Vitamin D may be more effective than masks and distancing combined for COVID ?

Vitamin D may be more effective than masks and distancing combined for COVID ?

In patients older than 40 years they observed that those patients who were vitamin D sufficient were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the infection compared to patients who were vitamin D deficient or insufficient with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 30 ng/mL.

Holick, who most recently published a study which found that a sufficient amount of vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus by 54 percent, believes that being vitamin D sufficient helps to fight consequences from being infected not only with the corona virus but also other viruses causing upper respiratory tract illnesses including influenza. “There is great concern that the combination of an influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalizations and death due to complications from these viral infections.”

#covid19 #sarscov2 #vitaminD

Kaufman HW, Niles JK, Kroll MH, Bi C, Holick MF (2020) SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. PLOS ONE 15(9): e0239252. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239252

COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Rate Questions

COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Rate Questions

Person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred between two people with prolonged, unprotected exposure while the first patient was symptomatic. Despite active monitoring and testing of 372 contacts of both cases, no further transmission was detected

The RKI added: ‘We don’t consider post-mortem tests to be a decisive factor.

‘We work on the principle that patients are tested before they die.’

But this means that if a person dies in quarantine at home and does not go to hospital, there is a high chance they will not be included in the statistics, as Giovanni Maga of Italy’s National Research Council pointed out in an interview with Euronews

First known person-to-person transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the USA. The Lancet, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30607-3

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30607-3/fulltext

COVID-19 and the Risk to Health Care Workers: A Case Report

Published: Ann Intern Med. 2020. DOI: 10.7326/L20-0175

https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2763329/covid-19-risk-health-care-workers-case-report

cov19, covid19, sarscov2, SARS-CoV-2 test, SARS-CoV-2, infection, risk, contagion, pathogenicity, pathogen, mortality, diagnosis, data collection, covid-19, statistics, mutagenesis, data, protection, Health care workers, person-to-person transmission, transmission

Zinc greatly protects against bacterial pneumonia

Zinc greatly protects against bacterial pneumonia

Zinc greatly protects against bacterial pneumonia

They found that mice with lower zinc intake succumbed to infection up to three times faster because their immune systems had insufficient zinc to aid in killing the bacteria.

Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Jacqueline R. Morey, Stephanie L. Neville, Aimee Tan, Victoria G. Pederick, Nerida Cole, Prashina P. Singh, Cheryl-Lynn Y. Ong, Raquel Gonzalez de Vega, David Clases, Bliss A. Cunningham, Catherine E. Hughes, Iain Comerford, Erin B. Brazel, Jonathan J. Whittall, Charles D. Plumptre, Shaun R. McColl, James C. Paton, Alastair G. McEwan, Philip A. Doble, Christopher A. McDevitt. Dietary zinc and the control of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. PLOS Pathogens, 2019; 15 (8): e1007957 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007957

#zinc #pneumonia # Streptococcuspneumoniae

https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1007957

NIH study finds probiotic Bacillus eliminates Staphylococcus bacteria

NIH study finds probiotic Bacillus eliminates Staphylococcus bacteria

NIH study finds probiotic Bacillus eliminates Staphylococcus bacteria

A new study from National Institutes of Health scientists and their Thai colleagues shows that a “good” bacterium commonly found in probiotic digestive supplements helps eliminate Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that can cause serious antibiotic-resistant infections.

Pipat Piewngam, Yue Zheng, Thuan H. Nguyen, Seth W. Dickey, Hwang-Soo Joo, Amer E. Villaruz, Kyle A. Glose, Emilie L. Fisher, Rachelle L. Hunt, Barry Li, Janice Chiou, Sujiraphong Pharkjaksu, Sunisa Khongthong, Gordon Y. C. Cheung, Pattarachai Kiratisin & Michael Otto, Pathogen elimination by probiotic Bacillus via signaling interference. Nature DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0616-y (2018).

Bacillus lipopeptides, MRSA, Staphylococcus aureus, fengycins, B. subtilis, Bacillus subtilis, infection, treatment, prevention, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,

Infections increase risk of mood disorders

Contact: Michael Eriksen Benrós benros@ncrr.dk 45-26-25-52-39 Aarhus University

New research shows that every third person who is diagnosed for the first time with a mood disorder has been admitted to hospital with an infection prior to the diagnosis

New research shows that every third person who is diagnosed for the first time with a mood disorder has been admitted to hospital with an infection prior to the diagnosis. The study is the largest of its kind to date to show a clear correlation between infection levels and the risk of developing mood disorders.

Anyone can suffer from an infection, for example in their stomach, urinary tract or skin. It would now appear that their distress does not necessarily end once the infection has been treated. A new PhD project shows that many people subsequently suffer from a mood disorder:

“Our study shows that the risk of developing a mood disorder increases by 62% for patients who have been admitted to hospital with an infection.  In other words, it looks as though the immune system is somehow involved in the development of mood disorders,” says Michael Eriksen Benrós, MD and PhD from Aarhus University and Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen.

He is behind the study together with researchers from Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen as well as The Johns Hopkins University in the USA.

Three million Danes included

The study is a register study, which has involved following more than 3 million Danes. Between 1977 and 2010, more than 91,000 of these people had hospital contact in connection with a mood disorder.  It transpired that 32% of the patients had previously been admitted with an infectious disease, while 5% had been admitted with an autoimmune disease.

According to Michael Eriksen Benrós, the increased risk of mood disorders can be explained by the fact that infections affect the brain:

“Normally, the brain is protected by the so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB), but in the case of infections and inflammation, new research has shown that the brain can be affected on account of a more permeable BBB.”

“We can see that the brain is affected, whichever type of infection or autoimmune disease it is. Therefore, it is naturally important that more research is conducted into the mechanisms which lie behind the connection between the immune system and mood disorders,” says Michael Eriksen Benrós.   He hopes that knowing more about this connection will help to prevent mood disorders and improve future treatment.

Facts

  • 3.56 million Danes born between 1945 and 1996 were followed via the Danish patient registers.
  • Of these, 91,637 had hospital contact in connection with a mood disorder.
  • The study has been financed by the Stanley Medical Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA.
  • The findings have just been published in the prestigious international journal JAMA Psychiatry.

 

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Further information

Michael Eriksen Benrós, MD and PhD Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen Tel.: +45 2625 5239 benros@ncrr.dk

Virus kills melanoma in animal model, spares normal cells

Contact: Jim Sliwa jsliwa@asmusa.org 202-942-9297 American Society for Microbiology

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine have demonstrated that vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is highly competent at finding, infecting, and killing  human melanoma cells, both in vitro and in animal models, while having little propensity to infect non-cancerous cells.

