Raw milk advocates claim that unpasteurized milk cures or prevents disease, but no scientific evidence supports this notion. Testing raw milk, which has been suggested as an alternative to pasteurization, cannot ensure a product that is 100 percent safe and free of pathogens. Pasteurization remains the best way to reduce the unavoidable risk of contamination, according to the authors of a review published in the January 1, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases which examines the dangers of drinking raw milk.
Researchers have figured out why a respiratory syncytial virus vaccine used in 1966 to inoculate children against the infection instead caused severe respiratory disease and effectively stopped efforts to make a better one.
The findings in Nature Medicine could restart work on effective killed-virus vaccines not only for RSV but other respiratory viruses, researchers say. They also say the new findings debunk a popular theory that the 1966 vaccine was ineffective because the formalin used to inactivate the virus disrupted critical antigens, the substances that stimulate the production of protective antibodies.
The immune system's battle against invading bacteria reaches its peak activity at night and is lowest during the day, according to Stanford researchers who based it on experiments with Drosophila melanogaster and reveal that the specific immune response known as phagocytosis oscillates with the body's circadian rhythm. They presented their findings at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) 48th Annual Meeting, Dec. 13-17, 2008 in San Francisco.
"These results suggest that immunity is stronger at night, consistent with the hypothesis that circadian proteins upregulate restorative functions such as specific immune responses during sleep, when animals are not engaged in metabolically costly activities," explains Mimi Shirasu-Hiza of Stanford University.
There are hurdles to clear before malaria elimination can be achieved. A supplement published in Malaria Journal features a series of articles reviewing the many aspects of the research agenda for global malaria elimination.
Less experienced prostitutes are more likely to have sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A study of more than a thousand female sex workers in Cambodia, reported in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases, has shown that girls who were new to the sex industry were twice as likely to have gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
More than five million people die every year from infectious diseases, despite the availability of numerous antibiotics and vaccines. The discovery of penicillin to treat bacterial infections, along with the development of vaccines for previously incurable virus diseases such as polio and smallpox, achieved great reductions in mortality during the mid-20th century.
A portable test being developed by biodetection expert Stratophase could soon enable farmers and vets to accurately detect highly contagious diseases such as bovine TB and foot and mouth in the field, reducing false alarms and containment time and enabling remedial action to be taken more quickly.
A total of 2,030 cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) were confirmed in Great Britain between February and September 2001.* Millions of cows were slaughtered during the eradication programme and large swathes of the British countryside fenced off and declared out of bounds to the public for fear of further spread of the infection.
Stratophase is working with other British experts to develop a new detector system using immunoassay diagnosis - a biochemical test that detects
Measures imposed to reduce exposure to nuts are often based on irrational fears of nut allergies and are becoming increasingly sensationalist, according to Professor Nicolas Christakis from Harvard Medical School on bmj.com today.
A peanut on the floor of a school bus leading to evacuation and decontamination for fear that it might be eaten by the 10 year old passengers, and schools declaring themselves "nut free" by banning nuts, peanut butter, homebaked goods and any foods without ingredient labels, are just some examples cited in the article. According to Christaki, there is no evidence that any of these extreme restrictions work better than more circumscribed policies or that they are worth the money and disruptions they create.
As our knowledge of biology has increased exponentially, so has our potential to find new treatments and technologies to battle ailments previously incurable. However, many of these expansions of knowledge have faced stalling challenges and hurdles, halting practical applications. Gene therapy has been one of these dreams, touted as having endless potential, yet viable medical treatments were always yet to be developed. This is all about to change, as new laboratory research has seen unprecedented developments in gene therapy.
The BMJ published a retrospective cohort study
today showing only 3 out of 380,000 females ages 12-26 in Australia had 'probable' hypersensitivity to the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.
Unlike the U.S., where for some unfathomable reason some people still fight tooth and nail against vaccines, Australia has had a nationwide program to vaccinate females in that age group since April 2007.
There were 35 reports of suspected hypersensitivity, but only reactions from three of the 25 patients that agreed to skin-prick and injection (to confirm reactions) were likely tied to the vaccine.
The blurb on the BMJ site says: