Public Health

For parents, 8 million cases of acute middle ear infections every year add up to a lot of sleepless nights and trips to the pediatrician. But new research from a collaboration between Rockefeller University and St. Jude Children’s Hospital could change all that.

In the March 23 issue of PLoS Pathogens, Rockefeller’s Vincent A. Fischetti and colleagues at St. Jude show that middle ear infections in mice can be prevented by giving the mice a lysin – a protein derived from a virus that infects bacteria. The new technology may prevent children with the flu from developing secondary ear infections and would be an attractive alternative to traditional antibiotics, to which bacteria are rapidly becoming resistant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adolescents and young adults currently account for fifty percent of new HIV infections on an annual basis. As a result, ongoing research and information on HIV prevention has become a high priority for this age group. Now a new study reveals that helping adolescents manage their emotions may be just as important as providing them with information on the practical side of safe sex in order to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University studied 222 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 with psychiatric disorders and found that feelings do matter when it comes to making decisions about safe sex.

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume "diet" drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion—though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

Apples may prove to be a winner when it comes to reducing the risk of heart disease, says a new study of more than 34,000 women. In this study, flavonoid-rich apples were found to be one of three foods (along with red wine and pears) that decrease the risk of mortality for both coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among post-menopausal women, The findings were published in the March 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Women of all ages are encouraged to consume more fruit and vegetables, including apples and apple products, for heart health. However, this study focused on postmenopausal woman, a group becoming more aware of the risk for heart disease.

Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and arthritis are among a variety of autoimmune diseases that are aggravated when one type of white blood cell, called the immune regulatory cell, malfunctions. In humans, one cause of this malfunction is when a mutation in the FOXP3 gene disables the immune cells’ ability to function. In a new study published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered how to modify enzymes that act on the FOXP3 protein, in turn making the regulatory immune cells work better.

Brain damage that was thought to be caused by hypoglycemic coma actually occurs when glucose is administered to treat the coma, according to a study in rodents led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

The results are surprising, say the authors, and may be of clinical significance for the treatment of diabetics in hypoglycemic coma, though they caution that the results cannot be immediately extrapolated to humans.

Scientists at North Carolina State University have discovered that the fungus-like pathogen that caused the 1840s Irish potato famine originally came from the Andes of South America.

By comparing the sequences of both the nuclear and the cellular powerhouse, mitochondria, of nearly 100 pathogen samples from South America, Central America, North America and Europe, Dr.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, there was the scientific equivalent of an earth-shattering thunderclap that emanated from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meetins held February 15th-19th in San Francisco - to be honest, they pretend everything they say is big news, you can see 20 articles from it just on this site - but I mean this was legitimately big news.

Was it that they had to take an internal vote to decide if there is global warming? No, they've been run exclusively by Democrats for decades and after "An Inconvenient Truth" they needed to help garner support for an Academy Award.

The Scripps Research team, led by neuroscientists Manuel Sanchez-Alavez and Tamas Bartfai, discovered that mice genetically altered to lack a molecule known as the EP3 receptor tend to be more active during their normal sleep cycle and to eat more. In the study, this led to weight increases of up to 30 percent relative to mice with the receptors.

The EP3 receptor is one of four types of receptors for prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), the most important inflammatory mediator that controls a variety of physiological functions including fever, fertility, and blood pressure.

Researchers have identified new genetic variations that may be associated with the risk of developing nonfatal venous thrombosis in postmenopausal women, according to a study in the February 7 issue of JAMA.

Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the thigh or leg) and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the arteries leading to the lungs) cause significant illness and death in adult women, according to the background information in the article. The authors note that despite improved preventive treatments in high-risk patients, the incidence of venous thrombosis (VT) has not decreased.

In this study, Nicholas L.