“If it works as well in humans, this could confer a substantial benefit on patients afflicted with this deadly disease,” says Anthony van den Pol, a researcher on the study. The research was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

Most normal cells resist virus infection by activating antiviral processes that protect nearby cells. “The working hypothesis was that since many cancer cells show a deficient ability to withstand virus infection, maybe a fast-acting virus such as VSV would be able to infect and kill cancer cells before the virus was eliminated by the immune system,” says van den Pol. And indeed, the virus was able to selectively infect multiple deadly human melanomas that had been implanted in a mouse model, yet showed little infectivity towards normal mouse cells, he says.

Many different mechanisms are involved in innate immunity, the type of immunity that combats viral infection. van den Pol plans to investigate which specific mechanisms are malfunctioning in cancer cells, knowledge that would be hugely beneficial both in understanding how cancer affects immunity, and in enhancing a virus’ ability to target cancer cells, he says.

Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer. Most melanomas are incurable once they have metastasized into the body. The incidence of melanoma has tripled over the last three decades, and it accounts for approximately 75 percent of skin cancer-related deaths.

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A copy of the manuscript can be found online at http://bit.ly/asmtip0413b.  Formal publication is scheduled for the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Virology.

(G. Wollmann, J.N. Davis, M.W. Bosenberg, and A.N. van den Pol, 2013. Vesicular stomatitis virus variants selectively infect and kill human melanomas but not normal melanocytes. J. Virol.  Published ahead of print 3 April 2013 , doi:10.1128/JVI.03311-12)

Journal of Virology is a publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).  The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

110 million Americans infected with some type of STD

 

 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

 

According to new data released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the United States in 2008, bringing the total number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. at that time to 110,197,000!

 

 

 

The 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. The competition was not close.

 

The STI study referenced by the CDC estimated that 50 percent of the new infections in 2008 occurred among people in the 15-to-24 age bracket. In fact, of the 19,738,800 total new STIs in the United States in 2008, 9,782,650 were among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket.

 

 

 

By contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That means the total number of new STIs in 2008 outpaced the total number of new bachelor’s degrees by nearly 13 to 1, and the number of new STIs among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket outnumbered new bachelor’s degrees by more than 6 to 1.

 

 

 

While the CDC estimates that there were 19.7 million new STIs in the United States in 2008, data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the total number of people employed in the country actually declined by 2.9 million during that year.

 

The CDC said the new venereal infections contracted each year cost the nation about $16 billion.

 

“CDC’s new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone,” said a CDC fact sheet.

 

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/23007/54/

More HIV ‘cured’: first a baby, now 14 adults

 

A drug-free life beckons for some people with HIV <i>(Image: Bruce Forster/Getty)</i>A drug-free life beckons for some people with HIV (Image: Bruce Forster/Getty)

Two weeks after the revelation that a baby has been “cured” of HIV, reports suggest that a similar treatment can cure some adults too. Early treatment seems crucial, but does not guarantee success.

Asier Sáez-Cirión of the Pasteur Institute’s unit for regulation of retroviral infections in Paris analysed 70 people with HIV who had been treated with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) between 35 days and 10 weeks after infection – much sooner than people are normally treated.

All of the participants’ drug regimes had been interrupted for one reason or another. For example, some people had made a personal choice to stop taking the drugs, others had been part of a trial of different drug protocols.

Most of the 70 people relapsed when their treatment was interrupted, with the virus rebounding rapidly to pre-treatment levels. But 14 of them – four women and 10 men – were able to stay off of ARVs without relapsing, having taken the drugs for an average of three years.

The 14 adults still have traces of HIV in their blood, but at such low levels that their body can naturally keep it in check without drugs.

Drugless years

On average, the 14 adults have been off medication for seven years. One has gone 10-and-a-half years without drugs. “It’s not eradication, but they can clearly live without pills for a very long period of time,” says Sáez-Cirión.

Last week, a baby was reported to have been “functionally cured” of HIV after receiving a three-drug regime of ARVs almost immediately after birth. Sáez-Cirión warns that rapid treatment doesn’t work for everyone, but the new study reinforces the conclusion that early intervention is important.

“There are three benefits to early treatment,” says Sáez-Cirión. “It limits the reservoir of HIV that can persist, limits the diversity of the virus and preserves the immune response to the virus that keeps it in check.”

Further analysis confirmed that the 14 adults were not “super-controllers” – the 1 per cent of the population that are naturally resistant to HIV – since they lack the necessary protective genes. Also, natural controllers rapidly suppress their infections, whereas these 14 mostly had severe symptoms which led to their early treatment. “Paradoxically, doing badly helped them do better later,” says Sáez-Cirión.

Rapid response

The researchers are trying to identify additional factors that could explain why early intervention only works on some people, hopefully extending the scope for more functional cures.

“This whole area is fascinating, and we’ve been looking very closely at issues of early initiation of treatment, and the potential for functional cures,” says Andrew Ball, senior adviser on HIV/AIDS strategy at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

“The big challenge is identifying people very early in their infection,” says Ball, adding that many people resist testing because of the stigma and potential discrimination. “There’s a good rationale for being tested early, and the latest results may give some encouragement to do that,” he says.

Journal reference: PLoS Pathogens, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003211

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23276-more-hiv-cured-first-a-baby-now-14-adults.html

 

TB infection rates set to ‘turn clock back to 1930s’

Contact: Stephanie Burns sburns@bmjgroup.com 44-020-738-36920 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Special edition to mark World TB day maps new issues and approaches to curbing spread of infection

During the 1930s, dedicated sanitaria and invasive surgery were commonly prescribed for those with the infection – usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which the editors describe as “the most successful human pathogen of all time.”

TB often lies dormant with no symptoms, but in a proportion of cases, becomes active, predominantly attacking the lungs. But it can also affect the bones and nervous system, and if left untreated can be fatal.

The infection is developing increasing resistance around the world to the powerful drugs currently used to treat it.

“Whatever we may have once optimistically thought, TB remains with death, taxes and political chicanery as being inevitable, unavoidable and deeply unpleasant,” write the joint editors, Andy Bush and Ian Pavord.

“It shows every sign of weathering the storm and superb randomised controlled trials, to emerge in ever-increasingly drug-resistant forms, potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s,” they say.

“This edition of Thorax, coinciding with world TB day, is themed to recognise the ongoing sinister successes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, unarguably the most successful human pathogen of all time,” they conclude.

The issue contains international research papers, looking at a broad range of issues, from the risk of TB after seroconversion to HIV infection, to the impact of ethnicity on the pattern of disease.

Study turns parasite invasion theory on its head: Malaria vaccine may be destined to fail

Contact: Jen Middleton j.middleton@wellcome.ac.uk Wellcome Trust

Current thinking on how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite invades its host is incorrect, according to a study published today in Nature Methods describing a new technique to knock out genes. The findings could have implications for other parasites from the same family, including malaria, and suggest that drugs that are currently being developed to block this invasion pathway may be unsuccessful.

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that commonly infects cats but is also carried by other warm-blooded animals, including humans. Up to a third of the UK population are chronically infected with the parasite. In most cases the acute infection  causes only flu-like  symptoms. However, women who become infected during pregnancy can pass the parasite to their unborn child which can result in serious health problems for the baby such as blindness and brain damage. People who have compromised immunity, such as individuals infected with HIV, are also at risk of serious complication due to reactivation of dormant cysts found in the brain..

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow made the discovery using a new technique to knock out specific genes in the parasite’s genome. They specifically looked at three genes that are considered to be essential for the parasite to invade cells within its host to establish an infection.

“We found that we can remove each of these genes individually and the parasite can still penetrate the host cell, showing for the first time that they are not essential for host cell invasion as was previously thought,” said Dr Markus Meissner, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow who led the study. “This means that the parasite must have other invasion strategies at its disposal that need to be investigated.”

The genes the researchers looked at form the core of the parasite’s gliding machinery that enable it to move around. In the past,  researchers have only ever been able to reduce the expression level of these genes in the parasite, which did lead to a reduction in host cell invasion but invasion was never blocked completely. This was attributed to the low levels of gene expression that persisted. However, with the new technique, the team were able to completely remove the genes of interest. Unexpectedly they found that the parasites were still able to invade.

“One of the genes we looked at is the equivalent of a malaria gene that is a major candidate for vaccine development. Our findings would suggest that such a vaccine may not be successful at preventing malaria infection and we need to revisit our understanding of how this family of parasites invades host cells,” added Dr Meissner.

As well as malaria, a number of other parasites that affect livestock also belong to the same family. The findings could also provide clues to new treatments for these diseases, which cause substantial economic losses worldwide

Poultry disease vaccine brings short-term results but long-term problems: live vaccines that protect poultry against Newcastle Disease may be altering the genetic makeup of the wild virus strains

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Amitabh Avasthi axa47@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Attenuated live vaccines that protect poultry against Newcastle Disease may be altering the genetic makeup of the wild virus strains, which could make future outbreaks unpredictable and difficult to tackle, according to biologists.

Newcastle Disease is an economically devastating poultry disease that costs the industry millions of dollars.

“Many vaccines in the animal industry are developed by modifying a virulent live virus,” said Mary Poss, professor of biology and veterinary and biomedical sciences, Penn State. “These vaccines elicit a strong protection against disease.”

However, vaccinated birds can shed the vaccine virus to infect other birds, and live virus vaccines do not always protect birds from infection from other viral strains of Newcastle disease.

Poss and her Penn State colleagues Yee Ling Chong, graduate student in biology; Abinash Padhi, post-doctoral fellow and Peter J. Hudson, Willaman professor of biology, found that one vaccine strain recombined — exchanged genetic material — with at least three wild strains, creating new viruses. These viruses are found in both domestic and wild birds. The team’s findings appear today (Apr. 22) in PLoS Pathogens.

“Our findings indicate that birds can be simultaneously infected with the live virus vaccine and several other strains of this avian virus,” said Poss. “This raises concerns that modified live virus vaccines, though effective, may combine with circulating viruses to create unpredictable new strains.”

A modified live virus vaccine is essentially a weakened virus that does not cause disease but mimics a natural infection that in turn evokes a strong immune response from the infected host. But Poss argues that vaccination may be unwittingly increasing the diversity of Newcastle Disease viruses that are circulating in wild birds.

For instance, many poultry farmers typically vaccinate the flock by mixing the vaccine in the birds’ drinking water or by aerosol, which means wild birds and pigeons can also become infected with the vaccine virus.

This sets up the opportunity for viral recombination. A bird is infected with two different viruses at the same time, one from the weakened vaccine and one naturally, and both viruses then infect the same cell.

In addition to the possibility of creating new viruses, different strains of the virus that causes Newcastle disease may be evolving in different environments. Recombination among these strains could bring together genes that have multiple means to evade immunity in a host.

Poss added that vaccine developers need to be aware of the potential for driving virus evolution using modified live viruses and should instead consider using killed or inactivated viruses. Scientists are already using that approach against Newcastle Disease in some areas but not globally.

“We need to step up the surveillance and monitoring of viral diseases in poultry and wild birds,” said Poss. “We need to be aware that management practices including the use of live virus vaccines can change viral diversity and the consequences of such changes will not be evident for several generations.”

While many virus strains undergo a boom and bust cycle — they are present for a period of time and then die out — Poss notes that the use of live virus vaccines creates a persistent level of the vaccine strains in the global bird population.

Poultry farmers around the world vaccinate birds with vaccine made from one of two live strains of an avian virus that causes Newcastle Disease. While vaccines from the first strain are used mainly in Asia, the second strain is used in vaccines worldwide. Since the 1950s, vaccines derived from the two strains have helped poultry farmers avoid devastating economic losses.

To determine the impact of vaccination on the evolution of wild viruses, researchers analyzed the evolutionary history of 54 samples of full-length genome sequences of the avian paramyxovirus — the virus that causes Newcastle Disease — isolated from infected birds.

If all six genes that make up the paramyxovirus shared the same ancestor, Poss reasoned, the family trees of each gene would look the same. However, genes that are derived from a different strain would have family trees distinct from the other genes of that virus, a strong signature of recombination.

Statistical analysis of the gene sequences indicates that recombination occurred in at least five of the sampled genomes. Four of these five genomes contained gene sequences from one of the two vaccine strains.

Researchers next reconstructed the population history of the different viral strains. The strain from which the vaccine was derived showed a higher and more constant population size compared to other circulating strains.

“When viruses don’t change, it is typically a good thing,” Poss explained. “But as soon as they start to change, like the flu, we don’t know what the transmission and disease potential are going to be like from one year to another. So driving up viral diversity is not a good thing.”

Brain Infection from Tapeworn ” Serious Health Concern”

2010 study posted for filing

Increasing in Mexico and Bordering Southwestern States

MAYWOOD, Ill. — Tapeworm infections of the brain, which can cause epileptic seizures, appear to be increasing in Mexico and bordering southwestern states, Loyola University Health System researchers report.

In Mexico, up to 10 percent of the population may have the infection, neurocysticercosis. While many people never develop symptoms, neurocysticercosis nevertheless “remains a serious health concern, especially among the poor,” Loyola researchers wrote in the April issue of the journal Neurological Research.

Their article, “Management of Neurocysticercosis,” is among several articles in the April issue of Neurological Research that describe neurological infections in Latin America. Guest editor is Dr. Jaime Belmares, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Neurocysticercosis is caused by a tapeworm found in pigs called Taenia solium. A person can get infected with the parasite by eating undercooked pork. That person then can excrete tapeworm eggs. The contamination spreads through food, water or surfaces contaminated with feces. A person can become infected, for example, by drinking contaminated water or putting contaminated fingers in the mouth.

Neurocysticercosis is most common in poor rural communities in developing countries with poor sanitation and hygiene and where pigs are allowed to roam freely and eat human feces.

Once inside the stomach, the tapeworm egg hatches, travels through the bloodstream and ends up in the muscles, brain or eyes. The worm, which can grow to more than one-half inch long, becomes enveloped in a fluid-filled cyst. Cysts in the muscles generally don’t cause symptoms. But cysts in the eyes can cause blurry vision, while cysts in the brain can cause headaches, encephalitis and seizures. Less common symptoms include confusion and difficulty with balance.

Seizures occur in up to 70 percent of patients. “They’re pretty dramatic,” Belmares said. “Every seizure needs to be properly evaluated.”

The article on neurocysticercosis was written by Dr. Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, a former resident at Loyola now at the University of California at San Francisco and Tomas Alarcon, who did a rotation at Loyola during medical school.

 

Licorice root helps the body defend against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection

Contact: Cody Mooneyhan cmooneyhan@faseb.org 301-634-7104 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

A trip to the candy store might help ward off rare, but deadly infections

New research in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that glycyrrhizin extracted from licorice root helps the body defend against Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection

As it turns out, children were not the only ones with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads over this past holiday season. In a new research report published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org), a team of scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospitals for Children show how a compound from licorice root (glycyrrhizin from Glycyrrhiza glabra) might be an effective tool in battling life-threatening, antibiotic-resistant infections resulting from severe burns. Specifically, they found that in burned mice, glycyrrhizin improved the ability of damaged skin to create small proteins that serve as the first line of defense against infection. These proteins, called antimicrobial peptides, work by puncturing the cell membranes of bacteria similar to how pins pop balloons.

“It is our hope that the medicinal uses of glycyrrhizin will lead to lower death rates associated with infection in burn patients,” said Fujio Suzuki, Ph.D., one of the researchers involved in the work. Suzuki also said that more research is necessary to determine if this finding would have any implications for people with cystic fibrosis, who can develop Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in their lungs.

To make this discovery, Suzuki and colleagues used three groups of mice. The first group was normal, the second group was burned and untreated, and the third group was burned and treated with glycyrrhizin. The skin of the untreated burned mice did not have any detectable antimicrobial peptides that prevent bacteria from growing and spreading, but the normal mice did. The skin of the untreated burned mice also had immature myeloid cells, which indicate an inability of the skin to produce antimicrobial peptides needed to prevent infection. The mice treated with glycyrrhizin, however, were more like the normal mice as they had the antimicrobial peptides and no immature myeloid cells.

“Burns are the most painful of all injuries,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “and the deadly Pseudomonas infections that can result from severe burns do more than add insult to those injuries. This research should serve as an important stepping stone toward helping develop new drugs that help prevent or treat Pseudomonas.”

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The Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts on original investigations focusing on the cellular and molecular biology of leukocytes and on the origins, the developmental biology, biochemistry and functions of granulocytes, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes and other cells involved in host defense and inflammation. The Journal of Leukocyte Biology is published by the Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Details: Tsuyoshi Yoshida, Shohei Yoshida, Makiko Kobayashi, David N. Herndon, and Fujio Suzuki. Glycyrrhizin restores the impaired production of β-defensins in tissues surrounding the burn area and improves the resistance of burn mice to Pseudomonas aeruginosa wound infection. J Leukoc Biol 2010 87: 35-41. http://www.jleukbio.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/1/35

Zinc supplementation significantly increases activation of the cells (T cells) responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria

2009 study posted for filing


Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
cmooneyhan@faseb.org
301-634-7104
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Got zinc? New zinc research suggests novel therapeutic targets

New report in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that zinc activates a key protein on T cells needed to fight infections

Everyone knows that vitamins “from A to zinc” are important for good health. Now, a new research study in the August 2009 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) suggests that zinc may be pointing the way to new therapeutic targets for fighting infections. Specifically, scientists from Florida found that zinc not only supports healthy immune function, but increases activation of the cells (T cells) responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria.

“It has been shown that zinc supplementation significantly reduces the duration and severity of childhood diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, and incidence of malaria in zinc-deficient children,” said report co-author, Robert Cousins, Ph.D., who also is the director of the Center for Nutritional Sciences within the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida. “Age-related declines in immune function have also been related to zinc deficiency in the elderly.”

Scientists administered either a zinc supplement or a placebo to healthy volunteers to assess the effects of zinc on T cell activation. After isolating the T cells from the blood, scientists then simulated infection in laboratory conditions. Results showed that T cells taken from the zinc-supplemented group had higher activation than those from the placebo group. Specifically, cell activation stimulated the zinc transporter in T cells called “ZIP8,” which transports stored zinc into the cell cytoplasm where it then alters the expression of a T cell protein in a way needed to fight infections.

“As the debate over zinc supplementation in healthy individuals continues,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “studies like this help shed light on how zinc may enhance the ability of our immune systems to fight off foreign invaders. Equally important, this work points toward new possible targets for entirely new drugs to help augment immune function and prevent or stop infections that might be resistant to traditional antibiotics.”

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The Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts on original investigations focusing on the cellular and molecular biology of leukocytes and on the origins, the developmental biology, biochemistry and functions of granulocytes, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes and other cells involved in host defense and inflammation. The Journal of Leukocyte Biology is published by the Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Details: Tolunay B. Aydemir, Juan P. Liuzzi, Steve McClellan, and Robert J. Cousins Zinc transporter ZIP8 (SLC39A8) and zinc influence IFN- expression in activated human T cells. J Leukoc Biol 2009 86: 337�. http://www.jleukbio.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/2/337

 

TIM and TAM: 2 paths used by the Dengue virus to penetrate cells

Contact: Press presse@inserm.fr INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)

By demonstrating that it is possible to inhibit the viral infection in vitro by blocking the bonding between the virus and these receptors, the researchers have opened the way to a new antiviral strategy. These works were published on line in the review “Cell Host & Microbe” of October 18, 2012.

The Dengue virus circulates in four different forms (four serotypes). It is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It is a major public health problem. Two billion people throughout the world are exposed to the risk of infection and 50 million cases of Dengue fever are recorded by the WHO every year. The infection is often asymptomatic, or resembles influenza symptoms, but its most serious forms can lead to fatal haemorrhagic fevers. At present, there is no preventive vaccine or efficient antiviral treatment for these four Dengue serotypes. So it is of vital importance that we develop new therapeutic strategies.

