July 10, 2012 |
The vaccine that protects against influenza A (H1N1), commonly known as swine flu, caused no increase in birth defects when given to pregnant women but did produce a very small increase in the risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome when given to people older than 50, according to two new studies reported Tuesday. Overall, the studies show that the vaccination campaign conducted against the pandemic of the winter of 2009-10 was very safe. Pregnant women and the elderly, along with young children, are among those who are most susceptible to the swine flu, and to influenza in general.
July 9, 2012 |
Behind the shimmering prospect of a newly approved prescription weight-loss medication and the possibility of two more to come is a more distant glimmer of hope for those who have already cracked the obesity barrier: a vaccine that could reset the body's metabolism and prompt weight loss even with a modest change in calories taken in or burned up in exercise. New research on mice demonstrates it could happen. The study tried two different formulations of a vaccine designed to reduce production of the hormone somatostatin in mice that had become obese after they were routinely fed high-fat chow.
July 5, 2012 |
It's not often that the Department of Homeland Security makes it into a science blog, but this is an unusual week. The department announced this week that it has developed the first vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease that can be manufactured and licensed in the United States and that could be used in the event of an outbreak of the disease in this country. "This is the biggest news in [foot-and-mouth disease] research in the last 50 years," said veterinarian Lawrence Barrett, director of the department's high-containment Plum Island Animal Disease Center on the tip of Long Island, N.Y. The licensed vaccine is effective against only one strain of the virus, but vaccines against the other strains are already in development.
June 26, 2012 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The war between the CIA and Pakistani militant groups threatens to produce an unlikely casualty: thousands of children who are being denied polio vaccinations in one of the few places on Earth where the disease is still a menace. A phony inoculation program orchestrated by the CIA last year to help it track down Osama bin Laden bolstered long-standing claims by hard-line clerics that vaccination campaigns are a Western plot against Pakistanis. The complaints turned serious this month when the Pakistani Taliban said it would not allow a planned polio vaccination campaign to proceed in the North Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border.
June 7, 2012 |
The Austrian company AFFiRiS A.G. of Vienna said this week it has begun the first-ever clinical trials of a vaccine to treat Parkinson's disease. The study of as many as 32 patients is designed to test the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, called PD01A. Parkinson's is thought to result from the deposit of pathological forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain, causing the death of cells, particularly in the region known as the substantia nigra. The accumulation of alpha-synuclein disrupts the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, impairing movement and causing tremors.
May 24, 2012 |
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Pakistani doctor who led a phony vaccination campaign aimed at helping the CIA pinpoint Osama bin Laden's whereabouts was convicted of treason Wednesday and sentenced to 33 years in prison, a decision that is likely to further fray Washington's fragile relations with Islamabad. U.S. officials have been seeking the release of Shakeel Afridi since his arrest by Pakistani authorities after the secret American commando raid that killed the Al Qaeda leader in his sprawling compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad a year ago. In January, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told CBS' "60 Minutes" that Afridi had provided intelligence that assisted the raid and criticized Pakistan's arrest of someone involved in helping track down the world's most wanted man. From the start, however, Pakistani authorities have regarded Afridi as a traitor and have ignored Washington's calls for his release.
May 7, 2012 |
States that require vaccination for pertussis, meningitis and tetanus for admission to middle school have a higher vaccination rate than states that do not, but the rate is not nearly as high as one might expect from such a requirement, researchers reported Monday. States that required only that educational materials be sent home for those vaccines and the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine showed no improvement in vaccination rates. Vaccines for tetanus and pertussis are typically given during childhood, but the effects can diminish over time and a booster shot is recommended in early adolescence.
April 15, 2012 |
My aunt Marion is in the hospital dying of liver and kidney failure, the result of her 20-year struggle with heroin use. I was told of her imminent death the same day news broke about a vaccine against the drug. "Breakthrough heroin vaccine could render drug 'useless' in addicts," one headline read. "Scientists create vaccine against heroin high," proclaimed another. Meanwhile, my aunt finds temporary relief in the ever more frequent administration of opiate pain medication - the very kind of drugs she used illegally.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2012 |
Dr. Leila Daughtry Denmark, a Georgia pediatrician who was the country's oldest known practicing physician when she retired at 103, died Sunday at her daughter's home in Athens, Ga., her family announced. She was 114. Denmark was the world's fourth-oldest person when she died, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies claims of extreme old age. The third of 12 children, she was born Feb. 1, 1898, in eastern Georgia and grew up on a farm learning to tend to plants and wanting to heal animals, she later said.
February 24, 2012 |
It's the latest start for a flu season in 29 years, and thus far, severe cases have been few. But that doesn't necessarily mean Americans have dodged any seasonal illness bullets. Influenza is just beginning to gain a foothold around the country. "The flu season has officially begun," Dr. Joseph Bresee told reporters Friday morning during a briefing at the agency's headquarters in Atlanta. Infections have reached all 50 states, said Bresee, who is chief of the epidemiology prevention branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's influenza division.