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July 26, 2006, 4:49 PM CT

Keeping Babies From Deadly Infections

Keeping Babies From Deadly Infections
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new test studied at the University of Florida that could lead to better screening for the most common cause of infection in newborn babies.

Passed from mother to child during birth, group B streptococcus can cause sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, neurological damage and, in a small percentage of newborns, even death.

Eventhough all women are tested for group B streptococcus during pregnancy, current screening methods can leave some babies at risk for contracting an infection from the bacterium. But the new test, which UF scientists studied for several months as part of a clinical trial, allows health-care workers to quickly screen mothers during labor, improving the odds that babies will receive preventive care so they will not be infected during delivery.

"Without any intervention, (group B strep) is the most common cause of early-onset infection in newborns," said Rodney Edwards, M.D., a UF assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Medicine who led the clinical trial at UF, one of six sites to study the test. "It can cause sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. The likelihood of dying if you are a newborn is 5 percent. (With meningitis) even if the baby makes it through the infection there is a chance of cerebral palsy and cognitive delay".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Unlocking the Deadliest Malaria Parasite

Unlocking the Deadliest Malaria Parasite
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have leveraged the results of their research into tuberculosis to craft a tool for unlocking the secrets of another of the world's leading infectious killers-malaria.

These findings, reported in the recent issue of Nature Methods, "should substantially speed up research efforts to bring malaria under control," says Dr. David Fidock, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of microbiology & immunology at Einstein.

Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite, Plasmodium, which is transmitted through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. The disease kills an estimated 1.2 million people every year.

The Einstein researchers focused on the most deadly Plasmodium strain-P. falciparum-which is proving increasingly resistant to therapy. Their research has led to the first efficient technique for inserting any gene of interest into the P. falciparum genome to gain biological information that could lead to more effective therapys.

"This opens up a whole new window into the genetic manipulation of this lethal parasite," says Dr. William Jacobs, Jr., who is a Howard Hughes investigator and professor of molecular genetics and microbiology & immunology at Einstein and a major author of the Nature Methods paper. "Malaria scientists finally have an efficient way to shuffle genes into P. falciparum, which should lead to valuable information about the parasite's virulence, how it's transmitted from mosquito to humans and how it develops resistance to antimalarial drugs".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 7, 2006, 7:40 AM CT

Statins stop hepatitis C virus

Statins stop hepatitis C virus
A new study shows that statins, which are typically used as anti-cholesterol medications, can inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). They could replace ribavirin in combination treatment with interferon. These findings appear in the July 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

Currently, 170 million people worldwide are infected with HCV. The standard therapy is a combination treatment of interferon and ribavirin, which is only effective in about 55 percent of patients. The remaining 45 percent face a threat of the disease progressing to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Based on recent reports that one statin, lovastatin, inhibits HCV replication, scientists led by Masanori Ikeda of Okayama University in Japan, tested other statins in search of a more effective anti-HCV treatment.

Using the OR6 cell culture assay system, they evaluated the anti-HCV activities of five statins: atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin. When the statins were tested alone, all except pravastatin inhibited HCV replication. Fluvastatin had the strongest effect. Atorvastatin and simvastatin had moderate effects while lovastatin had a weak effect. While pravastatin exhibited no anti-HCV activity, it did work as an inhibitor for HMG-CoA reductase, suggesting that the anti-HCV activities of the other stains are not due to the direct inhibition of HMG-CoA.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:45 AM CT

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine
A clinical trial to test an influenza vaccine manufactured in Australia begins this month at Duke University Medical Center.

The Duke study is part of a multi-center trial that will test the immune response and reactions of people given the vaccine. CSL Limited, the company manufacturing the vaccine, has been making flu vaccines for nearly 40 years. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

In 2004, nearly half of the normal supply of seasonal influenza vaccine in the United States was unavailable when one of two manufacturers of FDA-licensed flu vaccine had to withdraw its product due to safety concerns. This event highlighted the need for a greater number of manufacturers to make their influenza vaccine available in the United States.

"We need to ensure more secure supplies of influenza vaccine," said Emmanuel Walter, M.D., associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute's Primary Care Research Consortium and leader of the Duke study.

Trial participants will receive varying strengths of the vaccine. Volunteers will be randomly assigned to different groups, either receiving one of four formulations of the vaccine or a placebo. As with current flu vaccines given yearly in the U.S., the Australian vaccine causes the body's immune system to make antibodies to fight infection, Walter said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens
Biotechnology company Biosignal Ltd and the Institute for Eye Research have received ethics approval for the first human clinical trial of an antibacterial extended-wear contact lens.

The ASX-listed company commercialises a novel anti-bacterial technology identified by UNSW scientists at the Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bioinnovation.

The trial beginning on June 29 will compare the safety performance of an antibacterial contact lens to that of a standard contact lens.

The comparison involving ten people will evaluate eye health, lens performance on the eye and wearers' subjective responses. Biosignal will announce the trial's results to the market in July.

"Adverse events caused by microbial contamination of contact lenses are a major impediment to more convenient, extended wear of contact lenses," says UNSW Professor Mark Willcox, who will supervise the trial. "This trial is the first significant step towards overcoming this significant problem".