Ali Amara’s team performed genetic screening in order to identify cell receptors used by the virus to penetrate target cells . The researchers have determined the important function played by the TIM receptors (TIM-1, 3, 4) and TAM receptors (AXL and TYRO-3) in the penetration process of the four Dengue serotypes. Mr. Amara’s team has succeeded in demonstrating that the expression of these 2 receptor families makes cells easier to infect. In addition, the researchers observed that interfering RNA or antibodies that target the TIM and TAM molecules considerably reduced the infection of the cells targeted by the Dengue virus. The TIM and TAM molecules belong to two distinct families of transmembrane receptors that interact either directly (TIM) or indirectly (TAM) with phosphatidylserine, an “eat-me” signal that allows the phagocytosis and the elimination of these apoptopic cells. Unexpectedly, the work of the Inserm researchers discovered that phosphatidylserine is abundantly expressed at the surface of virions and that it was essential that the TIM and TAM receptors recognize the phosphatidylserine to allow infection of target cells.

These results have helped to understand the first key stage in the Dengue virus infectious cycle, by discovering a new method of virus entry that works by mimicking the biological functions involved in the elimination of the apoptotic cells. The discovery of these new receptors has also opened the way for new antiviral strategies aimed at blocking bonding of the Dengue virus with the TIM and TAM molecules.

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This research has been patent-protected by Inserrm Transfert.

For more information

Source

“The TIM and TAM Families of Phosphatidylserine Receptors Mediate Dengue Virus Entry” Laurent Meertens,1,2,3,6 Xavier Carnec,1,2,3,6 Manuel Perera Lecoin,1,2,3,6 Rasika Ramdasi,1,2,3 Florence Guivel-Benhassine,4 Erin Lew,5 Greg Lemke,5 Olivier Schwartz,4 and Ali Amara1,2,3,

1 Unité Inserm 944, Laboratoire de Pathologie et Virologie Moléculaire

2Institut Universitaire d’Hématologie Hôpital Saint-Louis, 1 Avenue Claude Vellefaux. 75010 Paris, France

3University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Hôpital St. Louis, 1 Avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75475 Paris, Cedex 10, France

4Unité Virus et Immunité , Institut Pasteur, 28 Rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris, France

5Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Laboratory, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Cell Host and Microbe, 12, issue 4, October 18, 2012 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1931312812003046

Herpesvirus: To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate Scientists Weigh Risks and Benefits: Herpesvirus gives resistance to infection with bacterial pathogens

2009 report posted for filing

 

Saranac Lake, N.Y., -Dr. Marcia Blackman and her research team at the Trudeau Institute have followed up on an intriguing report(1)published in the journal Nature in May 2007 by Dr. Herbert Virgin, et al., showing that mice persistently infected with certain forms of herpesvirus, which can establish lifelong latent infections, are resistant to infection with bacterial pathogens.

Although herpesvirus infections are generally considered undesirable and can be associated with declining immune function in the elderly or the development of a variety of tumors later in life, the Virgin report raised the unexpected possibility that they may also be beneficial.

Dr. Blackman’s research has now confirmed Dr. Virgin’s findings, but with some further refinements about herpes’ roles in preventing other infections: “We discovered that the effect of herpesvirus infection is transient, lasting only a few months. Interestingly, although the effect was shown by the Virgin group to be dependent on establishing a latent infection, it wanes despite lifelong latency.”

Recognizing that her data had implications for the interpretation of Dr. Virgin’s data, Dr. Blackman shared her findings with the Virgin group prior to publication. This led to an interesting exchange between the two labs in the form of letters to the editor regarding the potential benefits of a transient protective effect. The letters will be published concurrently with Blackman’s data in the February issue of Viral Immunology (Vol. 22, No.1). The scientists agree that even short-acting protection, especially during childhood, might have long-lasting implications in terms of survival rates.

A major point of discussion between the two groups concerned the implications of such research for the development of vaccines against herpesvirus infections. Dr. Virgin suggested that “decreased infection may be associated with unintended negative consequences for vaccinated individuals.” In response, Dr. Blackman argues that possible transient protective effects did not outweigh the already recognized pathological consequences of herpesvirus infection. Both groups agreed that the protective effects of herpesvirus infections merit further study.

Importantly, both groups hope their observations will stimulate epidemiological and clinical studies to determine whether herpesvirus infections really protect humans against bacterial diseases.

(1)“Herpesvirus latency confers symbiotic protection from bacterial infection,” NATURE, Vol. 447, pp. 326-29; May 17, 2007.

Mutation causes defective Natural Killer cells

 

Natural Killer (NK) cells defend the body against infectious diseases and cancer by recognizing and killing stressed or infected cells and patients with NK deficiencies are susceptible to severe viral infections. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine report on a patient with an NK cell deficiency caused by a mutation in CD16, which codes for a protein on the surface of NK cells that recognizes antibodies. To determine the exact role of CD16 in NK cell cytotoxicity, Jordan Orange and colleagues studied the effect of mutant CD16 in a human NK cell line. The mutant CD16 was unable to interact with another NK cell protein, CD2, which is required for cytotoxic activity in NK cells. Patients carrying this mutation were highly susceptible to viral infection. This study identifies a potential cellular mechanism that underlies human congenital immunodeficiency.

TITLE:

Human immunodeficiency-causing mutation defines CD16 in spontaneous NK cell cytotoxicity

AUTHOR CONTACT:

Jordan Orange

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

Phone: 832-824-1319; E-mail: orange@bcm.edu

View this article at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/64837?key=c3d74ae1bcfb3e9124da

Heroin users warned after second anthrax death

Hospitals and walk-in clinics across the UK warned to expect further cases after second drug user dies in Blackpool

Amelia Hill guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 September 2012 12.35 EDT

Anthrax bacteria

Anthrax bacteria: drug users may become infected when injecting, smoking or snorting heroin contaminated with spores. Photograph: Smc Images/Getty Images

A second person has died from an anthrax infection after injecting heroin, causing health experts to warn hospitals and walk-in clinics across the UK to expect more cases.

The death comes three weeks after another heroin user died after contracting the disease from what is assumed to be a batch of contaminated heroin.

Both fatalities were in Blackpool but two further cases of infection have been reported in Scotland and Wales since early June.

The deaths are part of a European-wide outbreak of anthrax among people who inject drugs: there have been 10 cases across Germany, Denmark and France in recent months.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction have issued warnings that heroin users in Europe are at risk of exposure to anthrax and warned  there may be further cases.

“Anthrax can be cured with antibiotics, if treatment is started early. It is therefore important for medical professionals to know the signs and symptoms to look for, so that there will be no delays in providing treatment,” said Dr Fortune Ncube, an expert in blood-borne viruses with the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

“It’s likely that further cases among people who inject heroin will be identified as part of the ongoing outbreak in EU countries,” he added. “The Department of Health has alerted the NHS of the possibility of people who inject drugs presenting to emergency departments and walk-in clinics, with symptoms suggestive of anthrax.”

Local drug services throughout the UK have been alerted and the National Treatment Agency has circulated posters and leaflets about anthrax contamination aimed at heroin users.

