Tag Archives | Disease

If HIV Was In Monkeys For Years, Why Didn’t We Get It?

CampbellMonkeyNeil Katz poses the question for CBS News:

The precursor to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, may be older than you think. Way older.

According to new research, simian immunodeficiency virus (S.I.V.) has been in monkeys for millennia, potentially putting humans at risk for the last 32,000 years and possibly much longer.

And yet, for all that time, humans didn’t get sick in mass. Only in the 20th century did H.I.V. become a global scourge that has claimed 25 million lives.

Why?

According to the New York Times, for as long as monkeys have had S.I.V., humans who have butchered them have put themselves at risk of infection from a mutated form. But because the infected people in Africa were fairly isolated, the chances for an epidemic were small. That changed, some theorize, with the explosive growth of African cities and wide spread use of cheap syringes.

But the reality is, no one really knows for sure.

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Vitamin B Supplement Can Revolutionize Treatment Of Brain Disease

Photo: Ragesoss (CC)

Photo: Ragesoss (CC)

Vitamin B tablets could slow and even halt the devastating march of Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly, according to a breakthrough British study reported in the Telegraph:

The research showed that large doses of the supplement could halve the rate of brain shrinkage – a physical symptom associated memory loss and dementia in the elderly.

The effects were so dramatic that the scientists behind the work believe it could revolutionise the treatment of the disease.

Brain shrinkage or atrophy is a natural part of ageing but it is known to be accelerated in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – a kind of memory loss and forgetfulness – and Alzheimer’s. Scientists at the University of Oxford conducted a trial on 168 people and found that taking high doses of three vitamin B supplements every day reduced brain shrinkage associated with dementia by up to 53 per cent.

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A Cure For HIV And AIDS

A cure may not be so far from reality, as reported by ABC News:

For years, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) researchers have shied away from the whole notion of a cure, largely because evidence showed the virus can persist even under intensive treatment.

But now, they are — tentatively — expressing a renewed interest in the idea.

That interest is sparked by clinical data showing an apparent cure in a single case and some technical advances that make it easier to track very low levels of HIV infection, experts said at the International AIDS Conference here.

But progress is hampered by lack of money for research in the field and by what one prominent researcher called “fundamental gaps” in the understanding of how HIV and the human body interact…

[continues at ABC News]… Read the rest

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Controversial ‘Right-To-Die’ Billboards On New Jersey Roads

This billboard on Route 22 in Hillside, N.J., has many people up in arms. Courtesy CBS

This billboard on Route 22 in Hillside, N.J., has many people up in arms. Courtesy CBS

Let’s hope that people who agree with the message don’t decide to act on it while driving… Report from CBS:

The message on a billboard in New Jersey is stirring up a lot of controversy.

It centers on whether a person suffering from a painful disease has the right to take his or her own life.

The billboard looms over a busy section of Route 22 in Hillside, facing the eastbound lanes. Some drivers said they are confused by the message.

“My Life My Death My Choice. So what does that mean?” Hillside resident Steve Leo said.

The Final Exit Network paid for the advertisement that reads “My Life My Death My Choice” and offers a website. The national non-profit group said it provides guidance to adults who suffer from illnesses that are so painful that they want to end their lives.

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Choosing Healthy Foods Now Called A Mental Disorder

PepperseggplantsBy Mike Adams for Natural News:

In its never-ending attempt to fabricate “mental disorders” out of every human activity, the psychiatric industry is now pushing the most ridiculous disease they’ve invented yet: Healthy eating disorder.

This is no joke: If you focus on eating healthy foods, you’re “mentally diseased” and probably need some sort of chemical treatment involving powerful psychotropic drugs. The Guardian newspaper reports, “Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder” and goes on to claim this “disease” is called orthorexia nervosa — which is basically just Latin for “nervous about correct eating.”

