Health and Fitness

An Apple A Day ... Friendly Bacteria Love The Humble Apple

Why does an apple a day keep the doctor away? New research published in the open access journal BMC Microbiology contributes to our understanding of why eating apples is good for you. Microbiologists from the National Food Institute at the University of Denmark fed rats on a diet that was rich in whole apples, apple juice, purГ e or pomace, or put them on a control diet. They then analysed the microbial content of the rats' digestive systems to see if eating apples had any impact on the numbers of presumed 'friendly' bacteria in the gut. "Certain bacteria are believed to be beneficial for digestive health and may influence the risk for cancer. We faced a well-known problem though - many types of bacteria cannot be easily cultured in the lab", said research leader Professor Tine Rask Licht. The team therefore used genetics instead of culture techniques to examine the microbiology of the intestines. 16S rRNA is a molecule that is only found in bacteria and its make up is unique to each species or strain.

Rotarix trade; Significantly Reduced Severe Rotavirus Gastroenteritis In African Babies During Their First Year Of Life

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the first study demonstrating that Rotarix ™ , GlaxoSmithKline's rotavirus vaccine, significantly prevented severe rotavirus gastroenteritis during the first year of life in African babies. In the study Rotarix prevented the disease in 61.2% of these infants. The study also showed that Rotarix. provided broad protection against diverse circulating rotavirus strains. "Rotavirus disease has caused more than five millions deaths in infants and young children over the last decade. It is time to act to avoid these unnecessary deaths and hospitalisations from rotavirus gastroenteritis. GSK is committed to working with our partners to help ensure that Rotarix reaches those in need, wherever they live, " commented Thomas Breuer, Head of Global Clinical R&D and Chief Medical Officer of GSK Biologicals. Rotavirus is a contagious infection that kills an estimated 1, 600 children under the age of five every day, most of these deaths are in Africa and Asia.

FDA Licenses New Influenza Vaccine Designed Specifically For People 65 Years Of Age And Older

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company's supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) for licensure of Fluzone ® High-Dose (Influenza Virus Vaccine). The new vaccine, for adults 65 years of age and older, will be available to health-care providers for immunizations administered this fall in preparation for the upcoming 2010-2011 influenza season. "This new addition to Sanofi Pasteur's vaccine portfolio reflects our long-standing commitment to public health and to research and development of new vaccines for enhanced prevention of influenza, " said Wayne Pisano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi Pasteur. "In 2011 the first baby boomers will turn 65 and, by the year 2030, the number of adults over age 65 is anticipated to double and surpass 70 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. population. We are excited to introduce Fluzone High-Dose vaccine which will provide health-care professionals with a new vaccine to help prevent influenza in their patients over the age of 65.

Improved Air Quality Linked To Fewer Pediatric Ear Infections

A new study by researchers at UCLA and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests that improvements in air quality over the past decade have resulted in fewer cases of ear infections in children. Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses among children, with annual direct and indirect costs of $3 billion to $5 billion in the United States. "We believe these findings, which demonstrate a direct correlation between air quality and ear infections, have both medical and political significance, " said study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and an associate professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "The results validate the benefits of the revised Clean Air Act of 1990, which gave the Environmental Protection Agency more authority to implement and enforce regulations reducing air-pollutant emissions. It also shows that the improvements may have direct benefit on health-quality measures.

Rotavirus Vaccine Could Save Millions Of Children In Developing Countries, Studies Find

Efforts to vaccinate "infants against rotavirus could save the lives of millions of children in developing nations who would otherwise die from the diarrhea-causing disease, two new studies show, " HealthDay/BusinsessWeek reports. The studies track diarrhea deaths among children vaccinated against rotavirus in Africa and Mexico and appear in the Jan. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (Thomas, 1/27). "Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea, which kills more than 500, 000 children under 5 every year, nearly half of them in Africa, " Reuters writes. Widespread use of rotavirus vaccines in the developing world could prevent the deaths of two million children over the next decade, according to the new service (Fox, 1/27). In one study, researchers gave infants from Malawi and South Africa the rotavirus vaccine, and found the vaccine reduced their rate of rotavirus by more than 61 percent during the first year of life (Nadhi et al., 1/28). In a second study, researchers compared the deaths from diarrheal diseases among Mexican children under the age of 5 before and after Mexico's Ministry of Health integrated the rotavirus vaccine as part of its national vaccination programs (Richardson et al.

