New AIDS vaccine effort launched

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have launched a new research center focused on designing AIDS vaccines that elicit antibodies that work against a sufficient number of HIV types in order to convey protection. The launch of the new center comes following new advances in this arena published last month in the journal Science by researchers at IAVI and TSRI, among others. In that work, scientists discovered two broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV that reveal a previously unknown site on the virus that could prove to be a good target for vaccine design.

To advance this finding, researchers are working to develop immunogens (the active ingredient in vaccines) based on this region of HIV in the hope of prompting the immune system to produce antibodies to protect against infection. The Neutralizing Antibody Center will be central to these efforts.

Web site for polio survivors

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has launched - a resource for polio survivors intended to raise awareness of crippling post-polio syndrome (PPS), a neuromuscular condition that can strike an estimated 40 percent to 50 percent of people decades after they were first infected with the polio virus. The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 10 million to 20 million polio survivors worldwide.

The severity of paralysis during the original polio infection does not seem to play a role in whether or when PPS strikes, and the syndrome is typically gradual in onset. PPS is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms resemble other crippling neurodegenerative diseases. offers a forum for the distribution of polio and PPS-related information, as well as a means to link polio survivors worldwide through social networking.

Parents fib ‘for’ children

Research from the University of Toronto and UCSD finds that parents regularly lie to their children as a way to influence their behavior and emotions. Surprisingly little scholarship has been published on the subject of parental lying. Researchers asked U.S. participants in two related studies about lying to their children - either for the purpose of promoting appropriate behavior or to make a child happy.

In one of the studies, many parents reported they told their young children that bad things would happen if they didn’t go to bed or eat what they were supposed to. In the other study, the researchers surveyed college students’ recollections about their parents’ lying and obtained similar results: Parents often lie to their children even as they tell them that lying is unacceptable. The research is published in The Journal of Moral Education.

Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.