Drug users may become infected with anthrax when heroin is contaminated with anthrax spores. This could be a source of infection if injected, smoked or snorted.

Ncube said there was no safe route for consuming heroin or other drugs that may be contaminated with anthrax spores.

“The HPA is warning people who use heroin that they could be risking anthrax infection,” he said Ncube. “We urge all heroin users to seek urgent medical advice if they experience signs of infection such as redness or excessive swelling at or near an injection site, or other symptoms of general illness such a high temperature, chills, severe headaches or breathing difficulties. Early treatment with antibiotics is essential for a successful recovery.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/10/heroin-users-warned-anthrax-death

Research finds novel airborne germ-killing oral spray effective in fighting colds and flu

Contact: Alicia Reale alicia.reale@uhhospitals.org University Hospitals Case Medical Center

University Hospitals Case Medical Center researchers will present Halo findings at ICAAC

University Hospitals Case Medical Center clinical researchers will present findings about a one-two punch to prevent colds and flu in San Francisco at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on Sept. 9.

The research team is presenting data in two poster presentations that a new oral antiseptic spray is effective in killing 99.9 percent of infectious airborne germs. Findings from these two presentations led to the development of Halo Oral Antiseptic, a first-of-its kind germ-fighting spray which is currently on store shelves.

“Respiratory tract disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world,” says Frank Esper, MD, infectious disease expert at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and lead author of one of the studies.  “Yet there has been limited progress in the prevention of respiratory virus infections. Halo is unique in that it offers protection from airborne germs such as influenza and rhinovirus.”

Dr. Esper and a team of researchers used glycerine and xanthan gum as a microbial barrier combined with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) as a broad-spectrum anti-infective agent to fight respiratory illnesses. To test this, clinical strains of 2009 pandemic H1N1 were used as a prototype virus to demonstrate Halo’s anti-infective activity in cell culture assays. “The glycerine and xanthan gum prevent the germs from entering a person’s system and the CPC kills the germs once they’re trapped there,” explains Dr. Esper, who is also Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Esper will present his findings that Halo will have clear benefit to aid against infection and reduce disease from epidemic, sporadic or pandemic respiratory viral infections, particularly helping people at risk for severe respiratory illness including immune-compromised individuals with chronic lung disease, and military personnel.

Another study on Halo will be presented by Mahmoud Ghannoum, PhD, of UH Case Medical Center, showing Halo’s effectiveness against disease-causing pathogenic germs.  The presentation asserts that respiratory and/or systemic infections through airborne and manually transmitted pathogenic microbes often enter the system through the mouth, making Halo, an oral spray that targets these pathogens, an effective way to prevent infections.  Additionally, preliminary data from the researchers found that Halo completely kills all 11 clinical strains of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) against which the spray was tested.

The results showed that when a person used three sprays of Halo, it destroyed airborne germs breathed in for up to six hours, even when people were eating and drinking.  The concept of coating the back of the oral cavity to prevent germs from entering and then providing sustained antiseptic action to kill airborne germs was developed by a Cleveland company, Oasis Consumer Healthcare.

“Exposure to airborne germs is inevitable – especially in crowded environments and when traveling,” said Dr. Ghannoum, who is also the Director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Unlike other products that support the immune system or protect from germs on surfaces or hands, Halo is the first and only product of its kind to offer protection from airborne germs.”

Evolution could explain the placebo effect: Human immune system has developed on-off mechanism to save energy

By Anthony Bond

PUBLISHED:11:52 EST, 8  September 2012| UPDATED:11:52 EST, 8 September 2012

Scientists have discovered a possible  evolutionary explanation for the placebo effect with new evidence suggesting the  immune system has an on-off switch to save energy.

People who suffer from a weak infection often  recover whether they take a medicinal drug or a simple sugar pill – which  suggests humans can heal themselves.

But this has begged the question why people  need to wait for the placebo before the recovery process from an infection  begins.

Breakthrough: Scientists have discovered a possible evolutionary explanation for the placebo effect with new evidence - using Siberian hamsters, pictured, suggesting the immune system has an on-off switch to save energyBreakthrough: Scientists have discovered a possible  evolutionary explanation for the placebo effect with new evidence – using  Siberian hamsters, pictured, suggesting the immune system has an on-off switch  to save energy

According to the New Scientist, researchers  have now found that something similar to the placebo effect occurs in animals,  after studying Siberian hamsters.

If lights above the hamsters laboratory cages  mimicked winter, they found the hamsters would not fight the  infection.

However, if the lighting was changed to  replicate summer conditions, the hamsters mounted a full immune  response.

Similar to this, people who think they are  taking medicine to treat an illness, but are actually receiving a placebo, can  see a response from their immune system twice that than people who take no  pills.

Success: Peter Trimmer, pictured, a biologist at the University of Bristol has designed a computer model which supports previously released evidenceSuccess: Peter Trimmer, pictured, a biologist at the  University of Bristol has designed a computer model which supports previously  released evidence

The evidence shows that intervention causes a  mental response which kicks the immune system into action.

According to Peter Trimmer, a biologist at  the University of Bristol, there is an explanation for this.

He suggests that the immune system uses up  lots of energy when it is in action. So an animal’s energy reserves cold be  severely depleted if the immune system launches a long response to an illness.

If the infection is not likely to causes  death, it could be better to wait and see that fighting the illness will not put  the animal in other dangers.

Evidence from a computer model designed by Mr  Trimmer and his colleagues now supports this evidence.

It found those animals which live in more  challenging environments were food was harder to find,  they lived longer if they put up with infections rather than launch a response  from their immune system.

However, for those animals living in much  more favourable conditions, it was better for them to launch a response from  their immune systems so they return to health quicker.

This is because in better conditions they  have more access to food which provides energy to sustain an immune  response

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2200277/Evolution-explain-placebo-effect-Human-immune-developed-mechanism-save-energy.html#ixzz25wuTSTk5

Scientists develop fungus-fighting vaccine

Contact: Nickey Henry henryn@rockefeller.edu 212-327-8366 Journal of Experimental Medicine

A group of scientists in Italy have developed a vaccine with the potential to protect against fungal pathogens that commonly infect humans, according to a study by Torosantucci and colleagues in the September 5 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine.  Although these fungi pose little threat to people with healthy immune systems, they can cause fatal infections in those whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer treatments or post-transplant immunosuppressive therapies.  No anti-fungal vaccines are currently available.

The new vaccine was made of a sugar-like molecule called beta-glucan that is found on the cell wall of the fungus and that the fungus needs to grow and survive.  To induce a robust immune response to the vaccine, the group attached the relatively innocuous beta-glucan to a protein called diptheria toxin that is known to stimulate the immune system and has been used in other human vaccines.

