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Archives Of Infectious Disease Blog From Medicineworld.Org


October 30, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Technology For Early Detection Of Viruses

Technology For Early Detection Of Viruses
Edward Yeung, an Iowa State Distinguished Professor and the Robert Allen Wright Chair in Chemistry at Iowa State and senior chemist and deputy program director for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory
Iowa State University scientists have developed a technology that detects a single molecule of the virus linked to cervical cancer in women.

That's a significant improvement over the current test for the human papillomavirus, said Edward Yeung, an Iowa State Distinguished Professor and the Robert Allen Wright Chair in Chemistry who led the research team that developed the new test. The current test, the Nobel Prize-winning polymerase chain reaction technique, requires 10 to 50 virus molecules for detection.

"We are always interested in detecting smaller and smaller amounts of material at lower and lower concentrations," Yeung said. "Detecting lower levels means earlier diagnosis".

The discovery by Yeung, who's also a senior chemist and deputy program director for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory at Iowa State; Jiangwei Li, an Iowa State doctoral student; and Ji-Young Lee, a former Iowa State doctoral student; would be reported in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Their work was funded by a five-year, $950,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health with additional support from The Robert Allen Wright Endowment for Excellence at Iowa State.

The project advanced just as human papillomavirus made national headlines. In June of 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, premalignant lesions and genital warts caused by four types of the virus. The vaccine has been approved for females ages 9 to 26.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 25, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

How Diseases Jump Across Species

How Diseases Jump Across Species
Scientists at the University of Leeds have made a breakthrough in understanding a virus which poses one of the greatest global disease threats to wild carnivores including lions, African wild dogs and several types of seal.

The discovery of how canine distemper Virus (CDV) jumps across and infects different species of carnivores could lead to a more effective monitoring and control of the virus.

Whilst these 'pathogen jumps' across species are quite common, very little is known about the process of how viruses takes hold and become established in new host species.

CDV is passed through close contact from domestic and feral dogs causing epidemics that often result in mass mortalities - and is pushing some species to the brink of extinction (2).

"The virus needs to bind to a specific receptor on cells in the host in order to infect it," explains lead researcher, PhD student Alex McCarthy, from the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences. "But the sequences of receptors vary between species, so a virus from one species shouldn't be able recognise and infect the cells of other species".

By analysing the virus' genetic sequence in both dog and wild carnivore species, the research team were able to prove that two key parts of a CDV protein specifically involved in receptor recognition had evolved during the host jumps, where as the rest of the protein showed very few changes among viruses from different species.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 25, 2007, 10:16 PM CT

HIV patients sicker when seeking care

HIV patients sicker when seeking care
It was hoped that as HIV therapy improved and as HIV-related public health initiatives encouraged people to be tested for the disease and seek care, that HIV-infected patients would seek care quickly. Unfortunately, a new study indicates that patients are actually sicker when they begin treatment. The study is reported in the November 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

The study, carried out in Baltimore, MD, from 1990 through 2006, shows that HIV patients beginning HIV treatment have trended toward increasing levels of immunocompromise. This is probably an indicator that people are getting tested for HIV later after theyve contracted the disease than in the past. Also, people in several key demographic groups are not any quicker now to seek care than they were in the past and some are even taking longer.

HIV is a disease that is most effectively treated if caught early in the course of the illness. Early therapy also helps to limit the spread of the virus from one person to another. For these reasons, HIV services in the United States have evolved over time to encourage people to be tested for HIV and seek therapy if infected.

The researchers, Jeanne Keruly, MS and Richard Moore, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, analyzed data from over 3,300 patients seeking HIV care from the Johns Hopkins HIV service. The data were examined both as a whole and as demographic subsets including gender, race, injecting drug use, men who have sex with men, and heterosexuals. They looked at the amount of time between a patients diagnosis of HIV and the time when that person first sought care; and they looked at the patients immune status at the time of first care. Ideally, they would have found trends that showed a decrease in the time between diagnosis and therapy and an increase in the immune status.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 23, 2007, 10:21 PM CT

Link between obesity and viral infections

Link between obesity and viral infections
Experts dont dispute the important role that diet and activity play in maintaining a healthy weight. But can poor eating habits and a less active lifestyle fully explain the prevalence of obesity in the United States today? That question has led some scientists to ask whether there might be other causes for this serious problem. In the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researcher Richard Atkinson, M.D., asserts that there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that viruses may play a role in causing obesity in humans.

