New strategy unveiled to curb Haiti’s cholera outbreak

“60773-haiti_300.jpg”Last month, the United Nations released a long-awaited report indicating that human waste from Nepalese peacekeepers along with dirty drinking water likely triggered the spread of the cholera epidemic that has gripped Haiti since October, killing more than 5,000 people and sickening hundreds of thousands more.  Read more

Q&A: Scotland gets new stem cell chieftain

Q&A: Scotland gets new stem cell chieftain

Scotland first grabbed headlines in the stem cell world fifteen years ago with the cloning of Dolly the sheep. But Scotland’s stem cell successes didn’t end there. In 2003, scientific highlanders at the University of Edinburgh discovered Nanog, a critical pluripotency gene expressed in embryonic stem cells. And last year, doctors at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital treated a patient in the first-ever regulated human trial for a stem cell stroke treatment.  Read more

Bug and weed killers kick Parkinson’s disease in gear

Bug and weed killers kick Parkinson’s disease in gear

Since the early-1990s, scientists have known that farmers and other field workers are more likely to succumb to Parkinson’s disease because of their exposure to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. But these studies fell short on showing a causal relationship between pesticides and the debilitating neurodegenerative disorder.  Read more

Heart disease test goes green

Heart disease test goes green

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and costs the country upwards of $316 billion in terms of healthcare costs, drugs and lost productivity. Yet the methods currently used to identify those at highest risk of heart attack leave much to be desired. A team of researchers hopes to change that by introducing a new type of catheterization procedure that produces detailed images of the fatty buildup inside blood vessel walls in the heart.  Read more

A drug with 70 side effects? That’s just par for the course

A drug with 70 side effects? That’s just par for the course

Mobile phone users who balked at the idea that their telephone providers can track their every move have recently learned the hard way that reading the fine print is important. But while it’s custom practice to blindly accept usage agreements for telephones and computer programs, it’s tougher to operate with the same nonchalance when it comes to reading the side effects listed on the side of drug boxes. To make matters worse, a study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that the average drug has about 70 side effects.  Read more

FDA pulls Avandia off retail pharmacy shelves

It’s official: Avandia will no longer be found on most US pharmacy shelves starting 18 November. After deciding last autumn to severely limit the use of GlaxoSmithKline’s beleaguered type 2 diabetes drug, the US Food and Drug Administration outlined new restrictions this week that will make the drug available only through a special mail-order program to diabetics whose blood sugar levels are not controlled by other drugs.  Read more

Ribosome freeze frame offers new perspective on microbial defenses

Ribosome freeze frame offers new perspective on microbial defenses

With an estimated 175,000 deaths attributed to hospital-acquired infections each year in Europe alone and a dwindling arsenal of effective antibiotics to combat these superbugs, researchers have been striving to develop new antibacterial medicines. But these efforts have been hampered by scientists’ limited understanding of the basic molecular machinery that microbes use to thwart medicine’s best weapons.  Read more

Researchers find genetic clues to overcoming African livestock disease

Researchers find genetic clues to overcoming African livestock disease

Each year, an estimated 30,000 people in Africa are diagnosed with the crippling muscle wasting disease known as sleeping sickness. But the problem is far worse for the dairy and meat-producing cattle upon which their lives depend, as an estimated 5 billion cows die of Nagana, the animal form of the disease. Now, scientists hope to generate heartier, disease-resistant cattle — and the discovery of two new genes reported this week could help with that goal.  Read more

Qatar proposes national council to direct research efforts

Qatar proposes national council to direct research efforts

On 3 April, Qatar unveiled its first National Health Strategy (NHS), which covers the next five years and includes a plan to launch a new national governance body to better manage resources and projects across the various biomedical centers in the small Persian Gulf state. The newly proposed Qatar Medical Research Council (QMRC) will be based in Doha and will be responsible for coordinating research efforts between institutions and communicating the scientific outcomes to policymakers.  Read more