Archive | Ailments & Diseases

World TB Day: Drug-resistant TB Spreading

BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) — One-third of the world’s population — 2 billion people — are believed to have the organism that causes tuberculosis, U.S. health officials say.

Christine F. Sizemore, chief of the Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said, “As we commemorate World TB Day … despite progress toward improved control of TB, significant challenges remain to reach the goals set forth in the Global Plan to Stop TB — www.stoptb.org/global/plan/ — as this effort reaches its midpoint.”

“TB is especially dangerous and is becoming more prevalent among people who have certain other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. In 2008, about 1.8 million people died of TB, including an estimated 520,000 people co-infected with HIV,” Sizemore and Fauci said in a statement.

“Globally, TB is the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS, and HIV greatly increases the risk of developing active TB.”

Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB are spreading amid an already overwhelming burden of drug-sensitive TB and HIV/AIDS, particularly in resource-poor nations.

“Interventions that have worked in the past to control TB globally must now be re-assessed and tailored for individual regions,” the health officials say. “The need to adapt and innovate also holds true for biomedical research in TB.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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1918 and 2009 Viruses Share Vulnerability

BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve found the viruses that caused flu pandemics in 1918 and 2009 share a structural detail making both susceptible to neutralization.

In one experiment, the researchers, led by Dr. Gary Nabel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, injected mice with a vaccine made from inactivated 1918 influenza virus. Then they exposed the mice to high levels of the 2009 H1N1 virus. All of the vaccinated mice survived.

But the reverse was also true. Mice vaccinated with inactivated 2009 H1N1 virus and then exposed to the 1918 virus were protected.

“This is a surprising result,” Nabel said. “We wouldn’t have expected that cross-reactive antibodies would be generated against viruses separated by so many years.”

The researchers subsequently determined both viruses lack a cap of glycan (sugar) molecules. Without the sugars, both viruses have unfettered access to receptors they use to enter human cells. That viral advantage quickly diminishes as immunity provided by neutralizing antibodies arises in people who have been infected and recovered or when people are vaccinated.

“The glycans act like an umbrella that shields the virus from the immune system,” Nabel said. “They create a physical barrier over the virus and prevent antibody neutralization.”

Nabel said the shared vulnerability might be exploited to design vaccines matched to future pandemic influenza virus strains.

The research appears in the early online edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Pesticides Linked to Developmental Delays

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) — Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos — banned for use in U.S. households — is associated with early childhood developmental delays, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, but it is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables.

After controlling for building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds.

The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Children’s Health & Parenting, Farming & Ranching, Food Quality & Safety1 Comment

Demographics Key to Cancer Screenings

BOSTON, March 2 (UPI) — Education, race, ethnicity, income and age are related to a patients’ willingness to participate in cancer screenings, U.S. researchers found.

Lead author Nancy Kressin, director of the Healthcare Disparities Research Unit and Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues said prior studies showed screenings are crucial in identifying cancer in its early stages and minorities have lower screening rates for certain types of cancer, such as cervical and colorectal cancer.

The researchers examined patients’ agreeability to engage in cancer screening in the context of varied symptoms and screening settings.

A random sample was conducted using telephone interviews in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Baltimore and New York.

Less-educated individuals with lower incomes received fewer cancer screenings than those with higher levels of each and these rates may lead to disparities in cancer-related mortality. However, racial and ethnic minority status, age and lower income were frequently associated with willingness to receiving a cancer screening.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, found people were most willing to participate in a screening when they were examined by their personal doctor and had symptoms of cancer.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Oncogene Linked with Pancreatic Cancer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 25 (UPI) — Mayo Clinic scientists in Florida say they’ve discovered an oncogene important in colon and lung cancer is also linked with poor pancreatic cancer survival.

The researchers said they determined the oncogene PKC-iota is over-produced in pancreatic cancer and that genetically inhibiting it in laboratory animals led to a significant decrease in pancreatic tumor growth and spread.

They said their finding is especially encouraging because an experimental agent that targets the oncogene is already being tested at the Mayo Clinic.

“This is the first study to establish a role for PKC-iota in growth of pancreatic cancer, so it is exciting to know that an agent already exists that targets (it), which we can now try in preclinical studies,” said Nicole Murray, who led the research.

The drug, aurothiomalate, is being tested in a phase I clinical trial in patients with lung cancer at Mayo Clinic’s sites in Minnesota and Arizona. Based on findings to date, a phase II clinical trial is being planned to combine aurothiomalate with agents targeted at other molecules involved in cancer growth.

Mayo Clinic researchers led by Alan Fields, chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology and a co-author of the new report, discovered aurothiomalate in 2006. The drug was once used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The new discovery is reported in the March 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Green Tea May Fight Eye Diseases

HONG KONG, Feb. 22 (UPI) — Chinese researchers say green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases.