The cause of obesity is not a secret -- if you consume more calories than you burn in daily activity, you gain weight. What is interesting is that much of the obesity epidemic cannot be explained just by Americans eating more and exercising less. There are other factors at play, and viruses causing obesity may be one of them, say Dr. Atkinson.

Dr. Atkinson, director of Obetech Obesity Research Center in Richmond, Va., evaluated multiple published articles that demonstrate a correlation between viral infections and obesity. His article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings discusses five animal viruses and three human viruses that have been shown to cause obesity in laboratory studies.

As per Dr. Atkinson, several studies offer ample evidence that animals infected with certain human viruses experience excess weight gain and fat storage. When scientists infected animal subjects with a human virus known as Human Ad-36, they reported measurable increases in the infected animals body fat and the visceral fat that surrounds the organs deep within the belly. In addition, studies also demonstrated that infection with Ad-36 and the resulting weight gain could be transmitted from infected animals to uninfected animals.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 16, 2007, 7:21 PM CT

Ear infection superbug resistant to all pediatric antibiotics

Ear infection superbug resistant to all pediatric antibiotics
Scientists have discovered a strain of bacteria resistant to all approved drugs used to fight ear infections in children, as per an article would be published tomorrow in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). A pair of pediatricians discovered the strain because it is their standard practice to perform an uncommon procedure called tympanocentesis (ear tap) on children when several antibiotics fail to clear up their ear infections. The procedure involves puncturing the childs eardrum and draining fluid to relieve pressure and pain. Analyzing the drained fluid is the only way to describe the bacterial strain causing the infection.

Even after the ear tap and additional rounds of antibiotics, infections persisted in a small group of children in a Rochester, New York, pediatric practice, leading to ear tube surgery and, in one case, to permanent hearing loss. The physicians realized they may be dealing with a superbug and tested the children's ear tap fluid at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The tests showed that the superbug, called the 19A strain, could be killed only by an antibiotic (levofloxacin, Levaquin) approved for adults that had a warning in its label against use in children. With no other choice, they treated the children with crushed, adult-approved pills, and it worked.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 9:45 PM CT

Swimming Babies And Infections

Swimming Babies And Infections
Photo: Immanuel Giel
Researchers of the GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health (Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) found indications for an association between attendance of swimming pools in the first year of life and the frequency of infections. Diarrhoea and otitis media during the first year of life are particularly noteworthy. No increased risks were found for atopic diseases during the first six years.

"In this way, the study shows that allowing babies to swim is possibly not as harmless with regard to infections as has been presumed till now," underlines Dr. Joachim Heinrich. He leads the research unit environmental epidemiology at the GSF Institute for Epidemiology.

Prof. Dr. Dr. H. Erich Wichmann, Director of the GSF Institute of Epidemiology, adds: "This is a first indication. Nevertheless, it requires other evidence to be able to achieve consequential results whether the water quality in German swimming-pools protects sufficiently against infections in infants, and, in particular, against gastro-intestinal infections".

Within the scope of the LISA study, a cohort study conducted from birth, 2,191 children were re-examined at age 6. Furthermore, the data of swimming-pool attendances during infancy were collated, while further data on children's health and life-style factors was collected by parental interviews.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 9:13 PM CT

How Candida albicans transforms from its life-threatening form

How Candida albicans transforms from its life-threatening form
Image courtesy of http://www.chuv.ch/
Researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have discovered new molecular mechanisms that provide a more detailed understanding of how the normally non-cancerous Dr. Jekyll-like fungus known as Candida albicans transforms into a serious and often life-threatening Mr. Hyde-like form.

C. albicans can cause serious and potentially life-threatening infections in the mouth, blood and other tissues of people who are undergoing cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatments, or who have developed AIDS or other diseases that damage the immunity of the individual.

