SciBites: Week of April 17th

SciBites: Week of April 17th

Sales of sugary drinks fall in Berkeley, California, after new tax starts

In an effort to curb increasing levels of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, many countries and cities are implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Berkeley, California, is one of the cities that introduced a tax on SSB to see if it would affect people’s decisions to purchase these products.

Now the effects of this tax in Berkeley are starting to emerge. New research has found that one year after the introduction of the SSB tax, sales of these products fell by 9.6 percent. Meanwhile, surrounding areas with no SSB tax saw sales of these beverages rise by 6.9 percent. The study also found that sales of water in Berkeley increased by 15.6 percent after the SSB tax began, and sales for other non-taxed drinks such as unsweetened teas, milk and fruit juices also rose.

No link found between HIV levels and immune activation during antiretroviral treatment

Despite successful treatment, people receiving antiretroviral drugs continue to have small amounts of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in their blood, as well as elevated immune system activation. However, new research shows no correlation between these two measurements.

For this study, researchers examined HIV levels and immune system activation in patients undergoing treatment. Before treatment, HIV levels and immune activation were correlated, but this correlation did not persist during treatment. This result suggests that elevated immune activation during treatment does not drive and is not driven by HIV in the blood. Based on these findings, the authors suggest a need for strategies to reverse the effects of immune events that cause elevated activation before treatment.

Image Credit: Gandhi RT, et al. (2017)


Jen is the Editorial Media Manager at PLOS. Before her time at PLOS, she's worked in broadcast news, radio and online media.

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