Health and Fitness

Scientists Prove Hypothesis On The Mystery Of Dengue Virus Infection

A leading immunology research institute has validated the long-held and controversial hypothesis that antibodies - usually the "good guys" in the body's fight against viruses - instead contribute to severe dengue virus-induced disease, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology announced today. The finding has major implications for the development of a first-ever vaccine against dengue virus, a growing public health threat which annually infects 50 to 100 million people worldwide, causing a half million cases of the severest form. "Our lab has proven the decades old hypothesis that subneutralizing levels of dengue virus antibodies exacerbate the disease, " said La Jolla Institute scientist Sujan Shresta, Ph.D, noting this occurs in people with secondary dengue virus infections who have antibodies to the virus due to a previous infection. "This is a situation where antibodies can be bad for you, which is counter to everything we know about the normal function of antibodies. It also presents a special challenge for researchers working to develop a dengue virus vaccine, since most vaccines work by prompting the body to produce antibodies.

Grasping Bacterial 'Friending' Paves The Way To Disrupt Biofilm Creation

Finding a biological mechanism much like an online social network, scientists have identified the bacterial protein VpsT as the master regulator in Vibrio, the cause of cholera and other enteric diseases. This discovery, now published in the journal Science, provides a major tool to combat enteric disease. For decades, it has been observed that bacteria engage in biofilm formation in nature and the lab. Like the online social network Facebook, free-swimming bacteria ditch the solitary lifestyle to form a biofilm community, but only after they've signaled their intention to do so to others. The protein VpsT receives the invitation and accepts it by starting a cellular program facilitating the process. "We have the parts list now, " said Holger Sondermann, professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The next step will be to develop a clear understanding of the triggers and processes that regulate biofilm formation. With this data, we can find opportunities to disrupt the process and find entry points for therapeutic interventions.

Lactobacillus Improves Helicobacter Pylori Infected Gastritis

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) are considered to be the most important etiological agents of chronic gastritis. The eradication of H. pylori depends on the combination of antibiotics and acid suppression drugs. Unfortunately, the side effects of antibiotics reduce the curative effect and treatment compliance. Probiotics provides an alternative method which can inhibit H. pylori infection efficiently without antibiotics associated side effects. A research team from China investigated the potential anti-H. pylori and anti-inflammation in vivo effects of two lactobacillus strains from human stomach. Their study was published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. Their results illustrated that both lactobacillus strain Lactobacillus fermenti (L. fermenti) and Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus), showed significant anti-H. pylori activity, while strain L. fermenti displayed more efficient antagonistic activity in vivo whose efficacy is close to the standard triple therapy, thus significantly improving the H.

Helicobacter pylori BabA2 Relates With Atrophic Gastritis In Costa Rica

The clinical outcome of gastric disease may involve differences in the prevalence or expression of bacterial virulence factors. Contrary to Asian studies, Western studies have disclosed associations between the presence of babA2 gene and gastric cancer. Evidence concerning BabA adhesin-associated genes is insufficient in Costa Rica, where the incidence of gastric cancer is very high, similar to Japan. The babA2 gene, which encodes BabA, may play a role in the development of gastric cancer in the Costa Rican population. A research article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this. Using data from 95 H. pylori-positive Costa Rican patients, and 95 H. pylori-positive Japanese patients, Dr. Sergio A Con and colleagues reported a higher prevalence of babA2 in Japan than in Costa Rica, while that of babA2/B was higher in Costa Rica than in Japan. In addition, in Costa Rican isolates only, babA2 was significantly associated with atrophic gastritis, which is considered to be a gastric premalignant lesion.

What Is Oral Thrush In Babies? What Causes Oral Thrush In Babies?

Oral thrush is a common fungal infection in the mouth of healthy babies under two years old. It is also called oral candidiasis. The condition is most common in babies around four weeks old. It is rare in the first week of life. Older babies can get it too, but this is less common. In some cases, babies can have repeated infections. Oral infections by the fungus Candida albicans usually appear as thick white or cream-colored deposits on mucosal membranes. Oral thrush in babies is not usually linked with other illnesses or conditions. Symptoms include an oral rash in the infant's mouth, a diaper rash that does not heal with conventional diaper rash treatments and ointments. For breastfeeding mothers nipples can be painful and burning. The rash and pain experienced by the mother can range from severe to mild and may complicate breastfeeding. Treatments include good hygiene of the nipples; oral probiotics containing L. acidophilus and over-the-counter antifungal cream containing nystatin, clotrimazole, or miconazole on the nipples.