The vaccine protected rodents from fatal fungal infections by triggering the production of anti-beta-glucan antibodies.  These antibodies stuck to the invading fungal cell wall and prevented the fungus from growing.  The authors now plan to test the vaccine in humans and hope the results are equally promising.

Reposted for Filing 2005

I swam with my contact lenses in – now I’m blind in one eye : Even Tap Water

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED:17:05 EST, 20  August 2012| UPDATED:17:05 EST, 20 August 2012

As a contact lens wearer, Jennie Hurst knew  the importance of good hygiene to prevent eye infections.

‘I was meticulous about removing my lenses  before bed and making sure I did so with clean hands,’ says the 28-year-old from  Southampton.

‘I wore monthlies — where the lenses are  removed each night and replaced once a month — but I was so conscious of getting  an infection that I replaced them every two weeks.

And I always cleaned them with  contact lens  cleaning solution, unlike some of my friends who’d run  their lenses under the  tap or even moisten them with saliva.’

Despite this, Jennie, who works as an  environmental co-ordinator, is now blind  in her left eye — the result of a  vicious infection.

The cause?

Swimming while wearing her contact lenses,  something she never realised put her at risk.

Jennie is one of a growing number of people — the majority of them young — suffering potentially devastating eye infections  due to a lack of  knowledge of the risks of contact lenses, say  experts.

In her case the problem is acanthamoeba  keratitis, caused by an amoeba — a parasite found in almost all soil, fresh  water and sea water.

It thrives where limescale and bacteria are  present, but contact lens wearers are at highest risk if they clean their lenses  or lens cases in tap water, or if they swim, shower or bathe while wearing their  lenses.

This means the parasite can become trapped  between the lens and the eye, allowing it to burrow into the eyeball.

Indeed, Jennie’s problems began after a quick  swim in a hotel pool while on a break in the West Country last  summer.

‘The irony is that I don’t even like swimming — I only did a few laps,’ says Jennie, who had worn contact lenses for five  years at that point.

‘I had no idea of the dangers of swimming in  lenses — my biggest concern was simply losing a lens in the pool.

‘I remember getting some water in my eye, but  thought nothing of it.

'I felt so guilty - if I'd known I'd have whipped them out in seconds and worn my glasses instead,' said Jennie‘I felt so guilty – if I’d known I’d have whipped them  out in seconds and worn my glasses instead,’ said Jennie

‘Then, three days later, I noticed my left  eye was very sensitive to light and felt like it had a chemical irritation.

‘It was a bit red but there wasn’t any  discharge like a normal eye infection — I’d had one of those years before,  although not from contact lenses.

‘Then, over the next day, the most  excruciating pain kicked in, so I drove myself to hospital.’

There, doctors referred her to the specialist  eye casualty at Southampton General Hospital, where she was given eye drops and  told to return a week later.

‘With no improvement, the doctors explained  they’d have to take a scrape of the surface of my eye to see if there was an  infection.

‘They also asked if I’d done anything unusual  and I said swimming. They said this was the most likely cause, explaining  contact lens wearers should never do that with their lenses in.

‘I felt so guilty — if I’d known I’d have  whipped them out in seconds and worn my glasses instead.’

The initial scrape of her eye revealed she  had acanthamoeba keratitis and this began six months off work for Jennie, who by  this point was ‘almost blind’ in that eye.

‘I had my first operation that day — the top  layers of my eye were scraped off, and I then administered half hourly drops day  and night.

‘The drops, which contained strong chemicals,  were really painful. And when you’re having them so often you just don’t sleep.

‘I spent the majority of time in a dark room — even the light on my phone screen was too bright to look at.

It's estimated that 3.7 million Britons wear contact lensesIt’s estimated that 3.7 million Britons wear contact  lenses

‘I was in hospital three times in six months  (about two weeks in total) and then had to move in with my parents, as I  couldn’t do anything for myself.

‘On the rare occasions I did leave the house,  I had to literally follow my Dad’s footsteps because I couldn’t see.’

Even light hitting the good eye would make  her bad eye painful, and her vision was blurred due to watery  eyes.

It’s estimated that  3.7 million Britons  wear contact lenses.

Though rare, acanthamoeba keratitis is an  extremely painful, sight-threatening condition.

The organism eats the cornea, the  transparent cover of the eye, says Parwez Hossain, the consultant  ophthalmologist at Southampton General Hospital’s eye unit who treated Jennie.

Left to burrow, the amoeba can penetrate  through the eyeball, causing total vision loss within weeks.

‘The condition is pure torture — the amoeba  is attacking the nerves of the cornea — and treatment itself is very painful.

‘It can involve a year of regular and toxic  eye drops,’ says Mr Hossain.

‘Jennie has been particularly unlucky — hers  is one of the most severe cases I’ve seen.

‘The problem is that people have no idea of  the risks of swimming or showering while wearing lenses.’

What’s more, cases are on the rise.

‘At Southampton we have noticed an increase,  as have other eye units around the country, perhaps due to a lack of awareness  of contact lens hygiene,’ says Mr Hossain.

A letter from doctors at Bristol Eye Hospital  to the BMJ last year stated that many acanthamoeba keratitis patients had been  washing lenses in tap water and showering or swimming wearing them.

And there are many more common eye infections  linked to poor lens hygiene that can have similarly devastating results.

‘Psuedomonas bacteria cause the most common  type of infection in contact lens wearers,’ adds Mr Hossain.

‘It’s another bug that lives in water and  can destroy your sight within 24-36 hours.

‘A common symptom is green pus and pain,  discomfort and light sensitivity after only a few hours.

‘It’s often mistaken for conjunctivitis but,  if you have these symptoms, it’s vital to seek medical help, as after two or  three days, the cornea may perforate.’

The problem generally occurs with poor  hygiene.

‘Even daily disposables are risky if your  hands aren’t clean,’ says Mr Hossain.

‘You need to wash hands with soap and water  to get rid of bacteria, then dry them on a clean towel.

‘And never run lenses under a tap, as  parasites could get onto your lens and into your eye.’

Not changing contact lenses when you’re  supposed to is another problem.

But by far the biggest culprit for infections  is not replacing your lens case every month.

Over time, cracks in the case can form in  which micro-organisms can thrive.

Mr Hossain warns that young people are  leaving themselves particularly vulnerable to infections.

‘They tend to be quite relaxed when it comes  to the hygiene standards required for wearing contact lenses and that’s  reflected in the number of people under 50 being treated for severe cases of  corneal infection, with an average age of 30.

‘This, coupled with an explosion of cheap  online stores, means the consequences can be grim,’ he explains.

‘An audit we performed at Southampton  discovered a number of patients presenting to eye casualty had bought  online.’

Keith Tempany, of the British Contact Lens  Association, agrees.

‘There is little policing of buying lenses on  the internet.

‘Australian research has found you’re five  times more likely to get an infection buying this way, as there are fewer  reminders about good lens hygiene.

‘When you have a check-up at the opticians  they can assess the health of your eyes, ensure you’re changing the case  regularly and that you have the right type of lens for your  lifestyle.

‘For example, if you do a lot of water sports  then orthokeratology is a good option.

‘This is where lenses are worn at night and  gently re-shape the cornea to correct myopia (shortsight).’

For Jennie, such advice is too late.

In the past year she has undergone six  operations to try to remove the parasite — and is still having treatment to try  to regain some vision in the damaged eye.

She is gradually adjusting to her limited  sight.

‘I misjudge slopes and uneven pavements are a  nightmare.

‘In crowds I’ve accepted I’ll walk into  people, as I just don’t see them.

‘The good news is I’m driving again so life  is slowly returning to normal.

‘But I consider myself lucky that only one  eye was affected.

‘I’d urge contact lens wearers to be  extremely careful — I never imagined this could happen from a quick  swim.’

Jennie  is fundraising for research into eye conditions: Justgiving.com/see-the-light.  For contact lens advice visit http://www.bcla.org.uk.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2191190/I-swam-contact-lenses–Im-blind-eye.html#ixzz249B1THOV

Vaccine tied to ‘superbug’ ear infection – Old Prevnar 2007 Historical Only

*Requested Repost From 2007 – Info is Historical

 

A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children is also having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections

On Monday, doctors reported discovering the first such germ that is resistant to all drugs approved to treat childhood ear infections. Nine toddlers in Rochester, N.Y., have had the bug and researchers say it may be turning up elsewhere, too.

Wyeth anticipated this and is testing a second-generation vaccine. But it is at least two years from reaching the market, and the new strains could become a public health problem in the meantime if they spread hard-to-treat infections through day care centers and schools.

It is a strain of strep bacteria not included in the pneumococcal vaccine, Wyeth’s Prevnar, which came on the market in 2000. It is recommended for children under age 2.

Prevnar, however, is losing its punch because strains not covered by the vaccine are filling the biological niche that the vaccine strains used to occupy, and they are causing disease.

One strain in particular, called 19A, is big trouble. A new subtype of it caused ear infections in the nine Rochester children, ages 6 months to 18 months, that were resistant to all pediatric medications, said Dr. Michael Pichichero, a microbiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The children had been unsuccessfully treated with two or more antibiotics, including high-dose amoxicillin and multiple shots of another drug. Many needed surgery to place ear tubes to drain the infection, and some recovered only after treatment with a newer, powerful antibiotic whose safety in children has not been established.

–Scientists from a drug company and two labs analyzed more than 21,000 bacterial samples from around the nation and found 19A increasing. Among children 2 and under, the portion of samples that were this strain rose to 15 percent in 2005-2006, from 4 percent in the previous three years.

–A British lab tracking respiratory infections in U.S. kids found that the 19A strain accounted for 40 percent of drug-resistant cases.

–University of Iowa researchers found 19A accounted for 35 percent of penicillin-resistant infections in 2004-05, compared with less than 2 percent the year before the new vaccine came out.

Hepatitis A and or B Gives greater chance to recover from Hep C..Plus Morphine increases HCV Replication

Contact: Lixin Zhu wjg@wjgnet.com 86-108-538-1892 World Journal of Gastroenterology

Who will recover spontaneously from hepatitis C virus infection

More than 3% of world population is infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The outcome of HCV infections is either self recovery or chronic hepatitis, and many of the chronic infections will develop into liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Since there is no cure for chronic hepatitis C, nor is there any approved vaccine for this virus, hepatitis C is currently a major health problem worldwide.

Twenty to fifty percent of HCV infected patients recovers spontaneously. The hepatitis C patients and their relatives like to know if his/her infection would fall into the category for self recovery.

A research article to be published on August 21 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Dr. Mihm from Georg-August-Universität spent more than 8 years working with a cohort of 67 patients who spontaneously recovered from HCV infection. In addition to these, the researchers included a similar number of patients with chronic HCV infection. Large sample size allowed these investigators to obtain results with great statistical significance, and to draw very reliable conclusions.

One conclusion reported by the investigators is, patients who self recovered usually have lower levels of HCV antibody. Thus patients with lower HCV antibody titer may have a brighter clinical outcome. However, for a practical standard to be established to define a low HCV antibody titer, more effort is needed by investigators in the future.

Another interesting conclusion reached by these investigators is, co-infection by hepatitis B virus (HBV) is associated with a higher possibility of self recovery. The investigators suggested that the infection of HBV interferes with the HCV replication, which would finally lead to virus eradiacation.. HCV patients co-infected by hepatitis A virus also have a better chance of self recovery, possibly by a similar mechanism.

Active iv drug users are less likely to self recover, for a couple of reasons: 1, they have a higher incidence of re-infection; 2, drugs have been shown to inhibit the expression of antiviral cytokines such as IFN- and IFN-; 3, HCV replication has been shown to be enhanced both by morphine use and morphine withdrawal.

Several different genotypes of HCV were discovered. The HCV genotype studied by Dr. Milm¡¯s group is type 1b, which is the prevalent genotype in Germany, and in China.

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* Reposted on Request

Brain parasite directly alters brain chemistry

 

A research group from the University of Leeds has shown that infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, found in 10-20 per cent of the UK’s population, directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain.

Their findings are the first to demonstrate that a parasite found in the brain of mammals can affect dopamine levels.

Whilst the work has been carried out with rodents, lead investigator Dr Glenn McConkey of the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences, believes that the findings could ultimately shed new light on treating human neurological disorders that are dopamine-related such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson’s disease.

This research may explain how these parasites, remarkably, manipulate rodents’ behaviour for their own advantage. Infected mice and rats lose their innate fear of cats, increasing the chances of being caught and eaten, which enables the parasite to return to its main host to complete its life cycle.

In this study, funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Dunhill Medical Trust, the research team found that the parasite causes production and release of many times the normal amount of dopamine in infected brain cells.

Dopamine is a natural chemical which relays messages in the brain controlling aspects of movement, cognition and behaviour. It helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres and regulates emotional responses such as fear. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is also associated with sensation-seeking, whereas dopamine deficiency in humans results in Parkinson’s disease.

These findings build on earlier studies in which Dr McConkey’s group found that the parasite actually encodes the enzyme for producing dopamine in its genome.

“Based on these analyses, it was clear that T. gondii can orchestrate a significant increase in dopamine production in neural cells,” says Dr McConkey.

“Humans are accidental hosts to T. gondii and the parasite could end up anywhere in the brain, so human symptoms of toxoplasmosis infection may depend on where parasite ends up. This may explain the observed statistical link between incidences of schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis infection.”

Dr McConkey says his next experiments will investigate how the parasite enzyme triggers dopamine production and how this may change behaviour.