Disease

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1918 FLU KILLED MILLIONS BECAUSE OF THREE GENES

A team of scientists from the US and Japan have identified a combination of three genes in the flu virus that was most likely responsible for making the 1918 flu strain so deadly that it caused the most devastating outbreak of infectious disease ever known to humankind, leaving tens of millions dead in its wake.


HOSPITALIZATIONS DUE TO GERD ROSE 103% BETWEEN 1998 AND 2005, USA

The number of people hospitalized because of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) in the USA rose 103% between the period 1998 and 2005, according to details published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRC). During that same period there was a 216% rise in the number of patients hospitalized for other ailments but who also had milder forms of GERD.


NEW HUMAN H5N1 BIRD FLU VACCINE FROM BAXTER SHOWS PROMISE IN TRIAL

Results of a phase I and phase II trial on a new human vaccine against the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus that is made from cell culture instead of embryonated eggs (making it faster and cheaper to produce) show that it is safe and effective against a number of divergent strains. The experimental vaccine is made by Baxter International.


OVER 80,000 CHICKENS TO BE KILLED IN HONG KONG AFTER BIRD FLU FOUND

Authorities in Hong Kong say over 80,000 chickens will be culled after a poultry farm was found to have chickens infected with avian influenza (bird flu). The last time bird flu was detected in Hong Kong was in 2002. About 60 dead chickens were found in the farm, according to York Chow, Health Secretary.


STUDY OF 31 COUNTRIES FINDS WIDE VARIATIONS IN CANCER SURVIVAL RATES

A large study published in The Lancet Oncology has found that there are wide variations in cancer survival rates between and within many countries around the world. Professor Michel Coleman (Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and over 100 colleagues working on the CONCORD study analyzed 31 countries that provided data on cancer survival.


CAFFEINE INCREASES BLOOD SUGAR IN PEOPLE WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES

A small US study suggests that people with type 2 diabetes who drink the equivalent of four cups of coffee or more a day may be causing their blood sugar levels to go up by 8 per cent (compared to non caffeine days), thus making it harder for them to manage their condition. The study was carried out by Dr James Lane, a psychologist at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues, and is published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.


GENETIC TESTING FOR DIABETES TYPE 2 STILL IN ITS INFANCY

Genetic testing for type 2 diabetes is still in its infancy, said researchers who did a US study that compared risk assessment based on screening for gene variants with more traditional risk factors like weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. The study was the work of lead author Dr James Meigs of the General Medicine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues from other research centres in the US, and was published online on 20 November in the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM.


STUDY: LINK BETWEEN ARSENIC EXPOSURE AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

According to a study published in the August 20 issue of JAMA, an analysis using a representative sample of U.S. adults has found a relationship between higher levels of arsenic in the urine and an increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes. It has been widely documented that arsenic from inorganic sources is highly toxic and causes cancer in humans.


£100M SPENT ANNUALLY ON POINTLESS INDIGESTION DRUGS BY NHS

It is estimated that the National Health Service (NHS) spends at least £100m per year on needless indigestion drugs, according to an editorial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The UK is not alone in this kind of spending - apparently, almost £2bn are spent globally on such drugs each year.


SHORTFALL IN CURRENT FUNDING COMMITMENTS TO HALVE MALARIA INFECTIONS BY 2015

According to a study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, malaria control goals can only be achieved if future funding is tied more closely to level of need. From the Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Oxford University-Wellcome Trust Collaborative Programme, Bob Snow and colleagues have been working with malaria for several years.


DRUGS THAT TARGET HDAC2 GENE REVERSED ALZHEIMER'S IN MICE

Building on earlier research where mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease regained long-term memories and the ability to learn, US researchers have now pinpointed the exact gene involved and shown that drugs that target the gene reverse the effect of Alzheimer's and boost cognitive function in mice.


UNDIAGNOSED CELIAC DISEASE MORE COMMON TODAY THAN 50 YEARS AGO SAY US RESEARCHERS

US researchers said that undiagnosed cases of celiac disease, where the immune system has a strong adverse reaction to the protein found in wheat and other grains, appear to have increased dramatically in the last 50 years. They also found, over a 45 year follow up, that people with undiagnosed celiac disease have a nearly four-fold increased risk of premature death from any cause.


DIABETES: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TYPES 1 AND 2

People with type 1 diabetes will require supplemental insulin on an ongoing basis. People with type 2 will likely only need this for the later stages of the condition. Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus (DM), is a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot properly store and use sugar. It affects the body's ability to use glucose, a type of sugar found in the blood, as fuel.


HIV RISK TO 3,000 VETS FROM NON DISINFECTED PUMPS AT VA HOSPITAL IN MIAMI

Over 3,000 veterans who had routine tests at Miami's VA Medical Center are thought to be at slight risk of infection from hepatitis or HIV because the hospital discovered that a section of tube used in water pumps for colonoscopies and other gastrointestinal procedures was only being rinsed and not disinfected.


H1N1 SWINE FLU MAP OF CONFIRMED OUTBREAKS IN 2009

Featured below is an interactive Google map pinpointing outbreaks of H1N1 swine flu in 2009, together with source attributions, report dates, and current known statuses. This map is updated throughout the day with the latest suspected and confirmed cases of swine flu, as reports come in. Please note that this swine flu map is not owned or updated by Medical-Diag.


SEASONAL FLU VACCINE UNLIKELY TO PROTECT AGAINST NEW H1N1 SAYS CDC

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination with seasonal flu vaccines made for the 2005 to 2009 seasons is unlikely to protect people against infection by the new A (H1N1) swine flu virus. Scientists from the federal agency used banked blood samples taken before and after vaccination every year since 2005 and exposed them to the new swine flu virus.


BRITISH COLUMBIA STARTS CULLING 60,000 INFECTED BIRDS

The humane euthanization of about 60,000 turkeys is underway at an Abbotsford farm in British Columbia, Canada, according to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). The birds are infected with the H5 avian influenza virus. Canadian authorities inform that people are rarely affected by avian influenza, except in a very limited number of cases where a person was in close contact with sick birds.


FDA APPROVES 40-MINUTE BIRD FLU TEST

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday this week that it had cleared for marketing a new, faster test for detecting bird flu (influenza type A/H5N1) in humans that only takes 40 minutes to identify a marker protein that confirms the presence of the virus subtype from a swab. The test, called AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test and made by Arbor Vita Corporation, based in Sunnyvale, California, uses nose or throat swabs taken from patients who have flu symptoms.


A DRUG USED TO TREAT TYPE 2 DIABETES IS ASSOCIATED TO INCREASED RISK OF HEART FAILURE

A study just published on bmj.com reports that rosiglitazone, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, is linked with an increased risk of heart failure and death among elder patients compared to pioglitazone, which is a similar drug. As a result, the researchers point out it is questionable to support continued use of rosiglitazone for the majority of patients.


STEM CELLS FREED TYPE 1 DIABETES PATIENTS FROM DAILY INSULIN

A research team comprising scientists in the US and Brazil implanted recently diagnosed diabetes type 1 patients with their own stem cells so that they became insulin free and then showed that this was due to preserved beta cell function because their C-peptide levels went up significantly after transplant.