Protecting Patients: Study Shows That Johns Hopkins Flu Vaccination Rates Are Twice The National Average

A campaign that makes seasonal flu vaccinations for hospital staff free, convenient, ubiquitous and hard to ignore succeeds fairly well in moving care providers closer to a state of "herd" immunity and protecting patients from possible infection transmitted by health care workers, according to results of a survey at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. In a report published in the Feb. 1 edition of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers say the rate of seasonal flu vaccination for the 2008-2009 season among health care workers at the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore medical campus, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, was double the national average. They attribute the results to a persistent campaign that made it easy to get vaccinated and also to the wider availability of free community-based vaccination opportunities. The 2008 survey, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Division of Occupational Medicine, showed that 71.3 percent of the 10, 763 hospital staff, including medical school faculty, nurses, researchers and students, received the so-called flu shot.

Offshore Conference Examines Respiratory Viruses And Pandemics

In the last century a number of major global pandemics had disastrous effects on the world's population as well as causing health care professionals to reassess how we deal with such pandemic situations. More recently, the swine influenza pandemic reminded the world that while pandemics may now be a less-common occurrence, they are still an ever-present threat, despite advances in health and medical science. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's 2010 Annual Offshore Conference from 28 April to 7 May 2010 will feature a special presentation on Respiratory Viruses and Pandemics, presented by leading consultant physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Professor Paul Seale. Professor Seale says the main virus responsible for these pandemics in influenza A, and the main natural reservoir for this virus is water birds. "My presentation will describe how, through evolution, the influenza A virus has been able to take on characteristics which allow it to be transmitted from human to human, " he says.

What Is Otitis Externa swimmer's Ear ? What Causes Otitis Externa?

Otitis externa, also known as acute external otitis, swimmer's ear, or tropical ear is an infection of the skin covering the outer ear canal that leads to the ear drum, called the tympanic membrane. It is usually due to bacteria, such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, or pseudomonas. Swimmer's ear usually occurs after excessive water exposure - when water collects in the ear canal, often trapped by wax, the skin becomes soggy; an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. The protective characteristics of the ear work best when they are dry. People with allergic conditions, such as asthma, psoriasis, rhinitis (allergic) or eczema are significantly more likely to develop otitis externa, compared to others. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), USA, approximately 4 in every 1, 000 Americans are affected with otitis externa annually. The National Health Service (NHS), UK, says that over 1% of the UK population is affected each year. In most countries incidence rises during the summer months, presumably because people swim more then.

What Is Oral Thrush In Adults? What Causes Oral Thrush In Adults?

Oral thrush (oral candidiasis ) is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans causes an infection on the lining of the mouth. It is also known as "Thrush". When occurring in the mouth or throat of adults it may also be termed candidosis or moniliasis. Oral thrush causes white lesions, usually on the tongue or inner cheeks. The lesions can be painful and may bleed slightly when they are scraped. The infected mucosa of the mouth may appear inflamed and red. Sometimes the condition may spread to the roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils or the back of the throat. It is also possible to get thrush in other parts of the body, such as the vagina, nappy area or nail folds. According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, oral thrush is: " Infection of the oral tissues with Candida albicans; often an opportunistic infection in humans with AIDS or those suffering from other conditions that depress the immune system; also common in normal infants who have been treated with antibiotics. " For healthy people, oral thrush is a minor problem.

Researchers Reveal 3-D Structure Of Bullet-Shaped Virus With Potential To Fight Cancer, HIV

Vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, has long been a model system for studying and understanding the life cycle of negative-strand RNA viruses, which include viruses that cause influenza, measles and rabies. More importantly, research has shown that VSV has the potential to be genetically modified to serve as an anti-cancer agent, exercising high selectivity in killing cancer cells while sparing healthy cells, and as a potent vaccine against HIV. For such modifications to occur, however, scientists must have an accurate picture of the virus's structure. While three-dimensional structural information of VSV's characteristic bullet shape and its assembly process has been sought for decades, efforts have been hampered by technological and methodological limitations. Now, researchers at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute and the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and colleagues have not only revealed the 3-D structure of the trunk section of VSV but have further deduced the architectural organization of the entire bullet-shaped virion through cryo-electron microscopy and an integrated use of image-processing methods.

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