The study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, finds the “catechins” in green tea — responsible for much of its strong anti-oxidant effect — pass from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract into the tissues of the eye and raise the possibility drinking green tea may help prevent eye diseases.

Chi Pui Pang of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues analyzed the eye tissues of laboratory rats that drank green tea. They found the retina absorbed the highest levels of the catchin gallocatechin, while the aqueous humor tended to absorb another known as epigallocatechin.

The effects of green tea catechins in reducing harmful oxidative stress in the eye lasted for up to 20 hours, the study says.

“Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress,” the study authors say in a statement.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Consumption0 Comments

Rhubarb Shows Promise in Fighting Cancer

SHEFFIELD, England, Feb. 13 (UPI) — Rhubarb, especially when cooked, shows potential for killing or preventing cancer cells, researchers at Britain’s Sheffield Hallam University said.

As with many red vegetables, rhubarb contains cancer-fighting polyphenols, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Baking rhubarb for 20 minutes, as is done with some recipes, increases the concentration of polyphenols, Nikki Jordan-Mahy, a Sheffield biomedical researcher, wrote in a recent issue of the journal Food Chemistry.

Oriental medicinal rhubarb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Now, Jordan-Mahy said, garden rhubarb grown in Britain has shown medicinal promise, especially a variety grown in South Yorkshire.

Jordan-Mahy’s team is studying a combination of rhubarb polyphenols and chemotherapy agents needed to kill leukemia cells.

“Cancer affects one in three individuals in (Britain) so it’s very important to discover novel, less toxic, treatments, which can overcome resistance,” she said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Federal Agents Seize 77 Ozone Generating Medical Devices at Request of FDA

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Federal marshals, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have seized 77 ozone generators because they had not been proved safe or effective.

The FDA said the generators, models AOS-1M and AOS-1MD valued at $75,000, were seized from Applied Ozone Systems of Auburn, Calif.

FDA inspectors said the medical devices were said to treat cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, herpes and other diseases and conditions, but were produced under poor manufacturing conditions and posed public health risk

“The FDA advises healthcare professionals and consumers to discontinue use of these devices … (because) the FDA has not determined that the seized products are safe and effective in treating the diseases or conditions, and officials at Applied Ozone Systems never responded to a Dec. 21, 2009, FDA request for a voluntary recall of these ozone generators.

“In addition, the agency is concerned that patients who use these AOS ozone devices as directed by the manufacturer may believe that ozone therapy serves as an appropriate treatment and as a result delay or stop conventional or prescribed effective treatment.” officials said. “There is also a risk of infection from potential contamination of the applicator or catheter.”

Ozone generators are devices that produce ozone from oxygen. FDA officials said administration methods suggested by the manufacturer of the seized generators include using a catheter to blow ozonized air into rectal and vaginal areas.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Healthy Living, Human Health & Wellness, Ozone0 Comments

Dog Gene Linked to OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) Could Aid Humans

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 4 (UPI) — Discovery of a gene linked to compulsive behavior in dogs could lead to better understanding of the disorder in humans, scientists in Massachusetts said.

Scientists at the Broad Institute in Cambridge studied the DNA of 92 Doberman pinschers that displayed compulsive behavior and found a common link in a gene called Cadherin 2, The Boston Globe reported Monday, noting Cadherin 2 recently was linked to autism in humans.

The dog findings will be used to study the Cadherin 2 gene in more than 300 people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, and about 400 of their relatives, said Dr. Dennis Murphy, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“Identifying a specific gene that could be a candidate gene for a complex disorder like OCD is a gift to have,” Murphy said. “This might be a quick route in to a meaningful gene that just could be involved in the human disorder, as well.”

Dogs with OCD obsessively chase their tails, lick their legs and pace and circle in behavior similar to that of people with OCD, who obsessively wash their hands, count numbers or repeatedly check objects. Murphy said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Animals, Human Health & Wellness, Mammals0 Comments

CDC: Coal Miners Dying at Younger Ages

ATLANTA, Dec. 23 (UPI) — The occupational overexposure to coal mine dust by coal miners continues to occur despite legally enforceable limits, U.S. health officials say.

Deaths occurring among younger persons from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis declined substantially from 1968-2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Wednesday says. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is the accumulation of coal dust in the lungs and the tissue’s reaction to its presence.

However, annual years of potential life before age 65 of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis have been increasing since 2002, and mean years of potential life before age 65 per decedent has been increasing since the early 1990s — meaning that workers die at younger age — the study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health finds.

The NIOSH study recommends hazard surveillance, workplace-specific interventions and strengthening of current coal workers’ pneumoconiosis prevention and elimination efforts to protect workers’ health.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Coal, Energy & Fuels, Human Health & Wellness, Occupational Health0 Comments

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