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Posts Tagged ‘Health

(HEALTH) READ: New Antibodies for HIV: Fresh Hope for a Vaccine?…

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Source: TIME

www.time.com_The HIV-1 virus appears under a microscope._hiv_virus_0901_000Scientists probably know more about HIV than any other pathogen, but despite that fact, they have had frustratingly little success in applying their knowledge toward a vaccine against the virus.

Now, after more than 15 years of trial and error in the field, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) report they have discovered two powerful new antibodies to HIV, which may potentially lead to the development of a way to immunize against the virus. (See TIME’s photo essay “Access to Life.”)

While the new antibodies are not the first of the so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies that have been isolated from HIV-positive patients, they appear, at least in the lab, to be 10 times more effective at disarming the virus than earlier versions. They are also effective against a broad array of HIV strains that span nearly every continent, from Europe and North America to Asia and Africa. That would make them ideal candidates for a new vaccine — one that could actually protect people from becoming infected with HIV at all.

In a way, it’s a back-to-the-future approach. Vaccines, including many of the familiar ones that target childhood diseases such as measles and mumps, work by training the immune system to generate antibodies against a foreign bacteria or virus. Made by immune cells known as B lymphocytes, these antibodies bind to specific portions of a virus and then hamper that virus from infecting healthy cells. Eventually, the piggybacked antibody also tags the invading virus for destruction by other immune cells, known as T cells. (See TIME’s AIDS covers.)

“We looked at 162 different [HIV] viruses, and these antibodies neutralized 120 to 130 of strains from all across the world,” says Dennis Burton of Scripps, the lead author of the study, published in the Sept. 4 issue of Science. “They certainly don’t get everything. But if you are able to get 80% or more of viruses circulating out there with one single antibody, that’s terrific. That’s really, really good, considering how variable these viruses are.”

That variability has been the biggest challenge for HIV vaccinemakers. HIV mutates so rapidly once it finds a new home in an infected patient that it’s hard for researchers to keep pace and target the portions of the virus that are conserved. It was a lesson that Merck learned the hard way in 2007, when trials of its promising AIDS-vaccine candidate not only failed to protect people from acquiring HIV but in fact appeared to raise the risk of infection in inoculated people, compared with those who did not get the vaccine. (It’s not clear why Merck’s compound failed so miserably, but researchers believe it may have to do with the vector, an inactivated cold virus, that was used to ferry the immunity-triggering HIV proteins into the body; some people may have developed enough natural tolerance to the common-cold virus that their immune system did not react to it, or to the viral payload piggybacked on it, at all.) READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

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(HEALTH) READ: Aspirin Harmful for Healthy People: Study…

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Source: Newser

www.newser.com_An employee of German chemical and drug maker Bayer..._288767-6-20090831114948(Newser Summary) – Healthy people shouldn’t be taking aspirin, according to a new study. The drug doesn’t actually reduce the risk of heart attack, as many of the “worried well” have long believed, British scientists told a medical conference, but it does nearly double the risk they’ll be hospitalized with internal bleeding. Those who’ve already suffered a heart attack, however, should keep taking their aspirin, doctors said.

“Aspirin probably leads to a minor reduction in future events but the problem is that has to be weighed against an increase in bleeding,” said one of the researchers. “Some of that bleeding can be quite serious and lead to death.” For those who’ve already had a heart attack, the risk of another episode outweighs all other concerns. Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)

Kevin Spak

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm

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(TECH) READ: Cellphones Cause Brain Tumors, Says New Report By International EMF Collaborative….

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Source:

www.textually.org__mobile-phone-harmfulA new report, “Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern, Science, Spin and the Truth Behind Interphone,” was released today by a collaborative of international EMF activists. Groups affiliated with the report include Powerwatch and the Radiation Research Trust in the U.K., and in the U.S., EMR Policy Institute, ElectromagenticHealth.org and The Peoples Initiative Foundation. Download the report.

The exposé discusses research on cellphones and brain tumors and concludes:

– There is a risk of brain tumors from cellphone use;
– Telecom funded studies underestimate the risk of brain tumors, and;
– Children have larger risks than adults for brain tumors.

This report, sent to government leaders and media today, details eleven design flaws of the 13-country, Telecom-funded Interphone study. The Interphone study, begun in 1999, was intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a ‘systemic-skew’, greatly underestimating brain tumor risk.

The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones,) as ‘unexposed’; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable.  Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Posted in Health

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(READ): Extreme celebrity workouts can damage you…

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Source: Times Online

women.timesonline.co.uk_Woman looking exhausted on a piece of gym equipment_30ol-style-workout__605326aExercise and diet regimes favoured by the famous from Madonna to Elle MacPherson can do more harm than good

Thanks to several high-profile extreme exercisers, we have recently been provided with plenty of proof that Olympian-style workout regimes, far from being beneficial, can actually take their toll on health and appearance. Madonna’s arms, all sinew and veins, and Elle Macpherson’s saggy knees are both side effects of excessive exercising. Then we had the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, collapsing while out jogging. Many blamed the rigorous exercise schedule and severe diet that his wife, Carla Bruni, has encouraged him to follow. With the help of Bruni’s personal trainer, Speedy Sarko, 54, has dropped two trouser sizes in the process, but he has also dropped to the floor.

For some extremists, working out just to keep the flab at bay is no longer enough, and a growing number of people are adopting the “more is better” celebrity approach. Many workouts rival those of elite athletes in terms of frequency, intensity and duration, following the theory that greater effort equals a better return in terms of anti-ageing, disease-fighting and fat-minimising benefits. But do daily three-hour workouts really help to hold back the years? Experts warn they won’t, and claim that extreme exercise can put your health at risk.

“Some celebrities are taking their workouts to dangerous levels,” says Dan Corbett, a personal trainer at Gymbox. “They work out to the point at which their body-fat levels become so low, there are signs of muscle wastage and fatigue.” Dr Jason Gill, of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, says that unless you are a professional athlete, you should expend a maximum of 3,000 calories a week through exercise — that’s the workout equivalent of walking, running or cycling three to five miles a day. Beyond that, he says, there are no proven benefits to health. “At best, you might reach a plateau in your fitness level if you overdo things,” he says. “If you do too much exercise and decrease your calorie intake, the consequences can be more dire.”

Certainly, experts are becoming more aware of the dangers linked to overstrenuous workouts. Sarkozy’s collapse was reportedly due to “a cardiac incident”, and he is not alone. In June, a study in the American Journal of Cardiology suggested that too much vigorous exercise can increase the risk of heart problems. Dr Anthony Aizer, a cardiologist at New York University, analysed the workout habits of almost 17,000 seemingly healthy men. He found that those who exercised hard enough to break into a significant sweat five to seven days a week increased the odds of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder, by 20% compared with those who did no vigorous exercise. Runners, especially those aged 50 and under, are most at risk of the problem, which can lead to fainting, heart attacks and even strokes. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 30, 2009 at 11:59 am

Posted in Celebrities, Health

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(READ): Internet Addicts Get First U.S. Treatment Clinic…

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Source: LiveScience

internet_addictionHardcore Internet junkies now have their very own version of the Betty Ford clinic.

The Heavensfield Retreat Center, located in Fall City, Wash., claims to be the first U.S in-patient center to treat Internet, video game and texting addictions. Enrollment in the clinic’s 45-day Internet addiction recovery program, called reStart, costs roughly $14,500.

The program is designed to wean patients off the Internet by combining traditional talk therapy with social skills training, such as lessons in conversation techniques and dating. Patients also feed goats, raise chickens and do home-maintenance work as a way of getting reoriented with the offline world.   

The clinic’s first patient is a 19-year-old boy from Iowa who admitted to being hooked on the online game World of Warcraft.

While it may seem like an extreme (not to mention pricey) way to get unplugged, Stuart Fischoff, a psychologist and Senior Editor at the Journal of Media Psychology, believes the rehab approach can be helpful.

“For patients in clinical settings, exposing them to friendly animals has had very positive effects,” said Fischoff, who is not affiliated with the new clinic. “The purpose here is to get the patient to experience gratification from something that doesn’t require an Internet connection. So giving the patient someone who needs them, appreciates them and doesn’t judge them allows them to reach out to the flesh-and-blood world.” Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

Posted in Computers, Health

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(READ): Swine flu: Vaccine is safe, CDC says…

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healthSource: St. Louis Dispatch

Each year, three flu viruses are included in the seasonal flu vaccine. The swine flu strain started circulating too late in the spring to be included in the 2009 flu shot, so a separate shot was formulated. There are no signs of increased risks of side effects from the swine flu vaccine when compared to the yearly flu shot given to millions of Americans, CDC experts said.

Questions have been raised about another swine flu vaccine that in 1976 was linked to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare nervous system disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis.

Vaccine experts will be watching closely for the syndrome, but aren’t expecting the same reactions. The 2009 swine flu vaccine is different from the 1976 version in that it doesn’t use the whole virus, officials said. Today’s vaccines are essentially “cleaner,” Schuchat said.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/fit-bits/influenza/200… /

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Health

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(READ): Swine Flu May Cause 90,000 U.S. Deaths, Report Says…

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healthSource: Bloomberg

By Tom Randall

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) — Swine flu may infect half the U.S. population this year, hospitalize 1.8 million patients and lead to as many as 90,000 deaths, more than twice the number killed in a typical seasonal flu, White House advisers said.

Thirty percent to 50 percent of the country’s population will be infected in the fall and winter, according to the “plausible scenario” outlined in today’s report by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. As many as 300,000 patients may be treated in hospital intensive care units, filling 50 percent to 100 percent of the available beds, and 30,000 to 90,000 people may die, the study said.

Seasonal flu usually infects “several hundred thousand” people and kills 36,000 patients, said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The swine flu virus, also known as H1N1, causes more cases of severe illness requiring hospitalization among younger people than seasonal flu, while leaving people ages 65 and older relatively unscathed, said Mike Shaw, associate director of laboratory science at the CDC’s flu division.

“People who get infected with this strain happen to be the healthiest members of our society,” Shaw said today at a presentation at the CDC in Atlanta.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Randall in New York at trandall6@bloomberg.net;

Last Updated: August 24, 2009 15:00 EDT

Written by dnnnewshound

August 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Health

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(READ): Calls to tax junk food gain ground…

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Source: LA Times

A surcharge on cigarettes has helped curb smoking, but will the same tactic work to fight obesity?

“Sin taxes” on cigarettes have turned out to be the most effective weapon in the campaign to reduce smoking.

Why not try it on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, vanilla Coke and Twinkies?

With increasing vigor, public health experts and think tanks are calling for extra taxes on foods and drinks that are heavy in calories and light on nutrition. New York Gov. David Paterson proposed an 18% soda tax last year as a budget-balancing measure, only to abandon it three months later in the face of stiff public opposition. Lawmakers in at least five other states have gone on the record in support of the idea.

Junk food taxes are often mentioned as a way to help fund a restructuring of the healthcare system, though no one in Congress has endorsed them.

The notion is catching on with the general public, however. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found that 55% of respondents favored a tax on unhealthful snack foods, up from 52% in April. Support for a soda tax rose to 53% from 46%.

And 63% of those who opposed the idea said they would change their minds if the revenue were used to fund healthcare reform and combat health problems related to obesity.

A report this summer from the Urban Institute said such taxes are needed to ensure that rising obesity rates don’t cause the average American life expectancy to fall for the first time in history.

“We are killing 100,000 people per year, so something needs to get done,” said University of Virginia pediatric cardiologist Arthur Garson, one of the study’s authors.

Many citizens object to such “nanny state” attempts at social engineering.  Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Posted in Health

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(READ): Red Cross given access to secret U.S. detainees: report…

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Red CrossSource: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. military has begun to share with the International Committee of the Red Cross the identities of militants held in secret camps in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported on on Saturday.

Citing three unidentified military officials, the Times said the policy would give the Red Cross access to dozens of suspected terrorists and foreign fighters captured in Iraq and Afghanistan detained in Special Operations camps overseas.

The new policy took effect this month with no public announcement.

The Obama administration has been reviewing U.S. interrogation and detention practices. The Pentagon had previously maintained that providing information about these Special Operations detainees could jeopardize counterterrorism missions. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Posted in Health

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READ: Cocaine traces on 90 percent of U.S. money…

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moneySource: UPI

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Cocaine is present in up to 90 percent of paper money in the United States and it may be related to the economic downturn, U.S. researchers said.

 

Study leader Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth tested banknotes from more than 30 cities in five countries and found the United States and Canada had the highest contamination rates, with an average of between 85 percent and 90 percent. China and Japan had the lowest, between 12 percent and 20 percent contamination, Zuo said. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 16, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Posted in Drugs

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READ: More women wait to start families

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healthSource: USATODAY

Women in the USA and around the world are waiting longer to start families, shows a new federal report released Wednesday. The average age of new moms was 25 in the USA and 29 in other developed countries such as Japan and Switzerland, it says.The report from the National Center for Health Statistics, shows that on average, new U.S. moms were the youngest of 14 countries reviewed, for both years studied: 21.4 in 1970 and 25.0 in 2006.

 

WORLDWIDE: Out-of-wedlock births on the riseBABY BUST? U.S. births fell 2% in ’08 recession

 

The reason the average age is younger in the USA than those other countries? The USA’s teen birth rate is much higher, says report co-author T.J. Mathews.

 

“If our teen birth rate would decline to rates of the other countries, then our average age at first birth would increase to similar territory,” he says. “Overall, we’re being driven by all those births to teens.” Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 15, 2009 at 7:22 pm

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READ: Cancer deaths declining, especially among young

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healthSource: USATODAY

By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Cancer death rates are declining, especially among younger people, new research shows. And while cancer is poised to become the number one killer in the United States, topping heart disease, that is because deaths from heart disease have decreased faster than for cancer. STUDY: Aspirin lowers risk of death from colorectal cancer READER FORUM: Living with Cancer PAW PRINT POST: Survivor’s husband, dog both lost to cancer “Older Americans have only experienced decreased [cancer] mortality very recently, but younger Americans have been seeing benefits for a long time so, as a result, everyone born in the last 60 years has been reaping the benefits of efforts in prevention research and treatment research and early detection research,” said Dr. Eric Kort, lead author of a study appearing in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research. Kort, a pediatrics resident at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., completed the study while a research scientist at the Van Andel Research Institute, also in Grand Rapids. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm

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READ: From Plague to Leprosy: 7 Diseases We’d Forgotten About

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Source: ABC (ugh! I’m desperate what can I say)

The bubonic plague, leprosy and polio are thought of as diseases of the past — things that might have had a part in history, but aren’t around to infect us any longer.

disease

Infectious influenza (H1N1) caused millions of deaths as a pandemic in 1918, but is also the source of the current swine flu pandemic.

(/ABC News)

But a recent incident in China, where a town was quarantined for 10 days after three people died of a variant of bubonic plague, was just one of many reminders that these diseases have not vanished from the face of the earth.

While many think of these diseases as completely eradicated — and they occur far less frequently than they used to in the United States — they have managed to hang on.

“The microbes have hopes, dreams and aspirations just like human beings. In their case, it’s to infect other people,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a pediatrician and medical historian at the University of Michigan. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Health

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