Acute red eye occurs in 20 percent per year of the estimated 100 million wearers of contact lenses worldwide. Microbial keratitis, a serous eye disease that can cause blindness, occurs in one in 500 contact lens wearers per year if they sleep in lenses. There is currently no antibacterial contact lens in the market.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


June 21, 2006, 10:14 PM CT

First Herpes Vaccine Under Study

First Herpes Vaccine Under Study
The first vaccine for genital herpes, a contagious infection affecting nearly one in five Americans, is under study in women.

The Medical College of Georgia is among study sites in 28 states studying the vaccine in approximately 7,500 women age 18 to 30 who have not been exposed to herpes simplex type 2, the cause of the genital infection, or herpes simplex type 1, which causes common fever blisters.

"It's very debilitating, not only physically, but emotionally," says Dr. Daron G. Ferris, family medicine physician, director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center and a principal investigator. "We hope this vaccine can help women avoid this lifelong infection".

Prior research, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the vaccine works best in women who had not been exposed to either herpes strain and that it was not effective in men.

Antiviral agents on the market suppress outbreaks of the virus but don't stop disease transmission, Dr. Ferris says. "There is no cure for herpes. People do shed herpes asymptomatically so, even if they do not have an outbreak, they can share herpes, for example, in vaginal secretions or urine".

While the infection can be a lifelong, life-changing problem for adults, it can be deadly for babies, he says. Babies are delivered by Caesarean section if the mother is known to have an active type 2 herpes infection.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld
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We are looking for quality news items that would be interesting to our readers. Now you may suggest the news item from your site to be included at Medicineworld.org. Inclusion of news item at our site get instantaneous attention since the item is illustrated from various blog posts. Addition of pictures to the item adds additional attraction to your news item. Inclusion in the Medicineworld.org site brings quality links and visitors to your site.

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


June 18, 2006, 11:08 AM CT

New Drug Target In Tuberculosis

New Drug Target In Tuberculosis Ribbon representation of the structure of the M. tuberculosis protein LipB with bound lipid inhibitor.
Image: Qingjun Ma, EMBL Hamburg
Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest threats to public health. Every year 2 million people die of the disease, which is caused by the microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Roughly one third of the world's population is infected and more and more bacterial strains have developed resistance to drugs. Scientists from the Hamburg Outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB) in Berlin have now obtained a structural image of a protein that the bacterium needs for survival in human cells. This image reveals features of the molecule that could be targeted by new antibiotic drugs. The results appear in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS online, 29 May 2006).

M. tuberculosis is dangerous because it hides and persists in the immune cells of our bodies. "It can only persist there because of the activity of key molecules," says Matthias Wilmanns, Head of EMBL Hamburg. "We are investigating the functions of tuberculosis proteins and determining their atomic structures, in hopes of finding weak points and new inhibitors".

A protein called LipB is essential for the organism because it activates cellular machines that drive the bacterium's metabolism. Stefan Kaufmann's department at the MPIIB has specialized in the biology of M. tuberculosis infection and its ability to survive in immune cells. They discovered that LipB is highly active in acutely infected cells, especially in patients infected by multidrug-resistant forms of M. tuberculosis.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 16, 2006, 0:06 AM CT

HIV-1's High Virulence Might Be An Accident Of Evolution

HIV-1's High Virulence Might Be An Accident Of Evolution
The virulence characteristic of HIV-1--the virus predominantly responsible for human AIDS--might amount to an accident of evolution, new evidence reveals. A gene function lost during the course of viral evolution predisposed HIV-1 to spur the fatal immune system failures that are the hallmarks of AIDS, scientists report in the June 16, 2006 Cell.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981, as per The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS. In 2005, an estimated 4.1 million were newly infected with the virus. While infection with related strains of "simian immunodeficiency virus" (SIV) is similarly rampant among a number of species of monkeys, naturally infected nonhuman primates commonly don't suffer the symptoms associated with AIDS. The evidence now revealed by an international team of scientists is the first to offer an explanation for this striking difference.

The group found that a viral protein earlier shown to help the virus evade the immune system, thereby allowing the SIVs that infect monkeys to persist and multiply with high efficiency, also has a protective role in the host immune system. The viral Nef protein ratchets down the activation of critical agents of immunity called T cells following SIV infection, thereby limiting the detrimental effects otherwise caused by chronically strong immune activation.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 12, 2006, 11:50 PM CT

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered part of the reason why cold sores, caused by a herpes virus, come back again and again. The new study, published online last month in Nature, points to a small RNA molecule, called a microRNA (miRNA) as the culprit that keeps the latent virus-infected cell alive. These findings could one day lead to a new way to fight the virus and offers the first target for intervention in the latent infection.

A research team led by Nigel W. Fraser, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, has found that herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores and ocular keratitis, produces an miRNA molecule. This miRNA is encoded by the Latency-Associated Transcript gene (LAT) in the viral genome and works through a process called RNA interference to prevent normal cell death or apoptosis. Thus, the latent viral infection is maintained for the lifetime of the individual because the latently infected cell does not die.

"Eventhough miRNAs encoded by cellular genes are known to be an important mechanism for controlling gene expression, this is one of the first miRNA found to be encoded by a viral genome," says Fraser. "Our study helps show how HSV-1 can maintain a latent infection for the lifetime of an infected individual."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         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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