Basilea's Antifungal Isavuconazole Passed Phase III Clinical Trial Futility Analysis

Basilea Pharmaceutica AG / Basilea's antifungal isavuconazole passed phase III clinical trial futility analysis processed and transmitted by Hugin AS. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd. (SWISS: BSLN) announces that based on a futility analysis of the isavuconazole phase III trial for the treatment of invasive Aspergillus infections, the Independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (IDSMB) has recommended the continuation of the study. The primary goal of this phase III study is to demonstrate statistical non-inferiority of isavuconazole versus the comparator, current standard- of-care voriconazole in the treatment of invasiveAspergillus infections. The futility analysis was included in the clinical trial design to ensure that the trial could be stopped early if it appeared that the study would be eventually unable to demonstrate non-inferiority for isavuconazole. In life-threatening infections such as invasive fungal infections it is standard to ensure that patients receive the most effective treatment at the earliest stage and are not unnecessarily exposed to potentially ineffective investigational drugs.

Immune Memory Formation Seen In Early Stages Of Viral Infection

In an acute viral infection, most of the white blood cells known as T cells differentiate into cells that fight the virus and die off in the process. But a few of these "effector" T cells survive and become memory T cells, ensuring that the immune system can respond faster and stronger the next time around. Scientists have identified a molecule that defines which cells are destined to become memory T cells just a few days after a viral infection begins. The finding could guide the development of more effective vaccines for challenging infections such as HIV/AIDS and also cancer. The results were published online by the journal Immunity. The senior author is Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Working with Ahmed, postdoctoral fellows Vandalia Kalia and Surojit Sarkar tracked memory T cell formation in mice infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, a virus that causes an acute infection.

Lab First To Confirm Salmonella In Nationwide Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo. Testing conducted by the Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa confirmed on Monday, Jan. 25, that this strain of salmonella is linked to the outbreak that has sickened 187 people in 39 states (one case in Iowa) since July 1, 2009. No deaths have been reported. Thirty-five people have been hospitalized. On Jan. 23, Daniele International, of Pascoag, R.I., announced a recall of more than 1.2 million pounds of its ready-to-eat sausage products because of the possible salmonella contamination. More information about the recalled products is available on the Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/. Consumers with questions regarding recalled items should contact the Daniele International hotline at 888-345-4160.

New Data On Rotavirus Vaccine From Mexico And Africa Show Lifesaving Impact In The Developing World

For the first time ever, studies in Mexico and Africa, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate a reduction in diarrheal disease deaths following rotavirus vaccine introduction in Mexico and vaccine efficacy among impoverished populations in Malawi and South Africa. Both studies underscore the importance of vaccination in achieving significant reduction of severe rotavirus infections among children in the developing world, where disease impact is greatest. Worldwide, rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea, which takes the lives of more than 500, 000 children under 5 every year - with almost half of these deaths occurring in Africa - and causes the hospitalization of millions more. The findings from these studies informed the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent recommendation that rotavirus vaccines be included in every nation's immunization program. The recommendation is important for Africa which is hit particularly hard by the disease and places rotavirus vaccines among a comprehensive set of other interventions key to stopping diarrheal disease deaths, including access to clean water, proper sanitation and oral rehydration therapies (ORT), breastfeeding, and vitamin A and zinc supplementation.

Rotavirus Vaccine Offers New Tool To Combat Severe Diarrhea In Developing World

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe, acute gastroenteritis among infants and young children throughout the world and is responsible for an estimated 527, 000 deaths among children under five each year. More than 90% of childhood deaths attributed to rotavirus infection occur in developing countries. Symptoms include severe diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to loss of fluid and electrolytes which can result in dehydration, shock, and death. Safety and efficacy trials have already been conducted with two new rotavirus vaccines in Europe and the Americas which found they were more than 90% effective in preventing severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, but until now, no trials had been carried out in Africa or Asia, where the burden of disease is greatest. One of the rotavirus vaccines - Rotarix, developed by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK) - was tested in the Phase III clinical trial in Malawi and South Africa, which found that the vaccine reduced the overall incidence of severe rotavirus diarrhoea by 61.

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