But they can’t just called it “nervous healthy eating disorder” because that doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. So they translate it into Latin where it sounds smart (even though it isn’t). That’s where most disease names come from: Doctors just describe the symptoms they see with a name like osteoporosis (which means “bones with holes in them”).

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Killer Fungus Spreading In U.S. & Canada

Amanda Gardner reports on the deadly fungus for CNN:

A rare but life-threatening tropical fungus that causes lung infections in both people and animals has been seen in the Pacific Northwest and could spread, researchers are reporting.

The fungus, known as Cryptococcus gattii (or C. gattii), has infected dozens of humans and animals–including cats, dogs, and dolphins–in Washington and Oregon in the past five years. While rare, the fungus has been lethal in about 25 percent of the people in the U.S. who have developed infections, according to Edmond Byrnes III, a doctoral student in molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University and one of the lead authors of a new study about the fungus.

In the study, Byrnes and his colleagues analyzed 18 cases in people and 21 in animals that occurred in the U.S. between 2005 and 2009.

The symptoms of infection include chest pain, a persistent cough, shortness of breath, fever, and weight loss.

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Looking at Sick People Gives Your Immune System a Boost

Sick Person

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov (CC)

Start here. Erica Ho writes on Lifehacker:

According to a University of British Columbia study, looking at sick people can boost your immune system. (Hanging around them does not.) That means you’re better equipped to fight a cold after merely looking at the picture in this post. (You’re welcome!)

In the study, young adults were asked to watch a 10-minute slide show containing a series of unpleasant photographs. Some pictures included people who looked obviously ill in some way.

The subjects’ blood samples were then tested for levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a substance produced by the immune system that indicates your immune system is ramping up to more aggressively fight infection.

As a control, pictures of people brandishing guns were also used on some participants—and they barely resulted in a significant increase in IL-6 production, signifying that IL-6 production is not simply a reaction to stress.

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Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators

MosquitoesThanks scientists for taking mosquitoes from an “annoying” level to now a plot line for a super-villain. Martin Enserink writes on ScienceNOW:

Here’s a study to file under “unworkable but very cool.” A group of Japanese researchers has developed a mosquito that spreads vaccine instead of disease. Even the researchers admit, however, that regulatory and ethical problems will prevent the critters from ever taking wing — at least for the delivery of human vaccines.

Scientists have dreamed up various ways to tinker with insects’ DNA to fight disease. One option is to create strains of mosquitoes that are resistant to infections with parasites or viruses, or that are unable to pass the pathogens on to humans. These would somehow have to replace the natural, disease-bearing mosquitoes, which is a tall order. Another strategy closer to becoming reality is to release transgenic mosquitoes that, when they mate with wild-type counterparts, don’t produce viable offspring.

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Skin Cells Turned Directly Into Neurons

By Clive Cookson for the Financial Times:

Stem cell scientists at Stanford University in California announced “a huge step forward” last night, with the publication of research that turned skin into nerve cells without any intermediate step.

The production of neurons [nerve cells] directly from other adult cells, without making stem cells en route, could transform “regenerative medicine” – providing a plentiful supply of neurons for treating people with degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or those with spinal injuries.

“We actively and directly induced one cell type to become a completely different cell type,” said Marius Wernig of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “These are fully functional neurons. They can do all the principal things that neurons in the brain do.”…

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Nitrates From Processed Foods and Fertilizers in Water Cause Alzheimer’s, Diabetes

Not much of a surprise is it? Add nitrates to your food or your water: say hello to disease. As reported in Medical News Today:

A new study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food, with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson’s. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Volume 17:3 July 2009).

Led by Suzanne de la Monte, MD, MPH, of Rhode Island Hospital, researchers studied the trends in mortality rates due to diseases that are associated with aging, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and cerebrovascular disease, as well as HIV. They found strong parallels between age adjusted increases in death rate from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes and the progressive increases in human exposure to nitrates, nitrites and nitrosamines through processed and preserved foods as well as fertilizers.

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