In two separate papers published last month in Developmental Cell and in August in the EMBO journal, the team of scientists led by Wang Yue, principal investigator at IMCB, have managed to reveal previously unknown mechanisms which are responsible for causing the infectious phase of C. albicans.

The fungus starts its 'attack' on a patient by changing its oval shape into a filamentous form, which has thin, threadlike appendages emerging from the cell body. Wang's team, who has been studying C. albicans for more than seven years, was responsible for identifying the master "controller" protein called Hgc1 in 20041.

This "controller" functions like a regulator and tells the fungus when to start the transformation from the harmless oval shape to the infectious filamentous form.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 5:11 AM CT

Fu vaccination for health-care workers

Fu vaccination for health-care workers
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that an annual influenza vaccine should be mandatory for every health care worker with direct patient care activities.

Only 36 percent of all health care workers are immunized against influenza each year. Transmission of influenza from health care workers to patients has been documented in nearly every health care setting, and multiple studies show that 70 percent or more of health care workers continue to work despite being ill with influenza, increasing exposure of patients and co-workers.

"Immunizing health care workers safely and effectively prevents a significant number of influenza infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among the patients they care for, as well as preventing workplace disruption and medical errors by workers absent from work due to illness, or present at work but ill," said Vincenza Snow, MD, FACP, Director, Clinical Programs and Quality of Care at ACP.

Every year, flu infects up to 20 percent of the population, causes the hospitalization of about 200,000 people, and kills 36,000.

Major professional medical societies have endorsed and published recommendations requiring health care workers with direct patient care to be immunized, unless they sign an informed declination. ACP encourages organizations to establish an annual influenza vaccination program, educate staff and physicians about flu vaccination, evaluate vaccination rates and reasons for nonparticipation in the immunization program at the unit level, and implement enhancements to the program to increase participation.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:24 PM CT

Infections increasing in frequency and cost

Infections increasing in frequency and cost
A new review of inpatient data from US hospitals shows that the number of infections caused by a common bacterium increased by over 7 percent each year from 1998 to 2003. The attendant economic burden to hospitals increased by nearly 12 percent annually. The research is reported in the November 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Staphylococcus aureus (also known as staph) is a significant cause of a wide range of infectious diseases in humans, ranging from minor skin infections to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. In 1998, US hospitals reported a little more than a quarter-million staph infections and slightly over 7 percent of those patients died. By the final year of this study, 2003, hospitals reported nearly 390,000 infections, representing 1 percent of that years inpatient stays.

The authors suggest one possible reason for the increase in infections is the documented increase of a especially dangerous type of antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). A more non-malignant possibility is that doctors and hospitals have improved their infection detection and reporting practices.

The good news is that the staph-related in-hospital mortality rate dropped by almost 5 percent each year. The decrease in the in-hospital mortality risk may be due to the introduction of more stringent infection control programs or due to appropriate early therapy of MRSA infections with an effective antibiotic, the authors write.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:47 PM CT

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants
The soy isoflavone genistin--at concentrations present in soy infant formula-- may reduce a babys susceptibility to rotavirus infections by as much as 74 percent, as per a University of Illinois study published in Septembers Journal of Nutrition.

Rotavirus is the primary cause of diarrhea in infants, affecting virtually all children before age five. In the United States, it mainly leads to dehydration, doctors visits, and parents missing work to care for sick children. In developing countries, though, rotavirus causes approximately 611,000 deaths each year, said Sharon Donovan, the Melissa M. Noel Professor of Nutrition at the U of I.

Eventhough rotavirus vaccines have recently become available, they are expensive and cannot be given to some infants, she said.

Its exciting to believe that the isoflavones in soy formula could be a cost-effective nutritional approach to decreasing the incidence and severity of rotavirus infections, particularly among children in developing countries who are most at risk, said the scientist of her work with doctoral candidate Aline Andres, who conducted the experiments.

In the study, cells in culture were exposed to rotavirus in the absence or presence of soy isoflavones, biologically active compounds in soy that are thought to have health benefits. Soy contains many different forms of isoflavones, and all were tested individually and as the complete mixture present in infant formula.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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