One of the first places the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets is the brain. If it’s not treated, the infection can lead to cognitive impairment and dementia. But a new study by Yale School of Medicine neurology professor Serena Spudich and her colleagues has shown that the sooner the antiretroviral medications that combat AIDS are started, the less damage is done to the central nervous system. Reporting in Clinical Infectious Diseases on their MRI data, Spudich’s team demonstrated that the drugs could halt the progress of tissue loss in key brain areas.


More than half a century of legislation to clean the air has made breathing safer. But a new analysis of the Los Angeles area’s air quality, by two Yale chemical and environmental engineers, suggests that the traditional emphasis on curbing combustion-generated gases from power plants, factories, and motor vehicles may be missing other growing contributors to smog—such as volatile emissions from paint, asphalt, adhesives, sealants, cleaning products, and building materials. In their article in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Peeyush Khare ’17MS and Drew R. Gentner devised “a multi-dataset approach to constrain emissions.”


The recent resurgence of hippopotamus populations in sub-Saharan Africa may be less of a blessing than conservationists had hoped. Christopher Dutton ’21PhD, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, and his colleagues monitored a concentration of some 4,000 hippos that gathered in dry-season pools in the Mara River in eastern Africa. They discovered that every day, the huge mammals excreted almost 20,000 pounds of waste into the water—so much that the resulting decrease in oxygen levels caused nine downstream fish kills over a five-year period. In their report in Nature Communications, the ecologists noted that it’s a “natural” process.

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