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June 25, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Preliminary experiments in a handful of people suggest that it might be possible to reverse Type 1 diabetes using an inexpensive vaccine to stop the immune system from attacking cells in the pancreas. Research in mice had already shown that the tuberculosis vaccine called BCG, prevents T cells from destroying insulin-secreting cells, allowing the pancreas to regenerate and begin producing insulin again, curing the disease. Now tests with very low doses of the vaccine in humans show transient increases in insulin production, researchers will report Sunday at a San Diego meeting of the American Diabetes Assn.
June 24, 2011 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
In a small, dark room in this city of narrow alleys and workshops the size of shoeboxes, five men in their 70s fashion combs out of water buffalo horn with hand saws for $2 a day. "It's very hard work," said Abdul Bashir, 70. "But I've got to eat. " Members of this predominantly Muslim community of 50,000 have hacked, chipped, cut, molded and polished animal bones and horns into baubles or beads for generations. But the ornaments worn on the supple wrists and suntanned necks of far-off fashionistas carry a high price for these craftsmen, who must live with airborne clouds of bone dust that sticks to their eyes, hair and lungs.
May 17, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
In what is being hailed as the biggest breakthrough since the 1960s in treatment for latent tuberculosis — noninfectious TB without symptoms — researchers said Monday that weekly doses of a cocktail of antibiotics can cure the infection in only three months as effectively as the standard treatment of daily drugs for nine months. By reducing the number of pills and shortening the time required for therapy, the new regimen increased the proportion of patients who completed treatment from 69% to 82%. By increasing the success rate of therapy, the regimen should reduce spread of the disease and the risk of inducing resistance to TB drugs, experts said.
March 24, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
The number of tuberculosis cases in the United States reached an all-time low last year, with only 11,181 cases reported to public health authorities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represented a 3.9% drop in the number of cases from the preceding year, but was a disappointment on two counts: the number of cases had dropped by 11.9% in 2009, and authorities had hoped a major decline would continue; and in 1989, health officials had set a goal of eradicating TB in the U.S. by 2010, a roadmark that was clearly not met. The agency reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that nearly 40% of the cases, 4,378, were in people born in the United States.
March 23, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Drug-resistant tuberculosis accounts for about 440,000 cases and 150,000 deaths worldwide each year. In a report released Wednesday, the World Health Organization urges better diagnosis and more funding for treatment of the drug-resistant disease that's harder to cure. Tuberculosis, or TB, is passed person to person via airborne germs like the common cold -- and the drug-resistant forms are no exception. WHO identifies 27 countries with the highest number of such cases, including Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, the Russian Federation and South Africa.
September 28, 2010
Good news from PLoS One, the Baltimore Sun reports -- cases of tuberculosis are falling because of effective prevention measures, but the risk of drug-resistant TB is going up. Tuberculosis isn’t as common as, say, pneumonia, but it’s a brutal disease that affects the lungs and may even harm the brain, kidneys and spine. It tends to attack those with weakened immune systems: drug abusers, migrant farm workers, the homeless, the elderly. Luckily there are plenty of resources out there to find out if you have it and how to fight it: The Mayo Clinic provides some basic information and resources, including a list of TB symptoms, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fact-sheet on drug-resistant tuberculosis.
March 21, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Even with tuberculosis cases falling sharply in the United States to historic lows, strains of drug-resistant disease are gaining ground elsewhere in the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that TB prevalence in this country dropped 11.8% last year, the largest yearly decline since the government began monitoring the disease in 1953. But on the same day, the World Health Organization reported that an estimated 440,000 people worldwide had multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in 2008, and a third of them died.
December 4, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
Sir John Crofton, a physician who is credited with saving millions of lives by pioneering the use of cocktails of antibiotics to treat tuberculosis -- a concept that has subsequently been applied to treating a variety of other diseases, particularly cancer and AIDS -- died Nov. 3 at his home in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was 97. A specialist in diseases of the lungs, Crofton later turned his attention to battling smoking at home in Scotland and around the world, co-founding ASH-UK (Action on Smoking and Health)
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