Transgendered Scientist Finds Life Easier as a Man

TRANSGENDERED SCIENTIST SAYS BIAS AGAINST WOMEN EXISTS Stanford University neurobiologist Ben Barres has a unique perspective on the gender wars in science, as he has spent time on both sides of the fence. Barres writes about his experiences in an article in this week's Nature. Now living as a man, Barres says he was received quite differently when he was trying to break into the scientific world as a woman. When he was Barbara, he was discouraged from attending MIT, and people thought he must have had a boyfriend who helped him with difficult math. Later, when living as Ben, Barres overhead another scientist say that "Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but his work is much better than his sister's [Barbara's] work." Barres argues that it's not that women are inherently less interested or talented in science, but that they are held back by bigotry.

THE COMPUTER THAT CAN READ MINDS Matthew Nagle, 26, was left paralyzed from the neck down after a vicious knife attack in 2001, but thanks to computer electrodes in his brain he can control objects using just his mind. Researchers from Brown University detail Nagle's accomplishments in a research paper in this week's Nature. The electrodes are inserted in the part of Nagle's brain that controls movement. Thought activates the electrodes, which translate the impulses to outside objects. Nagle can send e-mail, open and close a prosthetic hand and manipulate a multijointed robotic arm by merely by thinking about it.

FDA APPROVES ONCE-A-DAY PILL FOR HIV On Wednesday the Food and Drug Administration approved Atripla, the first once-a-day pill for patients with HIV. The pill combines three drugs made by two different companies, and it will be available in the United States within the next seven days. This marks a milestone in the treatment of HIV, as patients have had to endure years of taking a dozen or more pills a day, often with conflicting mandates about whether they should be taken with food or not. As an added bonus, the new pill may be easier on the wallet too -- instead of paying for three prescriptions, patients will pay only for one.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.

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