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Archives Of Infectious Disease Blog From Medicineworld.Org

September 4, 2007, 7:11 PM CT

Halting Lethal Rabies Infection in Brain

Halting Lethal Rabies Infection in Brain
While rabies, an ancient scourge that still kills 70,000 every year in developing countries worldwide can be combated with a series of vaccines today, it nearly is always fatal when it reaches the brain.

But now, immunology scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have shown how a type of bat rabies infection can be prevented in mice - even after the virus reaches the brain, when it is most lethal. They observed that by opening the central nervous system's (CNS) protective blood-brain barrier, powerful infection fighting substances can swarm in, essentially driving off the invading virus. A better understanding of the process, they say, may lead to improved therapy for late-stage rabies infections in humans.

"The findings indicate that delivering immune system 'effector cells' - T and B cells - to the CNS can reverse an otherwise lethal rabies infection even after the virus has reached the brain," says D. Craig Hooper, Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who led the work. "While that's not a practical way to help infected humans, finding a method to open the blood brain barrier may be crucial to saving a person who is already showing clinical signs of rabies infection, where a vaccine is useless." They report their work in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Virology.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

September 3, 2007, 12:05 AM CT

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli
The rise in year-round consumption of fresh leafy greens such as lettuce and baby spinach is increasing the difficulty of keeping produce free from contamination by food poisoning bacteria, as per US researchers speaking today (Monday 3 September 2007) at the Society for General Microbiologys 161st Meeting at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which runs from 3-6 September 2007.

The only land suitable for supplying this abundance of year-round, high quality, fresh leafy vegetables, which are eaten raw by large populations in Europe and the United States, is in special geographic regions, with ideal soil and climate conditions, says Robert Mandrell from the US Department of Agricultures Research Service in Albany, California.

This move to the year-round supply of leafy vegetables has mandatory new methods to clean, package and deliver rapidly these fragile food items across large distances to consumers in a number of parts of the world. These include harvesting mowers for some leafy greens, processing in water flumes and triple washing, and modified atmosphere packaging for extended shelf-life.

Recent food scares and food poisoning outbreaks have led to intensive investigations of farms and ranches. These have shown that at least some food poisoning bacteria outbreaks have been due to field contamination before the greens are even harvested.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 30, 2007, 9:25 PM CT

New Targets For Antibiotics

New Targets For Antibiotics
University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have identified new sites on the bacterial cell's protein-making machinery where antibiotics can be delivered to treat infections.

"The primary challenge of antibiotic treatment has been fighting infections caused by the pathogens which became resistant to antibiotics," says Alexander Mankin, professor and associate director of UIC's Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lead investigator of the study. "Not a single class of drugs has escaped the inevitable emergence of resistance."

At present, Mankin said, "the constant development of new drugs is the only available strategy to keep up with the ever-growing variety of antibiotic-resistant pathogens".

Mankin and his research team are looking for new vulnerable sites on bacteria where drugs can be delivered to fight the infections.

"First we need to find the target, and then the weapons can be developed," he said.

In the study, which is reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, UIC scientists divided a ribosome -- the main apparatus within the cell that makes protein, and one of the best antibiotic targets -- into specific sections. Random genetic mutations were engineered in each area, and the scientists looked for those alterations that stopped the ribosome from making proteins.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 29, 2007, 9:50 PM CT

New Strategies For Antibiotic Resistance

New Strategies For Antibiotic Resistance
With infections increasingly resistant to even the most modern antibiotics, scientists at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) report in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology on new clues they have uncovered in immune system molecules that defend against infection.

Drs. Michael R. Yeaman and Nannette Y. Yount present evidence that small proteins in the immune systems of humans and all kingdoms of life share fundamental structural and functional characteristics that enable these molecules to inhibit or kill microbial pathogens even as these pathogens evolve to resist conventional antibiotics.

"These findings reveal that nature uses a recurring molecular strategy to defend against infection," said Dr. Yeaman. "A clearer understanding of this strategy provides new opportunities to develop innovative anti-infective therapies to better prevent or treat life-threatening infections that resist current antibiotics".

Most modern antibiotics work by targeting specific structures or functions in microbial pathogens. If the targets change due to mutation, pathogens can quickly become resistant to the antibiotics. In contrast, immune system molecules have retained the ability to fight infection even as microbes evolve.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 29, 2007, 9:44 PM CT

Discovery could help stop malaria at its source

Discovery could help stop malaria at its source
As summer temperatures cool in the United States, fewer mosquitoes whir around our tiki torches. But mosquitoes swarming around nearly 40 percent of the worlds population will continue to spread a deadly parasitic disease malaria. Now an interdisciplinary team led by scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found a key link that causes malarial infection in both humans and mosquitoes.

If this link in the chain of infection can be broken at its source the mosquito then the spread of malaria could be stopped without any man, woman, or child needing to a take a drug. The scientists discovery would be reported in the Aug. 31 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The team observed that humans and the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite share the same complex carbohydrate, heparan sulfate. In both humans and mosquitoes, heparan sulfate is a receptor for the malaria parasite, binding to the parasite and giving it quick and easy transport through the body. The team was led by Robert J. Linhardt, the Ann and John H. Broadbent Jr. 59 Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering at Rensselaer.

The discovery allows us to think differently about preventing the disease, Linhardt said. If we can stop heparan sulfate from binding to the parasite in mosquitoes, we will not just be treating the disease, we will be stopping its spread completely.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 21, 2007, 5:34 PM CT

AIDS vaccine field moves toward larger-scale efficacy trials

AIDS vaccine field moves toward larger-scale efficacy trials
Leading scientists from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) presented final results today from a collection of independent studies reexamining the medical criteria for including African volunteers in AIDS vaccine trials. The findings, presented at the AIDS Vaccine 2007 Conference in Seattle, suggest that a number of healthy Southern and East Africans have, in the past, been excluded from participating in trials based on laboratory reference ranges that were developed for Western populations and may not be appropriate locally. Implementation of the results of the studies should improve participation of African volunteers in clinical trials for new drugs and vaccines against emerging infectious diseases currently ravaging Africa, including AIDS, TB and malaria, and enable clinicians to better monitor and define adverse events in trials.

In the first reference range studies conducted on such a large scale, scientists from the involved organizations examined the blood tests of approximately 5,500 clinically healthy HIV-negative volunteers across a dozen clinical sites in four African countries. For some markers, the studies revealed differences between the norms commonly found in healthy Africans and the reference values developed for populations in North America and Europe.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 20, 2007, 7:50 AM CT

Computers to fight emerging infections

Computers to fight emerging infections
Computer analysis of existing drugs may be key to fighting new infectious agents and antibiotic-resistant pathogens like deadly tuberculosis strains and staph superbugs. Scientists in Canada say the use of such emergency discovery technology could save time, money and lives during a sudden outbreak or a bioterrorism attack. They reported here today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Drug repurposing or reprofiling is not new: Pharmaceutical companies have been seeking new uses of old drugs to extend patent protections and whenever new, off-label uses of the drugs are found. But reprofiling to deliberately develop emergency drugs is a new concept, made possible by advances in chemoinformatics, a new field that merges chemistry with computer science, as per study presenter Artem Cherkasov, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

In the case of new infectious threats, there might be no time to develop a completely new drug from the ground up, as the corresponding toxicological studies and regulatory investigations will take years to complete properly, says Cherkasov, a chemist with a background in computer-aided drug design and infectious disease. Finding an already existing, well-studied therapeutic agent that will kill an emerging bug might provide a rapid, first line of defense response option.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 15, 2007, 8:16 PM CT

How To Vaccinate Hard-to-reach Populations?

How To Vaccinate Hard-to-reach Populations?
NEW YORK CITY, August 15 Most flu immunization plans in the United States do not address how to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations (HTR)--undocumented immigrants, substance users, the homeless, homebound elderly, and minorities--and this potentially dangerous omission can lead masses of people to become ill during an outbreak of pandemic flu or other contagious disease, as per a new study by The New York Academy of Medicine in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Health.

Hard-to-reach populations are important to vaccinate not only because theyre personally vulnerable, but because they could be widely transmitting disease to others, said lead author David Vlahov, PhD, Director of the Academys Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies (CUES) and Senior Vice President for Research. The importance of achieving high flu immunization rates is magnified by concern over pandemic influenza.

Influenza vaccination will begin to be offered by some U.S. healthcare providers as early as next month in preparation for flu season, which commonly extends from November through April of each year. Considerable attention will be devoted once again to achieving high levels of vaccination, since the vaccine is the best way to reduce ones chance of getting the flu, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza is a serious disease, causing 36,000 deaths (mostly among those aged 65 years or older) and striking 10 to 20 percent of the American population each year.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 8, 2007, 8:04 PM CT

Inflammation may cause preterm labor

Inflammation may cause preterm labor
Inflammation from bacterial infections is associated with preterm births and deaths, as per scientists from Case Western Reserve Universitys School of Dental Medicine and the Case School of Medicine. They found if receptors responding to the presence of dead or living bacteria in the placentas of mice can be blocked, the number of preterm deaths will decline by nearly half.

Yiping Han along with Hongqi Lui from the Case Western Reserve dental school and Raymond Redline from the Case medical school report results from their investigation, TLR4 promotes F. nucleatum-induced fetal death in mice, in the Journal of Immunology.

New findings from the mouse study holds potential to develop ways to curb the emotional and economic toll on families that lose babies to preterm labor and fetal death, said Han, a member of from the department of periodontics.

Currently antibiotic therapys are not very effective at preventing preterm births that are triggered by a bacterial infection. Mice, as well as humans, have several toll-like receptors (TLR) that sense the surface components of living or dead bacteria. TLR2 and 4 are key receptors in recognizing bacterial surfaces. The researchers concentrated their study on these two receptors as a possible link in producing the inflammatory response that is believed to have brought about the fetal death in mice.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

August 7, 2007, 10:48 PM CT

E. coli bacteria And Crohn's disease

E. coli bacteria And Crohn's disease
A team of Cornell University researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have discovered that a novel group of E. coli bacteria containing genes similar to those described in uropathogenic and avian pathogenic E. coli and enteropathogenic bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, bubonic plague is linked to intestinal inflammation in patients with Crohns disease in their research paper published July 12 by The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology.

Crohns disease, an incurable inflammatory disorder of the intestine most usually found in the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum affects 1-in-1,000 people in Europe and North America. Thus far, gut bacteria have long been suspected in playing a pivotal role in the development of Crohns disease, but the specific bacterial characteristics that drive the inflammatory response have remained elusive.

Scientists at Cornell examined possible causes for the disease in patients with Crohns restricted to the ileum and the colon versus healthy individuals.

Given that only about 20 percent of fecal bacteria can be cultured, our group adopted a broad culture-independent approach to target specific subgroups of bacteria for quantitative in situ analysis and culture based characterization, said Kenneth Simpson, professor of small animal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our findings raise the possibility that a novel group of E. coli contains opportunistic pathogens that may be causally correlation to chronic intestinal inflammation in susceptible individuals. They suggest that an integrated approach that considers an individuals mucosa-associated flora in addition to disease phenotype and genotype may improve outcome.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

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Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases. Archives of infectious disease blog

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