as asthma? -- A new study out of Harvard seems to suggest sugary drinks like coke, lemonade, and Iron Bru could cause around 184,000 deaths a year, the same amount as asthma. The sugary drinks contributed to deaths by diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. The link has been made statistically, but according to experts in the field, there could be plausible biological links to back it up. Either way, it could be wise to cut down on drinks with added sugar; if they don't rot your teeth they could cause premature death. [New Scientist]

Should we all cut down on sugar Image credit ab4dd0n from Flickr

Should we all cut down on sugar? [Image credit: ab4dd0n from Flickr]

Take two of these a day and you'll be fine, probably -- When you go to the doctor you're expecting an immediate answer to all your health problems. But sometimes modern medicine just doesn't have the answer. When that happens your doctor has two choices, try a placebo -- a pill that does nothing other than make you think it works -- or admit defeat. Apparently some 97 per cent of UK GPs admitted in a recent survey to giving at least one of their patients a placebo of either a sugar pill, or one that has no proven efficacy against the patient's symptoms. The thing is, your doctor isn't doing that to deceive you, but to help you, as the placebo effect a real, documented phenomenon, and has been shown to be effective in certain situations. Placebo or not, when you get a cure from your doctor you don't question it, and isn't that what everyone is after at the end of the day, a cure to our ills? [PLoS One]